Friday, October 29, 2010

Blog Post of the Week: You Are Enough

After writing Monday's post, (which I actually wrote Sunday morning) I was looking at my email. Everyday, I get feed from DaySpring's (in)Courage. What is (in)Courage, you might ask? Well, here's an excerpt from the site.

When we asked ourselves what kind of place we were building, we finally came to see it as a bit like a beach house. You can put your sandy, dirty feet on the coffee table, laugh late into the night with friends, and also hear God’s voice clearer than perhaps anywhere else. Life just feels more vibrant and real, as if you’ve stumbled upon a glimpse of heaven and it’s nothing like you ever imagined but everything you’d always hoped.

In Sunday's email post was a piece by Arianne from To Think is To Create. What I would like to direct you to this week, was her post titled You Are Enough. It was like she heard before hand my post on Monday, my questions about fear, and self-doubts and in poetic form, and reminded me that I Am Enough, just as I am, with all my failures and mess-up and craziness.

It was nice to hear.

Hope it blesses you as well. Check out both sites, they are sure to enrich your day.

God Bless,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Wonderment - Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need.
You, my God, are my protector, provider, my best friend in good and bad.

He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
Father, I find my peace in You and only in You.

He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
In weariness you will carry me. In confusion, you point the way. In fear, you walk right by my side. In danger, your hand is upon me and my enemies haven't a chance against You, O' Mighty God.

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil.

My cup overflows with blessings.

When have I lacked? When have I hungered? When have I had to go without? Never! For You, my Lord, have always provided, always made a way and for that I'm am eternally grateful.

How can my mere words express my thankfulness to You?

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23 (NLT)

A re-post that's been modified a bit for what's on my heart today. His mercy, grace and provision never, ever, never fail us.

Photo of pond from Charis Canyon, Grace Ministries International retreat.

Monday, October 25, 2010

When we are Much-Afraid...

She walked singing across the first field and was halfway over the next when suddenly she saw Craven Fear himself coming toward her. Poor Much-Afraid: for a little while she had completely forgotten the existences of her dreadful relatives, and now here was the most dreaded and detested of them all slouching toward her. (Hinds Feet On High Places: pgs 31-33)

Sometimes, my life feels like a roller-coaster. I'm happily skipping along, feeling good about my accomplishments, feeling good about where I'm going and feeling good about what I've accomplished. I feel my Shepherd's pleasure. I've recently been in His presence and all the junk has fled. My heart feels like singing. My steps are light. And then here it comes... on of those "dreadful relatives." Call him Fear, Failure, Irritation, Loss, Disappointment, Conflict. They are all from the same family.

And like Much-Afraid, I find myself unable to stop it.

She looked right and left, but there was no hiding place anywhere, and besides it was all too obvious that he was actually coming to meet her, for as soon as he saw her he quickened his pace and in a moment or two was right beside her.

The dip happens so quick. The road takes a violent downward tip and your heart flees and your stomach is up in your throat.

I see it coming. Honestly, I try to avoid it, yet am paralyzed to move, to hide, to turn the other way and before I know it, he is right there, in my face, nasty breath, evil look and cruel words. "Who do you think you're fooling?" He jeers.
"You are nothing and will always be nothing." Blah, blah, blah... it goes on and on and I'm sure you've heard your own words. He knows so well how to push our buttons. He knows so well where the wounds are, how to poke and make them hurt worse.

She shrank away from him and shook with terror and loathing. Unfortunately this was the worst thing she could have done, for it was always her obvious fear which encouraged him to continue tormenting her. If only she could have ignored him, he soon would have tired of teasing and of her company and would have wandered off to look for other prey. In all her life, however, Much-Afraid had never been able to ignore Fear. Now it was absolutely beyond her power to conceal the dread which she felt.

That's the problem isn't it? I can recognize it, but why do I feel powerless to ignore it? Why can't I push the daunting thoughts, the nagging, the doubts away and focus only on Him and His truth? Why can't I call out His name in praises for if I would, they would flee.

Here she was, alone and completely in his power. He caught hold of her, and poor Much-Afraid uttered one frenzied cry of terror and pain....
The Shepherd had approached them unperceived and was standing beside them. One look at his stern face and flashing eyes and the stout Shepherd's cudgel grasped in his strong, uplifted hand was more than enough for the bully.

Doesn't the Bible say--
But I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me. Psalm 55:17-19

He is always there. I know this. I KNOW this!! So why do I allow myself to fall prey to the bullying? Why do I let despair step on my toes? Why do I allow anger to wrap itself around me like a blanket, a smothering blanket. Why?

Much-Afraid burst into tears. Of course she ought to have known that Craven was a coward and that if only she had lifted her voice and called for the Shepherd, he would have fled at once.... She was overwhelmed with shame that she has so quickly acted like her old name and nature, which she had hoped was beginning to be changed already.

It is a process of change, I suppose. As we journey, like Much-Afraid, to the High Places, and with each step, the old does begin to fall off and the new shines through. At least I'm able to recognize those "dreadful relatives" as before I wouldn't have seen them coming. I see them now. I know who they are. And I do know that my Shepherd will come for me and with his "stern face and flashing eyes" He will send my enemies running.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths;
bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk through the dark valley of death,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You welcome me as a guest,
anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love
will pursue me
all the days of my life
and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23 (NLT)

Amen and amen!

Excerpts from Hinds Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard from the chapter 1 " Invitation To The High Places"
If you haven't read this book, Friend, I highly encourage you to go find yourself a copy. I know of nobody who has read this book without having a life changing experience. Honest.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Blog Post of The Week

I came across a blog post this week that really... well, it spoke to my heart. It spoke something I've been in a tangle about with God. What does it mean to reach out to others? Is it our "job" to teach, lead them on the right paths, cajole or nag...? Or is it our responsibility as Christians, as Children of God to simply be a friend?

The video on this blog I'm linking you to gave a real life example of someone who reached out and did exactly what I think Jesus wants us to do.

Be a friend.

I hope it blesses you as much as it blessed me.

Vonda Skelton - Love or Hate?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wonderment Wednesday

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.

Let us FIX our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the JOY set before him endured the cross,
scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the THRONE OF GOD.

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

It's all about where we focus our eyes... on our circumstances and problems, or on him? Let him be our role model. If he can do it, so can we.

Don't give up, friends.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Secret of Contentment

I know what is is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether
well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Philippians 4:12
Wish I could say I epitomized this scripture. But I don't.

However, I have learned how not to panic, most of the time, when things don't go the way I had planned. Most of the time. Perhaps 80/20. Ok, Ok, 70/30. Whatever.

In my certification classes, the instructors said that, as teachers, we need to be flexible and ready to handle change at a moments notice. Eeish. Like, as if. Who really does that anymore? I mean, really?

What I have learned, however, is that whatever I face, or whatever hits me from behind, I'm not alone in dealing with it. Earlier this week, I visited one of my favorite blogs, and found a wonderful phrase from the author which I've copied in my journal so I can remember it.

"Pray, process all the steps through in your mind, and prepare... and don't stop praying."

This is something I have learned while walking with the Holy Spirit. I have found that when I don't panic, if I'll just take a deep breath and ask, "what now?" An answer will come.

As I pondered this, another scripture came to me from Ephesians 6:13-"Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so when the day of evil comes, (such as troubles, challenges, obstacles, conflicts or disappointments) you may be able to stand your ground, (Pray, process, prepare and pray some more) and after you have done everything, to stand." Then in vs 18, it goes on to say: "And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kind of prayer and request. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."

Be alert.

That means keeping my eyes outward focused and not inward focused.

Pray, process, prepare and Pray!

Stand your ground, and after you've done everything, keep standing.
Keep praying.
Keep listening.
Then pray some more.

Father God, Keep me from getting knocked off my feet when things don't go my way. Help me to stand firm and know without a doubt, that you are in control of my live. May I remember to stop and seek out your wisdom when faced with obstacles. May I learn the secret of being content in any and every situation. Help me learn this. Teach me your ways, O Lord. I love you. Thank you for your many blessings and provisions. Amen.

Rest in ease, my friends!
This is from my archives. I needed to be reminded. Hope it blesses you again as it has me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Life Support: A Way To Find Enjoyment

This came in my email and I thought, "This is good and it really encourages me. And it seems to be going right along with what I've been writing about lately."

So, I'm sharing it with you, my friends. At the end, there's a link you can click if you want to read more of Steve's work.

God Bless,


At one time, Bangkok television aired the American situation comedy LaVerne and Shirley. For whatever reason, officials there believed that a disclaimer was necessary for the Thailand audience, so this subtitle was added to each show: "The two women depicted in the following episode are from an insane asylum."

Personally, I'm thankful there is a little silliness in the world. And I don't mind not acting like everybody else.

Like the "irrepressible" educator and speaker Leo Buscaglia once said: "I don't mind if people think I'm crazy. In fact, I think it's great! It gives me tremendous latitude for behavior."

Buscaglia knew how to laugh. And I think knowing how to laugh and have fun is an important part of living.

Someone asked me what I do for fun. I felt I should answer with something others enjoy, like golf or skiing. But my idea of fun is not usually associated with entertainment and recreation. It is more about squeezing as much enjoyment into every day as I can. Instead of looking for something fun to do, I try to make whatever I do a little more fun. And if I can't always do things I enjoy, I can learn to enjoy more of the things I do.

I like the word "enjoyment" because it has "joy" inside of it. So does the word "rejoice." And rejoicing is a way to find enjoyment of life.

Speaking of Leo Buscaglia, he used to tell a story about his mother and their "misery dinner."

It was the night after his father came home and said it looked as if he would have to go into bankruptcy because his partner had absconded with their firm's funds. His mother's response was to sell some of her jewelry to buy food enough for a grand feast. At first, other members of the family scolded her for it. But she told them that "the time for joy is now, when we need it most, not next week."

They learned to appreciate the hopeful attitude that lifted them out of fear and into joy.

I want to learn to be happy even in those difficult and trying times. I won't be happy FOR them (who likes problems?), just IN them. I need the soothing medicine of laughter when it hurts. I want to learn that the time for joy is now, when I need it most.

Maybe it sounds silly, but I want to learn to rejoice in all things. And If I'm doing that well, it really doesn't matter what I like to do for fun.

-- Steve Goodier

Monday, October 11, 2010

Traveling The Dark Paths

Lately, I’ve been down in the dumps. Allowing life to kick me around. Leaving an open door for the enemy to come in and eat my lunch.

People will say, “You need to kick him out. You need to get up, dust yourself off and keep going.”

And I do. I know. I really do know and have given the same advice myself.

But there are just sometimes when depression gets such a firm hold on you, and it won’t let go. Sometimes, it yanks so hard you find the world tumbling down into a dark abyss and you can’t see to find the way back out. Then what?

Well, if it gets too bad, I suggest you seek help. If not a professional, then at least a friend who you know has the heart to walk through those dark places with you.

Along with that, remember this:

“Where can I go from Your spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will
guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the
darkness will hide me,
And the light become night around me,’
Even the
darkness will not be dark to You;”
Psalm 139:7-12


“Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for You
are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.”
Psalm 23:4

With or without people around to help, with or without professional help, we keep going. If we love God and belong to Him, then we don’t go through the dark places alone. He’s right there. He’ll never leave or forsake. He doesn’t promise happiness and sunshine every day. But He does promise that His presence will go where we go if we will only seek him. And if we seek Him, the darkness will flee. It has to. He says He is light and God doesn’t lie. Never.


Friday, October 8, 2010

The Search for Contentment

The day stretches out ahead of me as I get up, dressed and run over the many things I need to do, should get done, and really want to do. The cooler weather calls for me to come out and play. A dirty house demands I stay home and take care of responsibilities. Words circle around my head like a tempest, dancing and spiraling and begging to get out.

And I'm left in a state of confusion... what should I do with myself?

I feel like a fly that's zooming along haphazardly, only to find itself tangled up in a silken, almost invisible web and I have no idea what to do next.

I want to be effective. I want to get things done instead of looking back at another wasted day. Most of the time my day is wasted by tripping over myself with worries, frets that I can't do this or that right, the words wont come and if they do they'll be all jumbled and make no sense.

My self-confidence deflates. And once again, I'm having to stop to clean up some mess of myself.

Then I ask God, "What should I do? What do you want from me?"
And I know, He's already told me and for some reason, I can't make myself follow through with His directions. They're risky. What if I fail? What if someone gets upset with me? I'll mess it up. I won't... I can't... I'm hopeless.


I don't know why I have to put myself through all that. I know, without a doubt, that when I walk in God's will, everything eventually works out.

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." Jeremiah 29:11
I know this is true. So why do I still struggle? Still doubt?

I saw the movie Eat, Pray, Love a month back and it really intrigued me. Yet I left the theater knowing something was missing in the movie that there had to be more to why she did what she did. Why did she travel the world on a spiritual journey. What was she searching for and did she really find it and how did she find it? The book, is answering those questions and I'm rather enjoying it.

Her journey to finding a connection to God is interesting. Not the course I would personally take, but each of us have to find our own path to Him.

The other day, I was reading toward the end and was struck by this paragraph:

"The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people." Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love.

It made me think. I clog myself from being productive not only for myself, but my family and my world. Allowing my self-doubts and depression to grab me and shake me up stops me from being all God has created me to be in this time and place. I'm here for a reason. We all are. Some have big, enormous reasons, some small, unnoticed reasons. But there's a plan and purpose all the same.

When I have my eyes on me, I'm going to stumble and fall. When I have my eyes on the road ahead, on Him, I'll not trip and He will catch me if I do. It's about putting my trust in God and His ways.

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity." Jer. 29:12-14
Lord, set me free from myself so that I can live in freedom and be all that you've created me to be. Amen.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wonderment Wednesday - Ecclesiastes 12

Besides being wise himself, the Quester also taught others knowledge. He weighed, examined, and arranged many proverbs. The Quester did his best to find the right words and write the plain truth.

The words of the wise prod us to live well.
They're like nails hammered home, holding life together.
They are given by God, the one Shepherd.

But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There's no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you're no good for anything else. The last and final word is this:

Fear God.
Do what He tells you.

And that's it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it's good or evil.

(Ecc. 12:9-14 MSG)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

If Only If...

Strangest thing, I've been plagued this week by these words:

"Life would be easier"...

That phrase has been stuck on my phone and every time I open my text file, there it is.

Life would be easier if... what?
If we weren't daily harassed by one problem after another?
If people would only speak encouraging words and not say negative things?
If we won the lottery?
If we never had to worry, or strive or struggle ... for whatever it is we worry over, strive after, struggle for.

I know I'm tired, too. Tired of fighting. Tired of the turmoil a home can boil up. When all the different personalities clash in conflict like thunderous winds on a stormy night. The hateful words pour down, pounding hearts and souls. Blast of lighting in the curses shot back and forth.

Life would be easier if…

if only if…

There weren't so many disappointments. So many hurts caused by someone loved or not so loved. Hurts I've thrown right back, as well.

The times I question, “Why even try? Why waste my time?” When I feel like a failure. I can’t do it, I refuse to take another step. When I want to give up and run for the hills. Yet each morning, I find myself getting back up, trudging the same path from shower to closet as I get ready to try, try again. To head into a job I’m unsure I'm any good at. Or to sit at a blank screen knowing that the words I’ve spent hours on may never leave the digital file they were created in.

At the end of his life, Solomon wrote: "Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun." Ecclesiastes 2:11

Life would be easier... if only if...

Then I look around and see the friend struggling to hold on to their life in a epic battle with cancer. Or the couple who've both just been laid off from their jobs and now have no income to support themselves. I listen to the child read his essay about how his father rejected him as a son. And I'm supposed to critique him on his sentence structure when my heart has been nipped by his words and the quick way he swiped at his eyes as he read. I watch another child struggle to keep up because his mind doesn't work as fast as the others. In frustration, he acts out and nobody knows what to do.

Yeah, life would be easier... if... if what?

Everybody has something stuffed down deep in their pockets. Every once in awhile they might pull it out to show someone before they stuff it back in. What does one do? Sometimes... most times, I'm at a loss.

Hurt is no respecter of persons. It pretty much spreads itself around one way or another. So does disappointment, fear, condemnation, anger… all that nasty stuff that bears its sharp teeth and rips apart hearts and spirits.

You know what I think would make life easier?

If I could get myself to a place where I love, encourage, accept and comfort more than all the other crap I do. (sorry, I tried to think of a nicer word for what I'm thinking and found none.)

Life would be easier… if I could love like Jesus loved. Despite what was done to him, he loved. Oh how he loved.

I want to. I want to be so pouring over with compassion that I can say to someone who has none, “Here, you can have some of mine.”

Lately I've felt all dried up and empty.

I want to be an outward looker instead of an inward seeker.

God help me! Change me. From the inside out. I don’t want to look back like Solomon who had everything and then some … and think everything is all a waste. Please, please, please don’t let me come to such an end.



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