Every so often, devotions I once wrote for Camp Greystone campers will appear in my inbox. Today, I loved remembering this piece I wrote for young people on the incredible things God does.
You can find the devotion here https://devotions.campgreystone.com/blog/2021/6/incredible and also pasted below. At the time when I wrote this, I remembered reading this verse from Joshua 3 about the Lord who does “amazing things.” I wanted the children to realize how God does incredible things, so I called this post “Incredible.”
“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” Joshua 3:5
Aren’t you ready for something amazing? Do you sometimes feel so bored and confined that you just wish for a miracle? I do. Lately, I’ve been reading the book of Acts, and I’m just astounded by the crazy stuff that happens.
People just walk around in that book filled with awe and wonder all day long. It’s like their jaws are permanently dropped in amazement. So many incredible things happen with Jesus’ power that Peter and John simply say, “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” As I read this book, I consider the extraordinary miracles God accomplished through ordinary men.
Does God change? Has He stopped being amazing? Has He stopped doing incredible things in our lives?
No. Not at all. Not even a little bit.
One of the amazing, incredible, powerful, miraculous things God does is bring people back from the dead. Indeed, we were spiritually dead until we received Christ. We became spiritually alive the day we accepted the free gift of salvation. That’s incredible. That’s a miracle!
It doesn’t stop there. Our God is a God of miracles and “nothing is too hard for Him” (Jeremiah 32). Right at this very moment, He can supernaturally provide what you need.
This morning I read some words from Hannah Whitall Smith that ring true. She notes that yielding, trusting, and obeying God provide a “universal recipe for the cure of all spiritual diseases and difficulties.”
I think about my own lifetime of choosing to surrender to God, of telling God that my life belongs to Him and He therefore can do what He pleases with it, and of living a “crucified life” (Galatians 2:20). What peace comes next! What joy that all will be well!
It also makes life a grand adventure. You’re now following a marvelous God who is taking care of everything.
We might make a daily practice of surrendering our lives each fresh morning. We can picture handing our whole day and all that includes–the family, friendships, work relationships, and tasks ahead of us–to God’s loving and wise care. And now? We relax and let the day peacefully unfold. It’s the famous invitation in Matthew 11:28 to come to Jesus with our weary lives to find His rest. What a different way to live as surrendered to God: the universal cure!
My husband and I enjoyed a beautiful day at Longwood Gardens. I found myself returning several times to the bonsai display of azaleas.
When you see the magnificent blooms here, know they represent sometimes 60 years of training (if not more). While I only observed a select number of bonsai (since the display was under renovation), I’ve heard you can enjoy a bonsai tree from 1900 as well as a miniature pomegranate tree that grows real pomegranates.
I stand and marvel at these beautiful trees. I think of the gardener gently pruning for a lifetime. I think of the art of bonsai: the trimming, the shaping, the cutting, and the binding. I think of the patience. I think, too, how one goal of bonsai involves what’s called “no trace of the artist.” A viewer should not notice or even be able to detect at all any external cutting or shaping that would leave a scar. It’s an art where the artist disappears to let the tree’s beauty shine.
The goal of the bonsai artist: invisibility.
All day I think about those trees.
Bonsai: patience, small improvements, and invisible labor.
I think of so many things in life that require patience and gentle care. I think of the invisible labor in marriage, parenting, and in keeping a home. Day after day, you craft a life. You make small changes. You prune and shape.
Stand back and observe the beauty. Yes, it’s invisible labor and years and years of patient work. The blooms might not even appear in your lifetime. The finished product and the fruit of your labor may come in 100 years. But one day, indeed, the blooms come. In God’s perfect timing, and in the hand of the Bonsai Master, they come.
I wander to the garden to feel the morning air on my skin. I sip coffee and meander about, just observing. I look at the ground cherry and marvel how the seed I planted once sat in my palm, no bigger than a grain of sand. And now? The whole plant seems impossible. One seed creates this plant whose fruit holds hundreds and hundreds of seeds.
Would we not discover God if we just asked about this whole seed business? Who thought of this process? How can we not worship? And why do we love thinking like this? Who put that inside of us to wonder over growing things and delight in growth at all? How uniquely human!
Next, I note the super sweet cherry tomato. I worried over these seeds. I worried I’d see no fruit. I hadn’t seen the normal rabble of bees to pollinate. My oldest daughter reminds me how easy pollination is and how the wind can do it. I find myself amazed at wind. Is that why we have wind? To pollinate when the bees cannot?
Finally, I note the potted mini sunflower. It follows the sun. Think about it. How does it do this? Who programmed it? How can we not worship this kind of God? I thank Him for the particular combination of yellow and cobalt blue–my favorite. Thank you for colors. Thank you for seeds. Thank you for the sun, for dirt, and for gardens. Thank you.
This morning, I read Psalm 68:19. It’s such a simple declaration about God, but it changes everything about how we approach the day ahead. We read, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”
It’s the daily part that comforts me and challenges me to remember this astonishing offer from the Lord. Today—this very day—God bears our burdens. He gives us power, strength, wisdom, peace, provision, and more. He gives us everything we need as we come to Him with our burdens for the day.
What a different kind of living!
I remember to write these burdens down and record God’s power. But why? Here are 3 reasons to begin your own record of God bearing you burdens.
First: It’s a way of fulfilling Psalm 102:8: Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord. Keep a record for the next generation.
Second: Writing down the daily story of God’s provision gives us stories to share with our friends who don’t yet know the Lord. You have ways to encourage others because of how God encouraged you. Can you imagine these joyful conversations around the dinner table or campfire? At the baseball game or at the pool? We’ll be like the psalmist who says, “Come and listen! Let me tell you what God has done for me (Psalm 66:16).”
Third: We build our faith when we record the faithfulness of God. We choose to remember. We shall not live like the wandering Israelites who “did not remember [God’s] kindnesses” and rebelled against Him (Psalm 106:7).
You can record your stories in a journal or blog. You can share them broadly or just keep them for your close circle. Know that God hears you and is already working. It’s going to be a great day!
This morning I remembered my favorite AW Tozer quote:
“God is so vastly wonderful, so utterly and completely delightful that He can, without anything other than Himself, meet and overflow the deepest demands of our total nature, mysterious and deep as that nature is.”― A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine
Don’t you just love it? And as I read Psalm 65:1, the word “satisfied” kept ringing out. David writes this about those following God: “We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house.” I then remembered Psalm 63:4 where David recalls the steadfast love of the Lord that “is better than life.” He says that with God, “[his] soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food.” God is better than anything–than even life itself–and He satisfies us completely.
I often believe I need this or that thing in order to find true satisfaction. What a freeing and beautiful thought to remember God can meet the demands of our souls and satisfy us completely only with Himself! Yes!
Hello! I have some great news! Last fall, I wrote a children’s book based on Seated with Christ about a little girl who can’t find a seat in the lunchroom. We follow her journey to discover she’s already seated at the best table with Jesus!
I showed my agent and publisher this book–called This Seat’s Saved–and guess what? This morning I signed a publishing contract for my very first novel (technically it’s a called a middle grade novel since it’s for 8-11 year-olds). If you’ve been with me here at Live with Flair since March 2010, you probably know I’ve always wanted to be a fiction writer. Some of you reading this remember when I tried to sell a Southern fiction series and then a quirky adult contemporary novel. I’ve been reading rejections for those novels forever!
God had other plans for me. I never set out to write Christian nonfiction. But here I am. And today? What a winding, wonderful journey to see an old dream revived. Because I wrote Seated with Christ, God opened a great door to write fiction based on Ephesians 2:6.
This Seat’s Saved will come out in 2023, so I’ll keep you posted. This book features some extraordinary stories from my own middle school life–like when my dad and I tracked a red fox in my backyard for a science project that won a prize. So yes, a red fox appears as an important character. It’s also set in the Pennsylvania woods which I have come to deeply treasure since I moved here back in 2008. I cannot wait for you to read this book and share it with the rising middle schoolers in your life.
God doesn’t forget about our dreams. He knows exactly when things should happen and why. Remember that God “holds in His hands your life and all your ways” (Daniel 5:23). Remember that He “formed the hearts of all and considers everything they do” (Psalm 33:15). And remember to trust His perfect timing. That’s what I’m learning most of all.
I love the quote from the poet Lemon Andersen who says:
“God may not come when you call, but He’s always on time.”
Hello! After several days of migrating all my email subscribers to a new service called Follow.it, you all should now receive the daily email updates just like before. I’m so sorry for the interrupted service! (For inquiring minds: the old service called feedburner is ending–that’s why I need a new email subscription service)
As a thank you for your readership and friendship for all these years, and to celebrate a new email service, enjoy a free pdf download of my writing book called How to Write with Flair.