A Desert Journey

Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth ; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert…Isaiah 43:19

It seems that it is God’s good pleasure to continue to allow me to journey through a season of wilderness. A season of wandering in the desert. Of isolation. It’s been three years since I began this journey.

a desert journeyIt’s not my first journey here, but it does seem to be my longest yet. Desert wanderings are always hard. Just like a physical desert our lives feel barren and hostile. It can be a desolate place, exposed and unprotected. We often are left feeling isolated from kindred sisters, friends and acquaintances.

It’s interesting to me that when we journey through the wilderness each must journey alone. Yes, there are others here, but each have their own road to walk. And while we can share, support and encourage others in their wanderings we each must focus on our own lessons that God has for us here.

I have learned that there are 4  things to remember while traveling through the wilderness.

  • Do not compare: We can not compare our walk with others. No two will ever be the same. Comparing our wilderness journey only brings discontentment, discouragement and bitterness.
  • Do not rush: We must also be careful that we do not try to rush through the journey. The time we spend here is never wasted. God has a reason for our time here and we must remember that sometimes the journey could take days and other times it may be years. Rest in the knowledge that God’s timing is always perfect.
  • Stay nourished: When traveling through the wilderness or desert we need to remember to stay hydrated. The plants that survive  in the desert grow very deep taproots in order to soak up as much water as possible. In fact many will grow to be more than 100 feet and have a huge networks of toots that spread out in all directions. The believer stays nourished in the desert by growing strong roots in the word of God.
  • Look for joy: There is much beauty to be seen and tasted in the wilderness. It may be a bit harder to see, but if you look for the blessings you will see them. You will experience the joy that can come from your desert journey. Joy comes when we remember that God knows  about and sees our journey. He is with you through every step and He will meet your needs.

We all will experience a season of walking in the wilderness and feeling isolated. Let us remember that it isn’t always a bad thing. It’s not always due to sin. Often it’s in the wilderness that we learn and grow to rely even more on our God. It’s here that we learn that He truly is sufficient for every part of our lives. So if you find yourself in a dry, isolated desert then seek God with an even greater thirst. Stay in the word and keep your eyes on Jesus.

If you are not in a desert place then prepare for the time that you will by growing your roots deep into the word of God.

 

He changes rivers into a wilderness And springs of water into a thirsty ground ;  fruitful land into a salt waste, Because of the wickedness of those who dwell in it.  He changes a wilderness into a pool of water And a dry land into springs of water ; And there He makes the hungry to dwell, So that they may establish an inhabited city, And sow fields and plant vineyards, And gather a fruitful harvest. Also He blesses them and they multiply greatly, And He does not let their cattle decrease. Psalms 107:33-38

 

  “For the LORD your God has blessed you in all that you have done ; He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing.”‘Deut 2:7

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A Christmas Longing

Christmas has been hard this year for me. Deep inside there is an ache, a longing. I remember childhood Christmas’s past filled with lots of family, laughter and love. While we didn’t really have any particular family traditions my mother always tried to make the day about family no matter what was going on or how hard 2013-12-10 09.36.20the season of life was. It’s been 27 years since my mom, sister and brother have been together for Christmas and over 10 years since I’ve spent Christmas together with my mom and sister. I miss them all.

So while my heart may be sad it is also filled with so much joy of the season.

I am blessed that I can spend time with my boys and their family. I can love on my grandchildren and make precious memories with them. I am filled with a heart of joy for my husbands family whom I love deeply. Who still gather at Christmas time to share, laugh and love. They may be my ‘married into family” but in so many ways they are so much more than that. God blessed me far beyond anything I could dream for when he gave me my husband and a family who cherishes one another and has a deep faith in God our Father.

Most of all I reflect on the true meaning of why we celebrate the season. It’s the celebration of a precious baby boy who came to earth so that I might understand my need for God the Father.

I am grateful for a God who loved me so much that He sent His only Son in the form of a baby to earth so that I might know Him. Jesus came to earth in the form of flesh so that we might know His Father in heaven. Jesus came so that we might understand the love of the Father. He came so that we would see out need of a relationship with our Creator God. He came so that He could pay the cost of my sin. He came so that my sins would be forgiven.

So yes, there is a longing in my heart this Christmas for family, for the ideal Christmas celebrations, for traditions but I am reminded of an even greater longing inside the heart of every man, woman, and child. The longing for purpose, for love, for the God who created them.

I am reminded that there are many who will spend this season alone. There will be many who will find the emptiness to be too much and try to end the pain anyway they can. There will be many who will be hungry, cold and without the warmth of any type of celebration.

All this remembering and thinking makes me wonder if I’ve missed the meaning of Christmas all together. What have I done this season to reach out? How have I helped relieve the pain of aloneness? What have I done to show the love of Christ?

If I have missed the meaning of why Christ came and what my response should be what will I do about it now? What will I do tomorrow? Next week? Next year? It’s never too late to share the story of Christmas. It’s never too late to reach out and tell others about the baby that came to save the world.

It’s never too late to show the love of God who came to die for my sins and yours.

Merry Christmas my friends. May we share the joy of Christ’s birth all year long!

 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid ; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people ; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 1″This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there appeared with the angel multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2:10-14

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you,unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 1 Cor 15:1-5

A Thankful list for Thanksgiving

TENDER – He is tender and compassionate toward us.

stockvault-grungy-vintage-paper133316He ransoms me from death and surrounds me with love and tender mercies.(Ps 103:4)

The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. (Ps 103:13)

God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus. (Phil 1:8)

HEAVEN – It’s our Home!!

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down when we die and leave these bodies we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. (2Co 5:1)

For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come. (Heb 13:14)

AMAZING – a word that describes all that God does!

Then everyone will stand in awe, proclaiming the mighty acts of God, realizing all the amazing things he does.(Ps 64:9)

How amazing are the deeds of the LORD! All who delight in him should ponder them. (Ps 111:2)

Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy!(Ps 126:3)

NAILS – It is His nail pierced hands that show what He did for us.

Then they nailed him to the cross… (Mark 15:24a)

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. (Gal 5:24)

So this is the point: The law no longer holds you in its power, because you died to its power when you died with Christ on the cross. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, you can produce good fruit, that is, good deeds for God. (Rom 7:4)

KING – He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

For at the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of kings and Lord of lords. (1Tim 6:15)

On his robe and thigh was written this title: King of kings and Lord of lords. (Rev 19:16)

FAITHFULNESS – God showed His faithfulness through Jesus Christ.

So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. (John 1:14)

For the law was given through Moses; God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)

UNITED– We have been united with Christ.

Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised as he was.(Rom 6:5)

And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have been made like him. (Gal 3:27)

LOVE – He loves us!!

I am overcome with joy because of your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.(Ps 31:7)

Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself; how I praise you! (Ps 63:3)

Others died that you might live. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. (Is 43:4)

 

Verses are quoted from the New Living Translation