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Archive for the ‘Provision’ Category


Because it’s been such a strange weather season in the Sierra Foothills where I live, the plants have had a difficult time knowing when to come out, but the weeds don’t seem to have that trouble at all. They are everywhere.

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Around my little cottage, A.K.A. my little shoebox, is a large area that I have to weed whack twice a year. Once when everything starts growing in the spring, then once just before summer when everything has turned a golden brown.

Usually this isn’t an issue. I just do the front yard in one day, and the back yard the next. Then a few weeks later, I do it all again. But, this year, I look at the whole expanse that needs to be done, and it just makes me tired.

I realized this after I dropped my son off at school and pulled the truck in the back of the house. The weeds – that look a little like wheat quite frankly, so they’re not unattractive, just tall – where way taller than they should be. As I sat scanning the yard, looking at them and how tall they are, I realized that I had only done one quadrant of one days work about two weeks ago.

That’s about 1/8 of the acre that needs to be done. In short, not a lot.

It felt like a heavy weight slowly oozed through me as I sat there trying to figure out when I would be able to squeeze in the time to get out the weed whacker and actually tackle them. Then it sunk in that not only did I not have time for another two weeks, but, I was just too tired to do it.

Sometime that’s just what happens in our live isn’t it? We have a task that we know needs to be done, something we’ve done without an issue for years, when all of a sudden it’s just overwhelming. We realize for whatever reason, we just are too tired to tackle it. Then on top of that comes the sense we’ve got such a long way to go to get it done, that doing it seems like an impossibility.

We can get to that spot in a lot of different ways, maybe your workload has become heavier, or there’s been a change in your lifestyle, or your child is transitioning to another level of life, or your parents are. No matter what the change may be, when added to the current load of life, it all of a sudden becomes more than we can handle.

It’s kind of like the old story about the straw that broke the camels back.

But, as children of the Great I Am, we are not called to handle these things on our own. He makes all things possible as we look at Him, not at our current impossibility. He will make a way for us, we just need to trust Him to do it. And, He’ll help us with that too.

“I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?”

Jeremiah 32:27

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The other day, I looked around during one of the many storms that roll across our neck of the woods and realized that our cat was nowhere to be seen. Now, this wouldn’t seem too unusual except that he usually makes sure he is very much near one of his people all the time, which many times literally mean underfoot.

Safe icon

What does safety look like to you?

I scanned the house for him, which took all of one minute because we live in a little shoebox of a cottage. Since the house is small, and he is large, I thought I’d be able to see him with no problem.

He is an indoor cat, and even though he’d be okay outside, we live near a very busy road, so whenever it happens that I can’t see him I wonder if he’s gotten out. But, this particular time, I knew he hadn’t.

So, I looked around the house again. And, again, he was nowhere to be seen.

Finally I asked my son, “Have you seen George?”

My son looked up from his book at me, then did a quick scan of the house and not seeing his cat anywhere nearby replied, “I don’t know, maybe he’s in his safe spot.”

George’s safe spot. I didn’t even think to look for him there.

So, I went over to my desk and bending down saw that he was under it, lying full-length, which is almost 3-feet tip to tail, where the back of the desk meets the wall. The spot is his favorite place to be when there’s too much rain, wind, thunder or lightning outside because it gives him a lot of shelter, but, also allows him to stretch out and be comfortable.

After I sat down, I started thinking how each of us needs a safe spot too. For many of us, it’s our home where we feel loved and accepted no matter what. But for some people it’s not their home, but someplace else where they feel safe. Either way, it seems to be our very nature to seek out and find that place where we feel safe and protected and able to just be comfortable in who we are.

And, that’s what the Lord provides for us in every situation, whether we are in a storm or in the calm. A place with Him where we are loved, cared for and accepted. So much so, that after a while we realize that without Him we can have none of those things in their totality. It is only with Him that we can experience that safe place that only He can provide because He is truly the only safe spot there is.

“LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.”

Psalm 16:5

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Buried treasure. It has a ring to it doesn’t it? Just saying the words brings to mind pirates, strings of white pearls, gold coins and the sweet scent of magnolia trees.

Magnolia tree

Buried treasure in an unlikely place, under a magnolia tree.

Magnolia trees?

For me, yes magnolia trees. Specifically, one magnolia tree, a giant of a tree that dominated my front yard when I was small. Its roots were like gnarled brown fingers swirling and digging down into the earth. I would sit between those roots and look up, especially after the pink and white flowers bloomed. During those times, it was amazing to see how the sun would filter through the petals and take in the scent that fell gently  to the ground.

The treasure of a magnolia tree

One day my next door neighbor, who was far more adventurous than I, suggested that we play buried treasure. This sounded like a great idea to her little sister and I, who would do anything she told us to.

“Great,” my friend said to me. “You go in and see what you can find.”

So, I did. I went straight to my mother’s bedroom and found a beautiful golden ring with three big gorgeous diamonds in it that sparkled every which way. I pocketed the treasure and promptly went outside, where we decided that under the roots of the magnolia tree was the best place to bury our treasure.

Digging holes

We dug and dug, until we had made a deep dark hole. We wrapped the ring in a piece of cloth – my friend’s only contribution to the treasure – where we deposited the ring from my mothers’ bedroom.

We lived in the house for many years after that. Whenever I would climb the magnolia tree or just sit underneath its branches enjoying the scent of the flowers, I would think about the treasure and where it was buried, between the two largest root fingers at the back of the tree.

The secret of buried treasure

I never told me my mom about the treasure and she never seemed to indicate that the ring was gone until many years later, when the house and the magnolia tree were just a distant memory. By then it was too late to go digging around in someone else’s yard, even though I still remembered the tree and the location of the treasure hidden in its root system.

Instead of a buried treasure, it became like so many treasures we bury, a lost one.

Lost treasure

I was reminded of this just recently, by a story of a good a friend of my mom’s. She lost her class ring 50 years ago. One of her heart’s desires was to have her ring back, and God provided that through circumstances that only He could. You can read the story here, Class ring returned after 50 years.

God returns lost treasure

I am amazed by what the Lord does with the treasures, whether they are physical treasures or treasures of ability, we bury or lose along the way. He knows where each one of them are. And, when the time is right, He is known to return them, which makes me think that maybe they’re not completely lost like we think they are, just kept in the hands of the Lord for safekeeping.

“The king asked the woman about it, and she told him. Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.”

2 Kings 8:6

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Light is a funny thing, living and static and the same time. If you’ve ever seen the way light overtakes a room pushing back darkness and replacing it with its own self, you’ve seen one the many amazing things that light does.

Where does the light of the Lord shine? Brightly, in unexpected places.

Nightlights

Just recently I was in the market for a night light. Since my son is a teenager now, I thought I was beyond shopping for those little darkness busters, but I’m now in that in between spot that many people are finding themselves in. That time when you are in between taking care of your children and your parents.

The experts call this time of life the ‘sandwich’ spot and I can see why, you’re raising one generation on one side and your helping to take care of the other generation on the other side. Basically, this means you need to think on two sides of the spectrum, which is why I was shopping for a night light.

Needing light to see

If you’ve ever had older people stay with you as guests, or even had a parent or parents move in with you, you know that they need light at night. They don’t need the light to banish the darkness, they need the light to see by so they can navigate the house without hurting themselves.

And, this is why I went searching for night lights just recently. My Mom needs a light to navigate her way through the house during the wee hours of the night. But, searching for a nightlight that fit the bill was no easy task.

Bright lights

First it had to be bright enough so she could use it to see with her failing eyesight, but not so bright that it was the brightness of a regular lamp. I searched high and low for just the right nightlight. I went to stores where I tried out high priced lights, and I went to drugstores where I found moderately priced  night lights. But, none of them fit the bill.

Finally, after I tried what I thought was everything I found myself in a dollar store with a friend and saw a basic – translated not too attractive, very utilitarian – nightlight at a price I couldn’t beat. Just a dollar. I laid my dollar with Washington’s face on the counter, and brought the nightlight home.

Perfect light

That night we tried it out, and it was perfect. The light was bright enough that my mom could see where she was going, but not so bright that you felt like you were on the landing strip of an airport.

I would never have thought the perfect light would be found at the dollar store. Then I started thinking, how many times do we look for the light of the Lord in the places where we think it should be? Yet, we find the brightest reflection of His light in places we don’t expect, that we may not look once at, let alone twice. But, He guides us to those places, so, we can see Him shine His brightest.

“The LORD is my light and my salvation,…” Psalm 27:1a

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Manna, bread from Heaven, God’s way of feeding His people when they came out of Egypt into the wilderness. When you think about it, manna was just an odd phenomenon from the beginning.

Out in the desert, the people complained that they had no food to eat. In their minds back in Egypt they had pots full of meat and ate all the bread they wanted. They conveniently forgot they were slaves to the Egyptians, and that God had heard their moaning against the Egyptians and came in to set them free.

 

Saj - Arabic flat bread

Bread feeds the body while the Word of the Lord feeds the spirit.

 

Amazing freedom

 

Set them free He did, with spectacular miracles and the saving of their firstborn sons from the Angel of Death, and not only the sons of His people but the sons of all that believed in Him and observed the Passover instructions. Really amazing when you think about it.

Yet, not much later, they were groaning and crying out, complaining that they had been brought out to the desert to die, and not to the freedom that God had for them. What was all the complaining about? Essentially it was because they had to believe God to take care of them while they made their way through the desert to the Promised Land. The caveat was they didn’t have the luxuries of Egyptian life – if you call a life of slavery accompanied by pots of meat and daily bread luxurious.

Food for His people

And what did God do? Did He blast them for their unbelief and lack of gratitude? No, He knew His people and said, “I have heard the complaints of the Israelites.” Exodus 16:11a then provided them with bread in the form of manna in the morning and meat in the form of quail in the evening. He fed them.

This was no easy feat, by some estimates over 2 million people came out of Egypt during the Exodus. Two million people scouring the desert for something to eat, 2 million people being fed by white flakes that appeared in the morning and disappeared as the sun rose.

Exactly the amount we need

But, manna wasn’t just handed to the people, they had to go out and gather it. Every morning they went out, except the sixth day when they gathered enough for two days because they needed to observe what would become the Sabbath. And everyone gathered exactly the amount they needed, not a scrap more, not a scrap less. When it was weighed no matter what they thought they gathered, they found it was just the exact amount they needed to eat for that day.

Just the exact amount of food for that day, each according to his appetite and age. And, isn’t that what God does with us and our spiritual food? When we take the time every day to be fed by His Word, we get exactly what we need, not too much and not too little, each according to what we need, but if we don’t take that time, we starve.

“At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will eat bread until you are full. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.” Exodus 16:11b

 

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English: Old Cottage

Image via Wikipedia

The other day I wanted to ask my almost 12-year old son a question.

Instead of just doing the thing that the experts tell you that you should do, which would be to try to find him and look at him full in the face in order to communicate with him more effectively, I did what most parents do. I yelled my question from where I was in the office to wherever he was in the house thinking he would hear me.

“Here I am,” yelled my son from the other room after I’d called him for the umpteenth millionth time. In exasperation after there was no response to my question, I needed to know if he was even within earshot. I needed to know if he was there. So, I said, very loudly mind you, “Where are you?”

Now I don’t want to give you the wrong idea that we live in a large house where it is easy to not hear someone. No, my son and I live in a two bedroom, two bath home that is very small. In fact, I often refer to it affectionately as my little shoebox. So, the fact that I had to find out where he was in it was somewhat comical considering I usually know where my cat is at all times.

But my son, he’s a different story altogether. He’s always moving around, seemingly never in the same place for more than a second or two. In my mind, he never seems close by at all, but whenever he yells back “Here I am”(this little scenario happens more frequently than I would like to admit) inevitably he is much closer than I ever expect. Usually just around the corner.

Isn’t this usually how it feels with God? He always seems like He’s moving around, and fast too, like we just can’t get a grip on where He is only to find that He’s been right in the mix, next to us the whole time saying “Here I Am”.

“Therefore My people will know My name; therefore they will know on that day that I am He who says: Here I am.”     Isaiah 52:6

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AC power plugs and sockets

Image via Wikipedia

With the Holidays fast approaching and the gift giving that accompanies them, I’ve been in gift thinking mode for a week or two. This comes long before actual gift getting mode, which is typically a lot more frantic because typically it’s done the week before Christmas, or even the day before for some of the kamikaze gift getters out there.

With the firm arrival of the technology age, it seems that you can’t look at anyone’s ‘I want’ list without seeing something that requires some sort of power source.

When my son was young, I remember certain trucks, cars and other small vehicles that at the very least took batteries you could get at the local store or, at the worst, required batteries that you could only get from the manufacturer along with a price tag to match.

Nowadays it’s Kindles, IPads and other devices that people want, and, they all require a power source too.

But, power sources are funny things when you get to this level of technology, gone are the days when you could just buy any old battery, or even a specially manufactured one, no, nowadays you have to have a battery and charge the device up too. When the power runs down, you have to charge it up again at the same type of power source you used before.

I’m always amazed when my son and I travel, that people now seek out electrical outlets so they can charge up their technology. Years ago, in an airport no one cared where the electrical outlets were, now they’re a sought after commodity and when you find one that’s not being used you quickly plug-in before anyone else can.

It seems to me that this is the way it is with our relationship with the LORD.

There are many times when we’re drained from the top of our physical selves down to the very core of our spirits, and when we look around at our lives many times we find it’s because we haven’t taken the time to reconnect with the source of all our strength and power, the LORD Himself.

The funny thing about this is that like a lot of the devices that need to be plugged into electrical outlets, that are pretty much everywhere, we too can plug into our life source the LORD anywhere we go because he is there, anywhere and anytime. We just need to take the time to look for Him, plug-in quickly then sit in His presence and absorb who He is.

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

 

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