Category Archives: perspective

Enjoy the Moment

Dear One,

Right here, right now.   If I could give you one bit of advice, based on everything I know about you, this would be it:

“ENJOY THE MOMENT”.

If I could, dear Seeker, I would take you for a  long, slow walk just before sunset and have a conversation with you much like the one I had with someone yesterday and remind you of the simple things.

I know you want to trust God.  I know you’re tired of being stressed and fearful and feeling responsible for a future that you really have no real control over.   You believe that the LORD is Sovereign; so…

“The path of the righteous is smooth; O Upright One, make the path of the righteous level.” Isaiah 26:7

Relax

Take a deep breath.  You’re alive.

Don’t let disappointments and frustrations control your day.  Days may feel long, but life is short.

  • Internet connections will run slow.
  • Computers will crash.
  • Health will come and go and come again.
  • Appointments and deadlines will be missed.
  • Events will be cancelled.
  • Kids will break things.
  • Appliances and vehicles will break down.
  • Traffic will back up and you will miss a turn.
  • Things will be misplaced.

It’s going to be alright.  You already know it: God is on His throne, and you are not.  Do you really think any of those unexpected-to-you, no-surprise-to-Him, things can thwart the plans of the Almighty?

Even “big deals” are not “big deals” unless we make them into “big deals” by forgetting about our bigger than we know God who made all things.  And, if what’s on your mind seems like a big deal to you, it’s time you put things back in perspective and relax. 

God can handle it.  He has offered to take all our cares if we cast them on Him:  off your mind, off your back, and on to his.

Don’t be shocked by these not so strange and unusual happenings.  It is what it is, and it’s not the end of the world.  He’s got it covered.

  • Things are just things. 
    • Things can be replaced, if they even really need to be.  Most things we can live without, and often living with them makes our lives simpler.  No “thing” will last forever, anyway.  And, remember, “nothing (no-thing) can separate you from the love of God”.
    • Appointments can be rescheduled.  Plans can be altered.  And, you’ll never know what you really missed/avoided by an inconvenient divine intervention.  Commit your day to the LORD, interruptions and all.
  •  People are just people. 
    • Kids will be moody and grumpy and disrespectful every now and again, just like you were when you were in the “still becoming” season of life.   (By the way, you’re in a “still becoming” season of your own.) 
    • Spouses will say things that can be taken the wrong way.  (Whether they meant it that way or not, they need to be graced and forgiven, just like you do for your own “speak before you think/pray” comments.) 
    • Friends will irritate and offend.  (Need I mention how this proverbial shoe fits you, too?)
    • You are just a person.  And, if you’re replaying something from yesterday, ask forgiveness or forgive yourself, or let it go if that is what needs to be done.

So, whatever has a tendency to upset your day, look up and say, “Thank you.”  Maybe it is an opportunity to build your character or your faith, but maybe it really shouldn’t be a big deal at all.  Maybe it’s just something you should let go and over look.

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”  Proverb 19:11 (ESV)  … and I would add that faith makes us slow to fear, and it is also glorious to overlook an inconvenience or interruption or a disappointment, choosing to trust the LORD instead.

“Above all (NLT “Most important of all”), keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”  1 Peter 4:8 (ESV)

“Bear with each other” (NIV)  “Make allowances for each other’s faults” (LNT)  Colossians 3:13

 

“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter until the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18

Rejoice

Your blessings far out number the things that you are calling “not a blessing” at the moment.  And, in the brilliant light of tomorrow, you’re “not a blessing” may wear a new label.

And, in the meantime, thank Him for the obvious.

“In everything give thanks…” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Like one of my favorite old Evie song my parents played when I was a wee thing said, “Just be thankful for the good things that you’ve got…  The good things that you’ve got are for many just a dream; so be thankful for the good things that you’ve got.”

“give thanks for everything”  (NLT)  “always giving thanks for all things…”  Ephesians 5:20 (NAS)

Start thanking Him, now, in this moment.  Out loud, on paper, or in your head,… always, all through the day, for everything.   This is the secret of contentment and really living in and enjoying the moment.

  • for stained carpet, wobbly tables, leaky faucets, squeaky doors, pealing paint, …  find the beauty and the blessing in it, remember the memories made and the people you made them with…
  • the old neighbor with the long-long stories, for the town gossip, the kid with the runny nose and holes in his shoes, … for all the interesting people in your world.  Every book, every movie, and every life is better with unique and well-developed characters. (I’m thinking of Anne of Green Gables’s  Marrilla and Matthew Cuthbert, and Rachel Lynn, and Anne Shirley, of course.)

A bit blurry picture, but a favorite moment of my evening.  We stood silently for quite a while watching the doe on the middle of our wooded path.

P.S.

I thought you might like to know that I was on the receiving end of this conversation, and though Handsome’s words have been expanded upon by the Holy Spirit in the past 24 hours or so, the core wisdom and truth of his message to “enjoy the moment” are probably applicable to all of us women.

“ENJOY THE MOMENT.”

Tuck that away in your heart.

Slow down.  Look around.

This is where the LORD wants you to live… right here, right now, in this moment.  Trust Him.  God’s will for you is more than just enduring life.

He has yesterday and tomorrow all under His Sovereign reign, and He really does have “the whole world in His hands”… that includes you and me, sister…and your itty bitty baby, and my not so little 6’4″ baby

…and the doctors, and the politicians, and the teachers, and the bankers, the soldiers, the college professors, the tech support, and the UPS man,  everybody here, and everybody everywhere.

Knowing God is in control means we really can enjoy life, every moment, every day, and in every season.

It’s the enemy, not your heavenly Father, that would want you to shroud your spirit with gloom, worry, anxiety, fear, bitterness, doubt, insecurity, anger, frustration, hatred, resentment, tension, strife, or any other unsettling emotion that would smother your faith or douse your joy.

Remember who God  is, enjoy Him and enjoy this moment with Him.

He is “I AM”, living and ever-present.


Dear Seeking Friend,

If you’re reading this, I am praying for you.  May you remember that you are safe and secure “in Christ” and nothing can take you out of His hand; so may you rest peacefully in Jesus tonight, wake up refreshed  in Jesus tomorrow, and walk in abundance in Jesus all through the day.   May you see the handiwork of God all around you and hear the heavens declaring the glory of God when you look up.  May the Holy Spirit quiet your heart, calm your spirit, help you to slow down, and enable you to view your circumstances with an unhurried gaze.  May you have a twinkle in your eye and a happy expression as a result of your Heavenly Father’s love and the hope of eternity in your heart.  May you be a source of contagious blessing to others as you choose to enjoy your moments, one by one.  And, may you find yourself enjoying a divinely appointed walk with the LORD and hear Him say to you the words you are most needing to hear.

Keep Seeking Him… and enjoy the adventure, moment by moment.

beautiful: a temple, a body, a home

beauty –

defined by an 11 year old:  “feeling good about yourself; good looks”

Beauty is so much more than that!!!!

defined by Webster (contemporary):  "quality attributed to whatever pleases the senses of mind as by line, color, form, tone, behavior, etc."

nature 29 sunlight water

nature 28 lighthouse

defined by Webster (1828):  "an assemblage of graces, or an assemblage of properties in the form of the person or an other object, which pleases the eye... beauty consists in whatever pleases the eye of the beholder, whether in the human body, in a tree, in a landscape, of in any other object... beauty is intrinsic,... or relative,  a particular grace,... a particular excellence,... in person... in the arts,...joy and gladness, order, prosperity, peace, holiness."

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Q:  Who gets to decide what is beautiful?

A:  everyone.

A:  you.

A:  me.

A: and God.

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Your Temple, Your Home:  Your Beautiful Style

  • Modern,
  • French Country,
  • Old World,
  • Southern Coastal,
  • Western,
  • Rustic,…

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Your Temple, Your Body:  Your Physical Beauty

  • blonde hair, dark brown hair; curly, straight, widow’s peak
  • fair skin, rich chocolatey tan; freckled, beauty marks, cleft chins
  • tall, petite; willowy, lots of curves
The LORD’s Temple, Your Heart:  Your Unfading Beauty

Beautiful friend, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

You are.

God says you are beautiful.

He sees you; He beholds you and calls you “beautiful”.

He made you uniquely, with preferences, with favorites.  And, His expert, all-seeing, all-beholding, all-knowing word on “Beauty” carries more weight than any myopic human opinion.

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Beauty in My World

I’ve spent the last year focusing on the book of Hebrews as part of a group Bible study led by my husband, intensely studying the Tabernacle (and the Temples of Solomon, Zerubbabel, and Herod ) for a ladies’ study, and personally developing a thematic study related to running a race (on faithfulness, endurance, perseverance, discipline, freedom,…).  — In the most timely way, the LORD wove these studies together in to one deeper theme for me.

And, now, as I start a special year of “Beauty” with my maturing Little One, creatively pouring out these studies combined on my daughter, a fun “Girl-Time Study” for two, I’m hoping to go even deeper and more intentionally and practically apply all the knowledge I’ve accumulated about being the Temple of the Holy Spirit and discover more of what it looks like for me to be a beautiful and holy dwelling place for the LORD.

I am so looking forward to our Girl-Time!!!  Today, as worked on our outline for the year together, we read about  Esther and chose Esther 2:12 “…she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments…” for our cover verse (Tomorrow we will make our notebooks/journals.).

12 months of beauty treatments, sounds delightful!!!  If it was good for a future queen, it couldn’t hurt two Princesses, daughters of the King of Kings.

We are counting our unit-study of “Beauty” as a part of our homeschool education, which helps me take our activities to a whole new level by outlining a framework schedule of Bible Study, Scripture Memory, Cosmetology (a study of cosmetics, What pre-teen wouldn’t love that?!), career exposure (Fashion and Interior Design, Fashion/Beauty/Image Consulting, Spa Therapy, Massage, etc.), and more.

I do hope to share with you some of the tools I’ve accumulated and favorite insights from the year, but don’t wait for me to post (As you probably already know, this season of my life is primarily about my family, and less about internet and blogging.). So start seeking for yourself!

  • find a theme that interests you
  • start a notebook or folder (physical or virtual)
  • collect quotes, books, magazine clippings, lyrics, outlines, charts…
  • memorize a few key verses
  • do a chain reference or word study in the Scriptures
  • about pray over it!!!
    • ask the LORD to guide you in a seeking adventure, and He will!

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If you’re reading this,

I’m praying for you right now, that you will know deep in your soul who you are, how beautiful you are, and your great worth.  I ask the LORD to inspire you to be more creative and thrill in the wonder of who He made you to be with all your favorites, preferences, passions, and artistic interests.  May you find a unique way to seek the LORD for yourself and share what you find with someone special.

May you enjoy your journey as you keep seeking and finding, friend!

Touch Your World… leave fingerprints

Everything was just as she had left it:  the dishes, the books, the shoes, the clothing, the water glass,…  Her house wasn’t “messy”; it just had “signs of life”, “traces of her”.

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This has been one of the longest weeks.

An especially close friend and neighbor died unexpectedly of a heart attack early Monday morning.  There was no warning.  She was active, ate healthier than most, and wasn’t particularly old.

The funeral was yesterday, and the reality of her passing has sunk in.  Our neighborhood, and especially our Christmas parties, will never be the same.

I was shocked when I received the call that morning, and later in the day when her daughter stopped by, eyes red as evidence, I still could hardly believe it.  It seemed so unreal.  But Tuesday morning, when I went over to her house and she wasn’t there, there was no denying the truth… My friend is gone.

Sitting on the floor in her bedroom, flipping through her Bible and journals, looking for suggestions of “her favorites” (poems, verses, quotes) that might be helpful or comforting to those left behind who would attend the funeral, I saw private confirmations of the character and inner beauty that everyone  who knew her saw so plainly in public.

Then later, as I went back upstairs to clean up the telltale signs left behind by the EMTs, evidence of what had occurred in those predawn hours of the previous morning, I couldn’t help but notice…

Her world was not so different from mine.

One item in particular caught my eye, and the way it had obviously been one of the last things she had touched, stopped me in my tracks.  That could have been mine.  This could have been my house, my bedroom. This could have been me.

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I remember Handsome telling me that after he rushed down to be with his dad at his mom’s death, how hard it was to return to the house from the hospital and find all the packaging and plastic tabs scattered over the kitchen floor.  My husband cleaned it all up; so his dad wouldn’t have to… and now I was giving this same gift to my neighbor’s family.

This small act, it needed to be done, but in some ways, I wanted to postpone it forever.

It felt keenly significant: the clearing away of the evidence of an event, the first of the cleaning that would wipe away her fingerprints from this earth.

Slowly, slowly, the dishes she washed would be put back in the cabinet, used, and washed again.  Little by little, the books would be closed, put away, given away.  Bit by bit, the clothing would be washed, the jewelry passed on, etc., etc.  …until the closet would have only his clothes and the bathroom would have one less toothbrush.

As I returned to my house, I saw my world differently.  What if I couldn’t reach out and touch my world anymore?  What if I couldn’t turn another page, lift another item, write another word…?  What would I do now if I knew I could not do it tomorrow?

For a moment I imagined myself as Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol “walking abroad among his fellow-men” as a ghost because his spirit did not do so in life.

Much of my life, I live distracted, too busy with living to really appreciate being alive.  Funerals, like the ghosts of Christmas, offer me a moment of clarity and command me to open my eyes and see the past, the present, and the future.


I’ve delayed in posting too many of the blog-entries I’ve written over the past year.  Some felt too deep, too personal.  The thought of clicking “publish” seemed to compromise them in some way.  And, with the delay, I’ve lost a bit of my voice.   So, I’m going back, re-reading, remembering, and sharing… without much editing.

This is one of those “dear to my heart” memories.  It was written in stages… So, bear with the transitions.


 

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As I prepare for a medical procedure next month, I’m touching my world in the most intentional ways.  I’ve bought a journal of questions for mothers to answer for their children, and I filled it in as best I could. I’m writing out prayers for my family.  I’m putting my house in order to better live today and tomorrow.

Why?

The weekend before my friend died she attended a women’s conference where she was asked, “How do you want to be remembered?”  (… by your husband, your children, etc), and “Praise the LORD”, she took the time to fill in her answers.

As she penned her thoughts, she had no idea that two days later she would be taken from her family.  How precious those words are to her loved ones!  They treasured them and hung on every word.

And, I asked myself, “What do you need to do?”

What do I need to write?

What do I need to say?

If you’re reading this, you are ALIVE.  You can touch your word.  You can kiss your husband, wrap your arms around your children, call your parents, attend that Bible Study, start that prayer group, clear off the night stand, wash the laundry, take a walk, breathe in the cold winter air, listen to a moving song,…


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After the funeral, family and friends descended upon their home.  They came to comfort, visit, remember… It was an untimely reunion.  I was exhausted from the events of the week.  It wasn’t even my mother or my spouse,  but I longed to have the house empty.  I didn’t want anything moved.  I wanted everything to stay the same, just as she had left it.

I know it’s not possible.

Life goes on.

As my friend’s family begins passing out belongings to the relatives that would appreciate them and deliver the rest to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and Interfaith thrift stores, I remember Handsome’s comforting words,

“Her fingerprint are all over her children.”

As much as her physical prints will be slowly wiped away from this world, there is something eternal that lasts.  Just as the opening of a door in the basement causes a change of pressure that sweeps through the house, as a stone thrown into a pond sends ripples that circle on and on, as a plane flying over head creates unseen waves that sound and echo, as yesterday light from a distant star reaches my eye today, … my friend’s death is not the end of her influence.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”  John 12:24

Her life, my life, our choices, our words, our love makes a difference.

Oh, to live!  Oh, to stay awake in the fog of culture, to be alert, to live well!


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I have a calendar app on my phone that shows me the number of days until an up-coming event, but it also tells me the number of days since an event.  — Thanks to this feature, I recently celebrated being alive for 15,000 days.  — My dad shared with me this equation that he writes in his daily calendar:

X – (number of days I’ve been alive) = 0

For example, on the 15,000th day since my birth, for me the equation would have read:

X – 15,000 = 0

If X = the number of days the LORD has written for me  (“…and in Your book were written all the days ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”  Psalm 139:16), there will come a day when that number minus the number of days I’ve lived will equal zero.

“LORD,make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; let me know how transient I am.”   Psalm 39:4

“Teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”  Psalm 90:12

LORD, You know what the future holds and how much time I have left here on earth.  Thank You for making me aware of the brevity of life.  Help me to leave “fingerprints”, not so much on things but on people, that will be a blessing and last for eternity.

PRAY 7 DAYS – Wednesday (Day 4)

Wednesday, the middle of the week…

…halfway to the weekend.

We love the weekends for many reasons:  days off from regular work and school, time with the family, a chance to sleep in…  But, most of life is lived in the Monday through Friday rhythm.

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Wednesday is sometimes called “hump day”, as if the week were a hill, rising from Sunday to the crest of the mid-week evening when work lets out with a gentle slope back down to Saturday, and then we start all over again.

If given the chance, we might be tempted to fast forward our week to the weekend? …or to another season?  — But, today is LIFE!!!  As I often hear Handsome say to the kids,

“Don’t wish your life away!”

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Yesterday – Today – Tomorrow … it all looks different when we focus on “YHWH”, I Am, the One who is, the One who is always present tense, the Creator of the sun and moon, the Master of time who is outside of time, the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

We need PERSPECTIVE; we need YHWH.

We need perspective, Wednesday and everyday; we need to know and remember who God is.   What overwhelms me, is never overwhelming to Omnipotence!  And, I am in Him.  I am His, and He is mine!

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Taking on the hill of Mid-Week

The longer I run the better I am at taking on hills without slowing to a walk in fear of the climb.  Rather than slumping and leaning forward on the way up, I’ve learned to keep my head up, shoulders back and intentionally push off with the front of my foot as I imagine being pulled up to the top of the incline.

But every runner loves a good downhill coast.

Just the other day, I was talking with another run who’s son is being trained by his coach to “make the most of the downhill”.   The decline is NOT the time to hold back or “decline” the pace to save up for the next hill.  This is the time of greatest potential energy!

Another experienced runner taught me to imagine grabbing the ground with the tread of my shoe and pushing it behind me to make the most of the pull of gravity on the way down with out pounding my knees as if to fearfully apply the breaks to stop a run-away train.  — Staying in control!   Picking up momentum and using it to our advantage.  — This needs to be our approach to Wednesdays!

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Mental discipline is needed on the up and the downhill.

Sometimes mental discipline means distracting ourselves with better thoughts rather than obsessing and over-thinking every step, every mile still ahead, every lap around the track.

There’s a time to focus on form, but we miss so much if we never forget about the mechanics and imagined aches and open the senses to take in the wonders of the world around, just breathing and enjoying the rhythm of being alive!

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If you’ve been “running with the LORD” for any length of time, you should have some  spiritual muscle memory (faith) where you can just “let go” and enjoy what God has done and is doing

  • What mountain are you facing?
  • What mountains are behind you?  (It’s awfully hard to run our best when we’re looking behind us.)
  • What mountains are you afraid you might have to face in the future?

Facing reality with an accurate perspective is essential, and never depressing, because Our God who is Good, Loving, Merciful, Wise, Faithful, Forgiving, Just, Omnipresent, and Sovereign is with us, tying together the past and mapping out a glorious  future.  He is Truth!

When we try to view “reality” without God, we find a most dismal and bleak portrayal of how things are.  That distorted and inaccurate perception is a lie!  Our enemy wants to destroy us.  His plan is to distract, deceive, discourage, and divide us.

When I’m tackling a hill, I recall the words Handsome has told me again and again, “You have more in you than you think.”   — It’s true.  Spiritually speaking, it is especially true, “Greater is He that is me than he that is in the world.”  1 John 4:4; we are “from God and have overcome”, or as the Living Bible says, “You have already won!”

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 PERSPECTIVE!!!!

We need it!

We can’t live in victory without it!

As a child, I remember my father using the example of putting his Bible right in front of his nose to illustrate perspective.  Up close, it looks even  bigger than the buildings or mountains in the distance.  Yet, when the object is pulled back, it is more in a more realistic proportion to everything else, and then we can begin to see the things we were blinded to by our limited view..

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In relation to God, everything we face is small, light, momentary.  He is with us.  He will sustain us.  He will provide what we need at the right moment.  He will not let us face temptation that is too much for us or suffering that will destroy us.  We are safe in Him when we go though life with Him.   Let Him shed His Light, the Light of Himself and all the attributes of who He is, on your situation.

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ATTRIBUTES

I have been using a list of attributes of God in prayer for years, and when paired with scripture, I can think of no more powerful tool for giving perspective.

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Here is a printable worksheet from a retreat last year with a list of the ATTRIBUTES I uses with descriptions:

attributes of God and worksheet

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This list has 30 items; so you could number these and ponder one of the LORD’s attribute each Wednesday as it corresponds to the date.  Feel cut and paste a few of these attributes to make your own shorter list.  You could cut the list from second page to use as a bookmark of attributes or use the exercise as it is for personal reflection.

Verses on PERSPECTIVE

Job 38  Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?   Tell Me, if you have understanding,…”

Job 42:1-2 Then Job answered the LORD and said, “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted…”

Job. 13:15 Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18   Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

1 Peter 1:3-9, 13  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. — Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:18, 26-28, 31-35, 37-39

– For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

— In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. –

— What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

—- But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Genesis 50:19-20 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”

Colossians 3:1-4 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Jeremiah 29:10-14  This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.  I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Psalm 30:5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Romans 5: 1-5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Jeremiah 18:1-6 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD saying, “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.”  Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel.  But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.

Romans 9:20-21 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed…

Acts 17: 24-28 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist,

Ephesians 3:14-21 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.   Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Habakkuk 3: 17-18  Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.

Psalm 13

How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?   How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?   Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; ….  But I have trusted in Your loving kindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.   I will sing to the LORD, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Lord of Heaven and Earth

Are you busy?

Seven days… is it “enough” to get everything done?

Do you ever feel like you need one more day in the week? … an extra 24 hours to “get caught up”, or a day to just sit still before you pass yourself coming and going? … or how would you like a day just to rest, to lay back and relax, to pause and step away from it all while the earth spins around once?

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Lord of Heaven and Earth, “the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you” (1 Kings 8 – from Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple); “You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, all the starry host, the earth and all that’s on it, the sea and all that is in them.  You give life to everything, and the multitude of heaven worships You.” (Nehemiah 9, after Erza reads the Law, and the people rediscovering the feasts and realizing that in the seventh month, the month of Tishrei they were to live in booths during the feast, they continued to read the Scriptures and the Levites led the people in worship… It was at this time of year.)

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“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed time and the boundaries of their habituation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might reach for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist…”

(Acts 17 , Dear friend Paul, no English grammar rules for you; I love your run-on sentences.  How could your learned listeners of Athens not be?  Before or since, Mars Hill never heard such truth.)

With Jesus, I say, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” (Matthew 11:25)

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Have you even felt too tired to seek the LORD; yet you wanted to worship… deep down you knew that was what you needed?

We need worship; because we need to be inspired in the muck and mire of the mundane.  We need our eyes to be lifted.  We need time… to worship.

Sometimes I don’t even know what has distracted me or what I am seeking, but when I turn my face to You, LORD,You draw me nearer.

You who “searches hearts and minds”, expose all that is fearful, insecure, defensive, demanding, self-protective, controlling, striving, hurried, anxious, and give me Your LOVE that casts out fear, gives me security and acceptance.  You defend me, protect me, provide for me, and I find I have no reason to be anxious or demanding or try to control what is beyond my control anyway.

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Here I stand, humbled.  I am reminded of who You are, and I know who I am in You.  Apart from You… we both know I am nothing; I can do nothing.  (John 15)

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In a creative class I’m taking, my instructor mentioned that she’d like an additional 24 hours each week, “an eighth day” designated to be a “sleep day”, a “…day of rest… No exceptions.”  I smiled and thought, we have one, the seventh day.  But, that commanded Sabbath (supposedly with “no exceptions”) is overlooked not just by the culture but by the church, too.

This month did you rest on the feast of trumpets?  on the day of atonement? … will you rest on the seventh day of this week?  Will you ever in your lifetime experience a year of Jubilee?

I want to encourage you to enjoy the gift that comes with obeying the LORD in rest.  Come into His presence and BE STILL and KNOW He is God.  (Psalm 46)  I write about it all the time; not because I want you to be lazy, but because there is a secret blessing, a special gift that only those to obey Him ever know.

The LORD of Heaven and Earth, the Maker and Sustainer of Life designed you to be at your best with a Sabbath’s rest.

Every command the LORD has give us is for our good.

  • forgive
  • trust
  • love
  • pray
  • rejoice
  • worship
  • … rest, do no ordinary work.

I was happy to see many stores in the area I am visiting were closed for Yom Kippur, and as I explained to my kids why, and as Handsome recalled a time when stores were closed on Sunday, I couldn’t help but recall once again what my Daddy used to say, “You don’t know what you miss when you don’t obey.”

When we forget the feasts, when we forget the commandments, and when we miss what the Spirit of the Law was pointing to, the abundance that is ours in Christ in, our atonement, our redemption, God’s Grace Revealed.  When we choose not to rest in what Christ has done for us or when we, His children, choose any other way that what He has told us is His best for us, we miss out on freedom, joy, peace, victory, true success.  Once freed from the Law, we have created and subjected ourselves to a new law; we’ve made ourselves slaves to another master, another god.

We have chosen to worship an un-named idol, like those in Athens that Paul addressed, “I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’…what you worship in ignorance…”  (Acts 17) As quoted above, like Paul, I want to point you back to the One True God, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, the One whose kingdom we claim to seek first. (Matthew 6)

Who are you serving?  If your master is not allowing you to Sabbath, then are you really “serving Christ”?  Who is your “master?”  Yoke yourself with Jesus.  He knows what you need.  If your Father provides for birds and clothes flowers.  Trust Him for the Sabbath manna to be provided on the day you obey and rest.

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As you read this, are you feeling trapped?  Is there nothing you can give up, no day you can be free?  Does the idea of a day of rest depress you because it sounds too good to be true?  —  You don’t have to rest.

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.  One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord… and gives thanks to God.” Romans 14

Rest is not supposed to be a burden but a blessing.  Sabbath was made as a gift for man not vice versa.  (Mark 2:27)

Paul also wrote, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.”  (1 Corinthians 6:10)

Here is my advice to you:

“Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.” (Proverbs 6:5)  If this you have fallen for your enemy’s snare, that you cannot rest, you do not have time to observe an “Old Testament” commandment, come to your senses!  He is hunting you, wanting to trap you, seeking to devour you!  Set yourself free.  “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.”  (Hebrews 12:1)

Is it possible that your 24-7-365 busyness is sin?

Ask the LORD to show you what needs to go from your schedule.  (Why not begin with an empty calendar?  Mark off your Sabbaths, your prayer days, your “holi-days” and family days, and then ask the LORD where and how to add everything else.)

Do not fight against your Maker?  Cooperate with your Loving Savior.  He wants to rescue you, not only from death and hell, from the futile life, from the ciaos of fighting battles with worldly wisdom rather than being abiding in Him and obeying the still small voice of the Spirit that reminds us of what the LORD has shown us in His Word is His will for us and how He wants us to view ourselves, our lives, our work, our relationships, and our rest through His eyes, from an eternal and spiritual perspective.

“Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)

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I am praying for rest for you, sweet tired Seeker.

May you take a deep breath and co-labor with the LORD, letting Him direct you as you build your house on the Rock of His Word that you have already heard.  May you surrender your calendar and the expectations of others and no longer strive to build something that will only wash away.

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Just a thought:  When was the last time you woke up early to watch the sunrise just for the sake of worship?  When was the last time you paused from cleaning up the dinner dishes to watch the sunset to see the heavens declare the glory of God?  As it gets later in the year, you don’t have to get up very early or stay up late to catch the show.  Your Father puts on a spectacular performance twice a day, changing the sky from darkness to light in never to be repeated shades.  Don’t miss it.

(And if you live in the city where you can’t get a big-picture view of the sky, skim through these pictures again, and ponder that they were all taken on the same morning within about a half hour’s time. What an amazing LORD we have!)