Thursday, September 20, 2018

From Strength to Strength...Thinking Proleptically...What's that all About?


Speed and the expectation of instant results have become so normal in our culture, we think nothing of it any more.  In fact, we can often be found rushing ahead of even our own selves.  Let me ask you a question.  How many times today…just today…have you rushed to complete a task or a project only to have to wait, because the process couldn’t keep up with you?  I thought about that as I stood impatiently next to my little home printer… WAITING for it to process the “print” command I had just given.  Yes, I did burst out laughing. 

Seriously though, there’s another whole dimension to this.  When I hit the print key on my laptop while sitting in the living-room, there was no doubt in my mind that the document would print in the office.  I only had to walk the few steps necessary in order to retrieve it.  I was acting on a reality that was not yet actual.  There’s a word for that and an illustration of it in Luke 17:11-16.  The word is prolepses, and in that passage Jesus commanded ten men to act proleptically.

“On the way to Jerusalem, He was passing along between Samaria and Galilee.  And as He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’  When He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’  And as they went, they were cleansed.” 

In response to their cries for mercy, Jesus told them to do something outlandish.  He told them to go and present themselves to the priests in order to be declared clean (Leviticus 14:2-4)…even though they must certainly have still born witness to the raw soars on their bodies.

What would I have done in that circumstance, in that time, in that culture?  What would you have done?

The ten lepers were healed as they went.  What was that like?  Did they notice any change before they got to the priests?  Then, how did they react?  What would I have done?  What would you have done?

“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks.  Now he was a Samaritan.” 

Dear readers, is anything happening in your spiritual life right now in which the Lord is asking you to act proleptically?  Are you being asked to act on a reality that is not yet actual?  Or…have you ever been the recipient of such a gift from God?  If so were you the one who turned back, praising Him, and falling at His feet? 

Lots to think about the next time you hit the “print” button on your computer. 

God bless you,

Thursday, August 9, 2018

From Strength to Strength...Seize the Time

Hi Friends,
It’s hard to believe that the first week of August is over and we have rounded the bend heading into the Fall season.  Even as I write this I am sensing the change in the atmosphere as advertisers and merchants ramp up for the school days ahead.  I’m actually feeling pressured in an abstract sort of way.  Are you? 

Awhile back we offered a wonderful incentive for new website viewers entitled "Seize the Time."  Because this resource may be a help in staying peaceful and unhurried in the days ahead, we are now making it available to anyone who would like to check it out.  Just hit the tab below and remember the beautiful words of encouragement in Psalm 31: 14-15:

But I trust in You, O Lord;  I say, You are my God.  My times are in Your hand …”   

Also, the book Traveling Through Menopause:  What’s God Got To Do With It” is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites.   If you, or someone you know is starting on this journey it may be a great way to fill some of that time you’ll be seizing.  Oh, and if you found it helpful, please write a comment for others to be encouraged.

Do enjoy the rest of your summer and God bless you!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

From Strength to Strength...Fresh Iced Tea in the Welcome

Hi dear friends!

It has been awhile since we’ve talked and I’ve missed you all.  I just made a fresh jug of iced tea and placed it in the refrigerator.  Would you like some?

Keeping iced tea on hand has long been a labor of love for me and has always served well in making friends and guests feel welcomed in our home.  I’m smiling as I remember times when those dropping by would not even wait for the offer, but would simply ask, “Any iced tea made?”  This was especially true during the warm spring and summer months.  So fun!

Our version of that hospitality has always been unsweetened decaff tea and fresh lemon.  Very simple!  However, the vital secret of that flavor being released is in the boiling water.  It must be poured directly over the black leaves and sliced lemon…and left to steep.
Our lives are “kinda” like that, you know.  So much of what we’re struggling with seems complex and difficult, but the answers are often simple.  They’re found in the release of God’s work in our hearts.  Yet, often this can only take place when some of His “heat” is poured over our lives and our response is simply to wait. 
I’ve told a story of a personal life-season like that in my new book: Traveling Through Menopause:  What’s God Got To Do With It?   If you’re a woman in your mid-thirties or older and noticing some changes in your thinking or body that you don’t understand, you may find answers in this read.  Did you know that peri-menopause actually begins in a woman’s life around age thirty-five?
The book is very conversational and for sure, informational and encouraging.  Do check it out on the above tab…or go directly to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Meanwhile, is there a pitcher of iced tea in your refrigerator? 
“Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation;
I wait for You all the day long.”  Psalm 25:5

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

From Strength to Strength...Spring Up O Well

Dear Readers, 

Lately the chorus of a wonderful little hymn has been resounding in my spirit:
Spring up, O well, within my soul.
Spring up, O well, and make me whole.
Spring up, O well, and give to me
That life abundantly.
A few blogs ago we talked about Gerar and the unstopping of the well of “open spaces.”  I hope that had meaning for you.  In my life it has meant the release of joy…with fresh energizing from God’s Word.  This has been especially true in my morning devotions and the significant time I generally spend in the Psalms.
Often my “routine” has taken me to a familiar and reverent read of the “five Psalms of the day”… by date.  (For example: on June 1 I’ll be reading Psalm 1, Psalm 31, Psalm 61, Psalm 91, and Psalm 121; …on June 5 it will be Palm 5, Psalm 35, Psalm 65, Psalm 95 and Psalm 125,….. etc).

More often, I may begin there, but sense an invitation from the Lord to camp out in one particular Psalm.

Most often,…. I’ll find myself landing in favorite Psalms, and spending time digging deeper.

Lately, I’ve been drawn to Psalm 119,….with its beautiful acrostic verses filled with wisdom and high worship.  This is a song almost certainly composed by David.  The 176 verses are divided into 8-verse sections, arranged according to the order of the Hebrew alphabet.  Consequently there are twenty-two, 8-verse stanzas, each beginning with the corresponding twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
Further…nearly every verse contains one of eight words for God’s revelation: 
  • Instruction
  • Decree
  • Precept
  • Statute
  • Command
  • Judgement
  • Promise
  • Word

For those of us who rejoice in God’s high order of creation and revelation, this Psalm provides incredible depths for mining and heights of pure worship.

Writing now, I have been paused on verse 18: Open my eyes so that I may contemplate wonderful things from your instruction” (HCSB).

Having dinner with the disciples after His Resurrection, Jesus said to them: “…These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you - that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.  Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.’”  Luke 24:44-45 HCSB

This Pentecost, may your eyes and your mind be opened to be made whole.  May your response be a geyser of abundant joy.

 Spring up O well…

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

From Strength to Strength...The Days of the Years

Hi Friends, 

In our last two blogs we’ve focused on the life of Isaac…his days, his decisions, his destiny.  Each of these unfolded one day at a time as is clearly spoken of his father, Abraham:

“And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived,…”  Genesis 25:7 KJV

What about you?  Likewise, your decisions…your destiny will unfold affecting the generations coming after you.  In our breakneck culture, how are you spending the days of your years?  Are you keeping pace with the busyness or are you slipping into the chaos of frenzy and hurriedness?  There are distinct differences.

Busyness                                                                     Hurriedness
Outward condition of life                                               Inner condition of the soul
Physically demanding                                                   Spiritually draining          
Reminds me I need God                                               Causes me to be unavailable to God
Jesus was always busy but never hurried “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place and there prayed.”  Mark 1:35 KJV

Start there.  Don’t let the busyness of your life migrate to hurriedness by squeezing God out.   Click here to take a look at our new incentive for greater wholeness and deeper peace. Begin by seizing your time! 

Remember Isaac.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

From Strength to Strength...Isaac...from Clarity to Blindness

 From a place of open spaces and clear sight… bitterness and the inability to see…

What happened?
Dear Reader,

In last month’s blog we observed Isaac, son of Abraham, settling in Gerar…sowing seed, cultivating land and living “life” around the well of “open spaces.”  We took note of his slow and steady activity, reaping a hundred-fold in one year.  We pondered what that could mean for us and our year ahead.
Now in this blog we will see Isaac migrating approximately twenty-five miles south to a place called Beersheba:

“And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, ‘I am the God of Abraham your father.  Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.  So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord and pitched his tent there.  And there Isaac’s servants dug a well.”  Genesis 26:23-25

We don’t know how much time had passed, but it appears in Beersheba worship was still a priority for him.  We also see with the pitching of his tent, that he had decided to settle there.  For Isaac, the spaces don’t seem to be quite so open however.  Verses 26-31 reveal negotiations with warring tribes in that area and ultimately, the signing of a covenant of peace…politically and militarily.
“In the morning they rose early and exchanged oaths.  And Isaac sent them on their way, and they departed from him in peace.”  Genesis 26:31

So time was passing.  The days seem to have been full.  God had told him not to fear.  God had promised to bless him and multiply his offspring.
Yet, incredibly, only three verses later the Scripture reveals that his one son’s intermarriage with a woman from one of these tribes…“made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.”
What happened?
What happened to the man who, as a lad had demonstrated clear vision and a priority of seeking God’s choice for his life? 

”And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening.  And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming.  And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel…” Genesis 24:63-65

Yet…“When Isaac was old…his eyes were dim so that he could not see…”  Genesis 27:1

How did he become a man of years experiencing bitterness and loss of vision?      

How did this happen?  When did it happen?

Dear Readers, as you spend more time immersed in this character study, perhaps you could consider:

Where are you in your life right now? 

Where are you digging your wells?  Where are you pitching your tents?  What are your priorities?

When are you taking time to walk in the field, to meditate, to seek His choices?

How are you spending God’s “hundred-fold” resources?

How are you spending God’s time?

And what about the year still ahead?  Are you still in Gerar, or are you heading toward Beersheba?

Which is better?  Which is best? 

Dear Reader,

2018 is still young.  Take time to listen and hear what Jesus says.  Follow Him. 
“If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.  If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” John 12:26

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

From Strength to Strength...Where Are Your Open Spaces?

 “I will walk freely in an open place because I seek your precepts.”  Psalm 119:45

Greetings Dear Readers!

It’s hard to believe we’re almost midway through February, 2018.  For me, January of this year has seemed oddly set apart with wide expanses of precious time spent with the Lord.  Some were ministry related, which included helping to facilitate a “Come to the Quiet Retreat” and a second Spiritual Direction weekend.  Some others were weather related, caused by harsh winter cancellations and delays.  In an odd way, the first weeks of 2018 have “presented” as a type of wide threshold…into the open space of the year ahead.
In light of all this, I’ve spent much time pondering a passage in Genesis 26 that had also impacted one of my daughters.  It’s all about Abraham’s son, Isaac and a very significant time of his life.   For the purposes of this blog, however, I’d like to focus, and point you in the direction of verses 12-33.  In particular:

“So Isaac left there, camped in the Valley of Gerar, and lived there.  Isaac reopened the water wells that had been dug in the days of his father Abraham and that the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died.”  Genesis 26:17-18

Because of God’s tremendous blessing it had been necessary for Isaac to move his whole entourage to this area called Gerar, and dig for water to sustain his camps.   Each of those wells has a story and several have names that reveal the story lines. Take some time, dear readers, to also camp out in Gerar for your devotions. Perhaps the Lord will speak to you as He has to me.

Notice though – and here’s the important part – all of this takes place while: “Isaac sowed seed in that land, and in that year he reaped a hundred times what was sown.  The Lord blessed him…”  (verse 12)

Sowing seed and digging wells represent slow, but steady activity.  In the weeks ahead we’re going to be talking more about what that means in your spiritual life.  Meanwhile, spend some time at Gerar.  We really still are at the threshold of 2018.  Truly in this year, you could reap a hundred times what you are sowing. 
“He moved from there and dug another, and they did not quarrel over it.  He named it Open Spaces and said, ‘For now the Lord has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.’”  
Genesis 26:22.