Tag Archives: transformation

a history lesson

looking up

One of the special things most mornings bring is our reading, sharing together The Word and the Truths revealed to us as we linger over breakfast and coffee.  Some mornings though with schedules and appointments, the time is unable to be shared together, but we both know even if one of us is not physically present we are still share in this time.  Today happen to be one of those time alone mornings.  And what a sweet Truth God revealed to me in the stillness of my surroundings.  

For the last week or so, we’ve been reading through 1 Chronicles.  I know most will probably react with the same questions that have rolled through my mind.  “Why read through this book in the book in the Bible?”   Afterall, it’s nothing but long lists of genealogy and the basic recording of events from Genesis through the kings of Judah, and the exile and the people returning to Jerusalem after the exile. It reads a lot like a history book, an ongoing account of events.  In fact, much of what’s in Chronicles is repeated material from the earlier books.  So much so my mind keeps asking, “Why does all this need to be repeated over again?”  “Why do these people keep doing the same things over and over?”  “Why don’t they learn from their past?”  “Why? Why? Why?”  I know God does all this for a reason.  So the student in me wants to try to put all the facts and pieces together and figure out all the Whys.  I want to focus on the horizontal look at this panoramic picture of the Old Testament.

But today was different.  Today as the mind started to ask these same questions over again, the heart responded directly. The Lord was telling my heart to stop focusing on all the Whys and to look at the Who.  At this time was it really important for me to know who was reigning and who ruling?  Was it important to figure out who had absolute authority and why was this one overthrown, or that one dethroned?  Was it important to question why these people kept doing the same things over and over?  The Spirit told me to stop looking all across the pages – going backward and forwards . . .  from one commentary to the next . . .  and to look up.  

So for today, my answer was right there as I looked up.  Who was reigning and ruling?  – GOD.  Who has absolute authority? – GOD.  Always has and always will.  He has never been overthrown.  He has always been on his throne and always will be.   I was getting so caught up in looking at things horizontally, from the side-to-side, the back-and-forth, that I was forgetting to look up.

Today was different.  Today reminded me that recently I’ve become so caught up in all the hoopla of the worldly things going on in my life, the lives of those ones I love and care deeply for, and the conundrum of details that seem to surround me.  I’ve become caught up in all the horizontal details of life – all those nitty, gritty frustrations of the details of life that want me to take my eyes off Jesus.

Looking across, side-to-side, front-to-back is full of unknowns, of fears, what ifs, unrest, upheaval, distrust and discontent.  Looking across and around is mucky and off-center.  I can’t truly gaze if I’m looking horizontally.  He tells me to put down the hoopla of the world.  To not fret over the horizontal details of life that really do not matter – those details that want to pull me down, to pull me apart, to pull me away.  He tells me those things do not matter because He is on His throne.  He will not step down, nor will He be pushed aside.  He IS in control.

He has all my details covered because He knows my story.  Seeing all my details, He moves in His own time and at His own pace.  I need to stop looking across at all the earthly details and fretting over the earthly “kings” that change at the drop of a hat. He calls to me, “Daughter, look up to Me, your Heavenly King.  I have all the details of your life covered. Surrender them all to me and leave them at the foot of the Cross and at the foot of My throne. The one and only throne that has never or will ever change.”

Yes, today is different.  Looking up and over the page. I fix my gaze – I see the One that is unchangeable, full of grace and mercy and peace. Looking up is transformational.    

 


broken

broken ornament

Invariably, it happens every year. A wagging tail brushes a limb of the tree, or a little hand reaches out in curiosity, or sometimes it’s just a mystery – it just happens.  All followed by the familiar sound of crashing glass on the floor crying out, “broken.”

My first inclination is to quickly sweep up the pieces and toss the broken Christmas ornament into the trash.  But this time while carefully picking up the broken fragments, those jagged, sharp pieces, I am reminded how Jesus meets me in my brokenness.  And unlike how the world views brokenness, my Savior doesn’t quickly sweep me away and nonchalantly toss me into the trash heap.  He meets me there, in the middle of the mess of my brokenness. When I come to the end of myself, He meets me there in the brokenness.

Through adversity, in the disappointments, in the failures – I see my weakness, my need to depend on Him. And when I come to the end of myself, I do not see these as shortcomings, but am reminded that God works best through me when I am broken.   

So in this season of celebrating the birth of Jesus, I stop to reflect on the cradle, the cross, and the crown.

I’m not in a hurry to sweep away my brokenness because I know it is there He meets me.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:17 

 

 


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

 


reflections: burning brush {a burning heart}

 

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Reflecting back over my week of spring break . . . it was a good week!  Lots of productivity sprinkled in with lots of time for rest and relaxation.  We decided to pass on “going anywhere” for my little break from teaching.  Instead it was a great opportunity to spend some time working/relaxing at CHR, our country place, and with my folks.  So we packed up the truck with all our gear, and of course our dog.

One of the things that needed to be done this week was to help my dad out with clearing out some scrub brush and then burning.  So while my sweet man was cutting trees and brush at our place, I stayed and helped my dad.  What a sweet time we shared.   One of the good things about spending time with Dad is his sharing memories, his wisdom, and most of all – his love for God.

So while working alongside him, chopping, cutting, pulling and hauling small brush to the burn pile — I learned some lessons about burning brush and about the secret of my own burning heart.

The Burning Heart ~ Oswald Chambers

Did not our heart burn within us . . . ? —Luke 24:32

We need to learn this secret of the burning heart. Suddenly Jesus appears to us, fires are set ablaze, and we are given wonderful visions; but then we must learn to maintain the secret of the burning heart— a heart that can go through anything. It is the simple, dreary day, with its commonplace duties and people, that smothers the burning heart— unless we have learned the secret of abiding in Jesus.

Much of the distress we experience as Christians comes not as the result of sin, but because we are ignorant of the laws of our own nature. For instance, the only test we should use to determine whether or not to allow a particular emotion to run its course in our lives is to examine what the final outcome of that emotion will be. Think it through to its logical conclusion, and if the outcome is something that God would condemn, put a stop to it immediately. But if it is an emotion that has been kindled by the Spirit of God and you don’t allow it to have its way in your life, it will cause a reaction on a lower level than God intended. That is the way unrealistic and overly emotional people are made. And the higher the emotion, the deeper the level of corruption, if it is not exercised on its intended level. If the Spirit of God has stirred you, make as many of your decisions as possible irrevocable, and let the consequences be what they will. We cannot stay forever on the “mount of transfiguration,” basking in the light of our mountaintop experience (see Mark 9:1-9). But we must obey the light we received there; we must put it into action. When God gives us a vision, we must transact business with Him at that point, no matter what the cost.

I want that heart that can go through anything . . . even in the most mundane days.

I want that heart that has been kindled by the Spirit . . . on the mountaintop or in the desert.

I want that heart that burns inside me . . . because I am abiding in Jesus.

 


in The Cross

tim keller - the cross.001

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


even in the dark

 

john 1_5.001

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.


renewing

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The other day while thumbing through some notes found in the Bible I had used for many years, I ran across these words that had been shared in a past study.  I had to smile because of the coincidence of the content and my *2014 word* RENEW —— Coincidence?  Ummm…. no, I don’t think so!

Renewing the mind is a little like refinishing furniture. It is a two-stage process. It involves taking off the old and replacing it with the new. The old is the lies you have learned to tell or were taught by those around you; it is the attitudes and ideas that have become a part of your thinking but do not reflect reality. The new is the truth. To renew your mind is to involve yourself in the process of allowing God to bring to the surface the lies you have mistakenly accepted and replace them with truth. To the degree that you do this, your behavior will be transformed.  (source unknown)

Growing up with parents who enjoyed antique shopping and a grandmother who had her own little shop, I spent quite a bit of time being my dad’s “helper” when it came time to refinish many of the furniture finds.  Some of the pieces were unbelievably ugly, and often I would think “there’s no way this piece is going to ever find its way into our home.”  But as my dad would painstakingly strip away the layers upon layers of paint, the beautiful original wood would be exposed.  After all the steps of the taking away the old were complete, the process of replacing it with a new finish would result in a total transformation of the piece.

So stumbling across the words I had written down years ago, the message was clear.  The transformation that I desire is not just a switch of one behavior to another, but it is a process.  And just like refinishing furniture, it’s tedious and messy work.  It’s not a one-time exercise, but it is one that I need to do daily. This renewal must come not only from the outside in, but more importantly from the inside out.

What does this look like?  For me, the old are the lies that I have allowed the enemy to whisper into me; it’s the walls that I had built up over the years to protect myself; it’s the healing of hurts and scars.  The new is daily asking the Spirit to show me the things I have hidden deep in the recesses of my mind and heart.  To show me, to break my heart and my mind of anything that blinds me, no matter how much it may still hurt, from His Truth.  

The great Exchange – new for the old.

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stopping in at  Bonnie Gray’s . . .  come join us


pausing to renew my mind

checking out the spectacular view

Abiding . . . taking time to be still and to renew my mind.

Pausing on this journey to humbly rest on the mountaintop

Reflecting back on the Grace received.

Taking time to hold on to the Grace He sustains me with today.

Looking expectantly to the future Grace and Mercy He offers me.

 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:16


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


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