Thy Way

Standing before the ocean

The great and mighty sea

Waves roar and lightly land

Power turns soft at my feet

Deep and inescapable

As far and wide as my view

Wonder sinking to the depths

My God, my God, where are You?

Answers deep inside my chest

My heart can hear the calling

Thunder rolls in water crashing

Louder than my yearning

Trusting what my eyes can’t see

Open hands surrender

Breathing deep and grounded now

I know that I must enter

The Red Sea story beckons me

A miracle of parting water

He was in the unseen deep

Deliverance from the slaughter

I cry aloud with fear and praise

Trading bondage for His freedom

Arms raised high with surrender

Aware of how I need Him

Thy way is in the sea my Lord

Your paths are in the deep

I cannot see your footsteps

But my soul is Yours to keep

Faith steps in and takes my hand

My fear is slowly fading

I step in and find dry ground

The Promised Land is waiting.

Inspired by Psalm 77

“Thy way is in the sea, and your paths are in many waters; and your footsteps shall not be known.” v19

New Wings

With wings you can fly

Soaring from place to place

Nothing else but freedom

Discovering beauty and grace

Hungry storms crawl in

Glance behind your shoulder

Determined to stay on course

Freedom becomes bolder

Bliss is changed to forced

A door is opened wide

Unbeknownst it is cage

Decision based on pride

Enter through at will

Escape a painful chase

Giving up too soon

To find a friendly face

Joined by those in prison

Trapped by choices made

We are in this life together

I hear distant songs of praise

My heart of faith is willing

To step ahead with prayer

To sing the songs of a risen King

He will meet us here

When prison doors fling open

I will be here waiting

Do not fall upon your sword

New wings are for the taking.

Inspired by Acts 16:25-34 The Passion Translation (TPT)

25 Paul and Silas, undaunted, prayed in the middle of the night and sang songs of praise to God, while all the other prisoners listened to their worship.

26 Suddenly, a great earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. All at once every prison door flung open and the chains of all the prisoners came loose.

27 Startled, the jailer awoke and saw every cell door standing open. Assuming that all the prisoners had escaped, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself 28 when Paul shouted in the darkness, “Stop! Don’t hurt yourself. We’re all still here.”

29 The jailer called for a light. When he saw that they were still in their cells, he rushed in and fell trembling at their feet. 30 Then he led Paul and Silas outside and asked, “What must I do to be saved?”

31 They answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved—you and all your family.”32 Then they prophesied the word of the Lord over him and all his family. 33 Even though the hour was late, he washed their wounds. Then he and all his family were baptized. He took Paul and Silas into his home and set them at his table and fed them. 34 The jailer and all his family were filled with joy in their newfound faith in God.

Life In Spite of the Scars

This Holy Book, where life is found

Rips up the hardness in my heart’s ground

Voiceless pondering, things of old

Solitary mining for treasures and gold

Lonely places in a discarded life

Filling with redemption as the bride of Christ

Hope and mercy, graceful love

Lands on the runway from Heaven above

No need to hurry or scrape for a chance

Your desires are known by a Father’s glance

Abiding in strength, when others see weak

I am learning to listen to a Man who was meek

Yeshua, Jesus, Mighty Counselor, I Am

Light in the darkness, like pearls in a clam

A heart that is open, and eyes that will see

Partake in the goodness meant for you and me

Do you sleep in peacefulness, and wake full of joy?

Life is a gift, like a child’s Christmas toy

Morning by morning, new life and new day

Truth and purpose, on my knees when I pray

No matter your worry, your sins, or your doubt

This Lover of souls will not leave you without

Redemption comes to you right where you are

In the middle of darkness, in spite of the scars

The wounds that burn will find ways to inspire

Your path has been lit by God’s Holy fire

He will use you to bring justice and might

Take up your armor, and prepare to fight

Your orders were written in the ink of blood

Rise and renew what sin has undone

We will never be ready with perfection in view

But sowing with hope, He will make all things new.

Allured

Allured into the wilderness

A place I would not choose

Emptied arms and open heart

Welcome gifts I cannot lose

Promised love fills the barren

Like jars left out for the rain

Desert air without a cloud

But I do not wait in vain

Prayer offered in the waiting

Hope is whispered in my ear

Tenderly He speaks to me

And I walk lighter without fear

I am satisfied with You my God

Your grace has proven more

Here in the place of scorching

Hope provides the door.

(Inspired by Hosea 2:14-15)

Beauty and Truth- Thoughts on Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.” (Philippians 4:8 The Voice)

Here is a final attempt to show the Philippians (and us) the way to experience peace. The battles of perplexity and anxiousness are won first in our thoughts. If we can fill our minds with the light of truth, all things will be seen more clearly. If we find our way to the beauty, and behold what is lovely, good, and right, our hearts will settle. Even when faced with the most difficult situation, or a person causing us to despair. We have no control over how or where they stand. Where I stand matters more than anyone or anything else. And what I choose to let my mind be filled with will determine my response. My actions are what others see. My words are what they will hear. What flows from my heart into the world will tell of the well it draws from.

My mind is the engine which generates judgement or love. Since God is the judge, I must generate love. Loving God should fuel loving others the way He loves me. I want to generate this love. So I must determine my steps by filling my mind with beauty and truth. What I let my heart feed on is the fuel for my life. Because my heart is the wellspring of life, I want to filter and protect its contents. Just like my water filter at home. I go to the best source of water I have, and then let the filter clean what I cannot see. Instead of judging others based on what I see, I want to let love and God’s truth be the filter. So much in our world seems dark, and yet I have seen light in otherwise dark places. Situations that seem to be lost causes, or stories of terrible events at the hands of people have moved me to look for the heart of the matter. Not to excuse but to look for redemption, the way God redeemed me. God loves with an unconditional love, and this is the way I am to love. It is a difficult thing sometimes, yet each day is a chance to judge less and love more. When I ponder judgement, my pride takes a shadowy stance on my heart. When I ponder how to bring forth God’s love and fill my mind with how He sees, there is light and peace.

Heavenly Father, You are a good and gracious God. Out of Your Heavenly Kingdom flows life and redemption. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to us as a human just like me. I am moved to tears when I think of this love. You did not reign down judgement, but sacrificial mercy and grace. Yes, there are consequences for sin, but I leave this judgement to You. Help me to see with Your eyes, and love with Your heart wrapped with mine. Let my hands and feet be in sync with Your plan and will for me. Fill my mind with Your goodness and truth. In Jesus’ name amen.

Bound to Endure- Thoughts on Psalm 25:5

“Escort me along the way; take me by the hand and teach me. For You are the God of my increasing salvation; I have wrapped my heart into Yours!” David (Psalm 25:5 TPT)

“…Lead me into Your truth… I wait…” (NASB)

The Passion Translation threw me here, so I dug in to find how waiting was translated into wrapping my heart into God’s. Language is one of my favorite things, and what a delicious treat I found! By search and discovery in the Hebrew Lexicon, the root word in the Bible for waiting is ‘qavah’, meaning to twist or bind like a rope. So where does waiting tie in? (Pun intended!) Reading further into this rich word I found clarity and insight. To wait involves strength to endure. And to ‘qavah’ is to bind, be strong, hold fast to the hope of God, and to wait on Him. With Him. Bound to His heart.

God has used one simple word to blow my mind this morning. I am learning more by trying to understand less. Lofty concepts built on simple truths are inspiring, and I am reading several books with great insight and wisdom. I appreciate the wonderful lessons learned by others that are shared in black and white. But where God is taking me is foundational. If I bind myself to God first, I have the strength I need to endure. My story can inspire others. Yet true peace and wisdom comes from each unique journey taken by a heart bound to God’s. My strength lies in the simple yet profound and life changing act of binding my heart to His and letting Him escort me through life. I am never alone, and He will not change. Attaching myself to anything or anyone else must come second. People and circumstances will change or fail me, But God never will.

Lord, Unwrap my heart from unholy things. Forgive my carelessness with my soul. I bind myself wholly to You and seek to grow in strength while I wait for my future to unfold. Help me to live with integrity and yet not push others away. Let others be drawn to Your heart through me and lead me away from anything that separates me from You. Protect my life with Your covering and let the blood of Jesus purify my heart. In His name, amen.

Released- Thoughts on John 8:31-32

“When you continue to embrace all that I teach, you prove that you are My true followers. For if you embrace the truth, it will release more freedom into your lives.” Jesus (John 8:31-32)

Jesus is speaking to new believers here. Just before, in verse 30, “many came to believe” in Him as He was speaking in response to the question “Who are you?”. These people wondered how Jesus could speak with such authority. Their spirits were stirred at the realization that this “Father” who sent Him was in fact, God. They accepted Jesus at His word because their hearts discerned truth as they listened, and they were given the gift of understanding. And then Jesus lays out the path to freedom. To simply continue in His word. To abide, dwell, endure, remain, stand, and not depart from the living voice of Jesus.

Belief in Jesus is a beautiful and profound first step. I remember the desperate desire for light in my darkness when I had come to the end of myself. My heart was ready and the utter relief of salvation lit up my soul. My entire being felt seen, known, and loved. I felt washed and clean. And for a time, I followed hard after God. I wanted to continue in my newfound freedom. But I did not remain there. For many years I teetered on the precarious cliff between living and embracing sin in my life, while my heart still yearned for Jesus. I wrestled with the cycle of wanting to do right, doing wrong anyway, and then being enslaved by shame and guilt. Unhealthy choices and selfish pride were my own undoing. I allowed my life to be ruled by the unrelenting current of being unintentional and just letting my life unwind without the disciplines of Jesus.

I do not regret the years leading to my latter, more recent ones because the struggles have given me the sort of pain that produces humility and compassion. Jesus wanted me to abide in His word and experience the freedom from sin He promised, because He loves me. But I made other choices, or failed to choose at all while languishing in indecision that brought much despair. Love wants the best for someone. God is love and Jesus is His tangible attempt to prove how true that is. He did not leave us to stumble around on our own. We have a well defined road map leading us to freedom and peace. All we have to do is follow the true Leader who will take us where our pure hearts’ desire wants to be. He will use our detours and wrong turns for His good, and we have the choice to decide how long we are to remain lost. Once we ask for directions, the right way is made clear.

Lord, I am grateful for this journey. Thank you for the grace to let me take the messy way. Your unchanging truth always leads me back to You. Help me to continue in Your word. May Your truth set and keep me free to love and share Your way with others. I am grateful for the community of believers You have surrounded me with. Help me to love the way you do. Help me to live in obedience and follow where You lead. In Jesus’ name Amen.

Grace Will Overwhelm- Thoughts on James 1:5

“And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and He will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures, but He will overwhelm Your failures with His generous grace.” (James 1:5)

Longing is birthed from the depths of our souls. A true longing for wisdom usually comes in time of trouble or need; a desperate want for direction or a way through the darkness. Questions of what to do, or how to move forward can feel like a prison when there are no answers.

The key to unlocking the door seems too simple, so we fumble around trying keys that won’t work. We struggle and wonder why we can’t get free. So much time is wasted using the wrong keys. All we have to do is “Look… [to God] and be saved…” (Isaiah 45:22) Turn to Him, and simply look, behold, acknowledge, and receive. Ask God and He will give wisdom. I am not speaking of knowledge, but the deeper wisdom that God gives. “Knowledge is raw information, but wisdom is knowing how to use it.” (D. Guzik)

Whether God gives answers or perserverance, His generous grace will prove to be enough. The more I have struggled on my own, the more tangled up in my own thoughts and actions I become. To rest, stop, let everything fall at the feet of Jesus is where my freedom comes. And my spirit fills with the wisdom of God because He promises to give generously. All I need to do is ask, seek, or knock.

Lord, Thank You for Your generous grace. Where I have gained knowledge, give me wisdom in how to use it for Your glory. Show me the way to Your peace that passes all understanding. Thank You for the mercy in my failures. Help me to walk in this humble knowing and be strong in Your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Fight Well- Thoughts on Ephesians 6:11

“Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser.” (Ephesians 6:11)

We don’t have to search around to find this armor Paul speaks of. God gives it to us. He provides His own battle gear for us to put on. We need to be fully armed and protected every day. The word “devil” means false accuser or slanderer. There are physical battles yes, but the ones we face spiritually with the enemy of our souls are much more dangerous. When we let the lies of the devil sway us to believe falsely, we give him a foothold in our life. He has a strategy to thwart God’s plan for our life, but we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37) with the protection of God’s love!

When I let my guard down, the arrows of the enemy pierce me. Sometimes they hurt, and sometimes they are masked as pleasure. When I let the lies entertain me as truth, I begin to turn away from God. I look to the things Satan uses to draw me away. I begin to worry, or feel entitled. I spin negative thoughts in my mind or nurse the painful wounds. I begin to doubt God’s promises or take for granted all that He has blessed me with in my life. My struggle is not with the people, flesh and blood, but against the powers of darkness that move in the world. “Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage.” (Ephesians 6:12) No matter how crazy that sounds to the ears of the world, I know that it is true. And God has given me all that I need to fight back. And fight well.

Lord, Your word is amazing, alive, and full of truth. Just reading these scriptures today empowered and equipped me to stand stronger and recognize the subtle ways of the devil trying to take me out. I put on Your full armor and stand in the light of Your truth. Help me to stay alert and pray in the gap for others. In Jesus’ name amen.

Heap of Grain- Thoughts on Psalm 4:6-8

“Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?” (NASB) “ Let the light of Your radiant face break through and shine upon us! The intense pleasure You give me surpasses the gladness of harvest time, even more than when the harvesters gaze upon their ripened grain and when their new wine overflows.” (TPT) “In peace [and with a tranquil heart] I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety and confident trust.” (AMP) Psalm 4:6-8

Abundance is good, and having plenty can bring happiness. But what happens when what you have is lost? Can there still be peace and and true joy? As I studied these verses I came across a reference to Ruth 3:7. (The treasure I uncovered is such a gift, and 3/7 is my birthday! This is the intense pleasure God gives in seemingly ordinary moments.) In this verse, Boaz was full and his heart was merry after eating and drinking all evening. He laid down to sleep at the end of his heaping harvest of grain. His heart was at peace and he went to sleep. Enter Ruth. She crept in quietly and placed herself at his feet as a sign of her availability to him. Such a courageous act of faith! She knew of the abundance and hoped for favor and blessing. She needed someone to care for her. She was brave, and she came in close. She put herself at the feet of the provider in such humility.

I too am learning to come in closer to God, my Provider. To wait quietly fosters faith, and to humbly place my self at his feet means I expect Him to fill my needs. Fear of being rejected, or not being provided for can sometimes push me into anxious striving. I don’t want to settle for the crumbs my own hands can gather when I can trust God to provide a feast. By letting God provide for my needs, He puts gladness in my heart. Each time I seek Him with my whole heart, He wholeheartedly fills me in ways that are true and lasting. Why do I have joy in the midst of difficulty and unanswered prayers? Because He gives me all I need. He has the heap of grains I so desire. I must trust the Giver.

Father God, You are my provider. You bring the joy that I seek “Let the light of Your radiant face break through and shine upon us!” I lay my worries and needs at Your feet. Fill me with Your abundance. My heart is available to You. Your perfect love casts out fear. In Jesus’ name, amen.