For the Not-So-Shiny Days

Wait on the Lord Seek the Lord

Some days, the sun shines, and I jump out of bed early. I slept enough hours without any interruptions, and I feel good. I start the day with the Lord and a run and then the kids come trickling out of their rooms, ready for the eggs I’ve made. Then I head upstairs for a quick shower with some great music to help me get happily ready to start the homeschool day.

Some days.

Other days, it’s much harder to see beauty–because other days look a lot more like chaos. Can you relate?

Maybe someone needed me in the night, or I stayed up late with Jimmy Fallon.

Maybe the kids leave their rooms an hour before the time we’ve set. They forget to complete their morning chores, and so the laundry piles up and the bedrooms are a mess.

Maybe I’m tired and it’s a cloudy day and I don’t have time for quiet time and I didn’t get a run and I haven’t made breakfast and I don’t feel well.

Maybe.

Do you ever think about the back-and-forth of our lives? The up-and-down? Does it frustrate you the way it frustrates me?

I can get on such a roll of seeing-the-beauty days–of good, productive mornings, of day-before preparation, of starting the day out right. But then–something changes. Often, I don’t even see it coming. A cold. A sick kid. A misunderstanding. A big disappointment. Hard work that doesn’t yield results. Whatever it might be.

Then I get on a roll of seeing more chaos than beauty.

The kids are still waiting on me, so I have to quickly figure out how to deal.

How do you deal with days that look more like chaos, with the cloudy days and your own clouded mind?

Jump on over to PurposefulFaith.com, to read the rest of this post!

Like A Treasure

Kingdom of Heaven Treasure Desire JesusWhat do you desire?

It may be the most important question you’ll ever answer.

Before you respond with the answer you think you should say, give it some thought. Resist the temptation to use the fast-pass. Let these questions help you get to the heart of what you desire most.

  • What makes you happy?
  • What is it you crave, that you’re sure would make you happier?
  • What do you worry about?
  • What are you afraid of?
  • Where do you run for comfort?
  • What do you fear losing, or fear never attaining?
  • What would you never want to live without?

Think about these questions, and you’ll probably yield more than one honest answer. You’ll uncover the truth not only of what you desire, but also what you treasure.

Jesus spoke about treasure in the book of Matthew. He told a mini-parable, comparing the kingdom of heaven to a treasure.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (Matthew 13:44, NIV)

Many people think Jesus makes the point that we should treasure the kingdom of heaven so much, that we’d give up everything in order to gain it.

While most of us would agree, that finding the kingdom of heaven is like finding treasure, we struggle with the part about giving up everything….

Click here to read the rest of this post over at PurposefulFaith.com today.

Why We Need Revival (Linkup)

Truth Lies Rooted In Him RevivalEven with truth living in and around me, somehow the lie came along too.

I believed in Jesus so young. No major questions, just a big Yes, I believe. I don’t ever remember saying yes to the lie, but it followed me anyway.

It’s the oldest lie on the books, the same lie that poisoned Eden. It wears the mask of something more, something better. But it spoils. After it weasels in to take root in our hearts.

God doesn’t truly love you, not enough. You need more. That’s the lie.

Did you know we can hold the truth in one hand, and reach for something better with the other?

We live in such a broken-down place, but we still build our towers to the skies. We fill ourselves up, at least we try.

Even when we hold the truth, we can be living under the influence of the lies.

We need to remember, on thousands of days–God loves us. So much that He made a way to rescue us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He who came not to condemn the world, but to save it.

Not only that, but also–Jesus is enough. He didn’t only die. He was raised to life for us. He IS life, and He wants to create new life in us.

Why do we still look for life in other places? We wouldn’t usually call it that. Okay, we’d never call it that.

But the root of all our sin is—we desire created things more than we desire the Creator.

We are idolaters, of the hidden kind.

We need to remember who God is, and we need to remember who we are. And then, the only way for us, is to repent.

We need revival, the life of Jesus poured into us. Right now, right here in the center of our living rooms. No need for a big tent or a booming voice calling us forward.

We need revival here–in our hearts, at the end of March at the kitchen desk. With the Word open and an open heart.

In these moments, I desire nothing more than Jesus. When I stray from here, I need revival again. {So I will need it by tomorrow. But actually much sooner.} My life, in Christ, depends on it.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives IN HIM, rooted and built up in Him… Colossians 2:6-7

Kelly Balarie (22)

Hello to all my blogging friends who are here to join the #RaRaLinkup today…I look forward to reading your words this week!

 

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Kelly Balarie (22)

Hope for the Deepest Why

Hope Deepest Why Because He LivesSometimes life pulls us away from our hope. We get busy. We’re distracted. We’re extremely forgetful. Trials and difficulties abound, and our hope gets lost in the middle.

Other times, we lose hope because we’re wading through dark seasons, through the deepest whys.

I remember one such season. We were in the middle of a move, living in an apartment until our new house was finished. We had just left the church we called home for a decade. We had to say goodbye to our dogs. And then my young, healthy friend ended up with cancer.

I remember sitting in the driver’s seat of my car. My husband called and said her fight was over.

It was the day before Valentine’s Day.

I scratched hows and whys on black and white pages, in blood red ink mixed with tears. How wide and deep was this why…

 

Click on over to Fearfully Made Mom, for the rest of this post. I’m guest posting there as part of Abby McDonald’s Renewal Through Christ series. Join us!

Mercy Inspires Worship

Mercy Inspires Worship Come Worship

Everyone worship the Lord.

Ascribe Him the glory due Him. Proclaim His majesty.

Be in awe before such power.

Come worship wonderful Yahweh, in all His holy beauty.

Give Him the honor due His name!

(Excerpts from Psalm 29, NIV & Passion Translation)

One of my highlights this year has been sitting with the Lord alone most days, praying without multitasking. In this time, I worship and adore God, confess my sins, thank Him for an incredible amount of blessings, and pour out my cares before Him, asking for His help.

I had no idea worship would become the part of my prayers I long for most.

I didn’t realize I would set out to give the Lord the honor due His name–yet I would receive so much blessing.

It’s not that I failed to worship the Lord before. It’s just that I didn’t take regular time away from other people–and other tasks–in order to worship Him alone. To worship without multitasking.

But what is worship, really? Worship is often more than sitting with God alone, in prayer and song.

Look up the definition of worship, and you’ll find a number of ideas. Some think worship is a service you attend, a feeling you have toward a deity, or homage paid to God or another sacred object.

Oxford Dictionary defines worship as “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.”

Paul, the apostle, offers another definition of worship in Romans 12:1-2,

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… (NIV)

True worship begins with a view of God’s mercy…

 

Today I’m guest posting over at Purposeful Faith with Kelly & Friends. Read the rest of this post by clicking here, at PurposefulFaith.com.

The Poem of the Air

Voice of Lord Snow Poetry

“Out of the bosom of the air, Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken…

Silent, and soft, and slow  Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take  Suddenly shape in some divine expression…

This is the poem of the air,  Slowly in silent syllables recorded…”

~Excerpts from Snow-Flakes, Walt Whitman

 

They predicted a trace of snow. Then a few inches or more, then not much of anything, then maybe an inch, and right about there, we turned away.

The weather man kept changing his mind. We expected this “One-Two Punch” to amount to little. Or nothing. Besides, we “enjoyed” snow and ice all last week–which is all we North Carolinians need to close up shop and call it a winter.

But before I opened my eyes this morning, my littlest charged at my bedroom window, lifted a shade, and gasped. “Mom!!! God is awesome…you know WHY??? Guess what Mom? He made it snow!”

I moseyed on over, past the energizer bunny doing circles.

Besides his sweet face, it was my first sight of the day–a lovely dusting of snow covering the whole backyard and soft, chunky snowflakes falling from the sky.

Today was like any other day, until I watched the sky rain poetry.

Puffy flakes have fallen all day since, more than 7 grand hours of air’s soft whispers, of snow piling up line upon line.

This afternoon, I stood out on the deck in my husband’s tennis shoes and let snow fall on me like fresh, white confetti.

I wondered, why does snow appear like shreds of wonder today?  Like it’s been shaken from clouds like glitter?

Usually, I count snowflakes like curses.

I blame it on my childhood up north, where I endured enough snow for a lifetime. But who am I to complain? This isn’t my world, my sun, my clouds. Maybe I need to see snowflakes like Whitman, who called them a divine expression.

Do you hear the voice of God in the poem of the air?

I’m beginning to hear more clearly.

Standing out beyond these walls, I remembered the psalm I read yesterday. It says,

Be in awe before His majesty…Give Him the honor due His name! 

The voice of the Lord echoes through the skies and seas.

So powerful is His voice, so brilliant and bright.

His symphonic sound splinters the mighty forests.

He moves Zion’s mountains by the might of His voice.

Seven times, Psalm 29 repeats the voice of the Lord, the voice of the Lord, the voice of the Lord. Known as the Psalm of Seven Thunders, it summons sons and daughters of God–along with all the hosts of heaven–to give God the glory due His name.

Whether our days usher in storms or sunshine, God’s voice echoes through the skies.

Some days white like snow, things are clear enough to see and hear it.

 

Faith on the Edge of a Sword

Faith Fear World Not My Home Something Better

My big sister called me the Safety Club.

She was the type to think fun was fun. I only thought fun was fun if it was also safe.

I always treasured safety, even as a kid. No one ever called me Brave. Detailed, yes. But not brave.

I was the kind of kid who noticed the details, who noticed all the ways the world wasn’t safe. Who noticed all the bad things that just might, could possibly happen, if we opened that box.

It was there, in those details, where my courage often went to die.

Still, I tried to align myself with safety. With safe-ish. Which didn’t always mesh well with faith in Jesus.

For obvious reasons, I’ve never enjoyed the Great Hall of Faith. Hebrews 11, anyone? In my Bible it’s titled, “Faith in Action.” But my reaction to Hebrew 11, was…No, thank you.

Pass the Faith ~ just not on the edge of a sword, please. 

I wonder how many of you can relate. I’d guess I’m not the only longstanding member of the Safety Club.

Hebrews 11–and plenty of other Scripture passages–sent my red flags flying, somewhere between barely escaping the edge of the sword–and torture, imprisonment, and stoning.  Also that part which states, They were sawed in two.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to put myself in those real people’s shoes, even if they did live long, long ago.

Basically, I have an adverse reaction to violence, of any kind. I’m not big on blood. Especially my own.

But earlier this week, my oldest boys wanted to talk again about ISIS.

They asked me about 21 Brave Egyptian Christians, whose faith shone at the edge of the water on a Libyan beach–whose faith endured even past edges of swords.

The truth is, I’ve always been all, I sure hope it never comes down to that for any of us. 

But this time, something changed. I asked the Lord to help me stand with Him if I’m ever in those shoes.

I heard myself telling my kids, Guys, of course I don’t want to go through that, but I will leave this earth standing for Jesus, if that’s what it comes to. 

Now I realize I’m just saying words.

But I’m not the kind of person who says these things lightly. I’ve not ever ONCE been the type of person who says those kind of words at all. It’s my temperament’s fault. I have to count the cost and really mean words, before I can say them.

But after 30+ years of running from the thought of persecution, of desiring deeper faith as long as it doesn’t come with any sharp edges, I realized something.

This world is really not my home.

And I’m not so scared anymore.

I hope it’s the same for you. I hope the story of these 21 brave brothers in Christ–and all the others who have gone before–inspires you to follow Jesus bravely, the way it’s inspiring me.

Instead of growing our fears, may these stories grow our faith.

They lived in this world, but they had died to it already. They had died to the world, and the world had died to them.

May we stop craving our illusions of safety, and may we hunger for heaven instead.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. Hebrews 11:1-2

They were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:16

Living From a New Identity

dead to sin alive to God identity in Christ

As a preschooler, I learned I had a sin problem and needed Jesus to save me from it. When I asked Him to be my rescue, I became dead to sin and alive to God. I learned the old had gone, and the new had come. But I was also encouraged to put off sin and put on Christ.

Just one little problem. How exactly do you put Christ on? That was a hard idea to wrap my head around.

Then I grew up a bit and realized–I really don’t feel so dead to sin

Read the rest of this post here. Today I’m blogging over at Kelly Balarie & Friends…I hope you’ll pop in for a visit!

~Angela

 

Pray Without Multitasking

praying without multitaskingWe are two weeks into the new year, and I’m ready now to declare my word.

Near the end of last year, I thought it might be strength—as in living in God’s strength and not my own. I wrote it on the front page of a new journal, but it didn’t feel like “the one”.

As I studied strength, it took a backseat to prayer.

Because there’s no living in God’s strength without wholehearted, earnest prayer.

So this year my commitment is simply to Pray–in a consistent, intentional, wholehearted way…

Join me over at Kelly Ballarie & Friends for the rest of this post!

When Pillars Fall

Jesus Chief Cornerstone Pillars Fall Trials

Earlier this year, on a rainy Thursday afternoon, one of the pillars of my life fell.

I mean that literally. My Dad fell from a 20-foot ladder on the job, and then we all circled his hospital bed, where he wore the neck brace with fits of anger, in and out of consciousness.

We waited through testing to learn of broken bones and a bleeding brain, while our strong and capable supporter forgot thirty years of living and became fragile before us…

 

Will you join me for the rest of this post, over at Katy’s place (A Football Wife’s Life) today? I am honored to participate in the series she’s hosting, on the Names of God. Also, she’s giving away a set of beautiful ornaments. Don’t miss!

And a very merry Christmas to you!