Blind Faith

pearl-district-2207346_960_720 pixAfter my aunt’s accident, Portland Oregon became my home away from home. I traveled there so much that I went from being one of the ‘huddled-masses’ passengers to a Skymiles® Elite member. Ok, so nobody asked for my autograph. But I did get to board the plane early and had a comfortable seat with a beverage waiting for me. Did this weary traveler appreciate it? You bet I did.

Portland is an interesting place. It’s kind of funky; not dirty sock funky but cool funky. It’s weird, beautiful, weird and busy. Did I mention weird? Yep, it’s weird. That’s ok though, they like it that way. It’s a thing. One of the weird things there is navigating the streets.

GPS
I asked someone where the nearest hardware store was, and I got weird directions. These folks know the lay of the land and are comfortable with the quirks of their streets. Me? Not even a little bit. I turned to my GPS for help. It was bossy and very specific; telling me where to turn, when to turn and when to start merging to turn. We almost came to blows a time or two when I missed a turn. I expected ‘GPS woman’ to call me an idiot when, with raised hands, I yelled, “There is no street!” As it turns out, there was a street. It was masquerading as a driveway. I found it on attempt number three.

auto-3086257_960_720 pixA Bad Rap
After getting off a bridge I was never supposed to be on, my nerves calmed a bit and a question came to mind. “Why does faith get such a bad rap?” It’s a good question. Regardless of what side of the religious fence we’re on, we exercise simple faith every day. We drive in lock-step obedience to a robotic voice in the GPS, trusting it will direct us to our desired destination. We climb onto dentist chairs, into taxis and board airplanes, never fearing our demise. Yet when it comes to moral and spiritual matters, especially eternal ones, we’d rather chart our own course and live and do as we please. Essentially, we presume God to have no right to tell us what to do.

God’s positioning system is well able to navigate us through life and beyond. He knows where we are, where we need to be and how to get us there safely. Many follow for a while, then veer into unwanted territory and lose their way. Circling back time and again until frustrated, angry, fearful, you throw hands to the heavens shouting, “There is no way!” But there is a way. Many are familiar with it; but it’s narrow and offers no semblance of safe passage, so most move on. By faith, some dare pass through that gate only to find it leads to the road they’d been searching for all along.

How About You
Are you on the outside of the Christian faith; watching it work for others but not sure if it will work for you? What about you Christian? Have you been caught up in the flow of life’s traffic and gone so far out of the way you’re not sure if you can make it back this time? You know God can forgive you but not sure if He will. This simple prayer might be of help to you both. Mark 9:24 “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.” Many have prayed it and found that God is willing to do just that.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scriptures taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Pictures compliments of Pixabay Creative Commons

Service That Demands A Reason

It’s not long after children learn to speak that they begin asking questions. I think the favorite of all time is ‘why’. It’s natural for them to wonder why birds fly, why trees are called trees and why they can’t stand in shopping carts. They desire to understand their world; and reasons help them make sense of things. We’re the same way.

I ask myself the ‘why question’ at times when it comes to my faith and service. Much of what we are called to do by faith doesn’t make sense when we walk by sight. A re-visiting of Jesus’ story puts things back into perspective and service makes sense for me once again. I hope this re-telling of His story will do that for you as well.

A Sacrificial Death

crucified-cross-578217_960_720-pixabayThe day was long and dismal; the haters many. Evil enjoyed its finest hour as the Savior of the World hung dying on a cross. Darkness seized the day. Mockers shouted blasphemous cruelty at the One who came to seek and save that which was lost. While gamblers parted His garments, the Son-of-Man made provision for His mother and gave eternal hope to a dying thief.

The moment had come. Death took his best shot. With three short words, “It Is Finished”, Jesus commended His Spirit into the hands of His Father and Life breathed His last. The earth shook. The rocks were split. The thick veil of the temple was rent; torn from top to bottom by hands far greater than the ones that nailed His Son to the tree. His mother was grieved, his disciples fearful and confused as the Hope of Nations was laid in a borrowed tomb. Was there ever so palpable a darkness?

Hope Resurrected

empty-cave-1642215_960_720-pixabay-crerative-commonsIt was the third day. Morning came and the last vestige of night rolled away with the stone. The Son of God rose with power, conquering the very death that once slew Him. Women came to anoint His body for a proper burial but He wasn’t there. The tomb lay empty, housing nothing more than a linen napkin and the empty shell of grave cloths. Life and Light conquered death and darkness; and every hope once buried with Christ rose with Him. And so we live.

The Reason that Demands Our Service

Every bit of brutality Jesus endured on the cross was payment for a debt He didn’t owe. The debt was ours. Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. This wasn’t something that just happened. It was for this very reason He came into the world. Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” He chose this!

We serve Him because He is worthy. We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19.  His death is our payment.His resurrection is our hope. His word is our message. His love is our proof and His promise is our future.sunrise-1460243_960_720-pixabay-creative-commons 1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” We serve Him so that others may know; until the last battle, on the last day. And then, in peace we will serve Him still.

How About You

Still asking yourself the ‘why question’? Wondering if this Jesus is really all that He’s professed to be? You’re in good company. One of His disciples had the same question. John 1:46 And Nathanael said to him “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” And so I extend the invitation to you.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Pictures: Compliments of Pixabay Creative Commons CC0.

 

 

 

About Those Lemons

pink-lemonade-795029__180 Pixabay Creative Commons CC0Make lemonade. That’s the solution-part of the adage, ‘when life gives you lemons’. Those proverbial lemons refer to life’s trials; bumps that pop up on an otherwise pretty smooth road. Those trials take many forms, i.e. car problems, illness, trials of faith, etc. It could be ‘that one person’ that comes at just the right time with just ‘the wrong’ thing to say that sets your teeth on edge. In any case, the advice is the making of lemonade. In other words, make something good out of a bad situation.

Purposeful Trials

I searched ‘uses for lemons’ and found everything from recipes to remedies. It’s amazing how many wonderful things can come from such bitter fruit. Trials are much the same way. As bitter and uncomfortable as they can be, trials (like lemons) do serve a purpose. In the hand of God, they are as versatile and even needful in the making of a beautiful life as lemons can be in the hands of a culinary artist.

This past year has been a bit problematic for me and walking was not the carefree activity it had always been. I was able to hide the pain for quite a while until a knee injury sealed the deal and left me with a leg brace, crutches, surgery and a rather ‘lovely’ Quasimodo-esque posture and gate. Everything about me cried, “This woman is hurting and needs help.”  Doctor’s orders rendered me unable to drive for six weeks, leaving me completely dependent on other people. That in itself is trying for a self-reliant gal like me.

Knowing that God has a purpose in this and that good will come from it helps. It also helps to know that this is not only purposeful but temporary.  2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

Beauty in the PainLemon Wreath Ever Blooming Originals

I wanted so much to keep my struggles to myself. That wasn’t possible. My difficulty, in all its lemony glory, was out there for all to see. While I knew beauty would come sometime after the trial, I didn’t expect to find it in the midst. Help and gestures of kindness came from everywhere; family, friends, co-workers. Even strangers became my benefactors.

I may not know this side of heaven what God has planned for this but I know that He has something and it will beautiful.  Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.  God has not given me the ‘what’ or the ‘why’ in this but He has given me the ‘wow’. I have been surrounded by such love and beauty that, while I can’t count it all fun, I can count it all joy. I’ve also learned that it is not only important to let others see what God brings from our trials, it’s valuable to allow them see what He’s doing in them.

How About You

Are you in the midst of a tough situation? Health failing? Faith tested? Job on the line? God has not forgotten you. Please know that He’s got this, He is doing something and it will be beautiful.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Lemonade photo: Pixabay Creative Commons CC0

Wreath Photo used with permission: www.EverBloomingOriginals.com

Defeated Foes

Brass Mousetrap il_570xN_524461584_4w11While watching a movie one evening, I saw something move behind the television. It was a mouse. To say that I was disturbed by this sighting is entirely true. It is also entirely understated. I ran to the kitchen. Standing by the counter talking to my sister, I saw it again creeping out from behind the china hutch. That mouse was running amuck in my house and terrorizing me. I screamed. My sister screamed too, though not just in sympathy for me. My scream startled her and she cut her finger, quite badly. Blood was pouring all over the place due to blood thinners she was taking so she had to get off the phone. Realizing that a shotgun would be overkill and a broom insufficient, I did what any red-blooded American girl raised in the suburbs would do. With tears in my eyes, I grabbed my jacket and purse and went shopping.

Hubby to the Rescue

My husband was home when I returned and laying traps for the furry intruder. My hero had arrived and I could relax, or at least try. The next morning, we found the mouse stuck to the glue board. Running around my house, that mouse seemed gargantuan. So when I saw it, I was surprised that it was so small and pitiful. Though squeaking madly and trying desperately hard to unstick itself from the board, its fate was sealed and he would be destroyed. His reign of terror had ended and the furry, squeaky-voiced marauder would be no more.

Greater Enemy

We have an enemy, the enemy of our souls. He is running amuck in this world and terrorizing whoever he can and by whatever means he can (health, finances, children, ministry, etc.). He is not squeaking though. Our adversary goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. So we must be sober & vigilant and we must utilize the special weapons that we have been given for this fight, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4. While it is good to have people to turn to for help, we must not forget to call on God for “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

How About You

Are you struggling with battles of your own? Are you exhausted, worn, fearful that you can’t take much more? Don’t quit, you’re not alone. Consider these words of encouragement “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Remember, though Satan may be running amuck in this world and roaring like crazy, he is a defeated foe. His reign of terror will soon end and the enemy of our God and our souls will be no more. Praise the Lord!

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Mousetrap photo compliments of: https://www.etsy.com/shop/StylishPiggy

Rebel Chickens and Children

Penny PortraitPenny is the sweetest little chicken. She follows me around the yard and meets me at the car when I come home from work. She found a dirt pile one day and it fast became her favorite place to be. She rolls around in it and works the dirt into her feathers. It doesn’t look appealing to me but it’s both cleansing and relaxing to her. I prefer a warm bath and candles myself, but to each chick her own I guess.

While outside one morning a storm worked its way toward us. I tried to get Penny to her coop but she wasn’t having it. She wouldn’t follow me and ran away when I tried to grab hold of her. The wind kicked up and rain began to fall. No matter what I tried she wanted nothing to do with leaving that pile of dirt. I went inside and asked God to protect my stubborn chicken.

Penny Hutch

Make-shift Shelter

Once the rain subsided I found Penny holed up in the remnants of a rabbit hutch that some animal had torn apart. “Well, have you had enough?” She stared at me. “Come on, let’s go home.” Without hesitation she crawled out of the hutch and followed close behind me to her coop. I opened the door and she stepped in without a fuss. It’s amazing what a storm will do to bring a chicken to her senses. While that hutch provided a small measure of shelter from the wind and rain, it provided no safety at all from predators.

Rebellion & Bondage

Not wanting to stay within the parameters God set for them and refusing to follow Him, the children of Israel chose to run away from God and live according to the dictates of the culture. He gave them instruction on how to live to ensure a peaceful and prosperous life and to protect them from danger but they wanted no part of it. They were taken captive by a cruel enemy, suffered great deprivation and lived in bondage. God did promise them a way out, “and they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid.” Ezekiel 34:28. It would be 70 years before they would be released but they would be ready to follow Him.

What is it about the dirt piles of this world, the lure of the forbidden that we find so appealing? We have a kind and faithful shepherd that offers green pastures and still waters yet we want dirt. He longs to gently lead us but it often takes a storm to get our attention. “But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.” Proverbs 1:33. It’s amazing what a storm will do to bring us to our senses.

How About You

Have you found yourself drawn to someone or something that you knew wasn’t right for you, only to end up in disaster? Are you there right now, holed up in a place you were never meant to be? God has offered Himself as a place of refuge. “Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; In You I take shelter.” Psalm 143:9.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.