Category Archives: renewing

living in the dusk

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Ephesians 5:6-14

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),  and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.  But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

One of my favorite things to do is to sit and watch a sunset.  Watching as the bright of day closes and darkness is waiting on the peripheral . . . waiting to snuff out the light.  Dusk, that moment in time of partial darkness between day and night. 

It’s a moment in time I want to briefly stop and appreciate His handiwork in the sky, but dusk is not a place I want to live in, but it seems to be a place I can wander in.  It’s not that place of Light, and it’s not that place of Dark.  

Dusk, where the shadows provide
                places to hide.
to escape.
                to avoid.
to divide.
                to decay.

Dusk is that place where the empty words of my enemy wants to woo me back into Darkness.

Words that want to come back to haunt me.

You are not loved.  You are not valued.
You are not worthy.  You are not pleasing.
You can’t do anything right.   Guilty.
 

Those are empty words, fruitless works of darkness.  E.M.P.T.Y.

I have to take those things of the darkness and expose them to the Light.  His Light.  Jesus changes who I am.

My life in the Light is full.

My life in the darkness is empty.

Living in the dusk is simply waiting for the darkness to come.  It will steal the Light away.

Are you living in dusk?

 

 


aim purposefully

dancing leaves

Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.
Hebrews 10:24

It’s a good afternoon for a walk.  The rain has stopped for now and the pup is longingly looking at her leash.  The weatherman says there’s a cold front coming our way making the skies to the north dark and grey, so we decide to take advantage of the break in the rain and head out to enjoy the outdoors.

Walking through the neighborhood, the dead leaves are crunching beneath my boots.  Suddenly the wind begins to gust by us, ushering in another blast of cooler air around these parts.  The lifeless piles of leaves seem to come to life dancing around in circles.  The wind blows them this way, and they go this way.  Then the wind blows them that way, and they go that way.  They swirl and twirl, they bounce and skip, they tumble and glide wherever the wind aimlessly carries them.  Aimless and lifeless . . . full of motion, but void of life.

How many days have I walked around just like those leaves?  Full of motion, going here and there, drifting aimlessly through my day.  How many times have I let the circumstances of my day determine what I do, how I respond?  Do I wake up, roll out of bed not even thinking seriously about the hopes of my day?  That’s not how God intends my day to be.

Instead I need to take time, time to be purposeful about my day.  I need to take the time, time to focus and time to aim myself intentionally asking for His guidance and His strength for every moment of my day.  Remembering, I was created in his image by Him and for His Glory, I was not created to wander about my day aimlessly like those leaves that dance across the street ahead of me.  I was created to be purposeful in His Love. 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2


rest in the stillness

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Rest in the stillness.  

There’s a quiet . . . a hush . . . a stillness . . . the sun quietly rises over the lake.

The fish are waiting . . . but more importantly, the quiet calls.  My Abba Father, my Daddy, is waiting for me. He calls for me. 

Rest in the stillness of My Presence while I prepare you for this day.  Let the radiance of My Glory shine upon you, as you wait on Me in confident trust.  Be still and know that I am God. 

In the quiet . . . in His quiet . . . I am quiet . . .  quietly trusting Him.

As you rest in My Presence, focusing on Me, I quietly build bonds of trust between us.  When you respond to the circumstances of your life with affirmations of trust, you actively participate in this process. 

The quiet of the morning breaks the dark of night.  The quiet of the morning calls me to rest . . . to rest in the stillness of His Presence.

Trusting Him with my day. 

taken from Jesus Calling


all things new

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Behold I am making all things new.  ~ Revelation 21:5

On the hunt for signs of new life.  Spring has been teasing us for the last several weeks here after an unusually cold and pretty dreary winter in Texas.  The days of biting cold, icy roads, and winter storm warnings (school closures!) are surely behind us!  Now the signs of His breathing new life into the deadness of nature are showing all around us.  The anticipation of what God is going to do brings a fresh hope.

The little green leaves of the bluebonnets poking through the dirt . . .  bring hope.

The lone clump of Indian paintbrush . . . brings hope.

The mother bluebirds building their nests in the houses lining our fence  . . . bring hope.

The sounds of a hosts of different birds awakening the woods . . . bring hope.  

The massive old trees budding out with tiny spurts of green  . . . bring hope.  

The freshness in the air as I walk outside . . . brings hope.

All signs of spring!  How I love spring because it’s the season that wipes away all the dead, the dreariness and brings the promise of new life.  But you know it’s not just the in trees, the flowers, the birds that new life is promised.  His promise is for us!  He makes us new.

So in looking around the promise of new life all around me today, I am reminded that there was a time in my life I too was dead, dead like much like things in nature in winter.  But He made me a new creation!!

It’s not just a seasonal event that happens.  God is constantly at work in my life.  He is continuously working the soil of my heart through His Spirit.  Even when it’s hard to see from my human perspective, I know He is at work even in the smallest details of life.

I know I can trust HimSo I cling to His promise, anticipating with fresh hope the day when all things are made new.

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. . . be happy.

be happy

“I just want him to be happy…”

“Don’t you want him to be happy?” 

“Happy . . . happy . . . happy!” 

Happy. H.A.P.P.Y. Happy seems to be a word that has been thrown at me quite a bit over the last couple of years. At first my response was almost a too – immediate “yes” or maybe a “yes . . . but . . .”

One thing my own life has shown me is the more I try to be happy, the more happiness eludes me.  When I’ve made happiness the goal, I have fallen short.  Sometimes so short, that I’ve hit rock bottom.

God’s will for my life is not always the easiest place to be.  But the more I have sought Him, the more I have leaned into Him, the more I have surrendered to Him the less concern I have for my happiness.  Ironically … the more concerned I am about my relationship with my Creator, the happier I am.

If I make happiness my goal, God’s plan for me will be limited.

So as I contemplate those questions asked about happiness . . . whether it be my own happiness, or the “supposed” happiness of a loved one . . . an adult child, a family member, or a close friend . . .
my only answer can be ~ What am I really living for?  What are you really living for? 

Happiness . . . but at what cost?

 This is what the Lord says:

The man who trusts in mankind,
who makes human flesh his strength
and turns his heart from the Lord is cursed

The man who trusts in the Lord,
whose hope indeed is the Lord, is blessed.

Jeremiah 17: 5 and 7

 


{Sunday renewal} Presence-focused

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Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
—Psalm 105:4

I am renewing your mindWhen your thoughts flow freely, they tend to move toward problems. Your focus gets snagged on a given problem, circling round and round it in attempts to gain mastery. Your energy is drained away from other matters through this negative focus. Worst of all, you lose sight of Me.

A renewed mind is Presence-focused. Train your mind to seek Me in every moment, every situation. Sometimes you can find Me in your surroundings: a lilting birdsong, a loved one’s smile, golden sunlight. At other times, you must draw inward to find Me. I am always present in your spirit. Seek My Face, speak to Me, and I will light up your mind.        (from Jesus Calling)

A timely reminder . . . F.O.C.U.S.  I need to continually ask myself . . . where is my mind wandering?  It’s not my Father who wanders away from me, but me who wanders away from Him.


the grass, the birds, the lilies and me

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If God so clothes the grass of the field . . . , will He not much more clothe you . . . ? Matthew 6:30

Sounds so simple, doesn’t it?  The problem is as much as I want simplicity, something inside me fights it.
I let the cares of the world come in to my mind and my heart. I allow myself to think I know better than Him.  And every time I allow this to happen, I push my Creator aside, losing that intimate place of close relationship with Him. 

How do I let the simplicity of the grass of the fields be my simplicity?  I set aside myself for Him.  I listen – receive His Spirit.  I am learning to rely on Him, not on my feeble attempts at “doing life.”

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“Look at the birds of the air . . .” Matthew 6:26.

I enjoy walking through the woods and the meadows at our country place.  The cacophony of sounds from all types of birds resonates through the ever-present stillness.  All you have to so is look up and the birds are there.  Are they dependent on me?   Absolutely not.  These feathered creatures, from the tiny little blue bird to the beautiful hawks that soar overhead as they intently watch our fields, follow the instincts their Creator places inside of each one.  He watches over every single one.

So why do I doubt?  Why would I think He wouldn’t watch over me?  Me.  The one he says He has known before I was created?  I want that freedom, freedom from worry.

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“Consider the lilies of the field . . .” Matthew 6:28.

We don’t have lilies in our fields, but we do have most of the beautiful Texas wildflowers one can find in the Hill Country.  The ever-changing landscape reminds me that these flowers always grow right where they are planted.  Not planted by our hands, but by the Hand of their Creator.  How many times do I refuse to grow right where God has planted me?  How many times do I not allow my roots to go down into His Ground?

Jesus said if we would obey the life of God within us, He would look after all other things. Did Jesus Christ lie to us? Are we experiencing the “much more” He promised? If we are not, it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us and have cluttered our minds with confusing thoughts and worries. How much time have we wasted asking God senseless questions while we should be absolutely free to concentrate on our service to Him?
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

And just like with the grasses, the birds, and the lilies, this is not just a one-time thing for me either.  It’s a daily act. I need to stop and look again each day. Give myself up daily. Not just when I “need” Him, but give Him every single moment of every single day of my life.

Looking for Him in the little things, as well as the big things of my day.


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