Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gratitude

Fall leaves, 







Travel,
                                                                            Family,
 Good food,
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pumpkin pie,

Ask most people what the word “Thanksgiving” means to them and you will get many of the above answers...and usually the word on which the celebration was founded is omitted...Gratitude. 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A cold, forlorn group of weary Puritans huddle silently upon the desolate beach as storm tossed waves break upon the rocky shoreline. Expectantly they gaze out upon the battered sea, straining to catch the faintest flapping of canvas amidst the gale. Finally they hear the sound they have waited for so long. Their tired faces turn to smiles as they envision themselves sailing away to freedom...

Hours later all hopes of freedom are trampled, for instead of setting sail to the promised land, they find themselves locked up in a damp, smelling, rotten prison...

But why are they here?

The answer is simple...

They are not willing to bend or compromise to the will of the King...

Because they cannot deny their God.
Even if it means suffering and even death.

Yet through it all they are not discouraged...their lives are in their Father's hand and with that knowledge they quietly rest, trust, pray, and wait for another opportunity.

-------------

Years slip away...the day arrives when the persecuted band of believers finally step aboard the Mayflower...the ship that will carry them away to freedom. But their trials are not over...the trip is long and the sea rough. When they eventually arrive at their promised land the winter is cold and the food supplies low. By spring many have sickened and died.


Yet again their hearts are filled with thanksgiving to their Savior for bringing them to a land of freedom...a land of peace. 



As the leaves turn crimson and the breeze once again whistles cool, the pilgrims announce a feast of gratitude to God for all the many blessings He had given them that year.

And thus the first Thanksgiving was born. But sadly we have well nigh forgotten the purpose of the feast...it has become only...a feast.


So this Thanksgiving may we remember our fathers who gave their lives for the freedom we now enjoy. And may we learn from them to have a spirit of gratitude. Not just today when all is fun and games, but also on those days when trials and sorrow draw near to discourage us.

For just maybe our trials are blessings in disguise.

So my friend...
What are you thankful for?


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Prison Doors

It's not unusual:

Eyebrows raised, puzzled expressions...and inevitably the question comes...

"Why do you have an open prison door, and chains for your lock screen and background?"



I smile...

"Because my friend, they have become my all consuming passion of late..."

"Prison doors and chains, you've got to be kidding!!"

-------------------------------------------

It's true...

But the chains which consume my thoughts are not hard and metal as you may expect, but they are just as real...


The prisoners in the cell are not really behind iron bars, but they are as hopeless as if they were locked behind them...

So why have these become may passion? Because my prince...the one who alone can break chains and open doors has bidden me to help Him...
Though I'm completely and utterly unworthy of such a trust, I except the call because I once was one of the chained ones...I understand the misery and pain of chains...

I used to have gaping wounds where the chains had cut into my wrist...but now I only have scars...and they are my trophies...a reminder of how merciful my Prince is.

So my friends, you too may be free...if you know not how to begin or where to start, let me take your hand...I once was in your shoes...and I will take you to the chain smasher...the one who can make you free. And when He makes you free...you are free indeed!



To all who are tortured and ravaged by sin,
The frail and the wounded about to give in.
There's news of release and captivity's end.
We've been set free, come and see!
Oh sleeper awake, come out of the night,
Throw open the door and step into the light,
For sin is undone and the wrong is made light.
We've been set free, come and see!

Come and see, the power of sin has been broken!
The gates of your prisons stand open, come and see!
Arise, believe, for the power at work both to rescue and save,
Is the power that raised Jesus Christ from the grave.
We've been set free, come and see!

I, too, lived in slavery, unmercifully bound.
Battered and broken I finally knelt down,
And there in obedience freedom was found, I've been set free!
And now through the dungeons of darkness and night,
I run in the freedom of liberty's light
And shout to the captives, "Oh prisoner take flight!
We've been set free, come and see!"

If the enemy's holding a knife to your chest,
Demanding you give up or die.
In Christ crucified you've already died
And now you are free!

Come and see, the power of sin has been broken!
The gates of your prisons stand open, come and see!
Arise, believe, for the power at work both to rescue and save,
Is the power that raised Jesus Christ from the grave.
We've been set free, come and see!


Friday, July 6, 2012

Tears


Bright rays of sunlight fall gently upon me creating a cozy blanket of warmth and peacefulness. Quietly my eyes trace the golden path that stretches far out to the horizon while the waveletes playfully tug about me. A seagull stands by as a sentinel on duty, carefully watching my every move. 


But I don’t notice...my eyes are too filled with tears. Silently they spill out and trickle down my cheek adding a bit of salt to the vast expanse of blue. Someone is missing...one who has been here on almost every trip to this place. One who has spent countless miles with me treading these dunes...one who has spent numerous hours sharing heart to heart talks whiles leaving footprints in the sand. 


That someone? My best friend of 12 years. The one who knows me better than anyone else. The one who has been there...always. 

The one who has shared my joys and my sorrows. The one who has never ceased to encourage me to higher ground. The girl God placed in my life to draw me closer to Him. She’s missing from this place...now over 1000+ miles away. 
As the tears continue to stream down my face, a still small voice whispers in my ear. 
Be still, my soul, though dearest friends may part
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fulness all He takes away.
The voice continues....
I understand your tears...and I cry with you. You were not meant for tears. I didn’t create them in the beginning and someday I will banish them forever. I will wipe them from your eyes with my own finger. But until then, I will bear your griefs and carry your sorrows. I understand the pain of separation...I went through it for you. I am here, even in your darkest hour and I will repay. I will turn your sorrow into joy. Someday, you will understand...someday you will see the end from the beginning and understand why. But until then trust me...I only take away what I can return with better. 
The voice fades and the lapping of the waves again fills my ears. My tears are dried and those that remain are joyful ones. I serve a living God who cares enough to see the tears of a little lonely child and speak a word of comfort. A God who has gone through everything and more than I ever will. And a God who never fails to keep His promises. 

My heart is singing and my face is wreathed in smiles. Though a tear still remains...I lift my voice in a joyous strain.

Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

We shall meet my dear Glesni...if not here, on the other shore. And we will be able to walk on the edge of the sea of glass, praising our Savior forever!...oh what a thought! 
I Love You!
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away...blessed be the name of the Lord!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Become as a Child


5 weeks...the number stares me in the face. Can it really have been that long since the last post? Time has flown by the last month. “Mothering” seven young-ins for nine hours, five times a week, seems to leave me with little time for other pursuits. :) But don’t feel sorry for me! I’m loving every minute of it. Though there are times when I wonder why I ever got myself into this, I’m more than repaid by the grasp of a little hand in my own, a slobbery kiss on the cheek, or a sweet little voice whispering in my ear, “You are my best friend!” 

Through the hours and days spent with the kiddos I've begun to see my Heavenly Father in a new light, and also the reason behind the phrase, "You must become as a little child." 


Splash! As the rock sinks out of sight, ripples begin to form, spreading their influence in an ever widening circle. Delighted giggles echo off the glassy surface marred only by the wavelets. 
"Miss Abby!"
I turn my head toward the source of laughter.
"Watch!"
Splash! Another set of ripples begin to develop.
"Miss Abby!" A second voice pipes up...."Watch!" 
Again the scene is repeated and picked up by still others until there are 5 little voices making sure that I don't miss their splash. As the stone sends a spray of water into the air, 5 shiny pairs of eyes turn toward mine, eagerly waiting to see my smile and hear my encouragement. As I look into those expectant eyes I can't help but ponder...This is what it means to "become as a little child." I should be as eager as these little ones to have my Father's smile, His approval on everything that I do. 


Fingers black and sticky, mouths with a ring of purple making a circle around smiles. Laughter tumbling out from among the brambles and joy radiating from beaming eyes. Little tummies far more full than the pails. This is what it means to "become as a little child." Joy in the small things. Happiness amide the thorns.


A frightened hand grasping with all the strength in her little arm. Wide eyes staring into mine. Whimpering, yet not wanting to be left on the shore she bravely clings to me as we step deeper into the water. Calmly I try and explain that she is perfectly safe...I'm holding her and she has a life jacket on. There is no need to fear. Slowly I see the fear melt from her eyes...trusting. This is what it means to "become as a little child." Trusting our Father's hand and heart are enough. Even when we can't see beyond tomorrow.


Seven pairs of outstretched arms, and seven pairs of little feet winging their way over the grass towards me, all crying "Miss Abby, Miss Abby! We love you! We missed you!" That's what it means to "become as a little child." The love and affection a little child can bestow on others...even if they aren't as lovable. Oh, Father give me that love. 


Oh, Father make me as a little child...give me the joy, trust, and love they exhibit. 


Friday, May 18, 2012

Death


Death...It is an ugly word to many of us. Multitudes have felt its sting, its pain, its loss. It is a word that we tend to avoid like the plague. 


But Jesus didn’t avoid it. In the Gospel of John the word is repeated time and again. 
How could he be so comfortable and content with the word? Why does the it come up in the majority of His conversations? 
The answer: Because death is a prerequisite of life. One must die in order to live. 


The Christian’s life is a constant dying...death to self. In fact...Paul writes to “die daily.” 
In 2 Corinthians he further explains - “For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifest in our mortal flesh.”
So we die that Christ may life...”I have been crucified with Christ, therefore I no longer live. Jesus Christ now lives in me!”
And when Christ is alive in the heart, He binds us tightly to the vine that His life giving sap may flow through our dead self, giving life and joy to the body. 


Not only life, but fruit...
“unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

Much fruit...
The Christian’s life is centered in death...a word we tend to avoid, but one which Christ embraces...For death brings...Life, and life more abundantly;
Friends...let us put off our fear of “death” and instead wholeheartedly embrace it. Knowing that “Thy Jesus can repay, from His Own fullness all He takes away...” 
We have nothing to lose and all to gain...Christ in you the hope of glory is worth dying for my friends...no matter what you have to lose. 

I promise.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sorry

I have been running into some technical difficulties the last few days, so I'm sorry to all that have been experiencing problems...and thanks to all who let me know! Please bear with me as I sort the quirks out...for those who were wondering the comments are fixed, so yes, comment on. I would love to hear from you! Thanks!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Theater of Grace


It (the church) is the theater of His grace, in which He delights to reveal His power to transform hearts. ~ AA 12

Christians a living spectacle...a walking stage to the world. 

What is the drama that is unfolding? 
Our Father’s unfathomable, matchless grace...


grace that transforms shattered fragments into stunning mosaics


...and delights in it...
But why would He place such a trust into the hands of such unworthy vessels? 

Because my friends, He loves to shine through broken pieces...  
Will you let Him showcase His grace through you? 
The church is the theater of His grace, in which He delights to make experiments of mercy on human hearts. ~ OHC 172

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

One Person at a Time


My precious child...
Yes my Father?
I have a new assignment for you...
Really? What is it? 
I want you to change the world...
What? Me? No! I think you forgot who you are talking to...or maybe I just misunderstood. 
No, don’t worry...you heard correctly and yes, I know who I’m talking to. I’m serious. I know it seems completely impossible to your little finite mind, but are you willing to trust me? 
I don’t know...I think you’ve overestimated me this time, Lord. Ah...well...I just don’t think I’m the one for the job...
But my dearest child...I don’t call the equipped, I equip the called. Just trust me and let me work through you. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And so I struggled. My heart rebelling at the calling my Father was giving me. But finally He got through to me. He needed ME. He was pleading for ME. How could I resist Him? So with a fearing heart and trembling lips I gave in. 

Lord, I’m willing, but I’m overwhelmed. Where do I even begin?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And then He sent me just what I needed...through the paragraph a friend sent
"People who really want to make a difference in the world usually do it, in one way or another. 
And I've noticed something about people who make a difference in the world:
They hold the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters
They get excited over one smile. 
They are willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind, and treat one wound. 
They aren't determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they're satisfied with small changes. 
Over time, though, the small changes add up.
Sometimes they even transform cities and nations, and yes, the world..."
He spoke through another friend’s post
And I got it...
Changing the world is about individuals. About smiles. About a silent influence. About reaching out to those I meet everyday. About one.


And so I’m determined...I’m off to change the world, one person at a time. Not through my own strength, but by living a life of complete abandonment to Him. I know it won’t always be easy...He hasn’t promised that, but He has promised to be there. And my Father never breaks His promises. 


So my friend...will you join me? He is calling for you just as He is calling for me. You may have fears and doubts like I did, but don't let them stop you. He has all the power in heaven to impart on your behalf. Just surrender yourself completely to Him, let Him fill you and then you will become a lantern through which His light pours forth. The lantern doesn't have to worry about shining...the candle does that. The lantern just has to make sure it is emptied of everything but the candle. Our Father is looking for a whole army of lanterns...


Those who are willing to change the world...one person at a time.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

This Is Not My Home

I don't know about you, but everyday finds me with a deeper longing for home...Today the desire was kindled afresh. I'm determined to hold on till the end no matter the cost...anything we have to go through in this life, any trial or suffering endured will be found worth it in the end. While sitting under the tree of life we shall try and recount up our greatest trials, but they will seem so small in light of the eternal glory that surrounds us that we will not be able to speak them out...the only words on our tongue will be, "Hallelujah! Heaven is cheap enough!"

Let's hold on friends...it will be more than worth it!



I woke up this morning, the sun was shining,
the birds were singing, their carols raising,
I felt a thrill fill my soul for the joy of being alive,
But as I looked out my window I saw tears in people’s eyes...
And I was reminded that this world is not my home,
I’m just passing through...
Chorus:
I don’t belong here, I’m but a stranger and a pilgrim in this land
I’m treading down the straight and narrow path
My eyes fixed upward, upon the prize
Oh, Lord Jesus led me home.
Every day I hear of more tragedies and deaths,
Famines, wars, earthquakes, sorrows and thief,
How much longer can this poor earth go on?
Oh, Precious Jesus come and take us home!
I can’t help but praise you that this world is not my home!
That I’m just passing through...

Chorus

Bridge:
Sometimes this old world can look attractive,
Sometimes I can forget where I’m bound,
Oh, Jesus keep me pressing forward, help me never forget...
That this world is not my home!
Chorus
Oh, Lord there is so much hurt in this worn earth,
How can I show others that there is a better place,
A land where sorrows, famines, tears and dying aren’t found,
And best of all, where we can see our Savior's face. 
Oh, help me tell them that this world is not our home.
That we’re just passing through...
We don’t belong here, We’re but strangers and pilgrims in this land,
We’re treading down the straight and narrow path,
Our eyes fixed upward, upon the prize
Oh, Lord Jesus led us home,
Oh, Lord Jesus...please...lead me home...
Abigail Eagan 2011

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Reflecting Him

The less we see to esteem in ourselves, the more we shall see to esteem in the infinite purity and loveliness of our Saviour. A view of our sinfulness drives us to Him who can pardon; and when the soul, realizing its helplessness, reaches out after Christ, He will reveal Himself in power. 


The more our sense of need drives us to Him and to the word of God, the more exalted views we shall have of His character, and the more fully we shall reflect His image. ~ SC 65

Lessons from a Lawn Mower

It wasn’t some new revelation. I’ve heard others repeat it...but this time it hit home in a new and deeper way then ever before. I love object lessons and while sitting on the lawn tractor the Lord revealed some very important ones I tend to easily forget. 




You’ve all heard it, “You can’t go in a straight line unless you keep your eyes fixed on something ahead.” I found this true over and over again yesterday, but as I sat there I began thinking...I’ve found this true over and over again in my life. I must keep my eyes fixed upward on heavenly realities...on Jesus, or my path will slowly wander away from the one He has planned for me. Remember the slough of despond? It was when they took there eyes off of the light that they fell. If they continued to keep their gaze upward and forward they passed through safely. 

But once the line is straight can't you just follow it instead of looking ahead? No...if you are very careful you may be able to stay straight for a pass or two, but very quickly curves appear and if you keep following them there will eventually become so many that you will doubt that you ever had a straight line in the first place. The only way to restore the straight line is to look again to a mark ahead. Even so, it may take a few swipes to restore it completely to the line it was in the beginning. Is it not the same in the Christian’s life? When we begin to look at ourselves or at the lives of others as our pattern, we will always begin to turn from the straight way. For Jesus is the only true pattern to follow. But when we turn our eyes again toward heaven he gently leads us back again to the path. But even so, we must remember that we will never be where we could have had we kept our eyes upon our Savior. Delays and detours our not in the Shepherd's plan. 






So my fellow pilgrims, let us faithfully traverse this path ahead of us. Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who is just before us leading us to the city, and then...we will be safe!

The Honor of God

The sparkling sun was shining brightly in mid-heaven as a ruddy young man stepped out from among a multitude of trembling onlookers. Resolutely making his way down to the small brook nearby he stooped down and expertly choosing 5 smooth stones slipped them into the leather bag at his waist. 




Looking up his eyes fall upon his opponent. A giant of a man, girded about with heavy armor and a mighty spear in his hand. No wonder all the host of Israel has quaked at the sight of this Goliath. His eyes turn upon himself...he is unarmed except for a limp leather sling and unprotected by armor. To the human eye it doesn’t look like much of a match, but to David he knows it’s much more then a match. He is not just some stripling young man out to make a show and earn himself honor. No, he is a soldier in the service of the God of heaven and the honor of his God is at stake. 


Confidently striding forward, and with a ring of fearlessness in his tone he declared to his antagonist: "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands." 

The clear, musical words were still hanging in the air as with a look of triumph and rejoicing upon his fair countenance he pulled a stone from his bag and slipped it quickly into his sling. “The anger of Goliath was roused to the very highest heat. In his rage he pushed up the helmet that protected his forehead and rushed forward to wreak vengeance upon his opponent. The son of Jesse was prepared for his foe.” Fearlessly he slang the stone and it hit it’s target...the forehead of the Philistine. 

“Amazement spread along the lines of the two armies. They had been confident that David would be slain; but when the stone went whizzing through the air, straight to the mark, they saw the mighty warrior tremble, and reach forth his hands, as if he were struck with sudden blindness. The giant reeled, and staggered, and like a smitten oak, fell to the ground.”

The giant was dead...killed by a young boy who was willing to take God at His word. 




Are there giants in our day who are defying the Armies of the Living God? Me thinks so... But where are the Davids of our generation? Where are the ones who will take the Lord at his word? Where are the young people who will stand for the right and risk their lives for the honor of the Living God?

It is Davids, who will finish the work... “The Lord has appointed the youth to be His helping hand.” 

The honor of our God is at stake my friends...let’s not take it lightly.

Look Up!

So you are not to look to yourself, not to let the mind dwell upon self, but look to Christ. Let the mind dwell upon His love, upon the beauty, the perfection, of His character. Christ in His self-denial, Christ in His humiliation, Christ in His purity and holiness, Christ in His matchless love--this is the subject for the soul's contemplation. It is by loving Him, copying Him, depending wholly upon Him, that you are to be transformed into His likeness. ~ EGW

Love Notes

I can truly say that this last week has been one of the busiest and most stressful of my life, but it has also been one in which I’ve realized the love of a Father in a more real and deeper sense. One where I’ve once again stood in complete awe at the lengths He will go to show His love to a little girl. 

It wasn’t even the big things...just a little love note here and there...at the exact moment I needed it. 




He stopped at nothing to reveal in the most real way that He was right beside me...cheering me on. He ordered the elements and they had to obey...He spoke through the words of a friend...a warm embrace...a song sent in His perfect timing. 

He never does anything on accident, friends. He will go to amazing measures to order circumstances just to show you one thing...His love.

What is Man?


Darkness envelopes me as a warm blanket. 

Silence.

My head on my pillow. Pondering...It’s late, but I can’t help but take a few moments gazing out my beloved skylights into the star studded heavens...my favorite talky time with my God. 





It never ceases to amaze me at my littleness when I study the stars...or at the greatness of my God, may I add. 

“The majesty and Glory of Your name...transcends the earth and fills the heavens...”The words of a song come flashing into my mind...it’s been running through my head all day thanks to a friend, but now it comes again...emphasized.

"When I gaze into the night sky, and see the work of you fingers.
The moon and the stars suspended in space. 
Oh, what is man?" 

Stop...

What is man? 

Just a tiny speck in this immense universe. On a world that has rejected its creator. Far from the image he was created in. 

Yet... 

So valued that the Creator would leave his majesty and glory, yea all of heaven to restore the image. 


I lie in awesome wonder... 

I no longer see the stars...my eyes are too clouded with tears. 

My heart cries out to my maker... 

“Oh one who made the stars...restore the image...in me”