Friday, February 16, 2018

Moments and Musings


Galatians 5:4
You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

I'm uncertain as to whether or not my regular readers here at Meditations of My heart are aware that I have a second blog, Moments and Musings.  I begin this space years ago as a way to feature Danny's photos and share random ruminations that didn't quite fit the format of Meditations.  But more recently, Moments and Musings has been a venue for poetry.

Now I'll be the first to tell you, poetry does not come easily for me, and I have no illusions that I'm in any way good at it.  But there are times when the words well up, and I know I have to answer the call.

So what I offer here today is something much more conducive to Moments and Musings, but in light of all the challenges my husband, Danny, and I are facing on the home front, this is the blog I was able to pull together.
~

Our world is hurting.  The Bible has so much to say about our sinfulness.  We have been given the greatest gift possible in Christ Jesus, yet so many choose to alienate themselves from the way, the truth and the life promised us in the Savior.  If you are like me, there are times I think the world at large has lost its collective mind.  This poem attempts to capture the lessons and the loss, when every opportunity is given, yet people remain fixated upon their own vision of right and wrong.


A Bitten Apple

A bitten apple
A snake bite
Strike discord
Separation
From the One
whose heart loves
A parted sea
A people saved
Grumbling chorus
Inept idols
Still He loves
Wilderness voices
Calling, coaxing
Cautioning, cajoling
Criticizing cries
Yet He loves
Gentle teaching
Healing words
Miracles witnessed
Then the cross
Because He loves
Rotten apples
Viper's venom
Infiltrating
Inundating
People lost
And still, He loves
And still, He loves

Amen

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Blessed Lent


Matthew 6:16-17
When you fast, don't make yourselves look sad like the hypocrites.  They put a look of suffering on their faces so that people will see they are fasting.  The truth is, that's all the reward they will get.  So when you fast, wash your face and make yourself look nice.

The Lenten season is upon us!  Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, heralds the inception of forty days during which many Christians choose to fast from some habit or activity that they feel interferes with developing a closer connection to God.  Their goal is to create a deeper relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as hearts and minds prepare for the glorious arrival of Easter.

For me, however, Lent is not just about giving up something, but taking on a new discipline or practice which will align me more intimately with God.  In light of this, I will once again be reading 40 Voices by my author friend, Jean Wise, who blogs at Healthy Spirituality.  I find Jean's thoughtful reflections so uplifting and inspiring, I highly recommend this book to add to your Lenten regimen.

Another practice upon which I will embark is to seek intentional times of solitude and silence with the Lord each day.  To aid me in doing this, I will be reading Whispers of Rest - 40 Days of God's Love to Revitalize Your Soul by Bonnie Gray.  Ironically, I order this book months ago, but never take the time to delve into it.  Lent, the 40 day season, is the perfect time to start on this new adventure of learning to, as Bonnie states, "Refresh an intimacy with God in your (my) prayer life," and "Revitalize your (my) soul with His words of love and peace for you (me) each day.

Oh, might both these endeavors produce much fruit!

Okay, so that's the taking on part of my Lenten journey.  So what, you may be wondering, am I giving up?  If you were following me last year, you know I take a plunge, a deep one, and give up Facebook.  Gulp and gulp again!  Fasting from social media, as much trepidation as I have at the time, turns out to be a good and healing thing for me to do.  To this day, I've maintained a healthy limit on how much time I allow myself to engage in that realm of distraction.

But sometimes, when one bad habit falls by the wayside, another rises up to take its place.  Such is the mission of the Deceiver.  For me, that's listening to talk radio, a certain program in particular.  While this is fun, challenging and informative, it swallows up valuable time that I could be spending with God through prayer, study, reflection, and writing.  So starting tomorrow, let the fast begin!  (Please, Lord, let me be cheerful about it!  Is my face clean?)

And as you enter into this Lenten season, my friends, do remember that each Sunday during this time is a "mini-Easter," a day you have permission to indulge in whatever you have denied yourself in the preceding week.  After all, if God rested on the seventh day after all His work, shouldn't we?

As Lent progresses, I will keep you apprised of the things I'm discovering and learning, and how I sense God's presence in this time of spiritual growth.  I'd love to know, too, what disciplines you have decided to take on, and what you've deemed necessary to give up as you journey toward Easter.  Please share your thoughts freely and honestly in the comments below.

Who knows how your words will inspire and comfort the heart of others?

A Blessed Lent to you all!

Amen! 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Day by Day


1 Corinthians 2:9
But as Scripture says:  "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him."

The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's 'own', or 'real' life.  The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life - the life God is sending one day by day. ~C. S. Lewis

The life God is sending day by day by day by day.

This is the real, in real time.

This is up-side-the-head-smack reality.  Conceived and prepared by a far-seeing and Holy God.

And our self-centered, myopic vision never sees it coming.

But it arrives . . .

How we deal with the uncomfortable present moments, how we navigate the seemingly insurmountable obstacles, how we play our hand of unfortunate cards, speaks volumes about the health of our spiritual journey.

Am I playing these inconvenient cards well, as the Lord would have me do?

Or am I floundering about in an overwhelming sea of doubt, unwilling to submit my will to His?

Through the interruptions, the upset of the apple cart, the intrusion of needs unforeseen, the tough hand dealt, God shines with His unfailing presence.  He grants the grace, the strength, the love, the courage, the perseverance to put our best foot forward as we cling to His Word and His promises.

Until my predictable world is upended, I could not see how God has been readying this path for me.

Accepting adversity.  Accepting life as it unfolds.  Accepting His will for me.

Completely!

And becoming, in such unexpected ways, the me He intends me to be.

So, dear friends, when your life is interrupted, and the direction you had in mind is denied, remember that God has a purpose for you.  Only for you.

Your real life is His life in you.

Play the hand you're given confidently, day by day, knowing the Lord has your back.

Amen!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Lord Bless and Keep You


Dear Friends,

Due to an unexpected family situation, I will be absent from my blog for an indeterminate amount of time.  My family and I would so appreciate your prayers as we traverse this new journey.

And I leave you all with the above prayer of blessing while I'm away, as I care deeply about each and every one of you.

Until later, Love and Blessings!

Friday, January 19, 2018

We Can Work Wonders


Isaiah 9:2
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.  ~C. S. Lewis

Our home, which I affectionately call "Little House in the Big Woods," tends to be rather dark.  This is especially true in summer when the trees are fully leafed, shading us from the heat and light of the sun.  That being said, it's rare for my husband, Danny, and I not to have lights on during the day, especially in the area where our computers are.

Even when the lights are on, however, seeing into our cupboards, especially on gloomy days, becomes downright frustrating.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times I've had to fetch a flashlight to find the object I'm seeking in a cabinet or under the sink.

Finally, as fed up as I, Danny decides to do something about it.  He searches online for small, rechargeable, LED lights with motion sensors that he can install in some of the darker recesses in our kitchen and bathroom.  Aren't these cute little guys?


And what an incredible difference they make!







Best of all, because they are motion sensitive, the lights stay on only while you are rummaging around, turning themselves off when activity ceases.  As Danny loves to save on energy costs, this works perfectly for us.

These lights may be small, but they work wonders.

We, too, may be small, but when we welcome Jesus, the Light of the World, into our lives, we can shine His bright and marvelous light into this dark and fallen world.  A world in desperate need of God's forgiveness, love, redemption, and grace.

We can, with God's help, work wonders.

Amen!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

I Love You, Too!


Luke 10:27
He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all you mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

We have our oldest granddaughter, Virginia Rose, staying with us over the weekend.  It is always an indescribable joy to have her, and my husband, Danny, and I cherish every moment spent with her.

What thrills and surprises our hearts is how many times in the course of a day we hear Virginia declare, "I love you, Papa!  I love you, Gammie!"  She may pipe up when she's working on a drawing, waiting for her peanut butter and jelly sandwich, brushing her teeth, or playing games with us.  No, she's not looking for favors.  Virginia is merely expressing the generous feelings rising up from the depths of her soul.  She is so grateful for her time with us.

"I love you, Gammie!  I love you, Papa!"

"I love you, too!"  we assure her as hugs are shared all around.

Can anything make us feel better than that unaffected and genuine expression of emotion?  No, not a thing!

And often, Virginia will conclude her affirmation of love for us with appreciation for her family.  "I have the best family ever!"

Wow . . . just wow!

And in Virginia's readily shared proclamations of love, I am given pause to reflect:  How many times a day do I stop what I'm doing and say to my Father, my Jesus, my Holy Spirit, "I love you!"  If you are like me, not nearly enough!

And how many times do I regard my neighbors, my fellow human beings, as "the best family ever!"?  Loving them as myself just as Jesus commanded?  Once again, epic fail!

But with God's help, I can turn this all around.  Because no longer do I simply want to take Luke 10:27 to heart, I need to act on it.

Live by it.

Looking with the love of Jesus at all people as God's children - the best family there is.

Telling the Lord, often and with thanksgiving, "I love you!"

And I have no doubt I'll hear Him answer, "I love you, too!"

Amen.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Dance, Dance, Wherever You May Be . . .


Psalm 149:3
Let them praise God's name with dance; let them sing God's praise with the drum and lyre!

There are few novels I've read in my adult life that begged a second go round.  These are Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, and Glynn Young's first two books in his Dancing Priest SeriesDancing Priest and A Light Shining.  So imagine my excitement and sheer delight when I learn Young has written a third book in this series, Dancing King.

It is everything I could have hoped for, and then some!

The novel continues the story of Michael and Sarah Kent-Hughes, with their families and friends, as they embark upon the most challenging journey of their lives:  Being crowned King and Queen of Great Britain.  While Young provides ample background information, allowing Dancing King to stand on its own merit, I cannot stress enough to my readers the value of engaging in the preceding novels first.  They will provide a rich and complex tapestry of understanding that allows one to deeply appreciate Dancing King for the outstanding novel it is.

So instead of simply reviewing Young's latest and greatest, the "crowning glory," if you will, I wish to share with you the reasons I'm head-over-heels enchanted by his writing in the first place.

Young is a masterful storyteller.  He creates three-dimensional characters, who are believable in every way, and who face many life-changing choices and decisions.  I fell in love with chief protagonist, Michael Kent, the moment he appeared on the page, and later with the beautiful Sarah, with whom Michael is smitten.  Then there are literally hosts of other richly crafted players, who add depth and drama to the story, some good, some downright evil, but all well-developed and unique.

And the plots?  Young keeps you guessing as he leads you brilliantly from one scenario to the next.  The reader is treated to love and laughter, mystery and intrigue, tears and fears, and all-too-real dangers that loom in all three novels.

But the overriding theme I find in all of Young's masterpieces is the unabashed testament to Christian faith and the power of prayer.  Again and again, we witness Michael, an Anglican priest, showing others the love of Jesus through his acts of kindness, forgiveness and forbearance.  He embodies perfectly what it means to be a Christian in the world, but not of it.

If you are a believer, these novels are guaranteed to jump start your faith walk, and breathe new life into your prayer practice.  And if you are not a believer?  Father, and now King Michael, might speak directly to your heart and soul in ways you never imagined possible.

And you just might find yourself dancing along with Michael, in praise to the Father.

Amen!

You can purchase all three of Glynn Young's novels at his blog, Faith, Fiction, Friends.  And for further accolades for his books, and to order them, visit his dedicated website:  Dancing Priest.

Moments and Musings

Galatians 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. I'm ...