A Song for Your Saturday

I hope that you find at least a few moments today to rest in the presence of Jesus — just as you are, with your heart open to Him.

For a little while, let go of expectation and obligation…let go of what you’re trying to hold together…and let the Father hold you.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.-1 Peter 5:7

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Together We Follow: God’s Highway

“I’m holding onto you, Lord
You’re holding onto me…
I’m holding onto you, Love
You’re holding onto me…”

I’m feeling a little fragile tonight. A year ago, the sun set in glory like I’d never seen before and my Papaw went Home to see Jesus face-to-face, to sing ‘holy, holy, holy’ around the throne of God. The memories of last year are close, and what I’m really yearning for is the future…if only we could pull that veil before our eyes aside for just a moment, to see how close the Kingdom of God truly is. If only we could get a glimpse of that joy made complete, the glory that outweighs all of our pain.

I like to think about the Father’s house, which has been made ready for us…where Father and Son are eager for our presence, where they wait with open arms to welcome us Home.

I like to think of the reunions and the laughter, the stories we will hear, the moments we will share. I like to think of the pure delight that will come with the first moment I hear my grandfather singing in a great Kingdom-of-Heaven choir.

I am holding onto the hope that we all share – because this road we’re taking, it leads to a real place, a real moment in time, the reality of life with Him. We are looking forward to a city  with foundations built by God, a city that cannot be shaken, a city where we will find our forever-Home.

And I can almost hear that great cloud of witnesses urging us on. I wonder if they’re saying something like – you’re closer than you know…it’s all worth more than you know…your faith will be made sight. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up! 

Eyes on Him, heart fixed on His promises…let’s keep walking, steady on. Let’s keep walking toward Home and the welcoming arms waiting for us there.

“Fear not, keep on, watch and pray
Walk in the light of God’s highway.”

“…they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.-Hebrews 11:16

“You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” -Psalm 16:11

 

Together We Follow: Sunday Scripture & a Prayer for Our New Week (Gen. 4:1-2)

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I’ve had a quiet Sunday, which is unusual for our family. Since we’ve all been struggling to shake off colds and respiratory issues, we took today off from our normal Sunday routines. These hours to rest have also brought time to think over the scriptures we’ve read this week and, of course, on this day that marks the anniversary of 9/11, memories of that heartrending day.

Here’s what brings my heart peace — in these first chapters of Genesis, there is a clear truth. God was there before Adam and Eve walked in the garden, He was there while they lived unashamed in Eden, He was there as they chose to go their own way, and He was there after they left their first home. We know this from the very next verse after their exile:

Genesis 4:1-2: Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel.

After their disobedience, after their sin, after their consequences were explained, after they lost the Garden of Eden…they still knew that the beautiful gift of a baby boy was given by the Lord.

Their perfect communion with God had been broken, but His love for them was not severed…and so, He was still present and active in their lives.

This is true for us, too. God is the One who knows us before our first breath on this earth — He formed us in our mothers’ womb. He knows our steps, our thoughts, our words, our hearts, the number of hairs on our heads and the number of tears that we cry. He is with us on every ordinary day, He is with us on the days that bring delight – and He is with us on the days that break us, these  days like 9/11 that come with shock and fear, days that bring the loss of relationship, the ending of dreams we have held dear, or loved ones saying goodbye. He is with us when our hearts are tuned to His song, our ears to His voice – and even when we are choosing to sin and find ourselves hiding in shame, He is there waiting for us to come Home to Him.

In every unpredictable and hard season, He stays. In every peaceful and glad season, He stays.

In every season, He stays.

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”-Hebrews 13:5

Father, help us to remember that You are with us. Always, always, always – You are the One who stays. Help us to recognize Your presence in our lives, to understand that Your steadfast grace is sufficient for us. Help us to know, as this new week begins, that we can trust Your faithfulness. Help us to know that Your strong arms are holding us – and even if our world shakes, You do not let us go. 

 

 

 

 

Together We Follow: Genesis 2:18-25

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Genesis 2:18-25

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one.  He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.

So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.

“At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’”

 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.

We don’t understand everything about the Trinity, but we know that God has always existed in unity with His Spirit and Son.

I think that’s why God looked at Adam, the only one of his kind, and said – ‘it isn’t good for the man to be alone.’

God knew the joy of relationship – and He wanted man to know it, too.

It wasn’t a form of entertainment or work that Adam needed as he lived out his days in Eden. He didn’t need some activity to pass the time and no other part of the created world would do. God saw that he needed a counterpart, a helper, someone like him – but different. He needed another human, another person…a being equal to him to talk to, to work with, to care for, to love.

So God created woman, and Adam was no longer alone. He had a partner, a helper, someone to love as he was loved by God.

And that’s the picture we see here, as God instructed them to be as one and to be fruitful – love is an active force. It is a life-giving force. It’s nature is to be poured out to another.

Adam and Eve lived as one and they had no shame – they were wholly themselves, hiding nothing. They had the freedom to just be – known and accepted. There was no selfish motivation, no insecure covering of flaws, no comparison or fear…just a sweet relationship, peace in unity. Their unique attributes complemented each other. I believe they were content in the delight of their God, their delight in each other.

This original state of things…it is still rooted in our hearts. God made us for relationship with others — we are made to need each other, to be loved and to give love.

We are made to long for that kind of intimacy – to be fully known, seen, and completely loved as we are.

This is how our God has loved us from the start..this is the life He still wants to give us – a life lived in freedom, unashamed in who He has created us to be, secure in His love.

Together We Follow

Dear friends,

I’ve been sitting here for a while trying to find the right words to begin this letter to you. I’ve been typing and erasing lines, searching for the perfect way to start. Since not one of my attempts at a creative spin on things felt right, I am going to keep it simple and just say what I feel….because maybe you feel this way, too.

Things are messed up.

I don’t have to go into all of the details. You see the news just like I do. You can hear the non-stop noise. Everywhere, there are lies. Everywhere, there’s anger. You are witnessing, just like I am, the day after day after day cycles of broken places, broken people, broken hearts. We can see  lust and greed trying to destroy generations – our own, our children, their children. And if it isn’t the larger world around us that breaks our hearts, it’s the pain in our own lives. Who doesn’t know someone struggling with disease? Who doesn’t know someone overwhelmed by a hard season? Who hasn’t struggled, failed, lost? Change is all around us and it can feel like there is nothing left for us to depend on, nothing steady in all the world.

It can make a person tired to their bones and filled up with sorrow to think of all that is wrong.

But God still offers the same invitation to us that He offered long ago to another generation living in this broken world: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

In the middle of this ever-shifting world, there remains a right way, a good way, an unchanging way. Even in the middle of the chaos, there has always been a promise of peace. God has always reached out to His children to show us a better way — HIS way.

We may live on an earth stricken by sin, but its power to bind us has been broken by our Savior. Things are messed up, yes, but in the middle of the mess there remains One who is making new creations out of us, setting us free, bringing beauty from ashes, working things together for our good, transforming despair into praise. With all that is wrong, He is the One who can and will make all things right.

The power of God always has been and always will be stronger than anything sin unleashes. Where there is darkness, His light overcomes. Where there is sickness, He is healer. Where there is pain, He is comfort. Where there is repentance, He forgives. The love of God always has and always will be faithful to us. God always has and always will be true and holy. The heart of God always has been and always will be good. He is the One that does NOT change. He is the One we CAN count on. He is steady. He does not betray – there’s no deceit in Him.

We can walk through hard times, we can walk through good times, we can walk through change after change after change – and He will be constant, He will be the One holding us up through every step that we take. His Kingdom is joy, peace, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit – and this is our inheritance right now, no matter the surrounding circumstances of our lives.

But how do we do this? How do we find this way and keep our feet moving forward?

We have to know Him…know Him for ourselves…and He has not made this hard for us. He reveals Himself through His Word, through the life of Jesus Christ, through His Holy Spirit that dwells within us. He wants us to know Him. If we seek Him, we will find Him. He said so Himself.

Our part is to look for Him. Our part is to pick up this living book, the Bible, and read His story. This is our GOOD news. We learn about who He is…we see His faithfulness through all the generations…and we learn about who we are. This book is where we learn about His purpose and intentions for us, for the world, for our future. This is where we remember what He can do and what He has promised that He will do…when we read His book, we remember His wonders, His miracles, His judgments. This is where we learn about the faith of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, the disciples — faith that hears ‘Follow Me’ and picks up our feet to GO (even to the unknown and the uncomfortable). This is where we see how Jesus loves and learn how we are supposed to love each other.

Reading this book is how our hearing becomes attuned to His voice, teaches us how to live, causes our faith to flourish, our fears to fall away, gives our feet steadfast truth to stand upon. His Word is our weapon, the sword of the Spirit, that has been given to us to fight and overcome the darkness.

I want to remember, again, His story. I want to see, again, His unfolding plan of deliverance from Genesis to Revelation. I am asking for the ancient path and looking for His good way. So I’m beginning again – at the beginning -…and I’m wondering if you might want to come with me.

I want to travel this way with you…so I’ll be posting a short section of Scripture for us to read together, starting with Genesis, and sometimes offering a few simple thoughts with it. Today’s post, by far, should be the longest one for quite a while. 😉 What I hope is to focus on what matters — His words, not mine. What I hope is that we can talk – you and I – about what His words mean to us. I hope we can be an encouragement to each other along the way, sisters and brothers following in our Father’s footsteps, remembering His words together.

I know – it’s a big book. So I don’t know how long this might take or how it will all go…but if we are walking together, step by step, to know Him more? Every moment will be worthwhile.

I’m considering this an adventure, a journey…will you embark on it, too? And will you pray, with me, that the Holy Spirit will be our teacher and guide every step of the way?

It is so simple, I know, but I believe with all my heart that it is one of the most important things we can do…let’s come together and read His Word.

Are you in?

with love,
Christie

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Choosing Him

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Today we have a choice. And I hope that we choose adoration over anxiety, worship over worry.

I hope we choose to remember that He is always stronger, always bigger, always the God who overcomes.

This is how His joy becomes our strength, how His grace sustains us. This is where He gives peace. This is where we live by faith and not by emotion or what we can see.

Today, we choose trust. We choose joy. We choose gratitude. We choose truth.

We choose praise.

Take Courage

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Keep hoping. Keep trusting.

He who has promised is faithful.
His goodness is sure.
Step by step, He gives us exactly what we need.

So we take these words of Jesus and we hold them close- “Do not be afraid; just believe.”

We wait on Him and He gives us the strength and courage we need for this minute, this hour, this day.

Help us to know how near You are, Lord. Help us to understand again how deep and wide and great Your love is for us.

Help us to see, all over again, how Your love never, ever fails.