January 11, 2011

Living Life Coram Deo

Living life.............

*LIFE*.....Morning dawns whether we are ready for it or not.  The sun comes up and pushes us to get out of bed.  Life continues......pushing us to move.  

Life is meant to be lived.  Not endured.
...But with a heavy heart it is a hard thing to move.  Some mornings...the weight is too much.  The sighs become too great.  The tears are too many.  Thoughts are overwhelming.  Questions remain unanswered.  Life's demands are rigorous and begin the moment your feet hit the floor.                                        Sometimes.........It's just too much.

I tiptoe into the kitchen to get my coffee and sit in my chair with my Bible.
I am alone and the house is quiet. 
The sun hasn't yet fully risen.  
My mind feels numb and tired.  
My heart feels heavy.
My sleep was restless. 
I let out a deep sigh and a tear runs down my face.   I just don't know what to say this morning.  How can one's heart be so full and yet feel so empty at the same time?  I can't find the words to pray. I wait in the stillness. 
I sit in the silence and sip my warm coffee.  There is something I missed.  




He is here.  



 

You can't escape Him.  The Great Shepherd.  Every day restoring our soul to face the new day.  New mercy.  New grace.  NEWNESS of life.  Fresh beginnings.  Every day is new.  

I feel held.  Loved on.  Comforted.  

Jehovah Rohi~The Lord is my Shepherd.
He is speaking to me through His very Words to me............He restores my soul.  
He does so in the stillness...................in the quiet.  Here......Now.   

But He also does so in the business of my day.

When life pushes me to move.

Continuously.   A never ending flow of goodness filling me once again and spilling over........for me to give away.  











I notice a book sitting on my desk next to me.  "Songs of Cheer"  by James Whitcomb Riley.  I open it up to flip through its pages and see it there........
"Let Something Good be Said".

There it is again.
Gratitude.

     The bless-ed gift of GRACE.


The day is soon to be upon me.......and I recognize His very presence.
Yes, my gentle shepherd restores my soul.  He leads me.....in the quiet of the morning and restores me.  Because He knows.  He knows me inside and out.  He knows the very secret places of my heart.  He knows every prayer I've whispered.  Every sigh.
Every tear.  He knows to come alongside me and strengthen my heart.  

I will DWELL among them and be their God Exodus 29:45
Be STILL and know....that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Oh, JUST to *KNOW*.....to really KNOW.  To know Him.  To KNOW His heart as He knows mine.

Living life CORAM DEO }{ Living life in the very presence of God Himself. 
               In Him we live and move and have our being.  Acts 17:28

God is here.  The Great I Am...........abiding here.  DWELLING within me.  In my home.  In my family.  A permanent presence.  A presence that never leaves.  We cannot escape Him.  We cannot run from Him.  Because He will chase after us....and take us up into His arms.  Bind up our Wounds.  And restore our soul.  His presence.  Goodness.  Mercy.  Chasing after us all the days of our lives.  Psalm 23:6
                                 Following closely behind.  Every moment.  

Recognizing the very presence of God in this room I am reminded....to let something GOOD be said.  Be GRATEFUL.  Be THANKFUL.   

My cup DOES overflow.  Spilling over with such GOODNESS.  Psalm 23:5
 
Let something GOOD be said:

Psalm 103:2-5 (Amplified Bible)
Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits--
Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy; Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle's [strong, overcoming, soaring]

                                        Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
                                       (OH!  That STEADY love.....His constant presence)
.....  that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14


"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."

Daily He fills my mouth with a song in my heart......so that throughout my day....all of it can be turned back into praise.  Exalting Him....making His name GREAT in my life. 

Let something GOOD be said.
 Life is GOOD....................because God is Good.
Living Life Coram Deo }{ In the very presence of God Himself.





You are Good-Nichole Nordeman
When the sun starts to rise
And I open my eyes
You are good, so good
In the heat of the day
With each stone that I lay
You are good, so good

With every breath I take in
I'll tell you I'm grateful again
When the moon climbs high
Before each kiss goodnight
You are good

When the road starts to turn
Around each bend I've learned
You are good so good
And when somebody's hand
Holds me up helps me stand
You are so good

With every breath I take in
I'll tell You I'm grateful again
'Cause its more than enough
Just to know I am loved
And You are good

So how can I thank You
What can I bring
What can these poor hands
Lay at the feet of a King
I'll sing You a love song
It's all that I have
To tell You I'm grateful
For holding my life in Your Hands

When it's dark and it's cold
And I can't feel my soul
You are so good
When the world is gone gray
And the rain's here to stay
You are still good

So with every breath I take in
I'll tell You I am grateful again
And the storm my swell
Even then it's well and You are good





January 5, 2011

Year in Review

2011 is a blank canvas laid out before me........waiting to be filled with color.  God is already intricately involved in every detail fashioning it to completion.

I don't know that I have ever conscientiously made any New Year's Resolutions.  It seems that anything I could possibly resolve to do in the New Year are things that I resolve to do every day.  When I wake up I do so determined.   I live EVERY day deliberately and ON PURPOSE. 

But I as I reflect back on 2010 I realize it was too full to not make mention of how grateful I was for the gift of each day.  I am grateful for the things I learned and the moments I could tangibly feel God so very near me.  Holding me.  Hemming me in with His very presence.  He had me all the time.

I learned the depths of simple words are such as grace and holy. 

I learned of the complexity of God's sovereignty and the complexity of His Holiness.  
The depths of His love!    Oh, HOW.....He.....LOVES us!
     I experienced how awesome and terrifying yet how tender and comforting His presence can be.

How one moment I could tremble at what "Holy" is...HOW majestic and powerful and indescribable He is.  And the next?....be running to Him like a scared little girl- crying- just needing Him to love on me and tell me that all is well.

I can look back and see myself shuffling through parts of 2010 numbly.  Mechanically.  As if something or Someone else was keeping me going.......keeping me moving because I didn't think I had it in me to keep going.  


But I arrived *HERE*... at the end of my year.  2010 bringing me to THIS moment now. Not always believing I had enough fight in me to make it but learning that no matter what?  I gotta keep singing. ~Mercy Me


Learning that the challenge and joy of every day lies in this:.........turning it "ALL"---every last bit of it----into praise.  Bringing praise and a song into every day!  Because All of my life----in EVERY season YOU ARE STILL GOD -----and I have a REASON to sing!!!!!!! (Desert Song-Hillsong)

"On your feet now---applaud God!  
Just because of who He is! 
He is worthy!  and He has done GREAT things!!!!!
"Bring a gift of *LAUGHTER*,
sing yourselves into his presence!"  (Psalm 100)  
Thanking Him for the GIFT of each brand new day! 
Going FORWARD in His grace
........knowing His goodness and mercy are always close behind. 

                                                 
The One constant in 2010???  Grace was present.  Grace is always present.


I learned that Peace IS a person.  and He lives HERE.  In my home.  He dwells within me.   He is among my family.  In my home.


Living life Coram Deo.

        
   Living in the very Presence of God.

In HIM we live and move and have our being.



Max Lucado said this----and it is beautifully spoken: 

We wonder with so many miraculous testimonies around us, how we could escape God. But somehow we do. We live in an art gallery of divine creativity and yet are content to gaze only at the carpet. The next time you hear a baby laugh or see an ocean wave, take note. Pause and listen as His majesty whispers ever so gently, "I'm here." 

 

 

 So........................Yes, God.....your Majesty----it HAS my attention! 
Your Sovereignty it HAS my devotion!
and YOU...............still have.................my heart! 
(Rita Springer-'You still have my heart")

 

 I look behind me (at 2010) and you're there, then up ahead (at 2011) and you're there, too-your reassuring presence, coming and going. Ps 139:5. You never have to look very far....because everywhere you turn you will find evidence of Him.

 

.......as I come to 2011 and look back at 2010----fully aware.  Fully alive.
I realize something.         
                                                                                  Grace was present for each moment.  It was there for each tear.  It was there for each gift.  Each JOY.  Each struggle.  Each battle.  He was in it all.
  
He was in my children's smiles...........................


The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” — Henry Miller



  



In my husband's hug................................





“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward










 
In the music that surrounded me..............   













................Every word and every note.
















 In the beauty of His creation.................

 



 "Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world." ~John Milton



 In EVERY celebration!................................







In the gift and provisions of EACH day.

In His very Words to me to read and let soak in my spirit.  

 He was in each moment................In those Divine opportunities woven into the things I'd already scheduled into my day.


He was in  every appointed meeting with strangers along the way....and the significance of it.


  If you're not careful.....you miss it.


"This is the thing, the real thing of living —- Notice now: and you win joy. God is beautiful here. Joy’s a snowflake on the sill — it lives only here in this moment." ~Ann Voskamp
There is JOY in it all.

Life is to be ENJOYED-----not ENDURED.  
(I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the *FULL* till it *OVERFLOWS*). John 10:10)

....and there were days I missed Him.  I never looked up.  I never took my gaze from the moment to see the Beautiful One who fashioned that moment. 

"May my life be one unbroken gaze----fixed upon the beauty of your grace"  (Vicky Beeching-Captivated)

  But it is a glorious truth.....when we lift up our heads and look at Grace Himself we see not each individual moment.

We see a Divine Tapestry of Grace.  

Each moment woven together to create a beautiful tapesty of rich and vibrant color. 


........Recounting all He's done for us before....being confident He's the same yesterday today and forever.  Having expectant faith that He's going to be TRUE to His word.  Not for OUR sake.  But for His name's sake.  Because He always gets His glory.  Performing on our behalf so that the world might look on us and see what a GREAT God it is that we serve!!!!  Everything points to Him......ALL of it.  

The Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing]to be gracious to you; He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. The Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him[f...or His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!


SO I look ahead to 2011 with  unwavering hope and confidence....with expectant faith!!!
I have EVERY reason to do so!......
"Do you see what we've got?! An *unshakable* kingdom!
(firm, steadfast, unwavering, immovable, bulletproof, unassailable, unfaltering, resolute) and do you see how THANKFUL (so very grateful) we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming (overflowing) with worship, deeply reverent before God!" Heb. 12:28-29

I'm excited and cannot WAIT to see what God has in store for me in the coming days ahead!!!    I look ahead with EAGER anticipation of the next EXTRAORDINARY thing He's about to do!!!! 

I am *confident* of this very thing .......
There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind......
that the God who started this great work would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.  Philippians 1:6