Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Invitation~









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Not Even Myself~

While sitting in church this past weekend,
I had one of the most profound revelations of my life thus far....
straight from God, straight to my heart.
As the soloist sang, "God is my light and my salvation, whom then, shall I fear?",
the thought hit me . . . no one.
 But, THAT wasn't my profound revelation.

You see, from childhood I have known, with God on my side, I have no one to fear. 

The revelation came when God's Spirit took this point one step further. 
No one....not even myself. 
Sitting on the pew, I suddenly realized I was my own worst enemy. 
I am the one I fear most. 
I fear I will say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, be the wrong thing. 
I fear I will hurt feelings, disappoint loved ones, insult strangers. 
I fear I will mess up, throw up, or give up.
 I. fear. me.

As the soloist sang the refrain again,"God is my light and my salvation, whom then, shall I fear?",
my lips moved as I whispered the answer:

No one - not even myself


This same God who can fight off my enemies and storm the gates of Hell,
is the same God who can work in me and through me,
in spite of me.
It's not by my might,
or my power,
but by the Spirit of the living God working in me and through me.


 I can't,
but God can.
Even if I do mess up,
my Redeemer can take my messes and transform them into a mighty message of amazing grace.
Yes, my God can save me from anyone,
even myself!
Whom then, shall I fear?
What revelation! 
What victory! 
What a God.~♥





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Monday, February 25, 2013

Every Last Bite~

Two little morsels of dog food were stuck to the side of Sally's dog bowl.
She had licked the rest of the bowl clean,
but wasn't content to walk away and leave even a speck of food behind.
She was determined to devour all she had been given.
As I watched her paw, and struggle, and make every attempt to get those two last bites,
I felt God's Spirit convicting me.
You see, like Sally, I love to eat.
In fact, I am a member in good standing in the "clean plate club".
And yet, when it comes to devouring God's Word,
I am often content to merely skim the surface.
Bible and shadow of Cross
{Photo Credit}
Maybe, like me, you are, too.

Amazingly, you and I have been given the Bread of Life, God's Holy Word,
and yet equally amazing,
we are often content to simply take a bite here and there,
and leave the rest behind,
untouched,
undigested,
untaken.
How it must grieve the Father's heart. 




Heavenly Father,
You have placed before us your Word. 
You have provided us with spiritual food that would
 more than satisfy our every longing and fill our every need,
if only we would partake of it. 
Create in us a hunger and thirsting for your Word.
Don't let us be satisfied to simply nibble. 
May we feast on your Word every chance we get,
and may we not stop until we have received
all that you have placed before us.
In Jesus' precious name,
Amen~♥







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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Not Puffed Up~








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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Following in His Footsteps~

As a little girl, 
I loved stepping into the snowy footprints
my father would leave behind
as he made his way around the 10 acres of pastureland surrounding our home.
Naturally, his stride was longer than mine,
so I had to stretch to place my foot in the same spot where his had been.
At first, I would miss the mark a little and mar the perfect impression in the snow.
 Little by little,
 though,
as I kept striving to step where he had stepped,
my own footprints would start to be hidden completely inside his. 
As I looked back at my progress,
I would smile when only his footsteps could be seen. 
 My Jesus has gone before me, too.
He walked this journey of life
leaving behind footprints of
love,
forgiveness,
compassion
and mercy.
As I daily try to walk in His steps,
 I find myself having to stretch,
 to intentionally choose to bend and place myself in places
that so often feel awkward and out of stride for me.
Sometimes, I miss the mark a little
and mar the impression He has left behind.
But sometimes....
sometimes when I look back over my progress,
I discover the footprints of my life completely hidden in His,
 and I smile.
I have a feeling He does, too.~♥






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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Your Faithfulness~









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Monday, February 18, 2013

Amazing Grace~

What keeps you from giving up?
What keeps you from giving in?
What keeps you starting all over again?
Grace.
What inspires you to be more?
What inspires you to still believe?
What inspires you to dream your dreams and reach for the stars?
Grace.
What lifts your downcast heart?
What lifts your burdens right off your back?
What lifts the corners of your mouth?
Grace.
What heals a broken relationship?
What heals a broken heart?
What heals the wounds inflicted by sin?
Grace.
What sets you on the right path?
What sets you at ease?
What sets you free?
Grace.
What ignites your passion?
What ignites your joy?
What ignites your spirit?
Grace.
What drives you forward?
What drives you in spite of?
What drives you to your knees?
Grace.
What carries you beyond yesterday?
What carries you through today?
What carries you home?
Grace.
Amazing,
never-ending,
all-consuming,
life-revolutionizing,
heart-transforming,
sinner saving,
GRACE.





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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Your God Will~






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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Beautiful in God's Eyes~






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Thursday, February 14, 2013

God's Heart of Love~


Yesterday, when I got home from work, I popped into my bathroom to throw some water on my face and "freshen up" after a long day. After splashing my face, I reached for my towel and then, out of habit, I looked straight ahead at my reflection in my mirror. Only today, my reflection was framed by a paper heart. Evidently, after I had left for work, my husband had cut a heart out of a piece of paper. Then, he strategically placed the original paper...minus the heart...on my mirror in the hope that when I looked at my reflection, I would see my face "inside" this heart. As special as this was, it didn't compare to the words he had written on the border of the paper frame. It simply said.....Look How Beautiful.

As I stood there, smiling from my lips all the way down to my heart, I was reminded once again of the "heart game" my husband and I play with each other. I wrote about it back in March 2009 and just had to share it with you again. I hope you don't mind. Our game never grows old.....and neither does God's love for us. Truly, Jesus is the lover of our soul.


Yesterday morning, before I left for work, I lovingly placed a small, red plastic heart in the coffeemaker. Yes, you read that right.....the coffeemaker. I pulled out the container normally reserved for the filter and the coffee, and placed "my heart" there instead. As I walked away from the kitchen and headed out the door, I couldn't help but smile as I thought of the surprised look sure to be on my husband's face when he made coffee later that morning.

Before the coffeemaker, the red heart had been spotted when, one evening, I returned home from work to find a beautiful flowering potted plant sitting on our bathroom window sill. The heart was propped up against the purple pot, in plain sight for all to see.

Before the plant, the red heart had surprised my husband one morning when he bent down to pick up the newspaper. Both the heart and the morning news were waiting to greet him on the sidewalk leading to our home. Before this, I had discovered the heart in the refrigerator, atop a container of leftovers I had planned to take for my lunch that day.

The heart exchange is something my husband and I do on a regular basis. It was never discussed or planned, it just happened. We have been doing it for so long, I'm not sure how it actually got started, but it has yet to lose it's "magic". The heart is a symbol of our love for each other, and I'm not sure which is more rewarding - leaving the heart to be found, or discovering it!

As I tucked the heart into the coffeemaker, I thought about God and the beautiful and faithful way He, too, tucks reminders of His love into each of our days. Sometimes, God's love is seen in the obvious, like the beautiful flowering plant, showcasing His love for all to see. Other times, however, His heart may be tucked into the mundane, day to day places of our lives like the refrigerator or the coffeemaker.

In every situation, and in every place, God's love is waiting to be discovered.

In a beautiful sunrise.

In a baby's laugh.

In a promotion.

In a good meal.

These are the obvious places.
God's love is also found in the not so obvious.

In the dark of night.    

In the tears of suffering.

In failure.

In times of desperation.

In the refrigerator times of life, when all seems cold, and we are shaking with fear, God's love is there. In the coffeemaker times of life, when the stress and demands of day to day living cause us to percolate and steep in the heat of the battle, God's love is there. God's love is even waiting for us when we receive news that leaves us uncertain of the future. If we just look, we will see His heart.

Last night, with a wink and a smile, my husband informed me his morning coffee was the best he had ever had. That was my intention, to sweeten his day with a reminder of my love for him. Today, keep your eyes open for reminders of God's love for you, and this day just might turn out to be the best today you've ever had!






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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

An Undivided Heart~









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Monday, February 11, 2013

This is Love~

Your legs looked beautiful today.

We're sitting at a restaurant, chipping and dipping, waiting for our meal to arrive. As the words of my husband float from my ears to my heart, my eyes begin to fill with love. Somehow, love takes a turn and expresses itself in a smile before one tear is shed.

He looks up from the table and smiles, too.

They did.

I know it is love talking because my legs are not beautiful.

Two hours earlier my legs were the reason we found ourselves at the local hospital. Poor circulation has left its mark on my left leg. Discolored skin. Unsightly blue markings. Lifeless scars from past wounds.

As I underwent an extensive ultrasound on both legs, my husband sat across the room. From the place where I rested, I could only see his shirt tail peeking out beneath the sonogram machinery that separated us, but it was enough.


This is love.

Human love.

And. it. is. beautiful.


Summer Love [Explored]
{Photo Credit}


No wonder divine love is beyond my comprehension.

Only God could looked at this girl and find beauty.


Sins of pride, jealousy, anger, (to name only a few) have left marks of their own, marring and disfiguring. Selfishness and resentment have left bruises and scars.


Ugliness abounds.


And yet, as I follow in His footsteps, My God is there.

As I look toward Heaven,
I see a glimpse of the my Creator,
peeking out beneath the universe which no longer separates us,
and it is more than enough.

As I look in His Word,
I see a glimpse of my Saviour,
peeking out beneath the sin which no longer separates us,
and it is more than enough.

As I look in the mirror,
I see a glimpse of the Lover of my Soul,
peeking out beneath my own ugliness which no longer separates us,
and it is more than enough.


This is love.


Divine Love.


And, it. is. beautiful.






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Friday, February 8, 2013

Feeling Parched, Dried Up, and Close to Withering Away?~













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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Good Morning, Lord~







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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

When You Are Beyond Frustration~

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

As the confrontation heated up, I kept telling myself to simply breathe in and breathe out. And remarkably, I was able to stay calm and in control through all of it.

Well, on the outside at least.

On the inside, it was an entirely different scene altogether. Inside I felt tight, tense and totally frustrated! Not frustrated with the person on the other end of this trying conversation, but frustrated with myself for being frustrated!!! AGAIN! You see, this isn't my first trip around this mountain. Been here. Done this. Not once. Not twice. But, close to a bazillion times! And each time it happens, I feel all the more frustrated.

God has given us everything we need to stay in control...

SELF-CONTROL!

After all, isn't self-control one of the fruit of the Spirit? Yes, indeed. Unfortunately, my self-control was only thinking about self and leaving me totally out of control. Later that evening as I tried to wash the day away, God spoke to my heart.

eurydiceupset
{Photo Credit}

It's a pride issue, Stacy.

And, of course, as always, He was right.

If you stop and think about it,
almost every single argument,
confrontation or conflict
stems from a prideful heart.


Whether we want to admit that or not, it is true.


If we have nothing to prove,
 it doesn't matter what anyone says to us.

If we aren't worried about our feelings,
it doesn't matter how harsh the words or how bitter the tone.

 If we aren't worried about self, self has nothing to worry about.

P-R-I-D-E

As a Christian, with the spirit of the living God living inside me, I have been given the fruit of the spirit. BUT, and this is a HUGE BUT, ......it is up to me to yield to this precious fruit.

But He giveth more grace; therefore He saith, "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.                                                                                           ~James 4:6-8

Instead of breathing in and breathing out, I should have been breathing in the Spirit of God. When I started to feel pride taking over and self-control slipping through my fingers, I should have submitted my heart to God. I should have prayed for His Spirit to take control. I should have...but I didn't.

If only I would have surrendered to the Holy Spirit, the devil would have had no other choice but to flee. My inner man would have been infused with the Spirit of God and the fruit of the Spirit would have been evident in my life. My peace, on the outside and as well as deep inside, would have been genuine.

God's ways are always best. Pride does nothing but cause us to fall (Proverbs 16:18)! Pride does nothing but frustrate us beyond words!

When conflict comes, when confrontation shows up at our heart's door, when an argument is heading our way looking for a place to happen, we have a choice to make.We can stand proud and hold our head up high or we can humble ourself before God. We can try to handle the heat all on our own or we can wisely submit our will to the will of our Father and draw near to God.

anger, frustration, hurt feelings, tense muscles and restless sleep
OR

love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control

The choice is ours.

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for searching my heart and revealing to me (once again!) the pride that seeks to take up permanent residence there. How often I stumble and fall. Thank you that you are always there to catch me. Father God, I am tired of making the same mistakes. I am tired of going around this same mountain. Help me to choose wisely. Help me to choose YOU. Help me to win the battle of pride by daily choosing to humble myself and to draw near to you. Thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you for the gift of your precious Holy Spirit. Thank you for loving me enough to lead me in your paths of righteousness and true joy.
In Jesus'  precious name, Amen~





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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hanging On by a Thread?~








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Monday, February 4, 2013

A Longing~

All is quiet & still.



The sun is slowly climbing up over the eastern horizon as the moon slips quietly to sleep in the west. 


From the hallway.
I hear the slow, gentle breathing of my husband.

At my feet.
the soft sighs of our little canine as she, too, dreams.

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



 

In this moment between



night & day,



yesterday & today,



past & future,



 my spirit is awake with an unquenchable desire to know you more,


to hear the rhythm of your heart,


to feel the breathe of your Spirit.



There is a longing deep in my spirit,
     
a longing to go deeper....
            
        deeper into You, God,
                         
                      deeper into your Word,
  
                                             
                                deeper into your will,
                                                       
                                                 deeper into your calling. 
                                                                       deeper into your love.

I'm no longer satisfied with just a taste, just a glimpse. 
My heart  hungers and thirsts for more.





To savor each and every moment in Your presence. 

To be filled with Your fullness. 

To be one with you, God.
This is the longing of my heart.

 For You, oh Lord, are what I long for.



You, are life.~




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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Walk in HIS Light~









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