Category Archives: Christmas

July 31, 2021 His truth, our joy.

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Good morning, DearHeart.
Summer mornings, on the front porch = Divine reconnection … where thoughts go a bit deeper, and His Holiness rises to the occasion.
For those of us who believe in God, who find rest in the intelligence of Love, and for those open enough to consider it …
For those of us in pain––from the deeply personal, to the sorrow of disunity we can taste …
For those of us who have Joy to offer because our faith keeps us running back to it––we know that Joy is where we are formed by the Master Creator … joy is our original state, Holiness empowers us …
For those of us interested in walking out these days … where spirituality is way more adventure than religion, where the heart calls the shots, where we believe in the miracle of the lessons all around us …
For those who choose to believe …
“He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to him.
Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,
and you will find the right way to go.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will fill you with joy.
Proverbs 2:7-10 NLT
Everything here is meant to lead back to what your heart knows, way down deep, His truth is our joy.
Wake up.
Seek Truth.
Find Joy.
Go

May 14, 2021 in the winds, in the stillness

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Good morning, DearHeart.
There is something about the stillness of the morning, when the wind doesn’t blow, that creation seems to be heightened.
In the stillness, Russell Crow (our rooster) begins to sound off about 4:30AM. (He has chilled a little and hasn’t tried to attack me since before the February freeze). His early morning crowing seems to echo off of the trees on the creek.
Dale’s coffee pot, on auto-start, brews and wafts into each room. I’m not a big coffee drinker, but love the smell of coffee the morning – especially mornings that are calm and easy.
The tree that sits north east of the porch begins to come alive with chirping around 5:45. The songs of the morning birds build and build like an orchestra delivering the peak to a movie plot.
All, a part of my early mornings.
All such a contrast to mornings when the force-filled Oklahoma winds are humming.
The sounds all remind me of Elijah … running for his life, has an encounter with God. The Lord tells him to go out on the mountain and stand there. As he was standing there, Elijah experienced a windstorm which was so terrible that the rocks were torn loose. But the Lord was not in the wind.
He then experienced an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake either.
After the earthquake, he experienced a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
After the fire, there was the sound of a gentle whisper.
“And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:12, NLT)
And Elijah encountered the Lord.
At times, the storms of life will blow cold and harsh upon our days. Our foundations may quake and shake a bit on those days when unexpected (and unwanted) news is delivered to us. With a single strike, our emotions can feel like they have been set ablaze.
And it is right in those moments, if we lean in ever so slightly, our souls will encounter the Holy Spirit of our God …
“I will never leave you nor forsake you!”
“I have loved you with an everlasting love!”
“You are bought with a price, you are Mine!
“I am the Lord, your God. Is anything to hard for Me?”
Perhaps it is why I love this story in Elijah so much. The winds, the earthquake, and the fire could all be experienced by others… but, the gentle, small whisper? It is meant for the audience of one. His child. It is heard only by the one to whom the Lord is speaking, to the one who is listening. The one who is expecting a Word from their Savior.
Wake up.
Expect His whisper.
Listen.
Go.

January 15, 2021 Rock

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Good morning, DearHeart.
When Bryan was doing an internship in Alaska to complete his Bachelor’s from Southwestern, we went there to visit him. I picked up these smooth rocks from the edge of the Homer Spit on Katchemak Bay. I’ve stacked them at least a thousand times – always a reminder of God’s faithfulness to me. (The buckeye on top is a different story for another day 😉).
That year was the darkest of my life. Lessons are learned and absorbed when the only thing you can do to get from one day to the next … one hour to the next … is place every breath on God. To stack rocks you have to get still.
I had to train my brain to get so very still during that time because it was prone to lose focus and scatter in a zillion, even darker, directions. The rocks are in my kitchen windowsill; a constant and very personal reminder of His faithfulness to me. It seems when when tough times come, I look up and they have tumbled again and have to be reset.
A God-is-faithful reset.
His “no-matter-what’ Ang, you can trust me through the process” – that level of faithfulness.
I woke in the night with this tune in my head … I wonder if I was dreaming of rock climbing – or maybe I fell off a rock … and Jesus caught me … again … like he does over and over … and put me back in my place –
“ … on Christ the Solid Rock I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand”.
In Psalms the writer used this imagery in referring to God. Repeatedly.
The psalmist knew it to be true … God was always the protection and foundation he sought after.
“Since you are my Rock and my Fortress, for the sake of Your name lead and guide me.” Psalm 31:3, NIV
God is our Rock. The title “rock” fully describes Him as
my Savior,
Redeemer,
Refuge.
This verse reminds me of all that is strong, secure, and safe about God. I’m asking myself, in these rocky days … am I living each day maintaining, declaring, believing that God is my Rock? If I stand firm on His character and His Word, then my faith will be unshakable.
God is our Fortress. David was trusting God to be his ultimate defense, not depending on any other source. This leads me to a second question – Am I letting Him be the source that I turn to?
“Adversity does not make us frail; it only shows us how frail we are.”
(Anonymous)
It’s true.
In discovering our “frailness”, we also discover our only true source
of strength,
of reinforcement,
and support is our God.
We come to discover we are stronger than we thought becauseHis strength will be our strength.
God is our Rock and our Fortress.
Thank you, Jesus.
Wake up.
Stack the rocks.
My God is faithful.
Go.

January 11, 2021 radiance

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Good morning, DearHeart,

She comes in brazen glory. Full and satisfied all in the same breath. So fully present that the stars stay out to face her. Have you noticed?

A closer look into her is revealing … it is the Holy Spirit pressing in while pressing out. Joy lifts her. Joy cures her broken parts. Remarkable.

“This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10 NLT

The God Most High radiates through His beloved.

He lights.

He burns.

He soothes.

He is the constant melody. Gentle. Pure. Pulsing. Fizzing. Rooting. Flying. Polishing. Delight.

Delight is the fiber of your unusual nature, God’s Child. Your Creator placed that there for Divine purpose. Joy is the grit of your Soul. Ah. Sweet joy. Share it.

Wake up.

Give joy away.

Go.

December 28, 2020 declare

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Good Morning, DearHeart.

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

The skies display his craftsmanship.

Day after day they continue to speak;

night after night they make him know.

They speak without a sound or word;

their voice is never heard.

Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,

and their words to all the world.”

(Psalm 19: 1-4, NLT)

The world around us – all of creation – is a self disclosure of God Almighty. All of nature is making God known, narrating His story to all of mankind.

The word “proclaim” means to “reveal something which one would not otherwise know” (Key Word Bible). Creation around us testifies of the existence and the excellence of the Creator Himself, who made it all.

The heavens proclaim, the skies display, all making Him known as they continue to speak. The sun bursts, the moon radiates, the earth rejoices. From one end of the earth to the other, God is revealed.

There will never be a day that this revelation of God is not seen as creation will pour out its speech day after day, night after night. Every aspect of creation seeks to make known God’s power,

goodness,

faithfulness,

generosity,

and power.

All that already being spoken and God still gave us His Word, His written Word. Through His chosen writers who were moved by the Holy Spirit, He gave us all we needed to know and penned His thoughts for us to hold and read in the our Bible.

It is between those very covers we will find all we need for this life …

instruction to revive us,

decrees to make us wise,

commandments to bring joy to our hearts,

insight for living,

laws that bring us warning and reward when obeyed,

enlightenment when in darkness.

In looking out at the vastness of the sky surrounded by the beauty of the plains, I see God.

I feel His Presence with me.

The assurance comes that He will always be sovereign and all is in His control. No matter how crazy life may become around me, He remains the same.

We live in a time when disease is wrecking families. Folks are clamoring to make more of themselves – desire for success, building platforms, and looking for recognition.

Instead of being self-focused may we become God-focused. May we seek to get a glimpse of Him – of His greatness – in the world around us … created by His very word.

“We are all starved for the glory of God, not self. No one goes to the Grand Canyon to increase self-esteem … There is greater healing for the soul in beholding the splendor than there is in beholding self.” (John Piper)

Notice today, the splendor of God all around you.

Wake up.

Look around.

Go.

December 24, 2020 eve

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Merry Christmas Eve, DearHeart.
Our tree is a treasure of memories. Every once in a while, especially during the holidays, our minds take a trip down memory lane, reviewing the highlights of years passed, thinking on where it all began. Memories of dreams we had starting out, the twists and turns as life took us on a journey through each bend in the road … journeys with unexpected plots.
Journeys … unexpected plots … here I am … back in Matthew … again … reading about Mary … again.
You know this journey well:
young woman,
engaged to Joseph,
angel paid her a visit.
Unexpected.
There is no indication that Mary thought this ordeal for which she had been “chosen” was a mess. No hint that she felt like she was suckered in or cursed…or even scared or upset. Or, a fine mess she’d gotten herself into. None of that.
I think of my own messes.
I have been a mess,
lived in a mess,
and more times than not, created a mess.
Mess – as in
-a dirty, untidy, or disordered condition
-a state of embarrassing confusion
-an unpleasant or difficult situation
-a jumble
Any way we look at it, a mess leaves us feeling ineffective, at times purposeless, and useless. At times, we can wonder what is it that is wrong with us, or question what is missing in our lives.
But, it is right in the middle of our messes where God does His best work. He can step in to you and me, the ones he refers to as His “masterpiece” and turn those very messes into miracles which will astound for the rest of our days.
Mary, a masterpiece – in a miracle – that was disguised as a mess.
Miracle, as defined by that same dictionary:

  • a wonder; a marvel
  • an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God
    Each and every one of us, known and loved by God, are miracles.
    Our messes, too, are miracles.
    The same work that went into the mother of the Savior of the World is the same work going on in the middle of your mess.
    Every broken piece is a part of the artwork He is creating.
    Every fragmented area, He is looking to make whole.
    Every part of this pandemic – He is pulling out of us a closer walk with Him.
    You know – Mary didn’t see her obedience as a mess. It was just sold-out faith. Jesus surely got her DNA when it came to how He looks at a us … “there’s no mess here, just a miracle at work … right here, in My masterpiece”.
    He’s not so much concerned with who we’ve been, but who we will become by wholeheartedly putting our faith in Him. Like His Mom, Mary, did.
    Our mess is never, ever, ever wasted. It is a tool of purpose in the hand of a very strategic God if we’ll humble ourselves to become fully healed vessels.
    The story is not just a story of a tired and stale religion.
    It is a story of your heart, and my heart, on the cusp of being set ablaze once again.
    God sees the entire picture of our lives, from birth to death. And, He knows what His power can achieve in a life wholly surrendered to Him. He never gives up on any of us but finishes each masterpiece He begins.
    “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6, NLT)
    “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT).
    Wake up.
    Sell out.
    Full faith.
    Go.