At The Quieting of the Day

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Lately, I’ve been finding myself sitting at my computer in front of the window at just the right time of day to enjoy twilight.  Glowing patterns are created across the sky, and the sounds of the day lessen until I can hear the water fountain running, from across the street.  The muffled sound of a plane flying in the distance reminds me of how big the world is, and at the same time I notice how easily palm branches move in the wind…they don’t fight it.  Then, a single bird chirps, as if he is the last of his fleet to find out that the day is coming to a close.  Twilight is a gift, when the quieting of the day draws my attention not only to the wonderful things that have been made, but to the One Who so kindly made them.

“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You
created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” – Revelation 4:11

A Necessary Part of Ourselves

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“Scripture does more than give us permission to express our sadness; it considers grieving
losses as central to our spiritual growth… To deny sadness is like trying to deny an arm or a leg;
it is to amputate a vital and necessary part of ourselves.” – Geri Scazzero


Psalm 77

“I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?
Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.’
Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”

Love Is

sunset-815270__480What is love?  To me, love is Jesus forgiving Peter for denying that he knew Him.  Love is Jesus inviting Matthew, an unpopular tax collector, to follow Him, learn from Him, and to be His friend.  Love is Jesus washing His friends’ feet.  Love is Jesus multiplying loaves of bread for the hungry masses.  Love is Jesus asking His Father to forgive His persecutors at the same time that He was suffering.  Love is Jesus assuring a humbled, dying thief that he would, that day, be with Him in paradise.  Jesus gave us the perfect example of how to love.  He forgave.  He invited.  He washed.  He multiplied.  He interceded.  He accepted.  Thank you, Jesus.

“And now these three remain: faith hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Hearts In Pieces

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Hearts In Pieces

Was just me and a book
in my small kitchen nook
when the sun cast a ray
over me as I shook

Light turned to dark
hearts were in mourning
and suddenly thoughts
of loss without warning

Stories emerged of special lives
teachers and nurses, and husbands and wives
of heroic deeds, and self-sacrifice
of those who passed and of those who survived

To the mothers and brothers and sisters and daughters
the spouses, grandparents, grandchildren, sons, fathers
the nephews, the friends, the cousins, the nieces
to all those affected, whose hearts are in pieces

When the sun comes up, we wake with you
we mourn your loss and ache with you
pray comfort, you can take with you
know the stories of courage grew our hearts too

-kb


“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18

Where Is Your Treasure?

holding-hands-2600576__480My husband and I flew to Vermont last week to see his mom and stepdad.  It made me uneasy, as I am an unenthusiastic flyer.  I sometimes wonder if at least part of the reason for this is that my grandfather died in a plane crash, and although it occurred before I was born, I witnessed the hole it left in the hearts of his (my) family.  So although flying is statistically a safe form of travel, it can make me fearful.  Some may think that a Christian should not be subject to these feelings since they believe that God has their back and in the end, will be with Him anyway, but the feelings are a result of our humanness, and although I believe that God would prefer we trust Him in every situation, I know that He also has compassion on us in our weaknesses.  My husband often says that once we move beyond this life and are with God, we won’t have a care in the world, and that it’s toughest for the people here who mourn our passing.  I do agree.  When we are in God’s presence, we will be completely content.  The Bible verse I read on the morning of the flight encourages people to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy” (Matthew 6:20).  It reminded me that if what we value most is our eternal life with God, then our hearts can rest more easily when we are doing things that make us afraid.  Like flying, for instance.  I’m glad that God calls us to Himself through Jesus, not only so we have our eternal home with Him, but so we can also experience the comfort of knowing Him as we walk (or fly) to each new destination in this life.

From A Long Way Off

merciful-father-2629952__480Something I have been thinking about a lot lately is how God in the Old Testament (OT) sometimes seems different from the God Jesus came to make known.  I know that He is not different because God does not change…“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).  The Bible also reveals that Jesus is God…“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.  He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation” (Colossians 1:15), and that He is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  So why does it seem like God was more stern in the OT, whereas Jesus makes familiar a God of love, patience, mercy, and forgiveness?  First, I need to say that the OT is not without examples of the love and forgiveness of God…I just get more insight into the gentleness of God, in Jesus.  So this is a question I will continue to ask God about.  But one thing I do know.  I know that God is love…“God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).  And I have experienced His love first hand, when at times I have acted less than loving toward Him and He has made it known to me, whether it was through something I read, something someone said, or just a reassuring thought, that He was still there and was present with me.  Through Jesus, God forgives us our shortcomings and not only that, but like the prodigal son, He sees us from a “long way off” and is “filled with compassion” (Luke 15:20).

If I Were Lost

For some reason, I was aware of the love and reality of God, early on…

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“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39
“‘Am I a God who is only close at hand?’ says the Lord.  ‘No, I am far away at the same time.  Can anyone hide from me in a secret place?  Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?’ says the Lord.” – Jeremiah 23:23-24
“The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” – Psalm 121:8

Being Still and Knowing

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Have you ever woken up feeling anxious about the state of the world?  If so, Psalm 46 is a good one to read.  It reaffirms God’s sovereignty and His continual presence.  It also includes a truth that is helpful in countering every worry…

“Be still, and know that I am God!  I will be honored by every nation.  I will be honored throughout the world.”- Psalm 46:10

From Seed to Stalk

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Seed to Stalk

I saw you shoot from soil to sky
So little I knew of the you still inside
That one day you’d flower
that your stalks would reach high
So little I knew of your special design

I saw you flourish, then one day you stopped
Your pieces changed color ’til some parts, they dropped
the earth below you seemed hard as a rock
Then suddenly life in a place it was not

I saw you move as soon as you knew
that you had a home, and quickly you grew
almost out of the pot you came home in, it’s true
And the more that you grew, the more beautiful you

It’s from God, is it not?  You, from seed to stalk?
The flowers that bloom, and the new life in spots?
The reason we grow almost out of our pots?
‘Cause we now know Home, with His life, has been bought.

– kb

“It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” – 1 Corinthians 3:7

Everyone Familiar

handshake-2056021__480“It was not only the people of His day, but it is so common for people of all times to just keep commandments and church laws and observe the externals of religion.  In living this way, we miss the point of what worship of God really is, falling each day more deeply in love with God, expressing that love by our sensitivity to the pain and hurt around us, and reaching out to help others, even strangers.  To a person who has found God, no person, ever again, is a stranger.  In that is the perfection of love, the kind of love that God is, a love that knows no strangers.” – Joseph F. Girzone, “A Portrait of Jesus”

“…I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger, and you welcomed me…” – Matthew 25:35