Tag Archive | Inspire

After the Lull

Fast forward to the present time, 2019, and the years in between, working on putting all I had learned to some practical use.

There has (seemingly) been a lull.

I say seemingly because I believe that even, and maybe especially, in the quiet times, the lull times, God is often doing a work in us so deep, and so profound, that we may not even have words to express what is happening on our insides. We may not even know!

Then one day, the times of quiet disappear, and everything erupts! There is drama everywhere, and there is nowhere to hide.

It is during times of duress, that we begin to realize what all that quiet was about.

All the while it was growing us, and fortifying us, “For such a time as this.”

I believe we grow infinitely closer to God because we depend on Him more.

Enter this book .


I’ve had this book on my laptop for several years. (Ever do that?)

I don’t ever remember reading it.

Until now.

Funny how things can hang out for the longest while, only to reappear at just the right time.

How long have I been asleep? How long has God been working in the silence of my heart? What have I learned from that time?

Dekker maintains that we follow Christ, and then we are all prone to forget the truth that sets us free all too often, each day, each hour, each moment.

To me this is the same thing as going back to our default position.

The one place in our heart and our head that protects us from the pain and chaos of the world, but does absolutely nothing to help us to grow and flourish.

In the world Dekker grew up in, “It was simple: If you say, and or do, and or believe the right things, you’re golden. If you don’t, you’re screwed. It all depends on you. Just like with God, or so I was led to believe.”

My story is certainly the same. Perhaps yours is as well.

Straighten up. Fly right. Toe the line. Conform. Or pay the price.

The price was often abuse by peers and those in charge, chaotic thinking, and loneliness. Add to that a startling array of disorders, diagnoses, and addictions, and the outcome is quite a mess!

If you don’t know who you truly are, and believe yourself to be the only one in this place, you try to fit in the best you can.

It is so much easier to hide.

What is your identity made up with?

  • Is your identity made up by hobbies or sports?
  • Is your identity made up by the church you attend?
  • Is your identity wrapped up in your wife, your husband, your children?
  • Is your identity made up by your career?
  • Is your identity held in your wealth and status?
  • Or is your identity made up of what someone told you; for good or for evil?

These things promise, and promise to make you feel better, worthy.

But they never deliver. They only continue to enslave.

You need to know that these identities are FAR LESS than the identity that you were born with!

The depression, the wounding, the scarring, the addictions, the habits and ill behaviors that you can’t seem to overcome, and maybe even your health issues, may have to do with how you see yourself.

YOUR OWN perception of you!

And you are certainly not alone in your struggle.

Those perfect people that you rub shoulders with on a daily or weekly basis? They struggle too.

They simply hide behind a different curtain, looking as “normal” as possible.

In God’s economy, normal looks a lot like loving;

  • Loving others even when they treat you poorly
  • Loving those who cannot love you back
  • Loving those who are difficult to love
  • Loving ourselves and others as Christ does.

We all fail from time to time.

But we must know that we are made in God’s image, and if we are born “in Him”, we can continually grow toward being that loving person He has created us to be.

If we immerse ourselves in His Word daily, the Word itself will begin to erase all of the negative corrosion that has been sticking to us our entire lives.

His word will cleanse us, and although we are still not perfect, it will continue cleaning us up, and softening our edges, making us more like Christ by the day.

What will that identity look entail?

  • RadiancePsalm 34:5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
  • Strength2 Corinthians 12:10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
  • WisdomProverbs 2:10 For wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
  • Compassion Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
  • Fruits of the Spirit;
    • Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.

I want to tell you one more thing.

The thing I tell you the most.

The most important thing.

Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

No accident.

No mistake.

Just …………………. Love.

My Friend Joy!

Joy has been in a photo group with me for a couple of years.

Joy’s style is photo journalistic in nature.

Joy has a good eye, and is known to find beauty in the most unexpected places.

It could be her “Flower of the Day” series, or her walk along the river front or in Weed Park.

Joy is not deterred by the heat or cold, or rain or sunshine. She just goes.

It’s always a treat to see where she is going to show up next.

Join me now while I ask her some questions, and share some of her work.

Interview July 9, 2019, at the Black Pearl Cafe

  • How long have you been taking photos?
    • About four to five years now.
    • My interest began on a camping trip, in a little town in Indiana, where there was art work, murals and things, all through out the down town area.
    • The town boasted a flower garden calendar. It was so beautiful it begged to be photographed.
    • It was divided into four seasons, and it was unique and beautiful.
    • It sparked my interest in capturing the beauty of God’s creation, and being able to share it with others; flowers, sunrises, nature.
  • What camera do you use to get your photos?
    • I actually use the camera on my phone. It’s a Galaxy S9.
      • I’m mobile!
    • My phone takes quality photos, is very portable, and always ready for a shot, without doing much with the settings.
  • Do you use any filters on your photos?
    • I use no filters.
    • I have tried recently to do a couple of black and white photos, but then went back to regular photos with my phone.
  • What is your motivation for the photos you take?
    • Worship. It’s definitely a part of my worship.
    • I find it very healing.
    • I’ve dealt with depression.
    • Depression makes you pull inside yourself, and away from people.
    • Now that I enjoy photography, I get out of my house. I go places.
    • I can go with someone, or even go by myself.
    • This makes me happy because I can do things however I like. Take a picture or not, stay or go, I can decide.
    • I tend to take pictures dealing with light and creation, and the CREATION always makes me feel connected to the CREATOR.
    • The amount and diversity of creation is amazing and awe inspiring.
    • I no longer take for granted the state and town I live in.
    • Embracing and sharing my hometown, causes me to want to do it more.
    • There is beauty in every state, but coming home to Iowa is always best.
  • How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
    • Trial and error
    • Practice
    • Viewing others photos on photography websites
    • My husband is being educated on my photo taking needs as well!
  • Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
“Favorite picture of the summer so far. Taken from the bike trail during the flooding. I always enjoy capturing reflections and cool shadows. So beautiful with the white puffy clouds.”
  • What mood or message do you try to portray in your photos?
    • Natural beauty.
    • Positive. Always positive.
    • Encouraging.
    • I want my photos to point people to God.
      • She also likes to show off her town! (Added by me)
    • I want to try to stay out of “competition mode”.
  • Whose work has influenced you most?
  • What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
    • (Chuckles) How to take a decent selfie!
  • What would you say to encourage someone to is considering beginning photography?
    • Go out as often as possible.
    • Go out a different times of the day.
    • Play with light and shadows.

Some of Joy’s favorites for photos;

Sisters’ Garden & Bloom

Iowa Photograph

“Driving back from Kalona, with the sun behind us, I had a realization. For some people, looking back is painful emotionally. However, when it comes to photography, you need to be willing to examine your subject from every angle. Otherwise, you might miss the best picture ever!”

Joy

Dare I say, Joy doesn’t miss much!

Thanks for joining us!

See you next time!

Ain’t Nothin’ Like the Real Thing Baby

All of these stones are real. Except one.
Can you tell the difference?

Counterfeit is great until you need the real thing.

We live in a world that is bright and shiny.

There is always something to grab our attentions, and distract us from the things that are in fact, real.

We can always find a bauble for our most current need; until we can’t.

Where do we turn when we find out that what we have been following, and holding on to, is in fact only a cheap trinket, a counterfeit of the real?

This place is both disheartening and frightening at the same time. How could we have been so fooled, so tricked, so easily duped?

It could be disheartening because, well, if we fell for something this time, then we could easily fall for it a next time.

It could be frightening because, many times these counterfeits can bring danger to us; physically, mentally or financially.

Our emotions run, and run, and stopping them takes a lot of hard work and determination.

One quality decision after another.

These are times that the counterfeit goes away, and the real comes alive; Real pain; Real stress; Real bitterness; Real sorrow.

If we could only know the REAL in advance!

Well I believe we can.

My source is the Holy Bible. Words I believe that come from God Himself.

In the day in which we live, we hear all the time that we must live our own truth.

Personally, I tried that. I lived my own truth for most of my life.

Some parts were just me, other parts were me trying to mix in a little of Him to make it into something I could try and make Him happy with.

In the words of Dr. Phil; “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

Not so well I must admit.

My ideas always ended me up someplace where the bright and shiny had worn off, and turned into dingy and dark.

I want to tell you what has worked for me.

In seeking truth and light, a real deal, I came across some verses in the Bible that made me more than a little curious to seek the readily available truth of scripture.

The truth looked like this;

In Genesis 1:27 it says;

  • So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

And in Psalms 139:13-16 it says;

  • For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

And then finally;

John 8:12 says;

  • Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

I believe these statements to be the real deal, that being said, then I also believe that we are pretty dog-gone special!

If they are real, it means that;

  • I am (We) are made in HIS image!
  • I am (We) not a mistake, He knew me BEFORE conception!
  • I am (We) will not wander around in the dark if I (We) follow Him!

This is not to say there will not be dark times; there will; but we will not falter by holding on to a counterfeit comfort and light, or shiny useless baubles for our pleasure.

Isaiah 54:17 says that;

  • No weapon formed against you shall prosper. It does no say that it won’t be formed, it says it won’t prosper.

In plain language – regarding truth vs. counterfeit – If you follow what scripture says, you will always be able to discern the truth from a lie.

Thank you for joining me here – My hope is that you will find at least one thing that will be helpful and encouraging for you on your path.

See you next time!

Heartbeat – Show and Tell

 

close up of tree against sky

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

I once believed that if I “thought too highly of myself” it was a sign of selfishness.

                I was told I thought more highly of myself than I ought.

I once believed that stating my abilities was bragging about how good I was.

                I was told I was a show off, and that I needed to stop it.

I once even believed that if I tried to show any of these talents, then people would tell me I was wrong, and that I actually had no talent at all.

                Sadly, they told me this, all through my life, and I believed them.

Many times these declarations came from those who were either supposed to look after my well being, or if not them, then from someone I had dared to step out of myself to trust.

I was taught that “I” statements, should be phrased as “we” statements.

Hence, I would not be attracting too much attention to myself.

Even my journals were phrased in this way.

I may not know you, but I do know something about people, and even a little bit about what makes them tick.

May I just start by saying that when we are small, and then even as we grow, we have the ability to be either weak or strong, healthy or sick, bright or dim, positive or negative.

Of course a lot of this comes from our genetic code, but I believe much, much more of it comes from what we are told as we grow.

“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” – Henry Ford

 Here is a bit of what I already knew, I knew it because these scriptures said it was so;

                Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

                2 Corinthians 10:5 says that – We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.

                The Living Bible translation says that we can capture these rebels (thoughts) and change them into thoughts whose hearts’ desire is obedience to Christ.

By re-working how I think in this way, I can choose God’s thoughts for myself.

I have it on good authority (God’s word) that it is OK for me to declare what God has put in side of me.

By declaring this truth, I am actually strengthening and re-strengthening the fact for my heart to know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I am choosing an obedient thought instead of a lie.

When I capture all those negative thoughts placed in my mind, I literally take them, and trade them in. I don’t like those thoughts, and like returning a purchase at the store, I’ll choose some other thoughts.

I’ll choose the thoughts that God has thought about me all along.

I’ll choose the ones I was not able to hear for all the untrue ones that were loudly going off in my head!

 

If we choose rightly, the way we think of ourselves,

– The way God thinks of us –

We become His “Show and Tell”.

What day was more exciting than “Show and Tell”?

When we could share our most prized possession with the class!

He is excited to show us off!

He absolutely loves what He has created!

He wants the world to see!

When we reflect HIS image,

People will see and know that we belong to a loving Creator God.

Now you may or may not know much about this God of whom I speak.

Whatever the case, please allow me to give you some of God’s own words to let you know and realize the way He thinks of you, the way He sees you.

Please allow God’s words for you, seep into your heart.

Please allow them to marinate your person with His extreme love for you.

I’ve given you a dozen verses to consider.

Then you may even wish to consider your own.

(Perhaps there is a little private “Show and Tell” between you and God in your near future.)

  • ·         Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship (poem, creation, show and tell), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

 

  • ·         Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,(nothing!) will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

  • ·         Psalm 139:13-15 (NIV) For you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. (You are not a mistake!)

 

  • ·         Isaiah 49:16See, I have written your name on my hand. (He knows your name!)

 

  • ·         Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (His plan is for you to CHOOSE hope by loving Him!)

 

  • ·         Luke 4:18-19 (NIV) The Spirit of the Lord is on me, (If you love Him, this means you!) because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom forthe prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free (That’s you too!), to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (You get to proclaim Him, you are not tied to the negative proclamations that the world believes.)

 

  • ·         1 John 3:1-2 (NIV) See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (Tweet that!) The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.Dear friends, now we arechildren of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.All who have this hope (Yep. You again!) in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

 

  • ·         Psalm 103:17-18 (ESV) The steadfast love of the Lord is fromeverlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. (Forever for you and your children if you love Him.)

 

  • ·         Psalm 28:7 (NIV) The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. (Even if my body is weak, He can keep my spirit strong! The joy of the Lord is our strength!))

 

  • ·         2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God has not given us the spirit of fear; (Fear not, listed 365 times in scripture – One for each day!) but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

 

  • ·         Psalm 57:2 (AMP) I will cry to God Most High, Who performs onmy behalf and rewards me [Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them]!

 

  • ·         John 16:33 (NIV) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Trouble is inevitable, but so is His overcoming it!)

 

This is all I have for you today.

It is enough for now.

God so wants to make these truths real to you.

Won’t you give Him a try?

 

*

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

 

About Bridges

Bridges come in many shapes and sizes.

Each built to withstand the elements surrounding it.

Simple beam bridges, may only cross a stream or a gully too difficult to traverse, and are seldom longer than 250 feet.

BeamBridge-diagram.svg

A truss bridge is a superstructure meant to carry heavy loads.

TrussBridge-diagram.svg

A cantilever bridge stretches over the obstacle, is only attached on the ends, and raises in the middle to allow for larger loads to go UNDER.

CantileverBridge-diagram.svg

An arch bridge carries the weight of traffic through the abutments on either side. These bridges are strong enough to carry trains.

ArchBridge-diagram.svg

Tied arch bridges, or bow string bridges are constructed a bit differently, and the weight is carried through tension in the bottom cord of the bridge.

TiedarchBridge-diagram.svg

Suspension bridges are suspended from cables. The earliest ones being ropes and vines. The cables hang from towers that are built deep into the ground below the bridge.

SuspensionBridge-diagram.svg

Cable-stayed bridges, like suspension bridges, are held up by cables, but have less cables, and taller towers.

CableStayedBridge-diagram.svg

But my very favorite bridge  of all is the Gospel bridge. It’s the one that God provided for us. It is built with eternity in mind. It bridges a gap that I can’t jump. I’m thankful to have a path to choose. One that is strong enough to carry a load that I could never bare.

Image result for gospel bridge

Who Are You Really?

On one of my self-excavating pilgrimages, I asked myself this question.Magnifying Glass

First I will tell you, that on these pilgrimages, of which there have been many, my travelling companions have been God the Father, His son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

My strong belief is that through this trinity, the truth and life can be found.

The excavation can be lengthy, and often times raw, but well worth the treasure found in the end. Quitting came to mind many times, but I had to remember to keep my eyes on the prize; Freedom.

That being said, I began my journey with the old soundtrack running in my mind. You may even share the same soundtrack. It is the old song that tells you that you are ordinary, rejected, overlooked and insignificant.

In order for me to be able to show up, to tell my story, to use my voice, I needed to know exactly what God thought of me.

The first thing I did, was locate what my mentor and teacher Graham Cooke called “Inheritance scriptures”. If you are familiar with the Bible, then you should have no problem here. If you are not, let me just say that I believe it is the complete and totally true Word of God, a map and guide to how we should live our lives.

Just so you know, there is no judgement here if you believe it, or even if you don’t, but that is the direction I am coming from.

So. Inheritance verses. Life verses. Verses that come to life every time you read them. At times, even though you may know them, believe them, trust them, the old soundtrack still tries to take over. This is where it is important to keep your verses close at hand.

I enjoy the Psalms, many of my inheritance words were first uttered by the subject David. He was so real. Happy, sad, powerful, weak, joyful, angry, courageous, fearful. Full range of emotions. Many of his words fit me, and most likely you too, here are some, my inheritance words, I claim them for myself, you can claim them too;

Psalms 18:19 (Speaking of God) He brought me into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.

Psalms 57:1b I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.

Psalms 119:65 Great peace have they that love your law. Nothing cause them to stumble.

Psalms 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalms 131;1-2 My heart is not proud, Lordmy eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with things great matters or things too difficult for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.

All of these verses give me rest. I call them to memory when times are hard. They buoy my spirit, and keep my heart strong.

But none does that for me like this last one though; I share it with you, to make you strong;

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

 

He knows us. He tells us what He thinks of us. He tells us who we are.

We are not ordinary, rejected, overlooked or insignificant.

Join me again here again as I share more of my “Excavation of my soul”.

 

 

 

Books That Changed My Life #6

For any of you who may be familiar with my blog, my Facebook page or my YouTube channel, you know that I place a high value on quiet time. Quiescence. Quietude I call it.Whitespace

There was so much trauma and drama in my previous life. So much feeling guilty and selfish about spending so much time on myself. So much wondering WHY I was the way I was.

In one book. In one space. By one author. Stepping out of her hiding place, and being real, Bonnie helped me to see not only that it was a healthy thing, my self examination, but also that I was really not alone. One voice, can help multitudes.

Bonnie talks about her trauma, and how trauma can be trapped in time, and how “A person, an event, stress, or a change – even a hope or a dream – can unravel that trauma.” This unraveling can take us to places we didn’t remember, places we need to re-visit, and places we never wanted to go again.

It is a tedious journey, but for our health, and to be able to become that voice for others, it is a journey that must be taken.

When we choose to take this journey with Jesus, then we truly do not travel alone.

I used my copy of Bonnie’s book like a manual, like a workbook. Notes all the way through. The questions she asked, for me at least, demanded to be answered. (In my next and final book post, I’ll talk to you more about questions.)

This book helped to make those quiet times in my over-stuffed chair by the window, much more productive. Making freedom from my past more real as the time went by.