July 12, 2011

you will find rest

Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me
for I am gentle and humble in heart and
you will find rest
(relief ease refreshment recreation blessed quiet)
for your souls.

You are tired, (I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;

And so am I.

Come with me, then,
And we’ll leave it far and far away—
(Only you and I, understand!) ~e.e. cummings

Love has a right to be spoken. And you have a right to know that somebody loves you.
That somebody has loved you
and could love you.
We all need to know that. Maybe it’s what we need most.

So I wanted to tell you.
~From A Fisherman of the Inland Sea by Ursula K. Le Guin

I am gentle and humble in heart and
you will find rest.
~Matthew 11

July 11, 2011

A Place of Death, A Place of Life

I'm reminded today...

At the same time soil churned, seeds created a home, crops waved in the wind

Naomi lamented to her daughters-in-law.

"Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons—would you wait...?" {Ruth 1}

Perceived destitution bred palpable desperation. Can you feel it in her words?

Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? {vs.1}

Her tomorrows were grim. Bleak days awaited till death reached out its welcomed hand. If only she had known: the answer to her Why? valiantly fought to walk alongside faithfully. Ready to reap a harvest of salvation. Yet Naomi kicked scorn and anger around, rejecting Ruth and redemption.

Call me not Naomi [pleasant]; call me Mara [bitter],
for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. {vs. 20}

A dust cloud of pitiful and sorrowful blinded her from seeing that the very girl she pushed away was the very means God would use to rescue.

Perhaps you've given up on a hope, a dream, a love. Maybe you sit in the funnel of your fury, bitter the same trials dump heavy on you each day. Can't stand to long for change or rescue.

Don't miss this

So Naomi returned...accompanied by Ruth...her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem
as the barley harvest was beginning. {vs. 22}

The harvest Ruth arrived just in time to glean. In a field where Boaz noted her. And unceremoniously provided above and beyond for her and Naomi...for the rest of her life.

As Naomi urged her daughters-in-law to leave
He was working on Ruth's heart to stay

As her broken spirit stared at empty hands, and the end of her life
He was filling a field with rain and sun, and bringing life to a harvest

As she narrowly missed God's provision and love
He was guiding her kinsman redeemer in care and concern

When brick walls are hit, ropes frayed, moments blank, remember...though unseen, God works on our behalf always. And rescue may come in unexpected form. Embrace His plan, return to Him and take heart.

The place you fear will be the death of you, may be the place you reap new life.

Going Deeper
Would you call yourself: pleasant or bitter?

Pray for the Lord to open your eyes to see unlikely means of rescue {like Ruth or the barley harvest}. Have you rejected a means of redemption & rescue you deem as impossible, but God knows is possible?

Live out the first part of this verse; believe and ask for the second: Return to me, for I have redeemed you. {Isaiah 44:22}

You may also want to read "Sojourner," about Naomi's journey of grief and hope.

Would you care to join us in our series Jumping off the Train {of negative thoughts}? Click here to see past posts. Praying He rescues you in unexpected ways.

xoxo, Sam

July 6, 2011

He Still Sings

You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs of victory and deliverance. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!" ~Psalm 32:7

If you're visiting from Melissa Taylor's online Bible study with Stephanie Clayton today, welcome! Thanks for checking in. I've been praying for you.

One of my first jobs out of school was in a nursing home. You could peel the layers of pain in the air. Lined up in the solarium were gray heads. Feeble bodies and souls shut down and checked out. Hours passed as they stared hard at something unseen, responded to nothing. Fully awake, but not alert.

Bells jingled to stimulate hearing. Puppets danced to divert empty stares. Feathers brushed hands in hopes of touching the life inside. A variety of things were used to draw them back from the emptiness.

Truth be told, my soul crawled to a similar void when pain hit. I built a barrier: closed my ears, eyes and heart. Pain and accusations wiggled in the recesses of my mind and lied-God is not enough nor does He care. Fear and shame ran circles round and round till I was sick with wondering where the Lord’s hand was. I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the mistrust and hurt. And eventually I became like the elderly in the nursing home. Dead inside and unresponsive to the voice of love.

Friends, the more days stuck staring, the longer it took for the nursing home residents to come back to the land of the living. I wonder, with all you've endured, have you retreated to an empty space too? Built a barrier? Focused solely on the circumstances?

Please, if you've looked away from Him, can't take your eyes of the harm and pain...

If your ears are blocked and heart turned off--found solace in drinking, sex, the internet, food, busyness--will you consider opening up just one more time? Cast a glance upward, feel His touch. Awaken to the sweet gentle voice of our Maker through His Word. Start by praying these simple words

Lord, thank You for Your healing. Please forgive me for drawing away from You. Here I am. Please open my eyes and heart to hear You as you draw close to me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Wait on Him friend...He is near. He sang these kind words over me and somehow, they registered. I pray you hear Him singing over you too.

"Do not fear, do not let your hands hang limp.
The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."
~Zeph. 3:16-17

We've been Jumping off the Train {of Negative Thoughts}. Care to join us? Catch up here!

~Beautiful Girl, William Fitzsimmons {Lyrics}

xoxo, sam