Thursday, January 21, 2010

patiently waiting on nothing

How many times did my mom tell me to “Be Patient!” while I was growing up? I mean, if I had a nickel for every time, I would be Seriously. Rich.

And then God tells us to wait, and be patient. A. Lot.

But in most, if not all, of those instances, from my childhood memories or passages of scripture, when we are told to wait, we’re waiting ON, or FOR, something.

Psalm 27:14
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 33:20
We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.

Psalm 37:7
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;

Psalm 37:34
Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land;

Psalm 38:15
I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God.

Psalm 40:1
I waited patiently for the LORD; he
turned to me and heard my cry.

Psalm 130:5
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.

Psalm 130:6
My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Isaiah 8:17
I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in him.

Lamentations 3:24
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."

Micah 7:7
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.

What do you do when you find yourself waiting, on nothing? When you find yourself ready to…” race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place...

...[a place of] just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting. (*thanks Dr. Seuss!)


Have you ever been there? Just waiting? On nothing? **sigh** It’s a weird place to be! When you find yourself graduated from all your degrees, when you have that job you sought, when you find that relationship that has eluded you for so many years, when you get that house you wanted, when you get home from that trip you were looking forward to… and what’s next? You don’t know!

That, my friends, is when I think patience is tested the most. When you don’t even know what you’re waiting for but you want it to be BIG - something GRAND for the Lord. Something that will rock the world and bring millions to the Lord. Something that will change history and generations to come because of your life and faith. but you. don't. know. what. it. is... but you trust that it’s good. Because it’s God. And He’s good.

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

And how is this going to happen? By us being still?
CRAZY!!! But maybe!

Things that make you go "Hhmmm..."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

God's vomit

Revelation 3:14-16
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other. So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

The Message...
"I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You're not cold, you're not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You're stale. You're stagnant. You make me want to vomit."

Yikes!

Yep.

This evening in my Monk's assignment, I was suppose to relate myself to one of these two conditions:

1 - The first describes folks who go from one big sin to the next – and how Satan entices them with desires and the promise of satisfaction in their selfish lives, and how the Holy Spirit just picks at their consciences and tries to reason with them about what they are doing.

2 - The second describes people that are intensely cleansing their lives and rising from good to better in the service of God. In their lives, the enemy bites at them, tries to sadden, place obstacles in their way, disquiets them with false thinking and discourages. In them the Holy Spirit gives courage, consoles, inspires and gives quiet, removing hindrances so that they feel they can move forward.

I mean, I don't see myself as either of those right now. It's sad to say - Not about the first one. I don't think I'm some heathen jumping from one big sin to the next while Satan sensationally tempts me with the satisfaction of selfish desires. Yet, I think I would be overstating my condition if I said I was "intensely cleansing my life and rising from good to better in my service of God.

Are those really my only options? How about just hanging out, doing my thing, not really being bad, not really drawing people to Him either. But wait, that's not being cold, nor hot.

Did God just throw up a little in His mouth? Did I do that?

Crap - I need to take a long, hard look at this one.

God, sorry I make You sick to Your stomach. But thanks for pointing it out...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

patient, and persistent

This was a Study Note in my Bible for Luke 11:5-13...

“Do you ever feel impatient with God? Does He seem late in answering your requests or meeting your needs? Jesus spoke to the issues of how to pray, how long to pray, and how long it might take God to answer. One day His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray and He told a story about someone with a need who was very persistent in asking a neighbor for help.

The story makes it clear that our ability to ask doesn’t equal God’s ability to give, or His timing. God’s not a celestial bellhop waiting on our every beck and call. Neither does He rely on us to define our needs, outline solutions, or say when or how He should act. No, God does those things for us – which is just as well since He’s the wise one out of the two of us. (Just yesterday I was reminded how God intercedes for us - again, we are reminded how He knows better how to ANSWER prayers as well..).

God delights in His children developing the habit and freedom of asking Him for help. But He won’t leave us trapped in our limited perception of the situation. Sooner or late He will answer our prayers, but in His own time, and His own way. He asks us to trust Him to know what is needed and when.

Our calling, then, is to ask – even persistently ask – and to grow in the process. One of the surprising benefits of prayer is how much we change. Sometimes, that in itself is the answer to our prayers.”

Am I persistent in my prayers?

I find myself persistent in asking humans in my life. But if I truly believe those bigger things, then why don’t I continue, or even start, asking God? Novel idea – why haven’t I thought of this before? Hmm.

And then I have had a desire for quite a while now for deeper community and fellowship at church, and to find ways to become more involved. Have I asked God for it? Yeah, lazily here and there – but that’s not persistently knocking on the door that Jesus talks about in Luke. Maybe we have not, because we ask not. And not just not asking once, we can all do that – that’s easy. But really ask. Persistently ask. Just like as parents, or since I know nothing about that, as teachers. As a teacher, there were kids and times that they would come and ask to go to the restroom. That time wasn’t really convenient, so my theory was that I would say no, then if they took the effort to ask AGAIN, then I would know they really needed to go. Lame, I understand that, but we all do it – I imagine parents use the same M.O. at times as well. And if we are created in God’s image, then that means that some of our tendencies are God-like, in that, we act innately the way God created us in His image to act. So then, doesn’t God probably do this same thing? Hmm… well, she asked, but is this important enough to her to ask again? And again, and again? If she gives up and stops at the first sign of discouragement, then is it really that important to her?

Maybe I need to learn, or re-learn over and over again, the habit of persistent prayer. It's not like I've never heard, or read, this before. It's just that sometimes I feel like I’m just saying the same thing over and over again, and scripture tells us not to send up rote, tired prayers – But sometimes we are told to knock and knock and knock, until the door is opened. Or until we are changed in the process.

You can’t make things like community happen, I know – but I’ve had it and it’s so sweet. I want that again. But maybe God has me here for a purpose, and for a time. And during that time, maybe I’m supposed to plant my own garden and tend to my own flowers, and share them with those around me first. When Jeremiah wrote to those remaining in exile, he said… Jer 29:5-7 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce... seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you.”

And I do love this “city” that I’m in. Sometimes I wish for some more neighbors – but all in good, no, God’s time.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

He sticks up for me?

So my friend Courtney and I have started our Bible Study - well, it's not really a Bible Study per se, it's more of a Spiritual Exercise, that's going to last a really long time - that's been done for centuries and was written by a monk, and we are pumped about it. But I'll get on with it.

This is the first week, and I'm on day 3. Of course I want it to immediately change my life, I have always struggled with patience, I know - you're all shocked. So my prayer today was for that - for patience to allow God to begin changing me, day by day, week by week, until I am a little bit different then than I am today. Progress - not that I have achieved perfection, but that I press on toward the goal... Yeah, that.

But it's already cool. The assignments are different. They make you read, and listen, and use your imagination, which is fun. On day one we were to read Luke 15:1-7 and pretend we were there watching what was going on. I'll leave it to you to read it, but it's when Jesus is talking with a group of riff-raffians and some religious leaders come along and chastise Him for it, and He tells the story of the lost sheep. Afterwards, in my reflection, I wrote this...

"...God’s grace in this is that He welcomes folks like me, to Him, who’s SO NOT LIKE ME. But on top of that – He stands up for me. I think that’s the part that tugs at my heart more than any other – it’s not just that He befriends me, but He sticks up for me and stands up for my character, even when other’s attack it. Even when I know that there are things in it that aren’t very sticking-up-for-worthy, you know? He’s not ashamed of me, nor is He afraid to go to bat for me. He is God, He can do whatever He wants to, and He doesn’t have to do any of that. Yet He does.

Isn’t that the nature of grace – doing what He doesn’t have to do just because He can, and because I need the help? That’s a pretty cool God..."


Today, our passage to read was Romans 8:26-34. It's a passage I've read all my life, so I went and looked it up in some different versions, you know, variety is the spice of life! And I love reading scripture in different ways, especially those passages that seem to be burned into our memories from childhood Sunday School Classes. This is a great one, though, one that has meant a lot to me a lot of times in my life - reminding me that the Holy Spirit intercedes for me and prays for me when I don't even have words. That is such a sweet picture to me, on those dark nights of the soul when you go to the Father and just sit, wordless - He knows the words and He prays them for us. That is priceless to me. But then it goes on to talk about how with God on our side, who can be against us? This is what The Message says...

"With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us — is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us!"

Ummm... how sweet is that?!?!

God’s care and nearness. His interceding. His sticking up for me. What a cool God I serve.

The end of my assignment tonight asked me where God's grace is in all of this.

God’s grace is all over this….

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Just when you think....

But it's not.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The "I"s of the Future

"In His wisdom, God does not show us all that lies ahead. So we enter a new year to live it day by day. What is past is past. Today we start anew, and what we do today will make our life for tomorrow... each day let us follow more faithfully, more courageously, more daringly the lead of our great Captain who bids us follow Him." ~William Thomson Hanzsche~

You know, I've been aware for much of my life why God doesn't let me see past the end of my proverbial nose. Seriously - God knows me. If I had the address for my future, along with a GPS or a map, I would be on my way. And then, would I really need a Cap'n - other than myself? And to make the trip even more fun, I'd probably take my top off (of the Jeep I'm riding in people... come on!), let the wind whip through my hair, get a tan, and listen to great music along the way. Problem is - I'd be making the trip alone. And what fun is that?

How many of us have had at least one of those road trips in our lives that was fun just because we didn't do it by ourselves. And more importantly, because we DID do it with someone in particular. Ahhh.... we've all had those, right? And part of the fun was not knowing exactly where we were going, where we'd end up, and what would happen along the way. Knowing would have taken all the fun out, right?

So why do we want something so different from God? That's a good question. One that I don't think I've ever really thought of before. Why am I so intent on seeing the "I" in my future? Even recently - "... if we could only see 10 years down the road and know if there would be kids or not, then we'd know what to do with this ginormous house.... if only I could see 5 years down the road and know where we would be financially, it would really help us make this decision right now.... if only I knew.... (you fill in this blank here!) But, won't that take all the fun out of it?

I like the part of the quote up there that says let us follow "more daringly". Yeah, that gets me. I want to live daringly. And doesn't the essence of "daring" imply some mystery and exhileration along the way?

So God, hide the map and take the keys, I'll ride shotgun. Let's take our tops off, let down our hair, enjoy some tunes and point our faces toward the Son, because this ride is gonna be good. Hold on kids!!

All of me, for only Him

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Grace and Forgiveness

This evening I met a dear friend at Starbucks. You know, there are only a rare few people in this life that can understand the details... I'm so lucky to have a handful of those. A handful is more than I could ever ask for, friends with the spirit of Truth in them - they are rare and a priceless gift. Alli, Cort, Suz, Kelli - you have no idea what you mean to me in my life. But back to the point....

We talked of days gone by - of hurts and joys that have made us who we are today. We laughed, we cried a little, and we shook our heads at things that leave us speechless. Of where God has us now, and why He has done some of the things that He's done. Sometimes, He just doesn't make any sense. And God, I know, You don't always mean for us to understand You - that's why You're You and we are not. Sometimes I just feel so finite in my understanding of life.

And don't get me wrong. My life is an amazingly blessed one. I look back on all the things that has brought me to this place, and I know that had some others walked this path they would not be trusting anymore - they would not believe God is really in control anymore - they'd be jaded and hard. I've seen those people and vowed to never be like them - I think I looked that way once, and even then, had someone kick my tail and tell me I was being an idiot. I hurt that person in the process, but I did hear what he had to say. I mean, who am I to distrust the God of everything, even though there've been some low points? In the words of Bono - "Life should be fragrant, rooftop to the basement". And it has been. Oh the aromas of life, how sweet, how bitter - and all mixed together at times.

I'm so thankful for God's forgiveness and His grace. And this is not going to come out right at all - but even more than that, I'm thankful for the forgiveness and Grace from those dear to us in our lives. I say that because it is expected from God. His nature makes it near to impossible for Him to NOT show us grace - praise Him for that. People on the other hand - really don't have to. But sometimes, they do anyway. Even when we don't deserve it. But then, that's the nature of grace, isn't it. Giving what is not deserved. I have found, in my life, that nothing is heavier than feeling the absence of those two things. And nothing is more special than learning that they have been given. It leaves me speechless, and overwhelmed, and filled with gratefulness for those with hearts bigger than their desires and pains.

I look to the future and see greatness. I see possibilities where others would only see walls. I refuse to believe that walls are bigger than God - seriously - have you known anyone else to tear walls down with trumpets? My God did that, said proudly. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is too big for Him.

But, sometimes it does seem like it. Sometimes we don't see how things are possible. Sometimes we just say, this might be it. Even when we don't want it to be.

Can I be bold and refuse to say that tonight? I want to...

All of me for only Him

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Satan really is a Jerk

So - I think I'm moving in the right direction. How do I know? Because for the past few days Satan has brought his big guns. I mean, seriously, they're not that big, but sometimes the little BB's are more annoying than the 9 mm. Like in a classroom - I would rather have a kid have a complete meltdown and throw a fit - this would not bother me as much - as a kid who incessantly taps a pencil on the table. Oh dear LORD, now THAT drives me crazy. I can handle the big blow - it's the little BB's - can't you feel your blood pressure rising?!? Glad you could join me!

But back to the point. So, since I have switched the toggle and decided to get on this thing, the little booger has tried to foil my well laid out plans. See, I read devotionals online. I blog, clearly, online. I know this sounds stupid, but the blogging helps me - it's like my journal that doesn't make my hands cramp from writing. It's why I thought I would even start it in the first place. I thought if my friends knew I was writing, and then I didn't, they would yell at me. (Clearly that plan didn't pan out the first time around, we're trying it again :o) ) So what has happened? Yeah, my internet at home has gone dead. Yep - umm hmmm. Dead. Which is annoying. How can you pay bills without the internet? No idea. And at school - HAHAH!! That's just funny to think I can get anything personal done at school, I'm dog-paddling to get my WORK done at school!! So tonight, I am at my Happy Place - Starbuck's. I had work to do, but I finished that already, and so I thought I'd take a little bit more time for myself in this happy place.

Oswald is on my theme today, too. James 4:8 - Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Isn't that what I said I was banking on the other day? Oh yeah - me and God, we're on the same page.

So even though I left school today near tears from anger and frustration, and even though I have a blister on both feet from the wrong shoes and too long of a day yesterday, and even though diablo himself is trying to sniper me, I will not stop running. (Running, I need to do some of that!) I signed up today for a race/obstacle course today that's going to happen in May. It's called the Warrior Dash. I want to be a Warrior. Grrrrr!!! Haha! This blog has ram- bled today. Sorry that you're reading it - it was way more for me than anyone else. But that's alright, some days that's how it is, right?

I'm starting an official Bible Study tomorrow, or maybe tonight. We'll see how the Starbuck's does at keeping me up too late. A Call to Die - David Nassar.... There's a blast from the past, eh GBC Friends?!?! I'll let y'all know how it goes, that is if you come back after this disaster today!


all of me, for only Him,
sharon

Monday, November 2, 2009

Auto-Pilot

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (The Message) Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen,Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted,Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty,I’m singing joyful praise to God.I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength.

I totally just stole those from "Annie", a blogger I don't even know, but I love what those verses say, in that version.

I have felt a little, no, a lot sheepless lately. Well, for about 10 months or so. I mean, I'm not in a bad place at all. Life is so great, and God has blessed me with so very much - but it's been one of those times in life where you find yourself on Auto-Pilot. And auto-pilot seems so easy, it's hard to take yourself off of it. But, we all know what happened a few days ago with those pilots actually on auto-pilot - Did you hear about them? They were on their laptops while "flying" a passenger plane, checking out their retirement investments and totally forgot to land. Oops.

What they were doing wasn't BAD, in fact they were looking ahead to the future and making sure things were in order for themselves financially, but they completely took their focus off their job at hand.

What is my job at hand? What have I been missing by being on auto-pilot? Well, I'm hesitantly about to switch the toggle to off - or my finger is upon it - it's scary, isn't it?!?! But I don't want to miss the beautiful sunset in front of the plane windshield, or the runway that I'm supposed to land on beneath me. I don't want that kind of oops in my life!



I want some sheep in my field. Even if they run amuck and I have to chase them, or I step in their poo by accident (yeah, I just said poo in my blog!) - I still want the sheep. But they take work.

A good place to start will be to acknowledge all the amazing things He has orchestrated in my life these past 12 months.

Psalm 9: 1-2, 10 - I will thank You, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done. I will be filled with joy because of You. I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High, for You, O LORD, have never abandoned anyone who searches for You.

Sweet God - I'm counting on Your word there - I'm searchin' - are You lookin' for me! I know You are - You've missed me haven't You. I've missed You too...

all of me, for only You
sharon

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Oswald's word today

I'm still amazed at God's perfect timing, and in my head, what I believe to be His entertainment for Himself at times. After writing yesterday I called to talked to my friend that I mentioned and we had a conversation that she and I have had numerous times over the past 10 years - about waiting on the Lord. I hope I encouraged her as she always does me; sometimes it just helps us all to know that others feel what we feel and understand what we feel, even if we're not feeling it all at the same time. So just a little while ago I pulled myself from a book that I'm reading to read some Oswald and my chapters for the day. Oswald really is the man - and God's timing is cool:

"There are times when you can’t understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings a time of waiting, and appears to be unresponsive, don’t
fill it with busyness, just wait. The time of waiting may come to teach you the meaning of sanctification— to be set apart and made holy."


I look forward to this year. I pray that the Lord grows my Faith - that I look to the past and truly pay attention to the examples of faith all around me - in scripture and in my life. I thank God for giving us His stories of the men and women of faith from so long ago. I thank Him for people like Job who remained faithful even when he didn't understand, nor did the people around him. I am thankful for stories like Ruth - a widow woman who picked up and moved to another country, was faithful to what she believed the Lord was leading her to do, and eventually became a woman in the lineage of David. I'm thankful for people in my life like my Mom and Dad, who remained faithful through so many storms of life. Who never faltered on their faith in the Father, who taught me what it looks like to love the Lord every day of your life. I am thankful for friends who encourage and uplift, and who live beside me daily through everything life brings.

I pray that the Lord grows my Hope, in Him and in the world we live in. I pray my hope grounds itself in Him and Him alone, not in my abilities or future career paths, but Hope in His desire to give life and to give it abundantly.

And I pray that my Love grows - first and foremost for Him, then for people. Love is the Lord's greatest commandment, for it is what draws people to Him. I pray that I am that love in a sometimes dark world this year.

And tomorrow - life starts again....
All of me for only Him
Sharon

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My Turn?

So today I read about the Flood, actually the receding of the flood, and about Noah and his sons. Good stuff, don't get me wrong, but I sit and am still pondering on a thought from yesterday, from Genesis 4-6. Yeah, check it out - exciting reading, let me tell you.

"To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad begot Mehujael, and Mehujael begot Methushael,
and Methushael begot Lamech.... and Adah bore Jabal, Zillah also bore Tubal-Cain..."
And on it goes. First things first - we think today's names are crazy?? Seriously, Tubal-Cain? Wow. Alright, I'll move on. Numerous times in the past I would get to these sections in scripture and just skip over them, I mean, what am I really going to learn through this genealogy? But in recent years I have realized, or remembered I should say, that all scripture is God breathed and meaningful to us, otherwise God Himself would have said, "Oh this part is boring, Let's just leave it out." But He didn't, so who do I think I am to take chunks of His word not seriously? As Job once said - "Who am I Lord? I should just be quiet!" (I love the last few chapters of Job, some of my favorites! )

Back to the point. As I was reading yesterday, here at the beginning of yet another new year, I guess I was filled with hope and longing all at the same time. I meditated on it all day, never writing about it yesterday - but this morning as I logged on to read my chapters and get some words of wisdom from my man Oswald, I noticed I had an email from a sweet friend - venting and longing for the same things most of us girls do, though God seems to delay the deliverance of this blessing for some, and sometimes even deny it altogether. A number of girlfriends in my life, myself included, have asked God more times than could be counted, "Lord, when will it be my turn?" And through that we become content with the path the Lord has given to each of us, and we know that God is good and has amazing things for us, how ever that will look for each of us. We really do know that. But sometimes it's still not easy. I look at friends from the past who have children now in Junior High School - I mean, I could theoretically be teaching my own kid at this point, but I'm not. And others, much younger than me, see pictures and read accounts of college friends with husbands and babies, "so thankful for groups of friends to share in this stage of life with them", but my friend has none of that. God, when will it be our turn?

I think back to a day on my couch a few years back. I took a day off from work to spend a day with the Father, I just needed to feel His presence, as life was being hard right then. I read and prayed and sat quietly a lot that day. I don't remember a lot about what I read, or wrote, or even heard, but I do still remember one thing very vividly that I "heard" from God that day - that I would one day have a child who would go places I would never go and do things that I have only imagined of doing for the Lord. I put quotes around "heard" up there, because I doubt myself and my ability to hear correctly. The reason I had taken the day to be with the Father was not because I was longing for children, it was something else - but I remember feeling into the core of my being that this really was from Him. It gave me hope in the situation I was in at the time, making me think I had it figured out - I didn't. God didn't bring into my life what I was wanting Him to that day - but now I am so very thankful for that, He gave me something better. Imagine that!

It's just now that I'm starting to really wonder about the whole kid thing. I see other friends with their broods of beautiful little ones, and I sometimes feel left out and so very behind. So now do I give stock to what I thought I heard that day? I look at the genealogies of Genesis and see all the things that these children went on to do - they became the fathers of nations, the founders of civilizations and the trail blazers of occupations - metal workers, artists, writers, ranchers. Who will I bear? Who will one day look back in their genealogy and see my name? Or does the trail stop here?

"Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" Luke 1:45
Whatever that may be...

I believe the Lord is good. Sometimes I do have to remind myself of that - but He is. And His plans are perfect... and I pray that "through me Christ will be exalted, whether through life or through death." If that truly is my prayer than I must again find contentment with where I am. Not that I'm not - but we all have those days, don't we?

All of me for only Him
Sharon

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A new year, A new earth...

So I have decided to read through the Bible this year - it's been a long time since I attempted that and I feel like it's time I get back to basics - so I found a link on the bottom of my favorite devotional page, My Utmost for His Highest, that said - "Read through the Bible in a year", and thought, Hhmm.. that's handy!

So here I begin. First of all, I love the January 1 entry in My Utmost. Philippians 1:20 - I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but now, as always, Christ will be exalted through me, whether in my life or in my death. That's sort of my paraphrase, but it's definitely the gist of it - That is what I want... I want nothing more than to exalt Christ through all that I do. I wish that was on the forefront of my mind more often, it's not. But maybe this year I will keep it there longer, and maybe on January 1, 2010, I won't read that entry and be reminded, because it will have been my mantra for that past 365 days. That would make 2009 an amazing year. And not for me, but for everyone else around me. What a blessing I could be if I live my life to exalt Christ in ALL that I do. Something to think about.

And so then I moved on to the beginning. How fitting to begin my first day of the year reading about the beginning of it all. How God created this earth and everything in it. I'm sitting here on the couch with my cat, the house is quiet. I'm still in my PJ's with my Dr. Pepper in hand, Salem sweetly sleeping with her head on my arm, and the most beautiful part is the flecks of sunlight that are streaming through the cracks in the blinds behind me. It's a beautiful day in Atlanta and I can only imagine how beautiful it was on that very first day, when everything was absolutely perfect. God did such an amazing job with this spinning ball we live on - it's so beautiful and weird and interesting all at once. I've been reading a book about a boy's adventure through a desert. The words conjure images of sunrises and sunsets in the deserts of the Southwest, and how I have wanted to stay in those spots forever. And then I slept last night to the sounds of waves crashing on my "white noise" alarm clock - I guess I wanted to start the year hearing "home" with the waves crashing. Galveston, Naples, Marco Island, all the amazing nights on Jekyll sitting and just watching and listening to the waves for hours on end - God is so amazing - and strong, and beautiful, and dangerous, and awe inspiring. I am reminded of a quote from Narnia - The King is dangerous, but He is good. Yes, my friends, He is. And aren't we lucky that He adores us, US, above all?

Happy New Year - I look forward to what He will bring us all.
All of me for only Him

Monday, October 6, 2008

Why barefoot and loved?

Because that is me in a nutshell. And it's scriptural.

BAREFOOT... I do not like shoes - never have and probably never will. I mean, what can be better than feeling the cool grass under your feet on a warm summer evening - or crunchy leaves that have fallen in my back yard around this time of year. And the best thing... sand at the beach. Mmmm, there's nothin' better than that!

It's how my Father made me so no one can really argue with that. My mom didn't know how she felt about it when I told her I was going to get married with bare feet, but then she couldn't say a whole lot when I shared with her my heart about it.

In Exodus 3:5 God tells Moses to take off his sandals, for he was standing on Holy Ground. Isn't that the "ground" that all marriages should be based on? And again in Joshua 5:15, The commander of the Lord's army said, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.

and LOVED... We are all so deeply loved. I am reminded of that so often - in the beauty around us all, and in the knowledge that God created it all for us! For me and for you - and oh how we are loved well! In Psalm 45:11 the writer reminds me that "The King is enthralled with my beauty" - not because I am that beautiful, but only because He loves THAT WELL! He loves me perfectly.

Wow, that takes a lot of pressure off, doesn't it? I don't have to be perfect to attain His love, no matter what, He loves me, perfectly. And that, will send me into a peaceful sleep tonight.

All of me for only Him,
Sharon