The Salt Marshes or The River

I have a question for you…

Do you live in the salt marshes of Christianity or in the River of God’s glory?

Pinterest

You can be a Christian and not experience the fullness of His glory. You can live a good, “saved” life, following His commandments, yet, never comprehend His overflowing joy and complete peace. You can go to church every Sunday, work the nurseries on Wednesdays, pledge your loyalties to every youth and world missions project and still miss out on all He has for you.

Although, I have to ask, “Why?” … Why would we ever want to live beneath His potential for our lives? Why would we ever be “okay” with second best or just comfortable with less than His best? Why would we ever settle for something He knows we don’t need or even detests?

Yet, so many of us do just that! We choose to live in the salt marches of Christianity, and we completely bypass the river of God’s glory. Sometimes, it’s fear that holds us back, or maybe it’s those past pains that blind us from the reality of His promises.

Often, it’s schedules and agendas which consume every moment and spin us out of control, shielding us from the clarity of truth. Too many times, it is the sin of our past, our present, or the contemplation of sin in our future, which binds us to the salt marshes and refuses to let us venture beyond what we’ve always seen, heard and thought to be truth.

It is time to break free. It is time to live in His fullness rather than the anemia of our fears and failures. It is time to move out, beyond the norm, and step into the river of His glory.

You will find He is waiting there just for you.

*Note: I do not own nor possess any part of this video. This is from a simple google search to YouTube.

Decrease Me. Increase You. 

You teach me through Your Word that I need a reformation. I need reproofing, and I need transforming to be more of who You desire me to be. Yet, I find myself, time and again, pushing against Your sovereignty. I find myself entangled in my own desires, my own selfish perspective.

I wish that You would decrease me that I might increase You.

You draw out of my soul the ugly, the begrimed and the despised things. You point to the waywardness of my heart and challenge it to change. You mark those fleshly wanderings and call them to a duel. You refine and chastise to remove that wretched sin.

I wish that You would decrease me that I might increase You.

You extract the waste that Your purity might flow. You entrap the filth that Your Spirit might invade. You ensnare all that is lost that Your anointing might abide. As the mire is expelled, Your holiness can thrive.

I wish that You would decrease me that I might increase You.

I find that as I yield my heart and surrender my will, You are enabled to dig deep within my soul. You eliminate all that is not like You. The fire refines me. Your love renews me.

I step back from the pruning to see there is so much less of me, and then I realize there’s so much more of You. ❤

 

A Wood In Progress

When wood is raw and freshly cut, it is still rough and splinter-prone. If you rub your hand across it, you may pull away filled with a little pain from a piece of wood merging with your tender fingers. It is hard to grasp and difficult to display, but it can be used for very practical things, such as saw horses, firewood and boarding up holes or drafty windows.

background texture

myfreetextures.com

To be a bit more useful, a woodsman will begin to sand that raw wood. (Sanding, Planing and Scraping are all methods of smoothing wood. Each depends on the type of wood and the desired results from the smoothing. For simplicity, I will only refer to sanding.) The first sandpaper applied is very coarse, and it will shave away much of the roughness and splinted wood.  As the plank become smoother, more refined pieces of sandpaper are used to cause more and more fine-tuned sanding. Once, the piece is smoothed to the creator’s liking, he or she will run his hands over the fine, smooth piece of wood.

In the final stages of refining, the carpenter might even smooth the wood with cloths or apply a varnish, fiberglass or stain to finish the handiwork. He may create shelves, cabinets, tables, chairs, or even doors and window frames. In the end, a beautiful work of art is presented for daily use or display.

This is how our Heavenly Father prepares us as well. When we are first saved, our approach to Christianity, life and even each other can be so rough that, if we aren’t careful, we might leave “splinters” in the lives of those around us. God has to smooth out those rough places. He has to apply pressure, allow challenges and even trials to come to “sand away” those splintery spots. In the end, He creates a beautiful work of art within our lives that might be used by His might hand to bring impact into the lives of someone else.Sometimes, the method might seem strenuous, tedious and even unrelenting, but just trust, He will finish what He has started. Never give up through the process, and when He is finished, know you will never be the same. It will be worth it!

04-28-15-gods-dream-for-your-life-dont-waste-your-shape_mini

 

CHANGE


Guess I don’t have a lot to say today, but I’d rather ask you a question about your world… 

What are you doing thing this year to bring about good changes in your life?

Are you remaining in your comfort zone?

Are you seeking a new daily challenge?

Are you stretching yourself a little further than before?

Are you embracing a different thought pattern, eating habit or routine?

Are you taking a positive step every day to better yourself? 

Do you believe change can actually happen in your life?

Do you welcome it?
*Please, share with me your thoughts! 😊*

New Year, New Resolution

This is the day of new chances, new goals, new resolutions, new goals and dreams. So many of us decide on January 1st or 2nd to write a list of resolutions for the new year. We make the decision to change from what we’ve been, and we set out for a better diet, a better home organization, a better attitude or just simply a better outlook on life. This is the day. This is the moment. This is the hour.

So, what is yours for this year? What will you do differently? What will you alter? How will you change?

What if we changed our “resolutions” to “improvements?” Look, I’m not against resolutions, and sometimes, we really do need one or two that we can work hard toward and accomplish only with accountability and daily diligence. Yet, so many resolutions are simply dropped after a few weeks or months, and we go through the disappointment and regrets of those failed achievements. Why don’t we forget trying to change and morph into someone we never can be and just improve some things we are already accomplishing?

For example, I eat veggies now. I don’t eat a lot of them, and I probably will never get awarded the “Best Veggie Eater” award, but you know what? I definitely can improve on the amount of veggies I eat. Another thing on which I can improve is walking. I walk all over the place, but I don’t do as much as I should. So, I can make a point to walk more everyday. I can park my truck a little farther from the store entrance and walk a little farther. I can get off the couch and take a walk around the block. Another thing that I do now is I try to display kindness when I’m able. Well, what if I tried to improve that aspect about myself? Maybe I can stretch myself just a little more with each new day to be more aware of moments in which I can share a little kindness. Maybe I can go the extra mile a little more often to give a little more love to those around me.

So, instead of making so many grand resolutions that we probably won’t keep, what if everyday we all tried to improve on our acts of kindness, our eating habits, our increasing motion (exercise) and, basically, anything else in our lives that we would really like to be different?

“You’ll never be tomorrow what you are not becoming right now.” – Pastor Joey Grizzle

Happy New Year 2017!

2016 is done. We can not go back. We cannot make those anything better or anything worse. It is over. 

We might as well make peace with the past, or it will eat us alive. Lay down those regrets. Let go of those missed opportunities, and look ahead to what is ahead. 

Today is a new day. Today is a new year. We have 365 new days to approach, and that means 365 new chances to grasp. We can do this. YOU can do this. 

Make the best of it. Give it your best effort, and you may not always reach perfection, but you will be further than you are today. 

Happy New Year to you! 

Are You Comfy?

Comfort and apathy can go hand in hand. We are all creatures of comfort to some extent. I love warm cups of coffee, good books and a great big quilt to snuggle under for an enjoyable night of reading. Some like to drive for comfort, some like to sleep. Some like to get comfortable in the quiet while others enjoy the comfort of people and noise. Comfort for one might not be the comfort of another, but we all enjoy being comfortable over not.

Yet, in our prayer life, our worship and our passion for God, comfort should not be the mode of operation. Comfort can create apathy and apathy creates a death of passion. Comfort and apathy can creep into our prayer lives when we grow comfortable in where we are and over confident in what we are doing. It can lull us to a slumber where we neglect the voice of God and, eventually, even neglect the things and people of God.

When we grow too comfortable, we will become callous in our prayer life, lazy in our worship and apathetic in our God-message to others. Too often, as God did with Moses, He will call us beyond our comfort zone to reach the world around us and to deliver them out of the bondage in which they live. If we are only seeking what causes us comfort, then, we will be more apt to resist change, challenge and things controversial to the common worldview around us. God never called us to blend into this world. He called us to change this world by showing them His love, and His love will always challenge them to leave behind the sin in which they live.

Just as Moses did, when we decide to follow God and walk out of our comfort zone, we may question our ability. We may walk into ridicule from our own families and friends, and we may face a king who hates us and desires destruction for us, “but if God be for us, who can be against us”? (Romans 8:31)

Can we sit back and let this world ‘go to hell in a hand basket’ just so we ourselves may remain comfortable? NO! We must find our voice. We must step out of our places of comfort, complacency and apathy and seek His face. We must step up and allow His passion for the lost to infiltrate our lives to go and seek them. Look around you. See those who need Him and share His message for the redemption of their souls!

“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.Philippians 2:1-4

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2

 

 

 

What Is Your Tone?

Speaking truth bathed in love and grace is so important. Sometimes, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” If we speak truth, but it’s covered with bitter tones, hateful actions, and looks of disgust; then, our love is so covered up with mud that it’s surely hard to see.

speak-life2Some today would say, if I disagree with you then I am sending a message of hatred and disgust; however, I have to adamantly disagree with this premise. If my child is playing in the street and a car is barreling down his path, I disagree with him being in that street and will speak out against it to save his life. Even though, I disagree with the position in which he is standing, it is not because I hate him. Even so, in that moment, if I simply look at him with eyes of disgust and scream hateful things at him about being in the road, he might become very confused as to why I desire him to move. This is to what I am referring.

Sometimes, we can be screaming to this world the truth about Jesus and His love for every person, but we fail to give them His love and grace as well. We tell them all about hell and the torture and destruction they will find there, but we forget to share the promise of heaven and the glorious eternity we will encounter. We speak of all the sin and degradation in which they live, but we neglect to give away the hope we have found and how there is a better way survive these days on earth.

Let us shout TRUTH from the rooftops, but let us do it with arms of love spread wide. Let us speak words of life into the hears of those desperately needing a change, and let us snatch lost souls from hell while we embrace them and wipe their tears.

speak-life

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. ” Prov. 18:21

How Do You Pray?

Wow. Read this in my devotion today and thought I’d share. I hope it’s as meaningful to you as it was for me…

The English word, prayer, means to ask for or beg … But the Hebrew word for prayer – tefillah – means to “self evaluate”. So to the Jews of the Bible, prayer was not a time when they asked God for things … it was a time when they examined themselves. They would use prayer as a way to compare their actions, behavior and attitude against God’s holiness.” – Dave Adamson, Instagram.com/aussiedave 

What kind of prayer life would we have if we self evaluated more and begged less? Our prayers are, so often, filled with a long checklist of things we need, problems we wish were solved, and various changes or resolutions we want. Yes, we need to place our petitions before the Lord, I get it. The Bible does say, bring your petitions, but I believe we miss this point of self evaluation sometimes. I think that’s why the acronym PRAY is often taught to us in Sunday School when we are young. 

P = Praise – praise Him for He is good and He is God. 

R = Repent – this is where self evaluation comes in. Clean up time. 

A = Ask – here’s the supplication or petitioning part. 

Y = You – focus turns back on ourselves once again. Might be a reason He created this word, “pray” and it’s Hebrew translation. 😉

Lord, help us to be more aware. Help us to be more honest, with You and with ourselves. Help us to self evaluate in our prayer life.  Help us to be more like You and so much less like ourselves. 💗

  

With or Without Hope

Originally posted on APRIL 27, 2015. I thought it fitting for today’s daily prompt…

My heart was heavy today, thinking of all the brokenness in this world.
The weight of it resting upon my shoulders like a wet, woolen blanket.
Tears filled my eyes as I pondered the wounded, the shattered, and the lost.
Heaviness so intense, I could hardly breathe.
Air stagnant with heartache, weariness and emptiness.
So many wandering in this place. So many without a face.

I drove by this house sitting beside the road.
Abandoned, dark, damaged and alone.
People driving by, hurrying to destinations, never stopping to see, never caring to know.
Shoved off to the side, barricade built, weeds and trees rummaging to find a home.
Broken down roof, shattered windows, busted doors, all haunted by lost potential.

The broken lives of those lost are a lot like this old house.
They take the abuse, receive the ridicule, accept the blame, wondering all the while if anyone cares as they wander aimlessly in the dark.
Others are like those who moved this old house.
Hard working, simply pragmatic, fighting to succeed at the task.
More are like the ones who vandalized it.
Kicking, biting, clawing, shattering the dreams of a once well made life.

Can you see them? Can you see yourself? Who are you? Where are you going?
Do you feel that all is lost? Do you wonder if there could still be any life inside?
I am here to tell you. I am here to help you see.
If there is still breath in your being, there is still hope.
If there still a beating of your heart, there is still a chance.
For your life is never so lost that He cannot see you.
You are never so far gone that He cannot hear.

See that foundation?
He placed it there in your heart before you were even born.
It is that longing you feel to find something of worth, something to adore.
It is that deep inner desire to be more than you are today.
He placed it there.
It is His drawing of your heart to bring you love, hope and life beyond your dreams.

He can rebuild a life broken.
He can mend dreams that have been shattered.
He can give hope to the hopeless.
He can bring life to the lifeless.
All can be renewed if you will just let Him in.
Let Him see the abandonment, the pain, the desperation.
He can change and transform.

All you must do is believe.

Daily Prompt: HOPE
Hope