Blanketed by El Roi ~ Covered in His Love . . . The Mom Quilt

13 Aug

I cannot believe the unchanging nature and unwavering love of our God. He is constant in His care for women and their babies! Sister, His affection and His attention never wander. There are no unloved nor unattended to in God’s economy.   I know this to be true in the present because I have been blessed to be included as a contributing author in a tangible extension of His love entitled The Mom Quilt.

Savor the Moments by Marilyn Biddinger Page 62

Savor the Moments by Marilyn Biddinger ~ Page 62

The Mom Quilt is an ebook of stories about women, love, and the wonder of motherhood in its many shapes and forms from Sisters across the spectrum. Each of them poured their hearts onto the page in an effort to stitch together a blanket of words that speaks love to Mommas in need on the other side of the globe.

the Mom Quilt Buy Now

100% of the proceeds from the sale of this beautiful compilation will be donated to advance the $40,000 well drilling project at Mercy House in Kenya.

The Mom Quilt, compiled by Paula Rollo, Becky Mansfield, and Jodi Durr truly is a patchwork of raw soul stories sewn together one heart at a time to bring life giving water not only to the women of Mercy House but to the surrounding community as well. It is their mission to display the love of Jesus by offering concrete opportunities for women and teenage mothers around the world to rise above their cultural and societal circumstances.

Currently, the largest expense they incur is the cost of trucking in clean water and an onsite source is essential . . .

100% of the proceeds from the sale of The Mom Quilt will go toward drilling a deep well to provide water for not only the women of Mercy House but also the surrounding community.

100% of the proceeds from the sale of The Mom Quilt will go toward drilling a deep well to provide water for not only the women of Mercy House but also the surrounding community. ~ Photo Courtesy of Mercy House

Founder, Kristen Welch, wrote that right now in the eyes of the Kenyan community that is home to Mercy Maternity House,

“. . . Love looks a lot like water.”

Girlfriend, I declare to you based on the authority of God’s word, she is absolutely correct!

LOVE DOES LOOK A LOT LIKE WATER!

And this is not the first time He has appeared as such to the harshly treated, cast out woman and her unseen child . . . Genesis, the opening Book of the Bible, —the beginning of God’s love letter to us all—reveals His heart for a young pregnant woman in dire circumstance. Remember Hagar?

Imagine how she felt as she was banished to the desert with food strapped to her back and a canteen of water for her and her boy? What kind of despair must have rolled through her soul as the water came to an end and she laid her son under the shrub to die?

Genesis 21: 14-16 Abraham got up early the next morning, got some food together and a canteen of water for Hagar, put them on her back and sent her away with the child. She wandered off into the desert of Beersheba. When the water was gone, she left the child under a shrub and went off, fifty yards or so. She said, “I can’t watch my son die.” As she sat, she broke into sobs. The Message

Hagar is weary. She is alone and surely feeling as if no one cares nor understands her need or the needs of her baby. She has come to the end of herself. But Beloved, Hagar did not, nor will we ever, come to the end of Him . . .

Genesis 21: 19

Just then God opened her eyes. She looked.

She saw a well of water.

She went to it and filled her canteen and

gave the boy a long, cool drink.

The Message

And see, here is where the rejoicing gets really loud – Our God does not change. The same God who decided that His very first recorded one-on-one conversation with a woman would be with a young pregnant girl fleeing difficult surroundings is still choosing to speak today. He met Hagar in her journey, at the side of a well, and said in no uncertain terms . . . “I see you child.”

the mom quilt el roiSweet One, He is still meeting one-on-one with His daughters and have no doubt His eyes are still wide open. He sees the young women of Mercy House.

Yes, Hagar’s El-Roi, the One who Sees, had never taken His eyes from her and those many years later, there He was with the life-giving water she needed for her and her son. . . . And she gave the boy, a long, cool drink.

Sister, don’t you know at that moment . . .

“Love looked a lot like water.”

The same God who peeled away Hagar’s thirst and provided for her child is alive and well today. He will not fail to love the young Kenyan women just as tangibly. He will not leave their side for a moment and He will not cease to speak love over them.  He’s giving you and I an opportunity to join our voice with His in the pages of The Mom Quilt and Girlfriend, that’s a conversation I want to be a part of . . . I hope you do too.

My contribution on page 62 is a look at the many ways God has allowed me to see Brett and Britt walk side-by-side.

Most Favored by the Most High . . . Girlfriend, we get it ALL!!!

26 Jul

creation swap quiet apples 16997_Quiet_Apples ribbetToday a reader from India pulled up five different posts. I’m praying that whatever she was looking for she found HIM and she brushed spirits with His Word and His Love. More than any other message you might get here at Glimpsed Glory, I so desire for you to walk away knowing that you—no matter where you are on the globe—are secure, significant, and accepted by the Lover of your soul. His attention and His affection are part of our shared heritage regardless of where He has placed us geographically. You, Sister, are kept as the apple of His eye!

It seems to me that while there are many things that will change when we step into Glory, our status as God’s favored daughters is not one of them. I don’t have a handle on the enormity of it and I don’t have the words to fully articulate it, but I am certain that I am favored by God and so are you! I know this to be true, not because of my thoughts, but because of the Messiah’s . . .

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23

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Could you or I ever know more favor or be more loved than to have the perfect love the Father has for the Son fall on us?  Could there be greater confirmation of our worth than to hear the Savior’s desire that we be loved so lavishly?  What more esteem could we hope to possess than what we receive when we are clothed, indeed hidden, in Jesus Christ?

And as is always the case with our God, He does not stop with a Word. He puts His heart and His intention for our good on display for the entire world to see. He makes a public declaration that He has summoned us by name and we are His . . . and Sweet One, the “what” He does reaches straight into the heart of Who He is . . .

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Scripture records the heart of God, the Cross reveals its Truth, and the Empty Tomb declares the victory. And we who believe, we will live His heart’s reality in Glory. Beloved, do you not see that His great favor rests upon you because you have been redeemed by the Son and now look forward to the concrete expression of your rescue when your faith becomes sight and His favor falls just for you?

God’s declaration that He does not show favoritism should never be confused with the idea that He holds something back from us.

Based on the authority of God’s Word, that simply cannot be true . . .

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32

The Giver of all good gifts blesses with Grace that flows red to every believer and Love that lives eternally in every surrendered heart. But don’t let yourself believe for a moment that God’s ability to favor everyone means the love He has for you is impersonal. That notion simply doesn’t fit with the full counsel of God’s Word. God, who does not change, has always pulled His people up close and done life in real, tangible ways . . .think of Abraham, David, Gideon, Deborah and Samuel. Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, walked and talked with Mary Magdalene, Peter, James and John. If God reached into those lives with His perfect love and Christ rubbed hearts with His people in the same personal ways . . . .then it is still true for us today.   If God were to love you differently than He loved David, if Jesus were to love me differently than He loved Peter, it would imply that either those we may view as giants of the faith were loved imperfectly or we are. Would the Father who gave the Son and the Son who gave His life suddenly decide to give us less than perfection? I believe that nothing could be further from the truth. So I say again, in God’s economy there is no favoritism because there is nothing more we can receive than God Himself. Girlfriend, we get it ALL!

It has been a recent revelation to me that I needed to repent of my insecurity and my fear of insignificance because to continue indulging in the up and down of believing that I am less than Christ has made me . . . is sin. Apart from Jesus there is no good thing in me but praise His Name I am not apart from Him! Once we surrender our hearts to Christ, the Spirit is alive and well within us. We are transformed from the inside out and clothed in Jesus heart-to-toe . . . the old has gone and the new has come. It is unbelief to allow our pasts, our misguided notions and our old ideas of who we are to flourish. Girlfriend, don’t look back at that old mindset, you don’t live there anymore!

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You put your beautiful feet in the footprints of your Savior and you stand tall in all that He has made you. Let the truth of the perfect, unfailing love of the Savior wash over you. Delight in your God who calls you to be fully committed to Him because Sister, He is fully committed to you. You, Sweet One, are the Favored Daughter of the Most High God . . . speak, live, and love as nothing less.

God is Resolved to Speak My Language . . .and Yours

11 Jul

Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger:

The Sweet Sister who walked through this trial and heard her God whisper peace over needs to revisit this tangible example of His faithfulness and love. He is still working miracles today Sweet Girl! #onteamvusich

Originally posted on glimpsedglory:

I have made much of God’s faithfulness to Himself in these first few posts because God has made much of His faithfulness to Himself to me over the last year and a half.  Really, God has been preparing my heart to begin grabbing hold of that foundational truth forever.  That’s one of the wonderful things about Him.  He doesn’t care how thick-headed or dull you are, He’ll just keep repeating Himself until He sees the flame of comprehension begin to flicker.

I have to tell you that as I wrote that last sentence I felt a smile spread across my face because I had never realized before that “thick-headed” is my love language.  Let me explain.  The thing that God uses, more than anything else, to romance my soul and woo my heart is the revelation of the connections that flow between the Old and the New Testament.  I love…

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The Promise of God . . . is to be God

25 Jun

This past National Day of Prayer I was blessed with the opportunity to worship with a group of believers in Carson City, Michigan. The message was followed by local pastors and representatives from various church bodies leading those present to lift up the community, those who protect and serve, and our nation as a whole. It was beautiful to watch the Body come together with one voice to offer praises and petitions before the Throne.

The message focused primarily on the promise of God to be exactly who He says He will be and the assurance, the complete joy we have, when we rest in Him being Him. Clicking on the heading “National Day of Prayer” will let you listen to the thoughts I shared that evening. I’ve included the Scripture highlighted because that’s where the power is and a written summary of the final moments of the message right beneath the audio link.

⇓To listen to the message click the heading below⇓

National Day of Prayer Message

I pray that the promise of God to be God will encourage your heart today.

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‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’  Jeremiah 33:3

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Acts 17:11

So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people. Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.” 12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:6-16

Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 1 Kings 8:28

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  2 Corinthians 5:21

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. FOR IF YOU REMAIN SILENT at this time relief, and deliverance will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.  Esther 4:14

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”  Mark 10:27

Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.   Jeremiah 32:17

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. John 16:24

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. Acts 17:26

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

The promise of prayer is . . . that God will be God.

And Friends make no mistake that God being God is . . .

  • Always more than we can imagine.
  • God being God is always more than we have the unction to comprehend.
  • God being God – is always More than . . . and you can fill in the blank.

God will do and be more than we can think or imagine because that’s WHO GOD is – He is the God of More –He does more because He is more.

  • He is the More who hovered over the waters when the land and the sea were commanded to appear
  • He is the More who called out the stars one by one
  • He is the More who parted the Red Sea and held the water at bay to the left and to the right
  • He is the More who led them to the Promised Land
  • He is the More who took on Flesh to walk among us
  • He is the More who became sin on the Cross
  • He is the More who defeated death and arose from the Tomb
  • And He is the More who leans from heaven to hear your every prayer

When we rejoice in our homes and our praises reach His ears . . .

17 “The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet YOU in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. Zephaniah 3:17

  •  Shouts of joy! The God of More will not be silenced where you are concerned!

When we struggle against the prowling lion who seeks to devour our communities the Voice of Victory speaks and the Lion of Judah roars through our hearts declaring that we are more than a conquerors!

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31

  •  Our Jesus cannot be defeated! The God of More will not surrender!

And when we weep, rather for our nation, our neighbor, or ourselves we know that our Advocate sits on High and the One who has called us His own, Job assures us . . . weeps with us.

19 Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. 20 My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; 21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend. Job 16:19-21

The Spirit Himself will plead our case. The God of More will hear the 1 Kings 8:28 cry of His servant in His presence!

And His heart will be moved . . . to be God.

So for our nation tonight we summon the courage to accept that we have come to our royal position for such a time as this . . .

  • We exercise our privilege and enter the Throne Room,
  • We carry out our purpose, Asking and Receiving
  • And We rejoice in the promise of complete joy

Not in the promise of the yes, not the promise of doing it our way, but the Promise of God to always be who He says He is . . The God of More.

The God of More

 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21

Many thanks to BibleGateway for making Scripture so accessible!

The Evermore of Glory . . . the Nevermore of Tears

16 Jun

Life is such a funny thing. Periods of great joy and deep grief run parallel with one another. Elation and loss side-by-side, each one demanding your full attention – neither receiving it because you find yourself incapable of fully committing to the experience of either. Instead, you find yourself vacillating between the two. Moments of great happiness followed by times of overwhelming melancholy . . . and the life events that lead us there are as different as the feelings themselves.

I have Sisters walking through such grief as they come to terms with doing a portion of this temporal life without their Mommas. . . without their children . . .they simultaneously ache with the reality of their daily absence and rejoice that the ones they loved so well are now free of pain and worry, standing hand-in-hand with Jesus. They delight that their faith has become sight but the apartness of it all is so heavy sometimes. So they find themselves living in a place of both joy and emptiness, hearts etched by separation and spirits anticipating sweet reunions . . .knowing the reality of the Apostle Paul’s statement that we do not grieve as those who have no hope.

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I have Sweet Friends in soul combat as their “adult-children” begin navigating life on this decaying planet in a new way. They beam with pride at the accomplishments of their babies as their high school days are left behind and they pray with ferocity for their futures. They put together picture boards in commemoration of milestones and try to imagine the new images that will be part of their children’s monumental moments in the days to come. They are standing between the mountain-top of triumph and the fresh climb into the unknown that looms just ahead for their young people. Young people who head toward new destinations on their life journeys and take with them very real and very large chunks of their Momma’s hearts. Hearts that at once celebrate what lies ahead and remember the sweetness of what is behind. Hearts that hear the Voice of Love whisper . . . “train a child up” . . . and cling to it with everything they are.

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God opened my eyes to this strange linking of emotional arms this morning as I set about the business of continuing to sort and pack away my daughter’s things. I pack a little and I cry a little. I do heavy sighs as if my heart can’t get enough air as I look from thing to thing and the memories flood through my mind and onto my cheeks. The wedding is over. The new life in a new state has begun for her. My emotions flow back and forth between great happiness over her new experiences and powerful waves of what I can only describe as heart blues.

And I’m sure she is encountering some version of that same ebb and flow as she makes her new home. Unpacking boxes that speak to the security of a time now passed and choosing new things to create a sense of belonging in this place of fresh beginning. New wife, new life . . . joy and anticipation colliding head on with a peculiar mixture of mourning and melancholy.

No matter where you are reading from, you have a similar experience. A time when it seemed that your heart argued with itself about what you should be feeling. A dear friend reminded me years ago when my Sweet Girl left for college on the opposite end of the country and I walked through the same dichotomy of emotions that we were never meant to experience painful separation from one another. Might that be why it is so difficult to nail down the way we feel about being apart?

I confess that this upheaval in my emotions, while unpleasant at times, has served a beautiful purpose. It has opened my eyes and allowed me a glimpse of the eternity I will spend in Glory. It has made me marvel at what Jesus was willing to endure when He experienced the ultimate separation on the Cross so we could spend eternity in glorious togetherness.

There will be no farewells in heaven. Glory wasn’t designed for clashing emotions. Loss will have no place in eternity and its fraternal twin loneliness will never draw a breath.   Mourning and melancholy simply won’t be part of the equation. Sadness and sorrow will never make their way past the Gate called Beautiful.

The ransomed of God will delight in the absence of mixed emotion and savor the full presence of one another . . .not a tear will be shed and everlasting joy will crown the head of the redeemed. Gladness and joy will overtake us and sorrow and sighing—the kind we do when we feel like our hearts can’t get enough air—they will flee away.

Beloved, that’s our reality – our certain outcome – because He is our reality and He will not change His mind concerning us. We won’t be visited by loss and the pain of grief will not find a home. There will be no more life transitions or waiting for blessed reunions. No more intermingling of elation and melancholy. Never again will we utter the goodbye. Sweet Sister, if you find yourself with a fractured spirit—part of you celebrating while the other part grieves—you take heart Precious Believer . . .our complete joy is guaranteed and the Nevermore of separation will be ours when our feet are firmly planted in the Evermore of Glory.

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The Corner of the Familiar and the Future . . . Written by the Mother of the Bride

16 May

little do

I am at an intersection – a unique place of ending and beginning. . . the corner of the familiar and the future.  Days of being a much needed Mommy are coming to a close. They have been ebbing away for quite a while but it seems that my Sweet Girl becoming a wife closes the door with a bit more of a hushed goodbye than her exiting for another year of college.babydo

It’s an end to an era of cuddles on the couch, brushing her hair out of her face when she doesn’t feel good, and keeping her room exactly like it is for the next time she comes home. It’s the beginning of preparing for visits from the newlyweds and Brett and I finding our footing in this last stage of empty nesting.

I’m thrilled for the new life that awaits her but I simultaneously ache for the warmth of the life that has already passed. All too quickly she has grown from a delightful, sweet child into a wonderful, vibrant woman. I’m going to be sad not to have a ringside seat for all the changes that are coming her way and the idea of peeking at her life as it is displayed on facebook and Instagram makes the melancholy run down my face.

We’re at an intersection – leaving behind and moving forward. She’s leaving behind rural living to move to the city, a place far more suited to her eclectic little life palette. She loves the busyness of it all—the people, the sounds. She even likes too much light shining in her bedroom window now but I know that in that urban setting . . .her heart will remember a sky filled with too many stars to count. I’m hoping she’ll remember the fireflies that lit up the trees across the road like Christmas lights and the ones she trapped in mason jars before they became symbols of shabby chic and kitschy drinking glasses.

I’m hoping that when she’s navigating the traffic, lanes filled with cars and activity, there will be a part of her that will have a small urge for the quietness of Biddinger Boulevard. The place that deer would walk up to the back deck and I would convince her Santa had sent them to check on her. santadayThe place where Barbie shopping centers grew into empires and the American Girls lived. The home where her love for the magic of following A Rabbit in the Garden changed over the years to a love of following the White Rabbit and the magic of Wonderland.

I’m at an intersection—voices of the past echoing and new songs forming for the future. Celebrating that her soon to be husband knows her so well that he bought her a record player for a wedding gift while tilting my head to eavesdrop on the past and hearing the creepiness of Little Mary Fagan move from Nanny’s lips through my heart to meet her ears. And somewhere along the way, my mind swallows up those eerie notes and they are replaced by the theme song from Gilmore Girls and then quickly segue’ –appropriately I might add—into the voice of Taylor Swift as I crack open my favorite old card from years ago and hear . . . all my best days are with you.

Straining my ear backward to listen in one more time as Sleeping Beauty thuds to the kitchen floordaddysgirl and the Handsome Prince rolls his wheelchair to her rescue while simultaneously hearing the Bride-to-be make honeymoon plans with the red-haired Boy on the other end of the phone. Leaning into the past to hear her giggle as Uncle Scar and Don Karnage make an appearance through her Daddy’s voice and listening to one song after another play on the computer as they try to pick the perfect one for the Father-Daughter dance that is coming so quickly.

We’re at an intersection . . . beautiful memories in the rearview mirror and new scenery just ahead. Remembering so vividly the big vocabulary of the tiny blond-haired toddler of the past and seeing the brilliance of the young writer who speaks with such insight in the here and now—wondering what the future will hold. Reminiscing about the little one who rode on the power chair’s battery pack with her Daddy manning the controls and having my eyes fall on the wedding dress she will wear as she walks beside his power chair down the aisle. Looking back in delight at the little girl she was and gazing with wonder at the young woman she is –so beautiful, so breathtaking.

britt with board

I’m at an intersection . . .and no matter which way I look –behind me or before me—I see Jesus. I see a heritage of life . . . redemption then and freedom now. I see Love . . .mercy yesterday and grace today.   Rather I gaze forward or backward . . . I see Him. My God whose blessing cannot be contained and whose promises for joy and life abundant know no time constraints. I see Him and my heart rejoices that His love toward me reaches beyond me and His grace is bigger than my mistakes. I see Him and my heart cries out in praise that He has changed her faith heritage –redeemed our family line—and His love extends to a thousand generations of those who love Him.   – And I smile at the blessing in the distance—knowing that when little red-haired grandchildren arrive someday they will be the first generation to be born into a family of full throttle Christ followers. Oh Lord, I stand at the crossroads, the intersection . . . the corner of the familiar and the future . . . and I am utterly amazed by Your goodness.

She Loves Me More: An Open Letter to my Mom

10 May

Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger:

In honor of Mother’s Day I’d like to sing my Momma’s praises again! I am so grateful that she will always love me more! Love you Mom!

Originally posted on glimpsedglory:

I feel God is prompting me to write a book and in response to that I have begun the process of sifting through all the spiral notebooks I have written in over the years. It’s a little bit like the process of revisiting the memories and the people when you’re sorting pictures. You can’t just drop it onto the top of a pile until you’ve looked it over, fingered the edges of it, smiled at it or cried with it, and let the “all of it” wash over your heart one more time. I realize as I am reading over that description that I am very much dating myself chatting about the mounds of unsorted pictures I have tucked away in totes, so for the younger sisters that I pray are reading and will be spurred toward love and good deeds as a result of being here—replace the words that…

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Let the Jar be Broken! Go Forth Mighty Warrior!!!

6 May

Oh how I love God’s timing and His desire to encourage our hearts. He is the One who created spurring one and another on toward love and good deeds . . . why does it is surprise me so that He practices it so well?

Just a short thought for this day . . . We are drawing near to the National Day of Prayer and as I asked God this morning to prepare my heart for sharing His word at a local gathering I prayed – “Lord, move this cracked pot out of the way so that only Your Light shines.”

See, I feel too nervous. I feel too small. And I feel too weak to speak about the Mighty God we serve with the reverence and the awe He so deserves. I want so badly to communicate in such a way that people are roused to follow hard after Him knowing that He will be found.  It’s my desire that hearts will be awakened and that we will join arms in the faith to influence our communities and our nation. But I know all of that is beyond me – and there’s the root of my prayer – “Move this cracked pot out of the way – let your light shine.”

And His answer to me was immediate . . .Gideon. The runt of the litter in the smallest tribe. Called to stand with only a few in the Name of the Lord to defeat the enemy. The weapons God placed in their hands?

16 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside. Judges 7:16

A Trumpet

A Jar

A Torch

Oh Lord you are the delight of my soul! He has given you and I the same weapons each and every day –

  • The Trumpet . . .The message of God and the announcement of the good news. Let those God has placed in our sphere of influences KNOW that God is in the house! Let us announce that He lives within us by word and by deed all for His glory.
  • The Jar . . . Lord, break this jar of clay—bust away our insecurities, take the idols we’ve surrounded ourselves with, strip us of our penchants to be self-absorbed and remove any ounce of pride that may rear its ugly head – smash our broken pots to reveal the treasure that we hold on the inside of us .
  • The Light . . .Shine Jesus Shine! Let Your Light shine through us and radiate Love to everyone we come in contact with! Lord, You cannot be contained and the darkness flees in Your Presence. The Light has dawned, defeated death and lives inside of every believer!

Jesus light

The trumpet, the jar and the torch are all we need to stand firm and He will scatter the enemy . . .

Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled. Judge 7:19-21

How beautiful is He Sister? How can our hearts be anymore encouraged than to have the whole thing be shown to us in vivid color through Gideon and then walk into the New Testament to see it in our applied to own lives?

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”a]”>[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”b]”>[b] Since we have that same spirit ofc]”>[c] faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4

He never leaves us guessing about His Presence in our lives or His Presence in our battles. And hear me when I say, He does not simply provide the victory . . . . HE IS THE VICTORY! To have the God of the Angel Armies, the Creator of the Universe, the Messiah who died and rose again, The Spirit who is the Lord – Shine forth from us. What other kind of prize could compare? What greater reward or spoils from the war would we possess? What other plunder might we desire?

Girlfriend, we have it all!  Do not lose heart! Go forth Mighty Warrior your God is with you . . .

creation swap sparkler 9573_Sparkler gideon

We will Resemble what we Pursue

1 May

The words of God through the pen of the Prophet Jeremiah echo in my ears this morning . . . “They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.” Bunny paraphrase – you will resemble what you pursue.

That is not new to you Dear One. You know it to be true. Whatever you or I choose to fix our eyes on will direct our footsteps. But we can’t fool ourselves for one moment into thinking we’re simply grabbed by the nose and dragged down the primrose path. No, in most—if not every—instance we travel that road all too willingly.

creation swap worthless suitcase 26527_Wandering

We may not begin the journey with determined steps toward whatever shiny bauble has averted our gaze but it doesn’t take long until we’re making deliberate strides toward the thing.  And I know it may sound harsh and it may sting our hearts but the truth of the matter is that if we had been intentional, if we had made the conscious choice, to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith . . . if we had chosen to keep in lockstep with the Spirit . . . we’d never find ourselves hot on the heels of the worthless thing and becoming worthless ourselves.

See Sister, that’s just not our destiny. Our destiny as believers and full-throttle followers of Jesus Christ is to keep our thoughts fixed on our Messiah and our eyes hard-and-fast on Him so that as we behold His glory we are transformed and little by little reflect the same image as the One who is absolutely Worthy.

18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. 2 Corinthians 3:18

creation swap bible on suitcase 29522_Open_Bible_ribbet

Sweet One, we serve no one well when we settle for less than God created us to be . . . when we allow ourselves to be distracted by the fading sparkle of this world. He has reserved far too much for us for us to dissuade so easily!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5

He calls us to keep our eyes and our hearts focused on Him not because He’s on an ego trip. God does not need our attention to be secure in being God. He invites us to look upon Him, to walk with Him, to be resolute in pursuing the holy life for our benefit.

Within the boundary of holy living lies the blessing.

Again, this is not news to you. Even if you’ve not read the Scriptures that flat out tell us the boundary lines have fallen for us in pleasant places or that we are hemmed in before and behind by the Hand of Glory, you know it by experience, I know it by experience.

And yet, you and I can look back over our lives and see the times we willfully walked outside His borders and ignored the Voice of Love asking us to keep our feet firmly planted and our eyes steadfastly focused. The outcome wasn’t good. The result was certainly not blessing. . . and might it be that when we pursued the things of this world the aftermath of the chase left us feeling empty and worn-out? Because we had not chosen, had not predetermined, to stand firm had we indeed chosen to move ever closer to becoming worthless?

Beloved, I will never practice life within the holy boundaries by accident. My pursuit, and may I be so bold Sister as to say yours as well, must be deliberate. The distance between temptation and participation is far too narrow for us to leave it to chance. We must be determined to live with our eyes fixed on our Savior and our hearts filled with the Holy Spirit . . . aware of our boundaries and resolved to live inside the blessing.

The next shiny object is just around the corner. The next opportunity to be distracted is never far off and another chance to follow and therefore become what is worthless looms in the distance.

Girlfriend, I may not know the specifics of your struggle or the identity of the thing that competes for your attention, but this I do know . . . if you will fix your eyes firmly on Him it will be Grace that you see looking back.  Gaze upon Him and you will be face-to-face with the Worthy One who has stooped from His Throne to lavish you with His attention and affection.  Lean in close and your heart will hear the Voice of Love spurring you on in your pursuit, assuring you that no daughter of the King is destined for a worthless life, whispering to your soul that you are of infinite value to Him and declaring from the Cross  . . . “She is worth it!”

CREATION SWAP worthy CROSS SILHOUETTE 26681_silhouette_of_cross_alone

 

Reality: the state of things as they actually exist . . .

24 Apr

creation swap reality chalkboard 26493_Chalkboard

Christ dwelled here on earth as a part of God’s plan

To save and to rescue the sinner I am

He offered Himself, the Lamb made the way

His Blood flows eternal, He still saves today

The life He lived for me was brought to an end

But the Tomb could not hold Him and He lives again!

creation swap rescued chalkboard 26493_Chalkboard 1Yes, the Lamb of Perfection descended in love

The cup of redemption was filled with His blood

My Kinsman-Redeemer was hung on the Tree

He gave His Life freely as ransom for me

But the Tomb could not hold Him, the stone rolled away,

My Rock, My Strong Fortress is living today!

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Christ became sin and then conquered the grave

He said, “My sweet child, you’re no longer a slave!”

He purchased me back, Oh, God’s Christ came for me

I’m filled with the Spirit, forgiven and free

For the Tomb could not hold Him, death where is your sting?

The Messiah has risen and reigns as the King!

creation swap redeemed chalkboard 26493_Chalkboard

Reality:  the state of things as they actually exist

Marilyn Biddinger

 

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