Monday, April 27, 2009

April Sancturary

This morning the sunrise announced
the never-ending hope of a new day,
fresh, and filled glory!
In the last few days of April, the mornings have become glorious sanctuaries filled with every beautiful color and sound imaginable. I am alone in the wonder of it all and immerse myself in every living detail that meets my senses. In the pure delight and exhilaration of experiencing all of that, my heart worships the Creator.
The chorus of birds rivals the greatest human choir. The live 'surround- sound' experience is unmatched as is the complicated variety of theme lines that weave in and out as they sing and echo to each other.
The colors are vibrant, intense and dance off the ground like living droplets of paint from the brush.
The fragrances fill the air and saturate my entire being with their sweetness - I breathe them, I feel them, I want to eat them or drink them.


I found these miniature works of art on the side of the road this morning - beautiful symbols of new life, new hope, new joy!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Falling in Love on This Spring Evening

Its another beautiful evening in Spring. I was wandering out in my backyard and was taken captive by some of the simple messages of love I found there.
These two little blossoms seemed to reach out, in their own way to say,
"Look at the beautiful Creator's heart!
You can see what He is like when you look at me!"
I did look...
and I did see...
and I did fall in love with Him all over again.

Friday, April 24, 2009

These are two scripture passages I read this morning.
Both are quoted from the NLT:

"We can rejoice, too,
when we run into problems and trials,
for we know that they help us develop endurance.
And endurance develops strength of character,
and character strengthens
our confident hope of salvation.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment.
For we know how dearly God loves us,
because he has given us the Holy Spirit
to fill our hearts with his love."
Romans 5:3-5
"If you fail under pressure,
your strength is too small."
Proverbs 24:10

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Quote for Today

"Unless you choose happiness,
you will wait forever for it." ~
Dr. R. Holden

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Today, I think about the fathomless, incomprehensible, all sufficient demonstration of the love of God toward us. He gave His only son, Jesus, to pay the full penalty of our sin, so that we could truly live and come close to Him in spirit again.
I wrote this song in November 2000. I share it with you, with the hope that our hearts will be filled with a new and more profound understanding and love for Him and His sacrifice of love.

Oh, perfect Sacrifice
Pure and spotless love and life
Poured out in crimson streams on my heart
Washing clean the darkest part

Oh precious Sacrifice
Broken body in my place
Such love, as I have never found
Healing wounds in broken ground*

I will ever praise Your name
Lamb so sweet, who bore my shame
I lay down my life, to follow You alone
Sacrifice, alive and on the throne!

"Sacrifice" words and music by Diane Nelson - Novemeber 2000

* "broken ground" has a multipicity of meaning.
Our hearts are often referred to as 'ground'. In the Bible it talks about 'tilling up the fallow ground of your heart' which points to the fact that our hearts can become 'hard' because of sinful habits and attitudes. The heart is broken by the very fact that is is 'hardened' - it becomes dysfunctional.
Also, when something is hard, it can 'break' or 'shatter' when a blow is hard enough. We can respond to circumstances and relationships in our lives in selfishness, bitterness, hostility and revenge which all harden our hearts and at some point, some element comes into our lives and hits us causing our hearts to shatter in a million pieces. A heart broken in this way is devastating.
Thankfully, God, in His great love and mercy, knew that we would need a remedy for a broken heart, and in the sacrifice of Christ made it effective to bring healing to the brokenness that can occur in our hearts.
Remember, also, that we were created from the dust of the earth (ground) - Isaiah prophesied that " His (Christ's) stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5) In God's incredible plan, it was ordained that in Christ's sinless, perfect body being broken - our sinful, broken bodies (ground) would be healed.
I truly cannot explain or describe all that my heart sees and feels in this one concept alone - but, suffice to say, I am in awe, lost in speechless worship before Him because of the magnitude of His love.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

From Henri Nouwen

Loving Our Spiritual Leaders

"Religious leaders, priests, ministers, rabbis, and imams can be admired and revered but also hated and despised. We expect that our religious leaders will bring us closer to God through their prayers, teaching, and guidance. Therefore, we watch their behavior carefully and listen critically to their words. But precisely because we expect, often without fully realising it, to be superhuman, we are easily disappointed or even feel betrayed when they prove to be just as human as we are. Thus, our unmitigated admiration quickly turns into unrestrained anger.Let's try to love our religious leaders, forgive them their faults, and see them as brothers and sisters. Then we will enable them, in their brokenness, to lead us closer to the heart of God."

This devotional means a lot to me today. I understand the feelings on both sides of the quotient. I've revered religious leaders in the past, only to be disappointed by my own unrealistic expectations on their lives. And, I know that I have disappointed quite a few people who have looked to me, hoping that in my calling I would be superhuman.

I love Henri's last sentence: "Then we will enable them, in their brokenness, to lead us closer to the heart of God."

Its not in our perfection that we find the path to God's heart. Realizing that leaders are human, we can then appreciate that as they experience 'life' and learn how to grow closer to God through their trials and choices - the true meaning of 'leadership' comes forth. They are walking down the path of life - 'leading' us, marking the trail, showing us what they found to be the best or worst options.

If they had never sinned, they would know nothing of forgiveness. It is broken hearted repentance over their sin that makes a way for them to experience the depths of His love and mercy which cannot be fathomed and which fill His heart to overflowing. When leadership has walked down that path, their testimony is infused with convincing power that can produce life and hope in the hearts of those who hear.

Let us pray for our religious leaders. Let us hold them in our hearts with compassion and realistic perceptions about who they are and what they are made of and what God has called them to do. Let us listen as they come to experience the power of God in their lives that produces strength to overcome the darkness every human heart battles against every single moment of every single day.


We often equate passivity with laziness or slothfulness, and many times the terms are liberally interchanged. An attitude of ignoring issues or responsibilities can be attributed to either a passive heart which doesn't want to face reality or to a lazy heart which doesn't want to work at changing reality. Either way, nothing is accomplished.

People use passivity as an excuse to hide their laziness. They are 'waiting' for further developments or instruction, promised resources - when in actuality, they are lazy and not doing what needs to be done or what can be done.

But there is a passivity that is holy, right, beneficial. It is found when we are still in the middle of the storm when our hearts are alive to God and trusting in His all perfect will to be done. I can sit there, not trying to understand or figure out the details, not trying to do anything, not fearing the outcome, not pleading for my will to be done. It is a place where I recognize there is nothing I can do but trust. In that moment, there is perfect awareness, perfect stillness, perfect readiness, perfect trust.

Monday, April 6, 2009

"The person who has no expectations
and therefore fails to be on the alert
will receive little help.
Watch for God in the events of your life."

Charles H. Spurgeon

Famous Failures

Here's an inspiring video that will help keep life in perspective :)

"We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed." 2Corinthians 4:8,9

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Alone With God

"Then, go into your house with your sons
and shut the door behind you."
2 Kings 4:4

The widow and her two sons were to be alone with God. They were not dealing with the laws of nature, human government, the church, or the priesthood. Nor were they even dealing with God's great prophet, Elisha. They had to be isolated from everyone, separated from human reasoning, and removed from the natural tendencies to prejudge their circumstance. They were to be as if cast into the vast expanse of starry space, depending on God alone --- in touch with the Source of miracles.
This is an ingredient in God's plan of dealing with us. We are to enter a secret chamber of isolation in prayer and faith that is very fruitful. At certain times and places, God will build a mysterious wall around us. He will take away all the supports we customarily lean upon, and will remove our ordinary ways of doing things. God will close us off to something divine, completely new and unexpected, and that cannot be understood by examining our previous circumstances. We will be in a place where we do not know what is happening, where God is cutting the cloth of our lives by a new pattern, and thus where He causes us to look to Him.
Most Christians lead a treadmill life --- a life in which they can predict almost everything that will come their way. But the souls that God leads into unpredictable and special situations are isolated by Him. All they know is that God is holding them and that He is dealing in their lives. Then their expectations come from Him alone.
Like this widow, we must be detached from outward things and attached inwardly to the Lord alone in order to see His wonders."
from Soul Food April 5th

Human Praise

Henri Nouwens devotional this morning says in part...
"Without deep roots we easily let others determine who we are. But as we cling to our popularity, we may lose our true sense of self. Our clinging to the opinion of others reveals how superficial we are. We have little to stand on. We have to be kept alive by adulation and praise. Those who are deeply rooted in the love of God can enjoy human praise without being attached to it."

It is not easy to look within our hearts and find superficiality. But, when it is faced, and it is seen for what it is, we can then begin the process of changing and growing in the love and the purposes of God for our lives. We begin to mature, become strong and find life that is richer than we could ever have imagined. We gain soundness emotionally because we are not dependent on the applause we desperately search for like a beggar searches for a crust of bread. Instead, we can discover who we really are, what we really think, what God wants us to do.
In that discovery, we become stronger in making decisions that are based on a deeper sense of our uniqueness as God's creation and fulfillment in the design of our being. Whether those decisions result in human praise or not, we are not then pushed and pulled around emotionally in a constant state of discontent but, instead, find peace and satisfaction in doing what we know was right for us now and for the future. There is a stability that results, deep roots that grow, as the result of taking responsibility for our decisions and the results of those decisions. And, this is where we really begin to wake up, grow up, and experience life!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Living Outside the Box

I had to smile today - in spite of how low I feel. In my yard the spring flowers are shooting up rapidly with the rain we've had the last few days, and the warm sun today. I came across this little brave heart - a daffodil growing, all by herself, on the other side of the garden border.
My initial response was curiosity - how did the little bulb get over there? How is it surviving there in the hard packed, unfriendly, seemingly impossible environment?
And then, I found myself relating to this little flower-to-be. In many ways, over my whole life, and especially now, I have lived, like she, on the other side of the garden border. I have lived 'outside the box'.
Its not easy. Its often times not friendly. It can be lonely when no one else is outside the box and everyone in the box is chiding or trying to entice me to get back in the box. There are many seemingly impossible situations to face because conditions outside the box are less cultivated than in the box.
But, there are things to be experienced outside the box that can't be experienced from the inside of the box. There are broader places for the mind and spirit to be exercised and to grow. Many inventions, creations, discoveries were made by people who either refused to live in the box or who by their very natures did not fit in the box at all.
I don't know exactly where I fit in the mix of those who have lived outside the box, but I definitely relate to this little daffodil. I know I have been and am now - outside the box. And, just as the little daffodil is dependent on her Creator to take care of her for her very existence, so too, must I.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

He Will Care For Me

"Listen to me, descendants of Jacob
all you who remain in Israel.
I have cared for you since you were born.
Yes, I carried you before you were born.
I will be your God throughout your lifetime---
until your hair is white with age.
I made you, and I will care for you.
I will carry you along and save you."
Isaiah 46:3-4

I opened my Bible last night, just before going to sleep and this is the place my eyes fell on. It is underlined because, some time ago, it spoke to my heart, as it did last night - again.
I read the verses, and then I closed my eyes to meditate on the passage. All I could hear was the word "C - a - r - e"

I care for you~
I carried you~
I will care for you~
I will carry you~

I know that God, in His great love and mercy, has cared for me throughout my lifetime. There have been times when He has carried me when I did not have the strength in my self to keep going. The memories of those times are forged in my heart because it was through those times that I came to know Him and His immense love for me.
Today, I can stand and face many things, known and unknown, with confidence and peace because I have known His heart and ways of caring. I may not have all the answers. There may be many unknowns. But, one thing I do know and cannot be persuaded otherwise, is this...

He will care for me~
He will carry me ~