Tag Archives: observe

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


He Never Leaves Us Empty

11 Jan

Day 11 of the New Year.

Most have probably stopped reflecting on 2013 by now and begun carving out life in 2014.  Me, I don’t even have our Christmas decorations down yet.  Truth is, I like our home with the glow of it all and, more truth, I haven’t stopped reflecting yet either. I’m basking in the glow of 2013 every bit as certainly as I am our still-lit Christmas tree.

Christmas on the Boulevard

Christmas on the Boulevard

It wasn’t an easy year.  In, fact it was a hard one.  And I’m not just talking about the things that occurred on the outside of my skinI’m talking about all the things He brought me face-to-face with on the inside of my skin. . . haughtiness, jealousy, pharasitical thinking.  But Oh, the refining work that God has begun in this Girl!

He confirmed for me again that I am of such importance to Him that He will not allow me to be stagnant in my faith or to settle for less-than.  He made it possible for me to glimpse His Glory and go places in my Promised Land that I never would have gone without the trials that left their footprints all over Biddinger Boulevard in 2013. Part of who I am has started to look a little bit more like Who He is because of the challenges my soul has faced and, Sister, that quiet joy . . . the peace of knowing that He is involved in it all, that He desires more for me. . . well, that’s worth everything.  I think it’s part of what God was saying through the Apostle Peter in His opening chapter.

 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while

you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 

These have come so that your faith

of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–

may be proved genuine

and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Though you have not seen him, you love him;

and even though you do not see him now, you believe in

him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy…

1 Peter 1:7-8 (NIV, 1984)

Isn’t it beautiful?  I’m coming out on the other side of 2013 with a knowledge of what I believe to the marrow of my bones and what I still want to fully believe with every part of my heart but might be just lingering in my head.  Do you see that?  God already knows, nothing needs to be proven to the Omniscient One. The trials don’t reveal a thing to Him.  He already knows it all.  It’s me who walks away with more than I walked in with. 1pet172

You see, there’s a concept that God has rolled through my mind over and over the last couple of years and I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the next piece of understanding it.  The concept is plunder. Not a common word and not a common notion in our dispensation of time but I think I was blessed to live it this past year.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance links the verb plunder with to “strip away” and the noun counterpart connects to the word “booty.” And it seems to me, no matter what the form –verb or noun—it’s always connected to a battle or to captivity. The Israelites had been enslaved and oppressed by the Egyptians for 400 years when God appointed Moses to lead them out.  They had been subjected to harsh conditions and brutal treatment but God had not forgotten them nor did He plan to set them free from their captivity empty handed.  No.  God decimated the Egyptians and sent His children toward the Promised Land weighed down with plunder–silver, gold, clothing.

Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.  Exodus 12:35-36

As the Israelites walked the dry ground, a wall of water to the left and wall of water to the right, their hands were full of what God had provided.  Every foot that touched down on the other side of the Red Sea emerged not only free from their oppressors but possessing their wealth as well. That’s so God.  He wasn’t content to simply free His people, He blessed them with abundance as well.

But all too quickly the Israelites looked back toward Egypt, the place of their oppression and began to romanticize their enslavement.  They grumbled about their freedom, complained about their blessings, and longed to return to the land of their captivity.

The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we used to eat FREE in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.” Numbers 11:4-6

Wow Sister!  Talk about rose colored glasses and distorted vision.  How could they remember anything in the land of their slavery having been FREE?  Did they not recall the miraculous ways God intervened to deliver them?  Had they forgotten the plunder God had sent them out with?  Were they really so unwilling to remember the pain of their captivity that they would risk returning by choosing to believe the comfort of the lies?

They hadn’t even faced an enemy from without yet and they were already considering surrendering to the enemy within.

Galatians 5:1

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep

standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1

Beloved, is this beginning to touch a heart string  with you?  Is it possible that in 2013 you emerged from a land of captivity?  That you walked between the wall of water on the left and the wall of water on the right and set your feet on the other side declaring freedom in His Holy Name?  Did you hold in your hands, maybe for the first time ever . . . peace, trust, assurance, confidence?  Was your heart full of the God of More but now you find yourself looking backward and wondering?

Girlfriend, see it for what it was.  Don’t let the unknown of freedom pull you back to the misery of captivity.  Fix your eyes on the One leading the way and trust the God who set you free.

He did not bring you out empty handed.  He loaded you down with one blessing after another.

fruitofspiritBut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,

kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;

against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

But we cannot be afraid to remember the truth of where we have been and what He has delivered us from.  I have to remember the sting of realizing the haughtiness that lived in my heart.  I must be willing to recall the pain of the jealousy that was devouring me from the inside out.  I have to look at the ugliness of my pharasitical thinking.  And you can fill in whatever has held you captive . . .we must remember. 

Not in a put-ourselves-above-Jesus-can’t-forgive-myself kind of way, but in a way that puts the spotlight on our Redeemer and keeps us from believing that apart from Him there is any good thing living in any one of us. I heard a Bible teacher once warn against developing spiritual amnesia, I think she was spot on.  If we don’t remember the captivity we may fail to remember the rescue.   And the plunder that once thrilled our souls, the freedom to hold our heads high, well. . . it might begin to seem ordinary or worse, we might begin to believe we deserve it.

So you might not and I might not have the whole concept of plunder, spiritual plunder, figured out.  But Girlfriend, if we shrink back from staring our struggles, our challenges and our battles straight in the face . . . we’re in danger of returning to our captivity and that Sweet One is not what your God intended when He planted your beautiful feet on this planet. 

You were set free to live life to the Full . . . (John 10:10)

Your Soul Full of Freedom . . . . (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Your Hands Full of Plunder and . . . (Deuteronomy 28:8)

Your Heart Full of Him.


. . . to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge;

that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:19

Making our Mark on the New Year

5 Jan

So, how has the New Year been so far?  It’s only day 5 of 2014 but I’ll admit to you that some of things I determined to do, to be resolute in, have already been difficult.  See, I took my own suggestions from the last blog.  I went to Bible Gateway and chose the 90 day reading plan.  I set up a separate e-mail folder to file and categorize the Girlfriends in God devotional that I receive daily.  I bought two new packs of neon index cards and I downloaded the Bible Gateway app onto my phone.  And now, for me, is the difficult part – following through!

I love the set-up of things.  The newness of the organization holds so many possibilities.  And the lists and plans look pretty to me all written down with exact lettering and arranged just so.  Might be because I’m writing from Michigan and we’re getting another snowstorm, but the “best laid plans” remind me of an overnight snowfall.

You look out the window and it’s beautiful.britt winter1

Pristine.  Fresh.  New.  Not a mark on it.


That’s how my calendar looks to me when I finish writing down the Scripture passages I want to read each day.  Or my index cards look after I write down the verses I want to memorize and put them in order of the way I want to go after them.  They’re beautiful.  Pristine.  Fresh. New.  Not a mark on them.

But eventually, someone has to leave the house, go get the mail, take the trash to the end of the drive—and there are the marks.  Tire tracks left behind to run an errand.  Cloddy old boot prints to the mailbox.  Trash bag drag marks cutting from the garage to the edge of the road.  And the unmarred beauty disappears.

Same with my 90 day calendar and my Scripture reading.  I have this perfect scenario dreamed up in my mind about the beautiful way it all unfolds at the beginning of each fresh, pristine, new day.  There I am sitting at my desk with a studious look on my face and a steaming cup of coffee by my side.  I’ve showered and have my make-up applied impeccably as I open my Bible, filled with the Holy Spirit, and dive into the Word.  The beauty of my time with Him remains intact and undisturbed.brittwinter2

No prints, no tracks, no drag marks.

It rarely works that way.  Most often, I’m still in my pajamas without even brushing my hair.  I’ve had coffee but I’m carrying my computer or my Bible from place to place with me, reading my Scripture aloud as I am doing things that have to get done every morning.  It doesn’t always feel like the beauty of meeting with Him is intact, whole, or undisturbed.

And my imagination doesn’t stop there.  I have the picture perfect completion of my scheduled reading time as well as the seamless transition to my next activity planned out too. In my pristine new day, I end my 90-day reading plan time, by using a new highlighter with an unfrayed tip to make a perfectly straight line over the passage I have read and I walk away feeling satisfied, full of the Spirit, and ready to begin working on the verses I want to memorize.

In my real life, I make a mental note that I’ll do that when I can find a highlighter that doesn’t have a tip saturated with black sharpie marker and I stuff my index cards into my purse so I can work on them at the doctor or riding in the car. “After all,” I hear my mind say, “I want to make God a part of every activity!”  And that’s true, but do you see how different my imagination and my reality are?  My reality doesn’t reflect the unmarred beauty of that newly laid plan.  My reality, like my highlighter, is a little frayed at the tip.

In my imagination, I somehow glided over the fresh snow and retrieved the mail without leaving a trace, soared in our minivan like Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to get milk, and floated, trash bag in hand, from the garage to the road without disturbing a single flake of snow—without marring the beauty in anyway.


In reality, I put on my old boots with the broken shoestring and left footprints twice the size of my feet from the front door to the mailbox.  And they weren’t even in a straight line.  The van was not occupied by anyone enjoying toot sweet candies and not only does it leave tread marks behind it, it drops pieces of dirty snow from the wheel wells.  And those trash bags, they are much too heavy to float with!

That’s my reality. The snow around my house doesn’t stay in its pristine state for long.   Life starts to happen and life, well, it leaves big old prints, hard packed tracks, and drag marks all over my fresh, new plan. The unmarred beauty quickly disappears.

But you know what?  I don’t think God minds a bit when I come or when you come to meet Him wearing cloddy old boots with broken shoestrings.  I think He’s glad we want to be there.  Does He want to see me looking that way every day . . . my guess would be no.  But, if on some mornings, it’s the best I have and I purposefully pull on those boots and stride across the snow to get to Him, I think He looks at those big old footprints and He sees love.  It might even be that He looks at the heart driving the determined steps of those boot laden feet, the ones that mar and disturb with each new stride, and He finds them to be beautiful.

God doesn’t look at our well laid plans.  He doesn’t look at our neatly written calendars.  God looks at the heart Sweet One.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

He knows your desire to meet with Him and He is not surprised by the challenges of your day.  You are not and I am not the first of His children to contend with interruptions or encounter obstacles.  And our God, who does not change, has never placed any value on the things that appear impressive to our limited human vision, but He has always seen straight to the heart of the one who loves Him.

Now we don’t take this as an excuse to have an attitude of license and give God less-than, but we protect ourselves from a posture of legalism by trusting Him to know the intention, the yearning, and the desire of our souls.

then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with everyone according to all they do, since you know their hearts (for you alone know every human heart), 1 Kings 8:39

Beloved, don’t take the task of deciding what beauty looks like from the Father’s perspective on yourself.  If I may be so bold, it doesn’t belong to you.  It isn’t yours to determine.  And simply put, you nor I are equipped to do the job.  We’re too extreme, swinging from one side to the other, justifying our actions in one breath and condemning our hearts with the next.   So, what say you and I decide that we’ll forge into every pristine day and we’ll proceed to leave our love filled cloddy boot printed, minivan tread tracked, trash bag drag marked prints all over it and then . . . . well, we’ll depend on the Beautiful One to see straight to our hearts.


Lord, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel,

keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever,

and keep their hearts loyal to you.

1 Chronicles 29:18

Let’s Resolve to Love Like That

30 Dec

What would the coming year bring if we looked more deeply at His resolve?  What might unfold before us if we determined to place our faith in the Who rather than the what?  What might we see if we were to truly fix our eyes on the Author and the Perfecter of our faith?

These are the same types of questions I was asking myself and sharing with you all when Glimpsed Glory posted for the very first time in 2013.  Seeking hard after Him and letting Him determine the what of my life is still my greatest desire.

I know what I’m doing.  I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you,

not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.

When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.

Yes, when you get serious about finding me

and want it more than anything else,

I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 (The Message)

I believe Him when He tells me that He will make Himself known to me.  I have no doubt that when I come to Him, looking for Him with eyes willing to see, that my heart will be filled with the Who of Him.  It may not look exactly the way I picture it or transpire the way I imagine it, but God will be true to His promise and I will not be disappointed.  How can it leave us feeling short changed when we come out of our circumstance with More of Him than we walked in with?

Yes Sweet One, the promise is for you.  Take it personally.  Your God has determined that you will find Him when you look.  He is unwavering in His commitment to show His children lavish love, immeasurable grace, and endless mercies when they seek His Face.  This is the God revealed in the Old Testament and the Messiah who walked in the New.

But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.  Deuteronomy 4:29

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

Both sides of the Covenant line reveal a God who desires to be seen and to be known by His children . . .

Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand). Jeremiah 33:3

The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.]  John 14:21

From the opening verse in Genesis to the announcement that will close out our chronos time in Revelation, God is revealing Himself – showing us the Who of Him– so that we will seek Him, perhaps feel our way toward Him and find Him.

actsduncanThe What of God flows from the Who of God.

God does not merely act faithfully – He is Faithful.

God does not simply love you – He is Love.

And the list could go on.  This is the declaration of the Word of God to you Beloved.  And the beauty of the Who of Him is that He will not change.  He was, is, and will be Who He declares Himself to be.

Our God has gone to great lengths to draw us near– can your prayer, can my prayer,  be anything less than to humbly ask Him to stir our souls with the enduring tenacity to seek hard after Him and bless us with an unsatisfied, discontented spirit when we do not?

Sister, this is the only hope for the transformation this time of year causes us to consider.  newcoffeeDo we really believe that the desire for the “new thing”, for the more, for the unimaginable originates with us?  Have we really convinced ourselves that the longing to change and be more than who we are today started with our own hearts?  Have we forgotten that it is God who lifts the veil and it is He who is about the business of transforming us from one degree of glory to another?

Be holy because I am holy.

Be transformed, renewed, and revived daily.

We may have usurped it, twisted it, and distorted it to serve our own purposes but being all about the “more” and the “new thing”, those are God’s specialties.  He declares that those who believe in His Son and proclaim Him to be their Savior are a new creation.  The old has gone and the new has come.  The old woman is put to death and the daughter of the King lives –that ought to change us.  We’ve been adopted by the King.  We are not who we were and the who of us must begin to flow from the Who of Him.

“Therefore, be imitators of God as dearly loved children and

— live in love,”(NET)

— “walk in the way of love,”(NIV)

–“walk in love.” (YLT)

just as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us,

a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.

Ephesians 5:1-2

No matter how you word it, it comes out the same – seek the Who and the what will follow.  Look on Love and step where He steps. Watch the Who and do what He does. Eugene Peterson translates Ephesians 5:1-2 like this in the Message:

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.

Girlfriend, there’s the key.  Keep company with God.  Learn.  Observe. Love.  It’s the only way to be transformed and to have the change your heart is truly yearning for.  Meet with the Messiah daily just as certainly as the disciples who walked beside Him did.  Gaze upon the face of your Father so often that you begin to walk and talk just like your Dad.

Living it out, real time, real life won’t just happen.   Purpose in your heart to make meeting with Him your priority.

I plan to “run into Him” throughout the day by setting my homepage to Bible Gateway so that every time I visit the internet the verse of the day is looking back at me. Keep company with Him Sweet One.  Seek Him– He will not disappoint you.

Be intentional.

Be purposeful.

Be resolute.

Let’s immerse ourselves in the Who of Him so that the what of us may be changed.  And perhaps, at the close of 2014, we will find that we have leaned in, learned from the Father, observed the Son, and begun to LOVE LIKE THAT.


Happy New Year Sisters – around the world!

May God bless you as you seek His Face.

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.

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