Turn A Phrase?

Turning a phrase is a wonderful thing which causes others to admire and remember you. When it comes to God’s Word, I’m afraid phrases and words are twisted and turned in ways that aren’t so wonderful. As I’ve studied the scriptures more intensely over the past three years, I’ve been surprised by all that has been written about the scriptures. I love to read commentaries and think highly of those who spend a lifetime delving into God’s Word with the help of the Holy Spirit, but I much prefer to simply read a scripture and let the Spirit open my heart so I can listen to God.

The Holy Spirit turns scripture and makes the words of Christ come alive in a way that never ceases to amaze me. I’ve read many books, poems, stories, articles, and songs in my life. I even read the Bible through many times before I began looking at it as a living, breathing entity. I fell in love with it, and can’t imagine life without it.

Loving God’s Word changes our selfish desire to hold on to it or the pompous need to be wise or right.  A sweet intimacy occurs with God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Eugene Peterson calls it the Trinitarian Dance. That is just what it feels like when He sweeps me off my feet, lifts me up, and spins me around His Word.

I feel sorry for those who focus upon a translation or pick out and peck at passages until they become what they want them to be. I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to allowing passages to bury me in despair or become a badge of courage to which I cling. I’ve been lost many times as I’ve searched His Word to find my answer rather than His. The Blue Parakeet by Scott McKnight is a wonderful book that helped me see the terrible effects of picking passages and using them to promote an agenda. Twisting God’s Word breaks His heart and destroys His work.

Picking apart the Bible makes as much sense as tearing apart a person. Unfortunately, both occur too frequently. The Bible is a beautiful love letter that serves as a source of great joy, inspiration, guidance, and love. When I let the Spirit help me hear His heart, I am filled to the brim. When I use it to prove I’m right, I end up empty-hearted and miserable.

I envy those who can read Greek and Hebrew and would love nothing more than to sit with Christ and listen to Him read God’s Word. I often wonder what it must have been like that day in the temple when He read from the scroll:

 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:17-21

I wonder if I would have been one who scoffed and said, “That’s just Joseph’s son.” Anytime I worry or doubt God, I am guilty of forgetting that He is God. Then, I’m no different than those in the temple who refused to believe He is Who He says He is. His Word is a wonderful reminder of Who He is and always will be. He fulfilled the Scripture that day in the temple, and He fulfills it in my heart each time I read it with the Holy Spirit. Like a child’s favorite book, I love to hear it over and over again:)

This message on Mark 6:1-13 blessed me, and I believe it will bless you.

It’s Just Jesus

Miracles & Believing Go Together

As I looked at 1 Corinthians 12:1-12 this evening, I was surprised by the fact that some theologians believe that we are past the age of speaking in tongues and miracles. They are respected theologians, and I know they are sincere in their beliefs; but I beg to differ. The Southern Baptists can call me charismatic if they like, but I believe we are simply past the age of believing.

As we get “smarter” and figure out what God is doing and why, we lose the magic of believing. Miracles fade because they do not fit into our theology or doctrines. God is God, and He can do whatever He pleases. He doesn’t fit into our neat little denominations and could care less about our doctrines except that they get in His way.

We are one body, and that is the point of 1 Corinthians 12. We are all different and have different gifts. Rather than trying to fit gifts into neat little pigeon holes, I wish we would open our hearts and minds to that which we may not understand. Miracles happen every single day, but we’re too busy with busyness to notice. People speak of their hurt, but we don’t hear it because we are too wrapped up in our own little world to hear and interpret their words.

Gifts are given by the Holy Spirit, and He is the one who decides how they will be used if I get out of His way and believe with child-like faith in His ability to use someone as unlikely as me to do God’s work. That’s a miracle if I ever saw one!! I grow so weary of debates and denominations and long for unity that doesn’t mean get on board with my plan, program, doctrine, or agenda. God gets lost in attempts to define Him. He is God.

One day I will see God for Who He Is, and then all things will be clear. Until that day, I must treat Him as a loving Father who knows what He is doing and what’s best for me. Then, I might just be surprised to see that I really can relate to that person who is going through something I cannot understand. The language of love is a foreign tongue. Love my enemies? Be honest and open and let others into my deepest self? I cannot love without the Holy Spirit. He will interpret the unfamiliar and help me believe as a child again.

Being around a one-year-old and a three-year-old has given me a new perspective in foreign tongues, miracles, love, and the power of believing. I am regaining my child-like wonder, and I’m loving it:) The kids were coming down the mountain as I was going up this evening. Lillyann yelled over to ask where I was going. I told her I was going home. She said, “To our house?”

I replied, “Yes, sweetie, to our house:)” I believe in miracles and experience at least one a day. I would experience more if I paid better attention, believed more, and worried less:) I can believe in miracles or not; God gives me the choice. I can love or not; God give me the choice. You can choose to believe we are beyond miracles if you like, but I believe miracles are alive and well and will be as long as there is love in this world:)

Simple Lessons in Love :)

My heart melted yesterday when Mylah said “Gigi” and grinned sweetly at me. She asks about mommy and daddy when they aren’t here, and I tell her that mommy’s in school and daddy’s at work. I told her today that Gigi was right here, and she said, “Gigi.” We were both surprised when she said it and grinned with delight in each other. Lillyann immediately began to try to get her to say Lilly. Her sweet attempts caused her tongue to flap around, and we all three giggled with glee:)

Loving them is such a blessing, and I’m learning of late that it is the simple gestures, the loving touches, and a sweet shared moments that define love. Funny how a little word caught me off guard and caused so much delight. I’m loving those little moments and learning they are, and always have been, what this journey is all about. Experiencing them is better than discovering gold or finding rare gems; they are the riches God places in the path that we ignore as we get tangled up in busyness. Children get frustrated with adults because they understand the importance of those moments and wonder why we don’t.

I used to believe that achieving and doing were what my time in this world was all about. I’m learning it is more about being. The achieving and doing are part of the path, and God uses all my experiences to bring me where He wants me to be. A listening obedient heart is the key to discernment, and I am finding that keeping the girls helps me be still and pay attention to those sweet moments of love around me.

Yesterday, I didn’t leave the house and had the girls from early morning till late in the evening. As I saw and heard of the deluge that descended upon the town, I thanked God that we didn’t have to venture out. I had to get both out on Monday in the terrible mess, so I was grateful for the sweet day inside. My journey has taken a wonderful turn, and I love being with the girls. They are the best little mentors I ever had and are teaching me very important lessons with their simple gestures of love.

Love, like life, is more about simple gestures than about the grandest of achievements. When I think of it, I’ve always known that in my heart. Busyness gets in the way of being, and those little gestures get lost in the shuffle. I’m thankful for a career that kept me very busy, allowed me to make a difference, and provided the means for me to stay with my sweet granddaughters and learn God’s simple lessons in love first-hand:) It’s the best learning of my life. Like dessert, God saved the best for last!!

Sweet Settling:)

As I’m getting settled in to my new home, it’s becoming a very sweet space. I love the openness and the light. Everywhere I look, I’m overwhelmed by the views. God is at every window, and I love watching Him show off.

I never imagined myself living in a house this size, and I figured I’d be very old before I lived with my son’s family. What a beautiful surprise this home has been for all of us. There is nothing sweeter than hearing the house come to life as the girls wake up or come home. They took a stroller ride over to Meme and Pepe’s earlier, so I’m alone with Matza. The sweet bulldog is whining and wishing they and Cookie would come back. I knew just how she felt and started to join in:)

There is a sense of peace in this place, and it has a lot to do with love. God designed us for community, and I’m beginning to see why. Honesty is the key when it comes to loving and living together, and I thank God for the honest communion that surrounds me here.

Life and love are meant to be shared, and God has given me the opportunity to share as I never imagined. I’ve spent a lifetime striving, driving, and doing when I should have been being:) His Spirit needs emptiness. I used to think that meant wearing myself out. It may mean getting wrung out, but it’s a wringing that feels wonderful when I relax and stop struggling and striving:)

The settling this week has been sweet as I’ve done just that. I haven’t sweated the little stuff, and that’s made a world of difference. The most important thing about the settling this week has been the company. Everything else is just icing on the cake:)

When Sleep Won’t Come…

Neither Mylah nor Lillyann could sleep this afternoon. After wrestling with them for half an hour,  I told them if they didn’t take a nap they would have to play together while I read. Funny how not taking a nap motivated them to cooperate:) I didn’t read because I enjoyed watching them play instruments, draw, and play together.

Lillyann’s drawings amaze me. She drew an umbrella, a horse, a dog, and a little person. I was surprised in that I could tell what each was:) As they drew together, Lillyann complimented and encouraged little Mylah. Maybe not getting a nap is a good idea=) They will surely sleep well tonight after a long afternoon of playing.

Things are still in boxes, and our mattresses haven’t gotten here yet, but I told Pepe today that I was enjoying the closeness of camping on the floor. I love living with the kids and thank God for the sweet lessons in community. Family is special, and I love every moment I spend with mine. We are getting settled, and I look forward to being able to look back on this time of transition as a turning point in all our lives.

I’m learning this week to savor and enjoy each bite of life God places in my path. My journey has slowed and deepened as we’ve settled into a sweet routine. I cooked my first meal in the new house at lunch today. It was simple fare, but the sweet company made it very special. I look forward to many meals around the table and many days like today when I savor those sweet connections that make life worth living forever:)

Breathing In:)

I’ve been out of my regular loop this week as I’ve been busy getting moving into the new house. There are still many boxes to unpack, but my bedroom furniture came yesterday, and Tyler worked late getting it all together! The girls and I have been sleeping on mattresses on the floor in my room this week as Tyler worked long hours and Gina helped care for her grandmother. Last night, mommy and daddy were here, so I was alone for the first time since Saturday. I missed the sweet pillow talk that lulled me to sleep each evening and brightened my spirit each morning. It’s been over a decade since I’ve shared a bed with anyone, and I loved the sweet snuggling.

This morning, I’m breathing in, relaxing in God’s Spirit, and enjoying His presence. The Holy Spirit is the breath of true life and love. That’s been the beautiful lesson this week. The Greek word for Spirit is the same word used for wind and breath. I have taken in deep breaths this week as both I and this beautiful home have come to new life.

Life and love without the Spirit is like being on life support. Life and love with the Holy Spirit is breathing in God. Christ’s precious love enables me to be one with Him, with God, and with the Holy Spirit so I can love as He loves and live the life He has planned. It isn’t about being independent; it is about stopping my struggle, relaxing in His love, and allowing His Spirit’s indwelling to be as natural as breathing.

There is no way to show someone how to breath. There are methods that improve lung and heart capacity, but breathing is an involuntary function closely tied to the heart. The same is true when it comes to the Holy Spirit. Love changes, and there is a new freedom. I no longer need a respirator! I can breath in God’s own Spirit thanks to Christ.

It has been a week of transition for me, and I finally understand the importance of breathing in His love. The best way to describe the lessons this week would be to say I feel as though I’ve come off the respirator and am breathing on my own. Breathing in God’s Spirit is a choice, and I’m the only one who can decide to pull the plug on trusting any other form of life support other than His love.

Sweet Susan’s passing yesterday was a big part of the lessons this week. As I watched her loved ones care tenderly for her at home as she wished, my heart saw love expressed in an amazing way. They allowed her to let go and breathe in God’s Spirit in the most powerful way possible. Breathing her last breath here surrounded by those she loved made the transition to her new and final home a beautiful one.

It’s been a week of amazing lessons in breathing, living, and loving; I thank God for loving me enough to send His only Son so I can breathe in His Spirit and live a life filled with His precious love. Breathing is about living, and living is about loving. Christ helps me live a life worth living forever where love is as natural as breathing:)