Tag Archives: jesus

Thought-Collage Thursday // He makes all things new

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”  – Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden


How do they know? How can they be sure when I take them, tiny, dried and shriveled, torn from small packages and pushed into wet soil in little cups, into cold darkness – how do they know, I wonder, what to do?

seedlings in egg-carton

Do they feel dead, useless, abandoned, lifeless, forgotten, put aside, finished, afraid, or misplaced? How does a seed buried come back from that, literally come alive where it cannot yet be seen and fully break free – emerging gloriously spring-green from its dark burial place?

I have a counter full of seedlings springing up daily now, some perennials, pumpkins and squashes and decorative grasses, herbs and flowers to attract butterflies. The joy of watching them appear surprises me every time. I always live in fear they will not do it. I always wonder if I over-moistened the soil, or under-watered. Did I plant too deep? Was it a bad batch of seeds? Will these things really grow? And then – VOILA! They arrive.

I love it especially when I spy the tiniest green spec in a soil-filled egg carton section in the morning and by evening see this brand-new seedling has risen fully up to face the sun’s warmth through the kitchen window. How tenacious, how brave and resolute.

All of creation tells us the Story, THE Story. Jesus in a tomb, dark and cold. On the third day, He awakens, sits up pushing aside His shroud and somehow that stone is rolled away and He emerges victoriously: Life. New Life! All things are made new and nothing will ever be the same. How tenacious the Love of God, how resolute and steadfast.

What if?

being planted


What if you aren’t being buried, you’re being planted?

I saw this image on a Pinterest post {click here} and loved the hopefulness of it. What if...I mean what if we considered things differently, saw them from a different viewpoint? I am the worst at this! True confessions. But, really, what if...?

What if you weren’t ruthlessly expelled as much as thrown clear to keep you safe from harm’s way?

What if you weren’t unmercifully uprooted, but are being transplanted to a better location, a healthier place for thriving, a more spacious boundary line?

What if the delay, the seemingly endless wait wasn’t punishment or a sign of God’s displeasure, but part of His plan to bless you, set you up for amazing grace and favor?

What if the place you work, the classes you take, the house you live in, the people you know, the circumstances you find yourself in are part of God’s grand scheme to bless your community, to save a life, and to display His glory on the earth?

What if you don’t like what you have but what you want would hurt you?

What if the sun comes out and shines on the cold, dark soil of your current surroundings and the warmth and the rain and nutrient-rich burial ends up giving you nourishment and health you thought you’d never see again? It could happen.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

all things new


There is this brand new baby girl.

Just got back from a baby-birthing in Nebraska. I cry every time I get to see a baby born.  Oh it is hard work. The things a woman goes through from look-at-me-easily-breathing-through-contractions to I’ll-never-make-it-through-this to *Ahhhhh*-I’ll-do-this-again…Ha! Well, it is truly, truly miraculous!

So she came to this beautiful familia, her mommy and daddy and a big sister and big brother awaiting her arrival with great joy and anticipation. So much preparation, anxiousness and planning. And then the time comes – the actual time of arrival and this mystical, other-worldly occurrence.   Bebe is there in her hiding place, under the shadow, waiting.

And we wait. And we wait with patience and then patience wanes. And we wait with holy reverence and then we wait praying God will hurry things up. Please God, now, we are so tired…Then He does, and we are not certain we really wanted that prayer answered (yes, we are funny sometimes, aren’t we?)…Then…

At this intense moment of deep anguish, this rising tsunami-wave of hard-labor, this center-of-the-universe, roaring pain, from being swept helplessly away in the waves of birthing (only minutes ago having so powerfully breathed through each contraction, controlled and steady), from experiencing what seems like a certain death to a Let-there-be-light explosion of birthing to Life. LIFE! Again. Brand new life…From darkness to light. Weak yet strong. Poured out, yet able. It is finished.

And the mama, heaven and earth having just passed through her, trembles as she looks into the bebe’s sweet, small face. She knows the baby girl, and the baby girl knows her. And it is all worth it.

I won’t even attempt to wonder what birth feels like for the bebe before she emerges from the hidden place where the very hands of God have been knitting her together there in the secret place to being catapulted into bright light living?! That is a story for another day. But I can’t wait to tell it!

sayble 1

I get to be a doula sometimes {doula is an ancient Greek word that means “woman who serves”} and I am so honored and blown away each time. See this pretty baby? She makes me feel both young and old. The whole birthing experience takes me back and I remember again, the beauty of my own 5…but I feel the age I am at the end of the labor and delivery {Sayble @90 minutes old, honorary Nonna @much older and feeling it}.

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.  –Revelation 21.5-7 ESV

Welcome to the world, Sayble-J

sable 2

Welcome to the world, fresh and pretty girl, all brand new.

He shall be called Prince of Peace…

There is a song for Advent in this post – you just have to read a lot first!  :)

hand prints, foot prints for christmas

Today I am adding  Casting Crown’s “I Heard the Bells.” It was probably about 10 or 12 years ago that I began to really understand the amazing thing that happened over “secular” radio airwaves each Christmas season as classic Christmas carols were played.  There it was – out in the hustle and bustle of shopping and crowds and malls, KOSI-101 playing Bing Crosby’s voice singing these lyrics:

“…’There is no peace on earth,’ I said,

‘For hate is strong and mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will to men.’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:


The wrong shall fail, the right prevail

With PEACE ON EARTH, goodwill to men.”

peace on earth

The story of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow writing these words, while unique to him, also proves that across time, we all experience the pain of loss.  These are chaotic and confusing days and our world is politically, socially and most certainly spiritually distraught.  Then in our own small lives an unforeseen setback comes to mar the beauty of the life we had tried to carve out.  Sickness, professional fails, broken friendships, shattered dreams, the death of some one important…it can cause us to want to just forget about the whole Christmas thing, to feel as Longfellow did at the prospect of merry-making

“In despair I bowed my head, ‘There is no peace on earth, ‘ I said.”

But, oh how I thank Henry W. Longfellow for pressing through and getting the revelation of the truth of what the angels proclaimed in dazzling, glorious, bright-light words to the shepherds so long ago.  Because he wrote the words that led to a song that, while we may see it as just another old-fashioned Christmas carol, becomes a TRUTH released into the atmosphere proclaiming the VERY words of God and His Word will always, ALWAYS accomplish what it was sent forth to do.  Dig it, people – Christmas is a time you can actually, really, with total boldness and clarity declare the Word of God on your life, on the lives of your friends and family and into your community.  You have the GOOD NEWS!  Give it!

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

‘Glory to God in the highest,

And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'” Luke 2

So, for today, Casting Crowns with a newer rendition of these powerful lyrics.  This song gives me goosebumps!  Everytime the choir sings, “Peace on Earth,” I get so excited about this amazing gift from heaven all over again.

Glory to God in the highest – I worship Him, I gift Him with my abandoned love and praise.  Peace on earth and goodwillHe gifts me back!  And He gives good gifts!  Please receive this today, and believe it no matter how scary or hopeless the world seems: God is good and He gives PEACE.  May you be blessed today with a “suddenly” moment just like the shepherds were.  :)

P.S.  No kidding – I really just mean to post a song, not get all crazy enthusiastic about it, but this i what happens to me!

Jesus said:  “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14.27

The wreaths, the candles, the colors and other Advent mysteries

I told you the other day I looked up something about Advent from a Catholic site and they had used Wikipedia’s definition of it, which is…odd.  But anyway…I have not come to criticize, I have come to try to figure out the traditions of it because it is fun.  And I have started my own tradition this year – songs.  :)

amelie belle and santa

Amelie was glad to discover her old friend is back today

Anyway, in the 80s we lived in a small Nebraska city and there was a strong liturgical bent and I followed along, observing customs like the Advent wreath and lighting candles and basically just did whatever everyone else was doing.  But I’ve decided to try to understand the value of it in my old age, because I like things with meaning, and I find that rituals and patterns in our lives offer a rhythmic order that keeps our steps steady, day in and day out, season by season…

be merry

So, this morning I wondered, “Now what exactly are all those purple candles and the one pink one about???”  And found, after just clicking through a few sites on my Google-search: that explanation varies greatly!!!  Proof: {{click here}}. 

Pick a meaning, any meaning.  What?  Am I going to have to attend seminary to sort this thing out?  I don’t think so.  I am choosing for the week following the second Sunday of Advent to be about Peace (which is one of the options listed.  Last week, hope.  This week. peace.).  So let’s just agree that yesterday’s Advent candle (which I did not light) began a week looking forward to Peace.  Yes, Peace on earth, in the world, OK.  But Peace inside us, too, in our homes, where we go, as we drive (with all the maniacs on the road), in the decisions we make and the conversations we have: Peace.

And since for whatever reason, I seem to be on an 80s kick today (as evidenced by my Twitter posts), I shouldn’t have been surprised by this song coming to mind when I said, “God?  Give me a song for my Advent observation.  Something in the peace-genre,”  as if He is just spinning discs on request for me.  I waited for something spectacular to come to mind.  Then, just as evening fell, I heard Carman’s voice in my head.  From the mid-80s: Fear Not, My Child.  It isn’t actually a “peace” song, but it reminds me of Jesus’s words in John 14.27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

I think if Jesus says He is giving us HIS peace, we can safely kiss fear good-bye.    It isn’t helping us at all, anyway.  So, it’s 6:40 pm and I am going to listen, in the light of the tree (yes-TV is off!)…join me…

Today’s Advent Song…Fear Not, My Child

He knows how to take care of what is causing us fear.

So 80s!  Love it!

Song for a Sunday // He’s All I Need

I’ve sung this song a million heart-felt times, as a Pentecostal preacher’s daughter and beyond.  The simple lyric and soul-and-spirit-engaging melody could draw us right in, as I was growing up, and make us Pentecostals worship and cry out to God for a long time on a Sunday night – back when there were still Sunday night services.

He’s all I need.  He’s all I need.  Jesus is all I need~

He’s all I need.  He’s all I need.  Jesus is all I need!



The Crabbs captured the feel pretty well here.

No matter how sophisticated I ever get in my song choices or worship, in the really intimate times with God, this one still says what I need to say, the way I need to say it.  Because Christ IS all, Jesus is everything.

I am helpless, hopeless, broken.  I struggle, I fail, I fall again and again.  I blow it, when will that ever stop?…

But He?  Is ever faithful, ever true, ever forgiving.  In my helpless state ~

You are the Source

You are the Light

You are the Life

You are the Answer

You are my Help

You are my Provision

You are my Champion

You are my Creator

You are my Restorer

You are my Shield

You are my Peace

You are my Rest

You are my God, my Father, my true Abba-Dad

You are my All in All, and all I really need.

This song and me – both relics.  But my need for a Savior?  Current.  Very current.  Thank goodness there is this ~

lamentations 3


God’s Favorite Place on Earth and MORE!

REALLY good news below…if you’d be interested in 25 free books and audios

Frank Viola has been mentioned on this blog a few times, including, but not limited to HERE and HERE, over THERE and on THIS POST, too, during my first read-through of From Eternity to Here.  I have read it…a few times.

Plus, LOVE his blog.  www.frankviola.org


And I follow him on Twitter.  He has such a way with words, his writing just blows me away.  I just ordered his new book from Amazon, God’s Favorite Place on EarthHere is why I wanted to read it:

And this:

Why Read the Book?  Conquering 18 Struggles

Using story, biblical narrative, and practical teaching, God’s Favorite Place on Earth will equip you to:

•Gain God’s peace and presence in the midst of your worst storm.

•Grow to the place where you are beyond being offended.

•Truly forgive and release those who have rejected you.

•Learn how to live life without fear of anything.

•Trust God when He doesn’t meet your expectations or doesn’t appear to fulfill His promises.

•Increase your faith and overcome doubt.

•Defeat discouragement with a new perspective on Jesus.

•Find out what Jesus means and doesn’t mean by the command, “Follow Me.”

•Be set free from a guilty conscience and delivered from spiritual burn-out.

•Learn how we’ve been misinformed about Mary and Martha and why this is important for your own walk with God.

•Handle rejection, misunderstanding, and unjust criticism, especially from fellow Christians.

•Be set free from bitterness.

•Discover what God is looking for beyond everything else, solidifying the vision for the Christian life into “one thing.”

•Identify what touches the heart of Jesus the most. (It may surprise you.)

•Be inspired to serve the Lord with renewed vigor and zeal.

•Have your heart awakened with newfound love for Jesus by seeing Him afresh.

•Find deliverance from materialism (consumerism) and discover the meaning of “wasting yourself” on Jesus.

•Respond wisely to well-meaning friends when they give you poor advice during your suffering.

These are just some of the many lessons you’ll find in God’s Favorite Place on Earth.

I am not telling you which 10 I am drawn to…Plus what Jack Hayford said:

“Frank Viola’s pen and voice are consistently both penetrating and trustworthy. Beyond his invitingly beautiful writing skill—which makes reading a joy and a sight-seeing tour that brings God’s Word into 3-D when he relates narrative passages, I’m grateful for the depth of his themes. Frank probes the ‘deep calls unto deep’ content of the Holy Spirit’s call within the Scriptures, and awakens that hunger that must be regularly fed to secure renewal in each of us. God’s Favorite Place on Earth is the kind of book I’ve discovered I need to periodically find and read; thereby keeping ‘the fallow ground’ of my own soul plowed, re-sown and watered, in order to continue fruitfulness and to deepen the root system of my spiritual walk and growth in Christ.”

Frank Viola has actually given us a sneak peek, a bonus chapter about Mary anointing Jesus before His death.  AND a sampler is available here, 20% of the book. Who does this???  But this isn’t even the “free” stuff I told you about.

So – the FREE stuff I mentioned at the top?

If you buy a copy of this new book by May 7th, and spread the word about it on your Twitter and Facebook and email, {read all the deets here}, Frank Viola will give you 25 books and audios for being part of his launch-team.  See the list of free things here.

I don’t think I have ever seen so many things given away for free.  What a blessing!  Your summer reading and resources all in one place!

I just wanted to share with you because I already ordered my book and immediately (no shipping) got the other things as well and I wanted you to be able to get it, too.  It is an amazing opportunity.  Really!


Kingdom Biz

What MUST you be doing with your life???

James Ryle writes about this {CLICK HERE} referencing Jesus in the temple (at the age of twelve!) explaining to his parents that we was doing “His Father’s business.”

A snippet:

“John Wesley wrote, “The Possessor of heaven and earth placed you here, not as a proprietor, but as a steward.” My friends, the King has entrusted you with His goods, and now He trusts you to use them to do His business. The question we must answer is, What is the King’s business?


In a sentence it is this — “Jesus went about doing good, healing all who oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38).”


Read the whole post here:  http://truthworks.org/?p=4732

The BEST way to Spread Christmas Cheer

As Buddy-the-Elf loves to tell us~

The {BEST} way to spread Christmas cheer is {SINGING loud} for all to hear.

Read this blog this morning on nine lessons you can learn watching the Will Ferrell movie, Elf (2003), already a Christmas classic for sure. {CLICK HERE} I most love the scene where Buddy hears that “Santa” will arrive at the store the next day.  He jumps up and down screaming

S a a a a a a a n n n t a a a a a a a a a !!!!”

Everyone thinks he is weird, but hardly able to contain his exuberance he explains,

“I know him!”

I want to be like that about Jesus, my Savior!  I want to be almost unable to contain my excitement because I KNOW HIM!!


Gemma showed up for pre-school this morning, and upon seeing the family-tree lit up waiting to be decorated, exclaimed, “Well I didn’t see that tree coming!”

Later while doing some school-work, she exclaimed, “Aw, nutcrackers!  I forgot my bookbag!”  **hahahahahhaha!!  THAT is some Christmas cheer, too!

This is ME singing Really loud-can you hear me??  HARK, the herald angels sing….**


What it really means to be an intercessor.

….and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,

and like a root out of dry ground.

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,

nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,

a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.

Like one from whom people hide their faces

he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4 Surely he took up our pain

and bore  o u r  suffering,

yet we considered him punished by God,

stricken by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for {our} transgressions,

he was crushed for {our} iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was on him,

and by his wounds  w e   a r e   h e a l e d .

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to our own way;

and the LORD has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;

he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,

so he did not open his mouth.

8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.

Yet who of his generation protested?

For he was cut off from the land of the living;

for the transgression of my people he was punished.

9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,

and with the rich in his death,

though he had done no violence,

nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,

and though the LORD makes his life an { O F F E R I N G } for sin,

he will see his offspring and prolong his days,

and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

11 After he has suffered,

he will see the light of life and be satisfied;

by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,

and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,

and he will divide the spoils with the strong,

because he poured out his life unto death,

and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors

{aka the wrongdoer, the miscreant, the guilty party, the villain, the sinner, the evildoer}.

Jesus, the great Intercessor.  He was familiar with pain.  So He knew how to take ours – both what we’ve been hit with and what we have dished out.

My sweet mama called today and we talked about love, the real stand-in-the-gap, intercessory-like-Jesus kind of love.  It is the love that says :: even if your sin/rejection/disdain kills not only my heart but also my mortal body, I will still love you ’til the day I die.  I’ll love you while you pound the nails into my hands, I will love you when you spit in my face.  I will love you while the blood runs from my body and my life-flow hits the ground.  I will love you until the day I die.


It is a wonder, Jesus being who He was was, I can even lay claim at all to being a “Christian.”

Take Me Back

Ohmygoodness, I L O V E D late 60s/early 70s soul music like the Stylistics and the Four Tops; give me some Marvin or Stevie or even Smokey; but wow-o-wow for the Supremes, the Chi-Lites or Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, mm-mm-mmm.  A Motown Label on an old vinyl in a thrift store still sets me heart to beating fast.

It wasn’t just love songs and radio pop soul music that I loved, though, for since as far back as I can remember, I have loved-loved-LOVED music that brought the Presence of God into the room.

Andrae Crouch.

Oh, yes, Andrae Crouch.  L O V E him.  Wrote about him before HERE.  And HERE. And as far back as HERE.  Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally wanted him for Heaven Fest this year, but breakdown in communication or something?  And he parted ways with the guy we were working through.  Sad!  *sniff, sniff

But he was just the power-and-Presence-of-the-Holy-Spirit music to me in my early teens and on.  Got to see him in person and LIVED on Andrae Crouch: Live at Carnegie Hall and later Live in London.  Had 8-tracks, cassettes and record albums.  My dad loved him, too, so there was always a lot of Andrae in the 70s for us!  This 5 or 6 minute sampler on Amazon.com – ahhhhh.  Just click on number 1 and let-er-play.  And-why can I not play the piano like that?

Ephesus Girl.

I also love the book of Ephesians.  Just always thought: now Paul knew how to communicate with these people.  It mixes the right amount of richly-romantic and mystical Bride-of-Christ imagery with just the right amount of practical here-is-how-it-is-done language.  He speaks of mystery and marriage and a spotless bride and husbands loving their wives like Christ loved the church all that.  Go get ’em, Paul!


Sometimes the mystery and magic, though, gets muddied, lost.  Sometimes we have “seen enough to know we have seen too much” and we are dirtied and poisoned and broken and bleeding, just sitting in the yuck-of-life getting hard-hearted because tenderness leaves us too vulnerable.  An innocence stolen, a trust broken, a love damaged.

And then we remember – there is a place where those things were taken into account before I knew I would even have needed them to be.  There is a place. It is where resurrection happened, where Jesus rolled away the stone and darkness and death that had held our hearts.  Jesus had hung on a cross, yes, wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities.  His blood had  flowed freely to cover the wrongs done to me, the wrongs I have inflicted on others.  He bought my freedom.  He took the keys of death, hell and the grave.  He rose again and it was a done deal.

Jesus set us free and somehow the enemy managed to dupe us and has stolen our freedom and our hearts.  We sigh and say ‘Life….’

Makes me think of Gal. 3.1…O you foolish Galatians…

Or as The Message puts it~

You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.

How did we get here?

The Ephesians weren’t much better.

Despite the love letter God had given them through Pul the Apostle,  in John’s Revelation, God rebuked them,  He saw their works, knew they hated evil – He could see all that.  But He pointed out that they had fallen so very far, left their ‘first love.’  He didn’t leave them hopeless, though. He reminded them to return to that love, to remember the height from which they had fallen and go back and do the first things again. New life, new love, restoration!  Fresh.  Clean.  Whole and holy.

Sometimes you just need your spiritual innocence restored, don’t you?

As we have walked through Holy Week, I have not been  a bit interested in observing religious dates on given days of the week for the sake of remembrance alone, but I have cried out for a return, a restoration of my heart to flesh.  Transformation.  I am open to God renewing and restoring to me the JOY of my salvation {Search me, O God and know my heart} and I am praying for the resurrection power, that same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead, to give life to my heart. 

Take Me Back


Enter Andrae on Easter week.  A song from my way-back-in-the-day past.  Just remembered it.  Started singing it.  “Take me back – to the place where I first received You, where I first believed…” I have been singing this as a prayer all week.

Romans 8.11 Amplified   “And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you.”

So, Happy Easter. May Easter (the high holy day of every Jesus follower) 2011 be for you a very holy and set apart day.   And may you be made  new and alive because what Jesus did was enough, more than enough.  And may your heart be softened and trusting again.  Return to your first love. Sing with me and Andrae, if you want. And Danni Belle Hall, “Take me back…”  yeah-let’s go remember the height from which we have fallen.  Back – not to a cross on a hill, but to the open grave of a risen Savior, where we first believed…