No Regrets

Eyes wide open.  A rude, unnatural awakening.  A bad fall, not out of sleep but into wakefulness. 

Mind racing desperately to grab hold of the finely-woven dream threads now quickly unraveling.  Please God, help me remember. 

A thin thread of a man’s voice reading a book, a really good book, a best-seller-kind of book.  A familiar voice, one similar to the voice of my own thoughts, yet not my thoughts, now gone.  Completely forgotten.

I remember only one thing … I am the protagonist of the forgotten book.

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Later, as I ponder this nighttime parable, I’m reminded of Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia.  Lucy reads a magic book and soon discovers that the right-hand pages, could be turned; the left-hand pages could not.  As much as Lucy tried, she could not remember all the wonderful things she had read, and she could not turn back the pages of the book to read it again.

When Aslan, the great Lion King of Narnia and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea appears, Lucy asks him,

“Shall I ever be able to read that story again; the one I couldn’t remember?  Will you tell it to me, Aslan?  Oh do, do, do,”

“Indeed, yes, I will tell it to you for years and years.”

Like Aslan, the great Lion King (the God-character in the storybook), there is One Above (or should I rather say within) who is the author of my life book.  One who has been telling me my story for years and years. 

As long as I have breath, I live page by page, unable to go back for there is no use in that.  I’m speaking of the regrets, the whys and the what-ifs.  For as Aslan explains, no one is ever told what would have happened.

So, I’m learning to live a life of no regrets. It takes trust, it takes faith, it takes loving myself. And that kind of love comes only from the Author of my book, who will be telling it to me for years and years.

I may never know what a different ending holds, and even if I did, it may not be what I expect, which is why it’s best I get rid of all regret.

Lois Stephens

Love & Peace,

“… looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, …”. Hebrews 12:2

Place a lawgiver over them

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The law of God is not a set of rules to test our obedience, but rather meant to reveal patterns of relationship that reflect God’s own nature.  

In the New Testament account of the woman caught in adultery, the law of the day required that both the man and the woman be accused.  The law also required that there be two witnesses to the act.  In this case, the requirements of the law were not being met and the woman, whether guilty or not, was being held unjustly.

Jesus responds to the unjust act by demonstrating his God-nature of faithfulness to the unfaithful woman.  He calls her up to a higher standard of life.  The only stones touching the woman that day were the foundation stones of God’s rule, attended by the witnesses of love and truth.

Jesus did not diminish the law but raised it to be representative of the very nature of God. 

Justice, most simply, means putting things right again.  Jesus is always interested in the wronged party.  He comes to make right that which is wrong.  He comes to restore relationship.

“…Place a lawgiver over them.”  Psalm 9:20 (TPT)

 

 

 

 

Have I ever felt persecuted when I’ve been contradicted?

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This statement has me thinking.   Have I ever felt persecuted when I’ve been contradicted?

Persecuted—a strong word.  Never has my life been threatened because of my political or religious beliefs.  There were a few times when I was treated unfairly by those who contradicted me—misunderstood and misrepresented by those who didn’t agree with my way of thinking.  Not sure I’d call that persecution, though—more like an opportunity for some needed character development on my part, I’d say.

And then there’s the flip side.  Have others ever felt persecuted when I’ve contradicted them?  My guess is yes, most likely.  I recall some strong reactions from others with whom I disagreed–involving words like close minded, judgmental, disloyal and deceived.

But I rather focus on those times of honest, direct and respectful heart-to-hearts, when we’ve come through to the other side with no bruises, no wounds and no battle scars.  Thankful for those precious times when two agree to disagree and still remain open to relationship for the sake of love.

The bible tells the story of two brothers named Jacob and Esau.  Jacob and Esau had a disagreement that led to a broken relationship lasting many years.

The evening before reuniting with his brother, Jacob wrestles all night with “a man” (who really is the Angel of the Lord).  Jacob calls the place “God’s face”, because he saw God face-to-face and lived.

At daybreak, Jacob leaves his wrestling match and moves on to meet his brother.  Upon seeing Esau, Jacob cries out, “To see your face is like seeing the face of God”!

Sometimes God hides Himself in our disagreements.  Sometimes He hides Himself in those who contradict us.  Sometimes we just need to keep wrestling through until we can see God’s face in the face of the contradiction.   That’s not persecution—that’s love.

Have you ever felt persecuted when you’ve been contradicted?  Try envisioning your brother, and your difference of opinion, coming right out of the heart of God.   It may give you a new perspective worth exploring.

Hope: An Anchor for the Soul

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Returning to my room at the Breakwater Inn in Kennebunkport, I see the young Latina girl out of the corner of my eye.  I turn and our green-hazel eyes meet.

“I can do your room later if you like,” she says shyly as she kneels in the hallway with cleaning supplies by her side and tying up bags of trash.

The occupant of the room next to mine shuts her door abruptly.

“Oh, that’s not necessary.  No need to do my room today,” I smile.  “We just need our wastebaskets emptied, if you don’t mind.”

And the next thing I know, I’m kneeling beside the Latina girl with eyes like mine tying up trash in the hallway of the Breakwater Inn.

And then I notice it—on her forearm—and the connection begins.

“Your tattoo is really pretty.  Tell me about it.”

“It’s a lotus flower.  It means hope.”

“So pretty,” I say, and she continues.

“I especially like these lines that come down from the flower.  They remind me of the chains on a clock.”

“Oh, like the chains you pull on a clock to set the time?  So, your tattoo reminds you that this is your set time to hope?”

She smiles and nods in happy agreement.  She knows I get her, and He gets her, too.

And one more bag of trash is tied up and tossed out in a quiet moment of sharing God’s love with a young Latina girl with eyes like mine.

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Jesus never forced his opinion or himself on people.  Instead, he stooped down low to associate with people of all walks of life.  He spoke their language in a way that helped them connect to God.