Pause for Poetry — Waiting

Welcome to Pause for Poetry featuring a poem, Waiting, written by my writer-friend, Frances Gregory Pasch.

Waiting

     Waiting for answers

     Is part of God’s plan.

   To strengthen our faith

Though we can’t understand.

    We don’t like to wait,

    We want answers now.

We know He could grant them

   Of course He knows how.

    Yet He puts us on hold . . .

   Doesn’t give us a reason

     For His plans yield fruit

      In His perfect season.

    So while we are waiting

       He helps us to grow.

      And when He is ready

     His answers we’ll know.

   ©Frances Gregory Pasch

Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published hundreds of times in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Her book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry is available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers group since 1991 and makes her own holiday greeting cards incorporating her poetry. She and her husband, Jim, have been married since 1958. They have five sons and nine grandchildren. Contact her at http://www.francesgregorypasch.com.

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I wish you well.

Sandy

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No Other Gods

Well, here it is. The second week of February. Prime time to idol worship.

The Grammy Awards, Oscar Awards, and  Super Bowl have come and gone. Race cars will start swapping paint next week when the Daytona 500 kicks off. The Boys of Summer are headed to Spring Training. Hoops are being shot. Hockey pucks are flying. Soccer balls are striking.

We have television shows which idolize singers, dancers, and various other talents. And in no particular order, we idolize athletes, politicians, performers, business moguls, movers and shakers, ministers, authors, artists, family members, friends. The list is long.

Several months ago, the thought of how we humans idolize various people and things was brought back to mind as news reports stated members of the Houston Astros organization illegally stole signs of opposing teams using technology during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

As a result, the Astros were fined $5 million and forfeited their first and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts. General manager Jeff Luhnow and field manager A. J. Hinch were fired. Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox and Carlos Beltran of the New York Mets were also implicated.

Say it ain’t so, Joe.

Unfortunately. It is.

For many in my area of Texas, the news hit hard. I don’t see as much blue and orange Astros gear sported of late. Not too many Astros flags flying, either.

Which leads me back to how we humans idolize people or things.

God made it abundantly clear.

His people are not to put any person or thing, ANY, ahead of their devotion and allegiance to him. God’s people are to live by God’s standards. They are not to live by the standards of the world. God’s people are to be ambassadors for Christ. They are to love as Christ loved.

Celebrating and appreciating talent is a good thing. Idolizing the person instead of honoring the Giver of the talent is where, I believe, we sometimes get off track.

No other gods.

God and Jesus Christ alone are worthy of our worship. Period.

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 Then God gave the people all these instructions;

“I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.

“You must not have any other god but me.

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. Exodus 20:1-5a (NLT)

 

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Are We Asleep in the Light?

courtesy pixels.com

Are we asleep in the Light?

That’s what happened to the prophet Jonah. He thought he could shut his ears to the mission God had for him, and fall asleep. What Jonah found out is he couldn’t hide from God no matter where he ran.

“What do you mean sleeping at a time like this?”

That’s what the captain of the sinking ship Jonah hopped aboard when he tried to run away from God asked.

In the midst of a powerful storm, which threatened to send the ship to the bottom of the sea, Jonah retreated below deck and took a snooze.

Do you find that as odd as I do?

While the desperate sailors shouted to their pagan gods for help, the prophet of the One True God was sound asleep. Jonah’s disobedience is what caused the storm, yet in the midst of the storm Jonah turned the volume of God’s voice way down. He took a nap while those around him fought to save their lives.

God gave Jonah a mission. Go to the people of wicked Nineveh and preach repentance. Jonah feared the fierce Ninevites and headed the other way. Guess Jonah figured if he closed his eyes and slept, his problem would go away. Or maybe he figured it would resolve itself without his help. Either way, he wasn’t about to go to Nineveh.

I’ve always found it interesting the sailors cried out to their gods to save them, while a prophet of God shut his eyes to those dying around him.

Just like Jonah, sometimes we listen to God’s voice and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes God asks us to do something we don’t want to do, like extend God’s grace and mercy and forgiveness to someone we feel doesn’t deserve it. And like Jonah, sometimes we shut our ears to God’s voice, go below deck, and fall asleep. Hoping the problem resolves itself without our help.

God sends each of us who call ourselves Christ-followers on a mission to bring the Light of his Word, the Good News of a Savior born in Bethlehem who grew up to be the Sacrificial Lamb, to a dying and lost people. Let’s not run the other way. Let’s not cover our ears. Let’s not head below deck and take a nap, intending to stay there until the great storm is over.

Maybe Jonah going below decks isn’t so odd after all when we examine our own behavior.

The singer Keith Green called this type of behavior Asleep in the Light.

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But as the ship was sailing along, suddenly the Lord flung a terrific wind over the sea, causing a great storm that threatened to send them to the bottom. Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship. And all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold.

 So the captain went down after him. “What do you mean,” he roared, “sleeping at a time like this? Get up and cry to your god, and see if he will have mercy on us and save us!”

Jonah 1:4-6 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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When Our Heart Is Troubled

courtesy pexelsRecently, my heart has struggled not to be troubled. Whether real or imagined, multiple things conspired to trouble my heart. As soon as I believed I put one trouble to rest, another popped up with greater vengeance, and another, and another…

This past Sunday I recited a verse from John 14 which tells us not to let our hearts be troubled. Monday morning, while looking for a document in my computer writing folder, a blog post I wrote several years ago popped out at me. The post was titled “Don’t Allow Your Heart To Be Troubled”. Then, when I found the article I looked for, an article I wrote about an event in my life which took place over four decades ago, the article pretty much said the same thing in a different way.

That is when I realized maybe someone else needs a reminder God is in control, and therefore, we need not be troubled.

With that in mind, the following is a re-posting of the original Woven and Spun blog post from June 25, 2017.

Last month multiple things conspired to steal my joy right out from under me. And I let them. For awhile.

As I lamented with several friends about how I felt, one sweet friend told me something profound. She said, don’t let your heart be troubled. Another told me something equally important. Be gentle and give myself grace. Wise women.

Today I’m going to look further into the thought of not letting our hearts be troubled.

You need to understand, the verse my friend alluded to is one of my absolute all-time favorite passages of Scripture. I memorized the King James Version of John 14:1-4 when I was in elementary school. Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me…

I’ve repeated that passage to myself countless times over the decades.

Yet, it wasn’t until my friend moved the emphasis onto the word let that I saw this verse in a whole different light.

Thank you, Jesus.

Up until that time I thought of let as don’t worry. I never looked at it as I have the power to decide whether my heart is troubled, or not. Wow.

It’s up to us whether we allow our hearts to be troubled. We have the power through the Holy Spirit who lives in us not to let our hearts be troubled. It’s a choice. We aren’t defenseless victims. We are more than conquerors.

Oh, how very grateful I am for that reaffirmation of truth.

So, my friends, if you find yourself in a place where the things of life are doing their best to pull you under, be gentle and give yourself grace.

And remember what Jesus told his disciples, and us. Do not let your hearts be troubled.

My devotion, Loving Prickly People, is on Inspire a Fire today, February 4, 2020. I’d love for you to stop by and read it.

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“Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe [confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and I will take you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. And [to the place] where I am going, you know the way.” John 14:1-4 (AMP)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Steer Clear of Things That Trip You Up

The number one lesson I learned while being on a cane recently, is to steer clear of things that trip you up. Things like uneven pavement and uneven grass. Simple, right? Because of this, I know better than to go out to retrieve our newspaper in the morning. It would not be a wise decision. Therefore, that is one more job added to Pilot’s to-do list. (While he was away for the weekend, our sweet neighbor graciously delivered the paper, and mail, to our front door for me.)

Thinking about this led me to consider the things in our lives we should steer clear of which trip us up spiritually. We each have spiritual weaknesses whether we choose to admit them or not. Like my weakness of the inability to walk on the lawn right now, there are places, situations, and activities we need to avoid. I could ignore my instability and chance a fall to get what I want, the newspaper, but that would not be wise.

Just as I admitted my weakness and reached out for help, we need to be honest with God and ourselves about the areas where we struggle. Those areas we need to steer clear of. We aren’t telling God anything he doesn’t already know. If we feel we have no areas of weakness, perhaps we need to ask the Holy Spirit to point out those areas of temptation we deny exist.

Our temptation may be an attitude issue we consider not that big a deal. But is. Anger, pride, arrogance, criticism, idolatry, jealousy, gossip…the list is long. Each one separates us from growing in the Fruit of the Spirit.

Thankfully, my leg is to the point I can walk short distances around the house without my cane. Yay, God. Because my leg is not one hundred percent, though, I still need to be mindful to steer clear of things that could potentially trip me up. Things which might lead to another fall. Things like venturing out on uneven grass.

I’m thinking none of us will be one hundred percent in our spiritual strength until we stand before Jesus in heaven. We can pretend we’re strong enough to dance with those temptations we know tug at our weak areas, or we can admit them, steer clear, and ask God to strengthen us to overcome them.

It really is up to us.

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So take a fresh grip on life and brace your trembling limbs. Don’t wander away from the path but forge steadily onward. On the right path the limping foot recovers strength and does not collapse. Hebrews 12:12-13 (Phillips)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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