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Archive for the ‘My Heart’ Category

Storehouses of the Snow

Have you visited the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of hail?  Job 38:22

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My home state of Michigan is shut down today with several inches of accumulated snow, stranding people in their homes, forcing them to hunker down under the Arctic winter storm blast.

Photos of the blizzard fill my computer screen, revealing to the world the beautiful snow fall and a fun filled day for the home bound school children. Pictures of how they spent their day, and the epic posing in front of huge snowmen, clad in heavy winter coats, snow boots and wollen mittens and hats.

This is not a new concept for these Michiganders, they know the drill well and for the most part embrace a day off from work, toasting themselves in front of a blazing hot fire. Baking cookies and sipping hot cocoa oozing with fluffy white marshmallows. Snuggling on the couch. Filling their tummies with hot chili, drenched in onions and cheese and topping it off with a cast iron pan of cornbread.

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I also know this scenario well. I remember it clearly and as I sort through the photos of the new, freshly fallen snow of today, my memory takes me back to other snow storms, from many years past.

I remember quite clearly the great snow storms that we had when I was a little girl growing up in Michigan. I remember the fresh, deep snow and how difficult it was to walk in it. Every step sunk thigh high and it was a huge effort to take another step, it was exhausting, causing jelly legs that shook when you tried to stand on them, threatening to buckle under you.

 

There were times though when I would walk behind someone, usually an adult and I would very carefully follow in their footsteps. Each step they made packed the snow down and left an imprint for my smaller foot and that was the path I would take, carefully placing my foot in the footprint that they had left before me. I thoroughly enjoyed doing that and it has stuck tight in my mind for all these 30 plus years.

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It is just like that with our Lord, you know. He has gone before us and His word tells us again and again to follow His path. After all, it is His righteousness that goes before us, and makes His footsteps our pathway. (Ps. 85:13) This is the only true and right path to take and He is the only true and right person to follow. It is like a careful placing of your foot in His already packed and secure imprint, the well beaten trail of the living Word that echos in your ear, “This is the way, walk in it, whether you turn to the right or the left.” (Is. 30:21) It is a looking straight ahead and fixing our eyes on what lies before. A marking out a straight path for our feet, the safe path, and not getting sidetracked. (Prov. 4:25-27) It’s a highway and it will be called the Way of Holiness. (Is. 35:8) A retracing of the steps of the great saints of old who have laid their lives bare, open and exposed for us to see. (Heb. 11)

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Let us carefully place our feet behind the One who goes before, and follow the One who has hedged us behind and before and laid His hand upon us. (Ps. 139:5)

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Photos taken in North Texas February 12, 2010

Does the rain have a father?
Who gives birth to the dew?
 Who is the mother of the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?
For the water turns to ice as hard as rock,
and the surface of the water freezes.

Job 38:28-30

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We’d Be Held

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

We have fallen on hard times here and there is no making any sense of it. It has fallen on many hearts, in many places and we each share in the grief of the other.

And as we lament, each in our own way, this deep, passionate expression of grief; weeping, wailing, sobbing, or just the plain beating of our chest, we find solace in the only place imaginable, or sensible. We find it in the arms of our Lord.

John Piper in his sermon on Job, When the Righteous Suffer tells it like this when he quoted one of his favorite pastors and authors, George Muller as he preached his wife’s funeral after 39 years of marriage.

And this is what he said, “I miss her in numberless ways and shall miss her yet more and more.”

John Piper pauses here and adds, “ He’s not naïve, the pain is real. The pain is deep. Please let nothing that I say in these hours together in any way imply that you shouldn’t feel the full force of the pain of loss. And weep. And shave your head. And tear your clothes. And fall on the ground.”

And he continues, “I will miss her in numberless ways and shall miss her yet more and more. But as a child of God and as a servant of the Lord Jesus, I bow. I am satisfied with the will of my heavenly Father. I seek by perfect submission to His holy will, to glorify Him. I kiss continually the Hand that has thus afflicted me.”

So I look to Him, and He to me, and I feel His comforts all around me. He uses many forms, and many sources, bringing them all together like a beautiful symphony on my heart. He is true to His promises. He has never left me or forsaken me. He has become my strong tower. I have felt His ironclad arms, strong and mighty, holding me, protecting me, wrapping me up tight. Fierce and immensely powerful, yet tender and loving, gently holding me close, lovingly whispering His precious promises in my ear and on my heart.

He sings over me (Zeph. 3:17) and the words of the song fall softly on my heart, reminding me of those promises, opening the eyes of my heart to His presence, revealing His tender care of me, “like the precious oil upon the head, running down the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments.” (Ps. 133:2) And the words that soothe, that hush and quiet my throbbing heart are held in the song He gave me.

This is what it means to be held, how it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive. This is what it is to be loved and to know that the promise was that when everything fell, We’d be held.

(Held~by Natalie Grant)

And there is was and I knew it was from Him and I knew He was showing me and reminding me. The promise was that when everything fell, we’d be held.

I have been held, and I have been loved and I knew in that moment that He would never let me go.

And I too, along with George Muller can say, “ But as a child of God and as a servant of the Lord Jesus, I bow. I am satisfied with the will of my heavenly Father. I seek by perfect submission to His holy will, to glorify Him. I kiss continually the Hand that has thus afflicted me.”

I’m not so sure that the Lord did not give Natalie Grant that song, those words, just for me, just for this moment, because that is what it truly means to be loved, and to be held. Please read the beautiful words of this song and listen to the music. Whatever you are going through, just lay back in His arms, close your eyes and just be held.

Held

The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

 

Zephaniah 3:17

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The Year Of Firsts

“This is the year of firsts,” she said as she choked back tears. She was broken and my heart and voice turned tender as I asked her.  “What do you mean, mom?”

The tears started then, slowly running down her face, and her lips trembled as she spoke the words.  “This is the year that everything we do will be the first time without dad.”

His birthday had already come and gone, the first birthday without him, and we were quickly heading into the main holiday season.  So I wasn’t too surprised when she called the day before Thanksgiving and told me she couldn’t do it.

Everything was different now, especially for her. After 48 years of birthdays, Thanksgivings and Christmas’, this year she was spending them alone, without him.

“I can’t go through with it!” she cried over the phone.

My heart ached for her as I tried to encourage her, and I stumbled over my words, searching and grappling for the right thing to say, anything that would soothe her hurting heart, even if it was just a little.

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We talk about our Lord, and His love and how He had covered her so completely.  And we talked about her family that loves her and has gathered around her, loving on her and supporting her. And she gathered her strength and she held on tight, and she celebrated Thanksgiving this year with her family there . . .

but it was the first without dad.

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The Weaving

My life is but a weaving, between my God and me;
I do not chose the colors, He worketh steadily.
Oft times He weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper, and I the under side.
Not til the loom is silent, and shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why
The dark threads are as needful in the skillful Weaver’s hand
As threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.  

–Anonymous

 

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23 

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The Just Judge

I love the scriptures that are encouraging and full of sweet promises. The kind that wrap you up tight, like a down filled quilt, warming you from the inside out, hiding you away, safe from the elements. The kind that sprinkle kisses all over your checks, soft and tender, and you just know you are loved deeply, protected and shielded.

These are the scriptures that draw me in, they make my heart smile and I reflect on them often. Reminding myself of these precious promises have helped me through so many struggles. I keep them hidden deep within my heart so that I will have constant access to these awesome treasures. I have them highlighted in my bible, underlined and boxed in. I have sticky tabs with labels and I write them down in various places in my home so that they are always within reach. They are poetic and beautiful with the power to take your breath away, causing a fluttering of your heart. They are the solid rock that I stand on day in and day out, my fortress and my most Beloved is wrapped up within each of them.

But there is a flip side to this life and even when I am lost in the layers of His folds, tucked in tight and safe, there are still these nagging questions and I am just like the Psalmist that wrote “For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no pangs in their death, but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride serves as their necklace; violence covers them like a garment. Their eyes bulge with abundance; they have more than heart could wish. They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walks through the earth.” (Ps. 73:3-9)

For pain and suffering are our constant companion, there is no escaping it. It is God’s people that I see hurting. The wicked seem to thrive and prosper while the righteous are oppressed, beat down and tied up. The news and social media are plastered with evil and it’s enough to make a person weary beyond all recompose. We live in scary times and the future looks bleak.

But it’s the scriptures that I seem to skim over time and time again that address this problem, if I would but pause for a moment and really see; both for the righteous and the wicked.

Being reminded of His presence and of His promises is a daily gift He gives to us, and I, through the Psalmist learn truth by way of the Lord’s prompting. And when the Psalmist came to the realization of this truth he spoke my heart, “Whom have I in heaven but You?And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps. 73:25-26

As for the wicked: “God is a just Judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” (Ps 7:11) And my gentle Daddy will someday stand up and say, “ENOUGH!” And He will bear His teeth and tear into the evil of this present time. “He will make them as a fiery oven in the time of His anger; He shall swallow them up in His wrath, and the fire shall devour them. Their offspring He shall destroy from the earth, and their descendants from among the sons of men. (Ps. 21:9-10)

And then . . . .

He will wipe every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Rev. 21:4

Someday . . . . .

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His peace came today;

fluttering softly like a feather, swaying down, down and finally landing tenderly upon me, soft and fragile. It wrapped itself around me with edges just barely grasping my heart and I clung desperately to it. The pain in my heart was held just within the boarders and I had to make the choice to accept the gift.

After three weeks of confusion and heart ache; crumpled and crushed, stunned and shocked from the blow, shaking heads at disbelief, His peace was welcomed.

Losing someone you love is very . . . very hard.

Peace came on his earth birth day. He didn’t quite make it to 70 years. The usually happy occasion became a sick dread, knotted tight in my gut as it approached, knowing he wasn’t here to celebrate, and I fought the constant urge to call him anyway.

But the Lord gifted us on that day with His peace that most certainly surpassed our understanding.

And He reminded me that my father now had a new birth date . . . . in Heaven.

And there was great celebrating and rejoicing on that day, for precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. (Ps. 116:15)

And the bleeding heart, gaping open wide will heal, just as dad is healed, completely and perfectly in his new home, the mansion that his Lord prepared just for him, for “our citizenship is in heaven, and we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body” (Phil. 3:20-21).

And in his exceedingly great happiness he now utterly understands what I can not wrap my brain around, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.’ (1 Cor. 2-9)

What God has prepared for dad,

forever and ever and ever . . .

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Tribute to a Lover of God

Les Beebe

Les, our Friend,

Met up with God face to face.

He was a rock of a man, a seeker of God,

Beloved by all,

Save by Grace.

Hallelujah!

Face to face with God, our Savior.

Face to face with Christ, our Brother.

Spirit to Spirit with The Counselor.

Rejoicing and praising like no other.

Hallelujah!

Now Les can SEE.

Now he KNOWS to the full.

Our dear Les, full of kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, mercy,

was completely guided by

God’s golden rule.

Hallelujah!

Les, confident, kind,

incredibly sweet.

At the ready to serve anyone.

In doing so, washing our Savior’s feet.

Hallelujah!

For unto “the least of these”

Les lived and breathed, for it was children he loved the most.

His dear and darling children,

Yet it was in Christ that he boast.

Hallelujah!

Children are a heritage from the Lord,

Sons a reward from Him.

Blessed is the man who lives to see his children’s children.

Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

Hallelujah!

Giving his life to save 3 others,

His last breath here and his next breath there,

On his knees, hands lifted high, tears streaming,

to gaze upon that face so fair.

Hallelujah!

Life is but a vapor.

Life is but a mist.

We realize that even better now,

by losing our sweet Les.

Hallelujah!

Knowing you has made us better.

Losing you we have set our hearts to praise, prayer and peace.

We will see you again, soon, Les.

For God’s love, through Christ, has set us sinners free.

Hallelujah!

By Andrea Duwe

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelation 21:4 

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I love how the Lord works in our lives, how He reveals Himself to us in the unexpected. How His living Word touches us so completely and so deeply, no stone unturned, to the point that it is a miracle in itself.

If we could truly see all the times that He has hedged us behind and before and laid His hands upon us, we would be astounded! We would be so awestruck by His grace and His love that we would live a totally surrendered life.

Although our physical eyes can not perceive Him all the time, in His mercy He gives us these wonderful glimpses. Just enough to leave your soul begging for more, so satisfied and so wonderfully joyful. He is truly an awesome God.

It has always been for me that in the teaching of others it has been me that walks away with the treasure, the gold nugget that gets stuck right between your breastbone and your heart, wedged in deep. It has always been me that the lesson was for, the unveiling of His love through the beautiful words of His book, the living Word that pours out, drenching my spirit completely through.

It has been throughout our history together, me and Him, together, living and moving and having my being, that I sometimes get it, just an inkling. The knowing that He did it once and He can absolutely do it again.

And it was the young man David that showed me this time. The official but unofficial king, not yet even a man, that walked right up to the famous mighty giant warrior, with sling in hand and His Lord in his heart.

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The mighty Israelite army had tucked their tails and scattered, hiding in the hills or anywhere that they felt would bring them safety. And king Saul also trembled with fear over the day and evening bullying of that rascal Goliath. Oh I understand their fear. Fear has a way of wrapping it’s gnarling fingers around my neck and choking the life out of me. And just when I think I have conquered it, my own giants show up and mock me and threatens me and I run for cover, just like the army of Saul.

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But young David volunteered for the task of killing Goliath, despite the fear that hung thick that day, an army and king that were dismayed and defeated, despite the the fact that the cards were stacked against him, in every single way possible. Saul pointed out to him that he would not be able to prevail against the giant because he was still a youth and because he was not a warrior, but was indeed a shepherd and Goliath was a experienced man of war. King Saul and his army looked at the physical things of this earth, their strength was in the armies of Israel, but David’s strength was in his Lord.

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And when I read the words that David spoke next, everything stopped and I truly heard these words being spoken to me from the mouth of God Himself. I understood immediately what He meant and it was for my heart only.

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But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it and delivered the lamb from it’s mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by it’s beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God. Moreover David said,”The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Sam. 17:34-37)

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David was not a part of the trembling army that day, he was set apart for the purpose of the Lord. He did not put his trust in the army, or in the armor of Saul, David completely relied on his God, the One who had delivered him from the paw of the lion. David showed up that day with power and the assurance of the Lord because he had a history with God and David already knew what God could do.

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And the stone that David used that day to slay the giant, I suspect was not much bigger than a mustard seed. Goliath came to David with the things of the world, but David came to Goliath in the name of the Lord.

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And David’s words to the giant? “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, who you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand. (1 Sam. 17:45-46)

These words that David said so long ago were written just for me! And as I read them, this is what I heard:

My daughter, do not fear, have I not shown you in the past My mighty strength? Have I not always taken care of those that I love so deeply? I have done it before and I will do it again! Remove the fear from your troubled heart and rest in Me, your strong and mighty tower, and just watch what I will do.”

1Sam. 17

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You have hedged me behind and before and laid your hand upon me, such knowledge is too wonderful for me, it is too high, I cannot obtain it. Ps. 139:5-6

photos are from various children’s bibles

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I just love the story that Christine Caine tells of one of her classes at Sydney University. “Her professor projected a picture of a small black dot in the middle of a very big white screen, then asked the class, “What do you see?”

Every student responded to his question the same way, “A black dot.”

He paused then asked the same question again, “What do you see?”

She went on to say that every single student in that class failed to see the big white space around the dot! Their eyes naturally focused on the black dot.”

This is what Christine added to her story:

The same is true in our lives, and that’s why it is essential that we renew our minds so

we can see the bigger picture. The more we focus on God and magnify Him in our

lives, the smaller the black dot will become.” Christine Caine~Fist Things First

small black dot

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As soon as I read her words I understood the black dot concept. I confess that I am a black dot seeker. I have a hard time taking my eyes off of the dot and seeing the white space with my physical eyes. And it’s a constant prayer of mine, this John 3:30, that He would help me to decrease, and He does it, and it hurts, and my black dot grows bigger.

But like a mad bull I continue to press in, I lower my head and close my eyes and charge, “Lord, help me to decrease so that You may increase!” And once again He does it,and it hurts and the black dot grows bigger, and bigger, and bigger . . . . .

medium black dot

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And I cling to the dot until my knuckles turn white, not daring to let go, and the more I focus on the dot, the more I hold onto the dot. The dot increases and the white decrease and my heart grows heavy.

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Then I realize that it’s the actual clinging that causes so much pain. The constant prying my hand away rips my heart in pieces in the process of it. “And who will save me from myself?”

In my stubborn and willful nature in refusing to let go, it finally becomes so clear. The more I focus on the white space, the smaller that black dot becomes. My death grip relaxes a bit, just enough to allow His peace to creep into my heart, just enough to see a glimpse of His truth, of His promises. And it is enough.

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To actually decrease I must not look to the dot, I must constantly direct my focus on the white space. He is so loving and tender in the revealing, and He refuses to give up on me, to leave me or forsake me, He consistently tends to me, leading me in His way. To live in His truth I must endure the pain of decreasing if I am to have His future of peace and a hope. (Jer. 29:11) It is in the seeking Him, searching Him with all my heart that leads to my decreasing, so that He may increase, so that He may be glorified. So I will continue to cry out to Him, “Lord! Help me to decrease so that You may increase!”

tiny black dot

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When I truly seek Him, He is absolutely everywhere. Every word I read presses it in deeper, every conversation, every scripture, and every song. So I leave you with one of my favorites.

Watermarks Friend for Life~written by Nathaniel and Christy Nockels:

Friend for life who took my pain
The cleansing flood You remain
Wash over me till I can’t be seen

Living Water swallow me
Deepest River wash me clean
Jesus, Savior more of Thee
Jesus, more of Thee

Come and ruin me with Your love
So no other is enough
Come and leave Your mark on me
Jesus, more of Thee
Jesus, more of Thee

Friend for life I’ll carry on
Through the power of this blood
Let it spill over, over till I can’t be seen

Living Water swallow me
Deepest River wash me clean
And Jesus, Savior more of Thee
Jesus, more of Thee

Come and ruin me with Your love
So no other is enough
And come and leave Your mark on me
Jesus, more of Thee
Jesus, more of Thee

Deep is the stain inside of me
Deeper the River washes me clean
I’ve been the one who cries in the night
You’ve been the Friend of my life

Living Water swallow me
Deepest River wash me clean
Jesus, Savior more of Thee
Jesus, more of Thee

Come and ruin me with Your love
So no other is enough
Come and leave Your mark on me
Jesus, more of Thee
Jesus, more of Thee
Jesus, more of Thee

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But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Romans 7:23-25

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