Thursday, January 6, 2011

Stop, Learn, and Do!

When I saw this tree on my walk today, I chuckled and thought, that's the way I feel about my life sometimes. So many places to go, demands to be met, needs to fulfill. Life can be so busy we don't sense the serenity of this tree, but the entanglement of its branches.

That's why I like to ask God how to spend my days. His plan for me is peace. He would not desire that I flail my arms about in every direction. He knows before I wake up what issues I will face that day. He is aware of my days and He knows my years.

So, each January I ask God for a verse--one that will help me be more like Him and feel less entangled in the ways of this world.

Isaiah is one of my favorite Books of the Bible, so in seeking a 2011 scripture, I started there. Voila! There it was. The words jumped out at me as though printed in bold by God's Himself. "Stop bringing me your meaningless offerings!" Isaiah 1:13. It was the "Stop" and the "!" that got my attention. If God says "Stop" and ends with an exclamation point, He wants the reader to take note. Don't you think?

So, what is a meaningless offering? Oh my, the list could get long. Worry, grumbling, and resentment are just the beginning of my list.

For me, it's all about time. How I spend each hour is either a meaningless or a meaningful offering to God. Time is a gift God gives to each of us. How we use that time is our gift back to Him.

I'm not making New Year's resolutions this year, but I am thinking about what I do with the time God gives me. Later in Isaiah 1, I read another "Stop" and noticed another exclamation point. "...Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!" Isaiah 1:16-17. So simple. It isn't difficult to understand how to please God. Just "Stop, learn, and do!"

Isaiah 1:28-30 says that rebels and sinners will be "like a garden without water." That doesn't sound like a splash of serenity to me. May my life in 2011 and forever be filled with meaningful offerings to God as I learn to do right and resist rebellion against His plan for me for 2011.

I don't want to be like that tree lifting empty and cold branches up to God. May my limbs be lush with fruit as God teaches me to do right and I make the most of His offering of time to me. Won't you join me on this quest?

Happy New Year!



  1. We do seem to have what we think is important and what He does is usually totally different. :O)

  2. Ahh, that's why it's good to pray and ask Him about our days. I know I seem to steam roll through my days with my agenda in place and I do end up like that entangled tree. Hoping that changes this year. Blessings to you, Diane.

  3. Thanks for that, Elaine. I'm learning to be faithful in what *He* (and not me) has called me to do and let God worry about the results. It's not an easy lesson, yet one that keeps coming back to me.

  4. Terri, there are so many spiritual lessons we can learn from that tree. I loved sharing it. We're all on the journey you are on. Trying to find balance between giving God the best gifts and not stepping ahead of His will for us. Love you.

  5. Thanks dear Elaine for posting this challenge and reminder. Got up this morning ready to move mountains, but instead spent the day with the Master and my dearest worshipping Jesus through His Word, singing together, praying for so many and thanking Him for his love, protection and answers. The work still awaits, but that's okay - had a blessed day instead. Love you friend!

  6. So happy you had a great day with your hubby and your Lord, Daisy. Thanks for the encouagement.

  7. Thank you Elaine! I needed that today ~ your photograph, words and God's Words have touched my heart and mind exactly where I have needed it. The tree was so beautiful and serene and than as I read your vision I felt such stress release from my shoulders and a deep sigh exhaling! I had to shake my head and read it again - that is how I have been feeling. God's Words and the teaching you shared were an inspiration and encouragement to me this evening. Thank you!

  8. Lisa, Thank you for sharing your heart with me. We do have an amazing God who takes a simple blog and impacts lives. That's why we write, right? We write for Him! Hugs to you, dear one.

  9. My first reaction was that the tree was amazingly beautiful, but after your post I see the beauty in the fruitful tree is far more exceeding. Love this!

  10. T. Anne, the tree is beautiful. As I wrote this blog and kept looking at the tree, I saw the other picture of cold, empty branches lifted to the sky. You are a writer. Don't you love it when that happens? Thanks for posting.


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