Newness

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What is this need for “newness”,

This desire to turn to a fresh unmarked page,

          A new calendar

                   A  new year

                             A new month

                                      A new day

To put away the old, marked-up, smudged script

And feel the crisp, unspoiled page in my hand?

A new page means new beginnings,

          A fresh start

                   New possibilities [All things are possible with Him]

                             New ventures

                                      New hope

                                                New accomplishment

Oh, I will not forget the old, [wherein it showed me You]

But I will forget the defeat, failures, lost opportunities,

And I will yet praise You

 I will embrace the newness of You in me-

 Your faithfulness each morning

Where you want to take me

                             What You want to teach me

                                      The new work You have for me

                                                The new joy you will give me

 

The pages will become full again,

          Marked up, erased, rewritten

                   Dog-eared,

                             Perhaps smudged with a tear

But then I will turn to

          A new page

                   A new day

                             A new month

                                      A new year –

And You are there

          And, behold, You make all things new again!

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Confetti in the Air

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The past couple of weeks, I have been sitting in a pile of thankful confetti. I pick up each piece of life from this past two years with mixed emotions. All in all, I come away from a very hard 2009-2010 with a more thankful heart than I have ever had before…so I wouldn’t trade it. In fact, I celebrate the difficult as well as the good from this past year. And right now…this very minute..I am taking every single piece of confetti–motley and colorful–and I am tossing it in the air with great, exuberant joy!

For the year is over.

And I have grown.

What I feared did not kill me.

What I anticipated did not always happen.

When I was needing direction, the Lord always gave it.

When I was trembling and scared, He held me.

When I was confused, He led me.

When I felt bereft, He filled me.

When I hit a wall…and I most certainly did…He caused me to scale that wall, baby.

And I cannot tell you how much I love a new day, a fresh page and wide-openness…I am running through fields of joy to it! I am throwing off the weight that hinders-physically (I have lost 50 pounds!), mentally (shedding those old tape recordings), emotionally (clinging with happiness to the great renewal that Jesus has done in my life) and spiritually (not getting caught up in the rules, but practising the Presence of God every moment and thrilling to the fact that as much as I want to get to know God, He wants me to know Him! Relationship without the fear of rejection…now that’s what I’m talking about!).

I have asked the Lord to give me some Words for the next year and these are what He gave to me: Resolve to Journey. Can you picture it? Moving forward with His motion, pressing on and deciding, daily choosing to be under God’s authority. Seeking and finding Jesus…staying in His Yoke.

I want resolve and not resolution. For resolution carries with it the present connotation of “I hope to do this!” But not really doing anything or going anywhere or growing.

Resolve, however, holds the original intent of a strong, determined, decision–a will to be willing.

Journey is the choice I have to go with God, wherever He leads. In that, I choose not to limit Him in my estimation by saying what I will not do, thus believing that He could not carry me through that place. For I know He can! For He has carried me through some places that before I would have said, “I could never do that.” Well, now I have. And He came with (as my friend Cassie used to say!).

Journeying with God is a choice to fully release control to Him and let Him lead me–for my good and because He has good intent towards me and for me. So I resolve to journey.

Resolve to Journey is a willingness to be soft clay in the Hand of God–desiring above all to become who God created me to be and fully realize that I am here for a purpose. That purpose is in partnership with my brother, Jesus, who calls me to journey with Him. And the best part of all? He likes me! He thinks the world of me. He is cheering me on. He is running the race by my side. He will not forsake–for any reason.

And that my friends is worth celebrating! Grab your confetti with me, consider the moments and times, and make them an offering to Jesus. Throw them all in the air! For a new year is on the march. And Jesus? Well, He’s right beside us. Happy New Year everybody. And thanks! Thanks for journeying with me. I cannot say it with enough emotion here, but I am thankful for you.

 

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Listening as a Shepherd

Christmas 10

It feels like just an ordinary day. The kids are all home, and I am their cruise director, chef and captain for the day. The laundry is in process. I have breakfast dishes to wash by hand, until the blessed part comes in the mail to fix our dishwasher. Water is boiling on the stove with orange peels and apple pie spice–to add humidity to our dry Colorado air and to bring a delightful scent in the air, as well.

I have packages to wrap and one final gift to finish knitting. I have gingerbread cookie dough to prepare and chill, as well as chocolate chip cookies to complete the platters I will give away to family tomorrow. My heart is at rest.

Even my devotional in “Streams in the Desert” this morning spoke of being still and quieting ourselves before the Lord. And so I have.

Every part of my body is at rest and peace. I feel no hurry or scurry–no worry. Even though our circumstances may be financially tight, I feel completely at peace about every bit of it. This is the kind of peace that comes from my waking early to kneel at the manger and be reminded of no ordinary day.

This morning I awoke with a choral song called “Kneeling at the Manger” in my mind. The words go something like this:

“Kneeling at the manger,
only half aware
Mystified and awe struck
Shepherds stare.
Still amazed at hearing
Angels in the sky
Singing of God’s glory
from on High.

I am as a shepherd
brought in from the wild
mystified and awe struck
gazing at the Child
kneeling as a sinner,
trusting as a lamb,
Kneeling at the manger,
Lord, here I am.

(leaving out second stanza)

You became their king then,
as you now are mine!
Kneeling as a sinner
trusting as a lamb
kneeling at the manger,
Lord, here I am.”

Can you even imagine? This tiny baby, I imagine, was bursting at his very skin to contain His Glory. Jesus. The Son of God. Wrapped in more than swaddling–wrapped in majesty. Our Peace, who walked a journey unlike any other man. Our Hope, who never gave up hope. Even in giving up His own life on the cross, this man, who is God’s one and only Son, would keep His power contained for a greater purpose–His resurrection and our salvation.

So today, I am listening, as a shepherd. I am listening for the angels’ chorus–singing the Wonderful story of Awesome God Incarnate!! I am gazing at this child in a feed trough and mystified by His Presence with us.

I am trusting Him with my whole life, until even my own skin will burst to contain His glory. For my Jesus is not only with me, He is IN me.

Won’t you kneel with me? Won’t you listen to the chorus? Let this song resound in your soul and bring you peace that transcends your understanding. Let this babe be your King of kings.

For you will find that with Jesus, even an ordinary day can be extraordinary.

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He is Your Peace

Candles and berries

Is all calm and bright on your front this year? Do you struggle with circular thoughts of concern that trouble you and threaten to overwhelm? Well stand up, friend.

Three years of Christmases have brought us trials–job loss, bankruptcy, health concerns and other various turmoils and distresses. And they were hard circumstances. They were overwhelming to us. Today I praise God, not only that those floods have now passed and our current circumstances are relatively calm, but because of those overwhelming trials. They have meant the world to our family. God used the allowance of these trials in our lives to REVEAL His glory in our family! I wouldn’t trade them for anything–hard as they were.

Sometimes, they still are hard. I just saw a friend at the store one day and couldn’t bring myself to speak, only smile at her. You see, she was our bank teller. She knew me well. I walked in with countless deposits. With the bankruptcy, we had to leave that bank. I so wanted to say to her how sorry I was, as we stood in line to check out. So, yes, it can still be hard on some days–days when I feel like a cheater.

But God reminds me that I am His and I can stand on His truth and hold my head up. I am still His own Beloved. So stand in this truth that God has been sharing with me:

“When the enemy shall come like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:19 KJV

The Amplified version puts it this way: “So [as the result of the Messiah's intervention] they shall [reverently] fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him and put him to flight [for He will come like a rushing stream which the breath of the Lord drives].”

The enemy will most certainly come, my friend. On that day when Jesus was born, the enemy was on the march. King Herod tried to find baby Jesus and ended up killing all the boys two years old and under in Bethlehem and in its vicinity.

“When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.” Matthew 2:16 (NIV)

So if Jesus was in a school classroom in Bethlehem, there would be no boys his age in that room. There would be no boys within a two year range. Can you picture that? The enemy has no mercy. Let me say that again. The enemy has no mercy.

He will be relentless, coming like a flood. Sometimes, the onslaught is through our circumstances. Can you imagine the mothers of these young boys? They had dreams and hopes. And they had an enemy on the march.

Sometimes the onslaught is through people, who would like to cause us harm–be it intentionally or not. The enemy is intentional, though. He has a dark purpose. He has no mercy. He is on the war path.

So what do we do? Shall we hide under the covers and hope the flood will not come to us? No, we shall stand on the promise that God fulfilled in this baby we celebrate this day.

For God, my friends, He is rallying to the battle with His flag wildly waving in the wind of His ability. Here’s the fact–He wins. He wins in the battle. He wins in the war. He fights for us. As His promise is seen on the table of history, we have a Savior. He is the one, who was born on our behalf–to hold back the flood of the enemy. He came to bring peace to your souls. He came to be mercy and strength–a weapon that the enemy cannot and will not win against.

Oh, it may appear that he is winning some days. But the revealed things are God’s. He will reveal victory from every single circumstance, person ot event that you are facing, have faced and will face.

So when the enemy comes like a flood upon you, it may not be a silent night–it may not be calm and bright. But it will be Holy. God shall raise His mighty arm to push back the flood. He shall be your peace. He is your peace. He will deliver you, my friend.

Merry Christmas from all of us at A Martha Heart!
Sitting at Jesus’ feet changes us, enables us and gives us everything we need for everything we face today and in the coming year.

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Room in the Inn

Christmas in the wood

Crowding out the still small Voice…
Filling life with every noise.
Unconsciously, we cheat ourselves.
Dissatisfied–placed on a shelf.

Our ears, we fill with sound,
Our eyes, don’t look around,
Our STOMACH’S filled to the brim…
so there’s no room for Him!

Oh, Christian let Him be born.
INSIDE you, all is torn.
Every direction pulled today…
Let Jesus fill in every way.

Be aware of all within–
Come Savior, there’s room in my Inn!

All Rights Reserved ©
Holly Smith
October 3, 2001

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Heart Prompt #27

A stone bridge

Meditate on these qualities of Christ, who was born for the whole world. Apply who He is to all that you are–ask Him to be your everything and to hold you together in Him.

Savior * Friend * Father * LORD * Redeemer * Rock * Refuge * Mighty * King of Kings * LORD of Lords * Lion of the Tribe of Judah * Lamb of God * Alpha * Omega * Almighty * Awesome * All-knowing * Omniscient One * Jesus * Messiah * The Good Shepherd * Wonderful * Counselor * Mighty God * Everlasting Father * Prince of Peace * The Way* The Truth * The Life * Abba * Advocate * Judge * Faithful and True * The One who Was, Is and Is to Come * Living Water * Bread of Life * Comforter * The Resurrection and the Life * The True Vine * The Light of the World * Eternal Life * Holy * Righteous One * Immanuel * Indescribable Gift * Lord of Glory * The Only Sovereign * The Great Physician * Son of Man * The Amen * The Living Stone * Word of Life * Lord of the Harvest * Master * King of the Ages * Horn of Salvation * The Great Physician * Just * God with Us * The Anointed One * The Lord Saves * Nazarene * Ruler * Worthy of Worship * A Great Light * Giver of Good Gifts * Teacher with All Authority * Healer * Commander * Glorious * A Strong Foundation * Life * Narrow Gate * Leader * Willing * Humble Guide * Way Maker * Peace Maker * Creator * Order all Creation * Merciful * Beyond our Understanding * Burden Bearer * Sets Captives Free * The Bridegroom * Son of David *Powerful * Amazing! * The one Who was to Come * Gentle * Rest Giver * Yoke Bearer * Lord of the Sabbath * Our hope of the Nations * Strong Name * Heaven come down to Earth * Shrewd yet Innocent * Wisdom * Faithful Pray-er * Prophet * Carpenter’s son * Miracle Worker *Provider (Jehovah Jireh) * Son of the Living God * Transfigured One * Abides by Laws of Men * Makes all things Possible * Patient * Loves * Loves Children * My King * Generous * Fair * Bearer of God’s Name * Righteous * Worthy of Children’s Praise * The Capstone * The Stone the Builders Rejected * King of the Jews * Intercessor * Hope of Israel * Jehovah Shammah (the LORD is Present ) * Jehovah Nissi (The LORD our Banner) * El Olam (The Everlasting God) * Jehovah Shalom (The LORD our Peace) * Jehovah Tsidkenu (The LORD our Righteousness) * Jehovah Mekaddishkem (The LORD our sanctifier) * El Elyon (The LORD Most High) * El Shaddai (The God who is Sufficient for the Needs of His People * Jehovah Rapha (The LORD our Healer) * Jehovah Sabbaoth (The LORD of the Sabbath) Jehovah Raah (The LORD Our Shepherd) * A consuming Fire * Jealous * A Sanctuary * Bright and Morning Star * Consolation of Israel * The Door * The Gate *Faithful Witness * Dayspring * Shield * Fortress * Stronghold * Ancient of Days * I AM * Majesty * Mine! * My Deliverer * My Beloved * None Like Him * Exceeding Joy * My Praise! * My Portion * My Stay * Potter * Righteous Branch * Glorious * Highest * Immortal * Invisible * God Only Wise * The Lamb that was Slain * Pearl of Great Price * My Treasure! * Uncorruptable * Hashem * Adonai * Shekhinah (God Dwells with Humanity) * Elohim

Knowing Jesus is everything,

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Heart Prompt #26

Christmas decoration on defocused lights background

Open your Bible to the Book of Proverbs, and turn to the Proverb that has the same number as today’s date. Read that proverb, and reflect upon it throughout the day. Ask God to teach you through that Proverb.

“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.” Proverbs 23:12 NIV

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Heart Prompt #25

broken

Sit for just a moment and picture Jesus asking you this one question written below, take a moment and consider how you might answer. Write it, speak it or pray it, but be sure and give Him your answer to this question today…

Beloved, what do you want me to do?

He hears you today,

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Heart Prompt #24

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Keep a running list of the people who God brings to your mind (or causes you to think about). You can do this for a day, three days, a week……however long you would like to do it. Every time you add a new person to the list, pray for them as well as for the person above them on your list.

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17 NIV

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