Enjoy

Photo by Isaac Del Toro on Unsplash

This post is part of a writing challenge I took part in to stretch my writing. Five Minute Friday’s word for the day was “Enjoy.” This is spontaneous writing in only 5 minutes.

Children are indeed a heritage from the LORD, and the fruit of the womb is His reward. Psalm 127:3

Beeping. A muffled sound of beeping filled the room, growing in volume. What on earth? My eyes swept the room to determine the source of this intrusion that disturbed the quietness. Narrowing it down to a specific area, I ventured toward the sound.

The offender? An old MP3 charging base, forgotten about and never unpacked during a move several months before. It had sat, neglected, waiting to be of use again when just the right location presented itself. Only it hadn’t, and so it sat, until in desperation, the low battery signal voiced its complaint.

“Remember,” it seemed to say. “Remember.”

I didn’t want to take the time to attend to it now, but that incessant beeping continued. Sighing, I removed the charging base from its protective case and sat down. I tried to pry the back open with my fingers, but the plastic battery compartment lid was brittle, and a piece of it broke off.

I sighed again. “Fine,” I stated impatiently, as I went off in search of a screwdriver. Quickly finding one, I sat again and picked up the base. The screwdriver accomplished the task easily, and I removed the batteries, glad that it had been relatively simple.

But still the beeping continued.

“Remember.”

Examining the base again, I found a smaller compartment that looked as if it might hold another battery. This one opened easily, and I removed the small, round battery without difficulty. 

The noise immediately stopped.

Picking up the case, I removed the MP3 player that I had safely tucked into an interior pocket. 

“Hello, old friend,” I whispered.

Glancing around the room again, I was determined to find a place for them once and for all. Rearranging books, a lamp, and a plant on a nearby table, I sat the base in the space I had made. Finding a nearby outlet, I plugged it in. I set the MP3 player on the base and struggled to remember how it even worked. I must have hit the right combination of buttons because suddenly music filled the air and it immediately transported me back in time. 

Yes, I remember.

My children were very young then. Almost every night, we had snuggled and said our bedtime prayers together, and we would finish by singing the chorus to the song that was now playing: 

Jesus, Keeper of this life

You are my Refuge, my Savior, my Guide

Watch over this little one tonight

Guard his every footstep as he travels this life

And in some quiet moment draw him to Your side

That he may come to know You, Jesus

As the Keeper of this life.

We adapted the lyrics slightly to cover all of my children. We would end with hugs and kisses, and I would sleep well, knowing that the Lord had heard.

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

The children grew older, we would have another child, and would move and have other disruptions to our nightly ritual, and eventually we stopped singing the song.

My eyes filled with tears as I relived the memory of those precious times with my little ones. They are grown now, but they remember. In a nostalgic moment, my daughter recently confided that she will do the same with the children she will have some day.

Enjoy your little ones. Treasure all the moments you can, because they will pass quickly. Enjoy every moment.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

The Keeper, Geoff Moore & The Distance

A Lesson in Sudoku

Photo by John Morgan on Unsplash (cropped)

“You have taken account of my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” Psalm 56:8

Lately I have been going through a tough time, and have repeatedly cried out to the Lord to have it end. Enough already! Uncle!! This is me, waving my white flag!

The Lord always gets His points across in unusual ways, doesn’t He?

This morning I was playing a game of sudoku on my phone. You know, they say that brain games keep our minds sharp (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

I set the game on the medium setting. Not too easy, but not so challenging that it is discouraging.

I’m not sure how others play, but I have a system. I begin with the number 1, and go in order through the numbers, repeating until I have completed the game – unless an obvious move jumps out at me. I played the number 1, and placed all 9 of them on the board in one round. I then played the number 2, and placed all of them in one round. “Wow, that’s surprising,” I thought.

Number 3 was the same, followed by 4, and then 5. When I got to number 6, I couldn’t place them all, but I placed all the 7s and 9s. I only had to repeat numbers 6 and 8 one time each, and then the game was over.

There was no challenge at all. It was so easy. It was actually pretty… dull.

I quickly understood the object of the lesson the Lord was teaching me. If things were as easy as I would like them to be, my life, too, would be dull. It is anything but that!

Imagine planning a trip to your favorite amusement or theme park. You’ve rented the car, booked the hotel, and purchased the tickets online at a discount. You have a cooler full of snacks and drinks to help ease the long drive, and you set off, eagerly anticipating your arrival.

You step foot inside the park and see toddler rides. A carousel here, a giant swing over there. You keep walking and find more of the same. You eventually cover the entire park, completely baffled. Where are the water rides? Where are the adventure rides? Where are the rollercoasters?

You inquire of a worker and discover that the park owners had played it safe and stuck to the gentler, smoother rides. You feel kind of cheated. You came all this way for… dull?

“Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual, but as worldly – as infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for solid food. In fact, you are still not ready, for you are still worldly.” 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

“When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child. When I became a man, I did away with childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11

King David didn’t play it safe. Neither did Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Noah, Joseph, Samson, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul or Jesus, Yeshua. They lived, they conquered, and their lives inspire us to do the same.

As always, You’re right, Lord. The easiest path is not the most rewarding. Help us to remember that Your plans are good, and that You are growing us up into the mature believers that You created us to be.

“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the bones are formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” Ecclesiastes 11:5

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Quiet

Photo by Daniel o’dowd on Unsplash

This post is part of a writing challenge I took part in to stretch my writing. Five Minute Friday’s word for the day was “Quiet.” This is spontaneous writing in only 5 minutes.  

“Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me.” Psalm 131:2

It’s a funny thing about writing prompts. I saw the word for the day, quiet, and immediately several Bible verses came to mind. I had no clue about what to write, mind you, but I had the verses. The first one that came to mind is the one above. What a word picture. These soon followed:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.” Psalm 46:1-3

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3

I couldn’t leave out these two verses, because they have been everywhere I’ve turned lately:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

These verses prompted me to wonder two things:

  1. Does my life look anything like what is portrayed in these verses right now?
  2. Why is the Lord repeating those two verses over and over again?

Well, a bit of introspection has shed light on both.

First, the Lord loves me, and knows exactly what I need, and when I need it. He knows when I’m discouraged and need a prod to get me back on track. I know that He’s good, He’s in charge, His plans for me are good, and that all things will work together for good because I love Him, but sometimes… sometimes I need to be reminded to live what I believe and trust, even when it is hard.

Second, no, right now my life looks nothing like what I read in those verses. That’s where I want to be, though. I want to be so close to the Lord, wrapped in His enveloping presence, that the storms can’t even touch me.

Wouldn’t that be nice? You probably feel the same. You may have already accomplished it. You might be thinking that you learned those lessons long ago in Christian Living 101.

I did, too. I’ve been up on the mountain top, but I’ve spent a lot more time in the valley. It seems to me that the valley is where we grow the most. That’s where the fruit grows best, after all. If you’re in the valley, too, be encouraged. You’re not there alone, and because the Lord is good, and in charge, has good plans for you, and works all things together for your good, He will see to it that you bear good fruit while you’re there.

I’m reminded of an old song that I haven’t heard in years by 4Him, Where There is Faith. This is part of the chorus:

Where there is faith
There is a voice calling,
keep walking
You’re not alone in this world
Where there is faith
There is a peace like a child sleeping
Hope everlasting in He who is able to
Bear every burden, to heal every hurt in my heart
It is a wonderful, powerful place
Where there is faith

Here is a link for your listening pleasure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sm6MG4HTKSU

Quiet. In the middle of chaos, quiet. Like Peter walking on the water in the middle of a storm and being rescued by Jesus, Yeshua. Let’s keep our eyes on Him and not the storms that surround us. Quiet.

A side note on Jeremiah 29:11:

The word translated here as prosper is also translated as welfare in some translations. The original word in Hebrew is shalam, meaning to be complete or sound. A word study also linked the word to shalom, defined as completeness, soundness, welfare, peace. I was listening to a teaching recently on prosperity, and the speaker mentioned that our Western mindsets view prosperity as an accumulation of wealth, but that’s not what they understood when the Lord spoke that to Jeremiah. They understood it to mean complete, lacking nothing. As in Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” Or in other words, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.”