Archive | October 2012

From my InLoveWithTheLord blog!

Martha L Shaw - Poet, Writer, Author, Artist

Growing up, I was led to believe that my church did things right while others did not.  It doesn’t matter which denomination it is.  I’ve since found many denominations share this opinion about their own sense of what “the truth” truly is.

I came across this quote this morning:

Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do — they all contain truths. – Muhammad Ali –

It reminded me of some courses I studied in college.  I attended a Christian college and was “required” to take a world religions course.  I loved it and opted to take more than one such course.  You see, they taught us not only Christianity . . . not simply western religions . . . but eastern ones too.  It was truly a “world” religions course.  I was taught about some groups whom I’d…

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My latest post on In Love With The Lord

Martha L Shaw - Poet, Writer, Author, Artist

Are you?

All was bright in life for a time, fragrant, and fresh.  Oh, how lovely it was to have those who gazed in my direction say “ahhhhh!”  Then, things in life began to droop.  My petals  . . .  where have they gone?  At least my leaves are still . . . oh, no!  Not my leaves as well?

How odd!   Wow, it’s dark . . . day and night are all the same.  What is to become of me?  Hmmm . . . A new season is coming, someone said . . . I wonder . . .

Hey, something within me is feeling different, new!  Maybe it IS a new season approaching . . . it is said that a period of darkness leads to a time when I will bloom anew!  It simply takes the Master Gardener’s touch . . .

 

by Martha L…

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We Were Not Meant To Be Self-Confident

Read:  Isaiah 41:11-12

Thought For The Day:   “Their confidence hangs by a thread. They are leaning on a spider’s web.”  Job 8:14

It’s Monday and we’ve been refreshed by Sabbath and are now in a new week and facing new challenges and opportunities.  The news does not inspire confidence in me.  Television, radio, newspapers, social media . . . I had to block one person from posting on one of my “walls” because the constant postings of SCREAMINGLY negative messages LITERALLY A DOZEN IN A 15 MINUTE TIME FRAME were more than I could take.

Many times in life I have been full of self-confidence and assurance that I had it all together.  Funny, as I look back at that time I realize that life looked pretty . . . enough of this and plenty of that, yet the things I put my faith in were simply “this world” and while it made the neighbors say “ahhh” it wasn’t enough.

Life changes and sometimes we don’t see things as they are because our eyes are looking at things of this world.  When suddenly I ran short of things of this world, I was pretty shaken up.  I cried out.  I realized I was placing my confidence in the things of this world, and in myself.  It pleased those who didn’t really know me.  It pleased some of those who thought they knew me.  It didn’t please me.  I thought it did.  Things of this world are so temporary and for me to place my faith in them may give me a temporary lift but I was sure to crash when they were taken away or simply ran their course.

I thought I could handle anything.  But life in this world showed me I couldn’t rely on myself alone.  I found the crying out responded to by an inner voice.  A divine one.  One that led to my experiencing joy without the things that impressed the neighbors.  I found that the things I used to have which made me feel I had it all together were slipping away and yet there was a new confidence in me that I couldn’t entirely understand but which made me feel richer even when the bank account and the economy and the prospects the human can see look dim.  Wow.  It came from the Lord.  That “bank” account can’t go broke.  Oh, I can take my eyes off it just as I do the bank statement which comes in the mail and causes my heart to stop and my fear to rise as the balance drops.  But whether the human changes her focus temporarily or not, the Lord is still holding me close  and He’s got it all together.  He holds me together.  He holds the answers to the questions I have yet to ask Him.

So this morning when I woke with a start to things piling up on me and found panic setting in, I thought of calling a friend, I thought of texting a “WOW, I FEEL AWFUL TODAY, PRAY” to another, but this time did neither.  Not saying support from friends and prayer support are wrong, but letting go of “me” and seeking Him needed to come first for me.  When life gets too big, and I am at a loss for words, a shaky Lord HELP”  is more than enough.  He was waiting for me to see Him standing there and to realize He was hugging me close to Himself.

I don’t know where the challenges of world economy, politics, and my own human failures will lead, but I do know that I was never meant to rely on me.  I was meant to rely on Him.  When I do, shiny baubles don’t seem to gleam as brightly as the love in His eyes.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for holding me close even when I was restless and looking away from you.  Help me to live as your loving daughter fully confident in you.  Direct my feet on your path and let me not be distracted by earthly things.  Teach me to be a reflection of you in all I do.  Amen.

Feeling Weak? Rejoice!

Read:  Isaiah 40:28-30

Thought for the day:  ““Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12 NIV

One of my favorite “spiritual giants” has been saying over and over, when I’m feeling battle weary, to “look at the way they treated Jesus.”  I at once both feel he’s on target yet also feel like “that was JESUS.  Surely it doesn’t apply in the same way to me.”  The quote above from Matthew’s gospel has typically struck me the same way.  “Yes, but I’m no prophet.”

Jesus didn’t choose giants, rich dudes, people who “had it all together.”  He used people like me.  You know the kind:

  • I should have known better
  • why didn’t I think of that
  • Life is scary
  • Wish I could get my act together
  • Okay, you gave me this, now what do I do with it?
  • You want me to do WHAT?

Maybe something there triggers with you.  Maybe not, but I think I can safely say we all feel weak sometimes.  Man, of late it’s been a profound thing with me.  Thinking about it didn’t help.  Praying didn’t bring the immediate “WOOHOO”  I truly wanted.  Crying, denying, and whining . . . nope.  Lashing out at a friend who THANK YOU JESUS could take it?  Nope, that didn’t help.  Well, maybe.  I’m certain he said an extra prayer.  Not gonna ask him, but it might have been “Lord, I’m getting tired of her today.”  lol  Seriously, think about the Bible stories we know so well.

The Lord uses the weak.  Those hero types?  The amazing prophets?  His worker bees . . . Peter, Thomas, Paul?  His own Mother Mary?  Simple country girl, a murderer, a bunch of sick people, fishermen, tax collectors . . .  and they changed the world.  They changed their own and their faithfulness has changed mine.

Where would I be without Jesus?  Would I know Him if not for those “ordinary” faithful folks?  How easy it could be for any of them to say “Love you Lord, but I’m so tired.  I am not capable of doing this.  Help me know what you REALLY want.  You want me to do what?  The seas are gonna part?  Huh?

  • build an ark?
  • walk all over the world telling folks to turn their hearts to you?  I’m not good with words.
  • They won’t like me if I do that . . .
  • get in a boat with a bunch of wild animals?  Huh?
  • Touch that person?  He’s got . . . you’re gonna heal him through my hands?  ME???

So, I get inspired, then tired . . . and sometimes wonder why He’s not talking to me because I must not have heard Him . . . He surely didn’t just say I am to do that for Him?  Most of us have a friend we can count on to tell us the truth.  The one you ask “does this pair of jeans make my butt look too big?” We sort of hope they’ll say “no you look great” but we need the truth and are better for it.  Surely if our human friends can be truthful and lovingly help us even when the answer isn’t quite what we expected . . . the way not easy . . . Jesus loves us enough to die for us.  He promises we will never be alone.  He asks for our heart and assures us of His power and strength and we can count on His Word.

Wow, do I feel weak.   Suddenly, it seems like an asset.  I used to think I had it all together.  Life didn’t truly begin until I let go of that lie and said yes to Him.  I may falter some, even later on today, but right now I’m rejoicing in my weakness and thankful for His strength.

Prayer:  Thank you Lord for my weakness.  Thank you for breaking my heart so you could fill it with your love.  Thank you for the honor of being your servant, your sheep.  Lead me.  I will follow.  Amen.

Are You Looking Through The Wrong Lens?

Read:  Luke 16:15

Thought For The Day:  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, Ephesians 1:18

 

I have macular edema. My retinologist assures me he can treat my unhealthy eyes and that my sight will not fail. This can be treated surgically. I’ve had many procedures thus far. Things are better, but there is a lot of healing still needed. My doctor keeps assuring me that things all will be well. Still, when I read my old favorite books I know I’m not seeing things as they used to look before this happened. Why is he so sure . . . I trust my doctor. I do. Really . . . but yet I do not understand . . .

My life is in flux. I moved from all that was familiar to a place I’d dreamed of living and the Lord’s voice was loud and clear that I was following His path for my life. It’s been four years though and many things are good but then there’s a big and scary need that isn’t yet resolved. All will be well, He said and continues to assure me. I trust Him. I really do . . . but yet I don’t understand . . .

I was in the store the one day a while back. My godchild had needed some things to bring back to college with her. I wandered through the pharmacy department. I idly picked up some reading glasses, noticed the price and thought I’d grab a spare pair. Suddenly the still small voice spoke to me and as a result I tried on a few different prescriptions first. I was sure nothing would have changed. I was wrong. I needed a pair with a “lower” strength. My eyes were stronger than they’d been in two years.

No wonder I’ve had a lot of trouble seeing. I was looking through the wrong lens. I have a lot of growing and healing to experience yet and so I’m wondering if the eyes of my heart might also be looking through the wrong lens sometimes . . .

Prayer: Thank you Lord for your loving care.  Teach me to look with the eyes of my heart, your eyes.  Teach me to live and love as you do and to be your good and faithful servant.  Amen.