let the waters rise

God, You know where I’ve been
You were there with me then
You were faithful before
You’ll be faithful again
I’m holding Your hand

 

 

grace.

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soaring

“Don’t you know?  Haven’t you heard?  The Eternal, the Everlasting God, the Creator of the whole world, never gets tired or weary.
His wisdom is beyond understanding.  God strengthens the weary and gives vitality to those worn down by age and care.
Young people will get tired; strapping young men will stumble and fall. 
But those who trust in the Eternal One will regain their strength.  They will soar on wings as eagles.
They will run  – never winded, never weary.
They will walk – never tired, never faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:28-31 (the Voice)

from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young:  “Come to Me with empty hands and an open heart, ready to receive abundant blessings.  I know the depth and breadth of your neediness.  Your life-path has been difficult, draining you of strength.  Come to Me for nurture.
Let Me fill you up with My Presence: I in you, and you in Me.  My Power flows most freely into weak ones aware of their need for Me.  Faltering steps of dependence are not lack of faith; they are links to My Presence.”

needy.
worn-out, weary.
empty.
Every been there?
Yeah, me too.
Jesus truly is calling me to come to Him.  How about you?
Do you desire to reflect His image?

grace.

my stomach hurts

   “No man can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach” – Woodrow Wilson

We can all relate to pains in our stomach, right?  Usually, it means that we are sick, or at the very least just don’t feel well.
For me, I just want to be left alone.  I am irritable, grumpy, and just want to sleep.
For others, it is a very effective way to get some attention.  Right?

Does your stomach ever hurt for God?
I know, we tend to limit God to our heart muscle, but do you ever ‘feel’ God in your stomach, your gut?  Sometimes, I just know something in my gut.  And sometimes, I am hungry beyond words for God’s presence to invade my life.

Too often, my stomach hurts from hunger pains.  (If you’ve seen me, you know that I don’t miss a meal. 🙂 )
Hunger for all that is God – truth, justice, love, His presence, His voice.
Hunger that goes unsatisfied because of my stubbornness, my insecurity, my shame, my fears, and my guilt.
And so, I have learned to live with, or at least cope with, hunger pains – knowing all the while that time spent with God, in communion, would satiate the pain and the hurt.
*sigh*
I am a life-long learner, a disciple, with a stomach ache.

Hungry, I come to you
For I know You satisfy
I am empty, but I know
Your love does not run dry  – Kathryn Scott

grace.

i’d need a Savior

Your name is Jesus
Your name is Jesus
You’re the wonderful Counselor, my friend
You’re what I hold on to
I know that You’ve brought me through
All the days of loss to the cross you knew
That I’d need a Savior

 

 

grace.

 

truth decay

So, I went to the dentist this morning.  No big deal.  Get my teeth cleaned, maybe some x-rays, and I’ll be good to go…right?  Boy was I wrong.  I walked out of there, knowing that I’ll have a hefty bill tomorrow when I return for my four, that’s right, four fillings!!  What?!  I had 4 fillings last year.  I go years without any tooth trouble…and then 8 cavities??
Needless to say, I am not a happy camper today.  I feel like I am a poor ‘brusher’, or that I neglect my teeth.  I brush at least 3 times a day and floss daily.
….4 new cavities??!!   Really?
ugh…
My penchant for acidic coffee has caught up with my teeth.
Granted, they are just ‘pits’, but cavities in need of filling, nonetheless.

*sigh*
Then I wonder….
If I went to God this morning for a checkup of my spiritual teeth, what would he find?  Would there be pits and cavities that only He can fill?
Maybe my response would be the same….”But, I read my Bible, I go to church, love God…how could I have cavities?”

Ah…yes.  I can and often do have cavities, pits that need filled.  Sometimes despite my efforts, I have areas of decay – areas that need filled by the love and compassion and forgiveness that only God can give.
I can ‘do’ all the ‘right’ things.  I can follow the ‘rules.’  But, those things don’t guarantee a cavity-free life.  It is only with the invading presence of the Holy Spirit in my life, the forgiveness that comes from Jesus, and the all-encompassing love of God that a ‘cavity-free’ life is possible.  Even the ‘pits’ that we have, the ones that haven’t decayed into full-blown deep cavities, need to be addressed and taken care of by the ultimate ‘filler’.

The source of the pits?
what we read…what we listen to…what we hear…the conversations we involve ourselves in…sin…complacency…lies from the Enemy…
All of these things, if left unattended and unchecked, can lead to Truth decay.

We have to let Jesus brush the crud off, rinse with Living Water, allow the Holy Spirit to floss the in between spaces, and have regular check-ups with God to see how we’re doing.  He can see way beyond the surface to the root cause of the pain or the pit or the cavity and can begin the process of examination and filling the pits.
The end result of the process is the ability to chew and gnaw on God’s truth.

We can either let the cavities grow and become deeper and closer to the root or we can allow them to be filled when they are first noticed and pointed out so that they do not lead to ‘truth decay.’

How about you?
Do you have some cavities that need filled?  Is the truth you know being decayed?
Maybe you need a check-up today.
God is available…no appointments necessary.

 

grace.

breathtaking

Breathtaking – thrillingly beautiful, remarkable, astonishing, exciting

the yellows and oranges and reds of the rising and setting sun.
the stirring melodies of notes laced together.
the passion created on canvas with the stroke of a brush.
God’s creation of man and woman.

What takes your breath away?  And I don’t mean the brisk walk up a seemingly small incline on a path through the woods.
Truly, what takes your breath away?
What in your life is thrillingly beautiful and remarkable?
Does your relationship with Christ take your breath away?
Does life without Him create a vacant void that causes your lungs to collapse at the very center of who you are? (Amena Brown)

Whether I am living in the shadows, content on being an observer, or if I am having a “Betsy, what are you doing?” moment, or I don’t do the things that I know I should do…I don’t take the time to allow my breath to be taken away.
The ‘busyness’ of my everyday, of doing and doing, takes precedence over just simply being.

Oh, I long to be so close to God that I fully understand the meaning of Him being breathtaking.

O Jesus, my soul cries out to You.  Take my breath away.

grace.

unashamed love

You’re calling me to lay aside the worries of my day
To quiet down my busy mind and find a hiding place
Worthy, You are worthy

 

grace.

mirror, mirror

“Be content,” they always say.
“My grace is enough,” Jesus says.
So, striving ceases.  Craving is ‘satisfied’, or is it?
Being happy takes over – doing whatever it is that just makes us happy.
And then self-sufficiency, smugness, and self-confidence sneaks in and takes over and leads to complacency.
We become comfortable and enter into a place of quiet pleasure and security.

“Complacency is a blight that saps energy, dulls attitudes, and causes a drain on the brain. The first symptom is satisfaction with things as they are. The second is rejection of things as they might be. ‘Good enough’ becomes today’s watchword and tomorrow’s standard. Complacency makes people fear the unknown, mistrust the untried, and abhor the new. Like water, complacent people follow the easiest course — downhill. They draw false strength from looking back.”Bits & Pieces, May 28, 1992, p. 15.

I don’t think that any of us want to/intend to be complacent.  To become satisfied with life as we know it.  To cease striving.  But, my friends, if we are honest with each other, with ourselves, and with God…aren’t we complacent?  How often do we disguise our complacency with the mask of being ‘content’, or ‘everything’s good’?  Especially within the walls of the church, being complacent is taboo.  It just isn’t allowed behavior for a fully devoted follower of Christ, is it?  How can we, if we say that we follow Christ, that we love Him, be complacent?  So, out of feelings of inadequacy, or not wanting to disappoint, the facade of ‘contentment’ is erected.  The wall becomes so much a part of who we are that we don’t even see ourselves for who we really are.  We sit in judgment of those who are obviously complacent and point fingers and comdemn, and yet we are just as guilty as they are.  We don’t look in the mirror.

Mirror, mirror on the wall…
Who is the most complacent of them all?

What would the answer be?
It would be our own reflection, wouldn’t it?

So, where does the solution begin?

To quote the infamous theologian…ahem…Michael Jackson:
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I‘m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer …
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

From thinking that we’ve made it…it’s time for us to sit back and relax and let life just happen around us, that we have nothing to worry about or have anything to strive to gain, namely closeness with Jesus…to being overwhelmed and discouraged and depressed and throwing the towel in…that, my friends is complacency.  Certainly not contentment, or great faith.  Archbishop Chaput says “Complacency is the enemy of faith.”
The enemy of faith.
Let that sink in a moment…
“It (complacency) invades areas once occupied by our passion, interest, desire, and focus. When complacent, the valued things that had captivated our thoughts, hearts, and energies tend to fade from priority and can even become mundane or the boring routine of everyday life. Burnout in our work life, loss of fire in relationships, and the lack of zeal for things we once held important are common experiences. The shame is not in complacency but in the failure to recognize it and take corrective measures to regain our footing.”    – The Cure for Complacency

When we are complacent, Jesus fades.  The things of Jesus fade.  We move from contentment to laziness to complacency.
So, what is the cure?
Newness, freshness, aliveness.
Recognize complacency in our lives.  Don’t ignore it, try to disguise it, project on someone or something else, or allow it to fester and grow.
“Complacency grows out of a false security that creates a lukewarm faith.”
“I know your works.  You are neither cold with apathy nor hot with passion.  It would be better if you were the one of the other, but you are neither.  So because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” – Revelation 3:15-16 (the Voice)

Cultivate passion.  Allow the Son to shine brightly in the darkness.  Receive the Living Water and let Him cascade and drench the parched soil of your heart.  Feed your soul with the Bread of Life.  Be incubated in the Holy Spirit.

And then when we look in the mirror, and ask the question:
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Who’s in need of You, most of all?

Looking back at us will be, the Savior with nail-pierced hands outstretched, welcoming us, inviting us to Him.

 

grace.

awake

Our mini vacation was great; hand in hand with my two rapidly maturing nieces, we took Niagara Falls by storm!  We had so enjoyed every bit of our vacation that the ride home was darkened by thoughts of getting back to life as normal, as we knew it….

The stark white room enveloped me.  Prison-like windows let in morsels of sunlight.  A bed that was like a jail cell, complete with bars, surrounded me.  There was a strange contraption hanging from a track above my bed.  “What is going on?” kept running through my head.  “Can I move, am I hurt?”  “Where am I?”  “What happened?”  As the questions flooded my mind, I could only lay and allow them to cascade over me.  I had no answers.  I had no idea why I was here, or what this room was.  As I lay there, trying to piece together a puzzle that was missing so many vital pieces, I had a sense of calm and peace.  In the midst of the whirlwind of emotions and out of reach details, God invaded the storm and calmed the tempest that was brewing in me.

Shortly after this revelation of sorts, I desperately needed some answers.  My family began to fill in the blanks. I was in a hospital.  Twenty-nine days earlier, I had been involved in a motor vehicle accident.  I was, as I learned, life-flighted from the scene and taken to a trauma center, where a traumatic brain injury was confirmed.  Following my arrival at the trauma center, I spent the next 24 days in a coma.  I had awoken in this stark room, almost a month later.  “Wait, where are the girls?  What happened to them?  What have I done?”  These questions were at the forefront of my mind.

Part of our mini-vacation had included a stop at the Grove City Outlets, in Grove City, Pa. My last memory was leaving the parking lot with all three of us fully intact in my truck.  Then, upon waking, the white,sterile room and the confining bed.  The in-between was gone.  Waves of relief flooded over me when I found out that they weren’t even with me. In fact, the accident had occurred three days after we returned home. Back to reality, my new reality.  I had a long road of recovery ahead of me.

As I came to find out, my brain injury was in the part of my brain that affects mobility.  As a result, I would have to learn to walk again.  My entire right side was presenting as if I’d had a stroke, so the rehab to my right side would be extensive.  The next days and following weeks were chock-full of intense physical, speech and occupational therapies.  I was learning to stand, to walk, to balance, to regain strength that had been lost.  I was not only learning to form and say words again, but also to formulate sentences, do math, and make sense of what was in my head.  Tactile, touchable tasks, such as writing and holding a toothbrush, were issues with which I also had to deal, as well as fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.  The brain is a fascinating facet of our bodies that we often take for granted, until we are faced with the loss of part of its function.

Each day I became more awake to my present condition and my diminished capabilities.  I was faced with a decision: I either had to accept what had happened, or deny that I was now different.   I would either have to allow the undamaged, uninjured Spirit that lived inside of me, to animate my spirit, or I would have to relinquish control of my life solely to my broken, injured, and damaged flesh.  The choice was up to me.  Which would I choose?

 

grace.

wear them comfortable like an old sweater

the power of a word…the power of the Word…the power in the spoken Word

“i love for You to cover me
clothe me in Your integrity
find me frequently, taking in long sips of Your poetry
You intoxicate me with Your eternity
and Your love for me is front page news…” – Amena Brown

so powerful!
they are just words…or are they?

…to worship You
…to honor You
…to adore You
is the only reason i live….

grace.

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