Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Never Alone~

Gracious Heavenly Father,
Thank you for choosing to abide with us.

With the presence of Your precious Holy Spirit,
we are never alone -
never alone in our weakness,
never alone in our fear,
never alone in our sorrow,
never alone in our suffering,
never alone in our thoughts,
never alone in our abilities,
never alone in our tasks,
never alone in our responsibilities,
never alone in our decision making,
never alone in our coming and going,
never alone in our calling,
never alone in our self.

You are here.
You are with us.
You are before us.
You are behind us.
You are beside us.
You are among us.
You are WITHIN us.

Thank you, Father.
To be indwelled with Your Spirit,
to never be out of Your care, out of your sight, out of Your presence -
what a precious gift,
what amazing peace,
what a beautiful God You are.

We praise You, Father.
We rejoice in Your companionship.
We delight in Your love.
We marvel at such a God as You.

In Jesus' name we pray, Amen~♥







 
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Have You Seen Him?

My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.
~Job 42:5

Maybe, like Job, your ears have heard of God.
But, have you eyes seen God?

It wasn't until calamity struck,
and well-meaning friends spoke,
and Job found himself in the seat of affliction,
that his eyes were opened to truly see God.

As humans,
we can't possibly begin to understand what God is up to in our lives.

How can we, who only live in the here and now,
ever begin to understand our God,
who lives in the beginning and the end and all points in between?

How can we, who only see bits and pieces of our life,
ever begin to understand our God,
who with His voice, spoke the world into existence,
and who with His hand, scooped up dust,
and who with His breathe, breathed life into you and me?

How can we, who judge this and judge that,
ever begin to understand our God,
who in The Judge and The Ruler of all things?

And, yet, we try, don't we?

With no more than a glimpse here,
and an incidence there,
and a word we have heard there,
we think we understand our God.

With only human reason to stand on,
we stand up
and dare to
speak for God,
speak about God,
speak as God.

From the beginning of time,
God has had a purpose in mind.
From the first moment of creation,
God has been creating with intentionality.
From the time you took your first breath,
to right now as you are reading this,
God has been,
God is,
and God will forever be
working all things for your good and His glory.

Maybe, like Job, you have heard about God.
But, have you seen Him?

Have you truly seen Him?

The next time you find yourself caught up in a whirlwind of affliction,
don't try to reason it through,
don't try to explain it away,
don't try to
understand it,
debate it,
rationalize it,
rebuke it,
fight it.

Simply, look for God in it.
He is there,
waiting to be seen.

My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. 
~Job 42:5

 





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Friday, October 24, 2014

Can't Even Compare~

Sometimes, we have to look past the thorns to see the rose. 








 
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Our Commission~











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Monday, October 13, 2014

God's Cure~

 We sit around the table, women of faith, women longing to hear and know God's voice.

As our time of prayer and sharing opens our evening together, a woman opens her heart and shares her need for prayer with the group.

What she is facing can be summed up in one word: cancer. Only, the cancer isn't ravaging her body, it is ravaging the body of co-workers where she is employed. Back-biting. Gossip. Dissension.

"I don't know what to do.  Pray God will show me if I am the one to stand up and say something about what is happening all around me."

Minutes later, another women shares her request and the same word comes tumbling out of her mouth.

"Pray for my work environment, too.  And yeah, the only word I can use to describe this one person who changes the entire atmosphere for everyone there is cancer.  I can tell she's not happy, and I've put myself out there to try and help her or listen to her, but she just walks away, always making me feel about this big.  I wish she could make peace with herself so she would be at peace with us."

I sit and listen as these sisters in Christ offer words of encouragement, words of compassion, words of Christ.

"I think God has placed you there to help bring light to this situation."
"Hurting people hurt people."
"God will give you the words to say."
"If God keeps nudging you to do something, He is speaking to you, and you should listen to His voice."
"Maybe God can use you to bring His peace into this situation."

I sit and listen and am reminded of words God spoke to my heart just the day before as I sat before Him, His Word open across my lap.

Try to live in peace with all people, and try to live free from sin. Anyone whose life is not holy will never see the Lord. Be careful that no one fails to receive God’s grace and begins to cause trouble among you. A person like that can ruin many of you.
~Hebrews 12:14-15 (NCV)

The answer is right there, penned in the pages of God's Holy Word years and years ago.

Be careful that no one fails to receive God’s grace.
The cure for this kind of cancer is God's grace.

Once we have tasted His grace,
once we have known His forgiveness,
once we have experienced His unconditional love,
once we have felt His Spirit wooing us to Him,
once we have received His mercy,
once we have knelt at His feet and then, been made whole again through His redeeming grace,
we no longer feel the need to 
criticize and condemn,
nit-pick and judge,
gossip and back-bite,
hurt others because we are hurting,
prove ourself,
bring attention to ourself,
be a cancer to those around us.

We find our healing in the ocean of God's grace and we are never the same again, 
unless we allow this cancer to continue.

Be careful that no one fails to receive God’s grace and begins to cause trouble among you. 
A person like that can ruin many of you. 

Cancer isn't content to stay neatly contained in one cell, in one small area of tissue, in one gland, in one area of our body.  Given the chance, cancer will spread like wildfire, touching and contaminating all that was once healthy, vibrant, and good.

If we fail to share God's grace,
if we simply sit back and do nothing,
if we turn our eyes, turn our heart, turn a deaf ear,
if we allow this cancer to continue,
we are in jeopardy of becoming a cancer ourself.

Grace.
God's grace.
Amazing, life-changing, heart-transforming, grace.

This has always been and will always be the cure for the cancer of sin.






 
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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Maybe Your Bucket is Empty~

As I sat in Children's Church, surrounded by precious little hearts, we talked about our world and the all too often missing ingredient, kindness. We talked about bullies and what it feels like to live in a world where kindness is hard to find.

"Why do you suppose people are mean?" I asked.
"Why are there bullies?"

Without thinking twice, a five year old girl blurted out, "Maybe their bucket is empty."

"Their bucket is empty?" I inquired further.

"Yes. Maybe they are mean because they ran out of nice. Maybe their bucket is empty."

It made perfect sense. We can't give away something we don't have. 
And I wondered, right there and then, in the midst of these precious little faces, 
how many Christians are trying to make their way through life with empty buckets?

So often, we dart right out into life without first sitting at the feet of our Saviour and filling up on His goodness, before communing first with the Holy Spirit and partaking of His sweetness, before allowing the Holy Spirit to fill us to overflowing.

All too often, we yield to our natural inclinations because our spiritual buckets are empty.

When conflicts arise,
when relationships push us to a place of response,
when life squeezes us until we react,
we reach into self and the only thing we can pull out
is the fruit of self.

Instead of love, hate.
Instead of joy, despair.
Instead of peace, strife.
Instead of patience, agitation.
Instead of kindness, animosity.
Instead of goodness, corruption.
Instead of faithfulness, disregard.
Instead of gentleness, harshness.
Instead of self-control, self rules.

No wonder the world has a hard time seeing Christians as Christ-like.
No wonder the world has a hard time seeing Christ in Christians.

When our reaction is anything but Christ-like,
very likely,
our bucket is empty.

As you look back on the
past few hours,
past few days,
past few weeks of your life,
what kind of fruit do you see?

If it isn't the fruit of the Spirit,
maybe your bucket is empty.~♥







 
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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Because, Not Everyone Does~

Several weekends ago,
I stepped out onto my patio and discovered this.


I immediately ran inside,
grabbed my camera,
darted back outside,
and began snapping photos.

Once the balloon drifted out of sight,
I hurried to my computer to share this amazing sight on Facebook.

My status:
Look what was in my backyard this morning ;)  
When I snapped the photo, the pilot surprised me by saying "Good Morning, young lady." 
That's how close it was. Since I was still in my PJs, I just gave a shy wave back. ;)

Now, I admit. 
It's not everyday you wake up to find a hot air balloon floating around in your backyard.
However, since I'm a New Mexico native,
and Albuquerque is the Hot Air Balloon capitol of the world,
I've seen more than a few in my day. 

Exciting, yes.
(Especially when the pilot was close enough to speak to me.)

WOW material, not so much. 
Unless you live in Delaware, or Wisconsin, or California, or Timbuktu. 

That's when it dawned on me.

Not everyone does.  Have the privilege of seeing a hot air balloon, that is.
Something that was a rather "normal" sight to me, was amazing to my Facebook friends. 

That's when the Holy Spirit gently nudged my heart.

Not everyone does, Stacy.  Know about Jesus, that is. 

What if I wouldn't have taken a photo that morning?
What if I wouldn't have bothered to share it with my friends?

Exactly.

When it comes to Jesus, He is more than amazing.  He is more than WOW material. 

To quote *lyrics from Sandi Patti and Larnell Harris:
He’s more wonderful than my mind can conceive
He’s more wonderful than my heart can believe
He goes beyond my highest hopes and fondest dreams.
He’s everything that my soul ever longed for
Everything He’s promised and so much more
More than amazing, more than marvelous
More than miraculous could ever be
He’s more than wonderful, that’s what Jesus is to me.

Having grown up a Christian,
in a Christian home,
hearing and knowing and learning about God all my life,
I don't always remember the simple, yet heartbreaking truth:
not everyone does.
Know Jesus, that is.

Sharing my balloon experience, brought smiles and happy thoughts.

Sharing my Jesus experience will
set the captives free,
turn mourning into dancing,
infuse hope,
break the chains of guilt,
transform a heart,
save a soul.

That's when the fire of God blazed anew in my heart.

I've got to tell the world about Jesus.
Me.
Stacy.

Right here.
Right now.
All the time.
ALWAYS.

And, you?  You do, too.

We,
Us,
You and I
because. . .
not everyone does.

We,
Us,
You and I
until . . .
everyone does.~♥







*More Than Wonderful

(reposting from 2012)
 
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It Takes Two~

Have you ever noticed how quickly "peaceful" can come unraveled?
In less time than it takes to ask, "what just happened here?", it has happened.
Without warning, without warrant, without your wanting it to,
peace flies out the window and leaves you fighting alone.
Only, you don't want to be fighting.
You want to be at peace.

I know it takes two to tango, and maybe, just maybe, it takes two to keep the peace.
But, doesn't it seem that just one peace-full person should be able to override and cancel out the other?
Why, time and time again, does peace end up the wounded party?

As I wrestle with this question, I find myself wrestling with God.
Why, God, why?
How, God, how?
And then, my wrestling turns to pleading.
Help, God, help!!!

And, as always, He does.

He leads me to my Amplified Bible and these words,
that at this moment and at this time, seem to be written just for me.

Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]
~John 14:27

There it is in black and white.
There it is in flesh and spirit.
There it is in a nutshell.
Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed;
and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.
And, I see it so clearly now.

Peace isn't leaving voluntarily.  I am tossing it to the wind.
I am choosing to not keep choosing to hold on to it no matter what.
I am allowing myself to be agitated and disturbed.
I and permitting myself to be unsettled.
Once again, self is to blame.
Not peace.  Not the other party. Me, myself, and I.

It's the same ole trip around the same ole mountain.
Self stepping in and shooing out peace.
Pride puffing up and pushing out peace.
The need for validation, clarification, and clear communication
overriding and cancelling out the need for peace.

I know it takes two to tango, and maybe, just maybe,
I am learning it  takes two to keep the peace:  this girl AND the Holy Spirit.
By myself, peace will always end up the wounded party.
By myself, I will always be left standing there asking "what just happened here?"
By myself, strife will win, and everyone else involved will walk away a loser.

Oh, gracious Heavenly Father,
I don't want to go around this mountain anymore.  
I am tired of the fight. 
I am tired of the frustration. 
 I am tired of the feeling of failure and friction that tries to consume me.
 I want peace.

 Help me, Lord, to fight for peace at all cost.  
Help me to be willing to forgo whatever I might feel is "due me" for the sake of peace. 
Help me to surrender to Your Holy Spirit 
that I might now allow myself to let self get agitated or disturbed. 
Help me to yield to Your Holy Spirit 
that I might not allow myself to let self be fearful, intimidated, cowardly and unsettled. 
Help me to be at peace. 

Oh, Lord, you have given us such a precious treasure - your peace. 
Help me to let your peace RULE in my heart.
In Jesus' name I pray, Amen~







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