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.

Shift

Weightless but grounded

Like a feather in dirt

Softly kept freedom

Rises above the hurt

Wakeful with prayer

Salted with grace

Voice spoken words

A smile on my face

Breathing in deep

Life upon lungs

Another day opens

Where yesterday hung

Light upon shadows

Like waves upon sand

Washing away

Mistakes of my hand

Morning brings promise

An unopened gift

Carefully unwrapping

Joy takes the next shift.

Apekdechomai (Assiduously Waiting)

Shifting sand and pulling waves

I struggle to keep my balance

Longing heart desire craves

Recall the accepted challenge

Cooling water ebb and flow

Await the next relief

Timely answers held in shadow

Faith beyond belief

New year dawns with stealth approach

Creeping near my soul

Time has passed with tears and love

A healed heart becomes whole

Paused behind the starting line

Poised to take my stance

Anticipation for sound of blast

Strength builds to take the chance

How long before the race is won

Seeps doubt into my mind

Eyes glance up and see the Judge

Hope rests in His sacrifice

A love so vast and worthy

A man so real and true

Jesus came to lay the track

The Way to make it through

This banner raised above my year

A word for hope and wait

Patience with excitement brews

Apekdechomai is the gate.

A Father’s Pen

I hear a voice calling me

Bend with the wind

Sway like the trees

Lean in and give

Movements of creation speak

Listen to the leaves

Hear the silence

Let go and grieve

On a journey to a Kingdom

Swim in the ocean

Fall into wildflowers

Live now in the open

Endless love offers hope

Look for the light

Rest in the shadows

Stay in the fight

A Father’s pen writes

Step into words

Slow and believe

Story unfolds

New chapter draws me forward

Accepting new seasons

Open hands receive

Strength has reasons

A Savior’s heart plays music

Hands offer grace

Words give water

Reflecting God’s face

I can hear the notes of mercy

Soak in the song

The voice calling me

Was His all along.

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.

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.

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.

Held and Content- Thoughts on Hebrews 13:5

“Don’t be obsessed with money but live content with what you have, for you always have God’s presence. For hasn’t He promised you, “I will never leave you alone, never! And I will not loosen my grip on your life!” Hebrews 13:5 TPT

“Being content means to be possessed of unfailing strength, satisfied, to be strong; [thereby] to defend or ward off.” (Strong’s concordance)

We are warned against being obsessed with money and what it can buy. The correlation of this contentment-seeking mindset and God’s promise to always be with us means we will be stronger when we fill our lives and hearts with Him.

Obsession is a buzz word I hear all the time. “I am obsessed with _____”, fill in the blank. Whatever our newest delight may be, we want to possess more. I recognize this as our trying to fill the empty places in our soul that only God can fill. I am guilty of it too. But, I am becoming more aware of the constancy of unrest around me. Obsessive talk in our consumer saturated world is so common place now. We have so much, but we always want more. God gave me a picture of this unrest and why my soul feels so unsettled at times. Think of a glass of water. If you tilt it toward something else to fill it, the water inside sloshes and splashes out. Pull it back and water sloshes out the other side. Constantly tilting the glass reaching for more and then pulling it back spills what what is already inside. We are the glass. Our body contains our soul, the water inside. When we let God hold us and fill us, our soul is at rest.

Dreams and desires are good, but obsessively reaching is not. Whether its an ambitious career move, or simply choosing what to eat for dinner, our desires can become addictions leaving us feeling empty on the other side of temporary satisfaction. Being content in God brings a more peaceful perspective. I am less inclined to judge when someone rocks my world at work. I am less inclined to let the taste of food drive me, and am more content to let nutritious choices fill my body with healthy things. I do not need to want what everyone else has, or do what everyone else is doing. I want God to direct my steps every day. I want Him more than anything this world offers. And He will enable me to give to others in a way that leaves a lasting, peaceful kind of love, and hopefully, a touch of contentment on their hearts.

Lord, Forgive me for my obsessive tendencies. Forgive me for using money to buy things when I feel empty. Forgive me when I alter my choices from Your best to worldly less. Help me to recognize the barren places in me before I fill them with anything but You. Thank You for showing me the strength that comes from contentment in You. Let my life testify to the peace only You can give. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I Can Handle It

Love isn’t based on a finite thing

But a heart that is filled with fire

Extravagant hope and graceful strength

Sustains every existence entire

Drawn from tenacity based on your own

False pretense sneaks to take hold

Such vain attempts to hide the belief

Lies are preferred over truth to be told

Give me a life based on honest living

Tell me the things that you fear

Trust me enough to hold the weight

And handle the words that I hear

Each of us holds a chest of secrets

Some given in part most concealed

Days and choices have shaped our life

But the yearning is to be revealed

To step into light without judgement or pain

Be a clean and pure version of self

Believe that the love God gave in His Son

Can heal sickness and bring you health