"I am guiding you in the way of wisdom, and I am leading you on the right path." proverbs 4:11

Category: "Hope"

asking

Written by:admin
Published on March 10th, 2014 @ 05:21:00 pm , using 415 words, 1378 views

Rembrandt Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee

Rembrandt's Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee

 

a knock on my window.

and i rise

from my place before the alter.
      where i sat.
          preaching the gospel to myself.

i open the door

and fix two cups of tea. 
         knowing without asking
              to make hers green and mine black.

and we sit

next to each other

the immoral and moral.
      the one who has striven to be lord and master of her life by breaking all the rules.
            the one who has striven to be lord and master of her life by keeping them.

and is it true?

both the same in their need for a Savior?

both the same in their value to Him?
      really?  is it?

both with a chasm that we must see.

a chasm that we cannot cross

that keeps us altogether separate,
       without God and without  hope
             in this land we traverse.

And both of our hands
Are equally skilled
At doing evil
Equally skilled
At bribing the judges
Equally skilled
At perverting justice
Both of our hands
Both of our hands      -jon foreman

but God

But God has provided

and we must see
       we must see the provision

              for the joy to come in and take up residence in these hearts traversing this land.

God's love which satisfied His own justice.

And both of His hands
Are equally skilled
At ruining evil
Equally skilled
At judging the judges
Equally skilled
At administering justice

Both of His hands
Both of His hands

Are equally skilled
At showing mercy

Equally skilled
At loving the loveless

Equally skilled
At administering justice

Both of His hands
Both of His hands    -jon foreman

and so

this is why i keep asking.

because we both need..... we all need

desperately need his skilled hands

to give us the very thing this day requires

Spirit of wisdom to know Him better
eyes of our hearts enlightened to know the hope and riches of inheritance and power for us who believe.
richness of His mercy that gives life
power to grasp the vastness of His love
strength in Him and His might to take our stand against the devil?s schemes.

help in the struggle.

help in the struggle.
     and hope.....
          and joy in spite of the struggle.

and both of His hands are equally skilled.
at providing the solution
and showing us mercy
and loving us well
and restoring
oh the skill of His hands to restore.

 

to draw further in ephesians-all 6 chapters; 

Unwrapping Hope in a story of a golf ball

Written by:admin
Published on December 17th, 2013 @ 04:22:00 pm , using 723 words, 1456 views

it's been a long time of pouring out into lives with the hope that they too could come to know the Only One who can heal their wounds and bind up their broken hearts and give them real peace.

and no one has.

the program that we are connected with is faulty.

we want our programs to work.

the methods we use are weak.

we want our methods to work.

our prayers are genuine....if infrequent.

we want our prayers to work.

some of them have come and sat in our Sanctuary and heard the gospel preached in a beautiful way.

we want our preaching to work.

i remember sitting next to one holding my bible-that i had given to her when she said she wished she had one. and there she sat with the book that had in it all my little notes and milestones of my kids and our life and in that Bible i knew exactly where on a page the particular word i was looking for was. it pained me to give it to her-but i knew what she held in her hands was life. eventually she gave it back to me.

we want our offerings and sacrifices to work.

...................................

today, this Tuesday Emily's gathering has my eyes looking for the gift to be unwrapped.

it's almost 1:00 and 5 phone calls into the day and my joy just keeps growing. The first couple were from dear ones that deposit joy, not suck it away. the other 3 could have been joy suckers.

because so much of what we want to work isn't working.

so it seems.

but as i'm filling in one of my co-laborers on the latest developments and latest 'response wisdom' he tells me a story. and he doesn't even know what the Lord is planning to do with this story. it's just a story about a golf ball and a friend and speaking of Christ and how God worked in a way that they both just stood there for a moment speechless. but the current chapter-these 20 or so year later and that friend still rejects the God who worked that day leaving him speechless.

but it hits me.

That is who our God is!

He pursues so. He orchestrates even the landing of a golf ball. and He never stops. It's back to that story of the chess game and He still has moves left and He will continue on with His moves. He doesn't stop.

He won't make us choose Him.

But He will love us to the very end.

oh, our methods fail and succeed, our prayers, our sacrifices. but if we've been around the block a few times we know how utterly powerless we are to really save a life.

But God?

He works. He keeps working.

He doesn't stop.

He promises that our toils are not in vain, and they will produce a harvest if we do not lose heart.

But seriously, there is every reason to lose heart. Don't you know it too? the person you have poured love into and prayed over and before your eyes on a regular basis is all the reasons to lose heart.

the gift given today was not in an uplifting story with a happy fruitful ending. if that's how the golf ball story had gone i would be sitting here discouraged i think. the beauty of that story (and if you are wondering why i'm not telling it it's because it wasn't my story and i don't remember all the details.) the beauty is in the way it reveals the way in which our Father loves.

the gift of joy today is the opening of my eyes to how to keep heart. (find heart? what would be the opposite of losing heart??)

how to keep heart is to remember the One who works. Who loves. Who suffers long. Who is utterly faithful.

Oh the Depths of the riches of the wisdom of God.......


I'm beginning to grasp that there is a hope candle at advent and a peace candle at advent and a joy candle at advent.......because of, and only because of the last candle we light-

Love
that comes down
and Loves......









linking up with emily freeman's
tuesday's unwrapped

the blog looks a little wonky right now.  i just needed to say that.  you can read more about that  here.



not consumed

Written by:admin
Published on December 16th, 2013 @ 10:23:00 pm , using 550 words, 454 views

so plowing forth and letting God use the words even tho the blog looks ugly now and the text might be wonky.....and i can't make links work so you'll have to go back to the post titled 'facelift' to see what i'm talking about. but i did at least figure out how to paste from MS Word without an error.....but the formatting is still a little wonky and not how i like it.  oh well.  giving myself grace! 



"How are you doing?"
"all i have is Jesus....He's the only thing that is sure/secure."
ahhh, giving a concerned look.
because we both know when a person says that, it usually means things are going rough.

and i've been thinking about that all morning.
the truth is.....Jesus as the only rock secure- is always the truth. rough times or not.
and i'd like to remember that

What i long for in growth is that the good things won't compete for my affections, and the hard things won't steal my joy.
the beautiful thing that wrought peace to my heart and brought sleep to my body earlier in the week was this. so the decision was the wrong one and the response was the wrong one, and maybe my children will go down the wrong way tho i have striven so to point them to the right way, and maybe in the work i do, i will do it all wrong and it all may just not work. regardless of my failures real and failures percieved.....


Jesus is my only hope. Jesus is sure. because of Jesus and who He is and what He does,

i can rest secure. i can cease striving because i know that He is God.

Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before You!
As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil,
come down to make Your name known to your enemies
and cause the nations to quake before You!

For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
You came down and the mountains trembled before You.
Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived, no eye has seen

any God besides You,

who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.
You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
who remember Your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them, You were angry.

How then can we be saved?

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Yet

O LORD,
You. are. our. Father.

Yet
this I call to mind
and therefore have hope:

Because of the LORD's great love
we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;

Great
is Your Faithfulness.

I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for Him.'
The LORD delights in those who fear Him,
who put their hope in
His
Unfailing
Love.....

Those who put their hope
in God's love to not fail?
bring Him delight.
delight!

Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD
The Only One Who faithfully, faithfully gives

pardon for sin
and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear Presence
to cheer and to guide
strength for today
and bright Hope for tomorrow

Great.
is.
Thy.
Faithfulness.

Isaiah 64 (from this morning's advent reading at church); Lamentations 3; Psalm 147; 144; a Hymn

 

 

in This place?

Written by:admin
Published on December 13th, 2013 @ 12:32:00 pm , using 908 words, 515 views

Surely the Lord was in this place, and I wasn?t even aware of it! Genesis 28:16

i come in the door grumbling grumbling.

we?ve been spending ourselves this week on behalf of Isaiah 58 people.

the exhaustion is beginning to take it?s toll.

Wednesday, i was at the dentist sitting in the chair next to my daughter and the hygienist completely lost in October?s National Geographic.  So much so that they kept asking me questions and talking to me and i was completely oblivious with my head in the pictures of N. Korea and the Congo.  Finally my daughter yells out; ?MOM! It?s time to go!?  i look up and they are both staring at me as if they maybe had mentioned this already a couple of times??

late last night, somewhere between pulling into the driveway and my front door, i lost the car keys.

still, i left that to the light of the next day and attempted to make a birthday cake for my daughter.  the pan tipped and spilled half-baked cake all over the oven.

i plop myself down on the couch to try that too again tomorrow and look out my window.....no lights.

those dang squirrels chewed a bulb off-now only ¼ of them light up. 

after rehearsing spelling words with my 3rd grader in the car this morning and shooing him off with a story to remember why there is a silent K in front of Knight, i drive home and the grumbling begins to rumble and spill out within. 

pulling into the driveway and i remember those dang lights.  and in my grumbling profanity over the lights welled up within and dang wasn?t the word i wanted to use. 

i told myself it was silly to speak so about Christmas lights. 

i am a complete mess.

last night driving home the words to myself were instead; ?i am a complete fool.?

 all the volunteers for this week are looking to me to lead them.  my children are looking to me to lead them.  profanity wells up within about that.

grumbling all the way i plop myself down and am irritated that the whole wide world seems to go on without needing to stop in front of the King of Kings, the Wonder of a Counselor, but no, not i. i am desperate and needy.  and completely irritated at that fact.  (do you see it?  those lies that are such nonsense, but man, in the moment they seem so true.)

and he?s working hard, that infuriated accuser.  he?s giving it all he?s got to keep me right here.  exhausted and irritated. profaning the Son of God and His provision....or perceived lack there of.

flipping over the promise chart-i read these words:

The Promise of Victory

?Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.? 1 john 5:5

oh and those words begin to do their work.

i make my tea and block out the rest of the accusations about how this chai has too much sugar and i?m on December 8th in ?The Greatest Gift? so i should just give it up. 

I open Ann's new book to page 65

The only words on the page staring up at me are these:

Surely the Lord was in this place, and I wasn?t even aware of it.  Genesis 28:16

 

and i sit and let these tidings of comfort wash over me, lingering before turning the page for more.

(if you don?t have the book-the focus on the reading is Genesis 28:10-16-read that and the rest will make sense i think?)

You can feel it.....like life?s this stairway that you just never stop climbing.....Like all these lists are rungs, like your failures stretch from earth to heaven, like all your rest feels like lying down on one unforgiving stone.

-Ann Voskamp The Greatest Gift p.68

and the tears that fill my eyes blur the rest of the words on the page.

the bugs and the foolishness and the cake and the congo and it all does feel like rest* on one unforgiving stone. 

and today, i need my King to be a Victorious King, and my Shepherd to be a gentle Shepherd, and my Counselor to be a Wonder of a Counselor.  He is all those things and so very much more.

Love has come.

daily rescuing.

daily saving.

daily strengthening.

daily quenching.

daily loving, oh how deeply loving with the very word needed-even if it?s ?technically? days behind schedule.

sigh.  the grumbling and profanity** has stopped.  although i would not complain if the neighborhood boys did some target practice on some squirrels.

Holy Holy Holy

Lord God Almighty

Merciful and Mighty

in This very place

Holy Holy Holy

are You,

my Love.

my only Hope.

my only source of Strength.

my true Rest.

 

*He taught me about rest.  I sat in Matthew pondering these two verses side by side (11:28-30 and 13:22) and i did think of blogging on it-but the words have been hard to pin down these days-maybe soon?

** Also quoted in Ann?s book these word of Elizabeth Elliot; ?[Profanity] is treating as meaningless that which is freighted with meaning.  Treating as common that which is hallowed.  Regarding as a mere triviality what is really a divine design.  Profanity is failure to see the inner mystery.?  p.69 in The Greatest Gift.
my profanity was actually not in the words i wanted to speak over the Christmas lights, it went so much deeper than that. 

 

The Lord, my Shepherd

Written by:admin
Published on November 24th, 2013 @ 02:21:00 am , using 857 words, 564 views

 North Carolina sky

Psalm 23

God is my shepherd

i won?t be wanting

i won?t be wanting

He makes me rest in fields of green. by quiet streams

even while i?m walking...... thru the valley......... of death and dying.

i will not fear, cause You are with me, You?re always with me.

 

i don?t even know how to write this post.  how to paint the picture for you to understand how those words nourish in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

in the middle of the week as i lay in bed, unable to sleep because of the trauma of the day, i recited the entire thing to myself over and over and over again.

this week was full of heart wrenching struggles. the possibility that my neighbors (little) dog would have to be put down because of my (very big) dog jumping the fence.  rejoicing over that outcome (she made it through surgery and will be ok) and stressing over a now large bill to pay and new fence to build from a small bank account.  the time at the day center for homeless families sitting alongside a man with his head in his hands weeping over the news of his little boy far away-6 yrs. old and both legs amputated.  my pregnant sister in the hospital again.  too far away for me to visit.

and a month ago, in the middle of our flood, i buy a ticket that will take me to the other side of the US for the weekend.  i couldn?t see into the future to be sure that it would be ok to go.  i just had to trust that it would be.

it?s not really.  but i?m going anyway.

when we booked the flight/car/hotel i couldn?t see thousands of miles away what the hotel we were choosing would be like.  i just had to choose one.

here?s where the words fail me.

so i?ll just say that i needed my Shepherd to comfort me and make me rest when the fields weren?t green at all and there were no quiet streams.  i never noticed till now that following that wonderful image (i mean can?t you just see in your mind those fields and the stream?)...following that

is the valley.

of death and dying.

David says he won?t fear.

why?

because His Shepherd is with him,

He?s always with him.

well, my Shepherd did make me rest in spite of the lack of green or quiet.  and i thanked Him so very much.  That His presence was constant and this weekend could still be a time of rest and refreshment...even here.

but then

in the middle of the night

bugs

bugs crawling on me. all these little bugs crawling around in my bed. suffice it to say.  i freak out. and i leave. and through my sobs i manage to find myself a more suitable place to stay. 

................................................

i don?t even know.

here i am.  this week?  i have nothing.  i know nothing.

and at 2 am far from home i?m wrestling with deep stuff.  i wanted rest.

Whole only comes after broken.  Healing only comes after wounds.  Are you willing to go a bit further and see?.......It doesn?t mean that God is trying to teach us a lesson in our difficulty.  Perhaps He is simply creating a masterpiece.  -emily freeman ? a million little ways p. 104, 105

perhaps He is creating a masterpiece.

am i willing to go a bit further and see?

man the wrestling is hard work.  and i won?t be attending the Barn event rested.  i?ll be attending quite fragile and quite simply exhausted i predict. 

but the beauty (masterpiece?) of this weekend is that i never questioned

that He was with me

the entire time.

When i couldn?t find words, only sobbs-the Spirit translated my groans for me.

when i began to condemn myself He brought to mind just the thing i needed.  (one example: condemning myself for freaking out over the bugs and not just toughing it out-and i remembered Corrie ten Boom and the biting flies.  she?d put up with much thus far in that concentration camp ?but the flies were too much for her too.)

He shows me that there are quiet streams here too, in this valley of death and dying.  He sticks in my mind jon foreman?s words: ?Two things you told me: that You are strong and You love me.....yes You love me.?

and

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are numbered.  So don?t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (matthew 10)

and internet at the new hotel so i can stream pandora and have music to drown out any lies the enemy wants to whisper.

Yes.  He is my Shepherd.

i won?t be wanting.

i won?t be wanting.

And this same God who takes care of me

will supply all your needs

from His glorious riches,

which have been given to us

in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians something i think)

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