Friday, September 30, 2011

The ONE~

I never knew what alone felt like until one hot August day.

Standing on the sidewalk leading to my college dorm, away from all that was familiar and smack dab into all that was foreign, I knew.

My parents had made the long trip with me. Mile after mile, hour after hour we traveled until we arrived at the next chapter of my life.

What seemed to take forever to pack was unloaded in minutes.

Now, my parents were leaving.

As I stood on that sidewalk, watching my parents drive away, tears fell without reservation. But then, through blurry eyes I saw the red of brake lights. The truck headed to the side of the road and stopped.

Moments later my father stepped out of the truck and began walking toward me. As he did, I walked to meet him, happy for one more moment together.

As we met, he took my hand in his and said, "One friend, Stacy. All you have to do is make you one friend and everything will be fine. One friend. That's all you need, darlin."

He smiled a smile that was bittersweet, then, he turned and walked back to the truck. This time,  I watched the brake lights disappear into the distance.

My father's words, however, stayed with me.

And as usual, Daddy knew best. One friend later, "everything was fine.".

One friend made all the difference.

Now, years later, I remember His words, and I smile.

You see, Daddy's darlin' has found the ONE friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

His little girl has found the ONE friend who loves her enough to die for her.

I've found THE ONE and everything is fine.

Yes...Daddy knew best.

This ONE friend,

Jesus,

is all I need.



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




Wednesday, September 28, 2011

You are Here~

A gentle breeze blows,

 caressing my cheeks,

 bringing peace and refreshment.

My body, weary from the day, welcomes it's touch.

As my shoulders relax and my muscles mellow into this moment,

I smile.




Thank you, Lord.

It is SO VERY GOOD to be with you here.

To think,

sitting here,

I am in your midst.

YOU are in my midst.

YOU,

the one who created the Heavens and the Earth,

the King of Kings

and Lord or Lords,

the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega,

Wonderful,

Counselor,

Everlasting Father,

 Prince of Peace,

 Messiah,

... ALMIGHTY GOD

are here.

With me. 

In this moment. 

Deity sharing this moment with humanity.

God and man.

You and me.

My mind cannot even begin to comprehend this truth,  and yet my soul cannot deny it.

 I feel you here and my soul reaches out and embraces your presence.

Like an oasis in the desert, my soul has found relief, refreshment, a haven in you.

 I run to you and I am safe,

 hidden in the cleft of your love,

 protected,

nurtured,

.........held.

 Aaaaaahhh.... what peace you bring. 

What strength you provide. 

What comfort you give. 

What rest!

What relaxation!

What refreshment.

You. are. life.

How my heart longs for the day when there will be no more separation between Heaven and Earth, for even though you are here, my greatest desire is to see you,

face to face. 

To feel your hand in mine. 

To kneel at your feet. 

To behold you in all your majesty and glory. 


But until then,


 I will rejoice in right now.


For even here, YOU ARE~


We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.  1 Corinthians 13:12-13, The Message

Linking up today at:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Learning From the Best~

For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. Matthew 18:1-5, The Message

Yesterday, in our church nursery, I overheard a conversation that made me smile.

“Honey,” a young lady addressed a small girl about three years old, “When is your little baby sister’s birthday?”

“Ummmmmm,” this precious little girl said as she placed her finger on her chin, clearly in deep thought, “I think it’s on the day she was born.”

“Well, yes, but do you know what DAY her birthday is?” the lady inquired again.

“Yes! I’m sure her birthday is on the day she was born. That’s when birthdays are!”

Awww….now you are smiling, too, aren’t you?

Children. So simple. So real. No pretenses. No putting on airs. What you see is what you get. No wonder Jesus drew the lofty, haughty eyes of his disciples down a few notches by focusing their attention on that of a small child.

For the past twenty years, I have been blessed to have learned from the best: children. As a teacher and now as a Director of Children’s Ministries, my life has been shaped and my faith deepened by the innocence, the faith and the honesty of these precious little ones.

While the disciples were worrying about who was the greatest in God’s Kingdom, the children were enjoying the company of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Jesus laughing Children Pictures, Images and Photos
{Photo Credit}

They weren’t thinking about anything or anyone; they were simply enjoying spending time with Jesus. No hidden agendas. No “what’s in it for me” thoughts. Just Jesus!

If we are to draw close to our Lord, we must become like a child.

If we are to grow deep in our faith we must model their child-like faith and take God at His Word.

If we are to deepen the level of intimacy with our God, we must NEVER allow guilt, pride, selfish ambition or anything or anyone else to keep us at arm’s length from our Abba Father.

Like children, we need to run with abandon, straight into the arms of our loving Father. We need to climb up on his lap, welcome his embrace, and simply enjoy His company.

Heavenly Father, What a precious gift you have given us in children. I love seeing the world through their small eyes of wonder. Most of all, Lord, I love seeing You through their eyes. I want what they have! Take away all pride, all self-reliance, all envy, all jealousy. Take away everything that keeps me from knowing, loving and pleasing you. Give me a child’s heart, a heart full of your Spirit, a heart full of YOU. In Jesus’ name, Amen~


Today, I am linking up with Michelle for


and Shanda at

Saturday, September 24, 2011

God, How Could You? ~

Just the other day, God used me to answer a prayer. Me! Imagine that. Now, I know God uses each of us, in many ways, on any given day, to be an answer to prayer, but on this day, it was the last thing I would have ever expected God to do.

You see, on this particular day, my thoughts and actions had been anything but pleasing to God. From the moment my alarm had jolted me awake, my grumbling and complaining had started. Before my feet even had a chance to hit the floor, my mouth had started groaning to God about this, and whining to God about that. By the time I made it to the shower, my pity party was in full swing.

I wish I could say a nice hot shower did the trick, and before long I was rejoicing in this new day that the Lord had made, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. It seemed the more I moaned, the more I found to moan about. By the time I left for work, I was singing the blues better than B.B. King!

And it didn’t stop there. The events of the day kept giving me more to complain about. I couldn’t believe what a horrible, rotten, no good day I was having. Then, to top it all off, I found myself sitting in traffic at a railroad crossing. With nothing to do but wait, I began to watch the activity in a store parking lot to my left.

That’s when it happened. I spotted my 84 year old father-in-law attempting to change a flat tire on his truck. When the way was clear, I maneuvered my way over to where he was parked. As soon as he saw me pull up, a look of relief flooded his face. “Oh, Stacy! I can’t believe it’s you. I just prayed God would send someone to help me and here you are. You are the answer to my prayer!”

Who me??????
{Photo Credit}


Me?!






God, how could you?




How could you possibly have chosen ME to be the one to bless this dear man today?


How could I be the answer to a prayer spoken in desperation, when my own lips were so desperately far from you today?



How could you even think to use me when I have been acting in a way so undeserving of this honor?


In spite of my thoughts, my actions and my lousy, no good for nothing attitude, God used me. In spite of what I had done and what I had said, God used me. In spite of who I am, God used me. But why? Why would He choose to do that?


Because, it’s not about me….it’s about HIM.


If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. 2 Corinthians 4:7 The Message


The sad truth is, even on a “good day”, when my words and my thoughts bring a smile to my Father’s face, the only good in me, is still HIM. Who I am is simply a vessel that, amazingly, God chooses to work through to touch others with His love, and in this case, His provision.


I phoned my husband, and soon, my father-in-law and I were each back on the road again and headed back into the rest of our day. As I drove, I bowed my heart before the Lover of my soul. Through words of confession and repentance, mingled with tears of shame and regret, I felt God’s unconditional love flood my heart.


I was chosen to be someone’s answer to prayer, and yet I couldn’t help believing that God has used this encounter to answer a prayer of my own. Just like my father-in-law, I needed my God to rescue me. Depression was sucking the life out of my day and out of my heart, yet before I had even sought the Lord for a way of escape from this cruel prison, He had answered.


God, how could you? How could you be so beautiful to me?


As I continued my day, I found myself humming a brand new tune. A melody of grace, forgiveness and joy! Why, I could hardly believe the beautiful day I was having!


Today, I am linking up with Jen at:

Growing in the Fight~

The line has been draw.

The battle has begun.

And, with each passing day, the fierceness of the fight is GROWING.

The closer I get to God,

the more determined I am to serve Him....WHOLEHEARTEDLY.

And, as a result, the more I say "no" to the things of the world, and "yes" to my Saviour,

the more intense I feel the pull of both.

Today....I felt like a rag doll. One hand in the hand of Jesus, the other in the mouth of a ferocious beast, aptly named Satan.

Stretching, pulling,......HURTING!

Yes...the intensity of this battle is growing. The ferocity of this fight is growing.

The heat in the kitchen of my soul, where a new me is being prepared, is getting hot and I  want to get out, to say enough is enough, to run away...

but I can't.

How can you turn your back on the ONE who's got your back?

How can you run away from the ONE you have been running to your entire life?

How can you leave the only ONE worth being left in the care of?

Yes...the fight in this battle is growing.

But, so is my faith.

So is my relationship with Jesus.

So is my love for the Lover of my soul.

So is my determination, my perseverance, my level of commitment and my loyalty to my KING!

With each new trick,

each new disappointment,

each new temptation,

I am growing as a soldier in the army of the Lord.

My shield of faith is feeling more and more secure in my hand,

and the sword of the spirit;

this is no longer something I have to try to manipulate and wield in battle,

it is now an extension of who I am, a part of me.

Yes, the line has been drawn and the battle has begun.

But,

indwelled by His spirit,

protected by His armour,

surrounded by His presence,

I am growing.
And, I'm not giving up, not turning back, not running away.

One day, like Paul, may I be able to say:
I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there is a crown waiting for me. 2 Timothy 4:7, 8a
{Photo Credit}
Yes.... I'm growing....

growing into a victorious daughter of Christ.



Today I am linking up with The Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Fridays....even though today is Saturday.  Yesterday, I was in the midst of battle and  unable to post. To read more devotional thoughts on GROWING or to join in on the fun, visit her at:



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Love in a Parking Lot~

Have you ever happened upon something,

something so precious,

something so indescribably beautiful,

something so breathtakingly, awe-inspiring that you felt as though you shouldn't be seeing it? That this moment was something so unique and so exquisite your presence there didn't belong?  That you were intruding?

I happened upon such a moment while waiting in a drive thru.

I was in a hurry. Isn't that most usually the case whenever one finds his or her self in a drive thru line? Tapping my fingers on the steering wheel in an effort to "move things along", I happened to glance to my right.

That's when I saw it.

Love in the parking lot.

No, my eyes didn't catch a teenage couple getting a little too friendly. And no, I didn't gaze upon an elderly couple still showing the sparks of romance after all these years.

My eyes happened upon an elderly lady and who I assumed to be her daughter, dancing their way across the expanse of the parking lot.

Like poetry in motion, their feet slowly shuffled to the beat of the love between their hearts.

Step by step, motion by motion, move by move, these two were in sync.

If was obvious they had danced before.  In fact, dance was most likely their main mode of transportation. 

The elderly lady, who no doubt had walked many a mile over her lifetime, could no longer walk on her own.  The passing of time had stolen her independence, her strength, her balance, her dignity.

Now, arms that once carried children and hands that gently wiped away tears were wound tightly around another. The one who had been carried now carried them both. The mother rested the weight of her body on the daughter, heart to heart; their bodies pressed together in a oneness that proved they had been waltzing for many years. Like two lovers gliding across a ballroom floor, this mother and daughter elegantly and oh so, slowly, made their way to across the asphalt.

As I watched, time stood still.  I was mesmerized by their movement. I was captured by their grace.  I was challenged by their synchronized sway and two feet, purposefully and yet, naturally moving as one.

As I watched, my heart was drawn to the Lover of my Soul, Jesus. 

I could hear His invitation to dance. 


I could see His outstretched, nail-scarred hand. 


I could feel the strength of His heart as I began to lay the weight of my life, the weight of me, the weight of my own heart on his.

I could taste the freedom of release as I let go and surrendered to His leading. 

I could smell the fragrance of grace as we became one, heart to heart, dancing in unison across the span of life and on into eternity....

Beverly & Ryan's Wedding
{Photo Credit}

A honk from the car behind me jolted me back to reality, back to the errands at hand, back to life.The younger lady turned her head in my direction and quickly I turned away, hoping she hadn't seen me seeing the two of them, staring, with tears in my eyes.

As I paid for my order and waited for change, I stole one more glance over my shoulder. 

As I drove away, I knew I would never be the same. 


Linking up at




and

and

Imparting Grace

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Need A Breakthrough? Praise God!

So many times in life we find our self in a place where we never thought we would be.


Depressed. Addicted. Divorced. Abused. Overweight. Unemployed. Diagnosed. The list could go on and on….but, you don’t need me to identify your present location. You are there. You already know the place where you are all too well. And you feel trapped.

Either by choices we have made or circumstances beyond our control, life takes an unexpected turn, down an unanticipated path, to a never before imagined place. Before we know what has happened or where we are, we find our self behind locked bars with no key and no way out.

I know. I’ve been there. So have Paul and Silas.

 Acts 16, NLT
22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.

Paul and Silas were stripped, beaten and thrown in jail. Did they deserve this kind of severe, harsh treatment? NO! Did they deserve to be held prisoner? NO! Did they deserve to have their feet bound? NO! Yet, it happened. They found themselves in a place where they never thought they would be. It wasn’t their choice to be where they were. It was the choice of the angry mob. Yet, here they were. Mistreated. Locked up. Trapped.

Sometimes we, too, find our self in a place that is not by our choice. Other people and other circumstances have made the choice for us. We didn’t want a divorce. Cancer wasn’t in our plans. We did nothing to deserve being abused or mistreated. Yet, it happened. We were stripped of our dreams, beaten down by something outside of our self, and thrown into our situation. Did we do anything to deserve this unfair treatment? NO! Did we do anything to deserve the suffering? NO! Did we do anything to deserve being locked in this place in our life? NO! Yet, it happened. We are there…..seated right beside Paul and Silas.

25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.

Amazingly enough, despite what they had just experienced and in spite of where they now found themselves, Paul and Silas decided to pray and sing. PRAY AND SING! Life sent them to an unthinkable place…and in turn, they did the unthinkable. With feet bound, and flesh torn, they praised God…and those around them couldn’t help but hear the praises flowing from their hearts.

Chances are you are not alone in your unthinkable place. Others are there going through the same experience you are. Could it be that even though you have found yourself in this place by no choice of your own, God plans to use you to bless others who are walking this road with you?

26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!


Paul and Silas chose to praise God and when they did God responded. And don’t miss this!!!! Their praise not only set them free, but it also brought freedom to the entire prison. EVERYONE in the prison was set free.
Today, in the midst of your situation and the locked place you find yourself in, I challenge you to begin to pray and praise God….not silently, but boldly. Praise Him with everything you’ve got! Do you realize?…..Do you know?…. Your praise has the potential to not only set you free but to loose the chains of all those imprisoned with you!!!

27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”

The jailer was the one responsible for all the prisoners. This was his job. This is what he had been told to do. This was his place in life. Yet, when the prisoners appeared to be free and he thought his job and his life were over, he almost killed himself.

Chances are the ones in your life who have been holding you prisoner are in this place because this is what they know. This is what they have been taught. This is where life has placed them. Those who have been abused often abuse others. Hurting people hurt people. But notice, through the power of praise, even the jailer…the one holding them captive….was set free!!!!

29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”


31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” (Act 16)

Notice…the jailer brought them out of the jail. They didn’t remain where they once were now that they had been set free. When God opens these doors in our life we can’t dilly dally around and stay in this place, we must get out. We must move into the new place of freedom God has for us. The jailer knew this. He wanted nothing to do with the old place he had been. And he wanted whatever it was the Paul and Silas had. He wanted joy…the kind that makes you sing when you are imprisoned. He wanted power…..the kind that opens prison doors and sets captives free. Most of all, though…He wanted to experience true freedom in Christ. He (the only one physically free) wanted to truly be set free!

It doesn’t matter where you are today. It doesn’t matter if you are there because of choices you made or choices someone else made. All that matters is that God is there with you. Like Paul and Silas, you can be set free. Like Paul and Silas, God can use you to set others free. The choice is yours.

Are you in an unthinkable place today? Then, like Paul and Silas….do the unthinkable. PRAY AND SING! PRAISE GOD!….and watch God do the unthinkable! Watch God move! Watch God shake your world! Watch God open the doors and loosen the chains and set you and everyone around you, free!!!!

Take Flight!
{Photo Credit}


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Monday, September 19, 2011

Exchanging Stinking Thinking With Heavenly Thoughts~

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Philippians 4:8, The Message


The other day, my husband and I were cruising down the highway that runs through our small town. We were enjoying each other’s company, sharing in light conversation and trucking right along, when all of a sudden, my nose interrupted us. Well, not my nose actually,  rather the unpleasant odor that captured my nose’s attention, along with all the rest of me!

“EwwwwwwwwwWeeeeeeeeee!”, I exclaimed.

“Where is that smell comin……Oh, look!” I answered.

There is front of us, a little further down the road, was a cattle truck, full of… what else, cattle! From the smell of things, you would have thought we were in the midst of a cattle ranch or dairy farm. The stench wafting through the air was overwhelming….

until.......

my husband and I approached close enough to read the writing on the back of the trailer.


It simply said:


BLESSED HOPE

Suddenly, our eewwwwwwww turned into an aaaaaaaawwwwwwwwww! Instantly, our thoughts were inspired to think beyond the obtrusive odor to the blessed hope we have in Christ.


“Wow. Now, after seeing the message on the back of that truck, that stench doesn’t seem so bad”, my husband commented.

And he was right. I hardly noticed that peculiar odor at all!

When we set our mind on things above, the “smelly” things of life are easier to take.



Cross on the hill, nr Kemsing, Kent
{Photo Credit}
When we purposefully and intentionally choose to focus

on whatever is

true,

noble,

reputable,

authentic,

compelling,

gracious—

the best, not the worst;

the beautiful, not the ugly;

things to praise, not things to curse,

the “stinky” times of life don’t seem so bad.

Heavenly Father, What an unlikely place to find such a sweet reminder of the blessed hope we have in you. And yet, the world is full of your goodness if only we have the eyes to see it. Help us to daily choose to look past the trials and tribulations of this world and to set our sights on YOU. In Jesus’ name, Amen~

Today, I am linking up with Jen at:

A More Excellent Way~

And I will show you a still more excellent way. I Corinthians 12:31b

As the children arrive at Children’s Church, they are exploding with stories about what is happening in their world. This past weekend was no exception.

“Guess what, Ms.Stacy! We planted a garden at our house and it is so much fun! And, guess what ?! Now, we have lots of good food to eat!”

“How wonderful! What did you plant in your garden?”


“Carrots!”

“Mmmmmm….I love carrots!” This comment came from the little girl sitting next to the young gardener.


“Green beans!”

“Mmmmmmm…I love green beans!” This comment came from a boy in the second row.


“Tomatoes!”

"Mmmmmmm…I love tomatoes!” This comment came from me!


“WOW! Isn’t God wonderful to have made so many different kinds of vegetables for us to enjoy?”

“Yeah,” said a youngster visiting with us for the first time, “I love cucumbers.”

“My mom really likes squash, and I guess it's ok.”, said a quiet girl in the front row.

“Well…….I looooooooooooooooooooooooooooove corn!” announced another. And, with this declaration, the entire room erupted in “me, too! me, too!”

“I love butter!!”


Silence.











Then, after a few smiles, followed by a twinkle in the eyes of the older children in the room, the comment from the youngest member of our group, a precious little girl barely three years old, was celebrated.


“Me, too!”


“I L-O-V-E butter!”


“Yeah, butter is the best!!!!”


And with that, the little girl just beamed. And so did I.


So often we are quick to point out the mistakes of others. We look for any chance to point our finger, correct and condemn. Not these kids.


Did they realize the error? Yes, indeed. But, they made a conscious choice to lift up this little girl instead of put her down.

They chose a more excellent way. 


child 3
{Photo Credit}

These precious little hearts chose love.  Instead of handing out judgment, they extended grace.

How God must have smiled.

Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.
1 Peter 4:8, The Message




Today, I am linking up with Michelle for



and Shanda at




Friday, September 16, 2011

The Scent of Joy~

It happens to me quite often.

I step into a dressing room, or out into a hallway, or pass through a room
and there it is: the scent of a woman who was once here, but has since passed on. The only evidence of her having been in this very place is the scent she left behind.

Yes, it's true. Perfume-laden women step out of dressing rooms, walk through hallways and pass through rooms all the time. But, only a few permeate the air, leaving it sweetened just for their having been there.

As a young girl, I longed to leave my scent behind. When others walked into a room, I wanted them to know I had been there because the room was still sweetly fragrant even though I was no longer there.

I scoured perfume counters and experimented with liquid concoctions, but this treasure remained buried, locked away, impossible to find.

Now, many years later, I continue my search. Only now the treasure I pursue is joy.

It happens to others quite often.

I step into a hospital room, or walk through the doors of a funeral home, or pass through some other heartbreaking tragedy and there it is: the unmistakable scent of joy in the lives of those left behind when that which has once brought happiness has passed on.

And I search for it in my own life;

this joy that stays when everything and everyone else has passed on, leaving my heart alone, empty.

And I'm starting to see, like the perfume, this fragrance, this scent of joy cannot be purchased, or bought or even found.

It is a gift.

A precious gift from God.

The joy of the Lord.

A joy that defies logic and comes in when all else is going out.

A joy that permeates the heart with strength, endurance and a confident hope.

A joy that proves the Lord is still there long after His blessings seem to have passed on -

Scented Geranium Interior
{Photo Credit}

the unmistakable scent of

J O Y ~



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




Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Two Sinners~

She stood beside me as we worshipped our Lord.

I didn't know her.

She didn't know me.

Together, the love in our hearts spilled out through our lips.

With arms held high, she reached for God. With eyes closed tight, she entered the throne room of Heaven.

Her shallow face, unable to hide years of heartache and sorrow, glowed with a radiance of one in His presence.

Her body, feeble and weak from years of mistreatment and abuse, stood strong and bold as she poured out her adoration.

Somehow, I felt strangely out of place; as though I was intruding on a sacred moment, a communion of two hearts. One who loved from her soul, the other the Lover of her soul.

As we sang, she cried; tears flowing from her eyes as praise flowed from her heart.

The song continued.

What's going on inside me?
I despise my own behaviour.
This only serves to confirm my suspicion
I'm still a man in need of a Saviour.*

Upon hearing these words, she reached over, grabbed my arm, shaking it with every emotion flooding through her veins and proclaimed, "This is MY song. That's me!"

The sinner in me could not longer deny this truth either. My own tears now streamed down my face as I, too, proclaimed, "This is MY song, too. That's me. That's all of us. We are ALL sinners."

She stood beside me as we worshipped our Lord.

I didn't know her.

She didn't know me.

Two different lives. Two different stories.

Two sinners.

Both in need of a Saviour.

Sign of the cross
{Photo Credit}

Two sinners.

Both,

saved by HIS grace.




* DC Talk, "In The Light"

Linking up today with Shanda at:



and



and


Monday, September 12, 2011

Is That Me? Really??????

Have you ever seen yourself

Mirror
{Photo Credit}

in the behavior of someone else?

Lately, the Lord has been giving me a dose of my own medicine. Sans a sugar coating to sweeten each revelation, these new insights have been pretty hard to swallow.

It's easy for me to fool myself into thinking I am something (or someone) I'm not. Especially, when I look at other people and then compare my behavior in light of theirs.

Sure, I'm hopping mad, but at least my temper isn't as bad as his!

Wow, I can't believe how critical she is. I would never judge someone else like that!

I hear you laughing. You know exactly what I'm talking about because you, too, have said or thought the exact same thing! We humans are funny creatures, aren't we?

And yet, there's nothing like catching our reflection in the actions of someone else to steal the chuckle right out of us!

Why is it that we have such a hard time seeing the real us? Good or bad. Those with a chip on their shoulder often see in themselves qualities, gifts and talents the rest of us can't quite see, while those with a poor self-image have trouble spotting that which is so obvious to everyone else.

I think it is because we tend to look at our self and others through human eyes. But God, He sees our heart. And, it is the ugliness in my heart that has been popping up in the least likely places.

I really shouldn't be surprised, though.

A few weeks ago, I decided to pray the same prayer David prayed.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
~Psalms 139:23-24, NLT
The great I am, the Lover of my Soul, my faithful Shepherd is He. And, mercifully, tenderly and often painfully, He is revealing to me ... ME.

The real me.



Not my reputation, but my character.


Not who I think I am, but who I really am.



And...

it hasn't been pretty.



But, it's exactly what I needed.  Unless we come face to face with real us, we will never come face to face with our need for a Saviour.

The closer I get to God, the more I realize just how wretched I am.


The more I learn of His spotless character, the more I discover the sinfulness and filthiness of my own.


The deeper I fall in love with my Savior, the more I humbly bow before my God and thank Him for


the gift of Jesus,


the gift of salvation,


the gift of redemption,


the gift of re-creation.




This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT

Slowly, but surely, one revelation at a time, God is remaking me into His image. 

At times it is painful, embarrassing and down right humiliating, not to mention, depressing, but I am learning to let God search me and try me, and then, to miraculously change me.

Nope!

Upon Godly inspection, I am definitely not who I thought I was.


But, hallelujah,


thanks to Godly sanctification,


I'm not who I used to be either!


Today, I am linking up with Jen at:

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Call of HIS Heart~

When was the last time you were immersed in real life?

Last night, (although, technically, I suppose 2:00 am would be classified as morning) my husband and I were knee deep in pondersosa pines and elk.  As the moonlight flooded the meadows and framed the majesty of mountain peaks, my love and I were serenaded.  All around us we heard the song of bugling elk.

roosevelt-elk
{Photo Credit}                                             
My wild-at-heart husband had brought along his elk call. As I sat breathlessly still,  he called and the elk answered. As I listened, I felt as though I was eavesdropping on their conversation. With each call, the elk responded.  With each invitation, the elk drew nearer.  My husband was soon able to woo these "mighty men" of the mountain into our very midst.

This is real life.


Whether knee deep in nature, lost in piles of laundry, or wading our way through a field of fear, failure, or fatigue,

if we listen,

 if we take the time to be still,

we will hear our Kingly husband, Jesus, serenading us. In whispers of forgiveness, in shouts of majesty, in melodies of blessing, favor and faithfulness, He woos us to Him.  He beckons us to draw near.  He invites us to come into His very midst.

Today, stop.  Listen.  Allow the call of His heart to penetrate your own.  Don't resist.  Don't turn away.  Let His voice be all you are attune to.  Follow the sound of His heartbeat.  Draw near to the sound of His voice.  Step out of the darkness and into the light of His love and grace.  Come into His very midst.

For this....

Misty mountain path
{Photo Credit}
This,

 is real life~


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









Thursday, September 8, 2011

Two Words That Change Everything~

One night, while I was getting ready for bed, I tuned in to my favorite Christian radio station. A woman was sharing a story of God’s faithfulness. I listened as she told of God’s miraculous intervention in her life during a time when all looked hopeless. As she recounted God’s goodness and told of the supernatural way He had worked in behalf of her and her children, she very casually spoke two words. Two small words, and yet this phrase completely captured my attention, transforming my thinking and ultimately, my faith in God.

I don’t know how her story ended. As I tried to truly grasp the implications of these two words, my mind became totally consumed with this new knowledge God was imparting to me through her testimony. I kept repeating the phrase over and over, out loud, and each time the words penetrated my ears, the truth behind them penetrated my heart. I suddenly found myself strengthened in my inner most being. I literally felt the touch of God on my heart. I knew, at that very moment, my relationship with the Lord had entered a deeper, more intimate, faith-filled level.

How could two small words make such a radical difference in my life? Simple. These two words change everything! Most likely, they will change you, too!

But God.

But God.

Say it aloud and let the truth and reality of these words penetrate your own heart.

But God.

No matter what is going on in your life, or what you may be going through, know and remember that all things must surrender to the power and authority of our God. Right now, at this very moment, stop and think about what you are struggling with today. Whatever it may be, I guarantee it is no match for our God. The Bible is living proof of that!

The Israelites had Pharaoh’s army breathing down their neck and the Red Sea in front of them, BUT GOD…..

David had only a little bitty sling shot with which to slay a giant of a man named Goliath, BUT GOD…

Daniel was served as the main course to a den of lions known for their ferocious appetites, BUT GOD…

A widow was out of time and out of money, with only a houseful of empty containers she had collected from her neighbors, BUT GOD…

Jonah was sinking in his sin of rebellion and headed for the bottom of the ocean, BUT GOD…

Jesus was crucified, dead, and buried, BUT GOD…

Time and time again, when all looked hopeless and those in the midst of the situation felt most helpless, God showed up and did the seemingly impossible. Does your situation appear hopeless? Are you feeling helpless? Take heart. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Instead of ending the circumstances of your life with a period, replace the finality of your thinking with a comma of hope, followed by your declaration of faith! Boldly look your situation in the face and speak the only two words that are able to breathe life into your faith and power into your life.

I am (fill in the blank), BUT GOD…

I don’t see how I can (fill in the blank), BUT GOD…

I don’t have (fill in the blank), BUT GOD…

I am scared that (fill in the blank), BUT GOD…


So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead! Let God write the ending of your story. If you do, I have no doubt He will finish all things that pertain to you with a true exclamation of His glory and His marvelous grace!

(Note: This first appeared on Heartprints of God on June 24, 2009. It was later published in the July 2010 edition of P31 Woman, a magazine published by Proverbs 31 Ministries.)


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Linking up today with Beck at:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

In Pursuit~

All is quiet and still.

The sun, tucked in tight beneath the blanket of the eastern horizon, has yet to stir.

From the hallway, I hear the slow, steady, gentle breathing of my husband. At my feet, the soft sighs of our little canine sweetheart, Sally, as she, too, dreams.

The world, (or maybe just the part of it that makes up my tiny corner), is still asleep.

Here in this moment,

the moment between night and day,

yesterday and today,

past and future,

my soul and my spirit are wide awake with desire:

a unquenchable desire to know you more.

I hear you calling and I want so desperately to open wide the door of my heart and follow after you,


I Don't Know Why
{Photo Credit}
to pursue you,

to walk in your footsteps until I come face to face with you.

I yearn to feel the breath of your Spirit blowing through me,

 to hear the rhythm of your heart as my own heart falls into love, beating in unison,

a symphony of one.

My little dog stirs, breathes deeps, turns in restlessness and drifts off once again.

Restlessness.

I grapple with this, too.

How I desire to rest in your love,

to relax into your faithfulness,

to drift off and step out into the dreams you've placed in my inner most being.

But I resist.

I hold back.

I hold on....

on to what?

Nothing and no one is like you, God.

You alone are mighty to save,

tender to heal,

gentle to comfort,

strength to uphold,

wisdom to guide,

hope to fulfill,

glorious to follow.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So the hunger continues,

the ache in me spurred on by my unquenchable desire to know you more.


let's get on with the day
{Photo Credit}

To  pursue you,



to walk in your footsteps until I come face to face with you,



to feel the breath of your Spirit blowing through me,



to hear the rhythm of your heart as my own heart falls into love, beating in unison,



a symphony of one.




For you, Oh Lord, are life.





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