Deeper Sand - if you are looking for more!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rolling in the Deep

Using Adele as a launch pad on a July morning ripe with possibility...


We could see the sun all day today....
This could be a productive day...maybe, just maybe...
We want to have it all, right now, every day.
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless 
I can't help feeling 
We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep...in the deep love of God that knows no bounds, in the deep grace He offers without merit...in the deep joy of living every moment breathless and blessed.
Throw your soul through every open door 
Count your blessings to find what you look for 
Turn my sorrow into treasured gold
Taking crumbs from a sad and scraggly song and finding YOU ...amen and amen.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fixed Hour Prayer examples (Dr.R Barton)

Morning Prayer. In the morning, we begin with praise, affirming and celebrating God’s presence with us, receiving his loving care towards us and committing the work of the day to him.
O God, open our lips and we shall declare your praise.
God said: Let there be light; and there was light.
And God saw that the light was good.
This very day the Lord has acted!
Let us rejoice!
Praise the Lord!
God’s name be praised!

Mid-day Prayer. At mid-day, when tasks and to-do lists are pressing in and human effort is at its height, we stop to renew our awareness of God’s presence, to rest in him for a few moments and ask for his peace and guidance regarding those things that are concerning us. The opening prayer/invocation is always our heart cry:
O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Oftentimes mid-day prayer will contain some sort of a prayer for wisdom such as this Collect for Grace, which is one of our favorites in the Transforming Center.
O God, by whom we are guided in judgment,
And who raises up for us light in the darkness,
Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties,
The grace to ask what you would have us to do;
That your wisdom may save us from all false choices,
And in your straight path we may not stumble.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.    AMEN.
If you pray that prayer with any kind of sincerity at all, it is guaranteed to change the trajectory of your day!

Evening Prayer. In the evening as the sun sets and the natural light fades, we acknowledge God as the source of our light and greet one another with expressions of peace.
You, O Lord, are my lamp.
My God, you make my darkness bright.
Light and in Jesus Christ our Lord,
Thanks be to God!
In many communities, evening prayer is the longest of the prayer services, offering us the opportunity to place the cares of the day in God’s hands as we make the transition from day to evening.
We praise you and thank you, O God,
For you are without beginning and without end.
Through Christ, you created the whole world;
Through Christ, you preserve it
Through Christ you made the day for the works of light
And the night for the refreshment of our minds and our bodies.
Keep us now in Christ, grant us a peaceful evening,

A night free from sin, and bring us at last to eternal life.
Through Christ and in the Holy Spirit,
We offer you all glory, honor and worship,
Now and forever. AMEN.
Evening prayer typically includes the Gospel reading for the day and may include a brief reflection or homily. Later on in the evening prayer service, we offer up general intercessions for ourselves and others, bringing our own specific needs and the burdens we are carrying for others to God. The fact that the intercessions are written for us relieves us of the need to be so wordy in our intercessions—a helpful discipline given the fact that this is another place in the spiritual life where human striving and fixing can so easily take over. As our personal spiritual journeys lead us to a greater capacity to be with God with what is true about us and to rest in him with our own lives, so we are able to hold others and their needs quietly in God’s presence as well.
Written intercessions (also called Prayers of the People in some settings) allow us to join together in lifting up our shared concerns to God and then to agree together by praying in unison,
Lord, in your mercy.
Hear our prayer.

Night Prayer. When we are together on retreat, we end the day with night prayer in which we celebrate God’s presence during the day and ask him to grant us the rest we need.
May God grant us a quiet night and peace at the last.
AMEN. It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
To sing praise to your name, O most high;
To herald your love in the morning.
Your truth at the close of the day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hunger: 6 PM

The bags of potato chips on the counter at work have been mocking me all day...thank goodness they were sealed bags for the temptation to snag a chip or two might have overwhelmed me.

Of course when we fast we feel hunger. I always feel guilt too. Guilt for feeling whiny and crabby when so many in the world are hungry every day....guilt for needing a prompt like my stomach to prod me to pray with more intention. Even guilt at the fact that I can break the fast and stuff myself with food at any point and sadness that I am so very easily tempted.  But I am glad that I also feel gratitude and longing for more...I only wish my hunger pangs for God's word resonated through all of me the way my hunger pangs for physical food do. And it's good to close the day feeling satiated (there's a family joke in there), content in filling myself with a bit more time with Him. That feeling of contentment seems to stem, today at least, from being reminded of God's power and holiness.

In Christ Alone: Noon

Seeking God's will, God's vision, God's voice
Being in His presence and humbly waiting
Trusting in His grace and provision

Psalm 139:9-10
New International Version (NIV)

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast

As we prayed together as a staff today my mind kept returning to the vision of roots. First of roots going deep, holding us steadfast in the storms of life, drawing deep from the well of God's grace and goodness and power. Then of the roots of our heritage - brought forth in a comment from a friend about her admiration of the "beautiful root system" of the Presbyterian church. And finally the roots I saw were a network, bringing to mind the connections of our faith, one believer to another.
Provision from Him, and through Him.
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

Unity, Wisdom, Vision: 8 AM

Jesus answered them, "Do you finally believe? In fact, you're about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I'm not abandoned. The Father is with me. I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world."
John 16:31-33


At 8 AM the word I received was to lean into God, to trust Him to be big enough for anything our church will face. I realize I went to bed last night really distressed and mulling over all the "what ifs"...looking at solutions and game plans and feeling pretty hope-less. This is not ours to "fix" and it's certainly not time to throw up our hands in despair. While praying this morning it became clear to me that I/we need to dig into our reservoir of faith and truly trust God, that we need to wait on His timing, that we need to release our grip and allow Him to work through and in us in the days ahead. In this world we WILL have tribulation but He has overcome it all already. And I remembered a promise from months ago, a promise of a time of revival close at hand for our church. Why would I allow the doings of man to cause me to doubt a promise from God?

He has given me work to do and with eyes on Him I need to continue to serve and believe. As I closed my time of prayer a second scripture, Micah 6:8, came to mind.

He has shown all you people what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

You are Holy, Mighty, Faithful; you are love.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's day - we so often take our mom's for granted so I'm glad we have a day set aside to thank and appreciate the love and effort that goes into parenting. I'm one of the fortunate ones, who has a truly remarkable mother. Her love and sacrifice are endless. Thanks mom!

And, to all the mom's out there - let your kids help you! It's our joy and privilege to bless you, not just on the second Sunday of May, but whenever we get the chance!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day weekend

I just wanted to share an interesting gift option for Mother's Day, or anytime. You can donate $10 (provides 5 birth kits), or for about $3 in materials assemble your own birth kit to be sent to Papua New Guinea via a YWAM medical ship. 1 in 7 mothers in Papua New Guinea die in childbirth and when you read the contents of the kit it's startling to realize that a sheet of plastic, bar of soap, pair of gloves, razor blade and string, and a few gauze squares can mean the difference between life and death. For the cost of a latte with a friend you can provide 5 women with a chance at life. Wow. Here's the link themommyhoodmemos.blogspot.com or use the Bloggers for Birth kits button on the side bar. Happy Mom's day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Easter People: Stretched


Easter stretches the limits of our understanding. The resurrection defied natural law and it doesn't make sense to us. It takes our concept of God beyond anything we can relate to in terms of how we approach love, forgiveness and judgement. And even as it stretches our comprehension, so it must stretch our response.

We respond by loving more deeply, forgiving more freely, and seeking to bring harmony into our relationships.
We respond by reaching out to a hurting world, by sharing hope and seeking justice.

Easter forces us to redefine our limits. How far as Easter stretched you?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Easter People: Hopeful



The stone was rolled away. A discouraged band of followers traveled from grief to joy and hope was born. One concise definition of hope is "to expect with confidence". 


What does it take to shake us from our weariness into a place of hope that lasts? 


Hope that we clothe ourselves in daily, hope that walks in and with us through the sand. Hope that knows with surety - not what the outcome will be - but that all things being in the hands of God it will be an outcome designed within His purposes. Hope based on a foundation of truth and goodness unlike anything we can find in each other. 
Praying the habit of hope for you.
David said it all: I saw God before me for all time. Nothing can shake me; he's right by my side. I'm glad from the inside out, ecstatic; I've pitched my tent in the land of hope. Acts 2:28


To eat bread without hope is still slowly to starve to death.  ~Pearl S. Buck
Once you choose hope, anything's possible.  ~Christopher Reeve




A Holy Experience - Walk with Him Wednesdays

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Easter People: Walking in Love



Walking in God's Love
Knowing the Beloved, being His beloved child, fully aware of His magnificant love for all that He created.
"Everlasting, Never ending, All-consuming, You are love"
(lyrics from "You Are Love", Laura Story)

Walking in Love with God
Embracing Him as the lover of our soul, filled with joy and passion by our relationship.
To fall in love with God is the greatest of romances, to seek Him the greatest adventure, to find Him the greatest human achievement. (St. Augustine)


Walking and Loving like God
Being loved by God, and in love with God, inspires us to reflect that love to others through our words, actions and attitudes.
Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other. (Jesus Christ, John 13:34-35 - The Message)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Easter People: Missional

Missional is the perspective to see people as God does and to engage in the activity of reaching them. The church on mission is the church as God intended. (Missional Manifesto)

http://www.missionalmanifesto.net/

I really love this definition of what it means to be "Missional". It's simple and understandable and presents a deep challenge.

"To see people as God does" - without the hindrance of my previous experiences, judgmental nature, self-centered heart. To really love. To really see. To be able to encounter each person as God's beloved child; to look into their eyes and heart and to risk caring boldly.

"To engage in the activity of reaching..." - this means setting forth with purpose, taking action beyond my bubble of home and friends and church.

Our church tag line is "A safe place to grow in faith" and while we need that haven for restoration and building our own deep reserves, we must not forget to move outward into a world that is real and hurting. As disciples we are called to make those same "safe places" wherever we go. Our goal should be to become "Safe People" to others.

Lastly it's easy to wait for the Missional program or ministry ...and to miss the opportunity to embrace a Missional mindset, where our walking and talking is our ministry. Where we freely share the great gift of our relationship with God. "The Church on mission" is you and me folks. Today and every day. Living out the gospel.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Easter People - Christ is Risen From the Dead!

A week after Easter. The baskets and plastic eggs are stored, the last of the ham is (hopefully) gone. Jelly beans are 75% off at the grocery store. Is it all over?


How do we live as Easter people? 


Was this journey of 40 days that culminated in a week of shadows giving way to piercing light just a side trip? Or was it, could it be, the path we walk daily as a forgiven and loved people?

O church, come stand in the light
The glory of God has defeated the night
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead, He's alive, He's alive





Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
We fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love

And bled for us
Freely You've bled for us

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bowed to none but Heaven's will
No scheme of Hell, no scoffer's crown
No burden great can hold You down

In strength You reign
Forever let Your church proclaim

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
The glory of God has defeated the night

Sing it, o death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead, He's alive, He's alive

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter! He is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed!

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

These Thousand Hills



Saturday. A day of waiting and longing.
Amazing Love.
Amazing Grace.
The Blood He Shed, He Shed For Me.
When heaven's hills at last I roam
Forever settle in my home
I'll join the saints around Your throne
Your kingdom, Lord, rolls ever on

Friday, April 22, 2011

Grace and Peace

Grace. Delivered from my sins. No charge, no merit, freely given.
Grace. The foundation of my life with God. Forevermore.
Grace. Brings peace.
Peace. Reconciled with God, with myself, with others, with my world.

Romans 5:1 - The Message
By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
May you find yourself, on this Good Friday, in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory...shouting your praise...as we await His victory. 



Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maundy Thursday on the Trail to the Tree

Sharing excerpts from Ann Voskamp's Trail to the Tree: An Easter Devotional.


Today, live the Eurcharist.
Count your blessings; wake up to the feast that He has spread before you. How can we not give thanks?
Take, eat, this is His body, given for you.




We, like the disciples, sleep. Daily we sleepwalk. Can you, on your knees, keep watch with Jesus...even for one hour?

Picnic in the Sand

Please use the audio player (above) to reflect on the beautiful lyrics of "Remember" by Laura Story as you contemplate all that Maundy Thursday points us to.

I've just never really liked picnics at the beach because the sand gets in EVERYTHING. If the wind blows it's even in your eyes and hair. Give me food without grit.

Today is Maundy Thursday. A day of humility and great love. A day of remembering. A day of cleansing (of feet and soul) and of food with grit (His body, His blood). A day of tears and gratitude flowing together.

I know I will still be stepping in the sand after today, and even after Sunday...but I step faithfully knowing that Christ goes with me, before me and behind me. To comfort, guide and correct. And as I partake in His supper I taste the grit and remember. Always.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where's the water?



Perhaps a bowl of sand can help us remember our journey. God led the people in their journey in the desert. Jesus himself reenacted that journey to face his own temptations. The desert can be a place of retreat, where there is a freedom from distractions. It can be a good place to be led and to face our temptations.

Watch for the temptation to settle. Like the Israelites we get weary and want to just rest, and in our apathy can neglect to continue on the journey God has set forth for us. The desert can be a reminder to keep moving.

40 days in Christ's footsteps, moving from the desert to living water, from shadow to light, from death into life. Have you seen the shadows retreat as you've walked toward the cross these past weeks?

This week of holiness - this glorious and grim week - as you journey ever closer to the cross will you give yourself away? Will you replace your will with His? Listen! He's calling.


(Note - the Inspirations page is updated with a wonderful sermon to watch and ponder)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sand Castles

Sand Castles.
The sand at the beach begs to be molded into a sand castle. Kids scurry to build.
Build bigger and stronger with moats of protection and turrets standing tall and proclaiming "Mine!"
Build faster, for the tide is coming in.
Build.
and then watch it crumble and wash away.

And so we build and scurry and fashion a fortress of things and people, but the tide comes and pulls it all away.

Matthew 7:26
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.

Build. Build your life on the solid rock of Christ.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Christ the King - Holy Monday

Colossians 1:18-20 (The Message)
He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

You Are Love

It's Saturday and I'm off working in the Community Garden. This new song by artist Laura Story speaks a bit of the character of God.


You are justice for every oppression
You’re forgiveness for every confession
You are beauty, goodness, blessing
You are love

You are healing for every sickness
You are power in every weakness
You are mighty, holy, faithful,
You are love

O God of the Heavens
You descended from your throne
Gave Your Son for our ransom
And by this all men will know that You are love.

We were thirsty, you gave us water
We were orphans, now you are our Father
We were desperate, hungry, seeking
You are love

[Bridge:]
Everlasting, Never ending
All consuming, You are love

To learn more visit Laura's website here...
Laura Story

Friday, April 15, 2011

Let Me Introduce you...


What's the first question we ask people we meet?
"Who are you?"

Have you ever asked God that question?

As I prepare for Holy Week I want to remind myself of the very nature of our God. I'm going to bookmark this spot and come back the day after Easter to begin praying the names of God into my being. Here's a handy guide to use if you'd like to join me.
Thirty Days of Praying the Names and Attributes of God - The Navigators

And just for a little fun on Friday...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

hypakou┼Ź

Here we go again. Hupakouo.
I get the heed part.
I get the part about obeying. And I find submission freeing.
I think I might have the hearing part a little messed up though...


HEED. Harken.
...one who on the knock at the door comes to listen who it is...

That's it. I need to just go to the door at the knock and listen.

I've been listening to a couple of new worship songs over and over. Earlier this week I listened to one for over two hours. OK, true confession time. I can't figure out how to get the repeat stopped on my iPod and I'm too proud to ask anyone besides Haley for help. What am I gonna do with that girl going off and getting married? No one else can roll their eyes at me so lovingly.
Anyway.











These two songs in particular are burning holes in my soul. They speak of the truth and power of God's love and care for us. By playing them over and over it's a worship practice similar to lectio divina. The lyrics settle into my heart and mind and bring peace.For the same reason I love reading the same Psalm daily. God's very word seeping into the pores of my spirit.I think I can hear better when I've settled my mind and heart with the rhythms of music and scripture.

What practice helps you to more clearly hear God?
What practice do you have "on repeat" that needs to be changed? Is it time to move forward to the next track?

Grace and Peace on a Thursday in Lent.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Psalm 42, for a Wednesday in Lent

My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
I have promises from the Most High. Stories of His trustworthiness. His very creation sings of his goodness.
So what's this angst (another favorite word, right up there with albondigas)?
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
I'm troubled and probably being too hard on myself. I'm doing but not being. Who decides what is enough for me? The world tells me I'm not doing enough and I tell myself I need to BE more - but what does GOD say. Is He as frustrated with me as I am with myself?

Do I hear Jesus saying "Martha! Sit down!" Or do I hear him saying ..."Go! Feed my sheep?"

I know from experience that trying to get it right doesn't work. But still I'm drawn to systems and calendars and practices and with those come the voices telling me I'm doing it all wrong. My hope is not in even my best self, the one who is able to balance it all. My hope is in God.

Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Lord, for today, just for today, let me be present to you and to those around me. That is enough.



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Force of....a sandstorm

My journey seems to be a slow, meandering walk (even a crawl at times) that has been mostly pleasant and at a pace I've felt comfortable with. I'm wondering what it would feel like to have the "Holy Spirit's Gale" that Brother Lawrence suggested (quote below) blowing at me, picking me up in and carrying me along at a rate faster than I can comprehend? I think there are days, lately, when I'd welcome that kind of movement. My heart's voice says "C'mon God, let's get on with it!".

I cherish the thought of His love shaping me.
"The journey through the wilderness continues; notice the contours of the landscape God is leading you through. Do they match the contours of your life?
How have you been shaped by the forces of experience? Consider now how the love of God is part of that shaping experience."

"Brother Lawrence wrote, “Not to advance in the spiritual life is to go back, but those who have the gale of the Holy Spirit go forward even in sleep.”
May you go now, open to the Holy Spirit’s gale blowing through your life."


From the online devotional d365 Journey to the Cross
Journey to the Cross

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 11 redirect...

I've updated the Inspirations page (up there - just a bit to the right) to include today's blog post from Ann Voskamp on raising grateful children. Read and enjoy her lovely sharing. Her lists of ideas are wonderful - makes me want a 'do over' with my own kids!

My pail runneth over


What does it mean to you to find contentment? We are set on a path of acquisition from an early age. It starts with getting stickers for good behavior or memorized Bible verses, moves to grades and friends and baseball cards and on to wealth and possessions. How often have you searched to find "just enough"? We all want our pails to run over. To have more sand than we can possibly use. More is a hedge of protection against hard times, sadness, lonely days and insecurity. Heaven forbid our pails run low. Scarcity is scary. Poverty of position or things or relationships makes you an outcast.

Paul tells us that he was able to find contentment in any situation. It's pretty easy to be content when the bills are all paid, the pantry is stocked, your children are doing well and you are healthy and have a quiver full of good friends. Where do you go to find contentment in the midst of cancer, or unemployment or heartbreak?

Philippians 4:12-13
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

We are created as dependent creatures and all the self-sufficiency and self-discipline in the world won't create contentment in our spirits. That space for rest comes from utter trust in the One who provides all that we really need. Contentment with whatever we are experiencing in life can only be a by-product of being in alignment with God's will and fully aware of and welcoming of our dependence on Him.

Loose hands. Your stuff, your relationships, your life. They all belong to God.

Lord, for today, may I abide in You and truly be content.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sabbath Rest

Today is the sabbath, a time to worship, rest, reflect, pray and connect.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Saturday April 9th

It's time for a chuckle and a post that has nothing at all to do with sand, or journeys or obedience.....

Just a little bit of "Bo" for your Saturday. Perhaps you will see yourself in her post!
CLICK HERE!

Now that you've had your chuckle, scroll up one spot (or click the link below) and PLEASE watch the 1:57 video Bo posted. Something to consider as we move towards the cross this season.

The Suffering Jesus

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sand in my toes

Remember being a kid at the beach and getting sand...everywhere? It stings and itches. It's a gritty annoyance that you can't ignore. Tiny grains causing major disruption in your life.



Sometimes I feel like I've got sand in my soul. Gritty annoyances of anger, hurt, sin, discouragement, and apathy that slowly penetrate my very being. Too small to deal with, too big to overcome. You swipe at it and think you've got it all, but the next day there's still some there.

1 Peter 3:19-21 (The Message)
He went and proclaimed God's salvation to earlier generations who ended up in the prison of judgment because they wouldn't listen. You know, even though God waited patiently all the days that Noah built his ship, only a few were saved then, eight to be exact—saved from the water by the water. The waters of baptism do that for you, not by washing away dirt from your skin but by presenting you through Jesus' resurrection before God with a clear conscience. Jesus has the last word on everything and everyone, from angels to armies. He's standing right alongside God, and what he says goes.

Sand in my toes. Sand in my soul. Gentle reminders of un-confessed sin, of attitudes that reflect only "me". Let the water wash them all away.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Leaving the Sand Pile

I'm leaving the security of my little sand box and heading out to play with a bunch of other Sand Steppers at a ministry conference...now you knew this moment was going to come from the very moment you laid eyes on the title of my blog, didn't you...
The famous "Footprints in the Sand" poem. Yeah, it's old and we've seen it on countless cross-stitches and paperweights, but read it again. And take comfort in knowing that you are never alone.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Together We Can Change The World

Choices. Voices.

I guess I'm an adult. I don't feel like one most of the time but I have the power to make decisions for my life, and I guess that qualifies as being an adult. I don't have to go to school, or brush my teeth, or eat stuff I don't like. I have choices and the right to make them.

But no matter how old I get, or mature, or wise (me, wise?) I always want to bounce stuff off other people. I listen to the voices. I listen to wise voices, old voices, media voices, ugly voices, and yes, even young voices. I try to sort the voices out. The worst ones are the voices in my head. Do, don't, give, take. Sometimes they lie to me, and when they tell the truth I often deny it.

But there is one choice that really matters and only one voice that really counts.
God asks, "Will you live the life I ask you to live?" To answer "yes" means to let go of everything I've built and planned and believed about myself.

Read more here...from another writer's perspective

The Best Question (Heather Holleman)


What I Learned Today

  1. Making tea in the keurig works better if you take the used coffee pod out first.
  2. I have lost my taste (addiction?) for bubble gum balls.
  3. I have lost my taste for, and hence extreme desire for, jelly beans. Never, ever thought that would be possible. They are nasty. Why in the heck have I eaten so many of them in my life time. Does this mean I am now officially an adult?


 Does anyone want some Easter gumballs and jelly beans?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Big Fat Greek Word. Hupakouo.4

I love this word. It's my only Greek word and the more time I spend with it the bigger it gets. A writer I admire gives a name to each new year....and so I am inspired to name Lent 2011 "Hupakouo".

Hupo - meaning under or beneath

Akouo - meaning to hear

Hupakouo - to hear under or beneath

Hearing and recognizing the authority and wisdom of the speaker.

We hear by practicing our listening skills. We hear by opening our hearts, setting aside our preconceived notions, and paying attention to the work of the Holy Spirit within us. We hear by getting to know the character of God. As we learn His nature and recognize his voice we come to the place of submission of our will for His. Rinse and repeat. Many times. Amen?



Monday, April 4, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?

I meet with an amazing group of ladies on Monday afternoons with the stated purpose of studying a book together...and every week I learn so much from them! What a joy to spend time with other women who are seeking to model their lives after Jesus. Their transparency and care for each other is a wonderful encouragement. This week we were talking a lot about spending time alone with God. We talked of finding moments in a busy day, reflected on a quote by Richard Foster about creating inward solitude, and mused about what it would look like to spend a day with God.




Above all the noise of our daily lives there is a quiet voice calling us. If we will clear the clutter and make space, real space, for God to break through....He will speak to us. And soothe us. And challenge us. There's a risk - and a reward.

Can you listen with an open and submitted heart?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday share for the 4th Sunday in Lent

It is Sunday and I am resting, praying, reflecting on the week that has past...and preparing a meal for an event at our church. I'd like to share a Lenten devotional written for today, the 4th Sunday in Lent, which particularly seemed to fit the journey I'm on these 40 days. The scripture used is
Ephesians 5: 8-10

“You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You're out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.”

Click here to read the full devotional

May your Sabbath be richly blessed.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Yielded

John MacArthur gives us an important reminder when we consider "imitating" Christ's example in our life. Even as He did lived in full surrender and dependence on the Holy Spirit, so too must we as believers learn to daily, moment by moment yield to the the control of the Spirit, a process which we must carry out the remainder of our time on earth. In other words, there is no saint, no matter how sanctified, how Christ-like or how godly, who will ever achieve a level of spiritual growth in which they can say that they have "arrived." Lifelong humble dependence on the blessed Holy Spirit is to be our continual state and praise God that the Spirit is His continual provision! We all experience some periods when we are walking wonderfully in step with the Spirit, but we also experience days of disappointing defeat and failure to trust and obey. But don't let the "cloudy days" discourage you. Confess and turn from your sins and lean hard on His everlasting arms



I'm too tired to use my own words tonight except to say that today ended well. I was able to bless others which always brings an even greater blessing to me. I'm humbled.

Quicksand...

Ever have a day, or a week, when you feel pretty much like this?


It's been that kind of day, and week, for me. If I choose to think about the things that are bringing disharmony and stress into my life I feel pretty much like this gal must have. I'm being sucked into a vortex of sucky sand. There's no way out. It's wet and slimy and sucky. I want to cry. I do cry. I want to just smack something. I want help. 














So how do we climb out of the mirey pit? (better yet how do we avoid it in the first place?).
We pray. Without ceasing. Leaning into prayer until it becomes part of the fabric of your being provides that escape from the pull of distractions and frustrations.


We breathe. Deeply. We've all pretty much forgotten how to breathe into the depths of our lungs, and beyond. Breathing calms and restores balance.


We give thanks. For anything and everything. Sometimes on a bad day you just have to give thanks for the first thing you lay eyes on and work your way into gratitude.


After we pray and breathe and utter thanks there's room to smile and laugh and find our focus. There's strength for what's left to be done and ease in the doing. And the sucky sand lets go of our spirit. We gain a foothold on solid ground and we claim it.

On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.


 Psalm 27:4-5
One thing I ask from the LORD, 
   this only do I seek: 
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD 
   all the days of my life, 
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD 
   and to seek him in his temple. 
 For in the day of trouble 
   he will keep me safe in his dwelling; 
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent 
   and set me high upon a rock.  
For today Lord, and for tomorrow, be my solid rock.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Little Like Frosted Mini-Wheats

The mother-of-the-bride is tired but determined to stay the course of a post-a-day through Lent...
so I'm going to share a fun little site with lovely sweet nuggets of scripture to share.
Just click...


HERE!(The Daily Verse)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 88 Continuous Sand Step

Today is the 88th day of the year. Double figure eights.

How often have I set off boldly, made a sharp left, cruised a bit and then headed to the right ("Hey, I'm going in a new direction!")only to end up right back where I started. The figure eight is a peaceful pattern, smooth and almost hypnotic. Endless. Pointless.

Our days are finite and as life passes I more frequently stop to gasp at just how fast they slip by. I want to make them count. Each grain of sand should add value to someone's experience.
For day 88 I am reminded to set froth with the intent to act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with my [your] God. (Micah 6:8)

Monday, March 28, 2011

I wish I'd just given up pistachios for Lent.

Or maybe chocolate or wine.


Right now I really don't want to move forward. I want to stand still or maybe retreat a bit...
Engaging, being present, doing more, moving toward conflict and things that are challenging, abstaining from self even a tiny bit - all feel like that first run after months of inactivity. And the second and third run. Pain and no gain. Not that I can begin to remember the soreness after a run...it's been that long.

In the midst of seeking to calmly expand my margins I do find a center of peace from which to trudge forward. Marathon thinking.

I'm grateful that I've learned to be content while not "getting" what it is that God is doing or where He's taking me....next step is to learn to be content and less cranky.

In China, the pistachio is known as the “happy nut” because they look like they’re smiling
(clearly having been up since 4 am I should not be posting such pithy stuff)

Moving forward. Slowly but surely.
In His Grip.

Amen.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hupakouo.3 Sunday March 27

God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will, a will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.

Elisabeth Elliot

Friday, March 25, 2011

Joy in the Sand

Fridays are for fun, right? Here's a lovely post by writer Ann Voskamp which reminds us to find joy in our moments with children.

10 Points of Joyful Parenting (click here)


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Anchored

Let that grace now, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.”
Hebrews 6:19-20 (NIV)
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hope for Haiti


This is Kervens. He is 15 years old and is a resident at the Haiti Home for Children. I wanted to put a face and a name to the reality that children all over the world go to bed hungry. Kids like Kervens can't count on a college education like most of ours do. His future is limited.

I feel inadequate to really make a difference because the needs are so great. It's hard to see what good the few dollars I save by not having meat one meal per week can do...but perhaps these small steps do have value. If each and every one of us made a small sacrifice we could change the future for kids like Kervens.

What small sacrifice can you make during Lent? For the remainder of 2011? For the rest of your life?

To learn more about this organization, how to sponsor a child or how to help raise funds to staff the hospital please click here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Don't Argue With The Umpire


My thought for the day came to me while I was driving to work today.

"Respect the call".

In other (sandier, Lenten) words...HEED.

I don't have to have all the answers, I just have to respect the call.

Monday, March 21, 2011

In the shadow of the cross





The great Christian insight is that we come from God and we return to God. At points in between we sometimes wander. Spiritual wandering is often understood as a circle in which we ultimately return to the important relationships that sustain us, give us life, and give us meaning. Give yourself time to wander about in your faith today.
Copied from the d365 Journey to the Cross online devotional for March 21. (Hint, be sure your speakers are on - wonderful music there too!)

As I wander in the shadow of the cross it reminds me of God's limitless love for me even when I don't or won't raise my eyes to see the cross itself. The shadow of the cross is a place for me to safely reflect and rest, shaded and protected. Lent itself seems to be a season of shadow leading to darkness. When the cross falls the light returns in full glory.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The 2nd Sunday in Lent




The LORD said to Abram:
“Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk
and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.
“I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth
shall find blessing in you.”
Abram went as the LORD directed him.

Abram went as the Lord directed him.
Why is that so hard for me. The sand reminds me today of Abram's journey, and of my own.

Sand, so yielding and movable. Move me Oh Lord.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Shifting Sand


It's hard to build a road in the sand. It won't stay where you put it. It blows back over the path. It caves in and takes everything with it. It's ever changing, shifting and sculpting...
It's hard to follow a path through the desert. The road, made of sand, is useless. There are few or no landmarks. The sun is high overhead and the nights are long and cold. But when God said to Abraham "Go", he didn't get a map from AAA or turn on his GPS. He just went.

For today Lord, I'll let you mark my path.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The practices of Lent 2011


Prayer, fasting, alms-giving - disciplines of abstinence and engagement - pushing away distractions in order to make room for deeper communion with God - for me, the tension between being (with God) and doing (for God) have led me this year to commit to:

Drastically reducing my time spent on the internet - while significantly increasing my dedicated time of prayer, retreat, and reading.

Disciplining my thoughts into this online journal of sorts on a regular basis. Hopefully as I pray and reflect and then actively communicate the thoughts I'll absorb more of what God is saying to me.

Fasting from meat once weekly. No, I don't expect that this small sacrifice to my taste buds will result in any dramatic revelation. But this practice was modeled to me many years ago by a good friend who taught her daughters to set aside the money that would have been spent on a "regular" dinner and send it to an orphanage - and so this year I want to incorporate that as my "alms-giving" effort for Lent. The difference will be sent to that same orphanage, The Haiti Home for Children, where those two dear children lived until they were adopted and brought to the United States.

Observing the sabbath more fully. No media, no "work", just time with God and family.

Finally, saying "yes" to giving myself more fully to work.

As you step away from the world and move toward the cross this season what is being revealed to you in the changing rhythms?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cultivating Thankfulness

Is it harder to be grateful from a place of abundance than from one of poverty?
Does thanks-giving come more freely when we are in the midst of a crisis?


Today, and each day in Lent, I intend to be a thankful woman with eyes searching for the blessing in each and every circumstance of each and every day.




For more on finding your way to thanks-giving check the page "The Practice of Thanksgiving" at the top of this blog.