Friday, November 21, 2014

Having My Needs Met Requires...

So I'm in the beginning of searching and discovering something.  Wanna know what I'm finding?....

How many of us have heard the following quoted with an assurance that God will provide? 
"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." ~Phil. 4:19
But have you ever stopped to notice the context in which that is stated?  Immediately leading up to this one verse, Paul is thanking the Philippians for their gifts and generosity.

And what about this one?
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in their wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasures for themselves... so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." ~I Tim. 6:17-19a
 Okay, so that's not all.  Check this one out...
"You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous... through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God." ~ II Cor. 9:11

Are you noticing the theme that I've been pondering and considering?

God's provisions are tied to my heart posture and acts of generosity.  And NOT JUST financially.


Yes, it includes that... but also generosity with my actions, my time, my resources, myself.

And why?  To have an eternal impact (lay up treasures), to take hold of the life that is truly life, to result in thanksgiving to God.

His provisions for me are not about me!  They are about giving to others and giving Him glory... oh, and by the way... in the process I have my needs met.  (I'm learning that I don't always need what I think I need.  Am I willing to let God define my "needs"?)

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." ~Matt. 6:33

What other examples do you find?  Care to share your thoughts on this as I continue to search and discover the ties between generosity and His provisions?...

 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

These 2...

Love God.
Love People.
The End.
From what I can tell, the books that make up the Bible and the content therein pretty much point to these 2 things.

Loving God... relationship with Him.

Loving People... relationship with others.

Granted there is A LOT of content in those pages to not be ignored!  YES!  I must immerse myself in it to learn how to do those 2 things the way that God intends.  To learn who He is.  To learn who I am.  To learn who I am to be to others.

But so many of the theologies in my head can tend to get in the way if I'm not first making sure that building and pressing into the relationship is there.

With Him.
With Others.


Matthew 22:36-40
(NLT) “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”  Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

(MSG) “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?" Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” 

Sometimes I make it way more complicated that it needs to be!

 

Friday, November 07, 2014

Reversing the "C"s... Changes Everything

For whatever reason,  in times past it seems that I have read this story with more of a condemning, accusatory tone.

For whatever reason, this time around I read it with more of a compassionate, concerned tone...

And it changed everything...
~~~~~

(Background Info:  Jesus is on his way to heal a dying 12 year old girl when this story takes place.)
A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse.
She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.
Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?”His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask,'Who touched me?’ But he kept on looking around to see who had done it.
Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done.And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.   ~Mark 5:25-34 (NLT)
Listen:
Said in more of a condemning, accusatory tone...
"Who Touched Me?"

Said in more of a compassionate, concerned tone...
"Who Touched Me?"

Do you hear the difference as I did?

Was it that He really didn't know who touched Him?  Or was it that perhaps He wanted her to encounter so much more than just her healing. (which the passage says she received immediately.)

What if it was to encounter the Healer, not just the healing. To encounter the Giver, not just the gift.

Was it that He really didn't know who touched Him?  Or was it that perhaps He wanted to connect her to HIM!  Surely with her physical condition she had been on outcast for years.  What if His stopping and inquiring was for her to be noticed.  To be affirmed in who she was.  To be loved.

~ Did you notice how he addressed her?  Not woman, or lady, or....

No!  Rather... "Daughter"

"Does God seem to be on His way to another need, one you may perceive to be more important than yours?  No problem!  Reach out and grab that hem!  You are not going unnoticed- not even if He's on His way to raise the dead."  ~Beth Moore

Yes, when I reverse the "C" from Condemnation to Compassion... it changes everything...


What else do you see?...

 

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Prayer Perspective

"I don't really care what we talk about.  I don't care when we talk.  I just want to talk...  To think that time was made in a busy schedule to check in with ol' ma'... that alone would be the gift."

~Thoughts I was having with my oldest now away at college.  I just wanted to communicate and have that connection with him.

And as I was thinking through these types of thoughts... a prodding came to my spirit from a still small voice...

"YES!  That's exactly how I feel about you talking to me.  You don't have to come with some laid out plan, or agenda, or list.  In fact, I like it quite nicely when we 'just be' together.  When we talk doesn't matter.  You being conscious to just make the time is enough.  No rules.  No expectations.  No set conversation or formalities.  Let's just talk..."


My boy being so many miles away.  Noticing the time that lapses between our conversations.  The longing in my heart for it to not be so.

It all helps to bring me to a new perspective on talking to Him~ my Father.... this thing called prayer.

 

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Perseverant

Perseverant. Is that even a word?
  
(My definition) Perseverant: One who perseveres

Persevere:  maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.

The following recently came into my life to encourage me to persevere in moments when it seems I needed that encouragement the most...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This little guy lost his mama.


He made our yard his home.  He would come regularly morning and night.  Sometimes he would spend whole days "with us".


He tried to connect with other deer that would come through, but they would always leave him behind.  He was too little to keep up and they would not wait for him.  A few of the bucks even chased him away from them.

 It would have seemed easy for him to give up. 

But he continued....  A Perseverant!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 I looked down and noticed this between our patio bricks still to be cemented in place.


One little flower, growing all alone.  In a harsh, dry, difficult, rough place.


Closer examination revealed it's lack of exquisite beauty.  No breathtaking awe to consider.  Instead, a sickly, spotted, uncared for little thing.   It would have seemed easy for it to just die.  Or to have never have gone through the effort of growing in the first place.


But it grew, raising itself out of the cracks and dark.  Almost proud as if to reveal what it had become... A Perseverant!

James1: 2-4  
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (NIV)
"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." (MSG)
I want to be a Perseverant! 

What is encouraging you to persevere today?...

 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Settling In

Just this last week a couple of you stepped forward to invite me back to this place.  Thank You!

My heart had already started to sense a stirring that perhaps, indeed, it was time to return.  Funny how in the depths of one's being, there is a draw to certain things.  And for reasons not always known, that thing gets set aside from time to time.

These last months have found me being challenged not only in my heart and thinking, but in actions and steps of obedience, with some of the greatest risk and crisis of belief that I have experienced to this point.

It used to be I could see glimpses into my tomorrow's (or so I thought.)  Now, not so much.  It used to be I could tell you who I was (or what I thought my purpose was).  I'm now discovering with these new steps that even that is being stripped away and I am left doing some deep soul searching, seeking, and placing myself at His feet...

Again.

Still.

In this place of new discoveries and learning, one thing I have recognized is that I write.  It fulfills something deep inside that can't be replaced. Words to a paper.  Processing through letters placed together to form thoughts, and questions, and revelations... and just plain ol' rambling thrown in now and then for good measure.

From as far back as I can remember there have been a couple of things that have been a part of my life.  Activities, dreams, hopes... writing has been one of those things.

And in my discoveries of moving forward with who I was created to be in the depths of my being... I find perhaps it is a season to once again put my "pen" to the "paper". I believe it is part of who He created me to be.  If for no one else but myself, if for no other reason than to do what I have found is part of me.

And so once again I find myself in this small quiet corner of the world...

If you are still here... Thank You for being with me in the wait!  The kettle's on.  The throws are out.  The fire's going.  Make yourself at home and settle in.  I would gladly welcome your presence and conversation as I continue forward on this journey that He has me on. 

I'm continually learning to take just one step, one mile, at a time...



 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Who Am I Kidding... A New Normal?

When I close my eyes I envision:
~ set schedules
~ planned agendas
~ words to write
~ times to post
~ things we can share

Oh how often I have come here to this place vowing to do just that.  And intentions start good.  But it doesn't take but a few weeks, and sometimes days or even moments, when life once again takes over.  As much as I'd like to promise and even complete those things, other things find themselves rising to the top of my lists.  Things like...

~ our oldest making college decisions and leaving home in just 3-4 short months (be still my mommy heart)
~ continuing to navigate the growing and learning and needs of our other two and all that encompasses their days
~ doors being opened to pour out of our lives into those of others
~ and realizing that some days 4 hours spent over a cup of coffee with a single mom speaking life and encouragement into her soul is the best use of my time in that moment
~ or accompanying my husband to the auto parts store and then to the home of a single woman who has no money to fix her car or have it fixed.  Yes, another chunk of my time gone, but better spent no other way.

And then I close my eyes and envision:
~ set schedules
~ planned agendas
~ words to write
~ times to post
~ things we can share 

Who am I kidding?

As much as I remember the days that allowed me to spend more time here, those days were yesterday and today is a new day.  As much as I'd like to spend more time here, that time finds itself wrapped around my children, my husband, those God is placing in my path who just need a little lovin' on for His sake.

Now, don't get me wrong!  I still close my eyes and dream of quiet moments spent here to get the thoughts that constantly whir through my brain into some formalized and thought out pattern on a page.

And they will come!

However, what I am learning is that I can't promise when that will be.  Or how often that will be.  Much as my heart would love to do that, my reality is causing choices to be made, and life finds me in the midst of change...

Again.
Still.

I am finding that consistency and sameness can be promised to nothing and no one.  I dream of returning to some sense of normalcy.

But then I realize that the more I pray for God to teach me how to love Him and others and to use me to be "dangerous" for Him and His Kingdom, the farther away I get from my plans, and my routines, and my schedules, and my agenda... my sense of normalcy. 

And somehow, I am becoming more and more at ease with that...

And maybe, just maybe, that is becoming my new normalBeing comfortable in His agenda, and all the bends, curves, and changes that His path includes.  Not knowing what my next step will look like.  Just having the faith and courage to push forward and take it...


 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Darkness Praise #11: Part the Waters/ I Need Thee

We're almost to the end of my Darkness Praise playlist.  Have you discovered any new songs or encouragement as I have?


You can read about my Darkness Praise series here.




Part the Waters Lord/ I Need Thee by Selah

When I think I'm going under, part the waters, Lord
When I feel the waves around me, calm the sea
When I cry for help, oh, hear me Lord

And hold out Your hand
Touch my life
Still the raging storm in me

 
I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford
 

CHORUS:
I need Thee, O I need Thee
Every hour I need Thee
O bless me now, my Savior
I come to Thee


I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain
Come quickly and abide, or life is vain


[Chorus]

O bless me now, my Savior
I come to Thee
When I think I'm going under, part the waters, Lord

 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Darkness Praise #10: Sweet Jesus

I apologize for the delay in getting this installment of this series posted!  It was on schedule to be posted last week, but I have been ill and found that I quickly resorted to "survival" mode, doing only those items that were absolutely required.   

What an appropriate reminder for that type of a week...
Sweet Jesus... 
My Faithful Friend... 
Regardless...

You can read about my Darkness Praise series here.

 
Sweet Jesus by Selah

Sweet Jesus, my Savior;  You are my faithful friend
You made me, You know me;  And You see my every sin
And my soul is amazed;  By this gift of Your grace
And these arms that take me in
Sweet Jesus, my Savior;  You are my faithful friend

Sweet Jesus, my shelter;  You are my faithful friend
The refuge that I run to;  When my world comes closing in
Why should I be afraid;  When I know I am saved
By the arms that take me in
Sweet Jesus, my shelter;  You are my faithful friend

Sweet Jesus, my shepherd;  You are my faithful friend
You hold me, You lead me;  I'll follow till the end
And once more I will say;  On that beautiful day
When Your arms take me in
Sweet Jesus, my shepherd;  You are my faithful friend
Sweet Jesus, my Savior;  You are my faithful friend

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Darkness Praise #9: This Day

This day
 Today
 A gift

You can read about my Darkness Praise series here.



This Day by Point of Grace

This day is fragile - soon it will end
And once it has vanished, it will not come again
So let us love with a love pure and strong
Before this day is gone


This day is fleeting when it slips away
Not all our money can buy back this day
So let us pray that we might be a friend
Before this day is spent


This day we're given is golden
Let us show love
This day is ours for one moment
Let us sow love

 
This day is frail - it will pass by
So before it's too late to recapture the time
Let us share love, let us share God
Before this day is gone
Before this day is gone