Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Jumping

(Love) does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 1 Corinthians 13:6

I’m not very athletic, but I’m very good at jumping. Well, I used to be good at jumping, jumping rope that is! Do kids do this any more? I could even do double-Dutch, where two ropes were swung around alternately. I loved it, and I could say it was one of my favorite forms of fun (aka: kid exercise!).

Perhaps I should take it up again! Add it to my “fitness plan.” It would do this body good!

Lately, one of my worst habits is jumping to conclusions. Totally not cool. I will choose a side before I hear the full story, whether it’s a personal story or a news broadcast (which is why I have given up all things news, except for weather).

When I read this morning scripture from YouVersion’s verse of the day, it occurred to me how this would benefit the world (and me in particular).

What if I never jumped to conclusions again? What if I waited on God to lead and reveal what was really going on, what His deeper intentions really were? What if I only prayed for God’s will to be done, so He could fully work in circumstances and bring Light out of darkness and healing in His timing, not my own.

What if we all cared more about people instead of their standings in the church, the community, or on social media? What if we wanted truth more than entertainment?

If “Love rejoices when the truth wins out,” then I want truth to win every time.

TRUTH=LOVE
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Lord, bring truth to the surface in my life, my home and family, my neighborhood, our community, our state and region, our country and our world. Change us by Your Truth being told, the HIStory of perfect Love, and teach us how to rejoice in this Truth, sharing the truth of Love around the world.
Amen

#marinasmorningmeditations
#marinaskitchentable
#hopewriters
#wordworshipwrite
#truth
#love
#youversion
#youversionverseoftheday
#jumpingtoconclusions
#truthwinsout

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Lessons From the Garden

"I said, 'Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.' - Hosea 10:12 NLT"
...
We are planning to begin working on our backyard landscaping projects, and I ran across this post from 3 years ago about landscaping the front yard. My history repeats itself in a timely fashion!


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I can't work in a garden without thinking of this life verse. While I love the finished product, and anticipate a future flowerbed filled with lovely things, I have to remember the process it took to get to today—assessing what was there to start with, determining what changes needed to take place and what steps (and time and money!) it took to get it where it needed to be, and remembering it will take more work tomorrow...next week...month...year!

Weeds will grow, I will need to watch for whatever comes to snatch the tulips, I will have to water in dry seasons. Could I have lived with a sparsely planted, poor-soil-filled flowerbed? Well sure! But it's so much nicer now, and in addition to adding value to our home, I see it adding value to our neighborhood, since the neighbors all see it from their yards.

My heart is the same way. I can keep it the same, never ask God what improvements can be made, never allow Him to break up the fallow ground of it.

I've had seasons like that...you too? I was pretty selfish, and had a "love it or leave it" attitude. Nothing beautiful was planted, or I didn't nurture it and it was wasting away. It was ugly, and others may have seen potential, but no one dared try to work. But people prayed. I prayed, eventually. God worked little by little and in His time I was ready for new seeds to be planted for new fruit.

He still has work to do in me, and I want Him to! I want new fruit to grow in new seasons of life! He is The Master Gardener!


#marinaskitchentable
#hopewriters
#wordworshipwrite
#hosea
#lifelessons
#lifelessonsfromagarden

#marinasmorningmeditations 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Dark Valleys

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. Psalm 23:4 NLT

I’m guessing that you’re facing some sort of “dark valley” today. Most of us are. It doesn’t have to cause us to be overwhelmed with fear, but sometimes it does. It doesn’t have to throw us into depression, but there may be signs of it affecting our bodies and minds. It may be issues financially, spiritually, emotionally or relationally.

Oftentimes these valleys of life affect us in multiple layers—it may start with something relationally, then depression or anxiety sets in. That exacerbates into a physical health issue, so we go to a doctor, and that creates a financial burden. All the while we continue to pray for God to heal us, restore the relationship, and wonder why He hasn’t—so our faith doubts that He is there, or we begin to think that He doesn’t care enough to “fix it.”

Often He wants us to grow in our faith, and it can take a season of pressing in deeper to Him to see how much He DOES care. We can become so self-reliant, believing that a Western way of life—DOING all the things, holds all the answers, when He wants us to rest in His arms and feel the breath in His chest and hear His heart beat. He CAN heal us right away, but He knows that we need to learn to trust Him for every little thing. He grows us to depend on Him more, that in another season our HIStory will testify the amazing ways He provided during our dark valley journey.

God is not a genie who gives us what we wish for. He is not a tyrant who wants to see us suffer. He is a loving Father who wants to see His children grow and mature in all ways. He continues to walk with us through dark valleys so we learn He can be trusted with our prayers, and we can depend on Him for our every need.

#hopewriters #wordworshipwrite #marinasmorningmeditations #psalm23 #devotions #darkvalleysoflife

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Happy First Day Of Spring!

Oh, it feels that Spring has taken its time to arrive this year. Anyone else think so? I’ve gone through weeks of photo memories where things bloomed so much earlier, weather was so much warmer already, and folks were in much better moods...we will blame it on all the rain. Nothing lifts my spirits like a warm and sunny Spring day! Maybe we can all turn a corner today, feeling better physically, happier emotionally, and more hopeful spiritually. I am ready!

What’s your favorite thing about Spring?




#marinaskitchentable #hopewriters #wordworshipwrite #celebratespring 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Washing Feet

And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet. John 13:14
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I love the symbolism of Jesus washing His disciples feet and the example He set for us, but outside of a few wedding ceremonies and an occasional service at church, I don’t see that happening as often as it did back in Jesus’ day.
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Sure, we wear shoes, our roads are paved and sidewalks poured, and eeew, people’s feet can have all sorts of icky things that can be spread—it’s easy to justify why we don’t often wash feet these days, but does this mean we toss out the significance of serving one another? Nope!
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There are likely a handful of other ways we can serve each other every day. Parents do it inside the home (and work!) every day, providing for their families. We use current societal manners, like holding doors open, or gathering our neighbors trash cans from the curb and pulling them up to the house. We offer to loan tools and assist with small jobs. Maybe we share meals when folks are under the weather.
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I’m sure we could come up with a good list of ways we can serve each other daily, but the significance of washing feet shouldn’t lose its’ place in modern biblical teaching. Yes, it may be gross to think about, but the physical act of lowering yourself below your brother or sister in Christ, to loosen their shoes, remove socks, and tenderly wash their feet can also be a beautiful act of humility and love.
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Have you ever been a part of a foot washing? How did it make you feel?
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#marinaskitchentable
#hopewriters
#wordworshipwrite
#washingfeet

Friday, March 15, 2019

Loneliness

A living-abroad family member recently shared how many of their family are experiencing loneliness. We forget, those of us not having lived abroad, how magnified any emotion can be in a stressful lifestyle, whether living overseas or back in their passport country for a visit.



I remember a friend sharing on furlough how deeply her friendships had changed; she and her family had experiences that had grown them, changed them at their core, yet back in the states, even their best friends had only advanced their visions of the American Dream. There was a huge chasm. 

Let’s remember to pray for our missionaries here on furlough and abroad. Let’s pray for God to be the remedy to their loneliness, for them to be able to be honest and transparent about all of their emotions, with people at their side and those monitoring them from their passport countries. Let’s ask God to provide relationships to help fill the gaps—not just people to reach out to evangelize, but deep spiritual friendships that can be a healing salve in their heart languages to overcome the loneliness, for the parents and kids alike. Lord, have your way! 
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#marinaskitchentable 

#missionarycare 
#womenhelpinginmissions 
#missions 
#wordworshipwrite 
#hopewriters 
#loneliness 
#parentsofmissionaries 
#youversionverseoftheday 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Practical Missionary Care Refresher

Although I’m not immersed in Missionary Care Ministry in this season through our church, I still love encouraging our Missionary friends and family. 

I have spoken to many friends who are preparing for their Global Workers and Missionary friends to return home for furloughs soon. Whether they are near or far, there’s many ways we can bless them! I was reminded of this post I wrote for DaySpring a few years ago... 


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Reminding Myself


But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. 1John 4:4 


It’s sad how easily I can forget Who I belong to and how far He has brought me. My HIStory is a testimony of His great love, His blood poured out to cover all of my sins. It is the stuff old hymns are made of. 
• 
I once was lost, but now I am found, was blind but now I see.
(Amazing Grace, John Newton, 1779)

I was sinking deep in sin, Far from the peaceful shore, Very deeply stained within, Sinking to rise no more; But the Master of the sea Heard my despairing cry, From the waters lifted me, Now safe am I. Love lifted me! Love lifted me! When nothing else could help, Love lifted me.
(Love Lifted Me, James Rowe, 1912)

Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your many blessings see what He hath done.
(Count Your Blessings, Johnson Oatman, 1897)

Little one’s to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong! Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.
(Jesus Loves Me, Anna Bartlett Warner, 1859)

••
The above was from a post a year ago, inspired by a YouVersion app verse of the day. It inspires me still. 

The “reminding” is fresh in my mind, not a threat of the enemy, but a promise from God. He is STILL changing me, challenging me, refining me, molding me. I don’t believe I’ll be “done” until He takes me Home, or He returns —what a glorious day THAT will be! 

We all have a HIStory, even if you were a good kid raised in a Christian home. We all have the need to be saved, and just because your HIStory is different than mine doesn’t mean it’s not important. It is!

The same way, all of our sins need to be forgiven by the Savior, Jesus. It was His blood that was shed on a cross, and He was buried for 3 days before He was resurrected and restored to His heavenly place with His Father. 

“What sins?” you may ask. Well I came with a long list of them, and He still refines me today. They aren’t the addictions and behaviors I had 40 years ago, but they’re just as sinful. I like the description in Galatians 5:19-21 of some of the more popular ones, and how he leaves it open to “and the like.” I think every other sinful outbursts of humans falls under that phrase.
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
And verses 22-26 show what He places in our heart instead...
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
It’s still a process. I’m still growing. It may not be “drunkenness” but “envy” instead. Or it may be that my spiritual fruit is not yet formed and ripened, perhaps I’m not showing “patience” or “peace.” Your struggles may be the same or different. They still need to be confessed to God and He still wants to change them, to grow you!
Whatever is going on, it’s important to keep walking with Him. With the assurance that He is with me (and you!), always (Psalm 16:8) I don’t need to fear the letting go of bad behaviors or attitudes. He loved me as I was, and loves me as I am ... still growing. I can still cling and grow, and stumble, yet He is so faithful to let His blood wash over me as long as I continue to come to Him... 
Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot;
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt;
Fightings within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind;
Yes, all I need, in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, Though wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

(Just as I Am, Charlotte Elliott in 1835)



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