Psalm 143:8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143:8

Friday, January 20, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Vivid

Vivid.  I looked up the word...when something produces a strong, clear, fresh impression on the senses.  Vivid.

When you have those vivid "God moments"...like sometimes when I walk by the river.  The sun sparkles off the water just so.  The smell of the fresh air is so clean and crisp.  The birds call to each other...the squirrels play in the trees.  I am walking in sync with God's nature, His creation.  Soaking in the sights, smells, sounds...awake and aware of His presence next to me.  Vivid, yes.  I can feel Him, I can see His work around me...my heart pounds a little harder, my eyes see a little clearer, my ears hear a little better.  He is amazing!  Worthy of honor and my praise.  And so I praise Him...singing favorite songs, praying, whispering snippets of scripture, feeling His power coursing through the morning...yes, vivid.

It's harder to find that place of worship when things are going rough...but that's when I need only close my eyes and imagine being at the riverside, watching the sun rise over the water, and remembering the awesome power that brought that sunrise into action....feeling His breath on the breeze....His amazing creativeness in all He has made...colorful...vivid...God.







On Fridays around these parts we stop, drop, and write.
For fun, for love of the sound of words, for play, for delight, for joy and celebration at the art of communication.
For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.
Won’t you join us?
    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
    2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
    3. Most important: comment and encourage the person who linked up before you.

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What is forgiveness really?

Is our brand of forgiveness anything like God's? 


Matthew 26:28
28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus gave his life for our forgiveness.  He suffered brutal treatment far beyond what any of us could probably handle.  And He did it for us.  So that our sins could be forgiven.  Wiped away.  That we might have life forever with Him in the place He is preparing for us. 

Acts 13:3-39
38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses. 

We are set free.  Do you see that up there?  Everyone who believes is set free from every sin...justified.

Jeremiah 31:33, 35
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the LORD. ....

“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.” 


 He will remember our sins no more...

Can we say the same?  Can we forgive and then let it go?  We all know someone who has held a grudge for so long that they are a sad, bitter, angry person.  Why?  Because when we are unable to forgive, we chain ourselves to that person's behavior.  May not even affect that other person in reality...but we are chained, imprisoned by our unforgiveness.  How do we get free?  We forgive.  We let go of the infraction.  We move forward, not clinging to the past. 

Mark 11:25

25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” 

We forgive, that we may also be forgiven.  We let go of that grudge.  Let go of that hurt.  Forgive so that the unforgiveness is not a blot on our own hearts.

Easy?  Nope.  Necessary? Yes.  And believe me, you will feel better for it.  Freer.   I don't want to be that bitter, sad, angry, and lonely person who can only remember the hurts inflicted by another.  I want to find joy, laugh, LIVE, and love others wholly.  God gives me grace every day...how can I do any less but to give grace to others...


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We live...

We live...in Him.  Our Creator.  God formed us, knew us before we were born, made plans for us, gave us all that we have, all that we are.  He gave His son that we might be saved from our own sinful natures.   I live because of Him.  But do I live FOR Him?

I teach Sunday school.  I volunteer as a worship participant at my church serving communion.   I sing in the choir.  I help with youth group activities.  I read my Bible...most days.  I pray...every day, but not very often some days.  I rarely miss church service.  I try to be kind, helpful, loving, patient.  Sometimes I succeed...sometimes not so much.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

So am I doing the things that He planned for me?  And how do I know what those plans are?  How do I live for Him?  

First, I must start by deliberately spending time with Him.  Reading His word, praying, listening to Him,  seeking His guidance.  As in any relationship, I have to focus on staying close to Him.  Living in Him.  Living for Him.     
  
******
Counting grace...
+words of love that uplift
+friends who care
+cello concerts
+glimpses of the future
+the release of tears

Sunday, January 15, 2012

In Him...

I haven't written for a few days...this verse keeps  going through my head:

Acts 17:28

28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’
I just keep pondering it....
....and then this morning I also found this verse....

Revelation 4:11
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

In Him we LIVE, and MOVE, and have our BEING....for His glory.

...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Joy Dare 2012

As I continue to count 1,000 gifts, I joined in Ann Voskamps Joy Dare for 2012.  So starting where I am in my list of gifts I will count at least 1000 gifts in 2012....

40.  A message that reminds us that when we give God glory, we find joy and peace.
41. friends to start the New Year with.
42. the promise held in my "one word" for 2012 - shine
43. an answered prayer
44.  an "I love you" text from Kira
45. a movie ticket from church friends...went to see We Bought a Zoo and loved it
46. surviving my first solo outing at the movies!  :)
47. thankful for those who covered for me in Sunday school and serving communion so I could stay home and rest in bed today.
48.  grateful for the friend who listened on the phone when I needed to unload a little
49.  thankful for forgiveness for my bad attitude






Saturday, January 7, 2012

To ponder this weekend...

 
 Read:
James 1:22-25
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. 

Ponder: 
So easy isn't it....to read the word, to hear the commands, to see the example of Jesus...and then to turn around and forget it all.  To walk into the world and do as the world does.  To fill the God-shaped hole inside us with the things of this world...why?  We excuse ourselves with "why it's human nature, after all." 

But when we choose Christ, when we choose to receive God's grace so freely given....we are to put off that human nature...to instead do what we hear in the Word.  Love God, love others.  Worship, serve.  Live in grateful obedience.  And be blessed....


Friday, January 6, 2012

"what is better...."



Luke 10:38-42

At the Home of Martha and Mary 
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”


I drove my son back to college today.  As I drove, I listened to a book on cd - Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.  As I listened, Jesus' words kept coming back to me.   "Mary has chosen what is better, and It will not be taken away from her."


Poor Martha, in her world of work, and stress, and worry...was missing the better part.  The part about relationship.  The part about paying attention, listening, giving attention.  The part about drawing closer to her Jesus.  I can totally relate to her frustration with Mary.  "Why Lord, why must I do the work by myself?  Why isn't anyone helping me?"  But maybe, like Martha, I am too focused on the work and the worry...and not focused enough on my Jesus.

I went on a mission trip a couple summers ago to an Indian reservation.  I loved my time there serving the people of the community.  Our Bible study that week focused on "more of Jesus and less of me."  How quickly I forgot those lessons.  More of Jesus...less of me...choosing what is better....Jesus? Or me and my petty frustrations?

Will I choose to go about the busyness of my day?  Or to sit at His feet and take in what He has to say?  Will I focus on me?  Or what He has to offer, what He will provide...what He wants from me?  Will I choose what is better?  Will you?


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Old and New....

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is:  What is the hardest part about beginning?

Some beginnings take planning.  Some happen whether we want them or not - all of a sudden - uncontrollable.  Some beginnings are barely noticeable - starting small and growing until you suddenly realized something has changed.  Some beginnings are hoped for over long periods of time - never seeming to get closer.  Some are choices.  Some...responses.

Ephesians 4:22-24

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 

Paul reminds the faithful in Ephesus that when they came to know Christ, they came to an ending...and a beginning.  That they were to put off their old selves - the selfish, sinful desires.  To change their attitudes and behaviors...to put on a new self.  A Christ-like self.  To begin to live a life in response to His grace, His death and resurrection.  To be a light...to bring Him glory.

How hard is it to begin this new self?  Are we immediately sin free?  Nope. Like changing from dirty clothes to clean - we must put off the old to put on the new.   It is a conscious, active effort to turn from sin, to stop listening to the whispers of the evil one.

We must make a habit of reading the Word, conversing with our Father, walking in the footsteps of our Savior, listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  Each day is another chance to choose the new self - to honor our heavenly Father.

Whisper a prayer.....and let's begin.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Challenges...

So this month I am taking part in a couple of different challenges.  The first is NaBloPoMo....writing on my blog every day..which I've already sorta messed up, but will do my best to post every day!!

The second is Hello Mornings...a challenge to help make a habit of getting in the Word, doing some daily planning, and exercising.  Every day.  Oh how I need this!  It's something I've tried many times, but don't always do so well keeping up... This group builds in accountability by having you be part of a small group that checks in regularly with each other.

I'm very excited to see if I can hold up to both challenges! You can check out the badges on my sidebar to get more information!

Hebrews 12

 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 

This verse will be my inspiration...to focus on Jesus at the end of the race!  To keep my eyes on Him, to trust, to persevere!

Be blessed!

Missing post....and a new chapter begins...

I missed blogging last night.  It was quite a  night. Rough in some ways,and yet, also one that points me toward the future.  Many things changed in one pivotal evening.  And many things more will change in the next few days.

You see, last night we talked to the kids about the reality of our divorce.  That we have paperwork filled out.  That it will be filed this week.  That he is moving into a rental home of his own today.  That we will be going through this house and packing his stuff.  And in fact, did some of that last night.

22 years. 

And yet, I look forward to a future of hope.  And not just a future of hope, but hope AND a future.  God's promise in Jeremiah comes to mind....


Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 
  
I will be back later today, with another post.  Be blessed, and walk humbly with your God today...

Monday, January 2, 2012

How will I shine?

As the second day of January 2012 draws to a close...I find myself wondering...how will I shine in 2012?  How will I make this year different?  What will God ask of me?  Will I be willing to take the risks?  To stand for Him?  Will I do better at using self-control?  At being patient?  At encouraging others? Will I look to Him when I need to make decisions?  Will I spend more time with Him?

I look back at this post from October 13, 2011...and I think...maybe here is a place to start...a beginning. Using words to build others up.  Not using words that will tear them down.  Learning when to speak, when to be silent.  Thinking before allowing my mouth to say things that perhaps it shouldn't.

Ephesians  4:29
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

I don't set out to hurt others with my words.  But sometimes, it just happens before I even realize I've opened my mouth.  And then, there's that look on the other persons face.  The one that says I went too far, I hurt them, I have torn down.  My children get this look...why do we hurt the one's we love?

In the heat of the moment...anger, hurt, frustration, we say things we shouldn't.  I say things I shouldn't.  God tells us to guard our tongue.  To watch what we say.  Words can hurt.  But they can also build up.  They can encourage.  They can bring light to darkness.

So, beginning today...I will be more deliberate in what I say.  In the words I use.  In controlling myself and my tongue.

Psalm 141:3
Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. 
Be blessed.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012...Beginnings

It's the beginning of a new year.  For some, the beginning of new resolutions, goals, habits.  For some, the beginning of a new paragraph, page, chapter in life.  For some, a day to start with a clean slate..a new beginning.

I went to church this morning and enjoyed gathering with my Christian family to worship, listen, learn, pray, and share in the eucharist meal.  The message this morning was about how giving God glory, worshiping Him, leads to peace and joy.  It was a beautiful message and one I needed to hear.  And as we prayed for forgiveness this morning, one verse kept coming into my mind.

This verse:

Psalm 51:10
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 


So on this day of new beginnings, I pray to my Father, my God, the Creator of all that is...to give me a new beginning, a new slate, a clean heart.  I can hold tight to His promise of forgiveness of my sins..knowing that He will not hold them against me, but will remember them no more:


Jeremiah 31:33-35
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the LORD.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.

34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the LORD.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.” 


I pray that He will renew a steadfast spirit within me...that I will hold fast to all His promises and trust His truth.  A steadfast spirit that will glorify Him in all I do, turn to Him for all I need, praise and thank Him daily for all my blessings.  A steadfast spirit that will shine the light of His love to all those around me...to His glory...that I may find to joy in Him, and peace.  I wish these things for you, as well.

So here's to new beginnings.  To a cleansed heart, a steadfast spirit.  Here's to an awesome year of living for Him in the abundance of His grace.

Shine in 2012!