Give Me Your Eyes

“Be Careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” Proverbs 4:23 (GNB).

What am I thinking as I encounter those around me? Is there a conscious effort to look past words and appearances, in order to gain insight into the miracle of God’s creation? I pray; “Give me your eyes that I may see those in front of me as you do. Help me to know with a heart of love and compassion the possibilities in each one.”

Each year, looking toward this season of giving thanks, while in the midst of world unrest, feels like a dichotomy. Yet when we seek time with our Savior, He gives us hope through His vision. It seems like no matter what, there will always be people and situations we are thankful for – and those that bring heartache. I find that prayer and standing on God’s promises, along with time spent in silence before Him, provide refreshing life-filled perspectives to live from. I am someone for whom focusing on evil exchanges whether true or fiction is upsetting. While atrocities against humanity are a reality in this world – I have come to the realization that the only sane approach to walking in the midst of all of this, is in love and wisdom.

Relationships can present emotional rubric cube dynamics that can leave me feeling bewildered at times. Yet, as I consider Romans 12:2, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think,” (NLT) – hope springs forth as I am reminded that there is a divine way to look upon the situation. So I ask for guidance, wisdom, and love to pursue reconciliation and restoration. This is a deliberate act on my part, for sadly, it can be all too easy to overlook this step especially in the midst of emotional fire. We have all grown up in environments that have ‘colored’ how we view every aspect of life. We had modeled before us varied ways and approaches for being in different types of relationship and circumstances.

Perspectives by Jacquie Bradford
Check Point:
• How was conflict handled in your home?
• Did you grow up with one or both parents? Perhaps a guardian?
• Was there open communication, or attempts at covering the truth to hold on to some semblance of peace?
• Were family members close or distant – geographically and emotionally?

These items represent a small portion of the influences in our development. And there are many ways of handling these situations with just as many outcomes. The Good News is that the Lord has given His life so that we don’t need to remain stuck in old behavior patterns. He understands what it means to live submitted in one’s physical, emotional, and spiritual characteristics before the Father. We are here to be in relationship with Him, and to serve His purpose for our lives.

What does being in relationship with Him and serving His purpose look like?

For me, I spend the first part of my morning praying, studying, listening and writing. When my schedule doesn’t allow for this, I take advantage of opportunities throughout the day to spend time with the Lord. I ask Him to show me how to encourage those around me, i.e., “Please give me the words and or actions that will encourage those I am with today.” I also set my mind to say “Yes,” to the opportunities I believe He brings before me. I ask Him to help me to see – with His eyes.

Whatever you are working through today, I pray that you will seek Him, and His Word. I ask His Holy Spirit to guide and direct your steps as you seek to do God’s will. May you come to know His love, peace, wisdom, and provision as you surrender your will. I can tell you that working to the best of my ability while trusting Him to add His excellence, has taken undue stress from my life – and that is my hope for you. May you walk in the liberty that comes from applying His truth that is lived out in trust and in love.

From my heart to yours,

Jacquie ♥

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What About the Middle?

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps” Proverbs 16:9 (ESV).

What does your circle of life look like? As I consider this question, more questions come to mind: is there a jam-packed schedule with barely enough room to breathe, or think? Are there lots of people and activities, or maybe the opposite – is there a great deal of wasted time with no real schedule or purpose? Either way, are you feeling fulfilled? Who or what is in the middle of your life circle?

I have spent days where I didn’t feel I had time to spend with the Lord, and hit the ground running. I have also wasted time and gotten little to nothing accomplished, and probably all places in between. I must say that my favorite dwelling place is the middle of my life circle, that place where peace, love, and wisdom reside. But this my friends, is an act of the will. And even though I am grateful that more often than not, my days begin with Lord, I still have times when I allow myself to think “I’m just too busy to spend time with the Lord this morning.”

Daybreak by Jacquie Bradford rr

The Lord has established my steps at a pace I can live with (mostly). Finishing my degree later in life had the added benefit of life experience. However, there were times when the pace of university courses overcharged my heart. After graduation, I had to make my health a priority—the physical and emotional journey of healing my heart felt tyrannical. My blood pressure shot up like a jack-in-the-box, so I did not have the luxury of pondering my course. It took me about a year and a half to recover. I’m still working on my health, but at a much less demanding stride. Would I change any of the timing of this? My mind screams “Of Course!”

The Center

But I do know that God’s timing is perfect, and I may not have come out of this time alive were it not for Him, and an understanding husband and family. “The greatest trust statement of faith is a life well lived. It is faith fleshed out through risks and sacrifices. It is daring to go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention” Batterson, Draw the Circle, p. 50.

Whether you are aiming for your dreams from the beginning, middle, or later years of life, there is nothing more exhilarating than taking that first step. Whether your life’s circle is packed to the brim – or there’s barely enough activity to keep you conscious; submitting your plans for God to establish is a great start.
Acknowledging our need of Him, seeking His wisdom and counsel will keep us in good stead. I pray that we will take the time to seek God daily for all our needs which includes directing us in activities, goals, and appointments. I pray that He will direct our steps, and that all whom we encounter will be touched by His love and presence – and that we will walk in the peace of knowing we walk with Him, or not at all.

From my heart to yours,

Jacquie ♥

Let His Love Break Through

In this season of giving thanks and counting our blessings, there are dark clouds that hang over many in our midst. There are myriad people being swallowed up in memories of pain. This is how the enemy of our soul invades and terrorizes God’s creation, His precious people, during what should be a time of remembering His divine assistance in our life.

While encircled in the torment of the endless loop of depressive thoughts He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV). Let’s face it, broken memories and relationships equal broken hearts, and the constant spinning of repetitive thoughts are labor and make us feel heavy laden. Jesus understands this torment, and offers rest for our overworked souls.

It is as if He is saying, Come and find your place of healing, come and witness my Son as He salves the heaviness and pain of your broken heart . . .

Church Breaking the Mist mm

This day began with the Scripture, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” Psalm 147:3 (NIV). No one understands the pain we encounter like Jesus. And He is the only One who can take that hurt and bring healing and wholeness in its place. I pray that whatever is threatening to rob us of the joy of counting our blessings, will be replaced by our willingness to cast our cares on Him, to release us from the bondage of past hurts, wounds, and injustices. These are the very things He died for. I pray we will walk with the knowledge that He knows our grief and sorrow. He is here to break through the mist of agonizing memories, and bring healing and rest.

From my heart to yours,

Jacquie ♥

What’s Holding You Back?

I am thinking of those déjà vu moments when a situation is inexplicably familiar. Sometimes while in prayer I’ll have a sense of a place or circumstance, which is revealed at a later time. I can’t claim to know what this means other than it feels like a milestone, that I was meant to be in this place or that, with this one or that.

Then there are those times when I realize, “This isn’t déjà vu, I’m going around the same mountain again! In other words, I either did not learn this lesson the first time, or I’m in training so that God can refine my character. In this lesson that stretches over the course of my life, I believe grace is extended to those around me – as I do not seem to walk these teaching moments with the same people over and over again. As I move through the well-worn trails of certain character lessons in my life, I try to remind myself not to give up. Let’s face it, the world cannot offer what the Lord has given. John Piper says it this way, “Our victory is that we treasure Christ in a way that exposes the world as unsatisfying.” So we go through these life lessons because they have eternal purpose.

I know that when I stay connected to God, my life is on course no matter how it seems.

Mount Rainier by Jacob Johnson Photography

I Corinthians 15:57, encourages – “But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (ESV). Here we see victory assured as we hang close to our source. You probably also noticed that there’s no magic number of times that we stand with the Lord to achieve this wonderful victory. Nope, this my friends is a lifelong process. So don’t become discouraged when something you thought you had mastered, becomes your next lesson to learn. For no matter how much time we need in the growth process of character, He is always patient, loving, and kind.

So let’s stay the course knowing that when we come through our trials and testing, we are more prepared to live not only this life, but the one to come.

From my heart to yours,
Jacquie ♥

Relationships@ Restoration Ranch
Relationships@ Restoration Ranch

Thinking – Linking you to Life, Wholeness, and Character.

Where are my thoughts when I assume the worst about someone I care about? Why would I even consider him/her to be plotting against me? What’s thinking got to do with how we see things?

Rick Warren says that “God’s not interested in your comfort; He’s interested in your character.” Rick goes on to explain that of all we acquire in this fleeting moment on earth; character is the only thing we will take into eternity. As I engage Rick’s study, “Transformed,” I encounter what God has to say about the power of our thoughts. An “in-your-face” Scripture to kick things off:

A wise person is hungry for truth, while the fool feeds on trash – Proverbs 15:14 (NLT).

Camp Casey Lighthouse by Angela Bradford rr
Photo: Angela Bradford

• So I ask myself, “What am I spending my time on?”
• “What are the results of my meditations?”
• “Who or what is at the center of my life?”

I find that listening to godly teaching and music – inspires, corrects, and encourages me toward right living, and being rightly related to my Savior. I am once again immersed in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:

Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (NIV).

Regardless of where we fit on the mental health scale, there are ways to get the Word into our hearts and minds. I have walked, and currently walk with women battling mental illness in various forms, and I have witnessed miraculous progress as they listen, read, speak, and write God’s Word. I have and still witness the resurrection power of His Word in my life. But like anything, I must apply myself to study – to be dedicated and committed to growth. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will” (NIV).

It’s About Being in Relationship:

• Be kind to yourself. Embracing godly thinking is about your relationship with God, and good health will follow
• We all go about this journey at our own pace
• If you are on medication, don’t stop taking it without your doctor’s consent. Faith is great, but we are also called to walk in wisdom
• Be sure you have others praying for you
• Be in relationship with those who love you, have your best interest at heart, and will be lovingly honest with you
• Be in God’s Word daily, so that your mind is washed and renewed.

The battle for our mind is great – but He is greater!

I pray His love and protection, as well as His wisdom and leading as you pursue transformation by the renewing of your mind.

From my heart to yours,

Jacquie ♥

our-daily-bread.jpg
our-daily-bread.jpg

Have You Ever Wanted to be a Tree?

There are times when life seems to run like clockwork. Think of a really good day or season when you feel God and you are connected at the hip. You hear Him, sense Him, and His leading seems so clear. The universe seems to understand God’s rule, and submits smoothly, easily. At the end of such a day or period, I usually share exuberantly the great joy of the miraculous alignment of God, man, and situation.
A satisfied sigh escapes as I whisper, “Thank you God.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A new season in life can bring me face to face with the same people but something’s happened. We seem to bump against each other like rebellious planets, each on our own course. The universe that was flowing in the grace of God yesterday, is denying His existence today. It’s as if there’s a conspiracy growing up out of the earth saying,
“Don’t get use to harmony.”
Then I wonder what’s going on?

Have I allowed myself to be conformed to this world’s thinking? Have I gone along with advice because it sounded plausible, without checking its source? As obvious as this seems; thoughts, words, and ideas can take root in subtle ways. Is there a magazine I’ve been reading for years that over time has changed in focus, but the transformation so gradual I didn’t avert? Are there people in my life that have unwittingly amended their beliefs and are now walking in a modified way before God? These are some of the things I need to consider. If any of these situations exist, I must repent before my Creator, and get back to His Word. I do know that life is richer when I follow God’s guidelines. What do I do when His Word reveals that I have the opportunity to be a tree?

Photo Credit: hdwallpapers.cat
Photo Credit: hdwallpapers.cat

Not just any tree, but a tree that is planted by refreshing life giving rivers – a tree that flourishes as it bears good fruit, refreshing all in its path. Psalm 1:1-3 explains:

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang     around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on His laws and thinking about ways to follow Him more closely (vv. 1-2).

Ok, so how are we supposed to pull this off?
We are being instructed to do that which is impossible.
Well the good news is that God never directs us without giving us the ability to execute. As I lean in, and consider what it means to “delight in doing everything God wants . . . always meditating on His laws and thinking about ways to follow Him more closely,” I’m overwhelmed; until I remember to ask Him to enable me to do the unattainable.

When I take Him up on His offer to do what is humanly ridiculous then;

(v.3) I’m “like trees along a riverbank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. [My] leaves shall never wither, and all [I] do shall prosper” (TLB).

May we be willing to remain current with outside influences, and courageous enough to alter or eliminate that which would stand between us and the God who loves us. Remember that life is not cut and dry, but ever moving, ever flowing, and it is up to us to stay close to Him. Let’s be sure to embrace and meditate on His Word; to make Him our first priority even till our last breath.

From my heart to yours,
Jacquie ♥

Photo Credit: slideshare.net
Photo Credit: slideshare.net

Thinking Self-Thoughts: Self is a spoiled child that needs love and correction.

The reoccurring theme that has emerged as I repent is self. No matter what it is that I have done by commission or omission, it was done from self-centeredness. Have you noticed that self is like a whiny child, or a teen that thinks he/she knows it all? Or how about people of any age who know better, but “dig their heels in” and say,
“I don’t care, I’m doing this anyway!”

I have been using Priscilla Shirer’s acrostic for P-R-A-Y: Praise, Repent, Ask, Yes. Each morning I praise and thank God for who He is and all He does, has done, and will do out of His endless love. Then I ask forgiveness for what I’ve done that is outside of His love. This leads to asking His help with the petitions of the day; and finally I say yes. Yes to what He wants me to do, who He desires me to be, and to fulfill His plan and His purpose.

What happens in this endless loop called self? We lose sight of our all-loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing source. The only One who can bring solution, is no longer in our consciousness.

How do we escape the self-trap?

Philippians 2:4 instructs; “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interests of others” (ESV).

Proverbs 19:17a; “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord . . ..”

Galatians 5:14; “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

This is a good course correction. I’m thankful that God loves us so much that He gave us His Word. Scripture is our lifeline! It reveals our heart motive while pointing us in the way that leads to true life.

In just the short time that I’ve been using the P-R-A-Y acrostic, I have come to see more clearly how self can disguise itself. One way it does this is through irritation. I was feeling irritated about a situation and voiced my snarky feelings to my husband. This lovely easy going man responded with

“I wish we hadn’t done this.”

I realized in that moment that self isn’t fulfilled just dragging me down, it’s like, “Misery, your company’s here.”

Feeling mortified at my attitude and words, and the destruction they caused – remorse was quick. Then the thought came,
“You love what you’re doing; the problem is that you weren’t prepared.”

“Oh . . ..”

So I told my husband I was sorry. I shared my realization. We talked briefly about our love of what we were doing and pressed in whole-heartedly – together to complete our tasks. We wound up having a joyous time.

My take away:

Thinking those self-thoughts takes me out of love and peace. So my commitment is to have Scripture to meditate on that direct me in His love and service.

Let me tell you, the joy and peace of this are wonderful!

From my heart to yours,
Jacquie ♥

Photo Credit: Jessica Lavoie
Photo Credit: Jessica Lavoie

Be Filled, Refreshed, and Restored. Come dip your toes in a personal word of encouragement . . .

From the Father’s Heart:

Come to Me, seek your place of rest. When you are soul-weary remember this is the time to lie before Me. Allow Me to fill the empty places of your heart. I didn’t create you with endless supplies of love and energy.

You must come and be filled, be refreshed, and get alone with Me. I will restore what the locusts have eaten. I will breathe new life into dry bones. I will enrich and satisfy your very being.

The desert isn’t meant to be a forever place. Even there, you will recognize Me, I am your oasis. Drink of Me, taste and see that I am good.

Psalm 34:8, “Oh taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (ESV).

Edmonds _ The Blue of II by Jacquie Bradford rr

She Wants to Go – we need to remember to encourage one another while we can. You never know when your understanding will make the difference . . .

She isn’t saying so, but she wants to go
She’s seen too much; she thinks – although
There’s still time to change her mind, and sow.

Life has been textured with loss, love, and sorrow.
She feels each day spent, now she must borrow;
Whatever energy she can – just to make tomorrow.

What can you say, when one makes up her mind?
Pray yes, but she’s still in a bind; for
Her mind is made up, even though she’s blind.

She’s blind to the possibilities held in store
For one so compassionate, and what’s more;
Things just aren’t like they were before.

From my heart to yours,
Jacquie ♥

This tercet is dedicated to a dear friend who has poured her life out on behalf of others. My prayer for her is that she’ll stop and reflect on the beauty around her; to refocus on the vibrancy of the blessed life before her.

Photo Credit: Simon Illg
Photo Credit: Simon Illg

Faith Walk – Listening to the Father’s Heart

There is much ahead, I have great plans to bless and not harm you. Seek me with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Don’t be moved by what you see. As you seek me, I will give you the needed perspective to walk in what I’ve called you to.

There is no reason to fret, I have all things in hand. It only feels out of control when you decide to take charge. So lean on me, trust in the One who loves you best and most.

As soon as you surrender all those worrisome situation and relationships to me, you will find peace. When there’s no peace, you know you aren’t fully surrendered.

I have called you to life abundant. This life is a faith walk, not a logical walk.
Trust Me.

Walking by faith, not by sight.
Walking by faith, not by sight.

Joy In Being

Jubilation fills my soul
Only You can make me whole
Your love – evil can’t control.

Into your presence I rise
Nothing withheld no compromise.

Because I belong I see your love
Encompass me, O heavenly dove.
Inward in prayer love’s true dare;
Nothing I see is what’s to be,
Grace for seeing – in You I’m believing.

From my heart to yours,
Jacquie ♥

This morning in my quiet time, I had a glimmer of being in Him. There is joy and life in “being.” Some people feel most alive when life circumstance causes adrenaline to course like a new found oil well. But being in the Lord’s presence with no hindrance is a peace and a freedom such that I feel as if I could fly. This joy of being is life; it is believing and knowing that the best is yet to come. Joy of being is the realization that He loves us so much that He gave His life so that we might live in the abundance of His love.

Photo Credit: Angela Bradford
Photo Credit: Angela Bradford

I Wonder

As I think about those who
have preceded me in life,
I wonder.

They are as shadows or transparent beings
who move in and out,
I wonder.

Characteristics come to mind and these beings appear –
these loved ones,
I wonder.

How can it be that what once seemed forever here
is physically gone but here?
I wonder.

From my heart to yours,
Jacquie ♥

These thoughts came to mind today as a memory of my father-in-law floated through. I could see him in my mind’s eye in a situation past, yet he was transparent. I wonder about such things from time to time. One thing I observe about these memories is that characteristics and behaviors remain, and these attributes serve as memories bringing loved ones close. This stirs in me a deep desire to have the Master mold me in such a way that when I become a memory, I hope others will see His touch upon my life.

Photo Credit: Simon Illg
Photo Credit: Simon Illg

Who’s In Charge? Are you letting your imagination take the lead, or is your faith at the helm? Serenity is a gift that must be pursued.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV).

I must not and should not allow my imagination to take the place of God. When I feel myself start to fret, I will look to God. I will pray, rest, and get into His Word, and or be silent and listen.

Fretting means that I have taken upon myself, that which belongs to God.

Therefore, I need to “Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” II Corinthians 10:5 (NIV). This means I need to press in, place my focus on the One who loves me most, and who has the answers to that which threatens my peace.

Father, I ask that you help me to be and to remain aware of my thoughts. To be vigilant to seek You, especially when I realize I have begun to fret. Thank you for making fret and worry very distinct signs that I am attempting to do only what You can. Amen.

From my heart to yours,

Jacquie ♥

Perfect Peace Sunrise by Jacquie Bradford
Perfect Peace Sunrise by Jacquie Bradford

Time of Renewal

Together with Him renewal is found
In His presence promises abound.
Mobilize strength by walking in joy
Evil encroaches; now faith to employ.

Open to serve steadfast in heart;
Forever together – faith to impart.

Regrets assuredly slow you down,
Eternity in mind; we seek the crown.
Negativity dies as we practice love,
Entreat in prayer, like a holy Zouave.
Withhold nothing, give all freely, now
Aligned with His Word – set serenely, our
Life abundant adorned profoundly.

From my heart to yours,
Jacquie ♥

This acrostic is the result of considering life victorious – as I look to a new year. My heart is to live with an intentionality that propels me eternally.
His promise:
“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” 1John 5:4 (ESV).

By 7 Themes.com
By 7 Themes.com

Protect Your Sacred Space

We all need to protect the sacred spaces in our life.

This thought went through my mind as I sat to consider the direction my life is taking. As I reflected on the work I am called to, it was clear that my heart for women was refined. As a counselor, coach and mentor, my passion is to see women made whole in all aspects of life, with a focus on:

Single Moms
Widows
Divorcees
Senior Concerns
Marriage
Time Commitments

So where does the need to protect our sacred spaces come in?

Sacred spaces for me are times of reflection and contemplation. Time set aside to consider activities and “open doors” which represent where my time is directed. This may seem like an obvious thing to do, but think about how subtle some changes are; especially when transition aligns with the desire of your heart. In my most recent sacred space, I realized the joy I have when mentoring younger women; this has resulted in me recognizing the increased appointments to do just that.

My encouragement: take time to sit and be still, time to think. It is sometimes surprising what’s been going on right in front of us, but we were too busy or too distracted to notice. It’s time to think and soar!

From my heart to yours,

Jacquie ♥Seahawk by Larry Gorlin PhotographyPhoto by Larry Gorlin

Summer Storm

Sizzling, thunderous light cracks –
Under an open sky – inside its dry.
Monumental drops pound, great the sound.
My heart beats beneath the sheets.
Exaggerated rain will sustain, for our
Rich green garden the ground won’t harden.

Shelter from the storm is my grateful norm.
Toward the east, the sky’s a feast – of
Orange, pink, purple, and grey
Roaring rolling thunder claps stay.
Mother Nature I pray will be kept at bay.

From my heart to yours,
Jacquie ♥

Form: Acrostic
Inspiration: One August morning I awakened to big drops of rain, thunder, and lightning; a storm this deep into summer almost seemed foreign; and yet wonderfully refreshing in an arid time.

Darkness of Soul

Dreary days, dark nights descend
Around me dry bones, invisible tears without end
Realization of this desert place
Kindness, an oasis lost in this race
Nothing seems near in this place called endless
Everything is flat, no form and mindless
Salty sea air is what I need
Sandy shore – bare feet take the lead.

Only alone, there’s no one to call
Forever’s a long time – You won’t let me fall.

Surely goodness and mercy will find me*
Once I surrender, it’s not me – but we
Unless I open myself to You, I will be
Lonely. Lifeless. Lost. Alone. Abominably.

From my heart to yours,
Jacquie ♥

Form: acrostic
Prompt: How I feel in those dry, desert places that come along in life.
*Psalm 23:6.

I Need A Sabbath Breath

I Need A Sabbath Breath
By Jacquie Bradford

Into my heart you can see, I need a fresh start with thee.

Needing your touch, your presence means so much
Each time I come to you, you make my heart brand new
Endless love is found, as in me your Spirit abounds
Dreary days come to an end, when to you prayers I do send.

Absolute wholeness awaits, as I enter with praise your holy gates.

Serenity is part of what you offer, as I eliminate my inner scoffer
Always with me as you are, for you are my bright morning star
Basking in your presence I find, I am ahead and not behind
Bubbling brooks of joy come within, as you wash away all my sin
Although I am yours, I still come to knock on your doors
Together we walk in your glory, grateful for eternity’s story
Holding tightly to your Word, I remove myself from the absurd.

Brushing by the breeze of your Spirit, praise springs forth, now I hear it
Reaching out I am bound, to have restored that which was found
Earthly things have lost appeal; I am revived with love’s pure seal
About your business, that I am – I love dearly your holy Lamb
Though difficult times come and go, to your kingdom I will sow
Heaven is in the here and now, restoring, renewing my soul somehow.

From my heart to yours,
Jacquie ♥

Form: Acrostic
Prompt: I have been caught up doing the ‘good’ things of life. Serving others is great joy, except when I don’t make the time to be in God’s presence.
Awakened at 1 am – I pour out my heart. I purge myself of those things that weigh me down, and seek His holy ground. There I find refreshing and renewing. I remove the tattered layers of the weary self, and exchange them for wholeness and peace.

Heart’s Desire

Rainbows by Aaron Vorbau

Heartened in the knowledge you delight in me
Everyone that knows us, tells me they see.
A love that’s true and enduring all time
Refreshing, renewing love is my springtime.
Together we stand, yes, against the odds
Steadfast, authentic, we have no facades.

Desiring what’s best for one another
Enduring with joy, set for the other.
Sensing and knowing our love will endure
I look in your eyes, and say, “I am sure.”
Reaching the heights of love’s accurate light
Entering poised; to a future that’s bright.

From my heart to yours,
Jacquie ♥

From my “Love” Collection; I thought of my husband Ken, as I wrote this poem. He is my inspiration for so much in life. I am thankful for him and the invaluable relationship of marriage.

Image by Aaron Vorbau: brings up the possibilities that are alive when we set our heart to love.

Love Never Ends

take-my-heart-550x320

Living in the light is love
Odyssey of nurtured life
Validated heart fits like a glove
Embrace caring, eliminate strife.

Navigating course of compassion
Embarking emotions, various sorts
Valuing creation with respect and passion
Ernest response which never distorts
Radiates eternally in heaven’s high court.

Emblazoned on caring, beating hearts
Nearing closer, eternity’s home
Delivering kindness – where it starts
Sacred reliance, no more to roam.

From my heart to yours,
Jacquie ♥

My hope is that this will be a month of considering love; what it is, how it shows up, and how we can express it in written form, as well as face to face. Love truly takes the pressure off as it doesn’t make demands, insist on its own way, or present as moody or disagreeable. Love cheers the other on, desiring the best for him or her. Love isn’t competitive, but understands that when things go well for another, that is cause for congratulations.

My goal is to take the time to recognize love, and emulate its qualities as much as possible, such that those in my life will know how truly they are valued.
Form: Acrostic
From: My “Love Is” series within a series; homage to I Corinthians 13.

DECREASE: Holy Appearances

As I choose to decrease my holy appearances what is my hope?  Perhaps it is to shed all my forms of hypocrisies and live my faith with no self-righteous posturing.  I am blessed to walk with my Lord today, blessed and not cursed, so why bring a curse on others by muttering my contempt for all things loud, annoying and obnoxious? I am blessed so I will bless. I will not shrink back from the many opportunities in this day that now brighten my hope to be a blessing to others.

I am grateful to the Lord for His complete care of me.  Yes, I have had to repent of my arrogance, pride, rebellion and malicious behavior. Without repentance, I am a mess of gross attitudes and hateful tones filled with religious discontent.  But I will be taking on eternity today, in a new way, with a new zeal that will serve to glorify my Father and His son, rather than myself and my self-righteousness.Image_John 17  5

Jesus may say of this day:

    Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ,  whom you have sent.  I have brought you (the Lord God Almighty) glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. (John 17:1 – 5)

My worship today is to live my life with a joy that comes from knowing that my place in eternity is assured. I have eternal life, just as Jesus has declared, and now I may live, conquering death all the day long.

Thank You my Lord Jesus, for You have lived to glorify Your Father and have given your people an enduring example of decrease. We die to self daily so we can follow You in glorifying Father God. Thank You Lord. Be magnified our God and King forever.  Amen.

With Hands Lifted Up

There comes a time in every life when we need to sit down and make a conscious decision to surrender. Surrender to what God wants. Humility understands that God’s way is best. He holds our future, and mixes in the miraculous when we let Him “steer our ship.”

I have no ability to produce the miraculous in my life, but miracles abound as I trust Him to provide. While physical healing for me and family members is on the horizon – I am searching, praying, and waiting with hopeful expectation of healing to come. This is the process of prayer and standing on God’s Word, which means praying healing Scripture over our lives. For truly His Word promises to never return empty. The only assurance not given is the “when” or “how.”

Trust me when I say I’m okay with the unknowns – mostly.

Sometimes we need to seek medical attention, and sometimes we are confronted by such statements as, “It’s unclear what this issue is, do your best to rest, or let’s wait and see how this progresses.” Western medicine is remarkable, but they don’t always know what’s going on, and when one’s symptoms don’t align with a prescribed medication, then physicians aren’t necessarily sure about how to proceed – so tests may be ordered, and then a wait-and-see attitude prevails.

Faith is about trusting and believing that no matter the pronouncement, God can and will “make a way where there is no way” (Isaiah 43:19) – just like He did for the children of Israel when He parted the Red Sea. What’s this have to do with surrender? Well surrender is trusting. Surrender means that I’m not in charge, I’m not all powerful, all knowing, or miracle producing.

Proverbs 31 Woman by Nicki Koziarz

The “Red Seas” of life part as a result of trusting the Almighty. When we trust Him to provide in His way, and in His time; we need to remember that God’s view of time is far different than ours. So what do we do? We Surrender. Take all those preconceived notions about how our prayers will be answered, and chuck them. While we wait, when fear and or doubt attempt to encroach on our faith-stand, we have a strategy to remain steadfast. This is typically the juncture where our greatest testing happens.

If we have to ask God’s forgiveness throughout the day for attempting to “handle” the situation in our own strength, if we have to read aloud or silently His Word a thousand times– we will do so and purpose in our heart to love those around us. We will praise Him to redirect our focus. We will do whatever it takes to remain surrendered to His perfect love and will, for we know the “trying of our faith” (James 1:3) produces godly character, and causes us to become stronger in Him.

We serve a God who loves us with His life, He gave His life so that we would have the opportunity to grow into His image, share His love, grace, and Good News – and then spend eternity with Him.

I pray that we will seek, trust, and rely on Him, as we navigate life’s realities. May we call upon the Name of Jesus, which is greater than ALL names, and trust the Holy Spirit to “lead and guide us into All truth and righteousness for His Namesake” (John 16:13).

From my heart to yours,

Jacquie ♥

Jesus Is Born – An Advent Poem

Light of the World by Mark Keathley for RR article 12.15
Light of the World by Mark Keathley

Joseph and Mary will go to Bethlehem,
The Christ child will be born unto them.

The Angel will appear to shepherds nearby.
“Don’t be afraid,” He’ll say as they sigh.
Good news He’ll bring; the babe will be born,
You’ll know Him – wearing cloth that is torn.

Armies of angels will sing with great praise –
God will be pleased – His Son to raise!
They’ll proclaim peace, their voices ablaze.

The shepherds will tell all that happened,
Joy will fill the people that will listen;
The shepherds will work, and be gladdened.

So in anticipation of His birth, our
Souls alive, for our sins He’ll unearth.
We will sing His praise for hope to come,
Then receive the Savior, and His freedom!

From my heart to yours,

Jacquie ♥

Love is Contentment

Have you noticed how when someone who loves you is near, you are at peace? There’s no reason to worry because you know that you are safe, and no matter what – you will work things through together. This dynamic is even richer as we dwell with the Lord. Time spent quietly, or in singing, or prayer – results in utter contentment.

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with” L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Our contentment truly rests upon our choice to love and press into perfect love. Mr. Baum is correct in his assertion that we need not look any farther than where we are. This is not say that living this way is easy, for it’s not. There are those times when we have to discipline our thoughts and make time to be with the only One who can provide the answers we need.

What I love about “happiness being an inside job,” is that I have the power to change my attitude if it is out of alignment with my purpose. As you have probably realized, this is a position of diligence. I need to be aware of my physical, spiritual, and emotional state – I need to check in with myself to see how I’m doing.

  •  Am I feeling agitated, or frustrated?
  • Do I feel out of sync with my schedule, work, family, etc.?
  • Are there unresolved issues?

He will cover you with his feathers under his wings you will find refuge _Image by Sweet to the Soul

These are a few questions that usually reveal what is out of place. I may or may not know the cause of my discontent, but either way, I know the source of serenity. He knows how to direct my path so that if the first place I begin is just regaining my peace, the rest of my concern can be sorted out. This is where I begin to look for His promises and principles to apply to my life. He is only an acknowledgement away. And sometimes as counter-intuitive as it seems on the surface, when I am feeling stuck; I begin rehearsing thanksgiving for what God has done in my life. This is usually enough to get me back on course. A favorite promise of mine is:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5 (ESV). I notice that my natural understanding doesn’t account for God’s love, power, and eternal perspective, and without this, I am left in a heap of discontent.

So whatever stands between you and His loving contentment, take action by offering thanks, getting quiet, singing, or beginning your prayer dialogue. Remember God is more concerned with your situation than even you are – for He loves you that much.

What do you do to gain tranquil balance in your life? I’d love to hear from you and agree with you in prayer.

 

From my heart to yours,

Jacquie ♥