Deeper Sand - if you are looking for more!

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.