Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Where Do You Live?

Where do you live?

Not your street address, apartment number, city or state.

Not physically.

But . . .

Mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

Where do you live?

Some people live in the past,

                some people live in the future.

I'm not one to camp out in the past, but I do find myself riding on wings as I fly towards the future, waiting to land. There's only one problem, it's never time to land.

When I live in the mindset of:

  • what if . . .
  • when this or that happens . . .
  • I can't wait until . . .
  • I just wish . . .
  • When, when, when . . .
                                 I'm not living in the moment.

And guess what? That's exactly what the enemy wants me to do.


Because when I don't live in the moment, I live a life of discontent.

Paul wrote in Phil. 4:11 that " . . . I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:" 

I, like so many, have hung my dreams on the scripture found in Jer. 29:11 that says, "For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." 

Yes, God has plans for us . . . a future and a hope, but He has also given us everything we need to be content each day. Our hope is found in His Son, Jesus Christ. For He tells us, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," (Heb. 13:5). He is with us in the moment helping us live out our purpose as we navigate what is before us, as mundane as it may seem.

We should be content while living each day to the fullest instead of dragging our feet in the dust of days gone by or trying to find rainbows to slide down into the future. The future will come and with it all the plans God has for us, but it will be in His timing not ours.

So now I do my best to live in the moment. 
          It doesn't have a physical address, 
                               but it is a place my heart will call home.

Scripture from NASB
Pictures courtesty of www.pixaby.com

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Be Still . . . The Lord Will Fight For You.

"I don't know what to do."

"I can't seem to find my way through this maze I've created."

"I am so worried I can't eat or sleep."

"What's going to happen next?"

"I don't know which way to turn."

"Lord, can you hear me?"

I'm sure at one time or another we have all screamed these words while in the middle of a desperate situation. This is life, we are in the middle of it, and things happen. Some things we create and some things are out of our control, but either way we find ourselves stuck in the middle.

As they followed Moses out of Egypt, the Israelites also found themselves in a desperate situation. With the waters of the Red Sea before them and Pharaoh's armies fast approaching behind them, they were stuck with no options in sight.

Have you been there? Stuck with no options in sight? I have. Maybe the choice before me wasn't to drown in a sea or be killed by an army who was pursuing me in fast chariots, but nevertheless I have felt stuck with nowhere to turn.

God saw what was happening to His children and He had a plan.

First Moses told the people "Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord . . . the Lord will fight for you" (Ex. 14:13, 14 NASB).

And He did!

God told the people to stop crying out to him and move towards the waters. At that point God performed a miracle. As Moses lifted up his rod, God caused the sea to go back with a strong east wind dividing the sea. Throughout the night the people were able to walk to the other side on dry land.

And what about the army that was chasing them? That morning God looked down on the army and caused their wheels to fall off their chariots and when they tried to turn back He caused the sea to return to its full depth drowning all the men.

Yes, the Lord fought for them.
                And He will do the same for us. 
                            He sees what is happening to us, His children, and He has a plan.

But we need to learn to, "Be still and know that (He is) God," (Psa. 46:10). He wants to fight for us but we need to let Him. 

What are you in the middle of today? What situation seems impossible? What's closing in on you from both sides?

God sees. 
God knows. 
God hears our cries. 
But we need to be still, 
know that God is God, 
and let Him fight for us! 
He wants to do a miracle in our lives,
 but we need to be still and let Him do it.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Me Do It!

I'm not the kind of girl that can "kick back" and just let things take care of themselves.

Oh no . . . I'm more like the toddler who won't let you help them and looks up at you and says with defiance, "No! Me do it!"

For some reason, even as an adult, I want to look at those who are trying to help me and say, "No! Me do it!"

It's not that I think my way is always the right way, or that I can do it better, it's just that for some reason I feel as though I NEED to do it.

Ok, maybe sometimes I do think I can do it better.

It's just something that drives me.

But if I stay on this track too long, I become weary, discouraged, and unproductive. Thank goodness I have family and friends around me that understand me and will call me out if need be. I have a close relationship with them and because of this they can often see before I can that I'm over-doing it and bring it to my attention.

And they do.

But they aren't the only ones.

As a Christ-follower I have spent years developing a close relationship with Jesus Christ and through Him, a close relationship with my heavenly Father. When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I received the Holy Spirit who teaches me, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit . . . He will teach you all things," (John 14:26 NASB).

He teaches me, AND He calls me out.

And it happened again today.

So . . . here I am praying, thinking, planning -- trying to work some things out.

I started out right. I prayed.

But I just couldn't stop there and let God do it. No, the "Me Do It!" attitude took flight.

Then I saw in God's Word today five words that jumped off the page:

". . . and He will do it . . ." (Psa. 37:5 NASB).

Bang . . . called out.

The things I have been praying for are things that I need to let HIM work out, not me. I really do need to kick back, and "let go and let God," do HIS thing.

Dear Father, 
Thank you for
 loving me enough to remind me 
that I'm not the one who is in control, 
and that it is not my duty to make things happen. 
Thank you for stopping me before I get in the way 
and maybe even hinder what you are trying to accomplish. 
As Jesus taught me to pray, "Your will be done," (Matt. 6:10).
In Jesus name I pray, 

"Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it," (Psa. 37:5 NASB).

photo courtesy of morguefile.com and greyerbaby

Monday, December 28, 2015

It's Coming . . .

It's coming . . . only a few days and it will be here.

A new year.

Like turning to a blank page in my composition book called "Life," I will turn to the beginning of a new year.

Already I'm thinking about things I want to:
  • do differenlty
  • improve upon
  • change
  • be more intentional about

People I want to:
  • spend more time with
  • help more
  • get to know better
  • be there for

But there's one thing that wants to hold me back . . .

The past . . . for I've tried before but haven't always had success.

So what will be different about this year?

"I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies BEHIND me and REACHING FORWARD to what lies ahead," (Phil 3:13 NASB).

What lies behind you that keeps you from reaching forward? 

Let's begin this year pressing "on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus," (Phil 3:14 NASB). As we press in towards Jesus, He will be the One who helps us accomplish the things we want to accomplish in the new year and help us move beyond the regrets of the past.

And as we reach towards Him,

He will be faithful to take our hand!

Photos courtesy of morguefile, caprisco and Penywise.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Cry From My Heart

To everyone else it's a pretty church on a hill overlooking the quaint main street of Highlands, NC, but not to me. To me it's where my Heavenly Father answered the cry from my heart and said "Yes. Yes, you can come back home."

First Presbyterian Church, Highlands, NC
I was a prodigal daughter and was tired of wallowing in the muck of the world and running from bad choices that I didn't want to define me or my future.

Have you walked away from the Lord?

Do you want to come home?

Do you want to see your Heavenly Father waiting with out-stretched arms to welcome you back?

It's NEVER too late and He is faithful to forgive.

As I poured out my words of confession and sorrow to Him it was as if he took His finger, placed it under my tear-stained chin, and lifted my head towards His extravagant love. He washed me clean, infused me with joy, and enveloped me with peace. From that moment on I've never been the same.

He will do the same for you.

Don't stay away if your heart yearns to be back home. Open the eyes of your heart and look . . . He's right there with you, waiting to be the lifter of your head. He met me at the top of a mountain in an old Presbyterian Church, but He will meet you where ever you are at the moment.

Call out to Him today then join me in declaring,

". . . He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God" (Psa. 40:1-3).

Yes. You can always go home . . .

Monday, December 29, 2014

Do You Hear It?

Do you hear it?

Or maybe I should ask, do you not hear it? The noise, the hustle, the bustle from a busy Christmas week.

I wonder how quite it was the night of Jesus' birth after the shepherds left and the animals settled down. Talk about noise, hustle and bustle . . . there was a lot going on for awhile in the stable that was tucked away in the small town of Bethlehem.

In Luke 2:19 we read from the Amplified Bible that "Mary was keeping within herself all these things (sayings), weighing and pondering them in her heart." What sayings? The account the shepherds gave about their visit from an angel and then the multitude of the heavenly host that praised God concerning the birth of His only Son.

She was nestled away in a stable, holding the Son of God in her arms as she felt His heart beat next to hers. While rocking Him, the words of the shepherds must have moved across her mind and she spent time weighing and pondering what they said. It was true, the baby she held was the Son of God, born to be the Savior of the world.

In the quietness of these days following Christmas may we too spend time weighing and pondering the things we have heard about the birth of Jesus. We may not be nestled away in a stable holding the Son of God in our arms, but if He lives inside of us, we too can feel the beat of His heart next to ours. For it is true, Jesus is the Son of God and He is the Savior of the World.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Good-bye for now Miss Ruby . . .

What did she dream about, 
this dear one who we would find asleep
while sitting up in her chair?

  • Playing on the back of buckboard wagons or giggling in the school yard in the 1930's?
  • Growing up with her brothers and sisters?
  • Singing at church with her friends and family and worshipping her Lord and Saviour?
  • Working with her friends in the pattern making department of the local manufacturing company?
  • Missing her family, her home?

From the doorway of her room in the health care facility that she called home, my husband would whisper, "Miss Ruby, Miss Ruby, it's Pastor Greg and Beth."

Lifting her head towards his voice, she would open her eyes and give us the most beautiful smile. She didn't have much to say, but her eyes would dance with life as we spent time with her.

I think of these things as I remove her name from the church contact list, the first of many lists that her name will be removed from since she passed away last week.

But there's a place her name was etched long ago that will never be removed  . . . 

The Lamb's Book of Life, "I will not erase his (her) name from the book of life" (Rev. 3:5 NSAB).

She's in her new home now, no longer asleep while sitting up in her chair, but more alive and free than she has ever been.

Now she lifts her head towards her Master's voice who whispers her new name, the name written on the white stone He gave her, ". . . I will give him (her) a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he (she) who receives it" (Rev. 2:17 NASB).

I know she gives Him the same beautiful smile she gave us, but with Him I'm sure she has much to say. And not only does her eyes dance with life, but she can now dance for eternity.

Good-bye for now Miss Ruby . . . 
Until we meet again.

Ruby Amelia McDougle
(1919 - 2014)

photos courtesy of www.morguefile.com

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