Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Refreshing Rains

After many weeks without rain and a land dry and parched we've finally had a number of good rain days and I am so so thankful.  

One night as I was doing chores I was looking at the lawn and pastures so thankful that there was growth again.  I was thinking how in the span of a couple days of a good rain a tinge of green was already noticeable.  And I thought with these refreshing rains the grass can't help but grow and flourish once again, it's so instant. Even when it looked as though there was no life there at all, underneath that dry parched, brown, crispy grass the roots were still alive just waiting for a soaking so they could burst forth with life. 

As I was pondering this in my heart, smiling at the green I was seeing, I thought about my own heart.  Jesus Christ is that LIVING WATER to my dry, parched soul and yet unlike the grass that can't help but grow after being soaked with rain there are many times when He pours into me and I am not refreshed and I do not grow.  I have a choice in what I do with what is poured into me.  And there are times when it's like I get out my umbrella and keep myself out of the "rain." The very thing that would give me life is the very thing I push away or refuse to acknowledge.

It's like this heart of mine works on two planes.  I know what's right and what would be good for me.  Yet there is this pride and self-sufficiency where I choose to do life on my own and by my own rules or ways of self preservation.  If I would only bend and receive, I would be refreshed and life in those dry, parched areas could grow.  

Could you imagine if the grass decided, I know that I'm dry, parched, brown and crispy but I don't want any of this rain, cover me up so I can remain as I am...barren and dead on the surface.  I'll just protect these roots of mine.  Besides there have been many times when I've chosen to let myself be refreshed with these rains and I've grown and I've flourished only to be brought through a time of drought again.  So I'll just remain as I am so I don't have to face the possibility of that again.

Fear and pride...we let them dictate our choices.  

On Sunday morning during praise and worship we were encouraged to kneel if we felt led to.  And this heart of mine wanted to, I wanted to kneel before my Saviour whom I love with as much of me that I can, but I couldn't or it was I wouldn't.  Fear had set in and if I'm honest I would also have to say pride.  It's not only the fear of what others would think, what goes with that is pride, how will I be seen and that becomes about me.  So I let that rob my Saviour of this heart surrendered before Him.  I felt guilty, I felt shame and I felt like a disappointment and that's when the only thing I can do is go to Him with it.  Repent for allowing fear and pride to dictate my actions towards Him, forgive myself and hope to make a better choice next time.

Again I think about the grass and how it just grows so quickly after a soaking rain even when you'd think there is nothing left of it.  If I could only receive and accept all He puts before me and tries to pour into me...

A choice to kneel in the presence of others

To accept the Encouragement from another into my heart

The choice to stand for truth, when I could be the only one standing

The discipline of a God who loves me even when that discipline is brought through a fellow believer

Correction when I'm in the wrong

A choice to be vulnerable so I can find healing in areas where all I've done is protected myself

The choice to stay and not run

There are many more things I could add to this list.  This God I serve wants all my heart...every last piece of it.  If my heart is surrendered to Him He will continue to search for it and to expose those areas where His life must pour in so I can be made more and more like Christ and live in all the freedom that He has for me. 

May this heart of mine die to pride and fear open wide and receive what the LORD has for me and let that LIVING WATER refresh my soul for His glory and His purposes.

Things to be thankful for...

2510. Good conversation with a young woman
2511. Project finished
2512. Good conversation with friends and a delicious meal
2513. The sound of crickets in the night
2514. Hilarious video made by Matt, laughter

2515. Encouraging words
2516. Bible study with friends
2517. The stream is still running in the woods despite the lack of rain
2518. Small group fellowship
2519. Morning chat with Jocelyne
2520. An unexpected gift in the mail

2521. Beautiful clouds in the evening sky
2522. The Body of Christ working as the Body
2523. Encouragement and a hug
2524. Quiet day with my husband
2525. Refreshing cool morning
2526. Tea with a friend
2527. Chat with Charissa
2528. Sitting on the deck with my husband chatting in the cool of night
2529. Cool night for sleeping
2530. Peaceful morning doing chores
2531. Animals, the joy they bring
2532. Quiet night
2533. Nice afternoon and evening with Will, Amy & Lily
2534. Lily's smiles and babbling

2535. A cute baby donkey named Zoe

2536. Sitting outside on the patio with Lily as the sun goes down
2537. The moon & stars through our bedroom window
2538. Working things out, hearing each other
2539. Time spend with friends
2540. Engaging speakers, words of wisdom
2541. Power back on
2542. Night spent with Charissa
2543. Pizza dinner from Charissa
2544. Walk by the Hamilton waterfront
2545. Successful day in moving Will & Amy and Charissa
2546. Charissa's love for Yael and her family
2547. Home
2548. A good dumping of rain
2549. Church community
2550. Pinks, orange, blue and grey in the evening sky
2551. Game of cards and tea on the deck
2552. Movie night with my husband
2553. The rain has come - a full rain day!

2554. Visit with Jessica
2555. Sunlight shimmering through the rain soaked trees

2556. Strong winds and fast moving clouds
2557. A tinge of green on the pastures
2558. Oscar, one cute and entertaining kitten

2559. Delicious zucchini/cheese pizza made by Charissa
2560. Cooler nights for sleeping
2561. My husband and son passed their motorcycle test
2562. Charissa and Alexandrea taking a roadtrip
2563. Tea and conversation with a friend
2564. Our small group
2565. God's Word...wisdom
2566. Charissa got a dog named Cooper
2567. Beautiful beauty and detail in the dew up-close

2568. Charissa out for a quiet morning ride on Daytona

2569. Relaxing drive with my husband
2570. Beautiful country
2571. Dinner out at a lakeside restaurant
2572. Full moon, low in the sky
2573. Laughter with the girls
2574. Refreshing rain
2575. God calls us to fullness of life
2576. Visit with my cousin and her family
2577. My husband's love
2578. A cool night, 12 degrees!
2579. Sunshine through my bedroom window

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Live by the Spirit...

"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."  Galatians 5:16, 17, 22

Live by the often I fail.

On Monday my daughter and I were putting Daytona and Elmo on the pasture.  Well, a make shift pasture, our trail that is fenced on either side with two large logs across the ends to block them in, the last remaining bit of grass.  It's been so dry here, we haven't had a real good dumping of rain in over eight weeks.  I led Elmo and Charissa led Daytona, Daytona went in no problem so Charissa left to get a bucket of water.  Well stubborn Elmo refused to go in and so I struggled with him, it was hot and I was so sick of this heat and I was getting cranky.  I held him, tried to move the logs to give him more space to get in but he still refused, I pushed and pulled...he wasn't going any where.  Charissa came with the water and in my frustration I yelled at her about helping me with this stupid donkey. I'm not even sure what I all said but as soon as the words came out of my mouth I knew I had blown it.

I was frustrated and was looking to blame someone.  She should have known Elmo would be stubborn since we'd had a tough time putting him in the day before, she should have stayed to help, etc. The ugliness of my character had shown through in a moment of frustration.  How often it is that we look for someone to blame when we're frustrated or angry...we're always looking for a scapegoat out there...when the real one we should be looking at is ourselves.  I'm responsible for how I respond.  This wasn't Charissa's fault, it was what it was...a stubborn donkey.  A little test towards my character and how I would respond.

I had failed and was reminded of the following quote...

I apologized to Charissa for yelling at her and blaming her.  It's ironic, she actually made me the beautiful sign that lists the Fruit of the Spirit, it hangs in my bedroom as a reminder of how I should live each day. 

My life is filled with these little tests each day.  Every time there is a struggle, conflict, a wearing on my patience, a wrench thrown into my day, something not working out, etc. how will I respond...

Waiting in traffic

Waiting in the grocery line 

How about when the person in front of me forgot one item and runs to get it while I wait even longer

When someone cuts me off in traffic

When I feel taken for granted

When I'm waiting and waiting to get through to Bell

To the person on the other end of the line

When the light turns green and the person in front of me doesn't notice quick enough

The grumpy cashier

The children "disrupting" my peace

The neighbour's barky dog

Waiting for my dinner order to come

Slow traffic because of construction

When someone treats me disrespectfully

How will I respond...  

Will I remember that beautiful list of qualities that dwells within me because the Spirit dwells within me.  Will I respond in the Spirit or will I go the easy way and respond in the flesh.

Every time I am tested in these areas its opportunity to build character...the character of the Spirit.   It's also an opportunity to portray all these character qualities/gifts of the Spirit to someone else.  Our children are watching, those around us are watching and the LORD looks on to see how His children will respond. Will they be as Christ to their families, their employees, their employer, their fellow workers, those who serve them, the humanity where ever their paths cross. We are His image bearers, are we bearing that image to those around the world.

Can He trust me in the little things so He can trust me with the bigger things.

Things to be thankful for...

2389. God's beautiful creation
2390. Conversation around the campfire
2391. Sound of the loons on the lake and fishing

Fishing with friends.

2392. Card game, laughter
2394. Beautiful white water lilies

2395. A pair of loons and their baby
2396. Walking into a clean home bright clean floors - thanks Charissa
2397. The love of my husband
2398. My own bed
2399. Chat with Charissa
2400. Jocelyne got a new job being a nanny to twin boys
2401. Chat with Jocelyne
2402. Beautiful night sky
2403. Evening bird songs
2404. Sarah popping by for a visit
2405. Tea and bible study
2406. Cardinal song
2407. Lightening bugs outside my bedroom window
2408. Yard work with my husband
2409. Cool breezes while mowing the lawn
2410. A visit with good friends
2411. Lightening across the evening sky
2412. The sound of rain through my bedroom window
2413. Grocery shopping with Charissa
2414. Charissa out riding Daytona
2415. Summer breezes
2416. Walk to the Frink Centre with Charissa
2417. Visit with my cousin, her husband and their daughter
2418. Family, laughter in the night
2419. Cooler day
2420. Visit with my husband's mom
2421. Chore help from Alexandrea
2422. Refreshing morning walk with a friend up the road
2423. My son's heart
2424. Beautiful evening for a photo shoot

2425. Cool night for sleeping
2426. Visit to the sales barn and lunch out with my nieces and Alexandrea
2427. Stella in the water trough

2428. Ride on Tank for Alexandrea

2429. Two foxes running around in the horse paddock
2430. God's steadfast love
2431. A new day
2432. Breezes on a hot day
2433. Alexandrea's love for Daytona

Elmo thought he should help out by holding the lead too :-)

2434. Morning chat with Charissa
2435. Cooler day
2436. Beautiful clouds in the evening sky
2437. Movie night with the girls
2438. Bible study with friends
2439. Leaves shimmering in the summer breezes
2440. Downpour
2441. Elmo

2442. Charissa home for the weekend
2443. Nieces over for a visit, laughter
2444. Thank you card from Alexandrea

Beautiful smiles.

2445. Visit with Will, Amy and Lily

2446. Lily's smiles
2447. Divine moments, God speaking
2448. Cousin's watching out for each other
2449. Late evening chat with Jocelyne
2450. Cool morning
2451. BBQ and fellowship with friends
2452. My husband's obedience and courage
2453. The wind
2454. Laughter with Matt
2455. Visit with Jessica and the kids

Jessica's new friend :-)

2456. Quiet night
2457. Beautiful cool morning
2458. Chat with Jocelyne and Charissa
2459. Morning walks with friends
2460. My son's kindness
2461. Murphy is back
2462. Vulnerability
2463. Brothers and sisters in Christ
2464. Unique photography opportunity
2465. Hearts shared
2466. Dinner out with friends
2467. Stormy night skies, sheets of lightening
2468. Beautiful hotel room
2469. Time spent with youth from the northern Canada
2470. A walk through Ottawa by the canal
2471. Summer breezes on a hot day
2472. Barefoot on the lush green grass, cool on my feet
2473. Kids having fun at the lake
2474. All my kids home
2475. Cousins hanging out

2476. Smiles from Lily
2477. Family

2478. Morning rain and thunderstorm
2479. My husband's wisdom and love
2480. Honesty
2481. Conversations about Jesus with Aliyah
2482. Specialty tea from Jocelyne

2483. Cool morning
2484. Job completed
2485. Gently falling rain
2486. Thunder and lightening
2487. Card game with Aliyah
2488. Chat with Will before he heads to Germany
2489. Will and Matt's safe arrival to Germany
2490. Visit with Amanda and Ryan

2491. Reid's Dairy and a walk by the Bay with everyone
2492. Charissa home for the long weekend
2493. Visit with a friend
2494. Dan, Jocelyne and Aliyah home safe
2495. Small group sharing and prayer time
2496. Grocery shopping with Charissa
2497. Charissa out fishing with her dad and Kayla
2498. Quiet afternoon
2499. The smell of rain...only a few drops :-(
2500. Charissa out for a ride on Daytona

 Elmo's sadness at being left behind :-(

2501. The GREATNESS of our God
2502. Worship
2503. Ice cream cone on a hot day
2504. Country drive
2505. Hanging out with the nieces
2506. Forgiveness
2507. Will and Matt are back in Ontario
2508. Matt home, sharing stories from Germany
2509. The beauty of dew up close on blades of grass