How Big Is Your World?

Wikipedia.com

This thought came to mind as I listened to my 89 year old grandmother talk about life last week on her birthday. She told stories of her childhood and talked about friends and family members who have long crossed over. She talked of her small southern town that she loved so much, and she spoke of her world travels with the love of her life who passed away almost 16 years ago.

This thought came to mind as I perused through my pictures from our recent trip to Ukraine, and again, when my husband and I were asked today how many countries we have been to. We spoke of our combined travels to Ukraine and Bahamas, his trips to Israel and Central America and my long ago childhood trip to Haiti, all mission trips of one sort or another. It lead me to remember others who have traveled so many more times and to so many more places throughout the years, All reaching someone for a cause.

This thought lead me to think of how small our orbits can become in day to day life and how big our sphere becomes when we reach out beyond where our comfort lies. Will we remain for dependability, or will we go for availability? Will we resist out of fear, or will we embrace out of love? It’s all in the choices we make.

So, I ask you again, How big is your world, really?

https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/space/milky-way/#milky-way-2.jpg

Choosing to Drive

 

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autoblog.com

In driving school, you must choose to hit the brake or accelerator depending on where you need to go and how fast you need to get there. You hit the brake to avoid mishaps, accidents, or when you are feeling unsure, and you need to create a little space and time to think and consider your next move. You hit the accelerator when you want to get somewhere a little faster or when you are feeling more confident in your position and the vehicle which you are driving.

 

In our relationship with God, we have these same choices. When He gives direction, we can push the accelerator and “ride like the wind,” totally depending on His leading. We can hit the brakes, believing we know better or just allowing our fears and doubts to override. When God says, “It’s not time,” we have the choice to hit the gas or slam the brakes, choosing to allow Him to guide or our own wisdom to rule the day.

In every moment and at every command, we have a choice to remain in the car behind the wheel, with God as our guide, or to get out of the car and leave the path when times get too tough. It is all in our choosing, but if we will stay closer to His hand and listen more closely to His voice our choices can render better results. If we will seek His understanding rather than our own, our end destination will be less hazardous and more beneficial.

So, ask yourself today, “Who will be my guide? … To whom will I listen and obey? … To whom will I surrender my will and my way?”

The choice is yours…

 

 

Different Perspectives

“Two people can be looking at the exact same direction and yet see two completely different things. It’s all in each individual perspective.”  – P. Ortega-Santiago

A friend of mine quoted this the other day, and it started me thinking. This statement is so very true! You can have two people looking in the exact same direction, looking at the exact same thing, and they each may see something completely opposite. This is proven in every art gallery across the nation. It will be proven in every phychologist’s office every day, and it has been proven in every home, in every marriage, and in every family for centuries of time.

People are different, and they see things in different ways. They come from different backgrounds, different experiences, different surroundings, and each of them have been impacted in very different ways. If we fail to recognize this truth, especially those of us who are in leadership, we will find ourselves in a world of hurt and confusion!

We cannot expect another person to understand, accept or realize our point of view, simply, because we have stated a fact. We should not demand another to see it only our way, simply, because we wish it so; they may never “get it” like we believe they should. People are people, and they will always be people.

Now, some would use this philosophy to push a certain agenda, religion or method of thought and reason. Some would use this line of logic to insist you see things their way and meet their expectations. Others will insist this information is meant to allow for tolerance or even to empower intolerance to a certain group, sect or organization.

Yet, can I tell you? Once you begin to expect everyone you meet to agree with your given perspective, even when it comes to a claiming of tolerance, you begin to isolate yourself from the very “open-minded and impartial” group of beings with which you claim to associate. There will be people who disagree with you in this life, but that’s ok. There will be people who never see it your way; that’s ok, too!

You’ve got to decide for yourself what is right and true. What is absolute truth for you? What do you use to measure this truth? Whom do you follow? Are you the smartest person in the room? I hope not. If you are the smartest person you know, you can never learn more. You can never be challenges to grow and to change.

You must follow someone who is smarter than you, bigger than you, someone who is beyond your tiny world. This is why I choose to follow God, the Creator of the universe. He is so much wiser, so much bigger, so beyond my world and even my universe!

He spoke and there was light. He spoke again and the heavens came into being. He picked up dust and formed you and me. He sent His Son to save a dying world. He healed the sick, delivered the insane, raised the dead and still does. Why wouldn’t I want to follow Someone this great?

Yet, beyond all this majesty, He loved me before I was even born. He saved me, and He has given me a hope and a future! He knows the deepest, darkest parts of me; yet, He still loves me. He guides me, directs me and always leads me to a better place. He knows what is best for me and why I need certain things and not others. He gives me peace in the storm, strength through the pain and faith during times of doubt. He even left us a “manual” by which to know more about Him and His ways. Why would I not want to follow Someone like this?

His truth has been proven for centuries upon centuries. His love has been proven within my life, and everyday more people are turning to Him, even dying for His cause. He sent His Son, and it changed the course of time. He speaks and the mountains quake. He is all powerful, all knowing and all loving. Why would I want to ever follow someone or something else?

Why would you??

Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

 

Piercing Question

The Lord’s questions always reveal the true me to myself.                                                       – Oswald Chambers, His Utmost for My Highest

When God confronts us with a piercing question, one that goes straight to the soul, as He did with Peter in John 21:17, he strips our conscience of every other thought or good deed we might have done. He causes our heart to realize the truth in the answer.

This has happened at least once in my life. It was the summer of 2000. Joey and I had tried to have a baby for 13 months, and after much turmoil, heartache, and almost giving up and going to see a dr about it, the test had finally read positive. We were so excited!! We started planning, preparing and dreaming about this precious little one who would soon enter our lives.

Almost immediately, I got sick. Oh, the morning sickness was awful! As soon as my eyes popped open every morning, I’d run to the restroom. Well, even before my eyes would open, I’d feel that nausea. Yet, I didn’t complain. I knew this precious baby was growing inside of me, and the sickness was all worth it.

Two days before Joey’s birthday, we went to the dr for my first check-up. I was 10 weeks along. The nurse put the little sonogram instrument on my belly, Joey and I held hands as we awaited that precious sound of a heartbeat. The nurse blinked, frowned a little and tried again; then, she decided she’d do a vaginal sonogram. (Not fun. Not. Fun. At. All.) She turned the screen; so, we couldn’t see; then, she stopped and simply said, “You’ll want to get dressed, and the doctor will be in shortly to talk to you.” As soon as she shut the door, I burst into tears. As he held me, Joey said, “Maybe it’s not that bad, babe.” I knew without a shadow of a doubt; there’s was something terribly wrong.

The doctor came in, and after showing us on the screen what he was seeing, he told us the baby never grew after the second day of conception, that this is called a “spontaneous abortion,” or a miscarriage, and that I had been sick, because the placenta didn’t stop growing; therefore, my body still presumed I was pregnant, causing the morning sickness.

We were devastated. I had to have a D&C the following Monday to remove the placenta, and we left for my grandparents home in northwest Florida for a few days, just to regroup and process it all. While there, I prayed a lot, sought God for answers, questioned my faith and why He would answer my prayers only to take away my only dream in life.

You see, I was never bent on having a career, having prestige or even being great at a good job. All I ever wanted to do was be a mom. I just wanted to hold, love and nurture a little one. I just wanted to be the best wife and mother I could be. Now, I questioned if that was actually in God’s plan for me. I questioned if we would ever have any little pitter-pattering feet running through our home.

That is when God confronted me with the question. I remember it so vividly; the moment is forever etched in my mind. I was standing in my grandmother’s sewing room, looking through the glass door that looked out over the bay. I was praying, and God said, “Will you love Me even if you never have a child?” I just started weeping, and I knew, without a shadow of doubt, the answer within my heart: “Yes, Lord. I will always love You, even if You never give me the dream. How can I live without You?”

When He confronts you with His piercing question, there is no where to hide. There are no pretenses to hold onto. There are no lies to portray. The truth is revealed in your heart at that very moment, and you know it for the rest of your life.

Problem is, too often, we allow our lives to get so cluttered, so busy and so overwhelmed that we don’t allow Him the time to ask us. We don’t get alone with Him and give Him the opportunity to ask. Yes, He is God. I know, He can ask us whenever; yet, I have found, more often than not, He only asks those piercing questions when WE are ready for the answer. You see, He doesn’t need the answer; He already knows the depths of our heart. He knows what we’re going to say. The answer is for our knowledge. The answer is for our revelation of truth.

Get alone with Him. Open your heart and your ears to hear what He has to say. Let Him ask you those piercing questions, and you might just be surprised when the answer is revealed.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Best Companion for Life

Receive wisdom. It can be found when you look for it. It can be discovered when you seek it like a fine treasure. When wisdom is your ultimate goal, you will begin to find it even when you’re not really thinking about it and when you least expect it! 

 Wisdom can be gained from the old and young alike. It can even be obtained from those by whom you find offensive. It is amazing when you open your eyes, ears and heart to receive wisdom. You will find that it is all around you. You will see it, feel it, even hear it calling to you from the streets.

Wisdom will protect you. It will shield you. It will encourage you. It will improve you. It will give you courage, and it will keep you humble. I just can’t overemphasize the value of it. Wisdom is one of the best companion you can have in life. 

Have you ever seen someone who just simply refuses wisdom? Throughout their whole life, they constantly live from crisis to crisis. They are in and out of trouble, whether financially, emotionally, physically or relationally. They are unstable, unreliable and unpredictable. They are always broke, financially, emotionally or relationally, and they are always needing to be rescued from the pit in which they’ve fallen. If they remain this way, always believing things will be different, even though they return time and time again to their same previous chosen paths, they find themselves, at the end of life, wounded, lost, without jobs, surrounded by broken or, at the least, very conflicted relationships and, often, a trail of wearisome reputations follows close behind. 

But wisdom can be found! Wisdom can come in so many shapes and sizes. You can gain it by the very people surrounding you right now. It can come from family, friends, enemies and even complete strangers, from those who are older, wiser, more experienced, and even from those, maybe, not so old in years. It can come from books and teachings. If we’ll listen, we will find that it can even come from the mouths of babes. Have you ever had your child say something so profound, you knew it must be God? If you haven’t, just wait, your day will come! Wisdom can also come in the form of sorrow and experience. Just as a small child learns the stove is hot, and it hurts the hand when you touch it, our own failures and mishaps will teach us a better way. 

One of the best, most beneficial places it will come is The Word of God. I know, that may sound ‘old fashioned’ to some; this is definitely not a popular message these days, but it’s true. There is more wisdom within those bookends than any other book ever written. If you want to succeed in life, you must gain wisdom. If you want to grow, mature and encounter the joys of life, you must obtain wisdom. Wisdom never guarantees perfection, prosperity and riches. It never promises only sunny days that never see rain and only ‘smooth sailings’ with no knots in the line; however, it is an assurance which covers you like a warm blanket and guides you through those cold and dreary nights. Wisdom guides you through each circumstance despite the crisis, storm, or disasters that arise. It is an anchor that holds and a strong tower which can not fail.

Get wisdom. Gain understanding. Seek knowledge. You will be amazed at where life will take you when these are your life’s companions.

“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[a] wisdom. Though it cost all you have,[b] get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.” Proverbs 4:6-9