Category : Devotion of the Week
Category : Devotion of the Week
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Ten years ago, my college friend, Mary Ann, called me up and said, “Lisa, I’ve got this idea and you are part of it. What if we went back to our college and put on a spiritual retreat for the women we went to school with? We could call it: “The Way We Were the Way We Could Be.” Immediately feeling a connection to the concept, I responded, “I love it, but think it should be: “The Way We Were, The Way We Can Be.”
Mary Ann and I had both surrendered our lives to Christ since our days at Texas Lutheran College and were both Christian speakers. Except for one year that we took off, we’ve planned a themed retreat at our college every year and have had anywhere from seventeen to twenty-eight women attend. We’ve had great team members who helped with decor, food and the technical needs, and God has always shown up and blessed the event.
But this year feels different. Even though we’ve planned exciting entertainment on Friday night with an award-winning country singer Clifton Jansky, set to perform, a few of our regulars are iffy. I am not sensing the same enthusiasm from potential attendees as in years past, and I’m wondering, “Is this season over?”
Planning the Texas Lutheran Women’s Retreat has been a labor of love. It is my heart to give back to my old friends, as well as the school. A big partier and a bit goofy in college, I am not proud of the “way I was” but I love demonstrating the transformation that Christ made in my life. I am a “new creation.” I want nothing more than to show God’s love to my old classmates and to teach them some of the things He has taught me.
But I have to pay attention to the signs. I want to flow with the Holy Spirit’s current, and not swim upstream.
Our leadership team, Mary Ann, Carol and myself, seem to be in agreement. All receiving the same Holy Download, we feel this could be our final event, but we still want to make this the best retreat ever! I am sad, but at the same time, there is peace because I believe this is God’s will. The season is over, and it was a good one.
What season is coming to a close in your life?
Is God telling you to move in a different direction?
It’s important to not cling to the old, because if you do, you may miss a new blessing that God has waiting for you.
It may be time to let go.
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)
God will not waste your training.
When I left television in 1999, after almost twenty years in the business, I felt like I had my fill. I was tired of the odd hours, the neurosis caused by ratings, and the politics. But it was a craft I knew backwards and forwards. Producing television sportscasts and short television reports were daily tasks that became almost effortless, except when thousands of scores poured in on Saturday night!
For about five years, post television, I couldn’t watch sporting events anymore because late in the game, the angst would build up as my mind and body still prepared to go into the locker room for post game interviews. I had to “detox” before I could become a fan again.
So when God called me back to the media a few years ago, I knew it was His desire, not mine. First, He led me to radio, as our A Time to Dream show was birthed. A Time to Dream, a show featuring people’s faith stories, is now in its third year of production. When the Lord began to lure me to radio, I told him boldly, “If you want me to go back to the media through radio, you’re going to have to drop an opportunity in my lap.”
And He did.
More recently, God gave me a desire to do video blogs. Instead of sports reports, I could do short vignettes about what God is teaching me. I knew how to edit audio, and used to know how to edit video but the technology had changed dramatically. So I asked for a tripod and video camera last Christmas. Using Youtube tutorials, I tried to teach myself how to edit digitally but kept failing miserably. I had offers from people to train me in editing, but could never take the time. Once again, I said to my heavenly Father, if you want me to do “vlogs” will you provide what I need?
This past week, while my son drove us for long hours through Montana and Wyoming, I began to play with my imovie app on my phone. Could I really edit a video on my phone? The screen is so small. Wow! There’s a microphone to record a voiceover. It turned out to be easier than I thought and by the end of the trip, I had written and edited my first video blog.
Here’s what I learned. When God places a call on your life, he will provide everything you need. “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). He will never waste the natural abilities and skills that He’s instilled in you. He’s trained you for His purpose and mission.
What do you already know?
What comes naturally to you?
Ask God how he wants to use your giftedness for His glory. You’ll receive a holy download of all the tools needed to make His desire for your life a reality.
And it will be easy.
The most famous landmark at Yellowstone National Park is Old Faithful. For the past 135 years, this geyser has erupted like clockwork every 90 minutes. It doesn’t get much more faithful than that.
If only everything and everyone in our lives were like Old Faithful.
But sometimes our expectations are not met, or we are disappointed by people. That’s when we need to turn to our faithful Father in Heaven. 2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”
Our family spent this week at Yellowstone National Park. As we admired some spectacular landscapes, it was humbling to realize that God made the beautiful scenery for our pleasure. He is a loving God, and when we put our trust in him, he takes the most horrific situations in our lives and works good out of them.
There’s no one more faithful.
Psalm 117 says we should give God a hand for his faithfulness, “Praise God, everybody! Applaud God, all people! His love has taken over our lives; God’s faithful ways are eternal. Hallelujah! (MSG)
Are you praising God when you emerge from a trial?
Today, reflect back on all the difficult situations you’ve endured. How did your loving Father bring you through them?
When I admire God’s spectacular creation and think about His presence in my own life, I am thankful, because He guides me through every scenario, both good and bad.
He is a faithful Father.
Have you ever asked God to help you see him in every aspect of your day?
After my early morning quiet time, I often continue my day with a walk. I know there are other forms of exercise that would burn more calories, but I love walking and adore nature because it reminds me of our imaginative Creator.
As I turn the corner out of neighborhood, I generally say hello to this bunny. He’s getting used to me and does not run when I get near him anymore. We exchange our hellos then I move on. Did you know that the American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes forty-eight different breeds of rabbits? Rabbits can run up to forty-five miles per hour and can literally see behind them. Their range of vision spans 360 degrees. Rabbits are one small piece of God’s complex, creative design.
Squirrels are everywhere. I like squirrels, but in our old house, a group of squirrels broke into our attic, had a squirrel party and destroyed part of our home insulation. I’ve forgiven them for that escapade. There are over 200 species of squirrels in the world. According to the National Wildlife Association, a squirrel’s front teeth never stop growing, they zig-zag to avoid predators, and squirrels may pretend to bury a nut to throw off potential thieves. No one said they were dumb!
I occasionally see a roadrunner, but I haven’t been able to take a photo of him yet. Too fast!
Then I also bask in the beauty of my favorite trees, Crepe Myrtles, lining our main neighborhood street, and blooming in living color. Our heavenly Father created fifty species of Crepe Myrtles and they carry symbolism. “Many world cultures assign meaning to the myrtle blossom to include beauty, love, paradise, and immortality. In biblical times, the myrtle blossom symbolized sweetness, justice, divine generosity, peace God’s promise and recovery. Zechariah’s vision of horsemen, angels and God among the myrtle trees reinforced God’s promise that the returned exiles would be prosperous” (Godasagardener.com). Did you know all that about a Crepe Myrtle?
So when I take my walk, I praise God for providing a beautiful landscape and an interesting creation for us to enjoy. I see His hand in the design of every creature, every tree and each beautiful flower. I am in awe most mornings.
That’s why it is difficult for me to understand atheism. How can anyone doubt that there is a designer behind our intricate surroundings? If animals could talk, the Bible says they’d confirm this truth.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:7-10).
Nature is one way to know God is real, but let’s also ask Him to reveal Himself in the rest of our day: at the grocery store, in our meetings, and inside our homes. If we open our eyes to God’s presence throughout the day, then I believe we’ll be more joyful, have more strength when people fail us, and we’ll understand that our Creator is always close at hand. After all, you are his most treasured creation.
If we maintain a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, I believe He speaks to us in many ways, through an impression on our mind, through His Word, through repeat messages, or through circumstances. However, occasionally, I believe our Maker gets up close and personal with us so that we never doubt His calling on our lives.
He can do this through a powerful dream or vision or He can communicate with us in an audible voice, but are we ready for this kind of intimacy?
When I was sixteen, I had a vivid dream about Jesus’ return to this Earth. I heard the sound of the Shofar and woke up crying out to Jesus. This was a lot to absorb for a young adolescent. I happened to be reading in Revelation and was so frightened by the dream that I did not open up that book of the Bible for a long time. I was not ready for this kind of intimacy with God.
Years later, when I was more mature spiritually, I heard the audible voice of the Holy Spirit, saying “There’s still more to do.” Then the Holy Spirit gave me a year. Never before and never after have I heard an audible voice, but once was enough to keep me going in ministry and to know beyond faith that God exists. When my faith needs oxygen, I always go back to that moment when God whispered in my ear.
I wonder if that is what happened to Moses?
This week, I was reading in Hebrews 11 when I saw something I’d never seen before. It said, “By faith he (Moses) left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27).
At first glance, you’d think this was about the time God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, but this verse is planted right after the patriarch’s decision to identify with his people. He did that by killing an Egyptian for mistreating a fellow Israelite. The verse was also sandwiched in between Moses fleeing Egypt because of that murder, and the first Passover, which occurred when he returned to Egypt forty years later. Could it be that Moses had a close encounter with God before the burning bush? Could it be that this encounter with the invisible is what kept Moses close to God in his period of waiting before the great “I Am” came calling again in a ball of fire?
We may never know the answer, but I’d like to believe the burning bush was Moses’ second supernatural meeting with the living God. I deduce that when the Lord called Moses back to Egypt, he was familiar with the Almighty, because he’d seen what was invisible before. Just like my dream about the rapture, Moses didn’t understand this supernatural experience had to do with a future call.
Have you ever had an up close and personal with God? Are you wondering what it meant? Are you waiting for more direction? God doesn’t waste these intimate moments with us. Out of His great love, he wants us to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He exists, so that when he delivers an assignment to us, we will know he’s the Sender. Why? Because we’ve seen what was invisible before, and because of that, we won’t hesitate to move forward.
When and how has God made himself real to you? Is it part of a future call on your life?