Thursday, April 25, 2013

Which Shoe Should I Choose?

Recently in a picture the Lord gave me, I noticed I wore a different shoe on each foot. When I looked up, I saw two different pathways beckoning me to make a decision on which way I should take.

The way on the right was beautifully planted with blossoming flowers of all colors and tall trees in abundance. I found pleasure in this pathway because it slowly descended into a seemingly peaceful and pleasurable place. Yet, when I squinted to see the trail’s end, I noticed the beauty fading.  The flowers became fewer and the trees lost their leaves. The lost of life had been cleverly disguised in the background. Could the beauty of this path be hiding a deception in the end? Which shoe should I choose?

Then I looked over at the pathway on the left. It did not begin with the instant beauty of the other so I didn’t find this one quite so pleasurable. The narrow dusty upward climb looked difficult and tiresome. There were stones blocking the pathway, which would have to be dealt with periodically. I began to feel this one was totally wrong for me until my eyes reached the trail’s end. There in the distance, I could see flowers, sparsely at first but then opened up into an array of beauty. Though I could barely see that distant point, I knew it was a place I really wanted to go. Could it be the roughness of this path overshadowing the beauty of the ending? Which shoe should I chose?
Which one do you want to take? The Lord said.

The one on the left, I replied.
Then instantly my shoes became the same and the picture to the right faded from sight.

“Begin with prayer and never let up,” the Lord said, “and I will be with you the whole way.”

“Thank you” I said.

Lately, I have been at a decision-making place. The pleasant descending path is tempting but success is not a part of its ending. Even though the other path seems harder, I know its ending is everlasting.

Are you in a decision-making time? Which path will you choose?

The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”
Psalms 32:8

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Listen and Learn

How many times has the Holy Spirit tried to gently remind us to do things that will help us from experiencing the consequences of future situations?

I had changed the locks on my house recently but had not given an extra key to my friend. I like to make sure I can get back in when the unforeseen happens. So when I left town, I told my friend to keep the outside key when she came to feed the cat and I would replace it later. This is where the problem begins to unfold.

When I got home, my friend had left the empty black case on the kitchen counter. Instead of replacing the key right away, I pledged to do it later when I had unpacked the car and settle back into my route. For three consecutive days, I gently heard the Holy Spirit caution me to put the key back outside. I had well-meaning intentions, but I never made the task a priority so it never got done.

By the fourth day, I had walked outside to enjoy the beauty of the morning in my pajamas and with a cup of tea. When my daughter came out to go to work, I knew it was time to go inside.

OH NO! The door was locked. I immediately, ran down the driveway to catch my daughter before she got away. This would be an easy fix, I thought. However, she did not have a house key on her spare set. Next, I called my friend, but she was not available to come. I was beginning to fill the pressure because I had a dentist appointment within the hour.

I started to pray for wisdom and courage. I felt like I was running out of choices for a short-term solution. Then, I remembered. Wasn’t the sliding glass door to the back deck still opened? Yes! Now, all I needed was a tall ladder. I flew over to my next-door neighbor’s house to borrow one. As I reached the deck again, all I could do was pray the ladder would be sufficient. Sure enough, I was able to climb up, hoist myself over the railing and land safety on the deck.  I made it to the dentist office with only moments to spare.

Later, the Holy Spirit gave me these words to ponder:

I am training you to hear and take action in the simple things now so when more difficult times come later, you will be prepared.

Point taken Holy Spirit…Thank you.

Are you listening to the Holy Spirit as He gives you wisdom in your affairs? The time is short and we will need His guidance even more for the days to come. I don’t want to waste these unique opportunities to learn about a closer walk. How about you?

All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. – John 14:25-26

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Vacation Time, Will You Take It?

Mary Jane and Kristen
When was the last time you took a vacation? Some of us are good about making time to relax and be refreshed. Others are not. We live in a stressful world that does not always value time way. Large portions of Americans do not take time off anymore. However, bringing a balance to the time we spend at work with our need for rest is critical to maintaining our overall health and productivity.

For the last week or so my daughter and I went vacationing. She had a week off from school and I needed a break. We decided the best way for us was to use the family plan.

Faye, Phil and Mary Jane

First, we went to my brother’s in South Carolina to stay for a few days. I enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and the craziness my brother and I still share together. We may be older and more mature but we still remain young at heart. And honestly…my brother’s cooking from the grill beats any local establishments. (You can pay me later Phil.)
Little River Canyon
Next, we turned southwest and headed towards Fort Payne, Alabama. We put this destination on the itinerary because it was in keeping with the family plan by being able to stay with my cousin, Steve. And...Kristen and I could do the hiking we wanted to do in the area’s state parks.

DeSoto State Park
I love being out in nature whether it is hiking or enjoying the view from a park bench. When I spend time pondering the beauty and uniqueness’ of God’s creation, it helps me to de-stress and calm my soul. Then, God can come with inspiration and revelation on things that I have been asking Him about lately.

No vacation would be complete without a little shopping. Most of the shops in downtown Fort Payne have been there for years. But that does not deter me one bit. I love thinking about the times gone by. And, with a little effort, the treasures you can discover in the forgotten corners can end up being priceless.

Vacations are valuable. They do not have to be long or expensive to be effective. The main goal is to get away from your daily routine and stressful responsibilities so that you can relax and refresh. Sometimes it will take some creativity to work out the details. But be assured, the benefits will be worth the effort to secure the time off.

If you are still wavering on taking time away? Remember...Jesus took time away and then suggested to his disciples they do the same.

Mark 6:31-32

31 Jesus said to them, `Come away with me. Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for a while.' Many people were coming and going. They could not even eat.
32 So they went away in a boat to a lonely place by themselves.

Jesus' place away was not fancy. It was in a boat near by. And… they were not able to be gone long because the crowds found them soon after. Nevertheless, Jesus still thought taking a breather was necessary. And if it was necessary then, how much more essential is it to us now.

Are you thinking about where you could go yet? Start planning and then start looking forward to some needed time away.