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Braking Points

Pausing in the midst of Life to ponder, pray and find footing to continue.

Month

May 2013

He Rescued Me

Yesterday, on the She Reads Truth site, JuneBug’s post halted me in my tracks. As a part of our study of Nehemiah, she had taken inventory of her life identifying her “Braking Points” and how The Lord had protected and provided for her. From her post on
She Reads Truth

“He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. We put our hope in the Lord . He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord , for our hope is in you alone.”
Psalm 33:18-22 (NLT)

I have so much to celebrate.

I am alive today.
I am alive because a 19 year old somehow had the strength to give her child (me) up for adoption, who’s father pleaded for her to abort instead. Rescued.
I am alive today because the Lord provided a safe place to fall when I spiraled into depression in my early 20’s. Rescued.
I am alive today because God protected me in a serious car accident in my mid-20’s. Rescued.
I am alive today because God protected me from a life-threatening situation in my late-20’s. Rescued.
I am alive today because doctors were led to abnormal cells in my body in my early 30’s before it was too late. Rescued.
I am alive today because the Lord provided crisis financial support in my mid-30’s so we could eat. Rescued.
I am alive today, in my late 30’s and I finally trust that the Lord has a rescue plan for all of us.

Just like the scriptures are building up to a time in prophetic history, I believe our lives are building up for a purpose. An appointed time. One that gives glory and honor to our Creator God that surely rescues us. And with all creation, you and I will sing,

“Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.”
Revelation 5:13 (NLT)

From JuneBug’s inspiring testimony, the following:

He Rescued Me

God rescued me before I was born
And he rescued me in the midst of life’s storms
He gathered me up, set my feet on the ground
I was Lost on the edge,  but now I’m unbound

The Lord rescued me before I was born
And he rescued from life’s many storms
He gathered me up, set my feet on the ground
He held my hand, He let me cry, I’m found

When we really look back at the wreckage behind
Seeking for something we never could find
Swept up in the whirlwinds, battered day after day
Chasing the glitter, broken dreams slip away
And that’s where we’d stay

BUT

He rescued us all before we are born
He carries us through fire, wind and storms
Until by His grace we stand on his Holy Ground
He’ll never turn loose, his grip secure, we’re found.

He’ll hold us close, He’ll hold our hand, He is our rock
And on Christ I stand

God rescued me before I was born
And he rescued me in the midst of life’s storms
He gathered me up, set my feet on the ground
I was Lost on the edge,  but now I’m unbound

” On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand”

He rescued me!

Carolyn’s Musings

Off to yet another Doctor’s appointment as we search for answers to Terry’s continued heart and vascular issues. I am confident that JuneBug’s post will bless you and it is my prayer that my bit of verse does too.

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Written in Red–Faithfulness

Matthew 5:27-30 

The delay in this post, as I continue to search the Sermon on the Mount, to try to reach into the depths of Jesus heart as he spoke, comes because after reading the passage, after considering his words, after Pausing and Pondering, which are the purposes of this blog, I sensed that while specific to marriage, the intent extended beyond the marriage bed.  Or even the marriage head, since Jesus pointed out to have lust for another constituted the act of adultery.  And then the talk of cutting off offending body parts, an image not easily digested and I fear used by some to uphold body mutilation, leaves me a bit baffled.

Over and over in the Old Testament, God addresses Israel as an adulterous bride.  Over and over again, He allows them to prostitute themselves before other gods…to chase after a King…to take the slippery slope to destruction.  He did not let them do this without sending prophets to warn them or captors to carry them into foreign lands.  But always He brought them back, forgave them, redeemed them and enabled them to rebuild.  

Somehow in the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments,  they finally got the ONE GOD concept, so when Jesus came the Hebrew people worshipped God, at least in all outward ways.  They also got the one man/one woman concept of marriage, although they had built in a few loop holes.  No longer were men polygamous in the Jewish culture of Jesus day. However, when Jesus came the God worshipped by the most “religious” was synonymous with the Law…with all its man driven interpretations and explanations.  And while Jesus has just said he did not come to destroy but fulfill the law, Jesus has come to reveal in his fulfillment the heart of the law and the key is FAITHFULNESS.

Listen, Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You must love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4, 5 NET)

Marriage on earth represents our marriage as the Bride of Christ (the Church) to Jesus, God the Son.  Even before Jesus God the Father considered Israel His bride.  Jesus tells parables about faithfulness and leaves us with the thought that faithfulness in small things precedes faithfulness in large things.  

Max Lucado says this

“I choose faithfulness…Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that they father will not come home.”

Jesus knows that faithfulness demands a choice, not a one time choice, but a day by day inventory of our thoughts and inclinations.  It requires commitment in every single corner of our lives…Faithfulness to God, Faithfulness to our spouse are a whole lot more natural if we practice faithfulness and promise keeping in every situation.  

Will we fail?  Yes, probably, but that is where Jesus words about the hand and the eye gory as that is come into play.  What tempts me to not be faithful?  That too requires a day to day inventory and purposeful abandonment of the Faithfulness Toxins.  

Carolyn’s Musings

As I said this one was a hard one to wrap my heart and mind around.  It required soul searching.  I love God, but I run after other stuff and care too much about the opinion of others.  I love my husband but I bury myself in a book or with my IPad when I could be spending time with him.  Let’s face it!  I fall short of the TARGET!  

BUT the GOOD NEWS is:  God doesn’t quit being faithful to me.  He lets me come running back time after time.

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Come Worship The Lord

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The devotion on the She Reads Truth Site this morning as we study Nehemiah together in community inspired me. Amanda Williams wrote:

Remembering who God is. Realizingwho we are in Him. Recognizing our sin. Repenting and receiving grace.Rejoicing in His goodness. Returningto our lives, ready to speak the Gospel with our words and deeds. Repeat.Do it all again and again.

All of this is worship.

And from my heart these words welled up and over flowed. If only I could write music, I would sing them, but alas no talent in that arena.

Come Worship The Lord God on High, Remembering all He has Done
Come Worship The Lord God on High, the Spirit, the Father, the Son
For He is creator of all of the earth, the one who breathed life in me
Provider, protector, redeemer and Friend, Lord of the wind and the sea!
The Lord who breathed life into me!
The Lord who breathed life into me!

Come Worship The Lord God of Earth, Remembering that he has come
Come Worship The Lord God of Earth, the Spirit, the Father, the Son
For He is Immanuel, Lord God with us, the one who left heaven for me
Provider, protector, redeemer and friend, Calming the wind and the sea
AND Breathing new life into me!
The Lord breathed new life into me!

Come Worship The Lord God of All, Remembering the battle He  won.
Come Worship The Lord God of All,  the Spirit, the Father, the Son.
For He gave his life, my Savior, my Friend, Defeating the wind and the sea
The Lord breathed hope into me
The Lord breathed hope into me

And Now as I stand and greet the new day, aware of all he has done
And Now when the darkness hovers around, I call on Jesus the  Son
Come Worship The Lord God of All, Rejoicing, Returning, Proclaiming His Name
Come Worship The Lord God on High,
Over and Over again.
Over and Over again.

Come Worship The Lord God on High, Proclaiming all he has done
Come Worship The Lord God on High, the Spirit, the Father, the Son
Provider, protector, redeemer and friend, Lord of the wind and the sea
The Lord who breathed Life into me
The Lord who breathed Life into me.

They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read. Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” The whole company that had returned from exile built temporary shelters and lived in them. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great. (Nehemiah 8:8, 10, 17 NIV)

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever. (Psalm 30:11, 12 NIV)

Written in Red–Forgiveness Freedom

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Matthew 5:21-26 

Our thoughts have power to either construct or destruct, rarely are thoughts neutral.  

Anger has entered my mind, more often than I would like to admit.  Sometimes it is fleeting or at least dealt with and gone, but what Jesus is talking about here involves anger that has been brought into harbor, anchored down, and maintained.  Anger like that cannot be contained merely as thoughts, it errupts and my actions and my words.  Either directly assaulting the object of my anger or assaulting those who just get in the way, my words can do damage that murders.  How easy it is to drive someone down by using caustic words like “fool”, “idiot”, “stupid” or gossiping behind someone’s back.  Spoken thoughts cannot be easily controlled nor can the effects be easily undone.  Perhaps that is why Jesus makes such a point of it.  Perhaps that is why later, Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthian Church:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)

Additionally, in this passage Jesus makes it clear that as a Christian, in right standing with God, that it is my responsibility out of love and thankfulness to worship God by being the first to clear the air with friends…I should be the first to forgive…and not just with friends but with enemies as well.  Not only will my worship of God be unhindered by harbored bad feelings, but civil issues can also be resolved.  Whatever happens, I should be the first to forgive. 

Carolyn’s Musings

Passages of scripture like this one, direct words from my Lord challenge me in ways most people do not see in me.  Mainly because I really do want to forgive, but just when I think I have…just when it is safe to go back in the water (JAWS 2)…the offense will rise in my thoughts and attack me.  I am learning slowly to immediately present it to God, to thwart the arrows of the Enemy and call on Jesus.  Slow learner that I am, I know that I cannot, but GOD CAN..and He does.

Written in Red–To Know God is to Forgive

Matthew 5:21-26 NIV

God’s desire for us is unchanging
His love, his grace flowing down
Free to all is his goodness
He waits with delight to be found.

Searching to fill up our darkness
With light, with warmth, with love
Seeking to know his goodness
We search the heavens above.

His voice speaks never changing
We find Him there in His word
How we can understand goodness
And live as those who have heard.

The Lord God who is unchanging
The Lord of the heavens and earth
Forgives me out of his goodness
And shows me the depth of rebirth.

And then since he is unchanging
He points me to all those around
And says to take them his goodness
So love within me can abound.

My brother, My sister, ever changing
A challenging sight to behold
Blocking my path to his goodness
Because of the anger I hold.

Convicted with desire to be changing
My offering lies right at my feet
Faced with desire for forgiving
I hand Him my anger complete.

The Lord God ever unchanging
The Lord of the heavens and earth
Forgiving thus spreads His goodness
Offering all the chance of new birth.

Then The Lord God who is unchanging
The Lord of the heavens and earth
The Lord fills my life with His goodness
He freely lets me live my new birth.
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AGAINST ALL ODDS

Against all odds, I stand before you

Against the storm, you strengthen me

And when the words whirl round to halt me

Your love and grace, they set me free.

I will stand clothed here in your armor

For your will abides in me

And even if I’m bowed and bloody

My hope in Christ will never flee.

I will not leave the work you’ve given

Tho’ threatened harm by friend and foe

I will not leave the work you’ve given

For where oh Lord would I go.

Against all force,  both flesh and spirit

Against the storm, you fight for me

And then what can ever harm me

Your Love and Grace they set me free.image

WRITTEN IN RED–LAW or GRACE

Matthew 5:17-20

We, as Christians, often dismiss the LAW as we magnify GRACE.  Jesus’s own words should give us pause when we do that.  His words challenge also the concept that the New Testament is all the scripture we need. 

To trivialize the law, even the smallest item, trivalizes the purpose of the law in the first place and keeps us with an ineffective view of Christ, his sacrifice, and our redemption.  The Law is good!  The purpose of the law was not punishment or judgement.  The purpose of the law was to keep us safe, healthy, and centered on God.  The fact, well established by the history of God’s chosen and   our own history, stands that NO ONE can keep the law.  When sin entered the human condition, that possiblity went out the window, but God loved us enough to send the LAW, so that we could know what the absolute standard was.   The Law came and then Jesus came.

Jesus lived fully human without breaking God’s Law in its absolute expression.  The Law was the word, but Jesus was THE WORD.  Without the law, Jesus could not have expressed the fullness of a life founded on Love of God, Love of Others and Love of self.  

He fulfilled the Law, so even though we cannot, we understand the purpose of God in the law and so we through faith in Him, could be saved by Grace.  Without the law, we really would not understand any need for being saved.  

So even as Christians it is important that we teach the law so that the power of God for salvation can be revealed.

Carolyn Musings

Tough two days.  My husband hospitalized, The devestation in Oklahoma, it’s been hard to get my thoughts together, but perhaps it is times like these that truly help us understand that God’s laws represent order in a chaotic world, even in the midst of loss, illness, and tragedy.

Morning Breath

The Online Bible Study I am doing is with She Reads Truth. com. We are studying Nehemiah together. The community of women from various places in the world have become special to me as we exchange thoughts and prayers. Yesterday we memorized the following verse and in response I wrote a short poem. I hope you find meaning in this.

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10 NIV)

Stripped bare with no will to continue
the desert is all I can see
Stripped bare, cast out, and abandoned
the ruins fall right at my feet

Stripped bare with nothing to offer
I fall in despair on my knees
Stripped bare, Lord God, I seek You
Send someone to watch over me.

And then on the breath of the morning
The prayers of others float free
And Lift with the wings of His goodness
Clothing and strengthening me

Stripped bare of the sin and the darkness
God’s grace in the petitions for me
Clothed in the strength of His Healing
Surrounded by those who believe

Stripped bare of desire for the spotlight
Alive in the warmth of his love
Stipped bare, gathered in, adopted
Joy rains down from above.

And then on the breath of the morning
My prayers for others float free
They rise with the wind of His Healing
Surrounding those who believe.

And then on the breath of the morning
Gathered together we sing
And rise as one body before Him
Our Savior, our God and our King.

Written in Red–Tasty and Bright–Light Today

Matthew 5:13-16
Luke 1:78-79
John 9:5

Because of our God’s tender mercy the dawn will break upon us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78, 79 NET)

Zechariah spoke these words of blessing at the Bris (Jewish Naming Ceremony) for his son, John.  For his son would indeed prepare the way for Jesus ministry.  From the beginning,  when God said “Let there be light”, there was light and as a counterpoint, there was darkness.  

Without God light does not exist.  He created light.  One concept of hell holds that it is absolute darkness and isolation, no God and no companionship.  When Jesus lived he brought a new light into the world, not the physical but spiritual.  Not a partial light that God revealed through the Hebrew people, the law and the prophets in the Old Testament, but a fulfillment of that light.  Jesus brought the Light of God and while he walked the roads of Galillee and Judah, He shared that light with everyone.  What was the response, some were healed, some were convicted, some were angry, pulling away, backing into the shadows, some were transformed, and in the end some extinguished that light.

BUT God had Plan and Jesus reveals it first in Matthew 5….You are the light of the world!  

Who me?  Nah!  I never liked the spotlight.  Give me a bushel basket and I will put it over my head.

You are like a City on Hill at night!  

WHOA!  Get the blackout curtains out!  Nothing like being a target for the enemy.

Reluctant, shy, disobedient though we often are, God’s light exists in every believer.  It isn’t our light, but it does come from inside where the Holy Spirit resides.  The light of God in you and the light of God in me even when the candle is flickering in the winds of life can illuminate a dark room, reflecting off even those who would not claim Christ.  We are God’s light bearers.  We are the stars unnumerable that God showed Abraham.

How do we let it shine?  Apart, of course, from removing the lampshade on our heads and pulling down the blackout curtains.  

We allow Him to make us transparent.  We allow him to shine through the broken places in our lives.  This is often painful, but we have to be ready to remove all the bandaids, bindings, shields we have constructed that seem to keep us safe and allow God to SHINE forth, revealing all the magnificent God colors around us.

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” 
― Brené Brown
“In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.” 
― Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging  
Sing with me:  This little light of mine,
I’m going to let it shine….let it shine, let it shine,  let it shine!
Carolyn’s Musings
I grew up in southwestern Oklahoma,  talk about flat land, not many cities on hill,  but you could still see for miles and miles.  As kids, traveling home at night on Highway 5, we always tried to be the first one to spot the lights of Frederick on the horizon.  Home!  
Now traveling down the road of light, I am looking for a city built by God,  I am following the “Light of the World”,  I am behind some but their light helps me see and over my shoulder, I see other points of light on the same road.  Occasionally, someone will step out of the shadows and claim the light.  We are all looking ahead.  Trying to get a glimpse.  Home!
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