30 September 2010

Lost & Found

Lost and found.

The sound of it recalls
a box of items upon a shelf
that others have left behind,

Do the owners know that the items are missing?
Would they know where to look?

More than two years ago, on the 20th of September 2008, this was part of what I posted in a blog about abiding in Christ:

I have known there must be less of me and more of Him, but I have learned there must be none of me and ALL of Him! I cannot fully abide in Christ until there is no me, no self left at all. Then all that I am is all that He Is. Is this possible? To my natural mind it seems impossible to die to myself completely, it is not a natural act or process however, it is supernatural and can only be possible because of the Holy Spirit that indwells and guides me. My natural man fears death of self while my spirit man hungers for the same, to be totally lost and then totally found in Jesus.
This then, is the losing and the finding I have been seeking. I cannot strive toward it, this releasing of all that my "self" struggles to hold. Had I known how fierce would be the battle would I have dared begin?

Totally lost, totally found, totally His.
To exist as a reflection of His glory and His love.
There is no harder task.
There is no higher call.

In knowing I can not
I take the first step toward possibility.

This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:8 NIV

I am linking twice today!
to Bonnie's Faith Barista Jam about discovering God's purpose for our lives

and to Emily's at In The Hush of the Moon where we share our imperfect words

Pleasantly disturbed Thursday

Yesterday I wrote a poem about how I write a poem, or rather about how I don't write a poem but allow the Lord to write through me.

Now don't worry that I've gone all goofy, new-age, automatic writing, channeling spirits, over the edge on you. Just read the poem and you'll see that once I begin, He continues, the only muse I seek, the only One I need.

I suppose what I'm trying to share is that with my natural mind, all of my writing is random. Only God can take my words and convert them into something that makes sense. So Thursday is like any other day for me except any concern about sense and order is lifted.

As the nuptials of our Pleasantly Disturbed leader Duane Scott draw near I'm wondering is his beloved Southern Gal realizes she will be expected to join in this random madness. Even if she has no blog of her own Duane could post her writings for us. She may have no clue what she's missing, but then again, that could perhaps be God's way of protecting her.

Words from the song People on our Knees by Tracy Rahn have echoed in my spirit this last little while:

No more wasting time, the days are nearly over
The groom is quickly coming
He greets us with a kiss
And proclaims you have been chosen for such a time as this.
I choose to follow You, forsaking all I know
and taking up my cross
and if I die, I die, to find my life in You
Lord this is my cry.

For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” Esther 4:14-16 NKJV

I had no idea that was going to pour out this morning, but I've been in that place of learning to surrender and wanting to find my life in Him. It is not always pleasant, it is often disturbing, but it is His call. I do not wish to refuse.

Join us at Duane Scott's Scribing the Journey for more of the disturbed pleasantness.

29 September 2010

Diving in

Restless, I stretch
slip like a shadow from room
to room
wander outside
pet the dog, call the cats
check remaining life
in the flower beds
but confronting the empty
blank screen
white space.

I do not know
can not imagine
how to begin
or where I am going.

pokes, prods, pinches
whispers, wiggles, welcomes me
to anything but words.

Then I remember
I have but one muse
the Author
of my life
my faith
the ultimate
creative voice.

He charts my course
but supplies me
no road map

His request simple
"Trust Me."

So not certain
if waters are shallow, deep
frigid or warm
I dive in, begin
one word
for One
and always
He multiplies.

Come on over to One Stop Poetry for more One Shot Wednesday

Word Filled Wednesday - His simple commandments

At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Matthew 11:25 NIV

Help me Lord I pray to have the childlike faith You require of me, that I would hear, see and recognize the simplicity of Your call:

Love God: Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. Matthew 22:37-38 NKJV

Love others: And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:39-40 NKJV

Go. Share the good news and make disciples so that others will do the same: Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20 NIV

Stop by for more Word Filled Images at Internet Cafe Devotions

I am also linking up with Sarah, Jason and others discussing Chapter 5 of Richard Stearns The Hole In Our Gospel. To read the thoughts of others, visit Jason's place.

28 September 2010

Tuesdays Unwrapped - All this

The last of the hot peppers have been sealed tight in salty vinegar water to heat our tongues some other day. Nothing from our harvest left to process but some carrots that want freezing, or shall I pickle some before the canner gets put away until next Fall?

I am rejoicing in the work that has been completed and the freedom from that work in the days to come. The season of gathering in is nearly over, the time of nesting soon upon us.

Because of where life was, I cherish ever more deeply where life is. The crunch of leaves underfoot, room to move, creatures that wander as they will on land they know as home.

And it is home to me as well, the exact spot where His hand settled me, with the man of His choosing.

My spirit breathes, my heart expands, and I pray I never lose this sense of awestruck wonder and gratitude.

For who am I Lord, that You would bless me with all this?

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: "Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?"
Join Emily at Chatting at the Sky and share the gift that you're unwrapping today.

27 September 2010

On, In and Around Mondays - Rest

The shortening days of Autumn are busy here. Fair weather days open opportunities for seasonal wrap ups: mowing, cultivating, cleaning up flower beds and hanging baskets, making preparation for the winter that always arrives sooner than we expect.

Rick is out in his garden today, the place he does his hardest work yet finds his most profound peace. It is his meeting place with God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

As for me, I find myself somehow out of touch with my physical self and the tasks that I have been busy with. My spirit is resting in the heart of God.

This is a place of uncompromising light
every fault line, crack and flaw exposed
yet bathed in His love
unconditional, no strings attached
I find safety, comfort
a sure sense of welcoming
like the Father's embracing arms
clasped tight about the prodigal.

Swaddled in the softest of velvets
held close, warm and still.
There is both silence
and angel choruses of praise.

Where else could I find such a home?

Stop by L. L. Barkat's Seedlings in Stone to see where others find themselves On, In and Around this Monday.

Talking Marriage at Internet Cafe Devotions

Do you have sore spots on your tongue from biting down too hard? I’m not referring to those painful mistakes when you’re chewing a meal. I’m talking about the moments when you have to fight the impulse to release words that are better left unsaid.?

Do you and your husband often misinterperet what each other are saying? For example:

Susan: Hon, I’m about ready to put dinner on the table, and I need a serving plate.
Tom: I’ll get one off the shelf.
Susan: What? Get it myself? Can’t you ever help around the house?

Stop by The Marriage Counter at Internet Cafe Devotions where I'm pouring some fresh and hot advice about taming our tongues.

25 September 2010

Last Saturday of September

The sky is clear and lit with the brilliance of the sun today, the warmth flooding down, penetrating heart and spirit.

As the day dries off the frost from this morning, I will mow the yard for perhaps the last time until next Spring. As I ride around in ever shrinking circles on my garden tractor, I will be shredding dried leaves as well, easier than raking, piling up or trying to control them.

So here is a taste of our late September, flowers outliving the frost, the smallest cat, feeling larger and more powerful as he creates a shadow in the afternoon sun.

It is lovely to be here, in the will of the Father, placed by His hand, surrounded by the beauty He designed for us to enjoy.

I breathe deep these days, relishing and rejoicing.

24 September 2010

Altar of Incense - a Magpie Tale

As I looked upon this bottle of fragrance, I was reminded of a journey I took through the outer courts, inner court and into the holy of holies to meet with my Lord.

I presented myself before each piece of tabernacle furniture –

in the Outer court:
brazen altar = cross
brazen laver = God’s Word (washing of the Word)

in the Inner Court the Holy place:
table of showbread = our will (ground to His will, like the flour for the bread)
golden lampstand = our mind illumined by Holy Spirit
altar of incense = our emotions aligned by worship

and in the Holy of Holies:
Ark of the Covenant = direct Spirit to spirit revelation

What would I sacrifice on this altar Lord, where the fire rages and the heat is more intense than any I have known? What would I hold back? You gave all You had and all You were and You ask for nothing less from me. I cannot be cleansed at the brazen laver, cannot be cleansed by the washing of Your Word until I am reconciled to this altar of sacrifice. So here I am, offering all that’s good and all that’s bad, all that is me. The scent of my flesh as it burns is sour. The pain is unspeakable, as the fire cuts in, hungrily consuming all that it wants. I don’t know if I am moaning or screaming or silent. I wait for the end with the taste of smoke everywhere.

I have passed through the fire, and ashes are falling off the charred remains of who I once was. Now I approach the brazen laver. The water looks like liquid silver, and as I dip my hands in there is no more pain, just a deep soothing refreshment. I splash the water onto every part of me. If this is truth every other part of me was lies. My self was left at the altar and this new skin seems to soak up every drop. Washed, cleansed and revived by Your Word, Your life, I am ready to enter the Holy Place.

As I come before the table of showbread I am amazed that there is so much of “me” left, that I still have a will after my time on the altar. I have been soaked in Your truth and my will transformed, but it remains never-the-less. You didn’t want to destroy my will, You just want to know I will bend my will to Yours. Surrender, submission and obedience, these You desire and would not be possible if I had no will at all. This seems surprising to me, yet You desire for me to be all You created me to be.

The lights from the lampstand may burn continually but not consistently, for they flicker and flare, at times the light much brighter than others. Even though Your Holy Spirit fuels the lamps, my very human nature filters the light, and so it is not pure.

I move on to the altar of incense, desiring to be a sweet fragrant offering to You, Lord. This is the last stop, the final door to the Holy of Holies, and I am not sure I have ever passed through. I do not know if I have ever abandoned myself in worship, there is still too much of me and this altar is much smaller than the brazen altar. Yet, I am so close, so close, let me be devoured again, but this time in awe and in reverent fear. It is not holy fear that has kept me from this place, but fear of man. I am drawn to my knees now, and I say “enough!” I need to know what is behind the curtain. I know You are waiting there and long for me to come. As I offer words of love, words of adoration, indeed I do now grow smaller as You increase. Is this the fragrance You long for?

And I find myself stepping in behind the veil and I cannot stand. The weight of Your presence compels me to prostrate myself before the Ark that holds Your covenant with Your people. And I, I am numbered among them and do not feel worthy. Perhaps that is why I have not come. I have doubted that You would want me. Who am I to come before You? Who am I that You are mindful of me? It is silent in this place, silent in the natural. But in the spirit there is rejoicing, for here we become one.

This is what I envision Lord, and yearn to know what You would say to me about going through this experience at this time.

You are learning so very much My curious child. You were not ready to take this journey until this very time in your life. You are strong enough now to be able to see how little strength you have, and wise enough to know how little strength you need. You have learned that to walk My road your strength must rest in Me alone. As you moved through the tabernacle your eyes were opened in new ways, to see Me and to see yourself. Yes, you saw flaws, but I am so happy that you pressed through. All of those imperfections and rough edges are simply the parts I am still working on. Thank you for offering them to Me.

When you feel unworthy, remember it is not yourself that makes you worthy, but I do. You are and always will be My creation, even when you were not yielded to Me. How much more so now? You will take this journey many times, but always remember the sweetness of this first entrance and how precious it is to Me.

Come read more tales based on Mag33 HERE

Morning window view

As the sun rose up behind our spruce, I sat in the chair where I meet with the Lord, pen in hand, and opened my journal, my morning time of listening.

As a new day begins, I look to You Lord, to lead me, guide me, teach me and have Your way. How then shall I pray Lord?

Continue to pray for My Kingdom and for My will to be done. When things do not look right to you, come to Me again and again to inquire - I Am not bothered by your questions.

Sometimes I will simply comfort you, assuring you that I have things well in hand. Sometimes I will show you a bit of what I see and give you wisdom and stategy.

Keep seeking My heart and My eyes and you will not pray amiss.

But seek first the Kingdom of God.

Then the sky was bright, and my heart was refreshed, and I had my orders for the day. Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking.

Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; [keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 Amplified

Stop by Cassandra Frear's Moonboat Cafe to read about the view from the windows of other writers today.

23 September 2010

Imperfect Prose - Saving Pink

Truth indeed is black and white
yet my heart beats in shades of gray
I steel myself against the chill
wanting to savour
what must
by its nature
slip through my fingers

I cut flowers
from the frosted earth
and in preserving pink
rejoice in His saving grace

The old life is a grass life, its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers; Grass dries up, flowers droop, God's Word goes on and on forever.This is the Word that conceived the new life in you.

Stop by Emily's In the Hush of the Moon for more perfect imperfection.

Pleasantly disturbed, random Thursday

A typical block heater cord.Image via Wikipedia
Frost.. have you ever really noticed the layer of white that coats a chilly morning? Oh, I suppose most of you aren't even thinking about that yet, but it's already that cold up here.. yes, that cold.

Yet I chose this life here on the Canadian prairie, where Summer seems to be gone as quickly as it appears, and even in its harshness I find God's peace. When all is frozen and still I have no choice but to slow down, and there I can focus in on Him, the only thing of true importance.

Will it soon be time to plug in the vehicles? Yes, I said plug in, and no, we don't have electric automobiles. I remember being quite confused when Rick first mentioned that he had plugged in his car. Back home in Chicago, if someone was concerned about low temps they would remove the car battery and bring it inside to stay warm. Here, the cars are made with something called a block heater that keeps the oil warm enough to flow. That's what gets plugged in, and I am now quite used to seeing parking lots with little poles and outlets for each space. I'm sure it is hard for many of you to imagine, but when we have long spells of days hovering around 40 below it all begins to make sense.

But I'm running too far ahead of things. Yes, there was frost again this morning, but God may yet surprise us with a warm and sunny October. One year, that was our Summer, warmer then July and August. He does have a snarky sense of humour at times, must be where we got it from, eh?

Join Duane at Scribing the Journey to read more pleasant disturbedness...

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Letting Go of Worry

This week's Faith Barista Jam is about letting go of worry. Instead of writing something new, I'd like to direct you to read something I posted last January called Me? Worry? Click HERE to read it.

Then stop over at Bonnie's to join in and read what others have shared.

22 September 2010

Life in spice

Spice scattered
to awaken
beat away
numbing fog
the gray of
time spent
time lost
time gained
traveling, battling
on my knees

So I shake things up
with prayers
bold and brave
while I chop
taste and stir
Saved in jars
for a colder day
bite of peppers
beneath the tongue
a strong
and solid

Stop by One Shot Wednesdays to read more here.

Sheep or Goat?

'CoverCover via Amazon
This week Sarah, Jason and more of us are reading Chapter 4 of The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns.

Stearns discusses one of my favourite and also most sobering scenes of Jesus:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Matthew 25:31-46 NIV

My prayer has always been that I would draw close enough to my Lord to feel the beating of His heart and in so doing, my heart would be moved and broken by anything that stirs Him. I have wondered what would the least of these look like? Would I walk right past a hungry Jesus because I did not recognize Him?

Born, raised and still living in North America, I know that even those of us in the worst situations are rich beyond measure compared to third world nations, yet we still have those who are the least of these. Help us Lord to seek what You would have us do.

Then Richard Stearns proceeds to paint a picture of one of his own encounters with the least of these, young men that had been kidnapped and turned into rebel soldiers by the LRA in Northern Uganda. I could hardly read through my tears, for my heart had been likewise torn when I was right there in Gulu in 2007, visiting a similar rehabilitation centre.

Here are words I journaled while in Uganda:

The other evening the shapes in the clouds looked to be God’s hands reaching down from the heavens, and surely God’s hand IS on this nation. There is a stirring, a shaking, a hope in the midst of desolation. When God is all there is then God is enough. If anything else is placed above Him, then nothing is enough. He is, as He says in His Word, a jealous God, and He will have no other gods before Him. I believe and I will declare that His favour will rest upon this place.

The heart of Uganda appears in the faces of the children; smiles in the midst of deprivation, laughter rising up from a belly never filled with food enough. Tears of need and tears of sorrow, but joy returning upon the simplest act of kindness.Can we learn to need so little? Our hope could be their hope – to find our strength and joy in Him alone. It is as if they already do so, even those that cannot tell you why.

Oh Uganda, release yourself into His hands. “Pearl of Africa” is what a local billboard called you. Shine with the luster of a pearl polished by the Master’s hand. Shine as a witness to the darkness. Shine in the light of His love that more would be drawn to the light. Blossom and prosper as a sign even to the “first world” nations – “Look what our God can do”

Here I find a stillness. Here I find a peace. Here perhaps I will find a pathway that leads me to the heart of God.

I pray that the scent, sound and sights of Uganda do not leave me until I return again to do whatever God calls me to.

Stop by Sarah's Living Between the Lines to read the thoughts other people share about Chapter 4.

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21 September 2010

One Word Carnival - Brokenness

God breaks my heart
a little bit more each day
so there is space
for it to grow

All this
from a woman
who was stone
solid, immovable
Jesus met me,
took me in
chisel in His hand
flint flying, chipping away
at useless rock
sculpting a better version of me
not caring how long the task might take
His time is infinite

Let me be more like my Lord
meeting people
where they are.

I wrote the lines above more than ten years ago, when my heart had just been captured by the Lord.

Not long after, I sensed Him teaching me that the only way He can get inside a heart is to break it. In that brokenness there is an opening for Him to slip inside. Once there, He repairs the cracks, the hurts, the sense of shattering and scattering. He heals the heart with no way for Himself to get back out again, and so becomes a permanant resident.

The more I grow in intimacy with Him, waiting and listening for the sound of His heartbeat in my own veins, the more I allow Him to continue to break my heart for the very same things that break His.

Now I know that He needs to allow cracks yet again in my heart, so that I can let Him out to shine upon those who don't yet know Him.

Going through the motions doesn't please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don't for a moment escape God's notice.

Join us for more at Bridget Chumbley's One Word at a Time Carnival

20 September 2010

On, In and Around Mondays - Frosty

Nearing the end of September and Autumn doesn't linger here. Forecasts began to call for frost early in the month, and we would wake in the morning, not sure what we would find.

Yesterday there was no more questioning.

And so it's time for cleaning the garden, pulling up vines that have withered. The vegetables don't seem able to tolerate the cold.

And yet flowers blossom still, colours dance in frenzied winds that bluster strong. Soon even they will hide, leaving the blacks and whites of winter.

For as long as Earth lasts, planting and harvest, cold and heat, Summer and winter, day and night will never stop. Genesis 8:22 The Message

Stop by L.L. Barkats Seedlings in Stone for more On, In and Around Mondays