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Today I walked with God and Miss Kitty, my cat.  The weather was beautiful; not too hot or cold. It was nice to be out in the sunshine and to feel the gentle wind caressing my face.  All around me I could hear song birds singing a sweat melody.  Peace surrounded me like a soft, fuzzy blanket.

The walk began with me carrying Miss Kitty to the end of the driveway.  At that point I put her down and let her decide if she wanted to go back or follow me.  She decided to follow.  We walked down hill and everyone was enjoying the walk including Miss Kitty.  Soon we came to a picnic table where I decided to stop and have lunch.  Miss Kitty explored the area as I carefully watched her. 

After eating we began our walk again.  Not long after we started walking again, I noticed Miss Kitty was panting.  I knew she was getting tired so I picked her up and carried her.  As I did it reminded me of Jesus saying, “Come to me, all of you who are wary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. Not long after picking her up she was squirming to be let down.  In the same way, we often struggle to go our own way, by our own power, regardless of how tired and worn out we are.  Just as I let Miss Kitty go, so does Jesus.  As Miss Kitty walked along, I kept a watchful eye on her, just as Jesus does us.

We came to a building that had water.  I tried to get Miss Kitty to drink some water but she refused.  I was reminded of how we often turn away from drinking Jesus’ Living Water … “the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” John 4:14 (NKJV).  How often we turn to satisfy our thirst with temporary pleasures.

When I went to leave the building and start home, Miss Kitty no longer wanted to follow me.  She wanted to stay at the building that provided some comfort.  She gave me no choice but to pick her up and carry her.  The first time I let her down she ran back to the building.  I had to go back and get her. This time I carried her beyond where she could see the building.  She was not happy and even hissed at me.   There are times when God has taken me away from a place I felt comfortable and if I speak honestly I would have to say I was not too happy with Him.  What Miss Kitty didn’t realize was I was taking her home, a superior place than the building she wanted to stay at.  And God was taking me to a better place.

The way back was up hill. Not far from home Miss Kitty decided to lie down and not walk anymore.   Miss Kitty could not see that was home was close.  Do we at times stop when we are so close to where God is directing us?  With my coaching Miss Kitty decided to get up and she is now resting comfortably at home.

Soon we will be going home and forever will be at rest in our Lord’s presence!

“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex 33:14 (NKJV)

by Sandy Hancock
www.amazinglifeministries.org

             

               The beach is a favorite place of mine and I was blessed to spend the morning of my birthday at Rosarito Beach.  I ventured down to the sand early in the morning before anyone was there.  It was a special time of walking with God in the quiet morning hours. 

                The sand was not even; the way I usually see sand at a beach.  Instead it had peaks and valleys.  I thought of how the peaks are like the times in our life when we are on top of the world.  Life is good.  The valleys are like the low times in our life when our circumstances are not good. 

                I watched as the ocean water gently washed onto the sand.  Each time it came in, it would cover the valleys and you could no longer see them.  I thought of how the water was living, constantly moving.  As I contemplated the scene, I was reminded of how Jesus offers us living water and as we drink of His water, the valleys in our life begin to be filled with His joy and peace until they are no longer seen.  It is my prayer as we walk with God we will drink of His living water and be filled with peace and joy!

“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks  the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 4:13-14 (NIV)

By Sandy Hancock
www.amazinglifeministries.org

Sweet Grapes

“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ,
in them that are saved, and in them that perish.”
2 Cor 2:15 (KJV)


                Not long ago I had the pleasure of visiting a friend’s vineyard.   As we walked around, he pointed out that grapes are naturally small.  The grapes we purchase in the store are about twice the size they are normally.  He explained just before harvest a process called girderling is used to plump the grapes up.  As part of the process, the ground is flooded with water, the roots absorb the water and it travels up the trunk and out to the grapes and the grapes become larger.   He gave me a grape to taste & commented how grapes are sweeter when they do not go through this process.

                I pondered on the sweetness of the smaller grapes, ones not exposed to this process. It made me think of how we can ‘process’ our Christianity.  Through our processing we add a list of expectations & regulations.  It becomes a routine of what we are to do and by doing so we can lose the sweetness of an intimate connection with God.  

                The focus moves from a simple walk with God to the list of things I must do.  Instead of quiet times alone with Him, we fill our lives with busyness with the things we think He requires of us.  In our minds, His love for us becomes diluted and it becomes hard to see how we are a sweet scent rising to God, because of Christ. 

                Jesus’ strongest rebuke was to the Pharisees who added to what He desired, resulting in a burden on the people God never intended.   Have you placed burdens on yourself God never intended?  Does your relationship with Him have a sweet taste? If not, perhaps it is time to remove the obstacles caused by the processing & join Him in the quietness of your soul.

 

Take a Walk with God Today

www.amazinglifeministries.org

Someone has hurt us and immediately our thoughts dwell on what we don’t like about that person.  Over and over we think about what they have done and how wrong it was.  We look for sympathy by telling others how we’ve been wronged.  We might even think about how we are going to get even.  This is the natural thing to do. 

As I watched a twig floating down the river, I thought about how easy it is to go with the natural flow—to let our thoughts travel down the river of self pity.  Farther and farther we journey downstream.  To change directions and think about the things we really enjoy about the person is about as easy as the twig traveling upstream.  

The twig is only stopped by an obstacle in the river such as a log or a damn.  We are about as powerless in our natural state to block our negative thoughts as the twig is stopping on its own.  We need God’s help to stop the momentum of our thoughts towards hatred for those who hurt us.  Let us pray God will throw an obstacle into the river of self pity our thoughts travel on so we can see the goodness of the person who’s hurt us.

“ . . . fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.” 2 Cor 10:5 (MSG)

by Sandy Hancock
www.amazinglifeministries.org

 

Recently I was blessed to see several geysers in Yellowstone National Park.  I learned geysers are created when surface water works its way down deep into the earth to the hot rocks below.  The water begins to boil and pressure builds.  Eventually pressurized steam and water spray out of the geysers surface vent.

I wonder how many of us are similar to a geyser.  Hidden in our soul are “hot rocks” left there by painful experiences; times of rejection, insults, and cruelty.  Time passes but the upsetting memories linger deep inside.  The water is our thoughts.   A new distressing event occurs and our thoughts travel down into our soul where the hot rocks of hurt reside.  As our thoughts mull over these rocks and they begin to boil and eventually we erupt. 

A geyser is a natural event and is subject to the environment.  Unlike a geyser we are not subject to our circumstances—we have a say in what we think about.  We can capture our thoughts and not allow them to flow to the “hot rocks” within.  They can be redirected and moved into a positive area of our life.  It’s our choice!

“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute.” Proverbs 15:18 (NASB)

by Sandy Hancock

www.amazinglifeministries.org

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV)

Rejected and upset I run to hide where no one can reach me.  It is a scary world full of hurtful people ready to harm me.  So I engage only as needed in my daily life being careful not to expose myself too much.  I give only when called upon and only in moderation since too many times parts of me have been broken and I fear it might only take one more time to break me into tiny little pieces thus I stay safely tucked away.  Who I’m I?  I’m your heart who is afraid to connect too closely to others, to reach out and give love.   

As I walked along and admired the fruit trees, I thought of how bearing fruit is only possible as long as they are connected & receive nourishment from the ground.  God calls us to connect to him, calling himself the vine.  Only through our connection to Him are we able to bear fruit.  I then thought what good is fruit unless it is eaten.  How does it bring nourishment without being consumed?  It doesn’t. 

So who is to consume the fruit if not those around us?  The fruit is meant to give life-giving nourishment to the people the Lord brings into our life.  Yet how are they to reach the fruit if it is protected and out of reach, the fruit of love springing forth from our heart when it is hidden safely away?  I thought about how unpicked fruit eventually falls to the ground and begins to rot, not useful to anyone.  It no longer brings beauty to the tree or nourishment to those who could have eaten it.  

In conclusion, I ask “does hiding really work?”  Ultimately is the heart safe when it does not share its fruit?  I say it is not!  The only reason a fruit tree bears fruit is to give nourishment.  In the same way,  the only way to find meaning and purpose in life is by giving of ourselves, helping others & connecting to them in a meaningful way. 

 by Sandy Hancock

www.amazinglifeministries.org

Beware Danger Ahead

“What he trusts in is fragile; what he relies on is a spider’s web.” Job 8:14 (NIV)

 

“Fragile area stay on trails” the sign said.  God gives us a road to travel on—a road that gives hope.   Together we are to travel this road with humility, discipline, and pour ourselves out to each other in love. This road leads us through the dangers along the way; nonetheless, we venture off the road into a fragile area.

We trust in what appeals to our eye.  Our senses call us to go discover the beauty that lies in the meadow.  It looks so pleasing. God has put up a road sign that says ‘Fragile area stay on trail’, yet it is too tempting to stop.

What happens? We no longer have a clear path to take so we have to rely on our own judgement and abilities.  We depend on ourselves to guide us through life without any clear direction.  We are inept to do this and we take paths that go nowhere.  Sooner or later we end up in danger.  And we become a victim of the spider.

The spider may be close by ready to immediately grab us or further away allowing us to grow comfortable on this detour of ours. But sooner or later the spider will find us.

My friend, stay on the trail no matter how rough it looks—it is the only one that brings hope and peace!

“I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences. You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly.” Eph 4:1-4 (MSG)
 
by Sandy Hancock

 

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