Friday, December 12, 2014

On Their Way

"" Joys are always on their way to us.  They are always traveling to us through the darkness of the night.  There is never a night when they are not coming"", says Amy Carmichael in Edges of His Ways.  This is no ivory tower gal penning dreamy thoughts.  Amy  experienced disappointments, pain, loneliness, confusion and physical suffering.

Ann Voskamp shares this quote in her advent devotional, The Greatest Gift., where she offers the thought that sometimes miracles do not appear  miraculous.

"God comes through mangers. The mundane holds miracles", Ann tell us as she points out to us that "there are no brazen miracles to be seen in the entire book of Ruth.", an Old-Testament redemption story.

"Brilliant people don't deny the dark; they are the ones who never stop looking for His light in everything.....pointing to the dawn of the New Kingdom coming, pointing to the light that breaks through all things broken."

Can you see it?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Pristine Felicity!

While journeying though Busy Mom's Bible Study on Psalm 103, I just got stuck being able to use the study tools on  But when I got it figured out, it led me to a wonderful thought.  You see, in Psalm 103:3 says: 

Psalm 103:3New King James Version (NKJV)

Who forgives all your iniquities,

Who heals all your diseases,

Our family has been journeying through R.C. Sproul's Bible survey class, Dust to Glory.  He just was teaching about Hebrew poetry and explained how couplets help explain and emphasize a thought.  

If you go to and look in the lexicon on this verse, you will find that "heals" in this verse refers to "pristine felicity".   And just what is that?

Here is where it gets really exciting.  You see, "pristine" according to Webster 1828 means the prior state of innocence  and "felicty" means "rather great happiness, blissful; appropriately, the joys of"

We can be positively blissful, as He has provided a forgiveness that is so complete it is truly as if we have never sin!  Imagine what joy and relationship we can enjoy with the Father as we enter into the Most Holy Place. Think of what joy we do have, being able to serve the Living God without fear or condemnation, all because of His most literal self-sacrificing love!  

As we face a world that seems to be displaying it's evil more vehemently by the day, let us remember to encourage one another daily, with His great love!  

"19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

I'm no poet but the first line of this poem came to me while studying earlier this morning so iI tried to pattern it after Wordsworth;s original

Wordworth Redeemed
“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—”
Much we see what in Christ is ours
We have given our hearts away, a gift too free!
To worldly lusts and fears,dancing to the world’s sensual tune
The sacrificial love of God is ours
He is our refuge , our strong tower
For He is coming, gathering us to him soon
Let our hearts ever blissful be
From our sinful nature we will be torn
Like Him we will be, when Him we do see
While with the groaning creation we are forlorn
and longing for His presence with voracity
Our joys will be fulfilled , our bodies reborn

Monique Stam

For more perspective see this

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Do We have the children we need for our godliness?

Parenting can be challenging, and it's not unusual to hear them tell about the challenges - often in a way that depicts it as unfair.  However, as Christian parents, God may have our refining in mind.  Leslie Ludy does a magnificent job of reminding us of that in her blog post Part One, Choosing Joy  Even if you aren't  a parent, I think you will find the principles in this article inspiring, encouraging and practical.

Monday, September 15, 2014

But Why Not?

But why can't the job bring satisfaction,the relationship intimacy, the creative pursuit fulfillment?  Why are the bills unpaid, the child dying, the relationship painful?

All creation groans.

How we long to wish it all away.  Pull out the plastic, thinking the bill will get paid.  Risk the vulnerability thinking this time will be right.  Shut off the news, thinking it's all so far away, not here.

But the pain is here.  The trouble is at our doorstep.  The world is not right.

So is God unloving, unkind, cruel?

Why do we lay the marring of the creation at the creators feet?

We are in the midst of a horrible rebellion.  The universe groans because of our siding with then enemy.  Now we must defect the rebel cause  or die.  Forever.

But while our acceptance in the Kingdom is assured by His blood, the battles wage on.

We cannot expect a dinner party in the midst of a war zone.

But we do.  And then we are appalled when the bombshells rattle the china to the floor.  And rail at our Liberator instead of despising the ultimate rebel.

But there is coming a day.  When we shall be with Him and like Him, for We shall see him as He is.

"Then we shall be where we would be;
Then we shall be what we should be;
Things which are not now, nor could be,
  Then shall be our own."


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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Am Not

(note, many of the links for today's post are songs...I think you will be encouraged to go to them and listen)

" Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and  though the Christmas tree aches a bit empty, even though there are no grapes on the vine and no struggle-free days, even though the olive crop fails, even though I fail, even though so much fails--even now I will rejoice in the Lord."
The Greatest Gift.Ann Voskam

I fail.  I am not the mom, the wife, the daughter, the friend, the servant of the most High that I ache to be, that I ought to be, that they long for me to be.

I do not use my abilities and gifts.  And if I do, the motivation is suspect.  The outcome and quality miss the mark.

But worse than not doing, I am not.  Though the tug of the human heart is to beI AM--the one in control that makes things (and oursselves) happen, the truth that is that I AM - not.  But that is the lesson to be learned.  We are not the I AM.  He is.

Life is not about easy.  It's about Him.  His glory. and He cares for us.

Colossians 1:16King James Version (KJV)

 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
May Christ be our vision.  Our focus.  Our purpose.  Our all. 
Even when it all seems lost to our shallow sight.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Even Though

"As the cold can move you deeper toward the fire, struggling can move you deeper toward God, who warms you with joy.  Struggling can deepen joy.
Even though.
Even now.
Even though I will be joyful in the God of my salvation."
The Greatest Gift Ann VosKamp

Jacob wrestled.  He wrestled in birth, he wrestled for the blessing, for a wife, .....he wrestled God himself.  Striving.  For what he wanted.  For what would prosper him, provide security.

Until he began to learn what is real.  This is a shadow.  But how easy it is to think where you are is all there is.  And that it is complete reality.  Humans are so ethnocentric ..not only in our family, our town, our culture but our reality.  We think that all that we see, feel, touch is all that there is...or at least all that is important.

Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakable remains.” 
― C.S. LewisThe Great Divorce

Yes, our world is real, but its temporal reality offers us but a glimpse, a faint foreshadowing of the greater reality that is to come.” 
― Louis A. MarkosA to Z with C. S. Lewis

“Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows. But will you come?” 
― C.S. LewisThe Great Divorce

(C.S. Lewis quotes on reality found on goodreads)

Hebrews 12:1-3  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

"Even though, even now, Habkkuk turns the focus.  The secret of joy is always a matter of focus:  a resolute focusing on the Father, not on the fears.  All fear is but the notion that God's love ends.  When does He ever end?"  The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp

But he doesn't end.  He is more than what we can see.  More than we can know. He is the God immortal, invisible.  And holy. And loving.

May He grant us eyes to truly see.  Hearts to truly be.  Minds to truly know Him and His reality.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Joy in Pain

" There are a thousand ways you can suffer brave.
And no one knows."

" Struggling and rejoicing are not two chronological steps, one following the other, but two concurrent movements, one fluid with the other"

"Even know, I will be joyful in the God of my salvation"

Ever wonder how the martyrs do it?  Really?  The stories aren't just fairy tales.  They are real people who feel pain-physical and emotional...and spiritual --like us.

Forget martyrs.

  Sometime the everyday, western world life can be painful too.  We look around, and gee, we really shouldn't say we suffer.  We have food, clothing and shelter. And no one is shooting at most of us.  We can say what we want, when we want.  We can work, play, fight, go to the doctor, choose to worship and where and when.  We can change jobs change our location, change styles.  We can cry, create and give.  

But we still hurt.  Our hearts yearn for what is not.  Joys disappoint.  Hopes fade.  Dreams die.  Friends leave.  Lovers hate.  His presence sometimes seems far.  His provision is a mystery.  He plan leads to a place we do not know.  Sin has corrupted our world thoroughly. 

 Our inmost being knows that all is not right in the world.  Things are awful, really.  One of the terrors of adulthood is understanding just how out of control the world really is.  The world at large.  And our own little world.  There is very little that is safe, predictable, painless even in the smallest microcosm of our itty- bitty, self-absorbed world.

Things go wrong.  people go wrong.  we go wrong.  

But the rejoicing is to happen, not when all is right in our own little world, or the universe at large.

It happens in the circumstances.  
17 Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord God[c] is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
Hababbuk 3 (NKJV Bible Gateway) tells me that joy means gladness.  I will be glad in the God of my safety.  It looks bad for Habakkuk--enemy attack, no food, no shelter.  But He claims God as his safety, and chooses joy.  

It is good that we are to abide in him. Wherewithal...I know that I do not have it in myself.  But He works in us to will to act according to His good purposes. Philippians 2:13

It's who He is, not what our circumstances are that bring us joy.  

May He be He fill our vision.