Worship

Like a rush of butterfly wings, or maybe an angel

My heart wakes and rustles.

Worship runs between the membranes of my heart,

Lifts from kneeling, worship

Rises heavenward, ecstatic flurry.

Then rests. Settles. Calm washes over.

Repose, stillness.

Like the mysterious, hidden beating heart.

Pulse continues, power resting

In the requisite moments of peaceful worship.

Returns, unrestrained, loud

Worship of tongue and whole being!

Then rests. Settles. Calm washes over.

Just Take it Already!

It’s a well worn passage. Matthew, Mark and Luke all record it. The memory must have been emblazoned on their minds. I imagine it was one of the few times Jesus raised his voice to the disciples.

“But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.'” Luke 18:16

A couple weeks ago, the pastor at Cascade Hills Church, here in Columbus, GA, started on Mark’s version of this story. I almost rolled my eyes. Some things are just over done, right? I mean, not only does this verse parade through the halls of my Sunday school memories, but just recently I’ve studied this passage in my Good Morning Girls Bible study. I just read it in Matthew last week as part of my through-the-Bible-in-a-year program.

But, as I’m touring the halls of memory, I distinctly remember the insistence in my parents’ voices when they said, “If I told you once, I told you a thousand times!” That meant, You’re supposed to remember this. It’s important!

So, I shook myself a little, refocused on the pastor and dug past empty gum wrappers and loose bobby pins to find a pen. Then, my mind drifted again, filled with questions:

What did Jesus mean, “For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”? For some reason, I started thinking along the lines of gifts. Maybe that’s because another version phrases it, “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” It’s also applicable because, after all, according to 2 Peter 1:3, the God of the Kingdom is a wonderful gift giver:

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

Romans 3:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

What is a child’s role in the gifting process? Simply receive. So, if we are the recipients of God’s good gifts, how should we receive? All Christians long for the joy of Heaven, and we know that the only way there is through the gift of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12)

So, just think with me, as His children (Gal. 4:6), how should we receive His good gifts of grace, mercy, eternal life, all that we need for life and godliness, the Holy Spirit and so much more?

1. A child never turns down a gift. Can you imagine?

2. A child will never offer to pay you back. But, as adults we spend most of our lives trying to pay God back for His kindness to us. “After all He’s done for me, it’s the least I can do for Jesus.”

3. A child is fully willing to ask for a gift. Most of us, as adults, pepper our prayers with, “Only if you want to, God. I’ll understand if you don’t.”
Or, we feel guilty after a particularly needy prayer. But Jesus says, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” John 16:24

Just some food for thought. I’d love to hear your comments. How do you receive a gift – for that matter, a compliment?

If you’re really honest, do you see yourself as working to pay God back for His goodness toward you?

Supporting Scriptures: Matt. 20:28, John 14:16, Matt. 11:28, John 14:27

 

Changing My Mind

Quietness and rest were foreign to me during the painful years of my eating disorder. In fact, they were down right scary. If my body was resting, then obviously, I wasn’t working hard enough to burn every available calorie. If my mind was quiet, then obviously, I wasn’t worrying enough about my last meal or my next one. I wasn’t meticulously counting the calories burned during my last workout or plotting my escape from a lunch date with friends. I truly believed that my frantic mind and anxious diligence made me stronger than others, both physically and mentally….

Read the rest of this post at FINDINGbalance.com

Consuming Eternity

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I hustle and rest,
I try my best
To place you in the center.
Then find my heart in barren winter.
How with such pure effort,
Can I not comport
My self in righteousness,
Shaded by your holiness?

How do I find myself excavated
All my energies relegated
To survival, to clinging to shreds
Of dignity, goodness and holy fruit?

Like a thirsty tree thrusting branches higher,
When clean deep trenches gush with water.
I clamor for refreshment in obvious places,
Ignorant of your ready, near, abundant graces.

You are not far!
Though you hung the stars.
You never cleave,
Call me to cleave.
If I could but wrest away
My hands from briefer things.
Then part with time,
Spread these dormant wings,
And live this day, in its place
On the timeline of eternity.

Stripped of Chaos

“The devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds…Satan is quite aware of the power of silence.” Jim Elliott

“We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private.” C.S. Lewis

Have you ever said: “I was home alone all evening, on a Friday night. What a loser.”

Have you ever done: Flipped on the TV, the radio, a CD or all of them at once – just for “background noise?”

Have you ever thought: The more the merrier?

Have you ever found: Yourself in such a hurry that you don’t remember the last time you read a good book?

I venture to say that most of us have done all of the above at one time or another. There’s an odd dichotomy in our culture right now, an expressed longing for quiet, juxtaposed with fervent applause for the busiest, most productive among us. We see sentimental quotes everywhere, on bookmarks, refrigerators, office walls, that tell us to stop and smell the roses. Mattress commercials remind us that none among us get enough sleep. Doctors decry the effect of stress on our hearts.

Simultaneously, the first question we ask any bloke on the street is, “What do you do?” essentially, equating an individual’s value and their relationship to us primarily on their occupation.

And noise? Even sitting here, I can hear my husband’s television show from the other room. A few hours ago, as I made breakfast, I listened to a sermon on my iPhone. As soon as I headed upstairs to shower, I turned on the Christian radio in my bedroom. God-forbid I entertain silence for a moment!

Have you ever felt: Like God has deserted you? As if you’re all alone and your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling? Like you’re fighting a losing battle? What if you quit fighting? What if you stopped praying and listened? 

Exodus 14:13 “And Moses said unto the people, ‘Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.'”

If God doesn’t build the house,
the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn’t guard the city,
the night watchman might as well nap.
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don’t you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves? Psalm 127

What Have You Done?

What have you done?

Pathetic creature!

What have you done

All clothed in dust.

Marred and scorned

And shell of life.

What have you done?

Shedder of blood

Rent of innocence.

Now split to die,

What have you done?

Now I am done.

Have done away with all you did.

What have I done?

Sweet shedder of my own blood.

What have I done?

But love you and clothe you.

I healed you and died.

What have I done?

But mend the innocence of creature

Hemmed with Creator’s blood.

What have I done,

But comfort you.

What have I done

But rescue you?

There’s nothing for you to do.

Life by the seasons

Days of ink pens and spirals past.

Blue books, tuition rates, lectures and halls.

For 10 long Septembers, a study-less fall.

Fall makes demands, the crisp of the air.

“What are you doing with your life?”

Will you brighten up lives – like leaves to the floor?

Or comfort sad souls like soups and wreathed doors?

Will you be consistent like the turning of tides?

Winsome, patient and quiet as the moon?

Pleasing and warm as a fleshy, plump pumpkin?

Will you bring freshness to lives, like the chill in the air?

What will the season evoke?

Find a change.

Turn the season.

Drop your cloak,

And live brighter, fuller, clearer, closer.

Light and Splintered Tree

I wept as I was overwhelmed

By lists and piles of things.

I longed for simpler

Winsome days of sand and plastic swings.

Now life is running on the sand.

Each step sinking low –

Like trudging through molasses.

Frustration. Agonizing. Slow.

Must. Get. There.

Must finish, arrive.

But I often wonder what

For I am compelled to strive.

Sweat pours mingled with tears of loss.

I refuse His yoke and the weight of the cross.

If I would but stop and lower my knee.

Bend and take up that splintered tree.

If I would walk with Him, strive with Him, pull with Him.

He vowed to lessen the load.

“Easy,” He called it. “Light,” He said.

Why my pride, march on instead?

God Doesn’t Want Me to be Ambitious?

What do you think of when you hear the word: Ambitious?

Do you think of that other guy in the office or on the sales floor who nearly doubles your commission on a daily basis? Do you think of that mom who has more kids than you do, manages to host a church small group in her home, is working toward her master’s degree, fixes full dinners every evening, always has room to babysit one more extra, never tells you no, always has a smile, seems to know the Lord intimately, has the perfect husband who gets paid more than yours, blogs regularly and takes care of her ailing parents? Do you think of that kid who’s never made a B in his life? The entrepreneur?

Or do you think of yourself? Do you tuck your thumbs into proverbial suspenders and smile at your success? Are you pleased with your well-organized list of goals for the next five years?

Or do you think of the little kid who wants to be a doctor when he grows up; the little girl with big aspirations of becoming a famous dancer?

Is Ambition good or bad?

Here’s what Dictionary.com has to say: an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment
desire for work or activity; energy

The examples above and the definition makes us think of all the things we want to do and the people we want to be. Ambition is prized among men and women of all ages, races and economic status. So I found it interesting when someone pointed out recently that the God doesn’t seem to have the same opinion. At the very least, God has a different list of things for which we should be ambitious.

A quick search using the Online Parallel Bible, reveals 11 uses of the word “ambition” in the entire Bible. Of those 11 uses, only three of them are positive. Most often, ambition is referred to as selfish. Other adjectives include: insincere, vain, and employed by treacherous people.

Paul is the writer who talks about ambition in a positive manner. Paul said he was ambitious to preach the Gospel (Romans 15:20). He instructed his readers to have as their ambition to lead a peaceful and quiet life (1 Thess. 4:11). And in                         1 Corinthians 5:9, Paul lists his ambition as “to be pleasing to the Lord.”

Most of the time, the word ambition makes me squirm. I never feel like I have as much ambition as the next person. I don’t have clearly outlined personal and professional goals. I am not driven in so many ways. Actually, God’s version of the ambitious person is relieving to me. I DO want so much to preach the Gospel, to live a quiet, Christ-centered life, and to be pleasing to God. At least, I want to want those things. Do you know what I mean?

What do you think of ambition? Are you God’s type of ambitious person?