See the sky and hills!

See the sky and hills!
In Quiet Moments Here

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Catching Up Again

Once a person falls behind, it is extremely difficult to get ahead.   This is the lesson I am learning this week.  Good intentions are not enough.  Wishing it were done is not enough.  Living a "woulda, shoulda, coulda" existence is futile.  I'm starting to sound like an addition to the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible.

What is this about?  The writer of Ecclesiastes, supposedly a very wise man, records his search for many things, but repeatedly compares his actions to ". . . a chasing after the wind" and often says "this too is meaningless".  This certainly is the epitome of hopelessness.

All is not hopeless, however, even in Ecclesiastes.  Chapter 3 begins, "There is a time for everything . . ."  Ecclesiastes 9:10 tells me "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might . . ."  These verses sound like something I can use.  On the other hand, my Creator has something for me to do before I look around to see what my hand finds to do.

I am once again struggling with priorities, especially the priority stated in Matthew 6:33, "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness . . ."  This is so clear, stated so simply, and is the key to success of any kind.  Therefore, this is what I have to do, whether it takes me several days, or weeks.  However long it takes to develop this habit, I need to seek God before I do anything else.  I want to be able to wake in the morning and say "Thank you, Lord, for this new day.  Please show me what you want me to do today." 

First steps, baby steps, stumbling steps.
Whenever you fall, get up.
First steps, baby steps, stumbling steps.
Take His hand that is offered.
First steps, baby steps, stumbling steps.
It's alright to start again.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Playing Catch Up

This has been a week of unusual challenges, most of them not very pleasant.  However, Saturday was a celebration day, and made up for the unpleasantness of the days before. 

My family celebrated with my dad his 90th birthday.  We got together at the assisted living facility where he lives in northern Minnesota, my siblings and spouses, several of Dad's grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Dad's (older) brother and some of his cousins, and many, many of his friends.  It was amazing to have so many family members together at the same time, though of course, impossible to spend much time with any of them.  Another great blessing was to know that Dad had so many people that cared about him, and he acknowledged that he knew he was cared for.  Emotional beyond words at times, but very happy, he gave us a reminder of the heritage we have. 

Today, we also took Dad to a church service and received a warm welcome from more great people.  The pastor challenged us, among other things, to pay close attention to our prayer lives, and this was a reminder that I needed.  Living away from my family, I often feel lonely for them, and helpless to be of any use in their lives.  I was reminded that I have the priviledge of prayer, and that prayer works.

The week-end went way too fast, and I am home again, tired yet refreshed, and ready for the challenges God gives me this week. Most of all, I am thankful to God for the family He placed me in, and I am looking forward to all of us having many more times together, both here on earth, and later in Heaven. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Let Your Moderation Be Known

The problem with some of our sins is that other people see them.  On the other hand, if there is no one that sees them, this can also be a problem because they are so much easier to get away with, or so it may seem.

The past few days I've expended an unusual amount of energy (unusual for me, that is) getting a few things done that I didn't really feel like doing.  There was great reward in doing so.  I love the feeling of accomplishment, and find that it is an energizer, almost a high.  However, I have several health issues that require good management, and that presents a difficulty; I'm just not good at managing them.

Today, I feel like a crash is coming.  The reason is simple. I have been concentrating on accomplishment and forgetting moderation.  Other versions of the Bible use different words, but the King James Version in Philippians 4:5 says "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand."  A follow-up verse, after reminding us to ask God for what we need, is verse 7 which promises ". . . the peace of God . . . shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  Oh moderation, how shall I learn thee?  I think the answer is right there: ask God for help.  So very often, something so simple is made difficult by my insistence on doing things my own way.

I don't know that everyone everywhere is going to know when I have mastered either a little bit or a lot of moderation.  If it's not known unto "all men", I do believe my man, my husband, will know.  In fact, in trying to please him by accomplishing much, he took note of my situation, that my moderation was lacking.  So that's what he knows about me.  Little reminders are helpful, but I hope I can get moderation mastered somewhat before my husband gets tired of reminding me, or I get tired of having him remind me.  God and I will have to have a chat about that.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trying on Obedience

I haven't been clothes shopping lately; I really dislike trying on clothes in those tiny little rooms with bad mirrors.  Instead, I've been trying something else on for size--obedience, to God, and yes, even to my husband.  I've had a few rewards already, so I think I might try a few more.

Yesterday, I had put in my daily calendar (which my husband really bugs me to use) that I should call a couple friends who I "just never get around to" calling.  I was able to check that off--I really did it. As if the feeling of accomplishment wasn't enough of a reward, I was also rewarded with a couple awesome conversations.  They are the best kind of friends, those that, even if you don't see or talk to them for months, you can pick up a conversation just as if you had talked to them the day before! It was wonderful.

I did a few other "make hubby happy" jobs, and that felt good to me, too.  Enough of doing just what I feel like doing!  I've been encouraged to develop this new habit.

Is there anything you need to try on?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sing to the Lord

A couple of days ago, I wrote about wisdom, and how looking at the hills was a reminder to me that I needed to ask the God who made those hills for help.  Today, I was reading a devotional that mentioned the beauty of our wilderness surroundings, and how even the earth that God made is created to praise Him. 

Let the sea resound, and everything in it.
Let the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
Let the mountains sing together for joy;
Let them sing before the Lord.

(Psalm 98: 7-9)

There seems to be no place better than the Psalms to remind me that God desires my praise.  Let me never forget to show Him my love!

Wisdom For Any Situation

When my daughter was young, about ten, she had some insecurity issues related to her ability to do well in school and have the "popular" girls include her in their activities. We made a fun project out of helping her learn her "Times Tables" and we encouraged her love of reading and writing.  Best of all though, to me, were the mother-daughter conversations while sitting on her bed.  Of particular encouragement to her were  Bible verses from Psalm 119, verses 98-99: "Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me.  I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes."  For some people, these words could rapidly feed an ego and cause a few problems; for an insecure little girl, however, they were just what she needed.

This memory came to my mind as I read a daily devotional this week and listened to the sermon in Sunday morning church.  Our minister challenged us to share God's Good News, and explained that there were many ways to do that, and one didn't need a theology degree or extensive training to obey God's desire to have us encourage, uplift, and testify to people who cross our path.  Later in the day, I read in Isaiah 50 about the struggles the Israelite people were having, being held captive far from their homeland. Verse 4 says "God has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary."

So often I hesitate to speak to someone, even with a phone call, because I don't know what I will say, or my human, physical strength is weak.  How encouraging to know that God is just waiting for that opportunity to bail me out of my predicament; HE will help me; HE will give me the words to say: He will make up for all my inadequacies!  This is the encouragement that I need right now, and I am sure it will make me go on in greater strength for this week.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Where Does My Help Come From?

This week, my Bible moved from the back of my desk in the bedroom to the lamp table by my recliner in the living room, by a nice sunny window.

Today was an unusually wonderful, warm day to enjoy all things outdoors, and I enjoyed especially my favorite "sport" of looking at the hills around our home, hills that sometimes look like they should be the "Blue Ridge Mountains".

Yes, there really is a connection between those two leading sentences!

In Psalm 121: 1-2, it says (my paraphrase) "I lift my eyes unto the hills.  Where does my help come from?  It comes from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth--and the valleys and hills."

I believe the Lord wants us to pray, to thank Him for His help even as we ask.   However, He has also given us an instruction book, and my neglect of it is not a good excuse for me to cry, "Help, Lord, help!"  Therefore, I need to remember where my help really does come from, and how to regularly receive the help I need for any situation.  In Psalm 199:105 there are words that provide a strong reminder, words that have been made into a song sung by many professional recording artists as well as the average person in a pew.

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path. "

And that is why the placement of my Bible and the hills around my home have something in common.
I know where my help comes from.