Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Subtle Lies

Before I begin a new posting I open up my journal to refresh my memory.  Each morning when I journal I add an arrow to anything that I feel Papa is prompting me to include here.  Most often my notes dovetail with whatever topic I plan to address.

The connection is not obvious on first glance at the scribbling that I have highlighted since last Friday.
However, Papa being Papa, He tied it together for me in one fell swoop.

Many a time I will go from having no clue to having not only a thought, but the whole picture given to me all at once.  In those times it feels like I have always known it and it just came to the surface.  If I didn't know better I'd believe it, as the person in charge of the information in my cranium is way behind on filing and who even knows what is in there anymore?!
However, I do know better.  Actually, I know my God.  I know that He is far wiser than I.

Let me share the disconnected thoughts and tie them together, as He did for me.

Repentance needs to be a continual practice.

If we measure our worth by our possessions, then we will never own enough.

Often our own worst enemy is us.  If we do not recognize this, we distance ourselves from our God.

Obedience must mark my steps, grace is to season them.

Our Creator's design for marriage was not wrapped in romance, but in the desire for us to have a companion to share in all the ups and downs of life.  Ecclesiastes tells us that two is better than one.

Do you see the connection?

Each thought is one that is refuted by our world and many times by our own nature.  That is the strand that ties these thoughts together.

Humility is needed to come to a place of repentance.  Humility is often seen as weakness.  Weakness isn't applauded.   Pride stands in the way of admitting our sins.  Yet, it is greatly valued by our God.  So much so that Jesus modeled the quality.

Our society encourages, no urges us to acquire more.  The message is that the more you have, the more you will be admired and the more satisfied you will be.  Jesus said that our life does not consist of our possessions.

It is common practice to seek to blame others for our troubles.  Since we are all imperfect, it is not difficult to find a culprit.  The majority of the time it does not solve the problem, but compounds it.  Jonah is a prime example.  He hated the Ninevites so deeply that he wanted to see them condemned not forgiven.  When God did forgive, Jonah pouted.  He was so focused on those "enemies" that he withdrew from God.  It was his reaction and attitude that created the gulf between him and his God, not anything anyone else did.

Many times we are measured by our behavior with no regard for our motive.  If obedience is more than skin deep, grace will accompany it.  Our actions will not be rote, but motivated by love, love for our gracious Papa and for those He brings our way.  Papa knows the difference and others will be able to tell also.

Everywhere we look; movies, books, commercials, etcetera, they all emphasis romance.  Of course that should be part of a marriage, but it is not the major portion.  My Papa has been speaking to me about the value of having someone to care for you and stick by you no matter the situation.  That is His intention.  Some seasons of marriage seem devoid of the "romance."  It is only taking a different form than what is commonly heralded.

In reflecting upon what I have just written I see another common thread, one that has been mentioned; humility.  At all times it is so very important to keep ourselves and our God in perspective.  He sits on the Throne, we do not.  He is all powerful, we are weak.

The subtle lies are all around us.  They seek to distract us from the Truth.  When we embrace Truth, we will be able to echoed the words of the Apostle Paul found in Philippians Four, verse eleven.
"Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am."

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Responsibilities of Blessings

There are many in need of being come alongside for support and encouragement.
All of us at one time or another. 
We all face heartaches and concerns that overwhelm us in this life.
I am no exception.

Yet as I reflect on my life I am overcome by how blessed I am.
In times of trial Papa has never failed to supply all that I have needed and still need.  Not only in difficult times, but in all times, He proves Himself faithful.  So gracious.  So loving.  So wise.

It is important to stop and reflect upon all the blessings that do fill our lives.
There is an old hymn that says...

"Count your blessings, count them one by one, count your blessings, see what God has done..."

That is what I am doing today.

I have an amazing God who has made me privy to an incredible, intimate relationship with Him, the Almighty God.
I am blessed with health and strength and do not feel my sixty-years of age.
He has given me a loving, close family...
Dear friends...
My God has met all my material needs in His time and allowed me to share the blessings!
I live in probably the best part of this great country.  We do not have the severe weather that plagues much of the rest of this land.  New England enjoys all four seasons...and all the beauty that goes with it.
Speaking of this great country...We still have freedom of speech, freedom of religion...

Many of us share most, if not all, of those aforementioned blessings.
Many do not.

Check the news..
Think about those who represented by the headlines...
The people in Southern Sudan, teetering on the eve of their independence, still being slaughtered.
Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, Haitians, Palestinians, Israelis, Japanese...
All in turmoil for one reason or more.
All in the headlines..all in need.

There are many more.  The precious Cambodian and Thai people that I encountered a few years ago.  Life is viewed as holding little value for them.  Centuries of lies have burdened them and left them ignorant of their true need and great value. 

There are those here in the United States in need also, of course.
Again we turn to the headlines..
Floods along the Mississippi, now in North Dakota.  Floods that leave people homeless.
Tornadoes.  Storms that rip everything to shreds.

Those of us who have so many blessings, dare not look away.
Some have come alongside and brought encouragement, but it is a drop in the ocean of what can be done.

What can a person do?

Ask Papa. 

Everything begins with prayer.
As He stirs our hearts, He will direct what and how to give and where and to whom.  Prayer itself is a great gift and avails much!
At times He will also direct us to go.
It might be to that sales clerk..a neighbor..a family member..
And it might be a little further afield or even even further than that..

His Heart waits for those who will love as He loves..those who will put feet to their faith..and faith in their generous God.
All the many blessings flowed freely from/ His Hand..
Those blessings are meant to keep flowing..that is the responsibility of being blessed!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Quite often when I sign on to this blog I check the stats.  I am curious to discover the locations of the readers.  A number of the visits originate from a variety of countries.  Some of the locations, I know, represent friends who stop by on occasion, but some of the visitors are unknown to me.
I love the thought that I do not know all of the readers. 

I do wonder what people think as they read the words that I submit. 
A couple of my friends give me a little input once in a while, but I think they are biased!
It would be lovely if readers would comment now and again. 

Our lives are busy and time is at a premium.  I know that it is very rare for me to comment on the blogs that I visit.  I am certain that other bloggers would love a comment or two themselves.
But I know that it won't be from me, at least, not unless Papa prompts me.  Then again I wouldn't want it to be otherwise!
So continue to refrain from commenting, but be sure that Papa is the reason!

What a joy to know that my God will faithfully lead me and will also give me the strength and courage to follow.
One of my life verses is First Thessalonians, chapter five, verse twenty-four:
"Faithful is He who calls you, who also will do it."
That is from the King James Version; it is how I first heard it and memorized it.  When I first came across it, I could not make heads nor tails out of its meaning.  Then I heard a speaker share what it meant to her.  Over the years her explanation has proved true.

You will never be left on your own to accomplish whatever God has called you to do.  In truth He will be the One doing it through you.  Our part is to be available and just follow His leading.  It is important to realize that He desires us to trust Him and obey.  His timing is not ours, nor are His purposes.  We get into trouble when we try to work things out as we think it should be.

What has He called me to?  (Take note that I did not say to do.)  He has called me to be His child.
This child of His has the privilege of being a wife, mother, sister, and friend, to name a few.  If I try to do instead of be I get into trouble!
It is very freeing, when I remember that it is not all up to me.  It is important to remember that He has placed me where I am, in the relationships that I find myself in.
Because I am known and loved by this amazing God I do not need to fret over being anything but who I am.  His girl.  As His girl, He will work through me to unfold His plan in every area of my life.
It will be in His time and in His way, according to His plan.  It will not be according to what I or anyone else imagines it should be.
He knows best.
This means that His feedback is all I need!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Ray and I visited family up in New Hampshire this past weekend. 
It is always fun to be with his brother and wife, Jeff and Audrey, as well as their family.

Time away from home affords the opportunity to relax and forget all the daily duties of one's life. 
The computer is a big part of my daily routine.  I did not miss it, for the most part.  Being separated from my laptop for a few days was a relief and yet difficult at the same time.

It seems that as soon as I am not in a position to post to this blog I have something I am excited about that I want to share....

Papa has had more for me to experience regarding His Omnipresence.

Often I use the time behind the wheel to talk with Papa and meditate upon truths that He has been revealing to me.  Saturday morning was one of those times.

Ray was dozing, worship music was playing and I was enjoying the pleasure of some one-on-one with Papa.  He, once again, brought to my mind the thoughts about Him being absolutely everywhere.  As I reflected on this wonderful truth I experienced something that I will try to put into words.

"Experienced" is the best word I can come up for what happened.

I "saw" that all places and even non-places are pregnant with God.  He is not just here or there, as in taking up space, but everywhere is pulsing with the Life of God.  Part of  a verse from the seventeenth chapter of the Book of ACTS came to me:
"for in Him we live and move and have our being..."
...whether we are aware of it or not.  What a gift to be aware!

I was reminded of one of my favorite and oft quoted scenes from "The Final Battle," the last book of "The Chronicles of Narnia," by C. S. Lewis. 
Some of the followers of Aslan had been locked up in an old, dirty and dark barn.  The walls collapsed once the battle ended with Aslan victorious over all His foes.  He called to those now set free to follow Him and go up higher and in deeper to His Glorious Kingdom. The sun shone brightly, the air reverberated with life and joy.  As they ran to follow Aslan they felt more alive than ever.

Not all left the remnants of the barn though...The dwarfs sat in a circle refusing to "see" what had and was happening around them.  To them they were still in that depressing barn.
There are many sitting in darkness and despair right now, when all they need do is be willing to look the One who waits to vanquish the darkness and flood their lives with His Life and Light.

Often I am around those who have not experienced the joy of knowing Jesus.  Life is much darker and rings hollow without the knowledge of His love and the sense of His Presence.   How sad to see others not knowing the One who offers life, abundant life; a life that is pregnant with Himself!

It hit me afresh just how blessed I am!  He is mine and I am His!!  How privileged I am to be conscious that I live and move and have my being in Him!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Amazing Grace

The thought of my God's constant Presence stays with me. 
Along with it is the knowledge that He is fully everywhere. 
Papa is so immense!

I am in awe.

Checking the astronomy picture yesterday I found a "map" of all the visible galaxies.  Each dot which we might think a star in actuality represents an entire galaxy!  There are fifty-thousand of them!
All are in existence by the Hand of our God!

As we gaze up at the stars, so far away, our God is there.  He is also with us.  So He is there and here and everywhere!  I am comforted.

I could never wrap my mind around who this Creator God is, but I can wrap my heart around the fact that He is with me.

He is so far beyond us, yet He is so intimately concerned for each one of us.

He is so passionate about us that this Holy God made a way around the fact that we are not holy.  He made a way for us to be holy in His sight. That way is the Cross.   Isn't that amazing!!

This amazing God is eager to be in relationship with us.  He is willing to forgive all that is not holy in us.  We need but ask.
Today I was reading the Second book of Samuel; the twelfth chapter.  King David was confronted by Nathan the prophet over his sin of murder and adultery.
The moment that David owned up and repented, he received forgiveness.
Did that mean all the consequences were wiped away?  No.  The consequences reverberated for generations.  However, his relationship with his God was restored.

I meditated on this chapter and how we certainly can complicate our lives and that of our family. Papa brought a wonderful thought to me. 
"No matter the sin, repentance secures forgiveness.  Forgiveness does not forgo the consequences, but it does outlast all of them!"

I am amazed by the grace of this Holy, Omnipresent, Omniscient God!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Under His Wings

The other day I was sharing with my Bible study group how I had been impressed with the truth that God is everywhere.  As I did so, Papa showed me something so amazing.
It is hard to describe. 
I had a strong sense of His Presence hovering around and over us, actually engulfing us.  In my spirit I could see it.  I believe He gave me a vision of sorts.  It was so real and was not meant to mean that He was Present only at that particular moment, but that what He showed me was a reality at all times!
If we remember this during all the times of our lives, it can bring great peace and comfort.  I know it does for me.

Matthew Twenty-four, verse thirty-seven quotes Jesus as saying,
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!  How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling."
Such a picture of the heart of God.
He still longs to gather all under His wings, yet, so many still refuse.
Often it is pride or lies that holds us back.
Some think that they have gone too far and it is too late for them. 
Too far?  What from God??  Never.  Not as long as they still have breath.
Others have believed many untruths about themselves or God.

The theme of this month's study in "Today in the Word," is repentance.  It is a good one.
What does it mean to repent?
To confess and forsake anything that comes between us and God.

Today's lesson quoted John Chrysostom, who was a fourth century bishop.
"All the variety of God's commandments can be reduced to the single principle of repentance...We are not condemned for the multitude of our transgressions, but for our refusal to repent."
It is not a matter of trying to be perfect, but of admitting that we aren't.
Sometimes we try to pretend that all is well and that we do have it all together.  It is an illusion.

This afternoon I read a commentary by Andree` Seu.  She writes for World magazine.  She spoke of how things can appear to be going well and be far from it in reality.  Andree` gave an example.  She had her roof replaced eight years ago.  The roofer, it seems, had not done a good job with the flashing.  As a result, her attic ceiling now is resting on her attic floor.  For most of the past eight years all appeared to be well, but behind the scenes all was not!  She had noticed a bulge, but had dismissed it!
Illusions come in many forms in all areas of life.  Denial can be very comfortable for a time.
I ask Papa to help me see things as they really are.
What helps me the most is remembering that my God is with me, He is in control and that His plan for me is best .

It is also true that when things seem to be bad that may not really be true.  At least, not once it plays itself out.  Papa is always at work and with time will draw the good and the beauty out of any given situation.  I have experienced this over and over.

You see He is for us and if He is for us what does it matter what might come at us? 
We are safe under His wings, if we choose to seek shelter there!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Loose Ends?

Under my favorites I have the site for the "Astronomy Picture of the Day" saved. 
Every now and then I check to see what the current offering is.  Many wonderful glimpses into our universe have been posted there.
One of the days I visited the site the Aurora Borealis over Norway, in a time exposed video, was waiting for me. 
So lovely...I could have gazed at it all day!

The current photo is of "The Sleeping Beauty Galaxy."  It is believed to be the result of a collision between a small and a large galaxy, which has not settled down yet.
As I looked at the swirling mass I felt drawn into it. 

Locations in outer space or somewhere like Antarctica or the middle of a vast body of water strike me as very lonely places; desolate.  Because of that sense of loneliness I would never want to find myself in such a place.  If I dwell on it, it can stir fear in my heart.
The picture today took me on that line of thought.  I imagined being in the very center of that galaxy, realizing that I was not only alone, but that I was about to cease to exist.
Yet another thought leapt to mind as quickly as the other thoughts had formed in my head. 

In its vastness and seeming loneliness...There is God.
Not only would I not be alone, but because of Him I will never cease to exist!
If I were transported to that galaxy or any other place, I would not be lost to Him.
Isn't this an amazing thought?

Psalm One Hundred Thirty-nine verses seven through ten speak of His Omnipresence.
"Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your Presence?  If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol (the nether world), behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the dawn, if I swell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me."
A few people have been coming to my mind and heart.  It is Papa's doing and so I have been talking to Him about my concerns for them.
One who is so burdened to do everything right that she is not finding any pleasure in her life.
Two others, women, one watching her husband suffer, another knowing her husband, not only is suffering, but will not live much longer.
A number of parents needing to learn how to "let go" of their growing children.
Marriages struggling to, not only survive, but flourish.
There are more, but this list will suffice.

Okay, so it is a little more than a "few" people. 
I am learning to not carry the burden beyond the Throne.  When He moves my heart, I pray.

Now the reason that I mentioned my concern is because my true burden is not especially for what is going on in their lives as much as knowing that they are trying to "handle" it all on their own.
When we do that it is like trying to grasp up a million loose ends all at once.  We end up at loose ends.
We can feel very lonely and isolated, adrift.

Life has its ups and downs, its challenges; its joys and sorrows.  None of it can be done well by ourselves.  Imagining that we are in control or can get total control is an illusion. 
Whether it is a struggle or a joy we need Him.  Papa draws out the beauty in all the details of life, good or bad.  Beauty is found in the abundant life that is ours in Jesus.
Without Him one is easily tempted to wonder, at times, "Is this all there is?  Is this really worth it?"

Those loose ends, those cords that seem to be dangling are being held by  loving, tender Hands that are strong, steady and sure. 
So, dear ones, when you are feeling all alone, lost and maybe even barely existing, look To Him.  He is right here!

Psalm One HundredThirty-nine  goes on to say in verses seventeen and eighteen,
"How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.  When I awake, I am still with You!"
Even beyond time and place
He is Here and He is Able!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Calling and Connecting

There comes a time in each of our lives, I believe, when our very being leans toward God.  All of nature, the arts, and, of course, relationships urge us His way.  Something in us awakens to a longing for Him.
We do not always realize it, but it is there.  It is there because He has placed the longing for Him deeply within our souls.  His love calls to that desire.
We may run and rail; we can fight the pull and even resist, if we are that determined, but it will be to our loss.
It is God drawing and calling us to Himself, not something that originated from our own will.

There is an old poem entitled, "The Hound of Heaven," by Francis Thompson.  It speaks of one who was pursued by God and finally overtaken.  The poet expresses gratitude and relief in having been "caught."

I have completed reading the book, "Called Out of Darkness," by Anne Rice.  A dearly loved friend loaned it to me because she had thoroughly enjoyed it and wanted to share it with me.

It has been shared here before that I do not do well with books urged on me by others.
The book was not something that drew me in and to be truthful I often skimmed the pages.  The author used quite a few chapters to describe, in great detail, her childhood experiences, particularly how they related to the church.  She is Roman Catholic.

In adulthood she walked away from the church and God.
In the final chapters of the book she relates her return to both.  For her they are part and parcel.
Anne Rice relates her experience to the above mentioned poem.  She found herself becoming aware of God and feeling called to Him through all that surrounded her.

In one of the final chapters she put into words an honest, wholehearted response that wiped away her previous defense in resisting God.
"In the moment of surrender, I let go of all the theological or social questions which had kept me from Him for countless years.  I simply let them go.  There was the sense, profound and wordless, that if He knew everything I did not have to know everything, and that, in seeking to know everything, I'd been, all of my life, missing the entire point."
There is more, but I encourage you to find the book and read it for yourself.  The last seventy pages were worth the time it took me to get there.

This morning's devotional thought by David Jeremiah ran along the same line of thought.  He spoke of how once we learn to ride a bicycle we will never need to relearn it.  This idea was connected with our faith in God.
"Once we've come into His powerful and loving Presence, we'll never struggle to trust Him again.  Anymore than we'll have to take a refresher course in bike riding."
What freedom comes from knowing and walking with Him!

Some of the readers of this blog are unknown to me.  Some are friends of friends.
Judy is one of these people.  As I spoke with our mutual friend today I felt prompted by Papa that there is some connection for Judy here.  Maybe in the book....  Maybe in the fact that Papa is calling to her in her heartache and sorrow....
I will be praying.

Another point in the book spoke to me. 
Ms. Rice spoke of the importance of the church as the keeper of the truth, as the place that the deep, rich traditions are protected and kept alive.
I am not a big fan of the church per Se.  Yet I am.
She put into words what I knew, but had never put into coherent thought.
Though I most love a small group where we all can share and do some serious worship together, I do appreciate the church as the visible evidence of His enduring truth.  When I join a larger group in a church building there is the sense of being part of something much bigger than I even know.   It takes in all places in all times.
Her words reminded me of that truth.

It is a joy to be moved to remember who my God is and that He is always at work.
One of the things that delighted me as I listened to Dickens' "Oliver Twist" was the author's faith that shown through the story.  Dickens had a great sense of justice and of the need for mercy.  It is evident that he was confident that his God was One of both justice and mercy.
The man was a great writer and I hated to find the book at its end.  As I listened to the words of the writer I got a sense of being connected to him.  A connection through the living God. 
Dickens lived in a different, earlier time, but he, too, looked to the same God.
One man; one universal church; one Amazing God!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


What came to mind as you read the title of this posting?
For a long time the hair on my neck would rise at the thought of having to obey anyone.  The word "submission" had the same affect.
I am sure that I am not alone in that reaction.

To me those words meant that I would be taken advantage of and be expected to be a doormat. 
A doormat for others to wipe their feet on.
That was my reality for many a year.
No more.

I learned about boundaries. 

I learned that I had value; value in the eyes of God.
Those who had demeaned me and had taken advantage of me were not acting for Him. 
He taught me to trust Him and I gained confidence in Him and who He said I was.

In the process my understanding of what obedience is all about changed. 
It is not something I do out of fear nor to appease someone else.
Actually instead of being a burden or something that hinders our freedom it is liberating.
Imagine that!
It is true.

In a love relationship we enjoy pleasing the object of our affection.  It is reciprocal.
The thing is that when we are in relationship with the Living God He often knows better than we do what will please us.  After all He is our Creator.

Obedience was the next focus of this past weekend's retreat.
What we had heard to this point had resulted in worship.  Choosing to worship is the first step in obedience.  He has called us to worship.

Kim, one of my fellow attendees, had written a poem for the occasion.  It is entitled "Worship."  I have her permission to share it here.
"In preparation for worship, I come to You, Most High LORD.
As I enter in, I honor You Most High God, King of Kings.
I come to You on bended knee.
With my holy love, I bring You praise, thanksgiving and glory.
I come to You with bended heart.
In deepest reverence Most Holy One. I come to You;
face to the ground, my heart stripped naked.
      I am Yours.
I come...I come...I come."
Surrender in worship.  It is a choice that brings blessing.

As I listened to different women share it struck me that I had been living defeated. 
How did that happen?  By not obeying His call to actively trust with confidence.

As in every family there are always issues to deal with, there are always loved ones making poor choices; there are those who are not looking to Papa.

No one observing me would have seen a problem, but Papa knew.  In my heart of hearts I knew too.  I had begun to give up on ever seeing change in many of my loved ones.  I had forgotten all the evidences that God was not done yet.
My prayers had become mechanical without any real expectation in receiving answers.

As your prayers grow cold, so does worship.  At first you go through the motions, but with time even that ceases.

Instead of chiding me, Papa encouraged me.  He reminded me of those truths which I had shelved;  His promises to me.  Promises that He is always at work, that He loves each one more than I ever could. He gave me back the vision of the future and hope that is mine and my family's.

In the moment of surrender and confession there was the sense of a great load being lifted from my heart.  He had shown me that I had wandered from the path He had for me and called me back with open arms.
There is an old hymn that is titled, "Trust and Obey."  It goes on to say that there is no other way.  So true.  No other way to freedom from worry, from discouragement, from weariness, from fear.  And no other way to joy, peace and hope.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


What comes to mind when you encounter the word "refreshed"?
According to my thesaurus it can include revive, enliven, invigorate, rejuvenate, energize, restore, recharge and revitalize.

At times a cool breeze or an icy glass of ice tea can be refreshing, at least physically.
During the past two days I have been refreshed physically, emotionally and spiritually. 
That is because it was my God doing the refreshing.

I have, indeed, been...

Oh my Papa is so amazing, so gracious, so wise and so delightful!

Friday morning I arrived with a friend at the retreat center.  I knew I was suppose to take part in this weekend retreat, but had no idea what to expect.  Out of the twelve women attending nine were unknown to me.  I did not know anything about them apart from the fact that they were known by the friend who had invited me to join them.  I really enjoy my friend, Denise, so had no reservations about taking part.
I quickly saw that I was the junior participant of this weekend.   Many gray and white heads greeted me.  What would this weekend hold for me?!

It held an opportunity to worship my God with like-minded women. 
It held an opportunity to learn from ones who have walked long and faithfully with our God.

We each had our own room and each room had its own name above the door.  Mine was "Peace."
On my pillow two cards had been placed there for me.  The messages on both had been prayed over and selected just for me.
The first was from the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, Chapter thirty-one, verse three,
"I have loved you with an everlasting love."
The second simply said,
"Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness."
Over the two days of the retreat the message of His great love for me would be repeated over and over.
How else can one respond but by worship?!

And worship we did....

Do not think that this retreat was just filled with feel good fluff.  No, Papa had much to say and it seemed to be tailored to my heart.  His Truth washed over and through me.
I am certain that each one of the participants would say the same thing, but that is just how our God works.

The first fourteen verses of the thirty-fourth chapter of Exodus were where we camped out.  In our first session we explored verses one through five.  We looked at who our LORD is.  He is YAHWEH.  That is the Name that speaks of Him being:

One True God
The Great I AM

But that Name is only for those who are in covenant relationship with Him.  When He reveals Himself by that Name it is an invitation into that relationship.

We had to start by exploring this, because you cannot go any further if you do not know Who this God is.  It is always good to be reminded of Who it is that we call our God and Savior.

Reflecting upon Who He is always stirs the hearts of those in relationship with Him.
Stirred to worship!

The next two verses of the passage in Exodus spoke of God's outrageous love for us.  Actually God declared His own Name and said that He is:

Abounding in (lavishing) love!
Endlessly patient!

There are many other passages of scripture that proclaim these truths.

We were given an assignment.  Go off by yourself and reflect on how you know that God loves you.

Many proofs came to mind.

He speaks to me
He answers my prayers; some that I have never spoken
He reveals Himself and makes it clear that He enjoys our time together one-on-one
I have peace in the midst of all types of situations
He meets my needs
Gives me His Spirit
Gave His Son for my redemption!
Guides Me
Has given me emotional healing
Healed relationships (many!)
Enables me to ministers to others because of my past
Allows me to write :)
Gives me understanding
Doesn't allow me to stagnate (for long!)
Meets my heart's needs

And one that has meant so much to me over and over...

He has revealed Himself as my Abba (Papa), I am His beloved daughter!
I never knew my dad, not even who he was.  The joy that I experienced, when He told me that He had adopted me into His family and that I could call Him Papa, was and is uncontainable!

Our group then moved on to what our response to all this amazing good news should be.  In the Exodus passage we learned that Moses' response was to bow down to worship before the LORD God.  The Hebrew word for "worship" used means to bow low, so he bowed down to bow low.  It means to prostrate oneself, to pay honor to and have reference for; so he was on his face.
That is the appropriate response when we encounter the Living God and experience His grace and love.

The response flows from a grateful heart, which is the place to start.  We are in the Presence of One much greater than we.
This great One says in Jeremiah that
"With cords of My own affection I have bound you to Myself."
How I rejoiced and rejoice over this reminder.  I praise my God!  The amazing thing is that praise brings blessing to our whole body.  I am refreshed inside and out.  The past two nights I have slept better than I have in weeks!  He is so gracious!!

Our next stop was to hear that our response includes obedience.  Not a very popular word.  Yet, when we know our God and have experienced His love it is a welcome word.  It is no longer a duty so much as a joy.

I will be sharing some of what He said to me about that topic when I next post to this blog.  He had some very specific words for me. 
Those words also held much freedom and joy.
They completed the refreshment and left me feeling so sated that I do not believe I could have taken in anymore. 
My joy is full.  I am refreshed!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Powerful Words

Right now I am suppose to be meeting with my book club friends.  Obviously I am not. 
Too tired.
It has been a full week.  The eight hour drive back from West Virginia on Tuesday wore me out a bit. 
Tomorrow morning I need to leave the house by nine o'clock.  I am attending a retreat.  I cannot wait!!  An opportunity to give all my time and attention to my gracious God.  I do not want to be too tired for that!

It is disappointing that I couldn't join the discussion tonight.  I always love to hear fellow readers share their response to the latest book and have the opportunity to share mine.  Often a fresh perspective is very enlightening.
The book raised the question of whether the medical research community has the "right" to use the tissues, tumors, moles, etc. that are removed from us for their research without our express permission.  To be honest the issue doesn't really stir me.
What did grab my attention was the toll that ignorance takes on individuals and society.

The book chronicled the history of Henrietta Lacks' family, as the story of the woman's cancer cells was told.  There were quite a few family members that had health issues which stemmed from in-breeding.  Cousins with cousins, etc.  They did not know any better.
Upon learning that their relative's cells were still alive they thought that meant that the woman herself was still alive and had even been cloned.  It sounded reasonable to them.

As I read the book I found it distressing to realize that there are people in this country who have so little education that they are governed by superstition.  Even those who professed faith in Jesus expressed some fantastical beliefs.
The lack of education was more basic than a formal education.   Common sense was lacking.  Understanding of how to live at the most base level often was missing.  It reminded me of stories I have heard about groups of people who did not have any contact with the "outside" world.
I found it disturbing.

The James Patterson book, "Cross" entertained Ray and I in our travels.  The man can tell a good story.  He knows how to develop his characters.   "The Butcher" was one of the characters.  He was a cold-blooded killer; evil and sadistic.
Not my usual cup of tea.
Though Mr. Patterson's writings were not very graphic, he has a way of drawing a picture that curls your toes!!
If I had been reading it instead of listening to it, I know I would have been slamming the book shut and then timidly reopening it eager to learn the rest of the story!

We began "Oliver Twist" on our return trip.  Ray slept quite a bit, but I was quickly drawn into the story.  Dickens can invoke all kinds of emotions from his readers.
At this point I have about another third to go before I will have listened to the whole book.  It is fourteen Cd's long!
I am loving it.

For a while now I have felt tapped out; a little dry; listless.  It feels like I am just going through the motions of life.  I am hopeful that my focused time with Papa will revive this weary soul.
He has given me reason to be hopeful.  He spoke His Word to my heart.
"Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."  Isaiah Forty, verse thirty-one.
It won't be the first time that He has renewed me.  I am certain it won't be the last.  Oh the amazing, renewing strength and power that is available through my God for me!

My next posting will report on what Words He speaks to this girl of His.