Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Refuge

Psalm 46:1
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

Psalm 61:2-3
"From the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,  for You have been my refuge a strong tower against the enemy. "

      God is our refuge. He is our safe place. He is our Peace. And believe me, Peace is a refuge you long to find when worry starts to attack your mind. I've read verses like the ones above many times. They are highlighted and underlined and marked with a little castle symbol in my Bible.
      But it didn't occur to me till a few days ago that the Word of God is that refuge.  I had been having a particularly worrisome day and so at the end of it I decided to try reading my Bible. As I read through the Psalms, verse after verse started to reach out to me and His peace began to flood in.   And that was when the thought popped into my head that spending time in the words of the Giver of Life is one of the ways that we can take advantage of this refuge He offers.
       Like it says in Ephesians, the Word of God is our sword--a fierce weapon to be reckoned with, but it is also a soft and warm blanket. The blanket that the little kid keeps with him at all times because it makes him feel safe and warm. Seek refuge in Him. Happy Tuesday.

“The all-victorious Christ is like a great rock in a weary land, to whose shelter we may flee in every time of sorrow or trial, finding quiet refuge and peace in him.”~James Russell Miller

Monday, January 5, 2015


      So awhile ago I wrote that my husband and I were in the process of buying our first house. We finally closed the deal at the end of October and it has been great. We love having our own space and the ability to truly make it our own. 
Home Sweet Home
Luke has a three car attached garage plus this pole shed. He is a happy camper and our cars are happy too now that we have hit the sub-zero January weather of Minnesota.

The wreath was a house warming gift from my dear friend Keren Ruth.
I've been feeding the birds. My regular customers are a blue jay and a bunch of chickadees.

We have a room just for office stuff and all our books and my sewing and painting.
Places to display my dishes.
Part of the indoor garden.
I had this mystery plant that finally sprouted. The Forget Me Nots from the summer before decided to reappear.
We love have a big kitchen. The table at rest seats five. Stretched out we can seat nine.

My Lumber Jack

We heat the house with an outdoor wood boiler. Luke has spent a lot of time splitting wood. Keeping the fire going is a job that we both enjoy. Though I don't know how much Luke likes it when he has to go out at 2AM to make sure it keeps going through the really cold nights.

So there you have it.

“Home is the nicest word there is.” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Dynamic Duo

The Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-18
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints."

      So, I read this passage this morning and started wondering if perhaps one of my problems is that I am not wearing a piece of the armor. I read to almost the end and nothing was really jumping out at me and then I got to the bottom, "In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." 

      I realized that often when I read this passage I am drawn to the Sword of the Spirit, which makes sense. It's the word of God, the ultimate truth. However, it occurred to my brain that I needed to back up a bit. I can swing my sword all I want but if I'm not using my shield it will be significantly less effective. Yes, God's word is the absolute truth, but if I fail to hold up my shield of faith then I'm basically saying, "Hey I have this sword and I'm going to whip it around and try to use it to defend myself but just so you know I don't really have faith in it. I'm not really sure that it will do the trick." And that is when I open myself up to attack. 

      Paul says that we need to be using our shield "in all circumstances." That it will protect us from the flaming darts of the enemy. Without it we will repeatedly be struck. The Sword and the Shield are a dynamic duo. They go together and they need to be used together. 
     Another thought that goes with all this and that I need to work on remembering is from

Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."
    "Trust in the LORD with all your heart. " Ok, so trust and faith are similar so I need to be using my shield, but the part of this verse that I have been trying to keep in mind is the part that says, "And lean not on your own understanding." My biggest problem when it comes to allowing worry and fear to rule my life is that I start to lean on what I think I know, or on what I feel. I allow a fear into my brain and start to brood on it. And then I start to get really worried and before you know it, I'm in a bad place. And then I think, "Ok let's use the Sword" and I look to the word of God and find that there is nothing to back up my fear plus the fact that it is a fear to begin with and God isn't fear. Now this knowledge should be enough to get me to employ my shield and get my thoughts on the right track, but all to often I start to rely on my own understanding. 
        I think, "Well even though there is nothing in the Bible telling me that what I'm worried about is legit, and God doesn't use fear, but you know I really feel afraid." And then I start to analyze and look for things to back up my fear and that slams me right back to the beginning. Not a good cycle. It's because I'm trying to rely on my own understanding. 
        So today, remember to use that Dynamic Duo of the Sword and the Shield and don't rely on what you think you know or feel. God is Peace. God is Joy. God is Life. 

Deuteronomy 30:19b. 
"Therefore choose Life..."


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Choose Peace

I decided that I needed to have a theme verse for this year. A verse that encompasses what I want to learn about and grow in this year. I chose two. 

Isaiah 26:3
"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."

Deuteronomy 30:9
" I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live."

I chose the verse from Isaiah, because I often find myself struggling to find peace. I allow fears and worries to get comfy in my mind and soon I start to listen to and believe what I they are saying and let me tell you there is no peace once that starts happening. I have often started to believe that the fears are God. My husband has really been trying to help me understand that God is peace and thus He isn't going to use fear to control my life. And so, I chose this verse because the One who breathed life into me the day I was born will continue to breathe His life into me if I keep my mind firmly grounded in Him. He is life.  He is Perfect Peace.  

The second verse fits right in with all of this. The main idea that I am pulling on her is "Choose Life." Jesus is life and by doing what the Isaiah verse says and keeping my mind fixed on the Creator of life I will be choosing life, because I will be choosing peace. God is Joy, God is Peace, God is Life. Happy Saturday.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Be Still

      I struggle with worry. It can be annoying and it also can be overwhelming. Sometimes I worry about things and it just makes life more difficult. And other times I allow worry to invade and it feels like all hope has left me.  My husband patiently stands by me and tries to help me understand that God doesn't speak in fear, and he reminds me not to listen to it if it is fear. But my argument usually sounds like this, "How can I not listen to it? The fear is screaming so loudly in my head that I can't hear anything else. Why doesn't God speak louder?" But then I was reminded of this story.

1 Kings 19: 11-13
"And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”"

      Fear can seem like a harsh wind, and an earthquake, and a fire. But God is a whisper, a calm, a peace.  
        It says in Psalms 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God."
And so sometimes I pray and plead with God to help me with the fear to make me feel better. I try to sit and read the Bible, but the fear just invades. But it occurred to me this morning that that verse says to "Be still" but it doesn't necessarily have to be a physical stillness. My mind needs to be still. I can sit perfectly still and be quiet but my mind is on overdrive. It is struggling to find a way out of what I'm worried about, it is arguing with myself and God, non of which allows for any stillness.  
                Sometimes I find that my mind is still right when I'm waking up. I can fall asleep worried but right when I wake up, I feel at peace. It's like my brain hasn't fully woken up and the part that likes to over analyze and worry hasn't quite caught up with the more child like part of my brain. The part that knows that peace and rest are found in the stillness. That God is there. 
        Yesterday was the first day of this new year and I decided that I wanted to have a verse for my year. I think Deuteronomy 30:19b might be a good one. 
       "Therefore choose life..."
God is peace. God is joy. God is life.