{re}fresh

Month: March, 2017

Why I Don’t Get Tattoos or Have a Life Verse

by Mike McKinniss

16921391_43c654e26f_o

Bad Tattoo” by Matt Niemi under license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I don’t get tattoos. I mean that both in the practical and cognitive sense.

People who do get tattoos—people I admire and respect—have told me they’re a way of memorializing a time or event in their life. If it was especially meaningful, they say, why not get it permanently written on your body so it goes with you everywhere?

There’s a certain logic to that, but I’m not going there. And here’s why: I can’t think of any one thing I’d want to have written on my body both now and—God willing—when I’m 94.

These days, I’m really into this one pizza joint in town and I’m telling everyone around they’ve just got to go. But by the time I walk out of the tattoo parlor with the restaurant’s name and logo emblazoned on my chest, I’ll probably be hungry for the Thai place across the street because: drunken noodles.

This is likely the same reason I don’t have a life verse. Read the rest of this entry »

How Good and Pleasant

by Mindy Kiker

United by Slana Slana
Flickr.com_5893113781_5d6309fc7e_CC BY-ND 2.0

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! Psalm 133:1 (NIV)

I consider Psalm 133:1 a “life verse” because I hold onto it for dear life. There is nothing in me that naturally wants to be in unity with others. In my flesh, I typically want to control others and make them obey me. Without God as my guide, I do not want to submit one to another — I want others to submit to me. End of story. All you need to do is say, “Yes, ma’am,” and we’re good to go.

Ouch! There looms Romans 12:15, stepping on my toes, making me squirm, recommending that we “live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but enjoy the company of the lowly. Do not be conceited.” (NIV)

Part of the problem with the concept of unity is that it requires humility, and when humility is in short supply, unity is hard to muster. My husband often says to me, “Mindy, unity does not mean that I must come into line with you, nor does it mean that you must come into line with me. It means that we both need to come into line with God.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Free At Last

by Rob Dunne

Image by Michael Coghlan Flickr.com_15900760331_bd3a917e8c_CC BY-ND 2.0

Image by Michael Coghlan
Flickr.com_15900760331_bd3a917e8c_CC BY-ND 2.0

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1

Clank! The heavy iron door slammed shut behind me. This happened several more times until I was ushered in to a whitewashed room with a metal table bolted to the wall. The guard closed the door behind me and locked it shut with a large skeleton key.

This was a temporary situation. I was meeting with a client to sign paperwork. Once done, I would be allowed out of that dismal room with my freedom fully restored. Losing that freedom, even briefly, was enough to persuade me that nothing is worth losing something so precious. Read the rest of this entry »

Inseparable love

by Dawn Aldrich

Image by Rudi Schlatte Flickr-com_2427705114_a686cd8456_CC BY-AND 2.0

Image by Rudi Schlatte
Flickr-com_2427705114_a686cd8456_CC BY-ND 2.0

After a week of spiritual awakening the enemy sought to anesthetize me. Sitting around the campfire listening to stories of God’s movement in the lives of my peers, I knew God had challenged me, too. He asked me to pick a side; His or the enemy’s.

You see, on the outside it appeared I was on God’s team, but I held secrets behind closed doors; secrets that I’d never admit to anyone except my future husband. They were free-will liberties I regularly practiced. It was those secret liberties God asked me to lay down at the cross. And, it was those very same things the enemy used to accuse me that night. Read the rest of this entry »

A Letter from Papa

by kerriebutterfield

Image-by-simplificamos-su-trabajo_flickr-com_9423763880_16d2ec4d79_CC BY-ND 2.0

Image-by-simplificamos-su-trabajo_flickr-com_9423763880_16d2ec4d79_CC BY-ND 2.0

Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.

Matthew 6:6

“My child,

I’m always glad to spend time with you, little one. I’m so proud of you. I’m writing to you today because I want to answer a prayer you pray often. You ask me what my will is for you, what I want from you. You sure do like to talk to me, but I thought I’d write to you to make certain you can see and hear my answer; to make sure you are listening.

I want to be alone with you and for you to be completely yourself and know that whatever you say, whatever you do, I will always love you. I want you to be as honest with me as you are able, and you know I don’t lie or pretend. Don’t be afraid to tell me how you are really feeling; not just what you think I want to hear. Don’t pretend with me. I don’t like that and it hurts me to see how hard you try to be something I never asked you to be. It wears you out and makes you anxious to know if you are playing the role well enough. You don’t need to do that. Just be you. I love when you are you.

I’m your Papa and I am here for you. There is so much I long to be for you. Would you let me? Will you allow me to help you and provide for you like a good Papa? Sometimes you get so busy telling me about your needs and how hard you are trying that our time together comes to an end before I can tell you what I want to be for you. I’m sad to see you leave as heavy burdened as you came.

Next time we talk, can we try something different? I want you to come just as you are. Be yourself. You already know I love that. But, this time, crawl up on my lap, put your head upon my chest and listen for my heartbeat. Just listen. Sit for awhile and listen in the quiet. Wait for me to speak to you. When I know you are listening, I will begin to speak to you. I’ll tell you of my love for you and remind you how much I value you. I’ll make a list of all the things I like about you and fill your heart with courage.

This is when I get to be myself to you. Your Abba, your Papa. I begin to tell you who I am and all I long to be for you. Anxiety, worry ,and shame become silenced and grace and mercy wash over you until you are refreshed and renewed and receive from me. You leave feeling care-free because you have been cared for.

I wonder if you would give me permission to be gracious to you. I long to lavish you with my love and mercy. I’ll be waiting for you.”

Ever yours,

Papa

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