Inspirational/Devotional

Thinking Thoughts Guest Post | Christmas Devotion

Posted by on Dec 27, 2015 in Guest Posts, Inspirational/Devotional | 0 comments

Thinking Thoughts Guest Post | Christmas Devotion

I’m a guest blogger today at Emily Hendryx’s blog Thinking Thoughts.  Read about my favorite Christmas memory here.

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Trees and Roots

Posted by on Feb 8, 2013 in Inspirational/Devotional, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Trees and Roots

One of the fabulous things about being THE English teacher at a private high school is the opportunity I have to form long-term relationships with my students and watch them grow.  I pray for them often and, as I was praying for one in particular this morning, I began to form a metaphor in my thoughts and prayers.

I was praying that the Holy Spirit would work in the heart of this particular student, that God would plant a seed that would take root.  Now, this student is one that may or may not be a Christian.  It is hard to tell.  So as I was praying for this student, my prayer began following this route:

Sometimes, the ground where a seed falls is hard, like concrete.  Yet the persistent, hearty seed can find just enough dirt and moisture to take root, like grass in the cracks of a sidewalk.  All that seed needs is just enough.  Once it begins to sprout, it sends out roots into the hard dirt, breaking that dirt up.  As the dirt begins to break up, it allows more moisture in and begins to soften.  Pretty soon you have an environment that’s friendly enough to send up a plant.  In the case of grass, it begins to thicken and spread.  In the case of a tree, it begins to sprout.  Since the Bible talks about our lives bearing fruit, I abandoned the grass metaphor at this point and began following the tree.

So the tree begins to sprout.  As it grows, the roots around it begin to soften the dirt.  How, then, does the tree not fall?  The root system continues to grow, expanding in size and complexity, anchoring the tree.  The more nutrients the tree receives, the better the fruit it bears.  The better our souls are anchored in the Holy Spirit, the greater our root system, and the more fruit we bear.  Now the image in my prayer looks like one of those cut-away views where you see the entire tree from top leaf in the air to bottom-most root in the ground.  A pretty healthy tree.

Have you ever noticed that the root system of a potted plant will take on the shape of it’s container?  This thought spurred another image in my mind, a network of roots in the shape of a heart.  Now the image that I’m following in my prayer is one of a tree on top with a heart-shaped root system.  In my mind, this has become the perfect symbol of a life well rooted in the Holy Spirit, blossoming and producing fruit.

Around here, we have a lot of live oaks.  Funny thing is, when it rains too much, they can fall over.  It’s one of the more inexplicable sites of nature to see a sprawling, healthy oak tree topple in the course of a long, heavy rain.  The most interesting part of it is, those trees never have roots.  When they fall over, their bottoms are exposed, and there is nothing below what was ground level for that particular tree.

I can’t help but wonder what causes a healthy-looking tree to lose it’s root system.  I am not wise in the way of live oaks, and since this metaphor occurred to me this morning, I have not had the time to research the answer, but I find it interesting that this can happen spiritually, too.  Every once in a while we see people who appear to be spiritually healthy just topple over in a storm.  I wonder what happened to their root system?

All of this poured into my prayer for my student: that the Holy Spirit would take root in his/her life, soften the ground of his/her heart, sprout into a strong and sturdy tree that bears much fruit, and withstand whatever force it is that compromises a strong and healthy root system. I can’t wait to tell you how this prayer gets answered.

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/3074785871/”>h.koppdelaney</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

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This Is Why I Write

Posted by on Feb 6, 2013 in Creativity and the Writing Process, Inspirational/Devotional, Uncategorized | 0 comments

This Is Why I Write

“O Lord, You are the God of the early mornings, the God of the late nights, the God of the mountain peaks, and the God of the sea.  But, my God, my soul has horizons further away than those of early mornings, deeper darkness than the nights of the earth, higher peaks than any mountain peaks, greater depths than any sea in nature.  You who are God of all of these, be my God.  I cannot reach to the heights or to the depths; there are motives I cannot discover, dreams I cannot realize.  My God, search me.”

~ Oswald Chambers
My Utmost for His Highest
January 9

This quote speaks to me of an unnameable longing I have known all of my life.  It is why I write… to search out and live the heights and depths, motives and dreams.

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashleyrosex/2450534945/”>ashley rose,</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

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Isaiah 42:6

Posted by on Aug 20, 2012 in Inspirational/Devotional | 4 comments

Isaiah 42:6

Isaiah

I spent some quite time reading Isaiah 42 this morning, and was especially struck by verse 6:

“I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you” (NIV).

In context, this verse is a prophecy spoken to the “Messiah Servant”: Jesus who was still to be incarnated for the first time.  Because of that, this verse speaks to me of Jesus’ need for assurance  – even though he was part of the Trinity, he still needed to be reassured of his Father God’s presence and guidance.

This is vividly clear in Luke 22, where Jesus prays in garden of Gethsemane:

“He knelt down and began to pray, saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.’  Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.  And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:42 – 44).

So even Jesus needed to be comforted and reminded of God’s active presence in his life.

This speaks volumes to me of God’s character.  He promises Jesus that he will be involved in every moment, giving comfort and reassurance that Jesus won’t have to “go-it alone,” even through the darkest hours.

The book of Isaiah is also a prophecy to the people of Israel, so in context, God is also speaking this promise to his chosen nation.  That means, then, that this compassion is part of His nature.  If God is capable of feeling compassion for His people, and I am grafted into His family by my belief in Jesus, then I can believe that He feels the same about me.  I can trust that He will hold me by the hand and watch over me.

This also tells me that it is not “against the rules” to be unable to remain alone, to be incapable of doing it all on my own all of the time.  It is okay to need help and reassurance.  That may sound like common sense to most everyone, but it was revelatory for me.  To know that it’s okay if I can’t do everything on my own, that it’s okay if I’m not strong enough to solve all of the problems or smart enough to answer all of the questions, was an astounding revelation for someone like me, who is obsesses with obeying all of the rules.  Not only do we not have to do it alone, but we weren’t meant to.

That is sooooo very comforting.  Not only am I not subject to the vagrancies and whims of “fate,” but I am watched over and cared for by the Most High God.

Awesome.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/crystalwriter/2812431036/“>♥ Crystal Writer ♥</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

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