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It was a holy night

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The small fiber optic tree on the corner table, a loan because I could not make the effort this year, twinkles its changing colors.  All is calm, all is bright.

Friends have graced table, us sharing joys and sorrows, memories and hopes mingled.  Learning to be content with less takes time. Learning that Jesus is enough is my calling.

In the season of giving gifts, I receive what God gives for it is alway perfectly suited, though sometimes it melts me. The molding and pressing and changing of a life into something more akin to the Son, it can be a painful process.  Yet there is no other way to reflect His light, His love.

Jesus is Lord.  Lord over all.  Lord of my days and my years.  Lord when I laugh and when I cry.  Lord and King, benevolent and gracious, always bestowing the gift of Himself.  The greatest present.  His presence.

He is the with us God, Immanuel.

The mystery was revealed and angels gazed in wonder.

The prophecy foretold was fulfilled.

 The Promise became living, breathing Infant.  Child.  Savior.

The Creator surrendered to the constraints of creation.

The Lawgiver fulfilled His own law.

The breath of God, His very Word was formed into flesh and tabernacled among us.

The unutterable name of YHVH was wrapped in a blanket and called Yeshua.  Jesus.

The 400 years of silence was broken by a newborn baby’s cry.

And thus . . .

The lost is found.

 The prodigal gets to go home.

The impure is cleansed.

 The sinner is called righteous.

The ugly is redeemed, clothed in beauty.

The war-torn is offered peace and a place of rest.

The needy receives grace.

The orphan is welcomed into the Father’s house and invited to call Him Abba.

It was a holy night.

This moment, it is holy still.

2013 Christmas (8)

2013 Christmas (9)

2013 Christmas (7)

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Sunday grace

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”       — Psalm 20:7 NIV

My Bible study sisters and I are Believing God is who He says He is. At last week’s class, we did an exercise that has become one of my power tools. I say it often when I need a boost of faith, when I need to turn my eyes off my problems and onto my Lord. It changes my focus and makes a believer out of me.

I call it the ABCs of God’s name. He is:

 

A – Alpha

B – Benefactor

C – Comforter and Counselor

D – Deliverer

E – Eternal

F – Faithful

G – Good and Gracious

H – Holy

I – Immanuel

J – Just

K – King of kings

L – Love

M – Majestic

N – Name above all names

O – Omnipotent

P – Peace

Q – Qualified 

R – Righteous

S – Savior and Son of God

T – Trustworthy

U – Unmatched

V – Victor and Victorious

W – Wonderful

X – eXcellent

Y – Yahweh

Z – Zealous

 

There are many ways I could describe Him. Saying God’s character names reminds me once again that He is more that I can imagine, more than I will ever comprehend, more than I need for every situation.

He is greater than anything. He fills the universe. He comes to fill me.

I will trust and not fear. His name is the hiding place where I am safe.

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. ”   — Proverbs 18:10

Sunday grace.

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Sunday grace

The first Sunday of September stirs thoughts of fall, though the meteorologist dashes my hope with his prediction of 90 degrees.

Maisie and I walk early, before light invades the darkness. The sun is not yet visible, but its rays tinge the grey clouds with shades of pink. Stillness envelopes the beginning of this new morning.

New mercies await me.

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My thoughts turn to a new Bible study beginning next week. Women will gather at the Wright House, and we will study the Word, stretch our faith, and learn anew to Believe God.

“Believe” is a word that has profound meaning for me. A number of years ago, God spoke in my desperation, me on my knees at the couch heaving sobs. My heart was broken. My future looked frightful. This was not how my life was supposed to be.

Through my tears and brokenness, He spoke words to my heart:

“Believe and see the glory of God.”

What? Where’s the glory in this ugliness? How are You going to turn chaos into splendour?

The very next day I received a letter from someone who knew a part my struggle. She wrote on the outside of the envelope these words:

“Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 
                                                             — John 11:40 NIV

A verse written on paper by my friend, Jesus’ spoken words lettered red in my Bible, and the Holy Spirit’s echo of courage as I knelt – His holy word was inscribed on my heart. I grasped it like a life raft. I feebly exercised my believing and waited to see His glory.

His glory finally came. It was miraculous, like the dead being raised to new life. I could not have imagine what my God was about to do.

That memory stirs my soul as I enter the season of Believing God once again. I long for my theology to become my reality, as Beth Moore says. I desire to walk in victorious faith, to actually live like I’m more than a conqueror, to receive the blessings God wants to give me.

I Believe God. And He’s about to be wonderful.

Sunday grace.

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Monday grace

This prayer reverberates in my mind.

Revive us, oh Lord!

I hunger for personal revival, the presence of the holy God who stirs me as in days before. I long to hear Him speak to me, through His Word in the early hours of quiet, as I walk in the beauty of creation, as I gather with the saints to worship, in the stillness of my own heart.

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
Psalm 42:1, 2 NKJV      

Repeatedly Scripture tells me that if I seek Him, I will find Him. He is not far away. He is as near as my breath, as close as my thoughts.  What in this life of mine distracts me from the knowledge of His presence?

He offers Himself to me in a way I am yet to comprehend. He created me for relationship so I could be called a friend of God. And like the Lover of my soul, He wants me to want Him.

Does it grieve Him when I only want His blessings and not He who blesses? Do I seek after the gifts, forgetting the Giver?

Oh Father, forgive me! Create in me a longing heart so that I want You more than anything. 

You who granted life to every living thing, be my life.  Sweet Jesus. Be. My. Life.

Then, may all other people, gifts, and trappings fall into their proper places.

Let Your abundant life, the promised life, be fully mine. 

This song, by Carmen, is what I’m singing. Will you join in?

Revive us oh Lord, revive us, oh Lord
And cleanse us from our impurities
And make us holy
Hear our cry and revive us oh Lord

 

 

 

Sunday grace

So much to read and so little time. After all, there are meals to prepare, Maisie to walk, Sweet William to look after, and people to enjoy. And I do love my people.

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But when I can, I like to read a variety of books. With some, I wonder why I bothered when the words become disagreeable and/or plain boring, yet the perfectionist in me commands me to finish. Occasionally, I’ve disregarded that overachiever voice and closed the cover.

My current reading is disturbing. The author writes about surviving church, remaining a believer in spite of those who fill sanctuaries. It’s about Christians who don’t really act like Christians. They are more like legalist; prosecutor, judge and jury; critic; hater of the sin and the sinner too. Sadly, I am convicted by the descriptions. I have been them.

Examining Jesus words and actions, recorded in the Gospels, I see something completely different. He loved the unlovely and touched the untouchable. He did not condemn but called for  disciples. He offered forgiveness to the worst offender. He showed compassion for the masses and the individual. He was merciful and full of grace.

And yet the truth He declared was lightning-bolt startling, like no other. He spoke with the authority of the I Am, asking His followers to take up the cross and walk with Him. He called His friends to an impossibly high standard.

How do I achieve the law of love Jesus commanded? How can I be holy like the Father is holy?

I cannot. Nor can anyone else. And therein lies the lavish gift of grace.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as sons [and daughters] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
—   Ephesians 1:4-6 NIV

By trusting Christ to be my Savior and Lord, He calls me holy and blameless.

Holy and Blameless! This is outrageous. Scandalous. Shocking. Is he talking about me?

This beauty in which I am clothed is through Jesus Christ. It is God’s pleasure and will. It is to the praise of His glorious grace. It is freely given in the One He loves.

This is the amazing grace of God. Its extravagance invites me into communion with Christ, Him living through me, loving others in a way I could not on my own. His strength empowers me to be the person I was created to be. Through Him, I will not just call myself a Christian, I will live like one.

Sunday grace.

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Sunday grace

Let me experience Your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in You.
Reveal to me the way I should go because I long for You.”
— Psalm 143:8 HCSB

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The reading of the Psalms brings me to David’s prayer, and I join him, the pangs of hunger for God, for the living God, finding its way on the pages of my journal.

This day let me experience the faithful love of Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel. Let me be sensitive to His presence in the everyday moments.

Feebly, I learned to trust Jesus as a child. He drew me to Himself like a moth to candle flame.  I’ve come to know Him more through our years together. And He has been good to me. Grace upon grace and blessing upon blessing showered down from the One whose essence is love.

The hard and rocky places brought lessons to be learned as we walked together. I was never alone. We climbed mountains and tread shadowed valleys, weathered storms, and I heard Him say “Peace be still.”

With the perspective of living long, I see the beauty God painted throughout my life, the dark strokes mixed artfully with the brilliant brights and softer subtle shades. I  see His hand in it all.

He has been with me from my beginning. He will be with me until my last breath on earth.

Then I will see Him face to face. And, oh the glory of beholding my constant Companion.

Sunday grace.

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Sunday grace

Show us your glory, Lord!

You have shown You might with an outstretched arm through the work of the cross. If nothing miraculous ever happens, Jesus Christ crucified and risen is enough.

But, Oh Lord, I want to see Your glory.

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“Lord, I have heard of Your fame; I stand in awe of Your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known. ”
— Habakkuk 3:2

Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to perceive when You are wonderful.

From the tiny garden spider spinning her zig-zag web by the deck to the hummingbird who zooms past me in a second.

From the miracle of birth to the faces of my neighbors.

From the innocence of children to the wisdom of the elderly gained by trials and experience.

From the majesty of moon and one red star in the morning horizon to the sun setting each evening in pallet of unlimited color and uniqueness.

From Your daily provision as we sit at  the table with food to eat to the cloud cover that gave me respite in the hot sun as I finished my work.

From the vast galaxies with stars unnumbered to the minuscule DNA that makes each and every one of us distinctive, unduplicated, and irreplaceable.

From the promises of Your word that we have seen come to pass to the prophetic future You alone will complete.

From the prayers You heard and answered in ways I could not have imagined to the questions I have asked that remain a mystery in this lifetime.

Oh Lord, we have seen Your glory. Be we want to see it again. Renew Your wonders in our day, in our time make them known to us.

Make my faith grow. Help me to believe You. Be strong in my mind and heart. Move mightily in me, your simple servant, however that might manifest.

Oh Lord, show me Your glory.

Sunday grace.

Sunset in Colorado, by travis