(This is part two in a series about when we lose sight of God.)
How do we lose sight of Jesus or his plan for our lives? We’ve all no doubt experienced at least temporary blindness.
When I read the scriptures, I am astounded that even those closest to Jesus, those that walked, lived and ate with him…even lost sight of him.
The story of Mary and Martha recounted in the book of Luke chapter 10 speaks of one sister being caught up in details, losing sight of her Savior while the other sister sat eagerly as His feet. Jesus said to Mary Luke 10:41/42
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a]Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
What are some of the symptoms that we are entering into tunnel vision where we are focused more on “I” than on HIM.
JOYLESSNESS: Are we losing joy in our noble pursuits? Martha was stressed. Jesus didn’t say that Martha was distracted by Pinterest or Facebook (zing!) He said, “with much serving”. We need to be mindful that even good and Godly things can become a distraction if we take our eyes of Jesus. When joy seeps out of service we need to ask ourselves some questions. Do our efforts cause stress for us or those we love? More importantly…do our noble efforts replace our relationship with our Creator? Continue Reading
So I got a call from Google that said I was going to “lose my site.” But it really made me think about losing sight and why I have not posted in a year.
I’ve spent a year trying to gain some focus on where God wants me to be. Did I run ahead of him? Was I walking in the direction he wanted me to be…had I detoured?
So blogging hit the back burner and I took up some things that were more relational and more intentional. I spent time looking inward and upward.
Setbacks can do that.
They can cause us to look inward and … upward.
I have a friend who recently lost her sight. She knew it was coming and she prepared and trained for what it would be like to not be able to navigate with her eyes. She put her career on hold and was proactive about the inevitable. She did all she could do to equip herself.
She had a warning that she was losing her sight. It didn’t come from google it came in the form of Cancer and it wasn’t a warning that she could fix, but that she should prepare. Now her gaze is permanently fixed upward to where her help comes from.
When we begin to lose sight of where we should be do we get a warning? Is there a gentle tug or a feeling we may be off track or veering out of the center of God’s will? These are the things I will be exploring and sharing with you in the next few posts.
I hope you will tag along as we explore how loss shapes us. How losing can be freeing as well. And what the gentle and not so gentle warnings to us are when we begin to lose sight of what God’s plan for us is.
The most awesome thing is – God never ever Loses sight of us.
Have you grown as a result of a loss? Please comment below and encourage others. (commenting also will let Google Know – we are still here)
I’ve been pondering distractions lately. Watching people in stores, restaurants and at the pool or in cars and noticing how distractions divide our attention. Often the people we are with become second when we are distracted.
Statistics show traffic accidents on the rise as well as accidental deaths and injuries all due to a “lack of focus”. My friend posted a sign they posted in the work place about personal cell phone usage because her employees were more focused on their phones than their customers. In several instances employees playing a game on company time actually suffered accidental injuries in the workplace while they were rushing to capture a fictional creature.
My friend Beth was the victim of serious car accident due to a distracted driver who was texting. Both legs and pelvis were broken and she spent days in the hospital and months recovering all because the other driver was distracted.
When parents are distracted often the kids pay the price for it. I know how quickly a child can scamper when we are distracted by something. As a young mom I thought the kids worked as a team. One would distract me so the other could climb on the table or out the door.
Distractions cause our communication to suffer. Trying to chat with my husband while he’s watching Golf, is never productive. Striking up a conversation with me, when I’m proofreading or writing is also bound to result in frustration for both of us.
I received a number today for a young man I’ve known since birth. It broke my heart. It was a prison number. I wept looking at the number after his name. I thought of the significance of this number and what it meant in Jail and what it will mean moving forward.
I pray he lives beyond that number. I’m praying for the number to become a memory. Praying that number which represents a mess, will become part of his message. This child I held as a baby, who grow up with my kids side by side, diverged and now he isn’t a name, he’s a number….for this season.
What are numbers? They are a symbol or word in a series for identification. For now, he will identify and be identified by this number. But God calls him still by name. God sees him as son, not number #31-68734. His family still calls him by name but where he lives, they shout out his number.
Numbers play a major role in our lives. From our chromosomes to our vertebrae to the number of bones in our hand and the muscles it takes to frown, our bodies are connected and identified by numbers. Here in the United States we are issued a Social Security number at birth that is used for a variety of purposes like taxes, insurance and education, that number defines and unlocks information we need.
Phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers are all crucial to defining our communication with each other and our wealth.
Numbers are used in the bible from the 10 Commandments to the days 40 days of the flood and 40 days and 40 years in the wilderness and the 12 tribes of Judah…all of these events and issues defined by a number.
There is even a book with the title “Numbers” in the Bible. Ironically or perhaps not, the book of Numbers explains how Israel prepared to enter the promise land, but sinned and was punished. The title refers the two population censuses Moses took during that period.
There are four themes in Numbers. The beginning depicts the preparation for the journey to the Promised Land. The second portion talks about the Israelites travel and grumbling and how God continued to provide for them. The third portion discusses their disobedience and severe punishment for being unfaithful to God. The final theme addresses the new generation and their victorious conquests, more disobedience and finally the entry into the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the desert.
The book of Numbers recounts God’s unfailing direction in the lives of his people. It shows the ways God tested their endurance and their faithfulness. Though they sinned, God remained faithful to guide them on their journey with the pillar of fire by night and cloud by day. God never left them alone in the desert. He never ventured far from them in the wilderness.
I pray this for number #31-68734. May this wilderness experience be his NUMBERS moment. May he come to see God and feel His faithfulness and sense a new direction in his life. My prayer is that if you are experiencing a Numbers moment, you to would feel God’s presence and recalculate your destination with HIS help.
POINT TO PONDER: Are you called by a number? Are you experiencing a Numbers Moment? Call on the Name of Jesus. There is power in the name of Jesus. Struggling? Turn it over. Here’s some inspiration about God’s ability to take your Number and give you a name. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upLBLppWTj0
She sat down beside me in the dining room, running her fingers over a scar on her leg. “I love scars,” my 15 year old announced. I sat silently waiting for my deep thinker’s epiphany to tumble out. She pointed from scar to scar and explained the memories they evoked. She said, “Scars tell stories”. From bike chains to dog fangs, spills and falls, she shared the cause of each. The tales were part of my fair skinned girl’s story.
Scars make us wonder, they make us notice. Scars matter. At the Dairy Queen a lady stood at the other window. She was flawless from head to….ankle. Her ankle bore the scares of what appeared to be several surgeries and her strappy blingy sandals did not hide them. I wondered if she was a runner or soccer player or if she injured her ankle skiing or biking. What was the story behind her scar?
The scar conversation with my daughter weighed heavily as I pondered about the unseen scars in our lives. The wounds inflicted on our spirits, on our souls, on our hearts, on our minds. We all carry unseen scars that are perhaps to painful to share about.
The scars on my child’s legs and hands are evidence of healed wounds. What about unseen scars? Have they healed or has the world picked our scabs so much that our unseen wounds continue to fester and weep? Does she have unseen scars?
Unseen scars manifest themselves in various ways. People who lash out harshly, judge unjustly, withdraw, overmedicate, hibernate or live in fear might be the walking wounded, nursing scars that have yet to heal. Recently, I encountered one of the wounded whose unseen scars compelled them to behave irrationally. The confrontation left me reeling and contemplating a well crafted, scathing and justified retort until my eyes fell upon a scar on my hand. Swallowing the words and stuffing my anger, the path of peace seemed to be more important than proving my case. Pondering the unseen scars that led to the raw anger gushed out took the focus off my wounds and put it on their unseen ones.
The bible says: “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,” Proverbs 16:32a Being slow to anger doesn’t come naturally to me. “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.” Proverbs 19:11
Ephesians 4:31 is pretty clear on how we are to handle others: “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” I’m still unsure of the fallout from the angry encounter but one thing is pretty clear when I pray about it. “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” – Exodus 14:14.
“I see it on the cross
The nails You took for me
Scars can change the world
Scars can set me free”
Mandisa – “What Scars are for”
I see scars differently now. I see them as reminders of healing and restoration. Like the scars Christ bore for us that we might be healed and restored. It’s the unseen scars, the scars still healing that I’m trying to focus on. Scars tell stories. When offended, I guess the important thing is to rest in our defense, the one the Lord promises. To lay the offense at His nail scarred feet. Let His scars change your world.
POINT TO PONDER: Do your scars seen or unseen make you retreat or lash out? Have you taken your wounds to the ONE who was wounded for us? His scars were for the sake of our healing and restoration what keeps you from laying them at his feet?
Catch us Monday thru Friday at 7:15am EST for #HOPEscope on www.periscope.tv Look for Connie P. Shoemaker or kissedbycreator You can also watch replays on katch.me search for kissedbycreator .
Vibrant. Brilliant. We eagerly scoop up the luscious looking stones in various colors and put them into our treasure bag. “Look at this one Mom,” Hannah shows me a brilliant red stone and Rachel carries over a green stone.
Back at the camper we reviewed our finds and empty the treasure bags filled by the lake. Now dry, the stones looked dull and drab. Ordinary. Having lost their luster, we couldn’t even tell which stone was whose. They looked nothing like the treasures we eagerly picked up along the lakeshore.
Before frustration and disappointment totally set in, I grabbed a bottle of water and poured it over the rocks in my hand. Once again, the colors burst forth like fireworks on a hot summer night. In my hand I once again held the colorful treasure now restored.
What made the difference? It was the water. Devoid of water the stones look like nothing more than driveway stones worthy of a toss. The water made them appear alive and vibrant and something to be treasured. Much like us.
“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” – John 7:38
It’s the Living Water or Christ in us that makes us appear vibrant and brings life into our souls. It’s the Living Water that keeps us from leading a lackluster life. When we become parched, dry and distant from the Living Water, our spirit is rendered barren, and cracked.
Crevices are where things can hide or take root. Our spiritually dry fissures become places where the enemy can gain a foothold. These gaps take the form of looking the other way at sin, or justifying ungodly behavior. The dark dry places of our hearts are fertile ground for secrets and apathy.
“but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” – John 4:14
Immersing ourselves in the Living Water regularly is crucial to living a life that glorifies the Lord. When we are infused with His truth and His presence, our lives can’t help but reflect Him. When we radiate His presence, people are attracted to HIM in us. His goodness and mercy and grace shine brightly in our lives.
We were drawn to the stones for their beauty. It was their reflection in the water that caught our attention. Like the stones bathed in water lively sparkled and beckoned to us, a soul swathed in the Living Water becomes a beacon.
We weren’t made to be a lackluster, dry, stone that is cast aside or overlooked. We shouldn’t want to be a treasure missed. We need to be saturated with His presence. We want to be a brilliant find, one that can point the seeker to the source of water that will never run dry.
POINT TO PONDER: What does your life currently reflect? Are there places in your life that could benefit from a good dousing of Living Water? Some creative ways to connect with your Creator were listed on the blog here: Feel free to connect with me, I would love to share some ideas and encourage you.
Check out #HOPEscope the Weekday Show on www.periscope.tv at 7:15 am featuring quick devotion and prayer to start your day HIS Way!
“Our Father who art in Heaven….” I remember our nightly ritual, brushing teeth and bed time prayers with folded hands. I knew the prayer by heart. I could offer it up in my sleep, and often said it as my Father carried me to bed. As I got older, those words became more powerful and the practice of prayer more personal. I began to learn about the value of personal prayer. Coming from a charismatic background I’d seen prayers for healings yield lengthened limbs, and bid diseases away. I saw doors of opportunity open and relationships restored as a result of prayer.
“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces
wonderful results.” (James 5:16b NLT)
Sometimes our prayer life can become routine or stale. I felt like my prayers were becoming laundry lists of petitions lacking sincerity. I decided to shake up my prayer life a little by reading some devotionals and old school prayer books and was blessed by how new the practice of prayer became.
Last Blog we discussed visual reminders to keep a focus on God’s presence, this blog I am going to share with you some things I’ve incorporated that keep me focused on prayer time and block out distractions
1 My prayer beads were a gift from my ministry partner. They are smooth and purple.
Sometimes I will just hold them as I pray each stone representing a different prayer of thanksgiving and I’ll go through them again with petitions…helps me balance my conversation with God. Sometimes I will just sit quietly and thumb through them allowing for silence for God to speak.
“The LORD is near to all them that call on him, to all that call on him in truth.”
2 I am known for writing the name on my hand of someone to pray for throughout the day. (YAY for Sharpies) I also keep a dry erase pen in my bathroom to write on my mirror and shower door so that I can be prayerful while I am getting ready for work. “A day hemmed in prayer is not likely to unravel” (Note: Do not confuse Sharpie w/dry erase. Much harder to get off mirror; lesson learned the hard way.)
“Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
3 This past year, I have been making coloring part of my Sabbath. I will sit on my
back porch with soft music playing and chose a picture, while I color it, I lift my prayers to God. It makes prayers less rushed and more heartfelt. I find the contemplative quiet in between is so beneficial to the “Listening” part of prayer. It really is a two way conversation.
“Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue. Gods voice in response to mine is its most essential part.”~ Andrew Murray
4 Journaling prayers has always been a part of my life, but I had gotten away from keeping record of answered prayer. Answers are such an incentive and encouragement to our prayer lives. The bible is full of answered prayers which show the Power of Prayer. Journaling our prayers gives us a gentle reminder that the God who answered us back then….is the same God we are seeking today.
5 These prayer stones were stones I intentionally
picked up on Lake Erie several years ago. I wrote topics on them in sharpie and set them in a basket. Throughout the day I would take one out and pray about that specific need and lay it on the table. At the end of the day the basket was empty and I had some great unstructured conversations with God. Often I will leave a particular stone out to remind me to pray about an issue that burdens me. It prompts me to be a “Prayer WARRIOR and not a prayer WORRIER”
I am super excited about the movie coming out called WAR ROOM – it looks fabulous and is centered on prayer. Check out the trailer here : http://warroomthemovie.com/
Prayer is part of a Christian’s daily walk. Prayer is connecting to the Creator. You don’t get to know someone by only spending one hour a week with them. Talking with God daily will increase your faith and your connection to him. We are called to pray without ceasing in Thessalonians 5:17.
My prayer is that you will find a method that works for you and that as you grow deeper in your relationship with the Savior; Prayer will become something you crave.
POINT TO PONDER: What can you incorporate into your prayer life to make it more meaningful to you and to the Lord?
I watched her collecting twigs. She gathered them diligently and then sat down at the fire ring carefully building a pyramid of sticks. It was the beginning of a nice fire and I told her so. But she replied, “I don’t have time to build a big fire, I just want to feel the heat now.” It was 37 degrees and the sun had just set so warmth was a definite need.
She grabbed some dryer lint from our fire supplies and torched the twigs. They burned big and bright and put off some great flames and heat…for a about a minute. Her disappointment grew before the last ember faded. A cool breeze tossed the papery white ashes across the campsite leaving no evidence a fire ever existed, just moments before.
We talked about fires and to really feed a fire it needs to be built in stages until the base is hot enough to catch the harder, bigger, solid wood. Then not only does the flame last but the heat that it gives off will continue to give off warmth long after the flames die because the embers of a hardwood continue to give off heat for hours.
As we talked we rebuilt the fire and eventually with time and patience and the proper fuel had a fire for smores, supper and snuggling long into the night. The next morning she was able to add some bark and pine needles with a few small sticks to the still warm embers from the night before. In no time she had created a lovely morning fire.
It made me think about our faith journeys and what it takes to ignite our passion and walk with the Lord. We need fuel. If we slack off and cool down the embers of our faith, they are much harder to rekindle. The fuel we use to build and grow our knowledge and faith in Christ needs to be constant. A diet of light twigs such as feel good teachings with a big flourish but little substance will not keep us stoked and on fire for the Lord.
The fire that fuels our souls has to be more than just kindling. To be strong in our faith we need to look to the Pillars of Faith. Those teachers that stood the test of time who lived and died sold out to God. We need to dig deeply into the word of God and feed on its truth’s. We need to go regularly to the foot of the cross.
Tossing in some spiritual feel good fluff now and then to fan the flames isn’t a problem as long as the balance of our diet is the solid teaching and truths that will sustain us long after the kindling turns to ash.
Soul Fire Starter Recipe:
15 Minute Tune Up
Be still for 2 Minutes
Be Thankful for 2 minutes
Be Quiet for 2 minutes
Be in the word for 5 minutes
Be prayerful 4 minutes
Camp Fire starter Recipe:
Cardboard Egg Carton or paper Dixie cups
Wax (old candles)
Fill the the containers with dryer lint then pour melted wax over top of the dryer lint. Sprinkle a little more lint on top to float on the surface. Cool. Place in fire build over top and light the fire starter. It will burn for approximately 15 minutes.
Point to Ponder: What have been good fire starters for you when you’ve hit a cool spot in your faith? How have you gotten your faith journey back on track? Share it with us
ACTION! Congratulations Lisa from Grove City on winning our April contest. Our May contest will feature some campfire fun for the family. Winner will be drawn June 1st. So leave a comment and sign up to enter!
It was Palm Sunday when the photo of my soon to be 21 son came onto my phone. My eyes were drawn to Jacob’s hand. The one that was boasting a thumbs up on a 12,000 foot peak. In China. China? How did my little boy go from lying on the floor and playing with Matchbox cars to a Man on top of a mountain half a world away. How did his chubby little fingers turn into the strong man hand that found its way to China?~Time.
Earlier that day, because it was Palm Sunday, I was contemplating the hands of Christ. Now I know that Palm Sunday is really about the branches…from a palm tree. But my wordsmith mind was busy juxtaposing the whole vine and branches and nails in the palm and what must it have been like for Mary.
Mary, the mother of Jesus and the first holder of Jesus’ hand. Her son too found himself on top of a mountain. I wonder what she thought. When she received Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh as baby gifts did it plant a seed of knowing or did the whole trajectory of Holy Week take her by surprise? Culminating by weeks end with the raw groaning pangs of seeing her little boy’s palms brutally pierced and bleeding.
Her boy was innocent. He was falsely accused. Her hands were tied, his fate was in the hands of his Father. I can remember going to bat for my son when he was falsely accused and standing up for him in his defense. Mary didn’t have that chance.
Pontius Pilate washed his hands of Jesus which sent him to the cross.Palm Sunday forced my thoughts back to the hands.
God’s hand shaped and formed universe and he breathed life into all of humanity.
“For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.” ~ Isaiah 66:2
The hand of God punished.
“You who have forsaken Me,” declares the LORD, “You keep going backward So I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you; I am tired of relenting!”~ Jeremiah 15:6
The hand of God saved and protected.
“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”~ Isaiah 41:10
His hands Healed.
“Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” ~ Matthew 8:3
His hands offered proof.
“And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” ~ John 20:20
From His beginning and from ours we have been in the palm of His Hand. He goes with us, he will never leave us. He never lets go of us. He was pierced for our transgressions. He was falsely accused and willingly executed on our behalf. When life becomes a handful, remember who is really holding it all together.
Point to Ponder: Has there been a time when you truly felt the hand of God in your life? How did you know it? What did it feel like?
Leave a comment about how you knew and felt the hand of God guiding you.
Those who comment ANDsign up on the email list (top right) will be considered for a drawing of a special Kissed by the Creator token crafted by the hand of God. Totally Genuine and Nothing Artificially Added. Prizes will be awarded on April 15th!
The other day I was about 5 miles from home on a mission of a day full of errands. I was at a stop light and I thought, “I should call my mom”. I reached into my pocket for my cell phone. I gasped, it was not there. After frantically patting all of my pockets and a quick look into my purse, I realized my phone was at home. I thought of going back, but the light turned green and I pressed on!
I was mad at myself as there were calls to make, people to connect with. But then I decided to make the best of it and realized, I couldn’t be interrupted, asked for anything, or otherwise bugged. So it freed me up to connect with my Creator all day without interruption.
It turned out to be the best day of errands in years. Totally stress free and wonderful. I didn’t forget one item on my list because of talking on the phone. I didn’t have to hurry to get home to deal with something instead of completing all my errands. I was at peace all day long. I let people in front of me in line because by not being on the phone I was AWARE they had fewer items that I. I struck up conversations with those around me because I was not distracted with a call or text while waiting in line.
When I thought of calling someone I prayed for them instead. I prayed for many people that day. It was freeing physically and spiritually to leave the phone behind. (Ironically the model name for my phone is EXULT) I truly felt “missed by the creator” and he blessed me all day long.
Connecting with our creator is so crucial to our well being. Our prayer life depends on the connection. So much in our daily life interrupts that connection including our communication devices. The techno-distractions of today rob us of time around the altar with God that Abraham, David, and Moses enjoyed. I wonder how much God misses those intimate connections?
It is easy to hit LIKE or type the word “Praying” under a Facebook status that is requesting prayer…but do we REALLY pray? We tweet prayer requests but do we tweet answered prayer?
I am not knocking technology because I have seen it initiate prayer, donations, help and support…but we need to be mindful NOT to let it become a distraction for true communication with our CREATOR.
OH and by the way…. I plan to leave my phone behind a lot more. So if you are trying to reach me, leave a message because I might just be busy talking to the Lord…perhaps it’s about you!
POINT TO PONDER:
Do you find yourself distracted by the contraptions that were supposed to make our lives easier or better? If you lost electricity and internet do you think the quality time you spend with God would be different? Would you consider a cyber Sabbath of sorts where you’d refrain from social media to reconnect with your Creator? If so, why or why not?