Warm Wednesday Words: God Won’t Waste Our Affairs – He Cares

God is with me

When hope lingers slow and the mountain stays the same
words mean little minus public acclaim
When hypocrisies loom bold
and love waxes cold

When you live too many days
under friendly fire haze
And what was real
is denied by hearts of steel.

When friends join the throng
of the popular traitor’s song
it may hurt
but you learn – don’t dessert.

When vision is blurred
And your cries obscurred
Steps grow weak
and hands work meek

Fears grow strong
and doubts come along
God is there, rising up
to fill your cup.

When the promise is broke
and love wears a cloak.
Hate wins a round yet
angels rush to surround.

When the swords come clanging
Radicals at the door banging
shouting “Deny!”
or to your children say goodbye!

But you’ve taught them well
They won’t choose hell.
They close their eyes
and wait to meet you in the skies.

Storms may gather
but God would rather
we look to Him, not the storm..
He’ll transform.

Jesus is worth every trial
there’s no room for denial
His love grows more dear
with every year.

Regardless our circumstances
and the uninformed glances
He won’t waste our affairs.
He sees, He hears, He cares.

LaDonna English

faith makes things possible

Warm Wednesday Words: Hope, Promises and Renewal

Fall is a time to slow down, renew and wait for, (if not invest in), the promises of spring.   It is a time of digging deep, burrowing in, savoring fall aromas such as fresh cut wood and pumpkin candles, and feasting on the deep, glorious colors of autumn just before the stark nakedness of winter.  It is a time to trust that what may seem bleak and obscure as winter descends will burst forth into its own “glory”, of sorts, in God’s time.

A bunch of tulip bulbs ready for fall planting.When my siblings and I were growing up, my dad would buy our winter wood supply in the fall and one of our chores was to stack it outside the basement door for use in the wood furnace that was in the basement.  Though we sometimes grumbled about the job, knowing the wood was purchased and stacked was one of many comforts of fall.

wood stackAnother nostalgic fall comfort is the sight of home canned goods labeled and on the pantry shelves.  This was the harvest that would help carry us through until the next garden season.

home canned goodsThis fall, in more ways then one, I am focusing on the promises of “spring” to carry me through the “winter”.

IMG_8576“At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters on Cezanne

IMG_8581

Jacob’s dog, Cyrus (below), and Hannah’s dog, Prim, have decided to “help” me dig a large hold for planting bulbs here.  I just hope they will retire the job after the bulbs are planted!

IMG_8585

 

In the cocoon is the promise of a butterfly,
At the dawn, night is set awry,
Storms become a memory in the arch of a rainbow,
and God’s presence rushes in when on our knees we say so.
Though tulip bulbs are humble for a season,
and with our prayers we wrestle and reason,
Victory burst from the cross and the tomb
and is safe in the hearts of the bride of the Groom.

LaDonna English

IMG_8586What hidden promises are you standing on this fall?

Hymn written by Natalie Sleeth.  © 1986 Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188, http://www.hopepublishing.com.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Warm Wednesday Words: Hope for a New Year

As 2014 unfolds,  I hope you know how loved you are.   Regardless of whether you can fathom God’s love for you, the fact remains you are deeply and personally loved by a Savior that went to the cross to prove it.  He would’ve done it, had you been the only one in need.  But you’re not.  And the awesome and incredible thing is God loves you just as you are.

tumblr_mgu9j8QghA1rqds1lo1_1280

Chalk up past mistakes and difficulties as unique experience and wisdom gained, and other than making any necessary amends, put the past behind you.  With a little contemplation, you are simply better equipped  for your future.

forgetting past

Know that in your humility is strength and do constant battle with that dangerously insidious and worst human vice of all, called pride.

pride

Let God make all things work together for good for you, by pressing into His will.  Since your calling is unique, keep your eyes on the goal and don’t compare to anyone else.  Value you’re work and contributions, disregarding any inapplicable disparagement from some who don’t understand your particular walk of life.

drum beat

Tap into the best friend ever.  God wants to connect with you in a most intimate way through worship and as you study His Word and  put it into practice.  C.S. Lewis said, “It is in the process of being worshiped that God communicates His presence to men.”

worship

You are worth the time it takes to pamper your body nutritionally and with physical fitness.  Your body hosts you, and you are irreplaceable to your family and friends.  You love them better when you take care of yourself.  If you’re married, guard that union and indulge often in the pleasures God afforded to it.   Prov. 19b (KJV), “Be thou ravished always with her love.”

beloved's

Keep a grateful, pure heart.  When you keep your heart stocked with gratefulness and are careful to pluck out that occasional weed of bitterness, then your happiness will overflow to others around you.  To be able to love others regardless of their reciprocation is powerful.  A gratitude list or journal is a great tool.

IMG_7632

Enjoy fellowship. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”  (1 Peter 4:8) Nothing compares to the benefits that abound when we decide to continue in love.  Extend the same grace that you want God to extend to you for your worst moments, because what you give to others who have offended you is all you should expect from God.

sunset at church

Procure God’s favor by respecting the authorities in your life, whether in your family, a marriage, a job, society or in the church.  God likens us to sheep.  Picture a sheep deciding to strike out alone oblivious to the wolves lurking in the shadows.  To put yourself under appropriate, albeit imperfect, authority is to invite God’s blessing and favor on your life.

51f20c1ba8235c1f26dec696ee71818c

May you know God’s abundant love for you and experience His favor and blessings on your life in the New Year.

 

P.S. Be sure to check out all the other bits of encouragement linked-up the Coffee for Your Heart 2014 Encouragement Challenge!

Obscurity for Christ’s Sake

obscurityhttp://pinterest.com/pin/272819689898849785/

How do I write something about obscurity and manage to be obscure if I think anyone else would benefit from reading it?  It’s hard to share it and hide it at the same time.  I will reckon writing about this subject and sharing it with the admittance  upfront  that I need to apply this daily and most of this post is thoughts from, paraphrases of, or straight up quotes  from chapter 7 of the book “Embracing Obscurity”, authored anonymously.

Have you ever had to suffer for someone else’s sake?  Maybe more than one person and perhaps many occasions or daily?  Are you willing if that’s the best way to love them?    When we suffer, the life of Jesus is seen more clearly in us.  (2 Cor. 4:10)When we walk in the full comprehension of how much we have been forgiven on the cross, we are more free to love deeply even if it’s hard.  (Luke 7:47) 

crosshttp://pinterest.com/pin/136374694937762901/

…”those who are the recipients of the benefits of suffering should be the first in line to suffer for others.  Our love for and devotion to Christ, coupled with our desire to follow His example, should compel us to suffer on others’ behalves with enthusiasm – with gusto.”   I don’t know about you, but I’m not usually very enthusiastic about suffering myself, let alone for someone else and especially if they have hurt me.  But the little bit of it I have done, provides a new compassion for me and a different outlook.  This reminds me of one of my favorite sayings:  “The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose.”

spiritual act of worshphttp://pinterest.com/pin/279363983105858424/

Arthur “Anonymous” goes on to give examples of ‘little sufferings’ such as a guy who works in a job he hates or is less than enthusiastic about.  Rather than climbing the corporate ladder, he perseveres, so that he can be more transformed and enabled to give Christ’s love – showing a wealth of compassion to coworkers, bosses, or others who can relate.  Or a person who feels isolated because of his Christian walk or stands, but avoids self-pity over the denial of what he wants (namely, more friends) so that he can embrace the lessons of loneliness and obscurity, cling to the cross, and reach out to others for His sake.  Or the girl who wrestles with “What is wrong with me?”, when single, or barren, or ostracized, or not Hollywood’s definition of beautiful, or….Instead of self-pity or desperate or drastic measures, she can allow these “issues” to force her into the arms of Christ, finding her true significance in her Savior.

trialshttp://pinterest.com/pin/290974825894696951/

We don’t know when we will come out as gold, but when we pass the trials we can rest assured we will, even if it is on  Judgment Day!

” Anonymous” points out a startling trend in Christian thinking that he calls the ‘Joseph Principle’….”and it goes like this:  If I am suffering in obscurity today, God must be preparing me for something greater, better,  or more prominent later in life.”  It’s a spin off from Romans 8:28 and even finds some support there, and also with some Bible characters with whom God chose to “bring up” in the end, and of course in media such as news stories, books, music and movies.  Don’t we love to see the underdog win in the end after suffering.  Don’t we love to think of our own better outcome “over the rainbow”?  We are charmed by favoritism when it smiles on us and basque in it’s affection, whether at home, at church at work or whatever.  But we frown and whine when it wanes, which it eventually does.  No one stays in the spotlight forever and wise leaders learn to squelch their favoritism, anyway.  What we  are slow to get, is that often God chooses to “bring us up” in matters more relating to the heart and character, such as contentment, suffering, perseverance, example and behind the scene roles.

underdoghttp://pinterest.com/pin/202169470744149064/

“Yes, God works all – even our suffering – for our good, but the end result may well look different than you had hoped.  Will you still trust God if your “good” is to go on embracing obscurity – living in simplicity and devotion to Him – your entire life?  What if your “good” is to understand the deepest depths of suffering so that you have more to give to others who walk through dark times?  Would you mind if your “good” is only a greater understanding of the suffering Jesus went through on your behalf and mine?  What if your “good” is soley to make His name great?”

“All of God’s ways are good and true.  Although His plans may not look like ours, we can trust that God is in fact ‘for us’.  Embracing obscurity allows us to relinquish our dreams for and to Him – to His timing and His ways.  We prefer Him to the dream.  We don’t push our dream into being.”

Gary Thomas said,  “If we are seeking glory, honor, and immortality before God, daily and quiet persistence, faithfulness and obedience is the road to get there.  Anonymous sufferings are actually the best kind.  Jesus tells us – otherwise, others might recognize us and compliment us and that, alone, will be our reward.”