March 28, 2012

For the Times You’re Lost

Warnings from her mother dissipated in the mist: Five-year-olds did not need to wander about thick trees. But five-year-olds will often ignore mother’s wisdom to discover new lands, hidden castles, wild ponies. Minutes after take-off we were lost. Every tree mirrored the other. Fear-filled and chilled by the cool drizzle, we crashed at the base of a large oak.

And there we sat, tangled in the wreckage of straying and scaredness. Until . . .

Until we dared to untuck our wee heads from the crook of our balled-up bodies. Until we looked about and resolved we were utterly lost and needed guidance. Until we tapped on the pages of our hearts and these inscripted words spilled out . . .

The Lord is my shepherd . . . ~Psalm 23

Shepherd. A dear Name of God. Our leader, comforter, tender care-taker.

Honestly, how we made it back to Robyn’s home is a forgotten memory. I suspect we were closer to her house than we realized. Perhaps her mother’s voice carried through the branches. Maybe she traipsed in the underbrush and found us.

I know this. Knowing His Names and what they mean has lead, comforted and cared for me through every adventure since.

Today, may I encourage you to write one of God’s Names on your heart? So as times come when you need to tap your heart, His truths will spill out and lead, comfort and care for you.

 

xoxo,
Sam

March 7, 2012

Making Our Way Toward Peace

I once lugged a brand spankin’ new boyfriend to the ballet. I know, I know … not the optimal way to woo him. But he dragged me to college football games. All’s fair in love and war, eh?

Eventually I warmed to the beauty of football, but he never took a liking to dance. Which seems odd as football is a dance of sorts. {That’s an analogy for another day.} My point in telling this tale of love lost {we broke up} and love found {I count the days till the next football season starts} is that I love dance. All forms except one.

I don’t dig the dance we do with our thoughts.

True, some thoughts gracefully glide us across the dance floor of life. Warm memories, kind words, happy encouragements.

But other thoughts? Those that steal our peace … like we’re not as pretty as so-and-so. Or as bright as smarty-pants PhD. How about the thought that life will forever be hard? Or that loneliness, depression, anxiety, {fill in the blank} is our lot in life.

I danced with this one for years: I’ll always be fearful.

In hindsight, that feels melodramatic. But I spent years in the absence of peace because I was afraid. Negative thoughts swung me around till I got sick of being frightened and tired of having no peace.

Maybe you’re exhausted from being haunted by a negative thought too? You think, “Something’s gotta give.” You’re to the point you can’t dance another day, but you don’t want to be left hanging on the dance floor. That’s when we need something else to step in and replace our {_____}.

I wish I had an oh-so-fab 10 Steps to Peace Program. I don’t. But I’ll tell you what’s helped me end fear’s dance.

Prayer… asking God to help set me free.

Counseling… talking the dark thoughts out into the light {helped a ton!}

Music… consuming worship music filled my soul with hope.

The Bible… Every time fear grasped my hand for a spin, I shook it off with a scripture, repeating positive truths over and over.

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. ~Psalm 94:18-19

I’ll be honest. Changing dance partners wasn’t the easiest. Negative thoughts break-danced and cha-cha’ed around my knocking knees. I had to fight them off in order to dance with peace. But over time and through prayer, counseling, worship and determined focus on Scripture the negative thoughts have lessened and peace has increased.

Can I encourage you to try a combo or all four of these to help you shake {_____} too?

 

xoxo,
Sam

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 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…

 

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xoxo,
Sam