{re}fresh

Buy the Book. Eat the cookie. Buy the shoes.

by juste buzas

Image by David Lifson
Flickr.com_3418813640_db17f6213e
CC BY-ND 2.0

I was browsing through the cookbook section at my local library’s used book sale when a title caught my eye.  A cookie book.

I pulled it from the shelf.  Instead of a baking book however, it was Joyce Meyer’s book, Eat the Cookie…Buy the Shoes.  I smiled at the misplacement of the book, thinking that a more fitting title for the book’s misfiling could be “Bake the Cookie…Eat it…then, Buy the Shoes.”  I chuckled and turned to find the book’s proper section.

Mid-turn, the Lord spoke to me.  He said, “This isn’t an accident.  Buy the book.” Read the rest of this entry »

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3 Steps to Scheduling a Soul-cation

by Dawn Aldrich

Image by Cristian Bortes_Flickr.com_4987916470_ef94f0d7bb
CC BY-ND 2.0

I anticipate summer all year, yearning for sunny days and warm temps when I can throw off my jacket, fling off my shoes and plant my feet on the cool green grass of my back yard, or bury them under the hot sand of the seashore. or swing them off the side of shade-covered hammock.

Summer’s when I reacquaint myself with nature, close up; when I dig in the rich soil of my vegetable garden and smell the sweet scents of the phlox growing by my back deck. It’s when my work seems more like play and the daylight hours linger long enough to make me tired. A good tired. A tired that says, “That was a good days work,” or “You played hard today.”

Summer rejuvenates and revives me and reminds me I’m part of something bigger.  Read the rest of this entry »

Red letter day

by kerriebutterfield

Image by Nicole Hanusek
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CC BY-ND 2.0

Webster dictionary defines a “red letter day”  as a  “memorably important or happy occasion.”  A few years ago on what I would describe as the opposite of an important or happy day, I gave this phrase a new meaning and made it my own.

I was feeling forgotten and sad, and I found myself in Psalm 2.  The Psalmist writes:  “I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, ‘You are my son today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.'” Read the rest of this entry »

I Don’t Fit….

by Carol Nicholls

Image by gosheshe
Flickr.com_3288921135_0b2213d20b_CC BY-ND 2.0

 Restore us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again! Lamentations 5:21 NLT

The table is covered with jigsaw pieces. On the cover is a beautiful nautical scene that should be recreated when all of these pieces are put together.

Actually, the upper left corner is almost done. But I am pondering a piece in my hand. The colors don’t seem to be right no matter where I look. A piece that will fit into the notches has not shown up. Oh well, sometimes it takes awhile to figure it out. Just put the piece down and keep on working.

Several hours later (I am not really good at jigsaw puzzles) the scene is completed, looking just like the box cover. There on the table is one lonely piece. Read the rest of this entry »

Carefree Days of Summer {Hurricanes}

by Mindy Kiker

Image by Nicholas_Gent
flickr.com_9270516978_59bbcaeebd_CC BY-ND 2.0

Summer vacation! Sounds like a relaxing change of pace, and yet the balmy days of summer also create the perfect conditions for hurricanes off the coast of Florida.

I recall last year, preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irma who had already wrecked her devastation on our neighbors in the Caribbean and was pressing in on Florida. As I worked, I listened to The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. What a perfect backdrop to my thoughts swirling with the threat of disaster.

Here was a woman who experienced one of the most heinous epochs of human history, lost most of her family to despicable Nazi evil, and yet still believed in the goodness of God. Her story put into perspective my anxious hurricane preparations: we have a loving Father who has good plans for us, although our paths at times lead into dark and threatening places.

Read the rest of this entry »

Who do we think we are?

by Mike McKinniss

It has been a common theme among scientifically minded secularists to point to our ever-expanding awareness of our ever-expanding universe and come to the rather small conclusion that we are but specs of accidental cosmic dust in the midst of a vast unimaginable cosmos.

David, without the benefit of telescope or satellite, posed much the same question 3,000 years ago: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them” (Ps 8:3, NRSV)?

It’s a humbling thought, and its weight only increases the more we learn of our universe—a fifteen-year-old estimate on the number of stars in the universe put the expanse at 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

Who are we, against so vast a creation? Of what significance could humankind really be?

Read the rest of this entry »

Spring Cleaning

by Rob Dunne

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

My wife Kellie and I decided to do a liver cleanse. Some practitioners recommend doing this in the springtime to cleanse our bodies of toxins. They probably realize that we abuse them from Halloween to Easter. Therefore, we need to give our bodies a fresh start through diet and supplementation.

Like our bodies, our minds also need to be cleansed. Even if you were fortunate enough to have two parents completely sold out to God, at some point in your life, you were exposed to the things of this world – media, entertainment and people who do not share your Christian beliefs. Whether we realize it or not, these things have an impact on our lives.

Read the rest of this entry »

Something Bigger Than Ourselves

by Wendy

DSC_3389

photo by W Coy. Use with permission

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV

That afternoon I sang in a gorgeous, warm, intimate, wood-and-gilded 1891 hall named Carnegie. Not my first time there, but definitely my first time on stage. I listened and watched as the sound left our mouths and wafted high into the dome and the fifth balcony, swirling into patrons’ laps and dropping onto their faces with joy. We weren’t allowed to wear cologne, but someone’s shampoo smelled like orange blossoms. Resonance hung in the air with the scent. No one breathed. Perfect silence before the applause.

We were nobodies on that stage, but the hall and the composer/conductor wooed us into something bigger than ourselves.  The hall was like a living thing, a willing ally covering our mistakes; an unseen collaborator warming and shaping our sound and spinning it into gold as it danced between rounded walls. And we happily believed the sound and the audience’s warmth bouncing back to the stage.  We left the hall with that sparkling joy still glittering our hair and our faces.

Two mornings later it snowed, despite being more than a week after Easter and well into April.  Gloom and depression fell along with thick, foggy, slushy flakes which couldn’t stick because the ground was too warm.  Like the concert, the previous week’s hint of warmth was a tease of joy until reality crashed the party.

Read the rest of this entry »

His Pride and Joy!

by juste buzas

Image by David Verdugo
Flickr.com_3361579417_6ae151b5ab_ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts!  May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and the length and height and depth [of it];”  Ephesians 3:17,18

One afternoon, when I was snuggling with my daughter while watching a movie, God overwhelmed me with the power of His love.  He showed me a picture of this love.  Just as my arms enveloped my dear daughter, His arms were wrapped around us.  My daughter and I were so thoroughly encased in the Father’s embrace that we were completely hidden.  We were wholly and entirely sheltered in His adoration and love.

As I sat there on the couch with my daughter, I realized that my love for my children pales miserably against the reflection of God’s eternal love.  This truth did not discourage me.  Rather, it gave me hope.  Life is the process of becoming like God.  And, God is love.  It is in His love, that this process of life is fulfilled.  It is in God’s love that all things…righteousness, justice, peace, and reconciliation become reality. Read the rest of this entry »

But I’m not tired! or When we act like a toddler

by Dawn Aldrich

Tantrum by Yong Thye
flickr.com_4041515933_2acb86dd84_CC BY-NC 2.0

He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. Psalm 23:2-3 NASB

We’ve all seen it. Every toddler does it. When someone mentions the “N-word” they stomp their feet and declare, “I don’t want a nap! I’m not tired!”

And don’t you find yourself saying, “Oh, please. Would someone send me to bed for a nap? Pretty pleeeease?” Well, yes, I say that all the time…er…except when God asks me to rest. That’s when I take my toddler stance: place my hands on my hips, form the best pouty-face, stomp my feet and say, “But, God, I’m not tired!”

Can anyone else relate? Why do we do that? Read the rest of this entry »

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