Face Toward the Sun

Did you know that sunflowers follow the sun all day long? Their faces follow the pattern of the sun across the sky. If you have seen a field of them, like the one on highway 321 in Friendsville, it looks like the sun has dripped across the field leaving little puddles of sunlight on stalks.

What I love is the notion of faces turned toward the sun. Wherever the sun goes, the plant, without mind, heart or soul, follows. The flower knows the sun is where the nourishment is. The life. And it reflects the golden life so, so well. Then oddly enough, when the seeds are ripening, the sunflower faces only east to protect the seeds from scalding.

If that is not enough, the center of the flowers form circles. Like a crown.

Wonder what God is saying through this simple act of nature?  Follow. Reflect. Glory displayed.

Father, I think You are so smart and so beautiful in how nature teaches us about You. Teach us to look and listen. Warm our hearts and minds, that we would follow You and find life. Amen.

Don’t Scramble. Follow.

Don’t scramble. Follow.

Simple words. Big, hairy, audacious way to live. Scrambling and striving is innate, ingrained. Expected and applauded. By the world, that is.

Following is scary, unsure, uncertain and certainly out of your control. But whose life is it anyway?

Weren’t we crucified with Christ? And now, we don’t live anymore? Our demands for control got nailed to the tree. Right?

Want to know if you are simply doing life the Jesus way when He said, “Follow Me” ?

Pay attention to your fear, anger, and need to know the outcomes. They are dead give-aways that you really, really, really think you are in charge.

Not only did Jesus say He would never leave you, He also said you couldn’t add one hour to your life or an inch to your height by worrying. He implied, why fret when when you can trust?

Fretting comes from fear of being alone and on your own. Trusting comes when you know you are in His hands. And it is the only and best place to be.

“Let not your heart be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in Me” John 14:1

Who Is Driving?

You already know that the Lord is hilarious. And He speaks everywhere all the time.  Well my God story this week is from a bathroom in Hot Springs, North Carolina.

We were making a pit stop on the way to our WGR Leadership Retreat and I saw an open Bible on the bookshelf next to the potty.  So since I was just sitting there for a moment (ahem)  I looked over to see where it was opened.  Oh, surprise, surprise: Psalm 23, where most Bibles are marked in funeral homes and the like. But I sensed the Lord telling me to read Psalm 26 because I love that one.  I quickly realized it was in the King James Version, and this familiar verse took on a whole new kick.

“Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” Psalm 26: 2

When was the last time you prayed that? How much do we give the Lord permission to examine and prove us?  I don’t know about you, but the term “try my reins and my heart” really grabbed my attention.  Reins are what you use to direct, to lead, to guide, to stop or correct. Reins are how you drive a horse, a carriage, a life.

“Try my reins.” See if I willingly hand them over to You. Are they supple in Your hands from firm, loving use?  Are they easy to hold from lots of hours of good following and obedience? Or are they stiff and unused?  Have I been running wild without reins or direction?

What about my heart?  Do I do the same for my heart? Willingly hand it over? Trust You to hold and lead? Is it soft and following, or hard and balking when You apply  tender pressure?  And honestly, what is the difference between my reins and my heart?

It is the difference between my will and my affection.  It is one thing to say you follow God. It is another to love Him. It is one thing to “obey” out of fear, and quite another to “go with Him” out of pure adoration. Both the reins (or will) and the heart are what God is after. Wholeheartedly His.

Examine me, Lord. Test how I am living life with You. Gauge how I am allowing my life to be led. By You or by my own selfish ways. You are the God of my will. You take the reins. And hold my heart, Lord. Keep it warm, safe and soft in Your mighty right hand.  Heal me and make me fully yours. Amen.