Give Life to It

Last month we had some time in bible study to listen. I sat outside and, since it was a cool December morning, I chose a warm sunny spot. My brain was filled with too many words and I just wanted to sit in the quiet for a little while. Even when we were called back inside, I stayed.

I prayed about the coming year and the things I wanted to finally accomplish. The things I felt like the Lord had put on my heart, given me, called me to. I wanted to listen and obey. But I was feeling spent, defeated, empty. I asked the Lord to open doors, to push the boulders, to surround me with helpers. Because otherwise, I would assume it was not something he wanted me to do or a role he wanted me to fill.

We were given a couple of scriptures to meditate on before hand.

But you must continue to believe God’s true message. Do not turn away from it. Continue to trust God as you did when you first heard the good news…

Colossians 1:23 (EEB)

Get your strength from Christ himself so that you become stronger and stronger. Continue to believe the true message that we taught you. And thank God very much for everything.

Colossians 2:7 (EEB)

As I prayed, I picked up a dried leaf. I turned it over in my hands, felt its rough texture, studied its now dead veins. In the quiet. Listening. I heard.

Give life to it.

That’s odd. How does one give life to a dead leaf? I certainly couldn’t. But sometimes the dried leaves, the dead branches, the weeds, need to come up so that new life can grow. Burst forth. Not spending time with what’s dead, but tending to what has life. And to give more life to it. Life needs rest. A time to let roots go down deep. Then the energy renews and life springs forth.

I’m not sure what that looks like. But I know the Lord will show me.

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Little Nudges

via Little Nudges

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Re: Rename

We have so many names throughout our life. Some might call them hats we wear. Roles we fill. Labels. Titles. But they identify us. Define us. We may have chosen to take them on, or they may have been imposed on us.

We’re born and we become son or daughter. We might be sister or brother from the beginning or maybe later on. Grandchild. Niece or nephew. Cousin. We get older and become Student. Friend. Neighbor.

Other names may be spoken over us. Helpful. Rambunctious. Quiet. Smart. Challenge. Humorous.

As we develop our own interests, or maybe have adults who, with their best intentions want to introduce us to new interests, we take on other names. Athlete. Musician. Artist. Leader.

Then suddenly we’re staring at adulthood. We may choose our career, our field, our job or it may choose us. We may know what we want, or may spend years trying to figure it out. We may stick to one. Or try out many. But we also take on names based on our work.

For me, I knew what I wanted, but didn’t have anyone t tell me how to get it. So, I joined the military. I became Sailor. Weather guesser. And took on names defined by my rank and position.

I had other names too. I made a commitment of faith and became Christian. I fell in love and became Wife. Then Mom. Others provided me the name Aunt. Many years later, Grammy.

I’m at a point in my life where I’ve finally chosen a name I’ve wanted for so long. Author.

I’ve been blessed with many names and also afflicted with some. I’ve readily accepted some of the names and rejected others.

Names are important to God. His name is important. Often he is referred to in the capacity of our experience. One Who Sees. Healer. Shepherd. With Us. Strong. Mighty. Lord. Savior. When God told a man named Moses his name, he said, I AM who I AM.

Over the past few years, I’ve learned something amazing. I learned that the God I love and the God who loves me has always been in the business of renaming. He sees us not as others see us, but as he created us to be.

Exalted Father (Abram) became Father of Many (Abraham)

Supplanter (Jacob) became God Wrestler (Israel)

Jesus began calling his friend Simon by a new name, Rock (Peter)

And after Saul encounter Jesus, he went from a name many associated with a persecutor, to a different name, one meaning Humble (Paul)

The best thing I’ve learned, however, is that God also has a name for me. One he chose. One that’s good. Because he’s in the business of good gifts.

  • “…and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.” Revelation 2:17
  • “I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.” Isaiah 56:5
  • “And you will be called by a new name Which the mouth of the LORD will designate.” Isaiah 62:2

What joy to know that we don’t have to be known by what we’ve done, what others think of us, and even what we think of ourselves. Instead, we can be know by the One Who Sees, the One who gives us a new name.

Ask. He’ll reveal it to you. And delight in who he sees you to be.

Grace and Peace.

 

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Explore and the Be Still Series

Normally, in my Saturday Book Review blog I share a book that has impacted me, taught me something, expanded my thinking, broadened my horizons in some way.

However, today I’m quite excited and I want to share my excitement with you.  For the last three years, my photographer husband and I have been working on a project together. It’s our Be Still series, a set of photo devotional books.

Praise: Proclaiming the Glory of God was our first launch, our experiment, our proof of concept. In 2017, I had my husband select some of his favorite photos that went along with a poem I wrote and verses I chose from the Psalms. We put them all together and published through Amazon’s (then) Create Space.

The following year, 2018, I was inspired to do it again. This time I wrote twenty-four devotions from a study on Isaiah and we went on a photo tour of National Parks in Texas and the western states. We put the devotions and photos together in Wonder: Contemplating the Mysteries of God. We published again through Amazon, who had by then migrated everything to Kindle Direct Publishing.

The idea for the third book came from a friend who had purchased Praise and used it as a devotional with her kids. Great idea, right? We thought so and spent 2019 planning and designing Explore: Enjoying the Creation of God. With fun colors and lots zoomed in photos, Explore uses the poem All Things Bright and Beautiful and encourages kids to read verses about God’s creation, guess what the photos are, discuss the questions, and have fun with the activities suggested. I also wrote a series of devotions to go along with the poem and the photos, which are included in Explore, Companion Devotional.

The process and the journey has been so much fun and I already have ideas for next year’s Be Still book. You can find the first three books of the Be Still series on Amazon (links to their Amazon sights are below the photos).

For my local friends, I have great news. All three books will be available at
Journey Fellowship’s Annual Artisan Faire
on Saturday, November 23rd, 9 AM – 2 PM.
Entry fee is a donated canned good for a food drive.
The Be Still series will be sold at the Created Ministry table with special vendor pricing.
I invite you to come, give back a little to the community, and get started on your Christmas shopping.

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Re: Redeem

What are the things we redeem?

  • Time – to use it wisely
  • Rewards – to earn money or credit using credit cards
  • Ourself – to correct wrongs done

What about all the things we take pride in, our bragging rights, the things we have confidence in, that give us a sense of security, or accomplishment or value?

Do those things need redeemed?

An ancient preacher and writer, Paul, addressed this idea in a letter he wrote to a group of Jesus followers in Philippi.

Paul was a very accomplished guy in his day. He had family status, social status, state status, religious status, and educational status. He had the personality of success: zeal, energy, charisma, drive, ability, opportunity. He seemed to have all.

Yet.

Yes Jesus got a hold of his heart and did some work on it. Paul, through trials, struggles, and hardships was brought to a place in his life where he could/would actually say “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that that I could gain Christ.”

How’s that for bragging?

And the questions surface:

  • What do we take pride in? Where do we place our confidence? How do we define ourselves?
  • What stands in our way of truly knowing Jesus? What hinders us, blocks us, cripples us from truly pursuing Christ?
  • If we evaluate everything in our life, would we be willing to consider them worthless because of what Christ has done? Worthless compared to the infinite value of knowing Christ? Would we discard it all, count it all garbage so we could gain Christ?

That’s a tough question. One that Paul faced. And he chose to let the Lord redeem it all. Because he looked forward to the heavenly prize, the goal, the reward.

God called. Paul answered.

Will I?

 

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