An Act Of Obedience

Bonnie, at Faith Barista, picked my word for the year for this weeks prompt. You can read about it here.

Yes!

Yes! (Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik)

The word is “yes”.

True, I did make a post on this a couple of weeks ago but, there is still much that I can say about this particular word. A short, yet powerful word.

Yes comes easy, when it is in response to something I want to do.  Can’t we all say that? Wouldn’t it be great if life was always the easy yes? The “Oh, sure”, “I’d love to”, or “It would be my pleasure” and really mean it.

But, I’m going to be real here. Pour it all out.

Sometimes I bleed the yes. It is painful and hard. I’m scared and unsure. Every fiber of my being wants to shout “NO”, but because I’ve been practicing the yes for years now, I whisper it anyway.

The whisper can come, small and quiet. Only God and I hear it. He knows my heart. He knows my struggles. He knows the yes is an act of faith and a word of worship.

Although it can be, most of the time the yes isn’t a response to a certain thing. It is instead, a response to God, Himself. It is trust in the One who I know is Sovereign, in control, has a plan and a future for me, loves me, and will allow me to glorify Him, through this choice, this yes, that I offer.

I think about Abraham. Many, many years ago, he said “yes” to God. It could not have been easy.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  Hebrew 11: 8 NIV
Yes, is always an act of obedience.
Even when I’m not sure of the outcome, or the task ahead is daunting, I can rest in Him.
The One who hears the heart.

Grrr…attitude

How many of the moments in this life of mine, do I fill with gratitude? Or is it more grrrr….attitude? It’s easy to wear blinders to all the good and instead focus on all the irritating, ugly, and frustrating things of the day. You know what I

English: Pineapple on its plant, Costa Rica De...

mean. The empty toilet paper roll, the dirty towels that need washed, the crumbs all over the counter, left over from a child’s midnight snack, rushed schedules, and running out of toothpaste, short words, short fuses and sensory overload. That is where the gratitude takes a nosedive straight into “grrr…..attitude”. Attitude. Ugh.

I know when the Lord talks to me about my attitude. It goes something like this:
“Dawn, I know your thoughts. You can’t hide them from Me.”

“I can try.”

“How’s that working?”

“Not very well.”

“But, it is all really getting on my last nerve. I want to scream. I feel like a hamster on the wheel, Lord!

Nobody understands!”

“I understand. I’m always here.”

“You know, you complain a lot and that doesn’t make Me happy.”

I know, and I’m sorry about that. Really, I am. I just can’t seem to help myself.”

“I’ve blessed you in so many ways, you need to open your eyes to all that I AM. Really, see.”

“Yes, Lord.”

No, I’ve never heard the Lord talk to me in an audible voice. But, He is here, in the midst. In the midst of the laundry, and the crumbs. He is here in the flurry of schedules and the hum of daily grind. He moves in the snow covered fields and His majesty is in the star filled night. I hear Him on the wind and see Him as He molds my family members lives. He gives such good things, and it is my responsibility to slow down and see Him. Abide in Him. Know Him more.

Today I am thankful for:

* words of wisdom

* books whose words change me

* the Bible, God’s letter to me

* a real love story

* safety in travel

* beautiful scenes from nature

* time together

* friendships

* a to do list that is getting done…slowly but surely

* anticipation of a trip to Costa Rica

* excitement over classes I will be able to take on autism

* having a husband to snuggle with on cold winter nights

* kids that are growing up, tugging at a mother’s heart

* God who knows all, and sees all…and loves me still

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:4  NIV

Great Men and Women

You know how people are sometimes asked the question, “If you could have dinner with anyone– past, present, or future,

C. S. Lewis' house (The Kilns)

C. S. Lewis’ house (The Kilns) (Photo credit: MikeBlyth)

who would it be, and why?”

I already know.

Clive Staples Lewis.

I find his words and his works interesting, thought provoking, and insightful. I can just imagine sitting in his classroom when he was a professor at Oxford. I would have been the student raising her hand saying things like, “Yes sir, and what about this or that?”, while I scribbled furiously as I took notes.

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” –C.S Lewis

I’m thankful for those whose words ring true.

Thankful for the great men and women that came before me and for those that are in my life right now.

Thankful for those who aren’t scared to stand, when it would be so much easier to take a seat. Those that have faith, even when others laugh, those that know, it is not the seen, but the unseen that is truly real.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 NIV

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Today I am thankful for:

* winter wind that takes the breath away

* steel gray sky filled with snowflakes

* dogs that walk by my side, I love all my pets

* cozy mittens with thermal lining

* funny stories that make me laugh out loud

* hugs and kisses

* chocolate icing on warm brownies

* a swept floor and a vacuumed rug

* warm blankets and fluffy socks

* strong opinions and good points

* wisdom and insight

* dog-earred books and highlighted passages

* fun catalogs and magazine to read

* a day off work

* people that love me

* people that I love

* the little things that seem like big things






I Am Loved

“How is God calling you to become the Beloved?”

 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Colossians 3:12  NIV

The God of the universe calls me His. One of His chosen. That knowledge still leaves me breathless. Not only did He choose me, but He loves me…dearly.

Even though I have been a follower of Christ for decades, I still in my more contemplative and quiet moments, shyly ask Him, “Why”?

Why me? Why now? Why do you call me Your beloved?

“I fail You, all the time,” I mutter. This spoken from a heart that knows.

And His reply comes to me from The Word.

Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3 NIV

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 2 Corinthians 3:5 NIV

I will not even try to understand an infinite God. His ways are not my ways.

But, He answers the why question by His actions.

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NIV

Grace was given.

Grace being the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to deserve it.

I am quiet. I ponder these verses.

I am loved.

Brief Quiet Glimpes

Gratitude

Gratitude (Photo credit: ally213)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes, it really is the little things that matter. Oh sure, the big, huge blessings are wonderful and I am grateful for them, but I’m talking about the little day to day things that, in reality, make a huge difference. After all, it is those little things that keep each of us going. The special moments in the daily grind, that make us smile and give us hope, to carry on.

No fanfare.

No hoopla.

No fireworks.

Just the small, quiet, brief glimpses of who God really is…

Father, today I come to You, thanking you for all the little things. Forgive me that I take so many of Your blessings for granted.  Each day is a precious gift. I’m sorry that I am so cavalier with the time that You have given me.

* a soft pillow to put my head on * hot water * electricity * emails * hands that can pet the dogs and hold a leash without pain * good health* smiling faces * making a positive difference in children’s lives * cold winter air and frozen ground * chickens that lay eggs * pets * cards in the mail * a husband to change a flat tire * time spent together

*Thank you for my stubbly faced boy-man, that has grown up so quickly * Thank you for the opportunity to be a mom. I know many who don’t have that privilege. * Thank you for emails from friends. Sometimes the emails are silly and they make me laugh. Other times, I lean on their strength. I’m so fortunate to have good friends. * Thank you for family. I love my family members. The family I grew up with, the family through marriage, and my family in Christ. * Thank you for the beauty of the country. I am still deeply moved by the beautiful sunrises, and gray snowy days. The loud honking of geese, and farm fields that stretch for miles. *Thank you for this life.  I realize that my life might never have turned out this way, had I not had to walk the dark valley to get here. May I never forget that. I try to always be aware that it might never have been. * Thank you, Lord , for Your love for me. A deep love, an all consuming love, a sacrificial love. When we were yet strangers, You saved me. If You chose to bless me with nothing else in this world, but that, that would be enough. And yet, You, through Your love, give me so much more.






Words That Describe God

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;102_2364
  you are the one Israel praises.  Psalm 22:3 NIV

The words of scripture let us know that, God indeed, inhabits the praises of His people…..

The words that describe Him, leave the heart full.

* Faithful * Forgiving * Glorious * A Refuge * Ever Present Help * Father * God * Love * Peace* Just * Avenger * Mighty * Powerful * Helper of the fatherless * Judge * Jealous * King * Maker * Provider * Advocate * Most High * Comforter * Mighty Rock * Wise * Adonai * Jehovah * Eternal * Compassionate * Glory * Only True God * Righteous *

And…

Jesus, name above all names.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2: 9-11  NLT

* Alpha and Omega * Ancient of Days * Chief Cornerstone * Bread of Life * Christ * Lord * Faithful and True * God’s Son * Great High Priest * Shepherd * He who searches hearts and minds * Light * Holy and Righteous One * Jesus * King of Kings * Lamb of God * Savior * Rabboni * Messiah * Passover Lamb * The Word * The Great Physician * The First and the Last * Wonderful Counselor * Word of Life * Salvation

And, the Holy Spirit

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. Acts 2: 1-3 NIV

* Holy Spirit * Holy Fire * Spirit of the Living God * The Gift * Voice of the Almighty * Holy One * Spirit of Truth

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This day…..Thanking the Great I AM, for all He IS.






Just Give Me Jesus

Today at A Holy Experience we are writing about: The Practice of New Habits

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Jesus

This is the time of the year when I, like so many others, think about habits. Resolutions. Disciplines. What will my priorities be for 2013? It can all seem so overwhelming. By nature, I tend to be an organized person. I make lists and I try to accomplish all the things that are on those lists, but to do lists are easier to complete than habits, or more so, change.

Change. I’m not sure how I feel about that word. It is uncomfortable, it makes me worry.  What if I make a mess of things? Worse yet, what if I fail?

So, with those thoughts in mind, I set out to see what God says about habits.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV My strength comes not from me. I know myself all too well. I give up, become frustrated, throw in the towel. My strength in life comes from the One who never tires, who is a wonderful encourager and knows my faults yet still loves me.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2 ESV —There are times when I feel guilty because I don’t spend enough time meditating on God’s word. I need to not only read more, but truly think about what I read, after all this Word is God’s letter to me.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galations 6:9 ESV– Don’t give up doing the right thing. Not the easiest thing…not the most available thing…but, the right thing. How do I know what is right and good? Go back to God’s word (previous verse). What would please Him? How can I do things with, and in, my life that would glorify Him and edify others?

 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 ESV–Grow in grace. Grace, that amazing grace. It is a wonderful thing. Each day, as a believer in Christ Jesus, I live in that grace. What a privilege to be able to grow in that grace and knowledge of Jesus. I forget that sometimes. It is easy to do, take it for granted, not fully comprehend. A grace filled life, does not mean perfection, nor does it mean a perfect life…but, it is a humbling experience.

I want to live my days in thankfulness to the One that knows no bounds.

My desire this year, is to grow closer to Him.

Just give me Jesus.






Do Not Be Afraid

It is difficult.

English: Trust in the Lord. with all thine hea...

English: Trust in the Lord. with all thine heart, and lean not into thine own understanding. Pass under this sign whenever you enter St John’s Church Hall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My husband tried to reassure me.

His words were true, and yet… the anxiousness was still there.

Why am I this way? I worry and am nervous… about the things that I cannot see…those things I don’t understand.

Lord, You tell me time and time again to trust You. How it must grieve You, during times, I don’t.

To believe Your promises. You are faithful. You know no other way to be.

Trust by faith and not by sight because…

don’t things often become blurred in this life, and can’t we all end up being visually impaired?

And isn’t it also true that when I can’t see into the future, I run to my Abba father?

I draw close to Him because He can see all things, and it is with Him that I am safe?

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV

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Today I am thankful for:

* a husband who wants me to talk with him

* laundry that needs to be done

* opportunity to positively change lives

* soft pillows and snuggly blankets

* the merging of pink and purple in the early morning sky

* creativity

* breath taking beauty

* Thanksgiving

* family

* things to look forward to

* joy in the midst

* second chances

* love, the greatest of these

* the ultimate destination

* Messiah






I’m More Than The “If Only”

The paper was yellowed with age, and it was deeply creased. I gently unfolded it and was taken back to decades past.

Electronic typewriter - the final stage in typ...

The report card(s)made me smile, as former teachers faces flashed before my eyes.  I was an A and B student for most of my school career. Grades were important to me, I always wanted to do my best. If my grades didn’t match what I thought my effort deserved, then I was disappointed in myself.

There is was. My eyes caught that dreaded letter. “D”. One of two that I received in my entire school career. It was in typing of all things. Yes, typing. It was my sophomore year in high school and it was a mandatory class. Computers in the early 80’s were still not “personal” and most people didn’t have one. This was the pre-social media age. (haha)  I learned to type on an electric typewriter whose size took up an entire desk. The timed tests are what got me. Too many mistakes. Oh, how I teared up when the teacher told me the bad news! I was devastated.

I wasn’t good enough. How could I let this happen?

Almost thirty years later, I still struggle with the not good enough. Oh, not the “D”…that has long since melted into history…but, the underlying question remains, “am I good enough?”

How many times do I set the bar in my life, only to fail? To come up short. At times, not even be in the game?

I am guilty of believing that I was the one in control. That when bad things happen I could have, should have, done something. Done better. Tried harder.

I was never in control. Never. Not once. Not, really.

That is a profound statement, isn’t it? So many times we think about the “if onlys”.  If only I was smarter, faster, prettier, skinnier, more organized, more outgoing, more capable……more. more. more. If only I met all these requirements, then everything would be alright. I’d be in control of my circumstances.

It is a struggle. I wish it wasn’t. I want to see myself, like Christ sees me.

Redeemed.

“But, Lord……if only I’d pray more often. If only I did my devotions every day. If only I loved more and forgave more. If only I was more of a reflection of you in my daily life.”  And the “if onlys” widen the gap between me and the One that calls me worthy.

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12 NIV

But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— Colossians 1:22 NIV

And the tears fall, as the words sink in.

Every Good And Perfect Gift

Sometimes when life seems overwhelming, and the to do list isn’t close to getting done…

Lord Howe Island snorkeling - Double headed wr...

When the vehicle needs a new part, and the appointment needs rescheduled…

My students need my time and the lessons aren’t quite done…

The floor needs vacuumed and the tables dusted…

The urgent screams loudly and the world spins in a frenzy.

And my head feels full of all the stuff.

Breathe.Breathe.Breathe.

Slow down. Open your eyes!  Look around. The things to be thankful for are there.

They…..are…..there.

Lord, please help me to never stop looking. Never stop seeing. I never want to be blind to all that is.

Today is the perfect day to be thankful for:

* taking my son to school

* purple streaks of sky splashed on the horizon

* the miracles in nature

* the night sky in the country–diamonds on black velvet

* the chill in the air as Fall erupts in color

* golden trees shimmering in early morning light

* wet dog noses

* singing in the car

* my sweet husband laying next to me

* hugs

* a clean living room

* a full day of opportunity

* a new pitcher of tea

* baby llamas that couldn’t be any cuter

* Christmas catalogs in the mailbox

* Peanuts videos, looking forward to the holiday cartoon “classics”

* safe travel

* visits with family

* children that want to be with me

* friends, near and far

* teaching

* Jesus who knows me, all of me, and yet loves me still

* He who creates

* The One who forgives

* God is good

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17 NIV