Monday, June 29, 2009

My Own Dense Wood

"The Lord GOD is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds' feet, and makes me walk on my high places."

Habakuk 3:19

I have been reading the Christian classic, Hinds Feet On High Places. If you're not familiar with the story, it is an allegory. It tells a triumphal tale of little Much-Afraid, who must choose to follow her Shepherd to the beautiful High Places or stay among her vile relatives and continue in her cozy little white cottage in the village of Much-Trembling.

Choosing to follow the gentle, loving Shepherd, Much-Afraid agrees to leave the Valley of Humiliation and begin her journey, one which will cause her to develop hinds' feet. Her new feet will cause her to soar in love above voices of fear and dread.

She endures along her way. She even makes it through many treacherous crags with faith and grace given her by the Shepherd. After making it through jagged cliffs, Much-afraid is led by Him to the dark, dense forest of the unknown. She immediately hears icy voices that challenge her faith. One voice, Craven Fear, who wants to be her first love, taunts and teases her, seeks to sow seeds of doubt in her heart. Begs her return to what she knows.

I had just sat down at the computer Sunday evening, having recovered from achy fatigue and a migraine headache that kept me from church that night. His voice summoned me to our den. "My heart is beating so fast." Jeff's voice sounded alarmed, and complaints from him are rare.

"What's going on?" I asked, alarmed at his words. "I don't know," he replied. "My heart just feels like it's beating really fast. I suggested a visit to the ER; my gracious husband stubbornly declined. After a while, Jeff said he felt better, and we ate BLT''s and potato salad.

I am a slow eater. Jeff eats quickly. He seemed relaxed as he watched television while I finished my meal. Suddenly, with distress of spirit, Jeff held his chest and voiced pain. "It feels like my heart is about to burst out of my chest."

I was jolted. I wanted to call 911. He said, "No. no." I told him most firmly that he had to go to the emergency room. He finally obliged. Insisted we drive. So, I dressed. Hurriedly. Grabbed purse. We made haste to the car. Drove as safely as we could to the hospital, thanking God it was only three minutes away.

Post-haste was the nurses response. An EKG was done. From the corner of my right eye, I saw a nurse leave the triage quietly, and perceived her then running response down the hallway as a sure sign something was so wrong.

Dear husband was rolled into a room where an assembly of medical staff awaited to quickly wire him up. They began probing, sticking, and arranging him on a bed.

I sat in a chair beside. Felt my own heart pound. Sensed that tight knot that grips your throat and belly with chill. Watched. Waited. Wondered. Prayed. And prayed. Prayed that inside prayer one and God alone hears, understands. Desperation had made its way to me. Fear took his icy fingers and wrapped them around my knowing soul.

The doctor asked, "Where's the crash cart?" Nurses assured it was near.

Another jolt. This one went deeper. Jabbed. Stuck. Hurt. Felt like a threatened abyss.

"Be strong. Trust. Pray. Believe. Know. Rest. Find your hinds' feet. They are there. Don't cry. Jeff needs you steady." Such words I said to self. Over and over they whirled in my spirit along with fear, pain, hollow, and hope.

I watched those in green and white work their work on he who was to them any unknown afflicted but to me was my one and only. Who takes care of me. Comforts. Cares. Always. Keeps. Prays. Seeks my best. Lends me strength. Causes me courage. Hears my heart. Holds my hand.

I thought about the mutability of life. The abruptness of change. The inability to control. How pain comes out of nowhere and smacks you right in the face and determines to take your life and knock you out.

With placid trust, yet nagging fear I sat, and at once, felt relief when his heart rate slowly drifted down. With its slow ebb, I, too, wafted into guarded peace.

I listened to the doctor's words. Heard his summation. Savored each word to be sure to absorb their meaning and succeed in their recitation to my sons, whom I knew would be soon shaken.

Knowing Jeff was better, now OK, I left to call Steven and Chris, dreading to speak, yet anxious to bear my soul and share my fear.

"We don't know." I tried to sound calm. Did not want my voice to crack. Did not want my heart to wince. "It could be a heart attack. He may have a blockage. They know he has some problems with the electrical circuits of his heart. We'll know more after more tests. I'll call back in a few hours."

You who have experienced that waiting time know its agony. I prayed. Sat. Stirred. Regarded Jeff's stillness. Prayed. Sought. Stirred. Wondered. Watched nurses faces as they moved in and out the room.

Four hours passed. Good news. It was not a heart attack. Yet, it still could be a blockage. Jeff will have further tests next week.

With thankfulness, with comfort, with post-knowledge I rest today. Still concerned, but encouraged as my dear husband now seems himself. He reassures me all will be OK. We will soon find out more about the ventricular tachycardia, the likely culprit of this shivery experience that has left us stunned from its suddenness.

I covet your prayers during this time. I so need hinds' feet that I may skip and soar and be what I most need to be for my precious husband. I so desire, more than life itself, more than any language could express, more than any material blessing I could ever receive, Jeff's health and complete healing.

I appreciate my blogging friends and the strength I know to receive from your prayers. God is faithful. We are in His hands. He will not fail us and cannot forget us. Please remember Jeff. I love you all so very much and know your faith and, even more, know the power of praying women changes lives. Thank you in the dear name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, June 26, 2009

All Has Been Arranged

"I see heaven's glories shine and faith shines equal."

Emily Bronte

Mr. Simeon lay on his bed, ready to breathe his last. Many gathered round the old saint. They waited for finality. They hoped for words. They clung to truth. He yearned to speak. . . .

The story shared of this one Charles Simeon compels us to think of that one path we must all walk one day. Before sharing this story from John Piper, please allow me to share just a brief moment from my own heart.
Hearing news of a passing brings startle and wince. Whether such word is brazenly given by media about those well-known, or personally whispered in our ears for one so dearly and closely known by a familiar few, it inevitably leads us all to mediation, deep thought, questions, . . . and answers from God's word.

As Christians, we have HOPE! And, oh, dear friends, this "hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us" (Romans 5:5,).

Sitting at my computer this morning, I read this brief story I am about to share. After reading, the Lord burned Romans 5:5 in my heart. I could only lift my hands, worship God, and say over and over again "Hope makes us not ashamed! Hope makes us not ashamed! Hope makes us not ashamed!" God's presence filled my heart, and peace swept over me.

Our faithful walk with Christ will bring us one day to a finish line, and as we cross, HIS words will rapturously echo, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23). We who have run our race and finished the course well will have no shame. Hope will be fulfilled! A forever finality will dawn! The mystery of earthly shadows will no longer be impeded because of holy light! I thank God for this glorious celebration of victory that awaits us!

And here is just one story of that triumphant day. . . .

I've learned beside many dying believers that the battle with impatience can be very intense on the deathbed. On October 21, 1836, those with Charles Simeon (with the Church of England) heard him say these words slowly and with long pauses:

Infinite wisdom has arranged the whole with infinite love; and infinite power enables me - to rest upon that love. I am in a dear Father's hands - all is secure. When I look to Him, I see nothing but faithfulness - and immutability - and truth; and I have the sweetest peace - I cannot have more peace.
The reason Simeon could die like that is because he had trained himself for 54 years to go to Scripture and to take hold of the promises of future grace and use them to conquer the unbelief of impatience.

Dear friends, discover the beauty of these powerful words today, almost two hundred years later. We who live for God have nothing to fear. For there waits ahead of us a "crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award . . . on that day . . . to all who have longed for his appearing" (II Timothy 4:8).

May peace, hope, and rest guard your hearts this weekend as you serve our God! May you seize God's holy word, and cling to his promises to you! Embrace them! Cherish them! Live with them! Abide in them!

I love you all because of the precious love of Jesus Christ placed in my heart through His grace.

All scripture is from the NIV Bible.
The story of Charles Simeon is from Future Grace by John Piper.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

God's Warp and Weft

"Life is a tapestry: We are the warp; angels, the weft; God, the weaver. Only the Weaver sees the whole design."

Eileen Elias Freeman

What a beauty it was! I eyed it at a scant distance. Lain on an old pine table, it inspired a sweet little corner at a cozy antique shop in Guntersville, Alabama. Unreservedly, I walked down the narrow aisle, never removing my gaze from its loveliness. As it then lay before me, I touched its graceful edges, brushed my fingers against the woven texture, and marvelled at the thought and skill that created such wonder and wove a tale of an elegant French maiden.

The tapestry was there for all eyes. Unfurled for all to see, to touch, to praise. A date declared its true antique quality. The skillful design and careful handiwork claimed its precious price. One too steep for my little cottage budget.

Moving on from the valuable piece, I continued my search for simpler things with painless prices. But I did not forget its beauty and rarity. The tapestry found a small spot in my heart for its elegant sense. My desire was not to buy, but to regard what I learned about costly treasures of art and artisans past. I hoped that it was destined to hang in a period home. Owned by one who would appreciate its worth and painful undertaking.

As precious as it was, the tapestry was only one among many costly items I saw that day. And as costly as those and many other worldly goods are, they are worthless when brightened by eternal light. How can they compare to nonmaterial life? The beauty of our Artist and His tapestries. Real life and lives. Creation unseen to human vision. Authentic authenticity. What really matters.

God's craftsmanship in our lives appoints the real priceless. His work in us threads and toils. We are privileged to be His weft and warp. We live in rich, unmerited favor, and God is surely weaving us together. We are, each one, becoming His glorious tapestry, a work of worship, a testimony of Christ's triumph, God's own hands carefully crafting, taking strand after strand, placing them in His divine loom, putting all together, knowing presently the finished work that will be.

Linen, cotton, wool, silk, gold, and silver. All are beautiful. All are needed. All are treasured. All are esteemed. All are costly. Not one strand should be lost or debased. For the completed creation will in time acclaim the artistry and glory of its Creator.

When complete, what joy the creation brings to its Artist! God, through careful, meticulous work on His divine loom, reveals threads of grace, weaves expressed love, portrays His power, yields colorful compassion, teaches the worth of peace and patience, illustrates unceasing prayer, exhorts all who wonder at its interlocking pieces of pain, speaks to all who hear its hidden themes, brings to reverence all who marvel at the miracle.

Like tapestries of old, we are each a symbol of royalty in our world. When others view us, they view the work of our King. Humanity looks for remarkable details. They expect excellent rapport. And our worldly culture sees us as peculiar creations. Sometimes they look for beauty. Oft times they look for fault. Tend to search for forgery. Crave to find false. And those critics turn from us grieved when pricked by our purity, the real within us.

And that real within us, like tapestries from history, serve well. Centuries ago, those aristocratic beauties were commonly removed from castle walls, and with ease, moved from place to place as their masters desired. They were used for comfort in cold, for insulation, for solitude, for banners of battles, for illustration of God's word, and, in time, some were sadly burned for their costly gold and silver threads.

Our Master Weaver considers all threads costly. His work is perfect. His work is tireless. His work is love. Going on and on, He weaves, assumes the warp-work, customizes His art, like the ancient earthly craftsman who invested more than a month in just one square yard of his tapestry. Day, weeks, months, years passed before the weaver's glorious task was completed. And when done, the back of said work was hardly varied from the front. The seen mastery was a mere reflection of the unseen toil of its artisan.

Dear friends, "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians2:10). You are his art. You were created for His glory. You were ordained to walk God's way. And, the Greek meaning of key words in this passage allow us even deeper revelation of God's handiwork. To fully see yourself, the miraculous, God's tapestry, notice the mighty meanings.

  • Workmanship = poiema = fabric; a design made by an artisan; God is the master designer

  • Created = ktizo = to form from pre-existent matter or out of nothing; to form spiritually

  • Good = agathos = excellent, distinguished, upright, happy, honorable

  • Works = ergon = labor, performance; the work Jesus was sent to fulfill on earth

  • Prepared Beforehand = proetoimazo = used only twice in the NT, refers to glory and good

  • Walk = peripateo = to tread all around; be occupied with
What illumination! Dear friends, we are His chosen fabric. You have been designed completely by Him, who is the Great Artisan. Our heavenly Father has taken us, each one, with all the nothingness and all the somethings in our lives, to spiritually form us according to His desire to make us a most distinguished work. As he crafts us and works with our abilities and weaknesses, the work of Christ is accomplished through us. And this work of Christ that we do, which He determined in prehistory, is done for your good, the good of others, and the glory of God.

As God's tapestry, you are so important! Grasp the reality of His creative work in your life! Everywhere you go, whatever you do, find joy in being His masterpiece, humbly thank God for His labor of love in you, and glory in Christ's cross, which renders you the honor of His skillful hand.
Scripture is from NKJV
Greek Word Study is from The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament, Zondervan Publishing

I was very humbled and sweetly surprised to receive this award from Lidj, of Crown of Beauty. Lidj is filled with such love and passion for the Lord, and her love for others is evident through her writing and precious smile. Please visit her at
You will be uplifted and inspired by her creativity and sensitivity, and you will find joy in spending time perusing her post and learning of her life.

The rules that go with this award require listing 7 things you love that show your creativity, then link back to the person who gave you the award, and pass it along to 7 other bloggers.

Here are my 7 loves . . .

I love practicing the presence of God. What a daily challenge it is to find Him in all and to keep a heart of prayer. It is truly a lifetime task, but without it, I am empty and life is vain.

I love spending time with my family and finding ways to make them happy and comfortable. Spending time with my husband, talking with my sons, and playing with my grandchildren are the highlights of my life. Being present for them all is very important to me. If I can entertain my grandchildren, bake a cake, or help my husband with church tasks, I find such joy!

I love working in my church, attending services, and worshiping with God's people.

I love writing and hope and pray to do so with a heart for God.

I love playing the piano and hope and pray to do so through the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

I love reading, allowing the wisdom and words of the scriptures and books to sink into my heart, flood my mind, and transform my life. The symbolism and beauty of literature is a tool in the hands of the Lord when read through His eyes.

I love making my cottage house a home. It's fun to find vintage treasures at thrift stores and out-of-the-way places. I love being inspired by decorating books and magazines; then, taking that inspiration, along with books, lace, fabric pieces, and old things and renewing a room with a little romance.

Now, I would like to pass the Kreativ Blogger award along. Choosing particular bloggers is quite a task for me, as I love everyone so much and think you are all very deserving! Listed below are a few among many of my deserving, inspiring friends.

Jennifer at
Jo at
Kathleen at
Kim at
Lady Pamela at
Rebecca at
Sue at

Please take some moments to visit them. You will find great inspiration from their beautiful blogs! God bless all!

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Volume of Loving Thoughts

"Books are standing counselors and preachers, always at hand,and always disinterested; having this advantage over oral instructors,that they are ready to repeat their lesson as often as we please."

Oswald Chambers

A book casually rests atop some reference volumes high on my library shelf. Its spring green paper back and cover picture of a pensive Victorian woman have many times intrigued my literary senses. Sitting at a lovely desk, the prim woman writes, having a shy, kind look of grace about her. She appears determined, focused. Her face glows from soft, mellow light.

I have not yet even skimmed this classic work by Charlotte Bronte, time being an ever present constraint, and my need for devotional works speaking much louder than random reads. Yet, I have sought a basic understanding of Villette and have curiously read an introduction to the story behind its cover. What I found was a sad heroine, Lucy, who escapes a tragic past in her England to venture to Villette, a small village in France. Her escape leads Lucy to more sorrow, frustration, and ill-use. Villette, it seems, is a novel about despair, fear, hypocrisy, injustice, insecurity, and the need of courage.

Whether I will ever be determined enough to read this classic story I do not know. But my curiosity about its plot and theme has led me to thoughts beyond those I am sure were intended by its author. Literary critics thrive on twisting Villette into a story of feminism and the psychology of repressed emotions. I do wonder if Charlotte Bronte meant that interpretation. I am sure she often found the role of women in Victorian society a cross to bear. Whatever the author's intention and whatever the critics believe, there is only one perspective truly important. Those are the thoughts of the Creator of words. The knowledge of the Holy. God and God alone, who knows the heart of one.

Please forgive me as I speak with passion on the subject of critical reading, but I was taught to teach the written word with a worldly view. I mean no disrespect to education. God uses our educations for His glory. But I, with firm intention, have challenged myself as a reader: to read, to understand, to study, to enjoy, to learn, to determine, to define, to reflect, to employ all in Christ and with His discernment.

Dear friends, as Christians we are not divided into pieces. We are whole beings, who must wholly live and holy live. Our entire lives are hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). I am a Christian when I worship; I am a Christian when I serve. I am a Christian when I am happy; I am a Christian when I am angry. I am a Christian when I am weak; I am a Christian when I am strong. I am a Christian if I fail; I am a Christian if I succeed. I am a Christian when I eat; I am a Christian when I sleep. I am a Christian in my church; I am a Christian in my kitchen. I am a Christian in the morning and in the evening; I am a Christian when I think of my future and remember my past.

And, yes, I am a Christian when I write and when I read. Therefore, what I read, what I see, that which I interpret must be done through the eyes of Christ, with the influence of the Holy Spirit. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing is restricted from God's counsel or authority.

It is said that A. W. Tozer, a mighty hero of faith, sought understanding of literature and studied earnestly. He searched all with spiritual understanding, even kneeling to read Shakespeare. If this great man of God turned to our Creator for guidance in all his reading, I am compelled to take his example and cast myself on God's mercy, even for what seems trivial, only earthly, small, immaterial to my Christian life.

It is God's desire to give me understanding and leadership in everything. He wants me to look to Him as the complete One. The Source of my life. Not to discount other opinions or disrespect everyone else, but to allow God's voice as the final word, the ultimate view. My viewer of views. I must regard everything through His sacred vision. Yes, God's infallible word is my all sufficient rule of faith and practice (II Timothy 3:15-17).

Through His word we learn that God is love. It is His pleasure to give you and me good gifts (Matthew 7:11). He framed us. Made us with a need to rest, to search for relaxation and refreshment in our weariness. He created language and its beauty. He designed the flow of syntax and made our brains to learn, our eyes to see, and our lips to speak, to read. So, whatever is noble, honorable, decent, and praiseworthy, we can read and enjoy, even gaining godly wisdom as we open our hearts to His voice (Philippians 4:8).

Grasp God's heart as you read and work. Listen for His voice even in what seems small. Jesus Christ is your life, and He is your gentle Shepherd. He longs to lead you in all and speak to you in all. The Lord Himself is your personal literary authority and movie expert. If you feel a tug in your heart, a warning to stay away from anything, heed this sweet voice of the Holy Spirit that only desires your good.

For, God is your faithful Source for everything, even what seems small. Oh, how he longs to lead you! Oh, how He treasures your dependence on Him! And, oh, how God is committed to every part of your life! His love for you is everlasting. And your wisdom, your life, your joy are found in His whispers, those gentle pulls at your heart strings. He has in store for you "a volume of loving thoughts."

Friday, June 12, 2009


"That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet."

Emily Dickinson

The sweet milestone. It is a special place of marking. A metaphorical insignia of identity. A guide set on the road as we travel to define distance from one point to another. An event to be remembered in one's biographical journey or a strategic time in the history of a nation. A juncture. A turning point. A place of change. A place of pause for looking, for revealing, for reflection, for remembering.

History tells us that in ancient Rome there was, in the very center of that city, a Golden Milestone. It was a gilded monument established by Augustus Caesar. The precious pillar marked distance in the Empire, for everything was measured to and from the gilded bronze object. "All roads lead to Rome" is a proverb that speaks of the amazing design of Roman roads and their great, winding, distant paths that all led to the Golden Milestone.

As Christians, our "Golden Milestone" is Christ our Savior. Yet, only one road takes us to Him. The way established by our Father in heaven. The confession that we are sinners and helpless to find our way without the forgiveness of Jesus and belief in Him as the Lord of all and of our lives. He is our turning point. A priceless treasure, who changes our way forever. We are never the same after meeting Jesus on our journey. Through Him, our ways are measured and dreamed and planned and found.

And the Lord gives us special marks along our way with Him to signify His loving kindness and mercy. He carves milestones in our lives, special moments that chart our course, turning points that take us to new places unseen by us before. Yes, our gentle Shepherd is always leading, and we are wise to follow, to take the turn with Him, to embrace the fresh, ride the current, skim the heights, accept the novel land. And to not look back. To proceed, dear one, in faith.

Yet, not to proceed is our choice. To look back with regret, to turn back in fear, to run away is always an option. The Holy Spirit will not force God's way upon us. One of the most precious gifts God gives to every one born is free will. Even as followers of Christ we may select. If we do defer our milestones, however, or merely endure the bitter herbs and rocky roads they entail, our destination will be met with relief but without sweet peace and unspeakable joy. And we may just find ourselves on another road where we recognize those same weeds and rocks. I have been there. Yes, I have done that. My own stubborn heart has sent me in circles on more than one occasion.

Today is one more occasion of choice for me. By God's grace, I have set to take this milestone and go with Him without turning my neck to see what has been. God forbid I get a painful crick and mar the opportunity to walk into a sweet phase of life. I hope, with God's grace, to take this bend in the road and follow Jesus fully, continuing toward those places of which Habakkuk spoke. Yes, "the sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights" (3:19, NIV).

My brother, who is forty-six, called me this morning. "How do you feel?" he asked. "I really feel great. It's a new beginning. It feels peaceful," I replied with earnest.

David added, "I bet you feel just a day older than forty-nine." I had to laugh, as I thought, "That really is about it. I'm just a day older than I was yesterday. And I saw an open door this morning that I could not resist walking through."

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

On God's Menu? . . . All The Truth. . . .Yes, Lord. Please.

"The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian."

A.W. Tozer
My son, Steven, brought his little girls to Mimi's for a brief visit last Thursday. While they were here, my husband brought in his and my lunch, two Mandarin Chicken Salads from Wendy's. Steven, Olivia, and Ella had earlier had their meal, but of course, as I found a comfy spot on my sofa, where I could sit and eat my dressed greens, both babies quickly made their way to me. Seeing them lick their lips, jump up and down, and open their mouths like little birds told me the obvious, so I searched through my salad to find something to suit their sweet little taste buds.

Olivia, who is two, tasted the chicken, spit it out in a napkin, and before I could stop her, swiftly grabbed some crunchy noodles and sliced almonds from my plate and smacked away. Her two year old finicky behavior has of late affected her eating habits. Isabella Grace, whom we call Ella, will have her first birthday soon, and such being the case, she is still discovering her own little palate, which makes each eating opportunity a festive occasion.

Taking a small, soft piece of mandarin orange, I placed it in her tiny little mouth and she received it, heart, soul, and all plunging into the process. Eyes began to wrinkle. Lips pursed. Jaws puckered. Eyes glared at me. Still, she kept chewing. She then swallowed. Stood. Thought. Then, danced for more, and of course, I obliged. Shortly thereafter, "Daddy" said it was time to go. Olivia took a few more bites of almonds and noodles, and Ella, when placed in her car seat, screamed and kicked and cried in dismay of having to leave the oranges she at first found bitter and considered refusing.

My nagging tendency to see analogies in all later caught up with me, and the necessary spiritual truth in those few simple moments with Olivia and Ella I could not escape. So, I pondered my life as a Christian woman and considered my own frail tendencies to be particular with my spiritual taste buds. I thought about the need for pure doctrine, the need for hungering and thirsting for God's word, how our Master Designer gave us each our own genetic code with particular habits and tastes, and I thanked God for my four grandchildren, Olivia, Caleb, Anna, and Ella, and the precious, joyful, God-given happiness they bring me.

But nestled in that wee bit I spent with my little granddaughters was another lesson just as urgent for me. I found beneath those few beloved moments a plain look at my own nature. I thought of my weakness to shrink from any part of God's word that may not taste as sweet as I like or have the texture I desire. I regarded my own penchant to spit out what I find unpalatable. To only pick up what suits my fancy of the moment. To avoid that meat that can be tough to chew and sticky to handle. To savor those things most that give me delight, yet, pass over passages that seem presently insipid. To ignore unwittingly my need for a spiritually balanced diet.

To be a balanced Christian, I must be willing to taste, to chew what may at first seem a bit bitter, a little sour for my senses. To swallow all of God's word and consider it good and crave more for what I at first lacked desire. As a Christian woman, I must eat what manna He gives me, His daily bread, dine with joy, make each occasion to take in His word a time of festivity. I must hunger for more, cry with thirst, and search, appeal, for further time to hear afresh His voice.

Several years ago, I went through a very bleak time. During that darkness, I lived in the Psalms. They were my meat and drink. The prolific words of those holy scriptures were God's manna for my weary soul; they were health and healing, hope and peace. The words of David and other Psalmists held me up, kept my feet from moving, stayed my heart from fainting. When finally I saw light again, I so craved the Gospels and the Epistles, Isaiah, and other scriptures. And from that experience, I realized my deep, ever present need of all of God's infallible word. While the Psalms were God's answer for a very present need, and sustained me with spiritual breath, He did not want me to lose taste for other areas of the Bible that He also gave for my good. To be whole, mature, complete, lacking nothing, I must be willing to receive both the positive, uplifting voice and comfort of God's promises, and hear, with joy, the solemn, sacred words that convict me of little foxes that can spoil my vine.

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4) is a sure promise that encourages my spirit, but I also must be willing to hear that "godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out, and having food and clothing, with these we shall be content" (I Timothy 6:6-8).

The words of David, which tell me God "leads me beside still waters" and "restores my soul" (Psalm 23:2-3) provide such comfort and peace, but I must not lay aside Jesus' faithful words that warn me "if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15).

And the Apostle John's words that rejoice my spirit, as they speak so passionately that "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him" (I John 4:16) bring healing to my weary soul; yet, Peter's words remind me not to think "it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy" (I Peter 4:12-13). Such truth causes me to look in Jesus' face and accept the cross He has prepared for my life.

I am challenged to open my heart, to search daily for His words for my life, and accept each one. I am praying to resist the temptation to keep handy a metaphorical sifter that will filter out unwanted pieces of God's precious, holy, infallible truths. To accept a hearty slice of sourdough bread and chewy sirloin, rather than only craving a slice of luscious chocolate creme pie covered with sweet whipped cream and shards of bliss. I am looking with hope to grasp the full reality of Jesus Christ and God's will for my life, leaving behind me preconceived notions of what I should be served.

Jesus said "My sheep hear My voice," (John 10:27), and with my whole heart, without reservation, I believe, to hear His voice, I must know, must savor, must cling to His word. All of His word. Which is all truth. With all my heart. With all my strength. With all my mind. Savoring each precious piece given me by Christ's own scarred hands. And thus when He calls me, I will hear, and, can answer, "Yes, Lord, speak, for your handmaiden is listening."

Friday, June 05, 2009

In Search of the Lamb

None Other Lamb

by Christina Georgina Rossetti
(1830 - 1894)

None other Lamb, none other Name,
None other Hope in heav'n or earth or sea,
None other Hiding-place from guilt and shame,
None beside thee!

My faith burns low, my hope burns low;
Only my heart's desire cries out in me
By the deep thunder of its want and woe,
Cries out to thee.

Lord, thou art Life, though I be dead;
Love's fire thou art, however cold I be:
Nor heav'n have I, nor place to lay my head,
Nor home, but thee.

The want of God's presence can burrow a hollow place in our souls. It is an empty place of misery and need. A place as dark as death, wintry as icy rain. We cry. Seek. Long. Yearn. Pray. Plead. Walk. Kneel. Lift hands. Raise voice. Give heart. Fight shadows. Fear faint.

Yet, wait.

As the wick of the candle grows low, our wear grows great. And in this moment we remain. Pained. Battling doubt and searching for Surety. Our strength spent, we give all to our only Promise. The struggle ends as our spirit sinks into surrender.

And then we hear the Spirit speak. His voice whispers. It is still. . . . Small. Low. But, strong.

"Hold on, dear one." "Hold on."

Hope within grasps sweet assurance. His presence sweeps over our soul. And new strength surrenders to what we know. Joy is waiting. He will bring it on dove's wings with an early morning sun. Our tears will give way to victorious praise. The night season will pass, and our faith will realize fullness.

Dear ones, we all know these dark seasons. They can be so restless and weary. If you are living there today, perceive its temporary merit. Yet, value its eternal purpose. Know this crucible of want will have its end just as it had its beginning. Our blessed Refiner will remove you from your fiery grief, wipe away your tears, rub away the dross, and polish you to glassy silver. And what mirrors will not be your own image. In the shining silver, you will see Christ's holy face, Your precious Lamb.

"For You, O God, have proved us; You have tried us as silver is tried, refined, and purified."
Psalm 66:10, Amplified Bible
Have a Beautiful Weekend!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Garden's Secret

"One day you will wonder how you could have resisted your Father's kindness for so long and at such cost."

Bruce Wilkinson, Secrets of the Vine

A narrow, sunlit garden path wound beside the humble ranch home. The leading of the little lane found at its joyful end a simple garden gate, covered with English ivy and crowned by an arbor of oaks, so dense one could stand under and be untouched by drops of rain or rays of balmy sun. Honeysuckle was profuse. Its scent provided pause, but proved unable to sustain the curiosity of the world lain behind the ivy port that beckoned an open, a push, and a deep breath at the glimpse beyond of gathered green, a bricked cottage porch, screened from old, the enduring sweet fragrance of honeysuckle vines mixed with earthy ivy, and the perfume of blooming hostas. All enveloped the garden portal. All gave summons to the curious dweller, cottager, or caller who found the mystery of spring and beauty of God's good grace too much to refuse.

Two ways went from the entrance. One routed right to the modest little porch; the other, a path of worn cobblestones, leaned gently onward under a blooming dogwood and stopped at the edge of a grassy yard, which opened to a world of grand, blossoming magnolias, day lilies, sunny yellow daffodils, tall irises that were proudly pink, peonies, profusely poised near roses, climbing vines, diverse herbs and hosts of annuals. Cannas awaited to awaken their spring voice with their purple leaves and fearless red flowers, while birds flew, chipmunks darted, and squirrels climbed.

Dawdling amongst the little lawn, lingering under lofty trees, and idling beside beauteous blooms, I grasped God's good gifts. Praise pommeled my heart. The voice of the Creator burst forth within me just as flora and fauna gave life and breath to a square little spot beyond an old rusty garden gate. What joy! What peace! What wonder! What quiet victory dwelt there in that perfectly imperfect portion of life! And, oh, what lessons were there in God's sanctuary, His habitat, His home, His abode, my simple slice of heaven!

Before that garden, there had been none other. Graycroft was my first. My soul was therefore wide open to its teaching. And when God spoke, I heard, I held, I hovered, I heaped His precious treasures and gathered them in my heart, so my joy would remain. And it did. It does. Even now. It has stayed. Has fixed my spirit on God's store. Set my heart with value for which I'd never had sufficient thought.

The songs of nature, May's flowers, snows of December, October's pumpkins, rains of August, the days' twilights, the sun's golden risings and amber settings, the miraculous stripes of rainbows, whispering winds, thunderous storms, majestic mountains, glowing marshes, fields of wild flowers, mighty oceans, vast seas, somber streams, clamorous waterfalls, babbling brooks, quiet woods, diminishing days speak. All bring me to quick praise of the one, true God, Who was, and Is, and Ever shall be.

He is the God of Genesis, the Creator of man, the Maker of marriage, the Whirlwind of prophets, the Song of the Psalms, the Shepherd of David, the Deliverer of Daniel, the Babe in the manger, the Healer of blind, sick, and lame, the Dominie of His disciples, Feeder of five thousand, the Lord of the harvest, the Sender of the Holy Spirit, the Savior of Saul, the Redeemer of all, the Son of Man, Son of God, Giver of life, Lamb that was slain, Light of the World, Word of Life, the Author of our faith, and the Finisher of our race. And He is with us all and in us all! Praise His glorious Name that is above all others!

With each view of God's creation and each word of His counsel, my heart yields praise and thanksgiving. I pause to give Him glory for nature's goodness. And if I desire to walk in obedience, I must praise Him for more, in everything, that of beauty, and that of pain and affliction. Somehow, a few brief years with a cottage garden I had not sown, brought to life a path to praise for the sweet details of life and the depth of love of our Creator. My soul enriched, I found a new beginning and a journey to a life of real worship. His gift to me was not just a bountiful blessing of blossoms, greens, trees, cobblestones, vines, and a porch swing, but a stony road of faith in His faithfulness, a winding way of peace in His calling, a precious walk with my Master in His own fragrant garden, and the pleasure of being His own vine that He prunes, waters, and cultivates with His mighty hands. Yes, His path, for my life, whether a graceful garden or lonely wilderness, must be my sacrifice of praise to Him.

"By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast" (Psalm 33:6-9).

"For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him" (Colossians 1:16).

I am very humbled to have received this award from Jo. She has a beautiful blog. It is, indeed, uplifting. Jo's blog is a place where you can sit down with a cup of tea and read and explore with delight. Please check out her sight and express your kind regards to her for being a blessing to all.

Along with the award, the following words are to be passed on to bloggers who are very inspiring and work hard to create a beautiful place for all who visit them.

"The Uplifting Blogger Award, goes to fellow bloggers who visit frequently and raise my spirits with their kind words of encouragement, their beautiful images and their wonderful outlook on life. They make blogging a positive experience and continue to make my life richer."

It is very difficult for me to choose particular ones for this sweet award. All are uplifting. All give encouraging words and post lovely images, and all have made my life richer and have drawn me nearer to my Lord and Savior. Each one inspires me. Their kindness, dedication, and gracious comments and posts bless my life with much joy and comfort.

A few of these women of courage are listed below. Please take a few moments to visit them. They are truly inspiring ladies who love God and do their best to enrich our lives.

Cori at

Elaine at

Karen at

Kim at

Lady M at

Lidj at

Miss Jen at

Mrs. Teapot at

Thank you, God, for sweet friends, hot tea, and Your grace to share.