For the Beloved

08/09/2010 § Leave a comment

Beloved,

The cursor blinks relentlessly. I stare at it, willing it to inspire me. Something. Anything. Please? Inside I laugh at myself. If people only knew who I am when no one sees. I stop and wonder, “Would they still like me?”. I pause to reflect where this daunting subject could end. As the thoughts swirl, I become increasingly aware that there’s a reason I tend to ‘hide’ behind a screen. Am I ready to ‘go there’? Go beyond the easy and obvious and bare deep, inner parts of me? Nothing too secret, no, nothing too real. What would people think? What if they find out, you know, that I’m…a quirky, awkward human?

Another inner chuckle escapes as I reassure myself of the certainty that that knowledge is already far spread, assumed even. “Is that ok?” I wonder. It must be, I conclude. Others have already let their proverbial ‘cat out of the bag’, bared their depths for all to see and judge. Hmmm…there’s a word. Judge. That can be an icky, tricky one.

No one wants to admit it, yet we all do it and in most cases it is necessary as an assessment to know which direction to proceed. Judging is good, at times, but quickly becomes vile and slanderous when we use it against others for selfish means. It produces fear and wreaks havoc on the innocent. Yet, it’s where we unwisely run when we think we need its counsel.

judge- v. tr. 1. To form an opinion or estimation of after careful consideration. 2. To determine or declare after consideration or deliberation. 3. Informal To have as an opinion or assumption; suppose. 4. Bible To govern; rule. Used of an ancient Israelite leader.

Sure. That seems fair and right. Opinions should be held loosely as they are not something solid rather things that can morph and change as one learns more, observes more, etc. While based on facts, they are only an ‘educated assumption’ that come from evaluating or judging, the observed, outward actions of the subject.

v.intr.
1. To form an opinion or evaluation. 2. To act or decide as a judge.

Great! Glad to know I was on the right track. Wait a minute, number 2 says one can ‘act…as a judge’. It seems as though my ‘proceed with caution’ radar has gone up. It seems to me I’m not the only one they had in mind when forming this definition, therefore, others can apply this intransitive verb if and whenever they so choose. I think we’re getting into dangerous territory now.

judge- n. 1. One who judges, especially: a. One who makes estimates as to worth, quality, or fitness.

Ok, here we go. We’ve arrived. This is exactly what sends me to a quiet hole in my own universe. The skies are pleasant here. Safety radiates all around from the thick, high walls I surround myself with. It’s so peaceful. Silent. Dark…and lonely. People scare me.

A small price to pay for all that I get, the ‘package deal’, right? All the perks and amenities:

Backed by our Worry-Free Guarantee, you’ll find comfort of life and ease of mind with our 24 hour Protection Services. Complete with impenetrable super-duper-thick high walls, you will never be hurt again and with our new, state-of-the-art, darker than darkness window system you can see others without them seeing you. The ultimate in protection from unwanted meaningful contact. Never suffer from being vulnerable to anyone again. All this and more for a low, low cost of giving up the following: your health, your happiness, being understood, understanding others, your daily dose of sunlight, your social life, friendships with humans (pets are permitted), your family and so much more!
Act now and start living a life of anxiety, fear, sadness, depression, loneliness, self-loathing, solitude, selfishness, pride and overall ill health today!

Wow, all that and more huh?

“A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment. A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart.” ~Proverbs 18:1 (NKJV)

Baby stepping toward wholeness in Christ,

Traci



Before the Throne of God Above

29/08/2010 § Leave a comment

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.


My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.


Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free

For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace.

One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

For The Beloved

27/08/2010 § Leave a comment

Beloved,

‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus says the Lord!”

Refrain
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!

O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
‘Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Refrain

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

Refrain

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

Refrain


“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You.” ~Psalm 5:11

“And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” ~Psalm 9:10

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.” ~Psalm 36:7

“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.” ~Proverbs 30:5


Still learning to put my trust in my Defender and Shield,
Traci

Heaven Came Down

22/08/2010 § 1 Comment

O what a wonderful, wonderful day – day I will never forget;
After I’d wandered in darkness away, Jesus my Saviour I met.
O what a tender, compassionate friend – He met the need of my heart;
Shadows dispelling, With joy I am telling, He made all the darkness depart.

Chorus:
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Saviour made me whole;
My sins were washed away –
And my night was turned to day –
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!

Born of the Spirit with life from above into God’s fam’ly divine,
Justified fully thru Calvary’s love, O what a standing is mine!
And the transaction so quickly was made when as a sinner I came,
Took of the offer of grace He did proffer – He saved me, O praise His dear name!

Chorus:
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Saviour made me whole;
My sins were washed away –
And my night was turned to day –
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!

Now I’ve a hope that will surely endure after the passing of time;
I have a future in heaven for sure, there in those mansions sublime.
And it’s because of that wonderful day when at the cross I believed;
Riches eternal and blessings supernal from His precious hand I received.

Chorus:
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Saviour made me whole;
My sins were washed away –
And my night was turned to day –
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!


By: John Willard Peterson

For The Beloved

06/08/2010 § Leave a comment

Beloved,
Today you will find me in the kitchen, bedecked with my red and white gingham apron, ruffle trimmed. The harvest is coming in and we are buzzing around making sure nothing goes to waste. If you listen carefully you will most likely hear the unmistakable sound of my camera’s shutter, snapping photos to preserve moments in time, memories that will be reminisced about for years to come.

Beside me is my shadow, I’m beaming as I call her daughter. The fine art of passing on life skills to my precious inheritance is a never ending joy. We bump into each other, a “Whoa!” is exclaimed, nearly spilling, catching it all and giggling at the ‘close call’. These are the moments that make my mother’s heart swell. A small quiver of lip and a deep held breath holds back the wanting to blubber bittersweet tears. I audibly thank the Lord for His merciful hand and abundant blessings, she hears and I hope the example penetrates deep.

Corn, blueberries, apricots thus far.
Peaches, tomatoes and more on par.
 
Is this really my life? Could this really be true?
Will someone please pinch me, I’m sure once will do.
 
The life of my dreams is now to be had,
I’m really alive, which leaves no room for sad.
 
The Lord has seen fit to bless me with gifts.
May I always be grateful and never throw fits.
 
His hand upon me, I humbly confess,
Is more than I’ve ever dreamt I’d be blessed.

My Savior, my Jesus, my Lord and my King,
Help me to cherish and not squander these things.

PSALM 146 (NKJV)


“Praise the LORD!
         Praise the LORD, O my soul!
 While I live I will praise the LORD;
         I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
         
 Do not put your trust in princes,
         Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
         In that very day his plans perish.
         
 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
         Whose hope is in the LORD his God,
 Who made heaven and earth,
         The sea, and all that is in them;
         Who keeps truth forever,
 Who executes justice for the oppressed,
         Who gives food to the hungry.
         The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners.
         
 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind;
         The LORD raises those who are bowed down;
         The LORD loves the righteous.
 The LORD watches over the strangers;
         He relieves the fatherless and widow;
         But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.
         
 The LORD shall reign forever-
         Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
         Praise the LORD!”


Preserving the Blessings of the Lord,

Traci

The Love of God

01/08/2010 § 1 Comment

The lines of the third stanza, etched into a wall, at an insane asylum, were found after the man who scrawled them, an unknown inmate, was brought to his grave. Even in the deepest depths of his despair and loneliness and gropings for peace, he still knew His Savior’s love. 

Romans 8:31-39: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:
      
“ For Your sake we are killed all day long;
      
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”  

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Refrain
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Refrain

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Refrain

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

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