Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gifts Outside My Window

That little girl was maybe six to eight years old. During the week of Christmas, I saw her as she hurried along the sidewalk, carrying a white teddy bear almost a big as she! Being that time of year, I’m pretty sure the white bear with the red ribbon tied around its neck was a special present to her. The happiness on her face almost outshone the sun!

Now, even with new leaves appearing on the trees, that memory is still vivid in my mind. I can still visualize that little girl outside my window and my heart can still share in her delight. The week of Christmas, though, seems so long ago with its gifts and presents, family and friends, festivities and other joys of the Season.

Thankfully, one gift is not saved for any special date on the calendar. One father does not wait for a certain time of year to visit. One celebration can be marked each and every day for the rest of our lives.

Our Father in heaven does not wait only for Christmas, and extends His awesome gift to anyone, any time of the year. With the acceptance of that gift, we have reason for jubilant celebration from that day forward into eternity!

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith ... and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God ... Ephesians 2:8

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gifts Outside My Window

Spring is here and the trees are dressed with fresh foliage, already becoming lush and providing shade from the sun. From my window I can see that, even now, birds are flying to the cooler spots to look for seeds and insects. Delicate flowers begin to carefully poke their heads through those protected patches, almost as if they know that there they will escape the full intensity of summer heat.

I think of all the elements of nature - sunlight, darkness, cold, warmth, wetness, dryness - and realize the importance of balance in relationship to growth and survival. Too much of any one can cause distress or even death.

There are times when I need a balance of protection from prolonged sun exposure or intense heat. Too much can be harmful to my physical body, and I will look for the coolness of shade. Sometimes my soul, also, needs to find shade despite the season of the year. Pressures, frustrations and other breakings of the heart can leave me panting and weary for relief.

I am thankful that God, Who is already aware of my limits -- physically, emotionally and spiritually -- is a constant source of shade within my deserts. All I need to do is go to Him, and there I find protection.

You have been . . . a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. Isaiah 25:4

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gifts Outside My Window

Both my neighbor and I feed the birds. I hang a hummingbird feeder from the edge of my patio roof, and she suspends one with seeds from the side of her porch. Of course, her bird friends are much more vocal than my little hummers. Especially, when my window is open, I can hear them as they have their breakfast, loudly singing and chattering with one another.

I hear those birds, I know they are there, but I can’t see them.

It’s much the same with God. I can’t see His face as I see the faces of family and friends, but I know He’s here. He gives me evidence of His presence in so many ways. I see proof of Him in His creation, even looking only as far as outside my window – sunlight, mountains, trees, even those hungry birds as they fly to and from my neighbor’s feeder. I hear His voice in the thunder and the wind and the rains.

I can’t see Him as a physical being, but I know He’s here and that He’s with me all the time. All I need to do is look outside through my window.

… I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5b

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One of the first Bible verses I ever memorized when I was a kid was Psalms 119:105 in the KJV -- “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

I always had a mental picture of the ‘lamp’ being like one of the kerosene lanterns we took camping with us, and the ‘light’ was … well … a pretty large illuminated area. Like the high beams from a car’s headlights. Or a lighthouse beam.

But I read that the ‘lamp’ referenced was one of those little olive oil lamps, like the one pictured at left. The light thrown off from one of those is enough to take, maybe, a step or two. And I thought, “That doesn’t make sense to me. God’s Word should be revealing … should show the way clearly ….”

Oh … oh yeah …. that’s not necessarily how you “live by faith and not by sight,” is it? It’s a matter of trust. Many times I CAN’T see clearly, but I follow that little light from an olive oil lamp (God’s Word) and TRUST Him to direct my steps.

Note: Herodian Oil Lamp 50 BC to AD 50 -- This type of oil lamp was common in Judea during the ministry of Jesus. It was known as the Herodian because of its widespread use during the reign of Herod the Great in Israel. This lamp was wheel-made with the spout applied by hand.

Deceptively Innocent!

Rain, my oldest girl, looks deceptively innocent for Valentine's day.

Today, I saw a lady walking along our sidewalk with a cane. I watched her slow, careful steps, and the determined concentration was visible on her face.

Could I ever relate to that! I have a disability and I used to walk with a cane, also. Sometimes it was painful for me to walk, other times emotionally frustrating. I got so impatient with my slow, careful steps! And I STILL get impatient when I have to think about my every move!

Especially during these times, I have to be careful not to allow my focus to shift back onto things I could physically do when I was healthy. I loved to play racquetball and go hiking. I rode bicycle, and horses, and played with my niece in the park. I did power walking and aerobics for exercise.

These days, I can still exercise. I can work on stretches, but my aerobics are now spiritual rather than physical. My "step up's" are truly stepping UP - in a heavenly direction!

I can exercise with the assurance that someday I will be completely healed - whether I find that healing here on earth, or when I run to greet my Jesus in heaven.

"...the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body." Philippians 3:20,21

Many people don’t like the wind. “It messes up my hair.” “It blows dirt in my eyes.” Many people don’t like it, but I love the wind!

Breezes coax beautiful music from my wind chimes. Birds simply hold out their wings and soar on currents, and I imagine what it feels like to fly. Wind brings bits of the world to me as it pelts raindrops from the mountain against my window, or fills my home with fresh scents of springtime, or even as it shares with me the aroma of a neighbor’s breakfast bacon.

But the wind is unpredictable. I never really know from where it came, how strong it’s going to be, how long it will last. I don’t worry about it, nor spend time trying to foretell its direction, destination and results. I only sit back and enjoy it.

I am reminded that the Holy Spirit, in His sovereignty, is a lot like the wind. He works as He pleases with results I can’t predict, in ways I don’t understand. Sometimes He is a gentle breeze, sometimes a mountain storm. And with Him, my soul can soar higher than those birds in the air.

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. John 3:8

Gifts Outside My Window

Because of a disability (MS), I hadn’t been getting outside very often, and was feeling a little “house bound.” But our Father God loves us so much, and He must have noticed my frustration and sadness. Being a personal God, He met my needs and answered my prayers in His own special way ….

Each day, He takes a moment to send me a special gift — one that I can receive simply by looking out my window. Sometimes it’s as obvious as a magnificent rainbow in the sky. Other times I find that I have to wait for His gift, or look for it like I’m searching in a treasure hunt. But it’s always there, and as wondrous as the one He gave me just the day before!

I wanted to share of His goodness with others so I wrote about some of His gifts to me. All of God’s “Window Gifts” have touched my heart and spirit in different ways. He has given me fresh insight and an understanding that I never would have known if not for this window and my illness.

There is a popular inspirational saying which is very true, and characteristic of my circumstances — “When God closes a door, He opens a window.” He opens my window daily to some pretty special blessings.

(All Scripture references are from the New International Version of the Bible.)

From my window, I saw the U.S. Postal Service truck as it was driving up the road, pausing at mail boxes. It was Valentine’s Day, and I wondered what wonderful cards and letters of love that mail carrier was delivering. I smiled to think of happy recipients who opened their mail to confirmations of someone’s heartfelt devotion.

The prophets and apostles also wrote all kinds of love letters. Moses told the people that God wanted them to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18) and to “love the Lord.” (Deut. 6:5) David wrote psalms of love. It was possibly Solomon who wrote an entire book about love. Apostles like Paul and Peter sent love letters to people throughout the Middle East and parts of Europe.

Jesus, the Author of Love, had much to say on the subject. And He, alone, offered the supreme Love Gift when He gave up His life, hung on a cross for peoples in all places and all times. Because of His sacrificial Love, we know that Someone loves us on Valentine’s Day, and on every day of the year.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Tears Blind Me

My tears blind me

and I fall at Your feet again.

Abba, please pick me up

and hold me close.

I brought this on myself,

I know.

My focus shifted

and I allowed my eyes

to seek and go after sin.

Oh, You could have stopped me,

but You love me too much to do that.

A Gentleman, You never come


no matter how much I need rescuing.

So, I acknowledge my sin.

I repent of my sin.

Now I reap consequences

of that sin.

Now I hurt.

Now there is so much pain.

Like a prodigal

I ask for Your undeserved forgiveness

and mercy.

Father, I am sorry

that I turned away from You.

I never want to turn away

from Your love