Category Archives: quotes

peace {advent ~ week 2}

peace - advent week 2

 

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.
2 Thessalonians 3:16

As the second week of Advent begins today, the race to get to this place, to get this and that taken care of, the pace of life is looking for every way it can to rob me of peace – His Absolute Peace.

Peace does not mean I sit in absolute silence.

Peace is not a place where my life is trouble-free.

Peace is not a place where I have no sorrows or hurts.

Peace is not a place where I find complete certainty.

Peace is not in the darkness; it is in His Light. 

Peace means in the middle of all the noise, the difficult circumstances, the sorrow, the hurt that overshadows the day, and in all the uncertainties I am overwhelmed by a calm.  The calm that can only come from the Lord of Peace, His Absolute Peace.  

If I find myself in the dark, searching for peace, I will not find peace in a place.  Nor will I find peace by my own doing.  I will only find peace in a person, the person of Jesus Christ.  When I find myself caught up in the whirlwind of the pace of life, no matter the season of life, I need to go back to the place where I picked up the distractions and relied on my own insights and instead embrace and depend on His light to lead me.  He will give me peace in every way. 

Great thoughts of your sin alone will drive you to despair; but great thoughts of Christ will pilot you into the haven of peace. (C. H. Spurgeon)


building a palace

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nuts and bolts

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So very thankful for those who have been the consistent nuts and bolts in my life!


forgiveness. resentment. excuses. obedience

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 All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice.  And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
Ephesians 4:31-32

Why is it so hard to forgive others?

But I’m in the right, I didn’t do anything against him . . .

She owes me the apology. I’m not the one who started this . . .

Can you believe how they treated me?  I deserve better than this. . .

I find myself struggling with forgiving those who hurt me – be it intentional or unintentional.

And when that happens, it’s like a pot sitting on the front burner of the stove.  The heat builds up and whatever is in that pot begins to boil, bubbles over, and spews out.  My being upset, angry at someone does that same thing.  It builds into resentment.  A resentment that tastes bitter to my heart.

Hurt.  It’s hard to forgive when you’ve been deeply hurt, especially when it’s someone close to you.  And when we’ve been deeply hurt, resentment sets in. There’s that gnawing desire to have them pay for it somehow.  Because . . .

They had it coming.
They shot their mouths off one too many times,
or they broke my heart,
or they didn’t return my calls.
They yelled at me first, and stormed off in a huff.
They turned against me, rejected me. 

Resentment.  Holding that grudge can feel like a sense of power, a sense of strength.

That surge of adrenaline when we’re self-righteously looking down at someone else’s sin, the false power of the unforgiving lording it over the unforgiven.

My mind tells me if I forgive them, ‘they’re just going to hurt me again.  Some how, some way.
So I hold on tight to resentment. I carry that grudge.  Afterall it’s their behavior, their actions, their attitude, their words.

Excuses.  A plea offered up for a fault.  Do I ask God to do just that for me?  Do I ask God to excuse my wrongdoings?  Do I ask Him to just accept my excuses?  Or do I ask for forgiveness?

Forgiveness says, “Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology; I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.” – C.S. Lewis

So, when the hurt comes {and it will} . . .

I will look up at the Cross. Forgiving grace and mercy looks down at me with His shed blood. And I think of the words and actions that have hurt me, the BIG and the small.

I have choices to make.
Do I stuff the feelings down deep inside my heart, carrying them around only to let them fester resentment?
Do I take it out on others around me?
Do I wear a grudge, like it’s a piece of my clothing?
Do I shut down emotionally?
Do I . . .?

~ OR ~

Do I follow in obedience . . . and forgive?

Do I make every effort to kill that bitter taste of resentment in my heart? – Not excuse, but forgive.

Forgiveness – I lay down my right to be right.

Forgiveness – I look at the other person through the lens of grace.

Forgiveness – I lay down the olive branch and forgive {even if it’s just between God and me} instead of becoming the victim of my hurt.

Forgiveness – I don’t keep an account. I don’t keep score.

God is the Final Judge, not me.


truth

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 “Truth is a glorious but hard mistress. She never consults, bargains, or compromises.” – A.W. Tozer

Truth.  The dictionary defines truth as “the real facts about something : the things that are true.”

Biblically speaking, truth is “not merely truth as spoken; truth of idea, reality, sincerity, truth in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man, straightforwardness.”  (Strong’s Greek)

Truth is, we all want someone who we can be vulnerable with . . .

someone we can show transparency, exposing our hurts, shortcomings, struggles . . .

someone we can be completely up-front and honest with.

We want that person to be lovingly understanding of us, show us integrity, be merciful. Yet, so many times in life and in our relationships, we find ourselves turning away from others because people let us down. So we run, or maybe we do a fast walk, or even a slow, sulk.  And then we drift apart . . . or perhaps completely turn away.  So instead, we turn further into ourselves, living in pretense.

But the real truth is . . . we can have that Someone.  

In Christ, I have the Truth.

You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free. – John 8:32

I don’t have to live in the trappings of pretense, of the believing the lies the enemy wants me to hear.  The Truth has set me free.

Truth. It does exist . . . it is real . . . it is straightforward.

Sometimes, the Truth has stopped me right in my tracks.  At other times, Truth is tapping me on the shoulder – redirecting my focus, my eyes.  Instead of looking inward, or avoiding the eye contact, Truth tells me to look upward.  Truth reminds me to look around and get myself back on the right road.

 And then there have been times, Truth has had to get me square by the shoulders and look me straight eye-to-eye, just like a parent with a child.   Gently, but firmly, steering me home.

Truth . . . God’s Truth does not consult, bargain or compromise.

His Truth gives me comfort and hope.  It is my Freedom.


offering my thirst

 

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Reading this morning . . . something struck a chord.  Once again counting the gifts, the lessons that are given to us in the every day, ordinary.  Something as simple as needing water.

God is a mountain spring, not a watering trough. (Desiring God)

There’s been a lot of work going on down at the ranch these last few months.   Poles have been set, lines have been strung, trenches were dug and wire was laid – we’ve got power all the way down to the front of the property now.  Power to help us sustain and maintain.

Next came another crew with their big trucks and time to drill a well. We’ve been anticipating having our own fresh water at hand.  For the last few years, we’ve been lugging in water in everything from coolers to cases of bottled water.  Finally the big day came and up went the drilling rig and the down went the drill bit, deep into the earth.  By that afternoon, we had water!  Fresh, cold water streaming out to meet our watering needs.  No more lugging in water from the outside – all we’ve got to do is bend down and drink until our thirst is quenched.  Water. Whenever we need it, whenever we want it.  

Another reason we were excited to have running water at hand is now it was going to be much easier to make water available for some of the wildlife that runs through our woods.  Off to Tractor Supply to buy a watering trough and fill it to over-flowing with water.  Looking at the tracks that are often left around the trough, the watering trough is serving its purpose.  But one of the downsides of the troughs and the bird baths, they have to be maintained by man.  After awhile, we’ve got to empty out the standing water that is no longer fresh; it’s become stagnant.  So we haul the hoses and bring in more fresh water.

And after spending some time in the great outdoors, there is nothing like bending down and drinking from the well of fresh water.

God is a mountain spring, not a watering trough. A mountain spring is self-replenishing. It constantly overflows and supplies others. But a watering trough needs to be filled with a pump or bucket brigade. 

If you want to glorify the worth of a watering trough you work hard to keep it full and useful. But if you want to glorify the worth of a spring you do it by getting down on your hands and knees and drinking to your heart’s satisfaction, until you have the refreshment and strength to go back down in the valley and tell people what you’ve found. 

My hope hangs on this biblical truth: that God is the kind of God who will be pleased with the one thing I have to offer — my thirst. That is why the sovereign freedom and self-sufficiency of God are so precious to me: they are the foundation of my hope that God is delighted not by the resourcefulness of bucket brigades, but by the bending down of broken sinners to drink at the fountain of grace.                                                                                                                (from Desiring God)

I offer my thirst to the only place where it can be truly quenched – at the fountain of Grace and the stream of Living Water.

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desolate places

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Dry, parched land begs for water.  A picture of desolation.

It wasn’t too long ago that our land was dry and parched.  Cracks were spreading out in every direction across the soil.  We were praying for rain to pour out on the thirsty land.

Just like the land, there have been seasons of desolation, parched places in my life.  Not physically, but spiritually.

“I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground.  I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring and my blessing on your descendants.”  ~ Isaiah 43:3 

How does God see those areas in my life?  He promises to pour out water in those dry places – what mercy!!

Then the rains came.  The dry, parched land soaked in the quenching rain that eventually covered the land and the land began to flourish again.

And so I go to my desolate places and plant myself to seek Him.  I plant myself next to the streams of Living Water and the falling rains and bubbling springs of pure Mercy saturate the places where He knows I need it most.

  Remember God is more anxious to bestow His blessings on us than we are to receive them.
Augustine


in The Cross

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In the beauty of the world . . .

. . . we see God’s existence

In the brokenness of the world . . .

. . . we see God’s justice

We see God’s mercy . . .

. . . in The Cross.


the light and dark side

brennan manning shadow side.001

 

To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark.

In admitting my shadow side . . . I learn who I am . . .

and what God’s grace means.

Brennan Manning


wishing and hoping

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Ran across this quote from Eugene Patterson the other day… made me think of how I use those two verbs . . .

wishing and hoping.

It is essential to distinguish between hoping and wishing. They are not the same thing.

Wishing is something all of us do. It projects what we want or think we need into the future. . . .

Hope desires what God is going to do—and we don’t yet know what that is.

Wishing grows out of our egos;

Hope grows out of our faith.

. . . . Wishing has to do with what I want in things or people or God;

Hope has to do with what God wants in me and the world of things and people beyond me.

As my faith has been tested and tried throughout life, it is Hope that carries me.  It is Hope that I cling to as I let go of my wishes.


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