Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Devotional’ Category

It’s raspberry picking time again at my place on the Canadian prairies. The bushes are full this year, thanks to June rains after a very dry spring.

pixabay.com

If you’ve ever picked raspberries, have you noticed that after a rain they are harder to pull off the stem? Some innate force makes them tighten up so the rain doesn’t wash them off.

As I was picking and thinking about this, verses from John 15 popped into my mind: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine…I am the vine; you are the branches… apart from me you can do nothing” John 15:4-5.

Those of us who follow Christ are to remain dependent on the Vine, holding on tightly. When storms come, we are to tighten our grip even more.

Such a simple analogy but so important in our lives. We need the nourishment provided by the Vine, that is, Christ, and so we hold fast to Him.

pixabay.com

I’m thankful for this example from nature of how to live in the strength of God. May you also remain in the Vine as you go through your peaceful times as well as your storms.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Recently, some friends, bison ranchers, shared an interesting story they’d heard about these animals.

These massive beasts that used to freely roam the plains of North America, sustaining the indigenous peoples, are now being raised on ranches, but they are not tame.

John Stanley painting
pixabay.com

According to our friends, bison, or buffalo, as we used to call them, have never really been domesticated. They can be contained in strong, tall fences, can be shipped for sale—if they want to be loaded—but they are not compliant, nor can they be trusted. Owners cannot help with calving, and treating an animal is tricky.

The story they shared with us involved a female bison who needed to be treated for some ailment. A veterinarian had been called, and had shot a tranquilizer dart into the animal. She eventually fell to her knees but did not go down. The vet prepared to use another dart, because a bison that is not completely down is definitely not out.

Before the vet could fire his second shot, two more cows came alongside the tranquilized animal, one on each side, and drew close to her, effectively shielding her from the veterinarian. As a team, they pushed her to her feet and guided her forward. As she moved, the sedative wore off and became useless.

I was captivated by this picture of support.

pixabay.com

How often do we feel alone? How often do I see someone else who is suffering alone? Our responsibility, as children of God, is to come alongside and lift each other up. Guide the suffering one forward. Encourage by our presence.

Let’s keep this picture in our mind’s eye and try to remember to lift up those who are in need.

Read Full Post »

pixabay.com

It’s been a dry spring. We had little snow, no run-off, and only one tenth of an inch of rain to start off the crops and gardens. Not nearly enough. I mowed my grass a couple of times, but it was becoming brittle and yellow.

Then the rain came. A shower that amounted to over half an inch. It helped. The flowers perked up, and the ground drank every drop as it fell. Then the clouds dropped two more inches, and our world changed. Dry, dormant grass awoke and began to grow again. Crops flourished. Gardens sprung up almost overnight. Flowers nodded and smiled.

Sometimes we go through dry spells, and the reasons are myriad. Illness and loss, disappointment, financial trouble, all these can leave us temporarily stricken. Nothing to give, lack of energy, no motivation.

Just like the seasons of the year, our times of drought can deplete our resources. We need time, patience, and showers of renewal from the Lord in order to re-energize and move forward. Even small bits of input can increase our energy and inspire us to refocus.

This week I had to mow the grass twice. Even though it makes more work, the result is the luscious look of green that feeds both the eye and the soul.

pixabay.com

If you’re in a season of drought, take heart. It will not last. Nourishment of the soul will come, and with it, renewal. We only need to look up and believe in the Creator who knows exactly what we need, and often uses our dry times to prepare us for the busy growing season ahead.

Read Full Post »

I recently came across the following quote sometimes attributed to motivational speaker Tony Robbins: “If you do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always gotten.”

The quote resonates with me, because I am preparing to launch a new book the same way I launched the previous two, yet expecting it to sell better than they did. How can I honestly expect anything different if my plan of action is the same as it was? Or if I don’t really have a plan? Obviously, I desperately need to redirect the process this time.

              photo credit to pixabay.com

If my expectations aren’t being met, if my goals go unachieved, then something has to change.

How will I go about making the necessary changes?

  1. Become aware of the problem. In other words, stop pretending it’s not there. Stop denying.
  2. Decide what I want to accomplish. What are my goals? My expectations?
  3. Decide when I want to accomplish my goals.
  4. Decide how to meet these goals. This may take a bit more effort to break down, but this might be a good time to put the SMART method into action. I was reminded of this at an InScribe WorDshop I attended in Saskatoon this spring, in a workshop led by Sally Meadows, who expanded the acronym to SMARTER:

S — Specific

M— Measurable

A— Actionable

R— Risky (discomfort can be a catalyst for growth)

T— Time-keyed

E— Exciting

R— Relevant

  1. And one more thing. I need to make myself accountable to someone, at regular intervals. I need to reassess my progress from time to time. And I need that objective viewpoint to encourage me forward.

               photo credit to pixabay.com

Even if the changes I make are small, the outcome will improve. And life is for learning.

Read Full Post »

In my younger years, I had many role models, people I admired and looked up to. Usually, they were—in my estimation—older than I, smarter, morally admirable, and unfailingly kind.

As I grew older, I was often disappointed by these people. Either they acted in a manner unfitting for them, or they spoke unkindly to me or someone I cared about, or they turned out not to be as confident as I thought they were.

pixabay.com

I realize now that I held people up as examples when I shouldn’t have, but at the time, I needed someone to model myself after, people who shared certain expectations and beliefs I had for myself. I know now that while attempting to withhold judgment on others, I still must take care to evaluate the lives of those I set up to emulate.

Looking at it from the other side, how many times have I come up short in the eyes of others who may have held me up as an example? We don’t always keep this in mind when we act, or speak.

We can’t live to please everyone, but we can certainly aim to live within the values we claim to hold. My dad used to say, jokingly, “Don’t do what I do; do what I tell you.” But if we truly care about our example and our values, we will attempt to live accordingly. (Dad did a great job, by the way; one of my best role models.)

I still have people in my life who I value highly enough to emulate, but the only way I can think of to live it out myself is to follow the only unfailing example I know: Jesus. A perfect man who is also God Almighty. Others can and do inspire me. Others motivate me. But they can also disappoint. Jesus is the only one who doesn’t let me down. I don’t always understand his ways, but I know they are true and right and good. And I’m so thankful that he gives us the example to follow.

What reflection do we see in life’s mirror?

pixabay.com

 

Read Full Post »

Last night we listened to a short devotional podcast about a horse that ran in the Preakness Stakes and won against all odds, in spite of a stumble. The jockey clung to the horse’s neck, thinking every moment might be his last in a fatal fall. But he hung on and the horse kept running. If either the jockey or the horse had given up, they would never have won the race, and might well have been severely injured or killed.

The podcast reminded me of an incident in my life from at least fifteen years ago. We had invited friends over, and *Rose and I, both horse-lovers, decided to go for a ride. I hadn’t been riding much in the previous years, so my skills and flexibility had declined. Use it or lose it! But we had a lovely start to the trek across recently harvested fields bordered by shrubs in their autumnal glory.

However, when we turned out horses back to the yard, mine decided to run directly home, as fast as he could. He disregarded my tugs on the reins, so I grabbed one rein to turn him in a circle. My attempt was successful in slowing him down from his headlong dash, but in the meanwhile, I had unseated myself and begun to slip from the saddle. My arms and legs were quaking with the effort of holding on, and I considered just letting go and falling to the soft earth. But then I thought of the repercussions of such a decision: the ground might not be as soft as it looked, I might fall underneath instead of beside the hooves, I might land wrong and break an arm…

The short version of the story is that I decided I could not risk a fall. As difficult as it was to hang on, I did. *Rose managed to grab my horse’s bridle and hold him while I pulled myself upright, still shaking in every muscle.

Life can be a headlong dash, and often we are tempted to take an easy way out, too tired or discouraged to hang on. But if we consider the implications of letting go, they are often worse than the current struggle. With the love and encouragement of friends—and the odd blogger—and faith in the God who has it all planned, we can persevere, hang on, finish the race.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,

I have kept the faith…”

2 Timothy 4:7 NIV

*name has been changed

Read Full Post »

One spring day some years ago, while I was having a morning devotional and prayer time, a certain friend came to mind, and I felt I should drop in on her. To be honest, dropping in on people is not something I do often. But “they say” that if you hear the voice of God’s Spirit in your heart and ignore it, it will start to diminish. If you hear and obey, your recognition of the heart voice will gain strength. I decided to go.

When I entered the house of my friend and told her of the prompting I’d felt, she started to cry. She was going through a trial with one of her children that we had gone through with one of ours, and I was able to share my heart with her, pray with her, and assure her that in time, all would work out. Which it did.

Yesterday, I met a woman at church whom I had not met before. I introduced myself and we had a nice conversation, after which she invited me to come to her home for tea sometime. I called and arranged a time for later that week. Being an introvert who loves to stay home, I knew I had to do it immediately or I never would. I was already second-guessing my decision, trying to justify a way out. I mentioned it to my dear husband, and he said, “You should go.” A book I was reading included a similar instance that paralleled mine, and another book I was reviewing also suggested the same. Go.

I went. We had a nice chat over tea and found we were spiritual sisters. We may never be close friends, but I had obeyed the voice in my spirit.

The point is not so much the outcome, which isn’t in my hands anyway, but our willingness to obey the voice of God and follow through, to be involved in God’s ministry in this world, even in a small way.

I’m not always in tune with God’s promptings, nor do I always obey. But when I do, I feel joy that only comes from a growing relationship with my Savior. I pray the same for you.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: