Who Knows Your Future?

I’m enjoying views from the eighth floor of a high-rise in downtown Chicago. Below me lies a series of paths that dissect geometric shapes of elaborately landscaped urban green space with floral pops of yellow, lavender, and fuchsia. Hotel guests stroll or jog among the islands of nature. The strollers pause occasionally as if to soak in what is normally rare in any big city, while the joggers seemingly rush through. But both can only focus on immediate surroundings simply because head-high shrubs and towering oaks prevent long views.

By virtue of my bird’s-eye perch I see what they cannot – entrances, exits, shaded areas, sunny spots, benches and tables, hazards brought by overzealous sprinklers, and where leisure walkers, serious exercisers, and maintenance workers might meet – all points of logical choice and likely diversion.

It reminds me of how God must view our lives. Our journey forms a kind of pattern, and God possesses full knowledge of our smooth paths and rough patches, and obvious routes and unseen obstacles. God truly knows me and my future! And that fills me with comfort and joy!

“Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go,” Joshua 1:9

“Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength,” Nehemiah 8:10

“For I know the plans I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul,” Jeremiah 29:11-13

“Dear Lord God, you know my start, my finish, and all my in-betweens. Forever clench me in your divine hand of grace, love, and truth. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.”

“For we live by faith, not by sight,” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Will you live likewise?

Trusting the God of Long Views, PJ

copyright 2017 PJGover

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Sabbath Rest is a Myth?

Why is it that the Sabbath is usually one of the busiest days for Christians? What happened to the resting?

“For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy,” Exodus 20:11

“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest,” Matthew 28:11

Just saying …

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Are You Remembering the Right Things?

When I look at my surroundings I not only see things, I also sense memories – planting the oak tree in the backyard, wearing my mother-of-the-bride dress, buying red boots on a trip out west, vacationing in the high country, traveling with sister and mother, lunching with daughter and baby, learning to sew with grandmother, readying for holidays, or snow skiing with the Hub. (Sometimes it’s hard to part with things because it feels like I’m ridding my home of memories, but maybe that’s just me!)

Your encounters with God, especially during down times, may remain at the forefront of your mind, but I often struggle. But what if I remembered God’s grace, love, and faithfulness to me with the same tenacity as I recall memories attached to landscaping, clothing, airline tickets, bits of fabric and furniture, or ornaments? As important as those are, how do they compare to eternity?

Old Testament Scripture tells us to mark encounters with God with altars of remembrance.

“Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us,'” 1 Samuel 7:12

“You shall make an altar of earth for me, and . . . in every place where I cause my name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you,” Exodus 20:24

In the New Testament Jesus instructs us to partake of Communion, the Lord’s Supper, as a remembrance of him.

“Then he took bread, and after giving thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me,'” Luke 22:19

While earthly memories hold huge chunks of our heart, it’s the ones that point to eternity that are everlasting. Remembering God’s faithful acts of the past aid our present and anchor our future.

“Dear Lord, let me make altars that point to you. Guide me in the everlasting way. Thank you, Jesus, Amen.”

To what do you hold fast?

“I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; surely I will remember your wonders of old,” Psalm 77:11

Setting up Altars and Remembering What Matters, PJ

copyright 2017 PJGover

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How Does a Nation Forget Truth?

As a writer I use the laptop a lot. Although I’m not the most accurate keyboardist, muscle memory kicks in and soon my fingers fairly fly across the keys. However, if I inadvertently shift my hands to the right or left I end up typing what looks like foreign code. Gibberish.

Often in life we are tempted to slightly shift on what’s accurate, what’s true. It begins with little white lies – driving a smidge over the limit, making family and friends sound out-of-this-world fantastic, inflating grades, living beyond our means, fudging on taxes, describing our job as more glamorous or powerful than it is. It’s just a slight shift on truth, no problem, or so we tell ourselves. But if we continue life on a slightly shifted trajectory, we end up far from God’s mark. We start grabbing self-justifications like, “truth is what I say it is,” “truth is relative,” “everyone has a right to their own truth.” Priorities get muddied. Eventually gibberish-living encases us like ever-hardening concrete.

“The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; who can understand it? “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds,” Jeremiah 17:9-10

“For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen,” Romans 1:25

Is there hope?

“And the Word (Jesus) became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from God, full of grace and truth,” John 1:14

“But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God,” John 3:21

What do we do now?

“Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you to his neighbor, for we are members of one another,” Ephesians 4:25

“But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,” Ephesians 4:15

How does a nation forget the truth? As individuals slightly shift away inch by inch, word by work, action by action. This Fourth of July, stand for God’s truth. Let America stand strong!

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things,” Philippians 4:8

“Dear Lord, let me daily live Your truth, the only truth there is. Thank you, Jesus, Amen.”

Refusing to Shift from God’s Standards, PJ

copyright 2017 PJGover

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Shelters and Shields

The baby contentedly chews on colorful balls, rings, and crunchy baby books, and occasionally toddles along inside edges of the expert-approved plastic fencing. A safe area for baby. He’s protected, but doesn’t always view life that way. When he feels the need to ‘break out’ he makes his desire known. Quite clearly.

On the outside looking in stands the dog who wants a piece of the action, primarily one of those ball. He makes his desire known. Also quite clearly. But baby toys and dog toys are not interchangeable, no matter what the dog says.

God is like a Holy Barrier. He provides a safe haven within his boundaries while protecting us from that which threatens or harms.

“He will shelter you with his wings; you will find safety under his wings. His faithfulness is like a shield or a protective wall,” Psalms 91:4

“The one true God acts in a faithful manner; the Lord’s promise is reliable; he is a shield to all who take shelter in him,” 2 Samuel 22:31

But we often don’t recognize life that way, even as Christians. We may feel confined like we’re being forced to practice narrow-mindedness, intolerance, and anything but genuine love and compassion. At least how the world defines it. But the Bible tells us:

“. . . the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful,” James 5:11b

“Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” John 14:6

“And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us. GOD IS LOVE, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him,” 1 John 4:16

“But whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has been perfected. By this we know that we are in him,” 1 John 2:5

“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth,” 1 John 3:18

“Will you choose to accept and live within God’s protection?

“Dear Sweet Lord, let me never view your boundaries as lack of freedom, but as opportunity to flourish. Thank you, Amen.”

Living Satisfied within the Savior’s Secure Shelter, PJ

copyright 2017 PJGover

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Do You Suffer From EA?

We. Lost. Broadband. Because we bundle services, satellite, internet and the land line, all vanished in the snap of a finger. Misery ensued. Cold, clammy, sweaty, pale. Couldn’t catch my breath. I quickly realized I suffered from EA – Electronic Addiction. Fortunately, I still had my cell phone, the electronic equivalent of methadone. It provided just enough of the ‘good stuff’ to avoid going over the edge.

So sometimes why am I not terribly bothered when I miss Bible reading or prayer time? I catch the Bible verse on the refrigerator magnet and shoot “arrow” prayers – help me find a parking space, please heal so-and-so, thankyoubabyjesus – heavenward, and somehow call it “time with God.” I don’t set out to neglect my Lord and Savior, but that’s exactly what I do. I’m not a bad person. Am I?

Just maybe I’m a lazy Christian – good intentions, even knowledge of right, but no follow through.

“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me,” Galatians 2:20.

If this is true, and I believe it is, then why do I treat my Christian faith with casual ease? And where do I go from here?

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect,” Romans 12:1-2

“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it,” Psalm 37:5

After twenty-four hours, all services popped on with great sighs of grateful relief escaping my mouth. But once again, I willingly entered co-dependency with electronics. Will I depend on God, the Almighty, Sovereign of the Universe, even half as much from now on? What about you?

“Dear Lord, Let me walk in freedom from all that drags me away from you. Thank you, Jesus, Amen.”

Daily Depending on the Divine Triune God, PJ

copyright 2017 PJGover

rpgover@sbcglobal.net

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Have you spiritually decluttered?

Traveling inspires me. When I return sometimes I yearn to drag out canvas and acrylics or tap out deep thought on the computer. Other times I aim to start a new exercise regime or jump into healthier eating. But this trip was different. After six days and five nights trekking cobblestone streets, meandering through historic homes, and wolfing down fishy delights on the balmy shores of Charleston, SC I realized how little I actually need day-to-day. One suitcase, one purse, albeit stuffed, and I’m good to go.

So on the plane ride home my mind latched onto those articles. You know the ones where you grab three containers – keep, donate, trash – before scouring each room or those that encourage keeping only what brings joy. The idea is to pare down possessions and pump up emotions or it is declutter and clear your mind?

But what about my spiritual self? The world is a quagmire of cluttered and conflicted beliefs. Up is down, white is black, and true is false, or so we’re told through political, entertainment, and sports celebs and talking heads. Our souls strive to survive polluted waters of society and global change, but we’re barely holding outstretched faces above crashing waves.

How do Christians stay afloat?

What about tossing the excess and holding fast to the essentials?

Return from your spiritual travels!

“He (God) only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken,” Psalm 62:6

Return to His way!

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma,” Ephesians 5:1-2

Return to Jesus!

“…the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him,” 1 John 4:9

And return to lasting joy!

“Majestic splendor emanates from him, he is the source of strength and joy,” 1 Chronicles 16:27

“Holy Faithful Father, lead me on simple paths along still waters to grow strong and unwavering in your sight each day. Thank you, Amen.”

Be encouraged! What do you think?

Spiritually Simplifying with the Savior’s Touch, PJ

copyright 2017 PJGover

rpgover@sbcglobal.net

http://www.PJGover.com

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