God knows I love adventure. I love learning. I love seeing new things. When it comes to new turfs and the "never before" – I can be like age thirteen me in a cotton candy store – also, 30 year old me, and so on :)
I’m also a bit of a USA geek so I get a kick out of traveling through states. Just a couple of months ago, I stepped foot in 5 states in 24 hours. Would ya believe it?! I felt like I was playing map hopscotch and a bouncing arrow was following me everywhere. What did it look like from heaven? What did God see from His exclusive aerial view? Though I’d been in 4 out of the 5 states before, I couldn’t escape how this world was its own wonder – every state had its own flavor. Its own reality. Its own kind of population, scheduled festivities or lack thereof.. I went from Kentucky Derby to having a slice of New York pizza before finally laying my head to rest in sweet and silent, southern Virginia after traveling by foot, plane, and the backseat of a car.
And on planes, I'm like many of the rest of us. Amused and glued to the window seat. Just before I sleep, my eyes get wide and my imagination leaps to life again. Whole towns disappear and moving cars morph into cloud and sky. I look out – and I am overwhelmed. I’m overwhelmed by the pleasure of knowing that wherever I am, He is. I succumb to the idea that I could not escape His knowing - neither in concrete jungle or countryside. It brings me joy and rest. That in all of what’s new and unknown to me – nothing is new or unknown to Him. He is familiar with each place – each person – each preoccupation, each day. New to me, never to Him.
Nothing is mystery. Nothing is hidden. Nothing is unknown.
Yet He keeps watch of us daily, as if all is new to Him. How committed is He?
I’m wanderlusting to the max here, can’t you see the swirls? :) - but part of being a wanderlust is always wanting more, always seeking more, getting out, getting free, finding something new to go goo-goo GAH over and then moving on to the next. It then never fails, though. While in the swirl of seeking more, I’m led to the same deeper place – where there’s something more precious, a weighty constant more worth my time – only Jesus.
One of my favorite books in the bible is Ecclesiastes. The writer, Solomon, explores the world with its joys and sorrows – folly and fulfillment, the circles of life, its comings and goings, and he lands on one conclusion. None of it matters – and if it did – BARELY.
"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Everything is meaningless!" (NIV)
Ecclesiastes 12:13 (AMP) “All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.”
One thing I love about God is that He's not found scratching His head when questions arise or trouble comes. He's not at a loss for words, wisdom or solutions. He's not non-chalant or disengaged. He's concerned. A portion of His glory is wrapped up in our living. He's committed to our victory. He's committed to our testimonies.. even if they're not always what WE think they should be. All things work together. He secures the wins?
His role in this relationship is to lead us to triumph.
Our role is to follow Him.
"I'll take care of you..." He says."Because your problems are my problems."
Are you a Perfectionist?
Perfectionism rarely works out for the carrier, and I've been a bona fide perfectionist way more than I've allowed myself to just live and let live.
As freely as God's grace is given is about as hard as it's been for me to receive - but that's an exaggeration... because grace, even in its smallest form, is still much greater than my occasional inability to simply exhale & take it all.
I LOVE Kierra! Ever since "The Safest Place" duet with her mom in '96 KiKi has been singgging...!! And not just singing -- ministering, worshipping... and introducing Jesus in a way that is so unique and tangible to young people. My absolute favorite song on this project is "In YOU." It takes me somewhere else!! But I couldn't find it on YOUTube, so ... here's my 2nd favorite : ) #MOVINGFORWARD
Honorable Mentions: "Flaws," "Kill the Dragon," "2nd Win," "Reppin' My God," "No Graceland,"and every interlude that reminds us of her family's legacy of singers. That spin on The Clark Sisters' "Balm??" I LOVE. Basically the whole album is amazing, but she's from Detroit ya'll... so you kinda have to be cool to blast this in your car ; )
What can I say about Mrs. Steffany Gretzinger and her latest project, "The Undoing?"
Well, it can leave you undone in God's presence... Her sound is sweet, it's strong, it's full of heaven.
It's the perfect musical interlude to a brand new day, and I'm thinking she knew that since the first song on play is titled "Morning Song.." Out of Hiding is a favorite of mine.. but to be honest, I can't get away from "Constant One," "I Spoke Up," "Steady Heart," "No Fear in Love," and "Open Up Let the Light In.."
This project is a wonderful accompaniment for quiet time ..
OMG(oodness) ; )
When this project came out, I couldn't stop listening to it. It gives words to those things we see but don't often discuss... Favorite song? "I BELIEVE." If I was thinking, maybeee I could've written it! Not really though.. = ) Not at all lol.
... The way he mixes pain and faith, brokenness and dependency, real life and love... unreal. Other listens bound for repeat are "Royalty," "Fight for You," "Johnny and Donna," "Heavy Love," "Beautiful, and "Walking Shoes.." "I'm just one of them people that God's got a hold on... " - I Believe
Kari Jobe is an angel. We all know this.
Here is another refreshing song for your quiet time, enjoy :)
If I lived in California, I'd crash all their Sunday mornings.
I don't, though, so I can't.
Instead, I listen to their latest project with no plans to stop "You Make Me Brave" is so FULL.
It gives life. It's sobering. It's healing. It stirs your faith.
It's yours for whatever they're charging on iTunes :)
Kristene Demarco leads "It is Well" with a newness. Always loved this hymn.
Love it more..
Honorable Mentions: "Shepherd," "Joy of the Lord," "Wonder," and "We Step into Freedom..."
Enjoy these songs, and if I'm missing a project you think I'd like.. let me know!!
I'm sharing this article because I've always wondered. Always had this question. Because people around me are facing loss and I want to be of sure and sound heart when I open my mouth to comfort them.. When my Nana passed, my great grandmother, and even one of my schoolmates at age 9... I needed to know... Do we really get to see them again? Will we even recognize them? How would I cope with the devastation of even thinking that the last time I saw this person was indeed, the LAST time? ... I loved them too much. That would hurt most. For years I have known that to be absent from the body was to be present with the Lord. But for years I've heard friends mention their relatives were watching from above. And I knew what they sensed - because I have, too. That loved one's pleasure when goals were achieved. That acute, warm recollection of what he, or she would say in "a situation like this." That loved one in a dream - giving the big hug that you or I needed. Their nearness. Their talk time... Yes, they are our angels. They'll remain in our hearts..
But I wanted to know my loved ones would be more than a memory. What I did know was that as believers, in death, there is no sting. We meet life as we've never known it. We have heaven. Perfect peace. His Perfect Presence. Nothing missing. No longing. No sorrow. No heartbreak. No desire greater than the will to celebrate and feast away. Just Joy. Just Fulfillment. Why would our loved ones be paying attention to us? Would what they see at times hurt or disappoint them because we are often hurt or disappointed on earth? Wasn't there to be no hurt or disappointment in heaven? Questions. I have at times just settled for not knowing if I'd recognize or see lost loved ones again. I've even been told 'We're all going to be too busy rejoicing to care who's with us.' I didn't like that.. I knew God created family, and fellowship, love and joy and that all of these should be shared with others. I knew that God was love, and love was eternal. That love lasted, it lingered, and that rather than slipping through the cracks of what we know to be loss, it would trickle into eternity. I knew we were made for reunions. I felt like we were made for more. I learned a bit when I read this article. And if nothing more it was food for thought. We don't know all but cheers to what God reveals in His word. I think you will enjoy the read, too. Thanks, Dr. Pritchard. "Some time back I was asked some very personal questions about heaven. A young boy asked about a schoolmate who died. What if he lived a long time and then died. How would he recognize his friend when he got to heaven? The very next day the question was put the other way. A mother, now advanced in years, talked about the child she lost in infancy many years ago. How would she recognize her daughter in heaven? The Bible does not tell us everything we would like to know about life after death. That lack of information does not lie in any reticence on God's part, but rather with our own inability to understand the answer. Heaven by definition is a realm unlike the world in which we live. God could tell us everything we wanted to know but the answers wouldn't make sense to us. It's like trying to explain the color green to a blind man. Heaven will make perfect sense to us once we get there. So the Bible doesn't directly tell us how we will recognize each other in heaven. But I think there are hints that tell us that we will indeed know each other (and all the redeemed) for that matter. I Corinthians 13:12 says that "now we see but a poor reflection; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." Today we see each other dimly. Our vision is blocked by our human limitations. In heaven, the imperfections of age, sickness, weakness, disease and disaster will all be removed. So will the taint and mark of sin. The result will be that those in heaven, while retaining the essential core of their personality, will shed all marks of human weakness. Will we know each other in heaven? Yes, of course. How else could it be heaven if we wandered throughout eternity not recognizing those we have loved in this life? We will be the same, yet strangely and wonderfully different, transformed by the grace of God. One other small hint helps us. When Jesus was transfigured, Moses and Elijah appeared with him on the mountain. That's amazing, considering Moses died and Elijah was taken directly to heaven hundreds of years earlier. But James, Peter and John immediately recognized them. That brings me to the answer. Heaven does not abolish human personality; it perfects it in ways that we can hardly imagine. In that day we will know each other completely, far beyond our limited knowing in this life. In the same way that a mother recognizes her daughter's cry in a crowded room, even so we will recognize our loved ones although we have been separated for dozens of years. Age will not matter. The passage of time will not matter. The young boy will recognize his schoolmate and it will be as if he last saw her yesterday. The mother will know her daughter and the daughter will know her mother. How that could be is a mystery to me. I would not understand the answer if the Lord himself explained it to me. But I believe with all my heart that it is true. For the children of God, heaven will be the ultimate family reunion, a place where we will have no difficulty recognizing our loved ones who have gone on before us. "
If there's anything in life about which we typically love to lament, it's when we find that someone loves us, but not for the entirety of who we are ---our strengths and weaknesses, our quirks, and our flaws. It's when the idea of you, or me, stirs interest, excites, and draws someone close for a moment, but as the relationship grows in intimacy, "who you turned out to be," isn't exactly who they had in mind. That maybe, who you are - or have been all along - is now a bit off-putting. The relationship stalls. It ceases to grow... or maybe it ends. I see posts about it all the time. Only because I think He wants to be loved for more than the obvious. I think He wants to be adored for more reasons than because He first loved us. I think He wants us to embrace more than His sufficient, irrational grace -- extend our gratitude for more than His provision and protection. I think He wants us to live in awe of so much more than His inexplicable mercies. I think He wants to be sought out for more than His timing when it comes to our dreams and His orchestration. I believe He wants to be loved for His core.
"Love Me for my Holy..."
Because He loves us SO much, and would love to be LOVED wholly, in return.
And there's so much room for us to acknowledge the more.. His otherness. His GOODness. His GOD - ness. His being set apart. His DIFFERENCE from all things created. His... creation of ALL things. His wisdom, and knowledge. His way... Do we love Him for His HOLY? And how about, for instance, the very thing that makes Him God - and us, in need of a Savior..? His Righteousness. .... Literally... His being RIGHT, all the time.
I'm afraid far too often we get stuck at loving Him for His love... we stop there.Yes, love drove Christ to the cross and love kept Him there...but it was His holiness that made the cross worth the suffering and sacrifice. It was His holiness that qualified Him to pay the price. How could He be God if not for His ability to do what we couldn't? ...If not for His ability to conquer and have victory over sin without ever even having to be delivered?
Without His HOLINESS, His death would have accomplished nothing at all.
Without His Righteousness, our lives would be a mess.
It's His holiness that compels me to love Him for more than His love.
We MUST love His Holy. We NEED His Holy.
If He is indeed our Father, we cannot just love "the idea of Him," choosing which parts of who He is we'd like to acknowledge today and appreciate tomorrow. I don't want to live life having occasional run-ins with His way. I don't want His characteristics to be an afterthought when I consider how I treat other people. I don't want to LOVE the concept of having a home in heaven, but lack the maturity and commitment to be His where it counts -- right here, right now in all of life's inconsistencies and moments of stretching. It's so easy to over-esteem what the world values - to, over-calculate the worth of what it looks like to have it all together without actually having the whole of who we are, settled in Him. This, I know. It's so easy to want to be called and chosen, forgiven, conquering, overcoming, and victorious...to want all of His benefits and none of His discipline. This, I know. It's so easy, to miss the mark clinging to every other convenient, accommodating characteristic of our Father. And so easy, still, to lose our souls, chasing the wind --- chasing the carnal, chasing non-factors. PROVEN. In my life. I know what it's like to have a hard time embracing holiness. We all do - we're human. Everyday we drop the ball somehow, but I must ask the question...
...Is it easy to be like Him..to be like my Father?"Love Me for My Holy," He says. "And whatever you love about me, you'll inevitably imitate."
HOLY is exactly what we'll cherish if we ever want to look like our Father..
..if we ever want to enjoy the life He intended us to live.It's understanding God's ever-present.. everywhere, and would love to play a huge part in our decision making.
I'm convinced - that the more we love His holiness, and the more we open our lives to His way, the more room we give to every flower that could blossom in the garden of His perfect will.
And please know ... I don't speak as my own best example of holiness -- that's for sure. But I am a daughter - who's learning daily, and still, re-learning... to love God for all of who He is. Not just what's easy to celebrate; not just what's easy to imitate.
I have learned to cherish what challenges and changes me.It's this heightened awareness of His Holiness, our necessary, that can only work to our benefit. It's our intentional attention to His nature that will show us our depravity. It calls us higher... It calls us closer... I think we'll fear it less, if we love it more.
Are you going to land atop the mountain of perfection within the next 24 hours? Probably not... Have I? Nope. But, you will look more like your Father.. sooner than later:) My prayer is that the posture of our hearts be fixed on loving God for His HOLY. We love Him for His love. We love Him for His grace. Let's love something else. Let's love it more.
And oh, there's so much beauty in His holiness...
*** "Worship the LORD in the beauty of His holiness; tremble before him, all the earth." Psalm 96:9 "Walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you unto His own kingdom and glory"
1 Thessalonians 2:12 "Search me, Oh God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" Psalm 139: 23
"For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’"
This sign and his hat.. wore. me. out!
Turns out my day was packed with many surprises way more beautiful than what I had planned...We went to the movies and LAUGHED, we went for a facial and massages, then we had Sushi for lunch & Tex-Mex for dinner - 2 of my favorites! They even scheduled a nap that I failed to take but at least they knew that I love naptime!!
I'm a planner by nature and profession, so let's just say that I was IMPRESSED:) Let's also say that right down to the last moments of the day, I'd already experienced so much more of what I would have wanted for myself, but had neither the capacity or thoughtfulness for myself to get it all done!
Isn't that like God though?
As soon as He "cancels" or "postpones" our plans we get shaky and think, "Why is He ruining my plans? Howww is this supposed to work out now?" Meanwhile, He just threw in a remix and upgraded OUR plans to more than what we could have imagined, more than what we could have figured out or properly executed on our own..
THAT was my day. My day - could preach, but I won't! ; ) All I had to do was follow instructions, trust my sisters and "my driver" to take me where I would have needed to go to enjoy my birthday (or in the "GOD scheme of things," LIFE!).
I had to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. I also had to take orders, but that's okay. All things work together. This birthday was for the books:) I laughed until I cried. And now I have to figure out how to make their birthdays even more awesome in the years to come!
..If my yesterday... was any indication of my year to come, then I will continue to trust and take orders.
My birthday served a great reminder... God's plans are better than mine.
"Now to Him who is able to do (exceedingly and) FAR more abundantly than all that we [can] ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be the glory... in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
There are battles that belong to the Lord... future victories, and then blessings that add NO sorrow, more victories.. There are seasons of ease and effortless flow -- and then, seasons where nothing comes easy.
But my eyes are watching God..