Thursday, December 11, 2014

God's love for us

God has the heart of a Father who wants His children to obey Him so that i might go well for them and their children (His grandchildren, so to speak). So He tells us,
"Have no other gods, no other lovers that woo you, that take your attention of affection, but Me. I take you to be Mine, to be My treasured possession. Here is My law for you, here is My love for you I give you My name to make you Mine; do no use it in vain. I long to spend time with you, time set apart for you and Me and I call it Sabbath, an opportunity for you to rest from your work and trust that I will take care of everything.
I love you My Bride, BE united with me (with each other too as My Church), not coveting what each other has or lying, stealing, murdering, but honoring and loving and living out of Our love.

God knows how we say 'I do" but don't. God longs that our hearts would be inclined to be in wonder and awe of Him, enraptured by Him, that is what the word fear means in the original Hebrew. God knows we wander and He woos again and again.

The 10 Commandments are a command to relationship; to love vertically, horizontally, to love relationship.

Jesus is the love who doesn't just die the death we deserved to die; He lives the love we've desired to live. God gives God to keep the commandments for us. Love is the fulfillment of the Law. Jesus fulfilled all the law perfectly, (that is why He is the only one who could die on a Cross for our sins.
Ann Voskamp/the Greatest Gift.

I am more sinful and flawed than i ever dared believe, more loved and welcomed than I ever dared hope.  Elyse M Fitzpatrick

Thank You Jesus, for Your love making it possible to have a relationship with my Father God. Thank You Father God for loving me as much as You love Jesus and giving His/Your life for mine. May I be ever changed because of it, ever in awe of it, always in love and loving as a result of it.


Friday, November 07, 2014

What if?

If what you are thinking about yourself actually came true, always happened just because you thought that way, how would you change your thinking? I would begin to think this way:

1.  I live out of a God-economy, knowing as I obediently listen to where my Master wants me to use His resources, I respond with joy as I give to others, knowing His provision is always more than enough because He is generous and I cannot out-give God.

2. It is good to examine my sin, my shadow side and shortcomings because God wants to meet me there, forgive me, show me His grace is sufficient for me and give me opportunities to grow through my confession and receive His gracious forgiveness.

3.  I am attached to God and God alone, not to my comfort or popularity or to people but I desire to please God first and foremost.

4.  I am letting God transform me by renewing my mind, setting new pathways, giving up the old, false self and living fully into my true self.

5.  I live in the present moment focusing on His Presence, trusting that He'll be with me in the future...God's got it covered. He reminds me, "I've got this!"

6.  I live from a grateful heart, aware of the multitude of gifts He showers me with throughout my day and I thank Him along the way. This moment by moment awareness invites me to pause and enjoy His Presence throughout my day. It also inspires me to live giving from a generous heart, sowing what I've reaped, paying it forward, so to speak, from God to me then from me to others, spreading "sunflowers" along the way.

7.  I live past my fears of the unknown or new situations, knowing it is an opportunity for growth. I like growth so I embrace the unknown with excitement, not fear. I allow myself to make mistakes without condemnation because that is to be expected as I grow. I am learning from my mistakes as well.

8.  I let go of my expectations of others because they leave me feeling pridefully entitled for them to be met by others  and disappointed when my expectation are not met. I allow God to fulfill my desires and longings as He sees fit and in His perfect timing, knowing that His intentions for me are deeply good.

As I write these, I realize how powerful our thoughts are and want mine to align with God and what He wants for me. I believe these do. Help me to think rightly about myself and about You too.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Spiritual practice of being uncomfortable


Am I courageous enough to engage in the spiritual practice of being uncomfortable? The only way to widen our threshold of tolerance for the uncomfortable is to dance at its edges, to consciously go to uncomfortable places and stay present. When we risk the unfamiliar, our resilience grows and we become more capable of living life fully.  Patience=hupomone: to stay with whatever is happening, moving toward our fears instead of away from them so that we may experience God's deep presence and peace that will meet us in the midst of life's messiness and uncertainty ...Christine Valters Paintner

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What's your dirt?

Why do I, like Peter, resist allowing You to wash my feet, Jesus? Because they are dirty and I don't want Your holiness touching my dirtiness...I"m too unclean and don't deserve Your touch, Your cleansing. Is that why I shy away from exposing, confessing my sin to You? I don't want to acknowledge my dirt because it makes me feel I have little value? But Your desire to wash my feet expresses enormous value for me . . . Your humility in offering to wash my feet blows me away and invites me to confess all my dirt so I have a clean window to see You through without my false self in the way.

One confession I have to make is thinking I  know how to respond to every situation without consulting You. I realize I would experience more of You if, in every situation, I paused and asked You for your wisdom and words and way for me.

Admitting my brokenness shatters the myth of my competence, but this shattering is like that of the alabaster jar at the feet of Jesus: it perfumes the whole house with the sweet aroma of wholehearted devotion, a grace fully received, and out of this comes wholeness. Wholeness is mine now because in my brokenness, Jesus completes me. Wholeness is not the absence of wounds but the fullness of Christ within our woundedness. Wholeness is brokenness owned and thereby healed. We can call our brokenness blessed and cherish it as the place where we most intimately know God and ourselves. from Transformed into Fire by Judith Hougen

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sheer Silence Speaks Louder Than Words

Ignatian Exercise on I Kings 19:1-15
When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including the way he had killed all the prophets of Baal. So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.”
Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”
Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.
Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”
So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai,[a] the mountain of God. There he came to a cave, where he spent the night.
But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
14 He replied again, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
15 Then the Lord told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. 16 Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimshi[b] to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. 17 Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha! 18 Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!”
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Picture yourself as Elijah. You have just experienced one of the greatest highs of your life: the contest on Mt. Carmel -  one against 850 false prophets and all the people of Israel . . . and God showed out for you. But as a result, now the Queen is mad as a hornet and just as deadly and out to kill you. You fear from your life like never before and run . . . and run . . . and run . . .     Finally you can run no more. You have no strength left. You don’t even care if she finds you, you just beg for God to find you first and ask Him to be merciful and take your life. You’ve gone from your highest high to your deepest low and you are done, stick-a-fork-in-you done. You fall into an exhausted sleep . . . for hours and pray you stay there forever.

After many hours, something stirs you awake, something like a gentle touch of a feather on your face. You open your eyes, half asleep, half expecting that Queen Jezebel has found you at last and is standing over you with a knife poised above your heart, just waiting so you can be awake enough to experience the terror and painful death that awaits you.  Instead, you find it is an angel wing that caresses your face. You look up and discover he has cooked you savory bread and it keeping it hot on a hot stone and has a refreshing jar of sparkling spring water for you as well. You eat and drink as a ravenous wolf and your body and soul are refreshed, restored.
Once again you lay down but the angel directs you to eat and drink again, informing you the journey ahead will be too much for you if you refuse. “What journey?” you wonder. You had no plans to move from this place of death but apparently God has further plans for you. So you do as the angel commands and feel a supernatural strengthening. You decide God must be summoning you to meet with Him on His holy mount – Mt. Sinai-, so you set out, knowing it is a 40 day journey and that is only if you travel by day and by night.

Days later you miraculously find yourself at your destination, knowing full well that only by God’s grace and strength have you made it this far. You crawl into a cave to get some much needed rest. But before your eyes can close, the Lord speaks. “ What are you doing here (Elijah - ___________ insert your name.)?”

The Lord is asking you the same. Why have you journeyed this long and this far to come to His holy mountain, where He “resides”? What are you doing here? Elijah’s answer was one of a victim: “I’ve done nothing wrong, faithfully been zealous for You, God, but they’re out to get me; all of Israel have turned from You, torn down Your church, killed all Your prophets!” (Elijah was prone to exaggeration about his circumstances, about himself.)

How do you respond in dire situations? With complaints to God? With exaggerations? Or with gratefulness for what He has done and trust in what He is going to do?  Journal how you would respond to God’s question of you. (when you see this symbol******, that is your opportunity to pause and journal your response or question to God)

God didn’t respond immediately to Elijah’s answer but told him to “go out of the cave and stand on the mountain and watch Me pass by.” What do you do, think, say when God doesn’t address the concerns you’ve brought to Him? How do you respond? ********

Then the weather turned foul, more foul than Elijah had ever experienced in his life. First a tornado blasted through. He almost lost his life as the sides of the mountain crashed around him. Then the earth began to rumble and actually split in two! If that wasn’t enough drama, then a fire hotter than 10 hells flared up and almost turned him to ash. In all of that explosive display, God did not reveal Himself. Then a thunderous silence. . .  so quiet it almost sucked the air right out of his lungs.   But God revealed Himself in the silence.

In your own life, what circumstances, relationships or ideas seem like explosive displays?******* Which parts of your life make the most noise?***** Which parts consume you? ******* When does it feel like everything is falling apart around you?***** How do you respond?*****
What is the sound of sheer silence like for you? Especially when you want to hear something from God?***** How might God be in the sheer silence?***** Spend some time listening to the sheer silence.***** Now, how would you answer God’s repeated question to Elijah, to you . . . “What are you doing here?”*****

As a result of this time, God did give Elijah some very specific directions to fulfill the call God had on Elijah’s life. What directions or invitation might God be giving you right now?*****

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Dear God, I thank You that the sheer silence clears the way for me to experience You and just BE in Your Presence, which is a greater gift than even Your Word. Your Word gives guidance but Your Presence gives so much more. As a friend sits silently with one who is grieving (as in Job) and his presence alone communicates how much he cares, even more than his words could, so too with Your Presence. in the silence. I thank You for Your presence, felt or unfelt....*****

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Just an ordinary day.....

They just drop me off here, day after day, along with all the other "sickies" because they have nothing else to do with us but gather the "less than's" all in one place, hoping we will get our chance in the waters when the Angel comes with healing in his wings and deposits it in the pool so that by some obscure chance, we might receive a healing. Meanwhile there is no physical therapy or occupational therapy...we just wait...and wait... 38 years of waiting. It's become almost a profession, the daily waiting, that's turned into hopelessness and now I'm a victim. "I can't" rules my thoughts and now my actions so I've given up, I don't even try anymore.
And then He walks in; a crowd is following and all of us are at attention. He's different. No disgust in His eyes, just compassion. He walks through the crowds of us; He's coming closer and all of a sudden, He's in front of me and asks me just one riveting questions that I don't quite understand.

 "Do you want to get well?"

At first I think, "Duh! Of course I want to get well!" but what comes out of my mouth is "I can't" which only reflects my hopelessness and my lack of faith that I could possibly get well, ever! But that doesn't stop Him. He tells me to get up and walk...rather an absurd statement to tell a crippled person...and yet something in His words sends feeling into my body. I feel energy in my legs where before they were dark and heavy and lifeless. Even more than that, His concern for me, His desire to want me to walk gives me the courage to lift me off my mat and before I even know it, I AM walking!!!

He didn't need my faith or even desire. He just imparted life to my deadness and gave me an entire new life in just that one act. And then He was gone... no words for anyone else, no fanfare.

Later I ran into Him ( HA! How joyful those words are to my soul... I RAN into Him!) in the Temple and he told me now that I was well to stop sinning. How odd, I thought. And yet just being in His Presence gives me the desire to clean up my life inside like He did on my outside. Who IS this man? All of Jerusalem is a buzz wanting to know, especially the Temple leaders. I better share this news with them. They'll probably be so excited to know THIS is the Man with healing words.....

JohnJust 5:1-15

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bless the Lord....

Bless the Lord, O my soul, for You are so very good to me:
You brought me to Your side and opened my eyes so I could truly see You.
You ignited my heart to say “Yes, I need You, I want You as my Lord and Savior” and ransomed me from the prison of my own self.
You implanted Your very own Spirit within my body so we could always be together as one.

Bless You Lord, O my soul, for You are so very good to me:
You teach me and train me to hear Your voice and know You more.
You take me through the trials and tribulations of my own making or the making of others – always faithful, never leaving, always available whenever I call.
You show me my purpose in You and give me ways to walk that out with You as my Guide.
You reveal Your beauty to me through sprinkling hidden manna moments throughout my day and You even use my desolations to draw me closer to You.

Bless You Lord, O my soul, for You are so very good to me:
You are everything I need or could ever desire and yet You still give me more…through relationships here on earth.
You love me even when I am unlovable.
You forgive me 70 X 7.
You model for me how You want me to love others and then empower me to do so.
You’ve secured my place by Your side in Heaven and call me Your beloved bride.

What more could I possibly want?
Bless You Lord, O my soul, for You are so very good to me.

I adore You…as You wish my Liege, my Love.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

from slavery to sainthood


I was contemplating how Jesus brings us out of slavery to sin into becoming daughters of God and joint heirs with Jesus and how amazing that is.  Here is how i imagined it...
I'm a slave on a plantation, no rights, only work from sun up to way past sundown...i work hard but earn nothing except some food to sustain me to get up the next day and do it all over again... no hope of my circumstances ever changing...a true dead end life....and then someone comes to the plantation and buys me for a very high price, more than I'm worth and doesn't make me a slave on His plantation but adopts me as a daughter, takes me into His mansion, clothes me in the best dresses, gives me access to all He owns, offers me a check book with unlimited funds and loves, me delights in me, enjoys my company...and invites me to linger in long conversations in front of the fire and writes me into His will....i scarce can take it in....but THIS is exactly what my Jesus did for me! Who couldn't love a Man like this????

Sunday, February 16, 2014

as You wish

Oh Jesus, i hate to even dare to think where i would be if You had not drunk the cup of sin that was so undeserved and so depraved. I cannot bear to even ponder what all was in that cup, no less look beyond all my sinfulness without You to see where i would be if You had said no to Your Father. My heart is overwhelmed with sorrow for You and what You had to endure...and gratitude that You did so that the world might be redeemed and have a relationship with God and You and Your Holy Spirit. Thanks You isn't enough. I adore You is but even more than just saying I adore You, i want to adore you with the way I live and relate to other and respond in willing obedience to whatever You ask of me.  I want to say "as You wish" just as You said "as You wish" to Your Father in the garden of Gethsemane. I want everyday to be a day i say yes to You.

I drank that cup out of my love for my Father because even though it looked like His intentions toward me were not good, I know Him and His good was not only for me, knowing i would experience resurrection and life eternal but also that i would complete my purpose. His intentions were deeply good also for the whole world to have the opportunity to be reconciled back to Him as well as being totally just in judging all sin and death. He could do no less than have a plan that not only saved His own but judged all the sin in the world. When you wonder about your circumstances and they look dire and you wonder if His intentions for you are good, I understand even more...but know nothing can separate you from His love and good intentions...ever.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Friendship



I absolutely love Shauna Niequist and the way she expresses herself on paper. Today i read about friendship in Cold Tangerines and want to share what spoke so deeply to me in her own words:

Friendship is acting out God's love for people in tangible ways. We were made to represent the love of God in each other's lives, so that each person we walk through life with has a more profound sense of God's love for them. Friendship is an opportunity to act on God's behalf in the lives of people that we're close to, reminding each other who God is. When we do the hard, intimate work of friendship, we bring a little more of the divine into daily life. We get to remind one another about the bigger, more beautiful picture that we can't always see from where we are.

True friendship is a sacred, important thing and it happens when we drop down into that deeper level of who we are, when we cross over into the broken, fragile parts of ourselves. We have to give up something in order to get friendship like that. We have to give up our need to be perceived as perfect. We have to give up our ability to control what people think of us... but what we give up is nothing compared to what this kind of friendship gives to us. Friendship and love are about risk...but if it's really love, really friendship, it's a little scary around the edges....What we are doing here is representing the goodness and love of God in tangible ways.

To me this is living wholeheartedly and living braveheartedly.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength...and your neighbor as you yourself have been loved by God.

Monday, January 06, 2014


Grace is smashing  the calculator and using all the broken buttons and pieces to make a mosaic.

Grace isn’t about having a second chance; grace is having so many chances that you could use them through all eternity and never come up empty.

It’s when you finally realize the other shoe isn’t going to drop, ever.

It’s the moment you feel as precious and handmade as every star, when you feel, finally, at home for the very first time.

Grace is when you finally stop keeping score and when your realize that God never was, that His game is a different one entirely.

Grace is when the silence is so complete that you can hear your own heart beat and right within your ribs God’s beating heart too.

Grace allows me to do more than just erase my mistakes; it allows me to become more than I was when I did those things.


From Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist