Walking with God Blog: Reunion

REUNION

 

I went to Tennessee with my Mother the year she celebrated her 50th Reunion from High School. I remember thinking at the time that I could not comprehend being out of high school that long. Well, seems like I took a couple blinks and it was my own 50th High School Reunion that I attended this past weekend.                                                                   My husband and I drove the 878 mile round trip to be able to attend this milestone event. I had gone from kindergarten all the way through high school with some in attendance, so I was especially looking forward to seeing them. Along with the excitement I must admit was some nervousness in seeing people I had not seen in so many years. As we entered the room for the first night of gatherings my stomach was filled with butterflies. They soon calmed down as I had a chance to actually talk with some of these special people with whom I spent the formative years of my life. I learned things about some of them that I did not have a clue they were facing when we were teenagers. Others I had the fun of hearing what course their lives have been on since we graduated. As I said my last good-byes I was happy that we had decided to attend and headed home with a happy heart as I cherished the joy of the memories made. I may not see some of them again in this life, but I am praying that I will be spending eternity with a great many of them.

Speaking of reunions, Christ followers have a reunion to look forward to one day that will surpass any experience we have shared on earth. As great as it was to see some people very dear to me this past weekend, one day I will have a reunion not only with all the people who have gone before me, but I will have the unfathomable joy of seeing Jesus face to face. I Corinthians 2:9 says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

The Reunion in heaven that we have ahead of us will be better than anything we can imagine. I will have no anxious thoughts arriving as I did this past weekend arriving at my High School Reunion. I won’t need to worry about not having time to connect with everyone as I will have all of eternity to share with them.

The 1967 graduating class of Pacific High School received an invitation to our 50th Reunion and we had a deadline to RSVP. The invitation to the Reunion in heaven is open to all, but there is a deadline. We must decide before our last breath if we choose eternity with Jesus. He says in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

The Reunion in heaven is the one I am most looking forward to. How about you?

Walking With God Blog: THE KING IS ENTHRALLED WITH YOUR BEAUTY

 

 

I recently gave a talk at a Women’s Tea at our daughter’s church. The talk was about the life of Leah from Genesis 29 and was titled “The King Is Enthralled With Your Beauty.”

Leah was described as having “weak eyes”, while her younger sister, Rachael was described as “lovely in form and beautiful”. Ecclesiastes 1:9 is so true; “There is nothing new under the sun.” As far back as the beginning of time people were focused on outward appearances. Leah’s father saw no marriage prospects for her so he had Leah dress up as the bride on Rachel’s wedding day and deceived Jacob into marrying the wrong woman. This lead to a lifetime of heart break for Leah as she desperately tried to win her husbands love, but Rachel remained the love of his life.

I shared with the women the story of the Ten Cow Wife (which I will share with you on my next Blog posting) and pondered how Leah could have been transformed if she’d been treated like a ten cow wife.

I Samuel 16:7 says, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but The Lord looks at the heart.” At a future Blog post I will also share how I’m teaching that verse to our six year old granddaughter.

The Lord saw Leah’s broken heart so He opened her womb and allowed her to be the mother of six of the twelve tribes of Israel, as well as a daughter.

With each child that was born to Leah we looked at what was going on in her life and related it to what could be happening in ours as well.

Leah lived most of her life living for the applause of Jacob, which didn’t appear to be reciprocated until her death.

Jacob did not give Leah the love she desired or deserved in life, but God blessed her with a very special gift to show His love. Her fourth son, Judah, was in the lineage of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. It was at Judah’s birth that there was a turning point in Leah’s life. She started praising God and finally looked to God to meet her needs and fill her cup.

Most young girls grow up reading (or seeing movies about) the fairy tales of a beautiful woman finding her Prince Charming and living happily ever after. Yet, some women are never blessed with an earthly love. No matter if we’re loved by an earthly mate or not, we need to be reminded of how The Lord sees us. Psalm 45:11 says, “The King is enthralled by your beauty.”

I saw a greeting card at The Mount Hermon Book Store that I’d like to give to all of us. It read: “ Beloved daughter of The King, you were made to shine from the inside out. No jewel or gem could ever out-sparkle the beauty of Jesus that radiates from who you are. There’s no one else on earth like you!”

If we can see ourselves through the eyes of Jesus, then we’ll know how dearly we are loved. He proved His love for us on the cross and promised a faithful love that will last forever.

I spent an hour talking about the life of Leah, but I’ve heard it said that a story is only as good as it’s ending, so I’ll move right to the ending.

The Lord was aware of Leah’s heartbreaking life, but the end of her story reminds us that He is not passive as we experience the disappointments of this life. We may not think we see Him working today, but He is ever present and ever active.

We now see that the end of Leah’s story would have delighted her. Her son, Judah, would be found in the lineage of The Messiah, Jesus Christ and her final resting place was next to the man she loved. Leah’s body was placed in the burial plot purchased by the patriarch, Abraham where Abraham and Sarah were buried, where Isaac and Rebekah were buried, and where Jacob asked to be buried, next to his wife Leah. She finally had a place next to her beloved husband that she didn’t have to share with her sister, Rachel.

Leah’s story had a good ending.

Your story and mine can have a great ending. The Good News for those in Christ is that our story never ends; there is no ending at all. We can share eternity with The King of kings – the King who is enthralled with our beauty!

Now that’s a very good ending to this Blog post.

 

 

Walking with God Blog: MY APPLE TREE STORY

 

This past weekend I spoke at The Women’s Annual Tea at our daughter’s church in San Diego. That probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but to get in front of a group

of people and speak is a huge deal to me.

I grew up painfully shy, which is probably why I left unsaid things I should have spoken to special people in my life. When I married my husband forty-three years ago I stood in a position so all twenty-eight guests in attendance could not see the side of my face as I spoke my vows. My husband used to introduce me as his wife who couldn’t lead in silent prayer.

I always said no to anything that required speaking in front of people. When our neighbor asked me to talk to her kindergarten class about taking good care of their teeth I sent my husband (who is a dentist) instead. It was only when I donned a Toothfairy costume (and could speak as her) that I was finally able to go into pre-school and kindergarten classes with a presentation that could help the children learn proper tooth brushing technique and help children eliminate the fear of dentistry.

So true to form, when a woman from our church called one year and asked if Les and I would MC the Pastoral Celebration Sunday I said, “Les would be happy to do it, but I don’t do public speaking.” She asked me to just pray about it and get back to her. I couldn’t tell her I refused to pray, but I knew I’d be calling her back and telling her the answer was still no.

That afternoon I took my usual walk in our neighborhood. I passed an apple tree that I had never seen before. There was a spindly little apple tree with branches barely able to hold an apple, but it was baring twelve apples in its twiggyness. It was as if The Lord was saying to me, “You can bare fruit in your twiggyness as well Linda, if you just trust Me.” I could relate to Moses in his fear and doubt as he responded to God’s call with, “Oh, Lord, please not me. I can’t speak very well! Can’t you get someone else for the job?” But, I was aware that his response did not please The Lord, so I knew I had to say yes. The entire next week was filled with fear of the coming Sunday’s assignment. Not what you want your dental hygienist thinking about as she’s working in your mouth with sharp instruments! My husband and I had signed up for a weekend retreat, which involved homework assignments and attending an evening session at an L.A. church before the retreat date. That Friday night was the scheduled session. The speaker asked, “What is keeping you from being all you can be for The Lord?” Then his power point (actually at that time I’m sure was a slide) came up with a list of words. My eyes went directly to the word “fear”. Yes, fear had been keeping me from saying yes to God with anything that had to do with talking in front of people. So I went home and spent the entire Saturday praying against fear. Sunday morning came and I got up to the pulpit and spoke without the usual pounding of my heart and quivering of my speech and honored all the pastoral staff in a manner that was pleasing to The Lord. A few people (who didn’t know the real me) came up to me afterwards and said, “You must do a lot of speaking!” Actually, no, this was the first time I had responded in faith to God’s call. Moses had a burning bush; I had an apple tree. The Lord doesn’t always speak to us the same. But He says in John 10:4, “My sheep know my voice”, so when I hear Him speak I want to respond.

Public speaking is still very difficult for me because I’m still basically shy, but when God calls I no longer say no out of fear. I pray about it, and if I feel it is what He is asking, then I say yes and trust that when He calls, He equips.

Have you noticed that The Lord doesn’t always call us to do things in our strength? Instead, He often calls us to do things in our weakness, because it is there that we learn to trust Him.

When our daughter called and asked if I’d be the speaker for their tea, there was a long pause on my end of the line. I asked her if she remembered what happened to me the last time I spoke at a Women’s Tea. I refreshed her memory that one thing that goes with this white hair of mine is that often I’ll be in the middle of a sentence and forget what I’m talking about (or as our son knows very well, I’ll forget that I’ve already said it). That happened a year and a half ago when I spoke at a friend’s church. In the middle of talking to the dear women I completely forgot where I was going or where I had been, and there was a long, painful pause before I could get my thoughts together. I’ve had a recurrent nightmare through the years that I’m in front of a group of people and have absolutely nothing to say. My nightmare came true that day! Our daughter’s response to me was, “Mama, get back on the horse.” So I agreed to pray about it as I drove to the Bay Area to spend time with my brother. Long story short, The Lord made it clear I was to say yes, which I did, and He carried me through.

I’ll share what I spoke on at the Tea in my next blog.

Keep your eyes open for burning bushes and apple trees.

Walking with God Blog: WORDS MATTER

WORDS MATTER

 

Words matter when we are studying God’s Holy Word. To understand the meaning of scripture we need to know what the words mean that we are reading. God had a specific purpose for each word He inspired to be written.

Words mater when we speak. They cannot be taken back once they are spoken so we should choose our words carefully. Our words can heal, encourage, and bless or they can harm, discourage, and curse. We therefore, should think wisely before we share our words.

Words matter when we write them. We can leave a lasting legacy with carefully chosen words put in writing.

I chose to spend this week at Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference near beautiful Santa Cruz. Anything done for The Lord I want to do well, so I’m grateful for the classes offered at the conference preparing me for any future writing.

The last words of advice I received as the conference came to a close were the words written by Mark Batterson who had been our keynote speaker each night. In his book, Draw The Circle, he talks about “living for the applause of nail-scarred hands.” On Good Friday this is a perfect time to consider whose applause we live for and the words we can speak and write to glorify His name.

The Final Word shared by Punchy Paraphrases (Kettering Health Network) are words worth quoting as I say goodbye for now sweet friends and have a Blessed Easter. “Look,” the teacher said to his students, “it’s not that complicated. There’s only one lesson you must master; love. This is how you can tell the knock-offs from the real deal, the phonies from the faithful. You can be impeccably pure and doctrinally orthodox, right down to your decaffeinated, non-alcoholic, smoke-free, vegan, home-schooled souls, but if you don’t love, you’re like a $5.00 Rolex from Hong Kong.” “Everything I have ever taught you can be summed up in one word,” he said. “Love.” John 13:34-35

I leave you with these important words, spoken by The One whose nail-scarred hands have your name and mine written on them. He is Risen!

Walking with God Blog: New Beginnings

WALKING WITH GOD

NEW BEGINNINGS

 

  

 

 

Our family has been blessed to have the joy of ushering in each new year in beautiful Yosemite. I have a personal tradition of walking/hiking (some years while recovering from knee surgery or this year with the road covered in ice it has felt more like a hike) to a favorite spot that gives a dramatic view of the Merced River below. It is a special time for me to be alone with The Lord as a new year begins. As I look up stream it reminds me to pause and give thanks to God for the year He has just brought me through; for His provision, guidance, and love. As I look down stream I think of the new year ahead of me. I can see the river for just a short distance then it turns around the trees and is out of sight. This view reminds me that I may think I know a few things planned in the new year because I’ve already got events and goals marked on my calendar, but the truth is only The Lord knows what the new year holds. What I do know for certain though is Who will be shepherding me through the coming year. I know The Lord will be with me no matter what occurs in the next twelve months, joy or sorrow, and that truth fills me with His peace as I place my trust in Him and look forward to walking it with Him.

 

This January 2017 was no exception to my encounter with The King of kings and Lord of lords on the mountaintop overlooking His beautiful creation. I have entered the new year with faith and trust in Him and in great expectation of what He will be doing in and through me, and all of you, over the next weeks and months of our lives. He has chosen this to be the season that I begin a Blog on my Polka Dot Praise Web site. I am excited about this new adventure because it means I will be communicating with you regularly and meeting new friends along the way. As I walk with God on this journey I will pause each week to greet you, share in what The Lord is doing in my life, and offer a verse for all of us to ruminate on until the next weeks blog. I love that this new beginning was planned and orchestrated by God – and that you are joining me on this adventure walk with our awesome Creator. May He bless our time together and may He be glorified.

 

Happy new beginnings to you as you look forward in faith to what The Lord reveals to you in your walk with Him.

Here’s to walking faithfully with our God!

 

Genesis 5:22 “Enoch walked with God…”

Genesis 6:9 “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time and he walked with God.”

 

God was pleased with Enoch and Noah’s walk with Him. How can we walk in a way that would also be pleasing to Him?