I’ve settled in to focusing on the Psalms as my daily reading for the remainder of the year. Most Psalms are short; some just a few verses. The point is not to read volumes, but to let the words speak volumes.
Psalm 30 is one of my favorite Psalms and this portion is one of my favorite verses of all Scripture.
Scripture says a lot about clothing. Jesus tells us not to worry about what we wear. Paul tells us to put on the armor of God. We are to be clothed in righteousness and cover ourselves with light as with a garment. I especially love the psalmist’s thought that God can clothe us with joy.
We usually think of joy as an internal thing. But Jesus also wants us to display that joy and share it with the world. So go ahead, Jesus, completely cover me. Clothe me from head to foot with the joy that only you can provide.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? What is your favorite verse about clothing? Or about joy?
Last month, hubby and I climbed into our Polaris Ranger and hit the trails, looking for elk. We saw deer, wild turkeys, dozens of quail with babies in tow, a coyote and a wee chipmunk on a rock. We also saw elk tracks and elk poo, but no actual real live elk.
As with many things, we were reminded that joy happens not just in the finding, but in the seeking. Look at what we found along the way.
Basically, while we were seeking elk, we found God’s glory. Which, of course, reminds me of Jesus.
Jesus wants to be sought. He also wants to be found. But it is in the seeking, that often our faith blooms and grows strong.
We seek God’s character by studying Scripture. We seek His will through prayer and meditation. We seek His love when we love others in Jesus’ name.
And He seeks us, too. Remember in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit? They hid from God. But He called out to them, “Where are you?” He knew exactly where they were, but still He sought them in order to deepen his relationship with them, even though they had sinned.
When I actively seek Jesus, it turns out He is right there, where He always has been, waiting to be found and seeking my heart in return.
Last week, hubby and I took our very first Idaho camping trip. The campgrounds along the Snake River were run by Idaho Power Company and were lush little oases amid the dusty brown hills. Amenities of electricity, water and lawn for each campsite, an evening music concert on the river and lovely hot showers included in the $16/nightly fee. “Civilized camping,” as hubby said.
But one of the best parts of the camping experience was when two young neighborhood 4-H Club girls appeared, taking their sheep out for a morning walk.
The girls are cropped since I didn’t get parental approval to post their faces online, but the point of this post is the sheep…
…because they remind me of Jesus.
Jesus referred to Himself many times in Scripture as “the Good Shepherd.” As His people, we are part of a flock, but Jesus also knows His people individually. In fact,
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice (John 10:3-4 NIV).
These two sheep are named Dodger (left) and Pudding (right) and they definitely know their names. And, although it appears the sheep in this photo are doing the leading, it is the girls who control the leashes and thus control where those sheep go, when they stop and when they lie down (in those green pastures of the girls’ home).
So, too does Jesus know each of us by name. In the beginning of our walk of faith, sometimes it would be nice to have Jesus lead us around with a leash. It might save us from taking the wrong path and winding up back in the valley of the shadow of death. But as we learn to recognize Jesus’ voice, the need for a leash becomes less attractive. We can follow His voice more easily because we have become attuned to it and thus it is easier to hear.
Then again, perhaps we can think in terms of our connection to Jesus and the Father through the Holy Spirit as a spiritual leash. The Spirit does not constrict or restrict us but gently guides and directs from the inside out.
The only trouble is that now I’m trying to figure out if I could get away with changing my name to Pudding.
I love to pray that people will live the meaning of their names. Names are important; they mean something.
Here are two prayers that Phyllis and Cody will live the meaning of their names.
Phyllis: green leaf; foliage
Jesus, we pray that Phyllis will live the meaning of her name. We pray she will rest in the cooling shade of your love, remembering how you provided leafy shade to Jonah to ease his discomfort. We pray that she will be a source of similar comfort to others by sharing your love with them. Amen.
Heavenly Father, we pray that Cody will live the meaning of his name. We pray he will adopt your attitude Jesus as that of a servant. We pray he will be known as one who is helpful to others in your name and to honor you. Amen.
Yes, I’m definitely a left-brained person. I love being inside of boxes. I love outlining books—and notes—and lists. I feel most comfortable if I have a plan—written out in detail and outlined (of course).
And you know that I’m a huge believer in setting goals at the beginning of each year and then reviewing and revising them (if necessary) each quarter—and doing so publicly to both keep myself accountable and motivated and to encourage others to reach and achieve their own goals.
Earlier this month, I posted a review of Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy.
But if you notice when reading that post, I never actually said I was following the advice given in the book. Sure I planned to do it; but hadn’t taken out my pencil and ream of paper to do the actual work involved.
I’m happy to announce that over the past week I have gone through the assignments in Living Forward and now have a 17-page life plan. More importantly, I’ve begun implementing it.
I’ve focused my life plan on spiritual matters, my relationship with my husband, health, my relationship with other family members, writing, relationships with people outside my family and developing hobbies. The plan feels well rounded and well prioritized for my current status and the direction I’d like to move.
Of course, the plan has already gone through a few revisions—mostly me adding more short term goals and ideas to implement them.
The hardest part of the plan? Reading the 17-page, single spaced, 3000 word document every day. Out loud.
That’s probably one of the parts of the plan that will help me the most though. Sure, I could skim over the document silently or do the out loud thing weekly or monthly. But there’s something about reading my commitments and plans out loud every day that has increased my commitment to it even more in the short time since I created the plan.
The effectiveness of reading my life plan out loud has to do with announcing the plan to myself, to anyone in hearing distance (usually my dog who lovingly comes over to me and shakes my hand), the world in general and God in specific. It’s that accountability thing again.
So, yes, I love having a plan. Like the John Hannibal Smith from the A-Team, I especially love it “when a plan comes together.” Looking forward to watching how that happens
WHAT ABOUT YOU? How is your plan? Do you have one? Do you need one? How can I help you get started, keep going or move toward the finish?
There are things we must do; things we should do; things we want to do. Unfortunately, as I age, it is harder to get things done. Harder to focus. Harder to settle on what is important. As I learn what God means to “number my days” I find that—with less time left on this earth—everything feels important. I want to get it all done. I don’t want to leave anything unresolved or any goals uncompleted.
I “say” this or that is important. But am I spending the time on those things in a way that is evidence of their importance? Am I spending too much time on the mundane and leaving the bucket list on the back porch where I can conveniently ignore it? Lately then I’ve begun a process of prioritizing.
Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy’s latest book, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life you Want begins with a suggestion that you write your own eulogy to help you understand how you want people to remember you after you’re gone. The rest of the book helps you understand if what you profess to believe is important is what you are actually spending time on. Will you have really and truly left this world better for having lived in it, in the way you desire?
My one-word focus for 2016 has been legacy. When I began the year, I thought it related to working on a novel with the same name. Then I thought God was nudging me to focus on leaving a legacy of faith through what He wanted me to write. Then came news of a grandbaby to be and the word also meant a physical, generational legacy.
The focus is all of those things and more. The process of creating a life plan is one more part of understanding that one-word focus for 2016. And there is still a bunch of months left in 2016 for God to reveal new meanings!
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you have a life plan? Have you prioritized what you want to accomplish with your time on earth? Do you need to?
Names are important; they mean something. I love to pray that people will live the meaning of their names. Here are two more prayers: for Joyce and Joseph will live the meaning of their names.
Joyce: little lord
Heavenly Father, I pray Joyce will live the meaning of her name. I pray she will understand her station—that once she accepts Jesus, she becomes royalty as the adopted daughter of the King. I pray she will understand that although she is little, you—Oh, mighty God—are big. Big enough to handle every situation, every crisis, every joy, everything in the universe, no matter how large or small. Amen.
Joseph: God will increase; God raises
Heavenly Father, I pray Joseph will live the meaning of his name. I pray you will lift him up above the troubles of this world and above evil. I pray you will increase your blessings upon him and I pray that he will increase in his faith in you all the days of his life. Amen.