{re}fresh

I Hear the Rain

by juste buzas

Image by Ed Merrit
Flickr.com_5458771978_55f71d99a3_ CC BY-ND 2.0

And said to his servant, ‘Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” Elijah said, ‘Go again seven times.’  And at the seventh time the servant said, ‘A cloud as small as a man’s hand is arising out of the sea.’ (1 Kings 18:43)

Here I am, standing in the desert, under my open umbrella.  I’m waiting for rain.  I know it looks strange, insane even.  I’ve been standing here a long time, and no one seems to get it.  No one understands.  But just listen.  Do you hear it?  Feel it?  No?  Try again.  Listen.  I can hear it.  I hear the rain.  It’s coming.  It’s just upon the horizon. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Path of Promises

by Carol Nicholls

Praying by Melissa Bube
Flickr.com_11564567_02193e411e_CC BY-ND 2.0

All of the promises of God in Him are yes and in Him Amen.  2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV

“Every promise in the book is mine, every chapter, every verse, every line…” Those are the words to a simple song I learned in my youth. It has taken many years to really grasp the true meaning. Promise, according to the dictionary, is a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or assurance that a particular thing will happen. In childhood I became very cynical about promises. My parents were very good at thinking out loud. My childlike trusting heart believed their words were promises. More times than not, I was disappointed. Read the rest of this entry »

Pure Gospel Grit

by Mindy Kiker

The Annunciation by Randy Williams
Flickr.com_/photos/realimagin/33945654273_CC BY NC 2.0

“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38 (AMP)

Who is this young woman who said, “Yes,” to God and served Him with a steadfast heart, even though life took her into unexpected territory? When I ponder the life of Mary, mother of Jesus, I am astounded by the strength of character that she exhibited at such a young age. Think about the confidence she exhibited in her conversation with the angel Gabriel who arrived out of nowhere to tell her that she was going to become pregnant and bear God’s Son. What?

That ranks up there with the most outrageous thing that happened to me today!

When I read the gospel account of Mary’s encounter with Gabriel, I put myself in Mary’s shoes with some difficulty – this is definitely a Cinderella-and-the-glass-slipper moment. As I try to squeeze my bulging foot into the dainty glass slipper, I have to admit that it is not a good fit.

Here’s the honest truth: when a Word of God conflicts directly with my current circumstances, my gut reaction is to disbelieve God. Of course, I have not yet encountered Gabriel — perhaps that makes it easier to believe a Word. However, I suspect that even if I encountered a brilliant angel, I would still doubt. Read the rest of this entry »

Covenant: more than a pinky promise

by Dawn Aldrich

Image by All Holding flickr.com_12315726084_7583df5247_CC BY ND 2.0

My mother never made promises. “I can’t promise you anything because I don’t know what tomorrow might bring,” she’d say. All spoken from her shattered heart knowing full well the pain of a broken marriage. Those words haunted me, (probably still do since I’m compelled to write about them), for years. I’d even avoid childhood pinky-promises, for fear of breaking them, so upon my own engagement, I trembled.

My husband and I spoke often of covenant promises. There was more at stake than a pinky promise held. This was our future, our family, our legacy. I could not–would not–face a lifetime of uncommitted tomorrows where we left open a window of mistrust or an opportunity to slink away. We either entered our marriage covenant fully committed–promising to fight for one another and our future together no. matter. what.–or not at all.  Read the rest of this entry »

What’s the plan?

by kerriebutterfield

Image by lu_lu
Flickr.com 5334609541_6a33ded64f_CC BY-ND 2.0

So, what’s the plan for today?

I’ve had the opportunity to homeschool my daughter for the last two years. Most mornings she comes downstairs and asks me, “What’s the plan today Mom?” And we talk about what each of us wants to do and/or needs to accomplish that day, and then make our best attempts to get things done.

One morning a few months ago, this familiar scene replayed itself in my living room, and as it did, the Holy Spirit said, “I want you to be more like Hanna. Everyday she comes down and asks you what your plan is for the day and then she builds her schedule around that. That is such a beautiful demonstration of Jesus and God. I want this to be our daily interaction so I can astonish you with my desire to bless you and those around you.” Read the rest of this entry »

More of Him AND More of Me?

by Mike McKinniss

When in my early twenties, I did as all good Christian young adults do and sacrificed a few summers working at a Christian summer camp. Each year as a staff we would put our heads together and cook up a theme verse we thought might be appropriate as a banner over our ten-week stint.

One year we were rather excited to have landed on John 3:30, wherein John the Baptist reflects on Jesus’ arrival on the Judean scene: “He must become greater; I must become less” (NIV).

We were giving each other high fives over it. “Yeah! This is what it’s all about! More of Jesus; less of us!” We thought we’d really landed on a juicy bit of theology, and we were eager to slap it on the sweatshirts we were soon to commission—because what’s a summer camp experience with apparel to commemorate it?

I’ve since come to think we were mistaken.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Lion Roared

by Wendy

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. Luke 24:31, NRSV

 

Hours, days, weeks in the hospital blurred into one long anxiety. Pain. Fatigue. Helplessness. Abandonment. Despair. Negative emotions swam through my mind and curdled my thinking…what was left of it.  My brain had no more room.  Too many tests, too long before diagnosis, longer still until treatment. I. Was. Done.

Where was the peace that passes understanding?  Where was the intimacy I normally felt and practiced?  Where was my Advocate? Where was Immanuel, God WITH us?

I paused.

Read the rest of this entry »

Beyond What We Have Known

by juste buzas

Risk it all by Kyle Steed
Flickr.com/photos/kylesteeddesign/4496357233_CC BY-ND 2.0

But if from there you will seek (inquire for and require as necessary) the Lord your God, you will find Him if you [truly] seek Him with all your heart [and mind] and soul and life.  Deuteronomy 4:29

It was late one night.  I was tossing and turning in bed.  My dreams were unsettled, restless.  I turned over upon my back, opened my eyes and faced the darkness.

“What, Lord?” I whispered. I waited.  The night was black, still. Then it came, that still small voice deep within.

“Do you want what you’ve always had?  Then, by all means, continue doing what you’ve always done.  Or, do you want more?” Read the rest of this entry »

A Whip-Wielding Crusader

by Mindy Kiker

It can be tempting to believe that Jesus doesn’t shine in the places where we have been wounded, where arrows or lies have lodged in our hearts from the hurt we have experienced in life. The painful experiences create damaged pieces of our hearts that feel dark indeed. Our enemy strategizes to attack our identity, our gifting, and even our bodies in order to break and shatter who God made us to be, to shroud out the radiant light of His love, joy, and peace.

Image by Blew bird
Flicker.com/photos/blewbird33/8905407840_CC BY-ND 2.0

In our hearts there are places where God’s healing light has not yet reached. Jesus died to purchase our healing, our cleansing, our freedom, but He also stands at the door and knocks. Unfortunately, it can take many years for us to trust Him enough to open our wounded places to His light. He will never force the door open, but instead Jesus waits patiently for us to say, “Come to me, my Savior. I open the door of my heart and give you permission to heal my wounds and make me whole in these areas that have closed me off from your love and freedom.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Sowing Seed

by Rob Dunne

Image by Brianna Privett_Flickr.com_2284232743_d7a58a1f2d__CC BY-ND 2.0

“But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty and some a hundred.” Mark 4:20

During summer break in college, I got a job building tennis courts. One of the many facets to building a tennis court was surrounding it with a chain link fence. Every post requires a fairly deep hole. To achieve this, you must use a variety of tools.

To say that this was labor intensive is an understatement. You start out using a post hole digger. Once you get past the first foot or so of soil, you encounter rocks. The deeper you go, the bigger they get. Occasionally, you hit a boulder. We would try to work them out with a steel digging bar. If they were particularly big, we busted out the jackhammer. Either way, we got them out of the ground.

Jesus shared a parable about sowing seed and how it thrives in good ground. He explains that the sower is someone who shares the Word of God (the seed) with others. It lands on four types of ground; the wayside, stony ground, among thorns and good ground.

Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: