Monday, January 30, 2012

Return to Innocence

"You see that baby right there?"  He nods his head in the direction of a mama holding her sweet little guy, standing behind me.  This one, this boy, is all smiles.  His eyes literally dance.

Source:  Bing Images
 We sit at a round table, surrounded by people in a crowded room.

"I just love babies.  So innocent and cute."  He continues.

I meet  his gaze and smile and nod.  "Fresh life.  God is so good to always give fresh life."

"We're nothing like them, you know.  They're so innocent; so pure.  Don't have any of those devilish thoughts going through their heads all the time."  His face falls as he speaks this.

"I'm curious, do you have a relationship with God?"  I query.  Praying as I speak, I follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

"Nah.  Can't say that I do.  Too much goin' on, you know?  Too much chaos.  Seems like no matter what I do, there's chaos all around me.  Never fails.  People lyin', backstabbing and walking out on you.  Chaos."

Still praying, and trembling on the inside, for now we are on Holy Ground, I continue.

"You're right.  He is a cute baby!  And so full of joy and life!"

My new friend smiles and nods.

I explain very gently how when we repent of our sin, ask God to forgive us and invite Him into our hearts and lives, He comes in to dwell inside of us.

"And you know what happens then?  See that baby right there?  That innocence, that purity you're talking about?  We become just like him.  With God living inside of us, His joy and peace flow through us and cleanse our hearts and minds, and we start all over again.  Just like that baby.  Fresh, innocent new life.  And then, no matter what chaos is going on around you, that joy and light of God will shine out of you and begin to affect the people around you."

I press on.  "There will always be chaos.  Our situations will twist and turn in life.  There will be good times and bad.  But when the God of peace lives inside your heart, and you put all of your hope in Him and believe what He has to say, the chaos won't consume you.  You will be consumed with peace."

He looks hard into my eyes, gauging if I believe the words I am speaking.  I meet his scrutiny with an open face, hiding nothing.  For that is how our God meets us.  Open, honest and welcoming.

Source:  Bing Images
 "Whoever believes in Me, as scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them."  (Jesus) ~ John 7:38

Enjoy today,

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Time for a Trim

Sitting at my office desk, steaming  mug of coffee on a dark wicker coaster, the lit flame of my pillar candle glows in a vintage garage-saled (yes, this is a verb) milk glass vase.  There is a brilliant piano and cello musical piece playing behind me on my stereo.  This is good.

I trimmed one of my houseplants today.  Nothing major.  She wasn't ready for anything spunky or extraordinary; just a bit off the sides.  She said sassy wasn't quite for her today, maybe as spring drew a little nearer.  Nope, today she was just feeling like she needed to tidy up some loose ends.

So I obliged.

And after

I did simply as she asked; just a bit here, a bit there.  And then...for the best part.  I gathered up what was left over, the pieces that had been cut and pruned.  And I popped those babies in some beautiful Ball canning jars filled to the brim with water, bathed in sunlight.

Happy as clams in their new home
Where do we go from here, you ask?  Well.  This is just simply beautiful.  These little babies will, Lord willing and guided by His hand, form teeny tiny roots on their stems.   

New life.
Beautiful, glorious regeneration. 

And in time, when they are ready, I'll pot them in their own sweet little pots.  And then I'll give them away. 

Life.  It goes on and on and on.  And we are blessed to join in the adventure every day.  What to do when you're faced with a situation of pruning or cutting back?   

Flourish.  Grow.  Put down deep roots and soak in the sunshine.

And in time, you will see the growth.

"I AM the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."  (Jesus)  ~John 15:5

Enjoy today,

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Give It Away!

She has been growing her hair for about a year and a half now to donate to Locks of Love

Locks of Love makes hairpieces for financially disadvantaged children  who suffer from medical conditions that cause hair loss including alopecia, burn trauma and cancer treatment. 

Tannah was thrilled last night when we visited our hairdresser and she realized that she had finally reached her goal length!  She was ready for the big trim and went for it.  Today the ponytail is set atop our dining room table, securely stored in a plastic Baggie and ready for the mail carrier this afternoon.  It goes with our prayers for an unknown-to-us little girl whose day will be made when she receives her custom-crafted wig.  A little girl who may have been feeling a deep sadness after losing her own hair to an illness or trauma.

And my Tannah's smile couldn't be wider.

This is how it is when we give.  When we give of our talents, our time, our resources, our treasure.  When we give of ourselves...when we give our selves.  Our very being.  

There are so many ways that the Lord presents before us each and every day to give.  We just need to respond.  To ask Him to open our eyes, our hearts and hands and keep them open.  To stay in a state of receiving from the Lord His mercies, love and kindnesses to us every day; to stay receptive to His Holy Spirit working in and through us; and then in turn, to keep our hands and hearts open to those around us.  This is community in a nutshell:  community with the Spirit of God who flows in and through us, and we then extend that same community to those around us.  All around us.  Whether we know them or not.  This is the heart of fellowship in the Lord.

I am so very glad and full of joy for my 7-year-old daughter this morning.  This project was her own undertaking, initiated in her heart by the Spirit of God a year and a half ago.  And she followed.  May we each, every single moment of every single day, follow the Spirit of God in giving.

What about you?  How will you give to the Lord today?  Don't know where to start?   Ask Him.  He always answers. 

Some giving ideas for today:

1.  Give a smile.  Everyone needs them.  Try it!  They're contagious.
2.  Give a hug.  Do you see hurt in someone's eyes?  Give them a warm hug and let them know they are loved.
3.  Give an encouraging word.  A cheerful, uplifting word can work wonders in an otherwise dreary day.
4.  Give prayer.  Offer to pray with someone.  Immediately.  On the spot.  And do it with no reservations.
5.  Give an act of service.  Honor others before yourself.  Jesus set this example for us.

"Give, and it will be given to you.  Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you."  ~Luke 6:38

Enjoy today,

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jump For Joy

Source:  Bing Images

A new year!  I always anticipate a fresh start, a new beginning.

2012 snuck up on me a little bit, catching me unaware.  Some years seem to roar in, loudly announcing their presence and causing everyone in the room to stop and take notice.  The door flies open, and in rush the wind and elements.

2012 was different for me.  She slipped into the party quietly, smiling,  greeting those around her with a warm embrace and a brush of her lips upon my cheek (Colombian-style, of course!).  She said hello with a kind smile, eyes crinkling at the corners, quietly whispering of the hopes and plans in store for the days to come.

Source:  Bing Images

Which brings me to today.  20 days into the new year, and I am still feeling that quiet peace which comes from the Lord.  He grants us each new day.  And I am so very grateful for that quiet peace.  Yet today, I have coupled it with a second prayer, for you and for me:  JOY.  

I have asked the Holy Spirit, the very Presence of God Himself, who lives in us, moves in us, and through whom we have all of our being, to infuse this year with the essence of  JOY .  Unspeakable, incomprehensible, uncontainable joy.  This God who is alive, the only true and living God, fills us with joy in His presence.  And for that, today, I am very grateful.  And gratefully expectant.  

Thank you, Abba Father, for Your radiant presence and all-consuming fire of joy.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Enjoy today,