Life is all about change. When you trust an unchanging God - you have the ability to embrace change and trust Him in the midst of it. Join me as the Lord leads me through a new phase of my journey.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday's Thoughts ~ Glory beyond all comparison

Blogging and being in TX just don't mix!  I have been having the best time this past week while staying with Ashley, visiting with Heather, holding sweet baby Cooper and hosting a baby shower for Ashley.  I have been able to see friends and family.  It has been an incredible week.  I am actually heading back to Chicago tomorrow morning.  I left there on May 29th!  Guess it is time to go home!

Time off from blogging does not equal time off from the Word!  I wanted to share my thoughts on some amazing scripture in 2nd Corinthians 4.

Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing in us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison while we look not at the things seen, for the things seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

I have always loved this passage.  It is so full of hope!  I have had 3 friends lose their fathers in the last couple of weeks.  It's true -- our earthly bodies are decaying. What this passage offers is perspective.

Physical pain and broken bodies are real.

Affliction and suffering are real (remember that these words are written by Paul as he refers to momentary and light affliction -- the man who was beaten, imprisoned, persecuted, nearly drowned and continually risked his life for the cause of Christ.)

But, Paul reminds us that this is not all there is.  No matter how bad things are, they are nothing in comparison to the eternal weight of glory, far beyond all comparison.

The here and now is temporary.

*Don't be fooled by what you see

*Don't be fooled by what you feel

How difficult it is some days to keep our eyes on the eternal 

to trust God's plans and the bigger picture 

to remember that we are here but a short time
and that eternity sprawls out before us

I get so caught up in the temporal
but I desire to live for the eternal

Do I trust God with all the temporary 
while walking with Him toward the eternal?

Do I really believe that there is more than the here and now?

Do I trust Him with the suffering, injustice and death around me?

Can I rest in His promise and provision for eternity?

We do not grieve as those with no hope.

He is good.

He is real.

He is eternal.

I will not lose heart.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thankful Thursday ~ Reflections on Colorado

I realize what a gift from the Lord and a privilege it is to spend the better part of 6 weeks in the mountains.  It has been a wonderful summer and I cherish each moment.  I can't sum it up any better than offering a few pictures of the highlights.

Mom and Dad's visit

So many deer this summer - absolutely beautiful!

Alan got to do a lot of fishing while he was here.

Surrounded by such incredible beauty.

Some stunning sunsets this year.

A visit from my beautiful, Ashely, and soon to be grandson!

A visit from Whitney.
Heather and precious baby Cooper!
This smile  . . .
Cooper and Heather

Vallecito Creek Trail

The sheer creative power of God.

My constant companion -- the Quinster!

It has been an amazing summer in every way.  I have loved the quiet and the noise!  I have loved some alone time and the company of family and friends.  I have soaked it up and I will save it up while I am away.  I am so very thankful for this place.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tuesday's Thoughts ~ Written on my heart

The Lord just has me in a tender place this morning.  I had an idea about something I wanted to write about, and He just completely changed it as I read 2nd Corinthians 3. 

You are a letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 
being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, 
cared for by us, written not with ink, 
but with the Spirit of the living God, 
not on tablets of stone 
but on tablets of human hearts.

Beside this passage in my Bible, I have written "the heart of ministry."  I think it is also the mystery of ministry.  The Lord places people in my life - whether they are family, neighbors, small group women, church friends, teachers, workout buddies or chance encounters that become friends and He writes their lives and their stories on my heart.  Those stories then are reflected in my own life.

It isn't casual - it isn't compartmentalized.  

It isn't a day at the office.

It is a caring that seeps into my heart and my bones.

The Spirit actually writes these names into my heart and soul.

Just as the 10 commandments were written by the finger of God on the stone tablets, these people are carved eternally into my heart.

It is wonderful and sometimes terrible.

It is filled with laughter, love, fun 
and tears, criticism and suffering.

It is exhilarating and disappointing.

It is hopeful and heartbreaking.

It is easy and it is hard.

It is joyous and painful.

It is natural and it is contrived.

It is free and it is costly.

It is smiles and proud moments and it is heartache and frustration.

It is athletic events, plays, choir concerts and 
rehabs, mental hospitals, planned parenthood and jails.

It is elation and the pit of despair.

It is being understood and misunderstood.

It is light and it is darkness.

The hope and mission is in verses 5, 6, 17 and 18.  
It is about the Spirit.  He is the source of our adequacy - not ourselves.

He gives life, freedom and transformation.

Ministry is life and life is not about me and it is not about you.

Life is about the Spirit.

Life is about Jesus and we get the privilege of entering into the wonderful, messy business of changed lives.

So many names are written on my heart over these last 37 plus years of the Lord inviting me to join in on His mission.

In the world's eyes, I certainly do not have a perfect record --- far from it!  In fact, it is pretty messy and I've made a lot of mistakes.  

But in that imperfect love, the Spirit has done some amazing things and there are many stories that are still being written.

Like initials carved in a tree, those imprints and even scars remain.  They are my treasure, my pain, my joy, my sorrow, my gift.

It is the core of who I am in Jesus and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thursday's Thoughts ~ Just read the directions

First Corinthians 16:13-14 is one of those jewels in Scripture where living life is summed up very succinctly.  We can make it very complicated when it is perhaps simpler than we think.

"Be on the alert, 
stand firm in the faith, 
act like men, be strong.  
Let all that you do be done in love."

Be on the alert.

Pay attention!  Certainly be on the alert for our true adversary.  We are told that he is always on the prowl. (1st Peter 5:8)
Be alert to the whispers, shouts and leading of the Holy Spirit.

Be alert for opportunities to love, serve, share, encourage and bless others.

Be intentional.

Stand firm in the faith.

I don't know when we have needed this more.  The pressure and temptation to be "less so" in our beliefs and actions is pervasive.  There is pressure to back off, fit in and shut up.  Jesus calls us to be kind but courageous.

Act like men.

Well, this is a little problematic for me!  In this context, I'm thinking it relates back to being alert and standing firm.  It is a call to step it up -- to live boldly and with purpose -- to be decisive and lead where God calls.

Be strong.

Boy, most days I feel weak, not strong, but the good news is that the Lord is mighty in my weakness.  So in those times, I need to be strong in my resolve to lean into His strength.  I rely on Him for the strength to be His woman in each and every situation.

Let all you do be done in love.

This is the umbrella over every thing that has been commanded here.  ALL is pretty ALL encompassing - isn't it?  How would my life change if I allowed this to always be my first thought - the filter that every word and action must go through before it takes place.

The Lord knows this is challenging.  In some ways, the other things seem easier, but without the love, they don't amount to much.  The heart of the gospel is love and only through the power of Jesus can we live that out.

I'm not that great with directions, but I want this passage to direct my steps each day.  I am thankful for the Word and how very down to earth with a heavenly touch it is.  I'm thankful that the Lord gives us direction and then gives us the power to follow it.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thankful Thursday ~ My BIG God

I was reading Psalm 57 this week and just had one of those huge sigh moments when you are overwhelmed by the enormity of God's love and care.  Be encouraged by our very BIG God.

He is seen in the details and in the big picture.

Psalm 57, verses 1-3

Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me
(how desperately I am in need of your grace - apart from it I would be in big trouble!  I stumble around in my own struggles and sin - but your grace is bigger)

For my soul takes refuge in You 
and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge
(You are my safe place - I can crawl up in Your lap and You wrap Your arms around me.  I am safe and sheltered in Your shadow - protected and loved.)

I will cry to God most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me.
(It is Him -- His might, His power, His plan, His strength!  He accomplishes all things for me - not just some things -- all things.  I can rest in that.  I can leave worry and stress behind.  I can trust in His plans and purposes. )

He will send from heaven and save me.
(Yep - I am that important to Him.  Seriously -- hard to wrap my mind around that one!  You are that important as well.    His eye is on you.  He is never negligent.  He is never late.  He is always for you.)

He reproaches him who tramples upon me.
(He has my back -- all the time.)

God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth.
(What more could I need?)

My Grace Giver

My Refuge

My Safe Place

The One Who Accomplished All Things

My Defender

My Savior

I am thankful.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Musings ~ Every day is Thanksgiving

I've been reading through the Psalms and as I read through Psalm 50, I noticed a familiar theme.

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving. 
Psalm 50:14

He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me. 
Psalm 50:23

This Psalm addresses Israel's willingness to readily sacrifice bulls and goats, but neglect to do the very thing that God really wanted them to do -- have a thankful heart.

It is a good reminder that God does not need anything.  Everything belongs to Him.  He is not hungry or thirsty.  He is not looking for a need to be met.

He does, however, know what we need 
and in this case it was a sacrifice of praise.

It is not difficult to praise God when things are going well, although, we can forget to do so.  We can begin to think that we have achieved much ourselves.  We forget that every good gift comes from the Lord.  With that said, when things work out, go as we wished and come together, we find it easy to thank God.

During difficult times, we may instinctively turn to God, pleading for help, strength and peace.  It takes faith and trust to move beyond that place of pain to a place of thanksgiving and praise.

Psalm 51:17 says "The sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."

Faith and trust are exercised in the midst of heartache and struggle

      in the midst of "I just don't understand this"

           in the midst of injustice

                in the midst of fatigue





The ability to praise God in every circumstance actually lifts you up above it - where you will perhaps have a more accurate (if not heavenly) view of the situation.

Our praise and thanksgiving demonstrates our trust in a good, loving, all powerful, all knowing Father who is always for us -- continually forming His Son in us.

If only our most joyous moments and our moments of deepest despair would both direct us to look to God and offer Him praises of thanksgiving!

He draws near and we see Him more clearly.

And in that moment -- 
we become more like Jesus.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thankful Thursday ~ God's Majesty

I never cease to be amazed at the display of God's Majesty here in the mountains.  No matter how many times I trek down the Vallecito Creek Trail, I am in awe of the beauty of God's creation.  I am so thankful to have the chance to experience this and soak it in!  Here is a little thankful Thursday photo shoot.  You will see how God reveals Himself through what He has made!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

I tend to agree.

Have a blessed thankful Thursday!