30 June 2011

Knocking down mountains

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
Psalm 121:1-2 The Message

I have looked to mountains
created mountains
sought support and encouragement there.
Am I smart enough? Am I warm enough? Do I have and use the gifts God gave me?
Am I clever?  Am I wise?  Do I have enough empathy?
Do I go to the Source with my questions and insecurities?
Sometimes.  But too often I turn to my mountains.
And here, where I crawl out of my cave
and pray for boldness to (as Billy Coffey said) write naked
and live with transparent integrity
with my words from the inside out
I have looked to the mountains of comments, mentions,
tweets, and retweets
to tell me I'm okay
soaking in that affirmation
like drinking from the wrong well

For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me—the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all! Jeremiah 2:13 NLT

So today, the encouragement I seek
the encouragement I need
is that you would help me
shatter the mountains
and direct me back to my Lord
the lover of my soul
my thirst quencher

and if I see you
looking up to the mountains
I'll do the same for you.


Jamming with Bonnie where we're taling about the need for encouragement

29 June 2011

Word Filled Wednesday - Little Child

Our granddaughter
  Whoever will humble himself therefore
and become like this little child
[trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving]
is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 

Visit Internet Cafe Devotions for more Word Filled picture posts.

Finches free

Finches small
golden, purple,brown
gather and scatter
never lingering
long enough
for me to truly gaze upon
I imagine the lightness
of their landing
as if I could
hold out a hand
as a perch
a temporary home

for once I too
my ability
to fly
find the wind
whispering always
the song of goodbye
never knowing
I was captive
to my freedom

Visit One Stop Poetry where they're celebrating one year of Wednesday One Shots

Come on over to Emily's to read more words imperfect

28 June 2011

Love that is true...

You know the ads that fill the sidebars of your computer screen? You know, the ones you try to ignore while you’re reading your mail, or typing a tweet, or composing yet another blog post?

Earlier today I was trying to respond to some emails and couldn’t ignore the flickering on the right side of the screen. It was an ad for an online dating/match making service.

At first the ad said:
What if you could be loved for exactly who you are?
Then a flash and the new text read:
Love is out there. We can help you find it.
Both my heart and spirit exploded. There is One Who loves us exactly as we are for He created us. We don’t need to hide or pretend or pretty ourselves up for Him because He sees through all of our camouflage. Imperfect, smeared with the lusts of the world, marred by sin, need and greed, there is much to make us unlovable, and yet He loves us. Exactly. As. We. Are.

The second part of the ad remained on my screen and it struck me as a brilliant evangelical campaign, a new way to share Jesus with those who don’t yet know Him.
Love is out there. We can help you find it.
Have you been keeping the Lord’s love to yourself or reaching out to others? There is no better time than now. 

Have you been looking for love and not finding what your heart desires?  I'd love to introduce you to the One Who loves me more than I can truly comprehend.  Just. Ask. Me.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation Mark 16:15 NIV

Faith - ever growing

Peter's prompt for this week's One Word at a Time Carnival is pets.  I share below a story I first posted in July 2008.

One of the many blessings I received when we moved to our country home was the chance to have a dog. I had owned house cats for years (indoor only), and people thought of me as a "cat person" not realizing the total fool I am for dogs. I simply was waiting for the right time and place to invite one into our lives. My years of urban apartment dwelling and a lifestyle that included very little time spent at home did not lend itself to properly caring for a dog. Cats, though they love our company, can be quite self sufficient as long as they have food, water and a clean litter box. Dogs that live indoors need someone to come home at reasonable intervals to walk them. With acres of space and no neighbors in close proximity, it was time to add a canine member to our family.

Enter a three month old border collie crossed with husky or malamute and who knows what else. Thinking border collie, I was expecting her to be black and white, not the lovely cream and tan ball of fluff Rick brought home in a box. She had crisp and engaging clear blue eyes and so much fur that we were calling her "polar bear butt". Was it love at first sight? You bet! I knew that I was to name her Faith. Young and small as she was, the joke became "Oh, you of little Faith."

She would become an outside dog, but until she was old enough to have all of her shots she spent most of her time in the house with me. One day I was working on the computer and she was curled up near my feet and I began to sing "My little Faith is growing, my Faith is growing bigger everyday." Immediately I sensed the Lord speak into my spirit: That is exactly as it should be.

Faith has grown to be a beautiful, energetic dog that seems to enjoy every moment of her life. She lavishes us with affection. She shows us the same unconditional love that our Heavenly Father desires us to walk in. When she sees me, she comes running towards me in bounding leaps.

No longer can it be said of me "Oh, you of little Faith" for now indeed I have "a bounding Faith". And again I hear my Father say: As it should be, My child. As it should be.

Click over to Peter Pollock's to join in the carnival - sharing about pets.

27 June 2011

Written on the floor?

I'm fairly bold here in this space, sharing at random whatever the Lord may be whispering in my ear, or pressing on my heart.  So I shall bravely share what happened this morning, well aware that those of you who don't yet think of me as a bit off balance, left of center, or just plain nuts may join those who already know me as crazy.

I love my country house.  I praise God for the gift He has provided.  Here there is comfort, there is peace and there is great joy.  I love the wide open view from our windows and the hundreds of shades of green; the bird songs and yes, even the eerie calling of the coyotes.  But I really dislike my kitchen/bathroom flooring.  There is nothing pleasing to me about the colours or the pattern and most of the time I live in denial and try to pretend it isn't there.  This said, it does seem to have a certain special quality about it.  Sometimes I see pictures in the familiar swirls and blotches.

This morning, as I was sitting in the bathroom (yes, doing what it is one does while sitting in the bathroom), I looked down and instead of pictures I saw words.

First, quite clearly I saw grace. I shook my head, realizing this was something unusual.  When I looked again, I saw changes.

Grace. Changes.  Yes, my heart agreed.  Grace changes everything.  I looked one more time.  Both words were gone.  In their place was the word Jesus.

Of course, it is Jesus grace.  All things that are changed for the good are by His grace.

An ugly floor that sets my spirit pondering and fills this heart with gratitude; a husband who listens to a wife who sees words that don't exist on that ugly floor, knows that she believes that God is speaking to her, and doesn't send her to the psych ward; equals a blessed and glorious way to start the day.

What did you sense God telling you this morning?

26 June 2011

Morning praise

All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God! Thank him to his face!
He gets angry once in a while, but across a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter 

Be blessed as you worship today and all days!

25 June 2011

Sewing buttons

Vintage sewing buttons.Image via Wikipedia

Thursday morning, while beginning my quiet time with the Lord, I asked Him how He would have us pray.  I was expecting a friend in for coffee later who feels led to pray for our small town community.  As I grew still I saw just a brief snip of a vision:

There were loose buttons scattered on streets and sidewalks and a hand stitching buttons to a garment of rough, coarse material.  The buttons were different colours, shapes and sizes, yet one after another was sewn to the same cloth.

I didn't think it meant much, but as I picked up my pen and journal, this is what the Lord shared:

And do you see yourself finding the buttons, stopping to pick them up?  Or do you notice them and merely kick them out of your way?

I believe you will gather, little one.  You will gather those lost ones, hold them safely in your hand or a pocket, and bring them to Me - the Master Mender.  My hand will heal and place them in the spot already designed and waiting.  They will know they are home.

It is indeed a wedding garment I Am creating.

"But..." I sense you question "what of the dark, rough fabric?  Surely no wedding gown was made of such."

I Am not finished, child.  All the buttons have not been gathered.

You will see.  You will see.  When the last thread is placed through the last button, in My perfect time, what you see as ugly and coarse shall be transformed into a thing of glory - to clothe a bride fit for a king.

And with what gentle patience does your King await His bride.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.  Revelation 19:7 NIV

Enhanced by Zemanta

24 June 2011

Waiting for the becoming

Marcus Goodyear at Books & Culture, A Christian Review has given us the following poetry prompt:
Write a poem about cultivation. When I talk about cultivation, I mean agriculture but also creativity and culture itself. I am talking about the little place in your world where you have been given a small plot to grow new things and add to the beauty of God's world.
This then, is where I took it:

A hand holds
seeds, tiny
easy to lose
to the wind
or spill
pouring almost too much
on soil fertile, hungry

What will grow?

It is the waiting
that hurts
those ruled by impatience
those prone to fret
expecting never the best

So too, what will
these words
bring forth?

Will they be too few
to nourish
or so plentiful
that one groans
under the burden
of consumption

A seed is just a seed
after all
it is in the waiting
for the becoming
that the imagination

To read what else Marcus has to say and see the poems that have been cultivated read the entire article here

Locked out but loved

Blogger (service)Image via Wikipedia

 The message on the screen cut straight through me.  My blog had been removed.  It was as if it did not exist at all.  It was as if I did not exist at all.  Tears quickly began to fall.  I felt totally lost...

I'm sharing today at The Everyday Testimony Project.  Cick HERE to read the rest of my story.

Enhanced by Zemanta

23 June 2011

Dream big

Murchison Falls, Uganda - we dream of returning to Africa
To dream big dreams
and live them
instead of casting them aside
as foolish
or unattainable
this is walking with the Lord

To learn to silence
voices that hinder
voices that crush
voices that press in hard
voices that speak "can't"
this too is walking with the Lord

To breathe deep
dive deep
search out the deep
deep places
in a heart crafted
ever molded
by His hand
to know His heart
is deeper still
yes, walking with the Lord

To stand brave
in the rain of His revelation
I am nothing
and everything
in Him
every other dream
becomes brightly possible
in His light
and every other dream
fades and is humbled
next to the dream
of true abiding
walking with, beside
and in my Lord.

Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.  John 15:4 Amplified

Jamming with Bonnie as she asks us to write about God sized dreams

22 June 2011

Seeing what's broken

I'm glad to have the time to rejoin the journey with Sarah and Jason and others through Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.  This week we look at Book III Chapter 4 Morality and Psychoanalysis.  Here, Lewis says:
One last point.  Remember that, as I said, the right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge.  When a man is getting better, he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him.  When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less.  A moderately bad mans knows he is not very good; a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right.  This is common sense really.  You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping.
So then it seems I am getting better
for each day I see more of my imperfection.
As His hand works filling chips
smoothing cracks
I notice my brokeness
in ways deeper, more profound.
May I not, all at once
view myself as whole
only to find myself
more shattered than before.
I pray each day
for more surrender
each day to trust
more of the pieces to His care.
In imperfect brokeness
I am more truly His.

Stop by Jason's to see what others are sharing about this week's reading.

Visit Emily's to read prose of the broken, imperfect and redeemed.

Soaked in His Word

Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.

Come on over to the Cafe for more Word Filled pictures

21 June 2011

In the blood

Like a river
propels leaves
twigs, debris
as it flows
so is life
in the blood
generation follows
the curve of a smile
how the eyes see
a laugh
so familiar
it turns the heads
of those who hear

Life brings life
from ashes
rebuilds joy
renews hope
the blood beating
fresh rhythms
an invitation
to the dance.

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.  And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. Malachi 4:5-6 NKJV

Come see all the other Wednesday One Shots at One Stop Poetry

20 June 2011

His voice

Yes He can
He can
He can
make the mountains
and disolve
with His mighty voice

He prefers
intimate whispers
to know
that we are
for a word
a touch
a brush of His fingers

I have heard Him
in a raindrop
a dove's cry
a quickening heartbeat
the slippery
silvery sound
of chimes
both real
and spirit rung

May I ever
to heed the smallest
the lightest touch
to treasure Him
to listen well.

Then God came and stood before him exactly as before, calling out, "Samuel! Samuel!" Samuel answered, "Speak. I'm your servant, ready to listen." 
1 Samuel 3:10 The Message

Joining the other warriors today at Jason's Connecting to Impact - sharing on The Voice of God

Prefer One Another

I'm over at the Marriage Counter of  Internet Cafe Devotions today - pouring hot and fresh words about preferring one another in our marriages:

Are you getting all of your needs met in your marriage? Is that what you were expecting when you stood facing your groom at the altar? Or when you spoke your vows did you think instead of service, sacrifice and meeting the needs of another?

I want to take a moment and share an example of putting the needs of your spouse before your own...

Read the rest of my article HERE

18 June 2011

Together in one place

Last Sunday I was blessed to be asked to share what God has placed on my heart, and to lead in the Prayer for the World that is at the core of Global Day of Prayer each Pentecost Sunday.  Here, then, though longer than my usual blog post, are my sermon notes:

I am always awed at the timing of Global Day of Prayer. It is not by accident that the organizers chose Pentecost Sunday. It is as if every participant, from all corners of the world are gathered together in upper room, waiting, as Jesus commanded:

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:4-5 NKJV

As I have been preparing to speak, The Lord has been revealing some similarities between 2 Chronicles 7 in the Old Testament and Acts 2 in the New Testament. We step into 2 Chronicles to find that Solomon has completed the building of the temple and holds a special time of offerings and prayer to consecrate it to the Lord.  We read:

When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it. 2 Chronicles 7:1-2 NIV

It is after this, that we find the key scripture for many who dedicate themselves to the Lord and to prayer:

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. 2 Chronicles 7:14-16 NIV

So here we find the people of God, gathered together, in one place, the new temple, offering prayers and sacrifices, and God comes in fire, His glory fills the temple ---  Suddenly, the account of what happened in New Testament times doesn’t seem so strange.  We already read Acts 1:4-5 where Jesus commanded the disciples to wait for the Father’s promise, and they did as He asked.  To begin the next chapter we read:

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
 Acts 2:1-4 NIV

So, here again, the people of God were united, devoting themselves to prayer and God showed up in power. He didn’t send His Holy Spirit just to tickle them, just to create a big show, just to tantalize emotions. He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell within His own so they would be empowered to change the world around them. He asks no less from us today.

There’s something key about being united as one, devoted not simply as individuals, but as a body of believers.  There were no denominations in the days of the early church. There were simply people who believed in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, those willing to dedicate themselves to living as He had taught.

I don’t know what God has in store for His Church (big C) and our churches – perhaps we are to return to the practices of the early church in the days following Pentecost. We are told: 

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47 NIV

And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved – isn’t that the desire of our hearts? And if it isn’t – shouldn’t it be?

Somehow, we have made things much more complicated than I believe our Lord intended. We build doctrines and theologies and look for those who will agree exactly with what we perceive as truth. Jesus asks us to believe that He came from the Father, become one with Him and each other, and share that truth with others.

Jesus prayed for us. Before He gave up His life He spoke the words to His Father:

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23 NIV

It’s time for us to return to the simplicity of what Jesus asked. Its time for us to become the body He was broken for. Its time for us to become the bride He longs to return for. Jesus commanded us:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35 NIV

United in mind and spirit, may the world look upon us and know that we belong to Him so that more and more and more will come to a saving knowledge of His love and grace.

17 June 2011

Morning at Murchison Falls

One last look at a lily pond as we made an early morning departure from
Para Lodge, Murchison Falls, Uganda
Stop by to see more morning pictures