Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Whispers of Hope

    I step out into the chill invigorating morning. The light powder of white, fallen in the night, sparkles like countless iridescent diamonds in the brilliance of morning sunshine. I pause a moment, taking in the beauty, and it's then that I first hear the message. Born on the clear morning air, the sweet symphony makes my heart catch it's breath in glad surprise. The trilling, whistling, melodies of winter songbirds! 
      It's been months -- months of silence and longing. Longing for the joyous sound of birdsong that comes with the return of Spring and fills the golden hours of summer. With the winter silence comes the absence of the song  Clear and piping comes the joyous whistle of a Chickadee. The song I first learned to know one spring in early childhood. I throw back my head to take in the sweep of crisp winter blue above me and something stirs within. Something I have been longing for seems to whisper through my heart but I can't quite grasp it. Yet it beckons and I follow...

     The pathway winds ahead of me and a sense wonder growing as I traverse it's virgin track. It is unmarred by other's footsteps, as if this unfolding secret has been born for me alone. As if it's delights are held in store just for me. I think of the pathway, unbroken whiteness. And my heart seems to see in it, our high calling -- unbroken praise. My footsteps are light and joyful, as I follow onward, seeking to discover the message's whispered meaning.
     I commune with Him and He with me. My heart marvels in joy at His goodness and faithfulness. I'm reminded of the storm that raged yesterday. Of the storms that are even now raging. And yet somehow within all is calm and still -- basking in His promises. His word. His power.  

When I open the mailbox, a surge of excitement rushes through me. My uncertain anticipation bursts into joyous discovery as I pull forth the waiting message. I stop short in sheer wonder. The message is so bold and clear, so just for me! The promise that those that sow in tears will reap in joy. That my labors have not been in vain. The promise that there will be a harvest. But most joyous of all, this promise of Hope that sets my blood tingling. The heralded of coming Spring!

      I seem to see it everywhere now. This message of Hope. In the neighbor child that comes running across cold whiteness with no coat or cap, stopping now to dance in the icy cold. He too seems to sense that this winter will not last forever. In the song of the birds this morning. In that clear sweet whistle that has always seemed to speak to my heart of SPRING...

But it still seems almost too good to be true! Is it possible? The stirring of dreams in my heart as I walked and prayed this morning...will they be fulfilled? The stirring of hope that warms the blood frozen by pain and fear. Will it be for naught? A seeming promise of a season of healing warmth in the changing of the year. Will it truly be? 
     But He who knows how long the winter has been -- Who knows how the tears have long since frozen into the solid imprisoning ice of pain and darkness, draws near. And as He breathed peace on His doubting followers in the locked room, who were frozen by fear after His cruel death and knew not yet if they could believe in the wonder of His resurrected presence -- so now He breaths on my heart...
     I return to the warmth of home. Putting away winter wraps I find my Bible. Sit down to read my daily portion. Wondering what His heart is for me through the written Word. I plan to read in my normal place -- my favorites these days. The gospels and the Psalms. But the pages fall open and I read with awe the Hope breathed words...

 The message is crystal clear. No matter the storms we still must face. No matter the ice and cold that still locks all the world without in a frozen silence. The shortest day of the year is past. The darkness will slowly slowly give way to the light of longer days. And in it all is the promise. The promise that spring will come.For He who made the  seasons promised that they will be without fail. And His promise cannot fail. The ice in my heart gives way, melts into a river of joyous hope and confidence. And in awe, I worship.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Praise you in this storm

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth
                  -Casting Crowns

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Six Sister Circle

Behold LOVE that passeth Knowledge!

”He was poor, that he might make us rich.
He was born of a virgin that we might be born of God.
He took our flesh, that he might give us His Spirit.
He lay in the manger, that we may lie in paradise.
He came down from heaven, that he might bring us to heaven….
That the ancient of Days should be born.
that he who thunders in the heavens should cry in the cradle….
that he who rules the stars should suck the breast;
that a virgin should conceive;
that Christ should be made of a woman, and of that woman which himself made,
that the branch should bear the vine,
that the mother should be younger than the child she bare,
and the child in the womb bigger than the mother;
that the human nature should not be God, yet one with God
Christ taking flesh is a mystery we shall never fully understand till we come to heaven
If our hearts be not rocks, this love of Christ should affect us .
Behold love that passeth knowledge!”
~Thomas Watson

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

To Know Him

"Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." (Hosea 6:3, KJV).   

     The scrape of chairs against tile floor, the soft lighting entwined over low rustic beams -- subdued ebb and flow of conversation and the rich smell of coffee and chocolate mingled around me, yet I was hardly aware of my surroundings. My eyes were intently fixed on the face of the girl before me -- my heart straining to hear hers through the maze of her broken story and the soft flow of her tears. She was one who was seeking. She knew SO much but she needed more. She'd lost what she now desperately sought for. She wanted to KNOW HIM again. But how did one KNOW Him? How did one find the peace and joy she longed to have once more?
     My thoughts traveled back over my own journey in search of clues as my heart whispered heavenward for guidance. And I wondered what it would mean to NOT know Him. But even worse what would it be to know Him and then lose the connection? I thought how desperate I would feel if I didn't know Him. If for some rare reason my morning quiet time with Him is missed I sense a terrible ache of longing inside to connect and the day is not right until I do. I have to have Him. I simply cannot live without Him. So what would it be like not to know Him?
     Not too many weeks ago a small social incident arose where I felt caught and simply didn't know what to do in a situation. It wasn't that it was right or wrong in and of itself but something involved complicated matters and seemed to make it so. I chose to do what my better judgement pressed me to do but in the process my conscience was crossed. Later I sensed that all was not right within. Some shadow had passed between my Lord and me and I instantly cast about in my mind to find what it might be. Upon seeking Him on the matter He brought this incident to mind and I realized that though I'd done what I thought best I had failed to be totally obedient to Him and His voice in the process. It was quickly dealt with and the peace of unbroken fellowship restored to my heart. But I realized in a deep way in that moment (though this thing seemed utterly ridiculous and small by human standards.) that God requires complete obedience if we would truly walk in intimacy with Him.
     My searching friend wanted to know Him and yet as she shared I wondered if she was where she had to be before she could receive this. "To know Him you must seek His face and then obediently follow whatever He reveals to you." It sounds so simple, but in reality it is not without a cost. Sometimes the price seems too high.  In moments of my deepest losses in life I have almost considered it so myself. But to KNOW Him. What can compare with this relationship?
     We were created to know Him. We were created for abundant joy and intimate relationship with the God of the universe. Who can fathom such as this? And yet all too often we miss out on so much because we simply cannot bring ourselves to pay the price of obedience. Yet I have found that to know Him far outweighs any loss one might face. It is in essence the very highest form of existence, and the deepest sense of satisfaction to live in the light of His smile and KNOW that all is well between my heart and His. And it is only when we know Him with no shadow between that we can really say with total confidence to the world around us. "I KNOW Him and I can tell you that it is worth whatever it might cost to get there." Knowing Him is a foretaste of glory. And as we persue His heart and intimacy with Him. He will come. He is just waiting for us to seek His face that HE might pour out the rain of blessing and love He holds in store for all those that love Him. When we come HE WILL meet us and Oh the joy! But first we must know Him in His sufferings and then we shall also know Him in His glory.What will it be to know Him face to face? THAT WILL BE GLORY!!!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Never Alone

Dark Winter Night

The night is very dark. The road winds away through winter forest. Cold air caresses dark glass and one longs to be indoors where the world stops at the window, instead of out driving -- the snow whispering down to meet headlights feebly rallying against the gloom, throws shadowy light ever ahead of the racing wheels. "I'm glad I'm not going this road alone." The words strike a chord somewhere deep within me as I turn to glance at my sister behind the wheel. The darkness is warm between us and some fuller meaning stirs in the momentary silence. "Now if I can just remember my directions." Her tone is half cheerful -- half wistful and I chuckle in agreement. But my mind is elsewhere, tracing out another road in recent memory, dark yet distinct, frigid and deserted, winding away ever before me. "I'm glad I don't have to go it alone." The words whisper through my heart and I feel once more the gentle pressure of her hug, the warmth of compassion in her tender words, the reflection of divine love in liquid brown gaze that reflects the pain -- the burden shared. And again through the shifting shadows of night the message of hope...
 praying for you each day -- many times each day -- that underneath you will be the Everlasting Arms . . . and joy will come in the morning  -- that morning will come .
     The headlights cast weird shadows on the trees as we swing around another bend and the road hides beneath a hardening layer of frosty white. I ponder how sometimes in the dark cold night, hearts begin to freeze, hidden behind a facade of silence and stoic strength. How many smiling faces hide hearts shivering with pain? And sometimes on the dark unknown road of life it feels easier to go it alone. Safer somehow if no one knows how lost we feel. How afraid and all alone. But deep down every heart longs for the companionship of someone to share the way. And I think of the tender Friend who has become so much the dearer through my own long winter night. The Friend that will never leave nor forsake. The Guiding Light that knows the end of this road as well as I know the beginning, Jesus who is the God of all comfort, the God of Hope, and the Light of the World.  And I pause to whisper thanks, for His ever presentness and those who share His heart. Who in our hopelessness, hold our hearts in love, so vividly an expression of we, as Christ to one another. And though the wind still howls and the icy darkness still presses close, the warmth of His tender peace wraps our hearts in the assurance that one need never "go it alone", and that one need never lose their way. Because He is here and He will never leave nor forsake His own.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Light Has Dawned

The people living in darkness have seen a great light:
     On those living in the land of the shadow of death 
    a light has dawned.
Matthew 4:16 NIV