When reaching the end of Mary Geisen’s Blog post this week, I found my eyes drawing upward to find her following words: “Your journey is richer when you accept the breathtaking views as well as the limited… More
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path. Psalm 119:
I’ve been quiet here. But do plan to be back writing faithfully in a few weeks!
In the meantime this is what’s been going on…
Have you ever experienced that moment when your GPS voice says “recalculating?” That moment of hesitation, waiting for the new (correct/another) direction ? Since just before Christmas, I’ve been feeling like I’m in a recalculating moment.
Below is a quote from a post I wrote entitled A Pathway to Goals
“And I felt a God nudge to let go of all I understood and how I thought things should go–a God nudge to turn and prepare my heart for Him in the wilderness where He provides comfort, hope, and renewal.” You can read the entire post at Inscribe Writers Online
And have you ever commented on another blog and got an ah ha moment?
Below is my comment to The One Word That Almost Wasn’t
“I think I can understand too, your hesitation in not ‘doing’ as the world is always influencing us to do this, that, get better, take a course, join this program, read this devotional etc and then you’ll be a success, okay….everything will fall away if you stop. 🙂 When I think about a time of pruning, I also see a branch lifting up to receive the sunshine after being buried under a weight of extra…”
My branches are heavy and it’s a time to let go although I’m not sure all that I am to lessen…
A final note for now:
The entire life of Jesus isn’t the story of somebody climbing up the ladder; it’s a picture of someone coming down-a series of demotions. The problem with spending our lives climbing up the ladder is that we will go right past Jesus, for He’s coming down. John Ortberg
Then Jesus declared, “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35
May He quench your thirst today.
This HOPE week of Advent, I have the pleasure of hosting author Ruth L. Snyder who I know through the nation-wide group, Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship. And she has a very special invitation for us!
Be Strong in the LORD By Ruth L. Snyder
“Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”
I started my morning with prayer and Scripture reading. My heart was especially burdened for our family. I prayed for God’s protection and was quiet before God. My heart was filled with peace when my devotional time was finished. Less than an hour later, my husband and I were embroiled in a heated disagreement regarding our children. The longer we talked, the more we disagreed. I retreated to my piano to play hymns and reflect. Why couldn’t we resolve this situation? Kendall and I both want the best for our children, but sometimes we disagree about what this looks like. We are learning to use tools like John Gottman’s Sound Relationship House (https://www.gottman.com/about/the-gottman-method/).
Life on earth is full of challenges and problems. Sometimes we get totally overwhelmed. Cancer. Addiction. Family issues. War. Abuse. God is the only one who is big enough, wise enough, to have the solutions. We need to choose to be strong in HIM. He will give us the victory, if we trust him and not ourselves.
According to Strong’s Concordance, the phrase, “be strong,” comes from a root word that means to enable, empower, strengthen, or be made strong. Remember the apostle, Paul? We may see him as a spiritual giant, but he claims that God’s strength is best displayed in our areas of weakness.
When we feel strong, we don’t rely on God the way we should. In fact, when we have the ability to do things well, we often boast and become proud. When we realize we are weak, God is able to work through us to display his love and power to those around us (1 Corinthians 1:26-31; 2 Corinthians 12:9). Here are some examples from Scripture:
- God enabled Samson to defeat Israel’s enemies, but when Samson chose to disobey God, he was captured (Judges 14-16).
- God chose Saul to be King. When Samuel took a while to show up, Saul took things into his own hands. Then he disobeyed by not destroying all of the enemy, and God took the kingdom from his son and gave it to a lowly shepherd boy, David (I Samuel 9, 13, 15).
Think About It
Have you experienced God’s power in your daily living? What difference is it making in your life? Journal your thoughts, or respond in another way that is meaningful to you.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you that you are all-powerful. Help me to remember that without you I am vulnerable and weak. As I walk through this day, lead me. Help me to be sensitive to your voice and obedient to your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Ruth would like to invite you to join a FREE 10-Day devotional challenge. You will receive 10 free devotionals and access to a private Facebook group to discuss the devotionals, apply them to your life, and pray.
Ruth L. Snyder is the author of Equipped: Ephesians 6 Devotionals to Empower and Make You Victorious in Everyday Struggles. And TODAY the Kindle version is FREE! (Wednesday, December 4). For my friends outside of Canada, you can click HERE to purchase.
Ruth resides near Glendon, Alberta, along with her husband and five children. Ruth enjoys writing articles, devotionals, short stories, and Christian fiction. Ruth is Past President of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship.
(feature photo © Lynn J Simpson -Emerald Lake, Yukon)
You are climbing 1200 steps chipped in the ice of a 30 degree mountain slope. You hold onto a rope strung along the way. You carry 70 pounds of supplies on your back. It’s -40 F. And once you reach the summit, and drop your supplies, you slide down the mountain to gather another 70 pounds of supplies and climb those stairs again, and again…ten more times. And when you have all your supplies at the top of the summit, you pack them on your back and travel another 500 miles by foot, and then by boat through river rapids between canyon walls 100 feet high.
You persevere. You persevere in hopes that you will strike it rich, strike gold, once you reach your destination.
This was the travels of the 30 to 40K stampeders who chose the Chilkoot Trail route at Dyea, Alaska on their way to the Klondike in northern Yukon, the winter of 1897-1898. As I researched the Klondike Gold Rush, the topic of my final writing assignment for my current writing course, I began to understand what hardships these stampeders endured for ‘riches’ that were not even guaranteed! Out of the 100,000 stampeders, only up to 40,000 actually made it to the Klondike, and only 4,000 found gold, and just a few hundred actually got rich.
And I began to ponder: How often have a sought for ‘riches’ in this life rather than persevered in seeking out His treasures that are a sure thing? When have I given up, or turned away when hardship has hit instead of continuing, knowing He never lets go of the rope no matter if I can’t see the next step in front of me?
Proverbs tells 2:1-8 tells us:
My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Did you know the word ‘silver’ shows up 402 times in the bible? In other words, there is an abundance of silver to be found in God’s word! He instructs us to seek His wisdom that leads to success, guards, shields, and protects us.
And thankfully, to find the knowledge of God, we don’t have to summit a mountain in -40 F! Instead, we can faithfully study His word for insight and understanding.
Where are you searching for wisdom?
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. Timothy 6:11-12
You can find out more about my Christian Life Coaching Services at Inspiring Hope In You. Coaching is a gentle approach to uncover your obstacles and find your steps to create the changes you desire.
I’m posting this on the day my neighbours to the south, the United States, are celebrating their Thanksgiving holiday. Ours, in Canada, was October 14th and why the different date than the USA? Well, it ‘is complicated’ –words that titled an article on the subject in a national magazine.
There is no doubt that Canada and the USA have their differences. We have CFL and they have NFL for one, with differences such as a three downs in our game compared to their four! And I have friends who follow both leagues.
That’s the blessing of having neighbours who do different than we do, maybe even follow different rules. I’m not going to get political here. Instead point to what God’s word says about who we all are, and how we are to be.
Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers? Malachi 2:10
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 1 Peter 3:8
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14
So Happy Thanksgiving my brothers and sisters across my country border! And thank you for all the experiences I have had in your country–from the awe-striking sunset of Maui, to the metropolitan of New York, to the white-knuckling rides at Universal Studios, Florida, and so much more…and more to come.
Often I’ll hear those big leaders talk about starting small. But my argument to that?
Small is just as impactful as big. Nothing is small. All acts of obedience are big.
Start small. And maybe small is your call. And that’s big too.
A small group leader of 2 is as impactful as a speaker who grows to 100,000 ‘s in audience. If your serving is mentoring one, serving for one, doing one thing…it’s BIG.
May you never think you HAVE to grow your audience, your social media following, your social influence….to be impactful.
May you never think you need to BE more to be impactful
Instead may you know that you make a difference no matter a measurement.
“You make a difference no matter a measurement.”
Maybe those big, influential leaders could eliminate the phrase to “start small” to start a shift towards authenticity rather than popularity in this culture blown up with media influence to be more popular with the masses. And for some, that popularity has included selling out through stealing words, pictures, ideas…deceit and lies unfortunately.
Small is just as impactful as big. Nothing is small. All acts of obedience are big.
“All acts of obedience are big.”
Maybe it’s time to talk about starting big by showing up.
How would you end the following sentence?
Maybe it’s time to ……
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20
Lynn J Simpson, Certified Professional Life Coach at Inspiring Hope in You
“Is that the lake they called the ‘disappearing lake’ and threw mattresses in to stop draining?”
I glanced at my friend from the passenger seat of his cozy Dodge truck. “I’m not sure.” I’ve been there so many times, to this lake in Jasper National Park, you think I would know!
It’s one of my favourite places after all-summer, spring, winter, fall-all seasons. I’d witnessed the low waters, and places where the water seemed to have disappeared. Yet I’ve never asked why.
My friend? He’d never been to Medicine Lake. But we later learn he is right. It is known as the ‘disappearing lake.’ The indigenous named the lake due to its’ “magic” or “big medicine.”
The anomaly is explained on the information board at Medicine Lake. The lake lies about about half way up Maligne Lake Road but many tourists, I’ve noticed, miss Medicine Lake. Instead, they continue up the road to the popular areas of Maligne Canyon and Maligne Lake.
If ever in the area, I’d encourage you to stop.
My friend silently reads the explanation of the disappearing waters. I just scan the words, the images. I’m restless in the wind. I pull my knit hat over my ears and start to descend the steep stairs to the rocky bank that precludes the lake. Soon I hear my friend’s steps too.
When in this place I’m distracted. Or am I? Maybe I’m just caught up in the magic of the place.
I navigate the craggy rocks until I reach the lake’s shore. The transparent waters barely cover the pebbles and sentiment. I peer through my camera lens at the seven kilometre lake expanding then narrowing in the distance. The surrounding Rocky Mountains scrape the sky then progressively descend in the distance.
It’s medicine for my soul, this place.
When I finally look up, I see my friend has wandered north along the shore. I join him and he tells me the resolution of the mystery. In the 70’s, dye was used to determine the waters flow into an underground cave system. In the spring and summer the glacier melt water fill the cave system to overflowing causing Medicine Lake to rise. In the fall and winter, the water drains back into the cave system to eventually empty into the near by waters of Athabasca River and the Maligne Canyon.
Later as my friend drives us up Maligne Road, I follow the sight of Medicine Lake from my window. I notice areas where the lake has disappeared and the land is rippling clay. My friend and I ponder about where these unseen cave entries may be.
And I’m grateful. Grateful for a friend to teach me how to go deeper, beyond what I chose only to see, and underground to the truth.
And the mattresses ended up being just an unproven tale after all.
Linking up at #TellHisStory
The snow has come and stayed in my part of the world. It is early, however I’m not surprised by sudden weather changes anymore. Having an adventurous temperament, the abrupt changes can even be satisfying. Even the dullness of a lingering grey sky can benefit me because it makes me search out places to brighten my day.
It’s this search for the light that led me to a conservatory of plants and flowers that were displayed in exhibits titled Tropical, Arid, and Temperate. I’d packed my older camera and macro filters I hadn’t used in a long time. The camera was light in my hand as I snapped pictures of water droplets, yellow and red rose petals, and thorns on cactuses. And I was happy with the lightness of the shots.
If familiar with photography, you know it’s all about the light–determining the light of the environment and setting up the camera to expose that light for the effect you desire.
It wasn’t until I’d reached the last exhibit that I noticed why my camera had been letting in so much light. It was set at 800 ISO! A little side lesson on photography–the higher the ISO number the more light BUT also the more noise. This means the pictures will have a grainy look. This grainy look may do well on outdoor night shots for example, but not on close-up flower shots that you generally want clear and sharp!
I hadn’t taken the time to check all the settings on my camera nor to check why the photos were light in an environment that generally takes more adjusting to get the right exposure.
Not very wise of me. Not very wise at all.
When I’d review the shot on my tiny camera screen, I’d assumed the light was okay without looking further into the details of what was really happening–too much noise was also getting into the picture.
And reflecting, it’s in more areas than photography where I’ve not noticed the noise in my life because I did not prepare and did not pay attention to the details.
For example, I’ve jumped into dating relationships before first getting to know the mens character, fixated on my light of hope to the point of compromising my own convictions. But the noises of incompatibilities eventually splintered the relationships.
In hindsight, and through all I’ve learned since then of God’s design for marriage, I know the hurts of those broken relationships may have been avoided if I wisely (and courageously) had taken the time to pay attention to the details by 1. spending more time getting to know one another before dating 2. being aware of feelings that can cloud compatibility issues and, 3. loving and respecting one another by always moving each other toward our relationship with God.
By doing these three steps, too, I’d be preparing a foundation for a marriage honouring God first, that exposes the light of His truths, and that brings focus to each of our gifts and how He wants us to use them–what I like to call a Kingdom Building Marriage.
Ideally this all sounds great and I’m yet (or maybe never) will live it out in a marriage relationship. And I know what I’ve proposed is quite counter-culture that even singles within the church (I’m quite sure as have witnessed it and been there) find it hard to stay out of the world noise that often tells of a different way to date.
But, like adjusting the camera’s ISO to create the clear picture we desire, we can set our minds and hearts on God’s light who always provides, protects, and brings us peace.
For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Proverbs 2:10-11
My son, do not forget my teachings, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years, and bring you peace and prosperity. Proverbs 3:1-2
Your turn. Love to hear your thoughts (& learn more!) on God’s design for marriage. If married, are there ways you could help singles in your church toward godly dating and marriage?
(Note that the pictures in this post have been edited with a noise reduction feature in my software!)
Lynn J Simpson, Certified Professional Life Coach at Inspiring Hope in You
Recently while serving at an event at my home church, I found myself in the volunteer room with two other single ladies. Our ages varied in decades–from the 30’s to the 60’s. Two of us were divorced and one never married.
I gave the name of a Christian Singles Group to one of the ladies after hearing her want of meeting other singles, particularly men. And the conversations of dating came up with varied experiences and opinions especially regarding online dating.
Personally I haven’t done online dating in over 15 years and it scares me! If I am to date, I’d much prefer the friends to dating kind of way. However, since I haven’t dated for a few years now I recognize I cannot be an authority on it at all! haha!
And I no longer attend single events. When I first came back to the church ten years ago, a single’s group was a wonderful place where I met other singles, and I made women friendships that still carry on today.
Like I imagine any church ministry, the singles ministry is not without it’s challenges. Good — no excellent leadership is needed. I’ve seen single ministries end due to lack of leadership. And believe that is a wise decision for churches.
I’ll often hear “the church isn’t serving singles well” from singles and those married, from elders and pastors.
But I wonder instead of the question being “How can churches meet the needs of singles?” it could be “How can singles meet the needs of the church?”
I know I may be getting some backs stiffening up with that question! I hope you can provide me with grace as I further the thoughts.
When hearing singles hearts, I hear their inner cries of wanting to belong, to be known. It’s a need we all have. As Christians we learn that our heavenly Father knows us. He knows every hair on our head (Luke 12:7) and that we are more valuable to Him than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31). We know we have great worth in His eyes because we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8) through the sacrifice of His only son (John 3:16). We know we are unconditionally loved (1 John 4:16).
No matter your status–single, divorced, widowed, married–His truths apply.
You are loved, worthy and valuable. And that includes in the church community. You add value to the church and provide a need that only the unique, wonderfully made you, can provide.
So to the single, my hope is you know you are already known, that your worth is securely planted from your identity in Christ and He has service for you to do, needs to be met by you that may include needs in your own church community. And maybe even ask yourself, a pastor, a friend–What’s a need in the church I can meet?
To the church community as a whole, my hope is we serve like God calls us to serve all–with humility and without “selfish ambition or vain conceit.” This serving of others includes no discrimination or labels but with tenderness and compassion because we are all “one in spirit and of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1-4).
Back to the experiences and opinions on dating as a Christian….well that might be future post! haha!
What are ways you could serve as a single at your church, or, if not single, encourage singles as part of the oneness within the body?
Lynn J Simpson, Certified Professional Life Coach at Inspiring Hope In You
Linked up today at Holly Gerth-Let’s Have Coffee
I’m not sure if it is either DNA or genes that dictate personality traits. So not sure if it is my Dad’s DNA or his genes that created a tendency in me to be restless within.
I’ve described my Dad as a ‘wanderer,’ however not sure if that is right word to explain his explorations including travels across provinces, country borders, or to the horse stables just a few miles from our home.
At home, too, in his lazy-boy chair he’d wander into stories when reading his spy novels, biographies, and the three or four newspapers delivered to our front porch daily.
Merriam-Webster defines ‘wanderer’ as a person who roams about without a fixed route or destination.
No, I do not think ‘wanderer’ fits my Dad.
I’d called it wandering too, when late in his life and legally blind, he’d go on his a strolls away from the nursing home. Once while resting on a bus bench, a bus stopped, and the driver helped him on. He ended up riding the route, circling back to where he started (and where a relieved nurse from the nursing home waited on that same bus bench).
No, Dad can’t be called a wanderer because, even if he wasn’t sure of his routes and had to refer to those paper maps in the glove compartments of his cars, he always had destinations in mind.
So maybe explorer would be a better word to describe my dad. And his explorations likely were motivated from a restlessness within. A restlessness derived from a knowing there is something more.
It is this more that can drive us to proceed, to keep seeking and reaching to fulfill our God-given heart desires of peace, joy, and love.
And to know Him.
I believe my dad’s heart desires were full-filled completely. He now rests in God’s presence, his restlessness no longer necessary to explore for something more.
Yes, I may have received my restless trait to explore from my dad, but it is my heavenly Father who first gave it to me. My restlessness can be used to seek Him for what only He can satisfy.
So I’ve begun to embrace more my times of restlessness within.
Because I know that in my restless explorations I am not wandering aimlessly but seeking more direction from the One who created me. My routes may shift, change and be corrected, but He is my constant companion. And with patience, mercy and grace, He is teaching me His ways to the final destination–complete rest in Him.
If you’re in a season of restlessness, my friend, I pray you know you do not need to wander. Instead keep your eyes fixed on the destination God calls us to–completeness in Him.
And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” Colossians 2:10
Linked up today at #TellHisStory
Love Lynn, Certified Professional Life Coach @ Inspiring Hope in You
I sit here, at this desk in the library, my university course books to my left, my day timer to my right, and my current devotional laid flat and open and and upside down in a corner.
But my eyes too, wander up from the screen, to the street view through this second story location from this place I sit at the library.
There’s a pair walking, a mother and daughter possibly, the elder one’s gait hobbles as if one shoe is multiple soles rather than one. Her arm is linked with the other one, tall, slim, in dark pants and a white sweater.
The temperature has cooled over these last two July days, from t-shirts to light jackets, from outside patio to indoor dining. And in these last two days, the weather pressure has also built a pressure in my face, behind my eyes I cannot shake, leaving me tired. And behind.
It’s not a migraine and my heart goes out to those that do suffer from those splitting head, nauseating symptoms when the barometer fluctuates not in their favour. I believe my symptoms are allergies, from what I’m not sure, as the air is full of many components. And I’ve never been tested.
It’s these possible allergies, the pressure, the irritation of being oh-so tired, that has brought me to this library desk at this moment in the hope the change of place will get me from being behind to on schedule again. An essay is undone, due last week.
Yet, inward focus is still foggy at best, and know my work may not be any good in this time. But I’m trying, trying hard to push through, yet…
My eyes lift up to the window, a barrier that holds the air outside from my place.
There’s a pair walking, a mother and daughter possibly. The daughter steadies her mother though the linking of their arms. And I wonder too, about another time when the mother held her arms out to her daughter to come to her. Her daughters steps slow, and unsteady, with a wobbling gait that looked like she walked in a pair of shoes with uneven soles.
A passing of time….
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:… Ecclesiastes 3:1
And a ponder, is there really such a thing as a time of being behind? Or is it only a judgement, a label?
What if we left the word behind, behind?
I wonder if we left the word behind behind, if we’d also leave behind the scurrying to just get done so we’re not feeling behind, sacrificing quality and presence in the present.
And then see His presence in the present and be present in His presence when Jesus shows up.
We see in the story of Mary and Martha, (Luke 10:38-42) Mary was in His presence when Jesus showed up at their home. Martha called out to Jesus in complaint that Mary wasn’t helping in the preparations. I’m guessing she called out, too, as she was feeling behind and wanted to finish up as soon as possible too, so she could enjoy the presence of Jesus.
But Jesus? He wasn’t worried about the preparations, or if Martha would be finished on-time. Present in her home, He just wanted to Martha to be in His presence at that moment, the story teaches.
And teaches too, that we cannot ever spend too much time with Him.
They are gone, the pair, the mother and daughter possibly, maybe into one of the residences in the seniors apartments I see from my place where I sit in the library. And I feel blessed to have witnessed that moment of kindness, of love, of caring, and a leaning in to hold up–all that Jesus is.
There’s still the presence of pressure in my face, my eyes, my head. Yet the pressure of needing to perform to the level to write a university third year essay at this moment has vaporized.
Because Jesus showed up. And I’m on His schedule.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19
2 Peter 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day
How do you stop yourself from doing, from feeling behind, to get on God’s schedule?
Lynn J Simpson, Certified Professional Life Coach at Inspiring Hope in You
Linking up with #TellHisStory