For The Beloved

30/07/2010 § 2 Comments

Beloved,

There are so many things that are running around in my brain I want to share about. I am having a hard time picking one thing that I can share in a deep but condensed way.

Usually when that happens I turn to worship. I quiet my heart and mind and start singing to the Lord. I offer up to Him all that is going on in my life. I lay it all at His feet and ask Him to take my simple offering of myself and all I am and have and want and hope to be.

I admit, this is not as common as I’d like it to be. Distractions do come and try to pull me away and I have allowed them to steal this precious time.

Worship is a lifestyle and a dramatic departure from ‘the norm’ as far as how everyone else lives their lives-in and out of the church. It is a practiced behavior and attitude that only gets easier with, well, practice.

 
I find that in moments like these, in the presence of my sweet Savior, I come to a place where all I really and truly want is more of Him. All the things of this world, all the desires of my heart, all the cares and deadlines and noise, sometimes so loud, melts away and as I let it go, my arms are laid bare and empty.

Then, and only then, am I able to fully embrace Jesus, all He has for me, all He is to me and all I need from Him. When my arms are full of all of that other stuff, there’s little to no room at all for the One thing, the One person who should be occupying that space.

I think that is what breaks His heart. When we have full arms and full schedules and full agendas, full heads and full bellies and there’s no more room left for a mere morsel of His love, His grace, His mercy, His sovereignty, His truth and His bread. 

I want to come to a place in my life where my main goal is to make sure my Love’s heart isn’t broken because of me. You can’t truly love someone without dying to yourself and giving them all you are. Didn’t Jesus do that for us?

Before you think of me in a pious way, know that I am no where near that goal, but I at least have figured out what my goal is and I am trying to run toward it as best I can. I start out hand-in-hand with my Lord but the end of the days journey doesn’t always find my hand in His. Nevertheless, I find it, I grasp it and I try all over again. Too much is at stake if I give up. Besides, where would I go? Only He has the words of eternal life, no one else.

 “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”   ~Philippians 3
   

Still Pressing on in Him,
Traci

One Thousand Gifts

27/07/2010 § Leave a comment

51. warm sun-drenched days
52. cool ‘star’-blanketed nights
53. clothesline laundry taken in flight!

54. first fruits from tended earth
55. love-made food filling bellies
56. sweet pickings to make jellies!

57. time away with ones loved and dear
58. long bike rides though the park
59. s’mores upon s’mores after dark!
60. another day, another breath, to repeat the meaningful things in this life

holy experience

Beautiful

26/07/2010 § Leave a comment

Here, before Your altar,
I am letting go of all I’ve held
of every motive, every burden,
everything that’s of myself.
and I just wanna wait on You my God
I just wanna dwell on who You are.

Beautiful, beautiful oh I am lost for more to say
Beautiful, beautiful oh Lord, You’re beautiful to me

Oh beautiful

Here, in Your presence,
I am not afraid of brokenness
to wash Your feet with humble tears
oh I would be poured out till nothing’s left.
and I just wanna wait on You my God
I just wanna dwell on who You are, who You are

Beautiful, beautiful oh I am lost for more to say
Beautiful, beautiful oh Lord, You’re beautiful to me

Oh Lord You’re beautiful, beautiful beautiful
Holy holy holy You are You are
Holy holy holy You are You are
Holy holy holy You are You are
Holy holy holy You are You are

Beautiful, beautiful oh I am lost for more to say
Beautiful, beautiful oh Lord, You’re beautiful to me

and I just wanna wait on You my God
I just wanna dwell on who You are. 

 

For The Beloved

23/07/2010 § Leave a comment

Beloved,
This summer is really proving to be a busy one. We have had so many things on the calendar to keep us plenty occupied. As I take a brief moment to even more briefly reflect, I find myself letting out a hearty, contented and somewhat exhausted sigh. It is good to be about the business of the Lord and to be living out our charge to be fruitful and productive. I do admit, mingled in between some of the hard work, there have been times of laziness and distraction.

Dying to one’s flesh is a continual task that while momentarily painful, and sometimes wrenchingly so, the peaceable fruit that is produced on the other side of the process is tremendously sweet and deeply rooted. I want to encourage you, if you are finding yourself in a time such as this, keep pressing on. Like a runner who is set on winning a race, keep your eye on the finish line and your ears open to the cheering crowd of fellow believers who are rooting for you!

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

   “ My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
      Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
      For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
      And scourges every son whom He receives.”

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.”
   ~Hebrews 12:1-13 (NKJV)

Pressing on in Him,
Traci

For The Beloved

09/07/2010 § Leave a comment

Beloved,

Jesus! I am resting, resting

Jesus! I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
  Of Thy loving heart.

Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For, by Thy transforming power,
  Thou hast made me whole.

Jesus! I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
    Of Thy loving heart.
Oh, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea:
Oh, how marvelous Thy goodness,
  Lavished all on me!

Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
  And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
  Satisfies my heart,
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings,
  Thine is love indeed.
Ever lift Thy face upon me,
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ‘neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
  Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
  Fill me with Thy grace.


Finding rest in Jesus,
Traci

I will be on vacation this next week with my husband’s family. Every year we go to a different state park here in MN. We have partaken in this annual ‘tradition’ since the first year my husband and I met…12 years ago! This is one of my absolute favorite times of the year and every year as the time of departure draws near the excitement mounts.
It has been a wonderful time of rest for us and we always enjoy the fellowship of one another. This year I intend to really make sure I rest but it will look different as the only reading material I will be bringing is my Bible. I will be finding rest in the comfort of my Savior and His ‘love letter’ to me, His beloved. Don’t worry, I’ll give a full report when we return!

Until then, my beloved friends, peace, grace and blessings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whom we find all things that pertain to life and Godliness, help in time of trouble and love that will never cease.

“O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.  Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.
 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
 Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore…”
~Psalm 105



For The Beloved

02/07/2010 § 2 Comments

Beloved,
So, I’m on the social networking site Facebook and I start seeing all of these displays of the American flag and status updates talking about patriotism and prayers asking God to bless America on the anniversary of the founding of this nation and I start smiling. I consider myself to be patriotic. I support our military. I am grateful for the Lord’s providential hand on the history of the country that I call home. I enjoy spending time with family, eating great food and I really like fireworks too. (Thank you China!) Then I start thinking, which turns into contemplating which turns into deep meditation (which for me has been turning into a normal pattern for my incessant thought life).

I believe I have come up with a sort of work in progress thought that summarizes my pondering. Here goes:

“*Patriotism is great, but forgiveness in Jesus Christ and being right with God is greater.”
 
What do you think? I hope you noticed I put an asterisk by the word ‘patriotism’ because I feel this statement is very versatile and you can insert just about any ‘ism’ or idea or popular thought/lifestyle/career/etc into this word equation and it would still hold its value. Such as: conservatism, soccer, work, toys, politics, religion, having a family, being a parent, knowing all the words to a favorite song or movie, being wealthy, etc. You get the picture right?

Nothing, not one thing, compares to and should draw our undying, devoted ‘allegiance’ more than knowing and loving our Savior and making Him the object of our efforts and affections. Anything other than complete surrender and unwavering worship of Christ is a slippery slope toward idolatry. Idolatry separates us from God and grieves His heart. He is a jealous God and wants all of us, every last part for Himself. Our Beloved Bridegroom does not want to share His Precious Bride and He wants His Bride to have that very same steadfast devotion toward Him.

We need to keep our hearts in check brothers and sisters. I am guilty as charged. Knowing this, I run to the cross and throw myself at the mercy of my loving and gracious Savior. I agree with His assessment of my sin. He washes me with His cleansing blood and I am restored to intimate fellowship with Him. All is well. I press on.
 “…Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words. I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.
 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
 The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.
 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.
 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.
 The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes…”

~Psalm 119 (57-64)


Enjoying the holiday but enjoying Christ more,
Traci

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