I’m sitting in the dark writing this blog post by candle light. I came home to another power outage. There was only enough time to put my groceries in the refrigerator and light a candle, before the sun disappeared behind the hills and shot it’s colorful rays into the twilight.
As I sit here watching the flickering flame cast its dancing shadows across the paper, I can’t help but think of the blessing of light. It’s something I don’t always appreciate until I’m sitting in the dark. There is so much I can’t see! I lived a portion of my life that way- “spiritually” sitting in the dark. I didn’t know what I was missing, because I couldn’t see it. Darkness hides a lot of things.
Just one candle lights this page enough for me to write, and it was just one Name that brought light into my life enough to cast out the darkness and expose everything hidden there. One Light shines bright enough to change a life and He is Jesus. He’s the light of the world and the light that shines in our hearts.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” -John 8:12
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” -2 Corinthians 4:6
It’s one thing to sit in a dark house when the electricity is off, it’s entirely another to live in the dark. Jesus offers us life in the light. All we have to do is follow Him, and He lights the way!
Happy October! This month the freedom writers are writing on harvest blessings. 😊
When thinking about harvest blessings the first things that comes to my mind are apples, pumpkins and persimmons. But what about special things that occur to make an ordinary day extraordinary?
Mom and I have lunch together on Fridays. We were finishing up our meal at a local restaurant and she asked if I could go to the counter and pay the bill. The woman behind the counter looked sad, so, I asked her how she was doing and she said “okay”, but not very convincingly. I decided to ask a few more questions and she shared that she had had to do a hard thing that morning but she knew the outcome would be good. I felt compelled to tell her that if she was doing a hard thing with a good outcome then she was showing a lot of courage. The woman’s eyes instantly filled with tears and she said that “She needed to hear that.” She allowed me to console her with a hug…
Spending time with God allowed me to show up with love. I noticed and asked questions and He gave me a word that I couldn’t have known that she needed to hear. My harvest blessing.
Going out from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So, he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. – Matthew 12: 9-13
Harvest blessings. They abound! – and if we look a little deeper and act with God, they provide meaning and purpose to our lives in all season of life!
Harvest Blessings to You!
With Love, Christina
abide - christina reeves
My brother-in-law was hurt in a work-related accident. My heart was compelled to go visit and sit with my sister as she faced this new reality. My heart said “go” but my head did not want to enter that ICU room with her and see the state of my brother.
When I walked into the room, I look towards the hospital bed and noticed that sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach and I experienced myself pulling away both with my body and my emotions. Then, I paused… and asked myself: “Is this how I want to show up for my sister and brother-in-law in their time of need?” As a result, I was able to decide to act the way I would want someone to act if I was the grieving wife or the injured husband in the bed.
This month the freedom writers are writing about the idea of “abide”. How can one little word be so simple and yet so full?
Some of the definitions from Webster:
to bear patiently; to endure without yielding; to wait for; to accept without objection.
intransitive verb: to remain stable or fixed in a state; to continue in a place: SOJOURN
So…abiding in God, would be a way of waiting patiently for God and yielding without objection to what He shows us with stability and consistency. WOW!
I was able to pause and notice because God was with me in that room. He had asked me to be there for my sister. I was able to pause because I was acting in love. I was able to pause because of God’s great love for me.
It has been my experience that I am only able to “wait patiently for God and yield without objection, when I make time to invite God into my day and ask what He wants me to do. I am then able to truly know that He is with me in the day to day. And I can hold my sister’s hand as we together pray for my brother’s healing in an ICU room.
I sat by my sister’s side that day and was even able to talk to and touch my brother’s hand. Time with God made me aware of His strength and enabled me to love.
Mother Teresa said, “There is a terrible hunger for love. We all experience that in our lives – the pain, the loneliness. We must have the courage to recognize it. The poor you may have right in your own family. Find them. Love them. She added, “Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness.”
need a nap? by charlotte foster
“For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.
Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:11
Have you ever wondered why God rested on the seventh day of creation? I have. After all, He is God, why would He need to rest? It seems He likes to stop and admire what He’s done. We see this when He stops to acknowledge what He made and proclaim it was good, every single day of creation.
“God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25
And “God saw that it was very good.” Genesis 1:31
Looking back over time we see God is not in a hurry. He makes plans and patiently carries them out. He even takes time to rest! If rest is important enough for God to do it, then it stands to reason it’s important for us too. We can liken Him to a father knowing his child needs to take a nap. Does the child want to be still and rest? Usually not, but his body needs it. It’s good for him.
Do you think God might like us to stop and look back over the week and what we’ve accomplished (like He did with creation) and see His hand in our days? To see the good He’s done in our lives and acknowledge it, and rest with Him (and in Him) on that seventh day?
Charles Spurgeon wrote,
“Faith is reason at rest in God.”
When all our days run into each other without stopping to contemplate and acknowledge the good, we become weary and run down. We were made to need rest, both physically and mentally. Not just time to sleep, but time to rest in Him…to be still and know that He is God; to be renewed in strength and restored in spirit and reset for the week to come. It’s wise to remember that our Father really does know best, and sometimes we actually do need to take a nap!
“Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength…It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.”
Are you taking time to rest?
In His grace,
Women's ministry update
a new season - Charlotte foster
For many, August is a time of gearing back up after a summer break. Kids go back to school and we start looking forward to cooler weather arriving. Along with the hot days, there are other things we will say goodby to until next summer.
Boats and kayaks will be stored away with life jackets and beach toys. Swimsuits will move to the back of our drawers, making room for sweaters to take their place in the front. Iced tea and the heat of summer will give way to crisp cool breezes, apple cider, and pumpkin lattes.
It’s a time of changing seasons, moving from summer to autumn. Life groups will start meeting again and Women’s Bible Study will start a new session. It’s also a time of celebrating what God is doing in people’s lives as we join together at the river for baptisms in September. God is always doing a new thing in a new season as sure as the earth rotates around the sun.
“For everything there is a season,
A time for every activity under heaven.”
What are you looking forward to in this next season?
I’m sure God has some amazing plans.
I was just on a walk…
And I met up with some neighbors. I had planned on turning right to start a jog but decided to turn left and join them on their walking loop. One of them asked how my mother-in-law was doing and I explained that she was recovering from the last hospital visit but we were given paperwork for discussing and making decisions about her wishes concerning the end of her life…The conversation turned serious and sad and I tried to change the subject to something lighter but was met by loving opposition. I was so grateful for this afterward because it resulted in a beautiful conversation about how to address this sensitive topic and I walked away equipped with resources for the conversation.
This month, the freedom writers are writing about “Gearing up” because August seems to be the pivotal month where we savor the rest of summer and begin looking to Fall schedules and plans. While this story may not seem like an appropriate lead in to “gearing up” I want to share with you something that I learned to be important when things get added to the daily schedule.
In her book The Monastic Heart,..
Author Joan Chittister talks about the monastic (monastery) practice of horarium which is the way that life in the monastery is divided. The monastic days are divided into periods of prayer, work, study and rest. She goes on to say that “The ordered life is a life that has time for growth, for leisure, for study, for community, for reflection built into it, not grabbed on the fly. It plots a purpose and pursues it. It determines the self it wants and needs to be. It establishes life on a principle of wholesome self-development.”
The prophet tells us that “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait on him.”
What does all of this even mean?
I have learned that the important things in my day must be scheduled or they are overrun by the not so important things. When I made time with God yesterday morning, I saw my neighbors as friends and not distractions from the jog that I had scheduled. When I focused on God’s Spirit within me, I was able to receive instruction and lovingly respond.
My pray for you is that when you start looking to the coming months and all of the activity, that you will “schedule” God time and experience all of the little gifts He will leave for you along your way…they usually come in the most ordinary activities.
With Much Love,
Wearying Cynicism - Pastor esther
Cynicism is sneaky. It can appear sophisticated while masking woundedness. I recall a friend steeped in it over matters of the heart; namely, men. Her cynicism bled her ex-husband’s betrayal. The man she trusted would love her forever, did not.
Age-old story. She built walls to ward off hurt. But those defenses didn’t allow healing to reach her either. Her perspective skewed all men as equal. A lonely, exhausting burden.
Cynicism is sad, especially directed towards God. People blame God for myriad of things. Life doesn’t happen as expected, they conclude God failed. The Israelites did.
You have wearied the Lord with your words… By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?” (Malachi 2:17)
Notice the result. They “wearied” the Lord. Weary God? Isaiah says God “neither faints nor is weary” (40:28). Perhaps God was saddened by their persistent cynicism.
Giving up on God brings the inclination to replace him with humanity. And let’s face it, we disappoint. When disillusioned, God’s accused again. Wearying, misplaced cynicism! Yet God understands our limitations. Fulfilling his promise to the Israelites, he provided for us through Jesus.
Are you soul-weary, wondering when burdens will ease? Jesus invites: bring them! Learn from him. Rest in him.
It’s easy to feel cynical. It’s life-changing to trust Jesus.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Rest in God’s love - Jackie Wehr
Jesus is the only One who will lead and guide us along the paths we’re suppose to take.
Each and every step will be directed by Him, full of His love and wisdom with His very best in mind for our lives and our future.
Sometimes He sees us feeling hopeful and at times hopeless. He realizes we struggle at times to hear His voice and feel His guidance.
You shouldn’t look back, instead look up right where you are and He will help you find the way for your future.
Rely on Him to give you direction. If you trust in Him, He will lead you along the right path.
Our limited perspective can cloud our vision and keep us from walking forward in faith and trusting in Him.
Rest and trust in His guidance and walk in the way He will show you.
Remain in God’s Peace..
Rest - Christina reeves
This month the freedom writers are embracing the idea of “rest”. This week my family is on vacation in Tahoe. I must say that writing about “rest” is much easier while on a restful vacation. 😊
But as I’ve written before, The Lord has been impressing upon me the importance of rest. What do I mean by “the Lord has been impressing upon me…?”
- I may receive a devotional email with the theme:”Sabbath Rest” with all sorts of practical things to do.
- A scripture about rest will be included in my Bible or Lectio 365 plans.
- My heart won’t leave me alone about the practical idea that I can easily do to help me to enter into His rest.
- A friend may mention that they are focusing on rest.
And so I commit.
This is what the Sovereign Lord, The Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength…” Isaiah 30:15
I’d like to unwrap that by focusing on these 4 words: repentance, rest, quietness and trust.
Repentance- accepting the fact that I am sinful and in need of my Savior.
Rest- ceasing from the normal rhythms to be still.
Quietness - listen to and for God’s voice.
Trust- believing that God is good and that He knows best for me in EVERYTHING.
And what do we get out of the bargain? Salvation and strength. I think that’s a pretty good deal.
I have no doubt that if you commit to entering His rest, The Lord will show you what you can do, but here is a prayer from my heart to yours:
“Thank you Father, for welcoming me home into your heart. Love me this week as I welcome You home into my heart.
Thank you, Jesus, for standing and knocking at the door of my life.
Befriend me again this week as I open the vulnerable parts of myself to You.
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for brooding over the chaos of my world and within my inner being. Fill me this week as I seek to host You with generous attention and joy.”
I hope that you have a wonderful and restful week.
With Love in Christ,
to the Cold Springs Blog!