Monday, April 30, 2012

A Keeper~

Today was one of those days.

Maybe you have experienced days like this before, too.

It was the kind of day when, once in my car, I longed to just keep on driving. Right on past my exit for work. Right on by the grocery store. Right on around the doctor's office. Right on by...well, you get the idea, especially if you, too, have ever "dared to drive". Don't get me wrong. It wasn't that I felt the need to runaway, although, I have to admit, some days I do! No. Today was a good day. A keeper, in fact. And...that's exactly why I wanted to keep-er going!

Wide-open highway NW of Sedona (P1040735a)
{Photo Credit}
As soon as I slid into the driver's seat, it all just came together. Great worship music on the radio. Clear, blue skies, and the overwhelming presence of the Lord. Truly, it was like a moment made in heaven, only it was happening in my Nissan! My heart was overcome with an almost insatiable desire to stay locked in my car and simply enjoy this moment, enjoy this ride with the Lord....all day long.

 I felt as though I wanted to drive across Texas! (If you have ever driven across the good ole lone star state, you know that is saying something!) The only thing that would have made this start to the day any better would have been a full tank of gas and a commitment-free day. Unfortunately, I didn't have either of those, so I reluctantly drove to work.

-----

As I slid into my desk and tuned into K-LOVE radio on my laptop, it all just came together. The quiet and peacefulness of my workspace, the beautiful praise music enveloping the room, and the overwhelming presence of the Lord. Truly, it was like a moment made in heaven, only it was happening in my tiny office! My heart was overcome with an almost insatiable desire to stay locked in my office and simply enjoy this moment, enjoy this time with the Lord....all day long.


 I felt as though I wanted to spend all of eternity with the Lord. And the only thing that made this start to my workday even better was the realization that this moment of communion and worship never had to end. An empty gas tank and a list of commitments nine miles long couldn't keep me from basking in the presence of the Lord, every minute of every day. Only I could do that.

And sadly I do.


Instead of choosing to commune with the Lord, I whip right past my Bible. I breeze right on by my favorite "quiet place". I zip right through my prayers. I allow the cares, worries and deadlines of this world to drive me. Instead of listening to the still small voice of my blessed Jesus, I listen to all the other voices begging for my attention. And you know what? It is on days like this, on the days that I choose not to commune with my Lord, that I find myself wanting to run away!

Yes, today was a good day. A keeper.

Lord, keep me ever focused on you. Teach me to surrender the driver seat of my life to your precious Holy Spirit. May it be you, who is the driving force in my life. Amen.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Faith Is the Key~

Sally had done it now.

With one step of her little black paw on the front door lock, she had locked herself inside the car, and worse of all, had locked me out. To make matters worse, the engine was still on, and now in this new found situation, my fear and anxiety had turned on, too!

What a sight we must have been. An excited little puppy pouncing on the inside of the door, looking out the window at me, while I stood there, a helpless grown adult, looking in at her!

It had all started when I decided to stop and check my mail at the group of mailboxes located at the end of our cul-de-sac. It was mid-July. With temperatures over the 100 degree mark, I had opted to leave the car running with the air conditioner on. I hopped out of the car, with only the mailbox key in my hand. When I returned back to the car and reached for the door handle, Sally excitedly jumped up on the door to greet me and had inadvertently created a chasm as deep as the Grand Canyon between us. What could I do now?


Unlock your Future
{Photo Credit}
Pray, of course, and pray I did.

Instantly, the thought came to me.

The key to unlock the door is right in your hand.

But as quickly as this thought had come, doubts had come, too, rising to the forefront of my mind, drowning it out.

That key will never fit in the lock for the car door. It's just a mailbox key. Why sometimes it's even a struggle to get it to fit in the mailbox lock. Open a car door? Nope, it will never work.

I decided to walk around the car and check the doors and windows. Maybe I would find one of the other three doors had been left unlocked. Perhaps a window might be opened just enough to aid me in solving this unfortunate dilemma. But, after checking each door and window at least twice, I was the one still standing outside the car, anxious, frantic and hot, while my puppy was the one on the inside, calm, cool, and collected.

Repeatedly, the same thought, The key to unlock the door is right in your hand, kept trying to push it's way through the crowd of doubt and self-reliance flooding my mind. Ridiculous. Absurd. It will never work. There has to be something else I can do. But what? What could I do? I kept trying to think of a way to get into my car, while stubbornly refusing to listen to His still small voice.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I decided to "give in" and try the mailbox key. After all, what would it hurt? I could at least try to use this key to open the door, couldn't I? So, slowly and almost reverently, I inserted the mailbox key into the keyhole........and it turned. The door lock popped up and the wall between Sally and I came tumbling down.

How I could have saved myself these past minutes of tension, frustration and sweat! The answer to my problem had come as soon as I had prayed. The Lord had been faithful to send help the moment I had needed it. I was the one who delayed. I was the one who hindered His assistance by my pride and a spirit of self-reliance. Truly, the key to unlock the door had been right in my hand the whole time.

How often we come face to face with locked doors in our lives. A rejection by a spouse. A pink slip from our employer. A rebellious child. A life threatening illness. We see no earthly way of unlocking this door, so we stand helplessly on the outside looking in.

We plead with God to help us, and when His answer comes, we choose our own solutions which seem more logical, and more reasonable, only to find they are unsuccessful and futile. God whispers His direction and guidance time and time again. The key to unlock the door is right in your hand. And so it is. For God has given to each of us a measure of faith, and it is faith alone that is needed to unlock these doors in our lives.

A few weeks later, my curiosity got the best of me.

I kept wondering if God had truly worked a miracle in my behalf, or if that mailbox key was just similar enough to that of the car key that it had worked when tried. Once again, with the same reverence as before, I slowly approached my car and tried to insert the very same mailbox key into the lock.

This time, to my surprise, it wouldn't even begin to go in the lock, much less unlock the door. But then again, why should it? That key, after all, is just a simple mailbox key whose only purpose is to allow me access to my mailbox so I can retrieve my mail. Nothing more. Nothing less. Faith is what unlocked my car door!


(Note: This article first appeared in the June 2007 edition of P31 Woman. If you would like more information concerning this magazine or Proverbs 31 Ministries, visit them at their website: http://www.proverbs31.org )

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

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.




(Re-posting from September 13, 2011)


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The Way of the Righteous~


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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Heartprint Hallelujahs - {A Link Up}

Today I spotted Heartprints of God

in the bloom of a cactus,

in the generosity of a friend,

in the sweetness of a brownie,

in the pure white of a billowy cloud,

in the heat of a spiritual battle,

in a thank you card in my mailbox,

in the delight of a child playing with purple play dough,

in the faithfulness of my husband,

in a refreshing drink of water,

in words of encouragament and support from friends,

in the smile of a stranger,

in the words, "Peace, be still."

♥    ♥      ♥     ♥    ♥     ♥    ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥    ♥    ♥  
Welcome to
                      Heartprint Hallelujahs



 
Here we go:



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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

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 intense I feel the battle of good versus evil.

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,


each false accusation,

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.





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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Too Late~

Too + late

I think these two words, when joined together, create one of the saddest sentences in the English language.

Some of the "too late" moments of our life are minor:

Ever turn in a homework assignment only to have "too late" written in bold, bright red letters right underneath your name, along with a big fat zero?

Ever have an overdue library book that cost you a few nickels, dimes, or quarters in fine money?

Ever arrive at the bus stop just in time to see the tail lights of the bus in the distance?

Ever become so involved in what you are doing you forget to keep an eye on the time and end up fashionably late for a dinner date with a friend?

A zero.  A small fine. A long walk home.  An embarrassed blush as you greet your friend.  
Not good, but not devastating.

Some of the "too late" moments of our life, however, are monumental:

#52 Too late
{Photo Credit}

Ever spoke words in anger and before you could make amends, the person disappeared from your life without a forwarding address?


Ever put off going to the doctor until the damage was long since done and the diagnosis grim?



Ever planned to visit an aging parent only to get the phone call we all dread the most?

Too late.

Sadly, some of our "too late" moments are irreversible,
                   leaving us overwhelmed with
                                               unrelenting guilt and
                                                                 heartbreaking regret. 

We long to go back,

to say "I'm sorry",

to make an appointment for a check-up,

to hop the first plane home,

but we can't.

It's too late.




The Bible is full of "too late" moments.

The moment raindrops started falling and the doors of the ark were closed.

The moment Lots wife looked back only to turn into a pillar of salt.

The moment Esau realized he had been tricked and his blessing had been proclaimed over his brother Jacob.



Choices made, fates determined.  Irreversible.  Done, not to be undone.
Fortunately, for you and I, there is still time to make the right choice.


God is still calling us into the ark of His salvation.

God is still beckoning us to leave the riches of this world behind, without one thought of looking back, and follow Him.

God is still longing to proclaim His blessing over us.



It's not too late.

 Not yet.

But, one day, (possibly as soon as a moment from now), it will be.


Turn to the Lord before it's too late. Call out to him while he's still ready to help you.
~ Isaiah 55:6


If you have not yet surrendered your life to Christ, the time to do it is now.

For God says,
“At just the right time, I heard you.
On the day of salvation, I helped you.”
Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
~ 2 Corinthians 6:2, NLT

 Right now.

Today.

Before, it's too late.~

Monday, April 23, 2012

The WHOLE of Me~

Not one-fourth.

Not one-half.

Not three-quarters.

Not even 99.9%.

The WHOLE of me.

This is what you desire, Abba Father. You know until I am wholly yours, I will never be truly whole. And yet, I hold back. I withhold. I come close to surrendering, but never surrendered.

Wholly yours. Mind, body, soul.
Wholly yours. The good, the bad, the ugly.
Wholly yours. Redeemed. Restored. Re-created.



This is the cry of my heart.

100%.

Lost in you.

Found in you.

One of one.

Complete.

WHOLE~

(Re-posting from August 5,2011)


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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Way of the Cross~

We stand in the hallway at church; our words guarded, our conversation stiff.  Words spoken in the past have now formed a dam, causing the normal flow of communication to seek alternate routes.

As we sputter and stammer and search for the right words, we are interrupted by a five year old boy on the way to his classroom.

"Look, Ms. Stacy! I have something to show you!"

With one hand, he tugs on my pant leg. With the other, he tries balancing his open Bible, while flipping pages with his chin.

"WOW. Did you get a new Bible?" I ask.

"No. It's my same old Bible, but what I want to show you is new."

As he searches for the new treasure he longs to share, we attempt picking up our awkward conversation right where we left off.

It is obvious our hearts are on different sides of this issue. It is also obvious this is a chasm that will  not easily be crossed.

"Oh, look! Here it is, Ms. Stacy. Here's what I want to show you! LOOK!"

He points to a picture of Jesus, bent low, under the weight of the cross.

"Oh, honey. It's a picture of Jesus carrying the cross."

"Yeah. It's sad. Don't you think?"

My eyes meet the eyes of my first companion in the hallway, and we both nod in agreement.

"Yes, sweetheart. It is very sad. But, that's how much Jesus loves us. Jesus loves us so much He was willing to carry that heavy cross and He was willing to die on it."

"Yeah," he shakes his head up and down.  "And He died for all of us, didn't He?  For me, and you and you."  Now he's using his free hand to point at me and my companion.

"Well......want to hear the new part?" he asks excitedly.

"Yes, I'd love to hear it."

Again, eyes of two different viewpoints meet and we wonder together what this little heart has discovered.

"The new part is from when I looked at that picture. I prayed and told Jesus I would carry it for Him. It's new because this story is old, BUT, if it was a new story, this time, I would carry the cross for Him."

With that, he snaps the Bible shut, and heads down the hall to his class, skipping and smiling all the way.

Standing alone once again, all we can do is smile, lower our heads and walk, each to our own destination.

Strife.

Division.

 All too familiar roadblocks in the body of Christ.


One person sees it this way. 
One person sees it that way.

 Neither can see past their own way to see The Way.

The same old story. Time and time, again.

crossing the wey
{Photo Credit}
But,

what if?

What if this time we chose to make the story new?

What if this time,
one of us was willing to bend low?

What if this time,
one of us was willing to sacrifice,
to trade our want for the want of the other?

What if this time,
one of us was willing to walk the road of love?

What if this time,
one of us was willing

to carry the cross of the other,

to walk in a different pair of shoes,

to see this issue from a different point of view,

to give up our all that all might be gained?

I peek in the window of the classroom where this sweet little boy now sits at a table with his friends. As he points to the picture and excitedly shares his revelation, I lift my eyes to heaven and smile.

Thank you, Jesus. 
Thank you for loving us,
ALL of us, enough to carry the cross;
          the cross you would give your very life on.
Thank you for this precious little boy who has opened my eyes to see a new way,
         a  death to self, life-giving way. 
May, I too, be willing to carry my cross,
        to die to self,
       that your body, the church, might live.

As I head down the same old hallway, I carry a brand new truth in my heart:

The only way to cross a chasm is by way of the cross.~


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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dance! ~

Dance!

Of course! Why hadn't I thought of that?

But wait. I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me take you back to the beginning...

It had all started when I posted the following as my Facebook status:




Lately, I've been overwhelmed by the beauty of the Lord. Everywhere I look, everywhere I go, I sense His love for me. I have to admit, sometimes, it's more than my ♥ can handle. It is then, His all-consuming love spills out through my tears. Now is such a moment. Thank you, Lord for being so very beautiful to me. How my ♥ adores you. Forever I will worship you & give you my highest praise~

After posting this, I sat back, wiped my tears and tried to continue on with my task at hand. About twenty minutes later, I received a notification that someone had commented on my post. Clicking on the notice, I found this comment from my sweet sister:




Don't cry dear...dance instead! :)
But wait! It doesn't end there!

A few days later, a dear friend posted this as her Facebook status:

One step forward. Ten steps back. Sigh.

As I read her post, it was obvious to me she was in need of some encouragement. Immediately, I reached for my Bible and prayed the Lord would give me just the right verse to share with her.

Finally, I had found it.

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.
~Galatians 6:9, The Amplified Bible

I went back to my computer and shared this verse. As I refreshed the page, I discovered someone else had already left this comment:

I hope that's a dance step......I love you!
It was then I began to wonder just who the Lord was speaking to in this post.

Once again...the invitation to dance~

I decided to search the Bible for any reference to the word dance. I read about Miriam (Exodus 15:20) and David (2 Samuel 6:14) dancing before the Lord in praise and celebration. Then, I came across this passage in Ecclesiastes:

There is a time for everything,
and everything on earth has its special season.
There is a time to be born
and a time to die.
There is a time to plant
and a time to pull up plants.
There is a time to kill
and a time to heal.
There is a time to destroy
and a time to build.
There is a time to cry
and a time to laugh.
There is a time to be sad
and a time to dance.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

This passage in Ecclesiastes was not new to me. I had read it many times before. What WAS new to me was the last word in verse four. DANCE! Somehow, I have managed to always pass right over it.

Sadly, my default reaction to anything, happy or sad, has always been to cry. (Just ask anyone in my family. When they see my lower lip start to quiver and take a downward turn, they know tears are sure to follow!)

DANCE!

What a wonderful idea.

As I thought about dancing, I remembered the words of an email I had received several years ago:

Dancing With God
(Author Unknown)

When I meditated on the word guidance, I kept seeing "dance" at the end of
the word. I remember reading that doing God's will is a lot like dancing.
When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn't
flow with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky.
When one person realizes and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to
flow with the music. One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the
back or by pressing lightly in one direction or another. It's as if two
become one body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender,
willingness, and attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and
skill from the other.

My eyes drew back to the word guidance.

When I saw "G," I thought of God,

followed by "u" and "i."

"God, "u" and "i" dance."

God, you, and I dance.

This statement is what guidance means to me.

As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would get guidance
about my life. Once again, I became willing to let God lead.

dancing in her own world
{Photo Credit}
Dancing with God.

Allowing God to guide me in all the seasons of my life.


No matter what may be happening,
good or bad,
happy or sad,
I can choose to dance because God is there,
      gently guiding and leading me
                      across the dance floor of life.

Why should I choose to cry when I can choose to dance and live in the JOY of the Lord?


Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us that the joy of the Lord is our strength.


Galatians 5:22 reminds us that joy is one of the fruit of the spirit.


When my heart was feeling overwhelmed by the beauty of the Lord, I cried. How I wish I would have danced!

When my friend needed words of encouragement, I shared a scripture to strengthen her faith. How I wished I would have followed this scripture with a suggestion to turn her one step forward, ten steps back into a beautiful dance with her Heavenly Father.

What about you?

When was the last time you danced?

Are you feeling overwhelmed by God's awesome love for you?

DANCE!

Are you finding it hard to keep your footing?
Is life pushing you backward each time you try to move forward?

DANCE!

Take the hand of your Heavenly Father and allow Him to lead you through this season.


Dance!

Of course! Why hadn't I thought of that? ~



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As High As Heaven~





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Thursday, April 19, 2012

A God-Given Invitation~ {Heartprint Hallelujahs Link Up}

Have you ever read something and knew instantly that God had placed it in front of you for a distinct purpose?

A year ago, God led me to this quote.

“If the size of the vision for your life isn’t intimidating to you, chances are it’s insulting to God.” ~Steven Furtick

The moment I read it I knew God was speaking to me. More specifically, I knew God was speaking to me about the vision for my life: writing.

Keyed
{Photo Credit}


I love to meet the Lord at my computer.



As I place my hands on the keyboard,
He is faithful to place his message in my heart.



As I move my fingers to the beat of His heart, words begin to appear, sentences begin to form.


In moments of sweet communion,
we weave together His story of love and forgiveness, hope and encouragement, redemption and restoration.

There is no doubt about it.

I love to write.

But, for some odd reason, thinking of myself as a writer is very....what is the word?

Yes!
             Intimidating!

In fact, when I think of myself as a "real" writer, intimidating almost isn't a big enough word to describe all the emotions I feel.

Intimidating. Usually, when we think of this word, we associate it with something that instills fear. I think it is interesting to note, however, that this word means so much more than just us shaking in our boots.

Dictionary.com defines it this way:
to discourage, restrain, or silence illegally or unscrupulously

I don't know about illegally or unscrupulously, but I know all too well about intimidation being discouraging, restraining and worst of all, silencing. I also know, if I allow it to, intimidation can steal my dream and cloud my vision.

But that morning, as I sat in my pajamas, the light of the new day just beginning to spill into our living room, I realized in this quote, the Lord was giving me an invitation. God was inviting me to dare to live out the desire He himself had placed in my heart.

Before I was ever formed in my mother's womb, God knew me. It was God who molded me and formed me. It was also God who planted the "I want to be writer" seeds in my heart.

 This passion, this longing of my heart, is not incidental.

It is my invitation.

It is not meant to be intimidating, it is meant to be invigorating.

And it is... when I let God write through me. In fact, when God chooses to use me to speak His words of hope, encouragement and love, invigorating almost isn't a big enough word to handle all the emotions I feel.

Intimidation comes when I forget the words of the Lord found in Zechariah 4:6:
Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

Remember the rest of the quote?

"...chances are it’s insulting to God.”

The plans God has for my life (and yours, by the way) are far grander and more amazing than I could ever think or imagine. And, by myself, they are unreachable. Yet, when I partner with the creator of my heart to fulfill the desires of my heart, they not only become obtainable, but they become the very thing that will bring life to my life.

That's the way God made it.

That's the way God made me.

He made me to be a writer; a teacher of His Word through the written word. The intimidation is simply a reminder to never step out into my dream without my dream giver. It is also a reminder to not take this gift lightly. God has placed within me a treasure, His treasure, and it is my responsibility to utilize this treasure so His excellency can shine forth from this earthen vessel. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Now, I ask you.

What is your vision for your life?

Is it intimidating to you?

If so, no worries.

Your intimidation just may turn out to be the invitation of a lifetime.~


♥    ♥      ♥     ♥    ♥     ♥    ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥    ♥    ♥  

Welcome to
                      Heartprint Hallelujahs



Here's how it works:

Link up your Heartprint Hallelujah which can be any post or photo that lifts our hearts up to our precious Saviour, Jesus.

Add the Heartprint Hallelujahs button to your post so others can join in our celebration.


Heartprints of God



Then, get ready to be inspired, encouraged, refreshed and revived in your own faith as you share in the Hallelujahs of those linked up.

Here we go:


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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Still~

As I sit alone in the stillness of this moment,
 I am suddenly aware that my mind is anything but still.

 Even in moments of intentional stillness,
 my thoughts are STILL racing.

One thought is zipping down Commitment Avenue,
one has me headed up Don't Forget Boulevard,
while yet another thought has already merged onto the ever-crowded Guilt Expressway.

Lord,

How can I capture my thoughts and hand them over to you?

How do I gather them all in the same place long enough to quiet them and subdue them?

How can I possibly hear you?




And yet...I do.


Chaos is losing sight of that one thing
{Photo Credit}


In the midst of this chaos,

you are here, ....still~



As I meander
 through the musings
   of my mind,
    I sense your presence.




My heart listens and it hears....YOU~

Through the rambling
                               and the rubble,

I hear your still small voice.

Ever faithful, strong, and yet, oh, so very tender.

You are mine.

I am yours.

Still.



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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

HIS Shoes~

My Old Shoes
{Photo Credit}
For me,

life has always been a little tight,

a little uncomfortable,

a little stiff around the edges.


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


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

But then,

I started following in the footsteps of the Master.

Wallpaper material
{Photo Credit}

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

Shoes of guilt

and shame,

and failure

and fear.


So, I traded them for HIS.


Shoes of forgiveness.


Shoes of grace.


Shoes of love.


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

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

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


Now,
when I put HIS shoes on,
I hardly even notice them.

For you see,
with each step taken,
I am conforming to the ways of my Father.

With each road traveled,
I am being transformed into HIS image.

With each twist and turn on the path of life,
        I am discovering HIS goodness,
                             His faithfulness,
                                             HIS beauty.


And, the older I get, the more comfortable HIS fit.

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

In fact,

I never leave home without them~


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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Is Your Hut on Fire?~

We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. Romans 8:28

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhibited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

Bonfire
{Photo Credit}
But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky.


The worst had happened; everything was lost.

He was stunned with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me!" he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.

"How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers.

"We saw your smoke signal," they replied.
~ Author Unknown

Blessings in disguise. During those times of life, when we can't see God's hand, we can most definitely trust His heart. Our God loves us and we can be assured that He is always at work in our life working ALL things for our good and His glory!

Heavenly Father,
When our dreams, our plans, the very things that we hold dearest to our heart, seemingly burn to the ground before our very eyes, lift our eyes up to once again focus on you. You never leave us. You never forsake us. You never forget us. You never fail us. You are lovingly working ALL things in our life for our good. Help us to keep believing, to keep trusting, to keep seeking your face. You are sovereign and we can trust you with our life. In Jesus' name, Amen~



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Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Divine Appointment~

(I first wrote this back in February 2009. Today, God placed it on my heart to share it once again.)

It was late. I was tired. My husband and I both hungry. As I drove out of the parking lot, I phoned my husband to tell him I would soon be home. As we discussed "dinner plans", it was decided take out was our best option and me, the best one to pick it up since I was already out.

I soon found myself at a local sandwich shop. After placing our order, I took a nearby seat and began the process of waiting. All I could think of was getting home, eating, and going to bed. My thoughts were soon interrupted by the voice of an irate customer. Her complaints were trivial. Obviously, her tirade was more about drawing attention to herself than to her order.

The young lady assisting her was amazing.

Through all the verbal abuse, unreasonable complaints and demands placed on her by this customer, her countenance never changed. Her smile remained and her voice was calm and remarkably pleasant. As I sat there witnessing this scene, I felt impressed by God to commend this young lady for her professionalism. As soon as my number was called and my order ready, I would approach her at the counter and pass along words of much deserved praise and recognition.

Impressed by the behavior of this young lady, my eyes continued to follow her as she worked. After completing an order, she headed to the phone and began to call someone. I couldn't help overhearing her conversation. Evidently, no one had shown up to babysit her young children and they were home alone. It was quite obvious she had made several earlier calls, just like this one, in hopes of locating someone to watch over her little ones until her shift ended and she could return home.

From the look on her face, this phone call only brought with it another "No, I'm sorry I can't" along with mounting fear for her children. As she hung up, she sat in a chair, rubbing her forehead with one hand while wiping tears with her other.

My number was called and I approached the counter to pick up our order.

I had been waiting for this moment to speak with her, but now, she was sitting in the back portion of the kitchen. Silently I prayed the Lord would give me the opportunity. She looked up and surprisingly, I was able to catch her eye with the wave of my hand. She smiled and made her way to the counter.

"Yes? How can I help you? Is there something wrong with your order?" she asked, trying to hide the fear in her heart and the tears in her eyes.

"No." I replied. "I just couldn't leave here tonight without telling you how much I appreciate the professional and kind manner in which you dealt with that difficult customer earlier. I know it wasn't easy for you. God provided you with the inner strength you needed. He is always right here with you, and just like He gave you the strength to deal with that woman, He will give you the strength to deal with whatever may be happening in your life right at this very moment. He cares for you and He will be faithful to provide you with all you need. I will be praying for you."

She smiled, thanked me, and handed me my order.

I walked in the direction of the door and she returned to her work.

As I reached my car, I bowed my head in prayer.

As I had watched in disgust, the behaviour of the self-absorbed customer, God had opened my eyes to see my own selfishness reflected through her actions. How my "I"-rate behaviour must disgust my Heavenly Father! Lord, forgive me~

As I had watched the beauty of the young lady serving, I had seen my own need for more of Christ in my heart and life. Lord, live in and through me~

Reflection
{Photo Credit}
As I had glimpsed the deeply hidden anguish in this young woman's life, I had been reminded to speak with grace, to always be kind and to treat others more gently, for we never know what they may be facing in their lives. Lord, teach me to love~

As I was given the privilege to speak words of affirmation and encouragement to this hurting heart, I was convicted to seek out and take advantage of every door of opportunity given to me to share words of hope, love and truth with those around me. Lord, use me to speak your words to others~

As I drove home, I realized I was no longer feeling upset, tired and fatigued.

Instead, I felt refreshed!

I prayed the young lady at the sandwich shop felt refreshed, too.~


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Friday, April 13, 2012

Never~

My beautiful sister, Laura, and my precious little nephew, Sebastian

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

When Words Are Not Enough~

Have you ever found yourself speechless before God?

The closer I come to God, the more I find myself struggling to find words to adequately express my gratitude, my praise, and my love for HIM. He is all too wonderful and far too beautiful to be described with mere words. The words of my mouth cannot begin to do justice to the majesty of who He is or to fully explain what He has become to me.

When I find myself lost in His glory and consumed with His love, I simply come before Him in silence and in awe.

Tonight is one of these times. As I sat down to write, I realized there were no words to capture the essence of what is in my heart. Words are simply not enough. As I searched for words, I thought of this song by Steven Curtis Chapman.

As you listen, may your own heart begin to worship. May you be drawn into the very presence of God and may you, like me, find yourself speechless in His glory.







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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

When Hearing ABOUT is Not Enough~

Are you a Christian?

If you answered "yes", do you mind if I ask why?

If you would have asked me this same question about ten years ago, I would have told you I was a Christian because I was raised in a Christian family. From the time I was just a wee little one, I was a "regular" at church. In a nut shell, I was a Christian because my mom was a Christian.

For this, I will always be grateful.

But, there came a time, when I had to make my Christianity my own.  It wasn't enough to simply believe in Jesus because my mom did.  I had to believe in Jesus because I did.

It was no different for those living in the Samaritan village.
The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!”  When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.
~ John 4:28-30, 39-42, NLT
Excited about her personal encounter with Jesus, the woman at the well couldn't keep quiet.  It was this first hand account of her experience with Jesus that draw them to Him. They had heard about God - now they longed to hear from God. 

They had heard her story, now they wanted a story of their own. 


Growing up in church I heard all about God.  But, it wasn't until I heard God's voice in my own heart, that I truly believed.

So, back to you?

Have you simply been content to hear about God; to live your Christianity out through the faith of someone else?  Or, have you yourself heard the voice of God?

Have you made Jesus your own?


Its Not My Life
{Photo Credit}

For the villagers,
hearing ABOUT God was not enough.


They wanted to hear from God. 


They wanted to hear God for themselves.
 


Isn't that what you really want, too?~


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