Category Archives: Synchonicity

When God’s Heart Sings

The Lord takes his place in court;

he rises to judge the people.

The Lord enters into judgment

against the elders and leaders of his people:

“It is you who have ruined my vineyard;

the plunder from the poor is in your houses.

What do you mean by crushing my people

and grinding the faces of the poor?”  (Isa 3:13-15)

In life coaching, we talk about finding and doing the things that make your “heart sing.”  These are the things we’re wired to do, and when we do them, we feel alive and on purpose.  For me, this includes being in nature, discovering insights in the Bible, singing spiritual songs, coming up with ideas, dancing, engaging in the arts.

But I started thinking this week, “What makes God’s heart sing?”

Surely his heart sings as he watches the amazing and everchanging dance of his creation on earth.  As Genesis says, “And God saw that it was good.”

But I think his heart also sings when people are devoted to him and they subsequently flourish, and become all they were designed to be.

Sadly, this is not often the case.

We’re going to come to Isaiah 5 later, but  I want to refer to it now because it lets us know so well what God’s heart is.  God says, “I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard.”  He goes on to describe Judah as a field that he planted with careful work and great anticipation, and then asks, “When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?”  The passage concludes, “And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.”

So that’s why God is angry and promises judgement in Isaiah 3.  The individuals who comprise his dream are harming one another.  His beloved planting is bearing bitter fruit instead of flourishing.

Will there ever be a happy song for God’s heart?  In Zehpaniah 3, God promises,

“Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,

that all of them may call on the name of the Lord 

and serve him shoulder to shoulder. . . .

 I will remove from you your arrogant boasters. . .

But I will leave within you the meek and humble. 

The remnant of Israel will trust in the name of the Lord . . .

The Lord your God is with you,

the Mighty Warrior who saves

He will take great delight in you;

in his love he will no longer rebuke you,

but will rejoice over you with singing.

Isn’t this incredible?

There are two things we can learn from this passage.

First, that God intended to purify his people so they would become what they were created to be.  I believe that Christians today are these purified people.  I love this description in Ephesians, 5:26b- 27  “just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”  What a picture of tender adoration!  Surely, when we are purified through Christ and live holy lives, God’s heart is singing!

Second, that humility is so key.  God’s plan is set in motion when we are humble and trusting. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, so that in due time He may exalt you.” I Peter 5:6

So I want to remember, and keep this as my goal — to be pure and holy, to be humble.

Surely I want to be the fulfillment of all God’s dreams.  I want to know that I make his heart sing.  I want to think of him smiling as he looks at me.

And know that as I fulfill all I am designed to be, I can fulfill God’s dreams as well.

They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor.  Isa 60:21

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  John 15:8

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Eph 2:10

But I must also face that I too often fall short.  So I remember this picture of God taking his place in court.

Some of the judgment will take place at the last day.  But we also experience a judgment in the form of consequences for our actions every day.

Two nights ago, my neighbor died.  She had a heart attack.  There were five emergency vehicles parked on the street, with lights flashing, as it poured down rain and the EMTs worked to save her life.

And I thought about how I have lived across the street from this woman for nine years, and never built much of a relationship with her.

Sure, she kept to herself.  The time or two I did talk to her she didn’t seem interested in pursuing a friendship.

But now I regret that I didn’t reach out a little more.  If there is anyone I should love as myself, it is my neighbor.  But I let the selfishness and preoccupation of my heart win out.  And the consequence is that I didn’t build a connection that I could have.  God’s love wasn’t spread.  I didn’t really give his field a chance to be developed.

I have a new chance today to live better.

May I seek to make God smile.

May I become a part of his song.

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Filed under Beauty of God, Delighting in God, Isaiah, Make Every Effort, Synchonicity

When the Path Disappears

My people, your guides lead you astray;

they turn you from the path. (Is 3:12b)

Recently, at our midweek house church, we talked about how hard it is to have a good marriage, because we don’t get good examples of it from the media or society.  Instead, we get false expectations.  So we seek to have the Leave it To Beaver or the Chip and Joanna marriage where everything seems idyllic.  We think we should always be romanced.    And we don’t realize that a good marriage requires constant self sacrifice and servanthood.

And that’s why this verse hits home with me today.  It’s so true that we are surrounded by false guides, and this can lead us astray.

This morning, I was feeling sad.  I prayed about it over and over, asking God to help me with my low spirits.  Finally, I remembered my last blog, about how there is value in learning.  So I asked God, “What can I learn from this?”

And an answer came to me.  It was a breakthrough.  I need to learn that life isn’t permanent and fixed. It’s more like song says about God, “You give and take away.”

blessed be your name

I want to build stability by adding things I think will be solid and lasting.  But that’s not the nature of this world.  People die at all ages.  Friends move, or move on.  Things break.  Disasters happen. Changes take place.  It’s so true, what Jesus said, “In this world you will have many troubles.” (John 16:33)

I totally relate to Jonah, who had a wonderful God-given vine that grew up and gave him shade, and then got an attitude when God took it away.

Jonah

jonah 2

I want my shelter!  I’m trying to build this secure life, and my vines keep shriveling!

The thing is, I got mislead in what I thought my life should be.  I fell into the thinking that security comes from the people and things around me, instead of solely from God.

Literally, today’s verse reads, “Your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.

That is so true for me.  The course of my path to live righteously got swallowed up.

A lot of roads were “swallowed up” in the latest hurricane.

Hurricane Florence5

That picture really does feel like what happened to me in my mind.  The path that was so clear became unclear.

So here’s one way I’m going to try and find the path again.  I’m going to listen for that phrase, “But I’m trying so hard.” Because if I tell myself that, it’s become about my efforts, and not God’s.  I’ have to recalibrate towards God.

You know, one surprising thing I’m learning about life coaching as I study it, is that when you do it right, it isn’t hard work. It’s more like a dance.  As you converse with your client, you listen hard, and then respond to their “steps,” and this naturally leads you to make “countersteps.”

I think life needs to be more that.  It needs to be like a dance with God, where we focus completely on God, and then respond to what he is doing.

I get off track because I start focusing on other voices, especially my own inner voice of fear and need, and stop focusing completely on God.  I find myself living my life like I’m constantly blazing a trail through a thicket.  It feels clunky, not graceful; rough, not smooth.

It’ doesn’t have to be so hard.  Let’s stay in the flow, by keeping our eyes on the Lord.  He is is our only source of security, the only place to find the answers we need.

 

 

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Lasting Moments

Yesterday I saw my son and daughter in law’s professional wedding pictures for the first time. They were shot as glimpses — clasped hands, a stolen kiss, a playful moment – in an effort to not only capture the event, but the emotions evoked by the moments.

Wedding site

We all want to hold onto the moments. You see it every day on the social media. It’s as if, in our posts and selfies and Instagrams and tweets, we’re proving our significance, that our days have meaning, that we’re not just spinning our wheels here on earth.

Because we feel time slipping so quickly through our fingers.   And there’s this lurking fear that this is all we have.

I read a passage from “Gifts from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh that states what so many people feel. Lindbergh writes that we all want to be “loved alone,” to be the “one and only” in someone’s life.  But, she soberly reminds us, “there is no one and only, there are only one and only moments.”

Ecclesiastes seems to say the same thing.  Solomon wrote, “He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecc 3:11) That describes so perfectly the melancholy we feel in the transience of our poignant experiences.

Ecclesiastes goes on to say, “He has set eternity in the hearts of man.” We are created to long for something that will last. And Solomon wrote in Proverbs, “What a person desires is unfailing love.” (Prov 19:22)

The amazing thing is that God doesn’t leave us bereft in our longing.  In glorious, heart-warming prose He asserts that we are ALWAYS the one and only in His eyes —

And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. Hos 2:19

I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. Isa 63:7

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isa 54:10

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

God’s love is constant. It isn’t like snapshots or video clips. It’s one long continuous take. We don’t have to feel anxious, like we’re not enough, like we somehow have to hold onto the moments as proof that our life is meaningful.  God’s steadfast love illuminates our moments and makes them extraordinary ones.

Here are some moments from my day. Some of them felt good. Some felt flat. All of them feel better when I remember God’s love.

Somehow, I believe that our connection with Him connects our moments and gives them meaning. They become a part of His pattern, the beautiful design He is weaving through space and time.  They each somehow seem almost as special as the moments from the wedding.

Every day we can chronicle our lives anew, just like this, and feel like our mundane doings are part of something graceful and significant.

IMG_6544IMG_6550IMG_6557IMG_6569IMG_6574IMG_6575IMG_6577

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Filed under Beauty of God, Synchonicity

Peace

Snowy path

Walking in Your grace

With assurance, all’s in place.

Bowing, on my face

Breathe the stillness, cease the chase.

Dancing to Your pace

Beauty seen makes my heart race.

Thanking for each trace

Signs of goodness fill my space.

Lifting up Your case

Seek to please You, Your embrace.

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Filed under Beauty of God, Peace, Poetry, Synchonicity

In Shalom

I have been listening to Christene Jackman, who sings Bible passages, mostly Psalms, in Hebrew.  I really like what she’s written.

I listened her song on this passage, “The eyes of the Lord range through the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”  II Chron. 16:9  And in the song, the word for “fully committed’ was shalom.

Shalom can also be translated as whole, complete, perfect, PEACE.

And it makes sense, because when we are fully committed to God, we are at peace with him. We aren’t divided, trying to be a friend of the world, which makes us an enemy of God.

More than that, we’re at peace because we are finally in the state we were created to be.

I’ve been reading a book on how our truest identity is in being made in the likeness of God. (The Truest Thing About You: Identity, Desire and Why it All Matters, David Lomas and D.R. Jacobsen.) Yesterday I read how God said to Jesus, “This is my son, whom I love  In him I am well pleased.”  (Matt 3:16) God knew how important it was to have Jesus see as his identity that he was God’s son.  It would strengthen him against temptation, which he soon encountered. (Note that Satan tried to get Jesus to doubt his identity:  “If you are the son of God.”)   It would define his daily mission.  Jesus said in John 5:17 that he always worked, as his Father worked.  In John 13;3, Jesus washed feet because he knew he had come from God and was returning to God.

Realizing that he was God’s son created a state of shalom for Jesus.  He was realizing his truest identity, what he was created to be.

And the same is true for me.  I am created to be in a relationship with God.  I am a chosen person, God’s special possession. (I Peter 2:9)  In love, he predestined me to be adopted as his child. (Eph 1:4-5)  I can have a calm confidence and a sense of utter rightness with God.

And of course, I am in shalom with God because he reconciled me to himself. (II Cor 5:16)  Unlike the Jews of the Old Testament days, I am completely right with God because he has taken away my sin and clothed me with his righteousness.  (Is 61:10, II Cor 5:21)

Shalom.  That is who I am.  I am in a state of peace with God.  I am complete.  I am whole.

I don’t have to chase after deeds for affirmation.  I don’t have to look or act a certain way to prove myself.  I don’t have to be riddled with insecurity.

This is a powerful concept that is changing me from the inside out.  Father, I pray that it may continue to do so.

 

 

 

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Filed under Peace, Self Worth, Synchonicity

Eight Things I am Learning

 

soaring

1. He is the wind beneath our wings.  Envision God as the power source.  When we are going in his direction, He will sweep us along with him, it will not be difficult.  Soar with Him.

  • Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Gal 5:25 
  • The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him..  John 8:29

And along the same line —

path of light

2. Visualize the path before me.  When I am trying to decide how to act, it is helpful to picture a path before me going the right way.  Then I take that path.

  • “God is my strength and power: and he makes my way perfect.  II Sam 22:33
  • When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.  Ps 142>3

butterfly

3. Butterflies need nectar, not leaves.  We have been transformed into as a new creation, children of God, and as such, we need spiritual food.  Just like a butterfly wouldn’t go back to eating leaves as it did when it was a caterpillar, we can’t try get our needs met by worldly things.

  • It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods”  Heb 13:9
  • Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, Eph 5:18
  • Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matt 4:4

fish image of god

4. My truest identity is God’s glory. It isn’t the talents I have, the way I look, the culture I’m from, or the way I was brought up.  The truest thing about me is that I was created in the likeness of God.   “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them.”  Gen 1:27.

It was always God’s plan to transform us into our truest being.:  “You were taught . .  to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Eph 4:22,24.

As spiritual beings, we need God, like a fish needs water. “In him we live and move and have our being.”  Acts 17:28.  Going back to the previous point, it isn’t just that we need spiritual food.  We were created to thrive on spiritual food.

sheep -- feeding

5. Feed the sheep. “Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.'” (John 21:16)  I continue to seek wisdom on how much we should expect people to take the initiative.  This verse helps me.  People NEED shepherding.  They need to be led.  They need to be fed.  But this is a maturing process.  I help them to grow up into doing this for themselves, and others.

dream new

6. Adapt my dreams!  I recently listened to the audio book of “Who Moved My Cheese?”  Talking about dealing with change, it gave me the insight that as the ministry here goes through changes, not only does my behavior needs to adapt, my dreams need to evolve.  I can’t keep my old patterns.

And then I need to practice visualizing my new dream.  My new dream is to have a married Bible talk that reflects family and fun.   I can see us sitting around laughing, loving, growing, being best of friends, making great memories.

stage

7. It’s the God Show!  Being performance oriented, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s about God, not about me!

  • My soul rests quietly only when it looks to God; from him comes my deliverance.  Ps 62:1
  • I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother. . . From Ps 131
  • Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Ps 127:1

planting-a-seed

8. Each moment has impact.  Every prayer, each choice I make, can make a difference..  I tend to get overwhelmed by all that should be done.  Or I find myself drifting, being distracted.  It is very helpful for me to focus on each individual thing I do, each word of prayer (especially corporate prayer), and realizing that it has POWER!

Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds.  Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”  Mark 4:30-32

 

 

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Filed under Glory Above All, Prayer, Self Worth, Surrender, Synchonicity, Things I Am Learning

Using God’s Filter

Filter

Lately I am learning how to be filled with the Spirit, and to let this be my filter.  It’s a feeling of fullness and goodness, and I act out of that, and ONLY that.

I realized that what I have been doing is acting out of my reaction to the moods and attitudes of others.  I have been raised to respect others and their way of looking at things, so my radar is very sensitive to others.  But this has created a situation where my reservoir of the Spirit gets depleted each time I experience what I perceive someone else to be feeling.  Their worries and negative attitudes pollute my faith.

I was talking to Alicia this week about how some of us are more sensitive than others.  I am realizing that this is why I have the problem of others affecting my spiritual outlook.  I am a sensitive person.  Here is a link to a sensitivity quiz. http://www.hsperson.com/pages/test.htm

Some of the questions are:

  • Other people’s moods affect me. (So true!)
  • I am deeply moved by the arts or music.
  • I seem to be aware of subtleties in my environment.

So it is very liberating to me to be able to picture myself steadfastly acting from the Spirit, and not letting myself take on the moods of others.  I don’t get as worn out and stressed during social interactions.  I actually feel like I am more myself.

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Gal 5:25

those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.  Romans 8:5-6

fountain

whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:14

 

 

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Filed under Having the Right Heart, Synchonicity