Archive for March, 2009

Join our new Category, OFF-ROAD FUN! by sending me pics or videos of your off-road adventures to RBeaird@comcast.net and I’ll post them on this blog.

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 Go Ashley Williams, Go!

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Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky

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The Doorkeeper (Psalm 84)

Posted: March 17, 2009 in Candle Lights

candle_lights_heading21      When I first met Harry, I did not realize that he was not like the others.  Oh, he looks like them, walks like them, lives where they live, and eats what they eat, but inside of Harry something is different.  Harry is deaf.

 

     Harry does not respond to the things of life in the same way that the others respond.  He does not appear to live in fear.  Harry is thankful and eats with abandonment the food that we give him.  He is quick to display his affection for us, and is totally confident that we love him.

 

     To me, the most amazing thing about Harry is the way he sleeps.  He stretches his body out near our sliding patio door and slips into a deep, deep sleep.  Harry lies down peacefully and sleeps believing that he will be safe.  It never seems to occur to Harry that the deck might not be the safest place for a deaf cat to sleep.

 

     I think that I need to be more like Harry.  He sleeps peacefully and lives believing that he is loved.  Harry takes no thought for tomorrow for he trusts that when tomorrow comes, the food and water that he needs will be there for him.  He trusts that the deck where he sleeps will still be standing.  Harry does not waste time wondering why deafness had to be his lot in life.

 

     If David could say “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8), then so can I.  If God can love Israel with “an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3), then His love for me is everlasting.  If God feeds the birds, causes the lilies to grow, and clothes the grass (Matthew 6:25-31), then He will provide for me.  If God’s grace was sufficient for Paul (II Cor. 12:8-10), then His grace is sufficient for my physical limitations and heartaches.

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When I lay me down to sleep,

Life’s sorrows will begin to creep.

They come against my weary heart

And try to get the tears to start.

But, I will sleep in peace each night.

Close my eyes in faith, not sight,

And in the morning when I awake,

My God will watch each step I take

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Sit still!

Posted: March 11, 2009 in Get Close to God

Part II of Hey, wait for me!

When we were kids we were told to be quiet and sit still.  Even as adults we find that hard to do, don’t we?  Some of us are more driven than others to stay busy, but most of us stay preoccupied with something, even if it’s just watching TV.  Our waking hours are full of sounds, from the radio to the traffic.  Some of you leave the TV on all the time, even when you sleep!

Have you ever missed something important because you were preoccupied with something else?  Of course!  We all have.  Most of us are lousy listeners because we won’t let go of our own world long enough to tune into someone else’s.  When we do let the other person get a word in, we use that time to think about what we’ll say next.

Waiting on God requires us to give him our undivided attention.  We obviously can’t do that throughout most of our day, but we need to carve out some consistent, undistrated time to devote ourselves exclusively to seeking and listening to our creator.

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Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.  (Psalm 37:7 NIV)  The NAS says: Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.

My soul, wait in silence for God only; for my hope is in him.   (Psalm 62:5)

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We need to slow down enough to be quiet and still and clear our minds so we can hear the Holy Spirit speak to us as we spend unhurried time in the scriptures.  If we can’t set aside a consistent routine to read a chapter out of a good spiritual book, read our Bible and pray, then we need to rearrange our schedule to fit God in!  We always find time to do what’s most important to us.  Any skill takes a lot of time to practice and master.  If we want to get close to God and see him do amazing things in our lives, then we’ve got to make abiding in Christ a priority, not just during the morning watch, but throughout the entire day.

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Cease striving and know that I am God.  (Psalm 46:10)

Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  (Mathew 11:28)

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So, what are we supposed to rest from, and what kind of rest is the Lord offering us?  I believe it’s a break from doing everything on our own, and doing it our way.  It’s pausing long enough to get out of the way and let God work in and through us.  We should know by now that living up to God’s standards is impossible.  But we try and fail and try again over and over, dedicate and rededicate, lent and relent.  I remember when my daughter, Stephanie, was just beginning to talk.  One of her first phrases was “Me do it, Daddy, me do it!”  We admire the spirit of independence and the ability to accomplish things on our own.  That’s why it’s so hard to admit we need help.

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Why do we ask God to save us from our sins but not to help us from sinning?

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Waiting on the Lord will only be effective if we are willing to give up everything to him.  Oh, we say everything we own belongs to God, but our hearts betray him.  I once knew a pastor who would say: “Your god is what you think about the most.” 

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These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  (Matthew 15:8)
 
Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  (Luke 12:34)
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We are so materialistic and chase after more and more stuff, never being satisfied.  We are more devoted to our hobbies than to Christ.  When I started my quest to get closer to God about two years ago, one of the first things the Holy Spirit convicted me of was my obsessive love for cars.  As soon as I got the one I wanted I would start dreaming about the next one.  As you can tell from this blog, I still like cars.  But they are not an all consuming passion like they were before.  They just no longer compare with the relationship I now have with the Lord.

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I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.  (Galatians 2:20)

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What does being crucified with Christ mean to you?  I think that until we are ready to die to ourselves (our plans and our stuff) as Christ did for his father and for us, we will not experience the abundant and joyful life that he wants to give us.  This has to go further than lip service or good intentions.  But God can help us with even this, if we will ask him to give us the right desires and show us how to abide and trust in him!

 You might be thinking: this waiting, being still, and resting sounds too boring and lazy, especially for you type A’s who don’t feel worthy until you work to the point of exhaustion.  But  I can tell you I’m finding that this lifestyle is exciting and liberating and far from easy, since we must learn to use our spiritual senses to connect with the Lord and daily surrender our will to his.  When he does give us a job to do , then we will give it our best.  The writer of Hebrews tells us to “make every effort to enter that rest.”  That doesn’t sound very passive to me.

Finally, waiting on God includes eagerly anticipating his promise of deliverance and joy, and ultimately, his return!  I think trusting him this way pleases him.
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Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.  (Isaiah 40:31) 

candle_lights_heading21      The darkness can be so heavy.  In Exodus 10:21, the scripture speaks of a “…darkness which may be felt.”  I know that darkness.  At one time or another in our lives, we may all experience that type of darkness.  When dreams turn to nightmares, hearts shatter as glass, and hope becomes hollow, the ashes left behind create a darkness that we can feel.

     There are times that, before we realize it, we become comfortable in the darkness and begin to feed on the ashes.  I have fed on ashes, haven’t you?  When we feed on ashes, we tend to define who we are by the piles of ashes in our lives rather than by to whom we belong.

     As children of the living God, we do not have to feed on ashes.  Feeding on ashes is a choice.  We must choose light-giving entrees from the menu of life.  There are so many to choose from!  We can choose honey (Psalm 119:103), angel food (Psalm 78:25), heavenly corn (Psalm 78:24), life bread (John 6:35), milk (I Peter 2:2), meat (John 6: 55-58), or fruit (Galatians 5), to name a few.  If we develop a taste for the Word of God before it gets dark, we will not make a habit of feeding on the ashes of the dark times in our lives.

The piling up of ashes

Is a darkness we can feel,

And feeding on the ashes

Can become our daily meal.

But ashes are not meant to be

Food for the human soul.

Ashes are just what is left

After the trying of the gold.

So fill up on the Bread of Heaven.

He is good, just taste and see.

Rise up from the darkness of ashes.

There is room at His table for thee.

 

Diane Padgett 2005

 

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