Quiet Intimate Moments

 

Are you longing for more? Are you looking from place to place, thing to thing, event to event to fulfill your happiness?

I struggle with this at times. I struggle with always having that hunger for God burning inside of me. Don’t misinterpret this please. I love God and I trust Him, but sometimes I question myself if I’m seeking something from Him rather than just seeking Him.

We all have prayer requests and I’m not suggesting we not go to God in prayer for others and ourselves. He calls us to do this. Philippians 4:6 tells us to not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present our requests to God. I feel blessed that I can even do this very act of bringing my petitions before Him but, is my heart like David’s who wrote in Psalm 6:31: Oh God You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You. Are you thirsting for God or for God to do something? Ouch!

Earnestly seeking and reading His Word helps us cultivate that real relationship with Christ. Service for Chris is essential as well. Matthew 5:15 NIV Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven... But, it’s in those quiet intimate moments with Him that we grow; we truly long for Him, not something from Him, just HIM. This folks is where I rest and know- God is God!!!meditating

Recently a friend reminded me that even when I am sleeping, God is watching over me. Psalm 4:8…Now, isn’t that the kind of God you want to know intimately? Slow down, find a quiet time during the day to form a bond with Him.

 

Come and join us on Living By Grace and chat with us. What are your thoughts about your quiet moments? Tell us your praises that result from taking time with God.

living by grace

Beth

Is it the Still Point or God’s Point?

 

What is a still point? In doing some research on my library data base, I found an article that caught my attention regarding discovering your still point? Had you ever heard of this? On the Health and Wellness Resource Center database Health and Wellness Resource Center, I read that your still point is the gateway to natural relaxation. I’ve always known that tai chi, meditation, and yoga help with the harmful effects of stress in life, but, I had never heard of your still point. The article cites Robert Harris who is a stress expert and one of Canada’s leading cranial-sacral therapists. He says that “you can find your still point by contacting two very particular spots on the back of your neck. By finding these and knowing what to do, you can sink into calmness naturally and quickly”. He also states that “finding your still point also sustains the ultimate Shavasana; which is the ability to completely detach yourself from ALL thoughts!!! HOLD ON!!! All THOUGHTS!                                                                        !!still point 1

I am all for ridding my mind of harmful thoughts but all thoughts? I don’t think so. I don’t want to rid my mind of God. I don’t want to rid my mind of the Promises from His Word that speak to me. It’s true; humans don’t know how to rest. We have lost the ability to just be still. But I don’t need to massage my still point to be reminded to “be still and know that God is God.” My heart tells me that. If I empty my mind of that, I’m doomed.

I picked up a little book from the library called, Finding your Still Point; A Beginner’s Guide to Zen Meditation by John Daido Loori. In chapter 10, the author writes this:

Zazen is an important part of your life, as important as breathing, eating, and sleeping. The best way to do it is to FIT it into your daily routine. It even suggest a morning routine as follows: Get up; wash your face, brush your teeth, do zazen, have breakfast, take your shower, get dressed and go to work.

BUT, WHAT ABOUT GOD? WHAT ABOUT THE WORD? WHAT ABOUT PRAYING FOR THOSE WHO ARE COUNTING ON YOUR PRAYERS? WHAT ABOUT PRAISE TIME?

Listen folks, many can be taken in by other practices to relax and I am not suggesting that you refrain from yoga, deep breathing, meditation and tai-chi. What I’m advising is that you be very careful of ridding your mind of EVERYTHING. If you do that, you are ridding your mind of the wonderful promises God has for you. With everything that is going on in our world around us, we need to keep our focus on Jesus and keep our thoughts on His will. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to come into our bodies and help us. The only way to do that is through prayer, the Word, and praising HIM.

Wide Open Place

 

Have you ever felt like God is moving you into a place or space that you’re not sure you’re ready for? I have known since last fall that God had been calling me to write in my spare time, hence going half time at work to honor His will. I love to write, love to encourage others and share whatever God is sharing with me. However, I toil with the financial aspect; although He has met ever single need.

Close your eyes for a minute and think of yourself in a wide open field; a field where you have never been. There’s nothing around you; no animals, no trees, no houses and no people. (That you know of) It’s just you and the wide-open place. What do you think about? I think I want to run like the dickens and get out of that big open STRANGE place. I don’t know it; it’s huge and I don’t know what’s lurking.darkness

In 2 Samuel 22:17-20 it confirms to me that God is taking me from the familiar to the very strange, unfamiliar. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He pulled me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy (depression, anxiety, headaches, loneliness, emptiness or whatever it might be for you) and from those who hated me. They confronted me in the day of my distress but the LORD was my support. He brought me out to a wide-open place; He rescued me because HE delighted in me.

               That wide-open place is so fear-gripping some days because I’m so unsure of what I’m doing other than following Him one step at a time. But the other part of that last verse says, He rescued me because HE delighted in me. That’s all I want. I want to be a sweet delight to HIM in all that I do. I know so many people right now that need God to reach down to them, pull them out of the deep waters that they are used to treading in, and put them in the wide-open place where He wants them to be. It may be unfamiliar but God will NEVER place us where HE is NOT. It may be an unfamiliar scary situation, but He’s right there, never leaving you.

Are you in a wide-open place waiting for the next step; feeling some fear; panic or confusion? Let’s talk about this. Back up just a few verses: (7) I called to the LORD in my distress; I called to my God. From His temple He heard my voice and my cry for help reached HIS ears…(Even in the wide-open-unfamiliar space). Don’t you just love it! You can’t deny that He’s such a powerful, loving God. Mmmmmmm!!!

What wide-open place are you in today, this week or this season of your life? Are you confused or worried? If so, what are you doing to survive? Come and join us as we talk about God’s love and guidance. living by grace

We Need Eachother

 

Last night I called a couple of gals to see if they could meet me for coffee this morning. I felt like God was prompting me to start a Care & Share. What I think that means, is to get together and share each other’s hurts and then, care enough to pray for them. I also knew that I needed the fellowship. Care & Share is something that I’m praying on. I don’t know what God wants me to do with it just yet.??????????????yPicture compliments of my daughter Emma. These are hands reaching out to others.

I called one gal up and said I was on my way to get her but wasn’t sure of her house. She said she would stand outside and wait. I immediately said, “No! It’s raining and cold.” She replied, “It’s not that bad.” I said, “Don’t you just hate the rain and cold?” She replied, “No. It makes everything grow. The grass is growing and green is my favorite color.” She totally turned a yucky thing  into a poetic sentence or two.

So, we got to Caribou, got our coffee, sat at the table with our Bibles, notebooks and highlighters and went to town. I shared a devotion about being content which spiraled into being content and finding the balance. I was so blessed in the two hours that I spent with these gals. I went armed to minister and I ended up being ministered to.

We need each other. We have to reach out to each other when we are down and pull each other up. The enemy is so powerful and would like nothing more than to make us isolated; wallowing in our own issues but God’s intention is just the opposite. In our times of wanting to isolate and flounder in the pit of life, He wants us to call out for help and lift each other up, and pray for each other. We need to be helping hands.

               Lord, I pray that we all find time for each other. I pray that we see needs around us and we not neglect your nudge to act. I pray that we would be empathetic towards others that hurt and hurt right alongside with them. I thank you Sweet Jesus for my new friends. Thank for reminding the three of us that You are our lamp; the LORD who illuminates our darkness. 2 Sam: 22:29.

Are You In The Valley of Baca?

 

At the end of Bible Study we always take prayer requests and today was no different. The last few meetings I have had to leave a little early due to other commitments, but today I was able to stay and partake in the prayer request time.

There was such sadness in the air. It was like every woman was facing something overwhelming and was displaying some sort of weakness of the heart. It is during our weak times that we try to realize the Christs might. I kept singing, “They are weak but He is strong. Yes Jesus loves me…”

Just when we think that we are going through something that we think is too little or too big for God, His power becomes apparent and He delivers us. With each painful request, we were reminding each other of our support and HIS love for us. God also speaks to us in Psalm 84:5-7 NIV “Those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion.” Some travelers on their way to the Holy City were required to pass through difficult territory and they were promised that it would bring them extreme hardship, so the land became known as the Valley of Baca. Baca means to weep, bewail, or shed tears.

I for one have been in the Valley of Baca. I have been weeping and shedding tears for friends, loved ones, the people in Boston and for myself. There is so much sadness, hardship and emptiness all around us. We have to help each other. We have to make that phone call, write that note, send that email, share that coffee and pray those prayers for each other. God calls us to carry the burdens of others when they are passing through their Valley.

We will pass through difficult times. We will have seasons of despair, sadness, depression and loneliness. We will have times when we feel hurt, anxious, angry and uncertain. BUT…Proverbs 18:10 tells us “The name of the LORD is a strong tower, the righteous run into it, and they are safe.” Run right into His arms. HE is your strong tower.

Thank you to this wonderful group of ladies who give me strength just by their precious hugs.                                            women studying bible

By the way, I have to share how this devotion came about. I had just finished telling a friend that I was blank today; I didn’t know what to write. So after my dinner I decided to take a hot bath. I lit the candle, house was quiet, and phone was off. I brought my Bible in there and read the story about Baca and boom! It hit me!!!I thought I was done for the day but God said differently. 🙂

What Defines You?

I hope as I lay this into print before you, that you take some time to really think about this as I did.

What defines a person? Is it their salary? Is it their huge home, fancy cars or frequent vacations?

Are we defined by our Associates, Bachelor or Masters degrees; possibly even our Doctorate degree?

Are we defined by our designer clothes, our finely manicured fingers and toes or our perfume scent?nails

Are we defined by our waist size, bicep size or even chest size?

Are we defined by working in the nursery, children’s church, Awana, or even PTA?

Do any of these categories define you? Do they float through your mind from time to time? They can me; I can get wrapped up in allowing the world to define me. I am a wife, mother, step-mother, daughter, granddaughter, niece, aunt, grandmother, friend, coworker, librarian, tax payer, patient, student and the list goes on and on. What’s sad though is that in the mundane of life, I can easily forget about what Jesus did for me on the cross that really defines me. I’m a sinner just like you and we have been saved by the blood of Christ.  cross

I read a blog today about a woman who has been suffering from vertigo for many years. Her blog was such a reminder that we can trust the hands of the potter to transform the clay. http://lynn-severance.blogspot.com. This touched my heart because I am struggling with defining who I am. But whatever I am, I know that I can trust the potter to transform the clay into what He desires.

Lord, I love you and I thank you so much that Jesus loved me enough to die for my sins. I am sorry for the sins that lurk in me but am thankful that your grace is new every day. I thank you for this new blog I read, reminding me that you are transforming me every day and it’s a work in process. I pray for anyone that is struggling with any sort of illness, whether physical or mental, that you would touch their bodies today. Give them hope when they feel hopeless. Give them strength when they feel weak. All in Jesus’ Name … Amen.

By the way, so many of those things above are good and it’s okay to get your toes and finger done. I am not saying anything negative about any achievements one might have obtained or any committee or ministry they might serve on or even any pampering they might desire. Just remember to do everything for God’s glory; not your own and remember if you were stripped of everything, your pretty nails, fancy house, luxury vehicles, you would still be defined as Christ’s child.

God Moments

 

I was perched on the back of the Harley while taking in all of the spring greenery. The trees are starting to bud, the flowers are starting to pop open, and the animals are coming out of the thicket to nibble on the new spring grass.

While my husband and I were tootling down a country road, I pointed towards the pasture on the right that had a mama deer and her little ones, nibbling on the grass. My derrière was telling me it was time for a break, so we pulled over, and stretched out legs. I thought with the cutting of the engine that the deer would have been startled by the silence but instead, they just stayed there. I love nature and it was such a beautiful, peaceful and tender moment. It was a moment I was thankful that I could share with someone I love.deer

One of the things that the visiting pastor said yesterday made me think of this riding experience. The Pastor said, “The pleasure of praise is always heightened when shared with someone.” I could have seen the deer family on my own, but just knowing I was sharing that God Moment with someone I love, made it more priceless.

When I first met my husband, we used to say, “This is a first” when we would experience a new “thing” together. It could be an adventure or even just a new conversation we were sharing that we had never shared with anyone. I always found that to be amazing because I met him when I was 43 and he was 48. So, we had already had some “livin” under our belts. We would talk on the phone for hours and hours. He being a truck driver had nothing but time on his hands and me being so bedazzled by his charm, didn’t mind losing sleep to share our love for God all night long.

Eight years later, we are married and it’s still like a “first” when we see something that we know God has created. Although we get very busy and wrapped up with six kids, thirteen grandkids and feel like we are running a marathon at times, we still capture our “God moments” on the bike. We still say, “Thank you Jesus for this beautiful day” when at a stop light. We still point to the beauty around us. We still breathe HIM in.

Don’t forget to stop and take in God’s beauty. Let those moments be tattoos of the mind.

Psalm 24:1-2 The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord, for He laid it’s foundation on the seas and established it on the rivers.

Thank you God; for you have created such beautiful things around me. I pray that today, on this dreaded, rainy, dreary Monday morning, that I will have my “God moments” and acknowledge you at all times. Please keep my husband safe on the road and as he’s driving, bring him “God moments” as well

Disowning? Never!

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I remember many years ago when I was participating in a Women of the Word Bible study, the speaker got up and said, “Why is it when you are raising your kids and they head into their teens we almost don’t like them and possibly want to disown them? Then, when we finally like them again, they live somewhere else and others get to enjoy them, not us?” Oh how I can relate to this statement.

Raising my kids was just like most families although I had the wonderful privilege of home-schooling them for several years, which I loved. We did so much together. I was all about getting into whatever they were interested in and since we lived on a huge farm there was so much to get into. I made mud pies with them. I hunted and fished with them. I built towns with sticks with them, collected chicken eggs with them, took in stray dogs with them (I don’t suggest that one though). We crafted, messed around with photography, got involved in 4H, soccer and whatever they wanted to do, within reason. It was so much fun until…ugh…those attitude yearsbud.shannon

When they entered their teens going into the public school, which was also a good experience, making all sorts of friends, going to sleep over’s, having parties, always having youth group over, going to bon fires and starting to DRIVE; life became very different. Unfortunately they got tickets, ran over things in the pasture with the junky farm truck and they started developing something called an ATTITUDE.

When they developed this attitude, like they thought they knew everything, I remembered the Bible Study from years before. I kept saying, “I’ll re-like them one day.” Oh I never hated them and never stopped loving them; it was just a challenging time, as most parents can attest to when raising teens.

Now, they all live so far away and I long for them. I long to have coffee with my daughter Shannon or snuggle up on the couch with my daughter Emma or cast the fishing pole with my son Chris. Those things bring such joy to my heart. It’s not about going, going and going. It’s about the snuggle, the cup of coffee and the worm on the hook. It’s about the true blessing I have with each one of them. Going through those disconnected years, is worth every heartache, ever attitude I dealt with and every tear I’ve shed.

You people who get to hang out with MY KIDS regularly, I envy you. Let me tell you, you are in good company. They are precious and big-hearted and good kids. (Adults) and I miss them so. It reminds me that when I start to have an attitude, God never, ever has any remote feelings of dislike or disowning me.

Calloused Knees

 

She asked me, “Do you have calloused knees?” “What so you mean calloused knees”? I replied. Well, you always tell me that you are on your knees in prayer. I replied, “I like it that way. It is better than being prostrate because at least I can still get up.” In all seriousness, I do spend a lot of time on my knees in prayer. Sometimes sitting in the chair or taking a walk just doesn’t do it for me. I have to get on my knees and allow the Holy Spirit to hold me there, in awe of Jesus, in that position, just the two of us. Sometimes there just is no other place to be.

This was a conversation I had with an acquaintance of mine years ago. I’ve known her for years and have planted seeds along our journey together. She is a believer of God, but at the time was not one that quite grasped  the blood of Christ saving us of our sins. She had not quite grasped the meaning of the word grace until months ago. Her heart was turned. It was like all of the mustard seeds were sprouting right before my eyes. I heard words come out of her mouth that I had not heard before. I have been sharing with her what I thought was God’s will was for her life. I explained though that if I was hearing from God correctly that He would tell her too.

I remember the day she called me and said that she had finally gotten down on her knees and prayed for this situation and that while she was there she had no strength left in her. She said she felt in total awe of coming before God on her knees in prayer. I could hear her voice tremble and could envision the tears rolling down her cheeks. I felt so blessed that she shared her knee bending experience with me. To this day we mostly email each other but we stay in touch and talk about our calloused knees.

When I am on my knees, I go through what I call The Holy Hush. That means no talking Beth, just listen to Him. I enter into the presence of God and there I allow Him to wash over me, and speak to me.

Hebrews 5:7 HCSB   During His earthly life, He offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.

For Jesus, commitment to prayer sprang from a vital, loving relationship with the Father and the Father’s loving presence in His life. Prayer was His lifeline. Why must this also be true for us? What are your thoughts? I challenge you to get down on your knees (if able) and just allow that time to be in awe of Him. He will meet you there.

Lord, I pray that for as long as I can do it, you remind me to get down on my knees and commune with you. I thank you that I am still able to get down and can still get up. I thank you that no matter where I am though or if I’m sitting, standing or kneeling, you hear every request.
Thank you for the gift of praying for family and friends. 

Plagues…

 

As I was reading about the plagues in the Bible this morning kinda fits with how I feel today, I couldn’t help but take such a familiar story and really dissect it and ask how it could apply to my life. For a while I couldn’t come up with anything other than the good ol’ “be faithful.”

As the day has gone by and I’ve taken some more time to think about the story I couldn’t stop asking myself, “When are you going to give your whole heart to God?” We say we trust God in helping us through situations and strong holds but do we give our whole heart and mind to having that faith? How many times does God tell us that the continual fast food will harden our arteries and eventually hurt our hearts? How many times does God speak to the smoker about cigarettes and damage they will do the lungs; or the alcoholic that the continual drinking will hurt the liver; and the drug addict that the drugs will damage the brain. These are drastic things. Can you imagine how much faith Moses and Aaron had to have to keep going to the Pharaoh over and over again, requesting the freedom of God’s people and over and over again the Pharaoh’s heart would be hardened.

What about asking ourselves some more simplified questions that God might be asking of us. Beth…how many times have I spoken to you about your  jealousy of what others might have that you have not? It will drive you into debt. Beth…How many times have I talked to you about gossip? It will bite you back and Beth…what have I spoken to you about lying? It will leave you friendless. Ouch!!! I’m a pretty honest person but I believe I can fall into any of these if I took my focus off of God.

Can you think of specific things that God is asking you to give your whole heart, mind and soul to Him about? Surely we are not anywhere near the personality of the Pharaoh in Exodus and have turned our hearts so hard that we can’t hear God speak, have we? I know I don’t want to be compared to a hardened heart Pharaoh. I want to give my ALL to Christ.

Isaiah 53:5-6 tells us: But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. NIV

Don’t turn to your own way! It’s dangerous. Don’t allow your heart to be so hardened that you can’t even hear God guide you. We have the Holy Spirit who lives in us and guides us. We can choose His way or the highway…