Cryptic Markings . . .

By Craig Franklin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 au (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/au/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Craig Franklin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 au (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/au/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s a funny thing when you realize a habit you have that you weren’t really aware of. Many of my devotional pages come from seeing things in the world around me, but I never recognized a common thread. Apparently, I look down at the ground a lot!

This page will maintain that theme, though I’m reluctant to even admit that I do what I do all the time! I walk for exercise, but not as consistently as I want to. In the past, these walks often took place early in the morning before the sun came up. Usually, by the end of my walk, the sun would be coming up and I could see the street more clearly.

One morning at the end of my walk, I happened to notice some freshly painted markings on the street beneath me. Bright orange, yellow and red cryptic markings appeared to mark some sort of utility lines or something. I studied them as I passed by and began to see an analogy.

The people who made those marks knew a specific code that no one else would understand except the company who made them. They had lines, numbers and other assorted shapes brilliantly spray painted. Codes have always intrigued me, and this was no exception.

As I continued to walk, I noticed there were many more markings than I had ever noticed before, but these were all faded and barely noticeable in the half light of morning. As usual, my brain started working on these codes. I wasn’t trying to solve the codes, but to understand what the Lord was revealing to me spiritually.

My devotional pages are dedicated to pausing every day to find Jesus on the trail, so I naturally head that direction when something catches my attention like those markings did.

I began to see a deeper meaning as I rounded the corner to my house to get ready for work. I reasoned that those marks made would tell the specific utility company how far in from the edge a cable might run, or at which point a junction had been made. They might reveal in vibrant colors, what work needed to be done or where the technicians needed to dig.

No matter how faded the markings became, at a later point, the utility company could come back out to that same street and find the marks and know exactly what they meant. Anyone else would be clueless. Nor would they care.

What the Holy Spirit revealed to me in those strange marks was how He knows where each person has things in their heart that need tending. He has marked every spot where an old hurt might be and has coded that into us where few would realize or even notice.

His complete revelation knowledge of us is so vast that we could never fathom it no matter how hard we tried. Since I am a volunteer lay counselor, I recognize this trait of the Lord to identify and pinpoint issues that I and the client may never recognize. But, He sees them as clearly as those cryptic markings on the street.

He knows just how far in from the edge a problem is in our hearts or minds. He knows exactly how far down to dig to root out things we have pushed down through years of denial or pain. Better yet, He wants us to see that He knows those things.

I believe He has left a kind of visible mark on the outside of us which can identify those areas that need His healing touch. If I recognize that fact, then I can be looking for the signs and ask Him for wisdom on how to respond so my clients can be healed.

God didn’t place those things on the outside for everyone to understand. He put them there for those who would work for His kingdom “power” company. He allowed those of us who want to see His healing take place in people’s lives, to see the marks and call for the “keys” to unlock the codes.

It seems such a simple thing, those strange markings on the asphalt, but how effective they are to the trained eyes. Such is the way with those God desires to use to help others. He loves to partner with His children when He wants to help someone else. It’s His joy to share everything with us. But we have to know what we are looking at to be able to do what no one else could do.

Many people drive by or walk by the markings on the street every day. They may see them, but don’t care what they mean or why they are there. Too many people walk past someone who is hurting and don’t look for the signs on the outside. I believe God desires for us to be a little like detectives and ask Him, “What do these markings mean, Lord.”

My prayer for you today is that you will open your eyes to the strange, seemingly nonsensical markings on people’s outsides that may lead to something deeper the Lord wants to heal. Ask Him to use you and help you see what they mean so you can touch another life with His loving, caring hand.

If you are the one who needs help, I pray that the Lord will send someone to you who can be used to see deeper than the surface. You may have to become a little vulnerable in the process, but I know you can trust your Heavenly Father to be gentle with you and to bring you just the right person to help when you need it most.

Don’t allow yourself to focus on the outward, but realize that the Lord put those things there to reveal just where you need help. Those whom He has prepared to help you will see beyond the obvious and be given the ability to read all those cryptic markings.

Trailing Ellipsis marks

1 Corinthians 2:7-11a
but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,

“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him…”

Always in Jesus,

Desireé Figg

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I hope you like my blog of Daily Devotions.  I would be honored if you would subscribe to receive the posts as they are created.  Please click the Follow button to sign up, below or on the sidebar.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you on the trail.

Being Neighborly . . .

Our front yard was covered with beautifully manicured grass for many years.  But during the recent draught in California we decided to be smart and install water resistant landscaping.

My husband, Dave, decided to do most of the work including installing small retaining walls using mortarless stacking blocks.  He has to use DG or decomposed granite to backfill the wall to keep it in place.  Since he is only able to do his work on weekends, the yard has been torn up for weeks.  There’s a pile of DG in the driveway he has been steadily depleting.

This Sunday afternoon the doorbell rang and a man introduced himself as a landscape contractor working in a neighbor’s yard.  He said he’d made a mistake with his DG order and was trying to get the job finished before tomorrow when realtors would be coming by.  He was obviously in a pinch.  He said he had seen our DG pile there in the driveway for awhile.  He asked if he could buy some of it from us since all the regular suppliers were closed and his deadline was tomorrow morning.

We didn’t know this person at all but my husband told him to just take what he needed and to bring some back later this week.  The man was so grateful and expressed how we had saved him.

I didn’t think much about it and went to go take a quick Sunday afternoon nap – a rare luxury for me.  When I fell asleep I dreamt that I was doing a favor for a friend who was moving.  I was driving her little daughter home from a neighboring city.  In the dream I realized somehow I had fallen asleep at the wheel (unnerving to say the least).  Still dreaming, I awoke suddenly and tried to steer the car but the wheel wouldn’t move.  I knew the Lord had taken the wheel and we were safe.  I was astonished that we hadn’t crashed.

The dream went on and I won’t bore you with all the rest of the details, but when I woke up from my nap, I realized the Lord was showing me something.

When we offer to give or do something for others that could potentially cause us loss, I believe Jesus receives that offering and with it provides supernatural provision and protection.

The landscaper may rip us off, but I doubt it.  His gratitude seemed very genuine.  My friend’s daughter was in my care and I was doing a great favor for her.  Despite my carelessness we were covered by the Divine Hand protecting us.  I think we can take this principle to heart and apply it to our lives every day.

As the end times events begin to get harder and harder to face, we will have to depend on being neighborly to survive.  Our trust will have to be firmly planted in God’s capable hands.  Our faith in the Lord to provide and protect will have to be strong.  Our lives and the lives of those around us may depend on it.

My prayer today is that you will focus on growing closer to Jesus now, while there is still time.  I pray that your faith will be so established in Him that no matter what you have, don’t have or need, your confidence in Him will be immovable.  I believe in this way, Christians will be able to ever-increasingly reveal the love of Christ by simply being neighborly.

Trailing Ellipsis marks

Luke 10:35-37

And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?”  And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.  And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

Always in Jesus,

Desireé Figg

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Frozen Leaves . . .

Fall LeavesIn sunny California in many areas, we don’t often experience the joys of fall like other areas of the country.  Where we live, though, there are lots of trees that turn beautiful colors.  We get freezing nights on a regular basis, so the colors can be quite vibrant.  My husband likes to keep our yard nice.  He gets frustrated when he has just swept up all the leaves, then a sudden gust of wind comes along and drops another load.

It reminds me of a long time friend I just heard from in a quick text the other day.  We lived in Dallas at the same time, where we had a whole lot more leaves.  She had come to our house one time and offered to rake leaves.  Dave jumped at the chance.  She said it reminded her of her childhood when she and her brother used to rake leaves and then jump in the piles.  On this occasion, she finished raking and sure enough, a gust of wind came up.  She said, That’s God’s sense of humor making that happen right after I finished.”

We laughed at the time, but the more I thought about it, the more I disagreed with her.  I don’t think it was a specific act of God directed at her to make fun of her or to laugh at her circumstances.  Sometimes people attribute things to God that He doesn’t directly cause.  I know He is completely sovereign, but He has allowed some things to happen just in the course of nature.  In Matthew 45:3b, the Lord is giving His sermon on the mount and comments,

“… for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

While I was recalling this incident, another one came to mind as well, and the Holy Spirit began revealing to me just what He wanted me to understand through the natural realm.  A few years ago, when I still worked outside the home, I would get up in the dark to go walking in my neighborhood.  One very cold morning frost covered everything around me.  I noticed piles of leaves that had been knocked off the trees by the freezing temperatures the night before.  They gathered in the gutters along side the road and seemed to be huddled together in clumps.  The frost blanketed them in a beautiful shimmering cover.

A street sweeper crept along the road whisking away these piles as it went.  I felt some concern for the leaves briefly and thought, “Look out, leaves, the monster is coming.”  Of course, my admonition went unheeded because the sweeper’s brush came along and swirled them all up into the belly of the “beast.”  In the process, a poem began to form so I could capture the poignant moment.

Wake of Clean

Frost covers fallen leaves
huddled in the street against the curb, safely
covered by their sparkling blanket.

A rumble rises from the road
ahead. Early, focused like a prowling cat,
the beast approaches.

He tricks the cast away leaves,
awakened by what they imagine harmless,
a swirling wind.

A whirling paw whisks
them from their wayside beds, he laps
all into a hungry

mouth, then growls.
He turns, and on the road behind him leaves
a wake of clean.

Atop his arched back,
a flashing light echoes his earnest threat
into the cold morning air.

“Tomorrow,” it warns,
“though more annoyances may sleep, ignored,
I’ll be back to change things.”

 

This morning we woke to what my husband referred to as “it’s snowing leaves.”  It reminded me of my experience that morning with the street sweeper.  I realized that the leaves were forced out of their comfort zones onto the cold ground by the deep cold.  They couldn’t hold on to the branch any longer.  Thinking about this, I felt the Lord begin to drop into my spirit an understanding.

Of late, with so many terrible things happening in the world around us, I believe the church is needed like she has never been needed before.  Our voices of hope and love are the only things that can give people the courage to face the mounting atrocities that are taking place around us.  But I also noticed something else.  Too much of the body of Christ is asleep, just like those leaves huddled in the gutter.  Just because the Lord is forcing people into uncomfortable places, does not mean we should hide under a false cover of “peace and safety.”

If we are being forced into the “streets” maybe God wants to use us there.  Instead of staying in our cozy huddles, maybe He is asking us to brave the elements and show our colors in a vibrant swirling display of beauty brought on by the wind of the Spirit.  Instead, too many stay huddled when there is imminent danger approaching and the warning is being given.  I’m afraid too many are willfully opting out of the call God has placed on us to be beautiful colorful light to this dark world.

A remnant is being prepared, for certain, but the truth is, more Christians are huddled together in ignorance, allowing truth to fall by the wayside.  The Scriptures prophesy about this very clearly. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 helps us understand this condition.

“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition…”

We can be very certain of the hour in which we live when we see this falling away take place.  It’s horrible, and my intercessor heart grieves deeply over the loss.  My little picture of the leaves sleeping along the roadside paints an image in my mind of these apparent believers who have decided to play it safe and huddle together with teachers who just tickle their ears.  Instead of challenging their congregation to face the evil onslaught ahead of us, they pacify them with words which can neither awaken or empower them for the road ahead.

I won’t get into any discussion about the catching away of the saints in this devotional page today, but I would encourage each one of you to recognize how short the time is getting, and how rapidly the birth pains of the end times are increasing.  We, of all people, should not be caught off guard.  If the warnings are coming, beeping loud and clear, like the flashing light atop the street sweeper, then we should become people of action instead of allowing ourselves to sleep, just waiting for our deliverance.

Matthew 24:4-8 “And Jesus answered and said to them,

“See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.”

This passage gives us insight into the condition of our world when the birth pains start increasing.  The one thing I want to bring out especially from this Scripture is the phrase “See to it that no one misleads you.”  If there weren’t a danger of that happening, Jesus wouldn’t have spoken it.  So my exhortation is for all of us to examine ourselves and our teachers, me included.  We need to make certain that we are not being deceived in this hour.

The sparkling frost on the frozen leaves flashes vividly in my mind and I can’t help but see far too many Christians trapped under a deceptive blanket which lulls them into a false sense of security while the whirlwind of the enemy approaches.  I hope you can hear my heart in this.  I really desire that all Christians come to a place of being on fire for God in these last days.  I want everyone to be saved.  My heart breaks for those who are allowing deception.  I believe He wants to empower us to be like that fresh pile of soft leaves that children can jump into in the coming days.  Instead, I’m afraid the church is in danger of staying in that curbside condition of frozen leaves.

Trailing Ellipsis marks

Psalm 1:1-6
How blessed is the man who does not walk
in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.


Always in Jesus,

Desireé Figg

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I hope you like my blog of Daily Devotions.  I would be honored if you would subscribe to receive the posts as they are created.  Please click the Follow button to sign up, below or on the sidebar.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you on the trail.

Hanging Out To Dry . . .

Freeimages.com/GingerGarvey

Freeimages.com/GingerGarvey

Have you ever seen one of those old-fashioned clotheslines people used before dryers were invented?  Or, maybe you’re old enough to have used one.  Okay, I admit, I am and I did.  Actually, I mostly recall my mother using a clothesline early in my childhood.  In our household, (I’m the oldest of 5 children) we had so much laundry that my wonderful dad bought my mother a combination washer/dryer soon after they were first available.  So, my memories of the clothesline are vague, but at least I do know how to clip a clothespin onto the clothes so they stay on the line.

This last September my husband and I went to visit some property we own in Oregon.  The town is small and I noticed a neighbor had a clothesline in her back yard and was using it.  I watched the clothes sway gently in the breeze.  Several personal undergarments hung out for all to see, fluttering and waving as if to say, “Lookie here!”  It’s my understanding that in the early 1900’s there was societal pressure for the “good housewife” to have her laundry hung up on the line drying by 11 am every Monday or she was thought not to be ‘towing the line.’

With the advent of young women wearing skimpy outfits that barely cover anything, guys wearing their pants far below any civil locality, and pajamas worn as if they’re the latest fashion, I suppose having your underwear hanging out on a line really wouldn’t be a big deal these days.  Maybe I’m too conservative, but I still get a little embarrassed when someone comes to my door in the afternoon and I’m still wearing my pajamas. (I work from home. Insert smiley here!)

The saying, “airing out your dirty laundry” used to mean sharing intimate personal details with strangers.  Apparently that was taboo when society still had to use clotheslines.  Today, it has become the norm and now, online doesn’t mean your clothes are drying for all to see anymore.

As usual for me, something as visual as a clothesline and voyeuristic underwear makes me look for the spiritual connection. (“Surely, Lord, you must be saying something!”)   This devotional is all about finding Jesus on the trail – or on the line as the case may be.  Pun intended…  Well, I hear a faint whisper in my spirit and it feels like the dirty laundry has to get clean and go up on the clothesline.

Here goes; grab a clothespin if you have one; I may need some help.

The Lord knows, most of my life I have struggled with a weight problem.  I jokingly say if I die and can be buried in a normal size box, then they should put on my tombstone, “She won the battle of the bulge.”  I promise, I’m not being morbid, nor am I beating myself up.  That was the old days.

Before you pick up stones to throw at me for bringing up this subject the day after Thanksgiving, please hear me out.  I don’t point a pudgy finger (really, I’m just keeping with the theme), at anyone who may gain a pound or two, or ten during the holidays.  It’s the toughest time to eat right, though it’s been done, even by me.

If you’ll indulge me a little longer, (okay, now I’m pushing it with the puns) I want to give a brief history so you’ll know where I’m coming from.  I’ve been on nearly every trendy diet known to woman for the last 50 years.  Recognizing the damage that did to my body, I gave that up and repented.  I’ve also been on very healthy weight loss programs.  I read every self-help health book I could find and learned as much about nutrition and healthy exercise as I could without actually getting a degree in it.

In the past, I’ve lost 25 pounds, 35 pounds, and 65 pounds.  The last amount, I lost on three separate occasions in my life.  All that weight loss adds up to 255 cumulative pounds.  That’s more than I ever weighed!  If my math is correct, then I should weigh negative something!

I’m being silly, but on a more serious note, and please pardon my honesty here, but I’m not looking for advice. Remember, it’s my laundry going up.  All I’m asking is for you to see it and recognize the vulnerability it takes to hang it out there for all to see.

You might be wondering where I find my beloved Jesus is on this clothesline trail.  Well, I’m here to tell you He has held my hand and my heart through my entire journey.  He has used the battle I fight to root out many deep-seated issues I never would have dealt with if it weren’t for my weight problem.

The reason I’ve spent so much time sharing such personal details, (that’s not a fraction of the story) is that I believe there are some of you reading who may be where I am today and could use a little encouragement.

You see, after all these years and all the staunch efforts, I’m always tempted to give up.  It often feels too hard to keep trying.  Repeated failures bring discouragement.  I could offer all the advice and pep talks I’ve heard over the years, but they usually just add insult to injury.  Besides, that’s not why I’m writing this today.

You may have heard the term “on the line” used in any number of scenarios.  What’s on the line here is truth.  With so much misinformation or conflicting information we need something to clear up the mess.  My purpose today is to help us respond by lining up with what the Word of God says.  There are two passages I cling to when I want to give up.  If one doesn’t work, usually the other one does.  I know this post is a little long today, so hang with me (will the puns never end?).

The first passage is Colossians 2:16-23

“Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”

I take this very seriously, especially as regards someone else being my judge.  I answer to the Lord and not the societal pressures.  By not allowing anyone else to determine how I deal with my weight issues, I’m stating to the Lord that I trust Him to know and tell me everything I need to know and to reveal how I should respond.  It’s in His timing.  Those who advocate self-abasement are not being Biblical.  Those who give fleshly advice, or man’s answer are not holding fast to the Head, Christ.  I  must also realize that all those human solutions won’t ever help me as it pertains to controlling my flesh.  Only the Holy Spirit can equip me to do that.

The second passage that helps me is 1 Corinthians 10:13:

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

This verse has helped me out of lots of tight spots.  When I’m feeling really discouraged or when I lack the ability to say no, these words flash into my memory.  I memorized them years ago and they still come up fresh when I’m out there swinging in the breeze.  I believe that the Lord is in the moment with me, when I face challenges.  He doesn’t leave me hanging out to dry without providing me the way out.  He has proven faithful so many times.

Now, that doesn’t mean I always fight every temptation that comes my way.  Sometimes my soul, which is continually being sanctified, still caves in and I don’t win the skirmish.  What I have to constantly keep in mind is that Jesus won the war against sin.  He has forgiven me and loves me just the way I am.  He understands how to use my mistakes to make me more like Jesus, which is the ultimate goal.

So, on this day after Thanksgiving when most of us have indulged or over-eaten, I hope you’ll hear my heart and think about this in a new way.  If you’ll permit me, I’d like to offer some advice, regardless of whether you are the one suffering or just care about someone who does.

If you know someone who is overweight, recognize the struggle they are in and pray for them.  You may have lots of health wisdom, but that isn’t what’s needed.  Understand that the pressure of society takes a great toll and don’t add to that burden.  What you may not know is how people with weight problems are assaulted with a plethora of conflicting information which just exacerbates the frustration.

If you are concerned for their health, maybe you could become their strongest intercessor.  In addition to asking God to help them lose weight, your prayers could include asking the Lord to do the deep work on their souls He wants to accomplish.  Then, be patient with them while they work it all out.  Unconditional love goes a long way.

If you are the one suffering, I pray that you will run to the Lord Jesus and clamp onto Him like a clothespin and don’t let go.  He is the only one who knows exactly what you need to do and He’s the only one who can empower you to do it.  He loves you just exactly the way you are and will never condemn you.  I promise, He’s not mad at you!

Ask Him to clear away the “noise” from conflicting health information and reveal to you exactly what will be best for you.  Then arm yourself with His Word and refuse to let the devil keep you in chains.  Confessing the truth is the best weapon you have.  And, remember, the Holy Spirit is your teacher!  Cooperate with Him and be patient with yourself while He works.

So, now that all the laundry is washed and on the line, I hope as you’ve seen my unmentionables that you’ll pray for me and others like me.  Rather than criticize or laugh at all that personal laundry, understand we all have it.  Yours might just look a little different from mine.  Your understanding will be much appreciated; after all, that’s what good neighbors do when everything is left hanging out to dry.

Trailing Ellipsis marks

James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

Always in Jesus,

Desireé Figg

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I hope you like my blog of Daily Devotions.  I would be honored if you would subscribe to receive the posts as they are created.  Please click the Follow button to sign up, below or on the sidebar.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you on the trail.

Look At All Those Seeds! . . .

Pumpkin Seeds

Roasting Pumpkin SeedsEvery year for Thanksgiving for almost 50 years pumpkin pie has been on the menu in my life.  But for me that means I have wrestled with at least 50 pumpkins.  What I mean by that is that I take a large fresh pumpkin and cut it up to make my own pumpkin pie filling.

My grandmother taught my mother how to cook the pumpkin and press it through a wire mesh sieve so it wouldn’t have any strings.  My mother then taught me the same procedure.  Once I moved out of the house I realized that amount of work was way too much just for fresh pumpkin.

However, something in me just couldn’t give up the tradition.  I tried several methods but finally ended up simply putting the cooked pumpkin cubes in a blender and whizzing it up until it was smooth.  For the last 40 years I’ve made my own pumpkin pies with fresh pumpkin and homemade crust but with a lot less elbow grease and fewer stiff wrists.

Yesterday I finally had to tackle cutting up that pumpkin I bought after Halloween.  I had put it off.  While I was cleaning out the pumpkin center, I decided, for a change, to save those wonderful seeds.  They can be so healthy for us that I decided to take the time and roast them.   As I put all of them into a colander and started washing them I commented to myself, “Wow, look at all those seeds.” Of course, that got me thinking.

I realized that just one of those seeds could make an entire pumpkin vine. Then in turn, all those pumpkins from that one vine would have hundreds more seeds.  I was amazed, when I pondered this, at the simple but effective multiplication God built into our world.  When the Scriptures speak of abundant life many of us think of that as spiritual life, and we are correct.  However in 1 Corinthians 15:46 is says,  “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural.”

That truth led me to think about the natural types of seeds we have.  As I continued thinking on this principal of abundance, I recalled messages my pastor has given many times in our church.  We truly believe in seed time and harvest and the principles of sowing and reaping.  That is usually tied to some form of giving.  Now don’t misunderstand me, we are not a “name it and claim it” Church.  We are a Bible centered Church.  That means what we learn in the Word we have the audacity to believe, and acknowledge that it applies to us.

Every believer can participate in the process of sowing and reaping in every aspect of our lives.  As I looked down at all those seeds and spread them out on the baking sheet, I thought, ‘God doesn’t know how to add or subtract, he only knows how to multiply.  I chuckled to myself.  I’m not being irreverent!  I know God knows everything, but it sure looks to me like He just multiplies all the time.

Every one of those seeds has within it great potential to be multiplied over and over again.  That’s what I think abundance is.  But we mustn’t forget that it requires sowing those seeds in order to reap the bountiful harvest.  During this Thanksgiving time I realize most of us get our food from the grocery store but the Pilgrims got theirs after surviving long hard winters and after enduring tremendous lack.  Their food came from hard work and from recognizing and implementing the principles of seed time and harvest.

They had braved daunting odds to come to this nation so they could have religious freedom.  They faced more obstacles than you or I could ever imagine and will never face in our lifetimes unless the Lord’s coming is delayed, in which case things will get pretty bad in the meantime.  My point is that I believe the Lord wants us to see the seeds all around us that might be hidden in amid the hard times or right in front of our eyes in the good times.

A seed doesn’t just have to be a tiny organic object that goes in the ground to grow.  Your seed might be the time you sow for the Lord’s Kingdom.  It might be the courage you use to share Christ with someone.  Your seed might be the monetary offerings you put in the basket every week at church.  Maybe your seed is a sacrifice that you make on behalf of someone else.  Maybe its a sacrifice of praise or perhaps one made by ‘giving up your hurt or offense to the Lord so it won’t be wasted.’  (That last part is a quote from my beloved Pastor, from Wednesday night’s message at church!)  No matter what yours looks like, the seeds are all around us.

Today as families gather all around this nation to give thanks for everything we have been so bountifully blessed by, I pray that you will find a quiet time to seek the Lord despite the busyness of the holiday.   I pray that you would begin to ask Him, ‘Father what is the seed I can sow to reap the harvest you want me to bring in?’   In a kingdom, the harvest belongs to the king and in God’s kingdom, we are merely stewards on this earth of the harvest He sowed for when He sowed His only begotten Son.

I believe there is something God has put in your hands, no matter how small, that you can sow and begin to believe for a harvest for the Kingdom.    Jesus sowed His life to reap a harvest.  And doesn’t He deserve the fruit of His labor?  I hope you will begin to see how you can participate with Him in the sowing and reaping process.   If you glance around you, maybe you’ll say, like I did, “Just look at all those seeds!”

Trailing Ellipsis marks

Mark 4:26-29 “And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows–how, he himself does not know. “The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head.  “But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Always in Jesus,

Desireé Figg

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I hope you like my blog of Daily Devotions.  I would be honored if you would subscribe to receive the posts as they are created.  Please click the Follow button to sign up, below or on the sidebar.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you on the trail.

Moonstones And Waves . . .

Moonstone BeachLiving near the Pacific Ocean is one of those incredible joys I have in my life that not everyone can enjoy.  I love to stand on a cliff over-looking my favorite beach.  It’s called Moonstone Beach and it’s near Cambria in the Central Coast of California.

My husband and I ended up staying the night in this little coastal town on our honeymoon.  That wasn’t by choice, however.  We were towing my little Honda coup behind a beautiful silver blue Grand Prix.  We had camped in a state campground the night before, nearby Cambria but had not stopped to go in to the little town.  We didn’t have much money and were driving up Highway 1 from Southern California to move into the Seattle area where Dave was being stationed in the Navy.

We set out in the morning, after breaking camp and stopped for gas at a place called Ragged Point.  Now, no one had bothered to tell us that the place was quite possibly the most expensive place in the country to get gas.   About 10 minutes after leaving Ragged Point my husband noticed the gas gauge was dropping suddenly, and drastically.   We stopped to find out what was wrong and he said there were two holes in the fuel pump.

We unhooked the Honda and took all our worldly possessions and loaded them into the Grand Prix and drove back into Cambria.   There was a small parts store in town and they told us they couldn’t get the part until the next day so we had to get a motel and stay for the night.   No one bothered to tell us that San Luis Obispo was only fifteen minutes away and had the part there.   We could have easily driven there to get it.  These omissions seemed to be a growing trend.

For me, this was not a bad turn of events.  I tend to be a romantic and my husband tends not to be.  So even though he was somewhat upset about the broken car that he would have to wait till the next day to fix, I was thrilled to be spending the night on a beach in a quaint little motel.  I remember combing the beach and finding these amazing stones that I later found out we’re called moonstones.  I pocketed several and grabbed a bag of wonderful tiny rocks that I thought would be perfect someday for a dollhouse landscape.  I had a great time!

The next morning, Dave got the part and we headed out toward the stranded Grand Prix.  He was able to fix the fuel pump pretty quickly and we reloaded all the stuff back into the Honda, hooked it back up and were on our way again.

Many years later, we lived in the high desert of California in Victorville.  His parents had moved to the Central Coast and lived in the wonderful Danish village of Solving.  Many times I would get so tired of the brown desert that we would have to go for the weekend over to the coast and visit his family.  I needed to be able to go stand by the ocean side.  It’s one of those places where I am able to connect with God in a deeper way than anywhere else.

In the early nineties we moved to Dallas from the desert and even though it was beautiful and green, I often became homesick for the California landscape that I love so dearly.  The Gulf of Mexico just couldn’t hold a candle to the Pacific Ocean for me.  So, occasionally we would fly out or drive out to visit family again.

On one such occasion my husband couldn’t come with me and I really needed to do some soul searching, so I came alone and stayed at Moonstone Beach in a motel by myself.  I remember spending hours and hours on that beach. There weren’t nearly as many moonstones as there used to be but I still enjoyed combing through the tiny pebbles that make up the shoreline and standing on the cliff watching the waves.  I’m pretty sure I wrote about 10 poems on that little trip.

Very interestingly, once we moved back from Dallas to the Central Coast, I was in Cambria one day and happened to see the most beautiful moonstone necklace in one of the jewelry stores downtown.  It was very close to our anniversary so I decided it would be okay if I bought it for myself as an anniversary present, since Cambria was technically where we “went” on our honeymoon.  The stone is about the size of a silver dollar but a little more oval and squat.  It’s polished finish makes it look almost like an opal.

The woman in the jewelry store asked me if I had ever heard of the legend of the moonstone.  I said no and she proceeded to tell me, “Well, if you come to Moonstone Beach and pick up a moonstone, it is said you will always come back.”

Whether true or not, it did happen to me.  I realized in some way my heart is tied to that beach.  When I decided to write today, I thought about my beautiful moonstone necklace and how it symbolizes the fact that Moonstone Beach was our honeymoon spot no matter how meager or unplanned.  Because I had come to meet with the Lord in that place so many times, I also believed I loved it because I always could hear His voice when I stood on the cliffs overlooking the water.

Now that I live so close, regrettably, I don’t go often enough, but when I do it still yields productive and intimate times with Jesus.  One time more recently, I asked the Lord, “Why does it mean so much to me here and why do I love the sea so much?”

He very gently reminded me of a poem I had written on that solitary time when I’d come to meet with Him.  I’d been questioning many things in my life on that visit.  I wept a lot during those few days by myself at the water’s edge.  My salty tears mingled with the salty waves as they rolled in and out.

My faith had been in crisis then and as I recalled that difficult season, now I needed to know something else.  I said, “God, why do you love me?”

After asking Him that question I stood watching the waves crash on the shore.  His very tender response to me is something I value very highly in my life.  I will never forget it.

He said, “See the waves, how they come in and go out?”  Yes Lord.  “You had so many losses in your life.  Many moves and many friends you had to say goodbye to.  You love the ocean so much because the waves are always coming to you.  No matter how many times they pull away, another one is always coming back in on its heels.”

“And I love you for many reasons, but part of why is because no matter how many times you strayed, you always came back to me.”

I cried and cried after hearing that amazing word in my spirit.  My crisis of faith only lasted a few years and now, I am well on my way to wholeness.  I love Jesus so much and I’m so blessed that He has allowed me to see Him connected to everything around me.  His tender love is worth everything to me.

My prayer for you today is that your heart will be touched by my simple story.  I pray it touches you with a desire to practice finding Jesus everywhere you go.  I believe it’s simple, really.  I know you can experience God in ways you may never have thought of before.  If we just communicate with Him like we would a husband, a wife, or a dear friend, He will communicate with us in many ways.  I’ve found that if I look for Him, He somehow manages to show up.

Since this post today is so close to Thanksgiving, I felt it appropriate to share how thankful I am.  I’m so thankful for the beautiful place God has allowed me to live and I’m thankful for my beloved husband of 40 years.   And above all, I’m so thankful for the amazing unfailing love of my Father who is always there to meet me where I am, no matter if it’s at home or on the beach with Moonstones and Waves.

Boundary Lament

Why does the sand lie there upon the shore,
So bravely facing onslaught and her daunting chore?
She breathes in gulps of salt sea air and spray
As advancing waves in foaming cadence play.

She longs to hold the water, within her gentle breast,
But knows it means a certain death, temptation looms on every crest.
So she lets it slip back through her silken fingertips
And kisses it goodbye with patient loving lips.

Each pounding curl and spreading swirl laps against her chin,
Stripping a little of her essence, away from her golden skin.
With only a moment’s pleasure, she drinks deeply in
And sacrifices what she desires, for the sake of the sea, her friend.

The tide retreats and leaves a glistening sand, wet hot.
She cries a tear from every percolating spot.
She lets it go away, but dares one thing to seek,
The rolling ocean’s kiss, upon her softened cheek.

She cannot bear to be without, what she wishes it could be,
But duty keeps her standing firm, though she cannot always see.
She prays that it may come again with swelling graceful head,
Hoping for some tiny gift that it will leave deposited.

Her task is sure; her mission clear, knowing what she’s to do,
She faces pain and loss each day, enduring what she must go through.
For she is charged with standing vigil, to halt where the sea might roam,
To mark the space with a line that’s drawn, so it knows its way back home.

I am not so different from the sparkling sand, waiting along the shore,
For I still seek your coming and going, just like I did before.
And I will hope, just like she does, for the soft overflow of your tide,
Till all your roving restless swells come to rest here by my side.

Trailing Ellipsis marks

Jeremiah 5:22 “For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, An eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it.  Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it.”


Always in Jesus,

Desireé Figg

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Snapshot Of A Life . . .

Old Fashioned Photo AlbumA little over a year ago, I had the privilege of helping a friend complete a slide presentation video for her father’s memorial service.  She paid me well to spend lots of time working to make it just right.  Every picture had to be in the right order and the music had to fit perfectly.  It was a true labor of love.  What I didn’t expect was the reaction I would have completing the task.

Hours and hours pouring over pictures of a man’s life, whom I didn’t know, created an inexplicable connection.  My friend and I worked tirelessly together, then I spent many hours alone tweaking every detail; but in the process, I realized I was studying the entire life of a man of honor.  From the innocent images of his boyhood through his military service and budding romance, I felt each snapshot told a tale.  His beautiful bride became the mother of his children and his children grew to have their own.  Every phase of his life passed before me over and over again with each set of edits and replays of the draft video.

I recognized that I had a perspective that no one else could have.  I saw only the good highlights of his life.  His family and friends would see the video and recall their moments with the man we memorialized.  Each person would have different memories of him at different times.  I knew I was missing more details than one could ever capture.  But somehow, what I did capture amazed me.

I cried at the end, every time the last song replayed when I had to go back over and over the timing.  The life this man led began to impact me in a way I couldn’t have expected.  I came to feel as if I had known him somehow.  But the reality is that I didn’t know him.  I simply observed a snapshot of a life.

When I sat down to write this devotional page, I had a blank screen in front of me and no idea what I would write today.  I scrolled on Facebook just wasting time, because I really didn’t have anything.  The blank screen hid itself under the current tab on my computer’s desktop like the one photograph you need stacked beneath a jumble of other ones.

Then, one Facebook picture flashed in front of me.  It was an old black and white photograph and I suddenly knew exactly what I would write today.  I felt an instant download and creativity rose in me like a leaking fountain pen, gushing ideas.  My response came from a deep place inside I couldn’t even identify at first.  I clicked on the Evernote tab where I had a blank note waiting for today’s blog and started typing furiously.

I kept asking the Lord what He was trying to say, because I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit very strongly.  I strained to “hear”.   I cried for a moment because of the weight of His presence in the room.  Then I recalled another post I’d read earlier.  It was by a woman who’s father just passed away yesterday.  I knew the man, but only slightly and had posted my condolences.

It dawned on me then, what the Lord was saying so clearly.  He is the only one who knows every one of us completely – from the beginning of our life until the very end.  He knew everything that would ever happen to us before He ever created us.  While I had been able to observe only a series of snapshots of my friend’s father, God knew every word he would ever speak, every thought that would ever enter his head and every action he would take.

The Father captures those minute details in His heart about us; and He will never forget a single one.  That is so far beyond our ability to understand.  The more I thought about this, the more in awe I became.  We see so little of what a life is made of.  Even the lives of our spouse or parents are not completely open to our knowing fully.  Only our amazing Creator is able to contain all this vast information.

Something even more important came to my heart as I continued to write.  That is the fact that God not only knows us fully, but He loves us without any reservation or bias.  Because He knew every mistake, every failure, every vain word we ever uttered – before it happened – He cannot ever be surprised or disappointed in us.  Let that word settle on your heart for a moment.

This is truer than you may even be able to believe.  I can barely grasp it.  But part of becoming intimate with our Lord Jesus means recognizing who He really is.  Our human reasoning and our world based viewpoints pale in comparison with His vast knowledge.  In order for us to know Him – we have to meditate on these things He allows to jump off the pages of the snapshots of life for us to behold.

We can only catch glimpses of Him in this earthly realm.  So it’s like we’re seeing images of our Father on a carefully constructed slide show.  We are not able to see everything about Him because our eyes are limited to a kind of two dimensional representation of Him.  However, our God wants to be revealed.  He wants us to learn of Him beyond just the written words in Scripture.  He wants our experiences with Him, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, our teacher, to become our way of knowing Him better.  Of course, we can’t throw out His word, heaven forbid.

In Psalm 34 verse 8, the Bible says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”  That sentence is not about a two dimensional knowing.  That’s a pretty intimate picture!  Tasting involves really getting something into your mouth and moving it around on your tongue.  Obviously, we can’t do that with God – that’s just weird – but I believe what He wants us to accept is the reality that we have to know Him more deeply than just a casual, distant observation.

The experience I had connecting with my friend’s father left me touched by the life he lived.  Our heavenly Father wants our lives touched by His fullness and His sweetness.  He wants us to know Him better than a daughter knows her father, or a wife knows her husband.  I couldn’t ever tell you about my friend’s father in any depth because I only saw him two dimensionally.  But I caught a tiny snapshot of who he was.

My prayer for you today is two-fold.  If you have, in one way or another, lost a loved one and are facing this holiday season with pain from that loss, the Holy Spirit wants to bring you the comfort you need right now.  Allow Him to play the heavenly slide show for you and remind you of all the wonderful things your loved one left behind.  In the slide show, you can’t see all the bad things.  Only the good highlights come through.

Secondly, I pray that your desire to become intimately acquainted with Jesus will overtake your heart today.  I ask the Lord to touch you in a way you’ve never been touched by a two dimensional knowledge of Him.  If you will ask Him to make Himself real to you, I know He will.  He wants you to know Him so well that the knowledge of Him goes much deeper than just the snapshot of a life.

Trailing Ellipsis marks

 Psalm 139:1-6
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.”

Always in Jesus,

Desireé Figg

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I hope you like my blog of Daily Devotions.  I would be honored if you would subscribe to receive the posts as they are created.  Please click the Follow button to sign up, below or on the sidebar.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you on the trail.

Feather In The Sky . . .

Shake Your Tail Feather - By Marya http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

Shake Your Tail Feather – By Marya
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

One beautiful fall afternoon I looked up into a bright blue sky and a vapor trail from a plane, blown around by the upper winds, created the most beautiful image of a feather I’d ever seen. It was perfect in every way. I stared up at it for a long time and it didn’t change too much.

I had to go inside, because I was babysitting for a friend and it was time for her to go. When I walked up the sidewalk to her front door, I noticed something on the ground. To my utter amazement dozens of tiny feathers littered the sidewalk. Obviously some poor tiny bird had been in a fight or something.

I bent down to pick up one of the feathers and it was more perfectly shaped than the one I had just beheld in the sky. I carefully picked up as many as I could because I am a dollhouse miniature crafter and they were about as perfectly scaled for a typical one inch scale dollhouse as could be.

My awe and reverence for the Lord Jesus at that moment overwhelmed me. The feeling lasted for quite awhile, and I couldn’t shake the fact that these two incredible things happened at the same time. The feather in the sky covered an area probably as large as the city. The tiny feathers on the sidewalk barely covered my baby fingernail.

Of course, having such a wonderful experience always makes me look to the Lord to see what He might be trying to say to me. This one took me some time. I didn’t get it right away.

Later on, my sister, Marci told me about an incredible experience she had at a retreat. An amazing spiritual breakthrough came for her when God showed her that she had never forgiven herself for all the baggage she had carried around for years. He challenged her about her attitude. She had accepted His forgiveness, but had never forgiven herself. It was as if He was saying to her, “Who do you think you are? I have forgiven you already. Who are you to refuse to forgive yourself?”  This revelation blew her away. The instant, profound transformation brought tears releasing thirty years of pent up emotion.

At the lunch break she knew she needed to find something to stake the day because of its importance. She walked along the edge of the nearby lake looking for some sort of marker. She found a feather on the ground but was somewhat discouraged because it was very mangled and ruffled. But it was something she could use, so she picked it up.

Just as she did that, the Lord gently pointed out another feather a short distance away. This one was perfect! He helped her to see that the first feather represented how messed up she had been. He told her to throw it in lake where it disappeared completely as it floated away, never to be seen again.

Then He spoke to her heart and reminded her that the beautiful feather represents who she is now – the blood bought, redeemed daughter of the King – perfect in His sight and completely forgiven.

When I pondered her amazing story and related it to my two feathers, I realized that God always creates perfect beauty. He desires for us to always remember that from the biggest thing to the smallest and everywhere in between, He is sovereign.  The fact that these two feather stories have the element finding one right after the other shows that His timing is impeccable. His ability to place things in our path at just the right moment astonishes me. He cares so much for us and wants us to see how beautifully He appears in our lives every day.

I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed when God shows off like that! I love that playful, tender, yet utterly sovereign way about Him. We are under His watchful care every moment of every day and He knows just what we need.

I fall in love with Him all over again when these kinds of things happen. My prayer for you today is that you will keep your heart and mind very open to seeing Him in the simplest things around you.  This is how I’m learning to be intimate with our Creator God.

Whether you are in need of encouragement, release from bondage, forgiveness or if you’re just looking for your Beloved, His all-knowing, all-seeing, ever-present nature can be revealed in those things that intersect our day like that vapor trail intersected the sky.  You never know how He will show up!

You may find Him in a miniature feather on the sidewalk, in a scruffy feather disappearing on the lake, or He may reveal Himself in a perfect feather reflecting His redemptive glory in His child or it might just be by His majesty displayed through a giant cloud feather in the sky.

Trailing Ellipsis marks

Psalm 91:4 “He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.”

Always in Jesus,

Desireé Figg

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I hope you like my blog of Daily Devotions.  I would be honored if you would subscribe to receive the posts as they are created.  Please click the Follow button to sign up, below or on the sidebar.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you on the trail.

Careful What You Ask For . . .

cherry-bowl-725x544Years ago Dave and I went to lunch with my nephew and my Mom in Houston and we ate at a well known restaurant called Dick’s Last Resort. The wait staff are also well known for playing around with their patrons by pretending to be inconvenienced or angry or some other odd state of mind. The management not only allows it, but encourages them to make a commotion in some way or another.  It’s part of the ambiance and a marketing gimmick.

My nephew, Justin, was around 11 or 12 at the time and my fun-loving husband decided to give him the scoop on how it worked in that restaurant. When the waitress came to ask for our drink order, Justin asked for a Cherry Coke.  She wrote it down and went to get the orders.

Justin is a pretty smart guy, so it didn’t take him long to figure out how to play the game.  When she returned, he looked at the Coke with a single cherry in it and quickly commented, “That doesn’t seem like very many cherries.”

We were sitting on the patio with a very busy street on the outside of a railing near us.  She gruffly grabbed the large glass of Coke and with great flourish, tossed the entire contents of the glass over the railing and onto the sidewalk with everyone uttering a corporate gasp as she did it.  Then she stormed off to the kitchen.

Sometime later, she appeared with a very large glass and literally slammed it down in front of him.  It was packed so full of cherries, I’m not sure if there was any Coke in it to speak of.  She rudely asked, “Is that enough cherries for you, “little man”?

We all had a great laugh and continued to enjoy a fun outing, playing with our waitress on and off for the rest of the meal.  To this day, the gesture of the woman sloshing that soda onto the sidewalk is burned into my mind.  I chuckle and smile every time I recall the story.  Justin definitely got what he asked for! (He was asking for trouble!)

Last night, as Dave and I were out to dinner, there was a large group of people coming in to the restaurant.  One young man was ordering Shirley Temple and Roy Rogers drinks for his younger siblings and I heard him say, “Extra Cherries”.  Naturally, I remembered our escapades with the Justin and the Cherry Coke.

So, as I prepared to write this blog post, I realized that story was the perfect expression of a lesson the Lord has been teaching me.  I go to a church where we understand that the Believer has great authority we can exercise over the things around us that go against God’s kingdom and purposes.  We are taught to use our voices to command earthly things to line up with heavenly desires.

I won’t get into all the dynamics of that now, but I walk my spiritual journey believing that what I declare and what I speak to has to conform.  Not because I am speaking it, but because my heart is aligned with Christ’s purposes and when the devil tries to opposed that, I am obligated as the Lord’s ambassador to come against it in prayer and even with verbally spoken commands.

This principle is made quite clear in Mark 11:23 where it states, “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.”

We need to make sure we are lined up with Heavenly purpose before we ask. James 4:2b says, “You have not because you ask not”, then verse 3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

These verses clearly indicate that we must be careful what we ask for.  If our words have that kind of power, then our motives need to be pure and our desires matched up to the Lord’s.  But the reason I say we must be careful, is because the Lord revealed something to me the other day about our voices.

I sat in my prayer room (wow am I grateful I have one!) and was rejoicing in all the wonderful things the Lord has given us in this world.  I felt so blessed and so thankful that I have things like hot running water, plumbing, a modest house to live in and many other worldly conveniences.  But I was also grateful for the voice God gave us to praise Him.  I told Him how I loved that He made us with the ability to sing and to tell Him of our love for Him.

During that time with Him, I realized that He doesn’t have to speak in the heavenly realm.  All He has to do is think something and angels scramble to instantly carry out His orders.  So, I started thinking about how He made us like Him and recognized we can think thoughts internally just like He does.  If I can utter a prayer without using my voice, and God hears it, then that is spiritual communication.

But my meditations didn’t end there.  I imagined God at the beginning of our creation and the Bible says several times in the creation account in Genesis, “And God said”.  That means He spoke out loud.  He uttered speech.  And when He did, all things were created.  Now, that’s power.  Of course it is, He is God!

However, don’t forget, the thing I was thanking God for was our voice.  That beautiful thing is one of many things that make us like our Heavenly Father.  He ordained that we should be like Him with a voice to speak things into being.  That’s a powerful principle.  With that kind of power, comes great responsibility.

I came to the conclusion that God will give us what we ask for because it is a marvelous praise to Him as an example of what He is like.  It’s a reflection of who He is inside of us.  When we give Him the first place in our hearts and lives, He takes that very seriously.  The answers come just because we ask.  That takes faith to believe.  But I think He wants us to get there because of what Jesus said in John 14:13-14, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”

It amazes me to see that He trusted His redeemed children with such power.  It amazes me that He will honor the words we speak and cause things to conform to what we declare.  I take that very seriously too.  There is a danger here to use that great power for ungodly purposes.  The tongue of the un-redeemed person is discussed in James 3:6, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.  The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.”  Therefore, we have to make sure that we are walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh when we speak and declare things.

I urge you today, to begin to see how your words can literally frame the world around you.  Not for selfish purposes, but so the purposes of God can be accomplished in and around your life.  I challenge you to ask, but to do so in reverence and awe of the Creator’s power He placed inside of you.

Just be careful what you ask for, because you could end up with a big glass of cherries, when all you wanted was a cherry flavored Coke with a few cherries in it!Trailing Ellipsis marks

Proverbs 18:20-21 “With the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach will be satisfied; He will be satisfied with the product of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Always in Jesus,

Desireé Figg

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I hope you like my blog of Daily Devotions.  I would be honored if you would subscribe to receive the posts as they are created.  Please click the Follow button to sign up, below or on the sidebar.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you on the trail.

A Box of Paperclips . . .

PaperclipsI used to work as a church administrator years ago when we lived in Texas.  The pace was fast and my responsibilities were quite heavy at the time.  One day when I was particularly close to melting down from the high level of stress, I happened to be doing some filing.  I suddenly needed a paperclip.  I had one hand jammed into the tightly compacted files in the cabinet to hold my place, so I felt stuck.  I debated momentarily on how to solve the tiny problem.  Leaving my hand wedged in the files, I precariously reached around behind me to my desk to grab a paperclip out of the magnetic container.

Wouldn’t you know, the container was empty!  I felt quite foolish spread out uncomfortably fishing for the paperclip.  Normally, this would only have been a minor inconvenience, easily remedied.  But remember, the lid was about to blow on me emotionally.  In complete frustration, I left the file drawer and went around the other side of the desk for a new box of paperclips.

Just as I reached the filing cabinet drawer again, the box slipped out of my hand and the entire contents emptied onto the floor.  It’s a little funny today, recalling the incident.  But I assure you there was nothing funny at the time.

When I looked down and saw all those paperclips all over the floor, all I could do was burst into tears.  As I knelt down to pick them up I suddenly realized it perfectly depicted how I had been feeling about my life.

Everything felt like it was slipping away, sliding all at once to the floor like that whole box of paperclips.  I couldn’t catch them.  And I couldn’t catch myself from falling either.  That skill was a far distant one I would learn much farther down the road of healing.

Even though I was walking closely with the Lord, there were some very deep seated internal issues I had never dealt with.  Jesus used the very visual experience of everything slipping onto the floor to break my resistance down.  I had been trying to keep everything neatly contained.

But God was allowing the pressure cooker of my life to vibrate at a frenetic pace so He could break through to my wounded soul.  As the days progressed from that poignant moment on the floor,  I can’t really explain what happened, but suffice it to say, I ended up in what I reluctantly call “a pit”.

All my composure had dissolved that day.  The real me splayed out in complete disarray.  It took time, failure, deep disillusionment and serious repentance to get my life back on track.  Jesus knew what it would take for me.  I had to be crushed and broken so He could pick up the pieces and rearrange them to use again for His glory.

I wrote a poem soon after that incident, which expressed the depth of my state of being.

Slipping Away Alone

A whole box of paperclips slid
out of their box onto the floor
No catching them

Mudslides, earth slipping away
hopelessly from its mooring
No catching it

Composure, the whole lot of it
falls away, a sudden cascade
No catching me

“Pick them up, won’t you?”
“You can’t just leave them there.”
“Shove them out of the way,
we have to pass by.”
“Get it together, can’t you?”
“No one wants to see you cry.”

Lord, You see the tangled mess
And the slimy filth I slipped headlong into
You won’t grow impatient with the torrent of tears, will You?

You know the depths of grief I hold inside
Reach here, Your loving hand
Soothe the pain
Please, won’t You catch me?
I’m slipping away alone

If you feel like your life is slipping away like I felt, I’m here today to encourage you to keep holding onto Jesus no matter how stretched out or uncomfortable you feel.  He will never allow you to slip out of His hands.  He promises that if you trust Him with your whole life and being, He will bring good out of it all.

He knows the whole mess, isn’t surprised by the failures and knows exactly what it will take to get you where He wants you.  My prayer for you today is that you’ll quit trying to keep everything contained and just let it all fall into the capable hands of Jesus.  Allow Him to do the deep internal work in you that’s necessary.  I promise you, it’s worth it!

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2 Corinthians 4:8-11:  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.  For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

Always in Jesus,

Desireé Figg

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I hope you like my blog of Daily Devotions.  I would be honored if you would subscribe to receive the posts as they are created.  Please click the Follow button to sign up, below or on the sidebar.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you on the trail.