Tuesday, September 29, 2009

IOW: Rejoicing in Contentment

Believer...banish your fears;
cast out all doubts;
lift up the happy head;
clap the exulting hands;
give thanks,

Your heavenly Father cannot set you in wrong places.
Your loving Savior cannot lead you in wrong paths.

All is well.

~by Henry Law~

We have a little cat that wandered onto our property. I think she lived in the woods on the hill across the road for a while. She finally braved the scary highway and crossed into her own little 'promised land.'

She slunk around here for a couple months, always hanging on the fringes of whatever was going on, running away if we paid her any attention.

One evening as we enjoyed the warm spring air, she crawled under our chairs. My feet were propped up on a table so she settled down under my seat. Our other cats were around and insistent on attention, so there was no just sitting quietly. Finally they had given us the small measure they decided we deserved and walked off. The little cat stayed hidden under my chair the whole time.

After a bit, I put my feet down and she ran back until they were no longer moving. I think she must have been kicked by someone, judging by how afraid of feet she was. I reached my hand down and spoke nonsense in soft, soothing tones. The little cat worked up her courage and came over and let me pet her for a minute before her fear overcame her and she ran off.

I continued to try to win her over, thinking eventually to haul her away so we didn't end up with wild kittens born in the garage or under the storage building. I started setting food for her, separate from where our other two cats fed, since one, Muffin (the reigning queen of our little farm), would chase her away, and the other, Rocko, would scare her off with his rough play.

I named our little stray Patches, for the gray patches over her otherwise white fur. Patches gradually came to trust me. And surprisingly, her gentle nature won me over and she earned a permanent home in our cat herd.

For a long time, even with all the loving kindness she was given, Patches would still dart away in fear as we walked by. Then she started to run up as I walked in the yard and stroll with me. Now she rushes from wherever she is sleeping into the driveway when we drive in and escorts us to the porch. She will even walk ahead, then come back to see what is taking me so long to get there. She always stops at the top of the stairs and waits for me to bend over and give her a scratch between the ears. She trusts me and will even sleep under my big wicker rocker while I rock. She has learned that I will not hurt her and she seems to appreciate that I'm the one who takes good care of her.

But there is one thing about our little Patches that I have noticed. She never purrs. Even if she works up the courage to jump into my lap for a nice long pet session, she never utters the slightest rumble. It's almost as if she is afraid to completely give herself over to the pleasure of my attention and love, just in case it is taken away.

Aren't we like Patches sometimes? We skirt around God's lovingkindness until we realize it is really offered to us. Then when we accept His grace and salvation, sometimes we still hold back timidly waiting to see if we will be kicked for all the mistakes we make. We become more confident in His love as we spend time with Him and He reveals His nature to us. But for some of us, who have experienced disappointment and disillusionment with people in our lives, fully trusting in God's steadfast love never really takes hold. We struggle with our old expectations and never give ourselves up to just resting in His grace and enjoying the blessings of His presence.

Come on, dear believers, it's time to release old hurts and painful memories and curl up in the Father's lap to enjoy His gentle hand. He LOVES us with a LOVE that is forever. It's time to purr!!!
Thus says the LORD,
"The people who survived the sword
Found grace in the wilderness--
Israel, when it went to find its rest."
The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying,
"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
"Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt,
O virgin of Israel!
Again you will take up your tambourines,
And go forth to the dances of the merrymakers. ~Jeremiah 31:2-4~

P.S. More on Patches' life story: Her previous owner saw her sunning herself on our porch rail earlier this summer and stopped by to confirm it was her. She had been missing from their home for more than a year. Because of vicious dogs that live near them that had already gotten another of their cats, they decided to leave her with us. Patches agreed wholeheartedly, even struggling out of her former owner's arms to run and hide behind my legs. She is six years old, has had one litter of kittens when she was a year old and has been spayed. She gets to spend the rest of her days in leisure her here on Morning Glory Farm. (She doesn't even have to do the mousing jobs...Muffin is our resident varmint hunter. And poor little Rocko was overcome by curiosity and didn't make it safely across the highway back in early June, so she doesn't have to worry about him pouncing down on her from high places as she walks by.) The only person she has to run away from is the Dynamo, but she does so halfheartedly. She submits to his rough love, then makes her escape as soon as he loosens his hug.

<-- Jennifer at Scraps & Snippets is hosting this week's In Other Words. Visit her to view more posts and to add your own take on today's quote.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

IOW & WFW: No Shame

We deny Jesus every time we disregard His truth and put ourselves down. That hurts us. We deny Him every time we fail to see our value in Him. That hurts us. We deny Him every time we continue to hang on to our self-condemning thoughts and lies. That hurts us too. And then, it's as if Jesus turns and looks straight at us with His eyes of love and compassion, and something dawns on us. We have, in a sense, denied our Lord Jesus, and I wonder if that hurts Him."

~Shame Lifter by Marilyn Hontz~
There is a liar amongst us.

He slithers silkily into our lives to drape softly around our shoulders and whisper gently into our ears,

"Remember when you..."

"Who could forgive that...?"

"When that person hurt you, didn't you feel..."

"Do you really belong on this hallowed ground?"

"Since you've already messed up, why don't you..."

Shame is not of God. Shame says that we are bad, valueless, unworthy, defective, unlovable, inferior... Shame takes the wrongs, abuses, and neglect done to us and absorbs them into our self-image. We see ourselves as hateful, nasty, unworthy of love or simple kindness.

Satan is the father of shame. His desire is to twist every hurt or regret into a wedge that drives believers from staying close to our heavenly Father. He takes every word meant for encouragement and twists it into stabs that wound our fragile hearts, bleeding our joy from us...pouring into its place sorrow and fear and anger.

Beautiful lovers of God, we can defeat this liar with the Truth!

First, identify the lies we have believed about ourselves.

Second, confess to the Lord these lies.

Third, replace those lies with Biblical Truth about who God is and who we are as His beloved children.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. ~ Romans 8:1 NKJV
Look now at ourselves through the eyes of His love.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written:

“ For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,

nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~ Romans 8:31-39 NKJV
We must grab and hold to the Truth with everything within in us.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV
Our acceptance of His Truth will lead our eyes from ourselves and point them to the Lord Jesus. Once we are focused on Him, we will be useful for His purpose.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
~ 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
Rejoice now in the righteousness of God we have through Jesus Christ. God made us to be His Beloved ones. Do not deny the Lord the joy meant for Him through a close, intimate, and true relationship with us.
In You, O LORD, I put my trust;
Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.
Bow down Your ear to me,
Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of refuge,
A fortress of defense to save me.
~ Psalm 31:1-2 NKJV
Beautiful lovers of God, rejoice!
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. ~ John 10:11 NKJV
Strength to see ourselves rightly through Love's eyes comes from a close, enduring relationship with Jesus Christ. He assures us of His love and gives us the power to live as He desires us to live:
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
~ Romans 15:13 NKJV
Now, dear friends, if you have read this and find that you cannot understand what these words mean to you...perhaps it is time to start at the beginning with trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Please go here: Steps to Peace with God, read the wonderful words of Life. Come back and share with me how God has changed your world from the inside out.

<-- Loni at Writing Canvas is hosting this week's In Other Words. Visit her to view more posts and to add your own take on today's quote.

-->Susan at Forever His is hosting Word-Filled Wednesday. Visit her to view more posts and to add your own.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

IOW & WFW: Why Do You Despair?

Affliction will either warm you up toward spiritual things or turn you cold.

~Joni Eareckson Tada,
A Lifetime of Wisdom: Embracing the Way God Heals You~
My brain absorbs this. It understands the wisdom and nods in agreement.

My fingers zip to the keyboard, ready to translate what my brain understands into words of encouragement. They hover ready over the keys...

But my heart is choked with pain and worry. It refuses to give over to the wisdom of my brain and the work of my fingers. It has caused a seemingly permanent lump to lodged in my throat.

The lump, in turn, chokes off kind tones - instead letting the fear and pain shoot out in unloving bursts on those deserving better.

My God knows my dilemma. He sends Words... as a song on the radio... as a verse on a Facebook post... as a video link in my email.

He cups my heart in His Hands, loosening the grip of misery tightly bound around it. He caresses and soothes, gently urging TRUST and FAITH in Himself - He Who also holds the hearts of the ones for whom I fear and fret.

Peace pushes through the pain... the tears still just a thought away... but His arm is gripping my shoulders to pull me in close when they spill over.

<-- Debbie at Heart Choices is hosting this week's In Other Words. Visit her to view more posts and to add your own take on today's quote.

-->Christy at Critty Joy is hosting Word-Filled Wednesday. Visit her to view more posts and to add your own.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

IOW & WFW: Faithfulness Is What I Need

The Pastor, to my good friend Gaius: How truly I love you! We're the best of friends, and I pray for good fortune in everything you do, and for your good health—that your everyday affairs prosper, as well as your soul! I was most happy when some friends arrived and brought the news that you persist in following the way of Truth. Nothing could make me happier than getting reports that my children continue diligently in the way of Truth! ~3 John 1:2-4 MSG
I love the way The Message translates the word faithfulness: persist in following the way of Truth. The word Truth is capitalized because it is a proper name...another name for Jesus. Faithfulness is walking diligently in the path that Jesus has made for us.

Faithfulness is:
  • Vacationing at the beach and still finding a church to attend.
  • Waking up late on Sunday morning and still going to Sunday School.
  • Getting up before the kids and meeting the Lord in His Word in the quiet, dark morning.
  • Putting the regular tithe in the offering plate even though the grocery dollars aren't stretching as far.
  • Following the path we know God made even though we can't see around the curves ahead.
  • Releasing our will to His.
Holiness by SONICFLooD

Holiness, holiness is what I long for.
Holiness is what I need.
Holiness, holiness is what You want from me.

Holiness, holiness is what I long for.
Holiness is what I need.
Holiness, holiness is what You want from me.

So, take my heart and form it.
Take my mind and transform it.
Take my will and conform it.
To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord.

Faithfulness, faithfulness is what I long for.
Faithfulness is what I need.
Faithfulness, faithfulness is what You want from me.

Brokenness, brokenness is what I long for.
Brokenness is what I need.
Brokenness, brokenness is what You want from me.

Please click on the graphic I made. It is formatted to be a desktop wallpaper for your computer. Just copy it and save it to your computer.

<-- Tami at The Next Step is hosting this week's In Other Words.
Visit her to view more posts and to add your own take on today's quote.

--> Lori at All You Have To Give is hosting Word-Filled Wednesday. Visit her to view more posts and to add your own.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

WFW: Evidence of Love

I don't see images of God in my pancakes or paint splashes...but I couldn't help but be reminded of my Savior's love in the coffee stain on my counter, especially since I had just read the words of Job and Nicole C. Mullen's song is playing through my head:

Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?
and Who told the ocean you can only come this far?
and Who showed the moon where to hide 'til evening?
Whose words alone can catch a falling star?

Well I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives:
Let all creations testify
Let this, life within me cry
I know my Redeemer lives, yeah.

The very same God that spins things in orbit
runs to the weary, the worn and the weak
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I'm broken
They conquered death to bring me victory

Now I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
Let all creations testify
Let this life within we cry
I know my Redeemer, He lives
To take away my shame
And He lives forever, I'll proclaim

That the payment for my sin
Was the precious life He gave
But now He's alive and
There's an empty grave.

And I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
Let all creations testify
Let this life within me cry
I know my Redeemer,

I know my Redeemer
I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
I know that I know that I know that I know that I know my redeemer lives
Because He lives I can face tomorrow
I Know I know
He lives He lives yeah, yeah I spoke with him this morning
He lives He lives, the tomb is empty,
He lives I gotta tell everybody

~Nicole C. Mullen, I Know My Redeemer Lives
Everyday you can hear the Lord tell of His love for you...pick up the love letters He put together for you in the Scriptures. Start here:

John 3:16
1 John 4:7-10, 16

For more Word-Filled Wednesday posts, visit AmyDeanne @ The 160 Acre Woods.