Monday, July 20, 2009

I Am A Light

Matthew 5:14-16 You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

There was a time when I first started to write when I felt like I had nothing to share. There were no experiences others would be interested in reading; no words of wisdom I could impart to make a difference in their lives. In my imagination, I rehashed the same old tired plots. When I tried my hand at non-fiction, that too seemed dull and lifeless.

"Why are you asking me to write, Lord? I just can't do this!" Like a hot potato, I dropped the $300 correspondence writing course I was taking and ignored the flicker of God's light from the dream He placed in my heart.

His light frightened me because it exposed the shadows of my heart - things I had hidden away because I was too ashamed and hurt to look at them; things about myself I frankly didn't want to know, much less to share them with others.

But God nurtured the tiny spark, gently blowing on it year by year, slowly adding kindling until the it burned small but steadily. He began to teach me about the darkness in which I hid, uncovering the pain and shame that bound me. The more things He helped me uncover about myself, the brighter my writing dream shone - I wanted and needed to share Him and the healing His spirit brings to a wounded heart.

I began writing again, haltingly with clumsy fingers around the pen. The words tangled in my mind and straggled onto the paper, but at least they were there in black and white. The halting flame of a dream inside my heart intensified to shed light to others along the path.

I learned that in order to be a Matthew 5 light, I had to understand the darkness inside myself. The more God teaches me about the person I once was and the person He is shaping me to be, the more His light shines through me. He gives the ideas, the words and the wisdom to share.

I no longer worry what I should write about - He has given me a whole heart full of darkness-to-light experiences to share. He has taught me that the emotions, thoughts and problems I struggle with are common to my sisters. I only have to be obedient and share from my heart. He will take care of setting that light on the hill so the ones who need His light the most will see it and respond.

Are you struggling with the dark issues in your life? Allow Him to illuminate and heal those issues - He will use His light to teach you what you need to know and them spread it to others. That's just the way Light works!

Monday, July 6, 2009

I am Blessed!

Psalms 84:11-12 For the Lord is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. O lord almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.

As I drove to visit my son on Friday, the sky was gray and overcast, full of long banks of clouds. Though it was mid morning, it felt like twilight because of the dimmed light. True, the clouds blocked the heat of the sun, making it a pleasant enough trip, but I found my muscles were tense and my thoughts somber, matching the grey skies. Though I prayed throughout the trip, the prayers felt dismal, centering on the problems my family and I were currently facing.

Nearing the Maryland border, there was a break in the clouds. In places the sun peeked through and created patterns of light and shadows as I drove through the heavily wooded areas. I suddenly realized that my thoughts had lightened too - I was concentrating on happier things and praising God for the sun's breakthrough. My hands no longer clenched the wheel and my shoulders began to relax as I enjoyed the ride once more.With each passing mile, my heart lifted until I was singing joyful praise songs to the Lord.

When we are in the throes of discouragement, it is difficult to remember how blessed we really are! Discouragement is like that overcast sky. The clouds or worry and care dim the sunlight. The size of the problems build, growing darker and more ominous causing torrential tears or resounding anxieties.

This discouragement/depression sequence can be debilitating. A tiny problem can mushroom in our lives, feeling so large until all we see are the dark sides of the situation. All we can feel are our tears and heavy hearts.When we reach this point, we've lost our hope. We just can't see how the situation can ever get better and we begin to sink into the muck and mire of a full-blown depression.

It's not something we can lift ourselves out of by just "pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps" and moving forward. We usually need help to overcome the debilitating defeat, discouragement and depression.

That's why God gave us the spiritual weapons of prayer and praise. He asks us to trade our threadbare garments of discouragement and to put on His beautiful garment of praise. It has Sonlight woven right into the threads and when we put it on, His light begins to lift our spirits. Just like the sun can lift our mood after the dismal rain clouds.

It is the power of God's Word and His Light that lift us up spiritually, mentally and emotionally. We can help the process by taking time to count our blessings each day. Each blessing is like a single beam of light. As we remember each thing God has done for us, we allow one Sonbeam then another and another into the dismal places of our heart until His powerful beams drive away all the darkness. No shadows can encroach on His light!

Like other areas of our Christian walk - it may sound like an easy "cure" for depression. But it's not easy at all. We may need to consciously and even forcibly direct our minds away from our worries and toward Him. Sometimes we sink so far into the mire of it all that we don't have the strength left to even direct our minds toward Him.

We need the help and prayers of our Christian brothers and sisters to encourage and lift us up. We may sometimes need medication to mellow the depression so we can function and begin to take the steps we need toward wholeness. The important thing is that we take positive steps toward overcoming the depression. Once we can begin to get God's Light inside us, the darkness will flee.

Though He is powerful enough to heal depression instantly, I think God prefers to do it slowly, In the slow step by step healing process He draws so close. He strengthens our relationship with Him and we learn to hear His voice more clearly.Those things can only be taught as we are held in His loving arms. Healthy sheep struggle to run and play. The tired and sick ones are more content to lay in His arms.

My prayer for you today is that you will learn to lay quietly in His arms, listening to His heart. There you will see and feel and hear His love for you. The dismal dark clouds will begin to fade and His love/Light will shine in your hearts and on your face!

Love to you all,

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I am set on a rock!

I am set on a Rock

Psalms 40:2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. he put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Amen

I have visited several beaches along the Eastern seaboard of the United States. Each one is unique and beautiful in its own way.

Most recently we visited the Gulf Coast in Florida. There the sand is powdery white, very fine in texture. The water is the most amazing shade of teal I have ever seen. The gentle waves lapped the shoreline and we were able to wade out several yards before it became too deep.

On the Atlantic coast of Florida, the sand is coarse, made up of the pulverized shells of long forgotten mollusks.. It certainly made a great abrasive for smoothing the skin of my ankles as I waded in the surf.

As a child, my family went to Wildwood New Jersey every year until I was ten. There the sand was a light eggshell color and fine in texture, similar to the Gulf Coast sand. The long, flat beach stretched for miles in either direction, but the water had more of a dirty green hue and was rarely above 60 degrees in June when we swam there. Occasionally a low, flat rock protruded from the surface of the sand, worn smooth by the pounding surf.

During my Bible College days, I visited the beaches in Rhode Island and Maine. What a sharp contrast to the beaches of Florida, stretching for miles, level with the water's edge. Here the surf smashes against cliffs, wearing the edges smooth. In some places the rock formations are riddled with holes from the tidal barrage. There is a lot less sand along the northern beaches - and the sand that is there is pebbly, bits of crushed rock worn smooth from eons of tumbling waves.

I think of this New England beach picture when I read Psalm 40:2 - walking out on an outcropping of rock and watching the surf smash at its base . Even though the water has smoothed the rocks below with its incessant pounding, it is still strong, secure, a sure foothold.

The Lord has given me a firm place to stand while watching the waves of life roar around me. He will endure over time, in spite of the barrage of sin, of sorrow and death. He is the only sure thing in my life and I can feel His resolute strength under my feet. Above the crashing of the waves, I can hear and sing a new song of trust. I don't have to worry or fear anymore because my God is strong - a rock, a firm foundation!

Praise Him!