We had a special weekend spent with special people. I took a morning walk in the woods yesterday and amidst the grumbling about the early hour, the steep terrain, the hot, muggy weather, it was a weekend filled with friends, nature, sustenance, boundaries and revelations, all beautiful things. .
It was a weekend of recharging our spirits and reawakening the parts of us that had grown dormant. We walked, we ate, we rested, we found “God Delights” everywhere we looked. We learned “Fact from Crap” (thanks to Mary) . We weren’t to good at figuring out what was fact and what was crap but it sure was fun guessing. We pondered the meaning of the “spirit of compromise”, again a lively discussion started by Mary. We decided that the spirit of compromise is in mighty short supply in our world, no matter what circles you run in.
You can’t spend a weekend with others in such close proximity without seeing and appreciating true hearts. You move further apart as mere acquaintances and closer together as true friends. This weekend meant that we learned to love our casual friends as dear friends.Mostly we learned that God is what bonds us together and God is what will keep us tied together.
As I walked I snapped photos of all the beauty that surrounded me. I can be so darned un-observant at times that I am ashamed. There was a diverse array of photo subject matter and I asked God to show me what He wanted me to see.
The first thing God showed me was that the world He created was filled with beauty of many kinds and I needed to pay closer attention. Some of the lessons that God taught me this weekend are as follows.
There were fantastic views of distant mountain peaks that we came upon. Once I could stand straight and breathe again, I understood why I was there. Some of the views where full blown beautiful, easy to see and very distinct, some we were only able to see partially and were blocked by trees at least partially. Isn’t that typical of how God works in our lives. Some times we know beyond the shadow of a doubt what He wants of us and how it will look. Other times however, things are only laid out for us a little at a time and in an indistinct way. We only see a partial picture and sometimes we have to look closely and pay careful attention to see it. We must spend time communing with God to see what His vision is for us.
Proverbs 3:5-6New International Version (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.[a]
Oh boundaries, pesky, tiresome boundaries. What do we need boundaries for and how do we use them? It seems such a bother to put up one more fence, one more hurdle to jump over. It took me awhile to figure out why it was so important that I take this photo and to figure out what God wanted to show me. . A healthy boundary shows others what is and is not permissible. If we feel like someone is walking all over us, or if we feel as if we have lost our voice and no one listens to us then you know that maybe your boundaries are either being ignored, are not being implemented or are non existent. Take time to examine what is going on.
In theory a boundary creates a buffer zone between individuals, they define expectations and show respect for others. In reality, at times, boundaries can be used for creating impenetrable brick walls. When we use that buffer zone to isolate ourselves, (lets just say that this is a long standing problem for me and God showed me that), it can be detrimental. I’m taking down those bricks one at a time.
WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW CAN HURT YOU
Short and simple. Even if it looks delicious, it could very well make you very sick. Educate yourself, Use your God given discernment.
My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests, because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. — Hosea 4:6
GOD WILL PROVIDE
We were hiking uphill and in pretty high altitudes. Needless to say, I was winded and tired. Ok, ok, I was downright flat on my back unable to breathe unassisted. If I could have gotten off the ground, I was ready to turn around and go back. But sheer will power (ok Mary threatened me) I got up and we came around the next rock and see a clearing with a small table and two chairs. It was oddly out of place but right where I needed it, right when I needed it. God is so good. At times He takes us on paths that test our endurance and committment. But when we have come to the end of what we think we can endure, when we cannot take another step, He provides what we need to continue our journey. I sat right down and prayed that Mary would lose her energizer bunny enthusiasm for walking. I’m teasing of course. If not for Mary, I would not have had the weekend of revelations that I experienced.
Matthew 6:31-32 Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ The people who don’t know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them.
THE OLD PASSING AWAY
God reminded me that there will be times when “what was” will appear as pinecones dropped to the ground, seemingly forgotten and rotting away. This is necessary to make room and to prepare for growth. Trees disperse their seeds then the pine cone falls to the ground in the next year or so. So when our God given seeds have been dispersed He may very well be telling us its time to let that particular cone drop so new growth can be initiated and new seeds can be scattered.
NEW GROWTH OUT OF THE OLD FOUNDATION
I have a keen sense that some old things in my life are being replaced by new beginnings. It was a time away that was meant to be spent soaking in the presence of God and seeking His wisdom. God brought it home to me that when it is time for a change in your life, if you move forth from a strong God given foundation, that foundation will support the new life/ideas/direction God is urging you toward.
When God is propelling you forward, into something new, it can be disconcerting when what you are involved in isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is simply not where God wants you to be. Rest assured, that He will support the new life and new direction that He is taking you. Take your eyes off the world and their judgements and opinions, place your eyes directly on your Lord and walk forward. Spread your wings and free the Holy Spirit to guide you.
Sometimes God does not close a door before He opens a new one. However, your gut, your conscience, circumstances and that never ending nagging will let you know that it is time to take a closer look at where you are and where you are being urged to go.
Sometimes He gives you the keys to the new door and encourages you to take what you have gained from your previous experiences and trust Him enough to use the key to the new door. Permit Him to guide you in a new direction.
Thus says the Lord, my Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.” (Isaiah 48:17)
God will show me the path of life. (Psalm 16:11)
God will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go. He will guide me with His eye. (Psalm 32:8)
There is beauty all around us. There are paths we need to trod and paths we need to steer clear of. God will be our pilot if we let Him. Do we have the courage to look at the pictures of our lives and see the lessons He has for us? Take an hour, take a day, take a weekend or a lifetime. Look at the pictures of your life!
I hear Jesus’ voice and He calls me by name and leads me out. Jesus goes before me and I follow him, for I know his voice. I will by no means follow a stranger. (John 10:3-5)
……………and so I ride