Tag Archives: salvation

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?

 

 


Hope for the filthy rags

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Even at my very best, I have nothing to offer but filthy rags.

But I have the Hope that will not disappoint!

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus
Christ. 
We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 
 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.

This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5: 1-5


come as you are

As this new song by David Crowder reminds me  . . .  my hands are dirty.  I am not fit to sit at the Table.

Yet, He calls me and you to His Table.  It doesn’t matter how broken we are, or how far and how long we have wandered from Him, or how much hurt and shame we carry around.  It does not matter – our Abba Father calls us to come as we are.  He invites us to sit at His Table.

Come as you are.  Sit at His table and lay down your burdens, your broken heart, your shame, your wanderings, all your hurts that you’ve papered over through the years.  He will wash you clean and He will heal all the hurts.

 Come As You Are ~ by David Crowder
from Neon Steeple

Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been
Come broken-hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There’s rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t cure

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Fall in his arms
Come as you are
There’s joy for the morning
Oh sinner be still
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Come as you are

 


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.


not disqualified

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I look at the face staring back at me from the mirror . . . thinking “Who do you think you’re fooling?  You’re so disqualified.  What in the world do you have to offer?  You are broken . . . of absolutely no use.”  It’s those lies speaking into my heart.

His Word tells me my brokenness placed in God’s hands doesn’t disqualify me.  He redeems me from that mess of broken pieces all over life.  My brokenness actually qualifies me for His use.

God used two broken stone tablets to cause the Israelites to repent of their disobedience.

God used broken earthen vessels (pitchers that covered torches) to give the impression of an enormous army accompanying Gideon and to cause his enemies to pull back in dread.

God used a broken heart to return King David to Himself.

God used a broken roof to provide access for a cripple to be lowered by four faithful friends into the healing presence of Jesus.

God used broken loaves to feed five thousand and then some.

God used broken fishing nets to challenge the disciples to depend on Him rather on their own efforts for their needs.

God used a broken flask of nard to express the love that flows out of a relationship with Him.

God used a broken ship to steer Paul to the island of Malta to reveal the gospel to the natives there.

God used a broken body, pierced for our sins, to provide salvation for all mankind.

from M. R. DeHaan, Broken Things:  Why We Suffer


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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going to be ok

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Life is definitely different than what I thought it was going to be . . . after all,I thought I had a plan.
But it’s okay!

Much of my life I have found that on my journey’s path, going from point A to point B usually takes me via point K or point X or point R. . .

I’m finally getting the picture . . . God isn’t interested in the efficiency of my path.  He’s interested in my growth, in my learning to trust Him, in my leaning into Him . . .  He desires an intimate relationship with me.

His Promises have no expiration date.  It’s me that puts due dates on what God has a due season for . . . His appointed time.

Life is typically different from what I think it should’ve, could’ve would’ve been . . .
I know that He is writing my story and He has bought my happily ever after. 
I know how this story ends  . . .

and it is All going to be okay . . .

In fact, it is going to be way better than okay!!


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


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