Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

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Monday, March 31, 2014

"Death is Swallowed up in Victory."

 {I will be quiet here for few days as the Gentle Shepherd called my Grandma to walk the valley of the shadow of death that she would dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 
As the sun was beginning to set on this day, we rejoiced that she was free from suffering when she breathed her last breath on this earth to be with the Lord for all eternity.}





"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
forever."




I found much comfort from the words of hope in this song. As I drove home into the setting sun after I was with Grandma as she passed from this life on this earth to life eternal, I praised God that "it is not death to die".

"O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save 
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die."

 I pray that if you have going through a similar season, God will comfort you with His redeeming love, rich mercy, living hope, and amazing grace.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Words of Wisdom for The Weekend ~ Oh, the Deep Love of Jesus

"that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you,
being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend 
with all the saints what is the 
breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." ( Ephesians 3:17-19)


"Oh, my Lord, the dawn of your death day! 
The sky is grey, the roofs of Jerusalem dark in the grey, and the street at your feet is dim. 
You walk from the high priest's house to the Praetorium. Are you tired? Have you slept at all? 
You ate last night—but that was last night. You prayed last night an exhausted prayer. And last night you endured a long, malign investigation—you alone, and none beside you to support you. You suffered conventional gestures of contempt and official rejection: the death sentence, acoomponid by degrading games. Did they wash your face from their spittle? No. It sticks to you still. To them you are a pariah, unclean in blasphemy. Why should they watch you? Why should they feed you? Why should they give you something to drink? To them you are a problem to be solved. 
To me you are the Lord. 
The city scarcely stirs, but here come the rulers with you in the midst. Serious faces. Where are they going? To the governor's forum. The Romans begin their work-day frightfully early, so the council is hurrying, lest they miss their chance for and audience and a quick imperial trial. Go! Go! They prod you from behind. Go, don't drag your feet! What's the matter with you? Tired? They themselves are filled with hectic energy. Sleeplessness has nerved them, and their purpose verges on frenzy. Go! 
Jesus, how do you feel? What are you thinking? You don't talk. You mouth has been closed for such a long time now. Last night, before the legal machinery caught hold of you and began to grind you in its wheels, you said your soul was sorrowful, even unto death—and then your eyes revealed grief. I saw it. But now, in the dawn of your death day, your face is expressionless. I can read nothing in your eyes. Jesus! Jesus! How do you feel right now? What moods contend within you? What worlds collide inside your soul? O Jesus, are you hating? Are you praying? Are you screaming silently? Are you thinking about me right now? 
You walk, step by weary step, from Jerusalem to Rome, around the world, from life to death, away, away. Away from me. Away from my knowing, into mystery. O Jesus, it terrifies me that you go so far away from me! Please, give me a sign! I really can't stand this not knowing. Give me some sign from your solitude, Lord, please, please, that you are thinking of me. 
Lord Jesus, do you love me now?
***
Wordlessly, Jesus answers:
The walking itself is the sign, child.The loneliness which I have chosen, and the cross that closes it—these are the signs that I love you ever. I have to leave you to love you best. I go where I want you never to go, precisely because I love you. 
Can you say "Amen" to that?"

~Walter Wangerin Jr., Reliving the Passion

***




***

A Soft Gentle Voice



{Words for Wisdom for the Weekend: These are words that I have been challenged or encouraged by that I have read throughout my week that I kept pondering; words that I couldn't get off my mind and heart throughout my week. 

For other Words of Wisdom for the Weekend posts see here.}

Friday, March 28, 2014

Pass Around the Grace, Please




We’re sitting around the table with heaping servings of homemade mac and cheese and a garden salad spilling over the porcelain white serving bowl. I just “banned” ketchup as the side dish because it contains one teaspoon of sugar for every tablespoon they squeeze out. It doesn’t go over very well and grumbles become the dominant table talk.

It’s been said that we have never consumed so much sugar and we’re addicted.

Tears start flowing from the youngest. The oldest says she wishes I’d quit reading about health stuff and all the labels. The son says he wants his ketchup. The husband raises his one eyebrow at me from across the table like a question mark at the health kick I might be on and swallows it all quietly just to keep the peace.

I suggest what about a thank you for supper, Mama and the point is duly taken.

A hush falls.



We’re sitting around the world wide web with heaping servings of homespun words and a whole buffet of blogs and social media. We stuff ourselves on opinions, other’s online lives, and open letters. Grumbles become the dominant table talk.

It’s been said that we have never consumed so much technology and we’re addicted.



I'm honoured to be guest hosting The Weekend Brew at My Freshly Brewed Life today. I'd love to see you over there. Be sure to link-up your post, check out some other links over the weekend, and leave a comment.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

'Twas The Night Before Breakfast {Titus 2 Tips Thursdays: A Guest Post}

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I have always felt that way. I am someone who needs a cup of coffee and something to eat before I start my day. I have often said, that eating breakfast is a priority for me and, I would rather be late than miss breakfast. Until recently, breakfast for me was a bowl of cereal or 2 pieces of toast with peanut butter and jam. In the last few years, I am trying to be vigilant about the food that I consume and I serve to my family; I think about things like dyes, genetically modified foods, whole grains and extra salt and sugar and I am always looking for creative ways to serve breakfast to my family so that they (and me too) are ready to start their day on the right foot.

We definitely still have cereal and toast mornings . . . but the mornings that everyone is the most satisfied is when I start the breakfast preparation the night before. Here are my two favourite breakfast recipes:


Pancakes

2 cups Spelt
2 cups Organic Yogurt ( I use plain or fruit- whatever I have on hand)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp melted butter

Soak Spelt in yogurt overnight. 




In the morning, stir in other ingredients and thin to desired consistency with water. 






Cook on a hot, oiled griddle.






Serve with fruit and maple syrup.




Breakfast Porridge

1 cup oats, I used whole
1 cup filtered water plus 2 tbsp yogurt
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup of filtered water

Mix oats in 1 cup of water and yogurt overnight (or longer). In the morning, bring an additional 1 cup of water to a boil with the sea salt. Add soaked oats, reduce heat, cover and simmer for several minutes. We enjoy porridge, with maple syrup, cinnamon and dried fruit on top.


Why the night before?

I should explain the necessity of the "night before" preparation, as up until a few years ago this was new to me too. There are many detailed explanations, but in simple terms, soaking grains for 12-24 hours breaks down complex starches and difficult to digest proteins. Soaking increases the vitamin content and makes all of the nutrients in the grains more available. I wouldn't go to this effort if the final product wasn't delicious and sustained us for the morning. It's worth it!

{Credit is due to: Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats; this cookbook started me on the path to Traditional Eating.}


It's definitely a process, and I continue to be challenged to find the balance between a busy house and life and making good food decisions for my family; surprisingly, I find the 2 are often at odds. I will continue on this journey and as I find "gems"; recipes that are so tasty and easy, I will share them with you here.



 
Krista has always been a lover of food and studied Foods & Nutrition at Western University. Now a mother of 2 with a third on the way, Krista is a member of a local organic food co-op and finds joy in making healthy and delicious meals for her family (that the kids will actually eat). 
Krista enjoys swimming, running, downhill skiing, hot baths and sharing great meals with friends. 
Krista is an active volunteer in the community and has a hard time saying no to causes that she is passionate about.
A Soft Gentle voice
I am honoured to host these guest posts in this series on women mentoring women 
Some weeks you may find tips from the kitchen or healthy recipes, tools other women have used to grow spiritually, hints to help us build up and love our husbands, and lessons they have learned as they have walked along with their children to teach them to love God wholeheartedly, habits they have developed in keeping their home, ways they have worked on to keep their behaviour respectful, or rhythms that allow peace and rest in the home and hearts that dwell there within.
You will find all the posts in the series here.


"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behaviour,
not slanderers or slaves to much wine.
They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands,
that the word of God may not be reviled."

{Titus 2:3-5}


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Lover of My Life and Soul {Words of Life Wednesdays ~ A Link-up}

{Join us below for Words of Life Wednesdays with a link-up of your post.
We'd love to hear how God's Word has been nourishing you.}



They're all bundled up in a gold box tucked inside my antique chest down in the basement.

All those letters he wrote the first summer we were getting to know each other. He used bright coloured paper cut out in funky designs. Sometimes with homemade confetti to pour out surprise all over my lap as I ripped open the envelope with my trembling hands while my heart skipped a beat. He was miles away. When I walked the long lane to the mailbox and reached in and found my name scrawled out by his very hand I would long to know what words he folded up and sealed as our spring love began to blossom.

I'd take the stamped enveloped touched by many hands as it had travelled down through the post and see his name in the top left hand corner. Mine was in the centre. He was the sender of this carefully crafted letter and I was the young woman to whom it was addressed. 

I'd take the rest of the mail and drop it in the front hall and head for the meadow. I'd slip off past the back of the house, along the path by the pond, cross the bridge over the waterfalls, up through the wood and out to the swaying grass on the gentle rolling hills. Not until after I reached the rock in a little grove of trees would I tear into his words and devour them over and over.

That was almost eighteen years ago when I was soon to turn twenty. Roughly half my lifetime ago when we hardly knew each other. We were young and in a vulnerable new chapter in our budding love story and all we had to share that summer were words.  He signed his letters "In Christ's love", but he never wrote the bold words, never even spoke them until he slipped a diamond on my slender third finger on my left hand and told me he loved me. He desired to know me but never carelessly gave away words without committing to prove them with his life.

His life speaks of his love for me. Every day he tells me he loves me and not only with words. He still reveals his loves for me with surprises all through the for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. Our love has grown more intimate, more raw, more beautiful.

He still writes love letters with amazing surprises that make my heart skip beats. His words still speak of the ways he loves me.

I don't run up the to little grove of trees anymore. The last I checked the rock is all but hidden by the trees that have stood faithful and grown strong and tall through the years. Now he and I walk by the way together and I lay down beside him as we grow stronger in love through all the seasons.

This love speaks of a greater Love that came down. The way the Lover of my soul loved with His life makes my heart not only skip a beat but makes it completely new. 

The Word, the Alpha and the Omega, came and took on flesh and walked dusty roads to write his love by humbling himself to the point of death, even the death of a cross; the most excruciating way to die. He suffered the most cruel, degrading and humiliating way to bear the sin of those whose names would be written in the Lamb's book of life.

He records His love for us, page after page in the God-breathed writings carefully passed down through the ages for us. The message of his unfailing love for a fallen creation makes one wonder at His amazing grace.


And we can run out through the woods and up to the meadows under the great expanse of the heavens and cherish these words that Love came down that we might have life and grow in an intimate oneness as the Bride of Christ. 

We'll unlock the treasures and tuck them in our hearts deep within our chests.


A Soft Gentle Voice

(also linking with Coffee For Your Heart)


Monday, March 24, 2014

Taste and See the Glory of Christ {Meditation of My Heart Mondays}




"Eternal Father, 
[Y]ou never had a beginning. You will never have an ending. You are the Alpha and the Omega. This we believe, because you have revealed it to us. Our hearts leap up with gratitude that you have opened our eyes to see that know that Jesus Christ is your eternal, divine Son, begotten, not made, and that you, O Father, and he, your Son, are one God. 
We tremble even to take such glorious truths on our lips for fear of dishonouring you with withering and inadequate words. But we must speak, because we must praise you. Silence would shame us, and the rocks themselves would cry out. You must be praised for who you are in the world you have made. And we must thank you because you have made us taste and see the glory of Jesus Christ, your Son. Oh, to know him! 
Father, we long to know him. Banish from our minds low thoughts of Christ. Saturate our souls with the Spirit of Christ and all his greatness. Enlarge our capacities to be satisfied in all that you are for us in him. Where flesh and blood are impotent, reveal to us the Christ, and rivet our attention and our affections on the truth and beauty of your all-glorious Son. 
And grant that whether rich or poor, sick or sound, we might be transformed by him and become and echo of his excellence in the world.

In Jesus' name we pray, amen."
~John Piper, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ

A Soft Gentle Voice

Friday, March 21, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Joy



You know when you blinked and your baby turned four in February. Her gentle curls have grown out and cascade like sheer elegance all the way down her back. I still call her my baby, but she always asserts that she is a big girl. She is a delight. She has taught me how to laugh at the days to come. Just as her big brother and sister have tutored me as I've grown up into motherhood.

I should be round with swollen belly according to my past track record. Instead I just wear the scars and marks from the three times I have been swollen. I doubt I will ever feel those kicks inside and count down the months, weeks and days waiting for the joy of cradling the life I had already loved close to my heart. It leaves me with an empty forlorn feeling.

Until I look up and see the three I have been blessed with. Three precious children that need a Mama still. Three that fill my days, my hands, my heart. The ones I teach and are teaching me about life and love and really living.

There is no greater joy than to watch my children walk in truth.

My son, he was in bed for two hours when, he called me to his room. He had a question. Clenching my jaw, I told him he'd have to ask me in the morning. He persisted. I loosened up and listened to the heart cry in his voice and changed my mind. I stood in his doorway. He spoke in hushed tones. He had to know if there were people starving in the world right then. I whispered back, yes.

"Then, Mom," he searches, "I have to do something. When I'm bigger I have to help them. I want to help them. They shouldn't be starving." He continues with his thoughts of love and justice and my heart cries.

There is no greater joy then to watch my children grow up to care, to walk in truth and to love mercy.

I opened up my hands again and receive the joy, cradled it close to my heart.

***
Linking with Five Minute Friday at Lisa-Jo's place. This week the prompt is: Joy

Officially, the rules are:

Five Minute Friday1. Write for 5 minutes
2. Link up at Lisa-Jo's  and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made {Titus 2 Tips Thursdays: A Guest Post}



Psalm 139:14 became my life verse the day I met with my dear friend Michele.

I had approached her after church one Sunday. We didn’t know each other very well at the time so approaching her to ask if she would meet me for a cup of coffee was a step outside of my comfort zone. My pastor had urged me to find a spiritual mentor and God nudged me toward Michele.

Would you meet me for coffee, Michele?

Without hesitation she replied, "Absolutely!"

We met at Panera. It didn't take long for her to ask why I had wanted to meet with her.

Oh yes, there is a reason.

Michele would be the second person I’d share my secret with. My pastor was first.

I shake in the knees because I always shake when telling pieces of my story. I don’t tell her all the parts. . . just enough.

I’ve been battling with bulimia for far too long. The reasons? There are many. I need help though. Would you help me? Be a mentor of sorts in this spiritual journey of mine?

She doesn't wait to start. I don’t even think she gave me an official yes to my question. She simply prayed those words from Psalm 139:14 over me.

We have met for coffee many times these past two years and every time we meet she asks, “How are you doing, Beth?” I know exactly what she wants to know. When my answer remains the same as the last time we met she says those words from Psalm 139:14 again.

We met again right before the Lenten season began.
I'm not sure why but this meeting was different.
Her voice, while still gentle, was stronger.
The words from Psalm 139:14 sunk deeper into my soul.

I left our time together with three words on my heart:
“It is finished.” ~ John 19:30

Yes, God. I know. It’s time.

But how?

I'm figuring this out one day at a time. Can I share with you a few things I’ve learned and am still learning? Maybe you too have old tapes playing in your head that say you are not-enough and unworthy.

Let Christ in. Let Hope in. He is our Living Hope.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…” ~ 1 Peter 1:3

Open up a Bible and let His Word breathe new life into your soul.
Don’t know where to start? Start with the Gospels. Let the Bible become your life manual.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

See His beauty. Become a beauty hunter. Name His graces.
"Grace--that is what the full life is full of, what the God-glory is full of. To see the glory, name the graces." ~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

Give thanks, in all things.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

When we let Him in, make a commitment to spend time in His word, name His graces and give thanks our hearts begin to transform. The problem was always with the heart. It’s a heart thing and thankfully Jesus specializes in heart transformations.

Does the transformation happen overnight? No.

I promise though, as you do these things over and over again, you will begin to unwrap God’s love for you. And those old tapes that may play in your head? It is finished — you have a new life in Christ.

I know this to be true.

How do I know?

For lent I gave up my eating disorder. I actually gave it up the last time I met with Michele—four weeks ago. I’m reading through the Bible, I’m naming His graces and I’m giving thanks in ALL things.

Freedom is within my reach.

“Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:57

We are fearfully and wonderfully made and His works are wonderful.

You are enough. You are worthy. Because of Him.

Much love,
Beth

 
Beth Stiff is Simply Beth, at least that’s what her blog is called. A wife to her Army Reserve husband and a mom of two boys, with her oldest son serving in the Navy, and a mother-in-law too. She a Jesus lover, a family gal who loves her friends, and reading with a hot cup of coffee. Her life is changed, even after 20 years of marriage with a love that grows stronger. But the bottom line, is in the heart. Beth loves the heart things and to speak about the Love that changed her and keeps changing her. She’s an encourager who thrives on being in our corner. You can also find her over here, bloggingTwitteringFacebooking, and posting pictures to the Pinterest world.
A Soft Gentle voice
I am honoured to host these guest posts in this series on women mentoring women 
Some weeks you may find tips from the kitchen or healthy recipes, tools other women have used to grow spiritually, hints to help us build up and love our husbands, and lessons they have learned as they have walked along with their children to teach them to love God wholeheartedly, habits they have developed in keeping their home, ways they have worked on to keep their behaviour respectful, or rhythms that allow peace and rest in the home and hearts that dwell there within.
You will find all the posts in the series here.


"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behaviour,
not slanderers or slaves to much wine.
They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands,
that the word of God may not be reviled."

{Titus 2:3-5}


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I Cried It Too: "Crucify Him" {Words of Life Wednesdays ~ A Link-up}

{Join us below for Words of Life Wednesdays with a link-up of your post.
We'd love to hear how God's Word has been nourishing you.}


"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person
—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us."
{Romans 5:6-8}

I can't deny that I've grown up seeking praise and looking for my identify in performance.

When training wheels were coming off and adult teeth where growing in I learned that hard work pays off.  So I studied diligently and made up my mind to do my best. Doing my best didn't alway get the results I wanted so I tried harder.

I looked forward to the days report card were sent home to be signed. The envelope would be ripped open to reveal a mixed bag of grades, but to boost my confidence I'd look to words of praise the teacher had neatly penned in cursive handwriting.

It's amazing how we let letters define us.

In high school, I walked along the halls lined with lockers and made my way to the round tables in the library and studied during lunch hour. Then I'd pour over books late into the night and would memorize everything because I didn't want to fail. I loved drama and the stage and getting into character and performing for an audience.  I was focused to find my name on the honour roll.

It's incredible how our names in print can impress us.

I went to youth group and committed to read my Bible every day because the youth leaders warned us that Satan won on the days we failed to spend time in the Word.

I went to Bible College and saturated myself in the Word and in my studies and set out to dig deeper in the Truth, learn how to use my life-manual to live in this world and prepare for the one I long for, and graduate at the top of the class. 

I never rebelled. I was a good girl.

It's outrageous how our good intentions can deceive us.

I played life safely. I responded to praise and despaired criticism. 

I worked for an organization that serves missionaries that go by faith into all the world to share the Good News to all the world.

I married the only man I ever dated.

I gave birth to three children and now home educate them.

I've ended up with a pretty nice life all packaged up with a cozy home, cute kids, a couple of vehicles, and caring family and friends.

It's easy to let all this define me.

The ugly reality is I refused to let others see the real me. I refused to see it myself.

I wouldn't go out without makeup ~ until my third child was born, and didn't have the choice some days to put it on.

I wouldn't have company in my home unless my house was vacuumed, dusted, and cleaned.

Performance and fear held me in their clutches.

I had decided how I wanted to be identified and worked to make this happen.

I had seen the need for a Saviour and I had repented. I wanted Him to be Lord of my life. But, I made my identity my own.

I failed to see myself for who I truly am. A sinner who screamed with the angry mob, filled with evil and hatred, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" I was His enemy, after all.

It was my sin that he bore on the cross. But, it was His love that caused Him to be led as a lamb to be slaughtered.

Without question, He willingly took my sin, my shame and He cried out. "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!"

How foolish to think that I need to protect my identity. It is nothing but Sinner.

But, when I look to the cross of Christ, I am given a new identity in Christ.

I lose myself in Him for I died with Him and the life I now live is His—I'm Saved by His life.

I change from one who is devoted to sin to one who is being saved from sin.

It's not just a prayer of an eight year old girl in Mrs. Grave's grade three classroom that changed my life forever.

It's not my performance that makes me worthy.

It's not my work that is deserves praise.

It's a daily looking with eyes of faith to the Person of Christ and the work He accomplished on the cross that sets me free from sin and self.

Letters may define us, names in print may impress us, good intentions may deceive us, but the Person of Christ is the only one who can save us.






*edited post from the past archives
{Also linking with Coffee For Your Heart}

A Soft Gentle Voice


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Words of Wisdom for the Weekend ~ Children of the Light


"The gospel offends in that it makes a man face himself, and it always tells his that selfsame thing . . . 'Men love darkness rather than light', that is the trouble, and the gospel alone proclaims it. It stands as light in the heavens and it should be revealing itself through all of us amidst the problems of this dark, miserable, unhappy world of men.   
"But thank God we do not stop at that. Light not only exposes the darkness; it shows and provides the only way out of the darkness. This is where every Christian should be jumping to the task. The problem of man is the problem of a fallen, sinful, polluted nature. Can nothing be done about it? We have tried knowledge, we have tried education, we have tried political enactments, we have tried international conferences, we have tried them all but nothing avails. Is there no hope? Yes, there is abundant and everlasting hope: 'Ye must be born again'. What man needs is not more light; he needs a nature that will love the light and hate the darkness . . .   
"Christian people, you and I are living in the midst of men and women who are in a state of gross darkness. They will never have any light anywhere in this world except from you and from me and the gospel we believe and teach. They are watching us. Do they see something different about us? Are our lives a silent rebuke to them? Do we so live as to lead them to come and ask us, 'Why do you look so peaceful? How is it you are so balanced? How can you stand up to the things as you do? Why is it you are not dependant upon artificial aids and pleasures as we are? What is this thing that you have got?' If they do we can them tell them that wondrous, amazing, but tragically neglected news, that 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners', and to give men a new nature and a new life and to make them children of God. Christian people alone are the light of the world today. Let us live and function as children of the light."
~Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount 




***

A Soft Gentle Voice

{Words for Wisdom for the Weekend: These are words that I have been challenged or encouraged by that I have read throughout my week that I kept pondering; words that I couldn't get off my mind and heart throughout my week.  
For other Words of Wisdom for the Weekend posts see here.}

Friday, March 14, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Crowd


My mind is cluttered. My heart is restless. My body is frail. My soul years for quiet.


I push off from shore to escape.


I'm like Jonah running from grace. It's a messy world and we don't deserve it anyway. I hop on a ship and want to flee from sharing the message of grace. To taste grace I have to be willing to face the selfishness, ungratefulness, pride, square in the face. It requires a humility that I don't always want to posses.


I want the resurrection, but I'm not sure I readily take up my cross.

I want to be poor is spirit, but I'm not sure I've stopped storing up temporal treasures.
I want to mourn sin, but I'm not sure I really want to be lowered.
I want to seek after the kingdom of God, but I'm not sure I've surrendered my own.
I want to look to Jesus, but I'm not sure I can take my eyes off myself.
I want to harbour Jesus in my heart, but I 'm not sure I want to be hated.
I want to suffer for His sake, but I cower in fear.
I want this, but I can't do it on my own.

My flesh wages war and my spirit faints.

My thoughts are teeming with questions.
My faith is crawling with doubt.

The darkness tries to extinguish the light.


Oh, my faith is too small.


The crowd presses in.

I can't breath.

I need to stop running and rest.

I need to stop trying and trust.

Man overboard is the only way to go.
It's not comfortable but it's the only way to find my all in Him.

I need the steadfast love of the Father, the staggering grace of the Son, and the strengthening power of the Spirit.


I push off from shore and in the stormy waters I see how His love pursues me all the days of my life and I'll never escape His grace.






I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

(John Newton, “I Asked the Lord That I Might Grow”, 1779).



***
Linking with Five Minute Friday at Lisa-Jo's place. This week the prompt is: Crowd

Officially, the rules are:

Five Minute Friday1. Write for 5 minutes
2. Link up at Lisa-Jo's  and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community...















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