Road less traveled

Jeep travels by Mary Mesikapp
Psalm 25: 4 - 10   

4 Show me the right path, 
O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.  

5 Lead me by your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God who saves me.
    All day long I put my hope in you.
6 Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love,
    which you have shown from long ages past.
7 Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.
    Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,
    for you are merciful, O Lord.

8 The Lord is good and does what is right;
    he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
9 He leads the humble in doing right,
    teaching them his way.
10 The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
    all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.

Occasionally, our family travels into the mountains on 4 x 4 Jeep trails. This time in nature reminds me to consider the road less travelled. My husband drives as I navigate with suggestions over the huge boulders, rolling rocks, and tree stumps. Water passages can be tricky especially when you never know how deep they may be. Our youngest hangs on for dear life as the jeep lurches, slides, and is temporarily at an odd angle to the mountain. Our brains are scrambled somewhat by the bumps on the trails yet our brain clears with joy when we reach our destination.

Traveling on Jeep 4 x4 trails takes trust, wisdom and a drive for adventure, much like life’s journey. Trust in the driver and the jeeps solid maintenance is necessity. On jeep trails and in life, there can be opportunities to avoid obstacles.

I can be an avoider, how about you? Yet the more time spent in the Bible teaches me to believe the obstacles may be used by God to deepen my faith.

The Lord is good. He does want to show us the path to follow. We have to let Him provide us with wisdom, which means we must drop our need to control and our pride.

We must be open to redirection, like navigating boulders. We have to take time to read His Word, it is an action step for our benefit.

We must discern who our tribe will be. Who is the leader? Who is the follower? We have to seek accountability from the right people who want us to be examples of integrity and character. There will always be people bent on our destruction. We must choose wisely who we believe.

The Lord is faithful and He is love. He is the Ultimate Best Friend and Wisdom Giver. Let Him be your navigator. He is the Compass directing you to the best things.

Thirsty

Let the Living water of God fill the empty places and bring refreshment. Are you parched in the weary state of the world or in your private life?

Let the Lord quench your thirst. I love this song by Shane and Shane. Living Water flow through Jesus and fill your life.

https://youtu.be/DlnAREAjTfU

Psalm 107:9 NLT
[9] For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

God bless you today.

Sisterhood (Brothers too.)

Lessons from the Clucky Ladies are many. This photo taken by my youngest is such a beautiful picture of the Sisterhood ( Brotherhood :)) of Christ. Let me paint a clearer image for you nonchicken people stacked chickens in a laying box is not the norm :).

Chickens need their separate space in the chicken coop to lay eggs. Generally speaking, each chicken needs time to release their egg in the laying boxes. There are 5 separate spots for our ladies. As they prepare to lay their eggs, they have a pensive face, quiet and determined. As they are laying, they usually sing a song. Or at least that is what it sounds like. I would guess it is a feeling of accomplishment.

One of the chickens is brooding for the past few weeks, this potential mom to be sits on her egg and her sisters eggs all day hopeful for a chick to be her reward. She is steadfast in this behavior and day by day we are needing to provide extra tender loving care by providing water, and snacks to keep her alive. We have no rooster, therefore, this want for a baby chick will never be filled.

The brooding chicken clucks in a loud noise as we remove eggs gently from underneath. She has been loved by our daughter and myself, held as a little chick and thus is not mean. She runs off to eat after we remove her egg.

We have watched her red comb, the object on her head and below her chin, shrivel. I have learned that the comb is very vascular, meaning it carries blood supply to the body, it provides cooling for body temperature. A healthy comb is vibrant red and thick in size, as you can see in the photo of the other chickens.

This beautiful snapshot our “Cluckly Ladies” reflects our need to surround friends and family with support. It can be just a word of encouragement, a phone call just because you feel prompted ( maybe by God), or dropping a text or funny meme. It can be lifting up a prayer right away. There is nothing better than hearing someone pray for your needs. Its love in action. You will be amazed when you step out of the box and bless another.

Matthew 23:37 tells us the Lord wants to gather his children as a hen protects her chicks. What love is this, He is protector and wants us to love others. We have to be open to spreading love to others. It can be scary but so amazing.

The Sisters (Brothers) in your life, biological or otherwise need to hear from you. It may just be what the Great Physician ordered.

God sees you!

El Roi is the Hebrew name for “the God who sees me.” It is found in the story of Hagar (Genesis 16). There are days when we feel unseen, passed by, invisible. It can be as a result of our timid nature, a struggle of confidence, circumstances done to us or as a result of our own choices.

Hagar was in the unfortunate position of servant to Abraham. Abraham and his wife Sarai wanted a child and were blessed by God to have a son. They were impatient in their old age and decided to have Hagar surrogate their son. Then Sarai was sad because she was not the mom. So Hagar and her son were not treated the best. Hagar took her son Ischmael into the desert to run away. There in the desert she called out to God and God came. What an encounter, the well (place) was named, ” God sees me”.

God sees you. He knew you from the moment of conception. He knew what you would look like, He orchestrated steps, He will be the still soft whisper in your ears, He will be the Shepherd to us, His sheep.

Psalm 119:18 NLT Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.

God sees you. He knows everything about you, your mistakes, your laughter, your times of despair, your times of triumph. He wants to be in relationship with you.

Psalm 139:23 NLT Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

God sees you. He awaits your voice. He waits for you to reach out to him, He wants you to choose. He wants to spend time sharing wisdom as He did with Hagar. He knows the voice of each of His sheep.

We have one goat, when I hear her loud voice, I know it is her speaking. There are other goats in our neighborhood. These fainting goats have a higher pitched sound. I can tell the difference. If our goat, Loute (her name is German for Loud), makes her voice known, I answer her concerns by checking in on her needs. Usually, her concerns are an alert to let me know her best friend, Opie the horse has escaped his corral.

God sees you!! Call out to Him. Tell Him your concerns. Listen for the Shepherd. He will give wisdom.

Pray this scripture below, Ephesians 1:4-11 placing your name inside it, such as “ Even before He made the world, God loved me ( )He chose me ( )in Christ… God decided to adopt me…etc.” Complete the scripture aloud. He wants to hear your voice.

Ephesians 1:4-11 NLT Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. [5] God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. [6] So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. [7] He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. [8] He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. [9] God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ-which is to fulfill his own good plan. [10] And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ-everything in heaven and on earth. [11] Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

God sees you! He is good. Reach out to Him! It is worth the risk.

Driftwood and Criticism

Criticism is not fun even if it is constructive. I consider criticism a statement of failure and condemnation, being judged unfairly and not measuring up to someone’s standard. It kept me angry. Synonyms for criticism vary from censure to review, assessment to appraisal. There can be negative or positive results.

Can there be rewards for constructive criticism? Should I be open to grow and be transformed into a better version of myself while I am feeling chipped away? Is there any truth to the criticism? Is this a healthy relationship?

I pondered, should I allow myself to be whittled like a dry tree branch? I have always been fascinated by people who can take a piece of driftwood or an old part of a tree and create something one of a kind, beautiful. They are able to see the beauty underneath the surface. Think about it, our God sees us the same way!!!

Photo by Kathryn Archibald on Pexels.com

On the outside the scrap driftwood appears to be dry and useless as it holds no life. It has been broken away from the main tree trunk. There are no longer pathways of sap to provide sustenance and energy. Maybe it has been floating in a river or ocean quite a while becoming further withered.

Do you ever feel like driftwood? Floating along, perhaps feeling alone, lost, distracted? The Master Craftsman could be waiting for you to float onto the shore and be ready for new things. If we ponder, the tools needed for this transformation we may use: Stillness with God, the Bible and humbly allow the cutting away of sin, forgiving ourselves, repenting and asking God for a new beginning. We must choose to let him carve away the dry.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

A wood carvers tools of the trade may be straight chisel, wood carving gouge or whittling knives each serving a specific purpose. A knife cuts away at the unnecessary layers of dead wood. It digs away layers slowly from the outside in. Could that be a chronic sin such as telling little white lies so we don’t hurt someone’s feelings instead of being truthful?

Proverbs 27 :5  An open rebuke is better than hidden love!

The gouge may allow the craftsman to gather the dry parts quicker, yet with care and patience the carver is hopeful not to gather too quickly. The gouge may be the deep consequence of returning to angry outbursts instead of listening intentionally.

Proverbs 15:1  A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.

The chisel removes debris closer to the surface. It’s a skimmer of sorts. Perhaps an example of this in humans may be, the gentle rebuke from a parent, ” Hey, do you want to try that response again? Deep breath and we can talk more.” or ” Forgive me!”


Proverbs 26 :28 A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.

Corrie ten Boom was such a humble example of Christ, she gained more self-control as she was in the trial. Her quotes from her time in a concentration camp are found on the internet and in her book, “The Hiding Place,” a biography from World War 2. She witnessed the oppression of Jewish community including her friends. She, along with her family, chose not to stick with the status quo and many lives were saved by not turning a blind eye to the atrocities on their fellow country man.

The world is better for women such as Corrie and their example of putting to practice the words of scripture. I do not know if I could have forgiven those who committed evil. I would pray that I would choose the wisdom of God were I in her shoes.

One of my favorite quotations from Corrie ten Boom: Our critics are the unpaid guardians of our souls. 

What a timeless quote for daily mediation. I think honest critical comments can help us grow into who the Lord already knows we can become. There is a difference between constructive, loving communication and criticism that is meant to devour another person. Loving communication must start with words of affirmation, truth and love.

James 3: 2   Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.



James3:6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

The enemy wants us to switch gears in our minds and use our tongues to sear in fire those created in the image of God.

We must seek truth in Christ, be bold in speech and allow Him to grow our faith and bless our lives.

Ephesians 4:15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ.     

I need to allow the dry places in my soul to be touched and sharpened by those who can help me grow. However, I am not open to be devoured by another whose intention is destruction. I pray for discernment of the Holy Spirit.

Choose wisely who we trust with wisdom. God first, of course, then friends who want to reflect Him to the world, like Corrie. May be the unpaid guardians of our soul need to be given thanks. Let God, the Master Craftsman, cut away the dry places and bring out the beauty just as driftwood!

Proverbs 27 :17   As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

Would you take a hike?

A hot, summer day in Colorado, my youngest daughter and I were running the usual errands for groceries, animal feed and spending quality time together. I was driving home on the interstate when out of the corner of my eye I saw a man dressed in Bible time costume dragging /carrying a wooden cross. I was traveling the usual 60 MPH, when the traffic slowed to a crawl. If this had not occurred, I would not have seen this man.

It was near 100 degrees with 50 percent humidity. I said to my daughter, “I don’t know who that is, but I am praying he completes the call God may have placed on his day”. I was especially concerned about the possibility of hyperthermia, dehydration and heat stroke.

You see, I used to be an Emergency Trauma Nurse. Once a nurse, always a nurse. Ask my daughter. I couldn’t get off the highway to hand him a bottle of water as there were no close exits.

I have often wondered what kind of person would take a walk carrying a wooden cross like Jesus? I assume a devout follower of Jesus on a pilgrimage or someone trying the spread the Gospel message of Jesus.

I was amazed when a few weeks later, a longtime friend, brother in Christ, who I hadn’t seen in over a year texted me. Chris texted, “I am thinking of you, Mary, and I want you to check out an interview I did at my church”. I responded “Sure, no problem, I will check it out”.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Pexels.com

I had been praying for my brother in Christ, Chris, even more frequently the past 18 months, since his wife Tracey passed away suddenly. This amazing couple served in church, in Bible study, prayer teams, on the worship team, in kids ministry and also on children’s plays with me. They are humble and use the gifts the Lord gave them for serving others. Many people have been blessed.

I am so excited to share his testimony with you. If you have the time, it is an amazing example of hearing the Lord ask you to action, like the Bible story of Jonah and his call to visit Ninevah. In that story, the whale swallowed Jonah and he had a testimony that is still shared today.

We never know whether that still small voice of God exists. In our human perspective, it is illogical. But God can do anything. Are we listening for his calling on our lives? Are there other people created in the Image of God that need to connect with you and see Jesus in your words and actions? It is convicting but amazing.

Would you take a hike? Chris made me ponder that question. I plan to listen with two ears not one, and to slow down for rest. Who knows, maybe I will hear the Lord speak. Onward and upward, one step at a time.

Run away Horse

Opie( Mr perfect Valentine), our free spirited palomino, had two adventures this month as a run away horse. Lessons in life were gained through this crazy country experience.

As we ( the hubby and I) took two days in 104 degree weather to harvest 235 hay bales, we became exhausted and sweaty. In the past our young adults were a part of our harvest team.

This year, our teen daughter was excited to drive the pickup as the ole parents grabbed the bales from the field and stacked them in the barn.

Opie, our 16 year old Palomino and his side kick, Loute, the brown and white goat tag teamed running through the back pasture.

I watched Opie nibble from the final rows of 40 different hay bales as he sauntered up the row. His eyes wandering to and fro. I distracted him by encouraging him to visit friends (fellow horses) in the back field. Temporarily my ruse worked. I went back to stacking hay on the trailer.

Suddenly, I looked behind me I yelled to my husband, “look out he’s making his way to the open gate”. My husband ran fast but Opie bolted whinnying happily as he snuck out the side gate to the street. I ran the opposite direction gathering halter and lead rope. I caught up with my husband breathing like a steaming tea pot, muttering and praying for safety.

Opie galloped to our neighbors gate trying to get into his friends’ pasture then reared and ran around the corner onto a busy country road. Loute, his buddy ran along with him, adding to the chaos as she made loud sounds, Loute, her German name fits perfect it means “loud”.

This crazy country comic relief reminds me it’s easy to be distracted by world or culture. Apparently the world outside the pasture was calling a rogue horse and goat to run!!!

Loute waddled alongside her buddy into trouble and all the way back to the corral and pasture. Her voice was louder than usual and obnoxious.

We must laugh at the craziness but stay the course. Find joy in the crazy! Life can be a sweaty hot mess. Don’t you agree?

Psalm 33:11 But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken.  

Opie snuck out again three days ago, due to distractions of life, kids decisions, heat, hungry and tired, my husband left the gate to pasture open ;)!!!A stranger came to inform us by ringing our door bell, saying, “ do you have a palomino?” 😉 The kind man brought an apple, yet our stubborn horse knew mom and dad were coming with halter and lead rope to safely bring him back to his pasture, where sustenance, clear water, food and a fan was blowing away the summer heat. This is the place Opie could be refreshed and renewed.

 John 8:12 Jesus said to the people, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

As I was trying to catch my breath the second time, I pondered how much each of us are like a horse, we need a halter and our Wise Creator to hold the lead line. Just like his owners, Opie must let us keep him safe and alive :). We must be willing to be lead to good holy places. So blessed Jesus wants us to seek Him and He will guide us.

Garden Gate

When I look at this photograph from a family trip to Victoria, B.C., I recall a heavenly Butchart botanic gardens with amazing beauty. Heaven will make this look simple.

Isaiah 32:18 NIV

My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes,
in undisturbed places of rest.

Our home is not here, it is in heaven. Someday, I will see it for myself and be in the Presence of Jesus. I hope to meet you there.

Poppies

An addition to my “Weeds” post, our hard effort in digging up weeds can be rewarded. You see there are good things under the surface. Dirt and weeds need to be tended and a personal circumstance needs our attention. Good things are possible for those willing to do the work. We can lean into another, the One who created us.

Psalm 139::14 
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Jesus made you wonderfully and for a grand purpose. Maybe there are times when you don’t feel His love but He awaits your communication. Just as these beautiful poppies took time to form and explode into their orangy-red glory, every year they bless my garden with their brilliance. They needed water, soil adjustment and weed removal.

You are a beautiful poppy in the making. It is said that sometimes we have to call something what it is until we believe it for ourselves. Friend, You are a beautiful poppy may your face look up to the heavens. There is a God who made you marvelous. Call out to Him.

“Jesus, I am here, show me how to shine and help me to feel Your love”. All it takes is one step at a time.

Next time you see a poppy remember it is a little touch of heaven just like you.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Springtime into Summer

I was so moved by this song from Chris Renzema, “Springtime”. It lifted my soul, I felt as if I was floating in the freedom of Christ. My previous post, “Weeds” reflects on many of the lyrics. Sing a new song. It doesn’t need to be Springtime, move into summer and feel the peace.

Sometimes, I have to just pause and listen to the music of the winds and sounds of nature. I even shared this with my Millenial child who reminded me, “It’s summer, Mom!! but thanks for sharing it.” 🙂

I hope you feel blessed. Thank you Chris for sharing your vocal gifts and the great message.