Archive | May 2013

Perspective-Perception

Yesterday we observed our 49th wedding anniversary.  I am not sure why, but it seemed like a milestone to me.  At one point I was thinking about the Jubilee year when all debts were cancelled, slaves were set free and property was returned to the rightful owner.  How that would apply to us at this point I don’t know, but I sense that as we go into our 50th year together something will be different.

Our story, our life together, has not always been easy, as no doubt any who have been married a long time can vouch for.  When two people who are so different from each other come together there is going to be ongoing adjustment, which brings me to the matter of perspective.

I recently watched a minister teach his congregation that your perspective will color your perception and yesterday as we stood at the place where the local creek goes over a huge precipice and becomes the falls, I thought how glad I was that my perspective was at the top of the falls looking down, because my perception was that at that point where the water went over the ledge crashing to the bottom, it was raw power and violent energy.

The gorge we stood by was very deep.  A sign by the falls tells the story of it being formed during the ice age; the movement of the ice and the water must have been very powerful to cut the solid rock we observed.  As the ice and water flowed, earth was cut away violently, rock layers cut, crushed and moved by the power of that flow.

Today the creek meanders lazily from its source throughout the area, until it comes to the falls where one is reminded of the distant past that formed this area.

How often our lives are like the gorge near the falls, cut out in our past, reflecting the changes made by our circumstances where sometimes the change is good and sometimes it is not.

Perspective depends on where you are and the lens through which you view what is in front of you.  Your past experience colors your current experience and that colors your perception of what you are experiencing now.

So often, who I am right now, at this moment, is colored by my circumstances, by my emotions, my thinking.  My perspective will color my perception of what I am experiencing.  Your perception can be false produced by an incorrect perspective.

Think about this:  II Kings chapter 6 and 7 tells the story of a famine in the land of Israel, the prophet Elisha tells the king that the next day there will be plenty of food, while one of the kings men said:  “If the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?”  To which Elisha replied:  “Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.”  To the king’s man and from his perspective, even God Himself could not change the circumstances they were in.  His perception was that this was not possible.

Elisha heard from God.  It is not recorded that he knew how it would happen, but He knew His God had spoken and it would happen.  The next morning, through a totally unexpected source the Word of the Lord was fulfilled and the man who did not believe was trampled upon by the people in their rush to get food, thus fulfilling what Elisha had spoken.

How often are we confined by our limited perspective, based upon our past experience, confined in a box of our own acceptance, which makes a miracle impossible?  We do not need to stay in these boxes.  God wants to set us free to dream and to be more than our limited perception allows.

Yesterday morning the Lord told me that He wants to bring blessings to me, but He told me that I limit what He can do because I don’t have the capacity to receive the blessings that He wants to bring, nor do I have the understanding and will that I need to have for these blessings to come to me and through me.

How sad that my perception of Him, caused by my perspective of past experiences, limits the blessing He wants to give me.  Lord, deliver me, heal me, set me free to dream your dream, that I may receive all you want me to be and have.

How many of us are limited, for instance, by a poverty spirit that came upon us because of past circumstances and we can’t seem to get free of it in our thinking.  Our perception is that God is limited by our circumstances and this false perspective keeps us from receiving the blessing of abundance that He wants to give.

Friend, God is good, but how glibly we declare it sometimes, without any real understanding of who our God is and what He wants to do.  Somehow, we have been conditioned to believe that we can “settle” for much less than what He wants for us.

God loved us so much that He sent His own Son to pay a price He didn’t owe for those who owed more than they could pay; may He grant us a changed perspective, that we may see Him as He is and believe that He is “a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”.  And lastly may our perception of who He is be based upon Truth without any other kind of influence.  May it be so Lord!

Lovingly,

Joy

A Song in the Night Season

Sarah (not her real name) is going through a night season, her husband, my husband’s cousin, is dying.  They have been married for 60 years and she is about to become a widow.

I don’t know about you dear reader, but as I age people of age look and act younger and younger, at least the crowd I run with do.  I recall when I was growing up in the country that the people who were part of my grand-parents circle were old; they looked old and they acted old…. in their 60’s.  At this stage of my life a 60 year old person is still very young looking and acting.  I am not sure how to account for that but I don’t believe it is because I am aging. : )

At any rate, yesterday I spent an hour and a half on the phone with Sarah and her daughter, Reenie, about the death of their husband and father.  We cried together and consoled each other.  No doubt after the funeral we will talk about those times we spent together, the good food, the fun and relationship that we have enjoyed over the years.  It is hard to see him go, but as the scripture says: “We do not sorrow as those who have no hope.”    I Thessalonians 4:13

Our hope is in Messiah, Jesus, and in what He has done for us.  It is through His finished work that we have peace and know that on the other side of the death of the body is life in the Spirit.

Jerry (not his real name) will pass away from this earth realm, he will leave his earthen body behind, now eaten up with cancer, and be escorted by the angels into Heaven where a welcoming party will await him…his family who have gone on before.

God is all about family.  It is His idea.  Oh, the joy of reunion with family gathered there.  We who are still earthbound long to be with them and assure ourselves that “it won’t be long”.  Though truthfully, it seems interminable sometimes, especially as the world system gets darker and darker.

Heaven holds more joy and extends far beyond seeing our family though, there will be no greater joy than being with our Father God and the Lord Jesus whom we love; Jesus is the reason for the joy of Heaven but it all exists because of God, our Father.

Scripture says (I Corinthians 15:22-28) that Jesus must rule and reign until everything is brought into submission and when it is, He will turn the Kingdom of God over to His Father.  Jesus though King of kings and Lord of lords is still the Son of His Father and yet He co-rules with God in Heaven.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble, but take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)  What does that mean?  Are we to deny the pain, the sorrow, the hurts and the wounds while we go around with a smile plastered on our face?  I don’t believe so.  To me it means that the “stuff ” we face is temporary.  Jesus made a way through it and if we desire to overcome as He did, we can have what He provided for us to do so.

The answer to overcoming is in the peace of God, the kind of peace that only can come from Him, that peace that was proclaimed the night of Jesus birth, He is our peace.  It is this peace that keeps our heart and our mind in Him and that is the key.  It is IN HIM and it is all about where we focus our attention.  Luke 2:14;  Isaiah 26:3

If our thoughts are ever and always on earthly things we will be subject to vacillating emotions, a veritable roller coaster of highs and lows.  When our eyes are upon the only one who is eternal, we will walk in peace though the world around us is falling apart.

Reenie, my cousin’s’ daughter, correctly said that a butterfly can never return to being a caterpillar, but the butterfly will die and fall to earth because it is earthly.  Everything of this earth is temporary.  The only thing eternal here is human beings, because we were created by God in His image and in His likeness.  Genesis 1:27

We are given a choice.  We can choose the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be our God and be outfitted for Heaven or we can choose not to do so.  Choice affects destination.

Blessed, dear cousin, is your memory to those who loved you.  After you met the Lord Jesus your joy overflowed to all around you and it was our joy to spend time with you.  We will miss those times of food, fun, and fellowship.  The blessing of the Lord be upon you as you take your journey to our Father.  I love you, Joy

Fool’s Song

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes:  but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.”   Proverbs 12:15

Every man’s way is right in his own eyes.  But the Lord weighs the hearts.” Proverbs 21:2

He that trusts his own heart is a fool, but the man who walks wisely shall be delivered.”  Proverbs 28:26

A wise man fears and departs from evil, but the fool rages and is confident.  Proverbs 14:16

“The wise fear the Lord and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure.  Proverbs 14:16

Ecclesiastes 10:14  “A fool is full of words.  A man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?

There are two paradigms available to man:  To be wise or to be a fool.  It is a choice.

“No man is an island.”  says John Donne.  No man lives unto himself… but every man dies alone.  It is our decisions that determine our quality of life and it is our decision that determines our destination when this physical body gives way to death.

Each human being will make a decision to be wise or to be a fool.

The Bible, the written Word of God, declares that a fool says in his heart, “There is no God!”  This passage in Psalm 53:1 also says that there is none that does good, which is further confirmed in Romans 3:12 where it says that there is no one who does good, no not even one.  Understand…this is from God’s point of view, not man’s.  God is God! He knows all hearts and declares that a man’s heart is desperately wicked.  Jeremiah 17:9

On the other hand a man is wise who chooses to believe in and receive the gift of salvation through the one that God has sent to be the Savior of the world, Jesus, the righteous one.

The person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God, the one sent by God to be the Savior, is declared to be righteous before God through Him.

“What then will you do with this man Jesus, who is called the Christ?” Matthew 27: 22

History, as my friend Bill says, is His Story…it all is, the whole thing.

Jesus, Yeshua in Hebrew, is the Christ, the sent one ; sent from God. (who is the the Father of us all.  Ephesians 4:6)  Hebrews 1:3

He must rule and reign until…

“Then comes the end, when He hands over the Kingdom to the God the Father, when He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.”  I Corinthians 15:24

Until then we struggle…

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Ephesians 4:6

These forces have power, dominion and authority over the world’s way of doing and being, and over those who do not belong to the Kingdom of God. (by their own choice)

But Jesus said to those who belonged to Him:  “These things I have spoken to you that in me you might have peace.  In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

This work that Jesus did for us of overcoming the kingdom of darkness through His passion at Calvary, can only be ours by appropriation.  It will not just fall upon us, we must believe it and receive it…that is called faith.

Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

A man is not made just before a Holy God in any other way than by faith.  God justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. Romans 4:5

It is only by faith in what Jesus did that an ungodly, unholy man is accepted as right with God.

Not by works of righteousness that I have done, but according to His mercy  He saved me.  Titus 3:5

Which paradigm do you choose, to be a fool, to not believe, to trust in your own goodness, your own way of being right or to be wise and believe in, lean on and rest in the Savior and God’s way of being right.

Right or Wrong                      Good or Evil

Wise man or Fool

The choice is yours…

Joshua 24:15  “Choose this day whom you will serve….as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Praying that you will believe and live…Joy

Songs From the Prairie

There are many songs being sung in our world today and none without meaning.  There are as many songs as there are people.

This past week-end I traveled to spend some time with a woman who has been a good friend for well over fifty years.  She was born with a happy song, but with the years, and with circumstances, her song has been diminshed.  Oh, she still laughs and smiles, but her song is now tinged with sorrow and sadness as physical issues require attention, and her strong work ethic is not so easily managed.  Weariness often overcomes her.

My friend and I spent a couple of hours with our god-child, a very successful man who is goal oriented and driven by a dream.  The business he is engaged in is quite lucritive and he has plans for early retirement when he meets his goal.  His pride and joy though are his children, whom he talks about with great excitement.  From an earthly standpoint, he appears to have it all together, but some “worry lines” on his face indicate that even his song has a dark side, perhaps I should say a gray side.  Life is not free of challenges.

I am blessed to have a son and his family in the same area, so I was able to enjoy a few hours with them as well.  The song they sing comes across to me as mostly blue.  As a mother, I wish I was able to wave a magic wand and “make it all alright”, but my Father in Heaven allows me to make my own choices and decisions and some of the greatest lessons I have learned have been because of hard times.  So, I must allow them to sing the blues while I pray that the clouds will part and the Sun of righteousness will shine upon them.

Following the visit with my biological child I enjoyed a visit with my spiritual son and his family.  A visit to their home is always a joy because they have the gift of hospitality.  I feel welcomed and warmed by their kind, gentle attention.  Their home is in the country and because Spring has arrived, at last, in the north country, everything was green and growing.  I love Spring!  I love it because of the new life, the happy song, the hope of harvest, the hope of fruitfulness in the Fall.  I heard Spring’s song and I was refreshed.

Today as I was considering this week-end with the various songs I heard, my thought turned to fruit salad.  Strange you say, yes, I am sure, but then that is how my mind works.

There are many kinds of fruit, each one can be enjoyed individually and yet they can be combined to make a fruit salad.  If people can be compared to fruit, consider this:   You cannot take an apple and turn it into an orange, you cannot take a pear and make it into a banana, nor can you make a blueberry into a cherry.  BUT, you can combine them into a fruit salad that is incredibly wonderful tasting and very nourishing as well.  Throw in some blueberries for anti-oxident power and you are good to go.

Why do we try to make other people into our own image?  Why can we not accept  each other for who we are?  God loves variety, we all sing a different song and that is okay.  He is the author of all of the songs, but what we do with our song is what makes our song a happy song or a sad one.  Decisions matter!

As I thought about fruit salad, I realized that God’s love is the dressing that keeps it all together, adds just the right flavor to it.  It marries all the fruit together into a pleasing delight for the palate.  And yet, each fruit adds its own flavor to the salad.  Wonderful!

That thought led me to unity.  That is what happens when we allow God into our marriage, our family.  It becomes a wonderful blend where each one is loved and accepted as they are, without trying to force one another to be someone they are not, a job by the way, that only the love of God can accomplish.

Uniformity on the other hand is like homoginization, only one distinct flavor.  Milk is homogenized and that is good and right, but homogenized people?  No!

I love variety in food, I love variety in people.  I loved sitting with my friends nephew and his wife talking about their experience in Arizona this winter.  As they shared their time there, I lived it, could see it, could almost smell the ranch, the horses, the mountain air, and that is not my thing, but oh how lovely to be with them and hear the precious song they sang.

You, dear reader, have a song to sing.  You are singing a song in our world whether you realize it or not.  Won’t you consider what song you are singing and whether your song lifts up or pulls down those around you?

Everyone needs hope, everyone needs love and acceptance, everyone needs to be respected and honored, everyone needs to be valued.  As we honor God for who He is, realizing that it is His love that binds all of the different songs into a sympohny of beauty, harmony comes and discord disappears, our lives are changed for the better, the lives of those around us change and we come closer to Heaven on earth.

Yes, I know, Heaven on earth cannot happen yet, nevertheless, unity is the desire of Jesus spoken of in John 17 and each of us can do what we can do to bring that to pass.

Each of us is an instrument and we will play a song.  We must choose if our song will be discord or harmony.  Let us accept others for who they are and allow God to make them into the person that He wants them to be?  He can you know!

I bless you in the name of the Lord Jesus…Joy