Part 3: Chapter 1 – Day 6: All For Love

Welcome to Day 6 of Part 3‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is sharing a free will offering of incense in a testimony of God’s sufficiency in our intercession in Him, Scriptures and a poem of praise and worship.

May you be blessed in the encouragement and comfort Bettie brings us all in Christ Jesus. Come join us tomorrow for another post from Bettie: a powerful story of answered prayers, taking us all on a journey to the beautiful country and people of Vietnam.

If you feel so led, will you join me in lifting Bettie and her family up in prayer this weekend as she and her husband move in with their daughter and her family. They are saying goodbye to their home of many years to welcome God’s sufficiency for them in this new phase of ongoing surrender, as her husband’s health and hers continues to deteriorate. May God fill us with His precious Word to pray over Bettie and all those He calls us to intercede for in His Name.

The day started out slowly, like most of my days, but I felt Jesus with me. As He had been speaking more words about surrender, I felt that I was listening this time and preparing for what He would take me through. This waiting time to find a medication that would bring the RA back down from an inflamed state felt like it was taking too long for my own time-table. So, I continued to ask Him to uncover more of my own desires for self-sufficiency that still lingered within. As I had been asking my friends for prayer, I thought that I was on the road to acceptance.

Until another small set-back pushed me over the edge, and the tears spilled out.

Many years ago, the Lord took me through a long season of intercession for several friends and family members.  It was a time of deep stretching.  And it became my first lesson in learning that only God’s Grace is sufficient.  The burdens became too heavy for me to carry on my own. I knew that the prayers themselves were being birthed in the Spirit, as words and Scriptures would flood my mind.

Then many years after that, the Lord opened a way for this small town Midwestern girl to travel with my new Vietnamese daughter-in-law by ourselves to Vietnam for a 3 week visit with her family. She had only been in the US for 7 months herself, and I had never been out of the country.  I knew I was in over my head.  I knew that God’s Grace would have to be my sufficiency.

In those seasons, the night-times were places where Jesus often called prayers up from the deepest places of my heart.  Pages and pages of old journals document the hard and the sweet words He spoke through my prayers.  Prophetic and surprising, so many of those prayers were answered in just the way God had asked me to pray.

So when I cried at the self-sufficiency being taken away in this season of Chronic Illness, the Holy Whisper of God surprised me:

This is not a foreign place for you, my daughter. I have prepared you for these days already. You have learned that my Grace is sufficient in every place of prayer. Am I not sufficient for you here?

And suddenly I was whisked back in time, remembering those days . . .

“All For Love”


The words gushed out of my heart

But

The groans and the tears

Fell

On the floor at my feet.



Intercession swirled over my head

And

The pain that another felt

Hurt

My heart like my own



God brought the questions

And

Then God sent His Word

To

Pray the answers



How could I explain the prayers

That

Poured from my belly

And

The longing for which I waited



They are The Apple of Your Eye

Lord

They are The Dearly Loved Ones

For

Whom You spilled Your blood



Months passed and years plodded

On

The prayers kept pouring forth

From

My soul where I carried grief



Bitter turned to sweet!

Prayers found fullness!

Intercession fulfilled!



Even as my singing heart rejoiced

And

Even as the weight was lifted

Yet

A pin had pricked my soul



A bleeding kept pouring forth

From

A hidden chamber in my heart

As

A question lodged still remained



You saw it all my Lord Jesus Christ

And

You carried all those weights

When

I thought I would die underneath



Yours is the only heart fully able

To

Be the true intercessor for us all

Who

Carries the hardest-hearted-sinner



But You ask us to join you there

To

Crawl up into Your lap of love

While

We speak the same words You speak



You want to show us the beauty

That

Only Love Eyes can look upon

And

Only Love spilled out can win



They are the ones

We are the ones

Oh!

I am the one

The apple of Your eye



“In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye,” Deuteronomy 32:10 NIV

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 NIV

When we see the cross set before us, we look upon the One who shed His own dear blood, and we wonder how. We wonder why.  When all the answers are filled up in only one word: His love led Him there. He took JOY to redeem us back to the heart of His Father.

Have you let Him show you the love He carries for you?

Do you know that you are the apple of His eye?

Dear Lord Jesus,

We do come before you, falling to our knees. How could you have loved us so? We know that we are so hard-hearted, and we must admit that we are filled with our own self-sufficiency. Some days we are so proud of that sufficiency.

Oh, Lord, forgive us for all these ways that we turn away from You. And yet You still love us and call us back to Yourself.

Will you give us glimpses of the depth of Your love? Will you wash away more of our places of pride? And will You fill us with the immeasurable love that only You can bring?

We need You so much. We long to be with you Jesus. We praise You for Your beauty and Glory.

In Your precious name we pray, Amen.

First published at: https://bettiegsraseasons.com/2018/03/26/all-for-love/

Part 3: Chapter 1 – Day 4: A Pleasing Offering

Welcome to Day 4 of Part 3‘s Chapter 1. Today, Anna is sharing a free will offering of incense in Scriptures and a poem God poured out of her, as He began to expose her sinful heart, more and more, through each trigger of trauma. In that place of her weakness, He invited her to release her self-righteousness and self-sufficiency for His all-sufficient grace. She also shares a song she often finds herself singing in her home: a song her mother sung around her, when she was growing up, about the steadfast love and mercy of our LORD.

You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:5 (ESV)

As a pleasing aroma I will accept you, when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered. And I will manifest my holiness among you in the sight of the nations.

Ezekiel 20:41 (ESV)
A Pleasing Offering

What if we saw
Each tear
Each ache
Each unutterable cry
As gifts You ask us bring?

What if our offering
Is all that shame
And all that fear
Would have us hide and turn away?

What if incense sweet
Is not of human strength
But of broken heart
Contrite and bowed here low?

What if depths of me
Met depths of You
In alabaster broken
Poured here at Your Mighty feet?

What if clothed in shame
I stretched to touch
Your garment pure
And power filled me here?

What if all You've ever asked
Is that I come
Just as I am
Broken, in need of my True Friend?

What if Dove descends
And Eagle soars
In all that's broken
True?

LORD, here I am
A sinner
Broken, weak, in desperate need
These gifts I bring to you
My offering, pleasing sweet.

"Child," I hear your Voice
In cloud now raised
My feet here bowed
On Holy ground so pure.

"Arise in Christ
Forgiven, free
See now My face
In Yours."

36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Luke 7:36-50 (KJV)

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Mark 12:41-44 (ESV)

Make Me A Table

Make me a table 
In You
Spread me out
Far and wide.

Make me a feast
In You
Food and clothing
You.

Make me a table
In You
The bread of Your Presence
Breaking our prisons.

Make me a table
In You
Living water flowing freely
A cool drink for the thirsty.

Make me a table
In You
Your cup ever overflowing
In goodness and mercy.

Make me a table
In You
The oil of compassion
Anointing children, Yours.

Make me a table
In You
Spread far and wide
In Your Presence to feast.

Thanks to Jonathan Borba @jonathanborba for making the profile photo for this post available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/RWgE9_lKj_Y

Perspective in Brush Strokes

Today’s post first appeared on my dear friend, Wendy Simpson’s blog, Widow’s Manna , about five years ago. Wendy is not only a creative writer, but an artist, producing beautiful sketches, paintings, intricately woven blankets and prayer shawls, plush toys, digital art and cards. You can find her artwork on her WordPress Wendy’s Vignettes and her Facebook Wendy’s Vignettes

 

Been thinking about perspective…..

 

Take a little time to look up an impressionist’s painting. I love Monet. With that fresh in your mind, think about perspective.  When you walk up close to this painting, you will observe thousands of small brush strokes in an array of colors. Close up there is some beauty but in many ways it looks like a lot of chaos truly makes no sense.  It is pretty hard to get an idea of what the artist it trying to express.  Now take several steps back from this painting.  Something amazing happens. Thousands of tiny brush strokes make way for shapes and structure. The colors blend together to create new colors and something you could not see before, takes shape.  The chaos become beautiful and the artist intended expression makes more sense. 

 

It is like that in life. When we are face to face with trials of life, there is not much room for perspective. We see the chaos of each brush stroke and a mess of color that seem strangely placed. There is no picture and beautiful is the last way we would describe our life.  But God sends people into our lives, who have been standing back observing this “painting” process in our life.  Their perspective is something we couldn’t see, being in the middle  of it all.  They see colors blending together and pictures that have taken shape.  They see that the artist intentions were beauty not chaos.  They see reasons for color choices, that we would never have chosen. So, all this to say, we are thankful for those who have spoken perspective into our lives. And those who have pointed out the order in our chaos.  

 

Both perspectives are necessary to walk through a process like this.  You can stand back and see the picture being painted before you and have, in turn shared what you observe, color blending and something taking shape.  I can share the details I don’t see colors blended, I see instead, what was used to make that color. I see the tears and agony and joys and victories it took to paint one of the thousand brush strokes.  To me every stroke has a meaning. You see it as part of the big picture’s beauty.  But when I cannot understand why a stroke was placed, I need only to remember there is a big picture and the artist, he knows why.  Every stroke is part of the masterpiece.

 

I am thankful for those of you who share perspective. We are just living it, and in living it, we do not see outside the everyday survival at times.  Thank you for your encouragement and love and grace as we walk this journey one day one “brush stroke” at a time.

 

Five months before Chris passed, on the heels of life altering surgery, I was desperate and looking for hope and perspective.  (Above is an excerpt of that.) I’d put aside passions and parts of me that I felt would hinder complete and utter devotion to caring for Chris.  I stored away and stuffed the ache and the sadness, for as long as I could.  Allowing myself moments, trying (not too successfully) to make them brief.  Aw… control… it served me well, ha, or so I thought.  Amidst the journey’s steps I have (on so many occasions) broke down, and completely lost my resolve, to be strong (on my own strength).  Having very little grace in my grief, I’ve fallen into chaotic and messy emotional places, and always get so upset with myself. After a fairly long battle, and after tears have subsided, then …. I’d finally seek God’s face and the wise counsel that came from those candles God had placed along the dark cave walls of this journey.  All I had to do is reach out… and there it was… His divine provision.

 

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son…. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”  -Colossians 1:13, 17 (ESV)

 

“That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3 (ESV)

 

 Now, my perspective has been narrowed some and I am looking, specifically, at the dark brushstrokes.  Deconstructing them, if you will, for perspective and to find His goodness.  These brushstrokes, left unattended, could make my whole canvas… go dark.  These brushstrokes I speak of, have screamed out for my attention for awhile now, and up to now… I have ignored them and refused to give them audience. In a sea, of over twenty years of living and life with my husband, I now choose not to continue to suppress the pain of His passing and the disappointments, so that I can just mourn….

….My death …the death of a caregiver

 

….Watching death…. stolen years.

 

….Lost and changing relationships.

 

….Not fitting in.

 

….The missing arms and lost affection.

In the coming days and weeks I resolve to explore these dark strokes on my canvas and begin the process of acknowledging their pain to finding their worth.  I believe that God can take all that is, the fallen part of man… and create in us… something good.  The goodness being… Christ in us the hope of glory.