Monday, May 30, 2011

What Does Your Sign Say, Part II

Last week I shared on my need to erect signposts along my journey to block the detours that take me off course.  One morning this week I was reading in Jeremiah.  How encouraging to read verse 21 in chapter 31. 
"Set up road signs;
Put up guideposts;
Take note of the highway , the road that you take."

Jeremiah is sharing how the Lord will bring his people back to their land after captivity.  As he shares this verse, he asks Israel to return to their towns.  We do need to pay attention to the road we are taking.  I don't want to wander down paths that lead to pity parties, waste of time, and self absorption.

Lead me Lord and guide my steps. Show me what signs to place where.  Thank you for calling me with you on the journey.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What Does Your Sign Say?

I was at Rejects Bar in the The Dumps the other day.  Actually, I visited the landmark place a few times that week.  No one bothers me there and the drinks are free.  That day I had a shot of Noone Likes Me But My Husband, followed by Friends Who I Always Have to Make the Initiative With, and then a tall draft of Why Does My Son Ignore My Phone Calls.  I leave dejected and convinced I'm unwanted.

I know better than to go there and on the way home no matter what impaired state I'm in, God's Spirit coaxes me into his thoughts. "Let me tell you all the ways I love you", he says. "My love is closer than a brother's.  I gave my life for you. You didn't choose me, I chose you.  And you're forgetting about the thank- you card you got in the mail this week from your mother-in-law.  She enjoyed having lunch with you.  How about the impromptu text from your daughter who was just checking in?  Weren't you at breakfast last week with some friends who enjoy your company?"

   "Yes, Lord", I whisper. "Will you help me stay the course and avoid the detours to my old haunts"?

These days I'm into building roadblocks in front of those often traveled highways that lead me to trouble.  You should see the signs I'm designing and erecting!

Stop! Killer of Joy just ahead!
No Outlet! Keep Out!
Toxice to Your Mental Health! U-Turn Now!

Will the strategy work? 

Recently, I was on the way to spend time with a friend.  I began dreaming of a tall chilled bottle of You're Going to Say Something to Turn Her Off.  I headed towards Rejects, my heart beat excelerating with anticipation.  Barely had I veered that direction when I saw the sign.  Yield to the Right! 

   "Ok, Lord", I wailed, as I braked and turned. "I want to go that way, but I don't want to go that way.  I feel so weak.  I want to yield this whole propensity-to-rejection-mess to you.  Will you make your strength perfect in this vulnerable place inside of me?"  As I headed back towards meeting my friend, I was counting heavily on his help to keep my heart at ease.

What places do you need to set a roadblock?  What will your signs say?  Sometimes Lord Jesus asks us to arm ourselves and carry out the strategies he gives us to fight the giants in our lives- like disciplining our minds with roadblocks.  Other times he asks us to be still and know that he is God and will fight the battle for us as we yield our weaknesses to him.

IIChronicles 20 tells the story of a vast army approaching Israel for war.  King Jehoshaphat cries out to the Lord and admits they have no power to fight.
   "We do not know what to do but our eyes are on you."  (Verse 12)

The Lord answers through a prophet.
   "Do not be afraid or discouraged...the battle is not yours, but God's...You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you." 

The enemies end up slaughtering each other, and all the Israelites had left to do was to go in and pick up the plunder.

If you're trapped in a bad habit, but have excused or ignored it's bad influence over you, God has plans for you to be free; to overcome.  Ask him to lead you to his Word, people, or resources that will move you into the battle.  If you've fought some enemy in your life and are panting from exhaustion and see little progress, he may be saying to just let go of the fight, hide in his love and be refreshed.  He will fight for you.

He loves you dearly, friend.  What he wants most is your heart tuned to his, and for you to trust in his strength and power. His signs will tell you the way.  His billboards advertise his love, his provision and his places to dwell.  May all your roads be well-marked as you travel onward!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Have You Been Dandled Lately?

Is. 66:12  For this is what the Lord says: "I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees".

My daughter and her family from FL recently visited us.  Baby Dominic captured my nana heart with his 5 month old sweetness.  I cuddled him close and bounced him softly in my arms or on my knee.  I could relate afresh to this Isaiah word picture.   I'm a word lover so I had to look up dandle in my Webster.  Dandle-"to move an infant up and down in the arms or on the knee; fondle".  The Isaiah phrase in the Amplified Bible reads, "carried on her hips or trotted on her knees".

Strong's Concordance associated the word dandle with taking joy and delight in something.  My daughter expressed such joy when she described the incomparable feeling she had seeing Dominic's countenance ooze delight when he saw her face, and the tenderness when he momentarily stopped nursing to just gaze at his mother and smile.

That whole magnificent exchange is captured beautifully in Isaiah's depiction of Jerusalem like a mother who nurtures and coddles; like our God's motherly comfort to his people.  May you feel the love today.  Drink deeply and snuggle close.  Linger, loiter and enjoy His delight in you today.