Saturday, July 31, 2010

Jesus, our source of life

Our source of hope.
Our source of life.

When nothing makes sense.
When nothing else can...

We have Jesus.

Running to Him
           in desperation.
Embracing Him
         and His love.
Feeling the power
            of His goodness.

Oh, envelop us God.
Cradle us in your mighty Hand.

Speak life to us.
Bestow us with your mercy.

Drench us with your grace.

Fall like fire on our heads.

Consume us...
Change us....
Be glorified in us.

Our source.
Our life.
Our all.

A few weeks ago, I was sent a copy of Sandi Patty's new book that I was to read and then post a review about on my blog. "The Edge of the Divine" is what I call an "easy read". Filled with light humor and stark honesty, it managed to keep my attention throughout its entirety.

I enjoyed reading about her life and I feel like her message is one that will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers. I did get a little bogged down in too much detail about her children's lives and about a ring that she kept losing and finding. Much of the book was about her 80-lb weight loss and how she went from a life that was spiraling downward to one that was looking upward to Christ.

If you are looking for a book that is filled with spiritual insights and one that will serve to deepen your christian walk, you won't find it here. There were times when I felt like the scripture references she used were put in place as afterthoughts instead of being the springboard for her journey.

In this book, you will find an enjoyable story about a woman at a crossroad in her own life and how she goes about making the right turns to get back on track with God. She did make one statement at the end of the book that spoke to my heart. A statement about our belief in God. About our race toward that finish line. A statement about putting our trust and faith in Him.

 She says, "Jesus doesn't say it'll be easy, just that it'll be enough".  That statement alone made reading this book well worth my time. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

thankful for mercy and grace

Joining greg for another thankful thursday. I am so glad that he does this each week, as it gives me a chance to really focus on how blessed I am and how I need to be more mindful of thanking Him in all things.

Days like today, I am so thankful for God's Mercy and His Grace.

Days like today, I need to crawl up in my Lord's lap and just get a big, Holy hug.

On days like this, when I wake up with a heart that is heavy and my emotions are awry, I am ever so thankful that my God is a God of love. And a God of forgiveness. And a God of patience.

On days like today, I find myself clinging to the verse in Lamentations that assures me that His mercies are new EVERY morning. I am so thankful for God's Word.

I am thankful for new mercy. Thankful that beause of His compassion, we are not consumed but we are given freely of His portion to sustain us and give us renewal. Restoration. Hope.

I am thankful for:

Grace Immeasurable
Mercy Inexhaustible
Peace In expressible

I am thankful for salvation through the blood of God's precious Son.

Poured out from a never-ending supply, in a river of forgiveness, healing, compassion and love.

Thank you Lord, for being the Giver of Life and the Keeper of Eternity.

"I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the LORD"
(Psalm 116:13)

Monday, July 26, 2010

have your waters been stirred?

Have the waters been stirred at your pool of Bethesda?

Are you in need of relief from the stresses of life?

Are you tired?

Step into the water.

Are you burdened or weak?
Dip your feet into the pool and let the waters
swirl around you and minister to your soul.

The waters have been stirred gently
by the Hand of Jesus.

Preparing them for those who believe.

The waters beckon for those who cry out.

He stirs them and they are infused with
Healing and Hope.
Mercy and Grace.

The ripples on the surface are gently swirling
as His Hand reaches down and dispenses
His awesome power into the waters.

Whirlpools of His infinite might.

Step into the water and let God
begin ministering to your body and your spirit.

Let the healing begin.
Let the grace fall down.

Let the water flow from the
river of His mercy and engulf your
entire being with renewal and restoration.

Step into the water and be made whole.

Friday, July 23, 2010

God speaks....

This morning God really spoke to my heart during my study time. He spoke TRUTH to my spirit and laid it strongly on my heart that it was for someone else also. I felt Him nudging me to share this here and I pray that it ministers to somebody .

Those of us who profess Jesus Christ as our Savior and our Lord are NOT perfect. We will mess up. We will go through hard times. We will endure trials. We may feel unloved, unworthy and unimportant.

But praise God we are not defeated. We have victory in Christ. Through the atoning blood of His Son Jesus, we are covered in mercy and grace.

God will never, ever leave us. He will always be there with open arms to pick us up and to lovingly lead us on our walk with Him. There may be times that we wonder if God is there. Oh, yeah... He is there my friends. From the beginning of time, He has been there and will remain for all eternity.

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1)

There will be times when we feel like He has hidden His face from us.

"How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? For ever? How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?" (Psalm 13:1)

 But He will always answer when we call upon His name. When we cry out, He is there.

"In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and He heard me" (Psalm 120:1)

There will be times when man will fail us. There will be times when man will disappoint us. But God will never fail us, never leave us and never let us down. Never.

"It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man" (Psalm 118:8)

There will be times we don't feel like going on, but God gives us the strength we need to keep plodding along lifes pathway. He lifts our weary heads and enables us to put one foot in front of the other and keep walking.

"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isaiah 40:29-31)

There may even be times when we wonder why we were even born. Why we were put on this earth. What purpose we could possibly have in God's kingdom.

"Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea I have made him" (Isaiah 43:7)

We were created for Him! For His glory. Created to bring Him honor and praise.

So, no matter what you are going through, He is there, ready to sustain you. Ready to take you from strength to strength. Ready to walk beside you. No matter where you are in your spiritual walk, He is there.

Whatever your circumstances. Whatever your situation. Whatever your state of mind. Rest assured that God cares for you. He loves you and He wants the best for you. He wants you to have a life abundant in Him. He is all we need. He is our sufficiency. He is enough.

"In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength and my refuge is in God" (Psalm 62:7)

Thank you Lord, that you are all we need. You satisfy like nothing else. You fill us and you equip us. You are our refuge. Our strength. Our all. Give us the sustaining power to lift our weary heads and hearts and follow hard after you. In all we do and all we say. May our hearts be hungry and thirsty for you. Reveal yourself to us in a new and powerful way that our spirits are quickened anew and we are drawn more closely to your side. Thank you for loving us and for giving us life eternal through your precious Son.

Monday, July 19, 2010

a good day at church indeed

About a month ago, our church was doing a project we called 'God's Hands'. Each night after our work was done, we met at the church for an amazing dinner perpared by our food crew and then we had a glorious time of worship.

My daughter, Megan, was just a few days away from Silas' birth at that time and she wasn't feeling well, so she and her 3 children came to spend the night as her husband was in Arkansas working. I had just come in from the work we were doing, so Megan and I gathered up the kiddos and we all headed over to the church to eat.  

We had a great time in fellowship and enjoyed a really great dinner and then we let the kids play for a little while with the other children that were there. Afterwards, I went back to the house with her to help her get the children ready for bed before I headed back to the church for worship. So basically, we had just gone to church and eaten and played and then headed home.

As we left the church, Eli was just bouncing along the sidewalk in a great mood and he looked back at me and said in a very serious and enthusiastic voice,

 "Now THAT was a good day at church!"

Of course, we got a good laugh at that, but the sad thing is that this reflects the attitudes of many christians these days. We go to church hungry for the wrong kind of food. We go to church wanting to be fed and entertained. We go to the Lord's house and want to be coddled and pampered. And then we consider that to be a 'good day at church'.

We actually do need to arrive at our place of worship hungry. Hungry for the Word. Hungry for the Bread of Life. Hungry for an almighty encounter with God.

"For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness." (Psalm 107:9)

Our spiritual lives can only grow and become richer in Christ if we are feeding ourselves the powerful and mighty Word of God. The God-inspired and God-breathed, inerrant Word of our Lord.

It is our responsibility to dig deeper into His Word and discover all that He has for us. It's up to us to search the scriptures diligently and eagerly so we can receive that which God has to offer.

We have to feed ourselves. We have to be desiring more than just entertainment. It's about being hungry with an insatiable appetite for MORE of God. MORE of His Word. MORE of Him. It's about a deeply personal and intimate relationship with our Lord. It's about an awesome encounter with our Savior.

It's all about seeking Him


As we enter into His House to worship, we arrive hungry for Him and everything that He has for us to receive. Hungry to then give back to Him in our worship and our praise.

We leave filled with His Spirit and satisfied on the bread of His Word, broken and dispersed to our hungry souls.

Now, THAT is a good day at church!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

another thursday filled with thankfulness

Thankfulness is something that can be easily overlooked in our daily lives. Easily pushed to the back of our minds. Easily lost in the busyness of our daily routines. The truth is, we have so much to be thankful for. I join Greg for yet another Thankful Thursday, giving thanks to my Lord for all that He is and all that He does.

1. I am thankful for the sheer excellence of His name.

"O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth"
(Psalm 8:9)

2. I am thankful that He is my very present refuge.

"The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble"
(Psalm 9:9)

3. I am thankful that God is a restorer. He restores our relationships, our health, our hurts and our souls. He can restore us back to fellowship with Him.

"He restoreth my soul...."
(Psalm 23:3a)

4. I am thankful that the Lord leads me and guides me and teaches me. I am thankful that He is my shepherd and that He knows me and I know Him.

"I am the good shepherd and know my sheep and am known of mine"
(John 10:14)

5. I am just so thankful for life.

(Silas - 3 weeks)

Silas gets love from cousin Bryton while big brother Eli watches over him.

God is so good.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

today is just hard...

(Me and my daddy - 1963)
You would think that after 16 years, I would not still awaken on this day with a lump in my throat. You would think that I wouldn't have that sick and empty feeling in my stomach. You would think that I could anticipate these feelings when I know that this day is coming. You would think....

But that's just not how it is. The descent into this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach, begins every year on my birthday. Because July 12, 1994, was the LAST time that I talked to my precious Daddy. He and my mom had called me that night and sang "Happy Birthday" to me over the phone, just like they did every year. He told me he loved me and before we hung up, the last thing I said to him was, "I love you, daddy". 36 hours later, my world came to a screeching halt and I was rocked to the core. My sweet daddy, at age 58, was gone. Just like that. Gone.

I still just can't believe it. I miss him so much that I just can't stand it. I have such an empty part of me that just aches to see my daddy. I have been close to tears all day, just thinking about it. It takes all the effort I can muster up to get through this day.

 My girls didn't get a chance to really get to know their granddaddy. They were only 9,8 and almost 5 when he died. My daddy didn't get to see them grow up into the beautiful and precious young women that they are and he didn't get to see me become a grandmother.

Today is just hard. I just miss my daddy. I wish that I could just see him one more time and get one more hug. I wish that I could hear him say my name just once more. See him hug my mama. Love on my girls. Smile at me.

But, God had other plans for my daddy. I know that my precious father is in heaven with our heavenly Father. I know that he is right where he wants to be. I know that I will see him again one day. Walking with him on the streets of gold and hearing his voice say 'I love you, Beth' and looking up at him and saying with all my heart, "I love you too, Daddy"

Monday, July 12, 2010

drenched by His Spirit

I arose today with a thirsty spirit. Craving an encounter with the Lord and eager to get on my face before Him.

There sits an emptiness deep inside that longs to be filled with the things that bring eternal satisfaction. An empty place that cries out for a filling of His Spirit.

A filling of His WORD. A filling of His TRUTH. A filling of Him that just satiates and overflows.

Closing my eyes in prayer, I beckon Him to draw near. To draw ME near to Him. To commune with me and reveal Truth like never before. Desiring a new and deeper revelation of His power.

Confession bubbles forth and spills out. Ridding my spirit of anything that threatens to hold me captive. Releasing bondages so He can heal the hurt. Acknowledging my imperfections so He can reach down and begin a new work in me.

Withholding nothing in His presence.
 Laying it at His precious Feet.
Ready to receive a new thing.

As I open my heart wide and lift my arms in praise, I feel Heavens rain begin to drench me with a much needed healing. I can smell the sweet aroma of His presence as the water poured from His Hands cascades down my head and soaks every dry place. Standing under the downpour, I experience a cleansing that goes deep. Deep into the hidden places that have been crying out for deliverance.

As I welcome the healing rain of Christ, He sends forth His righteousness to cover me, His love to strengthen me, His Truth to empower me and His Spirit to be ever present with me.

Thank you Lord, for the heavens rain you sent forth today. May I remain drenched in you and thirst only for the eternal things that you provide. Finding satisfaction in the thirst quenching water of Life that is flowing directly from the Throne of Grace.

"For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground" (Isaiah 44:3)


Remaining captivated by Him,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

smiling today for thankful thursday.

Thank you, Greg for hosting another Thankful Thursday. You rock!
 I am thankful that there are many things that make me smile. There is nothing like a smile to make your troubles fade away and to lift your spirits when you're down. God Himself always brings a smile to my face, but I am thankful to Him that He has blessed me with many things that do the same.

My newest grandbaby and his siblings brings a BIG smile to my face!
Watching my 5 oldest grandchildren at a Saturday bible school brought a smile to my face.
Seeing Silas smile his real first smile made me do just the same thing!
Watching the sun rise this morning as we head to New Orleans to pick up Melissa at the airport made me smile. I am so ready to see my baby girl!
Trying to get a decent picture of Ashlie's boys together last night before church forced me to smile so I wouldn't get upset! We couldn't get them to both smile at the same time. I had told Bryton to give me just one smile and after he did and Sawyer didn't, I asked him to smile again and he said "I already did, Nana". So no more smiles from Bryton...
No words needed.....
Oh, yeah... there is nothing that tastes better than a mint chocolate chip ice cream bar.
"A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.."
(Proverbs 15:13)

God is so good. I am so thankful that He loves me and that He has given me the ability to smile even when it doesn't seem like there is anything to smile about. All you have to do is look around and there will be something to bring a grin to your face. Even if it's just ice cream..  :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

withholding nothing...

"If you enter God's presence withholding nothing, there is nothing
He won't do to make you whole"
(Mary Alessi)

Our willingness to be intimate and open with God, allows Him to minister to us and to heal our most personal wounds. The deep and sometimes painful wounds of our hearts.

Lately, I have really begun to see so many wounds in my heart and in my soul. Wounds that penetrate deeply. Wounds that I have allowed to remain hidden and untouched. Small hurts that over time have festered and become bigger. Some of them big gaping wounds and some of them less significant paper cuts.

I am not really sure why I have not allowed myself to face these hurts. I feel like I could have changed alot of my inerrant behavior if I had only allowed these deep seeded feelings to surface.

Perhaps I thought if I ignored them they would go away. Perhaps I thought that the wounds might only go deeper. Or maybe I had just grown comfortable with them and was unsure of life without them. Sadly, they offered me a sense of security and I was unwilling to risk letting them go.

I have a longing in my spirit to let these old hurts rise to the top so I can give God permission to come in and heal. Heal and restore.

I am at a crossroads in my spiritual growth and I know that if I am going to move forward, it is time to deal with these obstacles. Even if it is painful. Even if it is hard.

My heart is crying out for more. More intimacy with my Jesus. More knowledge of Him and more power through Him.

I am ready to be all that He intends for me to be. I know that I can only do that when I get completely honest with God.  I want Him to take my hand in His and walk with me on the next step of our journey. I want Him to lovingly guide me in His perfect plan for my life.

So I stand before Him with my arms and heart wide open. Seeking complete intimacy with my Savior. Relinquishing it all to Him and falling face down in worship. Ready to give my all to Him and receive His all for me.

Withholding nothing in His presence. And truly allowing Him to anoint my head with the soothing balm that flows from His healing Hand. Covering me. Healing me. Restoring me to wholeness.

"So that they should seek the LORD, in the hope that
they might grope for Him and find Him, though He
is not far from each one of us"
Acts 17:27 (NKJV)

Friday, July 2, 2010

what a ride... what a God...

Tonight I finally did something that I have been promising my husband I would do for about 4 months now. I have been putting it off and putting it off. So, this evening, just on the spur of the moment, I took the plunge. I went against my better judgement. I put all my fears and misgivings aside and just bit the 'ole bullet.

I hopped on the back of my husband's Harley and we took a 25 mile trip to go eat with a precious couple from church. Yep, I just plopped that helmet on my perfectly fixed hair and threw my leg over the bike and settled in for the ride.

I was very skeptical at first. I had only been on the motorcycle one time when it was actually moving and that was for him to ride me around the church parking lot like he does the grandkids. I just couldn't see getting out on the open highway on  it. I just couldn't fathom going 55 mph on that thing! No way!

But then there I was, holding on for dear life and off we went. I didn't want him to go too fast. I was really thinking that I needed a seatbelt on that thing! I was trying to hold on to my fella and hold on to my helmet at the same time. The hair that was sticking out of the bottom of the helmet was whippin' around my face and into my eyes and I was trying to hold it back as well. 

Every time Jimbo would switch gears, it would jerk me forward and the front visor of my helmet would bump against the back of his. I could see his face in the mirror and I know he was getting aggravated! Every bump (pothole) we hit made me feel like I was about to be ejected off the motorcycle at any second. When a big semi-truck would pass us on the highway, I could feel the force push against us and it scared me every time! I was trying to enjoy the ride, but I kept thinking about there being nothing between the rode and me.  

Road kill smells bad when you're in a car. Road kill smells really, really bad when you are on a motorcycle. Yep, I finally learned to look ahead and hold my breath when we came upon road kill #3 and #4 and #5.... 

We finally got to the 'Waterfront Grill'. My legs felt like rubber as I half hopped off and half fell off the bike. I took my helmet off and upon looking in the mirror, was trying to decide whether or not I would look worse with my hair looking like it did or if I wore the helmet. I decided that people might look at me a little weird if I wore the helmet inside the restaraunt, so my hair just had to suffice. The wind-blown look would just have to do for now.

 (yeah.. this is what my hair looked like...)

After a fantastic dinner and great fellowship with our friends, it was time to head back home. Back on the bike. Helmet back on the head. Mounting the motorcycle once again and settling in for the ride. I think I enjoyed the ride back a little better. I still wasn't crazy about the sharp turns in the curves of the highway. I had to learn how to lean with my husband and not the opposite way. I kinda got the hang of holding on to the bottom of my hair and holding the strap of the helmet with the same hand, which still left me one hand free to hang on to him. Tightly.

It's hard to talk when you're on a motorcycle. The wind creates a lot of noise and it's very hard to hear, so I was just using that time to talk to God. I begin to pray for those on my prayer blog. It was such a sweet time with the Lord and I soon found myself lost in deep conversation and prayer.

As we neared the end of our ride, we came around a curve and as I glanced up at the sky, there was the most beautiful sight. God had painted the most perfect sunset. The sky was ablaze in gradient hues of pinks and oranges. It was a perfect blend of light, clouds and color. Breathtaking. Spectacular. Astounding.

The sun was beginning to sink below the horizon and as I watched, it slowly disappeared. I was almost awe-struck at the beauty of what I had just seen. God's glory had just been manifest in that sunset. He had used that work of His hand to remind me once again of His power. His awesomeness. His strength. His omnipotence.

Thank you, Lord for the daily reminders you give us of who You are. You are the Creator of all. You are mighty and powerful and merciful and gracious. You are the beginning of all things and the end of all things. You are the Father. You are the Son. You are the Holy Spirit. Thank you for showing me the manifestation of your glory. For reminding me that you are the one in control. I love you with all that I am. May I praise you and worship you and serve you all the days of my life.

In the precious name of Jesus Christ, Amen.