o my soul

Rivers and stones and the trees of the field, they sing in the night
And a thousand tongues lay deep in your lungs to raise to the sky
don’t lie to yourself, o my soul—love your God.
Deep in your heart you feather and tar your folly and fear:
expose them for the fools they are, and the world comes clear.
Don’t lie to yourself, o my soul—love your God.
Your worries will never love you They’ll leave you all alone
But your God will not forsake you O my soul. – Audrey Assad 

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animated

an·i·mat·ed – full of life, action, or spirit; lively; vigorous

Animation.  Cartoons.  Walt Disney.  Bugs Bunny.  Looney Tunes.
Bringing inanimate objects to life…isn’t that the essence of ‘animation’?
What about you and me?  What ‘animates’ us?
Greed.  Self-centeredness.  Hatred.  Unfairness.   People taking advantage.  Meanness.  Inconsideration.
Do those things just get your blood pumping?
hmmm…
the flesh.
If you live your life animated by the flesh – namely, your fallen, corrupt nature – then your mind is focused on the matters of the flesh.  But if you live your life animated by the Spirit – namely God’s indwelling presence – then your focus is on the work of the Spirit. – Romans 8:5 (the Voice)

What are some results of a life ‘brought to life’ by the flesh…our selfish, fallen, corrupt, God-less nature…animated by the flesh?
“looking out for number one”…’me’first…attemping to satisfy…contempt…greed…lust…envy…anger and rage…seeking revenge…a feeling of ‘it’s not fair’…
Sounds like a great time, right??

But…what are the results of a life animated, brought to life, by the Spirit?
…things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity…develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people…loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.  (Galatians 5:22-23, MSG)
love….joy….peace

So, I ask you…what has been animating you?
I would love to say that I am constantly focused on the work of the Spirit, and that is what bring life to my body everyday.  But, I regrettably find myself on the fleshly side of things.  I focus on things that satifsfy.  I get in the dumps when things don’t go my way or I am ignored or devalued.  Words that are spoken to me, cut straight to my heart.

And so, I have to confess that I have been recently animated not by the Spirit, but by my own flesh.
*sigh*

Now, since we have chosen to walk with the Spirit, let’s keep each step in perfect sync with God’s Spirit.  This will happen shen we set aside our self-interests and work together to create true community instead of a culture consumed by provocation, pride, and envy. – Galatians 5:25-26 (the Voice)

Verse 6 goes on to say:  a mind focused on the flesh is doomed to death, but a mind focused on the Spirit will find full life and complete peace.

Focus, my friends.
You are beautiful.  You are chosen.  You are a daughter of the King.
Be made alive with the Spirit – soar and run free!

grace.

chosen

You have been chosen!!
…wrap you’re head around that
…wrap you’re heart around it.

So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.

So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, HIS CHOICE OF YOU. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do this, and you’ll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:5-11 (MSG)

grace.

static

Driving down the road…radio tuned into your favorite station…
Then, suddenly, the radio is picking up bits and pieces of two songs, intermingled with some static!! Ever been there?
The dial (or digital readout) reads correctly with the station you want, but the song isn’t coming in clear.
Frustrating!!  You just want to hear the song!!

hmmm…ever been there with God?
Walking on the path of this life…heart tuned into Him….
Then, suddenly, you are picking up bits and pieces of truth and lies!!  Your heart is saying one thing, and your head is saying another….ahhh!!!!
You long to hear from God, to recognize His voice…yet, as you journey, static invades every part of your being.

Are you there now?  Do you just want to hear from God?  Are there choices that you need to make but don’t have clear direction?  Is God calling you to something else, but the ‘something else’ has illuded you?

Take heart!  God is speaking…God is moving…God is pursuing you.
I don’t have an answer to your specific need, but I do know that God is always on the move, always seeking, always guiding us.  It is so frustrating when all we hear is static, or so we think.

Take a deep breath…breathe in God, breathe out the crud.
Be intentional about spending time with Him…getting to know Him again.  Reconnect.
Admitting this doesn’t mean that you are no longer love Jesus, it just means that you have allowed other things to creep in and steal what you once had with your Savior.  Get away with Him!

Be honest with God.  He is big enough to handle it!

“Please answer me: Don’t give up.  Wait for the Eternal One in expectation, and be strong.  Again, wait…”  – Psalm 27:24 (the Voice)

And while we are waiting, we must wait with hope, with confident expectation that He will do what He he says He will do.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire,  you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God…” – Isaiah 43:1-2 (NLT)

Are you ready to hear Him?
“Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.”

    A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper. – 1 Kings 19:11-12 (MSG)

Tune God in…get rid of the static.  He is waiting to talk with you…

grace.

 

already amazing

This challenge was issued from “Heart to Heart with Holley”.
Take a moment and write a post on your blog, your Facebook or even a 140 character love note to a woman that you admire. Tell the world why she’s so amazing. More importantly, tell her. This may be the very encouragement that she needs to continue to be the #AlreadyAmazing woman she is.

And so, that is what I am doing today.

Kristine Tennant….truly, you are already A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

generous.  delightful.  honest.  forgiving.

From the first realization that we are SO different (black coffee and a sweet, creamy mocha something), our lives have intertwined.  In spite, or should I say because of the differences, we have become the best of friends.

loving.  committed.  passionate.  true.  genuine.  authentic.

Time has become irrelevant and oh so pertinent.  You have been in my pit(s) and still you remain faithful to me.  You bring me back to the feet of Jesus, always.

my friend.

To know that God has brought our life-paths together so that we are now joining with each other on this journey, will always amaze me.

Knowing that you are a constant in my life, reassures me.

Believing in your love for me, challenges me.

Seeing you live out your love for God, inspires me.

You, Kristine, are already amazing!
I constantly witness your love for God, and for Jason, and for your family – and the ‘amazing’ things that God accomplishes through you!
I really do want to be like you when I grow up! 🙂

It is my absolute privilege to call you my friend, and to take this time to honor you as being ‘already amazing’!
I love you!

betsy

My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love.

This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality.
It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even there is something to it.

For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.

And friends, one that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God!

We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him.
Again, this is God’s command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ.

He told us to love each other, in line with the original command.
As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us.

And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us.

 

1 John 3:18-24, The Message

praise You in this storm

As the thunder rolls

I barely hear Your whisper through the rain

“I’m with you”

grace.

what is required?

What are some of our daily requirements?
Nutrition?
Water?
Sleep?
time with God??

What are our requirements as fully devoted followers of Christ?
Is that list more extensive? more involved?
Does it need to be?
What does God say our requirement(s) are?

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously. – Micah 6:8 (MSG)

love God with everything – all that you are, all that you have…every fiber of your being
and then love your neighbor as yourself.

…that you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself. (Luke 10:27 MSG)

The answer is as easy and complicated as that….don’t you think?

To act justly everyday Loving mercy in everyway Walking humbly before You God
GOD OF JUSTICE LYRICS – TIM HUGHES

grace.

 

i.love.this

word power

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

the power of a word.
stop.  no.  fire.  cancer….
please.  thank you.  yes. i’m sorry…

hate…despise…detest…hurt…confuse…confront…
love…comfort…accept…build up…create…adore…

do we really know what power our words have?  with them, we praise and build up others…with them, we tear down and destroy.

We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.  People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!
– James 3:3-10 (NLT)

the mouth…from it come words that bless and curse…what you say flows from what is in your heart. (Luke 6:45)

do your words reflect what is in your heart?
grumbling.  complaining.  gossip.  hatred.  revenge.  hurt.  cursing.
is this what fills your heart?

peace.  joy.  what is good.  blessing.  building up.  kindness.  praise.

heart full of God…
mouth full of praise…

is that what is coming from your heart?

our words contain so much power.

‘be careful little mouth what you say…’

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. –Proverbs 4:23

.

 

grace.

time of refreshing…

Have you ever needed to just have time…time to rest, time to relax, time to reconnect with God?  Well, I was well passed that place, and i have just returned from such a time!

I arrived in Berlin, Ohio at the Pine Cove Lodge on Friday afternoon.  The Rose Garden Suite was cozy and quaint and just right for me.  I did not take my laptop with me, and to my pleasant surprise, I did not have any cell service either!  I was technology free, except for the television.

Ahh…what to do?  Shop?  Eat?  hmm…  I decided to drive until I got into cell phone range, and call home and let everyone know that I had arrived safely.  On my way through Berlin, I passed a coffee shop.  And for those who know me, know that I also have a penchant for coffee, as well as for music.  So, a latte it was at JavaJo Coffee Bar.   Such a great place in the heart of Amish country.

I chose to return to my room and just be quiet and relax.
A storm was brewing outside, lightning was flashing and the wind was picking up.

Lying on the bed, cozying up with my nonfat latte, with my heart opened to hear from God.  That is what this weekend was about, right?

As the evening waxed on, the wind got stronger, the thunder rumbled longer and louder, and the voice of God seemed to be absent in my heart.  What?  This was supposed to be a time of refreshing…now that I am here, I can’t even hear God!  This makes no sense.  So, I made good use of the jacuzzi tub, and enjoyed a hot bubble bath.  As I was ‘bare before God’, if you will, and listening to “Here I Am to Worship”, by Strings of Worship, I ‘heard’ the whisper of God.

“Betsy, this is what it is about.”

The bubbles got bubblier, and the music got more poignant, the reason for my ‘mini retreat’ became even more clear.
Reconnect with my Friend…the friend of my wounded heart.

ahhh….

Just allowing God to love me…and actually feeling that love!

As I sat in Rebecca’s Bistro for breakfast, I jotted down a few thoughts about my super short stay – just being reflective.
The coffee was superb, and the raspberry stuffed French toast was delicious!

The morning was cool and crisp, and the birds where chirping.  This was definitely a time of refreshing!
pour out showers of blessing to refresh you…(Acts 3:19)

following God with reckless abandon…

(check out the links at the bottom of this page for the lovely bits I experienced)

grace.

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