Monday, November 29, 2010

A Dry Season - The More I Seek You

It amazes me how easily I can get off track. Just ever so slightly.

It's not like I wandered away, or turned my back on Him. But as Sunday rolled around after the Thanksgiving Holiday, I found a dry taste in my spirit. Parched. Hungry.

It's not like I hadn't prayed. Quick prayers, here and there. When I needed something. When I was confused. Sometimes, even a quick thanks when something worked out.

Still, after three days, I felt bone-dry in my heart and wondering where I'd gone wrong.

Then it hit me. I hadn't been spending time with Him. Yes, I was still communicating. Quick conversations. Request. Pleas for help.

Yet, during the holiday rush, and bustle, I'd forgotten to spend that quiet time. Just me and Him. In His quiet presence. Word open. Heart waiting to be filled. At His feet. Hanging on every word. Enjoying a time of being... just being... with Him.

This negligence happened so easily, right under my very nose and I didn't even see it happening. Things needed to be done. Shopping while the bargains were prime. There was family to do things with. Places to go. Things to accomplish.

And without His covering, I fell flat on my face Sunday morning, entangled in confusion, anxiety and guilt. Funny how easy it can happen.

"You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit." Job 10:12

Yet, He finds a way of redirecting my waywardness, of lifting my hanging head, of wiping away sorrowful tears. I'm reminded that I must make that choice to spend time with him, despite the season, activities, demands.

And the more that we seek Him...
the more we'll find Him.
the more we find Him
The more we love Him...

It's impossible to spend time in His presence without falling deeply, madly in love with Him.

(turn off the sidebar music and enjoy this video.)

Despite what season is upon us, don't forget what these seasons are all about. Find quiet times to sit at His feet, to hear His heart beats... to fill yourself with His love and peace.

Be blessed,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wonderment Wednesdays -

Rejoice in the Lord Always.

I will say it again: REJOICE!
Let your gentleness be evident to all.

The Lord is near.

Do not be anxious about anything,

but in everything,


with thanksgiving, present your request to God.

And the peace of God,

which transcends all understanding

will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally brothers,
whatever is true
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable,
--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--
think about such things.
Philippians 4:4-8

May the God of peace be with you always...


(my photos from random wanderings)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why Are You Striving?

This post first appeared over a year ago, but as I was strolling through my archives, I found some lessons have yet to be learned. So I'm reposting this one, with a bit of an update. I need to hear it again. I hope it'll bless you again as well. -enjoy!

The day rushes past, full of activities, trials and errors, maybe a bitter argument or harsh words, perhaps failed attempts. Every once in awhile, I can boast of a success. Boast. As if.

Taking my life into my own hands. Struggling to accomplish a never ending list of daily tasks. Racking my brain to figure out how to solve a problem. Banging my head when no answers come.
And in all this, when I've finally collapsed in a tired heap at the end of the day, having run out of myself... there He is. I feel Him. I hear His whisper, "Why didn't you call on me?"

John Eldredge said in his book, Walking With God that he often struggles with his own "driveness" that pushes and propels his life, and he says it comes as a result of "unbelief, from some deep fear that it's all up to me. Life is up to me. I've got to make as much headway as I can before the bottom drops out."

And that is how I often find myself thinking. It's not going to fix itself, so I better get after it. I. Me. The Master and Commander of my life. Yeah, right.

But He's good at waiting until I've run out of myself, my own energy, my own self-determination before he comes and his presence sits beside me, saying, "Why have you taken your eyes off me?"

I wanted to be a teacher. I sent out resumes, emails, visited schools, nearly everything I could possibly do aside from camping out in their office. Now I'm working as a substitute. I thought teaching was the right thing to do, maybe it will be eventually. But for now, He's put a burden on my heart to write again. To put everything I have into it. It's risky. So far, after three months, I've seen no return for it. Sometimes, I just want to throw up my hands and say, "What's going on God? I'm trying the best I can and look where it's getting me!"

The more I strive, the more I worry, the faster I come around to the realization that I'm going to have to trust Him, and the words He's spoken over me, His promises made. It's beyond me and I hate that. The human in me absolutely hates not being able to control this.

I have a feeling, that's exactly where He wants me, too. Because I'm going to have to learn how to trust Him. And the broken places in me are really afraid to trust too much. What if I don't get a job after all? What if I never sell a piece of writing? How will that make me look? How will I feel about that? And this seeps into every aspect of my life. Trusting Him with our finances. Trusting Him with our children, family. Trusting Him enough to step out in faith and do the things He's asked of me. What if I fail? What if I fall and skin my knee? What if that makes me look like I don't know what I'm doing? Which more often than not, I don't.

He wants to heal those broken places. Each of those shattered parts, chipped away from life's circumstances. Yet I try to hold onto my life, myself, fearful that if I stretch out my arms to him, all those fragments will scatter into a million pieces.

They wont, though.

Eldredge goes on to say, "The Bible says we can't hope to walk the path God would have us walk without the healing of our souls.... The path to freedom from all this pushing and striving involves both repentance and healing so that I can be made whole and holy by his love."

Jesus said in Matthew 13:15:

"For this people's heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their heart and turn,
and I would heal them."

Heal them. He yearns for us to turn to him, let Him heal us. Let Him have control. Don't be hard hearted. Don't walk with a blindfold on, and wax in your ears. Look to me. Hear my voice.

Father God,
Help me to connect my heart to yours. May I be able to stop and look to you for help, and to listen to the words you give me. I wish to walk in truth, with you by my side. Amen.

A friend shared this song with me awhile ago and as I thought about this article, it came back to me tonight. So turn off the sidebar music and I hope you enjoy "By Your Side" from Tenth Avenue North.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Blog Post of the Week: 6 Things Every Christian Blogger Should Know

This weeks post made me stop in my tracks. I like to think I'm pretty good at giving God control, and maybe I do, in a sense. But I still have a tendance to grasp onto that need to please people, to find acceptance and validation for what I do. What I write. But it goes farther than that.

I want to be seen as a good parent, because I believe I'm not. I get hurt easily by my kids when they don't seem to appreciate me, or listen to my oh-so-wise words, or follow through on my request. And I look to God while pointing an angry finger at them and say, "Look what they are doing!"

I would like to be a wonderful wife, but when my expectations of my husband fall short, when he lets me down, when not all of MY needs are met, I turn to God and stomp my foot as I cry, "How can I be a help-mate to someone who treats me like that!?!"

In my writing I put out one article and story after another, telling God, "I'm sending this out now. Lord, I need to make a living doing this if you really want me to keep doing this. I have bills to pay, you know."

As I read Six Things Every Christian Blogger Should Know written by Ann Voskamp, I stopped about midway through and wondered,

"Who the heck to I think I am? Seriously?"

And I began to do some quick apologizing and repenting.

Thing is, it's not about what my family does or doesn't do. Nor does my writing depend on how much I make... or don't make. When I'm a kingdom servant, I work unto God, not men. Whatever I do is in service to my Father God who knows all my needs, who is my one and only validation.

I don't need to worry, nor do I need to strive. It doesn't matter what others do, or what they think. I must keep my eyes focused on Him, my ears attuned to His words and my feet walking in the direction He has pointed out.

Everything is meaningless, a chasing after the wind, (Ecc 4:4) unless I'm putting all I do, into God's hands.

I hope you enjoy the post. It's a powerful message. Just click on the title link above to get over to it.



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wonderment Wednesday- Matthew 7

Ask and it will be given to you;
Seek and you will find;
Knock and the door will be opened to you.

For everyone who asks receives;
He who seeks finds;
And to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

So, in everything, do unto others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:7-13

Be blessed,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Creating a work in progress

We are but a work in progress....

I sit before the easel, blank, white, full of possibilities. Grabbing a charcoal pencil, I sketch a design, images as the completed project forms in my mind. I see it clear, eyes closed, but once opened again, it's no more than vague lines.

Dipping paintbrush into a swirl of color, bristles sweep across white expanse and a thrill erupts in my heart. We are on our way. What will happen? How will it all come out in the end?

More colors. More splashes. Oh, but it's not quite what I had in mind. It's actually kind of messy. I wipe up drips of paint off my shoes and floor.

Almost, as if taking on a life of it's own, the paint and brush sweep, blend, mesh and I gasp, "No, not quiet what I had in mind." I fight back, trying to regain control. Add more yellow. Yet the blue grasp and changes it to green.

In this tug-of-war endeavor of creating, I find I can hear God quiet clearly in the brush strokes.

"I understand your frustration. It's how I feel while I'm trying to mold you and
you have your own ideas. Your own color scheme... Yes, dear one, I
understand completely."

I stop and set my brush down. "I do, don't I? You say yellow and I want orange. You draw a crisp, straight line and say don't cross, yet my toe constantly brushes against, blurring it. Yes, it must be frustrating for you as well."

Yet I don't give up.
He doesn't either.

I wait for paint to dry.
So He waits as well.

I take my time.
So does He.

I am patient.
So is He.

As my project nears completion, I add defining lines, light and definition to each form.

In my life, I feel him doing the same. Setting boundaries. Highlighting the good in me. Defining who I am.

I start off as a big mess. A swirl of assorted colors. No real form. But he creates in my mess of a life, a work of art if I'll let him. His masterpiece. Something that bears His name.

And I want to proudly bear his name. I want to be a thing of beauty that brings joy to those who behold the work he's done in me.

In this video, the late Rich Mullins talks about God working in our lives. Later in the clip, he speaks about what God does with the junk we've made of our lives. Turn off the sidebar music as you listen to this wonderful man's wisdom. Hope you enjoy!

Be Blessed,

Friday, November 12, 2010

Blog Post of the Week: Lisa Buffaloe's blog

I usually like to point you to one specific post that touched me this week, but with Lisa, it's too hard to pin just one particular entry. This past week I've talked about worry. I've shared my thoughts. I've shared scripture and what Jesus thought about it. . .

The thing with Lisa is that her very life is a testimony to overcoming worry. This dear friend has faced some neck-bending obstacles, yet has found a way to get over each one. But I know for a fact, she hasn't done it alone. With each step, she learned to lean heavily on her Lord.

This post in particular seemed to put the cap on the worry bottle. When you read it, you'll see that even when we aren't aware of what's going on, God is in control and he makes a way around the bad places. That is His great love for us in action.

Click on the link to read Wonderfully Made.

And while you're there, why not check out the list Lisa came up with of scriptures that tell about how God feels about you. Read, When you need those reminders that God loves you.

You know, while your there, just have a good look around. Lisa is a true blessing.

But before you go... sit back and listen to this beautiful song and think about what I've said this week. Set your worries in His lap. Enjoy your life, friends. He loves us so very much. He's given us such beauty, so many good things. Don't let a couple of bad apples ... well, you know. Right?

Don't forget to turn off the music on the sidebar before you hit play. Be blessed~ J.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wonderment Wednesday - Matthew 6

LOOK... at the birds of the air...
they neither sow or reap or store away in barns

And yet... And yet
Your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not
much more valuable than they?
LOOK... at the flowers
how they grow... no laboring and sewing
And Yet... And Yet...
Not even those in their finest dress can compare to the splendor...
If this is how God clothes the grass of the field that is here today and
tomorrow is thrown into the fire,
Will. He. Not. Much. More. Clothe. YOU?

Do not worry, your Father knows what you need!
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness
and all these things will be given to you as well.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:26-34

Monday, November 8, 2010

Worry-Warts and Letting Go of The Ball

A friend was telling me how her dog loved playing with toys. This dog loved his toys so much, he would become anxious about them to the point of making himself miserable.

One day, the dog had a new ball and refused to let go of it, being afraid of losing it or someone taking it. She later found the dog under the table, panting and looking longingly at his water bowl. He wouldn't even let go of it to get himself a drink. So he just laid under that table, panting, hot and unhappy. But he had his ball!

It made me think of the times when I have gotten something I really loved and instead of enjoying it, I worried over it. What if it broke? What if I messed it up? Or if I loaned it to someone and they messed it up?

Then my thoughts wondered past the little worries in life as I remember how often I've worried over a job: Am I working hard enough? Does everyone like me? Am I doing it right? What if I get fired? Or they say I'm no good?

Or how about that new car: What if I get in a wreck? The new house: What if we can't afford it? What if something goes wrong? Or maybe a relationship: What if it doesn't work out? What if I do something stupid to make them mad?

Just how many good gifts do we spoil with our worry?

Jesus said: "Don't worry about your life. Don't worry saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' For the lost children - (those who don't know the Heavenly Father who rains down good and perfect gifts on his children. The Heavenly Father who waters the earth, clothes the fields and provides food and shelter for all living creatures)- they go after such things. Your Heavenly Father knows what you need." Matthew 6:25-32 paraphrased

I know this, yet I still worry. Why can't I get this down in my heart? That no matter what life throws at me, I'm loved. He will take care of me because I love Him? For I do. I love Him so very much. No, I'm not perfect. Yes I mess up a lot. But His grace is sufficient. His love fills in our gaps. That's what the Bible says. Right?

My friend went on to tell me how she sat down at the table where her dog lay and looked down at him. And I don't care what people think about dogs, when they love you, they understand everything you say. I don't know how, but they do. She told her little furry friend that he was making himself miserable with that toy and he needed to give it to her. She would keep it safe.

And he did! Which shocked even her. He set the ball in her lap and ran over to get a drink. After that, he was perfectly happy.

Isn't that how it needs to be with the Lord? We need to set our cares in his lap before we harm ourselves. Before we dry up.

Psalm 55:22 says: Casts your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; for he will never let the righteous fall.

1 Peter 5:7 says: Casts all your anxiety on Him for He cares for you.

I leave you with these words from a wise man to ponder:
"I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever' nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him." - Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:12-14
Be blessed!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wonderment Wednesday - Psalms 86

Hear, O Lord, and answer me
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am devoted to you.
You are my God, save your servant who trusts in you.

Teach me your way, O Lord,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart.
I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your love toward me:
YOU have delivered me from the depths of the grave.
(Psalms 86:1-2 & 11-13)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Come As You Are

I've heard this song over the past few weeks and finally came across the video and it just seemed right for today.

It's comforting to know that no matter where we are, Jesus loves us right there. I haven't been the most pleasant person to live with lately. I've gotten angry, have raged, cried, and ranted. My heart has often been filled with ugliness and hurt, instead of His joy and gladness.

Yet, in all that, I never felt Him leave me. Even in my darkest moments, He remained at my side, whispering comfort when I got still long enough to hear him. And I believe, that's how He is with all his children. He's not afraid of our miseries. To Him, they are a melody, as the song says. In our weakness, He is made strong. Why do we have to deal with our weaknesses? Because His grace is sufficient. Because it forces us to our knees and we have no where else but Him to turn.

We don't have to clean ourselves up to approach him. We come as we are. With all our fallacies and faults. He's okay with it. Just come.

Turn off the sidebar music and listen to Amy Grant talk about how she came upon this song and what it meant to her. Then sit back and enjoy the song itself. Be bless, my friends.


(Be sure to click the stop button on the sidebar music)

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