{re}fresh

Month: December, 2013

Waiting

by ivyjonah

angellightgoogleimages

And the angel of the Lord departed from her. Luke 1:38

Lord, You spoke

Like Mary…we heard

Lord, You announced

Like Mary…we believed

Lord, You promised

Like Mary… we conceived

But then it seemed like You departed

I have to wonder if Mary had some of the same questions

Did she wonder whether she heard right?

Could she think she just imagined what the Angel said?

Were there times that she labored and travailed to “keep keepin’ on?”

How did she summon courage as others doubted?

Was there vacillation in her resolve of hope?

Lord, like Mary…

Yes…we heard

Yes …we believed

Yes…we conceived

Like her Lord

Help us to hold onto the

PROMISE

until Your “Appointed Hour”

In this quiet place

In this uncomfortable place

In this silent place

Sit with us, our Friend

Let the silence cause us to seek Your voice

Let the loneliness, draw us to You

Let the pondering cause us to grow in our trust of You

Keep us humble with a spirit of submission and surrender

as we learn to grow with the miracle of Promise

Lord, we believe in You

The Promised One!

Lord, like Mary we wait with expectancy, believing that we will be blessed.

We believe, that which You have promised, WILL BE fulfilled…Luke 1:45     

To learn more about Linda Maynard, please visit our Contributor’s Page.

When I Consider Your Heavens

by Wendy

image courtesy of Fine Art Media

courtesy of Fine Art Media

by Wendy Coy

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory
in the heavens… Ps 8:1 (NIV)

Defeated, my head slumped onto the nearest pile as scraps of ideas and budget receipts cascaded to the floor.  Papers jeered, “See ME? I’m the proposal that was due last WEEK!”

Never mind the mess, I was too tired to deal with screaming middle-of-the-night reminders. Extricating myself from the buried desk, I shuffled upstairs toward the bedroom.

With no moonlight, I was relieved that my feet knew the way.  I glanced up to the hallway picture window, for no reason, and gasped as a gleaming star show pulled my eyes from the dark steps. Like a vacuum suddenly filled with air, my heart drew in the radiance and wouldn’t let it go. I stopped mid-step and eased myself onto the window seat, entranced. There, there were the dazzling spots of light balanced in a dance called a constellation

On this first crisp fall night, the brilliant sparkle flooded my eyes and my spirit with wonder.  Orion’s belt blazed, diamonds dangling, tempting me to reach and touch a crystal mobile.  The stars burst through the darkness with glow so bright leafless trees created silhouette borders.  When did constellations get this large, I wondered?

No one demanded I put down the briefcase of anxieties, but who would want to carry it when faced with a celestial display of Christmas lights?  Thoughts of unfinished lists, overflowing folders, and demanding commitments melted down to size; even the warm bed just steps away lost its appeal.  Gradually, my weariness lifted as I marveled at God’s fancy in spilling diamonds so artfully.

‘When I consider thy heavens… What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” I pondered with the psalmist.

At peace, I waited. Silent. Still. Aware that the God of the Universe was pointing beyond the stars to His stunning Son.  “Look,” He was saying, “He’s coming. Just as the seasons tell you each year that His advent is near, so I’m saying again, watch and wait.  He’s dazzling. His promise is near.  Just as the stars surprise you each fall, He will amaze you again with His beauty and His coming.  Look, look at My display!”

And so, this advent, I wait. The papers and to-do-lists may overflow, but God visits His people, and the heavens tell of His glory – dazzling like the stars, the Son is coming!

The Story Approaches Its Climax

by Mike McKinniss

Ramon Casas’s Jove Decadent via wikimedia commons

If you’re like me (alas, too few are), it is the worst kind of torture to have to set a good book down just as you are speed reading your way towards its glorious and compelling climax. Like yanking a still-beating heart from its protective rib cage, so it is to seize the life-giving novel from my fingers.

Perhaps you’re not like me (it’s OK; we’re all welcome in God’s kingdom), and you wish {re}fresh were a video blog. The analogy changes, while the truth remains. You’ve reached the final season of your favorite TV drama, you’ve nestled in with popcorn and beverage, you’re ready to binge watch via Netflix to the grand conclusion. Aaaaaaand the internet conks out.

My apologies for eliciting such awful images. But the point is made: We all love a story, and every story needs its climax.

In a way, this is what Advent is all about. In the relatively brief nativity narratives that Matthew (chapters 1-2) and Luke (again, chapters 1-2) give us, the gospel writers are telling us, in their own unique ways, that the birth of Jesus signaled the beginning of the zenith of Israel’s story.

Matthew, for example, begins his gospel with a genealogy (Mt 1:1-17). What could be more boring than that?! But Matthew’s list of “begats” tells a story. What began with God calling Abraham (v. 2), reached great heights in King David (v. 6), seemed lost in the Babylonian exile (v. 12) is now landing squarely on Jesus (v. 16).

Or in Luke’s account, the angel Gabriel appears to Mary and makes an announcement: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end” (Lk 1:32-33, NIV).

Gabriel is hitting all the main talking points from an old message given to David by the prophet Nathan. In 2 Samuel 7, God promises that David’s son will be His own son (v. 14), that this son of David’s will also be king (v. 12), and that this kingdom will be eternal (v. 16).

This story, which had begun some 15 centuries (give or take) earlier with Abraham’s faith to follow this strange new God; this story, which saw its high water mark some 10 centuries earlier in the worshiper David’s kingship; this story is now beginning its breakneck run toward the conclusion.

So settle into your favorite overstuffed chair, get a nice hot drink, and guard against all interruptions, because Advent is here. And it’s all racing ahead toward one grand conclusion.

To learn more about Mike McKinniss, please visit our Contributors Page.

Don’t Allow Your Heart to Get Old

by mandyade

Image from polysyllabicprofundities.com

Image from polysyllabicprofundities.com

“Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9

Zechariah and Elizabeth were barren –they prayed and waited for years for the  but it never seemed to come. Finally, an angel appeared to Zechariah in answer to his prayers, but Zechariah’s heart struggled to believe. His response to this heavenly encounter was, “How can I be sure of this?” He had believed once, but had seen no answers; gradually he had stopped hoping and developed an unbelieving heart.

Zechariah’s unbelief worked against the promise; his powerful mouth was silenced until his heart came into agreement with God. When he finally made a public declaration of his agreement with God his tongue was loosed. Now he was able to speak into the promise of God.

We can unintentionally become like Zechariah.  When our promises goes unfulfilled for years, our hearts may begin to age just like our body. It may become calloused, weary and hopeless. Losing hope ages our heart like time ages our body. When it is too painful to keep hoping we might build up a thick skin against hope in an effort to protect ourselves from disappointment.

But, it’s easy to hope when you have never been disappointed, that’s why children can believe in anything. Once disappointments start to come many of us lose our hope. We not only lose hope in our prayers being answered but sometimes we lose hope in God.

So how do we maintain our hope when we have waited for a lifetime? The answer lies in where we place our hope – our hope must not be placed in the promise but in the God of the promise. He is the source of all good promises and He cannot fail.

When weariness tries to make you old, position your heart to become young again.

Receive your childlike heart by meditating on the following:

1. God is my kind Father who favors me and is tender toward me.

2. My life is vulnerable before my Father because He is my hope and safety.

3. Father’s goodness is over my life (no matter what I see or feel) because He is good and faithful to me.

A childlike heart will naturally be able to believe. Now when your body ages and promises seem far away, your heart will be kept young and you will be like the young girl Mary who was able to grasp her life-altering word from God with joy!

To learn more about Mandy Adendorff please visit our Contributors Page.

 

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