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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Seasons come. Seasons go.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens (Ecclesiastes 3:13)

Anyone who experiences four distinct seasons in their climate is happy to see winter go and have spring spring into action. It’s already happening, slow but sure. More sunshine. More birds chirping. Buds on the trees. And flowers beginning to poke their heads out.

Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. (Song of Songs 2:12)

Those flowers. What have they been doing all these winter months? Just sitting there? Unproductive?

I sometimes feel that way in my personal life. There just seems to be “stages” or “seasons” when I am energetic and full of life and can’t wait to get started on a project. And other times, when I feel not very productive at all. (Lazy)

Could it be that there are seasons to our personal lives as well as in nature? Whether it lasts months, or revolves through its cycle each day …

Is there a winter where there is more reflection and rest?
A spring where new ideas and energy leap into action?
Summer full of smiles and sunshine and enjoying the outdoors?
And a fall, where things wind down…

Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest. (Exodus 34:21)

Even during the plowing season and harvest … hmmm.

Maybe, like nature, we aren’t meant to stay in one season continuously. Maybe our energies, and the energy of those around us, ebb and flow – like the world around us.

He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. (Psalm 104:19)
Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. (Jeremiah 8:7)

Even the stork in the sky knows ...

Everything has been created by God. Organized and orchestrated and cared for by God. And by His hand, there is a beauty to every season.

Are you thinking you need to be going full tilt for the Lord all the time? Every waking moment? Or are you restless because you think you aren’t doing enough?

How about we let God decide.
God has the rhythms of life in His hands and He is always working things out.
Relax. He’s got this.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


But the Lord replied to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered and anxious about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part (that which is to her advantage) , which will not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:41-42 AMP)

The collection of bracelets on my arm have started to gain some attention. (Okay. Rightly so.) Each one reminds me of someone special in my life. They also remind me of something else. Something important. Don't worry about what other people think.

What's most important is this: What does your Father in heaven think?

I tell myself, "I'm 60 years old! It's time to simplify. It's time to live in the pure and simple joy of the Lord. And to live for the Lord alone."

I recently had a conversation with a person heading into a sticky situation. Sticky because of what we anticipate other's reactions will be. When the only thing we should be spending our time being concerned about is:

What does my Father in heaven think?

Oh, what peace we often forfeit ...

Have you, like me, sometimes got caught up in seeking the approval of others? Spinning your wheels?

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed - or indeed only one." (Luke 10:41-42)

Will I be removing these bracelets to a more "sensible" number? Not at all. Collectively, they remind me of the one thing. The one necessary thing. 

Simplify your life.
Give the Lord His proper place.
He is the Utmost.
He is the one thing.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Gaining ... every week!

© 2012 Julie Crane All rights reserved
We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. (Hebrews 2:1)

So, yeah ... I joined one of those weight management programs. Daily tracking, weekly weigh-ins. Weekly meetings. Plus 24/7 help line.

And I'm gaining.

I'm gaining success in weight loss goals.
I'm gaining victories over bad eating habits.
I'm gaining freedom from anxiety over food in general.
I'm gaining peace about my health and appearance.

Daily tracking: helps me pay attention to what's important, be aware, stay committed
Weekly weigh-ins: a regularly scheduled checkpoint so I don't drift too far from my plans for reaching my goal
Weekly meetings: because it is helpful and encouraging to gather with others on the same journey; understanding the same struggles
24/7 help line: because, sometimes, I need guidance and advice - right now

I've tried time and again to do it on my own. Every time I drifted. And then gave up. Even when I believed it to be so important. Not paying careful attention does that.

And so now I'm wondering if the same practices could improve my spiritual life.

Daily tracking: (prayer and bible reading) would help me pay attention to what's important, be aware, stay committed
Weekly weigh-in: (reflect on my thoughts of God this past week) a regularly scheduled checkpoint so I don't drift too far
Weekly meetings: (gathering together as believers - seeking the Lord) because it is helpful and encouraging to gather with others on the same journey; understanding the same struggles
24/7 help line: (The Lord Himself - available always - to hear and to help) because, sometimes, I need guidance and advice - right now

I'm ready. I'm ready to gain more and more success in my life.

Join me, won't you?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Thank God for ... exercise?

© 2012 Julie Crane All rights reserved

While physical training has some value, training in holy living is useful for everything. It has promise for this life now and the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8 CEB)

7:00 a.m. Time to get on the elliptical. Groan. The negotiations are already starting in my head: “I did it yesterday. I don’t have to do it every day. I’ll probably go for a walk or something later, so …”

So why am I on the elliptical again? Why do I do it? HOW do I do it?

A good friend recently reminded me: “Because I CAN!”

I physically can!

The bible verse above doesn’t say it’s of no value. There is some value.

So how can I turn this “physical training time” into holy living time? By giving thanks to God.

Thank You for every breath.
Thank You for my heart pumping blood and oxygen through my body.
Thank You for strong enough muscles.
Thank You for arms and legs working in tandem.
Thank You for energy, desire, and drive.
Thank You for Your help.
All these processes are truly miraculous!

Whether your goal for physical activity today is going to the gym or using your walker to go down the hall and back with your oxygen bag hanging off your shoulder -

thank God you can do it.

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Live in a spirit of thanks. And praise. In this life now and the life to come.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

In Crisis

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses … (Hebrews 12:1)

Exactly two years ago today, I posted this picture of myself on Facebook as I prepared to have breast cancer surgery. I took every post, comment, email, and text and made this actual prayer chain to place around my neck and rest on my shoulders …

Certainly, that big “C” was a crisis time in my life. But it’s done and over. I survived. I tried to stay positive. I tried to trust in the Lord. And He carried me, on His shoulders, through it all.

“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders. (Deuteronomy 33:12)

Several years prior to that, a crisis too. My beloved mom was dying, I was going through a divorce, and my son was heading off to Iraq.

Before that, I was in financial distress and my marriage was crumbling.

Then there was the time when I joined the Navy: far from home – the comforts, securities, the familiarity of home. All that change certainly created stress for me.

You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings – what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. 
Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. (2 Timothy 3:10-11)

Are you in a place where you’re feeling like Paul did writing to Timothy? Look back. Go back decade by decade as I did. Was there a crisis – you didn’t think would ever end, much less survive.

Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.
The Lord rescued me from all of them.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13-14)

Monday, February 26, 2018

A Trip to the Zoo

© 2012 Julie Crane All rights reserved
Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. (Ruth 1:16)

I saw one family rushing their children through from one exhibit to the next, so they could see every animal on this trip.  Pulling on little arms, they shouted words of excitement and encouragement regarding the next place - while hardly glancing at the current one.

My family strolled where the children wanted to stroll. We lingered or left as the children lingered or left.

Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. (Ruth 1:16)

My family sat, one minute on the bench, then leaping up to the guard rail of the monkey enclosure - before sitting down again. We pointed, we talked, and laughed. Ran to the guard rail yet again. The sun was bright and warm on our faces. The breeze cool and refreshing. Simple delights.

We didn't get to see everything. We didn't get to do everything. But we sure enjoyed the place we were.

There is a lot to see in this world. I'm not going to be able to see it all. There is a lot to do in this world. I'm not going to be able to do it all. So many choices ...

That's why I think it's important to connect with God, and listen to God's voice. That's why I think He created us, each of us, to each be a part of the whole and not the whole by ourselves. Some do this. Some do that. Take time to enjoy your "this". Take time to do it well. While someone else does their "that" well. And to enjoy. Enjoy whatever the Lord leads you into seeing, tasting, doing. Simple delights have been assigned to you. Abilities have been granted.

By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. (Exodus 13:20-22)

Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. (Ruth 1:16)
This passage is from Ruth. But I like to hear God saying it to me. And I feel pretty good when I am able to say it to Him...

Friday, February 23, 2018


© 2012 Julie Crane All rights reserved
“Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10)

Who doesn’t love music? There are songs for every occasion. On happy, good mood days, do you find yourself belting out the lyrics in the shower, in the car? And on those bad, sad days – curled up under a blanket and whimpering days – do certain songs fill you with the exact words you couldn’t come up with on your own?

When I started taking walks several years ago, I stumbled across some classical music. Instrumental. Without words at all. And my eyes were opened to the sun and the sky. Leaves and flowers. My eyes wandered freely. My thoughts wandered too – without the direction of familiar song lyrics.

My thoughts were free to be … directed by God.

I wonder if my prayer life looks like this. Often my prayer time has an agenda (direction): some thanks and praise, some regrets and requests …

But how hard it can be to pray – without words.

One thing I ask from the Lord,
This only do I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To gaze on the beauty of the Lord
And to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

Is it possible … to just sit … and gaze upon the beauty of the Lord? Mary thought so.

She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. (Luke 10:39)

I pray to sit before the Lord. I pray to let His thoughts enter mine. To seek His face. His voice. If only for a moment or two.

To turn up the classical, instrumental background and walk humbly with my Lord.