My cats are awesome! I learn so much by watching how they interact with their environment, each other and us. One of the things that really has stood out the last few days is how defiant they can be. They understand the word "No", yet lately, when they do something they know is wrong and I say "No", they just stare me down, like they are saying, "How are you going to make me?" The next thing I do is grab the spray bottle and I aim it, still defiant stare down continues, it is not until the cool water hits the fur that my precious cats actually stop the show down and run away.
We are so much like them. God gives us warnings when we are following the wrong path, through The Bible, other people and by speaking to us directly, but we stand there almost staring him down with our defiance. We want to do it our way. We want to walk our own path. God tries to warn us against the consequences of our actions, but we keep going. Then when everything falls apart we ask God why he allowed it to happen to us.
Why is it that warnings are so easy to ignore? I think it is because we think we know better, or we just want to do it our way so we keep going down the road. Sometimes I think we will rise above the consequences, but just like the cats get sprayed with water so we suffer the consequences of our actions. I think I will learn from my cats and try to be less reluctant to listen when God is confronting me about something; he has my best interests at heart, just as I do for my cats.
Have you ever received a love letter? I have. I cherish them and hold onto them. I read them again and again. The Bible is God's love letter to you. Do you truly view it that way? Do you cherish every word? Do you read it over and over memorizing the words, embracing each nuance and allowing it to impact you right to the core of your being?
I want this to be my experience every time I open that all too familiar book, but I have to admit there are times I read it out of habit, rather than desire. I need to be reminded of the fact that these are God's words of love to me. Even in the midst of the lineages that seem to drone on, God wants to say something to us every day through His word.
Are we truly paying attention? Are we really engaged? Are we allowing the words to invade our hearts and bring correction and conviction? Do we seek out God's comfort here? Do we seek out his purpose for us when we are floundering here? Do we read the Bible in our darkest moment allowing the light to flood in?
I seem to find my way back to love letters when I am feeling lonely or unloved. Reading those words of love flowing from the pages remind me that no matter how I feel, the reality is that I am loved.
God wants us to know we are loved. In the Bible you will find messages of love, peace, and joy. You will find hope, comfort and wisdom in the words. God loves you so much and his love letter to us is precious. The next time you go to read the Bible, just remember God wants to demonstrate his love to you through the words, let this be your filter as you read... God's love letter to you.
We get stuck in a rut sometimes. Rhythms of our lives become engrained and it is hard to break free of it. Old habits, old routines, old thoughts, old norms, old patterns repeated again and again. How do we move forward? How do we grow?
The only way to break free from our old ways and embracing the new is to let go of the old and be intentional going forward. We have this great ability of starting something new and then when it gets hard we return to our old familiar ways almost like they are a comfy blanket wrapped around us keeping us in the rut.
Lockdown has forced new patterns upon us and some of us are longing for the old back. Is there a way to move forward, creating a new path? Is there a way through that brings us through without reverting to the old? I believe God wants us to live lives that are full of life, not constantly retreating backwards but moving forwards with purpose driving us onward. God creates ways where there seems to be no way. If we ask God will reveal the way to us.
Whatever rut you are stuck in, there is a way through. There is new life just around the corner all you need to do is keep moving forward to reach it.
Life is filled with unexpected moments. No matter who we are, our plans falter, our dreams change and some goals seem unachievable. It is in these unexpected moments that we can discover grace and compassion. Can you imagine what would happen if we were to face every time we got off track due to the unexpected with grace and compassion for ourselves; recognizing that we are actually in the exact timing and exact placement God wants us in.
God is the one who orchestrates our lives, He is the one who placed us on the path, and what is unexpected for me is no surprise to Him. That is right God planned for every moment that seems unexpected to us. This takes the pressure off us! We are exactly where God planned for us to be. Hard to wrap your head around, but freeing if we embrace it!
God has planned for our unexpected. When we feel like we have failed cling to the fact that this is part of the path you are following, the journey you are on. God knew this would happen and has meticulously planned for it. We need to have compassion towards ourselves and not get discouraged, but pick ourselves up and continue on.
This brings a new perspective to James 1:2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. Great joy because God has already accounted for it and you are exactly where you need to be. Great joy because it gives us the opportunity to demonstrate God's grace for ourselves. Great joy because God will give us everything we need to endure through it and come out the other side.
Do not let go of your goals, your plans, your dreams. Instead be open to the fact that they may not happen in your time table, or in the way that you had planned; rest in the knowledge that it is all happening in God's time table and in the way that he has planned. It is so reassuring knowing that the living God of the universe and beyond has everything under control, even my unexpected moments!
This morning while I was doing devotions I was reminded that in order to demonstrate God's love the way He has called me to, I need to become like a love sponge soaking up God's love and letting out a bit at a time throughout the day with every person I encounter. This is not a new revelation, but a great reminder.
In order to be that sponge it means I need to in God's presence allowing His love to soak into me every day. The challenge to all Christians is that we do this every day, for without this we end up with a sponge that is empty and when we want to demonstrate to love to others we are empty. Extended periods of dryness then lead to becoming hard hearted. It is in these times that we lose sight of God's place in our lives and our love for Him.
This was a great reminder for me and I hope for all that read this who love God, it inspires you to want to soak in God's love and become full again, ready to share God's love with everyone you meet.
Join me on my journey through life's joys and difficulties.