31 August 2011

The battle rages

I sent an email out to friends yesterday, asking for prayer support to withstand the harshness of the spiritual environment we find ourselves in.  I am overwhelmed by the richness of their responses:
I'll be interceding (more like doing battle) on your behalf. Remember: you are richly blessed and highly favored; He will never leave or forsake you. Keep crying out to Him to do the battle on your behalf. Even though it feels like nothing is happening, there's major fighting taking place for territory. Do not forget to put on your armor several times during the day. Remain protected ... remain offensive!
Praying for you, sweet friend. Knowing that He is holding you when you are numb to it.
The Lord is looking after you both, he knows the struggles that you are going thru and he is right there, that's why we are praying for you. 
This morning, I crawled out of bed early to have a few minutes with my Lord Who had words to share:

I know.  I know.

I Am well aware of the wall before you, but rest in the truth of the wall around you.

When you sent out your call for help - it was indeed a battle cry, rousing others to stand strong in your weakness. 

This allowed you to see again.

Trust that even as you fall, you move the unmoveable, bit by bit.

There is a war that is more real than what flesh can experience - and you, little one, stand as My warrior.

What is depleted in battle will be restored in My arms.

Sharing with others, imperfect yet lovingly redeemed at Emily's


Jamming with Bonnie on time with the Lord

30 August 2011

Redeemed from "the dark side"?

I may be one of the few people of my age who has never seen even one film in the Star Wars series, but even I know that Darth Vader was considered a "bad guy".

I sat down with my husband to ask him what he knew about this character.  What he shared was that the character had been a Jedi Knight who went over to the dark side, influenced by the darkness he did indeed become an agent for evil.

Are any of us beyond becoming moved by forces that are less than pure?  Are any of us worthy of judging those who fall?

Our hero, Luke Skywalker could not even believe that someone as "bad" as Darth was his father, not until Darth gave up his own life to save him.

I'm reminded of the words of the preacher in Cowboys and Aliens:

"Sometimes good men do bad things.  And sometimes very bad men do good things."

I need the gavel taken from my hand, for there is only One able to know all the facts and details, only One Who is worthy to judge the hearts of man.

Will you agree with me in prayer, asking the Lord to impart more of His grace into our hearts and lives?

People of the Second Chance ask us to raise our voices for second chances, to overthrow judgement and liberate love. Will you join us?

28 August 2011

The creative Creator

I find myself surprised and delighted again and again by the vastness of His creativity.

I have a strong sense that He delights in watching us enjoy what He has made!

God spoke: "Earth, generate life! Every sort and kind: cattle and reptiles and wild animals—all kinds." And there it was: wild animals of every kind, Cattle of all kinds, every sort of reptile and bug. God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:24-25 The Message

27 August 2011

Shine - shine

He Is my light, my strong tower, my everything.

I pray I shine for Him, claiming no glory, reflecting His.

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10 NKJV

26 August 2011

A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

Ever feel like you're not good enough?  Have you spent your life trying to measure up?  In A Confident Heart - How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises,  Renee Swope addresses the problem.

Weaving the story of her own life through the pages, Renee attempts to bring hope to others lost in the maze of self doubt.  I've been there and I must admit I still visit that place often, so I was looking forward to reading this new book.

I found myself disappointed, the words felt thin and the scriptures, though rich felt offered more as platitude than meaty truth.  Perhaps it is because of my own journey to live through  Colossians 3:1-4 NIV
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
that I find myself struggling here.  I have been choosing to lose myself to be found in Him and so this book  feels far too "self" focused.

I am sure there is much to encourage and inspire readers, but at this stage of my personal journey I was left wanting more.

Book 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.

25 August 2011

Passion to plunge

My beloved Rick started to snicker when I told him the topic for this week's jam and I wasn't quite sure what to write:
What is a passion or interest you’d like to nurture and grow?
When I asked him what he was laughing at he said "It is so easy, so obvious.  Your passion is to go deeper."

Deeper indeed. 

Into His heart.
His hope. His love.
Into the depths of His empathy for the lost, the hungry, the broken.
Plunged deeper into truth, revelation, wisdom,
with a burning desire to share what He teaches me
in words written and spoken.
May I ever be consumed with the desire
to be His pen, His instrument, a simple tool in His hand.

I pray I will trust where He leads me, simply because He is the leader
I will jump, I will swim, I will climb
to do the will of the One Who loves me beyond reason

Do you have a passion to plunge?
Let go of fear and fall into His arms.
There is no better place to land.

Jamming with Bonnie - talking about passion

Sharing with the rest of the imperfect, broken yet redeemed at Emily's

23 August 2011

Beyond another chance?

This week's poster depicts Mike Tyson.  I am not a fan of boxing so I admit to not knowing much good about Mike, all I ever heard about was the outrageous behaviors, the hurting, the biting....

I know nothing about his childhood, his upbringing, how much hurt he may have walked through and carried with him.  I don't even know if he knew Jesus.

I do know that hurt animals lash out, spewing forth from deep wells of pain.  Our Lord gave Himself to take that pain away, not just for those we think of as "good" but for each.one.of.us.

People of the Second Chance ask us to raise our voices for second chances, to overthrow judgement and liberate love.  Will you join us?

22 August 2011

Where there are rocks...

I have always loved moving water, be it waves, rivers or waterfalls.  But often things seem to block the flow....

Come over to Internet Cafe Devotions where I'm sharing today about rocks in the way.

21 August 2011

Always home

It was a long day on the road, but the Escape is comfortable and I had the best of travelling companions, Rick and Jesus.  We talked, we prayed, we worshipped and sang.

Before leaving home, I had the strong sense that Jesus wanted me to know that He Is my home and since He Is always with me, anywhere I am is home.

So I am home tonight.  I am home always.  I am in His heart and in His hands.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

20 August 2011

Will you remember me?

This young girl was standing near the side of the road as we traveled by bus back from one of the Watoto Childcare villages to our guest house in Kampala, Uganda.

Eyes that have seen white people come
and go, leaving her behind.
Eyes that have seen riches
flash and flee.
Eyes that cry out
in silence "will you remember me?"
And I am forever changed.
Weeping for their loss, hunger, need.
And my spirit shouts "Yes!"
And I can not forget.

I'm hearing the words to a Sarah McLachlan song:
I’m so tired but I can’t sleep
Standin’ on the edge of something much too deep
It’s funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word
We are screaming inside, but we can’t be heard

But I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don’t let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

Submitted for the prompt remember.  Stop by 3 from here & there to see more.

19 August 2011

Praising His ways

The other morning, as usual, with my coffee mug steaming hot, I sat down at the computer to check mail, read blogs and connect with the world online.

As I logged into my Facebook account there was a chat box message flashing on the bottom of the screen.....

To read the rest of the story, come on over to The Everyday Testimony Project where I'm praising Him for His amazing ways!

18 August 2011

His pen?

Quill PenImage via Wikipedia

Each word thought of, shaped, captured
set in place upon the screen
or on paper, with caught breath
is another leap
a surrendering of fear
will I honour
or misrepresent
my Lord?

Each prayer thought of, shaped, captured
declared into the heavens
or the stillness, with caught breath
a small step
a surrendering of my "self"
Do I ask for my will
here, or what will glorify
His name?

The cry of my heart is to be a simple tool, a pen in His hand. I am gathering like minded artists for a series of guest posts about the experience of writing for Him.

Stay tuned!  If you are interested in taking part, please ask!

Jamming with Bonnie (and Billy!) this week about Small acts of faith

Joining Emily and the rest who spill imperfected words

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17 August 2011

Word Filled Wednesday - Cast me not away

Cast me not off nor send me away in the time of old age;
forsake me not when my strength is spent and my powers fail 

Stop by Internet Cafe Devotions for more edifying Word/picture combos

16 August 2011

Rumors of God by D. Whitehead & J. Tyson

Have you ever wondered why the God you've heard about doesn't seem the same as the God you know in your day to day life?  Do you hunger to know Him more or have you allowed things of the world to distract your focus?

In Rumors Of God Experience The Kind Of Faith You've Only Heard About pastors Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson share their hearts and I found myself sensing the heartbeat of God Himself in their words.

I must admit that I was a bit hesitant to read this book, mistakenly assuming it would be about growing large churches as proof of God's presence.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the exact opposite.  Whitehead and Tyson write about being the church by building the Kingdom of God and much of that takes place outside the walls of church buildings.

In Chapter 8, Loving Beneath The Surface, they write about developing community by building true, transparent relationships, something God has been speaking to my spirit for the past few years. 
What do you want people to know about you?  If you could wear a sign around your neck, what would it read?  The beauty of our faith is that God sees past our labels and appearance, through to our true selves, to our hearts.  He sees our hopes, fears, longings, dreams, insecurities, and doubts and accepts us and loves us anyway.  Biblical community is this exact kind of intimacy and acceptance; learning to lower our masks and love one another for who we truly are.
A bit later in the same chapter they share:
Jesus said we are to love one another as he loved us, and Paul said that we are to make room for each other's faults because of our love.  I can't help but wonder what would happen if Christians cultivated this relational transparency and strived to fill their lives with suspended space.  What would happen if our homes became hospitals for our wounded neighbors, our lunch breaks became cathedrals for our searching coworkers, and our coffee shops became temples where people encounter Jesus in all of his beauty?
I found myself nodding and clapping and saying "Amen!" from cover to cover.

This well written book is both challenging and encouraging.  I pray that it changes all of us that read it.

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson
The opinions I have shared are my own.

Is anyone beyond forgiveness?

The Lord continues to move my heart with the things that touch His as He works with His chisel to form and reform me.  I believe it is by His design (for there truly are no consequences) that I was drawn to People of the Second Chance a collection of those who want to move in the kind of grace our Lord walked in, people who know what it is like to be forgiven and redeemed.

I am both blessed and challenged to be a part of promoting the Never Beyond Poster Series:
We all have people we would and wouldn’t give a second chance — lines drawn and beliefs formed about who we could forgive. 

We will be sharing 25 posters representing well known historical, current and fictional characters who are believed to have harmed society. This campaign consists of digital and print posters and the full collection will eventually be displayed as a touring art exhibit. 

The campaign draws out themes of forgiveness, grace and what a pathway to a second chance looks like.

The images may at times seem a bit vague.  This is by design, for the faces could just as well be yours, or mine.  Haven't we all needed a second, or third, or 1,000 chance?  While we ask for forgiveness for ourselves we often withhold it from those we deem beyond redemption.  I pray that through the coming weeks we will be able to see through the eyes of Christ and allow His heart to pulse deep in our spirits.

This week, the kick-off poster is of Casey Anthony.  People were outraged that she was not given the punishment many felt that she deserved when she was indeed given a second chance.

Before joining in the cries for revenge, stop for a moment and ponder -- have you received the punishment you deserve for your sins?

I pray that many of you have set down the stones you meant to throw.

I'll be back next Tuesday with thoughts on the next poster.

15 August 2011

For this very moment

The Lord's TableImage by Scott Schram via Flickr

Yeserday's message began with the reading of Colossians 1:15-20 -

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Colossians 1:15-20 NIV

but there was one modification from the NIV text.  The pastor replaced pronouns to use the correct proper name - Jesus.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Jesus all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Jesus and for JesusJesus is before all things, and in Jesus all things hold together. And Jesus is the head of the body, the church; Jesus is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything Jesus might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus, and through Jesus to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through Jesus blood, shed on the cross.

The sound of Jesus name repeated over and over again dripped joy into my spirit.  Jesus is not just any other "he" or "him".  Jesus is the first, the One Who went before us, comes beside us, and calls us to abide.

In Jesus all things hold together and I recall how before I surrendered my heart, things in my life would regularly fly apart.  Jesus, His Father, His Holy Spirit, the blessed Triune God, knows all things, sees all things and uses all things to mold us, perfect us and continually transform us more into His own image.

There were words spoken about reconciliation and forgiveness, as it was a communion Sunday.  The pastor shared that every person that you have ever, or will ever need to forgive was placed in your life to teach you more about forgiveness. 

Whoooosh........ it was like a cleansing wind blew through the room.

I sat silent in His presence in the pew, allowing my mind and heart soak in the truth that my spirit was hearing from His Spirit:

Everything that has every happened in your life up until this very moment was to prepare you for this very moment.  The same is true for every moment that is to come.

With a grateful heart I shared in partaking of the body and blood of Jesus, knowing that I am safe and loved in His care.  His desire is for you to know that same peace.  Give Him a few minutes, even now, to speak life and truth into your life.

Stop by Melissa's to see what others have picked up on Sunday to use on Monday

His faithfulness

I only glimpse
because You have given me
Your eyes

so that You could lead me
so that You could fill me
so that You could rewrite me
so that You could teach me

By Your hand
I have a new heart
that hungers and burns
to remain fixed
on You, undivided
Washed in Your faithfulness
to be a signpost
pointing to Your glory

Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. Psalm 86:11-12 NIV

 Join the rest of the warrior poets at Jason's Connecting to Impact as we look at faithfulness

13 August 2011

Seeing the plenty

This week we have enjoyed the first beets, cucumbers and potatoes from our garden.  This afternoon I pulled up a few carrots and one small ripe roma tomato.

We fell very, very short of our usual harvest of peas, but it looks like there will be more than enough beans.

It isn't possible to say how well the corn will come in, some looks good, some not.

Each time I lean toward grumbling and complaining or feeling sad about all the plants that have died without giving up their normal abundance...  something catches in that back of my throat, tears fill my eyes.

Famine in SomaliaImage by United Nations Photo via Flickr

I think of those who are leaving some of their children on the side of the road to die of hunger and thirst so that they might save the others.

While I see the plenty that surrounds me, I thank God for all that He has provided for us and ask "Why me, Lord?  Why have I been so blessed?"

I find myself praying that He would show us what He would have us do.  A cup of cold water is needed.  My heart can't seem to turn away.

12 August 2011

Who will listen?

I sat quietly this morning, journal in hand, asking the Lord what He wished to share. 

I long to speak to My people, but few are listening.

As in the days long before, there are those who study, observe and cling to My Word but would not recognize Me if I were to walk among them.

I do now walk among you.

I Am the homeless one; the hungry one; the lame, the weak, the desperate one.

And many walk past Me, saying I have no time to stop, I am busy serving the Lord.

I can scream in anguish yet ears remain closed.

What kind of love can you claim that can ignore the cries of the broken, or their sudden silence?

Look upon these in need and I will be reflected in your eyes.

Thank You, Lord for these words of reproach.  May my eyes see, my ears hear and my heart be open.  May I learn to be poured out and spent in love for the least of these, yes, for You.

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.  Matthew 25:40 NIV