what lies ahead

what lies ahead: pursuing the upward call (Copperlight Wood)

In my life, I have owned probably a dozen or so devotionals, of sorts. It’s what we do, right? We read a little, have our quiet time, move on with our day.

It has never really worked for me. Sad, but true.

I’ve tried. I don’t read devotionals daily, I lose interest, and they sit on a dusty bookshelf until they go to a friend or the thrift store. They become Books That I Never Finish, just like Augustine’s Confessions and Don Quixote, and I feel like a quitter.

Boo hiss.

There’s a special one, though, that was loaned to me years ago and I still read it.

(Did you notice that? I’m usually safe to loan books to. I did ask permission to keep this one a little longer – after I’d already had it for a year or two – and my dear friend said to just keep it. And she smiled [!] and meant it nicely…because she’s wonderful like that. Thank you, dear friend…)

It’s this one.

what lies ahead: pursuing the upward call (Copperlight Wood)

And I don’t read it every day, either. But I have read through it (on the right days, the wrong days, whenever) more than once.

God Calling was edited by A.J. Russell, but written by two women in the 30’s who anonymously called themselves The Two Listeners.

He speaks; He has always spoken to those who would wait and listen. We have scripture, yes. But He also speaks directly to us…because He is God with us.

I’ve heard amazing things about Jesus Calling – which, due to my devotional deficiencies listed above, I confess I have not read, other than snippets here and there that were marvelous. But if you are familiar with Jesus Calling (and you probably are because I’m sure you’re much better at this devotional thing than I am), then God Calling will likely seem familiar to you also.

In any case…a devotional is only as good as its ability to help you listen for His voice on your own, rather than using it as a lecturing podium that spoon-feeds teaching.

what lies ahead: pursuing the upward call (Copperlight Wood)

To the individual reader, it should be a living book versus a textbook. It should ignite a light in us that burns and grows, versus a flashlight that shines mechanically…and eventually dims.

I looked back at the first post in this series, and remembered writing the numbers all the way down to 31. It was a long, empty list. Somehow, each number was going to have a title next to it and the list would be filled, but I had no idea how that was going to happen.

That list of posts is now almost completely full, and I am so overwhelmed with His faithfulness.

And I think, Jesus! You showed up, every single time. Even when I didn’t want to.

I’m persistent like that, He says.

I am always waiting here for you.

There’s one empty place left, and I’ll fill it in a few minutes. I’m still not even sure what the title is going to be yet. But He knows…He has known all along.

 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.

– 1 John 5:13-15

This is the last post in this little series, but there’s so much more. His very nature is abundant. I hope you want more about the life of waiting, listening and hearing Him.

I pray you are ignited, filled, and flowing out as a conduit in all the lives around you. I have loved hearing stories of how He’s spoken to you over the last 31 days. I hope you’ll tell me how He continues to speak to you, because there’s so much more ahead.

One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

– Philippians 3:13b-14 

We’ll resume our regular programming next week, still with open hands, empty paper. A brighter fire…and more strong coffee.

wait and listen from Copperlight Wood

*This is day thirty-one of the Wait and Listen series. The other posts are here.

this time

Scrolling, scrolling. I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. Thanks to our 31 Days of Manic Blogging Frenzy, I’ve been a good girl and hardly even peeked at the opiates – I mean, opportunities – on there.

this time: what really inspires (Copperlight Wood)

But tonight I’m procrastinating. I should be writing my post, I should be doing the dishes, I should be getting Sophie off the counter where she’s hunting for a leftover scrap of someone’s chicken from dinner…but…there might…there just might…be something amazing if I scroll…a little…farther…

BAM. A recipe for one of my favorite cookies that uses only three ingredients.

I told you.

The worst thing that can happen to a gambler is to win.

– Charles Spurgeon

Except upon further investigation, I discover that one of the “ingredients” is a commercially-made cookie consisting of about 38 ingredients, many of which are stinky fake chemicals that I can’t pronounce. So it’s not a win for me – it’s a disappointment. Phooey.

this time: what really inspires (Copperlight Wood)

What did you expect? He says.

Umm…with only three ingredients…I guess I was hoping for a miracle.

Well, Love…you were looking in the wrong place for that, weren’t you? 

Find me here, speak to me
I want to feel You, I need to hear You
You are the light that’s leading me
To the place where I find peace again

You are the strength that keeps me walking
You are the hope that keeps me trusting
You are the light to my soul
You are my purpose, You’re everything

When you’re bored and just scrolling without purpose, looking for inspiration and not finding it…it’s time to look in different direction.

When you’re overwhelmed and looking for distraction, look for Me instead. I have wonderful things to distract you with, and I will help you find your focus again.

this time: what really inspires (Copperlight Wood)

Your time with Me will never disappoint you.

I will always leave you wiser or rested…or both.

You don’t want to miss this.

You calm the storms, and You give me rest
You hold me in Your hands, You won’t let me fall
You steal my heart, and You take my breath away
Would You take me in, take me deeper now

How can I stand here with You and not be moved by You?
Would You tell me, how could it be any better than this?

– Lifehouse, Everything

This time with me is bountiful, potent, effective to change and restore anything you are avoiding. This time is fertile, to bring forth what you are awaiting. This time creates a prolific momentum toward everything you are aspiring.

This time with Me is never a gamble.

You will always gain. You will always bear fruit. You will always find peace when you find Me. You will always win.

wait and listen from Copperlight Wood *This is day thirty of the Wait and Listen series. The other posts are here.

brains, strength, steel

brains, strength, steel: the help you need (Copperlight Wood)

We walked to the mailbox in the fall sun and brisk wind, and came home to warm clothes in the dryer and several more loads on deck. I sorted mail and hauled an armload of clothes to the living room couch to be folded…but from across the room I could hear the dryer door opening and slamming shut repeatedly.

I peek around the corner. Chamberlain’s got the junk mail I just gave her, and she’s throwing it in the dryer. Slam. Open the door, take out the mail. Slam. Repeat.

“Hey, Cham, what are you doing?”

“Checking my mailbox.” SLAM!

“Oh.” Four year olds are geniuses. “Well, I need to flip the laundry and you’re going to have to find something else to be your mailbox. Sorry.”

She looks toward the kitchen and doesn’t miss a beat. “Like the oven?”

She is a sharp, fast thinker. Fearless, too, with a mighty future ahead. She has amazing assets. Someday they will all come in handy, and hopefully won’t involve any structure fires.

brains, strength, steel: the help you need (Copperlight Wood)

“Let me tell you what’s been going on –“ He stopped and shook his head. “No,” he said. “There’s too much, it would take too long, let me distill it for you: the wedding is at six, which leaves us probably now something over half an hour to get in, steal the girl, and get out; but not before I kill Count Rugen.”

“What are our liabilities?”

“There is but one working castle gate and it is guarded by perhaps a hundred men.”

“Hmmm,” Westley said, not as unhappy as he might have been ordinarily, because just then he began to be able to wiggle his toes.

“And our assets?”

“Your brains, Fezzik’s strength, my steel.”

– William Goldman, The Princess Bride

Brains, strength, steel. I need more of each. It is weeks since we wrote this list and I’m still unsure about how to tackle it in the big picture.

I’ll give you everything you need, He says. It won’t always be what you expect.

Often, I’ll give it to you in the form of other people. Otherwise, you would think you could do it all on your own…and eventually, you would think you could do it without Me.

I’m putting just the right people in your path to walk with you, He says.

“…I’d better run away,” said Shasta, turning very pale.

“Yes, you had,” said the Horse. “But why not run away with me?”

“Are you going to run away, too?” said Shasta.

“Yes, if you’ll come with me,” answered the Horse. “This is the chance for both of us. You see if I run away without a rider, everyone who sees me will say ‘Stray horse’ and be after me quick as he can. With a rider I’ve a chance to get through. That’s where you can help me. On the other hand, you can’t get very far on those two silly legs of yours (what absurd legs humans have!) without being overtaken. But on me you can outdistance any other horse in this country. That’s where I help you.”

– C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

I’m also putting you in the path of others, to walk with them.

But hey, Love…do not always expect a leisurely stroll to the mailbox.

wait and listen from Copperlight Wood

 

*This is day twenty-nine of the Wait and Listen series. The other posts are here.

a force to be reckoned with

I thought it would be an easy chore. Afton loves the kitchen, wants to have his hands in everything, and this seemed like the perfect task for him.

All of my flour containers were empty, and they just needed to be refilled from the giant bin in the pantry so I could make bread later. Easy. He was happy to tackle the mission, and I sent him off on his merry way with great confidence.

a force to be reckoned with: the power of a united front in friendship (Copperlight Wood)

One person is powerful. We can do many amazing things on our own. The prayer of a righteous (devoted, pursuing God, willing to be surprised by Him) man or woman avails much.

One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you.

– Joshua 23:10

a force to be reckoned with: the power of a united front in friendship (Copperlight Wood)

I love that kind of math. But sometimes He leads us to a threshold that requires assistance to walk through.

Our boots are on the ground and we need back up, stat.

Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.

– Leviticus 26:8

Back in the kitchen twenty minutes later, Vince asked me where Afton was.

“In the pantry.” Though he should have been done fifteen minutes ago. Hmm.

“Have you seen Andrey and Reagan?”

Oh, dear.

“Umm…no. I thought they were with you.” Silence is golden, except when it’s suspicious…

The search takes just a few seconds, brought to a firm conclusion when three (uno! dos! tres!) of the guiltiest looking seven-year-olds you ever saw emerged and slowly filed out of the pantry.

They’re covered from head to toe in flour, just like the floor. Oh, yes.

Somehow, the one kid I sent in there multiplied into the three amigos, and their impact was…(cough)…exponential.

a force to be reckoned with: the power of a united front in friendship (Copperlight Wood)

We need each other. A united front in a cause creates a force to be reckoned with.

Eomer and Aragorn stood together on the Deeping Wall. They heard the roar of voices and the thudding of the rams; and then in a sudden flash of light they beheld the peril of the gates.

“Come!” said Aragorn. “This is the hour when we draw swords together!”

…Together Eomer and Aragorn sprang through the door, their men close behind. The two swords flashed from their sheath as one…

Charging from the side, they hurled themselves upon the wild men…

Dismayed, the rammers let fall the trees and turned to fight; but the wall of their shields was broken as by a lightning-stroke, and they were swept away, hewn down, or cast over the Rock into the stony stream below.

– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

You need to pray for each other, He says. It is your greatest weapon against darkness and your greatest defense against the enemy. You need to pray with each other as much as possible, prayer that goes deep and wide and perhaps unnoticed by the recipient, but altogether effective nonetheless.

You need to show grace to each other and trust that I am speaking to each of you. Your effectiveness diminishes in proportion to your friendly fire.

I’ve called you to increase courage in each other because you will need it. If you are not speaking life and victory over each other, you are in retreat.

When you are united, your impact is exponential. This is where you find the victory.

wait and listen from Copperlight Wood

 

*This is day twenty-eight of the Wait and Listen series. The other posts are here.

to defy clamor

to defy clamor: extending our comfort zone (Copperlight Wood)

Hey, friend.

I got your email. And I’m going to reply personally soon…but what He has been reminding me of today, before I even got your email, is just for you. And for me, too…and maybe a lot of others. Let me share my notes…

O LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for You. Be our strength every morning, Our salvation also in the time of distress.

– Isaiah 33:2

We wait and then we hear from Him, and suddenly we need (neeeed) His strength and salvation, because He so often tells us to do things that are nuts. 

I’m going to give you more than you can handle because I want you to remember that you need Me, He says. You can always trust Me.

Our obedience is a departure from the comfort zone and for some reason, that offends people. It makes them uncomfortable, like it might be…catching. Contagious. And it is. 

People who are not prepared to do unpopular things and to defy clamor are not fit to be Ministers in times of stress.

– Winston Churchill

And…

It is not open to the cool bystander…to set himself up as an impartial judge of events which would never have occurred had he outstretched a helping hand in time.

– Churchill

“Criticism is easy, achievement is difficult.” Um, also Churchill. The guy knew a thing or two about both warfare and friendly fire.

What terrifies other people is becoming ho-hum to you because you’ve let Me move through you. 

Let Me surprise you with how much I am making you capable of. 

Suddenly the great beast beat its hideous wings, and the wind of them was foul. Again it leaped into the air, and then swiftly fell down upon Eowyn, shrieking, striking with beak and claw.

Still she did not blench: maiden of the Rohirrim, child of kings, slender but as a steel blade, fair yet terrible. A swift stroke she dealt, skilled and deadly…Backward she sprang as the huge shape crashed to ruin, vast wings outspread, crumpled on the earth; and with its fall the shadow passed away. A light fell about her, and her hair shone in the sunrise.

– J.R.R. Tolkien, Return of the King

Those who are on the front lines of a battle come under the heaviest fire, He reminds me often. But I am your covering. I am above and below, before you and behind you, and in you to do mighty, mighty things. 

I have your back.

to defy clamor: extending our comfort zone (Copperlight Wood)

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

– Romans 8:37

So, friend…I’m praying for you tonight, and for all of us who are facing foul beasts. I need reminded so often that He has made us more than conquerors, able to vanquish the enemy with high authority, without apology.

You will defy clamor. A light will fall about you, Love, and the shadow will pass away.

wait and listen from Copperlight Wood

 

*This is day twenty-six of the Wait and Listen series. The other posts are here.