Dec 18, 2013
Dear Lord; Happy Wednesday Father!
Over the past couple weeks Father, I’ve been listening to and enjoying a sermon series called “Times and Seasons” preached by Steven Furtick, the lead pastor over at Elevation Church. It’s been a powerful series for me so far Lord, and has touched on some areas of my life that are very raw right this moment. This morning as I pondered the most recent message I’d listened to, You placed on my heart a guest post I wrote for Healthy Spirituality a couple years back. I chased down the document containing the post, and as I reread the words You’d given me during a very different season of my life it dawned on me that even now, Your Promise still holds true…
Such is the way many choose to view the winter landscape.
I believe that winter carries with it a deeper message;
A Promise from God.
I absolutely love taking long, quiet walks in the woods; spending that communion time with my Heavenly Father, surrounded in the majesty of His bounty. In that Stillness, I find that I feel powerfully connected to God’s presence, and He’s used those moments of intimacy to bring me some wonderful revelations.
I try to visit our local forest as often as possible, even during the “less comfortable” seasons. Seeing the many transitions and phases of God’s creation never fails to unveil new truths to me, and whatever the conditions are I always come away feeling Blessed for my time there…
Even in the dead of winter.
Hmmm… The “dead” of winter…
Not a very accurate description in my opinion.
I actually enjoy walking through the woods in the winter months. Strolling among the leafless timbers, the barren landscape lies in stark contrast to the lush foliage that normally fills the scene. And yet, while first impressions are that all life has left this place, nothing could be further from the truth…
Life still resides here…
Promising to burst forth and begin anew with the breath of spring…
Just as God designed it to.
And Funny enough, He designed our lives that way as well. Like that forest, our paths are bound to the seasons God lays out for us…
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV)
Times of abundance, and periods of trial; both are gifts from God. We celebrate those moments when His Blessings shine brightly all around us, and yet those times of wanting are also cause to rejoice…
When instead of dwelling on our pain,
We give thanks for His promise;
The promise that it is in fact, a season,
And that in the “dead” of our Winters, there is still life,
And there is still love.
Thank You for our Winters Lord, and Your promise of the Springs ahead.
Feb 24, 2012
Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!
Well Father, it’s certainly been a little while since I’ve sat down and written to You. And while our conversations haven’t diminished in the least, I have missed bringing the fruits of our time together to the written word. So Lord, when You laid it on my heart today to share this post, it gave me a much needed early-morning smile. 🙂
Back in January Father, my family and I attended a viewing at our church of the movie “Facing the Giants”. It was an absolutely excellent film, filled with inspiring messages and poignant reminders of where our true motivation and priorities should lie. At one point in the movie, a statement was made that really captured my attention, and has stuck with me since…
“God will send the rain when He’s ready… You need to prepare your field to receive it.”
Such a simple truth Father, and yet one I’ve missed on so many occasions. While I try to recognize Your many Blessings in my life and in the world around me, in many cases I’ve not been proactive in aggressively preparing myself to receive those gifts. I want to live my life expecting Your presence at every turn Lord; sowing my seeds in earnest…
Knowing without a doubt that Your Heavenly rain is coming.
Such is my desire Father… Today and every day.
Continuing to count Your many Blessings in my life Lord; these past weeks have been truly filled with Your Grace, and I’ve been especially grateful for:
571. Being given 18 wonderful years with my dog Brandy.
572. A marriage that not only has grown us as a couple, but also allows us both to grow as individuals.
573. Bourbon manhattans with a splash of grenadine.
574. An absolutely beautiful, warm sunny drive into work this morning.
575. Our caring, compassionate veterinarian who made a very difficult situation much easier.
576. A beautiful Valentine’s Day dinner out with Shannon.
577. Seeing Your grace powerfully impacting the lives of some good friends.
578. That no matter what missteps we make or how far we fall, when we come to You we’re welcomed with open arms.
579. The amazing outpouring of encouragement and concern we received upon Brandy’s passing.
580. A number of significant new jobs this past couple weeks.
581. A good “check up” service on Shannon’s van with no major surprises.
582. Those people You place in our lives that connect to our hearts in truly powerful ways.
583. A fun night out with friends last Saturday night.
584. The view of the world I receive when I look through eyes cleansed by faith.
585. The healing power contained in the smile of a good friend.
I thank You Lord, for the wondrous gifts You continue to Bless our lives with each and every day; both those that cause the Heavens to ring out in song, and those that whisper Your mighty love quietly from the shadows.
In Jesus’ name we pray,
Feb 14, 2012
Dear Lord; Happy Valentine’s Day Father!
Today Father, much of the world’s attention turns to “all things love” as we celebrate Valentine’s Day. And yet, while the greeting card, candy and jewelry companies would like us to spend our time and money focusing on the romantic and tangible side of our affections, I choose instead to take this time to reflect on those aspects of love in my life that touch me most deeply:
The amazing, intimate bond I have with my wonderful wife, Shannon…
The powerful sense of care and commitment I have for my children…
The deep, very personal relationships I’ve established with a few close friends…
And the overwhelming, transformational and ever-deepening connection I have with my Lord and Savior.
Such wondrous examples of Your love for me Father; such astounding Blessings in my life.
Thank You Lord;
For seeding Your love in me,
For seeking me through my brokenness,
For reminding me that I’m Your Beloved Child,
And that above all else,
You love me; perfectly and completely.
I’m Yours Father. 🙂
Feb 7, 2012
Dear Lord; Happy Tuesday Father!
When I was little, one of my favorite Bible stories was that of Daniel in the lion’s den. The Children’s Bible I read it from contained some beautiful illustrations and a wonderful translation of Daniel’s “adventure”, and I found myself returning to it often.
Yesterday Lord, my morning Scripture readings led me once again to the book of Daniel, chapter 6:
“Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.
Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.” – Daniel 6:16-23 (ESV)
Now Father, when I read this as a young boy, the amazement this story inspired was mostly directed at the Angel’s presence in that den; Your benevolent power protecting Daniel’s life. When I read the passage now however, I’m struck by the powerful truth of Daniel’s trial in that den…
When we lay our faith and trust in You, You’ll always be by our side.
I know I’ll be beset with trouble in my life Lord
And things may not go the way I expect or desire,
But I give myself to You Father… wholly and faithfully
And lay my life at Your tender mercies.
Thank You Lord,
For protecting me from the lions.
Feb 4, 2012
Dear Lord; Happy Saturday Father!
I love those moments Lord,
When in the throes of our lives,
You announce Your presence.
Some see coincidence,
Some call it luck,
I want see to them for what they are;
When just the right song plays on the radio, as if on cue…
While during a moment of self-doubt, a reassuring text message reminds us that we’re loved…
When the bills are due with no relief in sight, and yet somehow, the money shows up…
And while in the midst of our private pain, a quiet voice reminds us we’re Your Beloved.
So many times however Father,
I’ve missed the forest for the trees;
Seeing only frustration,
Not viewing with eyes of faith and trust,
But instead through the world’s narrow lens.
Open my eyes Lord,
Open my heart.
Help me recognize Your hand
In every situation;
Not just those that make me smile.
For when I’m able to discern Your light
In everything around me,
Becomes a “God Moment”. 🙂