Sunday, January 30, 2011

What Was I Thinking?

Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place?
Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies.
They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their Savior.
Such people may seek you and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob. Psalm 24:3-6

I'm not sure how to distill the vast wealth of treasures in this verse down to coherent thought, but as I read these verses this morning, it struck me that this is a summary of what the Lord has been teaching me through His Word thus far in 2011.

I've come to the conclusion that the one that we tell the most lies to is ourself.  I am quite good at it.  I tell myself things like "I'll never get it right," "I can't do it," "it's too hard," "The Lord is disappointed with you..." and these things tempt me to fear other falsehoods like "if you keep messing this up, God is going to give up on you. He can't forgive you endlessly."  When these are the thoughts that my mind is dwelling on, my emotions spiral out of control.  They start to lead me and I run to idols (for me, food) for comfort, I waffle in unbelief and my prayer life loses it's power.  I become a wounded warrior and I cower in the dark.  It's not a good place to be and having tasted the difference between darkness and light, I praise God that He lovingingly calls me forth out of darkness.

Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think upon these things."

The Greek word translated "think" here is logizomai.  It's an accounting term that tells us to take an inventory, reason, reckon, think on.  It's the same word as Paul uses in Romans 4 when he tells us that Abraham believed the Lord and it was "credited" to him as righteousness.  So, we are instructed to take an inventory of our thoughts.  What am I counting up in my head?  What am I accruing as who I am and what I can or can't do?

God wants us to dwell on what is "true".  Psalm 25:4-5 reads, "Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." What I can consider truth is greatly effected by my emotions but the truth of God's Word is unchanging.  "LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless" (not perfect, but as much as it depends on me, there is nothing between me and God or man that I have not tried to make right) "and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart."

Do you want to receive blessing from the Lord?  Do you want to have a right relationship with God our Savior?  Read His Word.  Hide it in your heart.  Find out what is really true about Who He is, who you are and what He can do in and through you.  Take an inventory of your thoughts.  How do they measure up with the truth of God's Word?  Have you become good at telling yourself lies?  Let's allow the Lord to begin changing that - beginning today.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Wooing the Wild

The Lord is showing me so much about His incredible love for us through the three horses that are on the farm we are purchasing!  We are making nearly daily trips out to what will soon be our "home".  What draws us?  Well, in addition to the absolutely beautiful frost on the trees, the wide open spaces, the millions of stars piercing the black, night sky... we are drawn to the pasture that is home to "Angel", "Sunshine" and "Sarah".  Angel is somewhere around 15 years old while her 2 colts are around 6 and 7.  They have only ever been halter-broke.  Due to circumstances beyond his control, the owner hasn't spent any time with them the past number of years and they have grown somewhat "wild".  But we love them.
I can't explain why.  We just do.  And so, over the past number of weeks, we have begun "wooing" them.  It's been our delight!  We take them their favorite treats and introduce them to new ones.  We keep them well-fed and after the events of "By Bit or Bridle" (, we have made a path through the deep snow for them that leads right up to our barn.  Though they don't understand all that we say, we just keep talking to them because they are learning to recognize our voices.  I think they're even starting to recognize their names!

When we first started visiting them, we'd have to search the pasture to find them.  They'd approach us cautiously and sniff the treats we offered before they chose to sample them.  My husband even tied on snow shoes and coaxed them to the barn the first time - bribing them with carrots all the way!  But now, they are beginning to stay closer to home.  When we approach the lane, we roll down the window and call their names.  They gallop to the place where we'll meet to feed them.  Much to our delight, they are learning to trust us!

We've started brushing them and they seem to like our grooming touch.  Sarah absolutely loves to be scratched behind her ears and Sunshine requires the odd scolding when she doesn't share the food.  Though sometimes they back away when we take a hold of them by their halters, they are pretty lame attempts at resistance.  We are wooing the wild.

How much more does our Heavenly Father woo us?!  He is persistant in His kindnesses to me.  He keeps coming to meet me with His hands full of provisions.  When I am wandering away from home, He calls my name.  He even blazes a path out to get me when the way has grown too deep.  Though I don't understand everything He is teaching me all of the time, He just keeps talking gently to me.  And I'm learning.  I'm learning to trust His touch and even His correction.  I'm learning to trust HIM. 

I think this will be the theme for 2011.  I can see, by watching the horses, that it's going to take some hard work for them to get to really know us.  But it's not drudgery to me.  It's a wonderful adventure!  And I'm sure that this year with my Lord will only be more so!  He loves me so much more than we could ever love these old horses!  He's committed to working with me, teaching me, grooming me... loving me!

"for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose." (Philippians 2:13)  "The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it." (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

And I'm so grateful!