Advent 2019

In a season of waiting

Each morning unfolds

Open hands to receive

The story being told

Clenched or closing

Refusing new grace

Shackles old thoughts

No mercy embraced

Sun rises slowly

Brings light to new ways

Trusting the process

Turns color from grays

A blanket of snow

Warms earth underneath

To bear the cold season

Hope springs new relief

For so many years

God’s people were yearning

A Savior foretold

A long time of learning

The birth of a baby

In a manger of hay

The answer to prayer

In the Father’s way

The King who came walking

Just like one of us

His holiness hidden

To love and not crush

This love that was given

Is heavy to bear

Yet when I receive it

I learn how to share

From Advent to Christmas

I must travel alone

Hand in hand with Jesus

To learn what He knows.

What Love Does

When you give your heart away

There is floating in between

A place of honest giving

Trust in how it will be received

The truth in giving love

Is to draw from our Redeemer

The One who gave it all

To the frail and flawed receivers

Faded flower calling in colors

Take a second look before you pass

New does not always mean best

Return to the the richer past

Knowing and loving and being true

Words to solve a puzzle

Understanding why is not so bad

Soak into my loving nuzzel

The question of how does not matter

My heart has been rooted in God

Loving a man that is in a battle

Is a wife’s holy and graceful nod

Moving to the next me brigade

Is nothing compared to commitment

A vow to be what I could not be

Without my Saviour’s commission

A love was protrayed in agony

A sheep praying for her wolves

Nailed to a cross with a silent prayer

Sacrifice is what love does

Memorial Day 2018

The call of duty’s pull is strong

Honor loads the machine gun

Love divided between home and field

Multiplies sacrificial freedom

Dust covered boots trek minefields

Thrashing through thickets to save

Mission minded courage takes hold

Together as one of the brave

Living to live, but ready to die

Soldiers face what we can ignore

Deep calls to deep, forging for life

Pure love pays the ultimate price

All give some, and some gave all

We wave the Red, White, and Blue

Colors that fly for our freedom

For America, for me, and for you.

 

THANK YOU.

 

Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

(John 15:13)

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 82: 3-4)

Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. (Psalm 27:3)

Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Deeper Still

There is hope in the aftermath

Grace in the fury

Letting go and letting God

Freedom from worry

Pain pulls my heart to Him

Quiet mystery

Unrequited beckoning

Let Him capture me

Deep calls to deeper still

Soul always longing

Made to want a lovers touch

Held in belonging

Discarded for another’s shine

Won’t dull my light

Glowing joy will fuel my smile

Settled heart tonight

Prayers lift for healing sleep

Breathe in for peace

Eyes closed in knowing trust

Sweet sleep released.

(Thoughts on Love) Study Notes for James 2:8

Your calling is to fulfill the royal law of love as given to us in this Scripture: “You must love and value your neighbor as you love and value yourself!” James 2:8

Today I took a different approach in my study, or rather God took me down a specific path I did not plan for. After reading through James 2, I kept coming back to verse 8. All the other verses, and truly the entire Bible comes back to love, since it is the ultimate love story. I know some will say how can it be love when it says this or that…? And I agree that many parts of the Bible are confusing and disturbing especially when read in part. All I can do is testify to the power of Christ in my life. By reading the scriptures and praying for wisdom, I receive humbly, and share. So, here is my share for today:

“Love thy neighbor as thyself” is a commandment. It is Royal Law. By not doing so, I sin against God. So, who is my neighbor? Every. Single. Human. Each person I encounter should be a recipient of this love that lives in me. But there is judgement that rises, pride, hurry, and partiality is shown. And the truth is, I have been taught to love conditionally. My eyes have been socially trained to recognize false beauty as valuable. As the only good. All based on appearances, which can be thick and effective at hiding the true heart.

Look at what has been happening to our children. Bullying has become an epidemic. Look what has happened in the political arena, hate spews from both sides. Media pours out perfect images and slanted ideas of what is good and acceptable in the world, and everyone is saying something different. These images and misleading stories from humans on a platform cause us to hate our own reflection in the mirror, or we hate others. We tear down people who are different than us to build ourselves up. We spend countless dollars on creating a better image of ourselves. We cringe at the sight of ourselves in a natural photo without filters. Envy and judgement rises in our hearts every day. We are in bondage to the pride that holds us here.

Studies show that isolation and feelings of loneliness are on the rise. The only way to bridge the gap of judgement and pride is to address the isolation. The self-made platforms must be ripped away. We must stand with feet planted firmly on the earth and remember who we were created to be. We need to reach out and touch people. Spend less time in our little worlds and serve people out there in the big one. To get past partiality is the get past appearances. Whether we are drawn toward or away in judgement, whether attracted or repulsed, we must get past the initial decision and reaction, unless it is to show love.

I am learning to see the one who looks like they have it all together probably doesn’t, and the one who looks to be worse off may hold the very peace I am seeking. The only way to know for sure is to enter in and interact. This is the only way to get to their true heart. Communication leads to understanding. Reaching out to those in our path is the only way to find out what someone needs. Maybe they need money, maybe it’s spending time, either way I know everyone needs love. This is how Jesus lived. This is how I too must live if I want true peace and joy. Humanity suffers where there is hate and it thrives under the pouring out of love.

Lord, Show me to love like You do. Forgive me for my judgemental glances and selfish assumptions about people. Forgive me for my pride. Soothe my wounded heart so I can see past my own pain. Let humility reign in my heart and let love reign on my lips. Help me to keep Godly boundaries to wisely know what is helpful and harmful. Show me what it means to throw pearls before swine and yet still show love. Speak so I can hear You and slow me down so I can listen. Give me courage to step beyond my borders and safely walk with you in grace with eyes open to the needs around me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Independence Day

“That they may all be one… that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them…”
-Jesus, John 17:21-23

“One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
-The Pledge of Allegiance

Independence Day – A time to celebrate our abundant life in a country where the brave fought and died for our freedom from the British Empire. There was conflict, there was war, and then there was freedom. Thirteen colonies declared independence and a new country was born. Our new normal began in 1776 as The United States of America. I am always struck by the easily quotable, second sentence of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Self-evident truths. All created equal. Unalienable rights. Endowed by our Creator. Life. Liberty. Pursuit of happiness. Our country was founded by men who believed in God. They did not feel the need to prove anything about God, but firmly staked their claim of independence on the foundation of their faith. And this is where it must begin for me… Faith. Being firmly planted in self-evident truths. Staking my claim on Jesus for freedom. Every day.

Our country’s beginning did not begin in Eden, although it seems silly to point out such an obvious fact. But, my faith does begin there. In Eden, before the fall, before conflict began. “In the beginning God created…” Gen 1:1. My faith is rooted in a Creator who is good. And His creation was good. Is it still good? I know I am not the only one to get stuck right there. Many things in this life do not feel good at all. Sickness, betrayal, war, hurricanes… But, I must return to the self-evidence of truth, that I was created by God. And God is good.

Back to the story of independence and America. There was conflict, there was war, and then there was freedom. This blessed country I call home is good, even if the beginning was not. There is much goodness in the majestic mountains of Colorado, the mysterious swamps of Louisiana, and even more notable goodness in the freedom I have to be and do practically anything I want. Many countries and people do not have anything close to the life I enjoy. I try not to take this for granted, but it happens all the time. I go so fast on the track of freedom, that I forget there are many people who struggle more than I can imagine. More than I have ever struggled. And here I am again, questioning God’s goodness.

And then I remember what Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Peace is not in America, or in the world. Only in Jesus will I have peace.

He wants my heart. He offers eternal life. It is my duty and honor to live out these days with my eyes focused on truth. With my heart guarded and nourished by the good. I must keep my soul securely planted in the soil of God’s land. It is my duty to honor the men and women who serve to protect these freedoms I enjoy. And even more, to serve our great and good God and be united with others in the love Jesus died to give.

Yellow Ribbon Love

She looks out the window holding to hope
Another day unfolds
Sunshine rays of beaming light
Like a lifeline, hands to rope
The golden hues swirl and dance
Upon Spring flower blooms
Birds caress the wind with song
God gives another chance
Her heart is is full of love for Him
His grace is enough
To be the wife of soldier’s blood
She’d risk her life and limb
He stands for what he knows is right
His heart has been wounded
The scars burn too red sometimes
And healing trades for fight
Yet love from his wife’s fierce heart
Burns hotter still
She holds a yellow ribbon love
Vows held strong from the start
This ribbon speaks of sacrifice
Life given for all
Their Savior shows them how to love
Bought with the highest price
The ribbon too is held in view
To remind her of the hope
And when he turns home from battlefield
He will see her love like new.

Servant of Grace

I give the smile from my face to see the joy on yours

If you don’t respond may I still give you more

Not to find a reaction I need

Not to fill my own emptiness

But that I would give because I have been given

I am a recipient of joy

Joy that comes from being seen as I am

Love that came down from above

Not to fill me with pride that seeks

Not to bring me high standing

But that I would love to share my Jesus

I am a recipient of sacrifice

A gift that came wrapped in pain and tears

Offered to my heart without strings

Not to open and keep to myself

Not to hide it away

But to offer in love this beautiful treasure

My hands are outstretched to serve for the Kingdom

If you don’t accept may I still love you more

Not to make you feel guilty

Not to cover you with shame

But that you would open your eyes to forgiveness

I am a servant of grace.

Jesus

He walked this world with skin like ours,

He felt our pain. He bears the scars.

To fathom God became a man-

How could this have been His plan?

One tiny life among the rest,

A baby born, God’s love shown best.

This man we’ve come to know as Christ,

Became the way. The truth. Our life.

He stood the brutal testing strong,

We were worth it all along.

His love and passion deeper still,

Than removing choice or our free will.

To let us choose to love and know,

Desires set within us flow.

Guided by our Father’s hands,

Our feet tread sure on rock, not sand.

Quiet down and close your eyes-

Breathe in the life where beauty lies.

Let go of all that weighs you down,

We are His love, creation crowned.

Don’t let your heart be dismayed,

We have the truth. The life. The Way.

(Inspired by John 14:1-6)

Strong Roots

Grass under my feet and wind in my hair

Reminding me God, that Your love is there

You are my rock through the chaos on earth

And I know there’s a purpose and loving has worth

When fire and affliction burns hot on your heart

Meaningless madness will tear you apart

Take hold of the moment, stand strong and aware

That darkness will cower to God’s love affair

His power will crush the arrows that fly

The taunts of the enemy become known for their lies

The world spins unknowing the battles to fight

So I war on my knees to replace darkness with light

With each breath in my lungs I vow to live well

And let God use my life as His story to tell

Pages keep turning as days turn to years

I stop to reflect how He’s used all my tears

Seeds of grace and forgiveness flourish and grow

In each burning affliction I’m pushed closer to know

True joy and love when I dig deeper to find

Strong roots reach the Giver of your life and mine.