The deer were out to greet me again this morning as I began page 229. After saying hello to them, I went about my morning prayer and cleaning routine. As I finished getting the building ready for the day I took the trash out and found another deer grazing along the back of the building near my office. As I was talking to the deer (yes, I may have lost my mind but I talk to them), I was thinking about how God tells us in His Word that a gentle answer turns away wrath. He also says we should let our gentleness be known to all. I have seen deer perk up their ears and lift their tails, which are often precursors that happen just before they take off running, and at the sound of my calm, quiet voice which I believe the recognize, they relax and go back to grazing. There are many things in this life that scare us, and should scare us, but we ought to know our Shepherd’s voice so well that it is able to calm us and make us feel safe. But it goes further than that. As the children, and representatives, of God here on earth, we ought to we ought to speak with that same calm and gentle voice to a world that is filled with fear. Accusation and condemnation are tools of the enemy, not the tools God has given His children to use through His Spirit. God has given us truth and love to be used together in order to share a message of safety and hope.
A lot of today was spent researching prayer retreat location options. Sometimes we need to take a break from the noise of the world so we can become more familiar with the still small voice of God which is present through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I read in the Bible that Jesus would withdraw to “lonely places” in order to spend time with His Father and I can’t help but think if He needed to do that, how much more do I need to make time to visit the “lonely places” in order to hear more clearly? Jesus prayed that the world would know His followers by the love we have for one another. As you think about your interactions with people, and specifically with other believers, do you think love is what the world notices? Is love even what your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ notice? Do people relax when they realize you are the one nearby, or see your number show up on their phone, or get a message from you; or do they tense up and prepare to escape to safety?
I spent some time on the porch this evening watching for the hummingbirds and shot today’s photo while I was waiting. The loose petals around the edge of this rose made me think of the rose under glass in the Beauty and the Beast. The glass was to protect the rose as much as possible because it served as a timer. True love must be found before the last rose petal falls or the young man who had acted like a beast, and therefore given the form of a beast, would remain trapped forever as this beastly creature. Anyhow, the loose petals made me think of the brevity of life and the uncertainty of when that last petal will fall. I want to live in such a way that if all the petals fell off tonight, my life would have been lived to the full.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- If I’m ever too busy to notice the beauty of God’s creation, I’m too busy.
- A kind word is good for the soul . . . it also seems to be good for the wildlife. 🙂
- We ought to recognize safety in the still, small voice of God.
- Those seeking God ought to recognize safety in the way we represent Him.
- “Lonely places” are not necessarily lonely when you intentionally go to them in order to spend time with God.
- The good Shepherd calls His sheep and His sheep know His voice.
- How people respond to my voice, words, or presence ought to indicate to some degree what kind of voice I am using.
- Only God knows the amount of time each of us have on this earth. Live in such a way that you’re ready if that “last petal of life” were to fall today.