Category Archives: Jesus

April 7, 2020 why and what if

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Good morning, DearHeart.
I’m married to a questioning sort of person, constantly asking questions. Constantly reasoning. Constantly a problem solver. I used to think he was asking ME the questions – but, I’ve learned he is not seeking a quick answer, but finds merely the asking of a question causes him to think deeper, and solve thoroughly. By asking, he is simply processing.
The questions most asked are “Why… ?”, and “What if …?”
“Why”, and “what if”, can set one’s heart into a panic but a while back, Psalm 124 was before me and it also asks the question:
“What if the Lord had not been on our side?”
It asks not once but twice in a short eight verses, a repetition demanding our attention.
“What if the Lord had not been on our side?”
The answer is quite simple – we would not have survived.
We would have gone down for the count.
We would have been destroyed when people speak ill of us,
when anger is spewed on us,
when circumstances overwhelm us,
when we feel cornered,
rejected,
abandoned,
or unloved.
Or, perhaps its when relationships fail us;
when the checkbook runs out of funds;
when the refrigerator is empty;
when our dream job suddenly comes to an end;
or when illness strikes.
But the psalmist, King David, is not asking the question because anxiety is great within him. In fact, I feel his faith and a call to also ask the question … it is in the asking that our faith will be built up.
David tells us in the psalm what could have happened, but did not, because the Lord was on the side of His people. He states the “what if” scenarios to remind us not of the difficulties but to shift our hearts to remember …
The Lord was indeed with us and on our side.
“Praise the Lord … Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (verse 8, NLT)
We can look at our present difficulties, those challenging days, and remind our souls of the greatness and power of our God. It is out of our hard days that we develop a faith to stand firm in the promise of His help.
“What if the Lord had not been on our side? Let all Israel repeat: What if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us? They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger. The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us. Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives. Praise the Lord, who did not let their teeth tear us apart! We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free! Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalms‬ ‭124:1-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬
Wake up.
What if God is already there?
He is. We are safe.
Go.

April 6, 2020

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Good morning, DearHeart.
Dad’s favorite tv show is the news. Always has been. So, in the morning, and in the evening – I turn it on and listen. Maybe, it is partly habit, but, like Dad, I appreciate being informed. Even when the news is troubling … and … at the moment, that is the tale. The experts warn that this week in America we will begin to see the darkest days of the virus. 2000+ years ago, the Savior of the World and His closest disciples were feeling the same pressure – didn’t know what to expect, but did feel the pressure of dark change looming. Like them, we want answers. It is even more than that – — we are of the opinion that we are entitled to get the answers that we demand. I am not sure how or when we all got this way. Perhaps it was with the advancement of technology which brings so much information right to our fingertips & before our eyes. Anything we want to know, we can “google” & the answers are before us. As much as that can be a good thing, I wonder if it is more of a hindrance to us than we even realize.
I think we have slowly lost our ability to say this simple phrase:
“I. Don’t. Know.”
Pastor, Jonathan Martin, writes:
Sometimes,
the sacred thing,
the wise thing,
the compassionate thing,
the best thing,
the anointed thing,
is simply to shut up.
I learned a long time ago that there are some thing in life so dark that if an answer is asked for, the only reply we are able to give is our tears or our presence. Sometimes the best response is in the courage and wisdom to say, “I don’t know,” but then don’t walk away. Some questions are NOT opportunities; they’re temptations – to play God, to play the expert, to play doctor, to build a platform or reputation.
(Prototype, pages 102-103)
We tend to equate the words, “I don’t know,” with ignorance.
That is a lie.
Those words are actually a sign of wisdom.
Perhaps even of humility. May we not be tempted to play God as that is the very thing that brought about the fall of Lucifer. May we not be tempted to rest on our intelligence & give answers that only God can give.
Proverbs 10:19 puts it this way for us:

  • “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” (NIV84)
  • “Too much talk leads to sin.
  • Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” (NLT)
  • “The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words.” (MSG)
    So let’s quiet. Let’s be a wise people and know that our God is able. And, in this week – God is on His throne. God has a plan. God is working.
    Wake up.
    Stay safe.
    Let your words be few.
    Go.

April 3, 2020 riverbend

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Good morning, DearHeart.

If these were normal days, I’d be driving to Texas today to facilitate a weekend women’s retreat. My mom would be in the car with me. And, my BFF from childhood would be waiting there – actually, several of my role models would be there … at a retreat center/campground with neat little cabins on a river. I’m bummed this morning to be here instead of there.

Like we always do, whether we’ve not seen each other in 4 days or 4 years, Nancy Buzbee and Angie Coon would pick up where we left off.

Our theme was, is, will be “Mission Impossible”. Ironic – at the time selected who could’ve known that getting to the retreat would be impossible?

We carry deep our missions impossible, don’t we??

• The one in an affair. Adultry.

• The one who ends a pregnancy. Abortion.

• The one who drinks too much. Alcoholism.

• The one who steals money. Embezzler.

• The one who ends a marriage. Divorce.

• The one who lies on a test. Cheat.

• The one that is left in a broken relationship. Unwanted.

• The one fired from a job. Enemy.

• The one raising a rebellious child. Bad parent.

Do you see what I mean? If we are honest, we all do it, to some degree or another. But what about if we were to remember these words of Jesus:

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others.  The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1, 2  NLT).

That should stop us dead in our tracks! The same standard we judge with, will be the standard by which we are judged. Whoa! May I walk in grace & mercy towards others. That is the standard by which I want to be judged. The Message puts it this way:

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults-unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.” 

I do not think that any of us would sign up to be picked on, jumped on or criticized. Yet that is the same treatment we will receive if we treat others in that manner. Sign up to sow seeds of love, instead.

Even as we are stuck at home, reach out in love.

May we remember that, in Christ, we have been forgiven. Not only that, but He has far removed our sins,

“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:12 NLT).

God loves impossible situations. Especially those that we have assigned a label and sewn on our heart. Those ‘impossibles’ are where He does His finest work.

Wake up.

Postponed is not cancelled.

Trust God’s timing for your finest hour.

Go.

April 2, 2020 little calves

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Liv loves little calves. We all do. They are signs of a normal spring for us. Back when life was normal …

well, time has changed our days more quickly than anyone would’ve thought possible. In the blink of an eye, everything was different and nothing was normal.

School days are remote. Getting groceries means gloves and mask. Work days are done at home, or not at all for some. CSC guidelines slide into our days. This is a new territory that we trod.

“Do you think we will ever return to normal?”

Lately, my line of thought lingers on the fact that life will be different from now on.

Our earthling skin wants life smooth and safe. Orderly. Suddenly, any sense of control has slipped away, and in its place reality settles that we were  not ever the ones in control at all. Colossians 1 reminds us of the Savior who reigns over us all: “He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation in His hands” (verse 17, NLT). All creation for all time is in His hands. His hands alone.

We are utterly dependent on God for all our needs and staying connected to Him is vital. Paul warns against disconnection from Christ and tells us, “For he holds the whole body [of Christ] together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it” (Colossians 2:19, NLT). As we stay connected to Christ, and other believers, we guard against becoming undernourished and depleted. Dependent we will thrive and grow.

“Will life ever return to normal?”

Yes. We will return. Normal? Well, who’s want that? That’d be way too boring, anyway.

Perhaps, though … perhaps we will return as a changed people, a people walking more closely with our God and each other. May we pray for one another.

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:9-12 ESV

Wake up.

Held together by your Creator.

New normal.

Go.

April 1, 2020 mask

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Mother made a mask for each of us. This little one is for our baby Rush. Mine has butterflies, one of my most favorite things.

I went to my office the other day. Pulling into the empty parking lot, I prepared to enter. Usually there is an energetic hustle all-around as students are going to class and familiar “good-mornings” echo through our buildings.

Our buildings have been thoroughly sanitized, and empty since the shelter at home order came. So, I put on my mask, pulled on disposable gloves, I pulled clorox wipes from the dispenser and armed my self with sanitizing spray. Sprayed and wiped each door knob and light switch going in and going out.

Closed each door behind me, each making an unusually lonely sound as it closed.

Luke and I went to the store mid-March, when already the shelves were mostly empty. The aisles became a sad commentary of the time we now find ourselves as a virus has forever changed the face of our days.

Even as the empty shelves speak of the fear and greed found in man. But, even then I began to notice something else among my fellow shoppers – a concern for the safety of others, and a desire to help one another.

Food shopping had become common ground, the place where we were all even. The store was the place where we were all on level ground.

There were no differences – all ages, all races, political parties were unmentioned. We were all there to buy basic daily needs of milk, eggs, cheese, bread, and meat.

In these days of constant hand washing, it is recommended to wash with soap and water for twenty seconds – sing the happy birthday song while washing, and you’re good. You know, saying the Lord’s Prayer provides the twenty seconds needed to rid hands of bacteria, while doing the more important work of praying.

“Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.”

God is our Father, who calls us Himself to an intimate and loving relationship. His reign and purposes will be achieved in this world for our good and His glory.

“Give us this day our daily bread.“

We so like to have our cupboards, pantries, and freezers full. We must trust Him for our daily needs as it all comes from His hands. And may we notice that He provides for our needs and not our greed.

“And forgive us our debts,

As we forgive our debtors.“

May we never lose sight of the forgiveness we have been given and offer the same to those who have hurt and wounded us.

“And do not lead us into temptation,

But deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

(Matthew 6:9-13, NKJV)

In these trying days, there is no need at all to fall into the temptation to be

fearful,

or angry,

or resentful of the circumstances surrounding us. God will deliver us from the strategies of the enemy of our souls.

It is days like we are living which bring the powerful reminder

of the sovereignty and power of God –

“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen

Psalm 23

Wake up.

Wash your hands.

Go.

March 31, 2020 ammo

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Luke was loading ammo in the middle of the week (yes, we are 2nd Amendment people, don’t hate, get over it). Our friends have a toilet paper stash to the ceiling. I’m buying powdered milk. These days are not normal. Unusual activities.

Fear or preparedness? Maybe a little of both. It doesn’t really matter.

There is a heightened awareness of threats that surround us. We take extra precautions that are unusual to our norm. The numbers of victims, day by day, continue to rise. In masks and gloves, we sanitize going in, and again going out. And, several times in between.

Such a strange adventure.

When it is over, we will all be living a ‘new-normal’.

When disasters like this virus strike, or any world event comes, we often feel like we have no control over the impact of what is happening, it creates fear, stress, and overwhelm.  It’s so easy to go into that space of feeling like the world is coming to an end and there’s nothing we can do about it.  But we have a choice.  We can flip that perspective and come from a place of

strength,

of empowerment,

and contribution.

It seems to me that our hearts are softer in the quiet of the morning or evening. Especially during times of crisis. Those are times for prayer. Here is one you may want to say, or use, or add to, to make it your own.

‘God of Wonder,

God of Glory,

we come before you with uncertainty

and fear

as we see this disease riddling our towns

and our families

and our care-givers.

We pray that Your presence would be felt by those who are grieving,

who are sick,

who are jobless

and those whose worlds have been

and will be rocked.

We pray for wisdom

and safety for those who are responding to the people in need

and the many challenges left in the wake of this disease.

We pray for our church,

that through us,

we may be a witness to Your compassion

and care for all who suffer.

God, you are our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble (Ps 46:1). 

You will not leave us or forsake us (Heb 13:5).

You are for us, so who (or what) can be against us? (Rom 8:31).

For this we give You thanks

and ask that You hear our prayers for Your people.

In the precious and holy name of Jesus, I pray.

Amen

Wake up.

Pray.

Go.

March 26, 2020 scents

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Good morning, DearHeart,

Dale told me that as he and Liv walked in the back door the other day she took a deep breath and said, “it smells like Nanny’s!”

I’m pretty sure I could pick my grandmothers and my aunts out of a crowd, blindfolded, in a crowd, by their smell.

Last night I went out into the evening air to water my flowers after being indoors too long and the air smelled like the farm my dad owned at one time. We called it “the Verden Place” … because every farm has a name.

Funny how a scent can transport you back to an earlier time and place, playing in a pick up bed, or walking a creek, or gathering eggs. The evening air is calming and thoughtful. Last night felt of the Holy … which made me wonder, at what point did I fall in love with my Creator? Was it running the creek with my brothers and cousins? Catching crawdads with bacon on a string? Maybe making mud pies in the back yard under the Mimosa trees? Maybe playing in my grandmother’s (Coon) high heels and jewelry drawer, feeling all fancy? Maybe at a baseball game or one of our visits to the mountains. I don’t know the exact moment, only that I breathe the air of the Almighty One.

‘When news gets heavy and struggles get real, the One Who is the Wind I Soar On holds me steady, still. He pours new life in us. And, I breathe with my Savior.

Jesus, my Lord…’

‘GOD claims Earth and everything in it, GOD claims World and all who live on it. He built it on Ocean foundations, laid it out on River girders.’ (Psalm 24:1-2 MSG)

Wake up.

Breathe Him in.

Go.

March 24, 2020 Mom, Momma, Liv

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Good morning, DearHeart.
Liv picked up this bible that was by Dale’s chair and put it in my lap. Her mom and dad were ready gathering up to go home. She wasn’t ready, so she was grasping for anything to milk another minute. She opened it, I gave her a 2 sentence briefing on David, she turned some pages, the story of Daniel in the lion’s den, turned some more – Jonah, again – the boy with the loaves and fishes, turned again – Jesus. We went through them all in about 47.3 seconds. And, that was a pretty good run considering her energy level and ability to be still!
These shelter-at-home days have purpose. These will be the days our children (and their parents) will tell stories about forever. Woven into the fabric of who they are individually and as a family. I have sweet memories of both of my grandmothers. They were magnificent creatures – and polar opposites.
My mom’s mom, we called her ‘Mom Reinking’, was quiet, sharp, a cracker-jack entrepreneur. She knew the heavens and the placement of the moon, she organized her days with the Farmer’s Almanac. She was perhaps one of the most deeply spiritual souls to ever move on the planet. She was not a heavy-talker, fewer words were golden with her, contemplative; and her words, like the way she moved, eeked with resilient wisdom.
We are held away from each other, deprived at the moment of being held by her, except by sacred senses of loving and being loved.
Sometimes, I catch a whiff of her familiar smell, of beholding her glow, and her ways in my mom and in my cousins. Sometimes, I hear the honey-timber of her voice as Mother and her sister visit, from Mom’s hug I feel the electricity of her touch that is precious to the skin – that is, the gift of calmness and selfhood that she gave that carries on with the loving touch of her own.
When I think of being “simultaneously caught up” her arms are the first I see.
What do people do who don’t have the hope of eternity?
‘Then we, the living ones who remain [on the earth], shall simultaneously be caught up along with [the resurrected dead] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so always (through the eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord! Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.’ (‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭4‬:‭17-18‬ AMP)
Wake up.
These are tender times.
Leave a sweet scent that lingers.
Go
(Haven’t been over to get momma-hug in 8 days in case we are carriers of the Covid-19😳. I’m missing my momma ☺️).

March 23, 2020 haMat

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Good morning, DearHeart.

That’s me. When I went through Hazmat – I didn’t think I’d ever really use it! Especially to go to the grocery store – ordinary life for us has changed and from this crisis will come lifelong changes. Hopefully, not so drastic that we have to wear full PPE to public places – but I never really thought I’d be wearing a mask to the grocery store either. Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful, it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living this heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, transforming, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.

Especially the parts that change us.

‘You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.’ (1 Peter 1:5 HCSB)

Have you ever seen anything more beautiful than one who has come through the fires and their transformation draws out a certain kind of beauty from the core?

Earth is a dangerous place to live, isn’t it? There are dangers at every corner. Those of us who press through the turbulence into beauty

learn it is Christ, intervening and entwining into our moments that is the transforming force. Protecting us in the process.

Go outside today, hold your arm out and make a fist; now, imagine your earthling life as your fist, and notice the vastness of the universe around it. That expanse, the sky, the heavens, and the entirety of the universe all around, that’s how huge our Creator is. That’s how huge His love and protection is for us. And, eternity is the reason He is protecting and pursuing us.

Wake up.

Notice His protective, yet revealing work in you.

Go.

March 13, 2020 yesterday’s

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Good morning, DearHeart.

I’m glad yesterdays don’t come along often. I suppose it was a first for this generation. As the day spiraled, it was a doomsday type weather event – except – there is no safe place …this is a world event. A progressive, worldwide doomsday. Hour by hour – unprecedented reports. My thought last night was that I have watched too many episodes of the Walking Dead. I stopped on my way home to buy toilet paper because, obviously, that’s the thing to do.

Then, home. Where the familiar happens.

So, when I finally got settled … and quiet, I was gently reminded that wake-up calls have a purpose … they force us to realign – who I am aligned with who He is.

“He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.” Isaiah 40:11 NLT

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalms 91:1 NLT

“I pray to GOD —my life a prayer— and wait for what He’ll say and do. My life’s on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning.” Psalm 130:5-6 MSG

When alignment happens, the Holy enters and illuminates from within. As a light-bearer of the Holy, we are powered to shine fully over the enemy in our thoughts. Expose it. There are threats and problems all around. Darkness and negativity that need to be dealt with. Perhaps the powerful question today is this:

“Father, put yourself in my shoes. Now, from my view – in terms I can understand, will You show me how to do life in full confidence with You? Lead my next move?”

I know I’m Yours.

Intimacy.

Beyond being polite,

politically correct,

gullible, or vulnerable

– just simple,

blatant, real honesty.

Because, when that shift happens, and the intimacy is rekindled, He takes on the fullness of our history, our crisis, our adventure, our joys, our questions, then … we slip into a unique romance with our Creator – He takes over.

One on one.

You and me, God.

It’s You and me.

It’s a trust-shift. No more a coddling God. He has now become straight-up powerfully transparent. And, our ability to hear Him over the trouble expounds.

Ask Him to slip in and take over.

“So, Father, what would You do from my shoes.

Your love and protection surrounds me.

I feel You here.

You are still on control.

My fear is falling away.

I trust You, Father.”

Wake up.

Feel His protection.

Go.