my help comes from the Lord

I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber.
– Pslam 121:1-3 (MSG)

grace.

hakuna matata

Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata! Ain’t no passing craze
It means no worries for the rest of your days
It’s our problem-free philosophy Hakuna Matata!  – Lion King

Catchy song, don’t you think?

What if we would really, I mean really, believe that and live it?  No worries!
Has it become just a wonderful phrase to make us feel good?

Long before the Lion King, the King of kings presented the same ‘phrase’ to us, his disciples.  Don’t worry!

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. – Matthew 6:33-34 (MSG)

I tend to fuss over the way God works, even though I know God and how He works.

Who?  What?  Where?  When?  Why?  How?
Ever ask these questions?
Ever ‘wonder’ about tomorrow, or two days away, or next week, or next month, or next year?

God-reality
God-initiative
God-provisions

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.

What is He doing in your life today?
What is He trying to teach you?  Are you listening, and willing to learn?

What good does it do to worry about tomorrow?  Today has enough trouble of it’s own.

What if we really did believe this – made this a part of our living and breathing?
How would our lives change?
How would our lives be different?

Have faith…God does know what He is doing.
Maybe we just need to “look beyond what we can see.” – Lion King

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. – Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

grace.

the comeback kid

But there’s also this, it’s not too late—    God’s personal Message!— “Come back to me and really mean it!    Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins!”
Change your life, not just your clothes.    Come back to God, your God. And here’s why: God is kind and merciful.    He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot, This most patient God, extravagant in love,  always ready to cancel catastrophe. Who knows? Maybe he’ll do it now,    maybe he’ll turn around and show pity. Maybe, when all’s said and done,  there’ll be blessings full and robust for your God! – Joel 2:12-14 (MSG)

So, it’s the beginning of the Lenten season today.  Ash Wednesday.  What are you giving up for Lent?  A few years ago, I participated in a progressive fast during this season.  As a church, every week we added another ‘thing’ we were fasting from – coffee, TV/electronics, sweets, etc.  Seriously, no coffee for 40 days!?
But, is the whole meaning of Lent lost or wrapped up in the ‘giving up’ of something or stuff?

As Ruth Haley Barton says…”Where in my life have I gotten away from God and what are the disciplines that will enable me to find my way back?  How many and how subtle are the ways we “leave” God and the true spiritual journey in favor of other pursuits—even those that seem very noble and even necessary.  The cares and concerns of life in this world and even the dreams and visions that God has given us can become distractions from the relationship itself. One day we wake up and realize that we have tolerated that which is intolerable and compromised that which is of greatest value.  Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart.

What a poignant and compelling invitation!”

So, today, I echo her and ask myself…where in my life have I gotton away from God?
Facebook…blogging (although a noble cause)…emotional eating…the ‘busyness’ of everyday…my thoughts…etc..

…the Lord says to me…to me…return to me with all your heart!  Recently, I have been wondering if I matter, if I am needed…but God, my God says to me…Betsy, I miss you…come back to me.
He truly is extravagant in love and most patient.
He is waiting for me to return to Him…to be the comeback kid.
He wants the same for you…
So, how will you respond to His invitation?

 

grace.

 

phat Tuesday

phat = slang    great; wonderful; terrific

great. wonderful. terrific. Tuesday.

Fat Tuesday refers to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.

What if we treated today as a wonderful, terrific day – a phat day?  Not just because it is associated with Mardi Gras or the last day to eat rich foods or whatever before we begin Lent, but because it simply is a great day?

What if we commit to eating everyday from the food that only God  can give starting with today?

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is.  – Psalm 34:8 (MSG)

What if this Phat Tuesday is the start of a continuous feast of the goodness of God?
Celebrate.  Recognize.  Participate.  Engage.

Taste and see that the Lord is good!

 

grace.

good grief

Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine.  When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

 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 43:1-2, 18-19 (NLT)

grief = keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret (Random House Dictionary, 2012).

So, GOOD grief?  Is that even possible?  Isn’t it oxymoronic?

yes, yes, and yes!

I think most of us relate grief to the death of a loved one.  And, although I have grieved in that manner, I am realizing that we grieve over many things….a marriage that is or isn’t, a relationship, a job, the ways things were, etc.

The Kubler-Ross model of the stages of grief also apply to these kinds of grief…denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.  I don’t believe the progression is the same for everyone.  But, I do think that we experience them all.

So, back to good grief…these two words seemingly do not fit together – at all!  I think the key lies with allowing ourselves to experience each stage of grief…to seek God’s face during each stage…to know that because of Him, we will be stronger on the other side of it.

As children of God, we need not fear – God has ransomed (which means we are free!) us.  We are His!  When…not if…we go through the crud, He is right there with us, and we are safe.
O, how I need to be constantly reminded of this.
Right here, right now.

And, to be reminded that the process, the crud in that process, the ‘good grief’ will be used to not only strengthen the bond between me and God, but to also make the pathway through the seemingly dense and overwhelming wilderness clear and straight.

Lord, please help me totally trust on You and the truth.  Constantly renew my thoughts to line up with what is true and right, not what I think is true.  May I constantly seek You. 

You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I’m about to burst with song; I can’t keep quiet about you.  God, my God, I can’t thank you enough.  – Psalm 30:11-12 (MSG)

grace.

 

 

You are Savior

You are my only hope

Your kindness is my friend

In your presence you restore us

 

grace.

without a trace

Do you remember learning how to write?  How letters and numbers are formed – the process?

trace. trace. trace.

Follow the guide…over and over and over.

Eventually, letters are formed!

Just think…if there was no guide, no pattern to follow, no direction, would you have been able to learn to write?

Without a trace…

Living our lives as fully devoted followers of Christ, we have a Guide, a Pattern, Someone to follow – to show us how to live our lives.  His name is Jesus.

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.  – John 5:19

We follow the Guide…over and over and over.  We learn from Him.  He has set the path, made the way clear.

Without a trace…

As with learning to write, if we did not have an example to follow, a Guide, would we be able to live as fully devoted followers of Christ?

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:1-2

We need that example.  We have to follow Him.  We have to trace His steps.  We have to do what He did, love as he loved, walk as He walked, speak as He spoke…

Without a trace, we would be lost.

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! – 1 Corinthians 13:12 (MSG)

Trace His steps.  Let Him be your Guide.

The possibilities are endless!

grace.

the heart of the matter

This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God. ~1John 4:13-16 (MSG)

this truly is the heart of the matter…

 

 

 

grace.

first love

Be my first love, be my first love

Light a way for my feet and wash me in Your words of life

Be my first love, be my first love

Fill my heart with desire for holy fire to burn within

Holy Spirit give me a passion for the Son of God                                                                                                                                                                              Holy Spirit give me a passion for the Son of God

My heart cries Jesus, Jesus, Jesus Lord

My heart cries Jesus, Jesus, Jesus Lord Of my life

grace.

the road of recovery

What is your personal road of recovery?  Does this apply to you, do you think you need to recover from anything?
My personal road of recovery has included speech, physical, and occupational therapies.
Speech Therapy –
  • cognitive aspects of communication (e.g., attention, memory, problem solving, executive functions).
  • speech (i.e., articulation, fluency, resonance, and voice);
  • language (i.e., syntax, semantics, and pragmatic/social aspects of communication) including comprehension and expression;
  • swallowing or other upper aerodigestive functions;
  • sensory awareness related to communication, swallowing.

Physical Therapy – concerned with identifying and maximizing quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, diagnosis, treatment/intervention and rehabilitation. This encompasses physical, psychological, emotional, and social well being.

Occupational Therapy – a discipline that aims to promote health by enabling people to perform meaningful and purposeful activities

information from Wikipedia.com

While most of us have not had to go through these therapies, we as Christians are in a constant state of rehabilitation and recovery, I think.

improve.  reestablish.  repair.  mend.  reform.  reconstruct.  recover.  rehabilitate.
Jesus asks us, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick?” ~Luke 5:31 (MSG)
We have heard this, and most of us have used this, when speaking of ‘the Church’.  But, what if, after we have met and established a relationship with The Great Physician, we then enter into a constant state of rehabilitation – a road of recovery?  In that context, does not the Church become a rehabilitation hospital?
We are constantly, at least I am continually, learning/being taught how to communicate, understand, process the Word.
There is a perpetual process of sitting, walking, and standing.
When we enter into a relationship with God, we are repeatedly learning to be enabled to take part in meaningful and purposeful things.
Improving our relationship with God.
Reestablishing communication with the Father.
Repairing relationships.
Mending our brokenness.
Reforming our behaviors.
Reconstructing the beneficial bridges that we have burnt.
Recovering what we have lost.
Rehabilitating.
perpetual.  unending.  ceaseless.  continual.  infinite.
Father, restore me.  Constantly draw me closer to You – show me, guide me, teach me, break me. 
grace.

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