Archive | March, 2014

His Love Story is Your Life Story

29 Mar


Dear God,

We thank you for the privilege of being together

at this time and in this place.

As your people, we pray that your love

will unite us into a fellowship of discovery.

Cleanse us of everything that would

sap our strength for togetherness.

Unravel the knots in our spirits.

Cleanse the error of our minds.

Free us from the bondage of our negative imaginations.

Break down the barriers that sometimes keep us apart

and cause us to drift along without a dream.

As we go from here – Explode in us new possibilities for service.

Kindle within us the fires of your compassion

so that we may not wait too long

to learn to love.

May we be a people with loving purposes –

Reaching out …

Breaking walls …

Building bridges …

Let us be your alleluia in a joyless, fragmented world.

In the name of our Lord, we pray. Amen.

— Champ TraylorCreation Swap Open Bible jesus chiko 11504 RIBBET

This was the opening prayer at a ladies retreat I attended. Isn’t it beautiful? If you skipped it or read it quickly, let your eyes and your heart drift over it again. Unravel the knots in our spirits . . . . Free us from the bondage of our negative imaginations . . .Kindle compassion . . . learn to love . . . be your alleluia.

How appropriate for this Easter season that we would encounter a prayer petitioning God for an urgent desire to learn to love – right now, with the Cross of Good Friday directly in our sight lines and the greatest demonstration of Love the world has ever witnessed just over the horizon. How fitting that the words we read appear to describe the full and abundant life, the life of purpose, that Love reached across death and rose to offer us.  Reaching out . . . Breaking walls . . . Building bridges . . . be your alleluia.

Yes Sweet One, Love burst forth from the tomb – He reached beyond the grave and would not be walled in. Love bridged the chasm of sin between the Creator and the created – He would not leave us isolated, hopeless and alone. And He has breathed life into our souls so that we might yearn to live and to love like Him, to truly be His alleluia in the joyless, fragmented world all around us. Is that not what Love living in us will look like if we will but surrender and choose it?

Is that not the very thing the Messiah came for? Not to simply speak love or speak about love, but to demonstrate to us and for us the breadth, the depth and the length of a heart purposed to be Love. A heart purposed to have no discrepancy between word and deed—committed to look on the helpless and the harassed and offer hope. A heart purposed to see with eyes of grace –steadfast in reaching out with the hand of Truth. Oh Beloved, His love knew no limits—it would not be contained that Easter morning and it will not be contained today.

Yet, too often I find that the knots in my spirit choke out the love in my heart and the error of my mind obscures my vision of the truth. The bondage from my vain imagination chains me to fear, uncertainty, and isolation. And I am sapped of my strength to do life by my Sister’s side, by my husband’s side, by my child’s side. I am ineffective as an encourager, a prayer warrior, or a joy deliverer because I am consumed with “the everything” of this temporal life. Sister, I need this prayer– in this season of life and in this time – and may I be so bold as to suggest that you consider your own need as well?

Not only do we need to say this prayer with sincere and believing hearts, but I believe with everything I am that the hurting ones, those who are doing life in the joyless and fragmented world, they need us to say this prayer with genuine desire. They need me, they need you, to ache to be filled with Love so that we will have the tenacity it takes to reach beyond ourselves and grab their hands in the midst of their circumstances. It is urgent for them that we break down the walls and emerge from behind the barriers with hearts full of grace and a renewed purpose to love. And it is essential for them that you and I long to be bridge builders of integrity who long to love the same way Jesus does—with extravagance.

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Ephesians 5:1-2, The MSG

Girlfriend, if the day is not today to Love like that, then when?

If this is not the season to be the alleluia, what season will be?

Every day and every season is our day . . .our day to LOVE.

If the Father has called us to His side and we know Jesus as our Savior then the Spirit, who is Love, beats within us. He is our promise that until we see Grace face-to-face, until we look Love in the eyes – He will empower us to live beyond our limited, cautious love. See, Sister, no matter what life circumstance we face, no matter what hurt we have endured, no matter how certain we are that our well has run dry He is our guarantee that Love is surely alive and well within us.

We may run out of energy to love others—He does not.

We may not have what it takes to reach out—He does.

We may have come to our limit—He never will.

Oh Beloved, we need to shout the alleluia at the end of each one of those statements, fall to our knees and praise Him that there is an end to us! Because when we arrive at the end of ourselves – that’s when Love truly lives.

And, our Jesus, the One and Only – who perfectly lived, died, and rose to Love –desires not only to give love to us, He longs to give love through us. See, Sweet One, when He rescues us from death . . .

we become His living love story.

creation swap heart in bible Marian Trinidad 7896 ribbet

We leave our knotted spirits in the hands of the One who loves us.

We follow His lead, leaving our negative imaginations behind.

We hang on His every Word,

watch His every move,

so that we can learn to love extravagantly.  

And every day, every moment, every season brings us closer to our happy ending . . .

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:

Trust steadily in God,

hope unswervingly,

love extravagantly.

And the best of the three is love. Creation Swap God stories Chris Bearing 12933 1cor

1 Corinthians 13:13, The MSG


Resolved to Involve

13 Mar

Today, the Biddinger Crew is off the Boulevard in wintry Michigan and enjoying the Sonshine as well as the sunshine, but one year ago today our surroundings were a little different. We had actually just cancelled our vacation and returned home after Brett did a week long stint at the hospital in Grand Rapids. It was in the aftermath of that health crisis, emergency admittance, and surgery that “Resolved to Involve” was originally posted. Believe it or not, the condition that landed Brett in the hospital is still present. He is still fighting the good fight and we are treating it as vigorously as we know how. God has shown us much in this past year and I pray Sister that if you’ve come along for the ride, your heart has been encouraged because as you’re about to read . . . we were never intended to do this life alone. Enjoy this look back and maybe even take a minute or two to let your heart ponder where you have journeyed — and who has journeyed with you — in the last 365 days. See you after vacation! (Click Here or View Original below)

meandmyman1(if you’d like to catch a daily #lessonsfromlent join @glimpsedglory on twitter or like Glimpsed Glory on facebook.)


Today’s blog post will not be for the faint of heart nor the person with limited reading time.  The more I thought the more that poured out on the page so if you are not in the mood for some real transparency along with blood and guts honesty you might want to wait until the next entry.  You see I am kicking around the idea that I am believing the lie that if I appear to be anything other than self-sufficiently serene then I am less than the Christian woman I “should” be.  And when I kick around an idea for me, I usually take the liberty of kicking it around for you too. I’m quite certain that I am going to have a difficult time articulating what I have been pondering so I am praying that God will take my muddled thinking and turn it into something that really…

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I Stole His Seat . . . Again!

5 Mar

I’ve had the blessing over the last weeks to participate in the Gideon Bible study written by Priscilla Shirer God truly blessed her with powerful truth to share and I have enjoyed diving into every lesson.  I so pray that God will continue to pour His good favor out on her and she will seize every opportunity to share with the rest of us all He reveals to her through the Holy Spirit.

One of the things that I love about being in a Bible study written by someone else is that for me, it doesn’t stop when the earthly author does.  God most often nudges me to go a little further and use those principles and concepts introduced as a springboard to look a bit more intently at the thing.  I’m sure it’s the same for you.  God has a personal and unique message for this season of your life just like He does mine and I don’t think He’ll stop prompting our hearts until we’ve gone where He is leading.

This week the Bible study didn’t take us to the happy place of victory with Gideon.  It took us more to the place that too often occurs in my own life.  The spot after God has shown Himself mighty, the hard work of the battle is seemingly behind me, and then it happens . . . my dependence on Him starts to shift.

So even though I’ve just seen the Hand of God move mountains afresh and be absolutely huge, my focus, my gaze, that was so firmly fixed on Him finds its way back to me. Ugh!  And there I am in the all too familiar place of fighting the urge to march off in my own direction. Beloved, don’t you wonder what in the world would prompt us to ever even entertain the idea of crawling out from under the refuge of His wing and moving out on our own say so? Do we not remember that He does everything and anything better than we could ever dream of? . . . Psalm 18:30

As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him. 

But unfortunately, I still find the gaze of my heart shifting from Him and landing squarely on me more often than I’d like. My hope is that as I walk closer and seek harder after Him, those times will continue to become fewer and farther between, but even that—that increased length of time before I display my penchant for me—is all the work of God on a weak and frail human heart.  Does His mercy not astound you and His patience not leave you stunned?  The pure Love of Him and Grace He lavishes ought to be enough to make our wandering hearts stay put.

And yet, time and again, . . .

woman gazing at reflection article no copyright noted

 we find ourselves, returning to ourselves.

Returning to ourselves to make decisions with no consultation with God about our lives.  Returning to ourselves to make choices based on what we think, never inquiring about His thoughts.  Returning to ourselves to pick and choose how we will use our resources, our time, our talents without once asking about the Kingdom Agenda.

Yes Dear One, over and over again,  . . .

Woman gazing at self

we find ourselves, returning to ourselves.

The most succinct definition for sin I have encountered is offered by author Michael E. Wittmer in the book Heaven is a place on Earth: Why Everything You Do Matters to God He simply calls it what it is:  autonomous action.  To me it hits the nail on the head.  It describes perfectly the process that takes place when we move God off the throne of our lives and take His spot as The authority, The decision maker, The ruler over our actions.  And I don’t think the definition changes no matter where you are at in your faith journey.

Any time I choose to act apart from God, to return to myself . . .it’s sin.

Woman gazing at self

Anytime I invite myself to rule over myself . . . it’s sin.

I can tell, and I bet you can too, when I’ve begun making my way into the throne room and am contemplating stealing the seat again.  It doesn’t happen all at once—no my rebellion takes place one step at a time.  And, maybe those baby steps toward our autonomous action shouldn’t surprise us because It seems to be the way it most often happens. Rarely, I think would we look sin square in the face as believers in Christ and make the choice to jump in with both feet.  More often I think it’s those incremental steps we take when our flesh is lulled by small compromise after small compromise.

Look at the way Eve was pulled closer and closer to autonomous action. . .to sinShe didn’t begin with setting herself up to judge God and decide on her own that He was wrong about the fruit.  Nope. She danced around the thing.  She thought about it.  Contemplated the appearance of it.  Entertained the wisdom of it.

And then, she fixed her gaze firmly on her and she decided.  She knew better than God.  She would be seated on the throne of her life.  She would wear the crown and be her own ruler.  She took autonomous action . . .sin.

It’s the same for me.  My own penchant for ruling me rears its ugly head.  And then there I am . . . dancing around the thing, thinking about it, contemplating the appearance of it, entertaining the wisdom of it and then, I decide. I take autonomous action . . .I sin.

And here’s the thing, the thing I choose to put on the throne, the thing I allow to rule over me may not be in and of itself a bad thing.  Leisure time is not a bad thing.  Serving the Church is not a bad thing.  Exercise is not a bad thing.  Socializing is not a bad thing.  But if I exalt any activity –even the good ones– above my relationship with God and allow it to dictate my schedule, my resources, my energy then I have placed the crown of authority on its head.  I have invited it to take the throne.

And we have to ask ourselves why?  Why would we let leisure time rule over us?  Why would we choose to be all consumed with service rather than all consumed with Him? Why forego strengthening my relationship with Him for strengthening my quad muscles?  Why choose to fritter time away on social media rather than invest in time with Him?  See what I’m saying?  When we give it authority – permission to rule over us—even the good becomes twisted because we have appointed it to be our king.

Sister, God has already appointed the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to wear that crown and any substitute we appoint will fall miserably short of our Jesus.  Let me write that again, any substitute –no matter how attractive or well justified in our own minds– will fall miserably short of our Jesus.

And this is the fringe lesson I learned from the Gideon study today . . .rulers always have descendants.

Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son’s son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.”  Judges 8:22

Here’s what I mean.  If leisure time is my ruler it will give birth to unpreparedness when the next trial or battle comes.  Should I choose to make service to the Church the priority over time with God I will be left with the son of loneliness and the grandson of emptiness because I won’t be filling myself with Him, with His Company, with His Love for me.   Establishing exercise as my king, bowing my schedule to it and pushing time with the Father to the back burner, will spawn a weak connection with God as its descendant.  And exalting social media to the throne will give birth to broken relationships and lack of fellowship with other believers. And the descendants will rule.  Passing the tarnished crown from one generation to another.  Each a bit a more firmly ensconced on the throne than the last and harder to unseat.

  • See, the cycle will never end unless I purposefully and intentionally choose my King every single day.  It will never end for you unless you purposefully and intentionally choose your King every single day.

God told Cain in the very first book of the Bible, sin is crouching at your door, and its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. We, you and I as believers in Jesus Christ, have the power to choose.

  • You have the power, I have the power, through the Holy Spirit to choose what is right – not in our own eyes – but in His.

It’s the same choice God’s people have always faced.  Who will rule over you? Joshua challenged the Israelites to make the choice with words that should absolutely sting our souls . . .Joshua 24:15

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.

And we should drop to our knees praising God for Jesus who not only rules as our King but infuses us with the Holy Spirit who desires to choose what is right and holy in our lives.  Because Girlfriend, the date may have changed but the choice has not . . .

  • But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day who will rule over you.  Only you can decide.  Only you can choose.

Sister, may we yield to no other this day. May we purposefully choose Christ over the gods of the land in which we live and bow only to Him.  May we bend the knee in holy submission and declare for all the heavenlies to hear that He and He alone is the Ruler of our lives.  May we pledge our undying devotion and love to the One and Only King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  And may we do so every day – reserving the throne and crown for only Him.

Revelation 19:16

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