8.24.2011

His Mercies: A Birthday Prayer



Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord's great love
we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself,
"The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
The Lord is good to
those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him.
~Lamentations 3:21-25

      Another year has passed, slipping quietly into the memory of my mind. It's pretty busy in that place. My mind, that is. Some days more than others. I have found only one way to quiet the many voices competing for my attention in my own mind as well as allowing me wisdom for the one's clamoring for my attention outside myself. Sitting in His presence. Basking in His love. Letting His mercies wash over me. I am needy of those. Desperately so. You see, I am a woman of many passions and desires. Big dreams and many ambitions. I am one who would fall into sin with all my good intentions, if it wasn't for the realization of my own wretchedness and more importantly recognition of His mercies and tender graces. I am talking of the kind that makes people wag their tongues and shake their heads. We all are guilty of hidden sins (what you think in your mind, God sees it as clearly as if it has been done and with piercingly accurate perception of motive and intent-Hebrews 4:13) and it is so easy to look at the outward sins that can be seen and judge from our place of perceived superiority. Well I have been guilty of all. I have fallen flat on my face and battled in the spiritual realm and failed. I have also learned to rely on His strength and let Him fight my battles instead in life and the spiritual realm. (Zechariah 4:6) I am still learning and growing in the grace and knowledge of my beautiful, Lord and Savior.
     Today, I am grateful for His mercies more than ever. I am aware that, although my life is far from perfect,  (that expectation is happily crucified) my hope is properly placed. Today is the celebration of my physical birth, my birthday. I like to reflect and consider the past, and check my expectations for the future. I am grateful that He is greater than all of my past, present and future and He holds all in the palm of His hands. Every year I come to the same conclusion...I need Him more than ever to go on. I need His mercies EVERY morning. Some days more than others. He never fails to give them. (1Corinthians 13:8, 1 John 3:16) For this I am grateful. 

Dear Lord, I thank you that your love is faithful,
and will never fail for all eternity. It is this love I fully believe and rely on.
Let me call to mind this great love and hope when I am weak and let me trust You completely.
I praise You and thank you that your mercies are new every morning.

8.20.2011

Proverbs Challenge Invitation

Fight Spiritual Flab! Take the Proverbs Challenge!


I sought the Lord the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34: 4

     I confess I have been feeling a little flabby. Physically and spiritually. Although I have been enjoying the lovely days of Summer, I know that routine and discipline have taken a back seat to rest & relaxation. My Personal Trainer personality has suddenly  been alerted. I must have crossed into a relaxation danger zone. So here I am to invite you, whoever would like to join me, in this simple exercise in self-discipline as we ease our way back into the routines, regimens and schedules of Fall. I came up with it this morning as I was having my quiet time and feeling well...spiritually malnourished. Somehow in the Summer we slip into such a state of bliss and happiness with the weather, cookouts, beach, vacation we don't recognize that we may be getting a little flabby spiritually. At least this is the case for me. So in my training mentality I immediately start think of getting back to basics. Physically and spiritually. When I work with clients who have had an injury, taken time off or are beginners, I love to keep the protocol simple and basic. So that is my plan. Would you like to join me? Physical and Spiritual training are so much more fun when shared.

If you decide to take the challenge, find a way to link up with me as I will be posting daily on Facebook (you can "like" my page, if you would like to get the daily Proverbs Challenge directly to your newsfeeds). Or leave a comment below or via E-Mail and let me know your joining my little challenge!

Oh, and here is my little game plan, you know there had to be a game plan, right? I love to make things creative, fun and interesting so I decided instead of reading in order I would choose daily a random number (1-31) and read that chapter. I punched some squares and numbered them, and will be putting them in a jar on my desk. Each morning I will shake that jar and pick one out. This will be the chapter for the day! Now if you prefer to read in order 1-31 that is fine, too. Or if you would like to read your chapter at night, that will work. The Proverbs Challenge is 1 chapter a day. Simple, easy and good.


Challenge Begins:
Monday, August 22, 2011- That's this Monday!

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 34:8


Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together
Psalm 34:3

Enthusiastically,

8.17.2011

A Magical Day


All glorious is the princess within her chamber;
her gown is interwoven with gold.
~Psalm 45:13
 It started out as an ordinary day. It was supposed to be one of those "productive me" days. The kind you know needs to happen because, it's that time of year again. The word vacation has less power over me as the last few weeks of Summer have been squeezed slowly out of my planner pages. That next month (September) keeps appearing as I plan the days ahead and all that needs to be done by D-Day (1st day of school). So with all this in my mind, of course I had my TO DOs for today completely mapped out. After all, I am, if nothing else, obsessively, compulsively organized. In a most disorganized way. At least on paper I look pretty organized, thanks to my Planner. But somehow paper planning and reality have a way of missing each other and leaving me miffed in the midst of it all. Today that was a beautiful gift. Today, my planner had not accounted for the magical day that would unfold, to my wonder and joy.
"Mom, will you please let me see your wedding dress?" pleaded my daughter as she looked at me with what I call her Junior Mint eyes. Um, I am thinking...not in the plan...warning, warning. I flashback to Robot in "Lost In Space" (doesn't take much for me). She has become a fan of the program "Say Yes To The Dress" and she wanted to see how mine measured up. Until today it has been hanging in our garage. It has been in the zipped tight gown bag since our honeymoon. Today that gown emerged and made our mundane day a very magical one, indeed! Of course she wanted to try it on. The excitement and pure glee my daughter displayed as she posed, primped, giggled and posed some more were absolutely priceless. It is amazing to me how a wedding gown makes every girl feel beautiful, precious and royal. Like a princess. Special. Prized.

Princess Katherine Grace
Even if she is all or any of those things...there is something intoxicating, wonderful and heady about a wedding dress. It has a power to make the one wearing FEEL embraced by beauty.
When I text-ed the pics to my hub, he almost had a stroke! But my girl and I had a million laughs as our afternoon became magical.
The day got more interesting later when my mom returned home and wanted to know why my dress was hanging in the hall. After looking at the pictures we had taken, she mentioned her gown and I immediately
(me being the Keeper of the Photos) retrieved her wedding photos to show Katherine.

Mom poses with her Wedding Gown photos

You know, we never did make it out for all the errands. But what my planner can't show, my heart does reveal. It is well with my soul. Today I had a plan. I had my To Do Lists written. But today instead of my plans I received a better thing. A beautiful gift. A magical day...and for that I am thankful.

 
The Dress on the Big Day!


We topped our magical day off with an appropriate movie
 tonight: Cinderella! It was just the way that we rolled!
On my scale of great Mother/Daughter days,
this one will go down as memorable!
The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.
~Psalm 45:11

8.15.2011

Extreme Blog Makeover

Out with the old and in with the new!
Talk about your perfect timing and God's Providence. As a new blogger I couldn't help but notice that my Blog-Site was lacking a few bells and whistles. It's not that I wanted it to be the biggest, baddest Blog Spot in the Blogosphere, I just felt like there were some things I did not know how to make happen in this brave new world. Enter Heather ( http://www.creative-bliss.net/ ). She had made a post which I happened to catch on a Christian Bloggers network site (Facebook) that she would be taking on a handful of free Blog re-designs or new blog designs to kick off her latest endeavor in the Blogosphere.
Funny, I had just sent an e-mail for a price quote on  having a a Site Button made. However,since at the moment I am not working (just happily blogging away) I really did not think it was fair to be investing in what is currently a free enterprise, and an (sigh) exceedingly gratifying pastime. Not to mention the fact that there is not an excessive demand for a site button for my Blog at this time. Ok, let's be real: forget demand, not even a request. In other words, I am pretty sure my Hubby (gracious, generous and kind though he is) was not going to appreciate me finding new and exciting ways to Bling my Blog at this point in time with some rationalization, "But Honey, Everybody in the Blogosphere has a Button for their Blog". Well to my great surprise, I was one of the recipients who happened to be in the right place, at the right time and before I could say "Bling", my blog went from something that was coming along to looking like something I dreamed. Can you hear the music ? Listen, it's Cinderella playing in the background: "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes".




 This current faith journey God has me on is truly full of surprises! Heather listened and created my new site design with attention to the details and vision I could see in my mind but not produce myself. I love the new look and even got my own cute little Site Button. So, hey grab, one if you'd like! I am still "dreaming" about tweeking some of the details and parts of the site are under construction, but take a peak and also check out her work on her site (below)! When I return to my full-time profession in Fitness I will be letting Heather work on my site, God willing! If you are looking for a fresh new design, stop by and visit!
One final giant thank you to Heather, for all and especially for my "rock" signature!




8.14.2011

You Have Now Entered Another Dimension...


Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

     Like Columbus, I too have discovered a strange, new world. One that I had no idea was out there. You see I thought the recent slammed door in my face, with the sudden loss of my job, was where the world ended. Instead I have found another dimension I did not even know existed. I can visualize, Rod Serling standing- with me in the background hunched over, tapping away on my computer keyboard...and speaking "she thought her life was over, instead she entered another dimension, blogging, in...The Twilight Zone"- (enter eerie background music here). I have often heard people say "One door closes, another opens" as they smile and offer such cliche type lines, and of course I have whipped that one liner out myself. But late in the wee night hours and sometimes during the pre-dawn morning I can now be found tap-tap-tapping away with my heart on fire and a door that has swung wide open and allowed me to travel from one end of the world to another via the Blogosphere. I am not sure that is even a valid word, but it is the one I imagine when I think of this amazing place I am beginning to explore. It is not like I have left my career entirely but I have been on a bit of a sabbatical since the end of May of this year. I have come to the end of the perceived flat Earth and hover at the edge.  (See prior post: Letting Go Means Letting God)  It seems as if God had led me to the proverbial "fork in the road". I believe he has led me there before. Sometimes I sit at the fork and refuse to budge. Sometimes I stare down both roads and don't know which way to go. I listen to too many voices and that is when I usually get the proverbial "kick in the pants". Ok, that is my own interpretation but it usually means, in my personal experience that he removes the distraction or the thing I won't release. He is a faithful Father, friend and He is God. He knows what's best. It's best for me to believe Him...but I waver, doubt and second guess myself...so He does what is needful to help me move ahead. He reminds me of my true identity. He encourages me with His everlasting love and a few gentle words from others. He leads me besides still waters, for sure, but also it seems currently... He is leading me into a busy, blossoming, Blogosphere. A place I did not know before. A place I am exploring with new zeal and excitement as I connect with like minded bloggers in a network of faith, love and testimony! Who can keep up with such an amazing God such as this? He leads me to forks, edges and the ends of the earth...or at least the end of myself. That is a wonderful place to be. I am learning that coming to the end of myself often means that when I jump, he will catch me or I will fly. Or maybe He will let me be completely immersed beneath the surface...breathing in a deeper breath of faith than ever before...going deeper with Him and coming out stronger, better, and more like Him than I ever could have imagined!

So, Twilight Zone or Blogosphere,
at home, or in my career -
it makes no difference to me
 because ultimately...
He is there!

 Care to join me in the Twilight Zone?


My Prayer for my fellow Bloggers in the great Blogosphere Today:
"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
~ Romans 15: 5-6

8.13.2011

My Meditation Today: In Christ Alone



Amy's Link 


Well today I have decided to make the first post on my fresh and new re-designed blog and also attempt to link up with sister faith bloggers:


I am sharing a meaningful song today and  since I am a word lover, I will share the lyrics alone (also because I am not sure how to embed a video on my post yet!). The lyrics to the song "In Christ Alone" by Stewart Townsend and Keith Getty are some of the most powerful song lyrics I have ever sung along with. I find them to be humbling, powerful and emotionally captivating. I heard this song first at a Women's Retreat sponsored by my home church at the time. The woman who sang these beautiful words, sang them with spiritual strength and sensitivity, leaving forever an impression upon me. I generally appreciate the Hymns of old as opposed to more contemporary songs for worship, however, I do also enjoy some contemporary music as well. I have to give an honorary mention to one of these: "Love Song For A Savior" by Jars of Clay. This song is my favorite celebration of the childlike faith I have and the struggle to maintain it in light of the cynicism, callousness and warfare experienced as I walk along this path of faith. You can find those lyrics and a video clip at the site listed below!

Read and meditate on the words below and be blessed, my friends!
 In Christ Alone
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease

My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand
In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Till He returns or calls me home

Here in the power of Christ I'll stand


8.11.2011

Too Many Lives: Seasons of Seeking (Part 3)

In repentence and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
Isaiah 30:15


Seasons of Seeking: Ashrams & Synagogues and Monasteries, Oh My!

I have been reading through the piles of journals which are now construed all over the floor in our family computer room.
One of the things I love most about keeping all these journals is that I forget. A lot. Like sometimes, what I did yesterday. Often also, what God did and has done for me, sometimes over and over again. So I am committed to writing down my journey. I am a scribe to the life God is revealing to me. To some it is quite hidden. But to others who seek to dig deeper, we meet in the kingdom of conversation and fellowship, reverence and joy, in the presence of a Mighty King.

"For you have died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God"
Colossians 3:4

I have journeyed many places since my eyes have been opened to the kingdom (John 3:3, Luke 17:21 ). I have met many others. He has brought fellow seekers along my path that we might rub elbows together, sharpen one another, challenge and encourage one another and grow in the grace and knowledge of Him. He has allowed those I call "Judas" friends to come into my life as well as bringing me into the company of more than a few Pharisees, to keep me leaning on Him alone. I have longed to Run to the Mountains with Mr. Merton as well as desired a House by The Sea like May Sarton. Or maybe A Life in the Woods far away from the adversities of community may be deemed quite nice after a few rounds in the real world like, the often quoted, Henry David Thoreau. But I have realized, though the path is narrow, I am called to community. Where He leads I must follow. The following part, well that has been the interesting thing. You see it has taken time to discern His leading from my own. Oh, so you think it is easy to follow when so often you find yourself in the lead? It seems I am often in positions of leadership, no matter how hard I try to avoid this role. But learning to follow is where the rubber meets the road. I have speedily gone down some roads let's say,  that have left me squealing my wheels, doing a 360, peeling out, trying to avoid the pile-up I see ahead, but often which was unavoidable.  I have learned to listen before engaging "fuel injection". Well, sometimes (see above italicised) - so I am still learning to wait for the flag and follow the Pace Car instead of speeding out in front. I tell you, it's not easy. But it is safer and better for sure. Part of this struggle is the way I am created by Him. Part of it is the me, that needs to learn to YIELD continually to Him. But yielding is better than crashing, after all.

When you have eaten and are satisfied,
praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.
Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God,
failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees.
 ~ Deuteronomy 8:10

I  have been remembering back as I look in these journals... I see where I have forked in the road, veering in a direction he has not ordained. But even as I visited a Jesuit Monastery, God met me there. When I weekended at an Ashram, don't be shocked, but the One, True, Living, God also met me there. As I  also lived, worked and enjoyed - for over ten years -  the community I fondly call and remember as "my little Jewish community" He most definitely met me there.  As a matter of fact for those who are worried about sending your children away to worldly, secular universities and colleges: Yup...I sat in Eastern Religion & Philosophy classes and Guess who was there? Gloriously, faithfully, wonderfully, powerfully-God was there.

Do you have loved ones who have have strayed far from the paths of love, grace and truth? Be encouraged, friends, because He is able to guide the paths of all He has created and He  has created all. He is able to meet them where they are. God is able. He met me where I was, and even allowed insight and important lessons into His character, as well as His beloved created beings. God loves His people. The Pharisees, The Judas's, The Faithful and Unfaithful. God loves, my friends. It's what He does. It's who He is. Don't fret. So, keep praying in your closet, and keep believing. Because Jesus Christ is forever on the throne. His Kingdom reigns. AMEN.

Once having been asked by the Pharisees
when the kingdom of God would come,
Jesus replied,
"The kingdom of God does not come
with your careful observation,
nor will people say
'Here it is,' or 'There it is, '
because the kingdom of God is within you."
~Luke 17:20

For further contemplation: Jeremiah 29:13-14, Joel 2:25, Mark 12: 29-31, Jeremiah 31:31-34

Well, Stay tuned for some changes here at Beneath The Surface: Breath of Faith! I am so excited to be receiving a Blog Site "makeover"!  Will keep you "posted", of course!  Once my journals are all picked up off the floor I will also be attempting some Blog Hopping, again!  I had no idea there were so many other wonderful Fellow Blogging Believers out there!

Until we meet again- Beneath the Surface,




 
                               

8.07.2011

A Testimony

As I was going through some papers I came across a poem I wrote about my journey many moons ago...I thought I'd share it:

Visiting Pennsylvania

A Testimony


You called,
I listened and paused to look your way
busy chasing my own dreams, not ready to obey.
Barely hesitating, uncertain in my glance,
Surely I 'm not worthy - so I left my life to chance...

You called again,
this time I stopped and pondered on your truth.
I contemplated, as you waited-
patient through and through.

You watched me in my blindness
falter, stumble and fall.
You watched with loving, longing eyes but I couldn't comprehend it all.

You reached to me from heaven,
and tried to lift me up-
how sad I didn't understand the blood within the cup.

Still, you did not give up...

I stood my ground stubbornly.
Full of pride and confidence,
I clung to my own ignorance-
thinking " I can do this on my own".

So satan smiled for a little while,
another sinner lost- and far from home.

But...the love of Jesus!

Crucified, for me he died- Yes, even me!

Humbly, I fell to my knees,
at last the realization,
no more need for contemplation.

Jesus has made me see! Jesus has set me free!
In His name is my victory.

Now, I give thanks every day.
I praise the Lord, I thank the Lord,
for His Son who is The Life, The Truth, The Way.
I lay down my life, I give it all to Him -
 in His name I live and pray.

To God be the Glory,
In Jesus name, Amen.


Well Happy Sunday friends, and may His light shine in, through and upon you!

Enthusiastically,
Dawn

8.05.2011

The Sacred Rocker



Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

It is early morning. Quietness. Peace. Stillness but for the gentle, rhythmic rocking of the chair which has been made to do just that. And perfectly it does that which it has been purposed to do. Faithfully. The chair has weathered much in the past 11 years or so since it has come to be part of this family's history. It was a gift. Ordered and delivered with impeccable timing just about two months before my daughter was born. Given by a very thoughtful Great Uncle, who although titled uncle since childhood is in reality a cousin. A season of my life which can only be remembered as an abundantly lavish time of God's amazing grace bestowed upon me. You see at this time I was a single Mom. Worse still I was a Christian, unwed, mom to be- about to spend the next two years as such. These two years were marked by deep intimacy with my Lord and Savior as He truly made himself my everything and showed me His complete ability to provide, restore, and bless me after being knocked off my feet as I walked along my narrow Christian path. He widened the path I was on and showed me His sufficiency and desire to love to the uttermost those who are His own. One of the ways I witnessed this provision was the Rocker I received as a generous baby shower gift from my "Uncle Cliff" from California. He made all the arrangements and I got to shop for the one I wanted and pick it out with much anticipation. After all this would be the chair I nursed my baby girl and rock her, I imagined gently to sleep. Little did I know that chair would experience this and much more as it solidified it's place and purpose in our lives. The rocker alone is the last surviving piece of baby furniture from my little girl's infancy. It remains steadfast and true. A reminder of grace, provision and the loving hand of my faithful & true Savior.

"Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you."
(Jeremiah 32:17)

These words from Jeremiah were emphasized daily in my life at this time. The Lord continually showed me that He desired my allegiance, attention, confidence and faith. He was weaning me from my worldly trust and focus to utter dependence on Him. Every decision of faith brought forth a provisional blessing. It wasn't expected or anticipated yet received freely in amazement and joy! The Rocker also received me daily. We whiled away the hours together. There was the nursing schedule, the middle of the night feedings and the colicky night meetings. There were late night rendezvous and mornings when I woke up realizing I was still in the arms of the Rocker as my girl slept soundly head resting over my shoulder. The Rocker became a sacred place in those early days of my mom-hood. As I comforted my crying baby girl and pleaded to God for help, sometimes silently, sometimes out loud, most times desperate. Always heard.

Nothing is too hard for Him.

The Rocker has journeyed to new places and from room to room as our family has changed over time. It has held each of us now for stories, family reading times, before bed chats and prayers. In the elementary years the Rocker held one lone parent (we would tag team)  for those "I had a bad dream" and "scary monster" nights. One eye peaked back from the bed seeking that assurance of Mom or Dad's presence. And one of us would stay rocking gently into the night peaking back through heavy eyes willingly offering up our sleep to give that assurance to our precious girl.

Today this same chair is outside on our back patio. It is a bit worn. My mom reminds me I should replace the cushions. Stuffing is coming out at the top. But here, still I come...rocking gently back and forth in the early mornings, Bible and journal in my lap contemplating all God has taught me, seeking Him and praising the wonders of His love. This gift has become to me a Sacred Rocker. A welcome place to ponder the past, meditate on Truth, receive grace anew daily and anticipate the joy to come tomorrow.

Dear Lord, you are a faithful companion. You are mysterious, wonderful and powerful. I am in awe of you and grateful that you are mindful of me. I praise you, Sovereign God, whom nothing is to hard for. You have guided me along this journey into parenthood and marriage. Into places I feared, you have brought blessing and grace in abundance. I thank you that You have become my excellent inheritance, and brought me to a good place. Not because I deserved it, no. Because you are a gracious, merciful and loving God.  I pray all who read these words will come to know you and see for themselves your gracious, faithful, compassionate nature fully. In Jesus name. Amen.  



                                                                            
"As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you... "
(Isaiah 66:13)
 Grace and Peace to You all ! I hope you you are enjoying the beautiful Summer and seeking Him daily!
He is never boring and certainly will take you beneath the surface for a fresh breath of faith as you do!

With Enthusiasm and In His Grace,
Dawn

8.02.2011

A New Israel ?

   
This is what the Lord says- Israel's King and Redeemer, the Lord almighty:
I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.
~ Isaiah 44:6

  I have a lovely friend who comes from another country. Recently we had the opportunity to discuss differences between our native countries and how the Lord Jesus found each of us on our distant continents, embraced us in love and turned our lives around. What she had to say got me thinking about this great country I am grateful to live in, which is perceived by most outside nations to be a "Christian Nation".
     When she first came to the USA she was surprised to find the country she believed to be founded as a nation under God's authority and Lordship was not unlike God's own original chosen people, Israel, who were chosen to be a light to all other nations and yet failed, repeatedly in following the God who had chosen, founded and ordained them to be identified in Him. She expressed to me how difficult it was to see this "Christian Nation" with so much head knowledge but no heart for the ever present, invisible, God. As an outsider coming from a country which is comparatively poor with limited freedoms she anticipated coming to a land of opportunities, promise and Christian hope. Coming from a culture which worships many gods she had heard about the country which had one God- The One True, Living God. The hope and truth of this One, Holy God and freedom to worship Him with access to His Word inspired her faith to grow stronger. She shared how the Lord Jesus was able to meet her personally and reveal himself to her and how exciting, real and wonderful it was. This was all prior to her coming to America. Still, as she came to live in a once dreamed of and promised land something began to stir for her beneath the surface. These stirrings came as she began to seek God in this foreign, faraway place and realized that amidst the many church buildings that dotted the countrysides, and despite the spiritual heritage of a rich Christian nation all was not as it would appear. She finds herself challenged not by the reality of crime in our country or the lack of love for God, disregard for truth or even rejection of moral absolutes by the general population. She knows better. She is most challenged by the apathy and complacency of those who supposedly know the same Jesus that she knows, yet seem to be desensitized and even disconnected from His heart. Wow. That is one big, giant Selah, and wake up call to the church. Sometimes it takes an outsider to come and speak to us...to remind us of the Jesus that longs for us to shake off religion and follow him with total dependency and mold-able, available, receptive hearts! No wonder God used prophets. Still does, my friends- the question is, are we listening for His voice? Are we willing to hear and repent? We need to guard ourselves from the idols of today. They are subtle and appear good as we know the enemy of our souls comes as a beautiful angel of light, not the abhorrent being he truly is- Remember, there is no truth in him. We must guard against that which appears to be good and that is idolatry in God's eyes. One of my favorite verses in the Bible says that the man who fears the Lord will avoid all extremes. (Ecclesiastes 7:18, NIV) Look around friend, our culture longs for simplicity but is driven to extremes in almost every pursuit. Who do you think is fueling that? I have found that God is in the balance as I continually walk by faith. He leads me away from idolatry and into the beauty and wonderful knowledge of His grace. Let's examine ourselves before God and stop comparing ourselves to others. Let's remember who we represent and that He himself IS Love.

Lord, I pray  I am never guilty of being apathetic or complacent in my faith. Give me ears to hear when you want to direct me in love. Let me not speak unless, I myself am led by love. Lord, may I never be desensitized to your heart. But may my faith burn and glow brighter, hotter and stronger with each passing day. Keep me from the extremes that lead to the unperceived idols of the day. Let me not be driven by or to extremes but drawn by You alone into that which is good. I pray this for each who reads these words, as well. In Jesus name.


Further reflection: 2 Corinthians 5:20-21, 1 Peter 2:9-12, John 15:19, Ephesians 3:6, Mark 12:29, Isaiah 44:6, 49:6, 9:2, Matthew 5:13-16, John 3:19-21, 1 John 1:5-7


                                         
  But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
       He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out it's roots by the stream.
It does not fear when rain comes; it's leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
~ Jeremiah 17:7-8



Until next time, I continue In His Grace, with thanksgiving,
Dawn