Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Zebra

What does a zebra have to do with drawing closer to Father God? Well, a few years ago, seeing a zebra live and in person was a very special love gift from my Father God. I had always doubted when some scientist kind of person told me that the stripes were for camoflage. We have at times dressed prisoners in black and white stripes just to make them obvious. How is that good for concealment?

In fact, as our safari vehicle got close to the zebra herd, they stood out in the landscape. When we were close enough to make them nervous, however, they moved closer together and it became very difficult to see where one animal ended and another began. How confusing to a predator. Good plan. It inspired me to write a poem about the zebra that I think applies to us as well.


Black and white
so vivid
in a field of
tan or green.

What kind of
camoflage makes
it easy
to be seen?

But when a lion
roars around,
I know
just what to do.

My only safety
being still
and very
close to You.

I bless you today and in the days to come to be still in your soul and ever closer to Father God.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yearning

It seems that the more we experience the sweetness of God's presence, the more we want of it. But consider how much He yearns for fellowship with us. God -- Father, Son and Spirit -- so longed for restored companionship with us that they agreed to pay an enormous price to have it. Jesus came to re-introduce us to His Father and paid the price of a sinless life, the crucifiction and the resurrection so that our failings wouldn't disqualify us from being in their presence.

When I have disappointed myself in some way, I hesitate to seek Father's face. It's a learned reaction from life experiences. But He is watching like the father in Jesus' story, just yearning to work through whatever has shamed us, and work through it together. 

I bless you today to have increasing yearning for the presence of Father God. He has already paid the entry fee and is waiting for you in joyful expectation.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for Xiphoid Process

Xiphoid means sword-shaped, and the xiphoid process is a sword-shaped bone that stands in the gap between our two sets of ribs to defend our hearts from physical injury. What a picture it is of our militaristic attempts to defend our hearts from the trauma of emotional injury, too. We wield our inner vows and resolutions like weapons: "I'll never let anyone do that to me again." "Nobody's going to get close enough to hurt me that way any more." "I'll never trust a......." 

Unlike the ziphoid process, our self-made armor does its own damage to the heart by hardening it. When we stiffen our hearts against pain, we also reduce their capacity for joy and love and peace.

I bless you today to risk the pain of an undefended heart so that Father God can soften and heal it. I bless you to be able to feel His compassionate tenderness and to rejoice with Him.

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Wounds

Nobody gets through life without wounds. Some are exterior. I remember a bath night. My dad was anxious to get us dried and into pajamas and silent at last and he was toweling vigorously. Mine was the typical seven-year-old body of a daredevil tomboy and sprinkled with a variety of scrapes, scratches and scabs, each of which was objecting to being roughly rubbed.  "Ow!" he teased me, "Look out for my big toe! Be careful of my left bumpernickel!"

I didnt think it was funny. Nor have I laughed in the years since about some of the inner wounds that have hurt much more than those superficial scrapes. I learned and I practiced the ancient rule of warfare: Never let them see your pain. There are those who will do worse than tease you if they see your weakness.

At times I have even tried to hide my pain, my woundedness from my Father God. I tell myself that it was nothing, that I just have to let it go. But He knows our every pain because He feels it with us, and He doesn't just want us to just get over it, but He wants to truly heal it. There is no wound that we suffer that He sees as trivial. There is no pain in our hearts that He will laugh at. He cares for us.

I bless you today to be able to trust your Father God with every wound, let Him tenderly cleanse and heal it and to experience His loving care.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Vinedresser

Living for over twenty years where the yard was heavily shaded by mature maples, I delighted in my new home. The new development had few trees of any size, so all the sun-loving plants I had longed for are quite at home. I positioned one of my favorites, a clematis, to climb our front lightpost. I have spoken blessing over it, carefully trimmed and trained it, and delighted in its glorious blossoms. I love being its vinedresser.

My vinedresser is Father God. He blesses me and lets me know His delight in my blooming. But He also trims and trains me. That's not always comfortable. In fact, I have seriously grieved some of the shoots and branches He has deemed unproductive and removed. I'm so thankful that I have the example of my own tender vines in my life. They remind me that Father always has my good, my health, strength and beauty in mind as He prunes.

I bless you today to receive the tender loving touch of the vinedresser in your life with a joyful expectancy for the fruit to follow.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Understood

The physician's assistant was trying to establish rapport as she took my medical history and answered most of her questions herself. She had catagorized me and made judgements based on -- my age? My hair color? The size of my slacks? I don't know, but she totally alienated me and she knew no more about me at the end of the interview than she had when she began.

Think of the times we have all experienced when a word or action intended to be a help or a blessing to someone was taken the wrong way. Sometimes we have made a wrong assumption; sometimes the other person has.

How different it is with Father God. He knew us before we were born and hasn't lost sight of us since. He has no misconceptions about us and he sees our hearts, our motives and the forces that drive us through the eyes of His compassion. We are always safe with Him, always accepted.

I bless you today to feel safety in knowing that you are completely understood and absolutely accepted by your Father.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Trust

Trust is another word for faith, and Father God says that it is impossible to please Him without faith in Him. So, I have engaged in "faith-building exercises" in the past, and been harangued about my lack of faith at times. But I have also known those who trusted people and things that were totally untrustworthy. Where's the balance? How do we not get off track?

First, we can't trust our own faith. It can be affected by our emotional swings, by false information, by the winning influence of others. Trust can be given to us supernaturally as a gift from Father for a special need, but mostly it is the result of knowing the nature of what or whom we are trusting. For reaching a high shelf, I reasonably trust a step stool more than a rocking chair to stand on.

Consider the nature and character of Father God. He loves us so much that He paid the price of Jesus' death and resurrection to bring us into relationship with Him. How can I not trust Him to take me through the rest of my life? He bought my healing at a tremendous price. How can I not trust Him to make it manifest in my body?

That's the key. It's not how much we trust. It's whom we trust.

I bless you today to recognize who Father God is in your situation and to know how much you can trust Him.