Friday, January 19, 2018

Alone, Lonely or Solitude

My word(s) for today are ALONE, LONELY, SOLITUDE.
ALONE: having no one else present; on one's own.
LONELY: sad because one has no friends or company; friendless, forsaken, inner emptiness
SOLITUDE: withdrawal for privacy and peace

A few days ago I was in Austin with grandchildren, then I was back home in Frisco with my family plus I attended church and several meetings, and today, I'm in Tulsa to be with my family here and for a conference. With all that “on the road again and busyness”, right now -- I don’t have time for being ALONE, LONELY or even finding SOLITUDE. But, that’s okay!!

Just a little “inside” information. Because of the 24/7 hours a day of living/working/playing together for most of our 44 years of marriage, I really never knew LONELINESS, or for that matter, being ALONE. But, seasons changed when my sweetheart graduated to heaven and I had the opportunity for being alone and lonely. I’m pleased to say “I chose neither.” I chose a sweet place of SOLITUDE. LONELINESS is inner emptiness and SOLITUDE is inner plenty especially when our inner plenty includes acknowledging our Plentiful Father is always with us. I said it before, I say it again – Emmanuel – GOD WITH US!

Now don’t get me wrong. I love hanging out with my friends, attending church, shopping, playing games, traveling, socializing, being a part of women’s groups, prayer groups and spending as much time with my kids and grandkids as possible. But, right here at the front side of 2018, I'm embracing any time I can for SOLITUDE. It’s a journey of choice -- from “It’s all about me and what I don’t have and what I need”, TO “It’s about personal maturity and communion with God Who assures me I am NEVER alone, that He has plans and a future for me and His plans for me far outweigh my plans for me.”

Jesus explained His SOLITUDE like this in Matthew 16:32 “The hour is coming when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me ALONE. Yet I am not ALONE for the Father is with me."

I understand SOLITUDE is the opposite of companionship and both have their places. I love spending time with my besties and my family. But I also understand the importance of “being still and knowing He is God.” Psalm 46:10. That is where my strength for today and hope for tomorrow comes from. I know "The Way" I need to go, "The Truth" I need to know, and "The Life" I live is in Him alone. (John 14:6).

Feeling lonely? Need love? Seek Him. You're not alone. God's arms are open wide and when you hug Him? No contest. He will always be hugging you way longer than you could ever hold Him. After all, He’s our “Good, Good Father” and He knows what’s best for us and He loves to embrace and tell us "I love you and you are mine!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Persevere AND Stand Firm

PPERSEVERE is defined as: carry on, keep going, be persistent, follow through, keep at it, but it also means to stand one’s ground, STAND FIRM, stay the course, unmovable, and hold on. Persevere AND stand firm -- almost sound like contradictions to each other. Keep going, but unmovable?

In this photo is a little desk plaque that Mom gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago. She said, "I saw it and I just knew I had to get it for you." The words on it are "STAND FIRM....Be strong and immovable, always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless." 1 Corinthians 15:58. When I received it, I'll admit I thought "Uh oh, Lord, what is it that I'm going to need those words for this year? Also, in the photo is a rock I received at a meeting and underneath it is the word "perseverance". That's a double word exhortation for me. PERSEVERE and STAND FIRM.

I looked for the message behind the message and the message is clear. Each of us, in our own lives, are dealing with stuff -- circumstances, people, situations, challenges and decisions to be made. It's enough to give us tummy butterflies and jitters. That scripture in 1 Corinthians gives us a step-by-step way to handle our anxieties and our impatience.

gain, STAND FIRM means to be unmovable, holding a position of "heels dug in" with bulldog tenacity. Someone who has that bulldog tenacity is unmovable. Their heels are dug in. Bulldogs never quit. If they get hold of your leg, they won't let go. They are known for their tenacious spirit. They are actually bred to be tenacious.

We may not know what is up ahead for us in this new year, but I intend to remember to PERSEVERE "enthusiastically" in whatever God calls me to -- especially in the work I do for Him, and STAND FIRM in my trust in His unwavering love for me that assures me that everything is gonna' be alright and "in due season I will reap, if I don't faint.....while standing firm". Father knows best and His promises are true. I'm going to PERSEVERE in my faith and STAND, and when I've done all to stand....I'm going to keep on standing. I won't give up, until I'm taken up.

The next time we find our courage tested to the limit, let's remember that God is as near as our next breath, and He offers strength and comfort to His children. He is our shield and our strength; He is our protector and our deliverer. Whatever our challenge, whatever our trouble, God can help us PERSEVERE. And that’s precisely what He’ll do if we ask Him. Our job is to keep PERSEVERING until He does.

I'm thinking that I'll start introducing myself this way: “Hi, my name is Donna, but you can call me 'Bulldog'!”

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

EXCEL – The Attitude AND the Spreadsheet

My Word of the Day is: EXCEL – To perform exceptionally well in an activity or subject; surpass limitations, skillful, talented, soar, to be outstanding, stands out, unparalleled, without equal.

When I was googling for the definition of EXCEL, I came across the Microsoft EXCEL electronic spreadsheet history. I remember our first access to electronic spreadsheets was the Lotus 1-2-3. Eventually Microsoft developed a new spreadsheet called EXCEL which started with the intention to do everything Lotus 1-2-3 did, but do it better. And they did. In just three years, Excel started to outsell Lotus 1-2-3 and helped Microsoft achieve the position of the leading PC software developer. Excel really did surpass the others and today is the industry's standard. I took a continuing ed course to learn all the how to’s of Excel years ago. I EXCELLED at using Excel and today it is still my "go-to" for my accounting and data spreadsheets.
Now, a turn to God's Word and EXCEL. This was an eye opener. In 2 Corinthians 8:1-11, the Apostle Paul was speaking about the folks in the Macedonian churches. In verse 2 he said "In the midst of very SEVERE trials, they had OVERFLOWING joy and their EXTREME poverty welled up in RICH generosity." Did you get that? They were experiencing SEVERE trials, but had OVERFLOWING joy. They lived in EXTREME poverty but were RICHLY generous. In verse 7, Paul encourages the Corinthians by saying "Since you EXCEL in everything -- in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also EXCEL in this grace of giving." WOW – don’t those words pack a punch? God is impressed when we have overflowing joy in the middle of trials and He's even more impressed when we're generous during times of lack. I like the synonym of EXCEL "soar -- surpass limitations". I’m grabbing hold of that word and those definitions. I desire to soar, surpass limitations and, as Paul mentioned, "EXCEL in everything" -- in faith, in speech, in knowledge, and above all, in the grace of giving this year.

Giving comes in so many forms: a hug, a smile, an encouraging word, a compliment, time, treasure, and a host of other ways to EXCEL in the grace of giving. I'm going to be on the lookout for ways to EXCEL by being an extravagant GIVER this year.

As I think about the power we receive in our relationship with God, I’m expecting that EXCELLING will be the norm. When we take that relationship to others, indeed we will be enjoying a year of continual EXCELLING. Let's EXCEL together as we truly become extravagant GIVERS this year!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"I'm Getting ENGAGED in 2018!"

I heard someone say that, and I thought "So am I". Hers meant making a commitment to getting married. Mine meant I'm purposing to be less distracted and more on-purpose to give my full attention to those I encounter. It's looking into someone's eyes when they speak to me -- giving them my undivided attention. I want to be ENGAGED and present in a family game watching a movie together, going to church together, or simply enjoying a meal together without interruption.

My word for today is obviously: ENGAGED -- which means capture attention, grip, captivate, absorb, pledge, contract, promise, agree, bind oneself, interlock, unite.

Have you ever "ENGAGED" someone in conversation, only to see them looking away or looking at their watch or phone? How did it make you feel? On the other hand, was it you that someone was speaking to, and you didn't seem to care about what they were saying by your body language?

While I want to do better in being ENGAGED and in the moment this year, I want to be "ENGAGED" in listening for God's voice and cultivating my relationship with Him as though I were ENGAGED to marry someone. When my sweetheart and I were engaged, we spent countless hours on the phone. We couldn't get enough of "talking and sharing" with each other. He was ALWAYS on my mind. My focus was on him -- morning, noon and night. I was ENGAGED and I acted like it in my thoughts and daily interactions with him. Remember when St. Peter had the courage to get out of the boat and walk on the water to Jesus? He did, but then his eyes looked away at his circumstances, and he nearly drowned (Matthew 14:29).

Most of all, I want to be ENGAGED in my walk with God -- seeing Him everywhere I turn, keeping my eyes on Him, and listening for His voice. When I do that, I will see, hear and know the path to walk in. He is THAT important to me.

In dog obedience training, they put a dog at one end of a room and its master at the other end of the room, with a plate of food in the middle. And then the master calls the dog. If the dog eyes the food, he’s a goner; he’ll go straight for it. So they teach the dog to focus his eyes on the master. If the dog keeps his eyes on the master, he won’t be tempted. Instead of heading for the food, he’ll head straight to the master.

If we keep our eyes on our Master, we won’t be distracted. As we get our minds off our circumstances and our problems, and focus on God’s goodness, His closeness and His power will be in our present and in our future. Being fully ENGAGED with the one Who is fully ENGAGED with us.

“Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.” Hebrews 12:2

Monday, January 15, 2018

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Happy Martin Luther King Day!
I segue from my “word of the day” to this “phrase of the day”.

When I think about that greeting, I can't help but think about the price this man paid to have a day named after him. With a quick google "What does it take to have a Federal Holiday named after you?", I found that it wasn't such an easy task. Apparently, the notion of creating a Martin Luther King Day met with much controversy. Two of the main arguments by opponents were that a paid holiday for federal employees would be too expensive, and that a holiday to honor a private citizen would be contrary to longstanding tradition (MLK had never held public office). Only two other figures have national holidays in the U.S. honoring them: George Washington and Christopher Columbus. But, President Ronald Reagan approved the creation of the holiday, signing it into existence on November 2, 1983. The first official Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, held the third Monday in January of each year, was held on January 20, 1986.You're welcome. Now you know the answer to that question, too.
Martin Luther King Jr. lived an extraordinary life. At 33, he was pressing the case of civil rights with President John Kennedy. At 34, he galvanized the nation with his "I Have a Dream" speech. At 35, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. At 39, he was assassinated, but he left a legacy of hope and inspiration that continues today. I'm one of those he inspired. Those years were some of my first awareness of the atrocities of racial discrimination and the civil rights riots that made us feel like our country was falling apart. It really was. For the love of God, how could this happen to "one nation UNDER GOD"?

I remember how this honorable, passionate, audacious, bold and courageous "Baptist minister" gave his life to change our world. I remember his words just before his assassination in 1968: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." MLK was in good company with those words. In Matthew 5:44, Jesus said “Love your enemies! Bless them that curse you! Do good to them that hate you! Pray for them who spitefully use you, and persecute you!” Doesn’t that sound just preposterous? How could I possibly love someone that hurt me or rejected me or cursed me? How absolutely IMPOSSIBLE these words seem to be! Only through the supernatural power of LOVE -- God's love can it be possible.
Relentless passion in pursuit of a dream is what men AND women like MLK are made of . . . and look what one life did to change HIS world. To think and speak on behalf of others is noteworthy, to serve and act on behalf of others is heroic, but what do we call someone who gave his words, actions and life on behalf of others? Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the few people in history who has so profoundly changed the world in such a short time. His visions and actions for social unity, racial brotherhood, true peace and social welfare were not only carefully thought and weighed, but also acted upon with strategic finesse. MLK fought the good fight and kept the faith.
Lord, help us to love relentlessly and pursue the dreams you would have for us to invest our lives in -- to make this world a better place for just having been here. Thank you, MLK, for your example of "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Here We Are to WORSHIP

Here I Am to Worship
My word of the day is: WORSHIP -- the feeling or expression of reverence, adoration, exaltation, honor for God (the dictionary says for a diety, but in my case – the only ONE who deserves WORSHIP is our ONE TRUE GOD).

This morning my Christmas season is officially over as I return home from caring for my two youngest grandsons in Austin while their Mom and Dad have been celebrating their annual “anniversary honeymoon” trip that takes place after Christmas each year. I’ve savored these precious times with my boys, but now it’s back to God and me in my everyday of life.

I can’t resist – just one more post about those very wise, Wise Men. Last Sunday was the celebration of the Epiphany of the Lord when they arrived at the Holy Family's home to WORSHIP the child-king. The final scriptures of the magi’s visit give us our basis for WORSHIP – my word for today. After they had WORSHIPPED the newborn King, “Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.” Matthew 2:12.

That verse has two great points: One, they had been WORSHIPPING the child-king and out of that intimacy, God spoke to them and revealed dangers up ahead. After all, King Herod’s plans were to kill all the little boys because he suspected one of them would take his throne. God looked out for the magi because they gave their best in WORSHIP to His Son.

What about us? When we go into that secret place with God and we honor Him by our WORSHIP, aren’t we being wise children, men and women of the Most High? God is no respecter of persons. Why wouldn’t He give us wisdom for our future and the dangers that could lie up ahead and why wouldn’t He instruct us to go another way instead of the way we had planned if our way proved to be dangerous, off course or even the longest route. Just think about the Hebrews wandering around in the desert for 40 years and in reality, it was only an 11-day trip (Dueteronomy 1:2) – had they stopped to spend more time WORSHIPPING than complaining?

The second point in Matthew 2:12 is the Wise Men did go a different way. What about the plans we make for ourselves – those goals, resolutions and plans? Proverbs 16:9 says “A man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” When we live a faith-filled life of trusting and WORSHIPING God, we can count on His wisdom and direction.

Psalm 37:23 says “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and He delights in his way.” If the Wise Men had a dream that sent them another direction, we can be confident that if our plans are altered, it will be for our good and in our best interest to take that different path. Just maybe our plans are not God’s plans, and if we are willing to be tweaked, then like the Wise Men, we, too, will be wise enough to listen and walk in the steps He lays out for us. Imagine the pitfalls, detours, side roads and other off track places God could keep us from, as we surrender to follow Him.

Like the Wise Men, may we WORSHIP our King of all Kings, and then listen for His voice. After all He knows shortcuts and secret passageways to get us to where we need to go -- safe and sound. After all, Father KNOWS best!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Time to Recalibrate

Recalibrate: alter, rectify, adjust, modify, revamp, shift, fine tune, transform, correct mid-course. RE-Calibrate is to bring back into focus or precision.
As a "single" being out on the road so much between all my travels to Tulsa and Austin, my navigation system has been a good friend that keeps me on course, and it gives me the security of knowing where I'm at at any given time. That navigation system ranks in my highest priority in need-to-have technology. I can't begin to tell you how many times that sweet lady's voice saved my day when I was trying to find a particular address. She’ll tell me to turn at the next exit or the next street, and sometimes I’ll miss the turn. That’s when she’ll say “recalibrating” – which means I was off course and she had new directions for me. Then there are those times when I think my way is better than hers so I’ll just ignore her directions, and, once again, she has to “recalibrate” for me.

So here we are.....two weeks into this exciting new year of 2018 and I’m starting to recalibrate – making course corrections and going in new directions. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, as well as hanging out with my two young grandsons, it’s a time of “go ahead and eat up, enjoy yourself – eat as much as you want, because soon, you will recalibrate and be back on track." It will be back to smart living again". Now I'm thinking about “juicing, a Daniel Fast, nutritious eating.”. Recalibrating.

Here are a few of my recalibrations: Drink more water, be consistent with exercise, eat less sugar and make healthier food choices, connect more with old and new friends, purposefully laugh out loud even when "it's just not that funny", play my piano more, AND above all else spend more time in sweet fellowship with Father God. That last one is the BIG ONE! Keeping Him as my Moral Compass, my "true North", my Central Focus, will keep His voice the ONE I hear when I need to recalibrate my journey.

Here’s the way to know we’re on course throughout this year – from our daily walk of faith to the life-altering decisions we must make. If all directions begin with Him as our "true North", we’ll know we are ON COURSE by:

~ Having an overwhelming, supernatural peace that goes beyond logic.
~ Abiding in His Word and listening to people who are on course (are tight with Him) and we love and trust the most, who will help us stay on course.

~ Recognizing providential circumstances, open doors, aha moments, divine encounters, and a sense of knowing when we're on or off track.

~ Living with the WWJD "What Would Jesus Do?" mentality.

Psalm 23 – “The Lord is my shepherd” chapter is a perfect example of how to stay focused on Him. Sheep are dependent on their shepherd – just like a baby is dependent on his parents or caregiver. The faith that says…”Where He leads, I will follow. I'm keeping my eyes on YOU, Lord. I won't look to the left or right. My only goal is keeping YOU in my sight!”

Friday, January 12, 2018

Carpe Momentum -- Seize the Moment

Often I blog about making moments count. There's a Latin phrase for it: Carpe Momentum which means "Seize the Moment". I’m thrilled to be alive HERE on planet earth today in this generation. Even though I live in a 55+ community, I sure don’t want to hang with anyone who thinks “old”. I love hanging with those who live in the moment and in that moment they find so much to be grateful and joyful about.

This is MY own definition of a MOMENT: "an instant, that almost imperceptible amount of time that barely registers measurement, but when being present and given full thought and attention to it, miracles can happen, inventions and innovations can be created, lives are transformed and heaven touches earth -- because the MOMENT was noticed.” – Donna Wuerch

The older I get the more I understand the importance and value of seizing the moment. Life’s “stuff” happens to all of us. "Stuff" happened to my husband and I. I remember a season of major challenges in our lives. Important life-altering decisions needed to be made. But, rather than sitting around worrying, we spontaneously decided to take a trip to Branson, Missouri on November 1st – the first day of Christmas at Silver Dollar City. It turned out to be one of the best decisions we could have made. It was not only therapeutic to get-away-from-it-all, but it refreshed us and took our perspective and attitudes to a whole new place.

When I placed this figurine on my kitchen counter this Christmas, I couldn’t help but remember that weekend, because underneath the items we purchased (as a keepsake of times of sweetness), I would always write the occasion and the date on the bottom. We SEIZED the MOMENT on that weekend.

Seizing the moment is engaging in intentional thinking. At church, when the priest, rabbi or pastor is speaking, do you find your mind wandering or even falling asleep? And all the while, that speaker may have given wisdom for the answer you needed to help you get out of your difficult situation. I’m one of those “note takers” in church or meetings because I want my valuable time to be worthwhile and I want to give honor to the speaker’s valuable time that he/she spent preparing.

I’m the camera/photo opt “junkie” in our family. I'm always seizing the moment to take a photo of precious times. I'm taking a lot of photos while I'm with my two younger grandsons in Austin. Every moment of nurturing them, seizing the moment to cuddle them, and when typical sibling rivalry or some act of disobedience happens, I get the opportunity to talk about God's way being the best way. I want them to remember Nana as one who was always pointing to Jesus. I know these two young boys will soon no longer be needing for Nana to see after them -- like their two older brothers who are now on their own. So every moment seized is every moment remembered.

Seize the moment. It works like this. In the midst of the craziness of life, seize a few quiet minutes to rest, reflect, recharge. Maybe take a mini mental vacation to enjoy life’s blessings. Instead of working through your lunch hour (or just 20 minutes), turn off your phone and computer to truly enjoy the daily bread you have been given. Go out for dinner…at some place that serves your meal on a plate, not in a bag. Stop by to see your parents, older kids and/or especially your grandkids. If you can’t get there physically, then call them, skype them, or just sit quietly and send up a prayer for them. Reflect on life and give thanks that you can see, move or even just breathe.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Even Mistakes Can Become Blessings

My word for today is MISTAKE: error, slip-up, blunder, miscalculation, misunderstanding, oversight, misinterpretation, gaffe, faux pas. Goodness gracious, I didn’t realize that a mistake had so many synonyms. Now I can see how easy it is to feel so guilty from making a simple MISTAKE.

My cousin (who lives just a few blocks from me) and I had a girls’ day out in early November when we went to the Junior League of Collin County’s fundraiser, Holiday Gift Market. It sure put us in the Christmas spirit. They always have yummy food samples, and unique one-of-a-kind items from artisans selling their wares. We bought a few nominally priced items, but I kept going back to a booth that had beautiful wood crafted items with “BLESSED” on them. I couldn’t help myself, even though the item I wanted was pricier than I had planned or needed to have expensed.

That night, I had buyer’s remorse. I was going to gift it, but then I couldn't picture it in any of the homes that I had potentially purchased it for. As silly as it was, I lost sleep over my “impulse” purchase. I put it away under a bed because I didn’t want to think about it. I just had to admit my MISTAKE and do my best to get over it. I even asked God to forgive me for being so impulsive. I never gifted it. I took down my Christmas decor and I thought, "maybe that wood d├ęcor would look good on my mantle." And, to my joy and delight, it seemed to have been designed to go under my desert painting that reminded me of Israel. The cactus in the wood flowed right into the picture.

That’s when I could almost hear God saying “Merry Christmas, Donna!” I realized Romans 8:28 “ALL things work together for good (even MISTAKES) to those who love God and are called according to His purposes.” I fretted over something so minor, yet God was so intentional in teaching me another life lesson.
It’s so easy to fixate on yesterdays and yester-years and the guilts associated with mistakes we may have made. MISTAKES can be as little as an “oopsie” or as big as a devastating catastrophe that alters the course of our lives. No matter what kind of MISTAKE we make, there is always a solution for restitution. It comes in the form of grace. God’s grace that heals and restores, and He exchanges our tarnished slate, for a fresh, clean slate so we can begin again. Oftentimes, our mistakes and failures are gifts, gems, and guideposts, so we should embrace mistakes, failures, screw ups and shortcomings because they not only make us uniquely who we are, but also teach us powerful lessons.

As God's repentant kids, the good news about making MISTAKES, is our mistakes are forgivable. God's amazing grace can turn any MISTAKE into something good. Again, Romans 8:28 "All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes." Most importantly, it reminds me that my God is bigger than my faults and weaknesses and He can turn anything around for His glory!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Pursuit of God

Pursue: to follow, run after, chase someone or something to catch them
Pursuit: the action of pursuing someone or something.

Yesterday, my word of the day was RESTORE. In studying for this word for today, PURSUIT, two scriptures from Psalm 23 jumped out at me. David, the shepherd boy, before becoming King David, wrote Psalm 23 and in verse 2-3 he said “He (God) makes me lie down in green pastures to RESTORE my soul (my will, my mind and my emotions).” God is wanting us to take a break from PURSUING that promotion or that handsome guy or beautiful girl or that next best thing in technology or the bigger house or high tech car in order to be still and know God first. And in knowing God we will know that He desires us to PURSUE wisdom, understanding, and wholeness in spirit, soul and body. In Psalm 23:6, David makes a declaration of faith: “Surely Your goodness and mercy will PURSUE me (follow me) all the days of my life and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”

RESTORATION and PURSUING seem to go hand and hand. David knew about PURSUING. He PURSUED the lion and the bear and was successful, because he had been in the quiet green pastures with His Shepherd. He could take on the distractions with fervor and defeat them. Remember the analogy Jesus gave about a shepherd who leaves his flock of ninety-nine sheep in order to PURSUE the one that is lost? That Shepherd is Jesus PURSUING you and me.

What if we PURSUED our Good Shepherd? If we did, the distractions and the opposing forces that come to defeat us, would be silenced and rendered "null and void". We would then sing with David "The Lord is MY Shepherd. There is NOTHING that I want." . How can I be effective in the PURSUIT of happiness, joy, peace, freedom from fear and anxiety, lest I be in a place of strength and relentless, fearless and audacious in faith, and wholeness in spirit and mind that can only come from knowing the Good Shepherd.
When I’m out at the stables with my grandson, I notice how those animals PURSUE him. His are the hands that feed them. They trust him for their daily sustenance. They depend on him for their water, their protection from the predators that are out there, and they welcome him with their praises (hee haws by the donkeys, mooing by the longhorn, bleating by the goats and cozying up to him by the dog and cat). Sound familiar? It does if we know what it is to PURSUE God with all of our hearts, trusting in His loving care, and praising Him for breath and life.

"I am the Good Shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know Me.” John 10:14

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

RESTORE – All Things New

My word for today is RESTORE: return (someone or something) to a former condition, place, or position. One of my all-time favorite reality shows is HGTV's "Fixer Upper", not just because I love the hands-on builder and interior designers, Chip & Joanna Gaines, a delightful couple with their four young kids (soon to be five), who live their personal lives in a raw, oftentimes hilarious, and authentic way, but also because I love seeing them RESTORE a dated or dilapidated, hopeless house and property into a gorgeous family home.
We hear about RESTORING a relationship, a house, an old car, and antique furniture. These all demonstrate RESTORATION. No question -- the most beautiful use of the word, is when someone turns from being a lost soul, without hope for today and tomorrow, to becoming a brand new man or woman as they become a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. To receive salvation means that we have experienced the miraculous RESTORING power of God Who makes all things new in our lives – spiritually, psychologically, emotionally, and relationally.

AAll throughout the Bible, we see that God is in the RESTORING business. King David made some huge mistakes that really damaged his relationship with God. He needed and received RESTORATION when he prayed in Psalm 51:12 “RESTORE to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” God promises “I will RESTORE you to health and heal your wounds.” (Jeremiah 30:12). Paul the Apostle declares, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation, old things are passed away, behold, all things are new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

As we surrender our mistakes, failures, problems and challenges to our Master Restorer, our Heavenly Father, in prayer, He will make all things new for us. Our Master RESTORER, will heal our brokenness, RESTORE our lives with His unconditional love and mercy. The scars that came from the hurts and pains of our life's experiences, will be RESTORED to beauty as we place ourselves in the Master RESTORER’S hands -- even more beautiful than we were before. And, even beyond the beauty of the NEW you and me, is helping others to be RESTORED also. They can learn how we, through God's help, were able to turn our scars into stars, our tests became our testimony, our messes became our message to a world that needs RESTORATION so much.