An unwanted companion

“…For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

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Timidity has been my lifelong, unwanted companion. Fear has been the third wheel. Together we’re content to be pasted on the wall. The back wall.

My natural weaknesses force me to depend on God. I have to allow him to be strong where I am weak. And he has been. He continues to deliver me from over-sensitive, self-conscious tendencies.

I can tell when the timidity returns—expressing thoughts becomes like driving on a gravel road full of pot holes and I simply go quiet. I’d rather write it than say it.

But where I am weak, he is strong. He helps me face the timidity and drive past the pot holes. Weak areas become places of the Lord’s strength.

Is there an area in which you feel insufficient? Is this weakness an ongoing challenge? Let the insufficiencies be a reminder to turn to the Lord for his strength. He longs to be strong where you are weak!


God on our side

Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us.” Isaiah 8:10image

Long, long ago and in a land far away…my high school wasn’t characterized as winning. Our sports’ teams weren’t bad, it’s just that other schools dominated and claimed the titles. They always seemed to have the edge. In the kingdom of sports, we were the lesser kingdom.

Flash ahead to my son’s high school and it was a different story. A winning culture prevaled throughout the entire school. Students carried a positive attitude into every event; they expected to win and much of the time, they did. They were knights in shining armor.

As believer’s in Christ we have God on our side. We wear his armor into daily battles and fight with his weapons. Though life is full of ups and downs, in the end, God wins.

More often than I’d like to admit, I forget whose team I’m on and a defeated attitude enshrouds the day. This is not from God; it’s from the enemy. The defeated one would like me to live as if he still has a chance to win the game.

Life may be a day-to-day battle, but there is hope knowing that at the end of the story…God wins.

We’re on the winning side of the field. The battle is already won—the reel is just playing out until the end of the game!


Hope for the inside

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

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A friend of mine calls jogging “wogging,” a mixture of walking and jogging. My wogging style is a slow sad trot—when the weather’s nice!

As much as I might huff and puff, there’s no way around it. This physical body is not what it used to be and I’m on the downhill slide.

Missing a few weeks of wogging means I’ll have to build up again when I resume my routine; I can’t just jump back in at the same level. Fight it all you want but there’s no way to stop aging, even with exercise and a healthy diet.

Inwardly, it’s a different story. There’s hope for the inside. The inside can be renewed day by day. He refreshes the spirit. He gives love, joy and peace. When I let him, he restores a thankful spirit. I don’t have to stay stuck in a bad attitude.

So, how am I taking care of the inside? Am I taking time to exercise the prayer life? Am I consuming a healthy mental diet? Daily servings of God’s Word bring spiritual strength. Weekly worship refreshes the spirit.

The outside is going to give out completely one day, but the inside will live forever. Take care of the outside, but focus on the inside!


The doll maker

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not our hands be idle; for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” Ecclesiastes 11:6

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My grandmother was a doll maker. She filled trash bags with stuffed legs, arms and bodies to be assembled later. She created tiny dresses, bonnets, overalls, shoes and perfected the hand-stitched faces that would grace the gift shop shelves of Shaker Village.

And this in addition to gardening, canning, quilting and church commitments. There was not a stitch of idleness in her DNA.

If my grandmother had been idle, she would have missed the income from selling dolls as well as the joy of receiving notes from those who bought and loved them. Her doll making business opened doors for income and influence.

When a car sits idle, all the capabilities to move are there, but it remains in position. A car was built to move. Likewise, God gives his children gifts, talents, skills and abilities to plant and produce a crop. We were meant to move forward. To be fruitful.

Are you holding seeds of potential? Then look for a place to sow. Or as my grandmother did—sew the doll and sell it!


No regrets

“…To enjoy your work and to accept your lot in life—that is indeed a gift from God. The person who does that will not need to look back with sorrow on his past, for God gives him joy.” (TLB)

 

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When I reach the end of time on earth I’d like to look back without regret. I’d like to maximize each life stage for the Lord.

…..

When one accepts his lot in life

And in his work finds happiness,

His days will then be occupied

With a heart chocked full of gladness.

…..

It is indeed a blessing,

To contentedly spend one’s days,

Free from second guessing

And no regrets from yesterday.

…..


Delight in him

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

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I grew up on a Kentucky farm with six brothers and sisters. Our favorite pastime was swimming in the creek. Many Sunday afternoons were spent in those cool rippling waters.

Our attention could not have been more fully in the moment as we waded, floated and swam between those tree-lined banks. We delighted in that creek.

To delight in the Lord is to be fully engaged in him. If I delight in him, my desires will be for the blessings of God and those desires will be met. I won’t have to overthink my life satisfaction rating.

If I’m immersed in him my desires will be intune with his wishes and satisfied.

Lord, give me a desire to fully delight in you—to know you more and follow you closer. I’d like to be as delighted in you as a bunch of country kids in the creek on Sunday afternoon.


Find me waiting

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18

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I become irritable if I have to wait for anything too long. I want to take matters into my own hands. But often in scripture we’re told to “wait” for the Lord—to give him time to do his work.

There is a reason to be patient: He longs to be gracious and he rises to show compassion. I’d like to be the recipient of that! Those who wait for him are going to be blessed. It’s going to be worth the wait.

May the reality of my life match the longing of his heart to pour out love and grace. Let me not live in a way that prevents it!

You are worth waiting for.

Your blessing is precious and sweet—

Sweeter than anything else out there.

Find me ready.

Find me receptive.

Find me waiting.