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Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah 26:3’

 

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“This is the best salmon I’ve had in a long time,” commented my husband, Steve, after taking the first bite. He quickly forked another. “How’s your salad?”

“Delicious!” I enthused. “’Love this combination of turkey, feta, and cranberries!”

After a morning of shopping for the granddaughters (birthday gifts and summer clothes), we had stopped at a familiar café for a late lunch. The host graciously seated us in a back corner.

Patrons were leaving; our waiter chatted pleasantly with us, no longer responsible for multiple tables waiting to be served. Soft jazz played in the background, adding more charm to the experience.

Halfway through our meal, a waitress seated herself at the empty table across from us, a caddy of flatware and napkins in tow.  She proceeded to polish the former and wrap sets with the latter.

 

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Clunk-clunk-ka-clunk, the knives, forks, and spoons clattered on the table after each piece received its shine. (Why couldn’t she at least spread out some of the cloth napkins from her caddy to absorb the racket?)

But the clamor wasn’t the worst of it. She had not disinfected the table. And two gentlemen had been sitting there when we first arrived. That tabletop received no more than a precursory wipe. I had to wonder about her hands, too—touching fork tines, spoon bowls, and knife blades as she polished.

If only the host had taken us to another corner. We’d never have witnessed this breach of sanitization-protocol, and our ignorance would have been bliss (unless we got sick, which we didn’t)!

Sometimes ignorance is a good thing.

I, for one, am glad the future is unknown to me, protecting me from worry. In my opinion, we’re better off not knowing everything that will happen next month or next year.

Our lack of knowledge—even about tomorrow–draws us to trust in God more intently. And growing trust allows us to delight in him more fully.

 

 

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Think of a young child holding Dad’s hand while crossing a busy street. He revels in this one-on-one time with his hero, enjoying the security of his small hand in Dad’s big, strong one. He happily chatters on about what color sneakers to purchase when they reach the shoe store.

The boy doesn’t see Dad’s watchful eye on the traffic light, on the car that might turn into the lane where they’re walking, or on the texting teenager–heading straight toward them.

But Dad has the situation under control. All possible mishaps are avoided.

Ignorance is bliss for the little boy. He trusts his father to care for him and protect him, because Dad has proven himself over and over again.

And hasn’t our Heavenly Father repeatedly proved himself to us?

  • He has provided (Psalm 23:1).  All of our needs are met.
  • He has led (Psalm 23:3). God guides us in the way we should go.
  • He has been trustworthy (Psalm 9:10). He never forsakes his own.

 

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We can live in ignorant bliss of the future when we embrace child-like trust in God.

A child knows he is weak and helpless, lacking in knowledge and wisdom. He recognizes his dependence on adults.

In the spiritual realm, that translates to an attitude of humility, receptiveness, and neediness before God.

And the final result of ignorant bliss?  Peace.

 

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(“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast,

because he trusts in you.”  –Isaiah 26:3)

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.cookdiary.net; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.quotesgram.com; http://www.bibleverseimages.com; http://www.pinterest.com.)

 

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A Bit of Nan-Sense for 1-28-16:

 

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My son and daughter-in-law gave me a lovely, cloth-bound journal for my birthday. I decided to record favorite scripture verses, perhaps one or two for each book of the Bible, then meditate on the meaning, and record how the truths have played out in my life.

One of the first entries included Exodus 14:13-14, when the Israelites had just escaped slavery in Egypt only to come up against the Red Sea. To make matters worse, Pharaoh’s army was in fierce pursuit. The people were terrified, desperately wishing they’d stayed in Egypt.

Moses said, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today…The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

True to his word, God did miraculously rescue them.

Notes to self, in response:

Time and again God has proven to me his trustworthiness and demonstrated his loving care. My blessings journal with over 1000 entries thus far provides ample proof.

In addition, Scripture abounds with promises that give me hope during difficult times. I know that God specializes in bringing beauty out of ashes (Isaiah 61:3). And though deliverance may not come as soon as I’d like or in the way I expect, I know God will see me through.

With those words, “be still” (at least in this context) God was not suggesting total inactivity. After all, the Israelites did have to walk through the Red Sea to the other side. It appears God was urging them to be still of heart – to cease the negativity, consternation, and fretting.

That’s my part in God’s provision, too:  stillness of heart.

And how do I achieve that?

A mind is kept stilled in peace by staying focused on Almighty God (Isaiah 26:3).

 

(Does that make sense to you, too? Share your thoughts below!)

 

Photo:  Nancy Ruegg

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“That does sound wonderful,” a young mother says, “but Brother Lawrence was a monk, working in the garden or kitchen all day. He could pray as he went about his chores. I work in a noisy office and then deal with three noisy kids when I get home. How can I experience continuous communion with God?”

Her dilemma is all too familiar, even for someone like me who’s retired!

So I began a list of possibilities to help me live in more continuous communion with God. Perhaps an idea or two will appeal to you.

  1. Begin the day with God–even as I get out of bed.  “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,” the psalmist urged (118:24).  OK, what can I rejoice in and be grateful to God for, as I anticipate the day?

 

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  1. Wear a reminder-bracelet—even a paper one! Write a scripture on it (such as Isaiah 26:3), or an encouraging statement, such as: “He is beneath me as my foundation, He is beside me as my friend, He is within me as my life” (Barbara Johnson, Women of Faith speaker).
  1. Copy a meaningful scripture on a 3 x 5 card. Post it on the inside of a kitchen cabinet door, the visor of the car, or the inside of a closet. Move it around every few days so the element of surprise serves to grab my attention.
  1. Sing to God (while driving quiet streets or doing noisy chores!)
  1. Keep my blessings journal more faithfully. (Even though I established the habit years ago, I still allow some precious gifts to go unrecorded. More attentiveness will add more joy to my days.)
  1. Get outside. Find at least one marvelous gift in creation, and praise God for his genius.

 

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  1. Follow this advice from Barbara Johnson (mentioned above): While using a household product, see if the name or its attributes remind me of God and my relationship with him. One example: Fresh Start laundry detergent. While loading the washer I can pray, “Thank you, Father, that every day is a fresh start with you. Your mercies are new every morning.”  (Interested in more products and their implications?  Click on “A.M. Attitude Adjustment.”)
  1. Post a verse on the bathroom mirror. Work at memorizing it.
  1. Each time I sip my coffee or tea, I can also “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8) by savoring the blessings of the moment.  Thankfulness opens my heart to his presence and my mind to his thoughts.**

 

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  1. End the day with God, recalling his blessings or reciting his scripture.

 

Now if you’re like me, a bracelet on the wrist or a 3 x 5 on a cabinet door soon become such common sights, I barely notice them anymore. Perhaps if I rotate through some of the suggestions, they’ll retain their impact.

Sunday might be the day for an outdoor respite.  Monday might be Bracelet Day; Tuesday could be Taste-and-See Day.

You get the idea.

Bottom line: I want my mouth filled with God’s praise; I want to declare his splendor all day long, simply because he is worthy of praise (Psalm 71:8; 1 Chronicles 16:24-25).

But how glorious is this:  our all-gracious God chooses to bless us when we seek to bless him—blessings such as:

 

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So…

 

“…For a short time, fly from your business;

hide yourself for a moment from your turbulent thoughts.

Break off now your troublesome cares,

and think less of your laborious occupations.

Make a little time for God, and rest for a while in Him.

Enter into the chamber of your mind,

shut out everything but God

and whatever helps you to seek Him, and,

when you have shut the door, seek Him.

Speak now, O my whole heart, speak now to God:

‘I seek Thy face; Thy face, Lord, do I desire.'”

—  Anselm

(1033-1109, Archbishop of Canterbury, caring pastor, author)

 

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What strategies help you to enjoy continuous communion with God?  Please share in the Comments section below!

 

**based on a statement by Sarah Young, Jesus Calling,p. 343

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.azquotes.com; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.guilford.ces.ncsu.edu; http://www.zazzle.co.uk; http://www.ourdailyblossom.com.)

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One evening last week, before a sweltering heat wave arrived, I parked on the back deck to read. The sun had dropped behind the old oak tree to the west. Shadows danced and flickered on leaf, grass and flower; a few birds added soft background chatter.

All of a sudden I had company. A butterfly joined me, landing gracefully on my knee. I don’t remember ever being visited up-close-and-personal by a butterfly. I studied him in wonder.

Orange stripes and white splotches stood out against black and chocolate-brown wings. Along the feathery perimeter, white scallops created a fluted edge.

But what astounded me most were his antennae. Tiny black and white stripes encircled each one. And the tips appeared dipped in fluorescent yellow paint.

I didn’t dare move, anxious to prolong the magical moment as long as possible, to enjoy his presence and inspect him further.

His markings were remarkably symmetrical, and I wondered if, while in the cocoon, butterfly wings grow folded in such a way to produce the effect—much like folded-paper ink blots. (I did check online, but found no answer to this specific question. Do you happen to know?)

I  even studied the vein lines—dozens and dozens of them—some large and pronounced, others barely visible. They, too, appeared symmetrical.

For the duration of his visit, the butterfly remained quite still. I found myself stilled, too, enveloped in a sweet interlude of peace.

Twice my new friend winked his wings at me. “Good evening,” I imagined him saying. “Isn’t our Creator God amazing? ‘In wisdom he made us all. We are both marvelously made!’”*

Oh, yes. This butterfly was marvelously made alright. Stunning, actually. And I felt the beauty of the Lord upon me (Psalm 90:17)—his favor and splendor–as one of his loveliest, most graceful creatures honored me with his presence.

I was also reminded:

  • A butterfly visitation is a God-visitation, as his eternal power and divine nature are magnificently displayed (Romans 1:20).
  • God is a Master Artist. How awe-inspiring to discover such minute details as tiny, even stripes on an insect’s antennae.
  • Just as I delighted in the butterfly’s presence, God offers supreme delight to those who bask in his presence (Psalm 16:11).
  • God’s presence also offers calm and peace, not only for a moment but forever (Isaiah 26:3).
  • God’s blessings sometimes come in surprising, unexpected ways. He even provides unnecessary blessings—like butterfly landings–just because he loves us.

All too soon my delicate visitor departed. But the delight lingers, because a God-visitation is not quickly forgotten.

Psalm.......

He has caused his wonders to be remembered;

the LORD is gracious and compassionate.

–Psalm 111:4

Later, on the internet I found this picture, a member of the same family as my winged friend. His kind are known as Red Admirals.  Can you see those tiny stripes?

 

Red Admiral Butterfly

 

What experience in nature lingers in your mind as a God-visitation? Tell us about it in the comment section below!

 

*Psalm 104:24b; 139:14

 

(Photo credits:  www.flickr.com; http://www.allaboutgod.net; http://www.goodpixgallery.com.)

 

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