Heard this song by Laura Story at our women’s Triennial convention last night. Beautiful, moving, heartbreaking, thought-provoking. Are you being blessed in some way?
Saw this yesterday on Facebook and even shared it. Thought it was a great saying for people who are really going through a hard time. Tucked it away in the back of my mind for me but didn’t REAAAAAALLLY take it to heart now. Why not? Well, I’m NOT having STORMS….no “bad” times….no crisis like some I know & love. No sorrow. No fires in my house. No heartaches….Crazy busy, but it’s aaaallll gooood.
Uh, duh…someone had put blinders on me, trying to fool me into thinking I was in control again. That I was independent. That I didn’t NEED any help from The Helper. That I might be in danger of moving away from Him, step by step, until I became either self-sufficient or broken or bitter or…..
I’ve still been running at breakneck speed because…well, there’s still a lot going on. Two graduations (high school and college) coming up within the next month with all kinds of events and projects associated with them. And although I didn’t travel to be with them, both my father-in-law and my mother have had surgeries this past week. I’ve been praying for them but didn’t think it was affecting me very much. I can handle it all on my own, remember? I realized this morning that it was….
FINALLY I sat down to journal this morning. I’ve been feeling pretty guilty about neglecting my quiet time and my relationship with God. I’ve definitely seen Him working in my life and around me but haven’t “felt” Him. I know that “feelings” aren’t everything, but I’ve been missing that component of our relationship. I’ve been DOING for Him but not BEING with Him. Even reading the Bible has not been the “conversation with the Living God” that I wrote about before but had become something to check off on my “to-do” list.
After I had journaled and talked to God for a while (it was great by the way), I picked up an email devotion that I had printed out back in January. Obviously, I didn’t read it very well. *insert sarcasm*
This is what caught my eye:
Because the chaos isn’t from my circumstances. It’s inside me.
To be continued….
This is the reflection I wrote for yesterday’s sermon. Now I just need to COMPLETELY take it heart and follow it.
Close your eyes and imagine yourself lying cushioned by a velvety green blanket of grass under a sky painted the most perfect shade of blue, with the occasional white cloud billowing by. Feel the soft, gentle breeze lightly brushing against your skin. Hear the tranquil murmuring of a nearby brook as it caresses the rocks. Lazily watch the path of a butterfly as it floats along its path. Empty your mind of everything except the pleasure and experience of this moment right now. Be refreshed.
That is the mental image I always have of the first verses in Psalm 23: “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” (NIV) Do you long to experience that? I DO!
We are on this quest to DO. To ACCOMPLISH. To be EFFICIENT, ACTIVE, DILIGENT and INDUSTRIOUS. On our vacations or days off, we feel the need to fill them with activities, to be productive, even if they are fun activities. If we slow down or try to relax, we may feel guilty because we are “wasting time.” I think we’re being lied to by an enemy that doesn’t want us to be refreshed. Are you BUSY? Being Under Satan’s Yoke?
Why did God include “Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy” in the Ten Commandments? As a burden or another rule to follow? Or did He give us a gift? A precious gift of restoration. A time to come to Him and allow Him to refresh us with His Living Water. Do you know that deep satisfying feeling as you drink ice-cold water when you’re parched with thirst? We feel replenished, freshened, rejuvenated, revitalized. That’s how it should feel if we let Him quench our soul-thirst. If we allow Him to refresh us.
He knew our tendency was to STRIVE and try to do it on our own! Re-read those verses in Psalm 23. He MAKES me lie down, He LEADS, and THEN He REFRESHES. So this needed and vital Sabbath rest is partially about “unplugging” from our physical work because we are tired. And tired disciples are ineffective disciples. But it’s also about “unplugging” from striving on our own. It’s about “unplugging” from whatever is taking us away from those green pastures and quiet waters. It’s about “unplugging” from the world’s pull on us. It’s about “unplugging” from the lie that we have to DO because if we don’t, then it won’t get done. It’s about relinquishing our control and allowing Him to do His work in us and through us. It’s about being still and quiet and listening to the One who loves us. It’s about “plugging” into the One who can do all things. Even restore and refresh us. And then we are able to find rest in His promises.
A lthough things are not perfect B ecause of trial or pain C ontinue in thanksgiving. D o not begin to blame, E ven when the times are hard. F ierce winds are bound to blow. G od is forever able. H old on to what you know; I magine life without His love, J oy would cease to be. K eep thanking Him for all the things L ove imparts to thee. M ove out of “Camp Complaining.” N o weapon that is known, O n earth can yield the power P raise can do alone. Q uit looking at the future; R edeem the time at hand; S tart every day with worship. T o “thank” is a command U ntil we see Him coming V ictorious in the sky. W e’ll run the race with gratitude; X alting God most high. Y es, there’ll be good times and yes some will be bad, but…
Z ion waits in glory…where none are ever sad!
And just as an extra treat, I thought I’d share God’s gift from last night. This was probably the most incredible, most gorgeous, most intense sunset I’ve ever seen. Deep red and the deepest brightest orange set against the darkening sky….that lasted for many minutes. As my friend said, “Yes, God, we SEE You!”
I love this morning prayer from InTouch Ministries.
Thank You for the blessing of a new morning and the privilege of beginning the day by talking with You. I give You myself and my schedule today, asking to be used to further Your kingdom.
Grant me the wisdom to handle each situation I encounter with grace so that my speech will be pleasing and my thoughts pure as I follow Your direction. I am grateful that Your plans for me are good (Jer. 29:11) and I eagerly trust in Your steadfast faithfulness.
Help me to live in a manner worthy of the calling You have placed on my life (Eph. 4:1) and to magnify Your name in all things.
I’ve been so caught up in the worries and cares of this world, fretting about tomorrow, that I’ve forgotten about today. Forgotten to enjoy, to LIVE.
A few days ago, I heard the song below and immediately wished that sentiment for my sons, as one left for a new adventure and as one is readying himself for one next year. They are growing…..I want my beloved children to have an abundant life full of joy and wonder and purpose.
The very next day – I kid you not – on Facebook, I saw this. Seriously. This note to ME! This wish for ME! Just another GC! I realized that the Father wants the same for ME, His beloved child. To also have an abundant life full of joy and wonder and purpose.
On this day, God wants you to know…… that this world was made for you too.
Enjoy it, explore it, experience it. Don’t hold back. It is God’s gift to you. Don’t be a wallflower in the dance of life.
This photo was posted on Facebook and went totally viral within minutes.
Here’s the link to the whole story but this is what the photographer said: ‘This (is) 19-year-old (Schoep) being cradled in his father’s arms last night in Lake Superior. (Schoep) falls asleep every night when he is carried into the lake. The buoyancy of the water soothes his arthritic bones. Lake Superior is very warm right now, so the temp of the water is perfect. I was so happy I got to capture this moment for John. By the way, John rescued Shoep as an 8 month old puppy, and he’s been by his side through many adventures :).’
I obviously couldn’t miss the correlation between Schoep’s father and our Father. How He cradles us when we need Him. How He carries us. How He comforts us. This is Love.
It reminds me of an email that was circulating a few years ago about a little girl who had been a premature baby, not expected to live, and her comment about “smelling like God.” According to the truthorfiction.com website, it is absolutely true. If you missed this story, be prepared to cry. Even if you are familiar with it, let it touch your heart again and give you comfort in the fact that God loves you and is with you always.
The Smell of Rain
A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the Doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. Still groggy from surgery, her husband David held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news.
That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency cesarean to deliver the couple’s new daughter, Danae Lu Blessing. At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound and nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature. Still, the doctor’s soft words dropped like bombs.
‘I don’t think she’s going to make it’, he said, as kindly as he could. “There’s only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one”. Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Danae would likely face if she survived. She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on. “No! No!” was all Diana could say. She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away.
Through the dark hours of morning as Danae held onto life by the thinnest thread, Diana slipped in and out of sleep, growing more and more determined that their tiny daughter would live – and live to be a healthy, happy young girl.
But David, fully awake and listening to additional dire details of their daughter’s chances of ever leaving the hospital alive, much less healthy, knew he must confront his wife with the inevitable. David walked in and said that we needed to talk about making funeral arrangements. Diana remembers ‘I felt so bad for him because he was doing everything, trying to include me in what was going on, but I just wouldn’t listen, I couldn’t listen.’ I said, “No, that is not going to happen, no way! I don’t care what the doctors say; Danae is not going to die! One day she will be just fine, and she will be coming home with us!” As if willed to live by Diana’s determination, Danae clung to life hour after hour, with the help of every medical machine and marvel her miniature body could endure. But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Danae’s under-developed nervous system was essentially ‘raw,’ the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn’t even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love.
All they could do, as Danae struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl. There was never a moment when Danae suddenly grew stronger. But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there. At last, when Danae turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time. And two months later – though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero. Danae went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted. Today, five years later, Danae is a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She shows no signs, what so ever, of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she is everything a little girl can be and more – but that happy ending is far from the end of her story.
One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Danae was sitting in her mother’s lap in the bleachers of a local ballpark where her brother Dustin’s baseball team was practicing. As always, Danae was chattering non-stop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, Danae asked, “Do you smell that?” Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, “Yes, it smells like rain.” Danae closed her eyes and again asked, “Do you smell that?” Once again, her mother replied, “Yes, I think we’re about to get wet, it smells like rain. Still caught in the moment, Danae shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, “No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest.”
Tears blurred Diana’s eyes as Danae then happily hopped down to play with the other children. Before the rains came, her daughter’s words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Danae on His chest and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.
This is dedicated to Bobby’s family.
Just a little music video break to praise God & glorify Him for what He’s done for me, in me, through me and is continuing to do so more & more each day.
” She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13
- The God who sees you (helpedbygrace.wordpress.com)