31 July 2010

Ephesians 6:18 Saturdays - How shall we pray?

A few months ago I was asked to give leadership to the intercessory prayer ministry of our church. I have been seeking the Lord for His direction and waiting for His plans.

This morning, this was the subject of my journaling time.

Lord, what is Your desire for prayer ministry in this season? As one who wants to pray into Your Kingdom plans, how should I proceed?

Listen --

And my I-Pod began playing Brian Doerksen's song Refiner's Fire "purify my heart".

Okay Lord, I hear that, and know we must come before You with pure hearts.

Yes, and thankful hearts, for surely you have much to be thankful for and I cherish your praises.
Listen - less talking - more listening - even as the quiet waiting may feel strange or uncomfortable. I sometimes find it hard to be heard in all of your chattering.

If you come to Me filled with your own understanding, how can I teach you?

If you already know what you're looking for, how can I show you something new?

Listen. Wait. Let My Spirit move you. Laugh. Weep. Pace. Dance. Release the words He gives you - even if only He can understand. For I tell you, the Holy Spirit will interpret the mysteries of your prayers.

The Spirit works to both explain Me to you - and explain you to Me - a conduit working in both directions - a highway you can choose to travel straight to My heart.

Are you willing to come?

So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.
Romans 8:26 Amplified




Scattered surprises

I choose flower seeds
in late winter months
images of blooms
bringing life
to grey, cold, prairie reality

My beloved digs in
scatters the promises
when the ground finally softens
the risk of frost
diminished

Things look harsh
barren, empty
faith in what is to come
fades
and we add greenhouse plants

Our God, however
is faithful
His promises true
these mid-summer days
bring
a colour riot
of surprise and delight

You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. Joshua 23:14b NIV

30 July 2010

A High Calling

HighCallingBlogs.com Christian Blog Network
From the time I was a young girl words have delighted me; the look of them, the sound of them, the ways I could fit them together like puzzle pieces. I cannot remember a time when I did not have the desire to write. As a reader, I would cherish books not merely for content but for the way the words played off each other.

During all the years that I walked without knowing the Lord's hand was upon me, I used my words to serve my flesh and the world. With incredible patience, He called and waited and called again. When I stopped running from His voice and surrendered I knew He would have a use for my words, and that He would be the One Who would provide them.

I remember the day I received Christ, driving alone in my car, confessing out loud "Lord, if you want me to write about this journey, give me the words. If You do not, I will be silent."

He Was and Is as always, faithful, and the words continue to come.

My desire has been to use the gifts He has given for Kingdom purposes, indeed a High Calling.

I began blogging in January of 2008 to share moments of the short-term mission trip we took to Uganda. I have connected with many in the family of faith through Christian sites, writing for Exemplify Online and Internet Cafe Devotions. Through it all, His call remains, to glorify His name.

When 2010 began the Lord told me this would be for me a year of acceleration and a year to break free of the fear of man. I knew He was asking me to continue to speak out for Him without worrying about who might want to read the words. We are more than halfway through this year, and He has led me to join The High Calling Blogs Network. I felt at home immediately, among many I already know and others I look forward to meeting. Together we can support, encourage and remind each other that as scribes we are surrendered to the One Who never stops calling.

May it be said of us:

My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Psalm 45:1 NKJV

In my journaling time this morning, this is what my Lord shared with me:

Thank you for standing for Me - even when your flesh would rather run. Can you see, little one, how this indeed is helping you walk out of the prison of "the fear of man"?

I told you this would be the year, and I Am true to My words.

Continue to stretch out your wings, for when you are truly free in Me, nothing will be able to hold you.

Continue to surrender your wings to Me as I shape you into a vessel prefected for My purposes.

Continue to spread out your wings to touch others with the words I give you, spoken or written - you are a pen in My hand.

Continue to have those wings in a ready position p for when the currents and winds of My Spirit flow beneath you - you will fly, child, wait and see how you will fly.

Free in Me - free to be
giving up all - to gain all
to live like an eagle
unafraid of falling
created to see
surrendered to Me
released from the bondage
of sin and flesh
free

29 July 2010

Imperfect Prose - Bridge

A bridge calls out
even in silence
demanding a choice
of options simple
but not easy
over
under
or remain still.

Like a fork in the road
without a sign post
you can never
in your own understanding
be sure
which is the better way.

But the One
Who Himself
became the bridge
to reconnect us
to the Father
will speak softly
and surely
"this is the way, walk in it"

And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way; walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.




Come join in with Emily of In the Hush of the Moon for Imperfect Prose Thursday


Pleasantly random and disturbed

The flower you see here is Canada thistle. It is a living example of the process of multiplication. Where you see one, you will soon see thousands. then tens of thousands, and in following years, hundreds and thousands of thousands. Thistles are invasive weeds, pests, like mosquitoes, but such a lovely purple colour. I mention them here for no other reason than it's Thursday and I'm pleasant and random and disturbed again.

Thursdays come quickly
they go quickly
all days are flying by

Do you know if you break up your lines of prose it looks and often sounds like poetry. Is that all there is to it?

I frequently think in fragments,
pieces not neccessarily shattered,
yet broken.
I believe this may be part of God's grand design:

We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. 1 Corinthians 9-10 The Message

Yes, there is a longing in me for that completeness, the perfection that will cancel all my imperfections.

I have had some issues with vertigo this week and eyes that do not want to focus, and somehow I know that my flesh does not want to see things my spirit already knows.

Perhaps out of dislike for the old phrase "dizzy broad" I prefer to use the word "woozey", but most often I simply say that I'm spinny. My husband laughs and smiles.. should I be offended?

Random poll for the day then:

Which word do you prefer - dizzy, woozey or spinny?

Leave your answer in the comments below. You will not win a prize but I'll love you anyway.




Come on over to Duane Scott's Scribing the Journey for more random explorations.




28 July 2010

Real Stuff - Real People

As a member of the High Calling Blogs Network I am participating in the "You Are Real" community writing project. Here's how it was described:

Over the next week, you’re invited to write guest posts on a network-friend’s site to describe how online life has been (or not been) an experience with becoming real to one another. Your story may involve the delight of meeting someone in person, or it may illustrate that even though you haven’t met, you can nevertheless become real to one another. We encourage swapping posts as a fun way to demonstrate friendship and community, though you’re welcome to post something on this topic only on your own site.
I am guest posting over at Sandra Heska King's blog and hosting Sandy here today. I believe it was likely God, by His Spirit Who lead me to click over to Sandy's blog the first time and I've been a fan ever since. I'm trusting that we will continue to learn more about each other in the days ahead, and grow in relationship in a very real way.


Sandra (AKA Sandy or even Snady, the result of a typo that stuck) lives in Michigan in the same 150-year-old farmhouse her husband grew up in. She is mom to two grown adopted children and grandma to Gracee and Lillee. Snady is a passionate chocolate lover, Detroit Tigers fan, Bible teacher and inspirational writer who still keeps her nursing license intact. She maintains two blogs, The Write Pursuit (http://thewritepursuit.blogspot.com/) and Beholding God (http://sandraking-beholding-god.blogspot.com/). You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook

And now ---- Here's Sandy:

Real Stuff--Real People.

“One’s real life is so often the life that one does not lead.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Yesterday a friend told me about some phone calls her 15-year-old granddaughter received on her cell phone. Stuff like, “I’m going to cut your boobs off.” He called the home phone as well.

For the record, our answering machine collected several messages like that directed to our daughter years ago. We took the machine down to the sheriff’s department, but they couldn’t do much except send a deputy to talk to a boy my daughter named as a possible culprit. The calls stopped.

Anyway, my friend is convinced it’s some online someone. She ranted about the evils of Facebook and other social sites. And how nobody should share any of their lives with strangers. Especially online strangers. It’s only asking for trouble.

I didn’t tell her I could be in a heap of trouble. But that’s not been my experience.

Oh, and for the record, our experience happened before Facebook. Maybe even before we had a computer.

Anyway.

I met Diana in an online MT (medical transcription) help forum. We soon discovered we worked for the same company and even lived in the same state. About an hour and a half away. We arranged a meeting at the Rainforest Café and clicked. We spent hours talking. I shared stuff I’d never even told family. And we found we had much in common—like adoption. We roomed together at conferences in Atlanta, Boston, and Honolulu. Shared barrels of laughs. And remain BFFs even though she now lives in northern Arizona where her husband pastors a little church in Holbrook.

Real stuff. Real people.

Jeannine also frequented that same forum. When she mentioned her son had been sent to Afghanistan, a small group of us from across the country and Canada set up a rotating schedule to send a monthly care package. Jeannine and I have also become great friends though we’ve never met in person. We’ve prayed each other through many a crisis and even share the same wedding anniversary. She’s in New Jersey.

Real stuff. Real people.

And then there’s Melinda. We connected on Twitter. I think. Her daughter and my granddaughter are the same age. We laugh and tease and share deep stuff and pray for each other. She’s very real, and we will meet one day—maybe somewhere between Florida and Michigan. Like maybe Tennessee where we have mutual online friends.

Real stuff. Real people.

And there are others, intergenerational—established friendships, reconnected friendships, developing friendships. With school classmates and writers and bloggers and those of High Calling. Folks who inspire and encourage. Who stretch me and push me into zones of discomfort. Who aren’t afraid to confront and correct.

Friendships of substance. Not of surface. And if asked how I am, I can tell the truth.

I don’t remember how I connected with Karin. A friend of a friend? A bloggy stumble? Does it matter? I love her Jesus heart and her photo art. How she shares His light.

I think some of my virtual friends are more real than some of my real friends.

I think I’m more real with some of my virtual friends than some of my real friends.

I’m not sure why. Maybe because most of my online friends are writers of some sort. We communicate better in writing. We understand each other. Maybe it’s easier to undress our thoughts and feelings when nobody is looking. To drop the covers. To take a risk.

Most of my friends are also fireflies, like Karin, chasing after the Light. Maybe there is something more powerful about connecting heart-to-heart and light-to-light than eye-to-eye and hand-to-hand. Or at least in that order.

What I do know is that I’ve found real in what I would have missed in the real. In whom I might have bypassed on sight. Like a blind person who falls in love. And then receives sight.

And even more interesting. I think because of the real in the virtual, I’m becoming real in the real.

And I’m pretty sure none of my friends are ax murderers.

Real stuff. Real people.

Family.

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3

Stop over at High Calling Blogs to read the posts of everyone who particpated in this project.


Word Filled Wednesday - Baptized

But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe—Christ's life, the fulfillment of God's original promise. Galatians 3:25-27 The Message
This past Sunday was our annual church picnic which included four baptisms. What joy to be a witness to such life changing declarations of faith, in public, out in the open water of the lake. I'm almost sure I head the angels singing!





Join us for more Word Filled Wednesday at Internet Cafe Devotions




27 July 2010

Surrender to the wind

I wasn't on the boat, but watching from the shoreline
longing for the freedom of release
a moment of letting go
to allow the Holy Spirit to fill my sails
and carry me
in the direction He chooses.

As the sail cannot direct the wind
but must surrender
so too must flesh, self, ego
give way to spirit.

Should the clay control
the hands of the potter?

“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’ Isaiah 45:9 NLT

I want to rise each day
to die
that I might live
the filthy rags of self
exchanged
for the new that He offers

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Colossians 3:12-14 The Message

My flesh fights
as my spirit yearns
for less of me
and more of Him
to live the words
spoken by the beloved disciple

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30 NKJV


This was written in response to Bridget Chumbley's One Word At A Time Carnival - the prompt this week was "Ego" Come see what others have shared.


This time of fresh air and revelation was a special moment in my weekend so I am also sharing it at Emily's Chatting at the Sky - Tuesdays Unwrapped. Come visit and share your gift of moments.

26 July 2010

Bath Day

Our dog Faith lives outside. She sleeps in the grass, or on the deck, or under the deck and in her straw lined dog house when the bitter winter blows in temperatures of 40 below. If we sense she is in danger, too many howling coyotes or other threats, we call her in to sleep in a small basement room, but normally she is quite content to remain outside as the defender of her realm.

Part of our usual evening ritual includes inviting Faith in for a short visit that might include a treat or time to play with her nylon bone, a blessed time to exchange human and canine love.

However.... living the life of a country dog includes hunting and rolling around in all sorts of unmentionables. This has resulted in a dog that became increasingly more offensive to our human sense of smell. It was time for a bath, way past time.

Today dawned clear and hot, and we knew there was no avoiding the task any longer. Hose, tub and pails full of hot water at the ready, we put her collar and leash on in case she would try to run, and Rick picked her up and set her in the tub of water. Soaking and sudsing commenced, with alternating choruses of "No! Stay here" and "There you go, good girl."

She looked at us with eyes that said "I don't really know why you're doing this to me."

Does that sound familiar? Do we say the same thing to God when He is attempting to cleanse, renew and transform us?

After rinsing her heavy fur as much as possible, we released her, and though she hadn't been particularly happy about the process, she seemed well pleased enough with the results. Amid the running about and shaking, and shaking and running about, she gave us licks and smiles, thrilled as she was to be free again.

I pray that I remember this morning the next time my Lord is trying to work something out in my life. I might not enjoy the process, but I know both He and I will be well pleased with the results.

It wasn't so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:4-6 The Message

I thought about taking pictures much too late. Above is an after shot, when Faith's fur was already mostly dry.


24 July 2010

Stand protected!

If you've been reading my posts this summer, you know very well how I feel about mosquitos. This morning, in my journaling time, the Lord turned my dislike of the nasty little bloodsuckers into a lesson on protection. Truly, these are days when we are fighting much more than insects!

Just as you cover yourself with bug spray when you go out to work among the mosquitos, so too must you learn to protect yourself for spiritual battle.

Cover yourself in the truth of My Word.
Cover yourself in My love and My grace.
Soak in My presence until My peace is absorbed in every fibre of your being.
Then allow faith in the victory I have won for you to cause hope to drip from you, leaving a trail of sweetness the enemy can NOT conquer.

Then child, when you stand firm, despite the war waging around you, I will be glorified.

So - stand, even when you feel weak.
Stand, when you would rather run.
Stand, and I will hold you and keep you from falling.
Stand - for Me.
Stand in Me - where you have always belonged.

Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. Ephesians 6:13-18 The Message

A bit later, I sprayed myself and went out to water our hanging baskets and flower beds. I am beyond thrilled to report that I didn't lose a single drop of blood to the dreaded foes! Thank You Lord for the visible example of walking and standing in Your powerful circle of protection!

22 July 2010

Pleasantly disturbed and a bit loony

This weekend I realized that the choice of a loon on our $1.00 coins makes perfect sense. I have never before been blessed to see and hear quite so many of the beautiful birds. As an added delight, there were babies in the mix!

So call me a loonie and I'll accept that as a compliment. Out in left field? A bit askew? Over the top? Off the deep end? I'll receive them all, with a smile and "thank you very much". I want to be smack dab in the center of God's perfect will and that may often look upside down to the world. It looks funny to me too most of the time, but I'm learning to ask Him to allow me to see through His eyes.

Speaking of eyes, mine have been busy reading too many books at once, while my mind twitches with thoughts of reviews I should be writing.

I just finished the novel Priceless by Tom Davis (the CEO of Children's Hope Chest) and cannot yet put into words how my spirit was stirred. Is child slavery and sex trafficking alive and well in Russia and the rest of our world? Too alive and far too well, and we can't allow the devil to continue to have his way. Pray with me that the Lord gives me the words He desires me to write, in His timing.

I am pages from the end of Pete Wilson's book Plan B and have heard the voice of God speak over and over through Pete's words. This is a book that will bring clarity, comfort and hope to those who find themselves on the flip side of where they thought their life would be. The good news is that God is still there. More on this to follow...

There are more books stacked and waiting to be opened, while grass cries to be cut and mosquitos drool waiting for me to answer the call so they may have their way with me yet again. I wish they would be a bit more random in their choice of blood options.

Yes, they are God's creatures... I know.. I know...
Come on over to Duane Scott's Scribing the Journey to join in the randomness!

21 July 2010

Cultivating stillness

Desiring to press in, draw close and learn to hear the beat of my Lord's heart, I asked Him:

Lord, what means have I used to effectively still myself? What methods would You like me to cultivate?

His reply:

When you follow Me, walking in My footsteps, your path is easy, isn’t it? Your feet seem small compared to Mine when you follow as a child. We can move almost effortlessly together this way. But when you get distracted by something and turn away, I do not remain stagnant, I am still moving, and when you turn your focus back to Me, you find that I have moved on ahead and you have to run to catch me. This is more tiring for you.

I am glad you are learning to keep the eyes of your heart and spirit focused and fixed on me. I am most thrilled at the moments we can walk side by side, in step, when you let Me hold gently your hand.

You have tried to force stillness upon yourself instead of simply letting it come. Worship and let go. Sing to Me. I love to hear the words that come when you simply allow them to, with melody comes the unbroken flow, when you stop thinking, stop judging, stop trying. Yes, you sing your way into My presence and your words of love touch my heart so. Your song is a way of emptying yourself of all that burdens you, and can bring you to a place of stillness and calm, the empty vessel that I can fill.

Does it sound silly to you that you should do something active like sing to become still? Perhaps, but My ways are not your ways, My ways are beyond your rational understanding. Yes, maybe you can try to dance into stillness, for that also is worship unto Me.

If you let Me, I can show you many new ways of thinking and all the boxes you build will come crashing down. I never intended for you to live in box, but in freedom with Me.

Posted as part of Ann Voskamp's Walk With Him Wednesday Currently looking at The Spiritual Practice of Listening and Hearing God.


Word Filled Wednesday - Road

And how blessed all those in whom you live, whose lives become roads you travel; They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks, discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain! God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and at the last turn—Zion! God in full view! Psalm 84:5-7 The Message




Join us at Internet Cafe Devotions for more Word Filled Wednesday




20 July 2010

Tuesdays Unwrapped - On the water

My husband Rick and I were blessed to partake of an overnight away with friends at their cottage on a lake about 1-1/2 hours from home.

We enjoyed food, fellowship and time cruising in their speedboat.

In the majesty of all He has created for us to enjoy I knew I would find many moments to cherish.

Journaling this morning, this is what my Lord shared:

Keep hold of peace.
Keep hold of Me.

I let you ride on smooth and choppy waters - but I never let you out of My sight or care. I never let you go. I Am in the waves.

Just as you laughed like a little child at the fun of the speed and turning, so too do I ask you to laugh in the midst of storms - know that I Am with you - even when you cannot see Me.

How can you know? Simply because I have promised - and I Am not a man that I should lie. I Am faithful to My Word. What I have said, that shall I do.

God is not a man, that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man, that He should feel repentance or compunction [for what He has promised]. Has He said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good? Numbers 23:19 Amplified

Come vist Emily at Chatting at the Sky and share the special moments that you've unwrapped.

17 July 2010

The time in-between

It's the time in-between
knowing who I was
who I am
but not quite sure who I will be.

A hint of colour
appears
a pale taste of what's to come.

Living in the time
that is the dash between
the in
-
between
takes courage;
strength to stand
through storms
not wither in dry spells.

I continue to lift up my head
eyes on my redeemer
source of all strength
keeper of all mysteries
the only One Who knows
what will be
after the time in-between.

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2 NIV


16 July 2010

Favourite Links Friday - 16 july 2010

While my brain and heart are at work processing various things, I'm taking a moment to use this space to point you in the direction of words by writers that moved me this week.

Billy CoffeyMy Daughter’s Fingernails
Bridget Chumbley - One Word at a Time Carnival – Summer
Don MillerHello My Name is Lucy Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
Cassandra FrearMoonboat Café – On the Path
Kevin MartineauShooting the Breeze LeBron James and the Pursuit of Happiness

A big shout out to Kevin for all he does to encourage, support and promote fellow bloggers.. and.. he’s Canadian, eh?

Stop by his place to read the links that others have shared today at Favourite Links Friday


15 July 2010

Disturbed, listening, not quite pleasant

Is it Thursday already? Moments turn into hours, melt into days, and another week has passed.

God has been speaking about being "intentional" and living life on purpose, which has very little to do with being "random"... yet...

My thoughts wander where they will, landing lightly in some places, falling with a heavy thud in others.

Focus blurs. I attempt to still my own noise and listen for His greater heartbeat.

He says:

Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God

and He says:

I don't think the way you think. The way you work isn't the way I work." God's Decree."For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Isaiah 55:9 The Message

I will take my comfort there. To know that He is God and I am not. For that and so much more, I am truly filled to overflowing with thanksgiving.


Join in the randomness of Pleasantly Disturbed Thursdays at Duane Scott's


14 July 2010

Word Filled Wednesday - How Beautiful

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"



Join us at Internet Cafe Devotions for more Word Filled Wednesday


13 July 2010

Slow as molasses - Apology and re-rant

A bottle of store bought MolassesImage via Wikipedia

I am not an intentional lurker. I love reading the words of others, and enjoy leaving encouraging comments and replies.

I follow your posts in my Google Reader because I often cannot even connect to your actual blogs. I'm thankful indeed that I am able to read your words this way.

Yes, I am ranting yet again about my insidiously slow dial-up internet connection and the total lack of other options when I am at home.

I am not ignoring any of you. I long to be able to let you know that I am touched and moved by your words and am cheering you on.

Please accept this small apology and know that I comment as often as I can.

Blessings to you all as you press in for more of what God asks you to share.



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