Tag Archives: Christianity

nester

March 12 house 3

Looking back . . .

For the last four years we’ve been “raising” baby blue birds.  Well actually, we’ve been providing them a place to build their nests, to lay their eggs, and to raise their young until the babies are ready to fledge, spread their wings and fly.
I have been fascinated at how meticulously the mothers build their nests, layering twigs and grasses, delicately intertwining all the many different pieces to create a home for their babies.  In watching this whole process, one thing I’ve noticed is the mother takes great care at preparing her haven that will be “home” for them over the weeks to come.  There is a constant sense of activity as she puts everything in order, not putting off everything that needs to be done.  And even in the sense of the world, even though this home is only temporary the mother nester puts all her energy and efforts into creating the “just-right,” not perfect, but welcoming environment for her family. 

Looking forward . . .

I want to be like my blue bird nesters.  Coming into a fresh season of life, I look forward to the change of pace, adjusting to not being in the classroom and on the clock, and reacquainting myself with some skills that have become a bit rusty over the years, creating the “just-right,” not perfect, but welcoming environment for our new home.   Even if it’s just temporary!

She carefully watches everything in her household
    and suffers nothing from laziness.
Prov. 31:27 

 

 

 

 


even in the dark

 

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It never ceases to amaze me . . . when I’m on the hunt for something to share with someone . . . The Word speaks to me.  Sometimes it’s a tug on my heart.  Or maybe a tap on my shoulder or a pull on my arm.  And then there are the times when it hits me smack in the head.  That’s exactly what happened the other day when I read Ann Voskamp’s post, How to Get Through the Dark Places.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can defeat me. I can say, “I get it.” N.O.T.H.I.N.G.
And there is no place His light won’t go to find you, to save you, to hold you.

The darkness doesn’t understand the light, doesn’t comprehend the light, doesn’t get the light, doesn’t overcome the light, doesn’t master the light.

Darkness doesn’t have anything on light, on hope, on faith.

The darkness that sucks at the prodigal kid doesn’t have anything on the light of his mother’s prayers.

The black of pornography that threatens at the edges doesn’t master the blazing light of Jesus at the center.

The pit of depression that plunges deep doesn’t go deeper than the love of your Jesus and there is no place His light won’t go to find you, to save you, to hold you.

That low-lying storm cloud that hangs over you can’t master the light of Christ that raises you.

Darkness can’t drive out darkness. Only light can do that.

Only words of Light can drive out worlds of dark.
Only deeds of Light can drive out depths of dark.
Only lives of Light can drive out lies of dark.

Darkness can never travel as fast as Light. No matter how bad things get, no matter how black the dark seeps in, no matter the depths of the night — the dark can never travel as fast as Light. The Light is always there first, waiting to shatter the dark.

You can always hold His Word like a ball of light right there your hand, right up there next to your warming heart.

You can always count on it: Jesus is bendable Light, warmth around every unexpected corner.

So press on.  Keep running the race – even in the dark.


marriage through the lens of His Word

marriage through the lens of scripture

“Marriage has the power to set the course of your life as a whole. If your marriage is strong, even if all the circumstances in your life around you are filled with trouble and weakness, it won’t matter. You will be able to move out into the world in strength.”  ~ Tim Keller – The Meaning of Marriage

I can gratefully say that one of the many strengths of our marriage is that we both want to help each other become what God has planned for us to be . . .  individually and together . . .  by looking through the lens of His Word.  

Even when life is going haywire crazy around us, when circumstances and situations are out of our control, we move through the messes of life together because we have set the course of our journey on Him.

Our real attitude towards God shows up in our attitude towards each other.  


renew

renew . . . 2014

New year . . .

Turning another calendar page. Time to think about the new year ahead.  Time to for that list of “things to do/things to accomplish in 2014,” time to speak them out loud or write them down.

After years and years of making such lists . . . and years and years of breaking such lists, I finally decided it was time to put that whole idea aside.

So last year a few girl friends challenged me to join them in doing something different.  Instead of making those lists that very rarely turned out like we had expected or imagined, we chose a word to focus on each day of the year.  It was to be a word that would reflect what I wanted to see in myself. My word was intentional.

So this year, when it came to time to put 2013 to rest and the conversations naturally turned toward making resolutions [goals] for 2014, I intentionally began to listen my 2014 word – that specific, little word that would have big impact on my life.  Not just for this year, but for all the years to come.  As December came to an end, a friend shared this blog posting with me a couple of days ago . . . affirmation to me to put away the resolutions idea!

from (in)courage 

One Word 365 is a community and a movement. It’s about forgetting resolutions and scrapping your list of goals that you’ll forget by next week – or be overwhelmed by in the same time frame. One Word 365 says:

Choose just one word. One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long.
 
It will take intentionality and commitment, but if you let it, your one word will shape not only your year, but also you. It will become the compass that directs your decisions and guides your steps.
 
Discover the big impact one word can make.
 
One word. 365 days. A changed life.

And so . . . my word is RENEW. Each and every day . . . Renew. 

renew:  to make new; to renovate; to transform; to change from natural enmity to the love of God and his law; to implant holy affections in the heart; to regenerate – KJV Dictionary.

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2


on wings like eagles

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but those who wait upon the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint 
Isaiah 40:31

Funny thing . . . this verse has come across my path several times over the last few days . . .

Every time I read this verse, I’m reminded of the solitary eagle.  I can envision how he can soar to the great heights and depths, maneuvering through mountains, skimming over tops of forests and the water – all of his senses alive, on high alert. Waiting.

He can be very quiet . . . with an absolute resolute stillness.  There doesn’t seems to be a sense of restlessness or hurriedness to him.  Waiting.

Waiting expectantly to stretch his majestic, powerful wings.  Waiting to soar higher and higher, catching the upper air currents.  Soaring up high above the storms of life.

Unlike the eagle . . .

I run . . . I grow weary.

I walk . . . I grow faint.

I need to be like the eagle.  I need to learn to wait . . . wait like the solitary eagle.  I need to be silent like the eagle.  To wait on God – to be silent so He can speak.  To be expectant, with all my spiritual senses on high alert.  Not expectant of the world, not expectant of others around me, not even of myself.  My expectation must be from Him.

Then, and only then, will my strength be renewed.


best Gift of all

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The best gift of all is not found under the tree, but was nailed to the tree.

(taken from Once-a-Day 25 Days of Advent)
We are about to celebrate the birth of the Son of God, the firstborn over all creation — not the first created being, as some religions falsely claim, but the one who holds our universe together and without whom we would have neither life nor breath. His birth in Bethlehem has implications for all of us. Jesus was born on earth so that we could become God’s children too, all of us. The gospel Jesus brought was for everyone, then and now. It destroyed all barriers among people: social, racial and gender-related. Our unity is based on our new identity as children of God. That is what we are! Our status in Christ far surpasses any earthly advantages we would have over one another. There is no room for pride. No distinction of slave or free, no wealthy or poor, no in or out.

We are all God’s children. He has sent the Holy Spirit to be within us. We can “hear” God speak to us through His Word. We can speak directly to Him in daily prayers. He hears the cries of His children, “Abba, Father.”

All this is our Christmas gift from Him. It’s a free gift. We cannot earn it. We cannot work for it. All we need to do is accept the gift.

God loves us and wants us to be with Him, to love him. He accepts us as we are. He has a plan for each one of us. He wants us to be close to Him for all eternity. God sent His Son to earth, the baby whose birth brings us Christmas, to make that happen.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir. — Galatians 4:4–7


flowers of Peace

photo from AnnVoskamp

photo from AnnVoskamp

Let Me infuse My Peace into your innermost being. As you sit quietly in the Light of My Presence, you can sense Peace growing within you. This is not something that you accomplish through self-discipline and willpower; it is opening yourself to receive My blessing.

In this age of independence, people find it hard to acknowledge their neediness. However, I have taken you along a path that has highlighted your need for Me: placing you in situations where your strengths were irrelevant and your weaknesses were glaringly evident. Through the aridity of those desert marches, I have drawn you closer and closer to Myself. You have discovered flowers of Peace blossoming in the most desolate places.You have learned to thank Me for hard times and difficult journeys, trusting that through them I accomplish My best work. You have realized that needing Me is the key to knowing Me intimately, which is the gift above all gifts.

~Jesus Calling

Even as a little girl, I’ve had a penchant for flowers, all kinds of flowers.  From little flowers growing wild, clusters of Ligustrum flowers attracting the honey bees, roses growing in my mother’s garden, verbenas used for Barbie doll bouquets, I loved the beauty of flowers.  From the flowering weeds collected by the hand of my young baseball player given to Mom in the stands,  to the broken off magnolia bloom brought in by the toothless grin of the little blonde-headed daughter, and the Mason jar full of Texas bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush gathered by the oldest on a walk with Granddaddy, to the store-bought bouquets and gifted flowers randomly given by teenagers – all are precious memories, gifts given from the hearts.  In looking back, I now see these as little joys divinely given to me in a desert season of life.

So when reading today’s devotion from Jesus Calling, I am deeply reminded of how His Peace has infused my life.  I’m reminded of how when I am weak, He is strong.  When life seemed bleak and lonely, I have never been alone. Even in times of financial despair, on the brink of losing everything, He never let me fall.  The enemy continually whispered the lies of there is no hope, there is no way out. Even though the thread was mighty thin, He always provided just enough in the hard times.

 I am so very thankful for these times of difficulty, as I learn to lean in and trust.  I’ve learned to not run away and hide in the desert, but to look for Him in the most desolate places.

In times of desolation, He has given me flowers of Peace.

And today, flowers – whether randomly given by my sweet man or simply seen along my way – are my way of counting gifts of Joy and Peace and Thanksgiving!

Reminders that He is the gift of all gifts.

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters will never fail.  
Isaiah 58:11


stepping into nowhere

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forgiveness . . .

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Forgive – so that today’s hurts don’t become tomorrow’s roots of bitterness.


start to a new week

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Yesterday the calendar said “first day of autumn.” Typically, here in Houston that doesn’t mean too terribly much.  But this past weekend brought us some nice changes.  Let’s see, we had a couple of days of really good, soaking rain that we really have needed in this time of drought.  And that was followed by the ushering of some cool, fresh air.  The change was definitely welcomed!  ‘Now if only the start of my work week would bring some change’ was my prayer as I went to sleep last night.

So today was the start to another week of teaching middle-schoolers with this year’s crop, so far seeming be a ‘bit of a challenge‘.  This morning when the alarm went off, my hand hit the snooze button, trying to put off the inevitable.  But when I realized this wasn’t a morning I could sleep in a little, I had to put myself into high gear when I remembered I had an early meeting before school started this morning.

Sadly, I short-changed myself spending some quality time with my Creator before starting my day. But just when I was bustling around,  getting off on the ‘short’ foot, my sweet husband opened the balcony door and called me to just take a moment to look at the sunrise.  What a gift He gave to me this morning.

A beautiful reminder – that no matter what the day before me may have in store, no matter what the challenges may be, He always goes before me.

The Lord is good,
A stronghold in the day of trouble;
And He knows those who trust in Him.
Nahum 1:7


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