“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” Ps 19.7
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul…” Ps 23.2-3a
“I will be glad and rejoice in Your love, for You saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.” Ps 31.7
“When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ Your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Ps 94.18, 19
“Be at rest once more, o my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. For You, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.” Ps 116.7-8
Charles Wesley’s famous hymn called Jesus the “Lover of my soul,” and painting a picture of raging waters and a “storm of life” asks, even pleads with Jesus to be his refuge, his hiding place.
But this morning I am singing an older hymn – my current favorite “oldie” written sometime in the 1700’s: Be Still, My Soul. Amy Grant has an a m a z i n g rendition of it!
The soul, they say say, is the mind, the will and the emotions part of us. It is the center of the human personality and at times we think if we could just get past that part of ourselves, we could really serve God, be faithful, be holy. But I really think Jesus is the Lover of our souls. I think that is the part of us He created that brings Him a lot of joy. For even though that is where the anguish and battle of self-rule try to rage, the soul is also the part of us that makes the decision to repent.
Does He love me? All of me? Does He love the mind He created in me? Does He love my emotions? Does He love my very personality? Does some of it need a workover? Oh, yes, at times. But we are spirit, soul and body – and He made all of that – on purpose. He is the lover of my soul.
Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side Bear patienty the cross of grief or pain Leave to thy God to order and provide In every change He faithful will remain Be still, my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end. Be still my soul the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt here below…
Tredessa and Stormie, Niece-Elise and Mary Jean, plus the rest, left for Honduras today. They go. I pray. If they cross your mind, will you pray, too? While they pour out, I am praying they will get filled!
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14.18
Father, heal both the children who reside at the Home of Refuge and the ones who have gone to minister to them from the orphan spirit. Reveal Your love and do a deep work in their hearts. May the team return renewed, hearts healed, and energized by Your grace.”
From the book John Wesley’s Prayers, edited by Frederick C. Gill and published in 1959 (from John Wesley’s original works 200+ years earlier):
“Deliver me, O God, from too intense an application to even necessary business. I know the narrowness of my heart, and that an eager attention to earthly things leaves it no room for the things of heaven. Teach me to go through all my employments with so truly disengaged a heart that I may still see Thee in all things; and that I may never impair that liberty of spirit which is necessary for the love of Thee.” -A portion of the Sunday evening prayer
Ryan-the-temp, from “The Office,” says it like this:
“If I had to, I could clean out my desk in five seconds, and nobody would ever know I had been here. And I’d forget, too.” -Season 2, The Secret
Don’t let work steal the joy of your salvation! Stay free!
I LOVE Christmas!I am not a very exuberant person by nature, not naturally just happy and light-hearted, but give me a vision and some understanding and I come alive. My Holy-Holiday-Calling is to remember and release a spirit of rejoicing in myself and in others as we make Jesus Christ and worshipping Him central to our raucous Christmas celebrating!
In our 1860s Victorian house in Nebraska, we had 9 fully-decorated trees. I have never run out of ideas for decorating a tree, each in a unique and personal way. Now, though, we’re down to two. One is the collections of our lives (the tree of my sentimental heart) – the ornaments the kids made at school growing up, “baby’s first” ornaments and now treasures from the grandchildren.
But the main tree,too tall and big enough to fill too many totes with it’s ornamentations, is the tree of my faith. The centerpiece in the branches reads:For unto you is born this day (with the print of a baby’s foot to represent Jesus’ birth), A Savior, who is Christ the Lord(a bloody hand-print reminds us that He was born to die for us)!
From the 12 foot peak flows down wide, red swaths of blood-red satin to represent His sacrifice for me. The tree, evergreen representing everlasting life, is decorated with crosses and the angelic hosts. It is decorated with symbols and words of all Christ came to accomplish. It is, for me, an altar of worship. I raise it yearly to remember and celebrate the completed work of Jesus Christ in my life. My tree is a symbol of a broken curse.
There was another tree. It was stripped bare of it’s branches, save one, which was affixed across the trunk up high. And that tree is part of our celebration, even now during Christmas, and symbolizes everything that happened there bringing us eternal life.
At the foot of our Christmas tree, we lovingly exchange gifts. Our tree is laden with sparkling ornaments, twinkling lights, and bedecked with glittering beauty. And why?
Because it was on a tree that God hung His greatest gift to us all and He calls us to that tree to receive the greatest of all gifts – His son, Jesus. Galatians 3.13 reminds us that on that tree, Jesus redeemed us from the curse. It holds nothing on us. We are free and redeemed from the law of sin and death and we commemorate Christmas with joy with our ornamented tree – celebrating His love toward us which flows out as we gift one another.
I’ll kneel at the tree within the next couple of days, my altar of remembrance and pray:
Father, I am kneeling at this tree thanking You that at that tree You broke the curse for me. I am open, during this Christmas season, Lord, to receive Your deliverance for anything that haunts or taunts me. Set me free from the things that have entangled my life. I remember, today. In the light from this tree, I receive Your gift from that tree…
His coming wasn’t random. It was planned. Remember to remember…Jeanie
NOTE TO SELF: Make funny faces in the round glass ornaments. Crack God up.
pictured: a close-up view of the message of our tree; some up-shots
OK-just because he is one of the best-loved and most prolific writers in Christendom, and just because The Journey of Desire was my favorite book read in 2004 and just because I spent 6 months reading and writing and loving The Sacred Romance and experiencing an amazing “summer of love” because of it and my friends and I blogged about it all year this year – don’t think that authomatically makes me some kind of big John Eldredge fan. Because I am not an Eldredge groupie. Or maybe I wasn’t.
But I have just finished reading (2 weeks ago) the BEST book (it WILL be my “book of the year”) and it just happens to be by John Eldredge. And I seriously wish some one else, everyone else, would read it, too, and get it and get into conversation with me about it.
Walking with God – Talk to Him. Hear from Him. Really. That is the name of the book. I picked it up from the library on a whim, thinking I’d browse through quickly because there was no time to read it. But the day I got started, I was in all the way. I spent a week reading it (was the bronchitis a gift??), took 27 pages of handwritten notes and have now requested it for Christmas, because, I plan to read it again and write in it and underline and highlight and learn some more.
Here is how it is described on the jacket:
“This is a series of stories of what it looks like to walk with God, over the course of about a year.”
“So begins a remarkable narrative of one man’s journey learning to hear the voice of God. In Walking wtih God by John Eldredge, the details are intimate and personal. The invitation is for us all. What if we could hear from God . . . often? What difference would it make?
All day long we are making choices. It adds up to an enormous amount of decisions in a lifetime. How do we know what to do? We have two options. We can trudge through on our own, doing our best to figure it all out.
Or, we can walk with God. As in, learn to hear his voice. Really. We can live life with God. He offers to speak to us and guide us. Every day. It is an incredible offer. To accept that offer is to enter into an adventure filled with joy and risk, transformation and breakthrough. And more clarity than we ever thought possible.”
John Eldredge basically shares his personal journaling with us, the things he faces and considers and learns throughout the course of a year. Thus, no chapters or formulaic divisions. What he learns about intimacy with God or joy and how essential it is, the spiritual warfare in which he engages, the agreements he breaks with the enemy and the growth in prayer and understanding of the power of the completed work of Jesus on the cross and the deliverance available through the blood of Jesus – these are not segregated, sectioned off revelations, but the interweaving of them throughout the course of the year. Here a little, there a little, as God taught Him, interacted with him, talked to him. Really.
This is the kind of book every parent should leave behind for their children: the record of the faithfulness of the hand of God in our lives in the day in and the day out. Here is what I learned, no-am still learning. Here is what God did on this day. Here is the battle I repeatedly face. Here is how I am overcoming. John Eldredge opened the pages of his journal and shared these things in this book. And even told how he is instilling them in his sons, even now.
The book: It’s conversational. It’s powerful. I felt like I was sitting there talking to the author directly. For me, it was timely and insightful on being whole and holy, and the importance of joy. It reminded me to recognize the enemy’s work against me and how I have made subtle agreements with the enemy that have given him a foothold in my life, but also gave me the courage, the prayers and the understanding to break those things, resist the devil and watch him flee! It exposed busyness again, a recurring struggle for me, and awakened me to ways the enemy has kept me in bondage, but how I do not have to stay there. Period.
Pictured, left to right: Averi, 8 months; Hunter, 4; Guini, 3; Gemma (in Gavin’s grasp), 1; Gavin, 5
O God, thank-You for these, my amazing five! They’re the reason I was born! They are my heritage-the gift You have given me. The eternal things I place in them are the legacy I will leave.
I pray Your Word will always be in their mouths. I pray that Gavin and Guini, Hunter and Gemma and Averi will grow up hiding Your Word in their hearts and will choose, even now, to serve You and You alone. I pray these five, my little amazings, will seek You for wisdom and will receive knowledge and understanding from Your heart for their lives. May their worship rise to You. May their song reach Your ears and bring You joy.
Thank-you for the gift of them, Lord. I will tell my grandbabies of Your faithfulness. I will declare Your great works to this generation. I am watching for the spiritual harvest, Lord. Because I am sowing to the Spirit – I am watching for the harvest…
I am so honored God has brought me this incredibly noisy, full and increasing heritage. He is making all my dreams come true…Gavin, Guinivere, Hunter, Gemma and Averi’s “Nonna”
NOTE TO SELF: I have earned the gray hair and grandma wrinkles-even if I don’t yet wish to avail myself of them.
“Enjoy the good life…everyday of your life. And enjoy your grandchildren…” Psalm 128.6 The Message
Threatened by a forecast of freezing rain turning to snow, we are actually hosting a magnificent and sunny day fully lighting the multi-faceted palette and texture of fall. Fluttering madly in the autumn breeze and dancing to the tune of the wind chime, the once-emerald leaves of the Aspen clump are becoming more golden by the hour. The burning bushes are flaming as scarlet as they can be and potted flower heads are bowing in reverance to the power of the season as it blows by, sometimes in a whisper, sometimes as a roar.
Psalm 65.9 The Message O, visit the earth – ask her to join the dance! …fill the God-river with living water. Paint the wheatfields golden. Creation was made for this! Drench the plowed fields, soak the dirt clods with rainfall… Set the hills to dancing! dress the canyon walls with live sheep, a drape of flax across the valleys! Let them shout and shout and shout! Oh, let them sing and sing!
I am singing my head off to You, O Lord, and trying to sing as loud as the trees which are clapping their hands and the bushes which are dancing (the twist) for your pleasure. You have made all of creation so holy, so set apart for Your glory. Can I live my life as free, as abandoned?
I am called in Christ (Romans 1.6). I was redeemed in Christ (Romans 3.24). I reign in life by Christ (Romans 5.17). I have eternal life through Christ (Romans 6.23). I am a joint heir with Christ (Romans 8.17). I have victory through Christ (1 Corinthians 15.57). I am a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5.17). I have liberty in Christ (Galatians 2.4). I am crucified with Christ ( Galatians 2.20). I have put on Christ (Galatians 3.27). I have been blessed with spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1.3). I have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, that I should be holy and without blame before Him (Ephesians 1.4). I have been created in Christ for good works (Ephesians 2.6). I rejoice in Christ (Philippians 3.3). I press toward the mark of the high calling of God on my life in Christ (Philippians3.14). I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4.13). God supplies all my needs through Christ (Philippians 4.19). I am complete in Christ (Colossians 2.10). I am dead with Christ (Colossians 2.20). I am risen with Christ (Colossians 3.1). My life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3.3). Christ is my life (Colossians 3.4). I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2.16). I have the attitude of Christ, choosing humility (Philippians 2.5-7). I am preserved in Christ (Jude 1.1).*
Jesus: Who do you say that I am?
Peter: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God…
Jesus: Who do YOU say that I am?
In Christ Alone…Jeanie
NOTE TO SELF: That I may know Him…Know Him, press in to knowing Him…song: “becoming like Him in His death, so that in me there’s resurrection life…”
*adapted from the book by John Eckhardt, Prayers that Rout Demons
Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted.
Take delight in each light-filled hour,
Remembering that there will also be many dark days
And that most of what comes your way is smoke.
Live footloose and fancy free-
You won’t be young forever…”
Ecclesiastes 11.7-8, 10 The Message
Some days you open your Bible and just realize how much better it is than a thousand fortune cookies! Truth! Life! My delight! Sweeter than honey to my lips. His words are like bread – and I eat them! They cause me to break into a prayer of love to the Letter Writer~
Oh, how I love Your law, O Lord. Your promise preserves my life. Your words are the lyrics and melody of my song wherever I live – wherever I find myself. I think about Your Word day and night. Your decrees light the path I am on and help me find my way back when I am lost. I have spent my life testing Your promises and I have found them to be true. I love Your Word, O Lord. (shamelessly ripping off David in Psalm 119)
I love how the scriptures set us free from self-imposed religious activity and living! Footloose and fancy free…Jeanie
NOTE TO SELF: This must truly be a mandate for the coming year.
pictured: a “sample picture” that came with the computer – in case I didn’t know what a picture was
On going into the very Promised Land of God, Moses said to the Lord:
“If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here…How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and Your people unless You go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” Ex. 33.15-16
So, I pray:
Distinguish me, Lord – not by making me better at something than some one else or giving me wealth or fame or position or title or things. Sanctify me and set me apart for Your holy will, for Your Name and Your fame, Lord, for Your acclaim on the earth. Distinguish me by Your Presence – that You will be seen wherever I go, a forgiven woman, set free and living in grace.
“Grace. The empowering Presence of God, enabling me to be what He called me to be and to do what He called me to do.” – James Ryle