Friday, June 28, 2013

As Your Days

and as your days, 
so shall your strength, 
your rest and security, be.
~Deuteronomy 33:25
I love that this verse links
strength, rest and security.
It takes greater strength to remain 
at rest in the midst of turmoil
than it does to give in to it.
To be led by the Spirit
is to look away from every 
distraction that is a lie
and look into the face of Truth.
It is a deep selah breath 
when panic wants to set in,
or doubt or insecurity or fear.
As your days shall be your strength.
It is strength for every single day--
the peaks and valley days,
the days drudgery seems insurmountable
and the days tasks are many and hours few.
It is strength when overcome with frailty,
and it is strength when
we feel sufficient in our own soul.
This never ending supply of strength can
look different than what we have thought.
Sometimes it looks like weakness.
But if we will allow the Holy Spirit to teach us,
we can peek behind the door of weakness
and find His power at work soldering together
strength, rest and security.
He is forming a weapon 
that no foe can withstand.
When these three are one, 
it looks a lot like peace.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Mortar in our Joints

God gave us the gift of Sabbath—
not just as a day, but as an orientation,
 a way of seeing and knowing.
 Sabbath keeping is a form of mending.
 It's mortar in the joints.  
Keep Sabbath or else break too easily.  
Keep it, otherwise our dustiness consumes us,
becomes us, and we end up able 
to hold exactly nothing.”
~Mark Buchanen

I was once teaching about healthy eating
and joking with a group of students
in a leadership training class.
I said, "If a thing rhymes with no-no
you probably shouldn't eat it!"
I was referring to daily staples
such as the ho-ho and the jo-jo.
I recently have been thinking
the same about healthy living.
"If a thing rhymes with no-no
you probably shouldn't be doing it!"

Perhaps worse than the ho-ho or jo-jo
 is the all consuming lifestyle of the go-go.
This lifestyle may be necessary for a season;
there are times where we just have to
cry out for the Lord to be our strength.
But if these seasons go on endlessly and
we don’t stop to assess our spin cycle,
we become robotic and worn out.
Regardless of where we are at,
the concept of rest, of being still,
of ceasing from our own labors
is critically important to understand.
Be still and know that I am God.
Some knowing only comes through stillness.
This isn’t a brand new idea--
I have had a measure of understanding.
But there is so much more.
My joints are a bit achy.
Sabbath rest is “mortar in the joints.”
I am on a paradoxical journey
of being still that I might discover
this new place of rest.
My new mantra:
Say no to the go.
It is a posture of the heart.


Friday, June 21, 2013

It's a Slow-Down-Season

Today's verse of the day 
on Bible Gateway was Psalm 91:1.
Of course it was.
"He who dwells in the secret place 
shall remain stable and fixed 
under the shadow of the Almighty." 
When God is speaking an important word, 
He goes all out to make sure we get it.
This is a season to learn about the secret place
and about being stable and at rest above all else.
It is a slow-down-season,
not of inactivity, but activity of a different sort.
A season of active, powerful rest.
Lord, you have my attention.
May Your grace and mercy keep me here
as long as You need me to stay.

Photo credit: EstherMariaSwaty

Thursday, June 20, 2013

He Answers, Delivers and Honors

The Lord is good to all those 
who set their love upon Him.
He does not forsake His children, 
not one, not ever.
They know and understand My name--
My mercy, love, and kindness—
and so they trust Me, 
knowing I will never forsake them, 
no, never.
~Psalm 91:14
I have to I have to I have to
know and understand His name,
My knowledge of His name grows 
as I sit with Him in the secret place--
and so I trust Him, 
knowing He will never forsake me.

They will call upon Me, 
and I will answer them; 
I will be with them in trouble, 
I will deliver them and honor them.

He is so unbelievably good. 
What kind of love is this 
that not only responds to our cries,
not only answers and delivers us, 
but then honors us as well?
I mean, really?
He honors us with His stability and rest.
It enables us to look a little bit more like Him.
And that is the most incredible honor.
Psalm 91 is a life psalm for my soul.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
shall remain stable and will rest...
He is our eternal resting place.
A go to for every today.

Photo credit: EstherMariaSwaty

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Loud, the Sneaky and the Imaginary

The devil is working against you. 
He is walking around like a hungry lion 
with his mouth open looking for someone to eat.
~1Peter 5:8
You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
~Psalm 91
I have given you all the power ...
Nothing will hurt you.
~Luke 10:19

The Word makes it clear we are in a war.
The war, however, is not the point of the story.
The point of the story is that our God wins. Through us.
We just have to be clear about the nature of the battle.

We fight against three types of enemies:
the loud, the sneaky and the imaginary.
The wannabe lion walks around and roars.
If we are on our game, the lion is easy.
The lying roar is very loud and we should
be training in the Word to counter it with truth.
The sneaky snake is a little trickier.
When walking along, we usually don't look down.
The snake comes out of nowhere
and we have to act quickly to crush it.
These are the, "What the heck was that all abouts?"
Blindsided. Never saw it coming.
But training in humility and forgiveness
can keep us safe when we get attacked like that.
We cut it off at the head and walk on.
But those dang serpents.
Can't see these at all because
they live in our imaginations.
That is my everyday battle ground.
"Practicing the presence of problems"
is my default button if I am not careful.
The vain imaginations grow quickly 
but they are so much more subtle.
"How the heck did I get down this road?"
Thought by screaming quick thought.
Today I confess that God wins it all.
He has given me the authority to crush 
the lion, the cobra and the serpent.
The loud, the sneaky and the imaginary.
I counter by practicing the presence of God
until the presence of problems disappears. 

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of
the Almighty, Whose power no foe can withstand.
I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress,
in Him I lean and rely, and in Him I confidently trust!
~Psalm 91


Monday, June 17, 2013

The Freshly Planted Seed

The farmer knows how to wait patiently 
for the land to produce vegetables and fruits. 
He cannot harvest a freshly planted seed. 
Instead, he waits for the early 
and the late showers to nourish the soil. 
You need this same kind of patience...
~James 5
Some days just seem so unfruitful.
I haven't written in over a week
because I felt as though 
I have had nothing to say.
In a transition season, it is hard
to know what to focus on.
You know what the fruit 
of last season looked like.
But coming into a new season, 
you don't know.
All I know is that the Lord 
has called forth the season.
When the fig tree does not bud,

and there are no grapes on the vines;

when the olive trees do not produce,

and the fields yield no crops…
I will rejoice because of the Lord;

The sovereign Lord is my source of strength.

He enables me to negotiate the terrain.
~Habakkuk 3

Just because the sprout isn't visible
doesn't mean the seed is dead.
It means things are being 
worked out in secret places.
A dark night doesn't mean
the day is no more.
A cloudy day doesn't mean
the sun is no more.
An empty field doesn't mean
the fruit is no more.
I cannot harvest a freshly planted seed.
Things are happening in the secret place,
and I must allow the rains to nourish the soil.
Secret place: a mystical land where 
99% of all human productivity,
motivation and achievement is stored.
~Lance Walnau
It is here that I am able to be still.
To hear the voice of my Father
and to hear Him say, 
I am your deep peace and 
Your infinite source of strength.
Let's stay here a while.
And watch the seeds grow.
It's going to be a very good crop.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Words Properly Squeezed

Thoughts are so free-form,
ranging to and fro, darting here to there.
I can’t even think about the number of things
that I just thought about.
They can barrage you so quickly that
you can’t even identify a single one.
When the thoughts matter, though,
and decisions have to be made
we are responsible for corralling them,
commanding truth to come forth and
every lie to vacate the land.
The battle is daily, and
by daily, I mean constant.
The battle rages even fiercer for words.
A word from your mouth may seem like nothing,
but it can accomplish nearly anything—
or destroy it!
James 3:5

Everyday we train to bring our thoughts and 
our words into alignment with truth and grace.
We have to discipline our thoughts so that 
our  thoughts are like His thoughts.
Then we have to squeeze out words
that have a certain shape to them.
From every angle, they must look like grace.
Whether we are bringing a word of encouragement
a word of correction, or a random word about life,
we should be an echo of the One we represent.
“As He is, so are we, in this world.”

A word from my mouth can accomplish anything.”
Will it be a living word pointing to God’s goodness?
Oh Lord, squeeze from my thoughts true words.
We can so easily speak earth language words of
negativity, doubt and discouragement without a thought.
I want words that go forth as arrows of light,
filled with compassion, kindness, humility, strength.
Words of grace always enlarge, always make better.
I want to be a conduit of that enlargement.
Because a word properly squeezed by grace
can accomplish anything.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

We Sow and He Gathers

And He said, The kingdom of God is like a man 
who scatters seed upon the ground,
He sleeps and rises while the seed grows--
he knows not how. Mark 4

The stories that Jesus told continue to speak.
Today, this speaks a word of encouragement 
about His faithfulness with what we bring Him.
He is eternally faithful.

Daughter, every prayer you pray, 
every word you hold, 
every care you release, 
every thought you command,
with a heart of reverence for me...
I gather them as seeds to sow back into your day.
Whether you sleep or get up, 
the seeds grow, though you are unaware.
You give Me that which costs you something
--your time, your heart, your trust.
I take it and pour back abundantly more 
than you can ask or imagine.
Know that I am ordering your day.
Bring everything that concerns you to Me
for I will take care of it ALL.
Scatter your prayer seeds and I will gather them.
This day has My blessing, My approval, 
and My love written all over it.

He takes my smallest offering, 
calls it a seed and takes
responsibility for its growth.
Our peace is proportionate to 
our trust in His goodness.
He is always faithful.