Saturday, August 20, 2011

Left Behind - a Pile of Clothes

These two photos were taken at Red Rock Canyon in Nevada during a visit in April. When I took the picture, I didn't see an immediate message, but I was intrigued by the scene. There was something compelling about seeing this pile of clothes and shoes sitting all by themselves on top of a vast rock, with no one anywhere nearby.

It didn't hit me until I printed off the second picture showing the close-up. Then, it gave me chills. I suddenly saw it as a picture of what millions of piles of clothing will look like after the Rapture occurs. It's pretty powerful when viewed in that light.

I don't know what your belief is in the Rapture, but I believe Christ will come again and quickly gather up His children to take them up to Heaven some day (any day actually). Here's one of the scriptures that speak of that moment:

"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" Matthew 24:36, 40-41, 44.

The overwhelming importance of that message is that every person needs to be ready for that hour - of which no one knows when it will be. Acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior is vital to being included in that amazing moment of Rapture. You don't want to be one of the many left behind who will be thoroughly mystified by millions of piles of clothes left lying in strange places all over the world. You don't want to witness the reality of the photo in this post. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself" Romans 14:7
A couple years ago, we were staying in a timeshare in New Bern, NC. The beautiful lake behind the units seems to be a never-ending source of messages from God.
On this day, as I gazed across the lake's calm surface, a trio of ducks swam into the scene. As they approached, ripples spread out before them, generated by the paddling of their small webbed feet. I watched as the ripples gradually spread across the lake all the way to the opposite shore. Four more ducks joined the first three and their ripples joined in the action until the entire lake was affected by the action of these feathered friends.
I thought - there is surely a spiritual message in this powerful scene. Sure enough, God planted a picture in my mind of the influence each person has on the world around them. Even more, the influence everything has on everything else. Just as every raindrop ripples outward, every action (or even an inaction) affects the world around us.
Imagine - movement originating with this small group of ducks continues flowing outward forming concentric ripples that grow until they fill the entire lake. Those ripples affect not only the surface, but everything they come in contact with throughout the lake and even its immediate shoreline.
Lest you think "What I do or say doesn't really matter in the scheme of life" - consider the effect of small things - how about "the straw that broke the camel's back" or the missing screw that caused a plane to crash or the arrow shot at random that "happened" to strike King Ahab all the way across the battlefield.
The story of King Ahab's death is fascinating. Here's a bit of background on old Ahab. Ahab was king over Israel for 22 long years and as recorded in 1 Kings 16:30, he, "did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him." For one thing, he was married to Jezebel and followed her advice -- need I say more? If the old saying, "Behind every good man is a good woman" is true, then in this case, the opposite is equally true.
King Ahab's end dripped with irony and is further proof that whatever God wills to happen WILL happen. 2 Chronicles 18 and 1 Kings 22 both record the full story, but in brief, Ahab joined forces and went to war against the Syrians with Judah's King Jehoshaphat. God's prophet prophesied Ahab's death in that battle. Thinking he could protect himself from harm during the battle, King Ahab disguised himself as a common soldier so that the enemy would not target him. Near the end of the battle, the Bible says, "Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor..." (22:34).
That archer's arrow was like a ripple spreading across the lake. His action had an effect that he never dreamed could happen. A nation's history was affected by the archer's action. We might wonder if he ever discovered that it was his arrow which felled the great King Ahab. Whether he knew what he'd done or not, the deed was still accomplished.
King Ahab also produced ripples. As his final ripple reached the shoreline, the vastness of its impact was a tribute to the great God who overcame Ahab's futile attempts to save himself from God's appointed end and a further testimony to the fact that nothing in this entire world is random. There is no random in God's dictionary. He is in control of every atom, nanosecond and ripple, and we can rest in the security of knowing He always knows what's best.
What we say and do -- or don't do -- matters. God has a plan and a purpose for everything and everyone. If we fail to carry out our particular life work, who and what will that ripple, or lack thereof, affect? God uses individuals to accomplish His work and one person can make a difference - "So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land..." Ezekiel 22:30.
What a blessing and a privilege to know that by God's power and guidance, our ripples can impact eternity. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God" 2 Corinthians 3:5.
Remember, God's will WILL come to pass. Isaiah recorded this powerful fact in chapter 46:9-11:
"For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,' calling a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes my counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Butterfly Moment

"You are my God. My times are in your hands" Psalm 31:14-15

Oh, my, but God is good! No surprise, I know, but I'm reminded anew of His infinite control over every tiny aspect of His creation. Just this morning He gave me one of those miraculous reminders.

Here's how it happened: I was just beginning to eat breakfast and read from the daily devotion by Sarah Young, "Jesus Calling." I'd previously been thinking about the myriad of things I have to do and even making lists so I'd not forget something. The previous evening I'd written an email to my sister lamenting about how we're (she and I both) always so busy with weeks (and even months) of things lined up to do. So, that was my frame of mind at the moment (and much of the time, for that matter).

Here's what I read as if God was speaking to me: "Thank Me for your problems. As soon as your mind gets snagged on a difficulty, bring it to Me with Thanksgiving. Then ask Me to show you My way to handle the situation. The very act of thanking Me releases your mind from its negative focus...."

After I read that, I thought, "What actual problem do I have right now?" The most pressing "problem" that jumped into my mind was the feeling of being busy, unable to get everything done that I'd like and need to get done, and the inner whining that seemed to go along with it. So, right then, I thanked God for all the things going on in my life and asked Him to help me to have the right attitude.
Before my thoughts had even fully formed, I glanced out the window onto my deck and saw a beautiful butterfly sitting on the leaves of my hosta plant. I was stunned, because I immediately realized that God was reminding me of the message of the butterfly -- a message I myself had written about in "The Butterfly" in my Joy in the Journey book. I smiled with wonder as I remembered the quote by Rabindranath Tagore, "The butterfly counts not months but moments and has time enough."

Not only did He send the butterfly, but He caused her to sit on the leaf for perhaps five minutes -- not something you usually see. I thought, "In spite of this little gal's short life, she's taking a breather and relaxing on the hosta leaf before she continues her job." Once again, I smiled at God's way of teaching me to slow down and just do your job one step at a time and be sure and take a breather now and then. If I'll just stay on the path God has for me, I'll "have time enough" You're awesome, God!

Oh! That the great God of heaven who is busy keeping the planets spinning and hearing the thoughts of billions of people every second would so gently and lovingly place a beautiful butterfly on a leaf to remind me of His purposes -- it just blows my mind and brings tears of praise to this great, amazing, incredible God! Not only did He send the butterfly to remind me about time and purpose, but also that He hears every thought, even before it is fully formed -- another wonder that just overwhelms me. He is never too busy to answer my (and your) needs.

This Father God that we belong to, He is so able and so present always. As the child's song says, "There's nothing my God cannot do!"

"...He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" Philippians 1:6

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Path of Process

One morning I was feeling spiritually and emotionally "not at peace," and I didn't understand why. I sat reading my Bible and weeping -- not from anything specific, but just a lack of peace.

Only a few days earlier I'd spent a wonderful entire day with Jesus, reading His word, praying, meditating, singing -- it was a real high. Then, three days later, here I was crying. I wondered, why are my needs unresolved? Why has He not shown me the path He has for me and given me peace? Then, I suddenly felt Him say -- "It's a journey, a process. I have things for you to learn along the way." In that moment, an immediate peace descended on me and I smiled through the tears that were still wet on my face. I love the way Jesus personalizes and fashions things just for me (as He will do just for you!). Oh! He is so amazing!!

The photo I've chosen to highlight this "Path of Process" we must all go through in life was taken near Bend, Oregon atop what is called the "Big Obsidian Flow," caused by a long-ago volcanic eruption. Everything you see on the rugged trail I am carefully following is natural glass. What looks like chunks of rock and boulders are actually chunks of glass with ground-up glass and glass rocks poking up along the pathway. It was not a place to fall down! I walked slow and steady as we climbed to the top and then returned back to real land. It was not an easy path to follow at all, but it was quite an experience that I'm glad I took.

It reminds me how carefully we should follow the path of life God has set out before us. There will surely be some chunks of glass along the way, with hills to climb and descents to beware of falling on. There are dangers and it's not always easy, but it is so worth it in the end -- and praise God, He is there walking along the path with us all the way -- ready to help us when we stumble and to cheer us on our way. Thank you so much, dear Father!!