Monday, December 31, 2012

A Prayer for You~






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Holding His Hand, Forever Seeking His Face~









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Saturday, December 29, 2012

2013, Here I Come~





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Friday, December 28, 2012

The Light Has Come~







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Friday, December 21, 2012

With Patience~







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Who Knows?

The end of the world.

Really?

As I watched countless reporters sharing news about the end of the world, a slew of thoughts and countless questions began running through my mind.

To me, the reaction of people to this "supposed" news was more alarming than the news itself.

Amazingly, as most reporters finished the story about the "end of the world", they wrapped it up by saying, "Well, let's just hope it doesn't happen."

I couldn't help thinking the opposite.

Don't get me wrong. I in no way believe this erroneous prediction. But, the thought of this sin-filled, evil-marred, world coming to an end thrills my soul. The thought of Jesus coming back...today...fills my heart with joy.

As Christians, we know the truth as found in God's Holy Word. We know that one day, Christ will return. This is our blessed hope, one of the anchors of our faith, the thing we look most forward to: one day seeing our precious Jesus face to face.

But...we simply do not know when.

But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven's angels, not even the Son. Only the Father knows. Matthew 24:36, The Message


If I was the one reporting on this story, I, most likely, would say something like...

"Unfortunately, the Bible is very plain about the Lord's return. No one, not even the Son, knows the day or the hour. I'm most certain today will not be the end of the world. But, oh! Wouldn't it be absolutely wonderful it this was indeed that day!?...the day we would see Jesus face to face!"

I am so thankful for the truth we have been given in the Bible, God's Holy Word. Truly, God's Word sets us free.

It sets us free from believing erroneous predictions or lies from false teachers who appear as wolves in sheep's clothing.

It sets us free from fear or worry about future events. We already know how God's story ends! God wins! He comes to take us home to heaven. What wonderful news indeed!

It sets us free to lie down at night and sleep, knowing we are in God's hands. We are HIS and we are safe.

The world didn't end December 21, 2012.

At least, not for the world as a whole.

But, it did end for somebody, somewhere.

None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow. Today was the "last day" for someone, somewhere. Not only do we not know the day or the hour of Jesus' return, we also do not know the day or hour of our own final breath.

Clock
{Photo Credit}
The time is short. Christ's return is soon. Now is our time to make the Lord the Lord of our life. Now is the time to surrender our life to the King of King and Lord of Lords. Now is the time to accept God's gift of salvation.

Now is our time to place our life in the hands of the only one who knows...God.

Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs,what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."
~ Acts 16:30,31




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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Come, Lord Jesus~








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Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Ultimate Designer~








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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Do Not Open Until . . . ~

" 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 wrapping 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.

"Do not open until . . .

 The appointed time for the revelation of this Heavenly present had nothing to do with December 25th and everything to do with the cross.

 . . . . 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, our Saviour God, 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.





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Friday, December 7, 2012

A Mirror of the Almighty~







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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

To Sustain With His Word~


 4:02 am

My husband shakes nudges me awake.

"It's Sally.  Listen.  She must need to go out."

I leap out of bed and stumble my way through the dark hallway leading to our living room and our overzealous pooch.

With tail wagging, she is wide-awake and more than ready to venture out into the cool morning air.
I slide back the patio door and she bolts out into the dark.

Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I wander into the kitchen.  5:30 is too far away, so I cancel the "automatic turn on time" on my coffeemaker, and press the "on" button. As the drip, drip, drip of  coffee begins to fill my cup, I resolve in my heart to make the most of this much-earlier-than-anticipated start to my day.

Coffee in hand, I settle in to my old familiar spot on the sofa.  I power up my laptop, and then I sit. 

Listening.

Waiting.

Anticipating.

And God, as usual and always, is faithful to speak.

Flipping through the pages of His Word, my eyes stumble upon are guided to these words found in Isaiah.
The Lord GOD has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens;
he awakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught. 
 
Isaiah 50:4, ESV
As I place my fingers on the keyboard,  I realize more deeply than ever, this call upon my life. 


This space . . .Heartprints of God,

Corona Standard typewriter keys, c.1939
{Photo Credit}

this desire . . .to write what is in my heart,

this putting words on paper,

it is more than me sharing my love of God
and my love of words with the world.

It is my mission.

It is my calling.



It is my God-given honor

       to be awakened at 4:02,

       to meet with my Lord in the quiet of the early hours of a brand new day,

       to hear His voice, and be led by His Spirit, and partake of His Holy Word

 so that I might, in turn, be used of Him
    
        to sustain with a word those who are weary,

        to hear as those who are taught and then to share with those who will listen.



This moment, it is sacred.



These words,



they.     are.      holy.




In humility and utter amazement, I bow my head and pray-


Lord,
Give me the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word those who are weary.
Morning by morning awaken me;
awaken my ear
to hear as those who are taught.
In the precious name of your Son, Jesus, Amen~




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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Desire of Our Heart~

All we could ever imagine, could ever hope for, He is…
He is the Prince of Peace whose first coming has already transformed society
but whose second coming will forever establish justice and righteousness.
All this, and infinitely more, alive in an impoverished baby in a barn.
That is what Christmas means –
to find in a place where you would least expect to find anything you want,
everything you could ever want.
~ Michael Card

Several years ago, when God opened the door for me to be a nanny to a family with three young boys, I was looking through a Christmas catalog with my four-year old friend. As he turned each page, he would excitedly point to several pictures and exclaim, “Oh, I want that! And look, Stacy! I want that, too! And, that! Oh, wow!”

No wonder this catalog is so often referred to as a “wish book”. This youngster was wishing with all of his heart. With each page turned, his voice grew louder and his excitement uncontainable.We finally reached the last page and to my companion’s surprise, I was now the one voicing a wish.

“Oh look, Walt! A pink Barbie Mustang convertible!!!!! That’s what I want for Christmas!”

“Stac”, came his quick reply, “We have a problem. I’M not Santa!”

He was right, of course. He definitely wasn’t Santa. But, then again… neither is God.

As Walt and I sat on the couch, perusing the Christmas catalog, we weren’t thinking about Santa. We were only thinking about our wants and wishes. The only reason Santa had been brought into the living room that day by way of our conversation was because Santa was the one Walt was counting on to fulfill all his wishes. Sadly, Walt’s thoughts of Santa had nothing to do with Santa at all and everything to do with what Santa could give him.

I have a feeling I don’t need to type another word.
Like me, you can already hear the Spirit of God whispering to your heart.

Traditional Stalker Santa
{Photo Credit}

So often, we treat God as though He were Santa. The only time we think of Him is when we are in need (or want!).  Our thoughts turn to God when we are hoping He will be the one to fulfill our desire.


Our focus becomes consumed with
the blessing,
the healing,
the answer,
the need,
and not the Giver of all good gifts.



We come seeking
His hand,
the gifts He can give,
not His face,
not who He is.





Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart
.
~Psalm 37:4

Desires. You and I have plenty of desires, but are these “desires” really what our heart is desperately seeking? Are they really what will make us happy or fill the void deep down in the innermost part of our being? Will they bring lasting joy and happiness?

Walt didn’t need anything from that catalog and I certainly didn’t need a pink Barbie mustang convertible. We only thought we did. No doubt, these things would have brought us some happiness, for a moment at least, but before long, Walt and I would have found ourselves thumbing our way through yet another catalog in search of new “desires”.

When we delight our self in the Lord and love Him for who HE IS, and not what we can get from Him, something truly miraculous happens.

As we seek Him and learn of His ways, we start to discover what we have been searching for all along. The more His face comes into focus, the more our desires, the true desires of our heart, come into focus, too.

We discover ALL WE NEED and ALL WE WANT are found in Jesus.
He becomes our EVERYTHING.

As we turn the pages of His Word, we find our self getting more and more excited with each new revelation of His character. Each page finds us shouting, “Look! I want to be like that! Oh, and, look! I want to shine like that! Wow! Take a look at that! That’s what I want in my life. I want to be just like YOU, Lord!”

And guess what?

Jesus,
in His awesome love,
wondrous mercy,
and amazing grace,
grants us the desires of our heart.

As we seek His face, our entire life, our entire being is filled to overflowing with HIM.

He’s not Santa, and I am so glad He isn’t.

He is SO MUCH MORE.

He is our ALL in ALL!

He is the true desire of our heart~

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for loving us the way that you do. You know us inside out, backwards and forwards. You know what we truly need. Help us to turn our eyes upon you. Help us to gaze upon your wondrous face. Let us not seek you for selfish gain, but rather may we seek you to gain our real self, through the real desires of of our heart. As we turn the pages of your Word, may we always be filled with excitement and wonder at who you are. May our desire always be…to be just like you. In Jesus’ name, Amen~




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Saturday, December 1, 2012

And, Then What?~

And, then what?

Sitting in a room, surrounded by ladies, young and old, all yearning to draw closer to our God, I found myself face to face with this question, and totally and completely alone with my thoughts.

We were seated around tables watching the screen. As Beth Moore opened the Word of God, God opened my mind to a brand new way of thinking.

What is your worst fear?
The question came from Beth and was followed up with this invitation.  
I want you to think of the worst possible thing you could envision happening in your life. 

Really?

The absolute worse scenario? 

The most frightening thing I can think of?

The nightmare of all nightmares that could possibly happen in my life?

The thing I fear most?

Cancer?

Becoming a widow?

Homelessness?

Violence?

Ok. 
Beth was ready to move on.
My mind was still reeling with all the images that had flashed wildly before my eyes. 
So, let's say the thing you most fear, happened.  Then, what?

As Beth took our hearts and led us through this exercise, we soon discovered, as children of God, all roads lead to Him.

If the worst possible thing happened, then what?

Then, God.

All around the room, no matter what the scenario envisioned might be, the answer to the question - then, what? - could be answered with Then, God.

No matter what,
God would be there.

The worst possible thing we can conjure up in our fearful mind is no match for our God.

Not even death.

Nothing we face in this life,
     no matter how tragic or how horrific it may be,
can keep us from God.

We may be
without our health,
without our spouse,
without our home,
without our very life,
but,
we. are. never. without. our. God.

And, ultimately.....isn't this the worst thing you can possibly envision?  Being without God?

For the Christian,
the battle is already won,
the victory already sure,
the mansion already built,
the doors of Heaven already swung wide open.

And then, what?

Then, God!~

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.
Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—
not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
No power in the sky above or in the earth below—
indeed, nothing in all creation
will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~Romans 8:37-39, NLT



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Thursday, November 29, 2012

In the Face of Jesus~







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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Awakened by HIS Dream~

Comfy and cozy wrapped in excuses and "I can'ts", I am being nudged awake.

As the Spirit moves within me, I roll over and try to go back to sleep.

But the Spirit persists.

As I feel the covers being gently pulled back, I reach to take hold of them and snuggle beneath their warmth and security for a few minutes more.

As the blinds are opened and the SON shines in, I turn away and close my eyes all the tighter.

But, the Spirit persists.

I feel my spirit arousing.

Wiping the sleepies from my eyes,

I see His hand,

outstretched,

inviting.

Sitting up, and stretching my spirit heavenward, I begin to feel it...


Day 123/365.v2
{Photo Credit}

His calling,

His plan,

His dream for my life,

A dream that can only be lived,


wide awake.


Throwing back all that has long held me back,

I take the hand of my Heavenly Father and leave comfort and familiar behind.

My destiny awaits.

His dream is calling.

And, I . . .

I am awake~



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Monday, November 26, 2012

God's Ability~







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God's Waiting Room~

Have you ever been in God's waiting room?






You prayed for an answer.




(Silence)




You prayed for God to move.





(Stillness)





You prayed for God to open doors and make a way.





(Dead end)




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
{Photo Credit}


Maybe God is waiting to see~



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






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Friday, November 23, 2012

White As Snow~








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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Give Thanks~








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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Good, Better, BEST~





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Monday, November 19, 2012

Thankful for HIS Perfect Plans~

Plans.
We all have them.

Some are grandiose like climbing Mt. Everest.
Some are simple like what to fix for dinner.
Some happen.
Some don't.

As a child, whenever a plan fell through and disappointment flooded my heart, my mom would always turn to this old familiar quote:

the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray
(a paraphrase from the poem by Robert Burns called To a Mouse.)

I can't speak for mice,
but I can speak for me,
and in my lifetime,
plans have often gone astray, awry, and everywhere else!

My plans, that is.


Not God's.


His plans are always in place.


Like the time I was engaged to someone who became engaged to someone else while still engaged to me. (True story! You cannot make this kind of stuff up!)


Or the time I ended up losing my job after twelve years of sacrifice, dedication, blood, sweat and tears. (Ok...no blood was involved, but my heart hurt so bad over this it felt like it was bleeding.)


Or the time I was expecting and miscarried.


Or the time I was expecting for the second time and miscarried.


Or the time I was expecting for the third time and miscarried.


My plans have gone astray. My plans have taken detours and led me to places I never thought I would be or ever hope to go again. My plans have twisted and turned until sometimes they were no longer recognizable. But...in the end...my plans have always led me to God.


Sometimes the road to God was sweet.


Sometimes, it was bitter and full of doubt, questions, resentment and anger.


Sometimes, it left me bitter and feeling hollow inside. But....at the end....God was there.

I HOPE THIS DOESN'T MEAN THERE ARE NO MIRACLES LEFT... !
{Photo Credit}

Looking back, I can see God's hand in some of the twists and turns.

When I think I could have married the "man of my dreams" (well, if he hadn't gotten engaged to someone else), and missed out on the husband I have now, I throw up my hands and thank God with every fiber of my being.

God knew best.

When I think I could have stayed at that job and missed out on re-locating near my parents and spending time with my precious Daddy during his last days on this earth, I throw up my hands and thank God with every fiber of my being.

God knew best.

When I think about those three precious little babies....

I cry.

Still.

And, I fold my hands in prayer and give my sorrow to the Lord once again. I have not yet seen the "why" behind this, but I have felt His love comfort me.

I have to trust that God knows best.

Our plans are not God's plans.

Our ways are not His ways.

But, His ways are perfectly perfect.


I can't speak for mice,
but I can speak for me.
When my plans falter,
when disappointment and sorrow flood my heart,
I turn to the truth found in God's word.

‎For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11.


My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
... “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine." ~ Isaiah 55:8


In all things, God's ways are perfect... and for this, I throw up my hands and thank God with every fiber of my being.



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Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Psalm of My Own~

As long as I can remember, the words to the 23rd Psalms have been a part of my life. Having memorized this passage as a child, these words, though very familiar to me, were merely that...words. Until recently, that is.

After eighteen successful years in my career of choice, God began to lead me in a new direction. He had a plan. A Psalms 23 kind of plan. While circumstances in my life seemed out of my control, I now know they were never out of God's control.

My loving, Heavenly Father knew I would never venture away from all that was familiar and "safe" on my own, so He allowed what had always been a comfortable and preferred environment to become a place of unrest and misery for me. Through each trial and each unpleasant experience, God was leading me away from an old, familiar place toward something new.

Thus began my journey with the Shepherd.

He led and I followed.

While the way wasn't always clear to see, the love and faithfulness of my Heavenly Father became clearer and clearer with each and every step. Now, I was no longer simply quoting the words of this psalm, but like David, living them.

The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.

As we walked together, God was faithful to provide for my every need. After several years of searching and seeking, God led me to a new place of employment.



River Whale
{Photo Credit}

When a friend asked if I
liked my new job,


the words from my mouth surprised even me.


"I love my new job.
It is so peaceful and stress free.


I find myself smiling,
even laughing and actually enjoying my life.

 It's as though God led me to a place of rest and rejuvenation!"


He maketh me lie down in green pastures,
beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul.



From this place of rest, I can look back over my life and see heartprints of God's love every step of the way. Through the ups and down, the highs and the lows, He IS there. Through the times of plenty and the times of need, He IS there. Through the times of laughter and yes, in the times of sorrow, He IS there. Through times of friendship and betrayal, He IS there.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evi: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

My Cup Runneth Over
{Photo Credit}

Daily my loving Shepherd has led me through the valleys,
over the mountain tops,
and beside the still waters.

Through this journey with Him, I have never been out of His care or without His love.

Like David, I can rejoice in my God and I can rest in His guardianship.
The Shepherd knows the way that is best.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.



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Friday, November 16, 2012

No More~







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Linger~

As I walked toward our sliding glass door, Sally, our precious canine companion who had been sunning herself in the yard, saw me and made a beeline for the porch. Tail waging and eyes fixed on me, it was obvious she couldn't wait for me to slide back the glass separating us so she could say hello to whip right past me on the way to her dinner bowl.


Sigh.


I understand her excitement. Sadly, food almost has the same effect on me.

But sometimes,
yes, sometimes, (sigh)
I wish it was me,
not my hand that feeds her,
that made her tail wag.

Yesterday morning as I opened the door, she nearly bowled me over as she raced to see if any morsels of food had graced her dish while she was outside. As I jumped out of her way, the Lord spoke oh, so softly to my heart.

Linger

You see, Sally isn't the only one who rushes by her Master on the way to nourishment. I do, too.

So often, when I meet with the Lord, I say a quick prayer, then rush right into His Word. I can't wait to feed my soul with the counsel and promises found in His Word.

And while this is a good thing, I often breeze right past my precious Heavenly Father on the way to my daily bread.

Solitude
{Photo Credit}
Linger, my child.

When I see you drawing near,
my heart fills with joy.
I look forward to our time together each day.
I'm so delighted you crave my Word -
seeking to learn more of me
by feeding on the scriptures,
but sometimes, precious one,
I wish you would linger with me for awhile.





linger *:
- to remain or stay on in a place longer than is usual or expected, as if from reluctance to leave
- to dwell in contemplation, thought, or enjoyment
- delay; dawdle


As I watch precious Sally munching away on her "Kibbles and Bits" dog food, I understand. Feasting on God's Word, as vital to my spiritual life as this is, is not enough. It is simply one facet of my relationship with God.



God longs for you and I

to slow down and seek His face,

to dawdle awhile and revel in His company,

to linger and bask in His presence.


When was the last time you lingered with your Lord?


My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”
~ Psalm 27:8, NLT




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