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prayer

earth and heaven

Posted in inspiration

O Lord, I live here as a fish in a vessel of water,
only enough to keep me alive, but in heaven I shall swim in the ocean.

Here I have a little air in me to keep me breathing, but there I shall have sweet and fresh gales;
Here I have a beam of sun to lighten my darkness, a warm ray to keep me from freezing;
yonder shall I live in light and warmth forever,

My natural desires are corrupt and misguided, and it is Thy mercy to destroy them;
My spiritual longings are of Thy planting, and Thou will water and increase them;

Quicken my hunger and thirst after the Realm Above.

Here I can have the world, There I shall have Thee in Christ;

Here is a life of longing and prayer, There is assurance without suspicion, asking without refusal;

Here are gross comforts, more burden than benefit,
There is joy without sorrow, comfort without suffering, love with inconstancy, rest without weariness.

Give me to know that Heaven is all love, where the eye affects the heart,
and the continual viewing of Thy beauty keeps the soul in continual transports of delight.

Give me to know that Heaven is all peace, where error, pride, rebellion, passion raise no head.

Give me to know that Heaven is all joy, the end of believing, fasting, praying, mourning, humbling, watching, fearing, repining;
And lead me to it soon.

— Valley of Vision

 


 

Alexander S. Kunz

Cheer up. He is calling you.

Posted in faith

Do you know the story of blind Bartimeus? It’s in Mark 10…

Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road.

When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

“Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”

So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you,” Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My Rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”

And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.

This story of Jesus healing Bartimeus has become a call to prayer for me.

Weird connection? Stay with me.

My perspective on prayer has changed drastically in the past few years. I used to live in the camp that my prayers had to be well-put-together, with the right words, quoting scripture, asking for the best things, etc.

Now, through grace and Spirit-led discoveries, prayer is ongoing interaction with Father God. I invite Him to join me in my breakfast or morning jog. I ask His opinion before I speak or enter a meeting. I share frustrations, fears, and disappointment with Him on the spot, whether I’m driving, talking, or washing dishes.

The gift of praying, Holy Spirit inside us as a constant Companion, is so beautiful, so profound, so revolutionary.

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for me, Christ must be everything

Posted in faith

This statement is one that has been more true of my life than ever before in my relationship with God. Not because I’ve finally arrived at some grand achievement of spirituality, but because I am at a place where I see the value, the beauty, the marvel, the richness, of treasuring Christ above all else.

I certainly don’t do it perfectly 24/7, but I finally see clearly how He must be everything. He must be my life.

I’m an all or nothing type. It has its perks and its faults. I’m not the girl who says, ‘One cookie a day.’ I just binge eat half a carton of ice cream and then don’t eat sugar for a month.

As I continue to grow up and learn more about myself, I see this in other areas also. I like to know 100% why I am doing a particular thing – running, healthy eating, writing, instagramming, etc. I must have a purpose and that purpose must be big enough to motivate me.

However, even while knowing this tendency about myself, I tend to give priority to God and self-image. God and entertainment, God and temporal satisfaction, God and selfishness.

How could I ever thing that would work? Especially being an all or nothing girl.

But, God in His goodness and grace, in my seeking of His help, has redeemed.

This Charles Spurgeon quote is the currently the lock screen of my phone:

If Christ be anything He must be everything.

I have seen that adding things to Jesus to satisfy, energize, and sustain me doesn’t work. It leaves me tired, numb, enslaved to insecurity or worldly approval, even irritable. There’s no other way for me but Jesus being my everything.

Does that mean I treasure Him perfectly every minute of the day? Um, no. Not in this life.

But I’ve seen that it does affect my daily choices. It shapes the kind of faith I live.

When Jesus is treasured above everything else, it’s believing that the thing I’m giving up is a vapor compared to the riches of knowing Him.

I see that my biggest hindrances to strong faith, dying to self and pursuing Him above all else come when my devotion, when my heart, is divided. When it’s being given to this and that, the temporary high, or selfish attitude. It is both heartbreaking and humbling.

And it’s a work of Holy Spirit alone. If not for Him, I would only ever pursue the glory of self. And I still struggle; it’s challenging. Sanctification of my heart relies on daily, hourly, moment-by-moment Divine intervention. But praise the Lord for His tender love and patience.

I pray that my treasuring Him brings Him glory, in whatever shapes in continues to take.

photo via unsplash

for this moment

Posted in faith

Father, you are sovereign. Though my moments are sometimes marked with sin and brokenness, you don’t make mistakes. If I am here, you have a plan for your glory, a purpose full of life to speak over me. Speak it and it will be. I’m prone to look inward, to exhaust myself by focusing on me. I too quickly forget to communicate with you when disappointments come, when pain seeps in. May I lean on you for guidance and life. Help me to meditate on your Word, your Word that gives life. Make this the ground on which I wrestle, walk, and live life.

I invite you here, to the place you created. You saw today when you called life out of nothing. You know my yesterdays and my tomorrows. The world moves because you breathe life into it. Thank you for the beauty, the color, the excitement, the movement. I exist here in this moment because you spoke it. Thank you for the grace that meets me around every turn.

I invite you to walk alongside me, walk close to me. Help my decision making treasure you above all. Help me to trust your heart, your promises. Saturate my life with your presence.


Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.  James 1:12

a sweet gift you can give God

Posted in faith, inspiration

I believe one of the sweetest gifts you can continually give to your Heavenly Father is embracing and walking confidently in your unique, beautiful self.

Does that make sense? If you are a Christian, you are in Christ. Being in Christ means a lot of things, but one is that it is a real, actual, living and breathing relationship. You have a perfectly loving Heavenly Father.

A Father who knit you together, pieced you together, to be precisely you.

You. Your personality, quirks, habits, features, passions. What comes naturally, what is more challenging.

Me. Curly hair, conversationalist, perfectionist, sensitive, emotional, diligent. Eats too much peanut butter. Likes to have a plan, hates to arrive late. Enjoys time alone. Creative because God is creative.

The Bible says we are God’s handiwork. His craftsmanship. (Ephesians 2:10) Part of His creation. Fully loved and completely accepted.

It makes me sad to realize how this culture has taken it upon itself to name ‘beauty’ as one particular mold or set of features. Right?

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