Working with God

There was a fun "artsy-fartsy" event here in Loveland recently. I took the kids and they were each able to paint panda pictures. There was a lady up front who gave us, and the other 20 or so children, step by step instructions on how to do it. 

Both of my children followed the step by step instructions. One allowed me to help and one insisted on doing it independently. 

It reminded me of those times when I try to accomplish the things in the Bible all by myself. Yes, I have the step by step instructions, (Praise The Lord!) but even still, I am unable to accomplish what it asks me to do if I insist upon doing things independently, without God. 

Now, these two pictures are both hanging up in our house and both are loved and it is almost with pride that I tell you the one child insisted on doing the work without any help. The paintings are fun, but inconsequential. 

When the painting is your marriage, or the raising of your children, or your relationship with your neighbor, or ministering to widows and orphans, the consequences of not doing it well become greater. 

But it's never too late to ask for God's help. Jesus did an amazing thing to make Himself available to us. To walk with us, to work through us to do the good works which God created in advance for us to do. 

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  Ephesians 2:10

"For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Phillipians 2:13


Beautify beyond your bounds

This picture does not do justice to the pleasant little surprise that this rock lined patch of flowers was the day that I saw it. 

The kids and I were walking our dog along the "green belt". Which in our neighborhood is really an alley, that happens to grow grass. It's sort of a shared yard, or an excuse not to give people their own large yards, but evidently was a cool trend in the 80's when this neighborhood went in. 

They get very little use. Unlike alleys, you can't actually drive on them, so they don't provide access to the back of your property. Most people do have a little walking gate in their fence, that would allow them to access it, but most rarely do. 

So, basically, you walk in this great meadow, beautiful enough in the eyes of this NM girl, (although, I did think several times what a waste it was not to have cattle on it, or at least a tethered goat) and look at the backside of a bunch of houses. 

Imagine my surprise when I came across this little jewel. Someone has taken the trouble to plant a few flowers and put some rocks in a semicircle. For the pure pleasure of it. Hardly anyone sees it. It isn't even, technically, their own property. 

It could be a child. Or someone childlike. I love it. 

It made me ask myself the question. "Am I beautifying anywhere outside my boundaries?"

I think we all get comfortable with our areas of responsibility. My house. My yard. My job. My family. My kids. And many of us do a good job beautifying those areas. 

As women, I believe that is something innate within us that God gave us, the desire to make things more beautiful. 

But do we ever go outside our borders and beautify someone else's house? Someone else's yard, job, family, kids?

Now, maybe you are, like I have been lately, adjusting to a big change in your life and just hanging on for dear life, barely able to keep up with the basic necessities, forget beautifying anything. 

This is not a guilt trip. 

Just consider giving yourself permission to beautify something today. Neglect your chores if you must. I bet this beautifying will nourish your soul. 

And might inspire someone else. 

"Blessed be The Lord God of our fathers which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of The Lord which is in Jerusalem. " Ezra 7:27


That time I asked God for Dolly Parton and He gave me Handel

This past Easter morning, I woke up humming a song I remembered Dolly Parton singing - He's Alive. 
Of course, living in this high tech world of ours, I pulled up a performance of hers on Youtube and cried my way through that glorious song. The kids came down for the day and I shared it with them. I could not get it out of my mind and decided to purchase it on iTunes. 

I listened to it on repeat that morning as I got ready for church and thought to myself in the shower, "Wouldn't it be great if they performed this song at second service today?" The worship music in second service is contemporary, so it was a possibility. But a longshot. 

My husband and I usually attend second service after a Bible Study we enjoy during first service. However, I realized just as quickly that since there was no Bible study that day, we'd be attending first service. 

They have beautiful, amazing music in first service. There's a great big choir that makes me feel as if I am truly surrounded by the praise of God. It's wonderful. But they don't, to my knowledge, do Dolly Parton. 

Still, I was looking forward to worshiping Christ our risen Savior on that beautiful Easter morning no matter what they sang. 

Later, standing in the sanctuary, surrounded by the praise of God, tears started streaming down my face as the choir performed, and we all sang along with, Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. 

If more beautiful music has been written, I don't know it. 

And all I had asked for was Dolly Parton

Isn't that just like God?

It is. 

In Acts Chapter 3, we get a story about a crippled beggar who just wants a handout. The Bible says he was crippled from birth. 
When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!"  So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 
      Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have, I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Acts 3:3-6

Of course, he walked. 

He had been looking for a little change, maybe enough for a meal, or even enough to get him through til the next day. What He received was a MIRACLE. 

So is a church choir playing Handel on Easter a MIRACLE?  Hardly. 

But it sure did remind me that God loves us and wants to give us more than we could ever ask or imagine.  (See Ephesians 3:20)

That he loves me at all is a MIRACLE. 
That he further wants to give me more than I ask for is a MIRACLE. 

The good news is, He loves you too. And He wants to give you more than you ask for. Let Him.