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Shooting Stars

by juste buzas

Image by Sergiu Bacloiu flickr.com_8282853841_4370aa05a8_CC BY-ND 2.0

Image by Sergiu Bacloiu
flickr.com_8282853841_4370aa05a8_CC BY-ND 2.0

There is no speech nor spoken word [from the stars]; their voice is not heard.  Yet their voice [in evidence] goes out through all the earth, their sayings to the end of the world. Psalm 19:3,4a (AMP)

I’ve always been mesmerized by God’s creation – from the enormity of the night sky to the quietness of the butterflies fluttering from flower to flower in my grandmother’s garden.  Even when I was young, I noticed everything.  Every detail and intricacy of God’s creation.  I felt close to God – I knew Him – as I climbed trees, danced barefoot in the grass or skipped rocks along the glassy surface of the river on my uncle’s farm.

One summer night I was outside alone, watching the night sky.  It was a remarkably clear night.  I stood on the back porch, looking up into the wide Missouri sky and talked to God.  Out of nowhere, a bright streak of light blazed across the horizon and disappeared; a shooting star!  Never seeing one before then, I stood there dumbfounded, speechless, over come with awe.  Love swelled up within me, and I was filled with solemn wonder at the vastness and nearness of God.  I realized, in that moment, that the God who was, and is, and always will be was real. Very real.  I began to praise Him. Read the rest of this entry »

Fear Not Little Flock

by Rob Dunne

by-wally-gobetz_flickr-com9274040749-ab97ca386e.jpg CC BY_ND 2.0

by-wally-gobetz_flickr-com9274040749-ab97ca386e.jpg CC BY_ND 2.0

“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: ‘All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah.’” Ezra 1:2

In addition to the exciting fact that I was now an adult, I remember two distinct things happening shortly after my 18th birthday: I registered to vote and registered for the selective service. At that time, Ronald Reagan was our president. When his two terms ended I watched him leave office. Don’t quote me on this, but I think I actually cried as he boarded Air Force One. I genuinely wanted him to stay for a third term. Given the eventual disclosure of his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, that would have been a horrible idea.

It is clear that we have never experienced an election cycle like the present one and by the time you read this, the nation will have made its choice and lots of people will be unhappy. Neither of the two candidates appeared to be a solid option. Both incited deep emotional feelings from the electorate including fear of what the future may hold. Read the rest of this entry »

Stop Fixing Me!

by Dawn Aldrich

toolbox“Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.” Psalm 143:8

I finally own a pretty, woman’s tool box. You know, the dainty one where all the essential tools are wrapped in pink? It sits atop my refrigerator where I can easily find every tool needed for those quick-fix household repairs.

But, it’s not always those loose floor boards or broken door handles that surfaces my urge to fix things. Rather, my uncontrollable urge to make things right erupts when those most precious to me are hurting. And before you think I’m a softhearted, altruistic wife, mother and grandmother, let me set the record straight. I don’t like broken things because they bring discomfort, disharmony and disorder. I like life simple, orderly and happy. Read the rest of this entry »

Holy Knees

by Dawn Aldrich

day-14_365-by-megapixx_flicr-com_5747041178_5d7d312d94_CC BY-ND 2.0

Day-14_365-by-megapixx_flicr-com_5747041178_5d7d312d94_CC BY-ND 2.0

“I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD.”
1 Samuel 1:27-28

I crawled on my knees, for what seemed like forever, after my babies were born. As soon as they stayed awake longer than a feeding, I was on the floor cooing and playing alongside them. When they gained mobility I crawled after them, baby-proofing the house and picking up the debris they left behind.

Before kids, a pair of jeans lasted me a few years. Post kids, holes appeared in the  knees within a year. I reserved one pair of “good jeans” to wear in public so they wouldn’t show any wear around the knees.

Children grew into adolescents and I often missed those days of holy-kneed jeans. I didn’t miss the physical exhaustion as much as the uncomplicated simplicity of those peanut butter and jelly vs. bologna and cheese type of days. It was stepping back as they made their own decisions – good and bad – when I wished for simpler days. Read the rest of this entry »

Putting the Lie to Rest

by Wendy

 

 

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)                  

I look at my journal, that precious place where God and I meet, and I see a great, big “SHOULD” button flashing in my brain.  I try to pick up my pen, but I can’t start to write.  Shaking my head, I drop the pen back on the desk and push away the journal.  “No,” my insides shout, “not now,” so I sigh and turn to face the lush green woods outside my office window.  Something tight, something heavy, blocks my wonder, my creativity, my productivity;  I can’t even finish the simplest of tasks.  I can almost feel a physical grip on my heart.

“Oh, just do it,” my earnest evangelical friend (whose voice resides firmly in my head) exhorts.  “Don’t think and introspect. Only start, and the rest will follow.”

Fair enough.  Plenty of times, my mountain is moved by small ant-sized accomplishments.   But this is not one of those times.  I know myself.  This lack of rest, driven busyness, and restless non-work are not driven by a lack of will.  Gutting it out may work as a short-term prod, but never as a long-term solution. Read the rest of this entry »

Island Time

by Rob Dunne

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I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. Psalm 130:5.

In 2004, I went on my first mission’s trip. Five young adults and I went to the beautiful island of Jamaica to conduct a vacation bible school. Weeks of planning went into the trip. Each moment of the day was meticulously planned out. Our team arrived at the church and quickly finished preparations. As the 10 o’clock hour came and went, we were all dejected by how few children showed up. Did they neglect to advertise the event?

We quickly learned about the concept of ‘island time’. In a nutshell, Jamaicans have two speeds – slow and slower! In the fast-paced world of New England, we expect everything yesterday. We lack patience or tolerance for things that take longer than a few seconds.

Admittedly, it took us all a few days to adjust to this slower pace of life. Personally, it took even longer to appreciate why they live the way that they do. First, it is hot. If you do things too quickly or exert unnecessary energy, you won’t last the day. Second, they are simply more laid back than us.

As a litigation attorney, I am in a profession that requires me to rise early and work late. By the time I get home and eat supper, my mind and body are drained. Making time to be with Jesus can be difficult. Therefore, I find myself getting creative. Read the rest of this entry »

Waiting, Not Wasting

by mymorethanme

beach waiting“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

A few weeks ago I was hit with a nasty case of food poisoning, which significantly affected my already compromised digestive system. I have been dealing with bacterial overgrowth in my small intestines for seven years, which has caused IBS discomfort, pain, and food intolerances, as well as (I believe) a variety of skin issues. Living with this digestive disorder has greatly impacted the lives of myself and my family. We know this sickness is not from God, and that He desires and is able to heal me. So, why the apparent delay?

The answer is, I don’t know. I don’t know why some are healed instantly, others are healed over time, and still others aren’t healed this side of heaven. I am sure there are many factors involved–some of which I’m fairly certain of, some I can guess at, and others I have no clue about. Read the rest of this entry »

Chipmunks and Angels of Light

by Wendy

Chipmunk by A. Delray --The Forest Vixen - www.forestvixen.com, licensed under CC by 2.0Chipmunk by A. Delray –The Forest Vixen – www.forestvixen.com, licensed under CC by 2.0

“Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” Song of Solomon 2:15

I saw him from the corner of my eye—a small something skittering toward the plants on the garage floor. Silly chipmunk. I was just six feet away and he didn’t particularly care. My idiotic arm-flapping “HEY!” as I moved closer didn’t scare him, either.  Silly me.

Too cute for his own good, I yelled louder and lunged toward the small, furry, brown and black invader.  It had been just a year since he dug into the house and invited two mouse-friends.  This was entirely too brazen.

I don’t know if it was my indignant hollering or my rapidly-approaching face that scared off the adorable demonic rodent.  I scurried to move the tender new plants back outside. Never mind late spring cold and rain (almost sleet).  The plants would survive but the garage door was NOT staying open any longer.

How like the Enemy is that little chipmunk?  He waits for the right moment and cutely, bold-facedly, struts into my back door when he thinks I’m not watching.  I virtually have to hop on top of him to make him leave.

Unfortunately, the “angel of light” knows he is enticing (“Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” 2 Cor 11:14).

The enemy sneaks in softly under cover of beauty and subterfuge.  Our judgments seem wise and sure, but they do not lead to peace, and they are not true.  How quickly our thoughts captivate and control us, backing us into corners from which we can’t escape. Pains become judgments, then isolation.

No, this time the Chippy won’t take up residence.  My “make sense of this” thoughts, too, must be shut out with a thick door, chased back into the outside realms.

Know, Enemy, that even if you do find an entry hole, the way will be blocked and the door will not be re-opened.  Your creatures may be cute, but they are no longer welcome.

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A Life Well Lived

by mymorethanme

Seven years ago my husband and I gave away most of our belongings, packed our Ford F-150 pickup with necessities and said goodbye to friends and family. We drove to Nashville with our two young boys, following God on a grand adventure. Overflowing with faith and hope we joyfully followed God’s leading, tearfully longing for home, yet excitedly expectant for what lay ahead.

Our Nashville years were nothing like what we had anticipated. We knew John was being called to attend a ministry school, but we learned quickly and acutely we were going to have to let go of all our preconceived expectations. God is an unconventional teacher who does not merely nudge us to think outside the box; He will, if allowed, obliterate the box.

“Wisdom that emanates from God is found only in dying to all things…” Jean Guyon

Sadly, in just seven years, forgetfulness, like a fog, has settled in. (How many times did God admonish the Israelites to remember?) Looking back I now recall how God sustained us in our wilderness. How he met our every need as we lived on faith following only Him. We had no steady or secure source of income, no health insurance, and no home to which to return. We had God and He was more than enough. He met our every need in countless, astounding, miraculous ways. We were blessed to be able to report multiple accounts of His goodness, grace, mercy, provision, and love.

Lately I have (again) been tussling with expectations. I know God is beckoning me into a time of stirring growth and destiny, and while this is exhilarating, it also leaves me feeling apprehensive. I battle what-ifs in regard to an ongoing health issue. I question my worth in receiving the funds necessary for this venture.  I wonder if I’ve really got what it takes to be who God made me to be. To top it off, I find myself overly concerned with others’ opinions (or my own opinion of myself).  

You see, at thirty-seven, I only have twelve credits left to complete my bachelor’s degree. Shouldn’t I resume this long standing, oft-interrupted pursuit? Shouldn’t I, “the student”, the one who in high school was accepted to Syracuse University early decision and with endless, lofty career goals, finally finish this remaining semester and get my stinkin’ degree already? Yes, I believe I should; and I believe one day I will. However, God’s timing and ways are not mine, and neither is His logic.

Moving our young family to Nashville, letting go of our apartment and business, and our plans and dreams for our future to follow God to who knows where for who knows how long seemed ridiculously irresponsible. Yet, while it was the most difficult move we ever made, it was also, by far, the most wise and fruitful.

We all spend our lives on something. Time, like money, is invested. What drives our passions, plans and pursuits? Is it pleasure? Comfort? Security? Recognition? Acceptance? Avoidance of pain or rejection? When all’s said and done, what will we have lived for? What will we have lived from?

I used to live for and from myself. Years ago God saved me from drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders and other self-destructive behaviors. I no longer live with debilitating depression or anxiety, and when I am at peace in God’s presence I no longer fear rejection or strive to please man. I have found true pleasure, comfort, security, and acceptance in knowing and being known by God. Today I choose to live for and from Him, for and from Love. I don’t do it perfectly, but this is my lofty goal now–the only goal in which I have found myself truly filled, satisfied and alive.

So once again I am letting go. I will remember to remember. I am not living for me or for man, I am living for Love. The return is eternal and impactful beyond measure. More of Him and less of me means more in me to give to you and Him. My life is not my own, it’s His; and His is mine. This is the life I choose. This is my life well lived.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

edited caleb walking 2

Spring Cleaning…Surrendering to the Light

by Dawn Aldrich

 

Pittock Mansion by Brittany Flickr.com8707522400_31cfb20015_z.jpg_CC BY-ND 2.0

Pittock Mansion by Brittany
Flickr.com8707522400_31cfb20015_z.jpg_CC BY-ND 2.0

“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5

The days are longer now. Morning creeps in under the shades of my bedroom window at 5 a.m. like a slinking cat reaching its front paws towards me for a morning stretch. My almost-half-century body rises less reluctantly, (yet with a few more kinks than the year before), now that light guides me safely from my slumber.

I face the day with great expectancy with a spring of hope in every step and a few more hours of sun light to accomplish great things. But as I walk from room to room throughout the day, things gone unnoticed in the darkness of winter now distract me in the light of spring. I catch a glimpse of dusty cobwebs hanging from every corner of my ceilings; once-white curtains are now a dingy gray; scrapes and scratches appear from nowhere all over my tired, painted walls. Finger prints mar every mirrored surface and I think something is growing underneath my bed. Surrendering to the light, unable to hide what it reveals, I put aside the great things and focus on spring cleaning.

Saturday, words from a former self spilled over my lips like an overflowing bucket of dirty water. Ooooops! That monster named Unforgiveness had snuck back in under the cover of darkness and drowned me with my own words. How appropriate. Words…my passion and my weakness. There they were. My dirty words spilled out for all to hear revealing my heart. I couldn’t hide. I couldn’t take them back or mop them up. I just ignored the puddle hoping it would silence them.

It’s been a few days. Sleep has been restless like trying to ignore the glow of the night light from across the room. Finally, I surrendered to the Light. God’s light. The light revealed by His glory. It’s just there because He is. It’s not a condemning light. He’s not shaking his finger at me saying, “Naughty girl.” He’s just being…in my heart…revealing what was hiding in the darkness…showing me what’s in need of spring cleaning. I can’t always get those “hard to reach” places where monsters like Unforgiveness live, but God can. I’m letting Him do some spring cleaning because I’d like to get on with the great things He has in store.

What about your spring cleaning? Do you need a little more light?

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through (Him) the Spirit who gives you life has set you free…” Romans 8: 1-2a

“If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:6-7

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