Have You Ever Picked Up a Hitchhiker?

A few hitchhikers have managed to piggyback their way into our home. Not the human kind. But the kind that are unseen: bitterness, un-forgiveness, hatred, envy, perversion, anger, depression. They latch on when we’re not looking. Landing so lightly on us, we don’t even feel the subtle change until the mood switches in our home. These ugly enemies cause discord and friction among family and friends.

Harboring these soul destroyers brings daily strife and struggle. We must guard against the free-loaders who seek to destroy our unity, love, and joy. Jesus told us we will have trials in this fallen world. But He conquers over our troubles to bring unspeakable joy that never ends.

John 16:33 (NASB) “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Paul tells us to put on the full armor of God because our fight is not against flesh and blood. By donning God’s armor, we place protection around us and our homes. He cocoons us in His armor so we can have full shielding from hitchhikers. We can do this intentionally, every day. 

Ephesians 6: 11-18 (NASB) Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against [e]flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints…

Are you prepared with God’s armor to repel the hitchhikers? 

lg

Are My Ugly Roots Showing?

Gnarly Roots, Beautiful Blooms

But now, Lord, You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter,
And all of us are the work of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8 (NASB)

Most people think orchids are beautiful flowers. The stunning blooms are high atop a stem of 12 inches or more. A close look at the dark green leaves at the base of an orchid plant reveals the gnarly-looking roots that grow over the sides of the pot. These roots are the aerial roots growing to find a tree branch for security. These roots also absorb water and help with photosynthesis both essential to the growth of the orchid bloom. These roots are green when healthy. Unhealthy roots, usually from over-watering, wither and eventually turn brown, quite unattractive. If the roots are removed, the plant may die.

Life has unsightly roots like an orchid. Withered mistakes and dried up misdirections resulted when we didn’t seek The Tree of Life (God) for security and stability. Our roots reflect times when we have tried to satisfy our souls by over-watering with worldly things. When our healthy roots are attached to The Tree of Life, our souls are fertilized with godly wisdom from reading the Bible. Prayer and fellowship with other believers in Jesus provide the right amount of watering. 

Even though watering and fertilizing throughout life may have been inconsistent, when we have commune with God, we are nourished and the budding blooms burst forth!

lg

Tomorrow’s Joy

How many times have we been told to let go of the past disappointments, trauma, hurts, and the like? What if the past seems like the best life will ever be?

Isaiah 43:18-19 (TPT) “Stop dwelling on the past. Don’t even remember these former things. I am doing something brand new, something unheard of. Even now it sprouts and grows and matures. Don’t you perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and open up flowing streams in the desert.”

Being retired and empty nesters has me pondering the joys of the past. Laughter of children in the house. Family vacations of camping, boating, and amusement parks. Galas and sporting events for work. Some of it seems so long ago. A sense of an orderly life.

Today we struggle with the new normal. 

We look for ways to add value to life.

We are painfully aware of what the stock market is doing to our funds. 

We visit our children infrequently due to the pandemic and high fuel costs. 

We are in a season of neighbors and friends dying.

Reality smacking us in the face.

What if the changes God brings are like traveling from place to place? We go out from our comfy home into the weather to get there. Some days it is blustery and cold. Other days are warm and sunny. The destination may be sitting on a porch at the lake house (or insert your favorite place here). God only reveals what we need for this day.

Even when the road is full of potholes, the struggles of this world, He steers us to overflowing joy.

We still traverse roads and detours along the journey.  Some roads are super highways with maximum speed limits. Others are two-laned winding roads which slow us down. This is how life is with God. He knows the destination is grand and glorious. He knows we may drive through pouring rain to get to the mountaintop and the amazing view below. He knows the landing place exceeds human expectations.

How many times have we heard “are we there yet” from the kids as we drive? 

When I find myself asking God, “am I there yet?”, it’s time for me to step back and take in the sights. It’s like stopping at a vista point along the route.  Get out of the car and stretch my legs. Breathe fresh air and see the beauty of God’s handiwork. Then back into the car to continue the journey.

Psalms 38:15 (TPT) “Lord, the only thing I can do is wait and put my hope in you. I wait for your help, my God.”

It may seem like the best life has is over and done, but God’s isn’t finished.

What if God is using today’s struggles for tomorrow’s joy?  lg

Philippians 3:13-14 (TPT) “I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus.”

Psalms 27:14 (TPT) “Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!”