Sunday’s Showcase: My Favorite Bible Verses and Why #1

God did not highlight verses for me. (My relationship with the Lord began as a child with Psalm 123) I began my first Bible study after my mom died at the age of thirty. “Disciple,” a year long commitment in our Methodist Church. After a year of intense study, I left with more questions than answers. All in God’s time. He exposed me to the Truth and blessed me with seasoned authentic Christians :) Yet, through continuous Bible Studies, nothing seemed to stand out personally. There will be verses I will share over the next weeks, that all have significance to me, but I start here, because this is my life verse. I was reading on my back porch, spinning with this ALS diagnosis, and this verse entered my next life-moment and grace grew like seeds in the wind. I’ve since seen power being perfected through weaknesses in my character, my marriage, my parenting, “my ministry,” my friendships and my life workings through the circumstance of this disease. The cost of this disease is incomprehensible. It is not a sweet, soft grace that falls gently like a new-fallen snow. It is a grace that grits its teeth through the fierce hunger that comes in the dark of the night on an empty stomach.

Extravagant Grace

  • Intimacy of my faith. I was private with how and when I expressed it. I wasn’t hiding it. God was teaching me good stewardship. This experience has exposed those seeds to the winds. My four daughters have learned more about my faith in the last two years than perhaps all the years prior in our “normal mother-daughter  moments.” It is the power perfected in the intimacy of grace that grows sufficiency. 
  • Legacy of life. I was full speed ahead with family in tow, creativity and passion for our Lord oozing out of every crack and crevice and en-joying every minute of my “Kingdom Play.” I never would have slowed enough to craft this Blog or play with a book. Both small endeavors, they do vest some thing tangible for my family. It is the power perfected in the silliness of grace in which life launches big.
  • Love reaches beyond. I have never felt loved with such intentional devotion.  God has brought new friends with which I would never have crossed paths. Current friends God placed in new places. Old friends God brought to new heights. It’s the kind of love I anticipated in heaven but never expected to experience here on earth. My understanding, as is my family’s, of the limitless potential with the heart for love, is forever challenged. It is the power perfected in the grace from loss that opens into possibilities.

graceissufficient


Shane and Shane    Grace is Sufficient

Monday’s Manna Moment: Mark Driscoll on Joy in Suffering

“Why have I come into this existence to suffer this level of pain?”

“Will we suffer in a way that is purposeful?”

Purposeful suffering. . .wow. . .I am prayerfully pondering the kingdom impact of making this concept.

“Know the man Paul so you can trust him as teacher.”

“Will your suffering find purpose in you?”

“Will your hardship be wasted?”

“We may articulate our theology but we demonstrate our beliefs through our suffering.”

This a powerful statement. It is so real so raw in it’s reach, it almost stings. Do you know what I mean?

I think we have to tread carefully here. Almost like leaving bloody footprints in freshly fallen snow. I’m just not graphic like that but when God gives me a striking picture, I try to obediently use it. Suffering waxes and wanes as does the intensity of our response to it. Our belief system may or may not be portrayed at any given moment as our humanity processes the pain. Given the grace of our Lord, perhaps it might more accurately approach the truth to say:

We may articulate our theology but we demonstrate our beliefs when (not if but when) The Resurrection rises in triumph over the suffering.

Tuesday’s Tickle: Wonder

These giggles cause us to pause seriously to seek out our wonder at the little things that bring deep joy!

“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” Mark 10:15

This is the purest form of what I’ve coined the phrase “Kingdom Play.” We are created to enter the kingdom as a child abandoned to wonder of the moment that erupts in joy!!! (If you don’t think that God has a sense of humor just listen to what you don’t see.) That paper torn to shreds with full belly giggles was, here comes the punch line, was a rejection letter!!

Let it tickle you alive to the Holy Spirit’s presence in you. :)

 

Short, Sweet and to the Point

When in Doubt Just Don’t . . .

Think it. . .

Say it. . .

Or Do it. . .

oh-sweetie-i-just-dont-think-so

 

Aunt Bee from the old favorite show: Mayberry

What heartache could we have prevented for ourselves and others if we had yielded to the conscience of God’s Best?

I’ve made more than my share of mistakes, with my mom, in my marriage, my girls, friends, leadership, etc. I even hand delivered a letter that caused all kinds of messy misunderstandings. I guess some lessons we learn the hard way. It’s never too late or too early to learn to yield our thought life, words and actions captive to the obedience of our Christ.

Abba God, teach us, through obedience to your Son, to take captive whatever is not Kingdom building in our ways. Amen

Prayer for April 4th

Tracey:

This really spoke to me. I breathed the life of confident prayer into names brought to mind. Counting on the Holy Spirit to continue on where my heart lingers. Be blessed in His love and mine. Thank you Debbie for your inspired prayer!!!  twe

Originally posted on :

Alberta Banff

Hello, Friends! Here is today’s prayer…

Our Heavenly Father,

Thank you for another day and the opportunity to join in prayer. Lord, thank you for being our El Shaddai…our all sufficient Father who nourishes, supplies, and satisfies our every need. Lord, I feel like you are speaking to our hearts and you are whispering, “Have faith in Me…trust Me.” Help our faith, Lord.

Help those who are struggling to hold on. At times the thought of heaven and being with you and having no more troubles, sorrows or struggles overwhelms us and we long to escape the troubles in this life…there are those who are praying now who are just so battle weary.

Oh, Father, God, we ask in the name of Jesus, that you will pour out your Holy Spirit even as we are praying now. Lord, please uphold the weak and weary with your righteous right hand. May…

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Separated at the Seams. . .

This post is dedicated to my maternal grandmother, Lucy Graham Smith

Romans was her favorite book of the Bible, This verse was special to her.

Two weeks prior, hospitalization for three blood clots (DVTs). . .You might say I was not thrilled to go back. . . Need for nourishment and hydration required a PEG surgical placement. . .I found at any given moment. . .separating at the feeling- frayed seams of my heart-life. It’s just not fun. Pain, discomfort, weakness and vulnerability all play into a messy process of illness and health struggling for the upper hand. (There is another upper hand. Keep reading if you will.)

Don’t you find yourself coming apart at the seams? You have more school work than Eienstein could finish? You feel neglected or betrayed? Does God even hear the growing desperation in your prayers? How long will you have to wait? What will speak Truth to your lost child? When will the heavy cloak of depression lift? At the breaking point with your workload? Will your marriage connections turn the corner any time soon? Your health issue becomes more complicated by the day?  So not what you thought it would “look like.” There is no denying we are gonna pull apart at the seams of our loosely stitched lives. We have this dynamic in common. The circumstances that pull us apart vary with each precious person. {My heart hurts for you :( }

8924eff72bd9492498267b7875976302What we don’t see is the needle and thread is posed in His Hand before the cut is made. He anticipates the need for healing. Read that last sentence again. And again. Before the wounding, God sews love in small quilting like-stitches to keep the fabric of our connection to Him. Some seams He bound in my healing even before surgery: Love and prayers of our daughters and family, Couple friend Connie and Herman took a week off their lives to tend us. My husband never left my side. Tender care came through the nursing hands of Diane, Mike, Casie, Dr. Plantiz and Dr. Holland. Back home, my little room sanctuary was being worked into a welcome home sanctuary. Deft hands organized and tucked love in every corner.  I’m still enjoying banners and cleared living space :) I glimpsed into a small window of the potential for suffering and the struggle to heal. I witnessed first hand what comfort in care can consist of for the patient. I learned something redemptive about my own limitations from which all of us can benefit. The best care and comfort came from nurses and doctors that looked at my face before my numbers. My inability to communicate created need for compensation in care. We communicated more profoundly through my eyes and face. Healing stitches came from God’s love with comments like, “Your face is telling me you are not better,” “What can I do to make you more comfortable?” “That smile tells me you are better today.”

I’m encouraging all of us and a daily reminder to myself, to look for the Godly hand that stitches in His connections and healings, so nothing can separate us from His love.

What if we showed pain in our faces instead of a mask? What if we showed well-being in a smile?  What if we hugged with our eyes? Scripture tells us God looks at the heart. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7)  Our faces speak our hearts if we allow them to reveal our true selves.

Bottom line:  Facial communication should come first!  Words are secondary.  

Use your eyes to speak life!!! Look for those “stitches” of love!!!