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Monday, November 28, 2016

Inspired by . . . Advent: the waiting




O Come, O Come, Immanuel . . . 

Advent, I'm realizing, is a bit of a paradox. 

He has come. 

He is coming. (As in, His presence is constantly with those who believe. And He is coming, into hearts and lives every moment of every day as they welcome Him anew.)

And He is coming again.

So what, exactly, are we celebrating?

What are we waiting for?

All of it.

All of Him.

Immanuel: God with us

O Come, O Wisdom from on high . . .

Lord, show us the path to knowledge. Teach us the way to go. Give order to the chaos of our lives.

We ask. We wait.

O Come, O Come, great Lord of might . . .

When the Lord descended upon Mount Sinai the people were so afraid, they wouldn't even go near the base of the mountain. To the Lord Who is majestic, fierce in power, and awe-inspiring, may we humbly draw near.

We pray. We wait.

O Come, O Branch of Jesse's stem . . .

During Advent, we read the genealogies. We learn where Jesus came from. We watch God's mysterious plan unfold. Only Jesus gives victory over the grave. Only He can save us from the penalty of death.

We repent. We wait.

O Come, O Key of David, come . . .

Only Jesus can unlock for us the way to God. Only by His death on the cross was the veil torn giving any and all who proclaim His name access to the God most High.

We rejoice. We wait.

O Come, O Bright and Morning Star . . .

He is our Comfort. Only Jesus dispels the dark shadows of our fear and shame. Only His great Light can turn our darkness into light.

We receive. We wait.

O Come, O King of nations, bind . . .

Peace. Isn't' that what we all want? Isn't that what we're all truly longing for? Not just for ourselves, but our world? Only Jesus, the King of Peace, can bind in one the hearts of all mankind. Only by His bidding will these sad divisions cease.

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

We wait.




I pray for us {all}, as we travel together this Advent season, that our hearts would be further opened to the Holy Spirit and that in the deliberate rejection of the hurried, harried, frenetic cadence of the Christmas season we would encounter Christ in our midst– right here among us even as we wait for Him. Camealy, Kris. Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting  



Shalom,


Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty,
Life thru the Lens

Friday, November 25, 2016

Inspired by . . . anticipating Advent

I am so very eager for Advent this year. Eager to focus on something greater than this world, greater than myself.

Eager for the enchantment of the season to find us all.

In a year that has been so focused on negative things, I'm looking to end on a positive note.



For me, Advent begins with an exhale. A release. An emptying.

Doesn't that sound wonderful?

It all begins this Sunday.

There are many wonderful resources available for Advent. I've chosen two:

The Women of Advent: a Gathering of Scattered Hearts, Past and Present by Sheila Atchley
Sheila has a created a beautiful offering here. Through her words and artwork, she explores the lives of the women in the genealogy of Jesus.

Come Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting by Kris Camealy
Looking forward to this quiet reflection, daily prayer and contemplative questions from this author. I haven't received my copy yet, but several blogger friends have recommended Kris' offering.

And for a bit of fun, the season wouldn't be the same without Jacquie Lawson's annual Advent calendar on my desktop. It's a daily delight!



For many, the next few weeks are some of the busiest of the year. I hope you have a plan for tapping into the quiet and reflective side of the season. Please feel free to share in the comments.


Shalom,


Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Inspired by . . . Thy comforts


When the cares of my heart are many, Your consolations cheer my soul. (Psalm 94:19ESV)
My heart is hurting, friends. On a week when we should be giving thanks for abundance and blessing our country is starkly divided.  There are riots with people shouting alarming edicts, senseless shootings, and senseless loss of life. My heart aches for those who have lost loved ones, especially the children. And, yes, my heart aches for those who now have to live with the consequences of their actions.
Whenever I am anxious and worried, You comfort me and make me glad. (Psa 94:19GNB)
In the pages of my prayer journal I cry out to God. I tell Him how weary I am of all the hate, how much I long for peace. But I know peace is a long way off.

But I also know that peace will come.

In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul. (Psa 94:19KJV)
I cling to this Truth, the return of the Prince of Peace, I cling to His word. Because the fact is, the Truths of God (His comforts) will only bring us comfort if we allow them room in our hearts.

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy! (Psa 94:19ERV)
It's not easy, friend. The world and its cares can seem louder than His voice sometimes. Honestly, I've struggled to hold on to His comfort this week. I'm apprehensive about sitting down together with mixed minds over a plate of turkey tomorrow afternoon. I'm trying to be brave, but the thought of a political conversation erupting already has my stomach in knots.

You, too?

Or maybe for you, a tense political discussion would be welcome compared to the usual drama.

When my anxious inner thoughts become overwhelming, Your comfort encourages me. (Psa 94:19ISV)
Either way, it's clear the enemy has a strong foothold. And I know of only one way to set him back on his haunches; GRATITUDE

No matter what happens tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that we can be grateful. We can give God the glory and praise and honor He deserves because He hath done wonderful things. We can know, without a shadow of a doubt, that justice will be done and peace will reign.

We can bear out this truth in our lives today because He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (Joh 14:18)
As He promised Joshua:  I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. So His promise belongs to all His faithful servants.

If you're struggling to be at peace this week, struggling to focus on being thankful, I urge you to remember Psalm 94:19. Repeat it as you go about your preparations. Make it the prayer of your heart.


God's word is stronger and louder than any dissent of the enemy. Make room in your heart for the blessed comforts of God and they will come in and transform your soul.

Blessings on your
Thanksgiving!







Friday, November 18, 2016

Inspired by . . . anointing the dirt


We live so much of our lives with our hands tied around our backs.
~Christie Purifoy (Roots & Sky pg. 37)

Autumn has been a series of starts and stops and back-agains. We've been gone and back, and gone again. Now back. 

I'm longing for routine. Same old, same old sounds like heaven to me.


My blogging has suffered along with all the irregularities and I miss all of you.

Not writing has left me feeling dry and brittle. My mind is constantly stringing words together but with every break in routine, my thoughts scatter like windblown leaves.

I was beginning to identify with my front yard.

Barren. Nothingness. Dirt.

From our temporary dwelling, that is all we see.



When I wrote that last line I was referring to where we are currently living, my Dreamer and I. But there is a deeper, more profound meaning.

Trapped in these earthly bodies our perspective can often become focused on the dirt. The barren parts of our lives that seem to produce nothingness. 

It's easy, for me at least, to get caught up in the hamster wheel. To feel unproductive and out of focus. To feel guilty over everything I'm failing to accomplish. But our perspective is often not the reality. 

And sometimes it takes a special sign from God to show us what is real. To remind us of how He works.

Sometimes, He sends us butterflies.



For several days the butterflies came. 



Flitting from here to there on the dirt. Not a flower or bloom in sight.


Beauty attracted to ugliness.


Tiny feet anointing barren ground.

The butterflies are gone now. In their place is a bounty of winter rye.

It is often in the periods of in-between when we're waiting on God that the Holy Spirit comes. 

He anoints the barren, dusty places. The hard places that we've stopped trying to navigate. He gives feet to our faith and voice to our deepest prayer.

And when we respond with obedience and joy He produces in us a bountiful harvest.




We all have dry and barren places in our lives. Some may be tucked away and nearly forgotten. I encourage you to bring them before the Lord in prayer today.

A tiny seed of faith, when anointed by the Holy Spirit is a beautiful thing.


Shalom,









Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Nature Notes, Through My LensSaturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Our World TuesdayCommunity Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 45:52

As I write this it's still "too close to call." 

One thing I do know, regardless of who we wake up to tomorrow morning, God is in control.

Now more than ever we need to focus on our blessings and the things that unite us.




“Love does not cost anything. Kind words and deeds do not cost anything. The real beauty of the world is equal for everyone to see. It was given by God equally to all, without restrictions." ~Carla Jo Masterson


"Let us at all times remember that all American citizens are brothers of a common country, and should dwell together in the bonds of fraternal feeling." ~ President Lincoln


Shalom,



Sharing inspiration here:
Small WondersTestimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Nature Notes, Through My LensSaturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Our World TuesdayCommunity Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday