Thursday, July 27, 2023

Beauty in the Breaking

"I will always show you where to go. I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places - firm muscles, strong bones. You'll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past..." Isaiah 58:11-12 The Message

Nicole Nordeman's song The Unmaking, reminds us that within our disappointments, failures, vain efforts, difficult decisions, and circumstances beyond our understanding God meets us. She writes, God wanted to sit with me in the silence and the dust, after the wrecking ball, and put His arms around me for a while. Nordeman says God wasn't asking for a new plan of action; rather, "He asked for my vulnerability." 

God desires that we turn to Him, seek His Presence, and allow Him to comfort us! In the mess, the muck, the middle of the ruins of lost hope and broken dreams God is waiting. He always finds us in our need. Nordeman writes, the rubble is where we have to start. Listen to this beautiful song of sifting through the debris, defining an ending, seeing the hope in a new beginning. Listen to the open, sincere whispers of the heart, What happens now?...What happens next when all of you is all that's left?...This is the unmaking, beauty in the breaking...sitting in the rubble... ~dho  -[Link to “The Unmaking” by Nicole Nordeman]

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Journey Notes!

 Since 2005 I have consistently kept a devotional-prayer journal. It is small enough to easily take with me and fits inside a Bible. I do not necessarily write in it every day, but most days I do. Scripture, random ideas, new words, and meanings of words often find their way to the pages. Excerpts from articles, books, or commentaries that move me are also written or attached within the pages. On the right margin I make notes of prayer requests and sometimes the pages are flagged as ongoing prayer requests come to me. This journal reminds me and gives me a place to make notes of specific needs, spiritual enrichment, and often supernatural outcomes. God is good!

There is one unique entry I always include on the first page of each notebook ~ I make a journey note of a Scripture that defines where I am spiritually when I start the notebook. I often discover this to be way the Spirit leads me during this phase of my journey with Him. Occasionally, I also write a quote or excerpt from a commentary that speaks to His Word. When the book is complete, when no more empty pages remain, I mark the front with the beginning and ending dates and begin another. Looking back I can always find a richness of God's teaching, wisdom, and leading along with a deeper understanding of my struggles, successes, and relationship with God. Sometimes, the very circumstances that brought me the most discomfort reveal my most intimate times of spiritual growth with God. 

My current journal note is this Scripture from Ecclesiastes, a favorite book of mine. Reminding me to enjoy the fruits of my labor, the goodness of God. Both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy comes from God, the giver of all good things. In the last few months I have had unexpected opportunities to travel, spend time with family, and enjoy the bounty God has provided. These moments, as they come, are to be treasured. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now!” Lord, remind me to be present in the moments, to be thankful for what You give, to enjoy the gifts You give! - dho

Thursday, July 13, 2023

God’s Majesty!

The LORD looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men;
From His dwelling place He looks out
On all the inhabitants of the earth,
He who fashions the hearts of them all,
He who understands all their works. Psalm 33:13-15

Our soul waits for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart rejoices in Him,
Because we trust in His holy name.
Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us, 
According as we have hoped in You. 
Psalm 33:20-22

Thursday, July 06, 2023

Liberty, The Fruit of Life

 America the Beautiful, original words 1893:

"...America! America! God shed His grace on thee, 
Till selfish gain no longer stain,
The banner of the free!"

By 1911, the words changed:
"...Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine."

Let's help America keep the perspective of selfless-ness over noble success, and not let any gain rise higher than freedom and liberty. As Americans, we value liberty but struggle with its power. This liberty allows us the freedom to choose our own interests and create our personal agendas and claim our individual beliefs. With freedom comes responsibility, the responsibility to respect others with whom we differ, to respect each other as people.

In the New Testament, James writes, "So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of Liberty." For Christians, this 'law of Liberty' is the Perfect Law of Christ, faithful and true. James goes on to remind us, "For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time." As Christians, we are to be kind to others! Kindness personifies liberty. Let our kindness show others the soul-liberty we know through the grace of Christ. And on this day we celebrate America's Independence Day let our prayer be, "...God shed Your grace on me, and crown Your good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea." -dho

*Scripture James 2:12-13 (The Message)
** Previously posted on this blog dho/July 4, 2016