Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 5 of 2011~

Ready or not, here comes 2012!

But,

 since it's not here quite yet,

we still have time to look back at 5 of the most popular posts of 2011, (just in case you missed them).

They are:

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....(more)



In An Instant

This morning started like any other morning. My alarm jolted me out of my dreams and then out of my cozy bed as out into the world I stepped. At work, this day started like any other morning, too. Emails to answers, projects to complete and phones to answer. In fact, it was answering a phone call that turned this ordinary day, upside down........(read more here)



God, How Could You?
Who me??????
{Photo Credit}

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.......(read more)



Thankful for the Cracks

Hello. 
My name is Stacy and I'm a cracked pot.
I'm a broken vessel.

No more hiding behind glue and pretty wrapping. I have finally canceled my membership at "Perfectionists are Us" and have officially joined the "Unadorned Clay Pots Club". Which by way, has turned out to be a perfect fit. You see, I have defects, flaws, and. .......(more here)



Sweet Sleep (a photo and verse)



As you enter 2012,

   may your eyes be opened to see each precious Heartprint of God in your life,

        may your heart be filled to overflowing with praise and thanksgiving,

            and, as you trust in our faithful God,

                      may your sleep, always be sweet~


Happy New Year!
        

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Note to Self~

One step forward.

Two thousand steps back.

One goal met.

One million more to go.

Uphill.

Unrelenting.

Unforgiving.

The taskmaster is there.

                     Taunting,

                                           reminding,

                                                               rolling eyes in disgust.

Weary from trudging through the sand of self-reliance, I grow weary, tired.

I long to give up.

I reach for the towel and just as I am about to toss it in,

the Saviour is there.

           Uplifting,

                               sustaining,

                                                      applauding with words of truth.

You are my beloved daughter.

I delight over you with singing.

I have begun a good work in you and I will be faithful to complete it.



Chairs in the Mist
{Photo Credit}
Rest, my child.


  Rest in me.

  Rest in WHO  I AM
.

I am enough.


I am God.


I AM.



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Monday, December 26, 2011

A Resolution.....OR....a REVOLUTION~

New beginnings.

A fresh start.

A new page.

A clean slate.

As I head into 2012, I have been thinking about how I want to live this new year of my life.

Resolution. This is a word we hear a lot this time of year. But what exactly is a resolution?

Resolution*: a decision to do something or to behave in a certain manner; the act of making up your mind about something

Obviously, a resolution starts in the mind. It is making up your mind that you are going to do something different. This year, you are going to lose those extra pounds. This year, you are going to get out of debt. This year, you are going to drink more water. A resolution begins with a decision to make a change.

But, is a resolution what you and I are really wanting?

Each year, I make resolutions. Each year I sit down and decide what I am going to do (or not do). And, each year I usually end up living life in the exact same way as I did the year before.

Lately, instead of resolution, the Lord has been bringing a new word to my mind.....REVOLUTION.

Revolution*: a single complete turn; a movement in a new direction; a far-reaching and drastic change

This is what I want in my life. I have a feeling it is what you are wanting, too. We don't just want to decide to make a change, we want the change! We want to make a complete turn and head in a new direction. We want far-reaching and drastic change.

So, the question begs to be asked. How do we turn our resolution into a true revolution?

By being intentional. By keeping our goals forever in front of us...always in view. By doing something each day to bring this goal to a reality.

Change starts in our mind, but comes to fruition in our actions.

If I want to lose weight, I have to do more than simply decide to drop those extra pounds, I have to start monitoring what I eat. I have to start practicing portion control. I have to swap non-healthy choices for choices that are nutritional powerhouses with fewer calories. To lose weight, I will need to start exercising more....or for the first time. For my resolution to become a revolution, I will need to intentionally make choices EVERY DAY to support this change.

Our resolution will never become a revolution unless we daily choose to make the change.

It's the same spiritually.

The most important resolutions we can make are those that draw us closer to the heart of God. How many times have you resolved to spend more time reading God's word? How many times have you decided that THIS year, you were going to spend more time in prayer? Are you still waiting for the revolution in your spiritual life?

The victory is found in our daily choices.

Jesus said to all of them, "If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing to give up their lives daily to follow me." Luke 9:23, NCV

A true revolution will only come when we are daily committed to making it happen.

It's not enough to decide one time. We must keep deciding and keep choosing and keep resolving each and every day.

So, what kind of revolution do you want in your life?

Start by planning out your strategy, writing down the necessary steps you will have to take, then keep these goals and this game plan in front of you. Each and every day take action to make it happen. Call on the power of the Holy Spirit to help you be faithful to become all that you want to be come in and through Christ Jesus.

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

make it happen!
{Photo Credit}


Are you ready for a revolution?


Me, too!



It CAN HAPPEN.



Let's choose to do it today!


And tomorrow!


And the next day!



Let's not settle
for simply a resolution,

when God desires to bring about a complete revolution in our life!



* TheFreeDictionary.com

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Unwrapping HIS Gift~

                                 " Do not open until December 25th"

Christmas presents under the tree
{Photo Credit}


These instructions attached to any Christmas gift only serve to add to the delight of the present.



The beautiful packaging of ribbons and bows do their part to bring joy to the recipient, yet the sheerest form of pleasure will be, when at last, the long awaited day arrives, and the wrapping is torn to reveal the treasure hidden inside.



The

world’s

greatest

gift

arrived with these same instructions.



Wrapped in swaddling clothes, the baby born in a manager that first Christmas Eve brought great joy to Joseph and Mary, the shepherds and the wise men. Yet, the time for the opening of this gift had not yet arrived. The appointed time for the revelation of this Heavenly present had nothing to do with December 25th and everything to do with Calvary.

It wasn’t until the cross, that our precious Jesus, wrapped in humanity and surrendered to the will of His Father, was torn to reveal the true treasure inside: the Messiah, in whom we find our forgiveness and our salvation.

The baby was God's gift to mankind. The cross was Jesus' gift.

His incomprehensible love for you and me held Him to the cross while the soldiers drove the nails into His flesh, ripping and tearing away His humanity. As each wound was inflicted upon His body, His blood, a ribbon of crimson, flowed from His heart straight to ours, loosening the grip of sin.

As Jesus' humanity was uncovered to reveal His true divinity,
we were clothed with His righteousness in spite of our humanity.

As He breathed His final breath and spoke the words, "It is finished",
 we were given our first breath and life eternal which knows no end.

The baby brought anticipation, excitement and hope,
but the cross....
the cross brought victory!

Saved.

Thank you,  Jesus.



You were




broken



and



spilled out




just for your love of me.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Serving Up HOPE~

This morning I found myself ordering a cup of coffee for me and serving up some hope for the barista taking my order.

The conversation had started simple enough with a traditional, "Good Morning, How are you?
His answer, however, was anything but the usual "Fine. How are you?"

"I honestly don't know." He said.  "Getting out of bed every morning is getting harder and harder to do.  There just doesn't seem to be anything to get up for. Would you like that cafĂ© au lait with non-fat or skim?"

"Non-fat will be perfect".

While he turned his back and began his job of whipping me up a hot drink, I turned my heart upward and began my job of interceding and bringing this young man before the throne of grace.

"Here you go, ma'am. Is there anything else I can get for you."

"No, but I have something I'd like to give you."

Then, as I opened my mouth, God was faithful to speak. 

"On Monday, I will celebrate my birthday; a birthday that will put me closer to 50 than 40.  Sadly, for most of my life, I felt just like you.  The thought of getting up and going out into a new day wasn't very appealing.  Fear, insecurity and hopelessness were my constant companions and life was a struggle; something to survive, to get through."

He nodded his head, and put down the towel in his hand.

It was obvious God had his attention.

"I know exactly what you mean.  I don't know," he said as he shook his head, "there just has to be more to life than this.  This can't be all there is."

"You're right,"  I smiled.  "There is more to life than this.....SO much more. Want to know what changed everything around for me?"

His mouth didn't respond, but his eyes did.

"God".

He shifted his weight from one leg to another and I could tell this wasn't the answer he was hoping for, and yet I knew it was the only answer that would ever offer him hope.

"God changed everything for me.  When I began to seek Him, He showed up and he has totally changed my outlook and my inlook.  He's given me hope.  He's given me a reason to get up each morning.  He's made life worth living."

"I don't know".  He was shaking his head again and rubbing his forehead. "There is just so much sadness and heartache. It seems like everywhere, lives are falling apart.  Where is the good in that?"

"The world is full of pain and sorrow, but that's exactly why Jesus came. He came to heal a broken world.  And while the brokenness in this earthly world will always be, God has come to dwell among us, sending His Holy Spirit to live within us to fill us with peace, joy, love and hope in the midst of the chaos and the brokenness.  With Christ, we are never alone.  He is with us, and he will help us, and believe me, He makes ALL the difference."

A customer drove up behind me and I knew this conversation was near an end.

"I've lived life both ways.  With God, and without.  For me, life with God has been so much better and some much more.  If you don't have hope, you don't have anything,  BUT, if you have HOPE, you have it all.  And, speaking from experience, I know HOPE in Christ does not disappoint. He'll never let you down."

I put my car in gear and gave him one last smile.

"Thanks for the coffee."

He smiled back, nodded is head, and said "Hope, huh?"

"Gotta have it."  I said, as I slowly started to drive away, "and God is the perfect place to find it."


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Word Made Flesh~

It is one thing to know the Word. 
It is another thing entirely to know THE WORD WHO BECAME FLESH.

You see, somethings are taught...and somethings are caught.
(If you take a few minutes to digest this thought, I think you may agree with me.)

After all, how did you learn to tie your shoes? That's right. Someone taught you how to first make a loop, then to hold it tight while going around your thumb and into the loop....and viola!

How did you learn to read? Again, someone took the time to teach you the alphabet and the sound each letter makes alone and in relation to other letters.

How did you learn to drive a car? Your mom or dad (or some other brave soul) patiently...(or maybe not!) instructed you on the ins and outs of maneuvering a vehicle through the maze of other cars, stop lights, and of course, the all too common, construction zone.

Dictionary. com defines teach this way: to impart knowledge of or skill in; give instruction in.

Somethings are most definitely taught.

But, let me ask you this.

How did you learn to bring out a smile in someone else by sharing a smile of your own?

How did you learn to go "awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww" whenever you see something that melts your heart?

How did you learn to learn to talk?

You caught these! You learned these by simply observing the behavior and actions of those around you.

The Bible, of course, is divided into two testaments. The Old Testament is about the Old Covenant.(Death through the Law) The New Testament is about the new covenant. (Life through Christ Jesus). But, have you ever thought about the Old Testament being that which was taught and the New Testament being that which is caught?

In the Old Testament, through the prophets of old and their instruction in the law and the commandments, we are taught about sin. In the Old Testament, through the prophecies, we are taught about the promise of the Messiah. In the Old Testament, through the lives of Moses, Noah, Joseph, Daniel and many others, we are taught about Faith.

Old Testament learning requires our mind, our intellect.

In the New Testament, through the birth, death and resurrection of Christ, we catch a glimpse of who God is. In the New Testament, through the power of Holy Spirit,we begin to feel the power of God. In the New Testament, as we follow the life of Christ and his disciples and journey with Paul, we begin to realize what it means to be a follower of Christ.

New Testament learning requires our heart.

Somethings are taught...by instruction. Somethings are caught...by beholding.

One requires our mind. The other, our heart.

Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.But I say, if you are even angry with someone,you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot,you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone,you are in danger of the fires of hell."
Matthew 5:17-22, NLT

The Pharisees and Scribes had been taught the law. They knew all about "Do not kill", "Do not steal", "Don't not..."etc., but the real truth of the law never reached their heart. They never caught that the Law was not just something you spoke about or a standard by which you judged someone else. It was a matter of your own heart.

It's not just enough to have a head knowledge of the law. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the law must be caught by your heart and your life transformed. In Christ's eyes, to hate someone or to harbor hateful feeling against someone was the same as killing that person.

So which is more important? The things that are taught or the things that are caught?

Jesus, when confronted with this very question,summed it up this way:

"Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Matthew 22:35-40

The Old Testaments teaches us about God. In the New Testament we are able to behold His glory in the face of Jesus. In the New Testament, through the power of the Holy Spirit, as we observe Jesus' behavior, His mannerisms, and His heart, we become changed. We catch on to what life in and through Jesus is all about.

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18, KJV



The New Testament...life in Christ Jesus, through the instruction and indwelling of the Holy Spirit...is what changes us.

Maybe you have been taught all about God. But, let me ask you this? Has your heart caught on to new life in Christ? Has your life taken hold of His forgiveness, His grace and His love for you? Have you been transformed by beholding Him? Have you caught what Christ came to teach us?

It is one thing to know the Word.

It is another thing entirely to know THE WORD WHO BECAME FLESH.

The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.

John pointed him out and called, "This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word."

We all live off his generous bounty,
gift after gift after gift.
We got the basics from Moses,
and then this exuberant giving and receiving,
This endless knowing and understanding—
all this came through Jesus, the Messiah
. John 1:14-17, The Message

Friday, December 9, 2011

Jesus Colored Glasses~

Looking out at me, through Stacy colored glasses, I see gray.

Sure, my eyes are blue, my hair dark brown, and my skin what is commonly referred to as "olive".

But me,

nothing but gray.

Street crowded with strikers, many with a hand raised
{Photo Credit}

Nothing to capture your attention.




Nothing to turn your head.




Nothing, but me.





But....

when I look out at me,

through Jesus colored glasses,

I see color.

The red of forgiveness,

the orange of redemption,

the yellow of new birth,

the green of new life,

the blue of perfect peace,

the indigo of grace,

and the violet of royalty.


And....

when I look out at the world,

                                             through Jesus colored glasses,

PEOPLE
{Photo Credit}


others just like me,


sin-marred and lifeless gray


begin to take on a color all of HIS own, too~




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


Monday, December 5, 2011

Drink It In~

There will be times when you will be in the field
without a camera. And you will see the most
glorious sunset or the most beautiful scene that
you have ever witnessed.
Don't be bitter because you can't record it.
Sit down, drink it in, and enjoy it for what it is.
~DeGriff


Today is one of those picture perfect days. As I am writing this, I am sitting out on our back patio,one of my favorite places to be. Just a few minutes ago, the sun,tired from a days work, sank lower and lower in the sky, until it slowly drifted off behind the mountains, leaving behind a sky filled to overflowing with brilliant color. As this beauty unfolded before my eyes, I dashed inside to grab my camera.

As I hurried back outside, I realized this beauty was beyond anything I could ever hope to capture on film. It was too radiant, too expansive, too beautiful! For a moment, I felt utterly disappointed. Then, I decided to simply take it all in, to soak in every single bit of it, to enjoy this moment for what is was, a beautiful moment in time. I couldn't capture it with my camera, but I could capture it in my heart.

And so it is with life. So many times, I find myself living in a beautiful moment. I long to capture the emotion, the exuberance, the "aaaahhhhhhh" and hold it forever, but I can't. Instead, I must simply live in the moment, truly breathe it all in - every bit of it - and then, hold it in my heart.

Yet, sadly, I'm not very good at living in the moment. Sadly, I miss most of right now.

Enter my friend, Job-ette! Well, that's not her real name, but it could be. Not for the fact, that like Job, she has encountered more than her share of trials and hardships, but rather because like Job, she has stayed faithful to God and lived her faith through all that has come her way. She has remained steadfast, constant, and inspiringly focused on the moment at hand.

Like the day I was talking with her in the church playground. This women of faith was going through one of the most difficult times of her life, yet as I stood watching as she tenderly pushed a child on one of the swings, you would never have known her life was anything but happy. I marveled as I watched her interacting with this precious little girl and her dolly. They shared in simple conversation as they each took turns holding "the baby". From the outside looking in, my dear friend appeared to have nothing else on her mind, nothing else to do, nothing else to focus her attention on except the little girl in the swing.

"You're amazing!" I said. "Your world is all but falling down around you and yet, you are so in tune with this little girl. It is as though she is all that matters to you."

"She is," came her reply. "At this moment in time, she IS all that matters. I can't worry about what else is happening in my life at the moment, I'm not there. For right now, at this moment, I am here, pushing her on this swing. This is what I have been given right now...and I want to enjoy this moment for what it is. A simply sweet moment."

Slurp
{Photo Credit}
Oh, the lessons I have learned from Jobette.

As I sit here watching the sky fade to the dark of night, I am suddenly aware of how fast time passes. With each passing moment, our life is fading away, too. Todays become yesterdays before our very eyes. Days turned into weeks, then months, than years.

I can hear the rustle of the wind in the trees. I can hear the laugh of a little girl who lives a few houses over. I hear the goodnight praises of birds as they nestle down for the night. I see the trees gently swaying to the melody of life. I feel a cool breeze on my face. I feel peace in my heart. I AM living this moment....and what a beautiful moment it is. It is not a wedding, a graduation, or a momentous occasion of life....it simply IS life! I will drink it in....all of it, every single bit of it!

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Heavenly Father, Help me to live, to be alive in each and every moment of life. Help me to see, hear, taste, smell and feel every moment of every day. Foolishly, I have waited for "special occasions" to celebrate life, not realizing life IS a special occasion. Life is a precious gift - a gift that is to be unwrapped, enjoyed and fully spent, not someday, but at this very moment.  Thank you, Lord, for right here, and right now~ In Jesus' precious name, Amen~