From the Books

From Like a Flower Grows: Volume 2

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7, NIV

God’s omniscient and eternal perspective remains so different than mine. He sees below the surface to the heart. He knows everything that has been and everything that will be. He cannot be fooled by appearances. He will not be rushed into decisions or fail to see a problem in its entire context. While some people say that “the only constant in life is that everything changes,” these people are wrong.

You, Lord are constant and never-changing. You were, are, and always will be. In this world of constant change, thank You for being who You are, now and forever.

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From Like a Flower Grows Volume 2:

The way a rainbow springs out of the sky on a rainy day – that’s what it was like. It turned out to be the Glory of God! When I saw all this, I fell to my knees, my face to the ground. Then I heard a voice.  Ezekiel, 1:28, Message

I was practicing with my church choir by the Concourse in front of the South-facing wall of windows.  As we finished singing “You are Worthy,*” a rainbow appeared against the backdrop of gray clouds.  It glowed brightly as we continued our practice.

As the sun set, the backdrop of clouds turned peach, then pink, and purple.  As the clouds darkened, the rainbow finally faded.  The hope of God’s covenant promise, however, will never fade from our hearts.

*You are Worthy, words and music by Eddie James.  Copyright 2008 by Maize Music.

Download your free copy of Like a Flower Grows Volume 2 today (Saturday 10/4/14 through Monday 10/6/14) from http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G0QX8YI !

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From Week 1 of Like a Flower Grows Volume 3: Sixty New Reflection on Walking in the Spirit:

Joyful is the person who finds wisdom,
the one who gains understanding.
For wisdom is more profitable than silver,
and her wages are better than gold.
Wisdom is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her. Proverbs 3:13-15, NLT

This year, my chosen word for meditation is “joy.” When my mind turns to discontentment, worry, stress, or fear, I will choose to focus on joy instead.

My joy will not come from worldly treasure. It will not come from pursuing earthly goods, power, or prestige. Instead, I will find joy when I seek first your Kingdom and your righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

Lord, today help me to find my joy in You through studying Your Word, learning more about You, and obedience. Let me continue gaining in wisdom and understanding. Don’t let me become distracted by the pursuit of worldly treasures, but let me find my treasure in knowing You.

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Let me share a devotion from the beginning of Like a Flower Grows Volume 2: Sixty New Devotions on Walking with Christ*.

My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy. They skim past like boats of papyrus, like eagles swooping down on their prey.  Job 9:25-26, NIV

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-30, Message

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.   Psalm 119:105, NIV

In the frenzy of everyday life – taking care of my family, my work, my home, myself – it would be easy to overlook You, Lord Jesus.  But, when the pace of everyday life speeds up, how I need this daily time with You!  I look forward to these quiet times with You, and wake up each day in eager anticipation of beginning my day with You. 

Help me to honor our time together by focusing my attention on You, by letting go of my cares and burdens and handing them over to You so that I may rest in Your care.  Don’t let me become “too busy” to slow down each day to spend time with You.  Keep me in Your Word and in constant connection with You.  Let my quiet times nourish me and our relationship so that I can grow spiritually and walk with You.  Amen. 

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Let me share this excerpt from Week 1 of Like a Flower Grows Volume 1*:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  (Galatians 2:20,  NIV)

The process to begin this writing did not go smoothly.  I argued back against His prompting to do this writing for about four months.  After all, I am a relatively new Christian, and trained as psychologist, not a writer or Bible scholar.  What business do I have thinking that I could write devotional material?

The idea would not leave me, and echoed throughout the Bible study that I was taking.  The subject was Jonah, interruption by God (which was reframed as divine intervention), and the futility of running from God.

Then, at a conference, the speaker demonstrated a method for journaling about scripture.  I decided the next morning to try her method.  I was not sure if I could write about scripture.  However, as soon as I started, the words and ideas flowed.  I abandoned her more structured system almost immediately and just wrote.

I see that God has been preparing me in ways I did not even realize at the time.  A couple of years ago, a writing opportunity opened up for me to write about neuromuscular disease.  I have been learning that my writing becomes much more powerful when it includes “me” in it.  I have been learning to share from my experience and my heart.

Following this process has amazed me.  As I write, I feel the flow of words coming through me, not from me.  I am writing in a way I know would not be possible on my own.

It turns out that the writing I am meant to do right now is so much more personal than anything I expected.  In some ways, this has been even more of a stretch for me than expected, opening up my heart and my life in these writings.

I had not been expecting to share this writing so soon.  My husband, however, encouraged me to share a piece of my writing with our teaching pastor that related to one of his sermons, and he, in turn, encouraged me to share this writing with my church, and now you.

God has been so faithful to me through this experience.  Despite my objections, he has worked in my life and worked in my heart to bring me to a place where I can write, and now share, these devotions.  I have found so much freedom and joy through my obedience in this writing.

Thank You Lord for all You have been teaching me.  I confess that sometimes I let fear keep me from following You as quickly as I should.  Help me to be obedient in all that You ask of me and to choose Your way over my own.

*Like a Flower Grows Volumes One, Two, and Three now available in both print and ebook form at https://www.amazon.com/author/jorireijonen .

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