God Speaks Through Nature

 

Birds of a feather

A widow in deep sorrow was sitting alone at the park. Months earlier, her husband of many years was killed in a car accident. She prayed aloud, “God, I’m so lonely and sad. The last words I said to my husband the day he died were harsh. I just want him to know I love him and I’m sorry.”

Just then, two cardinals landed on the sidewalk right in front of her, so close she could almost touch them. A gasp escaped from her lips as a tear rolled down her cheek. Cardinals were her man’s favorite bird. There they were. Not just one, but two. A pair. Mates for life.

What’s really interesting to me is “cardinal” means of prime importance. The one thing. The main thing. God wanted this woman to know the one thing – she was loved. He saw her need and answered her prayer. God whispered to her spirit. Her man knew she loved him and that she hadn’t meant those ugly words. And now she knew it, too.

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I Need Help!

Lessons learned in seasons of not enough.

Girlfriend, I have learned an important lesson in this season of not enough. Ask for help. Sounds so easy, but ugh, who wants to do it? I’m sure you’d rather be the one who comes to the rescue. The one who drops off the meal or writes the check or offers the good advice. I know I would. 

But sometimes we’re the ones who need the help. We mistakenly think joy comes only from giving, when in fact there is great joy that comes from receiving. We need to let others experience the joy of giving while we learn to receive the gift.

God gave us the greatest gift, eternal life through Jesus’ death and resurrection. And what joy we have receiving that gift! 

Call in reinforcements!

I’ve had 15 events cancel and more hang in limbo. UGH!!! I’d applied for unemployment but hadn’t heard anything back. No stimulus check in my mailbox.  With reserves low (emotional, social and financial), I needed help so I called in reinforcements.

I do not like being in this situation, but friends have paid for groceries, dropped money in my accounts, written sweet words of encouragement, lent me a listening ear and offered me great advice. While I have been sequestered in my home, they have prayed for good news in this time when I can’t share the Good News from a platform.

Immeasurable relief.

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Dealing With Delays, Disappointments and Doubts

We all have to face stinky stuff in our lives.

What do you do when the washing machine overflows? How do you react to a really negative post on your Facebook page? Can you keep your cool when your curling iron overheats and melts your hair? Imagine discovering that your car has been towed!

Delays, disappointments and doubts stink! 

In John 11, Lazarus is deathly sick and his sisters, Mary and Martha, are stuck in a stinky situation. When Jesus finally shows up, Lazarus is already dead and has been in the grave four days! 

The sisters are crying, the mourners are crying, even Jesus cries. They are still weeping and wailing at the cave/grave where a stone has sealed in the body of Lazarus.

Then Jesus makes the most remarkable request.

He says, “Take away the stone.”

Martha jumps in and says, “But Lord, by now there is a bad odor!” In response, Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

When faced with a big stink, it’s easier to leave well enough alone. To settle for what you’ve got instead of contending for all the good stuff God has for you.

At Jesus’ request, they do take away the stone and there is a stink!

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He Is Risen

He. Is. Risen.

Part of me is relieved that Lent is over so I can resume the consumption of chocolate and binge watch television. You would think after 46 days the cravings would be gone, but they taunt me. I have repeatedly whispered, “God, I want to long for you like I long for candy bars and Netflix.”

The glorious discipline of Lent has brought me closer to God and has transformed some of my strongholds into mere indulgences. I have experienced God in powerful ways over the past 40-plus days.

But Lent isn’t just about overcoming temptations or even establishing new patterns. It’s meant to take me to the place where I anticipate the celebration of an an empty tomb. To synchronize my trust and faith with the RESURRECTION of Jesus. To really believe that because HE is risen, I will too. 

More than get out of hell insurance.

Jesus’ resurrection has to be more than get-out-of-hell insurance. It has to be the assurance that all the things wrong in my life (and in yours) can be resurrected.

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Lord, I Want My Life Back!!!

Never saw this coming

School shootings. Terrorist attacks. And now this coronavirus. Lord have mercy!

Schools are closed, church is live-streamed and vacations are cancelled. Even if you’re confident that danger is far from you, personal change, challenges and crisis happen everyday. I’m not talking about inconveniences like toilet paper shortages or a long line at the post office. I’m talking about the shocking, heartbreaking, disturbing bombshells.

  • The marriage is over.
  • The job ends.
  • The car’s wrecked.
  • The money’s gone.
  • The diagnoses is pronounced

…and your life is irrevocably changed or altered in a way you didn’t expect or deserve.

Just say NO!

When it happens, there are two immediate and visceral reactions.
The first is NO!
You don’t like it, you don’t want it, and you don’t agree with it.
Just NO!

When NO doesn’t turn into YES no matter how much you cry, beg, plead or pray, the next reaction is often WHY? Why me? Why now? Why ever?

It seems fair to ask why. But do you really want to know why or do you just long for the lost to be found, the broken to be fixed, for the stolen to be returned. Really … you just want your life back! Am I right?

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How I Kicked Trouble In The Teeth

Count it all joy?

Mr. 4-Ever and I had been in the car for 5 minutes of a 12 hour trip when a car pulled into our path and Dave had to make a quick adjustment to save our lives. Unfortunately, I was drinking a large bottle of frappuccino and when he made his heroic maneuver, and I spilled half the cold, sticky, sugary drink down my front. It splashed into my hair, dripped off my necklace, and soaked my top down to my bra!

Count it all joy?

Earlier that week, on a trip to Florida, I felt something hard in a mouthful of pudding. When my tongue kicked the hard thing out onto my hand, it was the crown from my front tooth! I was 1700 miles away from my dentist with a scheduled speaking event the next day.

Count it all joy?

The same week, an email from the publisher started with,
“Hi Dave and Robyn, I’m sorry to tell you that the truck carrying 5000 of your “The Widow Wore Pink” books to the distribution center caught on fire and ALL of them burned.

Count it all joy?

Girls! Do you have days, weeks or seasons like this? How do you face bad news and big inconveniences?

Stuff happens. And when it does, God’s Word says to count it all joy.

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You Can Experience God

 

The holidays are over and the mailbox offers nothing but junk and bills. Winter storms and cloudy skies are the norm. It gets dark at 4:30pm! Flu bugs and close quarters breed bad moods, discord and discouragement.

I was sharing some bluesy feelings with my friend Marilyn* and she gave me some great words of encouragement.

When the days are dark, take heart. God is with you.

Now lots of people will tell you God is good and All you need is a little more faith, but when you are under the cloud of despair, you really need something more than a pat on the back and a platitude – even if it’s true.

What you need is an encounter with God. That’s what happened when the skies were very dark in Marilyn’s life.

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What Do You Want To Ask God?

 

Do you ever wish you could ask God a question? Maybe clarify what to do about a specific situation taking place in your life? Would you like direction toward your calling? Perhaps you’d like relationship or parenting or employment guidance. 

The Bible is flawless, but what if your situation isn’t specifically addressed in it? I’ll talk more about this next week, but to get you started, what do you do when you want to know:

  • Whether to stay in your job or take a new one across the country?
  • If you should buy this house or that one?
  • Is homeschooling really be the right path to educate your children?

None of these issues are specifically addressed in the Bible. 

The only reasonable solution is to ask God to direct you through listening prayer. And he will. Priscilla Shirer says, “Do you really think God loves you enough to die for you but doesn’t love you enough to talk to you?”

I’ve created a quick video on listening prayer to teach you how to hear from God. Watch it then do the exercise. When you’re done, leave me a comment about how it went, and what you heard.

 

 

 

 

 

Your Presence Is The Best Present

 

A rough start to the holidays.

My holiday season has gotten off to a rough start. I’d planned to serve Thanksgiving dinner at 12:30. At noon, the turkey wasn’t close to cooked.

Not even close, I tell you!

Mashed potatoes and stuffing, sweet potatoes and green been casserole waited impatiently in warming ovens.

Tick.
Tick..
Tick.

At 3:30pm that bird finally surrendered enough breast meat to give each person a sliver.

Arrgh!

Girls, it was the ugliest looking plate of food I’ve ever served on Thanksgiving. Tasty, but ugly.

Interestingly, holding dinner hostage gave us all time to really catch up and interact. To connect. It was relaxed and fun for everyone. Everyone but me!

I should all over myself.

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The Universal Language Of Kindness

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

The beautiful thing about kindness is that everyone can do it. Anyone … in any season of life, whether young, old, male or female, rich, poor or even sick can show kindness.

Not to be confused with generosity, (which I generally associate with giving money) kindness requires nothing more than intentional action.

Kindness is more powerful than anger, selfishness or even hate. It morphs us into women who look, sound and act more like Jesus. When we clothe ourselves in kindness as Col. 3:12 directs, we affect people in a positive and lasting way. 

Contagious and courageous.

Those who are shown kindness will surely pass it on. Like a train of Dominos, when the first one falls, the rest follow. Taking the lead to demonstrate kindness softens hearts, quiets tempers and provides space for tenderness to grow. So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you. Matthew 7:12 

In close relationships, kindness can overcome the temptation to hold grudges, get revenge and act selfishly. Random acts of kindness toward strangers can break down prejudice, overcome greed and restore faith in humanity.

“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.” – Kahlil Gibran

Sometimes the kindest thing you can do is put down a suffering animal. It’s tough to help pack up your best friend to move away from you. Being a listening ear or returning a lost wallet can be time consuming. Keeping someone company till the ambulance or locksmith arrives can mess up your schedule. 

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