As we often partake of the "buffet of the world" (as my pastor, Steve Foster calls it) we come away ill! What looks so inviting and smells of delight may be short seated as it causes our souls to become sick and sicker the longer we indulge. We don't realize it until the soul is so sick that it screams for restoration and renewal. Don't find yourself drifting along without purpose, being tossed about at every turn the wind blows. Be intentional and turn your sees to the wind of the Spirit. Today's Monday Musing Devotional Blog is one of encouragement and hope, brought to you by my Aunt Judy. Be sure to watch the very short video below for a little further information on the blog and our upcoming Restore Retreat. ~Sherry
I am sitting in the stillness of the morning. The only movement is the flickering flame of my favorite candle. I love the calming scent it gives while I settle into my quiet time to read or perhaps write a bit. However, this morning I am only proofreading this soon-to-be blog I began writing back in 2009. Crazy, uh? I know. I remember it was a beautiful day in autumn and these are the words I jotted down.
The cool, gentle breeze swept across my face and was so welcoming and invigorating. I remember my Mother would always give God thanks for every blessed breeze that came her way and I to am thankful, as well, for the refreshing breeze God dispatched my way.
As I breathe in the cool air I begin to breathe deeper and deeper, allowing myself to unwind and savor my peaceful thoughts while hopeful that I can regain some clarity of purpose. Actually, I am sitting in my car, windows down, enjoying the smells of autumn while waiting for my daughter. During this brief period of time, in the peacefulness, my mind is uncluttered and my many thoughts uninterrupted. I am laying claim to this time for thinking and reflection, unfettered by the restrictions or constraints of time.
As I stared at the pathway in front of me I watched closely as intermittent gusts of wind picked up leaves and whirled them, scattering them much like a farmer would scatter his seeds. In the midst of the bustling leaves, a single gray, rather tattered leaf caught my attention dancing and frolicking across the path. As I continued to gaze at this well-worn pathway I began to think about "people." In the words of John Bunyan: "My thoughts began to multiply like sparks that from the coals of fire do fly." People, I questioned...Where would they be going? Did their lives have purpose? How many intimately knew their creator? Where had they been and were they happy, content and loved? This path has clearly been traveled often and possibly by the same people numerous times. Albeit, a well-worn path, but most likely the happy leaf's first rendezvous with this particular one. I'm welcoming my thoughts as they come and not rushing ahead in my thinking because I know that from the first breath of wind and the first flurry of leaves that I was compelled to write. Grabbing a pen with only a bank envelope for paper, I scribbled expeditiously.
It appeared there was no present plan or design for the frazzled leaf's existence being whisked away in such a manner. But again, as I connect my thoughts I become aware, at that moment, of my deeper concern for people-the souls of people- as I watched God's creation being moved by Him. This seemed a small insignificant experience; yet, it renewed in my life the reality of how easy it is to "drift" without purpose. Perchance, the one whose path the leaf had just blown was embarking on a new journey, or possibly a new beginning or even anxiously awaiting a second chance. Perhaps someone was just drifting along, like the leaf, whichever way the wind would puff.
A story is told about a Navy Chaplain speaking to sailors in the British Navy concerning their behavior. Some of the sailors spoke up and told the Chaplain that he could not possibly understand how they were carried away with their temptations. "You are not in the real world," they tried to reason. They continued to say they could not stand under the many temptations they faced. The wise Chaplain simply asked the sailors to turn around and look at the boats, their sails going up. It's interesting, he told them how all the boats are going in different directions but only by "one” wind. One boat goes east and one boat goes west by the selfsame wind that blows. "But...it is the 'set of the sails' and not the 'gales' that determines which way they go." God's word "sets our sails” giving us guidance, security, and righteousness.
"Verily, verily I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit (John 12:24)." Of course, this applies to us, dying to self to bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, meekness, temperance, and faith (Galatians 5:22,23).
Renewing my resolve to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind is something I have to do from time to time. This should be my primary purpose while making, "living my life,” secondary and of much less importance. The Bible is given to us and is so clear in telling us that how we live our lives matters to God. Our thoughts matter to God! We matter to God! Our light should shine so others will be able to see that we are different from the world and recognize that light. I'm reminded of the "Old Lamplighter," who would light the lampposts for others to see their way clearly. Once he illuminated an area he would disappear into the darkness yet his light remained shining. Just how can we do this? Zechariah 4:6 tells us how..."Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit saith the Lord of hosts." We must step-up and become who God has intended for us to be, therefore, maintaining our purpose and purity. Someone once said that as we become increasingly committed to the Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit our Heavenly Father begins the process of renewing us, restoring us and reinvigorating all aspects of our lives, all the while, giving us clarity of purpose.
In a prayer Allistair Begg prayed these words:
"Remember always the presence of God;
to find our rest always in the will of God
and to direct all our endeavors to the Glory of God."
May we think of the little leaf as we continue in our steadfast service to the Lord, so when the gentle breeze or the chilling wind begins to howl we may still remain anchored in His purpose and press on. Though we may be ragged and torn, may our resolve be grounded in Him. Loving God and loving His word will enable us to shine His light into the world and I believe this to be quintessential to our obedient service to Him.
For His Glory,
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