Tag Archives: Psalm 90:12

Where Are You?

(The following devotional was written by my friend, Lisa Walkendorf, and I think it’s a great reflection to begin our journey into the new year. As Pastor Rick taught me, “Wherever you are, be all there!”)

We spent a day touring Athens, Greece before flying home from a mission trip recently. We saw amazing sights and marveled at history mixed within current culture… current sites built along historic ones.   Ruins were visible in the midst of town.   We (like many others) came as tourists to study and reflect on the past.  It is incredible that items from the 5th century BC have survived  and are still preserved for us today! We marveled as we toured the archeological museum.   When we reflected on the day, our group shared what most impressed us,
and there were certainly many options to choose from:  *The Acropolis   *Mars Hill where Paul preached his sermon to the Athenians, noting their worship to “the unknown God” and introducing them
to the known God, who created everything (read more in Acts 17:16-33).  *The delicious, cultural food *The archeological museum  and ancient artifacts.   * All the sites in town.   *And, fellowship with our team members!

One friend shared that she took a picture that impressed her most, but it was not a pretty picture!   It was simply a sign giving directions that stated: You are here. She reflected on the literal reminder “You are here.”  This is where we are.  This is the only life we get to live.  There’s not some other life to live than the one we have.  Some day people may be looking back to this time frame, perhaps viewing it through a museum lens of what was important to us culturally, relationally, and spiritually.

We are here now.  We have this time to love family and friends, to reach out to others and share the good news about Jesus.  It can be helpful to reflect on the question, “Where are you?”  and to be reminded, “You are here!”

Colossians 4:5-6 (NIV) – “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Psalm 90:12 (NIV) – “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Where are you today?

Reflections on Exodus 4: Dealing with our Fears

You can’t listen fast.  At least I can’t.  Especially when listening for God’s voice.man-in-a-race-with-a-stopwatch_1048-1611

 

So I appreciated extended time to listen during our Writer’s Day Away as I read my Bible.  I read Exodus 4, and then I took time to notice the verses that stood out to me … and the cadence of them: 1 … 2 … 12 … 21 as though marching to attract my attention.   pic-dig-clock-12-12 Yes, Lord, I prayed, I want to walk in step with Your Spirit.  What stands out, I recognize as God’s voice speaking.  And with extra time, I prayerfully processed what I heard.  what-ifThen Moses answered, “What if they won’t believe me and will not obey me but say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?” (Exodus 4:1 HCSB)

What if?  I thought of a list of what-ifs that come from predicting, fearing, and projecting the future without God.

  • What if they don’t obey me?
  • What if they question my calling?
  • What if they reject me?
  • What if they refute me, saying, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?

I noticed all those what-ifs focused on others, “What if they…”  person-in-crowd-2But there are also what-ifs based only on me:

  • What if I don’t get the desired results?
  • What if I can’t accomplish the outcomes?
  • What if I obey You, God, and it doesn’t work out?  whatisThe LORD asked him, “What is that in your hand?”  “A staff,” he replied. (Exodus 4:2)

God did not necessarily rebut, refute, or reassure Moses, but instead of asking, “What if,” God asked the question, “What is…?”

  • “What is that in your hand?”
  • What are you holding onto?
  • Perhaps, what is the truth?
  • Or, what is it that you believe?

Moses knew what he had:  a staff.  It was ordinary, yet God transformed it into a miraculous and terrifying sign by turning it into a snake, so that Moses and the people would see it and believe God (verses 3-5).

Moses ran in fear at first, but God required him to reach out and grab the snake – that which he feared.  And as Moses obeyed, the snake transformed back into a staff, useful in his hand. god_is-by-lisa-in-israel

  • God is able to use what is ordinary for the extraordinary, including us.
  • God can take our common work and useful possessions and transform them into miraculous signs so that we and others believe and worship Him.
  • God helps us face our fears, and He transforms them to be useful tools to us as we place our confidence in Him.
  • God required Moses to stretch out his hand, and like Moses, sometimes we would rather run from than reach for things that stretch our faith.
  • God can use even what causes fear in us and transform it into something that will cause us to fear Him for the right reasons.
  • God knows the end from the beginning; He is able to do what He says He will do.
  • God requires us to go forward in faith, and we can overcome fear, for He is trustworthy.

israel-lisa “Now go!  I will be with you, help you speak and I will teach you what to say.” (Exodus 4:12)

  • God will prepare us.
  • God determines outcomes, not us.
  • We just need to obey and step out and speak in faith, trusting He will provide.
  • We’re not responsible for outcomes, but for obedience.

make-sure-by-lisa-in-israel“…Make sure you do all the wonders I have put within your power…”
(Exodus 4:21)

  • God provides the power and the wonders
  • We provide the obedience in doing all He has called us to (and even that with the help of His Holy Spirit!)

sea-of-galilee-by-lisaPrayer response:

Dear Father God, please help me protect time with You, trust You and obey, doing all you have put within my power – and then trusting Your power for the outcome that only You can bring, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
(Psalm 90:12)

(This meditation was written by Lisa Walkendorf. Her graphics are from Google images, but the last four photos are hers, taken on a recent trip with her family to Israel in September, 2016. Scripture from the NIV unless otherwise noted. Thank you, Lisa!)

When Do You Know If It’s Your Last Holiday?

happy-anniversary-card-for-spouseToday is Presidents’ Day…a special holiday set aside to honor all the amazing men who’ve shaped our country. I really want to share some thought-provoking quotations on time today rather than discussing the attributes and weaknesses of our various presidents (although I will confess to having done more than my fair share of complaining over the years and felt admonished by reading in Acts 23:5 last week, where Paul said, “You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people”). card-for-appreciating-spouseLast Tuesday was Valentines Day, and last weekend Alan and I celebrated our 44th anniversary. As we are now 66, that means we’ve now lived two-thirds of our lives together! That’s almost hard to imagine, even for us!!  🙂

I’ve really been thinking a lot about the privilege of still having a mate with whom to share holidays in the light of an increasing number of friends who’ve lost their mates in the past 10 years. In Sunday school, one of those friends, Jay Link, passed along some good food for thought on the topic of time, and I’d like to share a few of his quotes with you today:

“Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.” Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” Theophrastus

“Lost time is never found again.” Benjamin Franklin

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” C.S. Lewis

“Time is what we want most, but…what we use worst.” William Penn

“We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch.” John F. Kennedy

“Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.” Thomas Hardy

“Time is the longest distance between two places.” Tennessee Williams

“Better three hours too soon, than one minute too late.” William Shakespeare

“Time = life; therefore, waste you time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.” Alan Lakein

“The key is not in spending time, but in investing it.” Stephen R. Covey

“Mind the moments because they become your memories.” Jane Anderson 🙂

valentine-for-wifeJay’s thoughts: Allot time to each season of life with care and intention, learning to grow in wisdom as we go. Each season of life is new to us, and it represents a path we haven’t traveled before. If it takes approximately 10,000 hours to become proficient at something, that’s about as long as many of the stages of life we pass through. I don’t know who said it, but Jay mentioned that in a car, the front windshield is larger than the rear-view mirror, because what’s in our future needs more of our attention than what’s already behind us.happy-anniversary-cardAnd, here’s my humble thought from becoming increasingly appreciative of every day Alan and I still have together: You never really know when it’s your last holiday, so “Savor each holiday as if it might be your last, because it might.”

heart-shaped-valentineSo teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12