Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dandelions

Dandelions

My favorite flower is the dandelion...or so my children think. Every time they go outside, my little boys come running back to me with handfuls of the yellow sunshine flowers. I especially like the white ones. They love to bring them to me as they blow the fluffy seeds all over to dance across my cheeks and hair. We laugh and in my heart I savor the moment, for I know that one day my little boys will grow up and the dandelions will remain untouched in the yard wishing for the laughter of a child to blow them gently in the breeze. Yes, my favorite flower is the dandelion... or so my children think. And I will tell them no different, for it is not the tiny gift but the heart of the tiny giver that I have grown to love.

God loves the dandelions, too. He loves the excitement His children show when we bring our gifts with open arms, be them ever so small. See, we can take those dandelions and with a gentle breeze scatter the seeds to multiply them into millions of brand new flowers. He made them that way. God, also, can take the tiniest, most insignificant gift, given with sacrificial joy, and with His own gentle breeze, multiply His Kingdom! What gifts do you have that remain untouched, wishing for a gentle breeze to stir them into dancing? Small gifts in the hands of God, aren’t small gifts at all. For it is not the tiny gift but the heart of the tiny giver that God is known to love.

A song written by my 8yr old twins

You look into the window of darkness and see nothing but a big blob.
But when you look the other way, You see God's hands and they say
"Come with me, then you can see
the daisies and the daffodils,
the roses and the righteousness of God."
He's the one that gives you courage of a bear
and the strength of a lion.

By John and Timmy Baldwin
April 5, 2010

Bowling...Out of the mouths of babes!

During a Bible lesson one day, my 8 year old sons give this analogy...

Carrying sin is like trying to bowl with a bowling ball that is too heavy. You can't get control of it and it heads straight for the gutter. But when you accept Christ and lay down your burdens to Him, He carries it for you and then you can get control of the ball...and its then that you get a strike!

Snake in the Garden...

As my mother was working in her flowerbeds, she noticed a black snake coiled up in the ivy. Using her rake, she poked him to get him to move along and out of where she was working. He began to hiss at her, unusual for a blacksnake. She realized he was trying to protect his lunch from theft as he had a tiny baby bunny constricted in his coil. That snake, by result of the Fall, was squeezing the life out of that helpless baby rabbit. Out of maternal instinct, my mother grabbed a nearby brick, along with her rake, and beat that snake off of the rabbit until finally he let go. She scooped the bunny up into her arms and he lay lifeless... Determined to do all she could, she warmed him, fed him, and snuggled him with love until soon he was hopping all over her house!

You know, just as that snake, Satan is lurking nearby, quietly choking the life out of what God intended for beauty and good. If we, as Christians, don't stand up to him in battle, and take back what he has stolen, the world will strangle in sin.

"...your adversary the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8

Today you are about to do battle with your enemies. Do not be discouraged and do not grow weary, do not be troubled or afraid because of them; for the LORD your God is He who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. Deut. 20:3-4

Amazing Love!

AMAZING LOVE, HOW CAN IT BE, THAT YOU MY KING WOULD DIE FOR ME???

Lord, I know I disappoint you daily and my imperfections are far too numerous to count...but Lord you would still love me enough to sacrifice not only the breath that you breathed, the pain and suffering that you went through, but also your pure holiness to BECOME my sin??? I cannot fathom this undeserved LOVE but Father I am so humbley grateful and I will serve you with every breath I breathe until I have no more.

That I could be your vessel, as broken as I am just is beyond my imagination. I have cracks in my cup yet You fill it and it overflows. I have broken my pitcher, yet You still give me the ability to carry water to the thirsty. Lord fill me so full that I may be used to quench this faminous land and grow the Kingdom for YOUR GLORY.

AMAZING LOVE, I KNOW IT'S TRUE, AND ITS MY JOY TO HONOR YOU...IN ALL I DO. YOU ARE MY KING!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Death Valley-lessons from The Lion King

"The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and beyond, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry.  And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"  Ezekiel 37:1-3

I go through times in my spiritual life where I feel as if I am soaring on the mountaintops...on a spiritual high!  Sitting in the clouds with Jesus and ready to save the world!  Then, as if I am plucked right off of the cloud, thrown off the mountain and dropped right on into that valley, I find myself dry, lying among piles and piles of dead bones...a valley of death. What is it that takes me so quickly off the mountain?  Sin?  Busyness?  Neglect? Reminders of my past? Or simply drifting farther and farther away from the closeness of my Father's voice...

 In the Lion King, Simba finds himself in a valley of dry bones because he has strayed away from the closeness of his father.  Mufasah clearly gives him boundaries, not out of tyranny, but out of love and protection.  He wants to keep his son close to him...but Simba doesn't heed his warning...and like a bird in a cage, when the door opens, Simba "escapes" and strays far from his father's word.  It is in the cemetary of bones that Simba then becomes tempted by Scar, his evil uncle, and his life changes forever. We see later that Scar condemns Simba into believing that he is the cause of his father's death and thus unworthy of the throne to which he is heir. 

I realize that I, too, am Simba!  I find myself drifting off in adventure right into the valley of dryness in my walk with Christ.  The place where I feel so far from my Father's voice and the place where the enemy then begins to taunt me with my brokenness...reminding me that I am the cause of my Lord's death and thus I am unworthy of the throne to which I am heir...

God allows me to pass by those bones, and to see them far off in the distance.  Not to condemn me, but to remind me of what He has brought me out of.  You see, most likely, in the story of Ezekiel, this valley was a place of battle, as the valley was a prime spot for a battle to take place in the Near East because of its natural boundaries entrapping the enemy.  The massacre that had taken place in Ezekiel's vision left countless casualties...they had been there for quite sometime, because they were "dry bones".  The flesh had already decomposed and we can imagine had fertilized the flora in that valley.

In our Spiritual lives, God entraps the enemy with the mountains... We find ourselves High on His love and the enemy comes for us.  But, God's natural boundaries will always bring victory as He entraps the enemy. And there will be some casualties...things in our life that must die.  Sins that must be left to decompose.  But be encouraged, the rotting flesh of our sin will also fertilize us to grow in the valley.

As Ezekiel goes on, he tells us of how the Lord, by His command through Ezekiel's words, rose those dry bones up, restored their flesh, and prepared them for battle as soldiers in His army.  Satan uses our brokenness to beat us down, but God restores the dead bones to life to be used in His battle.

I have learned that as I am dry and thirsty for the Lord while in the valleys, it is His hand that has placed me there.  Not just to remind me of the deadness that I am, but of the life that He has restored in me. Only He can breathe new life in our dry bones and revive us once again! 

Lord, bring me back into the place where I am close to Your voice and forgive me for straying from it.  And thank you, that what Satan meant to destroy me, You have revived to bring new life both for me and others that will be won in this battle.

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