Category: Media

God’s Good Plans

I used to think that it would get easier.  At one time I had come to believe that as you grow along the journey the struggle would diminish.  Now I know that is not true.

The lessons I’ve learned along the way may make me better equipped to walk this path, but the path itself doesn’t get smoother.

The thought of saying goodbye to Hungary is no less difficult a thought than when I was selling my house and getting ready to leave Tampa for Europe.

But I never cease to be amazed at how specifically God will speak.

Yesterday I was singing in church while at the same time carrying on a conversation with the Savior.  It went something like: “I don’t know if I can do this.  I don’t really want to say goodbye.  The future holds so much promise, but it also feels so ambivalent.  This place has become home. Lord, I want to trust, but this is hard…”

The next song started up and for a moment all I could do is smile (while wiping tears from the corners of my eyes).  I won’t translate the song, but it’s about how God has planned good for me, how He is a loving God, how his grace lasts forever and it brings to mind the promise that “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things.” (Rom 8:32)

I am thankful that God speaks to me personally;

that the Spirit knows just what I need to hear and when.

I am thankful that God has planned good for me.

He’s planned good for you too!  Are you counting the ways?

This week I am also thankful for:

421 – Lightening and thunder, wind and rain, all wild

423 – The sun coming out again, lingering cool breezes

426 – For the One who created me, redeemed me, called me by name and calls me his own.  For the One who says: Do not fear, I will be with you; you are precious and I love you.

427 – Birthday wishes: cards and calls, friends on the journey

430 – For sounds of beauty and sacred rhythms

Reflection for the Journey

Yesterday we took Jenn to the airport and said “Bon Voyage” as she heads off to pursue her Master’s degree. While there have been other changes since our ministry team dissolved, this is the first highly noticeable movement in our lives. I’m happy for Jenn and excited to see the plans that God has for her unfold. And I’m filled with expectation to see how God is unfolding my own path. But change is never, ever easy. So today I find myself humming this chorus and thanking God for the truth that while change is inevitable, God is yesterday, today and forever the same and present.

Everything Moves by Christa Wells

All the things I pursue
Well they stay for a season
Then everything moves
Everything moves, Oh
My towers fall
But You aren’t leaving me
Everything moves but You

All the things I pursue
Well they stay for a season
Then everything moves
Everything moves, Oh
My towers fall
But You aren’t leaving

Listen : Excerpts from Everything Moves

Quote for today and Links I’ve loved

However, a fleeting, incomplete glimpse of God’s back – the obscure yet real, penetrating, and transforming experience of his incomparable glory – awakens a dormant trust.  Something is afoot in the universe, someone filled with transcendent brightness, wisdom, ingenuity and power and goodness is about.  In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, somewhere deep down a Voice whispers, “All is well, and all will be well.”

Brennan Manning – Ruthless Trust

These are some blog posts that have spoken to my heart recently that I’d like to share with you:

http://www.rabbitroom.com/2011/06/beauty-never-lies/

http://www.incourage.me/2011/06/god-sized-dreams-the-disclaimers.html

http://www.aholyexperience.com/2011/06/how-to-find-your-perfect-weight/ (Turn on your speakers to hear the beautiful music!)

http://www.rabbitroom.com/2011/05/caring-for-gods-art/

Yesterday’s Lessons

Would it surprise you if I told you that the meditation of my heart came not just from yesterday’s church service, but from an afternoon viewing of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides?

I find it amazing how when God has something to say He will use all means at His disposal (which is everything in heaven and earth) to communicate his truth.  (I’ll try not to include any spoilers in case you haven’t seen the movie).

But let me start with church.  Yesterday we focused on communion and the cross.  We looked at the need to examine ourselves, but how we should ONLY examine ourselves in light of the cross.  If we just start to look deeply into our lives we can end up depressed and hopeless.  We have nothing good in ourselves.  Our flesh is dead in our sins.  We’re not just in a bad way when we are apart from Christ, we’re dead!  But when we look at our sin, uncover our idols, confront the decaying state of our flesh while looking to the cross, we find hope and grace, forgiveness and joy and life!  The cross is about making the dead come alive, that’s redemption!

So what in the world does that have to do with a pirate movie?  Well, a lot actually.  In fact, the film had multiple scenes with intriguing spiritual themes, but the scene that I’m thinking of is wrapped up in a single sentence.  It’s just one line toward the end of the story.  Captain Jack Sparrow comments on someone’s death and the fact that in death that person gave another life.  And the captain, in an offhand remark, suggests that the act may have accomplished their redemption.

This is what the world believes.  One great sacrificial act can bring redemption and wipe the slate clean.  And that’s not entirely wrong.

One great sacrificial act did bring redemption and allow the slate of sin to be wiped clean.

The great problem is that the world thinks that man can do it for man.  As in the film, the world suggests that one great, sacrificial act by a sinful man on behalf of another sinful man will bring about redemption.  But that is simply not true.  A dead man can not give another dead man life.  Only a sinless one can redeem the sinful.  Only God could be the sacrifice and bring redemption.

And the amazing thing is that He did.  Not by coercion or obligation or trickery, but because of His great love.  He chose to die in our place, to give us His life.  And then He rose from death to take up His life once again.

This is the glory of the cross.  The grace of God.

One great sacrificial act that gives us life.

And that is the beginning of today’s thankful list (excerpts from 331 to 354)

  • That one great sacrificial act, the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, gives us life!  We are fully redeemed, forgiven, set free.  All our sins, all our idols, the death that we carry around in our flesh, all of is it swallowed up by His life.
  • The snail with the perfect black stripe (God’s creative painting)
  • Surprise phone calls
  • Splatter’s of rain, drawing a line in the dirt – standing on the edge of a cloud
  • The porch swing and pine boughs
  • His glory poured into these jars of clay – what amazing grace that His glory is revealed in my weakness
  • Provision – New Tires
  • Blessings that catch you by surprise – a gift of orchid stems of beauty
  • His invitation awaiting my response, never withdrawn
  • His invitation to dwell in His presence – what magnificent grace
  • Friends who accept me “just as I am”
  • Sunday afternoon nap in a patch of sunlight (I sound just like a cat!)
  • Seeds sprouting from the soil (so surprised that they are actually growing)
  • A crescent moon on a clear summer’s night

On My Mind…

In ladies Bible Study we are walking through Isaiah. Over and over and over again in the text we see God warning the people about, judging, condemning and calling to repentance the spiritual voices and leaders of the day, because they were leading the people astray.

Oh my people, your guides lead you astray, they turn you from the path. Isaiah 3:12b

It’s been on my mind.

It’s been a topic of discussion among friends, among family, with strangers.

People have been in my prayers, on my heart. Eternity is at stake!

I’m pondering this truth.

Hell: We can’t afford to get it wrong.

Listen.

Ponder.

Seek Humility.

Study the entire breadth of God’s Word.

Pray!

Waiting

Today is the “in-between.”

Yesterday Jesus died.

Tomorrow He rises from the grave.

And today we wait.

Waiting. It’s a symbol of our lives here, in the “in-between”.

I read this quote a couple of weeks ago.*

The pastor is the person who specializes in accompanying persons of faith “in the middle,” facing the ugly details, the meaningless routines, the mocking wickedness, and all the time doggedly insisting that this unaccountably unlovely middle is connected to a splendid beginning and a glorious ending.

Eugene Peterson, Reversed Thunder

We live in the middle. 

We move and breathe, here, in the in-between. 

Between creation and re-creation. 

Between the cross and the resurrection.

Today is symbolic of our lives.  Today we wait.


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I liked what Matt Maher had to say in his video on the subject…


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*On an aside: This quote captured my attention, because it’s my heartbeat that he’s describing. He’s talking about the gift and calling of a shepherd. I’m discovering more and more every day that this is my passion and I’ve perhaps never seen my heart so clearly defined as in this quote. I’ll follow this theme more on another day…

In Remembrance

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.

Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Matthew 26:26-28

“Do this in remembrance of me” Luke 22:19

These songs are on my heart today.  In Remembrance.

Remembrance – Matt Maher Buy on Amazon

Peace – A Communion Blessing – Rich Mullins Buy on Amazon

“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.  Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.  But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”

Colossians 1:19-21

This is the Week

Like a kite caught in spring winds I dive and soar in gusts of activity, depending on the rope that grounds me. As I rush from task to task getting ready to leave for our Europe Area Conference I feel the pull of the tether that holds me secure in the winds.

I feel it here in a status update. There in a video link. A reminder in a blog post. Jumping from the pages of the Scripture as I carve out time for that which is most important.

This is the week.

This is the week Jesus sets his face toward Jerusalem and steps toward the cross.

This is the week that changed the world.

Death defied.

The grave forever conquered.

My sins paid for.

My life redeemed.

At such cost.

The Cross.

New life from death. The mystery of the ages.

I can’t stop thinking about it.

Life from death. Life from death!

I keep reading about it.

Jesus says “He who has ears let him hear.”

Let Him hear!

Hear the sounds of the universe turning inside out.

The rip of the veil.

The heave of the stone rolling away.

The voice of the angel, “Why do you seek the living among the dead. He is not here.”

Hear the sounds of new life breaking forth where death once reigned.

Hear!

In the midst of the activity that distracts me from the liturgy of the week,

in the hurry and whirl of work,

I keep hearing this refrain.

New life. New life. New life. HE IS RISEN! New life.

Thankful that my story is a part of His plan

As I sit here in front of my computer, I can hear piano music playing, birds just outside my window chirping, the sound of the wind in the pines, the whir of the washing machine, the neighbor hammering away on some project and it seems I can even hear the sighs of my heart as I long to curl up and sleep.

Body weary, my mind is ever engaged.  I think about the song that I heard through the link on Ann’s blog this weekend.  I think about God resonating in the empty places.  I consider the lyrics from Downhere that have been replaying in my mind for days on end.  “Somehow my story is a part of your plan.”

I have to believe that.  I have to believe that when I struggle to lift my head I can still lift my heart in prayer.  I have to trust that when I am all weakness and weariness that He still has a part for me to play.  I have to lift up my countenance and give Him thanks, even for the frailness of flesh that slows me down to consider and ponder and reflect on His Word and His work.

Here are some things I have been thankful for this week:

267. Sleeping In

268. The color green

269. Vonage

271. Singing along to the radio (making time stuck in traffic a joy rather than a frustration)

272. The sky & clouds, unbelievable shades and colors in growing dusk

274. A good book

275. Being taught by the Word and Holy Spirit

276. Time to write

277. HESED: Grace and Mercy always flowing from the cross; that God never hides his love from anyone who longs to love and live for Him (see Wednesday’s upcoming post for more about this)

278. Homemade, gluten free enchiladas, tastes bursting on my tongue

279. Two cuddling kitties, purring, content

Faith My Eyes

Faith My Eyes

I’ve posted about this song before, but it bears repeating:

How these words never fail to touch me, how these words never fail to challenge me, how I still mistake happiness for blessing, how I still wrestle with the unknown mystery, how I’m today and evermore on the journey, praying…

Keep on coming, with these lines on the road.
And keep me responsible, be it a light or heavy load.
Keep me guessing with these blessings in disguise.
I’ll walk with grace my feet and faith my eyes.

I’m learning to look for them, these blessings in disguise, but I believe it may take all of my lifetime to really learn what it really means to walk with grace my feet and faith my eyes.