Winnie on Christ of the Deep Parker on Carefree Delight Victoria on Christ of the Deep Denise N. on Budding Virtues kathryneann on True Pentecost
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I was standing in the lobby the Marina Del Mar hotel in Key Largo, Florida when he caught my eye.
His outstretched arms beckoned me come near; his expression kindly benevolent. The turquoise water exuded serenity as he appeared to bless all that He had created and tucked away deep undersea. Christos was prominently luring snorkelers and divers alike to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park from a neon yellow 4 x 9 inch rack card.
Does Jesus the Christ still speak today? Yes, emphatically, yes, to those who have listening ears. Since surrounding my heart to His leadership in May of 1978, I have experienced that He has much to say. I have also learned it is me who often is not listening, rather, than He not speaking. Sometime around the year 2000, I decided to learn how to dial down as Stuart Greaves of the International House of Prayer says, and quiet my heart to hear. Training oneself to dial down is a discipline that can be learned. Although challenging for competitive, ambitious type A personalities like myself, it can be mastered. Through consistent practice, the Holy Spirit Himself is currently apprenticing me in the fine art of Practicing His Presence, as Brother Lawrence calls it. Learning to quiet our soul and heart so that I can operate in the natural yet simultaneously walk in the Spirit is my life goal. I am learning that I can drive my car and pray for others with my eyes open, thank you, all the while hearing what the Lord through His Holy Spirit is impressing upon me to pray for them. Although He intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 7:25), He is continually whispering intentions to earth for humans to utter out loud. The Maestro calling the shots of His earthly orchestra so as to yield a harmonious symphony of united sound.
When I first set my mind to learn how to quiet myself to recognize God’s voice, I had difficulty hearing if there were any distractions, whatsoever. Heck, if there was any noise whatsoever, if a bird flew by the window, I was like an ADD child off to play. It was hard, man! A friend described me as a wiggler, you know, the type of child who squirms when you hold them on your lap because they cannot seem to settle down. That was me completely! As I became more proficient over time, I am learning to juggle the different terrains of each world, the spiritual and the natural as I navigate in and out. What? You go in and out? Are you crazy? No, we all go in and out of the supernatural realms each time we pray. I’m learning to walk simultaneously in both, just as St. Paul described in Galatians 5:17 and 5:25.
God desires for us all to walk in the Spirit 100% of the time, constantly guided by His voice. He is the original VOICE, not a television show. This is attainable or Paul would not have urged us forward to do so, just as Jesus would not have modeled for us behaviors beyond our grasp. Notice, we are advised to walk in the Spirit at all times, rather than to “never sin.” If we are walking in the Spirit, we will not sin. Impossible, you think. By the way, I like the way the Lord always emphasizes the positive instead of the negative. It IS possible or Paul would not have written it. We achieve a goal by focusing on the positive, not by trying to stop doing the negative. When one wants to lose weight, nutritionists recommend you change your eating habits to concentrate on eating healthy versus dieting. God demonstrated the identical principle for us by calling those things that be not, as though they already existed. Hmmm, Selah, pondering, pondering, pondering moment.
In Song of Songs, Chapter 4, verses 1-8 we see Jesus prophetically verbalizing in an affirming tone the eight budding virtues that He sees in the young Bride’s life. These positive affirmations are part of Father and Son strategy to equip the immature church against satan’s accusations. Here we see Jesus calling forth the character traits that are undeveloped within her, but that He desires to come forth from her. He informs her that she has doves eyes, eyes of faith and spiritual insight, eyes singly focused on Him alone. He tells her that she has teeth like shorn sheep, representing that she chews the food of long and loving meditation on the meat of the Word.
The young maiden Bride is not fully developed yet and will go onto fail before she reaches her full maturity, so her story tells us. I adore the fact that it is while she is yet immature that the Heavenly bridegroom speaks these loving affirmations over her, actually calling out these virtues into existence. God sees the end from the beginning! Because God sees eternity, He speaks with confidence, authority and clarity because He sees how she will turn out. He has indeed read the last chapter of the book, helllloooo, He wrote it, for crying out loud. Loud laughter in my head! And, get this, He has placed eternity in OUR hearts! Who hoo, I have done preached myself happy!
How do we become holy in an unholy world? By declaring ourselves clean, undefiled children of the Light, vessels of His glory who walk not in the counsel of sinners but who walk upright. We cautiously stay on the narrow path He has set before us, treading not in trepidation but confidently walking with sure steps on a brightly lit path. Moment by moment inclining our spiritual ears to be in tune with His voice and quickly obeying. Our hearing is not a straining to hear, rather a relaxed, attentive listening. We have Him as our daily focus, so His voice is clear, recognizable. The myriad of ways He lavishes us with His love evokes from us a response of rapt attention and wonder. Our years of training have caused us to flow readily at His command; we know His moods and the importance of prompt obedience. Any 9/11 survivor can attest to the vitalness of prompt obedience to an inner witness. Christ of the Deep, the voice of many waters is beckoning you come near His arms today.
Written July 9, 2009
Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion …
Psalm 42:7 Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
Happiness, pure joy, glee!
Carefree delight can be seen in her face and outstretched arms.
A few years back, I decided to become a happy person. Why is that such a big deal, Kathryne? Why should I care enough to read a blog about happiness, especially from the perspective of a middle aged woman, no less, for crying out loud, as my mom loved to say? Because happiness is a decision; happiness is a choice. In fact, I have a book bearing such a title in my personal library. God designed me to have a serious, intense personality so I can bear the weight of the assignments I have been given to complete in this life, however, that does not mean I cannot be a happy person. Somewhere along the way, I picked up the thought that serious, career minded people, especially prayer intercessors should be serious. Frowning was how I expressed my concentrational focus. Great! Now all I have to show for it are a deeply furrowed brow and people who think I’m mad all the time.
But maybe passing the big 5-0 road sign caused me to reevaluate my serious nature because a few years ago I decided I was going to explore happiness. I choose to be joyful in the midst of the heaviness of this world. I choose to hang onto my joy just as I hang onto my peace, in the midst of trying circumstances which attempt to steal both. I knew peace had to remain firmly in my grasp and not allowed to be grabbed from my hand (as in”hold your peace”) but refusing to give away my joy? This was a new concept that sprang up just this week. Could the principles be alike?
I will keep her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on me, reads Isaiah 26:3. Stayed here means fixed, focused, resolute. The heavenly dove was trying to get me to understand that joy could be retained in like manner. Hold onto it, Kathryne, refuse to let it go, even when your small group guest speaker cancels at the last-minute (eek!) and 2 hours later your elderly mother in law phones to scold you for advising her to buy the wrong kind of disposable party cups (what? seriously?). His joy is my strength and I will not allow these annoyances to steal my joy. So I swatted at the gnats that these circumstances represented and smashed them by responding graciously to both. Grace is the face that love wears when it meets imperfection. Don’t know who said it but I am claiming it as my own. Been pondering that, too and it came pouring out when I needed it. Whew! Glad I sowed these wise thoughts in my heart weeks earlier, for as one thinks in her heart, she acts accordingly.
Back to the carefree delight musing …. bunny trail alert! So once I decided to be a happy person, I notified my face.
I smile now at people just to mess with them, as my brother Michael would say. I can hear him laughing as he says this. The garden statue of the little girl pictured here was taken at a delightful nursery in Fenton, Michigan during a summer 2011 visit with Michael and his forever bride, Sue. I love their family, they are genuinely fun people. During that same trip, I spied another little girl, this one at the Detroit airport. This child was real, though, with luxurious chestnut hair. She was standing next to her mother waiting in the restroom line. While the rest of us grown ups waited silently in stillness, she waited with a song and tiny dancing feet. That was the MOMENT I decided that I, too, would have happy feet …. only in my heart and mind. After all, I am slightly past that road sign.
2 Chronicles 17:6 And his heart took delight in the ways of the LORD;
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart
Psalm 18:19 He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me
Yet they seek Me daily,
And delight to know My ways,
As a nation that did righteousness,
And did not forsake the ordinance of their God.
They ask of Me the ordinances of justice;
They take delight in approaching God. Isaiah 58:2
What are these, you ask?
They are gardenia buds that nature aborted. Whether due to overwatering, lack of nutrients or disease, they will never become the fragrant, white blossoms they were designed to be. Holy Spirit has me pondering buds this week, considering them in the context of my own budding virtues and to help me see them in others.
Prompted by a dear friends musings, I have accepted the invitation to ponder the phrase budding virtues. Of course, because my attention has been focused there, I notice flower buds now as never before. Since it is spring in Florida, they are abundant. My travels took me to north Brevard county this past weekend where I was able to photograph a field of sunflowers on U.S. One in Titusville. What a glorious sight to behold row upon row of glorious golden faces radiating upward. I’ve used several of the pictures taken there in this blog site.
I love flowers of all types, each presenting its own unique characteristics in its own glory. People are the same, you know, designed by our Creator with budding virtues uniquely ours. But the question is: will I choose to see the budding virtues of my fellow sojourner and call them out with encouragement, or disregard them in prideful arrogance?
Oh, I’d never pridefully disregard another, you think quietly to yourself. Really? That sarcastic comment meant as humor or that superior thought at another’s expense are ways we all disregard one another. I accept the challenge I was invited into by my friend, Denise, to notice and call out the budding virtues of people around me. I want them to become vibrant blossoms emanating the fragrance of the Lord everywhere they go. I want to spread His fragrance through my life by developing my own budding virtues, allowing them to fully mature into gloriously beautiful blossoms.
The marigolds I planted this spring are bearing a second round of buds because I nipped them after the first round was spent. Pruning always produces a new crop. We KNOW this truth yet we consistently resist His tender pinches of love. No more resisting the pinches of the Lord’s fingers on my heart! I have decided to embrace His pruning shears because I know they cause me to produce a higher yield of fruit and I am a fruit bearing tree, the planting of the Lord. How about you? Ready to take notice of another’s budding virtues and speak LIFE into them?
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 NKJV
There she sat wearing her big sisters high heels, proud of herself that she appeared all grown up while loving the attentive gaze of my Nikon lens. I, too, enjoyed the moment, treasuring the opportunity to capture it forever digitally. Finally I had my camera available when a Kodak moment arose!
Have you ever had to fill the shoes of someone through promotion, yet felt they were too big for you? Your predecessor was so accomplished, so gifted in areas you seem lacking in; oh the doubts are endless and plentiful. But there you sit, just like this little girl, on the edge of your seat. You want to be noticed for how good you look, how accomplished you are …. but if you attempt to walk in those shoes ….. disaster assuredly looms.
What to do? Same old advice you’ve heard before. BE YOURSELF.
Wear your own shoes in your size, your style and confidently stride boldly and self assuredly onto the path that lies ahead … of you. It’s your path, your journey and it has been predetermined for YOU to walk it. In your time, dressed appropriately, equipped, prepared and tested. You have been approved so when it is your kairos moment, seize it baby! You cannot walk in another’s shoes, nor can you tread before you are ready. But you can dream and inspire those behind you in the race to dream big, also.
BTW, these are mighty fine-looking heels, girlfriend!
Psalm 143:8 Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You.
1 Corinthians 7:17 [ Live as You Are Called ] But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches.
To be great is to be misunderstood Ralph Waldo Emerson
I used to think this quote described me but as years have passed, I have come to realize that being misunderstood is really just an excuse for not trying harder to get along with others. I’ve matured a little over the years and come to realize I’m not as “misunderstood” as I once felt. I now realize my identification with this quote was a justification for feeling different. I am different but we all are different and unique in our composite personalities. I don’t identify with this particular sentiment anymore. That’s a good thing because I feel connected to the Body of Christ, my family and friends.
I don’t feel disconnected nor misunderstood. And thats a good thing.
This is my second post of this blog on which I intend to write about things of importance to me in the hope that my words cause hope to arise within your soul and the darkness tremble.
I believe we are the warrior Bride of Christ alive in the earth today for the purpose of influencing the earth with the goodness of God in order to advance His Kingdom.
Sometimes I may write about things that are not earth shaking but I will share them in order to encourage you in your walk with the Lord Jesus. We are all on a pilgrimage to know Him more intimately as Psalm 84 so eloquently describes. As your fellow sojourner, I walk alongside you some days, while other days I may not travel far. But my dove eyes will always remain fixed on the goal of beholding His beautiful face clearly, eye to eye,
intentionally gazing unobstuctedly in awe.