Light Can Hurt – But Never Flee From It When You Can Be Carried Straight Up In It!

Twenty two month old Elliot winced when I shone the dim light on his little face, eyes squinted closed, head turned to the side. He had awakened before the sun and I did not want to wake his brother, so I went in after him using the dim light of my phone.

I scooped him up quickly, and stopped in the bathroom to brush his teeth. [Who knew babies had morning breath?!] I flicked on the light and he dropped his face into my shoulder. His eyes weren’t ready for the light.

When you’re accustomed to darkness, the light hurts.
fullsizerender-16

Light in the darkness can be frightening! Or it can be stunning and freeing!

In this season of light, this advent of celebrating the coming of Jesus, the One who came at Christmas . . . as I look into the light of His Word, I see the brilliant radiance of His presence in the earth, and observe the two ways that people respond to His arrival:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 

 

He who believes [option 1] in Him is not judged; he who does not believe[option 2] has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.

 

For everyone who does evil [option 2] hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth [option 1] comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
John 3:16-21

So the world is already and always has been under the judgement of God, but Jesus came in to take the wrath of God upon Himself for anyone who will turn from sin and put their trust in His atoning sacrifice. The Savior came to SAVE!!!

This is the good news of Christmas. Ephesians 5:8  [So believe!]

Even the darkness is not dark to God. Psalm 139:12 [Nothing is hidden from Him!]

Light overcomes darkness. Every. Single. Flicker. Revelation 3:21 [He overcame, so we can]  12fe56f7-a4b2-4e9a-b1af-698dc821afdd f4aaca10-05ad-4394-a8ee-ffca294700f4

ab08e94d-6577-45a2-ab19-c2e05b211268

So, never be afraid to come into the Light and be free!

Advent: Seeing God Who Fully Sees

So often I want to get at least glimpse into my future, to see what’s up ahead. After all,  the worry that so often surfaces? It’s from not knowing, but having a desire to control the future.

How much better prepared  I could be if I knew what was up ahead . . .

How much less I’d have to rely on God if I could see the future clearly . . .
[Have mercy on this faithless child when I desire to control the future, Lord, powerless as I am …] unto-us-a-child-is-born

Over seven hundred years before the manger in Bethlehem held the newborn King, the prophet Isaiah was given the revelation:

2 The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.

. . .

 

6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

 

7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

Isaiah 9:2-7

From the day God said, “Let there be light.” giving birth to sun, moon and stars, to the day His Kingdom of Light literally lands upon the new earth, God, unlimited by constraints of time, sees the entire timeline of His story.

He reveals His word in Isaiah’s day, and Isaiah, who has no idea when the Light will actually burst forth into the earth, by faith, proclaims the prophecy.

And in the day of it’s fulfillment,  Luke reports that the Angels, those messengers of God, carry the announcement to lowly shepherds in a field, “Today is the day!” Luke 2:10-12

So, why would I fear, or worry, or be discouraged as I walk this land in-between the first light and the future Kingdom of Light . . .  when I have the Light of the world, Immanuel, God who sees all – with me?

Jesus is the Present. 

Jesus, Light of the world is HERE  now.

He who sees the beginning from the end. He who calls the things that are not as through they are. He who promises to never leave or forsake us. Isaiah 46:10; Romans 4:17; Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:9

He is with us. Noel.

My Restless, Sleepless Nights and Advent Blessings

The curse had come, a pronouncement of great pain as her body labored to break open for the entrance of a new little human, the curse that extended to all of Eve’s daughters.

Another curse followed, that of painful toil in working the earth, a strain promised in the overseeing occupation of Adam and his sons.

Advent: Waiting for the arrival. Waiting for the coming.

In one week, all of my people were in advent and in labor.
They were waiting for the coming of a breakthrough.

I shouldn’t fail to mention that what actually wakes me in the night – before the restless pondering that precedes my fervent prayers, it’s a volcanic stirring in my body causing me to violently throw off the covers, flip my hair off of my neck, and hang my foot over the edge of the bed.

The curse that wasn’t pronounced after the great apple-tasting, but I’m certain was wrapped up in it, a female affliction popularly known as a hot flash.

It is oppression, people, you need to know this. 

Amidst pools of sweat, my mind begins to trek.

My man, Dale is in an extremely difficult time in his job as Construction Superintendent, with the impending finish-date of the hotel, he needs supplies to arrive on time, the sub contractors to be at the job site on the right day, to fulfill their mission in a timely manner, because one cannot lay flooring if the sheetrock isn’t sanded. [And a myriad of other such scenearios] His challenges are not only below him, but above, with needing to secure final drawings from architects and decisions from the owner, the pressure is palpable and he has been putting in seven day weeks to keep things rolling. So much falls on him.

I hear of his challenges, see the weight of his work, and in the night, the trek into worry ultimately turns to prayer.

My daughter and her husband have been struggling to catch a break after a lull in employment nearly a year ago. Their rent is high and even as I have scouted out other options for them myself, I find nothing that would suit them with a lower cost. It’s been a constant fight in prayer for their provision. And I’ve been there, we’ve been there, and the pain of our own season of lack is still fresh, though it was so many years ago.

I hear her challenges, see the weight of her ache, and in the night, the trek into worry ultimately turns to prayer.

My son and his wife, after losing two babies within six months of each other last year, became pregnant again. We praised God. At around 20 weeks, she received a diagnosis of placenta previa. The doctor said she would certainly experience bleeding – which was more of a scare after having endured the loss of Theodore – and would have to schedule a c-section two weeks before the due date of November 22, unless the placenta grew away from the opening of the cervix. There was a slight chance of that, which removes the danger of hemorrhaging. We prayed fervently, and the placenta did indeed move! We praised God!

As her due date approached the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, along with their doctor, they decided to schedule an induction. I’ve heard stories of the pain of induction. I heard the stories, I envisioned the strain of the extra pain, and in the night, the trek into worry ultimately turned to prayer.

“Even the miracles of God, so sudden-seeming, have been nurtured in love through the ages to the moment of their appearing. But it may be only in the appearing that God’s careful tending of this thing is made clear to us.”

 

“Who knows when Zechariah and Elizabeth prayed the prayer the angel mentions? [Luke 1:13] Surely it was long ago, before they had grown old.  . . . By now they had probably forgotten the prayer itself.” ~Walter Wangerin Jr.

He hears my prayers.

My husband took today off. He turned his phone off so he can be a human being instead of a human doing. If you know him, this is indeed a breakthrough of sorts.

The provision keeps coming in for our daughter and her husband, they have breakfast on the table today, and my prayers continue for them to find breathing room.

The IV was started at 2:30pm on Monday, the 21st, and baby Ona Mae was born by 9:45pm. A short seven hours and fifteen minutes.

In my mind, this was a miracle – especially after hearing so many stories. ethan-and-ona

And maybe that is precisely WHY I heard the stories. So my mind would trek to worry and turn to prayer . . . and the Lord would show Himself strong and good and faithful in the answers.

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.

Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”
The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.

Psalm 116:1-7

Never resent the worry, it indicates that you care. But don’t stay there.

In recognizing your powerlessness to do a single thing to turn the tide, turn your heart to fervent, faithful prayer and you will find you have all the power you need.

The fervent prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. James 5:16

Discerning And Deactivating The Devil In This Spiritual War

The deVIL[e] has been scheming.

Oh, it’s true alright. . . he has never ceased in seeking to steal, kill and deSTROY God’s beloved. But he’s been maybe more cunning, more strategic of late.

Obviously his deMONS have been busy in this land of de-VISION.

We’ve been told he is like a roaring lion, seeking someone to deVOUR. 1 Peter 5:8 That we should be self-controlled and alert. But he has many of us on the deFENSIVE toward our fellow man.

Our battle is not agains flesh and blood, but against the rulers, principalities and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

To discern if one is being influenced by a deMON: test the tongue. [This is beneficial both for testing your own words and the words of others. To stay free from the opinions of man, to keep our own hearts tender and restorative instead of defensive, to remember that the deVIL is the accuser. In Christ we are free!]

Are the words rolling off the tongue as a tool for REbuilding? Or as a weapon of mass deSTRUCTION?

None of us is immune to the venomous poison-potential of our one little member.  Just because it isn’t visibly forked doesn’t mean it’s not hissing death. Proverbs 18:21

How will we ever move on from here unless we find a little faith? Exercise large doses of grace? Look up to the Heavens from where our help comes? . . . Psalm 121:1

We need . . .
To look UP.
To look TO.
To SEE the One who put the stars in place, Who calls the things that are not as though they are. Romans 4:17  Who is able to perfect that which concerns us. Psalm 138:8 KJV restoration

Jesus is in the business opposite of deVIL.  Jesus REstores. REnews. REbuilds. REvives REdeems.

Ephesians 6:10-24

And greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world! 1 John 4:4 Let’s let the Light shine! Lets be like stars in this dark universe, let’s let Him have His way in us. Let’s let mercy lead us.

Love & Prayers,

Kathy

Feeling It – It’s Inevitable In A War Zone . . . FEAR: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

I’ve not kept it hidden, my battle with the ugly monster named FEAR. Most often it feels  demonic.

I’ve been shamed for feeling it, both from the voice of my own soul, and from others, intended or not, who are far more full of faith than I am.

Or are they?

I might feel fearless in the face of some looming threat, and fall prey to fear in the face of something else two days later.

It’s easy for me to be bold when my spirit doesn’t feel a threat and someone else is struggling with fear. I can quote the verses, tell what I know of our God who is in control. His sovereignty, our comfort always – yes, but when my guard is down, and I see the circumstances, I quit walking on water and fall into the sea.

Jesus, help me!  when-i-feel-fear

And He does. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Him. None. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Romans 8:1, 1 John 1:9 and to top off the good news of His rescuing mercy, grace and forgiveness, we have the promise of it all working together for good. Romans 8:28

When I feel confident in the Lord, I might be forgetting my own battle with fear, my own struggle of living in the tension of being in the world but not of it. Of being a woman of faith who feels fear.

I wonder if Abraham felt fear when God told him that He was going to destroy Sodom? 

This journey of walking by faith and not by sight. How I wish I could live it perfectly.

So often we assume that feelings of fear should not accompany this walk of faith, as if feeling fear is a sin.

But fear is an emotion.

Granted, its ‘s emotion that can lead to sin. And often does. And with me, it has.

It is our reaction to our fears that become weights and weapons;  weapons that war at our very own souls and our relationships and our peace. 

And all I can say is, “Please forgive me.”

Forgive me Jesus, and forgive me, those who have been the recipients when I have failed to corral my selfishness, and have launched word-bombs. I’m sure I’ve hurt you, and I’m sorry.

I have not yet won the battle as I live in a war zone. But I have the victory because of Christ in me. When my flesh fails, He is the strength of my heart, my refuge from the storm and my stronghold.

Dear friend, if I hurt or offend you, will you please try to remember to come to me and tell me privately, in the spirit of Matthew 18:15? And I will seek to do the same.

Our Lord is so wise. Lead me beside the still waters and restore my soul. 

Abraham managed his fear with wisdom. He prayed to God, humbly interceding for his nephew Lot, that he would not be consumed by the wrath of God. And God heard, Lot was delivered.

Fear can be good if it drives us to take the right action.

Dear Lord, in these days of tumult, as I see the winds and breakers of division rolling across my newsfeed and impending darkness of the unknown in this political climate, I admit I do feel fear. Help me keep my eyes on you, help me go to you first. But when I do react out of my fear and inevitably hurt people, help me be quick to repent, help me hold fast to hope. Increase my faith, remind me to pray, and help me trust you more. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

Cross & Salvation: 31 Days of Wedded Words

cross-salvation
I used to wonder how all the people in the book of Jeremiah were thinking they were good with God… and comfortable speaking rebellion against the LORD … and now … we are living in such a day. My heart wavers between hope and heaviness – weeping over the state of the nation.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  ~said Jesus to Nicodemus in John 3:3

To be born again means you must first die – and then be born a different way. Jesus went on to explain to Nicodemus that one needed to be born “from above.” Or, “born of the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit enters the once-dead soul, igniting, awakening the spirit of the dead person.

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. ~said Jesus in Luke 9:23

A cross is for dying. Denying self means dying to the rebellion that resides in my soul. My first life must be laid down.

On the cross, my arms are stretched wide, I’m incapacitated.
My feet, nailed down, I’m immobile.

Galatians 2:20

I’m finished. My life is no longer my own. 1 Corinthians 7:23

Taking up your cross means taking your hands off of your life. Dying to your human opinions.

Being born-again means having a New Life in Christ – Jesus is LORD of it all. All my body, all my money, all my possessions, all my family, all my going out and coming in. Everything.

It’s a marriage. To Him I am wed. I take His name, His righteousness, His riches, His life. He takes my brokenness, my sin, my shame, my poverty.

Many claim to love Him, but continue to live in sin.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” ~said Jesus in John 14:15

It seems many people who say they love Jesus have walked along their merry way, doing what they do, and at some point in their lives, they have glanced upon that hill where the rugged cross stands against the blue sky. They know the story. They heard it in Sunday school, they heard it while shopping at the mall during Christmas. Some have attended church on Easter . . . Jesus was born in a manger. Jesus was crucified, died and buried and on the third day, then rose again.

And they think it’s really sweet that God would send His one and only Son to do that for the world that He loves, and then they continue on in their way, never turning.

Never approaching the cross. Never humbling themselves in repentance and receiving new life.

Blessed are the poor in spirit-theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Passing by the cross, never admitting soul-poverty.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness-they will be filled.
Passing by the cross, never hungering and thirsting for righteousness.

Repentance roots us back in the Vine that we were cut from when Eve disbelieved. John 15:4-6

There are people writing about Him, and tweeting . . . and speaking on platforms. They believe and promote lies. I used to wonder, “How could there be “false teachers?”

The Lord says:

“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is based on merely human rules they have been taught. Isaiah 29:13

We don’t love Him if we don’t submit to His authority. If we don’t fully yield our hearts to His Way.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ ~said Jesus inMatthew 7:21-23

To be a child of the Father, we need to show our love by obeying Him, by loving His word and by yielding our lives – fully.

I asked the Lord one day, “Lord, why do you leave false teachers teaching lies? Why don’t you take them out?” to which He replied, “I leave them there to test my people.”

And we need to test the sprits to see if they are from God. 1 John 4:1

 

 

Telling It Like It Is

Good Intentions.

Yeah, 31 Days of Good Intentions. That’s what I should have named my October writing-on-the-blog journey. I’ve got 13/24 posts on wedded words for this lovely month of 31 days. What grade would that be?

This seems a perfect parable to my pursuit of perfection.

I have loved the challenge of looking for word pairs that tie a truth together. I have a good long list of them. The issue I’ve had has been getting the spark of inspiration at the right time.

Life happens.

To give myself a bit of grace, this October has been one of the finest. All the years of having a gift shop, and fall being the favorite season, I’ve groaned over the premature loss of leaves and color due to wild winds and wicked-cold rain.

That is how I know this year is different, having marked those that have passed.

D and I drove down past Afton, MN for another batch of Honey Crisp Apples on Sunday and we noticed so many trees still full of their maroon and golden leaves.

It’s worth pausing the blog for. Obviously.  fullsizerender-15 img_2223 img_2259 img_2260

img_2062
Who wants to sit at a desk when there’s all this fun to be had? [Parker was taken with the remote control to my new selfie stick!]

The pairing of good intentions and the lack of preparation equals less-than excellent performance. I’ll tuck this lesson away and seek to be more realistic.

And I’ll plan ahead next October if I feel led to do this again.

I’ll admit, as I spend this time – often a few hours on one post – I question the value blogging. I hear from some of you [“Hi Mom!”] And it keeps me writing. Mom and Jesus and you.

So thank you.

And I do pray you have enjoyed all the splendors of Autumn. You can look for a few more post on the 31 day topic. But today, I just wanted to tell it like it is.

 

Word & Light: 31 Days of Wedded Words

word-light

I didn’t care much for history in High School. It was a lot about getting the answers on the tests correct. Memorizing dates and names of treaties, and such obscure-to-me things felt like a boring waste of time.

And then I became an adult, and began to take my faith seriously, and I began to read the Word of God. I also read The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer. That combination stoked in me a deep desire for, and a fascination with history.

I was particularly fascinated by Nazi Germany. Because I couldn’t fathom – my eyes crossed thinking of it – how so many human beings could be so blind to the horrors of the holocaust.

How was it that so many people participated in the imprisoning, torturing, and murdering the Jewish people?

It still slashes at my soul; my heart agonizes when I think of the darkness of those days.

And then I consider our own land, our “this is our watch” time in history, and how we can see inside the womb of a mother with such accuracy that we discern the gender of a baby. The tiniest heart can be seen inside the womb, beating. The life of the flesh is in the blood. [Leviticus 17:11] And yet there are so many blind to reality – the unborn child is LIVING. People believe lies.

The heart beat is indication of life. And then there are the fingers, toes, arms, legs, feet . . .

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

John 8:31-32

The Jews would have been free if their murderers would have seen the truth.

Babies would live if the doctors and nurses and mothers and fathers would see the truth.

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17

The only way to see the truth is to be “in the Light” To abide in the Word. Sight and Light comes by the Word of God. Jesus is the Light of the world.

Jesus opens blind eyes.

Not all seeing eyes can see.

The eyes that see are the eyes of the heart.
The heart must be softened to the truth to see. img_2184 img_1933 img_2185

The Word, Jesus is the Eye-Solution. He purifies, descales, and shines His light the darkness. Isaiah 9:2

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27

Every human being is a magnificent creation, fashioned uniquely by the Hands of God. When hearts are soft, and eyes are washed with the water of the word, when the Truth is evident, and can be received in a softened heart. Then the radiance; the reflection of the Father would stop every hand short.

Life would be precious in our sight.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  1 John 1:5-7

Lord Jesus, we all have blind spots. None sees the truth plainly, all at once. Will you please cause your Word to go out and to come in and light up our darkness? Open our eyes Lord. Not only to see the unborn as masterpieces created by Your Hand, but SEE one another with your love. Help us see Your beauty and light in the eyes of Your created ones. 

 

Power & Glory: 31 Days of Wedded Words

power-glory-31-days

There is a scuffle outside, a little noise, and I know it’s them. We’ve been expecting the moment. The door bursts open, and the little radiant face comes running, arms wide open. I squat down . . . wait for the sound in the smile . . . “GRAAAM-MA!!!!” My arms clutch him close, sinking my lips into tender cheeks. schwanke-picture-sunday-2016_108 schwanke-picture-sunday-2016_122

It’s an atmospheric shift. The air, now charged with toddler-energy, and joy as deep as a boat ride on a sunny day.

The Word of God came creating – the Holy Spirit hovering over the waters at the beginning of time, then hovering over the womb of a woman. Her young life, it shifted significantly. She believed it, and received the Word, and birthed Him into earth’s atmosphere.
Our Savior, Christ Jesus, the Living Word, Immanuel. 

In the middle of time, the long-awaited mystery, revealed. Him who became sin for us, and took the wrath of God upon Himself in our place.

He said, “Follow Me. Abide in Me”
Abide in the Word of God.

The Word, He first spoke into the dark-nothing, back in the beginning: “Let there be . . .  and there was . . . everything and trees – with fruit to eat, good for life.”

The Word then came in a Garden, “Man, reflect Me. I’ll take you a-part and put you back together again, from one to two, face to face – be made one again. . . Then, reflect Me, be fruitful and multiply, make love, make life.” 

“I give you all the trees, but not the one tree.

The lie came, and trust died, embedding a lie – and then, rebellion. The one “bad-for-me-tree” looked good and humanity bought pain.

The Word continued to speak, “Take trees and pound nails – to Save LifeBuild an ark.” . . . Then, “Leave your people. Sacrifice your son. Your trust proven, stop. Here’s a ram.” . . . “Go get a wife for your redeemed son from your people.” . . . “There are two nations in your womb, the older will serve the younger.” 

The Law-Covenant will serve the Grace-Covenant.
The natural failed, will serve the promise kept.    Galatians 3:23-25

The Word, came forth from a fiery bush, not burning: “Go. Deliver. Speak. I Am with you. Kill a lamb and wipe the blood on the trees that frame your doors. I will cause death to pass over. . . . Leave. Now stand still. I make a way, Cross. . . . From slave to free. I will prove your need and prove Myself to you. . . . I Am deliverer. I Am bread, I Am water, I Am protection. I Am with you. I Am your God. I Am the way. I Am the law of love.”

Many other Word-bearers are imprisoned, tortured, and killed. Prophets of God. Proving more our need. Proving Him, the Hand that delivers, provides, protects, corrects, hurts, then heals . . .

Further on in HisStory:
The baby-Jesus is birthed into a barn. The atmosphere knows.
King Herod shakes, and seeks to kill the Word.
The man-Jesus spends three years plowing through religion, sprouting the Word in the earth.
The Pharisees shake; they enter the Garden to arrest the Word.
Shaken, fallen – in the presence of the Word.    John 18:6
They abuse, brutally kill the Word made flesh, nailing Him to a cross-shaped tree.

And the mighty rumblings . . . The earth quaked. The sky darkened. The Temple curtain was torn in two. Three days later the stone, it rolled away. The tomb could not contain or chain the Word! It has proven to be the Rock that rolled the stone away. Broke slaves free, once-for-all, those who obey.

And the Word, you can see His Power, He always enters brilliantly – shards of Light, Truth, transforming, reforming, informing . . .  creating, rebuilding, renewing. Altar-ing, turning this dust, all these ashes of His fiery refining into Glory.

So also is the resurrection of the dead.
It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
So also it is written,
“The first man, Adam, became a living soul.”
The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.

The older will serve the younger.

The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.
As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.
Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

1 Corinthians 15:42-49

It’s a significant shift when a grandson shows up in the doorway. When our Jesus shows up, it’s a “breaking-in,” a Rock-resounding.

There is always momentous shifting. Earth and man, trembling – shaken, awakened, all Altared by His power and His glory.

Some run toward the Word, to persecute and kill Him. Some run away in shame.

And some . . . some run into it and are saved by His power unto glory. Proverbs 18:10

Bounty & Blessing: 31 Days of Wedded Words

bounty-blessing-31-days
It’s hard to describe my cocktail of emotions as I’d see Shannon riding her lawnmower down the hill on the two-lane highway. It was at least a mile and a half that she puttered to my house to help me with my one-acre yard. I hadn’t asked her, but she was one of those people whose eyes spoke to her heart. She saw me.

It took me a good three hours each week to push-mow our yard with our rattle-trap mower. I somehow managed to get both of the kiddos to nap at the same time so I could go out.

It had become my job largely due to my feeling as if I had to make up for being a stay-at-home mom. [hello culture induced guilt-trip!]

It was during our extremely lean years of medical debt. The years when we were over 30 days late on our house payment more than once. And everything just ‘hurt.’

She would call me before going grocery shopping and ask what I needed. Or she’d pop in and bring me bags of apples and oranges.

Since my vehicle was long-dead, and we had no budget to replace it for a time, Rhonda picked me up to bring me and my two little ones to MOPS once a month. So I could maintain sanity. And she took me and my babes to Bible study every Tuesday.

I remember shopping with my mom one time, Mom and Dad were still raising my younger siblings and still dairy farming. Things were always financially tight for them too. But as I moaned a little to her, you know, as daughters might do to their moms . . . about not being able to buy a new towel for my kitchen, she reached for the towel and placed it in her cart – for me.

Those were humiliating times – humbling experiences that are seared into my memory. Pain does that, Pain mixed with gratitude stick in the soul’s memory.

A couple years after months of fighting, and failing to catch up financially, we put our house on the market to use the equity to pay off our mountain of bills. It sold within nine days. And our buyers wanted in quickly.

We had 30 days to find a house. And we didn’t.

Shannon and her husband invited us to stay in their basement. Rhonda and her husband offered their shed and a stall in their garage for our belongings. Yeah, that is seared in my memory too. We were living there in limbo for a little over two months.

Our basement-dwelling days . . .

Our basement-dwelling days . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those times that my friends and family generously shared their bounty with me have served to help me “see” others; to see the way God means for us to pour out our blessings when we notice a need.

I know the feeling of being seen, honored, and loved when feeling desperate. And since those days, I have learned it’s true, that is more blessed to give than to receive.

6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 9 as it is written,

“He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,
His righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; 11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the [h]saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.    2 Corinthians 9:6-12

We cannot out-give God. What He gives, when poured out for the needs of others joyfully, will be restocked in order to continue the flow of God’s love.

Our bounty is made for blessing and results in joyful thanksgiving and glory to God. Who might need some of your blessings today?