C.C. the gift of a clean slate #220

It occurred to me this morning, as I walked early in the quiet, before the rush and rhythm of the day kick in, that this is perhaps my favorite time of day. Why? I think maybe it’s because nothing bad has happened yet – nothing painful, paralyzing, prohibiting. In that hush right before the sun comes up, the day is new, unspoiled and full of possibilities, full of unspoken promise. As I walk, I expect something wonderful and I wait to see what God will do with the day He has graciously given me.

And I am not disappointed! His majesty is revealed in the sunrise and His closeness in the bird songs that usher in the new day. Because “His mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23) I feel the joy of a clean slate set before me. It’s like, well I confess -I can remember back in the day when teachers used chalkboards and by the end of the day those chalkboards would be filled with all kinds of words and work from the day’s lessons, mistakes and all. Lots of erasers and do overs and write overs were evident on the board. Even though erased, traces of the mistakes that had been corrected remained on the board and could still be seen. But then someone would stay after school and clean the board with a wet cloth, not just an eraser. So in the morning, the board would greet us, empty and clean, ready for us to fill it with math problems and spelling words – mistakes and all. But the next day we would again have a clean slate upon which to write.

Today, as I am thanking my Heavenly Father for yet another clean slate upon which I have the privilege to write, I also ask His help, that I might write on it well today. Not perfectly, that is not possible. But this I do pray,

“May the words of my mouth (and my pen) and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. the silent God #219

Nothing like a sunrise or a sunset to take my breath away with their indescribable beauty. If I remember to look up and take a moment to be still, I can behold the glorious sight unfolding right before my eyes – if I don’t pause and look up I miss the majesty of the morning sky or the serenity of an evening setting sun. Each and everyone of them is a free gift to me, I just have to lift my gaze. So often I am searching for God, but He is always right where I left Him. That’s right, I did the leaving – not God.

I often hear people say that they want to hear from God, but He is silent. They are waiting for a word, a sign, a wonder – something to get their attention. Is God silent or am I just not listening? Psalm 19:1-6 has something to say about this,

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.”

The skies are proclaiming, pouring forth speech – day and night, night and day. And something I especially like is that they do this in every language! God’s voice through His creation is inescapable. It has been so in every age of human history. Romans 1:19-20 explains this saying,

“since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

God is speaking – gently, tenderly, thunderously, melodiously, whispering in the wind, wailing in the waterfall, singing over me in the carol of the crickets on a summer evening – God is speaking – calling out to me – am I listening? – am I answering? These words from an old hymn say it so well,

“This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears, all nature sings, and round me rings, the music of the spheres. This is my Father’s world, I rest me in the thought, of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought. This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise; the morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise. This is my Father’s world, He shines in all that’s fair; in the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere. This is my Father’s world, O let me ne’er forget, that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet. This is my Father’s world, the battle is not done; Jesus who died shall be satisfied, and earth and heaven be one.”

God is not silent! His whole creation proclaims His message of hope, joy and comfort twenty-four/seven. The battle is not done, God is the Ruler yet! I can lift my head and listen anytime I choose. There is always much for me to learn.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

“This is what the Lord says, He who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it – the Lord is His name; ‘Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ ” (Jeremiah 33:2-3)

speak Lord, your servant is listening –

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. home builders #218

This past year has been a busy time for home sellers, buyers and builders. Seems like everyone I know is moving – downsizing or upsizing or custom fitting – everyone in search of the perfect home. Even my own sisters are in the process of building homes. I am not looking for a new home at the moment but today I stumbled (almost literally) across one on my morning walk. It was quite well made and the owners must have already moved out because I found it completely empty. The location is good, I found it under some tall pine trees surrounded by a lovely green lawn. Well, actually it was situated on the edge of the sidewalk, next to the lawn, underneath the overhanging pine branches.

At this point it is probably best that I confess – the home I am referring to is a bird home. It is not a human made birdhouse though, this nest is the handiwork of the bird owners themselves. Or perhaps they contracted the nest building out to some of their bird friends. At any rate, the work was top notch. I normally view nests from a distance. I am on the ground, they are high up in various trees. Usually, birds’ nests are not visible until autumn, when the leaves fall and they are exposed. By that time though, their occupants have usually flown south for the winter. Except maybe cardinals. But they make their homes in evergreen trees, probably knowing that these pines don’t lose their leaves. (needles)

This morning I wished my bird loving, bird watching friend had been with me. She might know what kind of bird builds this kind of a nest. It was exquisite. I was amazed by its composition, design and sturdiness. I wanted to take it with me, but felt that would be stealing. The owners might return. Perhaps they have a way of returning their homes to their original location in the tree’s branches and I wouldn’t want to interfere with that. So I left the nest where I found it, not knowing what else to do.

This is definitely one of those days when I wish technology and I were better friends. Then I could have taken a picture of this perfect bird abode and put it here with this post for you all to see for yourselves. I so wish you could have seen it, dear readers. I often sub in a high school ceramics class and I watch the students struggle to fashion small pots from the clay, either by hand or on the wheel. Either way it is often a frustrating process, as I watch them collapse their clay into a ball and start over again and again and again. The finished products are often asymmetrical and a little bumpy in places. It is a hard skill to learn.

That’s what was so surprising about this nest. It looked like a small pot. It was symmetrical and smooth on the inside. (since it was empty I could see and feel the inside) The outside had grass and pine needles woven into the dried dirt/mud/clay? or whatever it was. Of course they were no longer green but a brown color. The inside, however, was smooth – no grass, twigs etc. woven into the surface, just the – what do I call it? – mud? It was not mushy but it was not brittle or dried out either. Since I assumed this nest had fallen from the tree standing next to it, I was surprised it had survived the fall intact, except for a small hole in the bottom.

The more I looked at this bird nest, the more I could hardly believe my eyes. It was so perfectly formed, well constructed and could obviously withstand the elements of nature. Maybe because it was made of all natural materials. Truly, it was a thing of beauty to behold. Who knew birds were such master builders? Well, I guess the One who knows when even a sparrow falls to the ground, knows how skilled birds are at home building. After all, their Creator created them with that innate ability. It is a gift from Him. Their nests reflect the glory and the mystery of their Creator/Sustainer, God.

Today as I write this post, I am reminded of Psalm 127:1, which says –

“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”

God gives the birds the ability to build their homes and He does even more for them.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

“The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:13-16)

Even now, God, the master builder, is preparing a home for me and for you. I have seen and been surprised by the precision and the beauty of what the bird builders have made. Yet I know it does not compare to what awaits. Jesus said,

“In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2-3)

Jesus is building us a home for eternity,

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. stumps and stepping stones #217

One of my very favorite children’s books is Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree.” That book ends with a stump being all that is left of the once beautiful, productive apple tree who is the star of the story. Now you would think this would be a sad, not to mention unsatisfactory ending to this story. But surprisingly, it is an ending full of hope. Why? Perhaps because the tree had a purpose in every season of her life and even in the closing scene of the book she had again found her purpose and was actively fulfilling it.

Over the years, the tree had given the boy her leaves, her shade, her apples, her branches and finally, even her trunk. Now all that was left of her was a stump when the boy came back to her yet again. This time the tree said to the boy,

“I wish that I could give you something . . . but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump, I am sorry . . . ” But the boy answered the tree saying, “I don’t need very much now, just a quiet place to sit and rest.” And so the tree replied, “well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.” So the boy (who was no longer a boy but an old man) did just that and the story ends with these words, “And the tree was happy.”

So a happy, hopeful ending after all! The tree found that she was still needed by her beloved boy and he had returned. They were spending time together once again. A place and a purpose in every season of life – that is the hope we have. This purpose may look different in each season, just as the tree looked different in every season of her life. But she was never without purpose, even though in her “stump stage” she felt that surely she could serve a purpose no more. It was then that her boy returned and showed her that she was still needed.

I’m thinking (and hoping and believing) that God has a purpose for you and for me, dear readers, in every season of our lives. I confess – some days I feel like that tree stump. Life has a way of cutting us down and moving on. Yet even tree stumps can serve a good purpose in God’s kingdom. King David expressed this in Psalm 84:10 saying,

“I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”

A doorkeeper is considered a lowly position. But David knew even a lowly position in God’s service was better than an exalted position elsewhere. Nothing lowlier than a tree stump – except maybe a stepping stone. One gets sat upon, the other, stepped on. But what a purpose and a privilege to be that place of rest on someone’s journey or that place to put one’s foot to provide safe passage along a perilous path. Stumps and stepping stones share a noble purpose as they are placed by God in people’s paths to help them on their way.

So if you are feeling you don’t have much to offer anyone anymore, remember the Giving Tree. She thought she no longer had a purpose in this life – but she found that she was mistaken. God gives purpose in every season.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: . . . He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 11)

Yes, God has made everything beautiful in its time, even tree stumps and stepping stones.

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. jackpot! #216

Yes, I hit the jackpot – struck it rich – won the lottery, so to speak. Well the Lipton Green Tea Citrus lottery, that is. As you know, I have been in search of this green tea for awhile now. But each new store I visit has empty shelves where their Lipton Tea products have previously been. I continued to widen my search radius each day, but to no avail. Until now. Yesterday I had headed north and east, so today I headed south and west. How far would I have to go, I wondered? Or had this product vanished from the face of the earth forever?

Not one to lose hope or to give up easily, I continued my search. When I felt I had gone far enough west, I pulled into the parking lot of a large grocery store. As I had been doing, I grabbed a cart even though my recent failures informed me that I would not need this cart unless of course I intended to purchase something else so that I wouldn’t appear foolish. These stores are so large that if I did in fact find green tea when I arrived at the area where it should be, I did not want to have to go all the way back to the store’s entrance to retrieve a cart. So as a gesture of hope, I always grabbed a cart even though I didn’t know if I would find my Lipton Green Tea Citrus in stock or not. Up to this point, I had not needed a cart. But being the eternal optimist, I persisted in pushing an empty cart through the store. After all, you never know. Maybe this time will be different.

This time there was an actual “Pepsi guy” stocking the shelves. I had learned that Pepsi was also the distributor of Lipton products, so here was my chance to gather some first hand intel about the situation. He informed me that this situation affected a tri-state area. (much bigger than I had previously thought) So simply crossing state lines wasn’t going to guarantee that my product would be in stock. He had no idea how long the situation would continue. I was about to leave, resigning myself to the inevitable, when he suggested I check at the far end of the aisle for some alternative tea beverages.

And there at the end of that very long aisle, I hit the jackpot! There was my Lipton Green Tea Citrus sitting on fully stocked shelves. I could hardly believe my eyes! I had almost turned around and walked out empty handed after my conversation with the Pepsi man. Had he not stocked these shelves also? or had he not understood which product I was searching for? At any rate, I had now gone from scarcity to abundance in the time it took to walk the length of the aisle. It was on sale and I was ready to procure not a stash, but a stockpile of my favorite beverage.

My search had come to an end, so I was no longer faced with the question of how far I would go, as my previous post by that title asked. At this point I have to confess – now I find myself feeling much like the rich man in Luke chapter 12. He was a stockpiler, too. (although I’ve never thought of myself as a stockpiler before) This man had a good crop, so good he decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones in order to store all his grain and goods. Here’s his story in his own words,

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:18-21)

I really don’t want this guy to be my role model. Jesus gave a clear instruction in Matthew 6:19-21 when He said,

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I must say, I don’t feel any added sense of peace or of security now that I have a stockpile of my green tea beverage. I guess it’s true what they say, ‘green tea citrus can’t buy happiness’ or peace or purpose or fulfillment or anything else for that matter. I have hit the green tea jackpot and I am still a poor sinner in need of a Savior. It’s true what Jesus said in Mark 8:36-37,

“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

not all the tea in China, that’s for sure . . .

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. how far would you go? #215

I had hoped it wouldn’t come to this, tried to avoid it if possible, wished for intervention to do her thing and step in to save the day – but she did not show up and no such last minute change of fortune has occurred. Which is why today I find myself drinking the last remaining Lipton Green Tea Citrus that I have on hand, even as I ponder the prospect of not being able to purchase any more of this product. Why?, you ask. Well, I have been noticing empty shelves in the store where this product is normally found for the last several weeks. Meanwhile, my supply of Lipton Green Tea Citrus at home has been diminishing. (I usually buy on sale, so typically have a reserve supply – a stash but not a stockpile – I never anticipated this shortage or disappearance)

You see, some years ago I gave up my diet Coke habit. After trying many different replacement beverages, I discovered Lipton Green Tea Citrus and this became my new drink of choice, my “treat” each day, just as diet Coke had been for years. The Lipton Teas come in many varieties and flavors, but this is the one I always come back to after trying something new. So you can imagine my growing concern as my home supply has been growing less and less while the Lipton shelf in my store continues to remain empty.

Which brings me to today, drinking my last bottle of Lipton Green Tea Citrus and pondering my next move. How far will I go in search of this vanished beverage? Or will I simply find a replacement? Today I am wishing that this last bottle I am drinking would turn out to be like the widow’s jugs of oil and flour, which although almost empty, didn’t run out, but gave her just enough for each day. That would certainly solve my problem.

I confess – in the last couple of days I have ventured out to other nearby stores. But their shelves are also absent of bottled Lipton products. So now I am concerned but also curios. What is going on? A whole product line has mysteriously disappeared from stores. How widespread is this? Finally, at one store, someone told me that a warehouse had been damaged in a storm, disrupting distribution of these products. When this issue will be fixed and Lipton products will again be available in stores is unknown at this time.

So I am wondering now, if I drove far enough away, would I find Lipton products in stores in other distribution areas? The question is though, how far? out of town? out of county? out of state? And just how far am I willing to drive in search of my desired Lipton Green Tea Citrus? (especially considering the current price of gas, not to mention the time commitment) This has the potential to become an all out quest. Or will I simply go into withdrawal tomorrow as I face my first day without Lipton Green Tea Citrus?

Time will tell. Perhaps it is time for a road trip. If only I knew which direction to head and how far I need to go to be in a new distribution area. I don’t live close to the state line so that is not the easiest option. Maybe I should just find a suitable substitute beverage? – something that is already accessible at my regular store. After all, do I really want to be driving all over, farther and farther, in search of something I am not guaranteed to obtain? I’m not sure my Lipton Green Tea Citrus is worth all that time and trouble. There’s a limit to how far I’m willing to go to get some green tea and bring it back home.

I’m glad there’s no limit to what my Heavenly Father would do for me or on how far He would go to rescue me, make me His own and take me home with Him. It’s like this story in Matthew 18:12-14,

“If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.”

God would go to any lengths and indeed He did when He sent His Son, Jesus, to earth. There was no limit to how far He would go, to how far He actually did go on our behalf, on my behalf and on your behalf, dear readers.

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

Jesus traveled across time and space to spend time with us here on earth. He left everything when He came for us. Philippians 2:6-8 tells me this about what Jesus did,

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!”

That’s how far God would go – even unto death – and He did just that!

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

” . . . and the angel of His presence saved them. In His love and mercy He redeemed them; He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.” (Isaiah 63:9)

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

from heaven to earth, to the cross, to the grave, back to life again, and back to heaven – sitting at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for me and for you even now – that’s how far Jesus went – and I’m so thankful that He did! (how far will I go to find green tea? remains to be seen – day one without starts tomorrow . . . )

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. land lines – the end of the line? #214

Is reaching the end of the line the same thing as being at the end of your proverbial rope? Out of options. Out of rope. Out of hope. I think the end of the line originally referred to train travel which was much more prevalent back in the day. When there were no more train tracks ahead, you had arrived at the end of the line. For awhile now I have believed that I am the last in a long but now virtually extinct line. This would be the line of land line owners, which began its demise with the advent of the cell phone. So at this point, I confess – I still have a land line in my home. There, I have admitted to it out loud! My secret is revealed.

So you can imagine my surprise and delight when this morning I discovered, quite by chance, that I am not the sole surviving land line owner! I am not the last of the line. There is at least one other possessor of a land line out there and she is none other than my intrepid friend, the all-weather walker! Who knew? And perhaps there are others of you out there as well? If so, together we are the last of the line in a previously long line of land line owners.

Now, full disclosure – I do have a cell phone. But I have not yet been willing to part with my land line. So this morning’s discovery was unexpected and exciting. It comforts me to know that I am not the sole land line owner in a cell phone world. In addition to my intrepid friend, there may also be others out there still in possession of a land line. Perhaps we should ban together and form a society for the protection of land lines, much as endangered animal species each have their own societies protecting them, lest they become extinct and vanish from the face of the earth. I don’t want my land line to become extinct. I do not want this to be the end of the line for land lines.

Someone, somewhere said, “all good things must come to an end.” But I’m hoping this isn’t the case where my land line is concerned. When cell service isn’t working for whatever reason, I’ll still have my land line. Although, at this moment it occurs to me, that I will have no one to talk to via phone except my lone land line possessing friend and any of you out there who are undercover land line owners and operators. Still, I consider my land line, my life line to the outside world should cell service go down or my cell phone be lost or dead because I forgot to charge it.

This got me to thinking, though. In times of trouble or crisis what is my true life line? My land line? Hardly. It is that connection to my Heavenly Father through prayer. Thankfully, I am never out of range for this connection or out of battery. It is never after hours and service never goes down. When I come to the end of the line, or to the end of my rope, or to the end of myself, I can cry out and my Heavenly Father is there waiting for me, waiting at the end of the line – when all else has failed, when there is no where else to go – precisely because it is – the end of the line.

And He is always at the other end of the line, patiently waiting to hear my pleas and petitions. When I come to the end of the line, I can know that my Heavenly Father waits on the other end of the line to take my call, allowing me to cast all my cares upon Him.

“He will not let your foot slip – He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:3-8)

“Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

“but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld His love from me!” (Psalm 66:19-20)

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. come away #213

I feel His voice calling me to come away, time on my knees to start this day –

the clock is ticking, time is slipping, pulling, telling me no time to stay, no time to pray –

what keeps me from my knees just now? the fear that if my knees should bow – not soon would I rise again, how could I leave once I began?

confessions spilling, long overdue – followed by pleas for grace from You –

the people are many, their needs are so great – the pain so deep, it cannot wait –

intercession will not wait till an hour that never comes, now on bended knees till it is done –

no end I see to my heart’s cries, I want Your wisdom, not worldly wise –

what keeps me from our time of prayer? fear I should never rise once there –

for who would choose to leave Your throne room? an audience with the King? to return to earthly tasks and cares, like Moses leaving the mountain top – I’m sure he’d rather have stayed with You – but You had work for him to do –

just giving You thanks would take all day, gladly on my knees I’d stay – Your praises never ending I would declare, while I remained in Your presence there –

many are the petitions I would plead, for myself and others in so much need – You are the answer to every request, to all You have made You bestow what is best

oh precious the time on bended knees with You! it never truly ends, as prayers are never through

I only ask when I leave this sacred place, Your Presence go with me, fill me with Your grace.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

“Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, Everything to God in prayer!” (old hymn)

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. in search of the burning bush #212

I’ve been very busy lately. I’ve been busy bungee jumping, busy making mountains out of molehills, busy trying to move those mountains that I made because now they’re in my way. But mostly I’ve been busy searching for the burning bush. Why the burning bush, you ask? After all, there are plenty of things on fire these days. Does it have to be a bush? Will any bush do? And what could I possibly want with a burned out bush? These are things I am sure you must be thinking right about now.

I am looking for a burning bush because that’s where God is, where God speaks, where His voice is heard. At least that’s where Moses met God and heard His voice – at the burning bush. So naturally, I’m on the lookout for a burning bush. I want to hear from God like Moses did. I want some clear direction, some reassurance that I’m on the right path. Ok, I know we’re supposed to walk by faith and not by sight, but is it so wrong to want the burning bush experience?

So my search for a burning bush continues. Moses was tending flocks when he had his encounter. It went down like this. “Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, ‘I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up.’ When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ And Moses said, ‘Here I am.’ . . . Then He (God) said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.” (Exodus 3:2-6)

It was during this burning bush encounter that Moses received his marching orders from God, so to speak. God wanted Moses to go to Egypt and free the enslaved Israelites. No small task to be sure, but God promised His presence would be with Moses at all times. This would be the first of many conversations between God and Moses and God did indeed go with him. During Moses’ and the Israelites’ days in the desert, God’s presence was in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, both displaying His visible presence abiding with them, leading, guiding and protecting His people every step of the way. God’s presence does all those things and more. Who wouldn’t want His presence in the burning bush experience?

Now there are plenty of fires burning all around me nowadays. But these fires are burning things up, unlike the bush that Moses saw burning and yet not burned up. This is what got Moses’ attention in the first place. I’m sure it would get my attention too. But am I looking in all the wrong places? Elijah wanted a word with God, he was alone and in danger and didn’t know what to do. He didn’t get a burning bush conversation, however. This is what happened to him –

“The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, . . . The Lord said to him,” (1 Kings 19:11-15)

Interesting isn’t it, this time God wasn’t in the fire. His voice was in the gentle whisper that came after wind, earthquake and fire. It was then Elijah heard God’s voice and received His instructions about what to do next. “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. . . . ” (1 Kings 19:15) Maybe I don’t need a burning bush in order to hear a word from God. (actually I have a book full of words from God, which Moses didn’t have at the time of his burning bush meeting)

Even now, I confess – a song is running through my head and it seems particularly relevant to right now. “This is my Father’s world, He shines in all that’s fair; In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere.” (old hymn) God is speaking – I just need to be still and to listen! He will speak to me anywhere and everywhere. In fact Psalm 19:1-4 tells me that God is doing just that, speaking to me non-stop –

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

burning bushes abound – speak Lord, for your servant is listening –

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. holding onto hope #211

hold on, hold on to hope – though nothing else remains – though no signs point the way

keep your heart from harm, and believe the light will come – don’t give in to despair

all is gone but hope, hold on – nothing else remains, hope alone sustains

the dream, the promise, real only in your heart –

hold on, don’t let go – when God will act, we do not know

hold on to hope, be ready the promise to receive

hold on to hope, when there’s no reason to believe

hold on to hope, God’s promise to receive

the silence loud, the darkness deep, now’s when hope your heart must keep – from breaking, burdened with the pain – let instead His Presence reign

hold on to hope, never ceasing prayers – hold fast to hope, letting go all cares

Let His perfect love cast out all fears – hold on to hope across the years

hold on to hope, your Deliverer will come – to take you home with Him when everything is done.

hold on to hope, there will be music once again – with joy and laughter, light and love – signaling sorrow’s end

hold on to hope, let hope fill sorrow’s space – hold on to hope, for soon you will see His face.

“You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever.” (Psalm 30:11-12)

“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

holding onto hope, sincerely, Grace Day