A Command to Be Very

March6

This post first appeared at Inscribe Writers Online

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn it from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Joshua 1:7

The Lord not only told Joshua to be courageous, but very courageous. I wonder if the Lord added the emphasis of an adverb before the adjective “courageous” because of Joshua’s extreme circumstances? His new job was to lead two million people into a new land and conquer it. Even though Joshua had grown to be a strong leader from assisting Moses for many years, I can imagine he may have felt extremely challenged for this upcoming new adventure!

But Joshua did not hesitate, did not measure the pros and cons, or run to his friends for advise. Instead, he ordered and directed the people to ready themselves for their journey to cross the Jordan, to the land the Lord was giving to them. While directing their next steps, Joshua reminded the people of Moses commands and the Lord’s promises, and the people obeyed their leader knowing they were also being faithful to God’s plan. And they too, encouraged Joshua to “be strong and courageous!” (v.18)

When facing new challenges, I can be very hesitant to take the next step. I want to be very sure so the outcome will be successful, on my terms. I can measure my success by my circle of influence expanding, or my finances increasing, or by the amount of ‘likes’ I’m receiving. Yet, unlike the worldly definition of success, success in God’s eyes is for us to be strong and very courageous through obeying and following His word. It’s being faithful to His plan for our lives. He directs us when we turn toward Him. And then we can rest in His promise that we will be successful wherever we go.

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Lord, thank You for always being with me and directing my way. Even though my situations can get tough, and challenging, I know you are with me. May I always keep my eyes on You, may I always turn to You, for when I do life with You, I will be successful in Your eyes wherever I go. Amen

And may the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Where might God be saying to you ‘be very courageous and strong?

 

A Word Teaching

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Just prior to the Christmas season, I was blessed to be taught a bible study method by Bonnie Gray, author of Whispers of Rest and Finding Spiritual Whitespace. As a thank you, Bonnie offered a live online bible study course for the women that had contributed to her publication platform. I first discovered Bonnie through her blog and always appreciated her kind, encouraging comments regarding my own writing and photography.

Over those few evenings when Bonnie Zoomed with us from her living room in California, I learned she attended bible college, taught bible study methods for many years, and once even led a singles ministry.  I also learned how to deeply seek the meanings of scripture and what God is saying to me through His words. And it’s changed me, in a very good way, on how I now approach my bible reading.

During our time together, she had us in Mark 6:45-52 as we observed, interpreted, and applied His word. She guided us in the understanding why it is in the interpretation of God’s word where most of our time is to be spent. She showed us how use the tools within https://www.biblestudytools.com/ and https://biblehub.com/

I was sad to see it end, and hope that one day Bonnie will offer a ‘train the trainer’ course so I can dive deeper into this bible study method and teach others!

But I digress…

What I really want to share is what I began to see when I read the following lines. And how just two lines in scripture rerouted my course, taking me ‘home.’

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Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. Mark 6:52

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed in the boat with them, and the wind died down. Mark 6:51

In the passage, it struck me how “immediately” is repeated, and that word ‘made’?–well it shouted out at me. Jesus made his disciples get into the boat, made them leave the party early so to speak. See, Jesus had just done the impossible. He fed 5,000 people with five loafs of bread and two fish. Five thousand people had just witnessed the miracle of Jesus! I can imagine the excitement of the disciples. Now….now…surely there were enough believers to make Jesus their king, right there and then!

But Jesus led the disciples away and made them get into the boat. I wonder if they objected? I can imagine Peter trailing behind Jesus as they walked away from the crowd, muttering to himself, and then standing in the boat as it sailed away from shore, shaking his head in wonderment as Jesus dismissed the crowd on land. The circumstances seemed to be exactly right for what he wanted to achieve, however Jesus was calling him back to the boat to travel to Bethsaida, where he, and the disciples Andrew, Philip and John had called home.

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Jesus knew it wasn’t His time yet to be crowned. And He knew His crown was not ever to be a crown made of gold and silver. Instead it was to be a crown of thorns He’d bear as He hung on a cross, fulfilling His Father’s purpose for eternal salvation.

As I studied this scripture, I began to see myself at the boat, defiant and resisting Jesus. “But I know what is best! Yes, I’m tired, hungry, and overwhelmed by the crowd, but I can’t step away from the party. Look what I’ve started! How can I just walk away?”

And Jesus’ gaze is gentle as he tells me, “I’m making you go across the waters, to a place you’ll know as home.”

“Trust Me.”

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I can imagine my body swaying slightly as the boat sails me away, over the waves, as I watch Jesus on land take care of the crowd, dismissing them.

Jesus is taking care of the details as I sail where He wants me to go.

So, as January 2019 comes to a close, my ‘goal’ book still stays closed, as I make my way to shore not sure what will come next. And whenever the wind feels against me, and the waves rough underneath me, He’s shown me through His word that I am “to take courage”, and “don’t be afraid.”

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All I need to do is let Him in, let Him teach me, and still me with His presence.

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What has God’s word taught you lately?

Linking up today with Soaring With Him Ministries

 

And It’s All So Beautiful

Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. Luke 12:27

There’s a greenhouse just a five minute drive from my home. Not a greenhouse in a traditional sense as it is open year around with a restaurant serving organic greens and gluten-free treats, and gifts galleries that change with the calendar celebrations.

Christmas time fills the floor with decorative trees and already overflowing shelves with ornaments, wreaths, and garland.

Approaching Valentine’s Day more red and white candles, silk and real roses rest on bursting shelves of trinkets, jewels, and framed mottos.

Now, drawing near Easter, pops of pastel colours adorn the interior design with baby blue vases, soft pink stuffed bunnies, and sun set orange ribboned baskets.

I walk past all this splendour into another room unseen from the entry. All my senses refeshen in the humidity that seems to steam from the hundreds of cacti plants that rest on shelves against the walls, stand in tall pots in the corners, and more aesthetically arranged on round tables creating a centre aisle.

And I breathe.

I breathe in this place where not a ribbon or jewel or ornament occupies.

I step slowly scanning the various cactus plants, some barely two inches in length, some warped in their roundness, others gangly in their tallness. Some bodies plentiful with spines, others edged with scattered thorns.

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And it’s all so beautiful, in it’s rawness, it’s unadorned form.

What is it that draws me to this place where beauty and refreshment comes from the misshapen, the undressed? Where symmetry isn’t and where thorns are exposed?

Maybe it is stirring in me that restlessness for that perfect place of ancestry, in a Garden where all was perfect, nothing hidden until tampered by temptation.

Maybe it is stirring in me to remember, to be, to come exposed, scars, wounds, prickles, and thorns, no adornments that mask.

Because we are all so most beautiful, my darling, in our raw, unadorned form.

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You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Song of Songs 4:7

Come surrender your hidden scars
Leave your weapons where they are
You’ve been hiding, but I know your wounded heart
And you don’t know how beautiful you are

I’m tired of hiding who I really am
Underneath these alibis
I want to know who you really are
I want to meet you here tonight
We’re not born with these defenses
We’re not destined for this pain
We hide ourselves and put the fig leaves on
But a mask can never cover up this shame

                                                                                                             Jon Foreman

 

A New Way of Success

 

Jan17“Search for it like silver, and hunt for it like hidden treasures, then you will understand.” Proverbs 2:4-5

The above scripture started a workbook on a study that soaks in the scripture of James. When I read those words earlier this week, I was surprised but then again not.

I’d read the same scripture exactly one week prior as the reading for a group gathering. And in that gathering I’d written to be persistent in seeking His treasure, His wisdom.

And just weeks before, I’d chosen a word for the year-PERSEVERANCE.

Honestly at the time when I chose the word I’d defined it as persevering in the places I wanted to grow in-my writing, my photography, my coaching business, for example.

And in those places of growth were multiple tasks of how to get myself BIGGER, more into the market place through social media and networking.

And hopefully creating new, valuable product as that is my favourite part.

But I left that goal as a possibility only because I felt I hadn’t reached the success level  to create something new.

I didn’t think it wise to create more when I still had inventory of past collections.

And not wise as (getting real and honest here) having not collected the amount back of the investment I’d already made into all my current creations. So making money an arching goal seemed like a wise thing to do.

I joined an entrepreneur  group to learn the multiple ways of marketing, made a binder of goals broken down into steps, vision boards, and daily, monthly, year success sheets to consistently “plan, do, review.”

I started listening to daily motivation videos.

But with all these items, just days in, my motivation began to slip away like water into a drain.

Continue reading “A New Way of Success”

Simplifying the Steps

Jan10

I am borderline obsessive when it comes to learning new ways to make goals, get clarity, open up your dreams, and other such life desires. As a professional life coach helping women who are struggling with creating the life they envision for themselves, it’s important that I keep learning so can be creative too, in helping leading others to their next steps.

But, with notebooks filled with scribbles of a multitude of methods and each method having it’s five or so steps, and then the many ads that come up on my social media feeds for learning how to live your best year yet, it gets overwhelming.

Which is the right way? They all are good and really have the same message, just said in a different way which is important so they reach the people they need to reach.

Yet can seem so complicated!

This week our church has Solemn Assembly, a guided prayer service each evening. As I closed my eyes in prayer and asked God the question I wonder if He may just be tired of me asking,- “Where should I be spending my time and efforts?” a repeated word of our scripture passage that particular evening flashed across my mind.

Treasure.

Earnestly seek My treasure and you gain wisdom. 

Be persistent in the pursuit of My treasure, and I will give you common sense, guard your path and protect you. 

It’s that simple.

One step.

Start by seeking His treasure, His wisdom.

And I will find the right way to go.

He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the path of the just and protects those who are faithful to Him. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Proverbs 2: 6-10

I am linked up with Five Minute Friday today where a topic is chosen and you have 5 minutes to write your words. You can check out how to be involved and read others musings on our prompt Simplify this week at Five Minute Friday

 

 

Advent Breathing Spaces

Inspired by Linda Stoll’s blog and timandolive.com, I’ve been posting at my Instagram account a daily photo for Advent. I’ve compiled the first 11 days here for you as well as Advent scriptures. I hope these bring you peace in this season that can seem so crazy at times!

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   HOME: The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.  Romans 13:12-14
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HOPE: God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Cor 1:9

 

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WAIT: Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.Watch therefore–for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning– lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch.” Mark 13:33-37

I

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VISION:In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

 

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PREPARE:There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light. The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. John 1:6-9
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RENEW: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring forth for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’ Jeremiah 13: 14-16
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JUSTICE: The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land for ever, the shoot of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the LORD; in its time I will hasten it. Isaiah 16:19-20
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PEACE: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
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SILENCE: Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. Psalms 43:5
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PRESENCE :A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalms 27:4
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BELONG: Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to observe thy righteous ordinances. Psalms 119: 105-106

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For a limited time I have FREE SHIPPING on my journals (maximum two). Ready for a daily practice to create a healthy mindset and breathe in a Breathing Space? Each order includes a free Breathing Space notebook (value $10) that fits great in purses and book bags. You can purchase at The Marketplace.

 

The Invitation Re-Visited-Friday’s Video

Are you accepting the invitation, my friend, as His beloved right where you are? There is nothing to do, except to accept.

(This is a re-post of The Invitation first published 10 months ago. The pictures are new and at the end, I’ve added a video blog so you can even skip the words if you like!)

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Imagine this, or maybe you don’t have to imagine. Maybe you have an experience, a point of reference that allows you to dive into this story, in heart, in spirit.

Imagine you are peering into a window of a door that you have been invited to open. The brush of a cool wind, and the smell of the fall season’s leaves entertain your senses. You lift your hand to the door knocker, grasp the brass bar. And halt.

You see through the window a table set for two. But not just a table, but one laden with colors. You see so many jewel colors of blue, red, green, yellows that they blur in a melody like a rainbow in motion!

Continue reading “The Invitation Re-Visited-Friday’s Video”

The Call Part 2-The Present

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“I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire.” Nehemiah 2:2-3

It was my turn to share. I looked down at my notes. Paused. The circle of friends resting on the grass too, hold pages still for bibles and journals as the breeze played, wait.

Even though Nehemiah was very much afraid, he put himself into action, I read aloud from my journalling notes. Prayed first, always, and then even though afraid, put himself into action. Fear, being afraid is never from God, yet sometimes–truthfully–I see it as a reason to not take action.

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What am I so afraid of?

I look up, my friends locked on me, waiting, whole-heartedly listening, encouraging, and supportive. This is only the first station on this mornings Soul Formation event, the fourth I’ve facilitated from an idea emerged during a leadership course. Four other small groups are also rested on grasses that circle an urban pond, Canada Geese drifting in the waters, some with huddles of goslings following.

Why do I fear following whole-heartedly?

Nehemiah was sad, his heart breaking over the ruins of his city, Jerusalem, and the walls that had not been rebuilt.

His heart breaking, he wept, fasted, prayed.

And then he took action, approaching the king, afraid, but asking him favour to take leave to Judah to rebuild.

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His heart-breaking over a cause, he felt the fear but did not let the fear stop him to take action to rebuild. He refused to allow the fear to become more powerful than God.

He refused to allow the fear to become more powerful than God.

I continue to look down on my journal notes from the first station where we read, reflected, and responded to these passages I had picked in Nehemiah and Chronicles.

In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered. 2 Chronicles 31:20

A King this time, not an exile, yet also sought God wholeheartedly. Hezekiah, like Nehemiah, fasted, prayed, obeyed and prospered.

And then it happened. The fear exposed, in blue ink, a playful breeze lifting the page corners.

I’m afraid of what prospering is. Feels like a lot of pressure….How will I be taken care of? 

Nehemiah, with guards set up strategically from his enemies, did build that wall. Hezekiah, although at a time did fall into pride, did always turn to obedience and prospered.

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For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called, those he called; he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8: 28-30

Called according to his purpose.

Called through the invitation to serve and honour Him, like Nehemiah and Hezekiah, whole-heartedly seeking God’s guidance through prayer, first,  in all things of this world.

Called in the understanding of being predestined through the knowing of God’s love that  changes us with a new perspective, a new mindset and an understanding of security in treasures in heaven, not on earth.

Called to live in the security of God’s love, His wisdom and His protection, always.

Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4

My companions, my friends, these sisters ‘n brothers in Christ, affirm me. They understand the fear that can come from whole-heartedly following a hearts desire to serve in a way that may not prosper in money, in relationships, in treasures on this earth.

It’s a choice to let go, surrender, and do even when afraid.

It’s a choice to let go of pride, repent, and be obedient.

It’s a choice to trust, and follow the call.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

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We stand, my companions and I, on a solid ground of grass, the breeze rustling leaves in trees of the park. I glance to the pond where a mother goose awaits for one of  her goslings that has drifted behind. Her baby turns in the drift of the pond that leads back to her, and swims.

Is there a step you’ve been called into and like Nehemiah, stand before it afraid? Or like Hezekiah, been called to let go of pride and take a step into seeking His will again for you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changing times

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“Patience,” she says.  “After all, Niagara Falls wasn’t formed in a day.”

Niagara Falls?

“Mom,” I say, my ten year-old self feeling smug and smart. “The saying is Rome wasn’t built in a day, not Niagara Falls!”

She doesn’t stop pinning the hem of a dress I am to wear to my eldest brother’s wedding. We’d pick the material and pattern out on a shopping trip to the fabric store in town about a month before. And this was at least the fifth time I’d had to stand on the step stool in our kitchen as she tucked, pinned, and chalked the paisley printed cotton.

“Rome or Niagara Falls…great things take time,” she say. “Now straighten your knees or your hem is going to be as crooked as the tower of Pisa.”

I straighten in obedience. Anticipation of the new dress had me excited but irritable with the time it was taking. Yet, with each fitting there was a new piece added, stitched thoroughly. The dress changed to be suited perfectly for me, with my mother’s skill and with time.

Continue reading “Changing times”

A Loving Reminder

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Usually I just scroll by or hit the delete tab, but this time I didn’t. Maybe the picture of an international city on my bucket list to visit or the tag line appealing to my growth mindset were the draws. Regardless, I clicked on the embedded video link in this email from the advertiser that I’d still not yet ‘unsubscribed.’

You know you are loved, she says, this beautiful woman gowned in a dress that flows gracefully to the top of her knees, and wearing such high-heeled shoes that I wonder if she practices walking on stage prior to addressing the few hundred woman that attend her conferences.

The camera spans across the women at white-clothed tables, women eager to better themselves and their businesses, of different nationalities and faith.

Her bracelets dangle as she sweeps her arms up and around as if to embrace someone. You are absolutely loved and it is from knowing that love, that you can give your best to the world, she continues.

Continue reading “A Loving Reminder”