Psalm 46.5 “Since God is in her midst, she will not be shaken…” offered by LWillows

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“In Solitaire”… a worship poem by LWillows

In solitaire I walk this morn,
with non but light’s soft hue adorn.
Within this path that finds my soul,
I pray Gods’ keeping, life found whole.

For in taking of all things;
the swift removal times can bring…
I root myself upon one Bright
and dearest thing with every might…

In solitaire the Soul is known
begotten,loved and never Lone.

©2018 republish Linda Willows 2012

Photograph by Kupavna

Conversations about “Belonging” as we approach Christmas….offered by LWillows

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This is the most special time of year. I cherish every chance to see holiness. It is everywhere I turn and like the beautiful Christmas trees that I have seen -it branches widely and graciously from the bottom up as well as from the shining star at the top!

Today I returned from a warm gathering of friends, each who described a family Christmas tradition that was most treasured over the years. Later, the theme of “Belonging” came to my heart. This was a new thought for me. I did not have a family near for many years and though I have had many solitary Christmas eves both because of travel and circumstances, I had no common traditions with my friends. Family did not arrive, there was no festivity nor the delight of a home to decorate though I do have wonderful memories.

I reached into the far into the past to offer a tradition from childhood. I think that I jumped 60 years back from the fear of speaking about now and looking like I did not “belong”. I ending up rambling on and on like a lost child. (an orphan vs heir?)

Later that afternoon I was stirred by the word “Belonging” in my heart by Spirit. I knew that I needed to deepen my “family relationship” with Lord Jesus. This was the real hope and joy of all Christmas tradition. If a tradition is a long established custom, then from my own earliest childhood prayers, I desired to know Jesus. Any action that followed that would be the custom. Whoever I was with formed my understanding of belonging.

Now that I am mature, I can re-form and return all of my longings to be with Christ. To me, that is one way of Be-longing to Him. I reach with joy to His Love; it is not far off, it is here.

I am hoping that share this experience with others might offer hope and encouragement especially if as you approach Christmas, you find yourself far from home or desiring to be home, in a distant place, in a season of your life when you are alone or perhaps desiring to create a special reason for coming together to celebrate.

We have every hope to live in Faith, to celebrate, for The Son of God is born in a miraculous and Holy way.

We Belong to God, who formed us with Love, sees us each in every moment of our lives; is so near that He feels each breath before it touches the air. Belonging to him also means that He has redeemed me. I am in His Family. The relentless love that pours upon me is designed to outpour as my cup overflows. His Grace and Mercy moves through us and amongst us. It increases the belonging of The Family of God.

© 2017 Linda Willows

Isaiah 43:1
But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!

He has called us all by name. We all belong to Him!

I found this article about “Belonging” and enjoy sharing it:

“Belonging”

© 2012 Mark D. Roberts

Psalm 100:3 reminds us that we belong to God. The Common English Bible states: “Know that the LORD is God—he made us; we belong to him.” The Hebrew original of the last phrase can be literally translated, “we are his.” The next part of the verse reinforces this truth by adding, “We are his people, the sheep of his own pasture.” Thus, we belong to God because he made us to be his very own people. He continues to watch over us as our good shepherd.

What difference does it make that we belong to God? This simple truth can transform our lives. It can give us profound reassurance of our self-worth. We matter because we belong to the Creator of the universe. The fact that we belong to God also gives order to our lives. We are first and foremost God’s people. Thus, all of our other roles in life must be seen in the light of this primary reality. You may be a lawyer or manager or teacher, but you are first of all one of God’s people. You may be a father or a mother or a friend, but you are first of all one of God’s people. How you live in each of these other roles will be shaped by your primary relationship to God as someone who belongs to him.

Sometimes, when life is hard, or when we’ve turned away from God for an extended season, we can wonder if we still belong to him. The good news of the Gospel is that nothing can ultimately keep us away from God and his love. As it says in Romans 8:38-39, “I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.” This means that nothing, NOTHING, can erase the fact that you belong to God through Jesus Christ. What great news!

The Theology of Work/ The High Calling

“Trusting God to Heal our Wounds” offered by LWillows…from author Dawn Wilson on Christian recovery from trauma and sexual abuse.

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I found this article on a site called Revive Our Hearts. In times when we are alerted to the incidence of sexual assault, it seemed important to be informed of the truth of our culture and the society that we live in, but also of the Truth that sustains us as Christians.

Dawn Wilson, the author of this article writes with wisdom and a maturity that I appreciated and share with you all.

Trusting God to Heal the Scars, by Dawn Wilson

As with many women, my scars of abuse felt unique. I was confused about what was normal and used a variety of defense mechanisms to get through life.

If you’ve been sexually abused, you may be coping in one or more of the following ways. You hide or keep people at extreme distances, afraid of being hurt again. You remain numb through adulthood. If married, you find it difficult to respond sexually. You fear biblical submission—afraid of losing control.

You may feel damaged, see yourself as a sex object, flaunt your sexuality, and descend into promiscuity and other sexual sins. Or like me, you pour yourself into being “good” or embrace ministry. You may not understand the power of the gospel and focus instead on pleasing God to gain His favor.

You might respond to your abuse with anxiety, depression, self-loathing, self-harming actions, fear of intimacy, homosexuality, indecisiveness, perfectionism, a need to control, eating disorders, or addictions.

Satan doesn’t care how we react to the sinfulness of sexual abuse . . . as long as we don’t turn to Jesus. The enemy knows that when we find our identity, security, and dignity in Christ, we can live in victory.

Twisted Thinking

It took me awhile to get there, though. For years, I felt the need to protect my abuser and not hurt others who loved him. It was twisted thinking, but the enemy delights in warping thoughts. In high school, I had poor interpersonal skills. By college, I felt suicidal and alone. Abuse distorted my image of God and affected my ability to seek and trust Him. My confidence was shattered.

After college, I joined Life Action Ministries and began a journey with God that changed my heart and life. One day as I was singing “Do You Know My Jesus?” on stage with the team, I suddenly realized I knew all about Jesus, but I didn’t know Him. I left the microphone, went to the prayer room, and placed my life in Jesus’ hands.

The most astounding changes came as I learned to trust Him with my past hurts.

Lessons I Learned

God loves me. Deeply and completely. The enemy loves it when I feel shame, condemnation, and self-loathing, but God’s Word says I am precious in God’s sight—accepted and valued (Isa. 43:4).

God saw my abuse and did not condone it. Neither should I. I do not have to stay silent or bury the pain and trauma. The Lord hates all wickedness, including my abuser’s sinful actions (Ps. 11:5).

I can pray for wisdom and entrust true justice to the righteous heart of God. He always has the last word—He brings justice to the unrepentant and great mercy to the repentant (Ps. 103:6).
I know I can forgive others because I have been so greatly forgiven. Bitterness will only make my pain worse and continue to wound others (Heb. 12:15).

I can pray for my abuser’s change of heart and repentance—that my abuser will seek the Lord, turn from wickedness, and learn to live a godly life so God will be glorified (Luke 6:28).
I do not have to live in fear like a victim. Peace and victory come as I study and rest in who I am in Christ (Eph. 1:3–8).

As I run to the Lord who sees, heals, and comforts, I can use what the enemy meant for evil to bring glory and praise to God (Gen. 50:20).

I can learn how to communicate clear, pure boundaries in all relationships and speak truth in love (Eph. 4:15).
I must be aware of the enemy’s schemes to control my responses and defeat me. I must saturate my life with Scripture and remember God’s grace is greater than the condemnation I feel (1 John 3:20).

Knowing my thoughts will control my actions and responses, I must allow God to transform my thinking so I can make daily choices to please Him (Rom. 12:2).

I will grow and heal as I rub shoulders with godly women who model how to respond with the pure love of Christ and trust the Lord to help me stand in dignity and strength (1 Peter 3:3–5).
I can, as a member of the Body of Christ, be a part of holding abusers accountable—especially within the church (Matt. 18:15–17).

I can also encourage those who still struggle toward freedom from the pain and insecurities that arise out of sexual abuse (Gal. 6:2).

Set Free and Healing

Second Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” I’ve discovered everything I need to move forward in grace and strength comes from abiding in God’s presence and the Word of God.

The path to thriving begins with God-focus, not self-focus. If we continue to gaze inward, we will always see our scars, but when we gaze on Jesus, we see His scars and remember He died to make us whole again. We can trust this One who loved us so completely.

I’ve grown in Christ, but it hasn’t always been easy. I’ve had many questions, and my heart screamed for answers. Satan wants us to believe God is not good and does not care, but our Father God is never blind to the sins that hurt His people. He grieves over all sin and hates it. Sometimes the Lord deals directly with others’ sinful behavior against us; other times, it’s just not time yet. In mercy, God gives even the most evil among us opportunities to turn to Him and repent.

My great comfort is that Jesus understands abuse. He suffered great abuse and even death to give us life (see Isa. 53). He brings hope for today and tomorrow and, most certainly, hope for dealing in victory with hurtful past circumstances.

I am free to love others sincerely and allow the Lord to work in my life and my abuser’s life now that I have been set free from the bondage that chained me for so many years,
Although Jesus said He came to give me abundant life (John 10:10), sometimes I resort to survival mode when I allow myself to feel ashamed. In those moments, I forget who I am—or rather, whose I am. Jesus bore my shame on the cross; I don’t need to bear it for one moment.

Though scars remain, God gives healing grace.

Father God, I ask You to bring victory and healing to those who suffer. Surround them with Your presence, help them see You as You really are, and show them the overcoming power in Your Word. Amen.

© Dawn Wilson
ReviveOurHearts.com

“The Holiness of receiving”, a prayer from L.Willows

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When we open our arms to receive
we must open our palms upwards
and like children with trust in the one
that we are receiving from
we need faith.

Faith placed in things of this world
can not always be steady;
Some have learned by life’s trials not to trust
and then the heart will guard against receiving.
Our hearts are so gently crafted by Our God.
It must grieve Him to see us wounded.

Even vulnerabilities are pure and soft,
the curve that cups in our palms and hearts turns up
not down, or to the side, especially not down
lest we loosen the gift or not find it at all.

Receiving asks us to lift our hearts and faith upwards.
If we see nothing at first; like a child
we learn the patience of persistent…waiting because
we know our the Giver to be kind, steady and more Faithful
to us than we could fathom for He is the Giver of Faith.

The Faith of Our Lord Christ has that strength.
Our giver answers our upward turned palms
and sees our arms when they open to receive.
Our Father knows our hearts so well that He hears
our prayers even before we form them,
and knows all of our needs before they are spoken.

Becoming like “a child” is to become pure and innocent
in our hearts and minds before him.
In such purity, His Holiness can permeate us-
live to soak our lives and circumstances in His Blessings
and the lavish the Love of all the Good that He wishes
us to receive In His Name.

The Holiness of receiving is asking in His Name and
allowing His Spirit and will to enter your heart
and life, unimpeded…looking up, out and with heart and palms turned up.

© 2017 Linda Willows