Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Secret Place

Psalm 91:1 He that dwells in the secret place of the most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
We have five big trees at our current home, one is HUGE and it's shadow covers the entire backyard. Under that shadow temperatures will be several degrees cooler than in the heat of the sun. It is refreshing to walk out there in the middle of summer and enjoy the shade of this big Cottonwood. At our new house there are two tiny treelings :) I'm not even sure they have a shadow yet! I know I'm going to miss laying back there under the shadow of that tree, looking up at thousands of leaves rustling in the breeze, listening to the wind and contemplating the wonder of the earth. (I will not miss the raking and bagging of all those leaves in the fall!)
I know there is a secret place we all need to find with God, a shadow place that cuts through the oppresive heat of our lives. Sometimes there is a connection to an actual physical of my friends has an anointed quiet time chair she inherited from her mother. Generations of women have met God in that same chair. I'm not sure where that place will be in our new home. I can see the potential in lots of different spots...I'll just have to test them out!
Psalm 139:15 talks about this secret place: 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... I prayed this verse over my babies when they were growing inside me....knit them together Lord! That is a fascinating place indeed. But I think this verse still holds true beyond the womb. There is a place where we cannot hide. Where we bare it all. Uncovering our frames of dust in the safety of our Father's embrace....that's where God puts back together the broken places of our lives. Life has a way of unraveling....and He weaves us back together there....
I think I have some loose ends that need to be gathered up and rewoven this morning....take me to that secret place Lord! Wrap me in your arms.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Favorite Verses

Last night at church our Pastor shared one of his favorite verses from Psalm 13 "But I trust in your unfailing love..." Pastor Rob has become so passionate about unveiling the beauty of God's love. This is just one of the verses he's landed on of late.

I've been thinking about this and how at different seasons or stages of life, different verses have resonated with my heart. As a child I struggled with sleepless nights. My precious father wrote this verse on a card, put it in a recycled calendar cardboard frame and set it on my bedside table: Proverbs 3:24 "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. "I remember seeing those words in my Daddy's handwriting and feeling the comfort they brought to my young heart.

Then of course there is Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." That verse helped me make it through high school. College exam time? Philippians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Pregnancy? Psalm 138:8 "The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, endure forever--forsake not the works of Your own hands." I can look back at my life and remember situations I faced verse by verse.

Later in the journey Isaiah 43:2 kept me from staying stuck in a difficult situation. "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you." The Lord so tenderly spoke through this passage....Just Keep Walkin' Baby. Another verse I've landed on lately Psalm 62 "One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving." Strong AND Loving! It's a great combination.

I was talking to a dear friend who is a few decades older than me and she shared a favorite verse Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. " In All Things...the good the bad the ugly. The happy the sad the painful. God works. Things don't always work out for good. I can't always finagle stuff out for my good. But somehow God is able to do this work. I've seen him do this in my life and countless others - bring good out of some crazy mess.

There is an interesting trend as I look over my life. Those early verses are really all about me. I need rest, I need peace. Thank God he speaks to those needs. But as life experiences happen or perhaps as I grow I seem to land more often on those passages that exalt Him above my needs. His work not my performance. His amazing ability to take whatever life throws my way and bring about something good.

Psalm 27:13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Easter, What to Wear?

As a little girl, Easter meant watching tulips grow, coloring eggs and hunting for baskets. All that was great, but truth be told…it was all about the clothes! My sister and I always got new dresses, shoes and sometimes even hats. One year we had matching Little House on the Prairie dresses complete with bonnets. There is always something so fun about a new outfit.

I love the show on TLC “What Not To Wear”. They take people of all ages and shapes and help them find clothes that really fit and flatter their frame. They simply learn to do the best they can with what they have. Often there is quite a transformation as people begin to see themselves in a new way. All they need is Jesus and the make-over would be complete!

I was reading my Bible and saw this instruction “Clothe yourself”. Hmmm, so what are the essential pieces that God is suggesting for our soul closet?
Here is the list from Colosians 3:12-15
Kind feelings
Gentle ways
Quiet Strength

Wouldn’t you agree that if we put on these garments they would be quite flattering? They would best compliment who we are and who we really want to be on the earth. Truthfully, it’s easier for me to wear some of these things than others. Some just fit my temperament, like a comfy old pair of jeans. Others are itchy and scratchy like the wool sweater that makes my skin red and blotchy! So how do we do this? I think our ability to do it is found in verse 12. The Amplified Bible says “Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself….” We can wear God well only by knowing His great love for us, and by reminding ourselves of the incredible makeover He does in us. He washes us clean from all our sins, he mends our brokenness. He makes us whole and holy. Knowing all that God has done for us and in us frees us to show the world His tenderness, His mercy, His love…. Wow! I think we’d all stand up a little straighter and walk with a spring in our step in those clothes!

For more on What To Wear see Psalm 30, Proverbs 31, Romans 13, and 1 Peter 5.

Easter Sunday is just a month or so away....What will you wear?