February 6, 2012

I’m Ready to Turn the Corner

She lays her dish towel down to pick up a conversation. “Pronto!” {“I’m ready”} she answers with, instead of “Ciao” {“Hello”}. It’s a customary greeting for Italians.

A reflection of a heart postured in preparation. One daring to trust the person calling has an invitation. That something new is right around the corner. And hey, that’s not always easy to believe. But might we? Just today, might we answer His call by preparing our hearts to say Yes, I’m ready!

Pronto! I’m ready to listen. A stance that dares to meet the Lord’s eye, honest about the past. No qualms quiver in the gut. “Yes,” we truthfully say. “I have dredged through the wreckage, slid through the less-than-lovely.” And once confessed, we’re ready to hear God’s heart of grace and good plans.

Pronto! I’m ready to turn the corner. Leave the lonely streets of unbelief, heartache and shame. Is it too wonderful to believe that a new thing is around the bend? The potential of forgiveness…hope of living shame-free? Not at all. It’s there for us if only we answer His call.

But how?
We allow our heart to be…
refined {by His Word}
defined {by His character}
supined {in front of His throne}

Pronto, I’m ready to begin afresh. And that chance is offered for the taking. Because when the Father called to the Son, He said, “I’m ready. To die for her and her and him and him.” Jesus asks, will we receive His salvation, forgiveness? His forgetfulness of our past deeds? Therein lies our call to answer. Now that we’ve repented. Turned away from the past with faces turned up to hope. Now, now we joyfully start new.  Are you ready?

Thy light in my darkness
Thy life in my death
Thy joy in my sorrow
Thy grace in my sin
Thy riches in my poverty
Thy glory in my valley
~from Valley of Vision

Write this verse on the tablet of your heart and mind. Tuck it in the recesses to refer to as you prepare. “Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.” ~Psalm 25:4-6

xoxo,
Sam

January 25, 2012

Did You Hear That?

There’s this place of reverence within me. I feel it instinctively, as if born to lean toward it. Toward His ways, His voice. And sometimes I do. Other times I am too full of pride. Too many hurts rattle in my mind. I don’t hear a thing the Lord says. Much like when I tip-toed on pins and needles around our accountants during an annual audit.

His lips moved, but words didn’t compute. I heard every other syllable but didn’t listen. I couldn’t let go of deferred revenues, accruals, and doubts that I’d chopped my work’s finances to bits. He said something worthy of a hearty laugh, but I couldn’t tell you what. I remedied with a polite smile.

But no. He’s trained to catch what’s missing; he’s an accountant after all. The spotlight glared hotly. “You don’t know what I said, do you?”

“Not a clue,” my red hot cheeks tattled on me. I’m such a chump. Graciously he repeated and assured me all was well with the audit. I let go of the spreadsheets and receipts cramming out my thoughts, and listened.

Another inquisitive gentleman seeks to know if I’m listening to Him. Infinitely more vital are His voice and words. They’re the melodies to which life’s dance is set. The kindling that feeds our marrow’s fire. Sweet honey to our soul’s hive.

We miss a beat when we’re not fully engaged listening. Grow cold. Sour.

Jesus was “all ear” to the Father. This is true prayer: being all ear for God. ~Henri Nouwen

Half-listening ears beget half-lived lives. Lives that are meant to shine the light of Christ. And give the same grace we receive from the cross.

If only I had been all ears the dinner I pushed my lima beans aside. I might have served grace. If only I had turned down the voice of pride, and tuned in to the voice of humility.

At times I wonder what damage I might have done. And I pray. Oh so humbly do I pray for the Lord to mend any wounds I caused or any marring of His Name I did.

And I know, there is grace for her, for me, for you. For the taking.

Accepting this lavish grace begins with knowing we need it. Recognizing that spot of pride that deafens us to His voice of humility. Then listening, and responding, to the truth. That when we go low, He lifts us high. And yes, that this wild grace is ours to wash in each and every time we move the lima beans aside.


xoxo,
Sam

January 5, 2012

Prayers from Scripture

Hey there. Coming over from Proverbs 31 Ministries today? Welcome, we’re glad you’re here!

Seasons of silence rolled by. My soul, not uplifting or breathing or whispering. Too struggling to utter a hope.

Seasons of cheering galloped past. My heart, glittering and ranging and lilting. Too joyful to swallow silence.

And for every moment in between, I found a prayer was written in the ancient scrolls. For you. For me. Listen, search, find yours. Inhale its truths, exhale its praise. The same God who ordained these scriptures faithfully, is faithful to answer them still. Yes. Thankful for 2000 year old promises apply even today. See?

Mercy and healing: 2 Kings 20:2-3, Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, “Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.”

Longing for a child: 1 Samuel 1:10-11, In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. And she made a vow, saying, “O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

Waiting: Psalm 13, How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.

Desperation: All of Psalm 61, Psalm 143

Provision: 1 Chronicles 4:10, Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

2 Samuel 7:28-29, O Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, O Sovereign LORD, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.”

Fearful: 2 Chronicles 14:11, Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, “LORD, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you.”

Thanks: Revelation 7:11-12,  All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”

Psalm 7:17: I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

ForgivenessPsalm 51, Have mercy on me, O God,  according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

Acts 7:59-60, While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Luke 18:13, “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

Glorifying God: Habakkuk 3:1-19, LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known;  in wrath remember mercy.

Jude 1:24-25, To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Daniel 2:20-23 , Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said:  “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you,  you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

Depression & anxiety: Psalm 94:19, Unless the LORD had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. 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.

For others: Ephesians 3:14-21, For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Numbers 6:24-26: The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Anytime, all the time: Matthew 6:9-13, “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,  your kingdom come, your will be done  on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts,  as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Would you be so generous to leave a different scripture in the comments? To share His grace of rescue, His Word, as a prayer. Many thanks…

 

xoxo,
Sam

November 30, 2011

How are You?

If you’re popping over from Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion today, welcome! We’re delighted you’re here.

“There is,” he said, “healing in the telling.” ~Cecil Murphey

Yes, that. The telling which often requires an asking. Perhaps you’re like me? Keeping emotions tucked under the sleeve, rather than worn on it? Close mouthed unless prompted to open up your heart? Mostly I pour out to the One who always asks, ceaselessly hears. Yet I do long to share with others. I’m just a bit shy and perhaps give the air I don’t want need to be asked. “We long to be known because we are lonely, and we fear being known because then we may then be loneliest of all.” ~ Shelia Walsh, Honestly. And therein is the difficulty.

Many times it’s not only the original pain, but the pain of not being questioned. The claustrophobia of isolation. The not telling that is so difficult. Stifled words grow moldy and decay our hearts.

Three words have the cleansing power of bleach — “how are you?” Ahhhh, fresh, light, ease.

Perhaps you’re the opposite of  me? You freely share and openly talk about what weighs on you? May I encourage you… simply listen. A question I have to face often is, “Am I so caught up with what’s going on with me that I forget to ask others how they are?”

To ask and be asked. To listen and be heard. Both breath life into weary souls. So today, I’m going to ask a friend, “How are you?” and pause to hear. And, though out of my normal comfort, I’ll answer beyond “fine” when asked how I am.

So friend… one last thing… How are you?

We’re creating an online community today to encourage one another.
~Please leave a comment letting us know how you are.
~Then, leave a comment with a prayer for the person who commented before you. Please “reply” to their post and not in a different one. That way they’ll be sure to see it’s for them. Thanks!

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xoxo,
Sam