Thistles and Grace

From dust we were formed

To dust we return

We rise with the wildflowers

And feel the sun’s burn

Not left without shade

Or water to thrive

But in toil with our hands

Harvest honey from hive

Sweetness from crushing

Wine press for grapes

Droplets of sweat

Proves what we create

Desires are shaken

Twisted in two

But gathered in mercy

By the Father who knew

Freedom and wisdom

Come at a price

Mysteries unspoken

His love will suffice

Driven from Eden

A heavenly blow

We yearn to return

To the Home our hearts know

Heirs to the Kingdom

Exiled to this place

We cultivate goodness

Shred thistles for grace

Passionate purpose

Cast seeds into ground

A harvest will come

In this hope I am found.

 

Study Notes on James 3:17-18

“But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form and it always bears the beautiful harvest of righteousness! Good seeds of wisdom’s fruit will be planted with peaceful acts by those who cherish making peace.” James 3:17-18 TPT

Godly wisdom promotes life and love. Its ways are pure because God is pure. Sowing seeds from a peaceful grounding in this wisdom will bring settledness. Drawing direction from above allows a natural pause that must go past my initial emotions to reach the unwavering plumb line of God. There is peace in the pausing that fosters a better chance of sowing good seeds in response, rather than the unintended hypocrisy of selfish words spoken from prideful reactions based on initial assumptions.

Blowing off steam never brings resolution. Sure, I may feel better when I spit out all the ways someone has done me wrong, but what are the effects? An ego boost when someone validates me? Is that what I am really after? No. I want peace. Truly. I feel better when I am peaceful. Life feels more solid and my existence seems more one with creation. I want more harmony with the people in my world. I am faced with opportunities every day to be more of a peacemaker. And to be honest, I haven’t sown enough peace in the seeds I am tossing around. I get caught up in the actions of others and how they affect my day. I know there is a wiser way to seek solutions, for justice, and to bring light where there is darkness. I must be careful not to fuel the darkness, but cover the opposition with more gentle kindness. If I am called to clear the temple of the money changers, I will be ready. In the meantime, I need to heed the call to sow for growing more peace.

Lord, I want to be a peacemaker. Help me to be an unwavering picture of Your wisdom in my life. Forgive me for sowing discontent and not peace. I am grateful for opportunities to try again. Help me remember to draw from Your wisdom above and not myself. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Study Notes on James 3:8-10

…but the tongue is not able to be tamed. It’s a fickle, unrestrained evil that spews out words full of toxic poison! We use our tongue to praise God our Father and then turn around and curse a person who was made in his very image! Out of the same mouth we pour out words of praise one minute and curses the next. My brothers and sister, this should never be! James 3:8-10 TPT

The tongue is a sure sign of what is in our heart. There is no remedy offered here to tame the tongue, but rather a fact that it cannot be tamed. Blessing and cursing come from the same mouth. My mouth. Oh so true. So what do we do with this devastating fact?

We try to do better. We pay attention to our words. We draw close to God and let the Holy Spirit guide us. When my heart is unsettled it is usually due to the bitterness I have allowed to take root there. Tiny seeds of sadness can grow big defensive roots. Seeds of aggravation can grow a crop full of angry weeds. I need to take an active role in tending to my heart. Be aware of the bitterness that begins to grow and root it out. When I cultivate gratitude and kindness in my heart, my tongue will reflect the same. I believe God allows our tongue to be a barometer in our life, an indicator of how we are using the free will we possess. It is an instrument that measures the pressure in our heart. And like a barometer, our words can forecast our future, whether blessed or cursed. We should also pay attention to other’s words. When bitterness is spoken, I need to remember this is a clear sign of the pressure of life in their hearts as well. When I look at it this way, I have a better chance of offering grace rather than defensiveness. Kindness and patience offered in the face of bitterness will be a sure sign of God’s power in my life.

Lord, Reveal the bitterness in my heart and show me where it is rooted. Tend to my heart with Your loving hands and remind me to care for my soul. Help me to rid myself of malice and anger. Do not let me hide the pain I feel and bury it as a seed that grows the bitterness I want out of my life. Give me courage to honestly deal with it, letting Your light heal and soothe. Settle my heart so my words come out sweet rather than bitter. And help me to recognize words as the true indicators of other people’s hearts, and show me where I can step in for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Your Cup Today

Crooked Creek Ranch-04836

Morning comes and we awaken

Wipe away the dust of stars

Open eyes to reality, shaken

Breathe in a day’s new life…

Decision time is here and now

Today we cannot hide

Let go of where you thought you’d be

Your faith is now your guide.

Cast your vision higher up

It’s time to venture on

Take the step in front of you

Uncertain as a fawn

Like a creature born today

Everything is new

The Lord is calling out to say

You’re mine, I created you

And in this childlike confidence

You have the world at bay

Dive into to depths never tasted

He will fill your cup today.

Happy New Year!

In my final reflections of 2014 I have chosen “simplify” as my life theme for 2015. Simplify is defined as: “To make simpler, either by reducing in complexity, reducing to component parts, or making easier to understand. To become simpler.” And so this is my prayer for my life and yours: May our lives be made simpler, less complex, ushering in more peace, letting love rule in our hearts. No matter what circumstances arise, I pray you know down in the depths of your being that true love holds you, our Creator loves you, and Jesus will walk with you through the toughest days as well as the gladdest days of your life. All you have to do is reach for His hand. May you make room in your days for quiet moments to refresh your heart and soul. Beautifully simple. Amen. Happy New Year!

You’re Not Alone

Another step, another day

Hope in thoughts you’ve learned to pray

Walk in freedom, selfless love

Impulsive smiles come from above

At times you think your effort is wasted

Only to find sweet passions tasted.

Keep your eyes fixed on the truth

Love your way to unfounded proof

Break the glass of image shown

Reveal the truth to those unknown

Painful honesty passes fear

When life’s true hold catches you here

Extend your heart in selfless grace

Friendship grows within the space.

Wounded places find a home

In souls to rest, you’re not alone.

words by JLS

Photo by Cross My Heart Photography

Love to Love

Sometimes eternity, reaches to me

Jolts me awake, and my eyes really see

I drink in the soulful, heart wrenched melody

Notes play out pain, free rest gives to beauty

And therein lies life, right in front of me

 

Life loves to live

And love lives to love

Give me a love where life gives all in love

 

Warm washes coldness, chips away steel

Bringing forth mystery, heart songs I can feel

Love sparks courageous, seeks layers to peel

Give in to hear music, unfolding to real

Reciprocal joy, follows steps on the heel

 

Life loves to live

And love lives to love

Give me a love where life gives all in love

 

Another day dawns, birds singing in flight

Returning the favor, of God’s morning light

Echo the singing soul, battle songs for the fight

Beautiful balance, of wrongs blended right

Step forth a new chapter, new songs for new might

 

I love to live

And my life loves to love

God gave me a life to show love loving love

By JLS
10/1/2014

We are the Women

Smack dab in the messy

We show our selves real

We take what we’re given

The cards in the deal

We are given one life

One great story line

That one is yours

And this one is mine

We are the women

Who live from the heart

Brave and courageous

For every new start

When life tosses toughness

We catch it with strength

Turn it and mold it

Stretch love with new length

I’m not saying easy

Not giving a shrug

Just one step, then two

With a God given hug

We treasure our friendships

Hold close to a few

Makes mornings more lovely

Like freshly formed dew

And so retreat daily

Into God’s loving hands

Fill empty places for

New mornings, new lands.

Words to Grow

I drink in words

And pour them out.

Language soothes

A place without.

Thoughts in poetry

Guide my mind.

Interpretations,

Peace, I find-

Where otherwise,

Rocky steps

Could bring demise.

My Savior places

Gifts within

To grow with life

To grow again.