Our souls will feel refreshed.
“Oh God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (NIV)
We will reach for a soda, a cup of coffee or tea, but the real ‘refreshing of our soul’ is time with the Lord.
My challenge and question for us today: What are you reaching out for?
Since I had radiation I have realized water is what I need to flush the toxic stuff away.
If it has a bit of juice in it, or a juice like flavor like cranberry or pomegranate, it is easier for me to drink it.
It purifies and detoxes the body and healing of cells takes place rather quickly.
So it if it works, why is it so hard to grab that glass, and do what is right?
That is not too different from our time with God.
We make time for family, friends and coworkers, but find it very hard to cut out time for God.
It is often not an easy choice for us.
The verse says, my body longs for you, that speaks of a desire, to have God so close and so intimate.
A relationship, of choice.
God I earnestly seek you. That is desire, for relationship.
Our world, in which we live and exist, is a dry and parched land.
It offers very little for a ‘soul’ experience.
Especially now with isolation and social distancing.
I love to go to the beach for refreshment and rest.
I love to sit on an uneven log and take in and smell the freshness of the wind, water and ocean.
Watching the surf pounding forward and back with power and majestic strength.
I listen in the quietness, for seagulls and children playing in the sand.
I find it a great mystery how the powerful waves just ‘know’ how to crash and turn on rocks wet and cold.
It refreshes me for a moment.
This verse is talking about a soul, so quenched and so parched.
It longs for a cool glass of refreshment.
God’s love, God’s spirit through the word, is refreshment to our soul.
God, you are my God. It reflects relationship.
Have you ever had a special friend in your life, a good friend?
Has it been a long time since you have seen them?
You long for a time when you can share, catch up and enjoy each others stories.
A phone call works but it’s not the same as a visit in real time.
One day you tell yourself: I have to see them. I have missed them greatly.
This is the feeling we ought to strive for with God.
Oh God I have SO missed you.
As we enter into the word, it refreshes our spirit. The soul becomes filled with life.
It is water that is refreshment, to our parched and weary lives.
May we challenge ourselves to sit.
Drink in the word and allow it to seep into our lives, like a warm cup of tea.
Our souls will feel refreshed.
Take your everyday, ordinary life – your eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life- and place it before God as an offering.
Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.
Instead, fix your attention on God.
You’ll be changed from the inside out.
Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.
Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity,
God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Romans 12:1 vs 1-2 the message
When I read this it stirred in me a new thought.
It is saying to us that our lives are an offering to God.
Dictionary.com says the meaning of offering is: ‘a show of intention.’
So this means we intentionally offer our lives to the Lord.
Dictionary.com said; ‘deliberately or willfully, done with intention or on purpose, by choice.’
So we choose to give all that we do, to the glory of God.
Is that possible always? Some days are not so good.
We all have bad days, I certainly do.
The verse says to us “you will be changed from the inside out.”
So as we choose to fix our heart and attention towards God, and embrace what HE wants for our lives; we grow and we change.
We become mature in our thinking.
We become discerning in the ways of the world and culture around us.
Yes we have to live here, yes we have to work and do every day things,
the challenge for us, is to decide what do we want to embrace?
What values do we want to hold onto.
The verse said “readily recognize”, that means we choose to look with our spiritual eyes.
To recognize something, we would have to know it already.
Like someone we have known or a place we have been before.
To be changed from the inside out is an intentional act.
Our choice to embrace the good and learn from the bad.
God desires to help us but We can’t receive help unless we are willing to accept it.
I think we all can relate to our ‘cultures desire’ to pull us down.
Turn the TV on and you will see and hear all kinds of messages.
They are not necessarily positive or good for us, especially now in this political climate.
If we embrace those messages we loose the message of God’s truth.
In our maturity and our growth let us not compromise the intent.
God is helping you to learn as he says,
Here is what I want you to do.
Take your ordinary every day life and place it as an offering.
When you read the word vandalism, what image did you first think about?
The image of someone spray painting a fence or throwing a rock through a window?
Our current climate in the downtown part of Portland has been vandalized over and over.
The definition of vandalism is:
willful destruction with malicious intent, to do harm or destroy;
OR willful or ignorant destruction of artistic or literary treasures.
It’s been very sad to see the violence lately.
When our Pastor spoke about this one Sunday many years ago, it provoked a lot of thought in me. (imagine that!)
The word vandalism brings to our minds many images.
We would never take a spray paint can and destroy someone else’s property.
Yet I challenge us to think of this in a different way.
In this political climate when we talk bad about someone.
When we choose to hear a rumor and believe it, and maybe even spread it more without knowing facts.
When the words we say become less in line with the truth.
We are committing vandalism of the heart.
Fragmenting the heart and reputation of one another.
We do not have the right to do that anymore than the ‘violators’ who vandalize Portland.
It is like we are committing a homicide of the heart. It is death to someone sacred.
It creates death to a relationship, and places a judgement on someone else’s character.
The willful destruction, is when we choose to spread the rumor, or believe the untruth.
The malicious intent, is when we choose to say harmful or unkind things about someone.
With the intention of doing harm. It hurts us, as well as the one we are talking about.
So in this journey called life, we must be careful with our words, our thoughts, our actions and our intentions.
God has given us all, if we follow him, a discerning truth.
If we read the word, if we take caution in our motives, and if we listen to our heart.
We will be truthful to ourselves and those around us.
The challenge today, is for all of us to examine our lives and see if there is anything hurtful we choose to do.
Let this be our prayer:
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, Oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
Lord God, help us to redeem our words towards one another and be kind.
“And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, Just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:2
When you read the word vandalism I hope you see it more clearly now
Rest for your soul.
As he was teaching, Jesus said, “unless you come to me as a child, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven”.
We know he did not mean ‘be born again’ by your mother. That’s impossible.
He meant, come to me…with ‘Freedom of heart’… Freedom from rules…Freedom from fear, with a child like spirit, spontaneous…with joy and excitement.
Come to me with innocence and a desire to learn.
Have you ever seen a child so joyful and so excited; they could not contain the feelings within them?
You say to them ‘calm down’ and they know they can’t. It is so exciting, and so wonderful.
They are in the moment. They share the joy with you not caring, who is watching or listening.
Jesus says to us, “come to me as a child”.
Who would not run to their Father especially if he was a safe person?
He wants freedom for us. He wants us to rush into His arms.
As a child who needs a protector. As a child who SO misses his or her daddy.
“Abba Father I have missed you. Please hold me as I rest in your arms.”
Would you run towards a God who is pleading for you to come, or would you run away?
I guess it would depend on your experience with your earthly father.
We know the days have been hard and the fatigue is surrounding us.
Jesus says, “come to me everyone; who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest”.
He is not talking about sleep for a weary body. He is talking about rest for your soul.
Rest for a heart ravaged by life.
Rest for a soul so beaten down by adult responsibilities and duties.
Rest for a soul that is tired.
“Come to me. I can give you the rest you need. I am able to fill your heart with so much. Your needs will be met.”
Is your heart longing for the God who loves you?
I pray you will soon find.
Rest for your soul.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 NIV
Strong words coming from the Lord.
Whenever an angel would see someone, the first thing they would say to them was; “do not fear.”
The angel said it to Mary, then Joseph, and many others.
Knowing we are not alone is a wonderful promise.
For I am with you. A comforting message. I am here. I will not let you face your circumstance alone.
Do not be dismayed. That is not a word we use often so I was curious of it’s meaning.
Looking up that word it means, [to break down the courage; dishearten thoroughly;]
[sudden or complete loss of courage; utter disheartenment.] sudden disillusionment.
So He is saying, don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I see the whole picture.
Even when you don’t know the outcome of what is in your life, I am with you.
I will strengthen you and help you.
What a promise and a peaceful message.
We don’t have to rely on ourselves we can trust in the process.
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Again we are not left alone. He holds onto us. Leading us as we follow his way.
It’s such a good word for us especially now in this climate we live in.
The world and it’s craziness.
Do not fear…three powerful words. Strong words.
Perfect love casts out fear.
Trust softens fear.
Fear can cripple us and stop us from growing and moving forward.
When we feel strengthened we feel empowered and ready for the next steps.
I really like this verse.
It speaks of hope, and relationship and caring and compassion.
It assures us that God the almighty is for us and with us.
So do not fear, for I am with you.
Today is October 1st and fall is officially here.
It’s hard to believe we are in the fall season already.
I love the fall.
It is my favorite time of year, (other than those nasty spiders).
I am not into Halloween, but I do enjoy the festive decorating, using fake leaves and pretty table cloths.
Historically this was the month I would always get sick.
Every year I would get bronchitis or other breathing issues that included a cough.
It finally went away and that season for me has changed.
Last Christmas I had a nasty ‘something’ that was right before my surgery.
I thought it was pneumonia but it went away and they did give me antibiotic during my surgery.
The bug was gone after I woke up so they must have taken care of it with a variety of meds.
Fall is so beautiful, the colors are radiant and bright.
I love the crispy air and the need for sweaters and boots.It has been a very strange year with all that has gone on.
I pray the coming year will be different.
Better perhaps? more hopeful?
None of us would know the intensity of 2020.
It’s a good thing we are resilient people.
There has been so much tragedy, so much hard stuff, so many with major illnesses.
We must also not forget we are in the middle of a very intense political season.
It is polarizing and sad, that opinions are strong and words are spoken.
I will never let politics get in the way of my relationships with people.
My friends and family are way more important than making my point clear.
I know the direction I am going in this election.
God is ultimately in control and HE will ordain the rulers of the land.
Today is October 1st and fall is officially here.
The week is closing soon.
I welcome a short time away from the same old boring routine.
Soon we are heading to the beach where my heart is always longing.
Oregon beaches are often cold.
The winds can snap right past your face and chill you deep within.
They can also be sunny and beautiful and warm.
You don’t know what your weather will be so you prepare.
Walks in the sand are therapeutic to the body and the soul.
I used to think we could live at the coast, but after going there weekly for a few years,
we have changed our minds.
It is way better to visit and then go home.
When we went to Hawaii, that was different because it was warm and tropical and the water
is not cold.
Oregon water is very chilly and you really can’t stay in it very long.
Those who do dare to go wake boarding usually use water suits for protection.
There are a few spots around the coastline where they ride the surf.
The most relaxing thing is to sit and listen to the waves as they move back and forth.
If you are lucky you will hear seagulls and other birds sometimes.
We have seen pelicans fly over the surf looking for fish.
It really is relaxing.
The fall storms are coming and the force of nature will show itself in a mighty way.
So nice to watch unless you have to be in it.
I personally like a window between me and the rush of wind.
If one is lucky a fire in a fireplace would be a nice addition to this ‘visit’.
The ocean and it’s sand is always a call to my heart.
It is peace and even though it can be very dangerous, it can also be very healing.
The week is closing soon and it will allow time for reflection and thought.
The hard stuff continues and these last few weeks, our area has been surrounded by fires.
You cannot imagine the anxiety it felt like when looking out the window and seeing the sky a deep red.
Fires moving across hundred of acres.
The sky is full of smoke and particles of small hazardous air to breathe.
It has been scary, overwhelming and horrendous to watch our state burn.
When it felt like this year couldn’t get much worse, then this happened.
Soon they are predicting rain and Lord we do need it.
I pray it comes soon to clear the air, clear the skies, stop the fires.
Firefighters have worked long hard shifts.
It’s not easy to fight a forest fire and we have had cities burned to the ground.
At this count I think there have been 10 people killed and a few not found.
Wild life has been deeply effected and you can imagine their fear when the familiar is burning.
People have come together and created safe zones for farm animals.
People have come together to feed the workers or those who are displaced with no homes.
It is a time to come together and help each other.
The protests we have had downtown is becoming old news, this is more important right now.
I pray often for our firefighters, our police officers and any one who is serving in that role.
This has been rough for them.
Our house is safe although we were in a level 2 evacuation zone.
That means at a moment’s notice you can move to a level 3 which means “leave now”.
This has been the strangest year, I am so ready for something fresh and new.
It will feel better when the rains come and the sky returns to normal.
The hard stuff continues and these last few weeks have been really hard.
Life is hard sometimes and it seems lately it’s become harder.
Having Covid show up didn’t make it easy or nice for sure.
Isolation and staying in can be good for a season, but we have been doing this for many months now.
Many people are tired of wearing masks and following the rules that change daily.
We have purchased our share of hand sanitizers and masks.
I have not yet ventured into the hair salon and going to the doctor’s office scares me because of the germ factor.
Since I am still recovering as a cancer patient and even though I finished radiation in March, they still consider me immune compromised.
As a introvert by nature staying home is not hard for me; although I really miss seeing my family and friends.
Have not seen my best friend in almost a year and I really miss her.
She is immune compromised too with leukemia issues and has to be very careful with germs.
The doctors don’t know what to say to her other than to keep doing whatever she is doing. Her system is holding steady and they don’t know why. We do, there are a lot of prayers for her and she’s staying strong.
Then another ‘friend’ who worked with me for over eight years was just diagnosed with lung cancer in March and is already on hospice.
We hear these stories and we wonder why.
He IS a God of miracles, but sometimes this stuff is so hard and sometimes it is not fair.
Life hands us these things and what are we to do? How do we pray?
For healing or comfort or wisdom for the doctors?
It has been a very difficult year for sure.
I know others who are struggling with life and death issues and it is hard to understand and hard to figure out.
We just have to walk this journey and do our best and pray.
Life is hard sometimes and it seems lately it has become harder.
A review of the basket of words, brings me to remember the reason why I wrote them at this time.
I was given the basket and it sat in my den for many years.
One day I started thinking about how it could be shared and how it could be a blessing for others.
The goal in writing this series was to not only be a blessing; but give the reader something to think about.
I chose the words carefully and prayed about how to share them.
The series was done in 2014 but not many have ever read it, and this time I revised some of the writings.
I began with the word courage, then willingness, then trust, then tenderness, then power, then balance, then change, then compassion, then rest, then healing, then play, then beauty and delight, then peace and light and finally, power and forgiveness.
I didn’t realize the word power was used two times, but when speaking about surviving abuse and trauma, there is a lot of power to overcome.
It was perfectly ok to use it two times.
As I have healed from my own journey, God has shown me that the experiences and the story can be shared.
It doesn’t have a hold on me anymore.
The story is important. The journey defines me.
The coming out of hard and dark places can bring hope to others.
To know that someone else has walked this path of brokenness; can give life to others just beginning their recovery.
I have sat with those who were hurt. I have listened to the tears.
I have heard stories that were hard to hear; but it’s a survivors truth of what happened and how it affected them.
I pray this sharing has been meaningful, for it is a gift to be there with others as they share matters of the heart.
A review of the basket of words make me realize how very important they are to me and my healing.