Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . Part Two

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And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . John 1:14

We love this story by Philip Yancey:

I learned about incarnation when I kept a salt-water aquarium. Management of a marine aquarium, I discovered, is no easy task. . . You would think, in view of all the energy expended on their behalf, that my fish would at least be grateful. Not so. Every time my shadow loomed above the tank they dove for cover into the nearest shell. They showed me one “emotion” only: fear. . .

To my fish I was deity. I was too large for them, my actions too incomprehensible. My acts  of mercy they saw as cruelty; my attempts at healing they viewed as destruction. To change their perceptions, I began to see, would require a form of incarnation. I would have to become a fish and “speak” to them in a language they could understand.

A human being becoming a fish is nothing compared to God becoming a baby. And yet according to the Gospels that is what happened at Bethlehem. The God who created matter took shape within it, as an artist might become a spot on a painting or a playwright a character within his own play. God wrote a story, only using real characters, on the pages of real history. The Word became flesh.   Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew

It is amazing that God would enter the world to show us His love!

That’s something to think about.

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . Part One

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And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . John 1:14

Lovely words in a free devotional series by Janet Denison:  

The “Word” is Jesus. . .   Just as an idea is expressed and made known through words, God is expressed and knowable through Jesus. Jesus had always been with God and he had always been God. Christmas Day is when God made himself visible to the world. And God wanted us to know him as a tiny, newborn infant.

The God of the universe could have presented himself to the world any way he chose. He chose to become a baby, born to a peasant couple in a stable. Jesus is not a “character” of the Christmas story; he authored the Christmas story to reveal his character.

Looking Forward to Christmas,  Janet Denison

We hope you will join us to reflect on Jesus as The Word as we prepare for Christmas this year.

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

Draw Near to God: Day 20

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Day 20: Walking with God

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,

who walk in his ways.

You will eat the fruit of your labor,

blessings and prosperity will be yours.

Psalm 128: 1-2

If we draw near to God can we stay near to God?

Abiding is all about the most important friendship of your life.  Abiding doesn’t measure how much you know about your faith or your Bible.  In abiding you seek, long for, thirst for, wait for, see, know, love, hear, and respond to. . .a person.  More abiding means more God in your life, more of Him in your activities, thoughts and desires. In our Western-style rush to do and perform for God, we often falter at the task of simply enjoying His company.  Yet we were created to be dissatisfied and incomplete with less. . .The challenge of abiding is always to break through from dutiful activities to a living flourishing relationship with God.  Bruce Wilkinson, Secrets of the Vine

As for me, I never lived, I was half dead, I was a rotting tree, until I reached the place where I was wholly, with utter honesty, resolved and then re-resolved that I would find God’s will and I would do that will though every fiber in me said no, and I would win the battle in my thoughts. It was as though some deep artesian well had been struck in my soul of souls and strength came forth. . .You and I shall soon blow away from our bodies.  Money, praise, poverty, opposition, these make no difference, for they will all alike be forgotten in a thousand years, but this spirit which comes to a mind set upon continuous surrender, this spirit is a timeless life.  Frank Laubach, Practicing His Presence

How do you maintain the connection with God?

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

James 4:8

Draw Near to God: Day One

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Day One:  Stepping Away From the Lies of the World

I call on the Lord in my distress,

and He answers me.

Save me, O Lord, from lying lips

and from deceitful tongues.

Woe to me that I dwell in Meshech,

that I live among the tents of Kedar.

Psalm 120: 1-2, 5

We know something is not right.  We look around at the world and wonder, is this all there is? Maybe not.  Maybe there is more.  Dissatisfaction with the world makes us open to seek God.

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The first step toward God is a step away from the lies of the world.  It is a renunciation of the lies we have been told about ourselves and our neighbors and the universe.

The usual biblical word describing the ‘no’ we say to the world’s lies and the ‘yes’ we say to God’s truth is repentance. . . It is deciding you have been told a pack of lies about yourself and you neighbors and your world.  And it is deciding that God in Jesus Christ is telling you the truth.

God, revealed in his creative and redemptive work, exposes all the lies.  The moment the word God is uttered, the world’s towering falsehood is exposed — we see the truth. The truth about me is that God made and loves me.  The truth about those sitting beside me is that God made and loves them, each one therefore is my neighbor.

Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

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For too long we have been in a far country: a country of noise and hurry and crowds, a country of climb and push and shove, a country of frustration and fear and intimidation. And he welcomes us home: home to serenity and peace and joy, home to friendship and fellowship and openness, home to intimacy and acceptance and affirmation. . .

Dear God, 

I am so grateful for your invitation to enter your heart of love.  

As best I can I come in.  

Thank you for receiving me.

Amen

 

Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Hearts True Home 

***

As we begin the journey to draw close to God we need to look around at where we are – our beginning point. What are some of the lies you have believed about yourself? Others? The world? Are you ready to take a step toward God? 

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

James 4:8

Draw Near to God: 30 Days of Readings

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Draw Near to God

September 1 to September 30

The Psalms of Ascent

Psalm 120-134

Join us here as we share  some of our favorite readings to explore the Psalms of Ascent.

These fifteen Psalms were likely sung in sequence, by Hebrew pilgrims as they went up to Jerusalem to the great worship festivals.  Topographically Jerusalem was the highest city in Palestine, so all who traveled there spent much of their time ascending.  But the ascent was not only literal, it was also a metaphor, the trip to Jerusalem acted out a life lived upward toward God. Eugene Peterson

Over the 30 days of reading we look forward to “ascending” with you.

Let’s draw near to God together.

Betsy and Laurie

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

James 4:8

10 Definitions of Humility by Andrew Murray

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1. Humility is perfect quietness of heart.

2. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me.

3. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised.

4. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.

5. Humility is nothing but the disappearance of self in the vision that God is all.

6. Humility is the displacement of self by the enthronement of God.

7. Humility is simply the disposition which prepares the soul for living on trust.

8. Humility, the place of entire dependence on God, is the first duty and the highest virtue of the creature, and the root of every virtue.

9. Humility is the path to death, because in death it gives the highest proof of its perfection.

10.Humility is the blossom of which death to self, is the perfect fruit.

Amazing ideas about humility from a wise man.

Do you agree with any of these? How do you define humility?

Betsy and Laurie

Don’t Stay Stuck: Part One

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“Disciplined runners consistently clear their heads and focus fully on the journey ahead.. .because their passion and zeal for the goal supersedes the strain.  The goal beckons them onward. Passion doesn’t negate weariness; it just resolves to press beyond it.”

 Priscilla Shirer, Gideon: Your Weakness. God’s Strength.

Two things can stop us from persevering in our writing:

The first is the past.  If we keep our focus on our failures of the past we stay stuck and can’t move forward into the work that is ours today.  If we stay focused on the successes of the past the same thing can be true.  Success can be as dangerous as failure in keeping us stuck.

The second is the future.  Do we have a goal in mind and are we training and moving toward it? That’s good.  The goal should “beckon us onward”.  Too often we become intimidated by the scope of the vision and stop. The writing life is a life of perseverance, of pressing on.

The same two things can hinder me in my faith. I can’t stay stuck in the failures and successes of the past.  I can’t be intimidated by my future.  I must live fully in today, pressing on.

We can only do our work today.

Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:13-14

Are you” pressing on” today?  How?

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

 

How Good is Good Enough?

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But the fruit of the Spirit is …goodness.  Galatians 5:22

In writing it is hard to know how good is good enough.  Is it good enough to finish a page, a chapter, a manuscript?  Is that good enough?

 Or is the criteria for being good enough whether your work is published? Soon after we are published we realize we only have one book or one article. Is one good enough? We look around and see that others have more.  A series!  A body of work!

And then there are reviews, awards, Do we need this affirmation to feel good enough?  The bar keeps moving.  If we chase the goal of being good enough in our writing life we will always remain frustrated. 

What about faith?  How good is good enough?  Serving others?  Telling the truth? Going to church?  Reading the Bible?  You look over and see your neighbor packing for a mission trip.  Another friend is memorizing the book of James! The bar keeps moving.  If we chase the goal of being good enough in our spiritual life we will always remain frustrated.

In my writing life I rest in the comfort that I will never be good enough.  I’ll never “make it”.  I don’t even know what “it” is. I can have peace knowing that my work is about being faithful to show up at my desk and be present.

And my faith – I’ll never be good enough with my own efforts.  I must base my faith on God’s goodness. Again I must show up and be present with God.

In both areas of my life it is in the surrender of the striving to meet the criteria of the world that brings peace and growth.

So how good is good enough for you?  What do you think?

Betsy and Laurie

10 Great Quotes from Aslan

Aslan, The Greatest Lion

Aslan, The Greatest Lion (Photo credit: peasap)

1. “But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”

 2. “If you had felt yourself sufficient, it would have been a proof that you were not…”

 3. “You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,”

 4. “Narnia, Narnia, Narnia, awake. Love. Think. Speak. Be walking trees. Be talking beasts. Be divine waters.”

 5. “There is no other stream,”

 6. “My country was made for noble hearts such as yours.”

 7. “But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river.  But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder.”

 8. “Things never happen the same way twice, dear one.”

 9. “Dearest daughter,  I knew you would not be long in coming to me.  Joy shall be yours.”

 10. “Are you not thirsty?”

From The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis

Do you have other favorites?

Betsy and Laurie

 

Praying Psalm 23 for Your Children

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Quietly, in bedrooms and armchairs across the world a force of power unknown and unseen is unleashed, changing the course of the world: the prayers of faithful women and men for children.

Untold numbers of mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles and people of faith lift up prayers.  We do not know how many soldiers have returned home to spouses and loved one because of these prayers.  We will never be able to count the good choices made and bad choices avoided.  How many have been healed?  How many have avoided disaster? How many lives have grown in faith through the quiet prayers of others.

Join us for twelve weeks of prayer from Psalm 23.  Sign up here to receive the weekly email devotional message with a prayer for you to pray for a loved one.  

Click here to sign up.

Betsy and Laurie


Please share this message with others who might like to join us.  The first week begins June 12.

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