Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Misplaced Satisfaction

"...Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because we cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." C. S. Lewis

We are far too easily pleased. Does that sentence awake your senses? With Christmas just past, many gifts were received and appreciated. We might have heard or spoken words that declared our enjoyment. I think it's lovely to find pleasure in the thoughtfulness and love of others expressed in tangible ways, but we need to be cautious that the gifts don't take precedence over the Giver.

Where do we find satisfaction and contentment? Is it in the "mud pies"? There is so much more. The concept of satisfaction is often me-centered. It's core inwardly directed at self-interest. It's all about me and the fulfillment of my need or want.

I long to be fully satisfied in the Lord. Not with crumbs under the table, but feasting on His Word and meditating on Scripture, so that my delight may be found in Him alone.

Dear Father, I confess to You the many times that my heart has been content with lesser things. I repent of the times I have sought enjoyment through other means. They are not wrong in themselves, but when my focus is fixed on the delight they bring, I have lost my passion in pursuing you. I have become side-tracked, and like a little bird splashing in puddles I am missing the refreshing expanse the ocean of Your presence provides. Lord, I lay at Your feet today all that I strive so hard to hold on to, and I reach out for You. With hands empty, fill me with Yourself.

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Monday, January 2, 2012

An Open Door

"...a great door for effective work has opened to me..." 1 Corinthians 16:9

Closing the back cover of Marybeth Whalen's book, "She Makes It Look Easy", tears filled my eyes. Although only a fiction story, it held much truth. I had identified with several of the characters and longed for similar desires of friendship to be fulfilled.

Earlier in the story, Marybeth described a gate between the properties of two neighbours. Her writing posed a question I am still pondering. Do I view a gate as positive or negative? Do I see it as access or exclusion? As possibility or prevention? Permission or prohibition? Being received, or being rejected?

This morning I have read that a great door for effective work has opened to me. God is calling me to ministry. At the moment, the door may be open, but I have no idea where it is leading. I have a choice to continue peering through, or begin passing through. I am unaware what's on the other side, however the Lord is opening an opportunity.

Dear Lord, it's exciting for me to think that You have a new adventure for me to begin this year. As I reflect back over 2011, countless doors seemed to close...with force! So many plans were denied. I lived months being fenced in physically, unable to take part in activities due to health restraints. This morning an open door is ushering in freedom. Lord, You are saying that the time has come to return to living. You have strengthened my body, birthed new life in my soul and a vast world of possibility lies before me. Unlike Mary in the "Secret Garden", it is not I who unlocked this gate. You have opened it for me. May any fear be conquered with courage. Lord, keep me from hesitating too long at the entrance. As Charles Stanley has said, "Standing before an open door never resulted in a single changed life".

As my hand touches wrought-iron, my heart fills with hopeful anticipation.

"Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this." 2 Timothy 2:7

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

In Step With My Savior

Joy, "walked with God". (Genesis 6:9)

Having medication prescribed recently after being diagnosed with both high blood pressure and high cholesterol, I am serious about returning to an intentional exercise program. For years I was faithful to a walking regimen, but over the past twelve months I have fallen away. Surgery, cancer and chemotherapy interrupted my life. Although I tried to walk as often as I could, the pace and practice of this daily routine suffered. Not only have I been physically weak, but my resolve waned. Motivation and muscle strength disappeared.

With a New Year before me I am determined to reclaim my health. I enjoy a power walk, but look forward to it even more if accompanied by a friend. Unfortunately with everyone's commitments to work, family, and life, I've yet to find a daily walking buddy. It would be so wonderful to find someone who had the same dedication and desire, as well as time available. I have a couple of friends who each can sometimes accompany me one day a week, but I need accountability and consistency. I've been praying for the Lord to supply a walking friend.

This morning I was reminded of a Friend who longs to walk every twenty-four hours of each day with me. He wants to talk to me along the pathway of life. He wants to listen to my heart. He longs to lead me down meadow lined trails of delight, across bridges of opportunity, over pavement cracks of disappointment and doubt, around fields of fear, through forests of unknown and beside quiet streams of stillness and rest.

Regardless if anyone joins my daily meanderings, I have a Companion for the year's journey. I do not walk alone. The Lord Himself walks with me down pathways in His presence.

Lacing up my running shoes. I have a walking date with God.

Dear Lord, as I walk into this New Year, enable me to be faithful. Guide my steps in righteousness and keep my feet from following evil. Help me pursue peace, flee temptation and run the race You have chosen for me. Do not allow me to stray if wider, open paths appear easier. When I want to stop and sit on a bench of complacency, unsettle my heart and cause it to beat again with a rhythm of renewed passion and desire. Help me not to make excuses on rainy days of disappointment or cold days of despair. Give me courage to climb each mountain, patience in every valley and strength for the rugged terrain. Keep my feet from slipping and my eyes open to the needs of others travelling this journey. Thank You for being my drink of cold water, quenching my thirst, and the daily manna to my hungry soul. If distractions threaten to lure me away, let me hear and heed the prompting of Your Spirit. May I never turn away, around or race ahead, but purposefully place each step in the imprint You leave before me because Your footsteps are always safe to follow. May I remain all year in step with my Savior.

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