When my roses begin to blossom, I take an early morning walk stopping at each bush to capture their fragrance. And, yes, I do think to “stop and smell the roses.”
Now you may not have roses or flowers to stop and smell, and you may not even be a morning person, but let this not deter you from stopping and smelling the moment. In the midst of all that we have been through these past few weeks, it is all the more imperative to do this.
Step out of the slipstream of panic and hysteria and worry and ultra-concern and take time to rest in the presence of Jesus. Let the Prince of Peace be your Peace:
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For He is our peace … . [Ephesians 2:13-14a]
Will you join me, then, in stopping to smell the Flower, the Rose of Sharon?
Spring cleaning is a challenge, especially when we do not take the time, right? Too often we are too busy and spring cleaning becomes summer catch up or worse, nothing is done at all….
Perhaps this is indicative of our spiritual lives, too. We do not slow down—even a little— to enter into a spiritual renewal. The rush of the holiday season seems to ripple well passed January into February. And as we get to March, stopping to take a deep breath is near impossible when we can’t even catch our breath.
The solution? I’m trying to deliberately take time to pause, grab a text from the Word, and simple ruminate over it. Then let the text grab me. Maybe even seeing Psalm 49:3 come to fruition in my life:
My mouth will speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart will be understanding.
[Psalm 49:3 NASB95]
Will you join me, then, in pausing for a spiritual spring renewal?
I have often wondered how “love” would be if we were like more like Thumper (from Bambi) and merely “twitterpated”. Is this the love that will stick with me in the hard times? Is this the love that will go out of my way to be inconvenienced? Is our zeitgeist so shallow or is there a more profound love out there?
Now I know the Lord Jesus not only gave us Love but demonstrated Love. I know that He encouraged His disciples to Love one another as He had loved them. I know that we struggle with this because of big and small issues, but what shouts louder than any shouting match or warms a cold shoulder is His Love. His Love Sacrifices but doesn’t complain; His Love Initiates but doesn’t impose; His Love Listens and doesn’t assume; His Love Cares but doesn’t possess. …
And I know that His “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Co 13:4–7 New Living Translation). Why? Because He is Love!
Will you join me, then, sharing this Love with each other and others?
If you’re like me, you like new things. In fact, we may go out and “comfort buy” to get something new in our lives to feel “good.” But of late I’ve been noticing that I seem to only like “new” when it is on my terms; when I can control the purchase, situation or event. When “the new” shows up unannounced or spontaneous, well, I appear to be less receptive, and sadly, sometimes even critical. …
As the Lord is transforming me to understand that He works all for the Good—even the unplanned, unannounced “new”—I need to receive these “new” as well. I do not need to feel out of control because He is in control, nor do I need to feel put out, left out or taken advantage of because He is allowing this new into my life for “the Good” which He may not have revealed to me yet.
How about you? Are you more comfortable with “the new”—even from the Lord—it is only on your terms?
“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? — (Isaiah 43:19a NASB95)
9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people—(Luke 2:9-10 NASB95, emphasis added)
The angels implored the shepherds to “Behold” the Good News they were announcing. To “behold” something is to “look, pay attention, and listen.” The shepherds stopped what they were doing, even though it was very important, and gave the angels their full attention—and listened.
During this sometimes-self-imposed busy season, Perhaps you can join me in three simple actives: (1) pausing or maybe even stopping what we are doing; (2) pay attention to the Lord’s whispering to us; and (3) listen to the Good News He has promised. During a time when good news seems so rare, let us remember that Jesus is the Good News that brings great joy to all, especially those who Love Him.
Coach for Life Mike
An episode in our Lord’s life:
11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11–19 ESV)
I’m not sure if they were too busy, per se, but they were clearly too something to not return and thank the Lord. I don’t mind being a foreigner, especially to this planet, if I were one of those who “returned and give praise to God!” How about you?
Join me in pausing and thanking our Heavenly Father for all the wonderful healings/gifts/blessings He has so graciously showered on us.
Another lesson that the Lord exposed to me on my sabbatical was: “Do not be distracted”. It was consolidated at a friend’s church as he was speaking from Nehemiah.
Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.” But they were scheming to harm me; so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer. (Nehemiah 6:2–4 NIV84)
Many people will distract us. Some will do this intentionally, but the majority will innocently “interrupt” us. But I have found the greater battle is internal. I get so distracted between a good “task,” “project, or “activity” and the best. I must pause and seek the Lord’s face prior to engaging in any activity. A simple, “Lord, what do You want me to do now?” prayer should be sufficient for most times, but the larger projects, do you think these would require a more deliberate special seeking of the Lord’s face? Join me on this journey to stay focused and “not be distracted”.