moving ahead

I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea.  But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. ~Isaiah 43: 16,18-19 (NLT)

Enjoy this selection: I Turn to You Jesus, by Selah

grace.

inventory

During my ‘restaurant years’, inventory was a weekly, if not a daily, occurrence. Checking what we had on hand, what we needed, and did we run out of anything was virtually in and of itself a full-time job.  Always being aware of the ebb and flow of items on hand became a vital part of operations.

At this time of the year, the conclusion of a calendar year and the start of a new one, I wonder if I am aware of the ‘inventory’ of my day-to-day walk with God?  What do I have on hand, what do I need, and did I run out of anything?

What do I have?

  • desire to love God more deeply
  • fantastic friends
  • supportive family
  • enough self-doubt to last a lifetime
  • the evidence of God’s healing present in my everyday

What do I need?

  • deeper trust in God beyond the surface
  • confidence to carry out His desires
  • unshakable obedience
  • unwavering faith in God and in others
  • not to be a victim of mistaken identity

What did I run out of?

  • solid, golden faith
  • God-confidence
  • the deep trust in God
  • firm obedience

 

How about you?  What does your year-end-inventory entail?  Do your ‘have’ and ‘have nots’ resemble each other?

Are you running on empty?

Do you need to stop….regroup….re-evaluate…re-commit…re-organize…re-charge?

Let’s do this together!  Let’s get what we know in our heads to infiltrate and take over our hearts!

God desires all of who we are…

Putting it off just delays the reward…today is the day!  With God’s help, grace, strength, wisdom, mercy and love, we can begin the healing and restoration.

 

grace.

mistaken identity

Although my words today are directed toward the ladies, the same words apply to all.

 

Take a look in the mirror.  What do you see?  Who do you see?

Fear.  Insecurity.  Unlovable.  Guilt.  Shame.  Anger.  Resentment.  Unfulfilled Expectations.

The baggage.  The burdens.  The questions.

Looking in that same mirror, what does God see?  Who does God see?

Love.  Forgiveness.  A princess.  His beloved daughter.  A woman worthy, oh so worthy, of His unending stream of mercy and love.

You, my friend, just may be a victim  of mistaken identity.

You are not that list of things that Satan would like you to believe…those lies that are so prevalent in your life.

You are so much more than that!

You are a beautiful, confident, daughter of the King!

Who are you?

You are His.

 

grace.

thirsty?

Today, just sharing lyrics and a video to “Rain Down on Me” by Tim Rushlow.

I feel like I’m searching for healing, This desert is all that I know. It’s easy to just stop believing, That a beautiful garden could grow. I’m feeling empty and all by myself, I need a drink from the well.

 
Chorus: Rain down on me, Open the sky, I’m thirsty and my soul is dry. So here I am, Arms open wide, Praying that I’m gonna see, Your grace rain down on me.

 
My Heart is a street in the city, Sometimes it’s hard to get through. But out of the cracks in the pavement, I’m watching wild flowers bloom. I’m beginning to see just what your love could do, When I let go, and let you…

 
Chorus: Rain down on me, Open the sky, I’m thirsty and my soul is dry. So here I am, Arms open wide, Praying that I’m gonna see, Your grace rain down on me.

 
Bridge: I’m ready and waiting, Anticipating, Your love changing me.

 
Chorus: Rain down on me, Open the sky, I’m thirsty and my soul is dry. So here I am, Arms open wide, Praying that I’m gonna see, Your grace rain down on
Grace rain down on me. Rain down on me.

 

 

grace.

baggage

How can you move when they’re weighing you down
What can you do when you’re tied to the ground, yeah
You carry your burdens, heavy like gravity
Just let them go now, there’s freedom in release

  • How do we move when our baggage…our burdens…our past…our present…our future is weighing us down?  We can’t move.  We can’t function.

You can’t run when you’re holding suitcases
It’s a new day throw away your mistakes and open up your heart
Lay down your guard, you don’t have to be afraid

  • Release.  Relinquish.  Let go.

Just breathe, your load can be lifted
There’s a better way when you know you’re forgiven
Open up your heart, lay down your guard
You don’t have to be afraid

  • Freedom.  Broken chains.  Ability to move and dance and run!

Can you imagine what it’s like to be free
Well, send those bags packing, they’re not what you need
Abandon your troubles by the side of the street
Just let them go now, believe me

How does our walk with God even take place when we are so bogged down with….

  • guilt.
  • inadequacy.
  • failure.
  • fears.
  • our past.
  • the mistakes we’ve made.
  • the lies we believe.

 

  • Satan has checked our bags.  He makes us pay to just carry them around…our own ‘stuff’ we pay dearly for!  agony.  discontent.  disappointment.  hurt.  shame.  guilt.
  • But, we serve the Baggage-Handler!  He takes those bags, and replaces them with Forgiveness.  Love.  Mercy.  Compassion.  Joy.  Peace.  Hope.

 

Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries. ~1 Peter 4:7 (the Voice)

There’s nothing holding you back now, just run

You can’t run when you’re holding suitcases
It’s a new day throw away your mistakes and open up your heart
Lay down your guard, you don’t have to be afraid

Just breathe, your load can be lifted
There’s a better way when you know you’re forgiven
Open up your heart, lay down your guard
You don’t have to be
You don’t have to be afraid

birth day

She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger…Luke 2:7 (NLT)

To be wrapped snugly in cloths…comfortable. cozy. intimate. sheltered….what a feeling of closeness and safety.

The cloths…just strips of linen, material, fabric…

The manger…a feeding trough, a stable, a cradle…

ah….but the child, the Christ child…Savior, Messiah, Redeemer, Emmanuel, Friend…

fast forward….

Redeemer, Messiah, Savior, Friend…But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. ~Isaiah 53:5 (NLT)  …the child

Strips of linen…Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. ~John 19:40 … Bending down to take a look, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he didn’t go in.  Following him, Simon Peter entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there. ~John 20:5-6

The Savior was born…wrapped snugly in cloths…laid in a manger, a feeding trough…

The Savior was killed…wrapped snugly in cloths…laid in a tomb…

Jesus was born so we could be wrapped snugly in safety, in warmth, in intimacy with Him.  He is our life-source, our bread, our food, our life-sustaining source.

He is our Savior, our Redeemer, our Friend.  He was wrapped in cloths to provide closeness, warmth, and safety…a relationship with Him.

The tomb, however, is empty!!

As we continue to celebrate His birthday, let us consider our birth day…

The linens, the cloths, were left in the tomb – not only as a sign of the resurrection of Jesus, but I think, as a symbol of the new life that is now ours to have…to be wrapped so snugly with Jesus, that we feel His warmth, His sheltering arms, the safety of being with Him.

New birth is ours!  The cloths, the embrace of the Father, are available and accessible….the intimacy, the warmth, the safety.

Forget the former things;  do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. ~Isaiah 43:18-19

Happy birth day, my friends.  Happy birth day.

 

grace.

 

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sound for Saturday

enjoy!

Merry Christmas!

 

grace.

that’s a wrap!

trimming the tree….check!

shopping for presents….check!

decorating the house…check!

caroling…check!

baking cookies…check!

and then…the inevitable…wrapping the gifts!

ugh…cutting the right size to fit the package, fighting with the tape, not enough hands…all for the sake of ‘hiding’ what’s underneath – and all of it to be torn off and discarded!

is it worth it?

although i prefer to ‘wrap’ using gift bags, i would say that wrapping presents is worth it.  there is something about unwrapping a gift, or removing it from a bag, that stirs anticipation is us and excitement.  the precious and thoughtful gift that lies under the beautiful paper and bows is a beautiful thing.  tearing through the layers just to get to the gift is priceless!

what about The Gift?  is there wrapping to be torn off of that present?  do we tear into it wanting, craving to know what lies under the wrapping?

could it be that we – you and are – are the wrapping?

could it be that we ‘house’ Jesus?  that sometimes, our layers get in the way, obscuring the brilliance of the Gift?

is the ‘wrapping’ so thick and so ugly that no one can even begin to unearth Jesus?  have we created an atmosphere, an environment, that is conducive to unwrapping?

we have the Gift…

the goal is to share Him with the world…to give them the present we have already received.

so, this Christmas, give the greatest present you have received…Jesus.

hope…love….joy….peace

and that, my friends, is a wrap!

…(she) gave birth to her firstborn son.  She wrapped the baby in a blanket and laid Him in a feeding trough because the inn had no room for them. ~Luke 2:7 (the Voice)

 

grace.

all we like sheep

To be a witness to something amazing and phenomenal, is just overwhelmingly beautiful.

The love that I beheld tonight…

The ‘family’ that I was a part of tonight…

The gift of truly being a part of something bigger than myself that I received tonight…

all phen.o.men.al!

When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’  ~Matthew 25:37-40 (MSG)

To know that tonight was a gift, not only one that I received,  but also one that I was able to give to Jesus…being a genuine and tangible part of the body of Christ…is what this season is all about.

overwhelming, wonderful…a night full of joy – the response of something deep deep inside me to something and Someone overwhelmingly wonderful – yep, tonight was full of joy!

How can I not be like the shepherds and return praising God for everything that I saw and heard?

I am astoundingly grateful to be a part of the flock…

 

grace.

 

what are you waiting for?

Well, what are you waiting for?

payday?  the weekend?  the kids to leave the house?  things to be ‘right’ in your home?  things to be ‘right’ in your life?  someone else to ‘get it’?  your birthday?  a night out with your best friend?  a new job?  the fog to lift?

How are you waiting?

with conviction?  with contemplation?  with apprehension?  with sadness?  with a sense of impending doom?  with the feeling that ‘nothing’s ever going to change?

with hope?

Are you waiting with confident expectation that only comes from the grace and power of God?

This advent season, the time when we celebrate the waiting for and arrival of Jesus, are we waiting in and with hope?  Hope that Jesus has made it possible for our lives to be radically different, for our situations to be radically different…

How does that happen, Betsy?  Really, Jesus can come in and make things different for me?

Absolutely!

When we hope in Jesus, we tap into the power that only God can give…the infinite, undeserved, unearnable, unleashing, miraculous power.   Hope that turns expectation into mystery.

Trusting in Jesus, in that mystery of hope, frees us from the chains that keep us locked up in the prison of the past, the shackles of ourselves, the pits of our present.  The choice is ours.

So, as we inevitably wait, is our choice to put our faith and trust in the Hope-Giver, or in something else that robs our peace?

What are you waiting for?

grace.

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