Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving My All, With Thanks

I wrote this devotional in 2009, originally posted by Rest Ministries (an online Christian site for those living in chronic pain or with chronic conditions). It bears a message for this season and any season. 

It holds a reminder that whether we are in crisis or merely facing some of the daily human challenges that can appear, it is the blessings in our life that need the focus of our attention. 

As those of us who live in the USA gather to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for each of you who take the time to stop by and read my thoughts. 

God bless you!

“They all gave out of their wealth; 
but she, out of her poverty, put in everything
—all she had to live on” (Mark 12:44).
 I have had one vision of this verse - a poor woman with her widow’s mite - willingly dropping that fraction of a penny into a basket.
Now I recognize some of my attitudes, the ones glued to the bottom of my all basket, that need emptying. 
I can be downright selfish when it comes to giving my all. Many days, as I am forced to rest on my couch, my pain is my all and little else seems possible.
Then, I view all that is around me and I observe abundant blessings. God has not stopped giving his all to me. I am provided for as I remain isolated from much of the world outside these walls. 
More importantly, 
his Presence is here with me in the stillness.
I war with feelings of envy as others go about their busy lives during my season of more limitations. It truly is an arrogance, a questioning of God’s plan for my life. 
He knows what He is doing. I am far from possessing the qualities displayed by the woman praised in this Scripture verse. Her qualities are worthy goals.
The all in my basket hold 
some attitudes needing to be surrendered. 
Next to my basket, God has another one filled with his wealth. These are provisions He wants me to recognize, reach for, and hold on to: trust, faith, grace, humility, and acceptance. 
It is from my basket that I am to pluck out and plunk into his hands all that is holding me back. With God's perspective, I will not be comparing my life to that of others. 

I will deeply recognize that he provides for one and all.  
If there is to be any poverty, let it be from my heart draining in thanksgiving to God - the One who loves me in spite of my attitudinal shortcomings.
He remains with me to help me see with new eyes 
- his eyes.
Lord, help me to give my all so that there is room within me to receive your all. Help my heart to rise in thanksgiving for you and your basket full of generosity - ever and always near. Amen.

 Hand-stitched Quilt by Lynn
Photo by Lynn

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Am Here to Hear

This devotional writing of mine was posted today on the Rest Ministries website and also sent out via their subscription option. Here it is for those of you who have stopped by to visit my blog! 

“We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts  as you did in the rebellion'”(Hebrews 3:14-15).

This exhortation comes from a context in Scripture when Moses had led the Israelites out of their captivity in Egypt. They were free and on a journey toward the promised land. Yet they came to be quarreling and questioning the Lord’s ways, longing to be back in Egypt. 

I am in a ripe environment for my heart to become hardened as I long for an earthly freedom from my pain. I can feel like I am “in Egypt” and awaiting deliverance. 

Unlike those who Moses led, who were looking back to what they felt were better times in Egypt, I stumble looking back on better days before my challenges erupted. I want to be tasting new fruit in a better land. I want release. 

I want. I want. I want. 

I say I want God’s will for my life but when suffering is what I feel 24/7, I want out. I still want Him; I just want his will to be a miraculous healing so I can be out of the pain and the limitations that accompany it.

I do not believe that God authors my sufferings. I do believe that, as my Creator who has my life plans intact, He understands these longings I experience. As He dwells within me, I am not abandoned as He is in this exile with me. 

For my heart to be protected from growing hardened,  I need to get used to hearing his heart beat within mine -- His voice of encouragement that I can come to recognize when I learn to listen for it.

His heart is tender towards me. When we dwell in softness together, He can turn my exiled hardening thoughts toward his thoughts that bring comfort in spite of the suffering. 

He becomes a shelter from the clamor that has me wanting to “get out of Egypt”. When I relax with Him, I begin to see blessings in the here and now.

 Lord, I receive You and the grace that only You can give as I wrestle with longings to be elsewhere. You are with me here, not “there”. Soften my heart to rejoice that there is no exile when You are with me. Amen.

If we each are to keep our hearts guarded, so that they do not become hardened, it is important to recognize that God is wooing us to hear his voice. 

Here in song, are some insights as we commit ourselves to listen,
 to wait, and to let Him guide us.

Twila Paris

Photo by Lynn
Molly Ward Gardens
Poulsbo, Washington

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Put On Love

I once again have the privilege of being a guest writer over at my friend, deni Weber’s web site, Today’s Encouraging Words. 

Put On Love

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful”
(Colossians 3:14-15).

When I see these words, put on love, I wonder how do I do that? Is putting on love like putting on a coat? 

Is it like putting on the armor that guards us against the enemy’s assaults? 

To put something on seems so temporary. I want love to be a permanent part of me and of everything I do. 

This Scripture’s exhortation is that over all these virtues, I am to put on love. I back up and find this:To read more, Click Here

Photo by Lynn
Molly Ward Gardens
Poulsbo, Washington