Today is the big day–this afternoon at 2:00 pm. After the ceremony everyone will come back to our home and we will have a BBQ and dinner. The group is only about 25 total with kids and adults. Yesterday was filled with activity but somewhat relaxing too. Tomorrow Kathy and I fly to S. Calif. to be with my two sisters there. We need to find time for packing, but I know this will fit into the day. Details have a way of fitting in at the right time if we (I) don’t fret.
It is the end of February, but for some reason the one devotional I’m reading of Oswald Chambers as well as my scripture reading are hitting on Christ’s crucifixion and it’s fullness in meaning as though it is Easter. Oswald says that God didn’t have Christ come to the cross for man, but for God Himself. God knew man could never make it through sinful earth without this Savior. God still wanted His creation to be free to come to Him. So, He created the path through His Son at the Cross. When I read this, this morning, I got a mental picture of myself standing at the Cross. If I looked ahead I saw the Light of Jesus. If I looked behind me I saw my past and all the sin involved in it. The farther I walk into the Light of Christ from the Cross, the more brilliant the Light becomes. It is a glorious picture!
Today my daughter and her soon to be husband will stand together to unite in marriage. I will encourage them to look around them and ahead of them. There is a brilliant Light when we look ahead recognizing our past is now behind. All that it entailed is behind if we let it go at the Cross of Christ. Christ did His Father’s Work so we can choose to know God as He wanted to be known to us! Loving and Kind and yet King!
Everyone is here for tomorrow’s wedding. That is not very many in total number, but, it is a ton of emotion and support. It was odd for a moment last night as we got together, yet it seemed so natural and comfortable. I wanted to say–Thank You God my Father! How could an ex-husband and ex-wife get together with her second ex-husband and the two kids who were the result of the first marriage, all be together in the same house with the first ex-husband’s wife of today and be laughing and having a great time? Yet, it was happening and we were thankful. The two ex’s are staying here with Kathy and me and all is well. It is amazing how God heals wounds and brings about lasting relationships in spite of man’s choices.
Yesterday was a gift. I got most of the raspberries pruned, dug 100 plants out to give away today and still had time to shower and get ready for Celebrate Recovery. This God of ours is truly AMAZING and so FORGIVING. How much I want to serve Him well.
It was so good to get home last night. My unexpected blessing of the day was spending the driving time with the new director of the federal programs we were reviewing with the school district. She is young, energetic, thorough and very outgoing making it easy to get to know her. It made the 6 hour drive go by much quicker. She is also a christian, both her and her husband. The review ended very well and was the blessing God intended.
All night long I kept dreaming of garden problems. The watering didn’t work right, the crops planted weren’t germinating, the berries were only half bearing and more. I kept awakening realizing it was still February and it’s not time to plant anything yet. I do hope to prune the raspberries today before the guests arrive later this afternoon for Saturday’s wedding. It does tell me that my heart is in the garden–it is anxious and eager all at the same time!
The challenge of this morning’s devotional time seemed to center around my purpose for being a Christ follower. Do I follow Christ for the blessings of being a believer or do I follow Christ because I know Christ and want to be face to face with Him and His Father? It did cause me to think, but it did not take long to know that my only reason for following Christ is to know Him. Blessings accompany this relationship but more that blessings is the deep settled peace in my soul. This is the Joy of the Lord which obedience to Him offers. I know I am a sinner saved by GRACE, but I also know this saving grace is permanent and solid!
Today we will wrap up the work with the school district and have what is called the exit conference right after lunch so we can then head home. I am so glad this is turning out this way. It will give two days to get things ready for the wedding Saturday along with our leaving the next day for California! I’m looking forward to all of this.
I am stymied this morning knowing what I’m to write at this point. In finishing the book of Luke in my scripture reading, Christ has ascended having risen from the tomb and revealing himself to those the scriptures point out. There is great celebration in all of this. I find myself not wanting to celebrate, but to leave this place so I can get home where celebration will soon be taking place. However, I need to stay focused and do whatever needs to be finished so we leave this step of today’s journey with a celebratory finish. With this said, I need to do my part and so I will. The next celebration will be much better if I do today’s work well and not leave any guilt in it.
Alright. i’m ready!
If you have read any of Oswald Chamber’s writings you know what a struggle he had surrendering his life to God, but when he finally did, he was sold out completely. Because of this, much of his writings challenge the reader to be sold out to God. He goes deeply into what that looks like. I read one of these this morning. Then, following this devotional reading I read Luke chapters 21 & 22. This is where Peter denies Christ three times before the rooster crows. What did Peter do, he left, went away from the crowd gathered around Christ as He proclaimed Himself the true Son of God. When Peter got away–he wept.
I have found in my own life so many times when I challenged the nudges I felt Christ wanting me to take. There would be the moments when I would weep, but I would weep because I plead with Christ not to make me tell. I didn’t want to look like my dad or my brother or anyone else who struggled and caved in to the struggle. Thus, I served God much of my life doing things for Christ, but staying too often in control of what I did for Him. I wanted to feel safe in the doing.
Today, realizing that total surrender doesn’t mean partial, it means total. Every nudge Christ gives us is to be obeyed. I have found that in obedience comes the JOY found in the fruits of the Spirit. It is the second characteristic: Love, Joy…. I would have never believed the shame of telling my story was only a lie from Satan. Telling my story brings Joy to my soul. This is Christ’s charge for me. I want to obey Him always.
Yesterday was a full day of unexpected blessings. It seemed to start with a choir number that blessed everyone, then a step study where the men were so open and honest and intimate with themselves, God and the rest of us. It continued into the afternoon as I worked on the wedding ceremony for my oldest daughter which is coming this Saturday, then a quartet practice which was such a blessed time. It ended with dinner when my oldest grandson came and was so open and vulnerable about his growth in life and his growing walk with God.
As this week begins I leave this morning for northern Idaho returning Thursday. The family members coming in for the wedding will be arriving that day with some staying with us. Kathy and I leave Sunday for California to spend a week with my two sisters. I had a call yesterday in between the activities from one sis telling me our older one is failing. The details made me want to cry. This sis has always been so easy to be with, talk to and laugh endlessly. Seeing her in this state will be tough. However, if we can give her a smile or two, it will be worth it all.
As I was ending my journaling this morning I asked Jesus what He wanted me to know for today? The response was immediate. It is Proverbs 3: 5&6. It reads: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on our own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” With so much going on and ahead, this was the perfect reminder that Christ is in the lead and all I have to do is my part which He makes clear at the right time.
I am reminded today that in everything–give thanks! My day yesterday turned out to be a blessing in several ways. We were able to get the vehicle at a reasonable price and my grandson loved it. He kept hugging and saying how thankful he is. Once we got home we ate and I took him to my favorite department store thinking all of their winter clothing would be on sale. He ended up finding several pieces of clothing which were 70% off. When we paid we got an additional 20%.
While we were eating lunch I was asked by my grandson why God, when He is God, allows so much cruel, hateful things? If He is really God, why doesn’t He do something about it? It really was a nice conversation and gave us the chance to talk about “choice” and the evil, cruel, hateful things which come out of man having this “gift of choice”. We talked about how we have the choice to choose God rather than being required to serve Him. He seemed to grasp this.
The opportunity to talk with our grandkids about these important topics doesn’t often come. It was brought up right after we had prayed and thanked God for the food we were going to eat and for His wonderful help in finding this vehicle. I use to have such thoughts and God’s power and why He didn’t use it more “wisely”and I shared them. I also shared how God has helped me see the difference between making a decision out of man’s thinking verses God’s Kingdom thinking. I think it was making sense to him.
This morning I’m taking a grandson to look at a car to assist him and his family. As I began my journaling I told Jesus I needed Him today to give clear guidance on the choice. I am not very mechanical and I sure don’t want to influence a decision that turns out poor. As I wrote this I immediately felt nudged to remember that it is not only when I’m entering a situation like this that I need Jesus to be in charge. I’ve learned over the years that when I’m entering into a situation where I am fairly well skilled, I even need Jesus more. I tend to rely on my own understanding and lead others there too. Jesus has taught me many times that He needs to be ultimately in charge of all and He wants to be. My bigger responsibility is to model for others how to rely on Jesus, not to rely on me.
The legacy we leave behind when Christ takes us home is what others will remember best. I pray that mine will be that of showing how to lean and rely on Christ’s leadership in life.
Today has a different start than I’d planned. The school district staff is having a professional development day which was to begin at noon. However, their girl’s basketball team made state playoffs and they have a game this afternoon at 3:00 pm so they rearranged their training to be from 8:00-noon. So, instead of getting to sleep a little longer this morning, it’s a 4:45 am again. The district is 1.5 hours away so I need some driving time. I don’t care what some say–sports do rule! Those who know me also know I’m not a sports fan. However, I do respect their importance for kids so this adjustment is well worth any effort.
It’s a brief message but my mind is yelling, get yourself ready! So away I go.
The post I wrote yesterday turned out to be just what took place. When I met with the principal and the other consultant about our previous day and told them what I felt about the direction we had discussed, they both agreed immediately that we needed to–stay the course of the original plan. In fact, the other consultant said, “That is such good wisdom!” I thought, “Well yes, it came straight from God.”
God is shedding some Light of late about following His Leadership in every aspect of living each day. As I began my devotions today and these past few days, my reflections show me how even difficult conversations (in my mind as I prepare for them) turn into ones which people thank me for them and we walk away with a handshake and preparations for the next time we get together. So much of this is following the nudges of God’s Spirit within.
My one devotional this morning which came from the work of Oswald Chambers, was entitled: Taking the Initiative Against Daydreaming. In it it says, “Daydreaming about something in order to do it properly is right, but daydreaming about it when we should be doing it is wrong.” I think this is the exact message God is wanting me to learn about obedience to His nudges. Pondering whether the nudge is the right thing to do is equivalent to daydreaming about it when we should be doing it–this is WRONG. God never gives us insights so we can make mistakes. Trusting God is truly at the heart of my recent learning.