Nothing To Stop It . . .

The spring and summer months bring on all the varied activities of growing and harvesting alfalfa in our area of Central Oregon.  It’s still only late spring, but the sounds of farming machinery are already starting.

The other day a crop duster buzzed us on its way to spraying one of the nearby fields.  We often have military jets fly over our property too, which I absolutely love hearing.  No relation to summer, but still worth noting.

These sounds had come right overhead and you couldn’t miss them.  Sometimes we hear the odd cow lowing and on weekends we can hear motorcycles and dune buggies playing on the sand dunes nearby.

I recall sitting in our front yard in Paso Robles before we moved and the traffic noise on our busy street could be enough to drive us back inside.

During the late summer when the County Fair was going on, we could sometimes hear the concert music from two miles away.  The loudness of the music got through despite lots of “town” in its way. I was glad it only lasted for ten days.

As I pondered the difference between being out in the country and being in a big city or even in a small town, I felt the Lord reminding me of a time last summer.

I was sitting on a lawn chair in the sand, doing nothing.  I think even the bees were quiet.  Suddenly I heard the sound of a swather, a machine used to harvest alfalfa.  Its rhythmic droning filled the still air around me.  It felt like it was only about 100 yards away.

But, unlike our old neighborhood, there’s not much in between us and the nearest alfalfa field a mile away.  I could hear that sound as if it was right near me because there was nothing in the way, nothing to stop it.  The sound waves weren’t being blocked.

As I marveled at the quiet peace of our area, I began to hear the still small voice of the Lord.

He helped me to realize how easily I can have my spiritual hearing dulled by all the “noise” around me.  That could mean distractions, activities and busyness as well as media noise.  I began to hear Him deep in my spirit.

Just like the sound of the jets and the crop duster that had flown overhead, roaring their sound, I understood that sometimes the Father speaks loud and clear.

He breaks through to us despite all the commotion and noise surrounding us.  It’s easier to obey when His voice is like that.  There isn’t much doubt about what He is trying to say.

However, what I began to discover was the difference between the “loud” revelations and the quiet peace of the Lord’s voice when there’s nothing in the way; nothing to stop it.

Spiritually speaking, I believe He wants us to be aware of how important it is to prepare a quiet place for Him to speak to us.  A place where there isn’t a lot of stuff getting in the way.

Most of us know we need a daily quiet time with the Father.  And that is extremely important.  But sometimes, I think that quiet place actually needs to be a heart that’s undistracted by all the things of earth.

We need a heart attitude more than just a daily devotional.  It requires us to lay aside the things that weigh us down and clear out all the noise.  He wants us to hear His voice clearly.

My prayer for you today is that you will search your soul to determine what things might be getting in your way of hearing Him.  Pray and ask Him to remove whatever is keeping His voice bouncing around the things you may have surrounded yourself with.

Today, I hope you’ll ask Him to help you make sure that when He speaks, His voice will be able to get through because there’s nothing to stop it.

Trailing Ellipsis marks

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”

 Isaiah 28:23 “Give ear and hear My voice, listen and hear My words.”

 John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;”

Always in Jesus,

Desirée 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 sign up with your email address and click the Follow button below or on the sidebar to receive emails when a new post is made.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you on the trail.

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It All Started In A Sandbox . . .

It All Started In A Sandbox . . .


Last summer my husband’s parents visited us on the ranch they had deeded to Dave, where we decided to retire. Since it is high desert and very close to a large recreational sand dune, we have more sand than we ever wanted. We’ve even made up a joke to give our visitors a guide to the ranch which involves a discussion about sand and the Sand Rancher as Dave has dubbed himself. I am officially the Royal Sand Princess because – I have a t-shirt that says so.

When we were sitting under the gazebo one day during their visit, Dad started sharing some memories he had about when Dave was little. Dad said he had made Dave a sandbox when they lived in San Diego. Dave was very young, but apparently, he loved playing with his toys in that sandbox. He would set up plastic army men and vehicles and play with them to his heart’s content.

While Dad shared the memory, I began to think about how that simple sandbox affected him. We met when I was 15 and he was 16. It was during the Vietnam War and when he was nearing graduation, he knew he had to make a decision about whether to enlist or get drafted. Being an intelligent young man, he thought it would be better to choose his own fate rather than leave it to someone else.

He signed up for the Navy and went to have all the necessary aptitude tests. He passed everything with enough qualifications that they offered him a Nuke program. That would mean he’d be on submarines. Since Dave’s early days in the sandbox, he much preferred solid ground and despite their pressure to “be all that he could be,” he wanted to drive heavy equipment instead.

Basically, he was determined to continue playing in the sand, not to mention being involved in all things military. His Dad had been in the Navy during the Korean War and his maternal grandfather had actually been in the Seabees. That’s Navy jargon for Construction Battalions. Get it – CB’s… Anyway, by becoming a Seabee, that actually meant he could continue playing in the dirt, get paid for it, and satisfy his military requirements at the same time.

He built roads, golf courses, airport runways, created pads for buildings and many other projects during his service. He could run any piece of heavy equipment and he was able to become an Operating Engineer when he got out of the Navy. When the construction slump took a dive in the ’80s, he moved into auto parts as a profession and did very well becoming a store manager of the highest grossing store in the company chain. However, working inside was not a happy circumstance for Dave, so he joined the Army National Guard and began playing in the sand again – this time in a tank! He loved it.

I’m thankful that he was not ever deployed overseas again because that’s when the Gulf War was going on. He continued as an active reservist for seven years until his Headquarters Company stopped playing with tanks and sat around all duty weekend doing not much of anything. He really needed to get back out in the dirt!

Another job he got helped considerably. He became an estimator and designer for irrigation systems and got to be outside for at least half of his working hours – again – dealing with dirt and sand. He has said many times that he enjoyed that much more than most of his other jobs. I guess you can take the boy out of the sandbox, but you can’t take the sandbox out of the boy.

Now, you may be wondering where I’m going with this reminiscence of part of Dave’s work history, but, I promise it will make sense soon. You see because Dave’s parents deeded the ranch property to him, they basically gave him a five-acre sandbox! It’s a lot of work, but Dave is digging, grading (albeit by hand) and moving our sand around every day trying to get the infrastructure in place for our homestead. The work is never-ending. But God prepared Dave for this a long, long time ago and through many life experiences. And, it all started in a sandbox.

I’m sure you’ve had one of those AHA moments in your life when you realized that all your talents, work history and various experiences all came together to uniquely prepare you for a specific job or vocation. It usually happens a little later in life when we begin to see the forest for the trees. It occurred to me as I was replaying Dave’s sand experiences, that God had used that simple childhood sandbox to shape Dave’s life in so many ways.

Like Dave’s Dad building him a sandbox, our Heavenly Father carefully and artfully places things in us which He knows will shape us into the unique person He wants us to be for His kingdom. He has placed something in each one of us that may span our whole lifetime and prepares us for greatness. Maybe digging sand doesn’t seem like greatness, but you have to understand that we have launched out on the adventure of our lifetimes and the sand is a crucial part, whether we like it or not.

I believe the Lord wants us to begin asking Him what our sandbox is. What has God done in and through you, even small things, that has made you so unique that no one else could do what He wants you to do – but you? It might be something very simple or seemingly insignificant, but I really think God doesn’t waste anything. He can take a tiny seed and make it into a huge tree. If He can do that, then I trust Him to have planted something in you that makes you like no other person on earth.

I pray that you will take time today to evaluate what makes you unique and see if He will show you what His plan is for growing that seed. Every person on this earth has the potential for greatness when coupled with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Whatever you do, I hope you won’t discount yourself, but do a little digging (pun intended) to see what lays within you that God wants to bring to fruition. He can make a mountain out of a molehill, even if it all started in a sandbox.

Deuteronomy 33:19
“They will call peoples to the mountain; There they will offer righteous sacrifices; For they will draw out the abundance of the seas, And the hidden treasures of the sand.”

Psalm 139:13-18
“For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.”

Always in Jesus,

Desirée 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 sign up with your email address and click the Follow button below or on the sidebar to receive emails when a new post is made.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you on the trail.

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Holding The Ropes . . .

Holding The Ropes . . .

Two years ago my husband and I moved from the Central Coast of California to a rural small town in Eastern Oregon, where we have undertaken a huge project which entails building our own homestead.

At retirement age, the limitations are daunting.  Thankfully, Dave is pretty fit and self-motivated, so he is usually up to the tasks.  I, on the other hand, am not fit and have some minor health issues and serious back injuries I suffer with on a daily basis.

When I reflect on my lack of physical ability, I remember being the little girl who preferred staying inside playing with dolls, crafting something or burying my nose in a book.  There were a few exceptions when a pool was available.

There were also a few times in life where I worked very hard to get in better shape and had some great successes, but I have never been able to sustain it.  So my physical capacity is quite limited.  Facing a new adventure that requires me to be much more physical has been a huge challenge.

In the process, Dave has had to learn what I’m capable of doing to help him and where it’s nearly impossible for me to lend assistance.  When we began building an in-ground pump house for all the necessary equipment for our well, which has to be below the four-foot frost line our area has during the winter, the challenges became apparent.

He and a relative dug a four by six-foot pit five feet deep.  Dave then built four, eight-foot-high wall panels to be assembled after being lowered into the pit.

Needless to say, I could barely lift one corner of any of the panels.  I was in tears one day realizing that I couldn’t possibly help him get those walls into the pit. He told me I would have to help him anyway.

After a day of thinking things through, my very practical husband thought of a plan!  He would use a rope and pulley system hooked to his work truck and we would lower the walls into the hole that way.

I was still quite apprehensive even after he showed me how it worked.  He talked about the principle of each pulley being a force multiplier and promised me that if I would trust him, we could get the job done.

I was still nervous when he explained the process and even more so when we began to lower those heavy walls into the pit.  I just couldn’t get my mind around it all.  I needed a new way of thinking.

All I knew was that I couldn’t hold those huge walls if they started to fall and I voiced my concern to Dave.  He gave me a pair of gloves to protect my hands and told me not to worry but just to stand with the ropes in my hands while he guided them into the hole.

Once we started slowly lowering each one at a time, I was amazed at how easy it was!  The force multipliers he had set up worked to eliminate the weight I had to control.  There was no yanking or jolting and each wall slid into place with ease.

I’m very happy to say that the task was completed and I was able to help him without pain or injury by just holding the ropes!

This simple illustration suddenly flashed as a revelation when I shared the story with one of my dearest Christian friends.  She helped me to see some truths I had missed because of the immensity of the task.

The Bride of Christ on earth is in the process of preparing the foundation for the kingdom of God which Jesus will rule from when He returns to Earth.  I’m not talking about the actual mechanics of the kingdom, I’m talking about the foundation in our hearts and the hearts of those we minister to on this planet.

We are in a training time where God uses the trials and tribulations of this world to conform us to the image of Christ.  That foundation and infrastructure within us is critical if we are to be built up into the House of God that we are meant to be.

In the same way, Dave and I are building the infrastructure of our new home.  His care and concern for me and his understanding of my shortcomings and limitations is very much like our Bridegroom, Jesus.

Jesus knows we can’t do what needs to be done, but still desires for us to participate in the work with Him.  He is aware of principles we may never understand until the other side of heaven.

In order to have His Bride learn and grow for the ruling and reigning she will be required to do with Him, He has to devise ways for us to help Him despite our inabilities.

This simple example of love was made so clear to me through the physical experience of helping Dave with our project.

Today, I believe the Lord wants us to recognize the truth that He knows we can’t possibly do what He wants us to, but He will always make a way for us to continue to partner with Him.

Like Dave said, he just wanted me to trust him.  He already knew the outcome because of his prior knowledge of physics I didn’t fully grasp.  I had to be willing to stand firm and not doubt.  The Lord asks us to trust Him when we can’t even imagine how things will work out.  He empowers us with the “Force Multiplier,” the Holy Spirit, to make up for our lack.

This experience really showed me how love makes a way for us, even when there seems to be no way.  Dave had wanted me to help him because it’s our project together.  He probably could have accomplished the task himself, given enough time and thought, but we’re in this together.

Jesus has decided to have His beloved Bride remain on earth so we can participate with Him as He prepares His Church with a kingdom mindset.  It takes trust, faith and the assurance that our Beloved knows what we can and can’t accomplish.  We must see that He has made the way before us.  Our job is to just stand there, in faith, even if it means we are just holding the ropes.

Trailing Ellipsis marks

2 Corinthians 5:1-5  “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.  For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.”

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 sign up with your email address and click the Follow button below or on the sidebar to receive emails when a new post is made.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you in the trail.

Please leave a comment below to let me know if these devotionals are helping you and please share this post with your friends.  Bless you, dear Readers.

Be The River . . .

Colliding RiversAfter we moved to the desert of southern central Oregon last year to start our homestead and our new adventure as retirees, I had expressed concern to my long time Pastor in California that I wasn’t sure what kind of church our small rural town would have.

For nearly twelve years I’d been part of such a vibrant, Spirit-filled body where I had grown by leaps and bounds spiritually.  In my conversation with my Pastor, he just encouraged me that wherever the Lord placed me, that I should “Be the river!”

I’m happy to say that the church God picked for me is a good, Bible based, well-rounded congregation that loves the Lord. So I will see how He allows me to accomplish my Pastor’s admonition.

In the mean time, this Winter we’ve been staying in Roseburg, Oregon because our homestead we started last Spring was not ready for Winter habitation.  So, I discovered a wonderful church here to attend until we move back home.

One Sunday, I particularly enjoyed the service and knew the temporary place the Lord led me was a great opportunity to be refreshed and encouraged.

After church, we went on a Sunday drive and I continued mulling over the message.  The Pastor who spoke shared many healing testimonies and some of the core values of their church.  He used a term my Pastor had said hundreds of times. “We are to be change agents.”

As he explained how this region has been plagued by a spirit of hopelessness for decades, he made another poignant statement. “Instead of being a thermometer, we need to be a thermostat!”

The basic take-away from his message was that despite our circumstances, no matter how hopeless things might seem around us, that, because of our new life in Christ, we carry with us the ability to bring the Kingdom of God to bear in every circumstance.

At one point on our drive, we came upon a place where two rivers come together, called Colliding Rivers.  We got out to look at the churning waters.  I’d seen the place once before and was reminded of a sad story.

Someone I know had once come to that same spot with suicidal thoughts, intending to jump into the rocky, dangerous waters.

Just like the Pastor here had touched on, hopelessness had overwhelmed to the point of utter despair.

Thankfully the Holy Spirit intervened and the person didn’t follow through on their sad intention and all is well now.  I’m very grateful to the Lord for that, because the devastation would have been unbearable.

But as I stood there, I realized the Lord was showing me something I want to share today.

The two rivers symbolize several things.  First of all, I saw how the desperation of hopelessness had intersected the life giving flow of the Spirit of God.

Because the person chose not to jump,  the flesh and it’s bent toward death had crashed into life like these two rivers.  Rather than giving up in despair, a life surrendered to Christ found the hope of new life.

I also recognized that as one powerful river merged with another, a new one was formed.  This is new life and reminds us that our will has to give over to the will of God so we can become the powerful force for change we are meant to be.

Jesus told us in John 7:38, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”

To become the change agents and control the atmosphere of hopelessness by setting the thermostat so hope can be restored, this new river of life must be allowed to prevail.

That’s one aspect of what my Pastor meant by his urging for me to “Be the river.”  If I do not surrender my will to Jesus and allow His Spirit to overtake me, then I will only collide with His purpose and the churning turmoil won’t bring His Kingdom on earth.

Additionally, I saw the power inherent in both rivers as they crashed and swirled together.  When the waters intermingled, the power of the new river became much stronger.

God wants to use us as Sons and Daughters, fully surrendered to Him, so His power can overtake us and cause us to flow with it.

The rocky area around where the rivers came together had the marks of the rivers’ force.  An information sign said that during a particular flood one year, the water had been 5 feet over the top of the sign.

The drastic results of the powerful collision literally changed the landscape.  This is God’s desire for us.  He allows us to partner with Him to change everything around us so His Kingdom dominates.

When we drove away from the site, I realized that ‘being the river,’ means that what I do impacts everything I touch.  Like that analogy of the thermometer versus the thermostat, this is a proactive position.

It means that in the face of the stronghold of hopelessness, I can set the atmosphere to the atmosphere of Heaven and despair must bow to the power of Christ’s life, thereby destroying the power of hell that tries to come against it.

My prayer for you today is that no matter what hopeless or desperate situation you may be facing, you will surrender your life and will to Jesus so He can bring Heaven to bear and carry you forward with His life within you.

If you’re between a rock and a hard place, I pray you’ll see how His power can flood where you are with His amazing life giving flow and change everything around you.

Even if your flesh is trying to rear up and fight the inevitable clash with the holiness God brings, I pray you’ll see how useless it is to try going your own way.  If you belong to the Lord Jesus, He will eventually have the victory.

If the surrounding circumstances are stagnant and seemingly immovable, I pray you’ll see how to set the temperature to the hot fire of the Spirit by merging with that raging river of God’s power.

My hope in sharing this word today, is that you, too, will recognize God’s admonition and challenge to “Be the river.”

Trailing Ellipsis marks

2 Corinthians 5:17.  “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
 
Acts 17:28. “for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’”

 

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 sign up with your email address and click the Follow button below or on the sidebar to receive emails when a new post is made.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you on the trail.

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Planks, Pearls & Pigs. . .

planks-pearls-pigsI’ve always loved pearls, because I’m a June baby.  As birthstones go, they are unusual in that they aren’t stones.  But their beauty and value are so captivating that they’re still considered precious stones.

When I was in grade school, my Spanish teacher gave me the name Perla because of my very light blonde hair.  I don’t think she realized that pearl was also my birthstone.

So, in considering pearls recently,  I pondered the meaning and looked up pearls in the Word.  It always amazed me to think that the heavenly gates are each made from a single pearl.  I’d love to see that.  In fact, I actually plan on it!

Revelation 21:21. “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl.  And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”

If you can envision these amazing pearls, then you will have a tiny inkling of just how vast and abundant the heavenly realms are.  God is the King of Kings, so He has riches and splendor available for His children that we can barely imagine.

I love the parable of the man who found a pearl of great price and sold everything to acquire it.  Matthew 13:45-46 says,  “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

This reminds us of how priceless the kingdom of God is to us.  It’s really worth everything we could possibly give.  I’m thankful that Jesus paid that high price for us, though, because I know I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything sufficient to secure it for myself.

Another reference hints at the fact that pearls are metaphoric symbols of something of greater value.

Matthew 7:6. “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

After reading that, I had to ask myself, what are my pearls?  Yes, I have some physical ones, and I do know the verse refers to a spiritual “pearl.”  I believe what God is referring to is what are commonly known as “pearls of wisdom.”  In fact, the saying literally comes from the scriptural concept in that verse.

Job 28:18 also gives us a clue.   “Coral and crystal are not to be mentioned; And the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls.”

Today, we live in a world full of people who operate out of human wisdom or even without any wisdom.  Many people just allow talking heads in the media or worse, their own thoughts and whims, to dictate what they believe.

That is a very dangerous situation and one which has resulted in great division in our nation.  In my experience, a vast majority function without any wisdom, much less godly wisdom.

So what does that have to do with planks and pigs, you might ask?  I believe we need to recognize the condition of those around us and determine to respond to others with godly wisdom instead of human thought processes and opinions.

With this in mind, we need to take a look at the context of what is my anchor scripture reference today.

Matthew 7:3-4.  “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?”

Matthew 7:5. “Hypocrite!  First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

I believe what happens most of the time is that we read the three verses and forget the last, most important part.  The word “then” is there because it’s only after we have completed the first two instructions that we are in any position to help someone else.

These verses are in the context of judging others.  Okay, I know, that’s a really hot button!  But we need to see what God says about it in order to understand what He is getting at here.

If you look back up to the beginning of this chapter, the verse immediately before these verses says, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and, by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

Now, I don’t want to get into a long drawn out teaching about judgment today because I don’t want to lose sight of what God may be getting at.  What I believe we need to understand is that having something in our own life that causes us to be blinded to our own sin must be taken care of before we can help anyone else.  We have to have soft hearts and a willingness to be humble in order to serve others around us.

No one wants to be around someone who is self righteous and condemning.  People won’t be helped by that kind of attitude.  In order to be effective, we have to recognize that God has given us wonderful pearls of wisdom for others.

That’s His gift for the body of Christ.  But, if we are not looking at that big broad ugly plank that is sticking out of our own eye, we won’t be able to truly see clearly enough to judiciously point out what others may need to do in order to grow and change.

Since the whole purpose of the body of Christ coming together is to help build each other up, it won’t do any good if we refuse to examine ourselves first so we can then humbly point out truth to our fellow body parts.

It doesn’t mean that we are not supposed to judge rightly!  In fact, the verses indicate that we are expected to help point out things in our brother’s lives that they may not see.  It just means we have to look at our own attitudes and mindsets, first, to be sure we are free from sin as we reach out to someone else.

Secondly, if we just go around throwing out our pearls of wisdom where no one has asked for them, we can end up in the pig pen at risk of being trampled.  That is certainly not what God has in mind.

If we are to serve the Lord effectively within a group of believers, it would be wise to recognize the three strange symbols of planks, pearls and pigs, and how they apply to our ministry to one another.

Right here and now, I’d like to ask anyone for forgiveness if I have offered my advice or my observations without considering the fact that maybe you didn’t really want it.  That was never my intention.  I’m also fully aware that my blog offers advise and wisdom, but hopefully you chose to read it and weren’t forced to hear something you didn’t request.

Also, if I have ever pointed out a speck in your eye and had a plank sticking out of my own, please forgive me.  I was blind.  Hopefully there aren’t any more planks in there.  Now, that all said, it brings me to the point I want to get to.

Sometimes God gives us wonderful insight and wisdom for someone else in their predicaments.  If we have a prophetic nature, or like me, a teacher anointing, we tend to want to give our pearls out abundantly.  The caution here is that sometimes we are surrounded by pigs.  Sorry, no offense intended.

What I mean by that, is that some people are actually happy in their mud and mire.  Pointing out the obvious or trying to help them get out can be risky.  That doesn’t mean we can’t offer suggestions if God is calling us to do it.  It just means we need to exercise great humility and wisdom in the process.

Sometimes your pearls of wisdom are too valuable to offer to someone who has no desire to receive them.  Having a beautiful pearl trampled in the mud doesn’t seem like a good use of it’s beauty and value.  In other words, giving that wisdom to someone who isn’t ready to receive may actually waste what God gave you and do more harm than good.

Instead, I recommend heading to the prayer closet rather than the pig pen.  That way you can pray about the situation and the person without putting yourself at risk of being trampled or without giving such a treasure away to the mud.  If you’ve ever given advise or correction to someone who didn’t want or ask for it first, then you probably got trampled.

When we carefully examine ourselves before helping others and don’t just throw out the knowledge and wisdom God has blessed us with, then we come into a place of having spiritual authority.  If you know that you have this authority in a person’s life, you might be free to share your pearls with them.

If you have not established that with someone, then I challenge you to see if there’s a big long plank hanging around somewhere…  Spiritual authority must be earned.  So, don’t assume you have it, if you’ve never established relationship with someone.

My prayer for you all today is that you would examine yourself in humility, reach out to help others only after you’ve done that, and prayerfully consider whose life you speak into.

God wants the value He gives us to be treasured.  He wants our encouragement and our exhortation to be based on the other person’s need and not born out of our own.  Perhaps, if you are ministering out of your own need, it might be time for a “plank-ectomy”

When Jesus told us to go make disciples, He meant that we had to do it through relationship.  If you’re surrounded by pigs (sorry…) then maybe you need to see if you can befriend some of them before you try to help.

Having this humble spiritual authority, if you are able to receive this understanding, insures you won’t land you in a pig sty with a plank in your eye throwing all your pearls into the mud.

Trailing Ellipsis marks

Matthew 7:1-6

Do not judge so that you will not be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.  “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?  “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.  “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

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 sign up with your email address and click the “Follow” button below or on the sidebar to receive emails when a new post is made.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you in the trail.

Please leave a comment below to let me know if these devotionals are helping you and please share this post with your friends.  Bless you, dear readers.

The Berry Bowl . . .

berry-bowl

Lately, I’ve found myself engaged in several discussions with others about possessions we have to get rid of when we move.

These chats reminded me that when I was growing up, we moved many many times.  I’ve even moved a few more times since I’ve been married but not nearly at the same rate.

We didn’t move every year; sometimes we moved more than once a year.  By the time I was 19, I had 19 different addresses!

Moving is definitely one of those things that I dread, but also have come to expect. Several years ago, when my mother had to move out of her home in Arizona and move in with my sister in Texas, she had to purge most of her belongings.  After all the moves she’s made, I’m sure that one wasn’t easy.

Thankfully, she had given me a glass bowl before she packed up for that move.  It’s a very ordinary glass bowl. On the outside it is so plain that no one would think it has any special value.

My mother and sister, Marci, recently moved to a new place, and when my sister texted me to tell me it was moving day, I had a lot of things flood my memory.

Seemingly unrelated, I had made tacos for New Year’s Day with my in-laws.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have a recipe we used as children that my mom taught all of us how to make.

So, when I make tacos, it’s usually for a very special occasion.  I served our tacos in a Lazy-Susan which came from my childhood. One of the specially designed pieces had broken but I’d found a set of pieces that matched the old set pretty closely, so it looked complete when I served the meal.

Again, memories flooded me when I used the simple set of ceramic pieces.  I began to ponder this morning about these things we bring with us every time we move because they have some special meaning to our hearts even though they don’t have much intrinsic value.

The very plain glass berry bowl my mother had given me just happened to be one her great-grandmother had used when she picked and served fresh berries.  I don’t have anything else in my life that has come that far down through the family.

I have my mother’s China that she got piece by piece from the grocery store in the seventies when I was in high school.  I have 2 ceramic vases that belonged to my husband’s great-aunt and the Kneeling Lady hood ornament from the Rolls Royce my Dad purchased on the day my son was born.  I have a lot of knick-knacks, but nothing so special as those few pieces.

My other sister, Denise, is going through a time of purging her possessions as well.  She has been telling me of the difficulty of making decisions about keeping things that seem to have value only because they are sentimental.

Someone is helping her through the process and has told her, that ‘no one is going to want this stuff when you’re gone anyway so you may as well get rid of it now.’  I don’t know how much I agree with her in view of my special berry bowl that could easily have been thrown out many many times.

I’m facing having to purge my own house as we are in the very early stages of planning our own move this year. I know there are many things that have to go, but I guarantee you my great-great grandmother’s berry bowl, the ceramic vases, the Lazy-Susan and the hood ornament won’t be among them.

Their sentimental value far exceeds their apparent value.  Of course you know, I tend to see things in symbols and metaphors.  It’s not too difficult to recognize where I might be going with this analogy.  But bear with me, because I think it will bless your heart today.

The berry bowl is absolutely unremarkable just to look at it. Very often, people tend to feel as if they are not very remarkable either, or that they don’t have a whole lot of impact on the world around them.

I’m sure that the simple glass bowl, when it was used, didn’t seem to have much value even to my great-great-grandmother.  But my mother vividly remembers those berries.  The fact that someone kept that bowl all these years reveals it’s true value.

God made us all with value that matters to Him.  People might look at us on the outside and not really see our value.  But God sees all of it.  The Bible tells us that He has numbered the very hairs on our heads.

I don’t know about you but I brush my hair and a whole lot of them fall out.  I don’t want to lose my hair, but I assure you I don’t worry about a couple of them falling out.  And yet He counts them!  I’m amazed.

You see, when something has sentimental value, you cannot put a price on it.  Since we recently finished celebrating the birth of our Savior, it’s fresh in all of our minds that He came and submitted Himself to lowly flesh so He could purchase us for His kingdom.

If you ask Him, I promise you, He will tell you it was worth it.  If you go through and look at what He suffered, it will make you almost sick inside.  But He would tell you, you were worth it.

In this new year with all the changes coming and all the things that are being shaken, it’s very easy to get our eyes off of what’s important.  It’s easy to forget our value in our Lord’s eyes.

We will focus on goals and new tasks or different ways of doing things with this new year in front of us.  Your life might be turning upside down or you might be having changes like a major move, but I encourage you, in the process, to keep in mind the value God has placed on each one of us because we matter to Him so much.

Similar to what happens with with our possessions, we will go through life and make friends.  Some we will keep, some we will have to let go.  It can be very bitter-sweet, like an unripe berry amid the ripe ones.

I trust that you’ll be able to see how important it is to value a person because of their value in the eyes of our King.  He took 9 months to make every single baby in this world and He tells us that we were precious to Him even before we were born.

Because of some of the changes that have been made on our political landscape, I have hope that this year and those coming ahead may bring an end to the horrible practice of abortion.

I know our society has a lot of problems with the issue on both sides, and I don’t want to get into any discussion about that today.  But the way I see it, it’s all about value.

Many people have simple glass bowls, but not many have one which belonged to their great-great grandmother.  To me, that’s value.  It’s probably not worth twenty cents at a garage sale, but to me it’s something I will keep as long as I live and pass on to my own grandchild someday.

It’s really a matter of perspective.  I encourage you today, to remember the value of each person you come in contact with.  Remember that you may not see on the outside the value that God has placed on that person.  But God does.

You may look yourself in the mirror and often times be discouraged at who you seem to be, but remember how God sees you; a highly valued possession worth more even than the life of His own Son.

Now that’s value.  So, it doesn’t really matter where you live or how many times you have to move in this life, what you value is what you’ll keep.  Things really mean very little in the grand scheme of things.

Even if the most valued things end up breaking or getting lost or left behind, our value never diminishes in our Lord’s eyes.

My prayer for you today is that you will evaluate yourself and others, not based on the outside qualities, talents or abilities, or the apparent lack of value, but instead on the value that God has assigned to us simply because He loves us.

So just the same way I treasure that very special berry bowl – to God, we are truly His most treasured possessions.

Trailing Ellipsis marks

 Mathew 10:29-31

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?  And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”

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 sign up with your email address and click the Follow button below or on the sidebar to receive emails when a new post is made.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you in the trail.

Please leave a comment below to let me know if these devotionals are helping you and please share this post with your friends.  Bless you, dear readers.

Hiding In The Closet . . .

closet
I was raised in what most people would consider to be an upper-middle-class home. We always had more than enough and really never knew what it meant to want.

My mother and father had grown up in the Depression and always tried to foster a heart of gratefulness within us. I remember there were times when my father would take us to a poor side of town and show us how others lived.

This was in no way meant to make us feel superior to anyone else; quite the opposite. It was to make sure we knew we had more than many others did and to develop a heart of gratefulness that ran deep.

Any of you who have read my blog for any length of time will know how much I appreciate all the little things in life. I love to enjoy nature because I’m thankful as I realize it is a wonderful gift from our heavenly Father.

That spirit of thankfulness within me has been reinforced throughout the years because God has always shown Himself faithful to take care of our needs.

I remember when we were first married, Dave and I very often got to the end of the money way before the end of the month when the paycheck came. In the Navy, our pay was pretty low compared to others around us in society and we very often went without things we wanted. I became very good at making hamburger different everyday. Top Ramen or Mac and cheese was a frequent dinner and sometimes it was just a baked potato.

But I never lost my thankful heart and make sure I continue to thank God for everything that He has done and for all that He has given me.  It may seem silly, but I very often will even thank the Lord for the hot water in my shower and simple indoor plumbing!

We have camped throughout our marriage, so I know how to “rough it.” I’ve had to use a bush for a bathroom more times than I care to recall!

I now live in a home my in-laws own which is next door to their granny cottage. We jokingly call ours “the big house” even though it’s only 1300 square feet. It is more than sufficient for our needs, so I am not complaining at all. Besides, the discount we get on rent would astound most of you.

Last week I was getting ready to go out of town for the weekend and jumped in the shower only to find I had tepid water. It turns out the pilot light was not staying lit on the water heater. Upon later inspection, it would work on and off for a little while.

I am very grateful that I discovered this before we left for the weekend since we might have had a serious gas leak and could have had much bigger problems.

In fact, there was a big fire recently in a nearby area and 49 homes were destroyed.  This made me realize how God protected us from what might have been a tragic loss.

Yesterday my father-in-law brought the plumber over to determine what was needed. The end result was they needed to replace the water heater. When the plumber found out that we’d had this water heater for 13 years he commented, “Wow, you really got your money’s worth out of this one!”

Once the old unit was removed I had just enough time to get into the closet and wipe out the floor where it had been mounted. The house was built in 1948 and the water heater had been moved into an interior closet from the garage, probably in the seventies.

At one point in time a water heater had scorched the floor of the closet and after 13 years of this unit sitting in the same place, a considerable amount of damage, dirt and grime covered the floor.

I pulled pieces of the charred flooring up but was only able to get out most of the dust and dirt in a cursory manner before the guys came back with the new water heater. Once they got everything installed and I had my hot water back, I went into the closet to finish cleaning.

There were cobwebs on the walls and a mountain of dust on the rest of the floor. The rag I used to clean with was pretty disgusting by the time I was finished.

While I was at the kitchen sink rinsing out the dirty rag, the Holy Spirit began to speak to me about something I hadn’t really thought about for a while.

What He showed me is that many times in our lives, we go about our daily routines and never notice the things that may be collecting in the secret closets of our lives.

There may be hidden places where wounds or scars have occurred and we don’t even know it until something causes us to look deeper. Sometimes it takes a drastic failure to reveal those hidden things.

What I believe God wants us to see today is that when something disastrous happens, it forces us to look at what has been long covered. It makes us dig deep and come in with the necessary cleaning to get rid of the grime and filth that has been left neglected in our hearts for so long.

I’m not the best housekeeper in the world so I haven’t gone in to clean that closet thoroughly since we moved in. I keep a relatively tidy house but I acknowledge that the deep cleaning doesn’t often get done in a timely manner.

I pray today that you will not delay, but will take time with the Lord and ask Him what it is that you may have neglected over the years. Ask Him if there are some wounds or some destruction that haven’t been properly dealt with.   It may be completely hidden from your conscious mind.

Something so complicated as a deep wound or deeply embedded filth in our hearts can be removed so quickly by surrendering to the Savior’s cleaning touch.

Pray that He will show you the things that have been left untended and have gathered dust and dirt that need to be spiritually cleaned.

The good news is, He is more than willing to reveal these things to you and getting them cleaned is even simpler than the hot soapy rag I used to clean the water heater closet floor.

Most of the time the solution is a simple heart of repentance. We simply bring these things out into the open like that damaged floor was when we removed the water heater. He is so faithful to come into those places and clean what needs to be cleaned, removing damaged places, erasing what needs to be erased and making everything new. In the process, He brings a heart of gratefulness to replace them.

Let this picture of the dirty and damaged floor remind you not to leave things in your heart that are not dealt with for long periods of time. It may be anger or bitterness, a deep wound or brokenness. It may be simply something you have not wanted to face.

Whatever it might be, I pray that you will allow Jesus access to that dark closet in your heart today. He doesn’t come in with His soapy rag to hurt you, even though He might allow a big failure to reveal it.  He comes, instead, to make all things new after He reveals what is hiding in the closet!

Trailing Ellipsis marks

 Revelation 21:5  “And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

Matthew 6:6 “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

1 John 1:9  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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 sign up with your email address and click the Follow button below or on the sidebar to receive emails when a new post is made.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you on the trail.

Please leave a comment below to let me know if these devotionals are helping you and please share this post with your friends.  Bless you, dear readers.

Rocky Roads . . .

Desert Sunset3Have you ever traveled on a very bumpy road for any length of time?  As I’ve mentioned in prior devotions, my husband and I enjoy off-roading and four-wheeling.  We don’t often do the hard core rock crawling but on one particular trip, we were on a trail that rapidly disintegrated into a rocky dry stream bed.

Some of the most important principles of this kind of trail running is not to go alone (only one vehicle); have plenty of extra gas and water, and make sure you will complete an unknown trail before dark.  Now, those aren’t hard and fast rules, but they are certainly good advice.  So, on this one trip, we had basically laid aside our better judgement and broken each rule.

On the GPS and on paper (yes, we use real maps!) the trail seemed to come out at a good place and we figured we would be well out of it before dark.

Recent storms and lack of any official trail maintenance had changed the dynamics of the trail.  We came to a point where we weren’t sure which direction to go.  We were fighting just to find a way out of a canyon and the dry stream bed.

Dusk cast long shadows onto the red rock walls above us and as the trail disappeared, my husband and his best friend, both experienced four-wheelers, left me with the vehicle (and a weapon) and walked ahead to scout a route we could follow to get out.  They needed a clear strategy to go forward.

I confess, I was a little nervous.  They weren’t gone very long, but it seemed like ages as the shadows grew longer and the color drained from my surroundings.  I felt quite alone.

When they returned, they came with good news.  The way out wasn’t too bad and it was close by.  We would make it out before dark.  The problem was that we just couldn’t see it from our vantage point.

Relieved, we started out on a very bumpy and rocky “road.”   The rocks, ruts and bumps took all of our attention and stamina.  The canyon walls completely faded to grey in the half light.

That kind of wheeling is very slow going.  Progress takes a long time.  Jangled nerves and white knuckles holding the handles make for a tense atmosphere.  You have to brace yourself for the hard hits and deep ruts.  Your body gets tossed around like a rag doll.

Maybe this doesn’t sound like much fun, but it can be quite exhilarating!  Once we rounded a blind “curve” (remember, there’s no actual road here) we could see the canyon open up and a nice open desert landscape lay before us.

Relief came first.  Then, the beauty of the sunset on the desert horizon, instead of the incessant bouncing, took our breath away.  We made it; none the worse for wear!

Pondering this recollection today, I realized the Lord gave me several object lessons to glean from the experience.  I believe the Lord was revealing, through this trip, several principles for our spiritual walk.

First of all, I’m a planner.  By nature, I like to design things and planning is something I enjoy.  However, for the past several years the Lord has been teaching me to be more spontaneous and to roll with the punches.

I admit, it’s really hard for me to shift, but I’m finding that those unplanned times can sometimes be the most exciting.  Although our rough trail ride skirted danger because of our lack of planning, it ended up being a very memorable experience.

Lately, I’ve realized there needs to be a balance.  Planning is not wrong, nor does it express a lack of faith.  But it must be tempered with a willingness to take risks even when you can’t see ahead clearly.  We need to reach out to the Lord for strategy and insight when we come to road blocks.

On our adventure, the guys had to have a change of perspective.  Since there were no road signs, they had to get out of the vehicle and look at what was ahead from outside our circumstances.

In order to navigate the trail ahead, we all had to get out of our comfort zone to look at everything from another viewpoint.  From this, I believe we need to recognize that, in Christ, this principle of moving ahead in the Spirit is paramount.  We have to rely on the One who sees far ahead of us on the journey and we can take great comfort in knowing that we are never alone!

Once we got rolling, the rocks and bumps caused us not to be able to focus on anything but getting from point A to point B.  It took all our effort just to keep from getting beat up along the way.  It took a long time to make progress, but we had to trust that it would be worth it in the end.  This process applies to us when we are on a rocky road in life.  It takes patience, endurance and faith.

The dimming light around us made the constraints of the canyon walls less apparent, so we could focus on the next part of the path.  We had to focus on the immediate circumstances around us, which made it hard to think long term.  We have to use this same principle in our walk with Christ.  Keeping our eyes on Jesus is crucial when you are in uncharted territory.  Trying to look too far ahead only confuses us in the process.

Four-wheelers have a saying, “put your front tire on the biggest rock.”  That allows your vehicle to keep from getting high centered and stuck as you go over all the other rocks.

I honestly felt like saying, “Just get me out of these rocks!”  But since we were able to persevere through the rocky trail, we were given a beautiful sunset and safe passage out of what could have been a very tight situation, in more ways than one.  God does this with us when we push through the hard times despite the pain and suffering.

He knows the path we’re on.  Every rock and bump is already taken into account.  He wants us to plan, but He also wants us to have faith in His ability to get us through and to make a place for spontaneous joy and adventure as we go.

He allows the rocky road and the pitfalls to teach us how to persevere in the midst of our trials (and our trails too.)  It may temporarily take our breath away in the process and keep us very aware of our circumstances, but in the end, He makes our path straight and usually has a beautiful, breathtaking glimpse of His glory on the horizon.

I believe one of the sweetest sentiments I received from this experience is that when we put our trust in our Rock Jesus, first, then we will avoid getting stuck.

When darkness falls all around us, if we stay the course and take time to re-evaluate when we come upon a fork in the road, He will make it clear which path we are to take.

If you’re on a rocky path, like I’ve been for awhile, especially in ministry, then I hope these simple object lessons will help you remember the truths.  My prayer for you today is that the Lord will reveal Himself to you despite whatever seemingly dead-end or rocky road you might find yourself on.

I pray you will allow Him to help you white knuckle through the tough trail by holding onto Him.  May His ever present help be evident in the midst of your uncertain paths and may you always recognize His presence as the biggest Rock to rely on and keep you from getting stuck along the rocky roads.

Trailing Ellipsis marks

Psalm 18:2  “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,  My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Isaiah, 26:4 & 7  ““Trust in the Lord forever, For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.”

“The way of the righteous is smooth;  O Upright One, make the path of the righteous level.”

Proverbs 3:6  “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”

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 sign up with your email address and click the Follow button below or on the sidebar to receive emails when a new post is made.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you in the trail.

Please leave a comment below to let me know if these devotionals are helping you and please share this post with your friends.  Bless you, dear readers.

The Law of Lift . . .

I had to fly to Houston this week and since I live in a rural area I took a puddle-jumper to San Francisco.  As we flew North, I watched the full moon set over the Pacific in the pre-dawn hours from my window on the little plane.

I actually enjoy flying and often choose a window seat.  I looked out over the landscape and saw a bright line of cars snaking along the freeway in the grayish light.  I could see around the hill where the traffic got a little clearer and thought of how wonderful it would be for those drivers to be able to see around the bend.

Obviously, my perspective on the plane gave me the ability to see so much more than those on the ground.  I looked ahead and saw the coastline drawing a beautiful sweeping arc northward.  The cars on the freeway couldn’t see over the mountains, even though they were so close to the lovely scene.

I began thinking about how much I enjoy looking down at scenes from the heights, whether on a mountain top or from a plane.  I love floor plans and doll houses for the same reason.

It’s all about perspective.  As we descended toward the San Francisco airport, it almost looked like we were going to land on the bay.  Even from my vantage point above the ground, yet inside the cabin, I realized I still had limited vision.  The pilot could see ahead to the runway despite the water below us, and was in communication with the control tower.  He had greater information than I did.

This triggered a recollection of something I had written years ago about flying, but had somehow lost track of.  Once we landed, I had a 3 hour layover, so I found a comfy spot in the airport food court as I awaited my next flight.  I watched people, enjoyed a muffin and a cup of decaf coffee (caffeine doesn’t like me.)

I decided to try to capture the gist of what I’d written a long time ago.  I realized that when I stepped onto the little airplane that I had actually stepped into a different realm.  At first it just seemed like normal. Once we took off something happened inside that cabin which I still marvel at even after many flights.

The law of lift had superseded the law of gravity.  Strangely however when I dropped something on the plane the law of gravity still had sway over everything but when we lifted off we were actually in a completely different atmosphere. The immediate surroundings still revealed gravity’s influence, but the plane itself had just defied the natural law.

If I were to jump up inside this realm of the lifted plane, I’d still come back down quickly.  So, even though we were flying thousands of feet above the ground, gravity still had impact on us.  But, in actuality, we had been transferred into a supernatural realm as soon as the plane took off.

If I were to stupidly decide to try to open the door to the plane and step off of it, then the full effect of gravity would again have its impact.  It would take over and I would splatter on the earth below; an impact I’m not interested in experiencing.

Thankfully I understand that inside the airplane cabin I am protected from the law of gravity on the plane as a whole.  Even though I still experienced its law when I dropped my pen, I’m really in a kind of supernatural bubble.  Fascinating!

As I pondered these things, I realized God was showing me a spiritual principle I think we can learn from today. When we accept Jesus Christ as our savior, we are immediately transferred to the kingdom of light out of the kingdom of darkness.

It’s like stepping into the airplane cabin.  Once we have done that, we are completely protected from the effects of eternal death and now walk in new life. The condition is indisputable.  It’s past tense.  Once in this realm we can ascend into the heavenly atmosphere just like the plane rises into the air.

Believers are granted the ability, in the Spirit, to rise above the normal life below us in the natural. We can begin to see from a viewpoint not even available to those who are in the flesh.

I also realized that inside the plane, I could still participate in all the normal activities of life without hindrance, unless, perhaps the seat belt sign was lit up!

But I was in a realm protected from the effects of the exterior atmosphere.  Crystals had formed on the outside of the plane window as we reached cruising altitude.  As long as I stayed inside the cabin, I was still warm and felt no wind or cold even though those things raged outside.

The thought occurred to me that once we are inside our new supernatural heavenly realm, but still in this flesh, we are protected from the harshness of the natural world around us.

We still feel some of the effects but we are not really subject to what goes on outside of this bubble in the Spirit.  Naturally speaking, we still go about all our daily activities just like those who aren’t saved, but we are completely enveloped in a new spiritual realm.

As long as we don’t step outside of this place we can rise above every circumstance and see clearly what’s ahead. The Holy Spirit gives us new eyes and a new perspective; a godly one.

As we had descended down towards the airport to land, there was some fog and it looked a little chilly.  But I didn’t have to even concern myself with that at all because I was safe inside the plane.

We went through a cloud and experienced a little bit of turbulence but it was over very quickly because our destination was only a few yards away.

I was starting to understand that because of our new position in Christ, we can see farther ahead and can recognize obstacles and ways around those obstacles.  Like seeing the line of white car lights that looks like illuminated ants on a trail, we are able to get a heavenly perspective to navigate difficult circumstances.  We also have direct communication with our ‘Control Tower’ in Christ, no matter what dark clouds we must go through.

Spiritually speaking, we will still be somewhat affected by the reality of the natural world around us but because our destiny is set and established by the Lord, we don’t have to endure those effects for very long.

Most of you probably know that our destination is the full inheritance of the kingdom of heaven.  So just like the plane going through the cloud, we can pass through whatever threatens us or tries to hinder us.

The natural laws of life may affect us, but the supernatural laws can supersede them.  This is how we can face whatever the enemy throws at us.  Regardless of how real it is, we have to understand that in actuality, we are not of this world.

The moment you step off a flying plane you’re again subject to the full effect of gravity and the earthly atmosphere.   Please just don’t do that at 10,000 or 30,000 feet, though.

Spiritually, we need to make sure we stay in the heavenly mindset in order to navigate with our supernatural protection and perspective.  This is the only way we can experience the spiritual realm exerting it’s laws over the natural.  This takes faith.

I believe this is what the Lord wants us to grasp from this experience. Our mindset has to be so transformed by the fact that we are not subject to all the same laws of the natural realm any longer.

We operate in this other atmosphere where loss, lack, pain, sickness and even death can’t truly affect us the same way anymore, at least not for very long.

Yes, we may feel some of the effects but we walk as overcomers.  I challenge you to try putting on this new mindset.  The next time you face a trial, see if you can get your mind into the realm of the Spirit as if you had just stepped onto a plane.

As you allow yourself to be lifted above the natural circumstances into the protection of the heavenly, you will be able to set your mind and focus on the truth of the kingdom you really belong to.

This is what it means to walk in the Spirit.  This transformation is crucial if we are to live effectively in the world but still not be of it.  Nothing that happens to us inside the spiritual realm can overtake us if we see it like being on the plane where the law of gravity is superseded by the law of lift.Trailing Ellipsis marks

Galatians 5:16-18 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”

Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”

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 sign up with your email address and click the Follow button below or on the sidebar to receive emails when a new post is made.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you in the trail.

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Red Flags of the Soul . . .

Red Flags. Pixabay.

Red Flags. Pixabay.

Our town is going through several street repairs of late.  On one section there has been a flagman waving people along.  He had a red flag and held it up to get people to pay attention to him.  I realized while watching him that the red flag was an indication of what was going on.  It was a clear picture of a spiritual truth we can look at today.

Like the red flags, I recognized that our feelings command us to notice them.  They are so ‘in your face’ that we really can’t ignore them.  I believe they are a God-given gift to our souls.

Feelings themselves are neither good nor bad, right nor wrong.  They just ARE.  However, their existence has a purpose.  Without them, life would be extremely boring and static.

God knew before He ever created us that we would have feelings.   They are never a surprise to Him.  In fact, I believe they are one of the many ways we, as humankind, can identify with our Maker.

It may surprise you, but God has feelings as widely ranging as we do.  In Genesis 6:6 it says, “The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”

In this verse, we glimpse the deepest sadness of a Holy God.  Now read Psalm 105:43,  “And He brought forth His people with joy, His chosen ones with a joyful shout.”  Those two extremes show us the range of emotions God has.  They are only two examples of God’s feelings being expressed.  There are many more.

The point is, we must not forget that God has feelings and can identify with us on a deeply intimate level.  I haven’t even mentioned the emotions Jesus experienced while He was on the earth.  The difference with Jesus was that He never simply followed His feelings, but always surrendered and submitted them to His Father.

Feelings, then, should be seen as indicators, not only of our humanity, but of our being created in God’s image.  They should not be frowned upon, squelched, ignored, or feared. They should be expressed, but in a godly way.  They are what I call ‘Red Flags of the Soul.’

Just like physical pain or adrenaline is to the body, feelings indicate to the soul that something is out of the ordinary.  It may be something wonderful, something horrible, or anywhere in between.  If you will take the time to examine what your feelings are, I believe you’ll be able to learn to deal with them in godly ways.

First, identify your feelings, and then draw near to your Heavenly Father and share the feelings with Him.  Ask Him to show you what the feelings indicate.  Then ask Him to bring your feelings into line with His truth in the Word.

Galatians 5:17 says, “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.”  Verse 24 goes on to say, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.”

What this means to me is that Feelings are not GOD.  Many people seem to treat them as if they are.  I know I used to act as if they were.  Sadly, even Christians often allow themselves to be mastered by them.

Instead, I encourage you to train yourself to identify them, bring them to the Lord, and submit them to the truth.  I believe this is what Jesus meant when He prayed before His crucifixion, “Sanctify them by the truth, Your word is truth.”  John 17:17.

In other words, the more you can submit your feelings to God and have them line up with Scripture, the more godly you will become.

If you will practice becoming aware of what you are feeling instead of allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by feelings, you’ll be on your way to dealing with them in a healthy manner.

If you will allow Jesus, our Intercessor and High Priest, to wash them with the purity of His word, then you won’t run the risk of being overwhelmed by them.  When we allow our feelings to determine our behavior instead of the Holy Spirit, then we are actually walking by the flesh and not the Spirit.

When you examine your feelings and bring them before the Lord and the truth of His word, I believe you’ll discover a greater intimacy with Him.

Don’t be afraid to share each feeling intimately with God.  Allow Him to soothe, comfort, encourage and correct you.

My prayer for you today is that you will get into the habit of bringing every feeling to Him and lay them at His feet. This is the reality of what it means to surrender.

God didn’t give you feelings so you’d be overwhelmed and incapable of functioning.  No, He gave you feelings so you could fully experience this amazing abundant life and so you would learn to share every tiny detail with your beloved Savior.

The more you practice this intimacy, the sooner you’ll find yourself dependent on Him and soon you’ll be walking fully in the Spirit and not be mastered any longer by the bright red flags of the soul.

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Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”

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 sign up with your email address and click the Follow button below or on the sidebar to receive emails when a new post is made.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you in the trail.

Please leave a comment below to let me know if these devotionals are helping you and please share this post with your friends.  Bless you, dear readers.