Wednesday, February 20, 2013

When You Need To Make Room

{LENT} Day 4-7

If you want to get filled, you got to make room.

That is, if you want to get filled with the things of God. With the thoughts of God.
The ways of God.
Something has to go. A life only has so much room...

I awoke to this God-thought. It was what I needed to thrust back the covers and stand up in my still-dark bedroom. He knows what I need to motivate me to keep my appointment with Him these days.

How often do we say, I need more of You, God!  These desperate prayers can seem pious to us, devoted and spiritual. But just picture Him coming, and pouring over you.... but wait!
 It seems the vessel is already filled.. filled with other things...

When the Spirit came pouring out at Pentecost, filling, filling, OVERFLOWING, it came after days of self being poured out in prayer. And is there any other way? We, too,  must make room.

Prayer-  true watchfulness and wakefullness in the Spirit is not the easy thing. Not for the flesh.  Even the disciples couldn't manage it. Wake up! Why are you sleeping? Watch and you will not fall.

God always has a way to keep us. He always has a plan. He always has the provision and the desire to give us what we really need. It's our desires that must be changed. The inner dial of our hearts that must be recalibrated to mirror His.

When we want what He wants, He sees that we get it.  The Christ in us attracts the resource of Heaven.

Like Mary who emptied the bottle of ointment on His feet, we must empty these vessels. Like the Chirst-followers who prayed, hard, in that upper room. Pouring out, pouring out...

 And then -

The Filling Came.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Valentine's Tree

Printable Heart Valentine Tree


 This is a quick (couple hours)  DIY project I made for some friends who invited our family over for dinner on Valentine's Day this year. A little hostess-gift, if  you will. Had such fun creating, even more fun giving it away. I think I'll make one for my own house next year!


Container (Look around your house and see what you can come up with. I ended up using this $4 glass vase I had from Walmart, but would have really liked to use some kind of white or copper-colored tall watering can or something. Either way, needs to be medium size, mine was about 9-10 in. tall with a wide top)
Dried Fake Plant Filler (this is a long name for something that I don't know the actual name of :) Mine was this dry, straw-like, curly grass stuff I had used at the bottom of a dried flower arrangement I'd done ages ago, and still had a bunch left)
Branches (take some from outside, or maybe buy some pussy willows or a branch pack from the crafts store. Again, I tried to use what I had on hand and dug into my Christmas greenery bag and found these all-brown filler branches that were just what I needed!)
Red Paper Luckily I had a few sheets of red scrapbook paper left in my very limited scrapping supplies. Just make sure it's not construction paper. (And make sure it's red on both sides, I had some that was white on the back)
Printer with Black Ink 
Heart Template I created mine in Microsoft Publisher, using the heart shape tool and the text box inside. Taking the description of LOVE found in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. I pulled from several different version to get the final 15 hearts. 
Ribbon I choose this burgundy and cream gingham-checked ribbon. I tied a large piece around my container and then cut smaller stripts of it to make the hangars for the hearts. Hanging the hearts with some rick-rack or twine would be cute too)
Burgundy/Brick Red Craft Paint 

(The little heart you see up above the bow I made by cutting a small square of white muslin. I then used a heart stamp I had and stamped a heart with the burgundy paint. After it dried, I cut it out and glued to the glass with Elmer's glue. This step I added because the vase I ended up using was such a boring glass... it needed something)

The assembly was too easy to bother writing out for you... Print out your hearts with the verses on, cut them out. I painted around the edges of mine, and then added some texture to them, front and back with a mostly dry paintbrush that had just a tad of the paint on it. Hole punch tie on your ties and hang them on your branches! 

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

{LENT} She Did What She Could

Day 2 {LENT}

One thing I keep hearing... Surrender.

I love how God will dovetail various happenings in our life to say the same thing, making sure we get it.
In my women's study this week, as we go through the book of John, chapter by chapter, we finished up this Tuesday with the first portion of Chapter 12. My study book summed up the section by highlighting the the 'surrender' of Mary.

Her act of anointing His feet and unbinding her hair to wipe them... such a symbol of a

                                                          Surrendering Love

I've been asking 'What' to surrender to Him for Lent? 'What' to sacrifice?

  For a sacrifice is not just doing or giving something that is inconvenient,  but rather it requires a depraving of oneself  in order to honor and serve God (like Mary, taking the glory of her hair and using it for such a humble tool to wipe the oil and grit from His toes). Sacrifice..... stretches. It costs.

 And isn't that what the season of Lent is to be about? Being stretched out within to make room for Him?  Less of us, more of Him.  So, I've been asking, 'What' am I to deprive myself of to honor and make room for Him in these coming weeks?

Today He reminded me, it's less about the 'What' and more about the "Why".  The motive.

To give up something,  simply as a religious practice or an observance exercised, if done outside of the motivation of Love, "profits me nothing".  So this at least I know. Perhaps the 'what' is not yet decided, but the 'why'?

The 'why' is Love.

Though at times my love for Him reveals itself to be shallow, more concerned with gaining than giving, like Mary  I long to move from being one who sits and receives from Him, to one who rises in sacrificial love for Him,    and must pour out a gift right onto His feet.

He who loves...does.
Profession is easy, 
but the depth of our sincerity
is measured by our actions.

Also, still taking beauty and insight from the passage in 2 Chronicles 29-30:

"My sons, do not now be negligent, for the Lord has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him and to be his ministers and make offerings to Him." (2 Chronicles 29:11)
After the king recites all the ways they, as a people,  have been negligent up until then, he challenges them to turn from this checkered past, and seize the 'now' before them.

I am so thankful that with the King there is always the call to the 'now'.
    "Forget the former things..."
    "Forgetting what is behind..." 

He calls us to live in the now, where He proclaims over each of us a grace that is sufficient.

Have you a checkered past, too? Is it filled, like my own journey, with starts and stops and shadowed with sin and shortcoming? (Remember we must, all our sin and shame only serve to highlight the depths to which his love and grace will reach to hold us)

He is calling us to lay aside the past and step into the Now with both feet. To practice a love for Him that both says and does, and even in our weakness, to 'make offerings to him."

May his words about me be what they were about the woman long ago, the one who sacrificed a love offering at His feet,  She did what she could.

(This is the second post in a series of forty as I journey through the days of Lent. Would you join me each day? Even start at Day one and read through,  as together we learn from Him.)

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

{LENT} In The Beginning...

I am not a Lent practicer. (and practicer is not a word, so says my spell check...)

But I am a Christ-lover.

Last year, around this time, several blogs I enjoy were full of the writer's Lent experiences.  I thought then, 12 months ago,  I would like to try this Lent thing. This letting go, this laying down. This focus for forty days.

My mental note did not serve me well.. I forgot.  Thankfully though, this was not an Angie-idea, but a God-idea, and He does not forget.

Here is where I must confess to a bad habit I am needing to change - I often browse through Facebook on my phone upon first opening my eyes in the morning. Days that once began with, Good Morning, Lord, lately have begun with reading a play-by-play of a friends long night or an suggestion of another to 'Enjoy my morning beverage'.   Though again this morning, I did the same, a post on Facebook referring to Lent caught my attention.

Sitting down awhile later with my cup of coffee and Bible, I was led to the story of Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 29-32.

It begins by telling the story of this righteous king, who wanted to purify the temple. He commands the priests to consecrate it. Throw out the trash. It begins by the King himself, opening the doors of the house of the Lord, and repairing them.

Again, my thoughts turned to Lent.. was it not to be a time for the Christ-follower to come face-to-face with the unclean within? The need for a Savior?

A few Googles later, I realized that today of all days was the beginning of the forty days of Lent, Ash Wednesday.  What I did not remember on my own, His sweet Spirit brought to my attention.

And so, friends, the next forty days I will chronicle my own journey of Lent. Perhaps you wish to join me? Consider slipping your email into the box above and recieving the journey updates to your email. My prayer for you - that you may grow in grace.

My prayer for me as I begin the journey,

Just as Hezekiah opened wide those temple doors
I, too, open wide the doors of my heart today,
The doors of this, your holy temple.
Wide I open them to You,
No longer closing the door
That I might hide the unclean and impure
that lurks within it's walls.
I'm open to You,
I'm opening wide the doors,
That You may repair
Every broken place.

Until tomorrow...

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