This is the Day

exploring the soul's quest for joy

Month: November 2016

Holy Ground



I saw a burning bush today.

Candy apple red,

It took my breath away.


Is there a finer sight than the splendor of an autumn landscape in the American northeast? Each stroke of the master Artist’s brush layering subtle hues of vibrant red, burnt sienna, deep ochre, rich amber, and goldenrod. Day by day the colors deepen until their host shakes free of them and rests all the winter long in a coat of sterile brown and gray.


But today there is no gray. Limbs recede from view as an explosion of red flames dance before my eyes. The early afternoon light seems to illumine them from within. This is my burning bush. My Pennsylvania burning bush. There is no holy fire burning on this little hillside, just the stroke of artistry from the brush of my holy God. And yet, I hear You whisper,


The place on which you are standing is holy ground.


Holy ground? This little hillside? How can that be? I am no Moses; this bush is not really aflame. What are you saying to me?


And then You help me see.


You remind me that Your very Spirit has taken up residence within me.


The Father will give you another Helper, the Spirit of Truth, that He may be with you forever. You know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.


Everyone who is called by Your name, who chooses to allow You Your rightful place on the throne of his heart, is a little burning bush. When I invite the living God to infuse my thoughts with His thoughts, when my heart burns within me at the nearness of the living God, when my words take on the color and hue of The Word, then I too am a little burning bush, aflame with the love and presence of my living God. As His burning bush, I carry His holiness within me and everywhere my feet touch can transform this earthen sod into holy ground.




I saw a burning bush today.

Deep burnt orange,

It took my breath away.


I see burning bushes all around. To those who have stopped, and turned, and fixed their gaze on the living God, He will reveal Himself. To those who turn aside from being their own god and choose to follow the living God, He will disclose marvelous things. To those who see the living God, He will call them by name. To those who willingly respond, “Here I am,” He will fill with His Spirit.


Will I respond with a willingness to be His hands and feet on earth? Will I say “yes” to being a tabernacle in which the Spirit may dwell? Will my “Here I am” resound this day and in the days to come, signaling my desire for Your will over mine? Will I stop and turn and fix my gaze upon the living God or will I live like those described in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s keen observation:


Earth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God,

But only he who sees takes off his shoes;

The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.


Will I pluck blackberries today or will I breathe in the fire of the living God and exhale his love to the world around me?




I saw a burning bush today.

Goldenrod yellow,

It took my breath away.


Do I have eyes to see you? Do I have ears to hear you? Will I take you with me today, enthroned on my heart, so that where I go, You go?


The ground on which my feet tread is holy ground. May I never lose the wonder of gazing on my Lord. May I never lose the wonder that You chose me to be the tabernacle of Your Holy Spirit. May I never take for granted that where I go is holy ground when I invite Your presence in my every movement and breath. May I never cease to give You thanks and praise for Your boundless love for me.


I saw a burning bush today.

Father, Son, and Spirit forever with me,

It took my breath away.



Inspired by Pennsylvania autumn and Exodus 3: 1-6 and John 14.



The Path

Part 4 in a 4-part series on Psalm 37


Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him and He will do it.             


It’s not always easy to know which path to take in life. We can often respond like a deer in headlights when faced with life’s major decisions, immobilized by fear and lacking any conviction of which way to turn. Yet, just as often, it seems it is the smaller decisions of life that have a way of tripping us up with uncertainty.


I know Jeremiah 29:11 by heart and quote it frequently to myself and others who need to be reassured that God is still at work in their lives.


For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord…


Sometimes those words make me want to shout, “Then God, please tell me your plans, and I will gladly follow them!” And I suspect that sometimes my knowledge that God has a plan for me can cause me to delay making any decision at all for fear of choosing a path that is contrary to His plan.




And that’s why we temper Jeremiah 29:11 with these words from Psalm 37:5


Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do it.


These words remind me that first and foremost, God is interested in the condition of my heart. Could it be that He is actually more interested in what led me to make a particular decision than He is in the actual decisions that I make?


The real question is this: at the core of who I am, have I committed my way to the Lord? Have I committed the direction of my life to the Lord and am I trusting Him with it?


When I was living and working in New York City after college, a friend of mine was making a major decision about changing jobs. She had an offer to leave one financial institution for another and was seeking the Lord in it. I remember her saying to me during this time, “Bonnie, I don’t think God really cares which specific company I work for, as long as I’m serving Him in that place.”


Wow. Those words nearly knocked my Jeremiah 29:11 socks off! I had to sit with her words for a while, a long while, to allow their truth to sink in. Only in time was I able to understand the wisdom in what she was sharing with me.


My friend understood what it means to commit your way to the Lord. God doesn’t intend to micro-manage every step and decision of our lives. Never does He instruct us to let Him make all of our decisions for us. Quite the contrary. He gave us free will so that we can make choices in all areas of our lives.




When we commit our way to the Lord and trust Him with the decisions we make, we can be assured that the promise contained in the following verse will be ours as well. The promise is this: He will do it!


Wow! He will do it! That’s amazing!


Wait…what will He do? Make me successful? Make me wise, respected, and powerful? Make all of my deepest wishes come true?


Not exactly.


What He will do, is precisely the thing that one who has committed his way to the Lord would desire, and here it is…


He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday.


As we commit our way to the Lord, He gives us incredible freedom to pursue our deepest dreams. He gives us permission to answer the question He most delights in asking us, What do you want me to do for you? He gives us freedom to make big decisions and to take bold steps in the journey of our lives, promising that as we trust Him with our lives, He will reveal more and more of His righteousness and sound discernment to us.


Knowing which path to take begins with committing to following Him and trusting Him with the rest. It requires acknowledging like King Jehoshaphat of ancient Judah, We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on Thee. And we continue by soaking each decision we make in the desire to honor God with every step we take.


My Heart's Desires


Part 3 of a 4-part series on Psalm 37


Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.


Wow! Did you catch that?


…He will give me the desires of my heart.


This is absolutely fantastic news! This is a promise I want to hold onto.


If I’m honest, I think I instinctively read this verse backwards. Maybe you do too sometimes.


Give me the desires of my heart and I will delight in You, oh Lord.


Honestly, many days, this is exactly how I would like to read this verse.


Some days I approach life so self-focused, always asking for more, that I am barely content with what is. No sooner is one long-prayed-for prayer answered than this forgetful sojourner raises her next plaintive request heavenward. My memory is short and my list of wants is long.


Oh Lord, would you please heal…Oh Lord, would you please provide…Oh Lord, would you please stop this bad habit…Oh Lord, would you please end the sorrow.


They are good prayers. At least they seem that way on the surface. Yet, so often the things on my most wanted list stem more from my own fears than from a desire to grow in Godliness. And I realize that even sweet prayers for my loved ones can stem more from a yearning for their health and happiness than for their spiritual strength and their willingness to extend love and grace to those around them.




God knows that the things on my most wanted list don’t always match up with His most wanted list. They aren’t necessarily the things that flow out of delighting in the Lord. Left to my own devices, my desires can run amuck, as I chase after every whim and fancy that I think will bring me happiness. God wasn’t being unnecessarily cruel when He observed that the human heart is so evil and desperately wicked, that it was beyond knowing. Rather, He was warning us not to trust the whims and desires of our heart. Their true motives can’t be fully known.


Delighting in God must always precede the fulfilling of my desires. The more I delight in Him, the more my unhealthy desires will fade away. It’s not that He tells me to lay them down, they just begin to lose their weightiness the more my desire is for the Lord and about pleasing Him.


It is only when I am delighting in the Lord that I stand a chance of my desires being the right ones, because they will be His desires for me too.


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