Tag Results For :: "Christ"




Away

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Who will give me wings,” I ask—
“wings like a dove?”
Get me out of here on dove wings;
I want some peace and quiet.
I want a walk in the country,
I want a cabin in the woods.

— Psalm 55:6, The Message

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Sometimes, I still picture this: Sitting out on Mission Peninsula, surrounded by the greens and blues of northern Michigan, where the cool clear day and a glass of iced tea brought a moment’s respite from real life—the place where I actually live.

The thing about being away is that you don’t belong there. It’s great while it lasts. But it doesn’t last.

So, instead I think I’ll aim to live here:

I call to God;
God will help me.
At dusk, dawn, and noon I sigh
deep sighs—he hears, he rescues.
My life is well and whole, secure
in the middle of danger
Even while thousands
are lined up against me.

— Psalm 55:16, The Message

Lord, I’m looking to You today, waiting on Your help and direction, drawing close to Your promises and peace. Show me the way ahead in the midst of this day’s surroundings—in Christ, I pray.

Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—
he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.

— Psalm 55:22, The Message



Oak Trees Dancing

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Go where the best prayers take you. — Frederick Buechner

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God’s thunder sets the oak trees dancing
A wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips their branches.
We fall to our knees—we call out, “Glory!”
Above the floodwaters is God’s throne
from which his power flows,
from which he rules the world.
God makes his people strong.
God gives his people peace.

— Psalm 29:9-11, The Message

It’s the water dropping from the live oak trees, the small gems shining. It’s the clouds lifting across the charged air currents, the long winds sweeping. It’s the summer light in darkness, the warm solstice at dawn, the calendar page on time.

Above, beyond, and within, He rules.

Lord, magnificent Creator, Father of us all, Your grace is no small thing. Thank You for every good and perfect gift your love brings! Enlarge my heart to receive Your strength, respond to Your peace, and recognize Your glory — in Christ, I pray.



Real Wealth, Rich Simplicity

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Be good to your servant, God;
    be as good as your Word.
Train me in good common sense;
    I’m thoroughly committed to living your way.
Before I learned to answer you, I wandered all over the place,
    but now I’m in step with your Word.
You are good, and the source of good;
    train me in your goodness.
The godless spread lies about me,
    but I focus my attention on what you are saying;
They’re bland as a bucket of lard,
    while I dance to the tune of your revelation.
My troubles turned out all for the best—
    they forced me to learn from your textbook.
Truth from your mouth means more to me
    than striking it rich in a gold mine.
— Psalm 119:65-72, The Message
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A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. — 1 Timothy 6:7a, The Message

What current activity or opportunity might be distracting you from enjoying this kind of simplicity in your life? When you see unmet needs for leadership and/or service around you—in your job or community, at home, school, or church, among your friends, family, and co-workers—do you want to respond and try to meet the need according to a list of “shoulds” instead of focusing on what God has specifically called you to do?

What goes? What stays? What needs adding?

Our natural inclination when we’re under pressure is to turn away from God’s peace. Notice the symptoms: Anxiety, upset, worry, irritability, comparisons, anger, and resentment. “Lord, don’t you care?” Choosing to wait upon the Lord and trust Him with our concerns isn’t easy or automatic. We can choose to turn toward Life as we seek Christ’s help and direction, wherever we find ourselves.

What comes to mind as you ask God for discernment about distractions in your life today?



Breathing Room

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.

— C. S. Lewis

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God, listen to me shout, bend an ear to my prayer.
When I’m far from anywhere,
down to my last gasp,
I call out, “Guide me
up High Rock Mountain!”

You’ve always given me breathing room,
a place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
an open invitation as your guest.
You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
made me welcome among those who know and love you.

— Psalm 60:1-5, The Message

This morning wasn’t yesterday, or even the day before. Each waking up time seems to have a ready-made agenda by the time my eyes open about where to look, whom to listen to, what to focus on. Am I willing to begin all over again? Whose invitation at the start of this day’s journey will I accept?

One thing is clear: The mountain I start climbing from the moment my eyes and ears open can only be scaled in single steps, one foot after another, with each day’s journey enough by itself, all the way to the top. There is no other way to get where I’m going.

Lord, help me begin all over again each day in the space of Your breathing room. I confess my tendency to focus on the past, to choose today’s itinerary based on previous experience, to set a predetermined schedule about how far I’ll travel in the next twenty-four hours. Guard and keep me on your path as I climb as far and as long as You decide, day by day—in Christ, I pray.



The Home I’m Made For

May 24th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.

“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.”

John 15:1-4, The Message

Living in Christ . . . keeping His commandments. This is the deeply rooted foundation upon which believers build. Then, firmly planted, we are able to stand against the strongest winds of winter and in season bear fruit for the kingdom of God. Good works, spiritual gifts, productive maturity―all the things we associate with what it means to be the Lord’s disciple―come out of abiding. They blossom from the encouragement we receive from total dependence upon Jesus and His Word.

Lord, my life is in Your hands. Thank you for pruning and preparing me according to Your plans and purposes: You’re the home I’m made for! May I bear Your fruit, manifest Your peace, and know Your joy in response to Your life, guarded forever by the patient nurture of your steadfast love ― in Christ, I pray.

 

“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.

“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you.”

John 9-15, The Message



Every Moment

May 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Use all your skill to put me together;
I wait to see your finished product.

Psalm 25:21, MSG

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Sometimes I forget: Right now, and in every moment, God is making me.

Lord, as you stitch and mend me, piece by piece, lead me to recognize and receive your love in every moment — in Christ, I pray.

 

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
― Frederick Buechner



Amazing. Extravagant. Intimate: God’s grace, love, and friendship

May 14th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , ,

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The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.

— 2 Corinthians 13:14, The Message




Woven Into Love

May 11th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God’s great mystery.

—Colossians 2:2, MSG

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Seeing this stack of expertly made blankets at a farmer’s market in New Mexico invites closer inspection. You can’t help noticing the vivid variety of patterns, textures, and colors on display.

Many of us have heard the comparison made between a person’s life and a hand-woven tapestry. When thinking about this on a larger scale—viewing our lives not only from a solitary standpoint but from the perspective that God is weaving us together into his love—what else do we see?

Lord, let my first thought each morning direct my heart to Your love. As I focus on You, help me to see my life and the coming day as an integral part of Your unfolding design, in which every moment becomes an opportunity for me to receive and respond to your love—in Christ, I pray.  

 

Do you know what hurts so very much? It’s love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain. There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill that love so that it stops hurting. But then of course part of us dies, too. Or we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel.

— Corrie ten Boom



Getting in Focus

May 4th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.

— Proverbs 4:25-26

 

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This morning my friend Christine emailed me a copy of this useful chart published by Learning Fundamentals. Its decision tree reminds me of the nerves and synapses that somehow link my heart, mind, and soul together to create focus.

I’m glad that the key element of my decision-making design, not pictured on the chart above, is actually a Person upon whom I can rely for help with getting in focus.

Lord, I need your wisdom today as I focus amidst my distractions. I’m trusting Your Spirit will direct my heart, mind, and soul toward You first. Thank you for the life-giving guidance You alone always provide—in Christ, I pray.

 

Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.

— Phillips Brooks



Courage Patience Peace

May 3rd, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , ,

The LORD will accomplish his purpose for me.

Thy true love, O LORD, endures forever;

leave not thy work unfinished.

— Psalm 138:8, NEB

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Sometimes, I start to think: My rate of growth and how I grow is mainly up to me.

Sometimes, I need to remember: The primary facts shaping my existence, beginning with how I got here, aren’t up to me.

Lord, thank you for reminding me that I live and grow in You. May Your Spirit provide me with the courage, patience, peace, and whatever else I need today. I believe you will accomplish your purpose for me in Christ, I pray.

 

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones. And when you have finished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.

— Victor Hugo