Tuesday, October 21, 2014

panoramic perspective


In this quote, Puritan John Flavel
 is referring to the fact that the Hebrew language is read backwards from our perspective—that is, right to left instead of left to right. Flavel believes that God’s providence or sovereignty must be discerned in a similar way–that is, backwards in time. It does seem that we can more clearly grasp God’s sovereignty when we look at our lives from a panoramic perspective. It is only then that we can begin to see how seemingly insignificant events are woven together and form the far greater picture of God's sovereign plan. I love the visual imagery in this quote by Pastor Ray C. Stedman:
When we step out of time and into eternity everything will be one big panorama. We will see the past, the present, the future all-at-once—perfectly unfolded and it will all work together for good to those who love God—and it will all make sense.

Recently I wrote an essay in response to the prompt, "It all made perfect sense…” A portion of my essay reads: “My daily relationship with our living Lord Jesus reinforces my belief in the sovereignty of God, that nothing comes into my life that is not filtered through God's hands of love. I believe there are no “accidents,” that every conception and every birth is part of God’s sovereign plan. I rest and find comfort in these life verses:
"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.(Psalm 139:13-16) 
I believe God planned who my birth parents would be and who my Mom and Dad would be, and both influences, plus His, were needed to help me become all that He created me to be. I believe that God sees the end from the beginning. He knows me intimately, He knit me together in my birth mother's womb, one day I will see Him face-to-face and I will know as I am known…and it will all make perfect sense.” I have included photos and a more detailed essay, How I Came To Be—Expect A Mystery, in my very first blog post in 2009.

My heart is so encouraged by this amazing video of Chris Tomlin's beautiful hymn, Sovereign

In Your everlasting arms,
All the pieces of my life
From beginning to the end I can trust You
In Your never failing love
You work everything for good
God whatever comes my way I will trust You

Was this encouraging to you? Please feel free to leave a comment in the box below, I'd love to hear from you!

day 21 of my 31 days of encouragement...click here to see all 31 days!



Monday, October 20, 2014

He Himself is our peace...


for He Himself is our peace... (Ephesians 2:14a)

Several years ago during one of Beth Moore’s Living Proof Live simulcasts, I was so moved by this video with Travis Cottrell’s beautiful rendition of the John Denver classic, Annie's Song, as a hymn of praise and worship...a beautiful visual and auditory experience of Peace.

Peace is a Person…Jesus doesn’t just give peace—He Himself is our peace. As we fix our eyes on Him, He fills up our senses, sustaining us through every circumstance.

When I was a teenager, a missionary to Uganda, Webster “Web” Carroll, came to our church to speak. I was fascinated by his stories from the mission field. Many years later, when he was retiring, he came back to our church to share a final message. He asked us to open our Bibles to John 21:1-6…

Later Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. Several of the disciples were there--Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples. Simon Peter said, "I'm going fishing." "We'll come, too," they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. At dawn the disciples saw Jesus standing on the beach, but they couldn't see who he was. He called out, "Friends, have you caught any fish?" "No," they replied. Then he said, "Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you'll get plenty of fish!" So they did, and they couldn't draw in the net because there were so many fish in it.
Web began to share his observations of this familiar scripture, he said, 'I' is not the most profound company or secure future. It is dangerous for the ego to become the foundation for your tomorrows. If 'I' is undependable, 'we' is that much more undependable. That 'night'—physical night is bad enough, but spiritual night is worse. He explained these words from the Ugandan language, 'ushinde' (ends with an 'e') which means 'defeat.' He said the word 'ushindi' (ends with an 'i') means 'victory.'

Jesus asks, "Do you have any fish?"  Sooner or later somebody has to speak and say, "No, Sir, we don't." Sooner or later we face Jesus Christ, whether we recognize Him or not. "What do you have to show for the last 8 hours you've spent in the water?"  He covers us with His compassion. Just like He did that early morning—to talk to the fish that were there in the water that night.

The difference between spiritual victory and spiritual defeat is the Presence of the Lord Jesus. He explained this with another Ugandan word, 'basi'... it means, 'peace, it will be alright, it will be okay.' It is used by mothers nursing their babies, it means 'peace, healing' as they hold their babies, they pat them saying, “basi, basi”..."that's alright, that's alright." Then he closed with John 3:16 and he said,
"Just give Jesus a chance, He will give 'basi.'"


Was this encouraging to you? Please feel free to leave a comment in the box below, I'd love to hear from you!

day 20 of my 31 days of encouragement...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

presently, actively, continually believing



Come to Me...and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
  Several years ago I completed the Beth Moore Bible study, Believing God, which included a Greek word study of the word pistis, translated assurance, belief, believe, faith, and fidelity in the New Testament. We learned the Greek verb tense of the word believe was a present active participle verb, and that when we see a Greek present active participle verb, we can think of the word continually preceding the verb...

presently, actively, continually believing

I was reminded of this present active participle verb tense when I heard the lyrics of this beautiful old hymn, Jesus, I am resting, resting...

presently, actively, continually resting
in Jesus' finished work on the Cross
presently, actively, continually finding 
out the greatness of Thy Loving Heart

presently, actively, continually trusting 
Thee, Lord Jesus
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.


Take a few minutes to be encouraged by Tricia Brock singing, Jesus, I am resting


Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Was this encouraging to you?
Please feel free to leave a comment in the box below, I'd love to hear from you!

Day 19 of 31 days of encouragement...click here to see all 31 days

Saturday, October 18, 2014

two simple Latin words...

watercolor of the empty garden tomb in Jerusalem, Israel
I love this story by Alexander Maclaren from the Streams in the Desert devotional...
Martin Luther was once found at a moment of peril and fear, when he had need to grasp unseen strength, sitting in an abstracted mood tracing on the table with his finger the words, “Vivit! Vivit!” (He Lives! He Lives!) It is our hope for ourselves and for His truth and for mankind. Men come and go; leaders, teachers, thinkers speak and work for a season, and then fall silent. He abides. They die, but He lives. They are lights kindled, and, therefore sooner or later quenched; but He is the true light from which they draw all their brightness, and He shines for evermore.

These two simple Latin words
proclaim the Truth of the Gospel that changes everything about our everyday lives and our eternity--Because He Lives, we too, shall live...Pass It On!



When I was a senior in high school, our youth group performed the 1970’s folk musical Tell It Like It Is. It was such a spiritual milestone in my life, standing up for my faith before secular audiences, expressed so well in these lyrics to the song, Pass It On....
It only takes a spark to get a fire going...And soon all those around, can warm up in glowing...That’s how it is with God’s love...Once you’ve experienced it, you spread His love to everyone...You want to pass it on...What a wondrous time is spring, when all the trees are budding...The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming...

That’s how it is with God’s love...Once you’ve experienced it, you want to sing“It’s fresh like spring”; 
You want to pass it on...I wish for you my friend, this happiness that I’ve found...You can depend on Him, it matters not where you’re bound...I’ll shout it from the mountain topI want the world to know; 
the Lord of love has come to meI want to pass it on.



The providence of God is like Hebrew words—it can be read only backwards, wrote Puritan John Flavel, referring to the fact that the Hebrew language is read backwards from our perspective–that is, right to left instead of left to right. A component of the Beth Moore Bible Study, “Believing God,” was to complete a timeline of our life in 10 year segments, asking God to reveal to us all the spiritual mile markers in our lives--broken places, hurts, disappointments, accomplishments, and joyful times--to help us see that God had been there all along. His grace is sufficient. To accomplish this task, I discovered a very helpful tool for a Timeline Templatethrough Microsoft. It’s free, and it’s very easy to use, the text boxes expand to whatever size you need, and the arrows on the boxes can be moved to any location on the timeline. It really helped my memories come to the surface, and God has used it to encourage me in so many ways.


Looking back at spiritual mile markers in my life encourages me. Is this encouraging to you? Please feel free to leave a comment in the box below, I’d love to hear from you!

Day 18 of 31 days of encouragement...click here to see all the 31 days of encouragement!

Friday, October 17, 2014

crowns and hoop skirts of light...

Sometimes it’s just a word that connects-the-dots to memory. Like the word, “crowned” in Psalm 8:5, "crowned him with glory and honor." A word study of the Hebrew word used for “crowned” is `atar (aw-tar') meaning "to surround, encircle (for protection); especially to crown -- compass, crown, to cover, enwrap, wrap oneself."

The moment I read this definition the image of another “crown” came to mind, but now with the added meaning, “to surround, encircle, enwrap.” The “crown” I pictured was actually a photograph of the “Milk Drop Coronet” taken by Harold Edgerton in 1957, an unseen world of objects in motion, capturing that which is ordinarily invisible to the human eye...yet it was real. I wrote a blog post about the first time I saw the photograph in 1963, a memory that came back to me in 2007 as I wrote a journal entry in response to a Christian counselor’s prompt, “Tell me about a time when you felt special as a little girl.” As I wrote the journal entry, I drew a sketch of the photograph as I remembered it...



Amazingly enough, just a few days later, the Lord would remind me of His Presence, Emmanuel—God with us, when I saw this same photograph at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. The symbolism was unmistakable to me, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has been with me all along—when I was knit together in my birthmother’s womb, when I was chosen, adopted, by loving Christian parents. He was with me when I first saw the “Milk Drop Coronet.”  He was with me when I recalled it in my journal following the counseling session, and He was with me when I turned to look at the darkened alcove in the museum to snap a picture of the “Milk Drop Coronet.” He is with me today and everyday into the future. He is with me. He is intimately involved in the tiniest details of my past, my present, and my future.

Now, this word study of the word “crowned” with the added meaning, “to surround, encircle, enwrap” reminds me that He “crowns” me with His glory and honor everywhere I go, surrounds me, encircles me, like a hoop skirt of light, visible in the heavenlies. One of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received, included in the newspaper article in this blog post, was, “She was like a shining light coming through the door.” Then recently, another friend described me the same way. I know that “light” is Jesus shining through me, surrounding me, encircling me.


A pastor’s wife once told this true story of a time she was walking down a path in a park, when suddenly, she could see a man running toward her with an evil intent and expression on his face. She cried out, “Jesus, help me!” and instantly she said she actually saw a “hoop skirt of light” shining down around her, and the evil man just kept running past her, as though he had not seen her, and she was safe.

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Just to know that I know that I know 
that because I have placed my trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, I am redeemed by His precious blood, He has crowned me, surrounded me, encircled me with His glory and honor… as this song says, I am a greatly blessed, highly favored, and deeply loved child of God.
Heavenly Father, thank you, that in Christ, You have crowned me with Your glory and honor. I am a greatly blessed, highly favored, and deeply loved child of God. Thank you for how Your favor is operating and functioning in my life. It surrounds me and encircles me like a shield. Your favor goes before me and prepares my way. Your favor opens doors of blessing and opportunity in my life. Wherever I go and whatever I do, Your favor is with me, surrounding me, encircling me. Your favor fills my life with overflowing blessing, peace, joy, fulfillment, and abundance.

Does this encourage you? Please feel free to leave your comments in the box below, I’d love to hear from you.

Day 17 of 31 days of encouragement...click here to see all 31 days.

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