31 December 2011

In His hands

Rollercoaster ride
dizzying heights
mind numbing lows
fireworks or deep black
another year finds an end tonight.

I could not have predicted the trials
or planned the blessings
learning again and yet again
these things are best surrendered
to His hand.

As you look back
and forward
rest in His promises --

No one's ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love him
 
 

A year of encouragement

This is the time of year when people look back and post retrospectives on their blog.  Many choose their favourite posts or those that drew the most traffic.  Because God has created me to be different from the crowd I have decided instead to share some of my favourite comments from 2011, one for each month of the year.

January 8th Bonnie Gray who blogs at The FaithBarista left these words on my post Persevere and Expectation:
I love coming by here for my cup of brew. I'm getting used to coming through the door, that you leave ajar for me. :) I feel today you're standing up and letting out a battle cry, as I read the last part of your post. Wonderful words matching persevere & expectation! loved your link.
February 15th Brian Miller of Waystation One commented on Heartstrings:
having heard a string or two break in my day...it is a powerful image...and the restringing bringing the instrument back to life as well... 
March 2nd Jerry of Under the Door Frame noted on Icy Heart:
A heart of ice melted into living water... A heart of stone transformed into a heart of flesh. Thank God for his pursuit...and our often hesitant response. Good. good.
April 27th Nance Marie of various blogs added to Finding light:
grace of the Lord
to cover the sea of bitterness within
the light of the Lord
to shine into my dark soul
May 11th master encourager Glynn of Faith, Fiction, Friends said this on Shouts and whispers:
Beautiful, Karin. Prayer is like an ongoing conversation, "heartbeat to heartbeat," punctuated by those whispers and shouts
June 21st the poet Dustus left this comment on In the blood:
"how the eyes see a laugh so familiar it turns the heads of those who hear" This passage made my head spin. So good and expressed through multiple sense modalities. Great composition.
July 14th Debbie of Heart Choices commented on For each other, by each other:
Very interesting post on faith. If only more believers would be transparent and share their struggles with one another. We can then encourage one another and turn our eyes on Jesus. It helps to know we're not alone
August 8th Linda added these thoughts to Be still:
Oh, my.... That's gripping stuff. I've experienced times like that, too, so my heart goes out to both you and the new pastor. God bless you both as you remain still and rest in the Lord; and wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him. He is good and He is at work, even if you can't see just what He is doing right now
September 30th Beth Werner Lee (link not active) commented about Finding my voice in His:
Thank you, so right you are to ponder on Jesus saying he spoke only what he heard, and was sent to say. Oh, that I could be like him! Only through his Spirit who does the same. Today we were just studying James 1:19,20: quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger...I need to apply this now, daily! Thank you, writing from the fire.
October 4th Sandra Heska King left words on Season of seasons:
I love the contrasts.
Moving too fast while stuck in place.
Softened and hardened.
Decay and hope.
And the spices and scent and aroma and fragrance.
Oh, and that photo. Clever girl.
November 7th Nancy of Out of My Alleged Mind shared her thoughts on Believe?:
I'm really good at trusting God theoretically. Not so much when I can't connect the dots to see how the plan is taking shape. I keep trying to remind myself to look back toward his faithfulness in the past and asking him to increase my faith, even only enough to take the next step.
December 24th Doug Spurling commented on Christmas Tears:
Amen. You are opening the greatest of Christmas presents with your tears, your heart meshing with His to seek and save that which is lost ~ His Presence.
Though I write in obedience to my Lord, not for hits or applause, words of true encouragement help greatly along the way. Please take a moment when you can to visit the blogs of those who so richly blessed me.

I also thank each and every one of you who has wandered about inside these words, even those who never leave a trace of themselves before they leave.  You are truly a gift to me.  May the coming year bring with it the richness of His love.


 

29 December 2011

Back to work / wings

Courage. Focus. Trust.

Three words stacked, shuffled, played again and again in my spirit.

November was a frenzy of word output in the midst of the chaos of life and when I had met the goal to reach 50,000 words I set my novel aside and granted myself sabbath, the month of December to be still through advent and rejoice in Christmas.  Now December draws to a swift end.

As the new year begins I must begin again, with courage, focus, trust and with perseverance.

Here's another little bite of what I've been cooking:

Jessie opened her Bible again to read:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

“I like sparrows” she thought “they’re small like me, at least I feel small. But this keeps telling me not to worry, just like the calm voice tells me.” She closed the book, resting her chin on her hand, thinking about small birds and wings and wondering if God counts feathers too.
Johnny interrupted her thoughts, placing a steaming dinner plate in front of her, saying “Wings for my Angel with wings.”

“What??” she chirped, astonished.

“You said surprise you, what’s the matter. You don’t like wings?”

“How do you do that?” she asked him, starting to laugh, shaking her head.

“Do what? What did I do now?” Johnny looked confused.

“Well, God must like to talk through you or something. When I dreamed about fruit you offered me fresh fruit. Now this.”

“What? What? I still don’t get it.”

“I was just reading where God takes care of me and loves me more than sparrows, and I was sitting here thinking of feathers and wings…”

Johnny slapped his hand down hard on the table and released a loud roar of laughter. “And here I come with a big plate of wings. That is strange. Kind of scary if you ask me.”

“I think God just wants us to know He’s paying attention” Jessie answered. “And by the way, I do like wings, and these smell wonderful.”

"Weird, that’s what I say” Johnny pointed his thumb toward Bobbie. “We’ve gotta tell Roberta and see what she says about all this. Weird.”

Jessie didn’t answer for a moment. Her mouth was too full, savouring the taste of lemon, garlic and oregano on the wings. “Why should I be surprised that you’d make Greek wings?” she laughed.

“Hey Johnny” Bobbie called from the table where she had seated the couple with the wet umbrellas. “These nice folks said whatever it is you just brought out that smells so good, that’s what they want too.”

“Wings” Johnny said. “Greek wings. Anyone else want some?”
Hands went up around the room.

“Alright then, you got ‘em. Wings all around” he said, disappearing back into his kitchen.

As Jessie ate she let her mind wander, seeing wings and feathers and heads covered with hairstyles of all shapes and colours. The anxiety of the afternoon drained away.

“I’m not sure why I feel so peaceful all of a sudden” she spoke silently “but thank You.”

That’s My peace, and thank you for realizing it was Me.” The voice was strong, kind and clear. It almost felt like she could wrap it around her shoulders.

 

28 December 2011

Fix your eyes

The Lord's word for me this last little while has been focus and the desire of my heart is to keep my eyes fixed upon Him.

Can I look at Him and not the obstacles in my path, hearing His call, His command?

Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go Joshua 1:9 Amplified

Strong and vigorous?  There may be times I could be called strong in spirit or vigorous in faith but surely not often enough.  As for the skin this spirit inhabits, vigor and strength have been absent for far too long.

Focus.  Fix your eyes.

To the driving melodies of gypsy guitar I pedaled on our new recumbent stationary bike.  Stiff and sore I relied on His promise to be with me.  As my temperature and heart rate began to rise I found a new rhythm of breathing, almost like prayer

What I can't do, You can do
Fix my eyes on Him not my pain
Courage will triumph over fear

I repented of being hindered by both sides of the same cloth, fear of failure and fear of success

What if I can't keep cycling for twenty minutes?  What if I can?
What if my written words never reach into another's heart?  What if they do?
What if God's promises aren't true?  What if they are?

Twenty-five minutes I cranked the pedals and fixed my eyes.  Stepping away coated in a shine of sweat, I found myself both weaker and stronger, two sides of the same cloth, but wrapped in His love.

 Sharing today at Jennifer's celebrating Him.

 

25 December 2011

Christmas fulfills

As dawn breaks on this Christmas morning
Rejoice in the One Who fulfills the ancient words –

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD

“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches.
I am the Root and the Offspring of David,
the Bright and Morning Star.”

24 December 2011

Christmas tears

It has been an Advent of searching and finding and rejoicing in His love.  Tonight we will gather to join hands and hearts and sing of His miraculous birth.

But today, as I wait, I am awash in tears.  I am reminded that the same thing happened to me last year, so I share the words I posted, true then, true now...

Having time to ponder the glory of His coming, into a world as stark as this --

Yet come He did, and come again He will, not as a child but as our King. Yes, I rejoice in the wonder of His promises and the completeness of His gift, indeed my praises rise.

Still today my heart is troubled for those who do not recognize His birth or hope for His return; those who cannot see the light behind the clouds. Tears flow as my spirit aches, a groaning deep, an exhalation of sighs, every breath a prayer.

Lord, may they know You.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. John 1:9-10 NIV

 

Divine exchange

In the quiet, in the waiting, I have been listening for what the Lord would share:

Even as a tiny baby I Was and Am big enough
to hold and carry all that concerns you.

This then is the magic of Christmas.

Your worry for My peace.
Your grief for My joy.
Your bondage for My freedom.
Your wrong for My right.

In all the unwrapping of gifts,
do not forget this divine exchange.

Now thanks be to God for His Gift, [precious] beyond telling [His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift]!  2 Corinthians 9:15 Amplified

 

22 December 2011

Did Mary know? Do I?


Stained glass window on the east side of the M...
Image via Wikipedia
 
Did Mary know
when the angel came
what her surrender
would accomplish?

Then Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said. And the angel left her.  Luke 1:38 Amplified

Questions will remain unasked,
unanswered
not every stop will be marked
neatly on a map
I may not know the why
but must believe that the Who
can sort out the how
and my part
the simplest and most difficult
is to say "yes"

because nothing I can imagine
can compare
and all that is good, in me
is His

according to His Word
according to His will
let it be done to me
let it be done through me


FaithBarista_Christmas_JamBadge
Jamming with Bonnie and unwrapping Jesus


also joining the others imperfect but redeemed at Emily's

 
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21 December 2011

Slow and slower

In the quiet of yesterday morning, I sought the Lord and what He had to share with me.  Opening my journal I captured His heart:

Step by step, little by little.  I know My people like action, fast results, drama.  But this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Step by step, little by little.  You want to fly but I Am asking you to walk, so slowly at times that you do not even realize how far you are moving.

Giant leaps almost always leave you needing to retrace your steps, missing important lessons - and the need to go back loses the time you thought you gained.

Step by step - maintain forward progress - without grumbling and complaining about what I ask of you along the way.

And you will remin in My perfect will, in My love and in My care.

When I sensed that He had no more to say, I picked up the book I wanted to start reading, The Resolution for Women.  I will share more about this book as well as The Resolution for Men later in the month.

In the introduction is the thirteen point resolution.  As I read #1 the chills of knowing that God had just prepared me ran through my spirit:
I do solemnly resolve to embrace my current season of life and will maximize my time in it.  I will resist the urge to hurry through or circumvent and portion of my journey but will live with a spirit of contentment.
Just as He had said: Step by step, little by little.

 
Sharing with Jennifer and others at Getting Down with Jesus

 

20 December 2011

A quiet waiting

I have been muted
this may surprise
you
who know me louder
words falling free

I close my eyes
to look through His
shut my ears to hear

Often expectation comes
with shouts and cheers
impatient applause
to call forth
that which we await

This year the quiet
is a choice
expecting in stillness

His coming
His living
His dying
His coming again

In the silence
the space between breaths
I worship

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come  Revelation 4:8b New Living Translation


Joining Jason and the other warrior poets writing about expecting

 

17 December 2011

And listen...


And listen! You will become pregnant and will give birth to a Son,
and you shall call His name Jesus.
He will be great (eminent) and will be called the Son of the Most High;
and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His forefather David,
And He will reign over the house of Jacob throughout the ages;
and of His reign there will be no end.

Joining Deidra and others in the quiet Sunday chorus

 

1000 posts

This is a place where words spill out
my heart exposed
in poetry, prose
random or structured
in colour
or black and white
thoughts of the day
dreams in the night
and all with the prayer
that anything that shines
reflects His glory alone

This post marks one thousand times I have clicked publish
but cannot count the hearts that I have met along the way

Thank you for joining me on this journey
with all of the twists and turns
valleys and mountain tops.

May we find Him with each and every step we take.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through himColossians 3:17 NIV


 

Books for Christmas

I was blessed to be born into a family that loves to read.  Books were valued, cherished and are still given more often than any other gifts.

If you feel the same, here are a few outstanding new books that would be perfect to wrap up for your favourite people.  Don't forget to keep a copy of each for yourself too!

Glynn Young, a constant encourager of other writers has written his first novel Dancing Priest that I have not yet had the opportunity to read, yet I can recommend it, knowing the power of his words.  It is available here at amazon.com in both paperback and digital versions.  Visit Glynn at his blog Faith, Fiction and Friends or his novel page.

There is never a wrong time to give copies of Billy Coffey's novels.  His new book Paper Angels was released in November and should not be missed.  You can read more about this delightful novel at Billy's siteWhile you're there, wander about and read his blog, I'm certain you'll be captivated.

And then there is the new book on writing by author and poet L. L. Barkat.  Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing speaks into the heart and spirit of anyone who feels God's call to pick up a pen or lay hands on the keyboard.  You can find L. L. at her blog Seedlings in Stone or at The High Calling where's she is an editor or at Tweetspeak Poetry and T. S. Poetry Press

These should help you finish up your shopping, or perhaps cause you start all over again!

 

15 December 2011

Always more to know...

I set aside moments each day for quiet
to find the hush in the rush
knowing He will meet me
right here
right now
just as I am
and there is never enough time
to drink in all that He can pour out
fresh wisdom
new insights
laughter, tears
and boundless love.

He must delight
in surprising me
keeping me always
running back
crawling back
climbing back for more.

FaithBarista_Christmas_JamBadge
Jamming with Bonnie today at Faith Barista


also sharing with Emily and the imperfect

 

The Names of God Bible - Ann Spangler

I have not grown tired of spiritual things as I grow in my faith, but I find instead a greater hunger to know God more.  The publishers of The Names of God Bible by Ann Spangler say:
One of the best ways to get to know God on a deeper level is to know his names and titles as revealed in Scripture. Now the bestselling author of Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus uncovers the richness of God's character and love found in his names right within the Bible text.

It appears that the arrival of this Bible was in perfect time, for I have been sensing God asking me study His names.

The original Hebrew names have been inserted where we are used to only seeing the translations "Lord" or "God" adding a richness not found in other editions.  I find myself understanding in a more profound way aspects of God's character.  There is a page on each of God's names that mention key places in scripture where the name is used, backgound information and other specifics connected to the name. 

One of my favourite features is the marked reading path for each name that leads me from the first passage where the name is revealed to the next and the next and so on.  I will find this useful as I plan to study each name, in depth.

I find the God's Word translation refreshing and the overall layout and print easy to read.

If you are searching for a way to draw closer to Yahweh, this should prove to be a helpful resource.

Bible has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

The opinions I have expressed are my own.


 

14 December 2011

His voice, His presence

Today is the day we share God-Bumps and God-Incidences at Jennifer Lee's place.  I have chosen to rework a post from 2008, for I believe it bears repeating.

One might expect God to speak in an audible, thundering voice, but for most people this doesn’t occur. The voice of God is most often experienced as a fleeting, spontaneous thought, in many ways much less dramatic than one would imagine, but no less powerful.

God also speaks through His written Word when it suddenly seems alive in a new way, speaking His truth into situations in your life. I have had words seem to leap off the page and felt a yes in my spirit, amazed that it was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. That same yes in my spirit accompanies His voice, no matter what form it has taken. Although He will often speak to me in a style similar to my own, He speaks things I know I would not have thought of in my own mind. He doesn’t seem rushed. There is no sense of pressure. In fact, in my experience, if there is a sense of urgency, or pressure to act immediately I am almost always sure it is not God speaking, but the enemy.

His voice, whether audible, seen (as in dreams and visions), or sensed, will always line up with His Word, the Bible.

I have only heard His audible voice once. One morning, I was still in bed, in my quiet time of prayer, and my husband was down the hall in the den checking mail on the computer and preparing for work. I heard a male voice speak my name Karin.  I shouted down the hall “Yes, what do you want”. My husband said “What do you mean?” I said “You called me.” He insisted that he had not spoken. “But I heard my name” I said “and there is no one in the house but you, me and the cats”. He then wisely spoke to me the same words Eli spoke to the young Samuel:

So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” 1 Samuel 3:9 NIV

All I could do was pause in wonder, thanking the Lord that He would regard me.

I had been praying one night, asking the Lord to show me His love in a tangible way. The next morning, while still in bed, again during my quiet time of prayer, with one of my cats curled up beside me, I could feel God’s arm around me. I remember telling the cat “We’re not going to move, God is holding us.” Some years later I was talking with the Lord and reminded Him about how He put His arm around me. I could sense Him laughing as He replied My arm? My child, that was just My little finger. I thought, of course, He is so very big, I would fit in the palm of His hand.

Some years ago, I began to hear a quiet, gentle, metallic tinkling sound like wind chimes. This could happen anywhere, and there were no chimes present. After the chimes I would sense a thought from God, a short word of comfort, encouragement or direction. This happened so often that I began to realize that He had gifted me with the sound of chimes as a sign that He wanted to speak to me, so each time I head them I would become silent and still, waiting in faith for Him to speak. He never disappointed me. I regret that in the busyness of life I often miss hearing and have even totally forgotten the chimes for long periods of time. When I remember and mention to the Lord in prayer that I have not heard the chimes or His voice, I sense Him saying simply You have not been listening.
 
 

Joining Jennifer and others today at Getting Down With Jesus
 
 

13 December 2011

True gifts

There are packages under our Christmas tree that glitter beneath the lights.  These are small trinkets brightly wrapped in snowmen and angels and cheerful winter scenes.

But not everyone is facing a cheerful Christmas.  Some do not expect to have food to eat, or safe water to drink; some have never known what it is to feel healthy, many are dying.

That is why, again this year, as has become our habit, we did the majority of our shopping online.  No, not at Amazon.com or Sears or Ebay.  We selected gifts using the Compassion Catalog,  helping those in need as a way to honor our loved ones and our Lord.

Gifts of Compassion
Won't you take a few minutes to visit Compassion's Website; watch the videos, browse through the selection of gifts and give a gift this year that truly makes a Kingdom difference?  I believe it is what Jesus would have us do.
 

Praising down

It is a cloudy mid December day
I'm thankful that temperatures have behaved in an unusual fashion
rising instead of falling down.

It would not be at all strange
to have many feet of snow drifted at my door
yet there are only flurries
scattering down slowly.

I continue to unwrap Advent
counting blessings with a heart overflowing
nights I am sheltered from cold
by a heated mattress pad
a down duvet
and the arms of a devoted husband.

I am living a life I would never have known
if everything I thought I believed
had not been turned upside down
by a God Who's love was so profound
He sacrificed heaven's throne
coming down to walk among us
teaching love with every step.

My heart bows down before Him
in worship, adoration, honour
due to Him alone

So come, let us worship: bow before him,
on your knees before God,
who made us!




Joining Peter Pollock today where today's word is down






also unwrapping the gifts of the day with Emily

 
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