Simple (Having An Expectant Heart) (Guess Blogger)

I would like to take a moment and introduce to you my guess blogger Bethany:

Welcome! I’m Bethany E. Donham and I love my life! I’m also in love with a man who is not my husband. But it’s ok, my husband knows all about it and encourages the affair. In fact we often talk about Him casually over the dinner table and His name comes up in our pillow talk on a regular basis. His name is Jesus. Have you met Him?

It’s because of this love affair that I started this blog. A lot of times I find myself  lost in thought over something Jesus is trying to teach me. Or I just can’t seem to understand something without writing it down. So this is more for me than anyone else. If you like what I have to say, great! If not, that’s ok too. These are true stories inspired by my daily struggles as a wife, mother of two girls, and Preschool Minister.

I treasure life, laughter, and above all else, love!  So, check it out. Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts too.

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I’ve always believed that less is more. Fewer activities. Smaller houses. Closer friends.

So, why is it a surprise then, when God shows up in the most humble ways?

Lately I have been amazed at how God has been responding to me. And if you are in a place where you feel like God has forgotten your hurt, maybe it’s time to get back to basics.

My heart hurts a lot. I know a lot of people who are hurting and God has wired me to practically feel physical pain when those that I love share their hurt with me. I’ll be honest and say that can become quite burdensome if I don’t keep it in check. I retreat a lot. I go off by myself a lot. I am not at all uncomfortable spending an entire day in solitude.

It’s during those times when I am still that I can hear God the loudest. Notice I did not say that He speaks the loudest when I am still. I believe He is always there waiting to say something, I can just hear him better when I am still. I draw up on Psalm 46:10 a lot. I have to.

Because when I am still I notice. I notice when He answers me.

I have two teenage daughters. (Prayers are always welcome on my behalf). They are loud, busy and always moving girls. They are always playing music too loud, running off somewhere or engrossed in the latest YouTube craze. Each one has a flair for the dramatic and have their own theater and dance outlets. They are priceless beauties and I am losing my grip on them more and more each day. As it should be.

Imagine a typical evening at my house when each one in their separate rooms have on their own favorite song. I don’t know about you, but if my favorite song is on, it ain’t at a low volume.

So it is with my girls.

What happens if I call to them? Do you think they would hear me? Do you think they would notice my voice?

Of course not. They continue dancing in their bedrooms or (and I have no idea how she does this with her music on let alone in the quiet) continue to work her Pre-Calculus homework.
I have to go directly to each one of my children, tell her to turn the music down so I they can hear me.

Do you need to turn your music down?

God’s not going to yell to get your attention. He’s just not. He’s a still small voice that speaks whispers into the hearts of those who are listening for it. He’s working every single moment of every single day and He delights in giving you your hearts desire.

But, can you hear Him? Do you see Him working?

What is so cool about God is that He’s God, but He doesn’t boast about it. He’s so complex but so very simple. He could move mountains. He can heal the sick. He can mend broken hearts. But He’s not going to be obvious about it. He’s a bit of a seek and find kinda guy. You gotta be looking for His handiwork in the every day.

I needed God to show up today. I needed a reminder that He’s still here even after a long week. I headed to my quiet space and told Him that.

And this is how He responded. This is the whisper into my heart.
Why do you need me to show up if I am always there?

It was so simple. And I was reminded of the beauty of that truth. He is always there. In everything He created.

So, then I just wanted a simple reminder and confirmation. And you know what the Creator of the Universe did? He sent me a tiny bird to dance and dazzle me in the treetops.

Simple right?

But I was looking for it. My heart was expectant.

I think sometimes we don’t get what we ask for because we don’t expect God to follow through.

Why wouldn’t He?

Why would your Father give you a snake instead of what your heart desires? (Luke 11:11)

We aren’t looking for it. We are too busy on our devices or we’ve got our music too loud. Or our calendar is too full to just be still.

How many blessings have I missed because I wasn’t expecting the simple but looking for the extravagent?

Follow on Twitter @BEDONHAM

 

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Through the Pain I Am Holding On to “I Am”

1Peter 5.pngThe righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them, he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all, he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked, the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The Lord will rescue his servants, no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.                    Psalm 34:17-22

There are times in our lives that we cry out in pain to you Lord, and we wonder if you care and if you understand the pain that we as humans must endure while living here on the earth. With broken relationships in one way or another, the loss of a job, our home, and even the loss of someone we have loved so much leaves us here on earth the pain is so overwhelming inside of us and all we long for is that the pain we feel will go away and that we can feel joy once again, and to rejoice you no matter how we maybe feeling deep within our souls. 

We need to remind ourselves that you God are high and exalted one whose name is Holy Yet you choose to dwell with people who are contrite and lowly of spirit. You do know how prone to pride that your people are, so you provide a variety of circumstances to humble us. We don not need to look for more ways to become more humble. If we try with all of our might to be lowly of spirit, we are more likely to become proud, or even ridiculous. Instead, we need to be on the lookout for what you are doing in our own lives and yield ourselves to your ways Lord. Our focus should not be on how humble we are but on how we can please you in the present moment.

Through seeking you Lord and opening up to you I shall experience your light that shines upon me and within me. I need to allow these healing rays soak deep into my being, so that you  continue blessing me, it will allow this source of blessings to other people. By letting my humble hurting parts be exposed, I allow your light Jesus to shine through me into others’ lives, even thro my pain in so deep within me. When I experience a divine reversal in my life, I am thrilled to observe how masterfully that you operate in the world. My suffering gains meaning because I know that you can and do bring good out of evil. Ultimately, your plans Lord will not be thwarted, you have the last word, for you are the Alpha and the Omega! Lord your wisdom and you ways I get to see a glimpse of your glory even here on earth. These things in which I do see around me allows me to worship you for who you truly are the “Great I Am”, and I bow before you in worship, I have assurance one again of your unfailing love for me, and I begin to remember the words that are imprinted upon my heart “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans not to harm but give me a hope and a future, (Jeremiah 29:11) and as hard it seems to me in understanding I simply just need to “Trust” which has always been a difficult one for me to do at times.

Compassion

Matthew 11.png    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-29

Through these words written in the Gospel of Matthew, Christ speaks to people who are desperate in their search for God, trying hard to live a good life. Jesus’ invitation is meant for those who have become tired in their search for God and have been driven to despair. He invites those who have to shoulder heavy burdens in their search for the truth to come to Him. The Greeks believed it was hard to find God and when you did, it was difficult to tell anyone about Him. Zophar ask Job, “Can you solve the mysteries of God?” Can you discover everything about the Almighty? (Job 11:7)

The only way to get to know God is to focus on Jesus. The religion of the orthodox Jews was a heavy burden to them ( Matthew 23:4) It was a matter of endless rules and regulations, which weighed heavily on them in all spheres of life. The life Jesus gives us is not a burden that weighs us down, but a life that is specially made to suite each of us.

Christ’s yoke is put on our shoulders with love, and love makes even the heavies load light. When we think of the love of God, when we know that our “burden” is to love God, to love our fellow humans, then the burden becomes a song. The burden given with love is carried with love and therefore it is always light.

John Baillie a Scottish Theologian and Minister wrote “Give me a stout heart to bear my own burdens, Give me a willing hear to bear the burden of others. Give me a believing heart to cast all burdens upon Thee, O Lord.

Prayer: Loving Father God, thank you that your burden never becomes too heavy for your children.                         Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The Birth of A Savior

Luke 2C

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room available at the inn for them.                 Luke 2:7

Can any of us here today try to imagine the King of Kings, and Lord of Lord being born in a stable, a smelly one at that. And yet he was, he was not born in a fancy place where a earthly king’s child was to be born and place in a soft bed, the God of the universe was place in a manger, a manger made of straw, such a humble place for a King to be born. The joy and promise of Christmas is that the miracle of Bethlehem still happens. God still enters into the reality of our messy everyday lives. And so on this day, we open wide our hearts to receive the Christ child with joy. When Christ was born, so was our hope. The manger dares us to believe the best is yet to be. And it all can begin today for each and everyone of us. Prayerfully surrender your hopes to God, trusting that he is already at work to provide the light you seek, the help you need, the deliverance you long for.

Prayer: Lord Jesus please make my heart your home forever.          Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Do You Have Room?

Luke 2E.pngAs Mary and Joseph journey on to Bethlehem because of the census they came upon a dilemma, which was that no one I mean no one had a place available for them. However, because they were humble they were willing and did make the stable a home for themselves for a short time. Regardless that Mary was about to give birth to a King at any moment the stable was fine, and a manger where food was kept for animals, was good enough for her son to lay his head upon and rest.  Doesn’t this when you begin to think for a moment or two how our Lord Jesus Christ the King of the Universe came into this world and begin his life as a human. There were no fancy birth announcement, and she didn’t give birth to Jesus in a nice warm hospital bed, but she gave birth among the lowest of the earth, the animals. You see Christmas is not about fancy trees, or the parties that we attend or throw ourselves, not about the Christmas cards and definitely not about the presents either. This season is all about the birth of a child who would change the lives of men and woman forever. Our sins as humans have separate us from God and for all of eternity, but God did not give up on his people. His love is unconditional that is why even through we are sinners he sent his only begotten son. Look at the words of the Gospel of John 3:16-18 “For God so love the world that he gave his one and only son, that whosesoever believe would not perish but have eternal life”. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to received glory and honor, and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being,

Revelation 4:11

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.        Revelation 3:20

GiftsThere is only one gift that we could ever possibility give to the Christ child and that is our hearts. It doesn’t matter to Jesus how poor we are, how rich we are, what we have or don’t have, what matters it our hearts and that is all he wants, and for us to give of ourselves to others. Christmas is a season for giving, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we can keep that same Spirit all through out the year and not just one month a year. The greatest commandment that Jesus teaches us is this ” Love the Lord your God will all your heart, soul, and mind, and the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourselves.

Matthew 22:37-39

Prayer: Dear Lord

We come to you just as we are, as sinners, and ask for your forgiveness, and to say please come into our hearts and live with us forever. May we become the people that you have created us to be, not just this Christmas but forever.

In Christ Name we Pray

Amen

Grace and Peace To You My Friends

Mary Visits Elizabeth

Luke 1b.pngAt that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting. the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for hoy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

And Mary said: My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me, holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.                                     Luke 1:39:56

When one thinks of the women of the ancient world, our first emotional response is usually pity. This would even be true in the Jewish world of those days when our Lord added humanity to His deity and manifested Himself to men. There was so much that women could not do, or at least were not allowed to do. We might suspect that the limitations of biblical revelation, compounded by those of the culture, would have made womanhood a curse. The men assumed the leadership roles, especially in spiritual matters. The women seemed only fit for fixing meals and bearing children. Perhaps a few women, “blessed” by financial prosperity and social standing, may have been able to enjoy some of the benefits of the male world. Luke is well-known for his high regard for women and for the prominence which he gives them in his two accounts. We find the first instance of his highlighting of women in our text in the first chapter of Luke’s gospel, where the spotlight is directed toward two godly women. The two women are Elizabeth, the soon-to-be mother of John the Baptist, and Mary, the mother-to-be of Messiah, were truly great and godly women. Both were humble women of no social or economic standing. Elizabeth was the wife of an obscure priest. Both she and Zacharias were country people, who lived in an unnamed village in the hill country of Judah. The bore the added social stigma of having no children. No doubt in the minds of some they were being punished by God for some sin. Mary, too, was a humble peasant girl. She did not have any social standing due to her parentage or class, nor even the dignity of Elizabeth and Zacharias age. Yet the worship of both of these women is such that they are models for all true disciples of our Lord. By reading these words in the Gospel of Luke I believe that as long as anyone including a woman has a willing heart God will use them to glorified his kingdom.

Grace and Peace to You My Friend

 

God’s Holy Whispers

1 Kings 19.pngAnd the word of the Lord came to him. “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too. The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.                    (1 Kings 19:9b-12)

God is the Creator of the Universe, yet he choose to make His humble home in our hearts. It is there you know him most intimately, it is there God speaks to you and me in holy whispers. He knows this is more than we can even imagine, that someone so great and majestic would choose to live in someone so small and even so sinful. It is even so hard for me to imagine you Lord living within my heart, it is something at times that I struggle with to understand. Yet in spite of my short comings and regardless of me being a sinner you choose to dwell within my heart. It is times like this Lord in the quiet of the morning or perhaps in the evening that my spirit longs to be with just you. It is during these times my spirit hungry to hear your voice in guiding me to understand the “Great I Am”.  You are living in my heart because you deeply desire intimacy with me and I with you. I know that I am weak, and easily distracted by so many things in this world. Yet I want you to help me to hear your gentle whispers in my heart. I need to be still and very quite during these times to feel your presence, to Be Still and Know that I Am God (Psalm 46:10)

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends