Waiting on the Lord

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Right now, I have a pretty big need in my life and I am learning to wait on the Lord for it. I want it and need it now, and God is allowing me to wait for it. “Allowing” is the word I use, because God is giving me some room for growth as I learn to wait on Him.

A word study on the word “wait” (in Isaiah) tells us, it means:

  • to bind together
  • to expect
  • to look for
  • a forward look with assurance
  • it stresses the straining of the mind in a certain direction with an expectant attitude

Did any of those definitions surprise you? To bind together??

Once, I heard someone say that she thought of waiting on the Lord in the same context of being a waiter or waitress (yeah, I know that is not PC, and interestingly, today that person is called a server). It makes sense to me. What do you do if you are a good waitress?

  • Your main function is to serve other people. Humbling yourself to serve the needs of someone else, shows you place more importance on that person’s need than your own.
  • A good waitress is smiling and happy to be helping you.
  • She reacts quickly to what you need.
  • She brings you exactly what you ask.
  • By keeping an eye on you, she anticipates your needs, knowing when you are ready to order, need a water refill, or you are ready to pay your bill.

Is this how I am waiting on the Lord? Smiling and happy? Quickly doing exactly as He asks? Tuning in to Him so I know immediately when He asks me?

And, how do you react to a really good waitress?

  • You are pleased and you tip well. The next time you come in, you might look for her and ask to sit in her section. You might even eventually build a relationship with her, learning about her life, her goals, her kids. She likes to see you come in, and you like to see her walking up to your table.

I want this kind of relationship with God, one where I am pleasing to Him, one where He blesses me.

Now, I see how waiting on the Lord can mean “to bind together.” I can also see that He is allowing me to gain strength, and oh, I need that after the situation I just left:

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To remind myself that I am waiting on the Lord, and not to get ahead of Him, I made my waitress name tag. If you want to make one as a reminder, it is very easy!

 

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1. Click on the above template and print it out. Cut out the two pieces (front and back) of your name tag.

 

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2. Glue those two pieces back to back. Or, if you want something more sturdy, glue the pieces to an old gift card or hotel room key.

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3. Write your name on it! Put it in your bible, or place it where you will see it often. I think mine is going on the bathroom mirror so I see it at the start of every day.

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act. Psalm 37:5,

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Blooming Pencil: Something New

IMG_0734   Here in Michigan, we are right in the middle of spring. Some things have bloomed, but we still have lots of plants and trees in the bud stage.

Weirdly, it reminds me how much I like fall. Fall sometimes feels like a metaphor for the changes God is planning in my life. The leaves are beautiful, I have enjoyed them for many months, but they are falling off the trees. I always remind myself that there will not be room for anything new until the old is gone. The landscape eventually turns to winter bleakness, and I wait it out….till the time when the bright, shiny new buds start popping out.

You can count on new leaves and flowers every spring, just like you can count on God bringing you new relationships, jobs, kids, homes, lessons, passions, and even challenges. It is easier to allow the old to fade away if I remember that the exciting and long awaited new will be here soon.

So, it is spring, and the new is here. Pay attention to what is brings to you….

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Here, God promises to bring His children out of Babylon. Not only did He bring them out, but He made a way for them through the wilderness, and gave them what they needed to survive the journey.

To remind myself that He will do something new in my life when I feel Him taking things away from me, I made a pencil with a spring bud that turns into a full bloom. Each time I use it, I remember that God not only brings new things into my life, He makes the way for me, and gives me what I need to get where He is asking me to go.

Here is what you need:

  • pencil with eraser
  • 5″ circle of fabric for the bud/bloom (I traced a soup mug and cut out the circle)
  • 1 yard 1 1/4″ wide green ribbon
  • 1 quilt pin (use wire cutters to cut the pin to about 1/2″)
  • hot glue gun and glue
  • scissors
  • pencil

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What you do:

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1. Glue the fabric circle to the top of the pencil, in 4 spots (think north, south, east, west).

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2. Fold or pleat the rest of the fabric, glueing it around the top of the pencil.  There is your spring flower bud.

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3. Cut a square of ribbon, and glue it into a point. This will be a leaf. Make two.

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4. Glue the end of the ribbon to the pencil, so it covers the bottom edge of your bud.

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5. Wrap the ribbon tightly around the pencil, moving it downward, and glueing every other wrap, to hold it in place. As you work downward, glue a leaf to the pencil, and wrap/glue the ribbon over it. Glue both leaves to the pencil/stem.

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6. Cut the ribbon when you want to stop wrapping. I stopped a couple inches above the point, so I could sharpen it and use it for awhile. Fold the end of the ribbon under and glue it. Then glue the end of the ribbon to the pencil.

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7. When you want your bud to bloom, press the bud flat. Stick your short pin through the fabric into the pencil eraser. This will hold the blossom open and make it look like a flower.

“Be joyful in hope,” Romans 12:12

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His Name

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If I were to say to you that the reason we celebrate Christmas sometimes gets lost in the craziness of the holiday… that would be an understatement, right? So I am not going to say that. That is a given. It is pretty hard to skip the presents, decorations, parties, and cookies that come with Christmas, especially if you have kids.

In light of that, I am trying this year to find some meaningful takeaways that I can keep after Christmas…not counting a depleted bank account and exhaustion.

This verse in Isaiah popped right into my mind. It is a prophesy from the Old Testament. For us, it is not a prophesy, but a reality in our lives. Everyday. Not just looking toward Christmas or during our Christmas day celebration, but every day.

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A name is not always just a name. Sometimes a name is a mark of individuality, or it tells about reputation. It can indicate a specific character or make a statement about a person. The child in Isaiah 9:6 who grew up to be the salvation of the world, has many names: Jesus, The Christ, Messiah, the Lamb, the Light of the World, Emmanuel…you probably know several more. And here are four more names. Let’s look at the importance of them. I did word studies on them, hoping that looking them up in the original Hebrew might give us some cultural insight.

 

Wonderful Counselor

Wonderful: God’s annointed continuing the marvelous acts of God

Counselor: one who advises, and gives good advice

 

Mighty God

Mighty: a strong, upright man. In the context of battle, it means proven warrior. In the context of a king, it means the strength of His kingdom.

God: Supernatural provision and power. This name is often used with another: God Almighty, the God of Israel, etc.

 

Everlasting Father

Everlasting: eternity, no beginning and no end, forever

Father:  A title of respect…teacher, advisor, protector. Position of status, worthy of honor. Sometimes describes the adopted relationship. Of course, when we become followers of Jesus, we are adopted right into the kingdom of God. Side note: How interesting that Father is the very first word in my Hebrew concordance.

 

Prince of Peace

Prince: Captain, chief, ruler, governor, principal, commander, leader, judge

Peace: Safe, well, happy, health, prosperity, welfare, tranquility, unharmed. Completeness, to be whole. A harmonious state of the soul and mind.

How is this verse and what it is teaching us usable in our every day lives?

  •  Having a day that is a mess, confusing, crazy, don’t know what to do or where to go? Jesus gives good advice. Ask Him.
  • Feeling beat up, picked on, too small to tackle it on your own? Jesus is a proven warrior who will go before you in the battle. His strength is as big as the Kingdom of God. Invite Him.
  • Need a reminder of who you are? Your importance? How much you are loved? Jesus is your Father, your teacher, your protector. Forever. You are a daughter of the King. Draw close to Him.
  • Life is absolutely crazy, can’t get caught up, you feel lost, upset, worried over something or everything? Feel like your life is missing something? Can’t sleep because of it? Jesus completes you. Walk with Him.

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I made these tags as a reminder of the message in Isaiah 9:6. This week, I also made them with a delightful group of Moms. I took a ton of pictures of their tags, and then my camera card broke in two as I was transferring the pods. BAH! I only recovered a couple.

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My four tags are made on formica chips. They could be cardboard, plastic, paper, whatever you have. I covered one side with scrapbooking paper…and the other side with ivory cardstock. I wanted to be able to write the things that inspired me about these 4 names of Jesus, on the back.

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I printed out the 4 names of Jesus from the verse, on ivory cardstock. We glued one to each of our tags. We even had doe brass hearts with which to embellish. It was fun to see how each person in class combined the papers, and strips and hearts.

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Now we each have our tags strung on ribbons. I use mine a bible bookmark. The ladies in class had definite ideas of where to keep theirs so they would be visible and remind them of this life application from the word of God.

Go boldly to the very throne of God (Hebrews 4:16)

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Joy and Strength

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I like Nehemiah. I like his book, it’s maybe my favorite. Every time I read through it, I find something encouraging. Reading through Chapter 8 today, I was encouraged about a topic that has been a tough one for me the last couple of years: corporate worship.

In Chapter 8, the people of Jerusalem are coming off a tough year. They rebuilt the destroyed walls of their city in 52 days…every one of them worked nearly non stop…the politicians, the priests, the skilled artisans, even girls pitched in. They did not have backhoes or cranes, they did it by hand. Their lives were threatened during it. They had to work and stand guard with swords at the same time. It was physically hard and mentally exhausting.

But they are done in chapter 8, and this is a day set aside for God. Ezra came to preach. Everyone able to understand, showed up. When Ezra opened the book to read, they all stood up. They stood up out of respect for God and His word, and out of respect for Ezra. They stood up because in that day, servants stood before their masters to receive instruction. By standing, they were ready to move out immediately to begin what they were charged to do.

Ezra read from daybreak to noon. Remember, they were all standing. He brought priests to explain to the crowd what he was reading, while he was reading it.

The people began to weep…not because Ezra was going over the scheduled hour and 15 minutes, and dinner was in the oven at home. They wept because their hearts were tender and they understood how they had broken God’s laws and grieved Him. I understand this feeling of not being able to be the Kim that God has made me to be, not being able to follow all of God’s commands, and grieving the Holy Spirit in the process. It is easy to mourn my guilt.

But Nehemiah stepped in. He reminded them it was a day set aside for God, a sabbath, holy day set aside for celebrating with joy and praise for all God had done for them. Nehemiah and Ezra told them to get rid of their heavy heartedness and to testify to the joy they have in God.

They ate and drank and shared what they had with people who had none, so those people could have joy too. They remembered the joy of being favored by God and living in His grace. They remembered first hand what it means to be God’s chosen, to be provisioned and protected by God Almighty. Nehemiah and Ezra helped them to shake off the funk, forget about their shortcomings for the day, and praise God with joy.

Nehemiah teaches us an important thing in chapter 8. We have joy in being God’s chosen. Expressing that joy corporately, magnifies it. It is good for us, and on the day we set aside for God each week, we should praise God with joy and celebration. Praising God with joy gives us hope, makes us remember what it means to belong to our God, brings to mind how He blesses us. It pushes away they guilt and remorse, and makes our connection to Him stronger.

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The joy of the Lord is our strength!

I invite you to print out the piece from verse 10 up at the top. Size it and print it on white card stock. If you want it heavier, print it on 90 lb. watercolor paper, or print it on card stock and glue it to watercolor paper or poster board. Get creative if you want to add a background or a ribbon. Use it as a bookmark, pin it to your bulletin board. Shrink it and make it into a pin to wear. Go for it. And when you feel guilt for not praying enough (or whatever triggers your “I’m not worthy!” complex), get it out and remember that you have amazing joy in just being chosen and belonging to the One True God. I’ll bet it will trigger the remembrance of tons of blessings.

Let Him fill your heart with joy (Psalm 28:7),

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Faith is the Foundation

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It started last Sunday with a sermon on perseverance. Timely. I had a week at work in which I could not catch up or even feel like I could get my feet under me. Perseverance was on my mind, and in my prayers. On the day I was thinking about finding a corner and hiding, I walked past Frank in the warehouse and he said, “I have a thought for you.” He looked right at me and said, “self-control.” Really? I had not spoken to Frank at all yet that week. But, I knew that self-control was in the verses I had been pondering.

Yep, Self-control supplies perseverance.

This afternoon, I was working through part of my weekly Bible study for class. God led me through His plan that when we believe, we clothe ourselves with Christ. See Galatians 3: 27. This week’s lesson was about shucking off all of the old horrible things, like bitterness, clamor, unwholesome words, and slander…to name a few. All of these popped up during crazy week at work.

The thing about believing the gospel and clothing ourselves with Christ is that we have the tools to do away with those old things and be renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of God, our Creator. OK, yes, knowledge is also in the verses of the week.

Knowledge supplies self-control.

I see that God is backing me up through the verses, so if I continue to back up on my own, I reach moral excellence, and then faith.

So, in that amazing way that God has of teaching us, exactly when and how we need it, I have learned this:

  • Faith, as always, is where it begins. God has put me where I am for whatever reason, and I just need to have faith that His plan is perfect.
  • Moral excellence will make me feel better about myself if I can’t deal better about work just yet. Getting rid of the bitterness and the clamor will be a great start. I can do that because I have faith that He is working His plan.
  • Knowledge is supplied by moral excellence. I have the knowledge that God is with me and leading me because I cannot achieve moral excellence on my own. No way.
  • Self-control is easier when I apply the knowledge that God is in control of all of this. I just have to mind my thoughts and actions. He will take care of the work stuff.
  • And perseverance seems easier when I don’t need to expend energy on whining and complaining. All He is asking me to do is keep going.
  • Then I can work my way to godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. That will be great, and I am praying for continued help with all of this.

My visual reminder of all of this is pinned up on the wall of my cube, right above my computer. If you are learning these same things and want to make this……

What you need:

  • watercolor paper, 8″ x 10″ – I tore the edges of mine, against a ruler, you can make it any size
  • cake watercolors – inexpensive ones work just fine
  • waterbrush
  • white crayon
  • pencil
  • white eraser
  • fine point marker – I used a blue PITT pen from Faber Castell, nice fine tip
  • printed pattern
  • sea salt

Do this:

1. print the pattern for faith. You can change the size to fit your paper.

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2. Transfer the word to the center of the watercolor paper. Here are some instructions to do that quickly. Use a light hand in doing this. You want only very faint pattern lines on your watercolor paper.

3. Color in the word with the white crayon. It doesn’t matter if it is perfect, but heavier is better than lighter. I can’t show you this because white on white = you can’t see anything.

4. Using your water brush and watercolors, and working quickly, apply paint to cover the entire background. The crayon will keep the paint from coloring up your faith. (There is a spiritual lesson in there someplace.) If you use more than one color, working quickly will help the colors blend into each other better. Sprinkle a little sea salt on the wet watercolors here and there to add some texture to the background. Let the paint dry completely. Brush the salt off the paper.

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                        See what the salt does?

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5. Use the fine point marker to write whatever parts of the verses you want to remember. I did not write across the crayon, so it looks like the words are under the big word faith.

Before I did that, I used a ruler and a pencil to make very very faint horizontal lines across the paper, so my words went straight across.  I used really light pressure on the eraser to remove them after I finished writing.

I pinned mine to the bulletin board, but you can punch holes at the top and add a ribbon or wire to hang it. And I am praying for moral excellence this week.

Be near God (Psalm 73:28),

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Bible Journaling: Walking with God

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I worked on this page in my bible last night while watching a video in my bible study class. We were talking about walking with the Lord.

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I did a word study on “walk” to find out in the original Hebrew it has a much broader meaning than putting one foot in front of the other. Halak (hawlak) means to go…continually….be conversant…follow…grow.

Walking with God is a constant process, not something we do only when life is sunny. We should walk with our Lord when we are mad, sad, glad, and everything in between.When you are hurting, frustrated, exhausted…don’t stop walking with God. He will be there with you.

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This is done with plain old colored pencils and a micron pen. It is located at Psalm 116:9.

Put on your cute rain boots, grab an umbrella, and take a walk with the Lord.

Give all your worries and cares to God, (1 Peter 5:7 NLT)  

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