Author: From my heart by Brenda Storm
An Altar of Remembrance…
Once again…on this beautiful June morning I am in the Intimate Place within our home and Sanctuary – with Incense burning and with our precious pup, M’Lady Blue, wrapped up in her Prayer Love Afghan sleeping peacefully at my feet – while in the presence of our Heavenly Father! And as I read in my daily devotional “Come Away My Beloved” a profound writing reflecting on King David* in the Second book of Samuel – when returning from his battles with all his brave Warriors by his side – he builds an Altar to the Lord. It’s amazing how important this is for us, and especially, to our Heavenly Father to build an Altar of Remembrance to Him – so that we never forget what He has already done for us. And also, for us to hold onto the precious Promises He has written indelibly on our hearts throughout our lives. So that when life becomes unbearable, unstable, unsteady, or unsafe – we are able to return to our Altar of Remembrances – to turn the pages of our lives…remembering…where we have already walked – and to know, once again, that we are never alone…with Hope restored!
Throughout the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, the people built Altars to the Lord honoring and worshiping Him. And in the precious story, an Allagory, “Hinds Feet on High Places” when “Much-Afraid” journeys with the Shepherd – she carried a little bag that He had given to her when they started their journey together to the High Places. And as they walked and climbed over the rough and unknown terrain – she would pick up stones of remembrances – at every crossroad – and even during very difficult, frightening, and even painful times – so she would never forget. As she prayed, ” Jesus, my Shepherd, please make my heart soft in Your strong flame so I am able to take the imprint of Your Name!” And when Much-Afraid finally reaches the High Places where her name is wonderfully changed from Much-Afraid to “Grace and Glory” – she builds an Altar with the precious stones she has treasured and collected while on her journey with the Shepherd. And then the question pricked my heart – “Am I prepared?” Am I truly trusting my Shepherd with all my heart; as I continue on the path before me? Or am I spinning out – trying to fix it all with my plans or resorting to some clever strategy? Or am I hiding out in a safe place?
And then I hear the gentle whispers of the Holy Spirit who speaks truths to my heart. “All you have to do is to keep yourself in the Love of God. Pray in the Spirit. Rejoice evermore. And be grateful and thankful in all of your circumstances as you set your affections upon Christ Jesus your Lord and Savior who is our Redeemer and Shepherd.” As His Spirit rejoices within us – His joy – is promised. Which is the greatest joy that can come to the human heart. As it’s the joy of our Heavenly Father that trancends all human joy! And as King David poured out the precious water, when he returned back from the battles with his brave Warriors; which was their gift to him from the Well of Bethlehem – as a drink offering before the Lord – he then builds an Altar of Remembrance in gratefulness to the Lord His God! Powerful! As we must always be prepared – under the guidance of the Holy Spirit – of what is yet to come!
So as we build our Altar of Remembrances – honoring and worshiping our Lord within our lives – He will answer our prayers – and the problems that plague our lives, our hearts and minds, and our land…will be stopped! As we choose to make our lives, and our bodies, a Living Sacrifice to the Lord our God and Savior! It’s a Promise!
From my heart…
2 Samuel 23:15-17; 2 Samuel 24:18-25; Psalm 91; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
*King David is also the Author of the Psalms – “A Man after God’s own Heart!”
WHO DO YOU BELONG TO?
Have you noticed that whenever you meet someone for the first time…a series of questions immediately follow? What do you do for a living? Single? Married? Children? Position in the marketplace? Yes! prying eyes want to know!!! Makes me smile! And then the hard questions arise: What do you stand for? What do you really believe? Who do you really love and trust? And…WHO DO YOU BELONG TO? Questions that ask us to lift our protective veils enabling others to embrace our lives – to become vunerable. Yes! To willingly open the doors of our Hearts allowing others to enter in to really see who sits on its Throne. The one who guides our steps…as we walk on our chosen life-paths here on earth. So in answers to your question…let me share my heart with you…
“He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He’s the keeper of creation and the Creator of all. He’s the Architect of the universe and the Manager of all time. He always was, always is, always will be unmoved, unchanged, undefeated and never undone. He was bruised but brought healing, He was pierced but eased pain, He was persecuted but brought freedom, He was dead and brings life. He has risen to bring power and He reigns to bring peace. He is our Promise Keeper and Light in the Darkness.
The world can’t understand Him, armies can’t defeat Him, schools can’t explain Him and leaders – they can’t ignore Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him, Nero couldn’t crush Him, the new age cannot replace Him and the Media cannot explain Him away. You remind yourself, that He is light, He is love, He is longevity and He is the Lord. He is goodness and kindness and faithfulness and He is God. He is holy and righteousness and powerful and pure. His ways are right, His word eternal, His will unchanging and His mind is on us. He’s our Savior, our guide, our peace, our joy, our comfort, our Lord and He rules our lives.
Yes! I serve Him because….His bond is love, His yoke is easy, His burden is light and His goal for us is abundant life. I choose to follow Him because He’s the wisdom of the wise, the power of the powerful, the Ancient of Days, the ruler of rulers, the leader of all leaders. His goal is a relationship with me and with us. He is the rock we can stand on and He is our firm Foundation. He will never leave us, never forsake us, never mislead us, and He will never forget us, never overlook us, and never cancel our appointment in his appointment book – and He is always on time.
When we fall He will lift us up. When we fail He will forgive us. When we’re weak He’s strong. When we’re lost He’s our way. When we’re afraid He’s our courage. When we stumble He will steady us. When we’re hurt He will heal us. When we’re broken He will mend us. When we’re blind He will lead us. When we’re hungry He will feed us. When we face trials of many kinds – He is with us! When we face persecution He shields us. When we face problems He will comfort us. When we face loss He will provide for us.
And when we face death He will carry us home into the Heavens to meet with Him – “Face to face!” He is everything, for everybody, everywhere, everytime, and in everyway! He is our Heavenly Father who loves us; our Savior and Shepherd – Jesus Christ – who calls us by name; and He is the Holy Spirit who shines His Light on the path before us. So Yes! In answer to your question…HE IS WHO I BELONG TO! How about you?”
From my heart….
Anointed, Transformed, & Redeemed
“I will watch over you wherever you go!”
Today our neighbor brought in a landscaping crew to cut down all of his dead bushes that have been guarding the parameter of his property, over the years, with their beauty; but most importantly; for their protection. And as I watched him I felt a real sadness in my spirit – as the very reason he had planted these bushes, in the first place – was to block us out. To place a barrier between us – his neighbors. And now all the bushes are gone. However, there is a small remnant of what still seems to be growing – if they are able to discern what is truly part of the bushes that used to be – or are they only weeds now entangled and growing in their place. Sadly, I watched as our neighbor kept walking back and forth with his head down – grieving – over what he had just lost. A profound teaching for me…and for us.
As I have been reading in the Holy Word that after Jesus chose His Twelve Disciples, to walk with Him here on earth; He immediately started grooming them for what lay ahead. Which was not going to be an easy road – but actually a sacrificial calling. As the people thought that Jesus had came to reign as a King within the world – to physically save them by fighting to defeat the enemies who were also their administrators of cruelty – while keeping them in bondage. However, what Jesus taught, and ultimately teaches us – which goes so totally contrary to our natural bent, is for us to love our enemies. And if they are hungry to feed them; and if they don’t have clothing to clothe them. And that when we choose to judge others, when we are asked not to judge – be careful – as while we are taking the speck out of our brothers eye – you may find it hard to see – because of the plank we have in our own eyes. So humbling…
Jesus goes on to remind us that “no good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.” As a good man will bring out the good things that are stored in his heart – while the evil man also brings out the evil things that are stored in his heart. And it says, “So beware! For out of the overflow (the abundance) of the heart the mouth speaks!” As whatever we bring into our lives…what we see, what we say, and what we hear…rests in our hearts and will come out of our mouths and will be reflected in our actions – both good and evil. Huge!!! Then Jesus continues to explain what the difference is between the foolish and wise builders – as its not enough to just hear the Word but we need to be doers…as “the one who hears My words and does not put them into practice is like a man who builds a house on the ground without a ‘foundation,’ and the moment the storms strike the house it collapses and it’s destruction becomes complete!”
So then I heard the Holy Spirit whisper…“Your foundation must broken up and removed!” I immediately pictured a jack hammer being used, with all the noise and with cement thrown all around, with bits and pieces flying everywhere – watching as my foundation become a pile of of useless rubble – with a bulldozer heading my way! He went on and said, “This must be done – so a new foundation can be laid and built upon – able to support a new home, a Temple, that will withstand “all the storms” within you life. As you have been building houses – over and over again – believing that this must be the one that will stand – because of its beauty or because it looks so majestic and sturdy! But sadly, you have chosen to build something new and place it onto your old foundation. The same one that you have been repairing for most of your life – filling in the cracks with so many things that never held it together to make it a safe place. Yes! It has to be completely broken and torn down – and everything has to be cleared away – so that a new foundation can be poured. A foundation made with strong new materials which are able to support you for a lifetime, where a new home can truly be built to become your safe haven…so that when the storms of life come – it will stand firm on it’s new foundation – which is Jesus Christ – our Refuge and our Rock!
He went on…“And what about the weeds that you have allowed to stay and grow in your garden? Weeds that are choking and poisoning the plants that are struggling to grow to give you life! Oh Yes! Some even look quite attractive with beautiful flowering blossoms. But once again, ALL must be pulled up “by the roots,” and thrown away – totally discarded – otherwise, they will return to take root…once again!”
As truly Jesus is our “Master Gardner;” who pours His Living Water into the soil of our hearts – while tendering them with His Light – as He gently nourishes and cares for us – while helping us to grow. Yes! Guiding us with His Love so we can keep our garden fruitful and weed free! As it brings tears to my eyes just knowing how deeply we are loved by Him – like no other – as we can safely build our lives upon Him as He is our Shepherd, who calls us each of us by name, and who is also; our “Master Builder!” And when we find ourselves floundering in the storms within your lives – and they will come – just reach up and hold His hand – and you will hear His gentle voice whispering deep within your heart…“Don’t be afraid, be courageous and stand firm.” as “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go!” It’s a Promise!
From my heart…
Luke 6; Joshua 1; Genesis 28:15; Psalm 91; Isaiah 26:4
Have You Found Your Shoes Yet?
My eldest Son called to wish me a happy birthday, and also, asked me to speak on his behalf at his Wedding Reception in November, as his Fiance’s Dad would be speaking on her behalf! Immediately fear hit the pit of my stomach as l calmly said, “Yes! I would be honored to speak!” As Wayne and l had just returned home after hearing an amazing teaching at our Church, New Life Elgin – on courage and fear – as we looked into the life of King David the Psalmist! Reminding us that courage builds a legacy, but fear tears it down and opens the door to brokenness. And through the name of Jesus – we receive inner strength to do the right thing in spite of the fear we may feel. As fear will often call us to exit the “waiting room” through the door of compromise!” Huge enlightenment! As we are asked to not only remember, but also, to believe that our Heavenly Father is never late, and is always on time; as His way and His will for our lives is always worth waiting for – over whatever fears and doubts have sadly crept into our minds…trying to hold us captive.
Also, the “fear of losing control” will cause us to assume rolls which were never intended for us to take – and when fear and pride come together – which is a very dangerous combination – it leads us to no longer trust our Heavenly Father for the outcome. Which stops us from obeying and believing in “His timing” to bring our lives to the destiny He has carefully designed just for us. Sadly, we forget that our Heavenly Father is Sovereign! Yes! A heart lacking courage will tend to rationalize disobedience. Believing: “l saw,” l thought,” “l felt,” and “l did it!” As the Holy Spirit will gratefully take our temptations and turn them into a conversations with God! Because decisions made out of the “fear of man” rather than trusting our Heavenly Father, will ultimately, destroy our destiny and take away our courage to wait!
So as l sat pondering about what to share in relation to my Son’s character, through the eyes of a Mother’s heart – while searching through a lifetime of precious memories which have been treasured within my heart. I prayed that I will find words to encourage him as he walks hand-in-hand with his precious Bride into a Life Commitment. I realize that this very teaching I just heard was fine-tuned just for me…as what came immediately into my mind when he asked me to speak was “fear of man!” With feelings of uncontrolled panic taking over my mind, as l thought, “What can l possibly share when speaking on his behalf – as I immediately started to question my adequacy to be able to bring honor to my Son and his Bride. And if this wasn’t enough to bring fear – remembering that l would also be speaking in front of my family and friends – many for the very first time in public – even after all these years of walking with my Heavenly Father – and with my Shepherd!
And then l heard the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit reminding me of when l spoke at a precious friend and Sister’s funeral of her Dad – who I had only met once in Intensive Care. To a gathering of total strangers seated together in honor of her Dad and Family. l asked the question, “Have you found your shoes yet?” Shoes that are specifically designed by our Heavenly Father for each one of us! Yes! As Prodigals, who our Father is always watching and waiting for; and when He sees us from afar – He runs and gathers us up into His arms rejoicing that we have returned to Him. He then kisses us with the love of a Father for His Children – while placing a robe of Righteousness around us to keep us warm, and places a Ring of Relationship on our Finger to remind us that we are an intricate member of His family – forever! And then He kneels down and places shoes on our feet – specifically designed shoes for us alone to wear, enabling us to walk on the path, no matter what the terrain; towards our destiny and His will for our lives…here on earth – into Eternity! Takes my breath away just writing this…
And Yes! I felt fear trembling within me – but chose to place my trust in my Heavenly Father – through His courage and strength – to humbly become His Messenger – for a “time such as this!” With the privilege to honor my Son and his Bride – to bring God’s precious Light into their presence with the fragrance and Love of Jesus – while thanking and praising our Heavenly Father for allowing me to bring Glory to His Name above all else! And am so deeply grateful, that as we read the story of King David, to know and believe that in “all of our circumstances,” as God’s chosen people, a Royal Priesthood, we are also called to step out and up – “courageously” – remembering that we too come from humble beginnings, chosen to walk with our Shepherd, who calls us by Name; with a servants heart towards Almighty God…our Heavenly Father! Imperfect – Yes! Blessed – Absolutely! As He uses our weaknesses to demonstrate His strength through us – and is preparing something spectacular – no matter what stage of the journey we are on…It’s a Promise!
From my heart…
Journal Entry – October 9th
1st Samuel 13:7-15; Numbers 6:24-26; Joshua 1; 1st Peter 2:9-10
Our Hearts – the Wellspring of Life!
Already days into the New Year of 2019 and I find my heart overflowing with unspeakable joy in the presence of our Heavenly Father – with gratefulness for simply everything! As I look back through the past year and see all the changes in our lives with all the beautiful blessings we have received. I also see the many ups and downs and bridges that we have crossed together – while walking with our Shepherd who has never left our side…and who calls us by name! Simply blows me away!
As I have become more aware of the daily battles we face that seem to begin in our minds – these battles are a mixture of voices that speak of both the highs and the lows – and with longings of both good and bad. Which come easily to us – as they pour into our hearts and rest there – seemingly as truth. As it says in the book of Proverbs, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life!” Why? Because it’s our life source both physically and spiritually – through the blood. It is also the place where Jesus sits enthroned once we accept Him as our personal Savior. Of course, the goal of these thoughts and voices, which seem to move so freely throughout our minds; is for us to become off focused and out of balance, so we start questioning – sowing seeds of doubt. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But it’s deadly. As I have shared with the Women in my Small Group that Satan believes God’s Word more than we do…because He knows without a doubt – that God’s word is trustworthy and true and that He keeps all His Promises!
So on this day – I am able to see more clearly that the battle we face is between our mind and our hearts – battling for the position to ultimately take control of our lives! Yes! They are like enemies warring against each other. The Word of God warns us to take our thoughts captive in the name of Jesus. It also encourages us to stand firm and don’t go back into the captivity that had enslaved us. And where is our Heavenly Father looking? He is always looking at our hearts! And who is whispering thoughts of doubts into our minds trying to turn and entice us away from the truth – feeding our pride, our wants, and our needs – to be able to capture our hearts? It is the evil one who knows our weaknesses and vulnerabilities – because we are human and he knows that we have been given the gift of choice – free will – with the ability to choose without restraints…
A short time ago I read this sentence* “When the desire of our heart is to be in the presence of our Heavenly Father – without all the distractions – our mind is the hardest area to shut down and control.” Wow! It was as if a light was turned on in my mind enabling me to really see with new eyes. As because of these voices – our mind literally stops us from being able to clearly hear the voice of the Holy Spirit as, sadly, it becomes muffled and drowned out! And even our ability to simply sit still without hearing the army of thoughts coming through our minds – one after the other – is almost non-existent. Thoughts such as…“I need to call the Doctor to make an appointment” or “Should I start the laundry?” “Don’t forget you have a meeting with a new client today;” “Wow! What am I going to wear?” Oh yes! “Don’t forget to add this to your list” while asking ourselves, “Did I remember to turn off the lights?” and “Hey! What’s for dinner tonight?” Yes! The barrage of thoughts are never ending! Sadly, what these thoughts are able to do – if we do not take authority over them – is to slowly move us away from the intimacy that we are longing to have with our Heavenly Father – to be able to sit in His Presence and share our lives heart-to-heart within our cherished relationship. Which then rolls over into all of our relationships, as we find ourselves caught-up within the natural bent as humans – forgetting why we are even here – as our hearts become compromised with detours – and therefore – we are no longer functioning as designed by our Creator – which is to live our lives – abundantly, joyfully, and freely with Him!
My prayer for us is to choose to surrender everything, and everyone, into the hands of our Heavenly Father – so that our minds and our hearts will begin to “speak with one voice.” As this is how Jesus lived when He walked here on earth. It says within the Word of God that Jesus drew apart from his disciples, and away from the noisy crowds, to go up the mountain to pray and to spend precious solitary time in the presence of His Father – because He and His Father are One. To become rejuvenated and uplifted in His Spirit to help Him walk here on earth as Son of Man. As He needed to hear the voice of His Father – because He did not speak on His own – but spoke only His Father’s will…ultimately for us! Oh! Let this be the same for me and for us.
Yes! It’s real! There is a constant battle going on in our minds and within our hearts – every day – asking us to make choices – to choose either life or death. As our Savior is always reaching towards us to take our hand in His – to steady our walk over the rough and unknown terrain – tendered with His grace, mercy, and love – as He is our Hope! To believe in Him while stepping above the sounds and voices that distract us. Yes! Above the wind of adversity – and away from the earthquakes of unrest – and through the fire of discontentment. We will then be able to walk upright in the warm gentleness of His Light – in quietness and confidence – with the security of His strength intertwined within our natural and spiritual lives here on earth. While being guided by the Holy Spirit with His love and truth – as intricate parts of the Family of God!
“And may the Peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus!”
From my Heart…
1 Samuel 16:7; Proverbs 4:23; 23:7; Matthew 14:23; 26:39; Mark 6:46; Luke 5:16; John 10:10; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; 11:3; James 1:17; 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9
*Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Burton
A ‘Stained Glass Window’ for all to see!
Once again, I am in the Intimate Place in the presence of our Heavenly Father – with our M’Lady Blue sleeping at my feet – simply counting all the many blessings l have received throughout the years – way too many to actually count; as my heart is overflowing with humble gratefulness. And then I remembered a time when my Shepherd, Jesus Christ – who is the Keeper of my Heart – took me by the hand to guide me gently down into the darkness of a room that I had chosen to close off – locked within my soul called, “The Room of Broken Dreams.” And when He asked me to come with Him – I found myself trembling with every step we took – as this was the room I had chosen to never enter or see again. But as I looked up at Him – I felt His strong hand holding me – as His eyes spoke volumes to my heart – and whispered, “Trust Me!” while unlocking the door…
As we entered the room the light from the Holy Spirit, who was with us – was overwhelming – and at first I couldn’t make out anything – but then as the light filled the room it made all things clear. And as the tears ran down my cheeks I saw all these broken pieces of my dreams scattered all over the dusty and filthy floor – some were even piled on top of each other – failed dreams – lost and discarded and valueless – some even hard to see what they once were. Slowly my Shepherd guided me – as He never let go of my hand. He then bent over and started to pick up pieces – and turned to me, as by this time, my head was already bowed down because I was feeling the pain of these losses – He said, “Oh yes – this piece is so very precious to Me!” And then He took a few more steps and bent over again and again – picking up other pieces saying, “Yes! We need these too!” As slowly the room of broken dreams was being cleaned up piece-by-piece – and then He turned to me and said, “This room is now called “The Desires of your Heart!” As I will place all these broken pieces together and will create a beautiful Masterpiece – a ‘Stained Glass Window’ for all to see. As from the outside it will be beautiful – but when the light from within shines through it – it becomes Spectacular!” As He knew us in a secret place in the depths of the earth – where He planted deep within us – our desires, our gifts and talents – and where we were uniquely and wonderfully created – and where our days were written in the Book before we took our first breath of Life…
And as I remembered this most precious time with my Shepherd – who gently moved me to a place of value within the Family of God – I find myself in His Presence, once again, in solitude and silence – opening up my heart to him about everything in my life – as His peace gently pours into my heart and helps to deepen my walk with Him. Knowing that this is His desire for all of us to choose to unlock and open the door of our hearts to welcome Him in – so that we can share the intimacy of time together – and even share a meal as the closest of friends. To be able to speak openly from our hearts with Him – about our joys, and also, about the depth of our pain and sorrows. As His desire is always towards us…and He longs for our desires to be towards Him.
Yes! It’s a beautiful movement of the intertwining of our spirit – with a gentle ebb and flow – which enables us to then hear the wordless love language of the Spirit of God within our hearts. Because there truly are no words that can adequately describe them – as they come from within the deepest recesses of our hearts – a precious gift from His heart to ours. Which is an open invitation for all of us to enter through His door – that never closes – because His love is never ending…It’s a Promise!
From my Heart…
Psalms 139:1-18; Revelation 3:20; Lamentations 3:22-24
“All Creation is reaching Heavenward”
It was a beautiful Autumn Day with clear skies overhead as I was taking my morning walk through my family’s pristine neighborhood in Frisco, Texas. Yes, my annual trip home to my precious Texas Family at Thanksgiving! And what a wonderful gift for me to be able to come from Illinois where the weather, at this time of year, is so unpredictable; to simply walk outside into the fresh air with the beauty of Gods Creation all around me…truly a gift to my heart.
And as I was walking the Holy Spirit whispered to me “Look at the trees!” This was amazing – as here I am walking up and down the streets within their neighborhood enjoying the sunshine, listening to the birds, seeing people here and there with children laughing and playing – and honestly – never really looking at the trees. Then He said, “Have you noticed that they are always reaching up towards the Heavens?” And I had to say, “No! I actually had not given this any thought at all.” And then I heard, “If you look around you – all Creation is reaching heavenward – not only the trees!”
As this is the same with Humanity – “All trees start with a seed which is planted deep within the earth – a secret place – where it receives the nutrients from the soil with the warmth of the sun to help it grow – while being watered by the rains from the Heavens It then breaks through the earth – birthed – slowly moving forward and upward to become what our Heavenly Father created it to be – a tree!”
“Now look at the line of trees along this street – notice that they are the same kind of tree – all from the Oak Family – but also notice – that not one of them grows the same – their trunks and branches look alike because they are Oak Trees – but each is uniquely different from each other.” And as I continued to walk now looking at the Oak Trees and marveling at this incredible, and unexpected, revelation; the Holy Spirit then drew my attention to a cluster of trees located on a hill at the Golf Course that literally graces and has become part of the backyard of my family’s home on the 6th Hole! He said, “You will see that these trees are not from the same family – but they are growing together – yes they are different and yet do not overlap each other – but actually blend together reflecting their individuality, and also, the beauty of each tree family.”
I then saw some dead trees mixed here and there among the thriving Oak Trees. And yes! They were still standing as a tree but with nothing growing – no apparent life to them at all – with nutrients no longer feeding them. And yes! They still looked like a tree with its trunk and branches, but now, with no leaves or color, just a reflection of what they used to be. As their usefulness was now gone. This was profound for me to be able to see this with new eyes – wondering if this is how we are when we choose to no longer walk in the light but in darkness. Choosing to stand alone and become isolated, and sadly; separated from each other, and from the Family of God! Oh yes, we still look like us but the radiant light of life has left our eyes – which are truly the windows of our souls. Sadly, sometimes those trees have to be cut down – with their roots dug up and replaced with a new tree willing to grow and flourish. Whew!
And then I remembered that our Heavenly Father’s heart is not willing that any should perish – as isn’t He the Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine to search for the one? But He will not override our choices as He has given us freewill – with the hope that we will choose to walk with Him and to love Him. As every day we have choices to make – and on this day – He chose to use His Creation, the Oak Trees who were simply lining the streets while sheltering the homes with their beauty in Frisco, Texas – to reach down and teach me more about His Creation. To show me how we are joined together as Family here on earth, and also, as intricate members of the Family of God – for us to choose to grow and to reach Heavenward as His Children! Literally takes my breath away!
Have you ever thought how trees serve us? They add beauty to the landscaping of our properties while also gracing majestic mountaintops. They give us timber for construction – they also help to purify our air quality to help us breathe. Trees provide shade and shelter to comfort us from the hot sun – and yet are also used as fuel for cooking, and give us fruit to feed us. And on the coldest of days and nights their wood is used to bring life and warmth to us by the light of their fire. And some bark from Oak trees are dried and used in medical preparations, while their acorns feed the soil to enrich it. Even paper is made from trees so we are able to communicate and draw – and to read our books on printed pages – yes so many countless ways trees serve and sacrifice for us – way too many for me to list. And last but certainly not least – trees become a safe haven, a home, for the birds of the air and a safe habitat for many species of animals – where they have made their nests, and homes, to care for and to feed their young – keeping them safe during the storms.
So I have to ask myself…do I serve my Lord and Shepherd…willingly…with all that He has given to me – within my Family, and also, within the Family of God – and with those He has placed in my care? Do I serve Him with all my heart, soul, and mind – and with all of my strength? And do I provide a safe haven to those who are lost? Do I feed and nourish and genuinely love others with His love to help them walk? All I can say is… “Please let it be so…”
From my heart…
Genesis 1:9-13; Psalms 139:11-18; Matthew 18:12-14; Luke 15:4-7; 1 Peter 4:8-11
A heart of Gratefulness…
“A Symphony of Grace”
To be in one accord – to harmonize in unison – and to come together as One
Grace is a room of a thousand mirrors all reflecting the face of Jesus Christ
Grace is the cloak that covers the naked and the hand that drops the rock
Grace is the stamp that says “ransomed” on the life that screams ruined
Grace is…”Life Restored!”
Do you know that we all have a seat as instruments within the “Divine Symphony”- through Jesus Christ – ordained by our Heavenly Father’s heart of love? As our spirit longs to be played within the symphony of God – to have His fresh wind blowing through our spirit as an instrument to glorify His Name. While asking our hearts so many questions: Have we found our place in the Symphony of God? Do we want to remain a lifeless instrument that has lost its tune? Has our song become burdened down with the busyness of life, so that we now lay tarnished – unseen and unheard? Or do we want to go solo and not be an intricate part of the whole?
Honestly, I had never thought of the Body of Jesus Christ as an Orchestra – but heard a teaching using this analogy many years ago – that the Holy Spirit brought back to my remembrance this morning while I was in the Intimate Place. Actually, I heard Him whisper the word “Symphony” a few times to my heart that I chose to disregard. So grateful that the Holy Spirit doesn’t give up on us and continues to remind us to move forward! Makes my heart smile! So I looked for my notes – that had sadly collected dust in the annuals of my mind. To remember, once again, how the sound of music – with its beautiful ebb and flow – the highs and lows – help to open and unlock the windows of our souls – as the Word of God States – that our Heavenly Father sings over us and in the Heavenly realms choirs of Angels sing praises to our God and over His Creation!
So, once again, He asks us, “Are we willing to lose ourselves amidst the vast Symphony – or do we need to be the center of attention and the focal point?” As we are reminded that Beethoven lost his hearing when he was composing the “Ninth Symphony” – and yet it was the final symphony he completed – with the grace of God. As it states, “Beethoven’s hearing loss is long captivated by the tragic circumstances of a deaf composer and the ways Beethoven managed to keep working, even after he completely lost his hearing by the time he was 45. (He died at age 56) And when he was completely deaf – with the need to complete his Ninth Symphony – he sawed the legs off his piano and used the floor as a sounding board.” He never gave up – no matter what – and fulfilled God’s calling on his life – whose music still blesses us – as a ripple effect – all these many years later…
And yes! Our Heavenly Father is able to play every instrument within His Divine Symphony – and yes – we are imperfect – but He is perfect” and Jesus is our Conductor! So why do we become paralyzed believing the lie that we have to be perfect? What has stopped us from playing the song – the message – we have been called and gifted to share? As every person who sits within a Symphony is able to clearly see the Conductor. So who or what is blocking our view? Also, what I never knew – is that there is another very important and necessary position within a Symphony, called the “Concertmaster,” who sits in the first Violin position – who is the one “tuning the rest of the symphony” into harmony together!” You see we also have a “Concertmaster” within God’s Divine Symphony who is the Holy Spirit – who lives within us. Who breathes life into our hearts and lives – so that we are able to come into agreement with one another – with people who are different, opinionated, and invested, coming together in one accord for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven…
So once again, the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit encourages us…as He whispers… ”Please go and find your instrument again – pick it up from where you left it…waiting – dust it off – get it tuned up again with the Word of God – and bring it into the light so that it shines, and is ready to play the song that has been uniquely composed and designed only for you to play; seated within the Divine Symphony of our Heavenly Father!
“Amazing Grace how sweet the sound…”
From my Heart…
Job 38; Zephaniah 3:17; Matthew 18:19-20;
I Corinthians 14:7-8; Acts 15:7-11; Hebrews 12:1