Tag Archives: God

Beauty Speaks . . .A Sister’s Story

15 Oct

Beauty . . . you are alive and well. The image of the Beautiful One is surrounding us and we are engulfed in its heartbeat. His grace, His love, His steadfastness . . . every single attribute He possesses has been placed inside of His most prized creation. Sister, that most favored status belongs to you.

Your life, if you have accepted Jesus Christ, is being renewed and transformed to reveal more and more of the beauty the Elohim, the “All of God”, created you to possess. And we, with unveiled faces, move about this life going through the trials, the tests, the difficult stuff and we come away with a greater confidence and certainty that He is with us, that He is good and we are precious in His sight.

We confront the questions to be sure . . . Is our God a Giver or a taker? Does the Delightful One truly delight in me? Has He forgotten His promise to work all things together for the good of those who love Him? It’s part of the process. We question, we pray, we cry . . . but we do not withdraw when “good” doesn’t look like we think it will and “beauty” gets messy.

And when He clears our vision, reaching down into the depths, pulling us to the top so we can breathe, opening our eyes to see just a slice of what He is doing . . . Beloved, we scarce can take it in.

That’s the place my Sweet Friend found herself in just a short time ago . . .the place where God peeled back the worries of this world and showed His splendor just for her. She gave me permission to share her story, but no matter how I tried I couldn’t bring the words together in a way that captured her heart and the way His love absolutely flowed over her in those moments. See I think that no matter how up close you have watched someone, walked with someone, or done life with someone – you can’t really tell their story quite like they can.

I so wish you could sit face to face with her, see the tears in the corners of her eyes as she spoke—because the tears would be there believe me—and hear her voice take on the hush of holiness as she poured her heart out and marveled at His goodness, but that’s just not possible.  So instead, she’s allowing me to share her story in her words. She wrote this originally as an encouragement to the Sisters she studies the Word with – a tangible way to put skin on 1 Thessalonians 2:8 sharing of our very selves—not anticipating the invitation to encourage a much larger audience.

creation swap glimpses1 Paul Snyder 10439 ribbetSo, being affectionately desirous of you,

we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God

but also our own selves,

because you had become very dear to us.

 1 Thessalonians 2:8

True to the image she was created in she has answered the call to come alongside us and let us glimpse God’s glory with her. May He bless her one-hundred fold for giving voice to His goodness and testifying to His love. My Sweet Friend, thank you for living and loving out loud in Jesus Name. You are tangible proof to me that beauty thrives in a fallen world. Blessings to you.

creation swap coffee cup painting beauty lori macmath 9079 ribbet

OUR SISTER’S STORY

You all know I was on a long journey with my Mom as she was dying. TammyandherMomma ribbetIt was one of the hardest journeys God has ever taken me on.  I lost her in December of last year.

Facebook Post from her Momma’s bedside–December 4, 2013

Sitting here with my Mom during the last hours of her journey here on earth. It’s strange how they usher us into this life and we get to usher them into eternity. Wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. What a blessing to hold her hand through it all.

tammy'sjacob ribbetSoon after that my son Jacob’s caregiver, (Jacob has Down’s Syndrome) that worked for us around 4 years, was engaged and got married in April.  So she left us too.  She is like a daughter to me so I was so happy for her but it was a big loss.tammymikejosh graduation ribbet

Then Jacob’s twin brother Josh graduated in June and left for college on September 1.  Honestly I wasn’t sure I would make it through all of these losses.

I had a few months where I didn’t leave the house much.  The massive amounts of snow were a good excuse to stay home.  I did pray and read my devotional and even sometimes my Bible during this time.  I had awesome sisters that kept praying, bringing coffee and checking on me.

As spring came and the sun….I felt God so close.  Just as I had in my Mom’s last days.  I slowly started moving again and getting involved in life.  It was a very long process but as I shared with my counselor and my girls, God had told me to be still when my Mom had died.  I was still but the pain was so overwhelming sometimes.

We had to help Josh decide on a college.  This was so hard.  To guide but not insist or pressure.  God gave us such wisdom and patience.  I knew where I felt he should go as soon as we hit the campus but Josh wasn’t sure.  It also cost way more than we could afford.  I kept praying Lord is this the place?  Show us, tell us, we want to obey.  By May, Josh had decided it would be Spring Arbor, my choice too.  Then God provided the money we needed.  It was amazing.  All that he did to show us his answer.

Anyway, as summer ended we packed Josh up.  We arrived on campus and were overwhelmed with God’s goodness. From each person we met to how smoothly things unfolded.  We had never met Josh’s roommate but quickly knew they were a match.  His mother and I stood in the hall listening to the RA and Spiritual advisor for the boys tell us their hearts for these boys and how they wanted to encourage and guide them.  Amazing.

After lunch we went back to the dorm.  Drew, Joshua’s roommate, was talking to someone and I heard him comment

“That can’t be true because I am adopted.”  I looked up and said “Drew, your adopted?”  “Yes”  he said.  I said “Wow, Josh is too.  Did you know that?”  “No, I didn’t”.

When I looked up at his Mom and Dad they were both smiling.  His Dad asked me when we had adopted the boys.  I told him August of 1996 from Christian Cradle.  They smiled bigger….

”I approved your adoption” he said.

“I was on the board of Christian Cradle at that time.”

tammy'sboysbaby ribbet

I couldn’t even speak.  I actually held my hands up to God and started talking.

‘You have planned this since the beginning of time…you knew these two boys would meet today and that we would find out this information.  Unbelievable!!!!”

I said to them “Can I just say thank you…”

What a confirmation!  God told me in no uncertain terms that Josh was supposed to be there at that very moment.

He is more than I can even put into words.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Savior of the World, the Lover of the Soul.  Every intricate detail…from greatest to least.  He has filled me with more hope and joy this Fall than I ever thought possible.  PRAISE HIS NAME!!!!

I don’t know about you but I can’t read the words of that Sweet Sister without the tears rolling down my cheeks. Was it easy? Absolutely not. Was it beautiful? It absolutely was. It might not have been our idea of what beauty looks like but when He peeled that curtain back and she got to see His tenderness, love, and care toward her – Beauty was speechless.

In all those years, God was storing up that moment and treasuring it in His heart until the very time she needed it most. That’s Who He is. Regardless of what our eyes see or how messy our lives may be –

the Beautiful One never ceases to work for the good of those who love Him.

What goodness, what treasure, do you suppose, Beautiful Sister, He is storing up for you? Where might you be, what storms might you have endured, when He peels back the curtain and reveals to you His splendor? I don’t know when that moment might come. We have no way of pinpointing the time when He will show His tenderness so plainly . . . the time when we will glimpse His glory and we will be left speechless. But we have heard this testimony and we know He is faithful so we can be certain Girlfriend –the time will come and His Glory will be seen!

tammyjoshcollege1ribbet

And we know that for those who love God

all things work together for good,

for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

Circumstances Do Not Change . . . We Do!

28 Jan

Our circumstances envelope us.  They engulf us.  They consume us.  Too often my circumstances pull my actions and my attention to places I never intended to visit.  I find myself in the middle of my own mind commotion solving issues, mulling conflicts, and traveling a general thought path that serves no one well.  I’ve written some posts over the last year describing some of the circumstances that have occurred in life and I pray that I have highlighted the activity of the Extraordinary in the life of the very ordinary residents of Biddinger Boulevard.

If God’s drawn you to Glimpsed Glory on other occasions you know that my Man has been a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the nipple line down, for the last 20 years. And you also know that even though he’s been in that chair for all these years, in my eyes, he stands taller than any man I know.

meandmylovefortyeight

For “his population” (a term we learned early in his rehabilitation which is never followed by what most would consider favorable statistics) his health has been good.  He’s in constant pain that the doctor’s can’t pinpoint the source of because his spinal cord doesn’t transmit the pain signals the way it should anymore.  He takes enough medicine to choke a horse on a daily basis to try and control a body that just won’t behave the way he wants it to.  And the joints in his shoulders ache constantly from using them to walk.  But for “his population” . . . .Brett

And again, if God has drawn you to Glimpsed Glory before you are aware that my Man is my biggest protector and the Warrior on my WallHe takes up the sword of God’s word and swings it with a surgeon’s precision in prayer every single day.  Over and over and over again –every day—he takes up his position on that wall and he fights.  I wrote these words about him during a hospital stay in March and they are every bit as true today.

That’s who my man is.  Behind the spine that won’t cooperate with his brain anymore, past the legs that will not listen to the signal to move, beyond the hands that refuse to obey his command . . HE IS A WARRIOR.  He is a protector.  He is about the business of listening to the Commander and standing guard at the wall so that his family and friends can safely go to their own work.  Every day, as surely as you rise from your bed and check off the tasks on your to-do-list, my man arises, grabs his sword and takes up his station. Oh how I praise God for the commitment He has given Brett to fight. (Warrior on My Wall, March 8)

God has truly raised Brett up to be a force for His Kingdom but that just wasn’t the way the whole thing began.  We weren’t believers when Brett was injured.  I have no doubt, Brett has no doubt, that the Hand and the Heart of God were definitely with us, but we were most certainly not with Him.

No, Sister, my Warrior and I did not begin this journey acknowledging Christ as our Comfort, our Sustainer, or our FriendIn fact, we began this journey by running from it.  We ran as hard as we could to try and get away from the reality of it all.  It was so much to take in without Jesus.  Everything changed.  Nothing was normal.  We had no direction. . . . but we still ran.

It won’t serve you well or edify you in any way to share all the details of that time period, but this will encourage your heart.

No matter how hard we tried to escape our reality,

now matter how far we ran . . .

it was not further than the Heart of God was willing to go.

In all of our running, He was still pursuing us.  He met me, He met Brett, knee deep in our circumstances.  Some we had created ourselves and others we had not.  Regardless of the origin of our situation, God appeared.  He swooped down from heaven and He saved us. He intervened in ways that can only be described as miraculous because Girlfriend . . . that is what He does because that is Who He is.  He is the God who does not change and the Savior who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Consider Hagar who reacted badly to a bad situation and ran from the reality of her circumstance.

And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. Genesis 16:4-6

But she could not flee further than the Heart of God was willing to go.

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. Genesis 16:7

Consider Moses who killed an Egyptian and he ran from the reality of his sin.

One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. 12 He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together. And he said to the man in the wrong, “Why do you strike your companion?” 14 He answered, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” 15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well.  Exodus 2:11-15

But he could not outrun the Heart of God.

Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.  Exodus 3:1-2

And then there is Peter who denied the Messiah he professed to love and fled the courtyard filled with shame.

 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” 71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:69-75

But he could not flee the Love of Messiah.

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. John 21:1

From the Old Testament to the New, God’s children have been running from their realities, fleeing from their circumstances, only to find that His Heart willingly comes after them.  And Sister, He does not change.

He will appear, He will find, He will speak to His children in the midst of it all and He will open our hearts so we can discern His Presence, hear His voice and truly see Him.

Hagar’s eyes were opened and she saw the One who sees her.  Her heart was opened and she knew the One that fixed His Heart on her . . .

So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,”for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Genesis 16:13

Moses turned to see the fire of God and His ears were opened to His call.  His heart was opened to respond “Here I am” to the Great I AM. . .

When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Exodus 3:4

And Peter, who had gone out in disgrace, followed a heart that prompted him to run to Jesus. . . .

That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. John 21:7

And Beloved, when the Lord of Lord and King of Kings meets us where we are—no matter what has brought us there –and stirs our hearts toward Him, that’s when change takes place. When He reveals the Who of Him, when He allows us to glimpse His Glory, and when He peels back the veil so that we may see Him that, Dear One, is when change occurs . . .

not a change in our circumstance, a change in us.

Hagar saw the One who sees her and was directed back to her mistress.  Moses heard the Voice from the flames and was told to return to EgyptPeter ate with the Messiah and was told go “feed my sheep.”

Their circumstances were not changed but their hearts were.

Oh Beloved, this is my story.  This is my Warrior’s story.  As badly as he wanted to flee from his reality, as hard as he ran, He could not go further than the Heart of God was willing to go.

The Lord Himself jumped from the pages of His Word and opened the eyes of Brett’s heart to see Him.  He did not heal Brett’s spinal cord, but He healed His heart.  He did not restore his legs, but He restored His soul.  He did not return Brett’s finger function, but He wrapped those hands that would not cooperate in the earthly realm tightly around that Warrior Sword for the heavenly battle.  And he did not raise Brett up from that chair, but He did raise Him to life.

Brett’s circumstances did not, have not, changed . . . but he has.  The one who ran from the Lord now stakes out His position on the wall and stands firm.  The one who fled now fights.  All because the One to whom the battle belongs revealed Himself as the Giver of Brett’s strength, his defense, and His salvation.

Sword-Of-The-Spirit-941650Exodus 15:2-3

“The Lord is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a warrior;
the Lord is his name.

Do you see the Love of it all?

In His Sovereignty, He may or He may not remove us from our circumstances, only He knows what will serve the Kingdom plan best, but Sweet One whatever your reality is, however far you may have run, you can count on the Heart of God to come looking.  And if He sends us back to our circumstance, we can be absolutely certain that we do not go alone nor do we return to simply “gut it out” in His Name.  He did not save us and then leave us to hang on by our fingernails and grit our teeth until Glory.  No Girlfriend. 

If He sends us back, we return changed.  We return more than conquerors. . . equipped for the battle . . . with His promises in our hands and His Glory at our backs.   We return, from however far we ran, having been found by the Heart of the Living God,  ready not only to survive, but dare I say, to thrive!

Grab a Hard Hat Sister . . . The Walls are Tumbling Down!

9 Nov

Why do you think it might be that we can be zipping right along in life feeling as if we couldn’t get any closer to the Spirit without going Home and then . . . . wham!  A nasty brick wall rises up in front of us, seemingly out of nowhere.   We hit that thing so hard that we aren’t certain we’ll ever get up.   Our heads spin and we can feel blood seeping from an open wound or two.   We hear one side of our brain screaming, “Get up, we need some help!” and the other part is shouting just as loudly “Stay down. Nurse those wounds alone.”  And you find yourself in the middle of mind commotion that is all too familiar.

Why is it “all too familiar”?  Because that nasty brick wall did not come from nowhere.  If we’re honest—willing to look closely, willing to really gaze upon the thing–I’m betting we’ll find that that wall was carefully crafted by our own heart.  Constructed one brick at a time in all manner of circumstances, with all kinds of reactions and emotions.

No matter how early in life we accepted Christ we still had time to build that wall and it’s possible that the construction continued well into our faith walk.  I know for myself, I carried my wall building patterns right into my life as a Christian and it took years to tear down those barriers.  Even now, after 17 years of full out acceptance of the Truth, I still find my heart tempted to reach for a brick when I feel hurt and vulnerable.

Think about it for a moment.  Where does that brick wall spring from?  Fear of rejection?  Fear of exclusion?  Fear of loneliness? Fear of ____________?  Where might the building process have begun?

Maybe these ugly threats lived in your home.  Home should be where unconditional love thrives in every circumstance but maybe instead, you found that acceptance and tenderness were very conditional.  Withdrawn at the smallest infraction; restored when some measure of favor returned.   And you left that home of unpredictable affection with your bricks in place, only to find that the world was no different.

Perhaps you experienced these things in your school days.  Left out, left behind, disregarded . . . yet, you had some notion that when you left that environment those challenges would fall by the wayside.  Only to enter into adulthood and find that kids aren’t the only ones who are thoughtless and unkind.  And with certainty you reinforce each row in your growing barricade.

So we walled ourselves in and walled others out—sometimes purposefully and other times reactively.  brickmortarOne brick at a time – no one can hurt us because no one can get near us.  And we used the slights, hurts, and fears of this world as mortar to hold our wall together and convince ourselves that the pain of self-imposed isolation was far preferable to the pain on the other side.  Self-protection is a powerful motivator.

It might be, as much as it pains me to write it, that you have encountered these same unloving circumstances inside the Church.  The one place you were certain would be your safe haven was not.  The place was filled with imperfect people who acted from their imperfection.  They slighted you.  They excluded you.  They hurt you.  They gave you reason to keep those walls you so carefully fashioned standing tall.

And although the preceding words were painful, the ones that follow sear my heart more deeply than any other I will write in this post:  I might have been the one.  I might have been the one to make you feel excluded.  I might have been the one to slight you and leave you behind.  I might have been the one who made you feel less-than and unworthy.  The one who placed the brick in your hand and pushed you to build your fortress even higher.

I know without a doubt there were times when my actions told my child that she did not deserve my affection.  I am certain that I hurt others on many occasions by acting as if they didn’t belong.  And I know that the imperfect actions of this imperfect woman kept the Church from being the safe Haven Christ died to make it.  I wish those statements weren’t accurate, but they are. And Beloved, please don’t be offended, but might it be that you have been a brick provider on an occasion or two as well?

The truth of it is, no matter whom you encounter or where, you can be certain that they have been busy with their own bricks.  They have diligently constructed their walls based on their own experiences and the imperfect actions of imperfect people have made their structures strong.    So when you do life together, no matter where it is, the place is crowded.  You, them, and everyone’s collective bricks all fighting for the same space.

The irony of it is that we want to be together.  We want to do life side-by-side.  The walls we have created are not supposed to be there.  I say that so confidently because it’s the way God designed us.  We were meant to be in fellowship with one another.

He intended that my desire to follow Him would lead to my refining and I would be the deliverer of fewer and fewer bricks–I will sin less and less if I am abiding in Him. He desires for you to leave your fear behind, step out and follow Him.  He wants us to stop relying on our walls to protect us and to begin depending on His heart.

I constructed the walls of separation—not God.

I have put every brick in place—not God.

But here’s the beautiful thing, I am not clever enough, smart enough or strong enough to build a wall that will stand in the face of LOVE.  Girlfriend, neither are you.  God Himself has declared our freedom from fear –His Perfect Love Drives It Out. God Himself has opened the Door –step out and follow Love. Sweet One, you ask your Savior to set you free, you believe that He will make the way, and then you lace up your demolition boots and pull your hard hat down tight – because the walls are about to fall!

God is Dynamite

Love Reaches Out and I’m Reaching Up

6 Oct

Unfortunately, the health issues I described in The God of More. . . .Much More have continued to challenge me and the all the sweet people I do life with. The follow-up tests revealed more areas for concern and the Biddinger Crew were, to say the least, taken a little off guard by the results. Maybe you’ve noticed the lack of posts in the last bit.  I honestly haven’t known what to say.  Not on the blog and not in life.  I can’t really put into words the gamut of emotions I have run as I have considered it all but I can share with you that they have pooled in my eyes and rolled down my cheeks on more than one occasion.  So, I’ve kind of withdrawn so that my tears aren’t misinterpreted or used by the enemy to shake another’s faith.  Does that make sense?

See, I truly am thankful for the opportunity to find out if I live what I say and to have my faith grow.  I look back and I see how tenderly God has been preparing me for this and He gave me the added blessing of writing much of it down on Glimpsed Glory.  Unchallenged = Unchanged.  God’s revelation of the well to Hagar.  The unimaginable inheritance of Rahab.  His absolute “Thereness”.  The list goes on.  He has set my feet firmly in His Word.  Praise His Holy Name.

Heart-in-BibleBut as thankful as I am and as certain that I am that this trial will serve His purpose, I confess that I wonder what it’s going to look like and how many times I’m going to have to remind myself that my thoughts are not the same as His – His are always better.  How often will I repeat Paul’s words that I may be hard pressed but I am not crushed, I may be perplexed but I am not in despair because my Jesus is with me?  I don’t know.  And I don’t want to over dramatize because I have no idea how it will all shake out.  It might turn out to be not much and it might turn out to be much.  I don’t know.

But He does and in the midst of it all, I have felt a quiet joy and steadfast love that can only come from Him.  I’ve heard myself thank Him for the trial and the chance to cling to Him.  What a blessing.  I know that the desire to praise and walk strong are gifts straight from His Holy Heart because apart from Him that Spirit of joy and strength just doesn’t live in me.  Probably doesn’t make much sense to someone looking from the outside, but Him blessing me with the chance to stand firm in Him gives me such a sense of His good pleasure falling on me. I sense His Presence in a different way.

And He has gone to such amazing lengths to reach out to me and talk to me – heart to heart.  He has listened to my prayers and lavished me with peace.  He heard my crying and whispered love over me.  He truly has spoken my language through the tenderness of the Saints and His Word.  He KNOWS me and He has met me, with Grace abounding and Love immeasurable, at every turn.

Sweet Friend, Dear One, Beloved in the Faith, He wants you to take Him, to take His Word, personally.  He KNOWS you.  His eye does not fall simply on mankind in a general way.  His attention and His affection are firmly fixed on you.  I know this to be true because I have heard His Voice in the pages of His Word.  Seek Him.  Reach for Him. He will be found.

PSALM 66

Shout with joy to God, all the earth!

Sing the glory of his name;

Make his praise glorious!

Father I join with all creation to declare that you are El Roi – the God who sees me.  You are Jehovah-Jireh the God who provides for me.  You, Lord, are my Banner and I will praise Your Name.

Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!

Bless Your Holy Name for the miracles You have done O Lord. I give you blessing and glory and honor for my rescue, my salvation and my rest. Too numerous are the mighty works you have performed to count, but I acknowledge that every good thing comes from Your nail-scarred Hand.

So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.

For You made a public spectacle of them and crushed the head of death at the cross.  How your enemy must have cowered as you emerged victorious from the tomb.  In the Name of Jesus, I am protected from the evil one and all of creation will be delivered when He speaks.

All the earth bows down to you;

They sing praise to you,

They sing praise to your name.

I join in nature’s resound and day and night my mouth will pour forth your praise.  I will declare Your Glory and testify to the work of Your Hands as faithfully as the voice of the skies proclaim them.  I believe you Lord to be YOU.

Come and see what God has done,

How awesome his works in man’s behalf!

I am utterly amazed at the soul restoration You have blessed this woman with.  Your grace abounds — unending and undeserved.  You lavish me with love and call me child.  Oh Lord, if I had been told of the miracles you would perform in my heart, it would have been to wonderful for me to comprehend.  May I never tire of saying “Come and see what He has done with a wretch like me.”

He turned the sea into dry land,

They passed through the waters on foot—

Come, let us rejoice in him.

There is no challenge I face larger than you.  Though the water may threaten on every side I trust that Your Holy Hand will not let a drop fall on me without purpose.  And I rejoice that nothing is impossible for my God and all things are possible for those who believe.  Help me overcome my unbelief Lord.

He rules forever by his power,

His eyes watch the nations—

Let not the rebellious rise up against him.

Despite what my human eyes perceive You are not now nor have you ever been struggling with the enemy.  Your power knows no bounds and cannot be constrained.  Your watchful eye is always firmly fixed upon me as surely as it is the nations. Your attention and Your affection never change. Let no rebellious thought convince me otherwise.

Praise our God, O peoples,

Let the sound of his praise be heard;

He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.

For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.

Let the display of the work You have done in my life cause those You have blessed me with to give you praise.  You have indeed set my feet on solid ground and fixed my feet firmly on the path.  Your Word has strengthened my steps and you have blessed me with the chance to look my faith in the face.  Your Presence has made me strong. Your love has steadied me.

You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.

You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water,

but you brought us to a place of abundance.

This temporal skin cannot hold captive Your glory nor can any physical limitation restrain Your Spirit.  How wonderful that this fire has come and this water washed over me so that my faith may grow and be proved genuine to my own heart and to those around me.  I KNOW that You are who You say You are and I will live hemmed in by Your Faithfulness.  It is the place of true abundance.

I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you—

vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble.

I will sacrifice fat animals to you and an offering of rams; I will offer bulls and goats.

The sacrifice of bulls and rams is not necessary for me because the Blood of my Jesus has done it all.  He has shielded me with Grace and welcomed me into the Most Holy Place to rest under the refuge of Your wings.  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.  I am secure in Your Presence.

Come and listen, all you who fear God;

let me tell you what he has done for me.

The Blood of Love has paid my price.  The Blood of Love has made me new.  Let all the heavenlies hear, the Blood of Love has given me life. Though I have not seen Him, I love Him and my heart is filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.  I have heard the Voice of Love and my heart has been set free.

I cried out to him with my mouth;

his praise was on my tongue.

The fears of my heart flowed from my mouth and I offered Him thanks that nothing takes Him off guard and that He is always at work for my good.  I praised His Name and He gave me peace that surpassed my understanding to guard my heart and my mind.

If I had cherished sin in my heart,

the Lord would not have listened;

but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.

Oh how I thank you Lord that You do not give up on me.  You continue to shine your light on my life and heal every disease that is revealed.  There is no condemnation.  There is no shame.  For You listen to me O Lord and You whisper Love to my soul. You do not reject me.  You withhold nothing.  You open your arms wide and embrace me with LOVE.

Praise be to God,

who has not rejected my prayer or

withheld his love from me!

girlwitharmsup

Seek Him.  Reach for Him. He will be found.

He Healed Me

9 Sep

greenleaf

Oh my Father, my Ever-Watching,

Constantly-Attentive Father,

How do I praise You enough?

 How can my finite mind give blessing to the Infinite?

You have made me like a tree planted

by streams of water whose leaf will not wither.

YOU HAVE REFRESHED MY SOUL.

greenleafhealed1

I handed you my every fear,

one by one, name by name.

You gave me peace.

My trembling voice called to You.

 You answered me with steady assurance,

“I AM HERE.”

With tear-stained cheeks,

I confessed my anxious thoughts.

You leaned in close

and whispered to my heart,

“Child, give your anxiety to me.”

YOU HAVE CARED FOR ME.

greenleafcare

My wounded spirit did not hide from You,

In the Name of Grace, You stooped from the Heavenlies,

 and breathed new life to my soul.

You strengthened me.

You calmed my spirit.

You spurred me forward

and made me strong.

My heart is secure in the shadow of Your wing.

YOU HEALED ME.

greenleafhealed

A Day in the Caboose!

14 May

We’ve looked at some pretty heavy stuff the last couple posts and, to be truthful life itself has been quite heavy since the last writing, so what I really feel the desire to do today is just roll around in His goodness.  Some days you just have to pull a little closer to Glory and ride there for a bit.  What say we leave the temporal worries and anxieties, the hurts and the can’t-do-a-thing-abouts sitting on the curb for this day and ease out into the freedom lane with the Spirit?

I know Facts are the engine of my Faith and Feelings aren’t always accurate indicators of the spiritual reality, but for this particular moment I’m giving myself permission to get swept up in the Godness of Him and simply enjoy feeling like He is with me. These kinds of days are necessary for me.  I need times when I can indulge my emotions and let myself feel lavished in His love.  Times when I can look past the urgent of this planet and imagine life from a heavenly point of view.   Times when I can entertain what it will feel like to walk in Glory.  In other words, I need days when I can just be the caboose!

I have a wonderful friend who is married to a gentleman with a penchant for her, God’s truth, and a whiteboard. One of his favorite illustrations depicts a train engine marked Facts, followed by a car with Faith written on it, and finally, a caboose with the word Feelings.  The idea of the drawing is that we can’t let our feelings dictate our faith or diagnose our spiritual condition.   It’s right on the mark and I love them for their team teaching efforts to make this knowledge part of my freedom walk because it has given me the tenacity to stand firm in truth many times when I didn’t “feel” like it. But just for today I’m going to hang off the back of the caboose, wave my arms around, and drink in the Sonshine.

Lessons from Kim and Rod

Lessons from Kim and Rod

I’m going to let the wonder-if-I-did-that-right thoughts all slip away and replace it with being thrilled that my obedience brings Him joy.  I’m not going to fret about what will come from the maybe-I-should’ve-said-that-differently moments or let myself be weighed down by the hope-I-didn’t-overstep-my-boundaries-there conversations.   Instead, I’m going to let my heart dance at the idea that the One I have my eyes fixed on never takes His eyes off me.  I’m going to celebrate the notion that the One I find too beautiful for words is enthralled with my beauty.  I’m going to get all caught up in the absolute giddiness I feel when I picture Him as my Mighty Warrior and myself as the chick with a sword at His side.

I could gush on and on, and believe me I’m totally fighting the urge to do so.  It feels so good to have the smile spread across my face and my eyes crinkle for no other reason except I am thinking of Him.  It’s been too long since I have thrown off everything that hinders and just run with the Spirit.  Yesterday in my devotions, I was reading about Hagar who was facing some massive challenges in her life to say the least.  She had been sent away from her home with a young son, some food strapped to her back,  and a canteen of water.  As they wandered in the desert, the water ran out and she was certain her boy was going to die.  I can’t imagine the helplessness and despair she must of felt as she placed Ishmael under that shrub to die.  Imagine how gut-wrenching her sobs must have been as she sat down a distance away from him and just waited for the inevitable.  And then . . . God intervenes.  The One she had called El Roi (the One who Sees) at another well in the desert had never taken His eyes off her.

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. . . .

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.

Genesis 21:19 (The Message)

See the sweetness of Him?  He opened her eyes to see His provision.  He gave her exactly what she needed, right when she needed it, and He gave her eyes to see the blessing.  There is so much more in that passage to look at.  Such significance in the well.  Such parallels between Hagar the slave girl and the Samaritan Woman who felt the unconditional love of Christ in the Gospel of John.  But those are for another day.  Today, we’re just loving being with Him.

Yes Sisters, let’s enjoy our day in the caboose.  But here’s the truth of it.  A day of celebration in the caboose would go nowhere without that engine. No hair would be flying around in the wind of the Spirit.  No cool breeze of freedom would blow across our souls.   There would only be sitting at the depot feeling erratic gusts of air now and then. Only the engine, the absolute TRUTH of who He is and the LOVE He lavishes on us, will get that caboose moving.  And only feelings that match the truth of His character are worth celebrating.

I came to the train station years ago with more baggage than I can describe.  I stood on the platform with all my sin stacked around me.  God met me in my need and said, “I see you child, get on board.”  He’s not left me unattended once.  He has never taken His eyes off me.  And when I have days filled with challenges, and maybe even despair, He opens my eyes and shows me the well of His goodness.  He fills my canteen with the truth of His blessings, invites me to the caboose, and lets me enjoy a long, cool drink.

Girlfriend, He will not be bothered a bit should you choose to hang off the back of the caboose in celebration today. And if you’re just not “feeling” like it, ask Him to open your eyes and show you the well.  The Fact is that our Faith in the One who is the Living Water will never leave us Feeling thirsty!  Oh, how I love that His well will not run dry!

Some Interesting Information:

  • El Roi: wonderful expansion and exploration of the Title — http://www.preceptaustin.org/el_roi_-_god_who_sees.htm
  • The Message:  The goal of The Message is to engage people in the reading process and help them understand what they read. This is not a study Bible, but rather “”a reading Bible.”” The verse numbers, which are not in the original documents, have been left out of the print version to facilitate easy and enjoyable reading. The original books of the Bible were not written in formal language. The Message tries to recapture the Word in the words we use today. http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Message-MSG-Bible/
<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: