Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Grace, Mercy and Body Parts

God can do anything, you know — 
far more than you could ever imagine 
or guess or request in your wildest dreams! 
He does it not by pushing us around
but by working within us,
His Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Ephesians 3:20-21

"My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9

So since we find ourselves fashioned 
into all these excellently formed
and marvelously functioning parts
in Christ's body, let's just go ahead
and be what we were made to be, 
without enviously or pridefully comparing
ourselves with each other, 
or trying to be something we aren't.

Romans 12:5

I find myself in a place of complete
humble acceptance and gratitude. 
You see, God has surprised me.

Using the combination of my weakness,
His strength and the gifts of fellow believers,
He has given me a clear example
of His strength being made complete in my weakness.

He is teaching me that He really means it
when He tells me to completely rely on Him—
 that I am not supposed to do it all by myself.

Awards are not handed out to the person
who relies on as few people as possible to 
get through this life. 

Over and over in His Word, God tells us to come to Him, 
to rely on Him, to cast our cares on Him,
to take His yoke, to hide in the shelter of His wings.

We are not to be independent agents,
working our butts off to get the job done.

He wants us to be dependent on Him. In all things. 

It is humbling to admit that I can't do it.
It is confusing to be called to something that I cannot do —
when I think that I am supposed to do it all by myself.

This call of motherhood, homeschooling, homemaker...
it's just too much. I can't do it. 

Without Him.

I'm slowly learning how to rely on Him —
how to trust Him to provide, guide, show the way.

I'm learning how to wait. 
And that waiting is doing something.

And, I'm learning how to accept help —
to be upheld by other parts of the Body of Christ.

"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

Like a shepherd, He will care for His flock,
gathering the lambs in His arms,
hugging them as He carries them,
leading the nursing ewes to good pasture.

Isaiah 40:11

The One who called you is completely dependable.
If He said it, He'll do it!

1 Thessalonians 5:24

"... use your freedom to serve one another in love..."

Galatians 5:13

I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

Psalm 121:1-2

Pile your troubles on God's shoulders —
He'll carry your load, He'll help you out.

Psalm 55:22

But the Lord waits for you to come to Him
so He can show you His love and compassion. 
For the Lord is a faithful God. 
Blessed are those who wait for Him to help them.

Isaiah 30:18

Monday, August 30, 2010

Staying Faithful

Meanwhile, the saints 
stand passionately patient,
keeping God's commands, 
staying faithful to Jesus.

Revelation 14:12 

Fixed on Jesus
following wherever He leads.
The faithful life.

Knowing Who He is,
I can trust in Him.

When my eyes look 
at all that surrounds —
I forget Who holds my future
in His mighty hands. 

When I do what I think is best,
I lose my way.

So much swirls around me,
calling me to switch my gaze.

The choice is mine.
He calls me back. 

My heart has heard You say,
"Come and talk with Me"
and my heart responds, 
"Lord, I am coming."

Psalm 27:8

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ready for Mercy

But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up
in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, 
staying right at the center of God's love, 
keeping your arms open and outstretched,
ready for the mercy of your Master, Jesus Christ.
This the unending life, the real life!
Jude 20-21

Each day is a new gift.
The dawn a new breath.

I can choose to receive it — 
arms spread wide to take it in.

Each moment, You are here.
Always present, always strong.

Never alone. Never forgotten.
Always loved.

Tethered by prayers
I stay there in the midst
of the outpouring 
of Your love and mercy.

Building this life—
an invisible cathedral—
soaring rafters of praise,
beams of prayer.

All for You,
through You,
in You.

So here's what I want you to do, 
God helping you:
Take your everyday, ordinary life —
your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, 
and walking around life—
and place it before God as an offering.
Embracing what God does for you is 
the best thing you can do for Him.

Romans 12:1

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How to Glow in the Dark

I read Shaun Groves' blog post and just had to share. Thanks, Shaun!

Isaiah 58: 6-12

"This is the kind of fast day I'm after:
to break the chains of injustice, 
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed, cancel debts.
"What I'm interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.


"Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You'll call out for help and I'll say, 
'Here I am.'
"If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people's sins,
if you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.

"I will always show you were to go. 
I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places —
firm muscles, strong bones.
You'll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You'll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again." 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Leaving the Gray Exile Behind

Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails! 

Psalm 51:12

Like a fresh, cool breeze, 
life is returning.

Light chases shadow —
fear, doubt, fatigue, depression, heaviness —

Journey through wilderness —
is it ending?
Or is this another glimpse of 
the freedom to come?

This suffering has been
so quiet, so hidden.
May it not have been in vain. 

There beside me, behind me, before me —
You were always there.

Can I take what has been given
and give it back?

Setting this fresh, new life
on the altar
I give You thanks. 
You have given all —
can I give any less in return?

So here's what I want you to do,
God helping you: 
Take your everyday, ordinary life—
your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and 
walking around life—
and place it before God as an offering. 
Embracing what God does for you 
is the best thing you can do for Him.

Romans 12:1

Your touch brings healing,
brings light and life,
laughter and hope.

Joy has come with the morning.

So I thank You,
I praise You!
I lay it down before You 
an offering of thanks
for what You have done.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Searcher of My Mind

"And all the assemblies (churches) 
shall recognize and understand 
that I am He who searches minds 
(the thoughts, feelings, and purposes) 
and the [inmost] hearts,
and I will give to each of you 
[the reward for what you have done] 
as your work deserves."

Revelation 2:23

Only You truly know
what is in my mind,
what is the true motive 
of my heart. 

You search me.
You try me.
You see what is deep inside.

You know what I really love.
You know who I really serve.

Oh Lord, please show me
where I am loving anything/anyone above You.

Please reveal to me 
what my motives really are.

Fill me with love for You.
Change my motives 
to please only You.

Bring me back to 
my First Love.

A Revelation Revelation

(Yes, I meant to type Revelation twice...Big Smile!)


That was the next book my Bible study group
decided to read through together.... Ugh!

It just seemed so heavy, too much 
to handle in the sticky heat of this Florida August. 

All that imagery, all the violence and blood.

Hmmm, maybe I'll just sit this one out.
I'll read some Psalms maybe, or a Proverb a day....

Then my mom comes over.
"So, I read chapter one of Revelation today."

What? Mom is joining the group, 
but I'm thinking of sitting on the sidelines?

"Lord, am I whimping out here? 
Is there really something You want me
to see, to hear, to learn in this book?"

"A revealing of Jesus, the Messiah."

Revelation 1:1 

As I read those words this morning,
I heard You whisper
"Come, let Me show you.
I want to reveal Myself to you
through the Words in this book."

You changed the way I was thinking –
You gave me a new desire 
to read this special book.

Thank you, Lord, for meeting me where I am.
For not leaving me on the sidelines,
for taking me hand and so gently leading me
into this new journey of Revelation —
a revealing of Yourself to me.

A revealing of Jesus, the Messiah.
God gave it to make plain to His servants
what is about to happen. 
He published and delivered it by Angel 
to His servant John.
And John told everything he saw:
God's Word — 
the witness of Jesus Christ!

How blessed the reader!
How blessed the hearers and keepers
of these oracle words,
all the words written in this book!

The time is just about up.

Revelation 1:1-3

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Useful Container

In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only
crystal goblets and silver platters, 
but waste cans and compost buckets — 
some containers used to serve fine meals, 
others to take out the garbage. 
Become the kind of container God can use 
to present any and every kind of gift 
to His guests for their blessing."
2 Timothy 2:20-21
I am a vessel,
created to be used,
created to be filled,
created to present gifts
to the guests of God.

To be useful
I must be empty —
empty of myself,
empty of sin,
empty of all that is not from Him.
Lord, I keep filling myself 
with things that harm,
things that hurt,
things that are not from You.

Please help me to empty myself,
to be open and presenting myself to You.

Change the way I think,
so that I desire to serve You and others —
so that I desire to be 
used by You to present 
gifts to others.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Longing for Daniel's Heart

Is my heart set on You and Your Kingdom?
Am I too preoccupied with me and my life?

Do I realize how much you love me?
How precious I am in Your sight?

Why do I think that I can change one single thing 
with my fretting, worrying, whirling thoughts?

Daniel spent a lot of time in prayer.
Planned, purposeful, dangerous time —
humbly knelt at Your feet, 
he sought Your face, gave You glory,
sought understanding,
received a heart molded by Your hands.

I have a choice today
to try to walk on my own, 
or to humbly bow before You —
accepting Your strength, 
seeking Your understanding,
being molded by Your hands. 
Help me to see my worth through Your eyes.
Help me as I bow before You.
Give me strength and courage as
I hear Your words of truth.
Please help me to trust and understand.

"Don't be afraid," he said,
"for you are very precious to God.
Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!"

Daniel 10:19

Touched by an Angel • Daniel 10

"From the moment you decided 
to humble yourself to receive understanding, 
your prayer was heard, 
and I set out to come to you."

Daniel 10:12

Daniel's heart was heavy.
He was in mourning over Jerusalem — 
the Temple of the Living God.

He decided to fast and mourn— 
to simply seek understanding
in his sorrow.

The moment he chose to humbly
bow before God, 
to seek His face and his heart,
God heard.

God sent one of his top
warrior-angels to deliver His 
message to Daniel. 

And the man said to me, 
"Daniel, you are very precious to God, 
so listen carefully to what I have to say to you.
Stand up, for I have been sent to you."

Daniel 10:11 NLT

When the angel touched Daniel,
Daniel spoke the truth to him,
sharing how very weak and sad he was.
He didn't pretend or put on a show,
he just told it like it was.
"Don't be afraid," he said, "for you are very precious to God.
Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!"

Daniel 10:19

And once again, the angel told Daniel
how precious he was to God.
The angel encouraged Daniel and gave him strength.
He came to tell Daniel what was written in the Book of Truth.

Thank you, Lord, for this picture of how much you love
those who fear You — those whose heart is set on
You and that which is important to You.
Thank You for accepting us in our humble, weak
condition — accepting us just as we are. 
Thank You for strengthening us, helping us to stand, 
for giving us courage and speaking truth to us.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Remembering Who He Is

Some days can be so dark —
the nights even darker.

Laying alone in the quiet
thoughts come in ever growing swells —
threatening to capsize me,
leaving me so cold, despairing and lost.

Problems grow — I cower in their shadows.
How will I ever manage? 
What can I do?
What can I do to work this out?
I will fail. I will fall.

On my knees, nose to dirt 
my soul cries to You.
Black fades to grey.
The weight begins to lift.
The air becomes lighter filling me again.

Remember what He has done!
Call to mind past rescues —
feel His hand under me, lifting me to His chest.

Help me to remember, Lord.
Whisper the truth to me.
Tell me again the times You have come to my rescue.
You alone are my strength, my shield. 
You gently lead me.

Once again I'll go over what God has done,
lay out on the table the ancient wonders;
I'll ponder all the things You've accomplished,
and give a long, loving look at Your acts.

O God! Your way is holy!
No god is great like God!
You're the God who makes things happen;
You showed everyone what You can do —
You pulled Your people out of the worst kind of trouble,
rescued the children of Jacob and Joseph.

Psalm 77:11-15

Monday, August 2, 2010

Psalm 146

O my soul, praise God!
All my life long I'll praise God,
singing songs to my God as long as I live.

Don't put your life in the hands of experts
who know nothing of life, of salvation life.
Mere humans don't have what it takes;
when they die, their projects die with them.
Instead, get help from the God of Jacob,
put your hope in God and know real blessing!

God made sky and soil,
sea and all the fish in it.
He always does what He says —
He defends the wronged,
He feeds the hungry.
God frees prisoners —
He gives sight to the blind,
He lifts up the fallen.
God loves good people, protects strangers,
takes the side of the orphans and widows,
but makes short work of the wicked.

God's in charge — always.
Zion's God is God for good!

Psalm 146

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday Psalm • Psalm 62

I wait quietly before God,
for my salvation comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken.
So many enemies against one man —
all of them trying to kill me.
To them I'm just a broken-down wall
or a tottering fence.
Then plan to topple me from my high position.
They delight in telling lies about me.
They are friendly to my face, 
but they curse me in their hearts.
I wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in Him at all times. 
Pour out your heart to Him,
for God is our refuge.
From the greatest to the lowliest —
all are nothing in His sight.
If you weigh them on the scales,
they are lighter than a puff of air.
Don't try to get rich by extortion or robbery.
And if your wealth increases,
don't make it the center of your life.

God has spoken plainly,
and I have heard it many times:
Power, O God, belongs to You;
unfailing love, O Lord is yours.
Surely You judge all people 
according to what they have done.

Psalm 62