Sunday, August 28, 2011

More Than Skin Deep ~

The other night, my husband was craving pistachios. Fortunately, he still had a few left in the bag he had purchased earlier in the week. Unfortunately, these pistachios had been left behind for a reason. Most pistachios have a crack in their shell, making it a cinch to get to the delicious nut waiting inside. No struggles. Just pry open the shell and enjoy!

This poor, rejected handful of pistachios was “crack-less”. Getting to the nut inside was going to require some work. And so, my husband set out to “divide and conquer”.

“Hey, Honey,” he asked from the living room. “Do we have a nutcracker?”

Ummm…I don’t think so,” I replied.

Thus the struggle began.

I watched as he looked here and there trying to find just the right tool for the job at hand. Finally, he spotted it: a small axe resting on the hearth. With axe in hand, he went to work. And, it was obvious, by the look of determination on my dear husband’s face, he thought all of this hard work was going to pay off.

WRONG!

When my pistachio loving man was finally able to get to the heart of the first pistachio, he discovered it had no heart at all. Inside, he found nothing but the remnants of a dried up nut.

To say he was disappointed doesn’t do it justice. He just looked at me and shook his head. Immediately, I thought of the following scripture:

You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it’s all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds. Matthew 23:27-28, The Message
“Nothing but a whited sepulcher,” I said. (King James Version)

Looks great on the outside, but the inside is full of death and decay.

This is how Jesus described the Pharisees. Through their actions and their pompous ways they gave the appearance of being spiritual. Unfortunately, their religious experience was only skin-deep. Their heart still remained untouched, unchanged, and lifeless. To quote Jesus, they were “frauds”.

When it comes to our walk with the Lord, the heart of the matter is the matter of our heart. Until we have surrendered our heart to Jesus, it remains untouched. Jesus desires to change us, to make us new, to re-create us, but this change must begin in our heart. He wants to take out our stony, dead heart and replace it with a heart like His.

When others look at me, it’s not my outward appearance I long for them to see. I don’t want to be praised for regular church attendance. I don’t want to be known for my religious ways. No. I want the world to see Jesus in me.

reflection
(Photo Credit)

This is what the world is in search of and so desperately in need of, yet sadly, all to often, seeking souls are disappointed and disillusioned by discovering some Christians are nothing but a fraud.

Heavenly Father,
You are looking for authentic Christians and so are those who have yet to come to know you. Lip service and merely going through the motions is not what you desire. You desire our heart. Pour out your Spirit and give us a heart like yours. Remove the death and decay, the sin and self-righteousness, and fill our hearts to overflowing with YOU. May our identity, who we are, be lost in WHO YOU ARE. When others come to us in search of you, may they not be disappointed. May they find in us, the true lover of their soul, YOU.
In Jesus’ name, Amen~




Today, I am linking up with Jen at:

Friday, August 26, 2011

HIS Shoes

My Old Shoes
(Photo Credit)

Older

For me, life has always been a little tight, a little uncomfortable, a little stiff around the edges.

Life a new pair of shoes, I've walked many a year trying to "break" life in.

Unsure of who I was, afraid of who I was not, my journey of growing up was filled with blisters, that overtime, left callouses on my heart.

But then,

I started following in the footsteps of the Master.

Wallpaper material
(Photo Credit)

As I let go of insecurities and took hold of His hand, I discovered the shoes I'd been wearing didn't fit at all.

Shoes of guilt

and shame,

and failure

and fear.


So, I traded them for HIS.


Shoes of forgiveness.


Shoes of grace.


Shoes of love.


What a difference a good pair of shoes can make. And, I've been wearing HIS ever since!

These shoes have walked with me through heartache and grief, through the wilderness and up on mountain peaks, through joy and sorrow.

The journey hasn't always been easy, but the shoes....HIS shoes have never let me down.

Older

Now, when I put HIS shoes on, I hardly even notice them. For you see, with each step taken, I am conforming to the ways of my Father. With each road traveled, I am being transformed into HIS image. With each twist and turn on the path of life, I am discovering HIS goodness, His faithfulness, HIS beauty. And, the older I get, the more comfortable HIS fit.

As the Holy Spirit leads, and I travel this road of faith, these shoes, faithful and growing older each day, have become one of my prized possessions.

In fact,

I never leave home without them~




Today I am linking up with The Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Fridays. To read more devotional thoughts on OLDER or to join in on the fun, visit her at:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Used by God ~

As I sit here writing this, I am sipping on a Dr. Pepper float. Yet as yummy and delicious as this creamy, refreshing drink is, I am still finding it hard to swallow the hurt I experienced earlier this morning. Hence, the reason for this mid-afternoon splurge. Silly as it sounds, I actually hoped this ice cream treat would sweeten the sour feeling I have been carrying around in my heart all day. WRONG!

Why is it when the world hits us and kicks us and bruises our very soul, we head straight back into the world in search of the healing we are so desperately in need of? It makes no sense to me and yet, here I sit with a straw in my mouth, sucking away at this frozen concoction as though my very heart depended on it. No wonder I feel deflated. And taken advantage of. After slurping my way to the bottom of my treat, I am still left with a hurting heart and a loaded question for God.

God, how can I pour out myself so as to be used by YOU without being used by the very one I am pouring myself out to?

Everybody hurts
(Photo Credit)

I told you it was a loaded question. I wish I could say this is the first time I have sought God for an answer to this life-long dilemma, but it isn't. For most of my life, I have bent over backward to be God's hands and feet to a hurting world, often at my own expense. At times, the outpouring of my heart has been gently received and upheld with sincerest appreciation. Other times, however, my giving heart has been trampled on, greedily taken from, and squandered, with no regret and no shame. Such was the case today. And it hurts.

How can I be used by God without being used?

As a Christian, I suppose we could simply chalk up "being taken advantage of" as an "occupational hazard". It just comes with the title of Christian. After all, we are called to be partakers of Christ's suffering. No one was more used and abused than our precious Lord. And yet, does God really want or expect us to allow others to use our heart for their own selfish gain?

As odd as it may seem, I think God gave me a glimpse into His answer as my husband and I were finishing our lunch today. It was one of those rare days when our schedules coincided and we were able to meet together for a moment and a meal. As my husband reached for the check, he handed me a fortune cookie. While I don't believe in fortune cookies, I do believe, if we have ears to hear, our God can and will speak to us through the events of our day. As I read the words written on the tiny slip of paper hiding in this simple dessert, I tenderly heard the wisdom of my loving Heavenly Father.

It is a silly fish that is caught twice with the same bait.

God has called us to give...to give with our whole heart. However, if after we give, our eyes and our heart are opened to see the true intent of the recipient of our heart, and it is evil in nature, then God would have us learn from this and head in a new direction, away from this abuse. We don't need to fight back. We don't need to retaliate. Most of all, we don't need to go back for more. We simply need to learn from this experience and then, move on.

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16

As I toss my empty cup and straw into the trash, I delicately place my hurting heart into the nail scarred hands of Jesus. He knows how I feel. He has been there, too. As I release this hurt through the gift of forgiveness, He will bring the healing I need.

Tomorrow is a new day. A brand new day to go out and touch the world with the love of my Heavenly Father.

flower test shots with new camera... anemone
(Photo Credit)

May I never stop being His hands and His feet. May I never let my heart become so calloused it refuses to give. May I always run to my Father when I am hurting. May my heart always rejoice in service to my God.



Linking up today with


The Dance of a Lifetime~

overlooked, unnoticed, invisible

a flower on the wall,

dreaming of the dance


overtaken (with fear)

unsure (of the steps)

intimidated (by love)



hearing the music

feeling the beat

drawn to the freedom



Grace came calling

scarred hands extending

invitation giving


overwhelmed, unworthy, inconceivable

a heart touched by His

believing in the dance



overtaken (by His presence)

undeserving (of His invitation)

intoxicated (with His grace)


hearing the music

feeling the beat

drawn to the freedom


Receiving His salvation

Partaking of His love

Taking His hand


overjoyed, unshackled, indwelled

a soul set free

dancing in fields of grace

Joy
(Photo Credit)



Linking up today at


and INTERNET CAFE DEVOTIONS

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Feeling Forgotten?

Have you ever wondered if you have fallen off God's radar?

<span class=
(Photo Credit)


Life was merrily rolling along and then all of a sudden you found yourself

in a prison,

out to pasture,

thrown in a tomb.

Joseph.

David.

Lazarus.

You.

Me.

No matter where you are.

No matter how silent you find this place to be.






No


matter


how


unforgotten you may feel.

Rest assured.

God knows where you are.

He has not forgotten you. In fact, chances are, where you are is right in the center of God's will.

When only a youth, God gave Joseph a glimpse of where he would one day be. Prison wasn't it. In fact, his journey to prison was nothing Joseph could ever have imagined. From a pit, to slavery, to prison. Where was God in this? Right beside Joseph, that's where. Waiting for the perfect, God-ordained time to take Joseph's hand and lead him from the prison right into the palace.

David was out in the pasture tending sheep when Samuel came calling with a call from the Lord. His family may have overlooked him. His own father may not have thought him worth calling for. But God hadn't forgotten about him. In fact, David was the reason Samuel had come. He was God's man and soon everyone knew it. The shepherd soon became King.

And then there was Lazarus. Sick, dead and buried, but far from being forgotten. Jesus came and not a minute too soon. He was right on time and Lazarus received a call of his own. At the words of Christ, life came into his body and he came forth, out into the light of God's resurrection power.

Maybe where you are is far from where you ever thought you would be. Looking around your life, you, yourself, have doubts as to where you even are. Don't worry. God knows where you are. In His perfect timing and in His perfect way, He will come calling.

He sees you in the prison. He is with you in the lonely pasture. And yes, even in the dead places of your life, the places where you can no longer see a sign of life, He is there.

Stay faithful to your calling. Stay faithful to your God. Keep trusting Him in these dark, barren places of your life. He is with you. He is working behind the scenes and one day, it WILL happen.

The door will open.

Jail Door
(Photo Credit)

The call will come.

The dead will spring forth with life.

As Joseph stood before his brothers, the very ones who had sold him into slavery, he proclaimed this truth.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:20, NLT.

God's purpose was revealed.

David, who had been faithful to keep a watchful eye upon his father's sheep, was now the one being gazed upon as Samuel anointed him to tend the sheep of Israel.

Then he asked Jesse, "Is this it? Are there no more sons?" "Well, yes, there's the runt. But he's out tending the sheep." Samuel ordered Jesse, "Go get him. We're not moving from this spot until he's here." Jesse sent for him. He was brought in, the very picture of health— bright-eyed, good-looking. God said, "Up on your feet! Anoint him! This is the one." Samuel took his flask of oil and anointed him, with his brothers standing around watching. The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life. 1 Samuel 16:11-13, The Message

God's purpose was revealed.

Lazarus, dead, and buried, and lifeless for four days, walked right out of the tomb and back into the lives of everyone watching; a living testimony of God's power to bring whatever is dead back to life.

Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!” Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen. John 11:43-45, NLT

Lazarus walked in newness of life and once again, God's purpose was revealed.

0414 waiting for revelation
(Photo Credit)

The God of Joseph, David and Lazarus is our God, too. When it seems God has forgotten us or life has taken a wrong turn, we simply need to remember this:

God HAS a purpose.

Soon, in God's perfect timing and in His perfect way, His purpose will be revealed in your life, too!



(Photo Credit2)

Today, I am linking up with Jen at:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Behold! All Things New~

It's seen in a sunrise,

as the sun throws backs the covers of the horizon and slowly, sleepily peeks out in beams of light.

It's seen in a flower,

as the petals uncurl from the center of who they are and regally, gracefully unveil their beauty in bloom.

It's seen in a prisoner,

as a heart rebounds from the events of the past and willfully, hopefully enters through an open door.

It's seen in a prayer,

as words ascend from the lips of a sinner and immediately, boldly reach the throne room of Heaven.

It's seen in a heart,

as grace washes away the stains of the soul and amazingly, triumphantly ushers in newness of life.


A new morning.


A new blessing.


A new beginning.


A new heart.


It's seen in the cross,

as Jesus' blood cleanses the sins of the world and mercifully, lovingly invites us to be


N E W ~


Forget the things that happened in the past.
Do not keep on thinking about them.
I am about to do something new.
It is beginning to happen even now.
Don't you see it coming?
Isaiah 43:18-19



Spring Flowers
Photo Credit

NEW!




Today I am linking up with The Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Fridays. To read more devotional thoughts on NEW or to join in on the fun, visit her at:



Faithful to Lead~

Cold Clouds
Photo Credit


I needed to know.



So, a couple of weeks ago, I put out my fleece.


I desperately wanted to please the one who loved me enough to die on Calvary's cross,


but



I also wanted to please the one for which he chose to die.




I was at a cross-road.




So, I asked God for a very specific sign.


(Did I mention I asked for a VERY specific sign?)



I admitted to God I was afraid to pray this prayer.



If I didn't "see the sign", I would be heartbroken,



but still I prayed,



"Not my will, but YOURS be done."




I knew I couldn't move until I knew HIS will.



The next day



my prayer was answered in a very specific way.


(Did I mention my prayer was answered in a VERY specific way?)




God was faithful to lead me.




He showed me the way to go.




He took my fleece,


doused in faith,


wrapped in surrender,




and answered.




He knew I needed to know.





Photo Credit

Linking up today at

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fear Not~

God takes us to many places in our lives. Several years ago, I was given the awesome privilege of serving as a Nanny. I was employed by a wonderful young couple who had been blessed with three small boys. One son attended a Christian preschool in the mornings. One day, when I arrived around noon to pick him up, I walked in on a conversation between his teacher and one of his fellow classmates.

"Joshua, it's ok, now. You can take your fingers out of your ears."

Noticing I had entered the room, the teacher shared with me that the school fire alarm had been malfunctioning, sounding numerous times over the course of the morning. It was obvious by the look on Joshua's face, and of course the fingers in his ears, that the alarm was getting to him.

"Joshua. Finish coloring your picture, Honey."

Joshua, who had no intention of using his fingers for anything other than preventing the loud, shrill sound of the alarm from penetrating his small ears again, just sat there.


"Really, it's ok, Buddy. I think the men have fixed the problem. I don't think we will hear it anymore today."

"But what if there's a fire?" he asked.

"Honey, the fire alarm isn't going off because there is a fire in our school. It's just not working right today. It's ok, though, because there are some men here fixing it. There is no fire. Our school is fine. "


"But what if there IS a fire?" he asked again.


"Well then, we will simply do what we did earlier today when the alarm went off and we practiced our safety drill. We will go outside where we will be safe. It's ok, Joshua. There is nothing to worry about. Finish your picture, Sweetheart."


Still, Joshua sat totally immobilized by the fear which had gripped his heart.


"I don't want to die in the fire!!!" he finally screamed.

Walking over to Joshua and gently taking his fingers out of his ears, the teacher knelt down beside this scared little three year old and looked him right in the eye.

Cinematic
Photo Credit

"Don't worry, Joshua. I'm right here. I promise I won't let anything happen to you. I'll take care of you, Joshua. I promise. Teacher is right here with you."


For the first time since I had entered the room, a look of peace flooded Joshua's face. It was ok. He didn't need to worry. Teacher was here and she would take care of him. He was safe because she was right here with him. Joshua reached for his blue crayon. Soon, he was back to work coloring his picture and sharing in conversation and laughter with his classmates.

As I'd witnessed this scene, I'd realized I am a lot like Joshua. I have a tendency to let the cares and worries of this world grip my heart, leaving me paralyzed in fear, unable to enjoy all that is going on around me. I become consumed with fear and allow it to steal the life (not to mention the joy) right out of me.

As I watched Joshua, I was reminded of a acronym I once heard for the word fear:



F - false



E- evidence



A- appearing



R - real

This was certainly the case with Joshua. Joshua was fearful of a fire that didn't exist. I, too, am fearful of things that probably don't exist either, or most likely will never even happen. Yet, even though what I fear is not usually real, the fear itself most definitely is!

Maybe you are like Joshua and me. Maybe you also struggle with fear. If so, how can you and I learn to escape this fear, once and for all, and live in the freedom and abundance of life that Christ wants us so desperately to experience?


It's quite simple, really. Joshua found his peace when he realized his teacher was right there with him and would take care of him. We can partake of this same peace by keeping our heart and mind fixed on our Heavenly Father, who promises to never leave us, nor forsake us.(Hebrews 13:5) Even more than this teacher could ever hope to be there for Joshua, our God IS there for us. We don't have to fear ANYTHING in this life, because our Father is with us.

I have heard it said that the phrase "Fear Not" is found 365 times in the Bible. 365 times! That is one time for each day of the year......or each day of our life. Obviously, God wants us to live a life free of fear.

Fear tries to take us prisoner, causing us to think irrationally and respond unwisely. We need to remember that most fear comes from Satan. The Bible tells us that God didn't give us a spirit of fear, but rather one of power, love and a sound mind.(2 Timothy 1:7) Only when we choose to keep our focus on Christ, knowing and believing that He is always with us, will we be free from the torment of fear. As we rely on Him to take care of us and to work all things out for our good and His glory, we will be able to let go of fear and instead take hold of the power, love and sound mind freely available to us through Christ.

The choice is up to us. We can either choose to sit around with our fingers stuck in our ears, fearful of what might happen, all the while missing out on what IS happening, or we can rest in the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father, embracing and thoroughly enjoying each and every minute of our life!

IMG_3644
Photo Credit

Now..... where did I leave my crayon?



("Fear Not" was first posted on April 14, 2009. Today, I am linking up with



The topic is fear so I felt impressed to re-post this.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In The Waiting~

Have you ever been in God's waiting room?






You prayed for an answer.




(Silence)




You prayed for God to move.





(Stagnation)





You prayed for God to open doors.





(Stillness)




Waiting.




It's not easy.






God IS faithful, we know this to be true.



But.....



Why?



WHy?



WHY?



Why does God sometimes choose to delay?





Why do we have to wait?














Could it be



- in the waiting -



we discover if WE are faithful?






Will we wait





UNTIL the answer comes,






UNTIL God moves,





UNTIL the door opens?









Will we persevere in prayer?


Waiting for Grownups


Maybe God is waiting to see~



I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope. ~ Psalm 130:5




Photo Credit

Today, I'm linking up with Cyndi for ENCOURAGING WORD WEDNESDAY

and

and Internet Cafe Devotions

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dishes and SO Much More~

(Sharing once again, one of my all time favorite posts~)

Last night, as I headed to the kitchen to do dishes, I popped one of my favorite Out of the Grey CDs into the stereo. As I dipped my hands in the warm dish water and felt the effervescence of the tiny bubbles, I savored this moment. Here, in this simple, every day moment, I felt perfectly content and amazingly happy. I have to admit, I was surprised by this.

As the music played, I began nodding my head and before I knew it, I was singing right along with the Dente's.

♪♫
So we never got to Paris
And found the cafe of our dreams
But our table holds a whole world of memories
No, we never went to Venice ♪
And strolled the streets alone
But we built our worlds together and we got the best of both ♪♫


As I sang the lyrics to this, my favorite song on the CD, I thought about my own life. Just like the young lovers in this song, I, too, have dreams....big dreams, lofty dreams, far away, almost seemingly out of reach dreams. I, too, would love to go to Paris and stroll the streets of Venice, and yet, standing in my kitchen, with a soapy dishcloth in hand, I realized I,too, am surrounded by a whole world of memories.

Just look at my refrigerator. It showcases all the moments I treasure in my heart. Like the photo of my sister and me at her college graduation.



I was so proud to be a part of that moment, to be my sister's sister, to see her reaching this milestone in her life. Our eyes are squinty....hers from trying to see through the rain, mine from trying to see through the tears of pride and joy.

Then there's the newspaper clipping that has yellowed over the years.



The person showcased is my husband; the reason for the notoriety is summed up in the caption. "My wife made me do it!" My husband, being an avid sports fan, had won the weekly "pick the winner of this weeks games" contest. I had told him he should send in his picks, and well, the rest is history. We still celebrate the one-line caption. Not because my husband won, but because, according to him, this is the same reason he said, "I do!"

As I reached into a drawer to get a dish towel, I saw my mom's love....



crocheted in the potholders sharing this tiny space with the towels. They are a constant reminder of all the love, guidance and instruction she sewed into my life. There is no denying a part of her will always be living out through me. I am her daughter. She is my mother. It's a bond that knows no limit or separation.

This bond is also one that is shared by sisters, but in a way only sisters can truly understand. As I returned to the sink, I noticed a picture hanging proudly on our living room wall.



With thread in hand, my sister lovingly created a visual reminder of the vows my husband and I exchanged almost ten years ago. Our names and the date of our union are there to testify to our commitment to each other. The gift one more reminder of her constant commitment to me, her little sister.

As my dish water turned lukewarm and I rinsed the last pan and placed it to dry, I danced! Right there in my kitchen,

I danced!

and I sang!

and I cried!

and I laughed!

I pulled the stopper and as the water emptied out of the sink, thanksgiving bubbled up from my heart. Standing at my sink, I lifted my hands to heaven and gave thanks to the One who had made this night, these memories possible.

I thanked my Heavenly Father for the all the beauty, love, joy and support He had showered upon me my entire life. I thanked my Abba Daddy for the unexpected blessing of doing dishes.

Most of all, I thanked the Lover of My Soul for my life...a life that is and always will be overflowing with a whole world of memories!

Every good and perfect gift is from God. It comes down from the Father.
James 1:17, NIRV




Today, I am linking up with Jen at:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Victim or A Victor?~

Which word best describes you?

Victim -

a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency

Victor-

a person who has overcome or defeated an adversary; conqueror.

Unfortunately, I have to admit I have lived most of my life as a victim.

So often, we think of a victim as someone who has fallen prey to someone else. We think of the elderly lady who had her pursed snatched from her arm while Christmas shopping. We think of the wife who is battered by her abusive husband. We think of the child who was abandoned by his parents. These are victims.

But…what about you? What about me?

Notice one of the definitions for victim describes this as a person who is deceived or cheated by his or her OWN emotions!

Looking tru' the mirror.

Have you ever fallen prey to your own emotions?

For me, the answer is a resounding YES! Time after time after time!

I’m not good enough.

I’m not able.

I’m so……

The list could go and on and on.

Could...but won’t. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I'm taking a stand here and now.

Victim. Victor. The only difference between these words is the last two letters at the end of each word. But, oh my! What a difference these two letters make.

When I focus on me, I fall prey to the ”I’m” syndrome. My emotions take over and I begin to believe the lies. By all accounts, I become a victI'M.

BUT, when I choose to focus on the voice of my Heavenly Father and His voice of truth, I become victorious in and through Him.

I can think:

I’m not able to do this.

OR

With Christ, I can do all things. Philippians 4:13


I’m never going to have enough...

OR

My God will supply all my needs. Philippians 4:19


I’m too weak to…

OR

In my weakness HIS strength is made perfect.
2 Corinthians 12:9

The difference between being a victim or becoming a victor is trading deception for the truth found in God’s word. God's word, deeply hidden in our heart, becomes the ammunition we wield to fend off the lies and fight the enemy of our soul.

We have one offensive weapon: the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Eph. 6:17). But what many Christians fail to realize is that we can’t draw the sword from someone else’s scabbard. If we don’t wear it, we can’t wield it. But if we do wear it, if it lives within us, what mighty warriors we can be!
John Piper


www.army.mil

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. Romans 8:37 (Notice how conquerors ends in “or”, too!)

Heavenly Father, Thank you for your Word. Thank you for opening our eyes and our hearts to the truth. YOU are the way, the truth and the life. Sadly, it is so easy to believe the lies of the enemy. Help us to be firmly planted in your Word. May our roots run deep and hold us steady when we are tempted to dwell on our inadequacies, our weaknesses, our needs. Keep our focus ever on you and your truth. Thank you, that in and through you, we are indeed more than conquerors. Free us once and for all from our victim mentality and let us walk in the victory we have in YOU. In Jesus’ name, Amen~



Photo Credit 1
(Photo Credit)
* Definitions courtesy of Dictionary.Com

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Reflection of Beauty~

Beauty.

Whenever I think of this word, my thoughts are always drawn to the moon and my daddy.

"Daddy, isn't the moon sooooooooooooo beautiful?"

"Yes, it is darlin, but you know, it is just dirt and sand."

"It is? But how can it be so beautiful? How can it shine so bright?"

"It just reflects the light and the brillance of the sun".




A simple conversation between a little girl and her daddy years ago, and yet I still hear his words when I gaze upon the moon.

A simple fact that revealed to me an amazing truth.

I, too, am made of dirt and dust. On my own I am not particularly beautiful, (although I imagine my Daddy would beg to differ with me).

Yet, when I align my life with that of my Heavenly Father and allow Him to shine in and through me, I become bright with His beauty. I shine with His glory.

A fingertip gently wiping a tear flowing from a hurting heart.

Knees bent low, lifting another up in prayer.

Eyes seeing a need and feet walking toward it.

This is beauty.

A reflection of HIS beauty.

Shining bright and glorious...just like the moon~




Today I am linking up with The Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Fridays. To read more devotional thoughts on BEAUTY or to join in on the fun, visit her at:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sitting at His Feet~

Right now, as I sit on my patio writing this, dishes stacked neatly in my kitchen sink are waiting to be washed. Nearby, towels nestled together in a laundry basket are waiting to be folded and placed neatly in the linen closet. And, throughout my home, carpet is waiting for its weekly massage via our vacuum cleaner.

But, it is dusk.

The sun has slipped below the horizon and all is still.

This is the time I have set apart each day to meet with Jesus and…

HE, too, IS WAITING.

So tonight, I have chosen to be a Mary in a Martha kind of world. It’s not easy. The dishes scream for my attention. The towels tease me and mock my decision. The carpet stares at me through the sliding glass door.

But tonight, I have chosen the “one thing worth being concerned about”.

The Lord draws near and I am drawn to Him.

He speaks and I listen.

I speak and He listens.

Holy communion.

His heart and mine.

Blessed togetherness.

What an honor to sit at His feet.

The darkness, unaware of this holy moment, is beginning to encroach on our time together. Soon, I must head back indoors and tackle the Martha responsibilities waiting for me. But, when I do, I won’t go alone. God will be there with me. As I wash the dishes, fold the laundry and vacuum. As I go about the day-to-day ”chores” of life, the sweet presence of His Spirit will continue to abide with me – until tomorrow evening, at dusk, on my patio, when we will meet together, once again, just my Lord and me.

Heavenly Father, It’s me, Martha. How I long to sit at your feet, learning of your ways and basking in your presence. Yet, the guilt of leaving things undone often keeps me chasing contentment and fulfillment in completed tasks and the approval of others. You long to free me from this rat race, inviting me to come away and spend time with you; an offer I can’t refuse, and yet often do. Give me a heart like Mary, a heart that seeks you above all things, a heart that drops everything and communes with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen~





Monday, August 8, 2011

Happily Holy Ever After~

Several months ago, my husband and I attended a memorial service for darling elderly couple. The wife's health had started to fail first. Hip surgeries and then dementia left her feeble and in a nursing home. Faithfully, her husband was at her side. Then, stricken with an aggressive form of cancer, he was gone.

Not a day went by that she didn't ask for him by name, crying out until she was hoarse and could speak no more. Then, still longing for the man who had stolen her heart, she would grab the arm of a son or daughter sitting near her and spell out his name in the palm of their hand. His name was cradled by her final breath. Five weeks to the day of her husband's death, she passed away. His death came as an unexpected surprise. Hers did not. They had been Mr. and Mrs. for 64 years.

Marriage - a union between a man and a wife. Two becoming one flesh, sharing the same name, the same bed, the same life.





Yesterday, August 7, my husband and I celebrated eleven years of marital bliss. A far cry from 64, but a good start none the less. On that memorable day when I said "I DO", I have to admit, the vision I had in mind was happily ever after {emphasis on happily}. Now, eleven years later, I am starting to see God's vision is so far beyond this.

Within the marriage experience,{adventure, journey, roller coaster ride, whatever words you might choose to use!} God desires to make us more holy. Amazingly, one of the tools he uses is...

wait for it

...submission.

For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22

True biblical submission is not meant to be scary, demeaning, or degrading. God, himself, established this principle and designed it to be something for wives to embrace. After all, submission is not meant to place us "below" or "beneath" our husband. Beautifully, submission places us under; under the care, protection and leadership of our man. The husband is the one called by God to bear the responsibility of the family. We, as wives, get to “rest” in his authority.

But, as wonderful as resting in our man sounds, we know all to well that submitting does not come easily or naturally. Submission is a choice of the will. We have to intentionally choose to do it. I think God wired us that way on purpose.

It is in submitting that we discover the inner strength of the Holy Spirit enabling us and empowering us to submit and do as He commands.

It is in submitting that we develop trust both in our husband and in our God.

It is in submitting that we are able to show our husband respect and draw him into a deeper love relationship with us.

It is in submitting that our true beauty as a woman is showcased and revealed.

This is how the holy women of the past used to make themselves beautiful. They put their hope in God. And they followed the lead of their own husbands. 1 Peter 3:5, NIRV

As the memorial service drew to a close, the family showed a video of this special couple. It had been made four years earlier in honor of their 60th wedding anniversary. As I watched their journey through life together, I felt a longing in my heart. A longing to have what they had. A true, abiding love.

It was obvious from the photos and from cherished moments in the company of this sweet couple that this wife had accepted and embraced the authority of her husband.
One look at him, looking at her, told you this groom only saw beautiful when he looked upon his bride.

In her husband and his leadership and guidance, this dear, spiritually wise lady had found security, love and a restful abiding. In his wife and her submissive, respectful, Christ-like demeanor, this strong, independent, "self-made" man had...

wait for it

...found the Lord.

Wives, likewise, submit to your own husbands. Do this so that even if some of them refuse to believe the word, they may be won without a word by their wives’ way of life. After all, they will have observed the reverent and holy manner of your lives. 1 Peter 3:1-2, CEB

Holy? When I got married I never saw that coming. But, I should have. True marriage isn't about my husband making me happy. It isn't about me making my husband happy. It is about the two of us making God happy.

What could bring more happiness than that?



Today, I am linking up with Jen at:

and