Finding the Courage to Take the Next Step

Where is your face to lead me through this plight?
How long must I endure the constant strife?
I know the tasks that you have given to me.
Yet why must I endure them on my own?
Where do I find the strength to carry on?

Please share with me the secrets of your ways.
What lessons exist that I must take to heart?
Am I quite blind to see Your miracles here?
Am I so deaf that I can’t hear Your words?
Or is your goal to burn the bad from me?

Where can I find some courage to carry on?
Then suddenly a friend does think about me.
He gives a book about the power of prayer.
I read the book discover many new things
about a friend who wants to care for me.

Each step I take I learn this lesson anew.
Every day I face those trials that bring me down,
but strength and courage are things I get from you.
I get them through my prayers and talking with you.
You give me all I need through times of prayer.

Praise and confession, thanksgiving, and making requests
and reading Your word out loud, that’s real prayer.

Carpe Diem – Seize the day!

Solemnly sitting on the bus, watching my life pass by.
Scene after scene showing its gleam, unfolds before my eyes.
Respected words from respected friends keeping me on the bus.
The plethora of reasons to stay on the bus are all perfectly clear.

still

Warriors rule inside my head and touch what cannot be touched.
They laugh at me and mock at me “how long can this be ignored?
You dig the same ruts and follow their paths, you really are not alive.
Carpe Diem they say! Seize the day! Please now get off the bus.”

still

It is not wise to get off the bus, there’s too much that’s bad out there.
There’re grizzly bears and venomous snakes and wolves and bugs and gnats.
And my friends say no. The money is bad. It’s simply not worth the risk.
I’m afraid of change. I can’t make the grade. I can’t get off the bus.

still

The still small voice inside my soul has been talking to me all along.
I have not listened. I have not heard, but now I am going to try.
“You ignore my words and ignore my voice, but look it’s perfectly clear.
The exit sign is hanging there right in front of your face.”

still

How can I trust? How can I hope? How can I go out there?
But He has shown me where and how, and takes good care of me.
How long I wonder will excuses be made to keep me from my dreams?
When will I get the bright idea it is my dream to get off the bus.

don’t be still

Trees By a Stream

The road is hard and pain is oh so great.
I work and work and never get ahead.
I need a break or just a little gift.
What must I do to get a little more?
Yet God is quiet. I know He must be mad.

I stop and sit and quietly meditate.
If I don’t know the laws or grace of God,
how can I know that He is mad at all?
How can I know what He does give to me?
How can I know if He’s has offered help?

Please gaze at all my wants and heartfelt wishes too.
Look down deep and see the things I crave.
If I don’t know the laws or grace of God,
the works my hands complete will drip with toil.
What can I do to find that I am brave?

I read His word and here is what it said.
When I obey God’s law I’ll bear His fruits
just like a tree that’s planted by a stream.
I’ll bear the fruits just when the time is right.
And everything thing I do will be well done.

I have a choice I must always make
gnashing teeth or sitting by a stream.

 

 

Can Grass Move?

Where does God go when bad things happen?

The park bench was hard and unforgiving, exactly what I needed right now. I fell onto the bench and stared hard into the packed brown earth in front of me. Blades of grass poked their heads up in a vain attempt to survive. Life would trample them to death here. If only they had known to move ten feet further away, then they would have survived. If only I had known to move a few feet further ahead, then maybe I would have survived. I rolled my head back and forth in an attempt to ease my aching neck and shoulders.

When that blade of grass was a new shoot, it sprung up with all its might. “Here I am world! I’m ready! Come and see me grow!”

Oh little blade of grass, why couldn’t you see the risks and the horrors that life had in store for you just because you chose to grow up right here? Why couldn’t you see?

My life’s been a lot like that blade of grass. That was my life out of college. That was my marriage out of college. I found my job. I found my family. And I planted myself here. How do I uproot myself and move on?

Can grass move? It doesn’t have legs. It can’t float with the wind. Still, it sends runners out to plant new blades of grass. Where are the runners in my life?

I looked up and closed my eyes to the exploding heart in my chest. My hands clung on desperately to the bench. My heals dug hard into the packed earth. “Why couldn’t I see?” I pleaded with God for an answer that wouldn’t come.

Now look at that pathetic blade of grass. Pushed over by the thousands of feet that pass through this picturesque park. People see the beauty of the dogwood trees in bloom. They see the beauty of the beech and oak and maple. They see the perfect blossoms growing from the flowers. They never see that half dead piece of grass.

I live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. “No one sees my half dead life struggling to survive. No one sees me when they walk all over me. No one cares.”

The softest of voices floated over my shoulder. “I care.”

I jumped so high I fell off the bench. My cheek scraped against the half dead blade of grass and uprooted it.

I turned to look at the voice. A look of deep concerned was etched around her large brown eyes. A long braid of golden blond hair took my concerns and flowed them away from me down her back. Her large, full lips were quivering. Her hands reached past her studded jeans and black teeshirt and offered a hand to help me up.

“I care.” she repeated.

I turned to look at the uprooted blade of grass. “I guess you can walk after all. All you needed was a helping hand. It must have really hurt to get uprooted like that, but I’ll take you to a much better place.” I took the blade of grass and replanted it in the middle of the park where it would thrive. “There you go little blade of grass.”

Her voice drifted over my shoulder again. “Now it’s time for us to get replanted my love.”

Where does God go when bad things happen?

As trouble grows, my vision narrows. So much so, that during the worst of times, I simply cannot see. Then a hand reaches down and helps me up. Where is God during the worst of times? He’s in the face of those who show me love and help me to once again gain my feet.

Then I can empathize with those who have also tripped and fallen like me.

Then I can be the hand that reaches down to help them up.

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” (1 John 4:16-21 NIV)

Focusing up on Intentional Purposes

If I simply let life happen to me, I will float downstream to the dredges of mediocrity, no matter what my skill set looks like. If I live intentionally (prayer, caring, thankfulness, hope, etc), then I’ll discover the breathtaking mountain peaks of peace, patience, joy, self control, and success.

As it says in the bible:

  • “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
  • “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”
  • “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.”
  • “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control; against such things there is no law.”
  • Jeremiah 29:11, John 15:8, 1 John 2:3, Galatians 5:22 ESVST.

If I intentionally make time for what I know I need to do, if I actively look for His answers, then I will, step by step, experience God fulfilling His promises in my life.
I choose to live my life intentionally.

Digging Deeper:

  • Question 1) Why is it hard to live your life intentionally?
  • Question 2) What is it that you know you need to do, but keep putting off?
  • Question 3) How do you handle the constant barrage of demands on your life?

The Shaft of Wood Who Lacked Purpose

I sat quietly in the overstuffed leather chair. With steepled hands, I studied the shaft of wood that hovered in front of me. Smooth as silk, the grains of wood played and curled into an elegant design. Colorful notches of feathers adorned one end of the shaft. A gleaming tip looked long past ready to show that it could be of use. I was entranced to see what it would do next.

With flowing ease, the shaft of wood discovered my gaze and turned to me. “What good is an arrow if there is no target?”

The question caught me off guard. I knew not what to say.

The shaft of wood continued on. “God creates all things for a purpose. And, to see that purpose and not take the action that it deserves is an insult to God and man alike. Does it not bother you at all that I am of no use to master or servant?”

Seeing my silence, the shaft of wood turned dark and threatening. “How can you just sit there, looking like you’ll lose your head? Do you not know that the number one regret of man or beast alike is the wish to have the courage to live a life true to one’s self and not to live the life that culture demands?”

I cocked my head to one side struggling to capture at least one of the competing thoughts that plagued me.

“Good sir, you can plainly see that I am an arrow! Tell me, how can I be of any use if there is no target to aim at? Please good sir, you taunt me with your silence. Help me to be the arrow that I was meant to be. Speak to me!”

I sat utterly dumbfounded. “Good shaft of wood, you think you’re an arrow? Who said that you’re an arrow? By all means no! You are something far mightier. You are a fine pen!”

Confusion spilled out, like a bottle of ink pouring out over a desk. “What?”

“Good shaft of wood, do you want just one target? I am here to make use of you. Together, we can paint endless scenes of amazing creations. We have a world to reach!”

The fine wooden pen glowed with excitement and hope, the anger gone. “Thank you kind sir.”

I smiled. “All you had to do was ask.”

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD” Jer. 29: 11-14a NIV

Today, I Saw Your Hope

Dear Father,

Praise be to your holy name: the giver of life, the great teacher, wonderful counselor, the great I Am, the author of all things good, the giver of unexplainable joy and peace, the giver of powerful grace, the perfect judge, the giver of freedom.

I’m focusing up on the hope that you provide that fills me with the confident expectations of the care that you provide, of the visions that in the end I will win this battle because of you, and of the way you constantly teach me and make life worth living.

I’m focusing up on the amazing good that I see in the world. Today I saw a dear friend having a panic attack. My friend had just received terrible news and didn’t know where to turn. I tried to help, but I knew not the words that could bring some relief. It hurt me to see such distress. Then my friend went to an appointment that had been cancelled without notice. Bad turned to worse until my friend stopped in a store for no reason. There, in front of my friend, was the perfect person who had the perfect words to heal a broken heart. Thank you for our friends who are there when we need them most.

I’m focusing up on your perfect world. Today I closed my eyes and experienced the titanic flood of experiences that make up a world where sin does not exist. It was the briefest of glimpses. Still, I was cut through the core at how corrupt I am, even on my best of days. The more I learn, the more I know that I cannot possibly lift my head to see the confident expectations of what awaits your children. Yet, even the briefest of glimpses heals my heart and brings peace to my embattled mind. Please help me to raise my weary head into your healing vision.

I’m focusing up on your teachings. Today I was filled with so much distress. Today I spent the day pounding square pegs into round holes. If only I could get someone to listen to me, I could save my company so much time and resources. But, I was just a voice in the wilderness screaming into the burning wind. Nothing I said made any difference. Then, you sent me a podcast that explained how Jesus was a humble servant to us. I was cut to the quick. How proud and arrogant I was. As soon as I changed my attitude, my day miraculously turned around. But, we both know that was you. Thank you for your daily teachings to help me to grow,

With each step I see the power of the grace that you provide. I’ve done nothing to merit Your constant caring that I so desperately need. So, I thank you all the more. Please use my hands and my voice to let others see your relentless love for us.

Today, I saw your hope. Thank you.

Your wayward child,

1 Peter 1:13 AMP “So brace up your minds; be sober (circumspect, morally alert); set your hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace (divine favor) that is coming to you when Jesus Christ (The Messiah) is revealed.”