A place to come, sit, pull up a chair, and talk awhile
Psalm 23 is a well loved, classic scripture that we all seen to be familiar with, regardless of our spiritual walk. It seems that ithas become embedded into our hearts, and our society. What a beautiful scripture to find such widespread acceptance in the world. This is the scripture that I am referring to:
1The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
----when the Lord is our Shepherd - we can have faith, trust and hope in our tomorrow. Hope is the expectation of good. Through Jesus- we get HOPE for tomorrow
2He makes me lie down in green pastures, ----We are called to seasons of rest- in His will, He provides green, fertile places to rest our head
he leads me beside quiet waters, - --bubbling brooks scare sheep, He leads us to quiet waters. He knows our fears and our anxieties - when we follow Him, He leads us away from these things.
3he refreshes my soul. ----There is peace in having a good shepherd
He guides me along the right paths ----He guides us in truth and love and out of the situations and circumstances we get ourselves into.
for his name’s sake. ----To always be more like Him, to glorify His name
4Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death -----A shadow is cast,only when there is light. He is with us through the valleys that we walk through - the valleys that want to kill us, destroy us, hold us hostage...His light is with us, when we ask Him to be the lord of our lives, giving our will and our hearts over to Him. In this place,w ith Him as our Shepherd, the darkness is merely a shadow. A shadow can not hurt us or harm us. His light negates the powers of darkness.
I will fear no evil, -----Every knee will bow to Jesus Christ - with Him leading- there is nothing to fear. Your greatest fears,addictions, bondages -are negated to mere shadows in His presence.
for you are with me; -----He is always with us - before we even know His name He pursues us. HE dies for us before we took our first breath. He loved us while we were sinning. He loves you now - and wants to be your good Shepherd
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. -----The rod is meant to protect you from the predators that circle you, taunt you and mock you and the staff is meant to redirect you and guide you - what a comfort these re - that we dont have to defend ourselves anymore - He will do that - and He will always be with us, through the Holy Spirit, guiding us and gently correcting us.
5You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies. ------In the presence of your enemies- He sets a table for you. the enemy has kept you on your knees, begging for scraps. That is no position for a child of God---He sets a table for you - a banquet - and sits you down in the presence of your enemies to eat with Him. The shadows cant hurt you anymore. You can dine, at peace, with predators all around.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows. ------Annointing oil was saved to designate kings- to designate God's chosen one. Before there was time - you were chosen by God as His child. There is no need to beg for scraps anymore - you are a child of the King - declare your inheritance and your birth right!!
6Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life, ------Yes, through the Good Shepherd there is goodness and love. You are never too bad, too far gone, too much of a sinenr - goodness and love are your birthright
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever. ------We will all spend eternity somewhere. Jesus brings us heavenly access - to dwell with Him forever.
Want to know more about becoming a Christian and declaring your birthright? Check out more info under the "contact us" tag - we would love to hear from you!!!!
Last night, in our Bible Study, we were looking at Abram. Let me get you to the spot - we were in Genesis 12. Let me get you up to speed, Abram and his family have left Haran and are walking to a land that the Lord will show them. In verse 7, they arrive at Schechem, and come to the Oak of Moreh. This beautiful tree, a landmark, is mentioned throughout scripture. In verse 7 the Lord says to Abraham, "To your offspring I will give this land." We find a two fold promise here - offspring - for the 75 year old man, that has no offspring yet ...AND...that they will be given this land. The land of Canaan. I would call this a "Not Yet" Promise- a promise for the future, a promise that you can rest in and find peace in---but a promise for tomorrow.
I think sometimes, we want all of our promises right away. We hear from God, "I will..." and we assume it is NOW. We sit up and we wait and we watch, and we wait and we watch.....and we wait ....and we watch...... and we start doubting the faithfulness of our God- or we start doubting that we actually HEARD God- and we find ourselves in the fix it room, trying to make things happen on our own. Suddenly, we are out of the will and timing of God- and we are in our own flesh trying to make His promises come true
Abram will do this very thing - He hears of this promise at the beginning of his journey - but as time goes on and the promises arent coming true- his wife starts to hatch a plan - Abram will impregnate her servant - and they will call this child, IShmael. OUTSIDE OF GOD'S WILL, things get complicated!
God's timing is always perfect, sometimes it is hard to wait on the NOT YET promises of God, to sit and be still and trust that His ways are not our ways and His timing is always perfect - never late or early.
There is 400 years of silence between the Old Testament and the New testament- 400 years of NOT YET, as the world watched and waited for the Savior that was promised. We can also get tired as we wait, and we can miss the signs of God...the world missed Jesus being born in a stable. In the book of John, first chapter, verse 10- it says that the world did not know Jesus when He came. There is a story of ten virgins waiting for their bridegroom to come (likened to us waiting for Jesus) and some of them fell asleep and ran out of oil. We can get tired waiting on His promises, we can loose focus, we can loose gas in our faith walk.
Do you have a NOT YET promise that you are waiting on? Do you have hopes and dreams that you have lost focus on - the waiting has gotten bigger than the dream? Have you given up on God because it has taken too long? I want to encourage you today to pick up HOPE again- Hope in he Lord, Hope in the promises that have been issued. I want to encourage you to write down those promises and start praying into them again. Start reading scripture about the faithfulness of God - a mighty oak is born of a seed. There is unlimited potential trapped inside of you - waiting to sprout through the vessel of HOPE.
God does not forget His promises. God has not forgotten you and the song He sings over you. He sees, He hears, he knows, He is faithful.
Perhaps you have found your way here form a salt leak that you picked up and you are not sure about any of this, but you feel a burning curiosity- I would encourage you to head over to the "Contact Us" tab - and reach out to us - we will be happy to pray with you and hear your story - remember, He hears, He knows, He remembers His promises. May you find peace in that today!!
I would like to tell you about Beverly. She is a 92 year, young woman I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the past few days. Beverly needed to have two teeth extracted. The oral surgeon was over an hour away, with all highway driving. My mom and I said we would take her over to the surgeon and take the pressure of her driving -alone, at 92- off of her.
I met her, and my mom, early Monday morning and we set out on our excursion to the dentist. We came to find out that this was only a consult and we would have to return again. In addition:
*She would be going under general anesthesia and would need to be cared for after her procedure, for 4-6 hours.
*She would need prescriptions filled.
*She wouldnt be able to walk and would need a wheelchair and assistance once we got her home.
We signed on the dotted line and promised to be back the next day for the procedure. On my way to a PRAYER MEETING that night - I was lamenting , in my mind, about how BIG this errand had turned out to be and how much of my time it would take. Yes, on my way to a prayer meeting - that I was asking the Holy Spirit to join us in, to already be there, to bless us with His presence....as I lamented over loving one of His widows.
Have you ever had one of those "Wake up" moments where you come up short on the mercy and grace scale? Yeah, me too. As I was busy asking for the Holy Spirit to bless us - He interrupted my thoughts-----He interrupted my patterns - He interrupted my plans, with one question: "Will you be inconvenienced for me?"
My breath caught and I felt so little and selfish. "Oh, YES, Lord. I am sorry. I will do whatever you call me to do with a smile, with love and with mercy and grace." The Holy Spirit blessed our socks off that night in that prayer meeting. I think I had to make more room for Him, by dying to my schedule and my calendar, and to what I thought was important.
So, that got me thinking - when was the last time you were inconvenienced by your faith? Have you been called into unstable waters? Has He called you into uncomfortable places? Has He set a heart of mercy on you over His homeless orphans, and widows? I hope so. I hope that the next time He calls me to be inconvenienced I spring into love and to love well.
As an epilogue to Beverly's story -we did get those teeth out yesterday, and it took longer than we expected.
And I smiled.
She wanted an Orange Julius on the way home.
I got her a medium, with extra ice so she could eat it with a spoon.
She needed her prescriptions filled.
We waited the half and hour until we got her - just what she needed- to walk in health.
She asked for a dozen eggs.
............................................And a dozen Kripsy Kreme donuts.
I got her both, with a smile and a hug.
We got her into her apartment.
She needed to take her antibiotic.
She had to use the bathroom.
I got to listen to the stories of her boys and see the pictures of her life.
I got to hug Beverly.
In all honesty - the Holy Spirit had to keep reminding me that I promised to be inconvenienced by Him. The eggs? The donuts? I think a gentle reminder that our God loves extravagantly and if we are going to be His hands and feet- we need to make time for Him to work through us. The past few days have been a valuable lesson for me - that, in order to be inconvenienced for Him, we have to lay aside every plan we had- and release into His plan. I pray Beverly felt the love of the Father yesterday as He showered her with His attention.
So - Will you be inconvenienced for Him? I hope so.
My heart is heavy this morning, there are many flags that pepper our skyline, as of late- with the American Flag taking second stage. I am called to remember the words of our forefathers, "In God we trust". I know that as a Christian I am called to LOVE with abandon. I am not called to judgement, I never want to cast the first stone.
Remember when the elders brought the woman to Jesus and threw her at His feet? Remember that they wanted to stone her for her sexual sin? Remember that Jesus asked that "He who has no sin cast the first stone." They all were able to see that they were not perfect---lets face it we all have sin. I would even dare to say that most of us have some sort of sexual sin - repented and redeemed, or not. So - mine is not to cast the first stone. Mine is not to judge. Mine is to love in truth. Yet, I can only love in the paradigm of truth that I understand and live by.
I am called to love all people. Every race, color, creed, trans everything - I am called to LOVE. It is easy, really - just love everyone where they are and asked that I am loved where I am. Can we all put down our fists and offer grace and mercy, love and life? - that is the message of Jesus - Love your God and love your neighbor as yourself (Mthw 22:36-40) I am going to be honest, there are some things that are happening in society today that I dont understand. My kids try to get me up to speed- but, I struggle with some of the new things that are happening. Please dont hate me for that - I am trying to understand, trying to walk out this "living loved" with relentless and reckless abandon. I am sure there are things about my faith that others may not understand. In this place of love - we can set down the argument and the accusations, the judgement and the offesne - and we can be two people coming together to share our experiences, to laugh and to love each other - despite our differences. We are all called to love- its what Jesus came to teach us- Love God, Love each other - thats easy isnt it? If we start slowly - with just two people- coming across the battlefronts- just two people meeting in the place of love - it could work, couldnt it? Dont hate me for being a Christian and I wont hate you for not being a Christian. I will love you, and laugh with you and walk beside you and encourage you and hold your hand during hard times. I will be a friend and a comrade - if you would allow it.
So, how does all of this tie into Salty Sidewalks? I believe in the transformative power of the Living Word of God - aka the Bible. I believe that it does not come back void. I believe it sets us free and releases us from bondage. Lets face it - I believe in Jesus Christ and sing His praises for the transformation within my own heart and life.
We have such an amazing opportunity within this community to LOVE His world-----to reach out and let the Holy Spirit do His work, as we deposit salt throughout our world. We are called to love others to Christ--we are called to spread the Gospel and speak of what He has done for each one of us. I am encouraged that we have the capabilities to impact our communities, our towns, our states and our world through HIs LIVING word. I am encouraged today that we get to love up on His world, with our arms, our hearts, and His word- one person at a time. Are you ready to answer the call to love? I hope so.
A Gospel spreading, mixed media artist...out to love the world through the salt of creative expression