Category Archives: Encouragement

How it is supposed to be with God <3

PC Rachel Maxwell <3

Rachel sent me this sweet picture yesterday of how nap time ended up for this posse.

Joel is transitioning from his crib to the big boy bed and he is also an escape artist, so he joined his mommy and little sis on the couch for a cartoon and ended up succumbing to his sleepy side.

He has adapted well to sharing his baby status with our little miracle surprise and certainly does love his mommy right now.

He rarely misses an opportunity to snuggle up next to her when he is needing some hugs.

I told Rachel he helps me understand what David was saying  in Psalm 131.

A Song of Ascents, listen to the attitude of the heart of this King of Israel…

O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me. verse 1 &2

Joel is the picture of this.

His mommy is no longer needed for his nourishment but his little soul needs her nearness intermittently throughout the day.

Sometimes when he bumps his head.

Sometimes when he is tired or frustrated.

and sometimes….

just because.

In the hustle and bustle of the festivities we are entering…we will have moments when we need to assume the position of a weaned child.

Moments when we need to say…

we are not proud or haughty….

we do not need to engage in every table discussion and Black Friday melee to save a bundle on that Christmas list.

We don’t need to have all the answers to our helpful guests about what we want to do with the leftovers that are now spilling out of the refrigerator and do we wash the unused silverware or put back in the drawer?

We can choose in the frantic moments when we are stretched thin and out of courtesy, tact and answers…to take a deep breath and rest against our Father.

Wanting nothing more than to just simply lean onto Him and draw comfort and solace in Him.

Be blessed as you do this thing well for His glory – whatever your holiday looks like – and remember to tell your soul to rest <3

What I heard when I “Be Still”-ed….

By the time you read this on Tuesday…if you read this on Tuesday…I will be most likely be well on my way into a day that is scheduled from 5:45 AM to 2 PM at this point.

So this will be quick and from my heart to yours.

I wonder and pray…is this a word sent from God just for me or one to share?

So I guess if it is not to be shared…He can shut down the internet or make it disappear off the grid…but at this point here is what I want to impart to you today.

I followed the teachings to Be Still.

And I applied them.

And on Sunday morning in the small window of silence offered at the end of the service, I had two distinct impressions.

The first was a prayer that my tummy wouldn’t growl in the silence because I remembered I had forgotten to grab breakfast so all that was swirling around in my digestive arena was close to 8 cups of coffee.

Don’t judge me.

The second was that still small voice I so often long to hear but somehow don’t.

I always think it is going to tell me some divine blue print in bullet points that I can nail down and take with me to finish this race with that elusive perfection and ease I sense is just around the next corner.

Or He is going to get to the root of what is wrong with me and lay it out there in clear terms and then tell me to get with it.

But no.

This is what I heard whispered across the blank page of a heart stilled and quieted and ready to listen…..

<3 Take your ministry seriously

<3 Stop apologizing for it and belittling it

<3 Believe in it and …

<3 Believe in Me

<3 Believe that I gave it to you…and I will equip you…and lead you.

That was it.

And it was everything I needed to hear.

Have you stopped and truly quieted your heart to listen for His voice?

He speaks life …. L.I.F.E.

and life-giving Truth <3

 

But seriously, the wonder of it all…

We finished the Be Still series Sunday morning at church.

This one was about being yoked to Jesus and our pastor showed us a picture of what a yoke looks like and explained how it worked when two oxen put their heads through this contraption and he suggested that it might look unappealing to us as humans but it really truly is the way to peace.

True peace.

If you accept the right invitation.

Because we really all are yoked to something.

Or someone.

Even if it’s just our own stubborn self.

I can remember a time where that yoke looked restrictive.

It would mean compliance and what if this wonderful “me” got all swallowed up and looked like a caricature of what the world had started getting me to believe a “Christian” looks like.

Until I came to the bottom of what I can be without Jesus on the throne.

Until I realized that Grace was offering me to slip my neck into that lovely invitation where the God of the Universe was offering to humble HIMSELF and allow HIMSELF to be yoked to one such as me.

One who is stubborn…one who sits down when movement is needed…one who turns left when turning right is the best way…one who tends to want to look back instead of plowing straight…one who gets easily distracted and can be somewhat of a high maintenance ox.

But He sees me in my struggles and He says…

Come to me…

Let’s do this together my daughter.

So that whole yoke thing?

That looks very appealing to me these days.

The wonder of it all is not that I willingly put on His yoke.

The wonder is that He is willing to be yoked with me.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  NLT  Matthew 11:28-30

 

 

 

 

When you just can’t enter the fast lane

Anyone else finding it a little hard to believe that Thanksgiving is NEXT week???

Me too.

On Tuesday I made a day trip down to visit Sarah. I hit the city at just the right time because there was not much traffic at all on the highway.

Which is great for me because it can feel like you stumbled onto the track at Daytona at times; and even with the few cars that were zooming around me, I was feeling a bit nervous and had to give myself numerous pep talks.

At one point, I was holding steady in the lane I needed to be in for an upcoming turn (as in I would need to exit a good 4 miles on down the road, but changing lanes is not my thing); when I saw a car coming up the entrance ramp to my right. It was moving slowly which I interpreted to mean another timid driver such as myself.

I slowed a little to make room for the car to enter, but it just kept creeping along.

Talking to the driver as if we were wearing headsets to allow for auto to auto communication, I began cheering him on….

Come on…just speed up a little…you can make it. I’m slowing down for you, just accelerate man and get on this crazy train.

Apparently he had his earphones turned off because he just kept slowing down at the same rate I was decelerating.

Finally it was clear that one of us was going to have to speed up, so I shouted my apologies that he hadn’t gotten the memo and sped ahead of him.

As I looked behind, I noticed that he was not really going much faster and then I took in the condition of his car.

It was an older vehicle and the front end looked like it had been bashed a time or two too many.

Puffs of blackish smoke wafted behind it.

I realized, it simply could not go that fast even if given the best of opportunities and all the breaks and encouragement it needed.

And I thought as I drove how sometimes we are like that car. Or at least I am.

The “holidays” are beautiful and wonderful and exciting. We have all kinds of opportunities and encouragement from friends to join in the festivities.

But we have some stuff that is weighing us down.

Changes in our finances, relationships, circumstances can leave us feeling a bit like that old beater car chugging along and trying to enter into the flow of those who are seemingly unhindered in this season.

Perhaps today we can examine our hearts and ponder which “car” we are as 2017 winds to a close.

Are we zooming along, giddy with the abundance of blessings flowing or are we limping up the ramp to the holidays with some heaviness in our hearts.

And then let’s take it a step further and look around us at our fellow travelers.

How can we quiet ourselves and step away from our busy-ness to extend a gentle hug to one who is struggling?

AND

How can we develop an openness to find the JOY of this season by trusting God with our circumstances and asking Him how we can embrace the celebrations just as we happen to be this particular year?

It is, as always, a pleasure to be traveling this journey with each of you.

Forgive me if I have, in moments of personal happiness, mowed you over with my abundance.

And thank you, most tenderly, for the times you have helped me to ease back into the flow of life when I have experienced set backs.

Be blessed today to know that whatever your circumstances are, you are loved and prayed over even as you finish reading this <3

What’s in a name?

A rose is a rose…by any other name or so they say.

And I have absolutely no idea what that means…but…

On Sunday, in class, the question was presented as to why the name used for Jesus and God were anglicized. We could go on with that for really all the names in the Bible because truly the names you and I are familiar with are English forms of Hebrew or Greek names.

And I will stop there because my time is short this morning and so is my knowledge on this subject.

So two quick thoughts to share.

One is to satisfy your curiosity Jesus would have been Yeshua before it was changed to the English version Jeshua  and God would be YHWH until it was expanded Yahweh or Jehovah  in English.

And that, my friends, is a ridiculously condensed explanation gleaned from a quick google search this morning. You are welcome.

The second point is one that I have pondered and marveled over and mediated upon frequently since I left our class that morning.

And that is the name for Jesus that none of us know.

Yet.

Because in the Revelation of John at the end of the Bible, Jesus is described as He will be when He returns.

God’s Word will do you more good today than anything I could say to inspire or encourage you, so sit up straight…or stand up…and read it with me from my NKJV…

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.”    Revelation 19:11 & 12

I don’t know about you.

But when I read those words, my heart starts pounding and I can hear in my spirit THE MOST intense ever of all times climactic scores of music that would put all other music to the level of a kazoo playing Yankee Doodle.

He is called Faithful and True…but He has a name …

I’m sorry…

a NAME…

that no one knows yet, except Himself.

I love what Beth Moore taught once about that…

a name that no one has ever been able to use in vain.

A NAME that has never been misaligned or misunderstood.

A NAME above all names.

And then to top it all off…according to verse 16 of this same passage…when He returns He will have a name written on His Robe and across His thigh…and oh my…can we just picture that for a moment?

And that NAME is …

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS

So until we know His name, we can know Him by the names revealed in Scripture …

Healer

Redeemer

Savior

Messiah

LORD

Forgive

Deliverer

What are some of the names of Jesus that you hold most tenderly in your heart today?

Call Him by His Name <3