RESTLESS

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“It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.” —Wendell Berry

Refined by the Fire

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The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.
~J.R.R Tolkien from The Fellowship of the Ring

Refined by the Fire

Oh, to be brave and steely
as the three of faith and resolve
to embrace the shackles without fear of the fire
They are rescued by grace

Refined by the fire

When facing the furnace of the refiners fire
He sweats drops of red while I sleep
yet I whimper and cower when the rooster crows
I’ve grown accustomed to taking lightly this treasure of red

Refined by the fire

To wake up early to see the sunrise
To stay awake to watch the sun go to sleep
The fire in the sky is a safe place to find comfort
It stirs a longing

To be refined by the fire

I want to feel the red in my soul
To long for more of the refiner’s fire
To be made pure
Refined by the fire of grace

–donna harris

“I Would Take a Bullet For Her”

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Trenton’s wisdom is deep for such a young boy.  In describing his love for Lindsay, his sister, Trenton shared, “I would take a bullet for her.”  As he regained his composure after getting choked up, he added “She’s my best friend.  I would do anything for her.  My life would be nothing without her.”  These are not trite statements they emanate from his heart.

Lindsay has spinal muscular atrophy yet from her motorized chair she beams when she describes her older brother.  His example of love if followed would change the world!  Watch their story at https://youtu.be/9PM6uX4yGp4 and make sure to have Kleenex handy!

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MEDITATION ON 1 THESSALONIANS 4:9

1 Thessalonians 4:9—About brotherly love: You don’t need me to write you because you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.

Jesus took a bullet for us in large spikes and wooden beams.  This ultimate sacrifice was God’s greatest lesson on love.  Before dying, Jesus’ daily sacrifice painted what brotherly love looks like.  “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).  If we are not periodically moved by His monumental devotion we are surely bewitched by the wrong things.

I would take a bullet for you.  My life was purchased by the blood of my Savior.  His love is what founds, fuels, and fires my ability to care.  Therefore it would be an honor to lay down my life as a brother for you.  It is an honor to serve you.  I identify with Paul, “I have become its servant [the church], according to God’s administration that was given to me for you, to make God’s message fully known” (Colossians 1:25).

Brotherly and sisterly love is the stuff of champions.   When you model love, you leave a stamp on lives that no soap can wash away.  Never tire of doing the simple acts of service to help others.  “I always thank my God when I mention you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and faith toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints” (Philemon 4,5).  Thanks for making a difference and for your willingness to take the bullet.  [1]

INSPIRATION FROM DOUG POLLOCK

Love is a commitment you make to act in someone else’s best interest.  True love can only be known by the actions that it prompts.—Doug Pollock in God Space

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[1] ©2015 Daniel York  ARR.  Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause.  If you would like to receive these devotionals go to http://www.firstcause.org and click on the “GET THE LATEST REVERATION FROM DANIEL YORK” box.  Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

The Rescue

Gift 4-2015

He reached down from heaven and rescued me. Psalm 18:16

God will not only deliver his people out of their troubles in due time, but he will bear them up under their troubles in the mean time.

Upon God’s faithfulness rests our whole hope of future blessedness. Only as He is faithful will His covenants stand and his promises be honored. Only as we have complete assurance that He is faithful may we live in peace and look forward with assurance to the life to come. He will ever be true to His pledged word. He will never remove His loving kindness nor suffer His faithfulness to fail.

God will always be himself, and grace is an attribute of His holy being. He can no more hide his grace than the sun can hide its brightness. God’s grace is infinite and eternal.

Instead of straining to comprehend this truth, it would be better and simpler to compare God’s grace with our need. We can never know the enormity of our sin, neither is it necessary that we should. What we can know is that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.

He reached down from heaven to rescue us.

Gift 4-2015-

40 Gifts of Lent | The Rescue: Gift 4 | Quotations from: The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer; page 87, The Faithfulness of God; Page 102, The Grace of God. 

Love to the Utmost: The Unchanging God

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Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent, when we have the privilege of fixing our gaze on the giver of life, our Redeemer, the one who has rescued us from ourselves. He came, God-incarnate, to save us to the extreme, as man to die our death. Herein is love to the utmost. For God so loved the world he gave. “Herein is love; when I cannot rise to him he draws near on wings of grace, to raise me to himself.” [1]

In a world of created changeable things, only God alone remains unshaken, unchanging. Only God alone remains true to his promise, for what he says, he will do. [2] He struck the head of evil. He has not left us here without grace. The cross still stands. The grave is still empty.

Gift 1-2015 Psalm 90

Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90

40 Gifts of Lent | Love to the Utmost: The Unchanging God: Gift 1 | [1] The Valley of Vision; page 16, The Gift of Gifts | [2] Numbers 23:19 

Sunday Respite | Give Thanks

Psalm 136:1

Dear Lord,

I often forget to thank you for your steadfast love, to remember that your love endures forever. My affections run amiss towards other things that can never last. Please open my eyes to see your goodness. Please refresh my memory to the times when you have rescued me from myself. To remember those times where you undoubtedly displayed your goodness and love towards me. 

I often remember to give thanks for all of the good things that happen…when life is peachy-keen and goes my way. Absolutely, I will thank you!

But then when something really tough happens, I grumble about it, start to worry, only to find myself leaning into that awful anxiety that has begun to take hold.  Please forgive me for a fickle heart, turning to what is not good and not lovely.

I pray to be steadfast in my love for you. 

I turn my thoughts on you, Lord. You refresh my memory of your goodness and faithfulness. There is freedom from fear and anxiety. 

Thank you for everything you have planned for me to experience, the comfortable and the uncomfortable. 

Everything changes from day to day. But your love never changes. Your love is steadfast. You are good.

With a thankful heart, I pray.

Amen

Winter Inspiration

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Patchwork Barn

Red Barn

Brown and Red Barn

Our God manifests Himself in our mangers and muck, our mundane and mess. Ours is the God manifesting Himself in the unlikely and unbearable, in the surprise and the second-chance. The God Who bears the burdens and brings the hope. ~Ann Voskamp

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“Listen to your life.
See it for the fathomless mystery it is.
In the boredom and pain of it,
no less than in the excitement and gladness:
touch, taste, smell your way
to the holy and hidden heart of it,
because in the last analysis
all moments are key moments,
and life itself is grace.”
~Frederich Buechner

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I prefer winter and fall, 
when you feel the bone structure of the landscape–
the loneliness of it, 
the dead feeling of winter.  
Something waits beneath it, 
the whole story doesn’t show.
~Andrew Wyeth

Bare Trees in Winter
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Weeds in unison
Move with the sun
Balancing the snow