Author Archives: Nancey West

Reflection God’s Creation

My fear of heights was the last thing on my mind as I stepped from the car and hurried down the path toward Two Medicine Lake. My husband and I got up early to catch the morning light on the least visited area of Glacier National Park. I had enjoyed every day of our vacation with the splendor of the fall colors beneath snow-capped mountains. I was not disappointed in the lack of fellow visitors or the unusual warm weather this late in the season.

The morning was cool but clear as I made my way from the dirt path onto the rocky beach. Suddenly, my heart skipped a beat. I was starring down into a deep canyon with yellow-laden trees and green bushes. I jumped back in alarm. Where is the lake? I wondered as I gazed over the scenery for signs of water.

The fear of falling pulled my eyes and feet away from the view before me. As I looked down, I noticed rocks beneath a glassy sheet of water. The lake began only a few feet away. Looking again into the cavern below, I realized I was looking at the reflection of the mountain on the other side of the lake.

The view changed before my eyes like those trick pictures of two faces hidden in one. I saw the reflection, then turning my head there was the canyon. The reflection was so perfect the water vanished and the scene became one continual image. I sat on a nearby boulder to calm my flip-flopping stomach and thought of how we are to be a reflection of our Creator. Does His will for my life appear so clear that mine is one with it?

Later, the Park Ranger told us that this was an extremely rare day. The air must be very still for such a clean reflection and the breeze from the mountains usually ruffles the water. Like the calm waters, The Lord says we must be “still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10 NIV) Oh, how the chaos in our lives interrupts that stillness so that God is only roughly seen. We are created in His image. When we find time away from the winds of busyness to allow that reflection cover us, we have no reason to fear heights or anything else.

What ruffles your calm waters and blurs God reflection in your life?

He is Risen!

He is Risen indeed!
Last week, we celebrated Christ’s resurrection with traditional feasts, gatherings and worship. Easter is a time when we are reminded of the abuse, cruelty and pain that Jesus suffered so we may have eternal life. “He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:9 NIV)

Our faith not only gives us the reward of eternity with Him, it can give us a richer, fuller life while we live on this earth. Jesus said when He left that another would come so we were not alone. Accepting Jesus into your heart and the Holy Spirit into your life gives you the keys to a peace and joy unknown to this world.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV) He didn’t die for you so that you could mope about what you don’t have. Neither did He come for you to bask in luxury and comfort. His gift is life filled to the brim with faith, hope and love. (I Corinthians 13:4-7, 13 NIV) Easter is a time to reflect on what that gift cost. Not only did Jesus arise, He provided you a way to rise above the darkness in this world. Fall at His feet that He may lift you up to an abundant life.

What have you done this Easter and lent season to truly thank God for a gift you didn’t deserve?

Lent

This is the season of Lent, a time of preparation leading up to Easter. We know that Easter is a celebration of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. He knew He would die and He prepared for it by spending time in prayer with His Father.

How do we prepare for Easter? Traditionally, one would give up something for Lent. I always thought it was like making a New Year’s resolution. No one really did it, or stuck to it. Abstinence for Lent is so much more. The purpose is to replace something in your life with Jesus. This spiritual discipline of giving up something for 40-days will strengthen your relationship with Him.

Think carefully about what is in your life that may have come between you and serving Christ with your whole heart? Gambling? Drinking? Cigarettes? Many things could be on the list. Not all are as obvious. What about gossiping? Lying? Or one of my favorites: negative talk. My problem isn’t so much saying bad things about others as saying them about myself.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV) The “others” include the person in the mirror.

In preparing for Easter this year, give up any negative talk and remember Jesus died for you because you are that important to Him.

How will you prepare for Easter? What is holding you back from serving Christ with your whole heart?

Is God’s Love Enough?

Over the cold Christmas tree season, my husband, Jon, had a watery eye that continued to get worse. He went to his eye doctor who said he had a blocked tear duct that was infected. Jon followed up with a visit to his primary doctor. When he returned home from that visit I asked how it went. He said, “He ran an EKG.” Okay…a heart test for an eye infection. I never cared for his doctor but this seemed a little odd. I expressed my concern before Jon explained that the EKG was precautionary because of the pain in his left arm thought to be from tendonitis.

I was trying to visualize something when I didn’t have all the information. That can happen in our spiritual life. When we say, “God loves you,” the person hearing it may not have enough information on what that means to understand our excitement. A minister once told me, “God loves you. If that’s not enough for you then I can’t help you.”

Love wasn’t enough because I didn’t know the kind of love he was referring to. There are many people who feel nothing when they hear, “God loves you.” They may have never seen a love that was patient, kind, honest and trustworthy; never felt a love that put their well-being first. They may have only seen the self-serving love of man. Until I learned the true meaning of agape love, I was unmoved about God loving me. I thought love meant I needed to be perfect, so I didn’t irritate or upset the other person. No one could love me if I was flawed, and believe me I was flawed.

When we share God’s love with others, we need to show them how God defines love. God’s love is not a cliché; it is a commitment from our Creator. Give all the information by sharing what God has done for you. “Now I see in part; then I shall know fully.” (I Corinthians 13:12 NIV) Most people only see in part, explain in full.

What can you do to have someone understand the magnificence of God’s love?

Natural Instincts

Dogs can be our best friend and even feel like part of our family. They live with us and we take care of them. We let them go for rides in the car, just to be with us, and take them for walks or the park. In my case, I take my dog, Annie, for walks in the woods or to do chores around the farm. Her instinct is to be a dog. She herds the cattle, whether they need it or not. She chases the deer and turkeys that come close to the house. And she like smells.

While outdoors, she searches out every new or intriguing smell she can find. She isn’t happy to just leave the smell where it is found. No, she wants to smell the same way and bring her prized odor home. That is just what she did the other day. Annie may have been proud of herself but I wasn’t. She went straight to the bathtub, which made her very unhappy. She may have been doing what dogs naturally do, but if she wanted to live in my house with me she needed cleansing.

This may be the way God sees us; His cherished, adopted children. He loves us and wants us with Him. However, we can’t hang onto the habits which He cannot allow in His house. Much like Ephesians 4:22-24: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires (instinct*); to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” NIV

God accepts us the way we are, no matter how dirty or smelly. He guides us to clean up our lives as we grow closer to Him. When we fall back into old ways, we need to seek forgiveness. Annie didn’t like her bath, but it is what she needed to get what she wanted; to eat and sleep in the house. Sometimes God allows things we don’t like in order for us to end up with what is best for us. He has our best interest in mind which is often different that our own desires. Changing our habits may be as hard as Annie changing hers, but with God’s help we can do it.

What habits or desires do you have that get in your way of living the way God wants you to? How have you learned to deal with those natural instincts?

*I inserted.