Following Close Behind

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It has been a noisy week. As I sit down to write this post, I still have all of these words scrambling around in my mind…words I’ve heard, words I’ve read, words I’ve spoken, words I’m trying to figure out how to express.

And as I come into this space…I’m yearning for quiet. I’m yearning for stillness. I’m yearning for less of me. I’m tired of my words.

It’s a sure sign that I need to hear His.

As we move into the weekend, maybe you (like me) are feeling that your brain is over-crowded and your heart is feeling a little weary.

We all need Sabbath-rest, friends.

So I’ll leave words here from the Psalmist, words to help my eyes re-focus on Him…and maybe take a walk, let everything else fade away for a little while, and leave room for the Father’s still, small voice.

May you find some room for quiet this weekend, some rest for your heart, some time to let everything around you fall to a hush for even just a little while…let’s leave space for His words, room for His presence.

My heart is confident in you, O God;
    my heart is confident.
    No wonder I can sing your praises!
Wake up, my heart!
Wake up, O lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn with my song.    

 I will thank you, Lord, among all the people.
    I will sing your praises among the nations.
For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.
    Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.
    May Your glory shine over all the earth. – Psalm 57:7-11

Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
    how I praise you!
I will praise you as long as I live,
    lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
    I will praise you with songs of joy…

Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me. -Psalm 63:3-5,7-8

 

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Spirit & Life

I’m sitting here in the little corner of my room where I like to write. There’s a window in front of me; it’s still light outside, even though the dusk is as gray as the afternoon was. We’ve had a few cloudy days in a row here, with rain falling off and on.

It’s been a quiet day. I’ve done some laundry, helped Kailey take care of her birthday-guinea-pig (our first actual needs-to-exercise and have-attention pet), read quite a bit. I’ve been reading through the book of John again. I come back to John again and again; I love to hear Jesus’ voice in this gospel. When my heart feels a little shadowed, it’s His words that leave no room for darkness.

So when I read John 7:46 today, I had to laugh at what is maybe the understatement of all time. The Pharisees were trying to get local officers to detain Jesus and they wouldn’t do it. “No man ever spoke like this Man,” they said.

 They couldn’t know how deeply true this was, how wholly right they were.

No man ever spoke like this Man, for there had never been a man like Him. Jesus was a son of man, yes, but also the Son of God. Before the creation of the world, He was there. Through Him, it was all made. Through Him, we were made.

And He spoke the heart of His Father into the world, into us.  He spoke forgiveness. Healing. Peace. Freedom. Love.  His words were power. His words were glory. His words changed everything.

And on this regular day that’s turning quickly into night, this quiet Thursday, or whatever sort of day it might be while you’re reading these words…He is still speaking to me and to you.

Maybe now is the time to slow down, to ask Him what He’s saying, to listen for His voice. If you need kindness, if you need Truth, if you need grace…if you need love that doesn’t falter and hope that doesn’t fail – His voice is like no other voice. His words are like no other words.  He said it best: The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 

 

 

In His Presence

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I’ve been filling out calendar pages and making lists today to prepare for the second half of 2016. I tend to get overwhelmed with so many things to do, buy, plan, and attend. My mind begins to wonder about the what-ifs and unknowns of the coming days.

So it is especially good to know that here, at the close of day, He goes before me and makes my path straight…so I can surrender all these things to His keeping and just BE for a while. I can lean into the heart of the Father and just rest…and all the while, He is bringing the pieces of this life together for my good. My future is in His hands and so I don’t need to worry…my part is to trust in Him while He guides my feet one step at a time.

Yes, it is good to be near Him, my refuge, my portion, and the strength of my heart..for it’s here that I am welcomed and my spirit is restored. It’s here that I can breathe easy, secure in His faithful love.

Whatever your circumstances are tonight, I hope that you can take time to unwind your worries in prayer, letting Him calm your heart like the good Father He is…there is no need for striving in His presence, no need to stay strong…come into His presence (right where you are!) and you will find that there is rest and there is love waiting for you.

 

I Have Decided

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This morning, let’s go ahead and make it clear. Let’s make the choice. We will not give ear to the enemy. We will not allow doubt or fear, accusation or the threat of insufficiency dwell in our minds. We will not allow deception to divide our hearts. We will not passively listen as the enemy tries to divert us from our purpose and God’s promises for us.

We are not helpless, for the Helper has come and lives within us. We are not defeated, because Christ has overcome sin, death, and darkness. We live-move-breathe in FREEDOM because of the cross. We are not barely making it, sure to fail, or only slightly acceptable in the eyes of God. We are REDEEMED. We are wearing HIS righteousness. We are LOVED. Not only can we come boldly into the throne-room of God…He has made His home within us!

We have the strength of God Almighty upholding us today. We aren’t going to be perfect, but HE is and His grace is sufficient in our weakness. We are not defenseless, because He has given us His word and His Spirit. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have the power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

So we know who we are – sons and daughters of God. We know who He is – good, perfect in all His ways, mighty. We know His promises – all things new, all things working together for our good, all things complete in Him. We know what we have been given – His own power, His authority, His presence…

Knowing all of that, it is up to us to make the decision.

We can open our ears to the enemy and let him tell us everything we don’t have, what we are not, and how we don’t have enough to offer….OR we will use the weapons we have been given – faith, truth, the very Words of God – to cut his lies off from our hearts.

Let’s stand up and walk forward today in our rightful inheritance of peace and joy, secure with our Father going before us, knowing that offering ourselves to Him is enough. Let’s put aside the things that trip is up and put our confidence in Him. Let’s love and live to bring Him glory.

Decide here and now with me– we will NOT allow the lies of the deceiver to take up residence in our minds today.

God ALONE reigns in this home, this life, this heart.

Renew In Me

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You chose us, even before the foundation of this world was laid. Your love doesn’t come and go. It doesn’t change. Your compassionate heart is faithful toward us. Your purpose for us is unshakeable.

You are steadfast. Firm and unwavering.

How I want those words to describe my faith, my love, my heart.

I want my heart to be undivided, wholly Yours.

Let no distraction turn my eyes from You. Let it be Your approval that I am after, unswayed by anyone else’s opinions of me. Let my own desires be re-shaped until I can say to live is Christ, to die is gain. Let my ambitions be wholly displaced by a life lived for Your glory. Let every sin that tries to trip me up be cast aside, every thought put under obedience to You. Let every doubt be replaced with trust. Let my ears be closed to fear and open only to Your voice.

Every time, Lord, and in everything–I want to say: I choose You.

Evening Prayer

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“Lord our God, our refuge for ever and ever, bless us as we gather in Your presence and turn to You. May we be Your children, who can simply believe and stand firm in our lives and in our calling. We thank you for giving us Your grace and constant help. In Your grace we can be joyful, praising and honoring You. You are our Father. You never forsake us. May Your name be praised by us all. May Your name be praised above and in the whole world so that all people may acknowledge You and receive what they need from You. Amen.”

-from Evening Prayers For every Day of the Year by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

Be Thou My Vision (Scripture & Song for Saturday)

Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day. Psalm 25:4-5

But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in Your hand…-Psalm 31:14-15

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.-Psalm 28:7

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.