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K#14|Mind Soil – Most Fertile Ground

” Giving thanks for one thousand things is ultimately an invitation to slow time down with weight of full attention. “
Full weight of attention. 
The Weight of full attention. 
To live life, requires that you  learn how to experience time moment by moment.
Breath by breath.
Slowing the clock down with a simple “Thank You!” ?
That is gratitude.
Pausing to say “Thanks”.
Looking for avenues to express gratefulness.
Time is  a racing river.
Rushing.
A river raging to meet its end without any regard for anyone’s need to stop.
You cannot bottle time.
Time stops for no one.
It is a constant stream.
Never exhausts.
Never needing a break.
I would really love to stop time in order to make up for the many (many many) days, hours, minutes and seconds that I’ve wasted, existing as a hollow body wafting through the earth totally void of passion or pursuit. To busy hurting.
Steady focus only on me and my disappointments. Deaf ears and blind eyes to world of gifts and people loving around.
Heart calloused, guarded and bruised. Holding onto my pain because I felt wronged.
To much hurt.
To much disappointment.
Not enough for me.
To.
Much.
Self.
-
Lord, forgive me.
-
I didn’t know why He wouldn’t  freeze time for me. Wasn’t I important enough to Him? Why wouldn’t he go out of His way to halt the universe, orbits and the earth all in mid twirl, so that I could somehow ‘fix’ the damages, revive the wasted, revisit the regrets and make everything all better. So I could feel better.
False promise of joy, turns out.
A remedy completely relying on myself.
Self strength.
I want to erase the F- ‘s all the way through the B+’s. Swipe clean so I’ll be clean. Perfect. I want to be. Oh so beautiful, blemish-less, spotless. I don’t like the sin in my life. Why doesn’t it go away when you close your eyes? Why isn’t there a multi dimensional ‘sin’ eraser?
You’d think with all of the technology we have today…
Here I am again. Trying to tame the untamable. Trying to outsmart the calendar. Trying to stall the clock. How can I keep time from falling through my sieve? Is it my job to hoard hours? Where is it all going anyway?
Thoughts that will drive you crazy.
Blast you finite mind.
I understand now. His reasoning that is. I understand how He uses this earthly fire ground to refine us into His Son’s likeness. For His name’s sake (2 Corinthians 13:8, Romans 8:28, Psalm 66:10, James 1:2-4).
I understand now how it is necessary to wander, squander, fail and fall, suffer and cry through various periods of our life. Through time.
During this-so-called “dash” between our birth date and our last breath of murky earth air.
I see how He uses it as a tool.
I understand how deeply He cares for us (at least learning). I see His grace (that is, getting something we don’t deserve) and His mercy (not getting something we do deserve) governing my circumstances and ‘trials’.
I am learning to really see His goodness in the rubble. I see his fingerprints when I’m stripped bare–on my skin and in my heart I know His hands are holding me. (Proverbs 3:12, Hebrews 12:6, Psalm 91).
For the darker the pain, the brighter the glory.
The deeper the suffering, the fuller the joy.
It is in His mercy and grace that the seemingly bad things happen.
Crevices in my heart crack then gape under pressure.
I can count the ‘happy’ gift all day long, but it is hard to find the beauty in torn down rugged frayed bruised bleeding aching.
Gifts in the dingy.
Thanksgiving in the pain.
Gratitude and resistance–all at once?
Pain and joy are arteries of the same heart. They serve their purposes and keeping in the Biblical theme of balance (as a reflection of God’s character) I want/need to learn how to view the trying times with eucharisteo, too.
“Consider it all joy bretheren…” thus the anthem of James.
All Joy. 
How?
Open your eyes. Pray for eyes to see.
“The enemy comes to kill steal and destroy but I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.” (john 10:10).
The enemy of our souls is aiming to destroy us. He suggests doubt quietly in our mind.
In our thoughts we let doubt grow.
A vicious cancerous weed. We view our circumstances through this doubt (often fueled my our ignorance of Truth) and we crumble under the weight of “defeat”.
Can you not see? Are you too suffering from spiritual alzhymers? Forgetting what is truth and where the lies re hiding?
The enemy has no power over us (Luke 10:19).
The Lord gives and takes away (job 1:21).
Every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1:17).
He chastens the ones He loves (Hebrews 12:6).
Consider it all joy when you face trials of many kinds because the testing of our faith produces perseverance (James 1:2-4).
He allows heavy things to happen in our life (James 1:12, , 1 Peter 4:12-13)
All the while we are cupped in His loving hands (1 Corinthians 10:13, John 16;33, Psalm 23, psalm 91).
Under his watch he allows us to wander. He is the good shepherd. He allows us to stumble. He allows us to become depleted. He allows us to fall. He allows is to break. He allows us to mourn, to be weak and fragile (Matthew 5).
In the process of the heartache that the world so fervently offers,  I begin to slowly, under-currently, recognize my complete and utter lack of ability to supply the peace my soul is so wildly craving.
I’m left ravenous.
Which is the point.
I’m not supposed to manufacture peace. That comes from knowing Him and obeying Him.
Peace comes from the Father (Philippians 4:7, Isaiah 26:3, John 14:27, Isaiah 48:18).
Not from circumstances, not from relationships, not form comforts, not form indulgences, not form adventure, not from anything of this earth.
I think we’re supposed to break so that His love, peace, joy will better satisfy.
So we can be closer to Him.
That is where He wants us.
An appetite is the best salt.
He is after my heart–to clean, purge, refine. He loves me. Isaiah 43/44.
I am made pure (1 John 1:7-9, 3:2-3 Hebrews 9:14, Romans 10:10), I am victorious (Philippians 4:13, 1 Corinthians 5:56-58).
The task at hand isn’t to make me righteous enough for heaven. Blood shed, battle won, deal done (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).
The task at hand is starving the sin in my life with the weedkiller of Truth and APPLICATION.
The fertile soil of the mind needs constant tending.
Its a battlefield.
There are too many verses to suggest on this topic (responsibility of beliefs, attitude, posture, integrity). I like James, Corinthians, Hebrews, Matthew for reading about Godly character.
Really every New Testament book.
Or old.
Just read the Bible.
All of it.
Where cannons once echoed, now stillness blends with the whispering wind.
The vacant grounds of an ended war.
Blood stained the earth so deep, a cry to the father and it was finished.
He rises three days later.
Now on the battlefield dew falls, kisses the brittle earth and life grows.
The ashes lay.
Dust settles and we get to choose what will grows there.
But do we believe that? We have responsibility over what we believe?
Pulling lies that we’ve sown out from the root.
It is hard.
We wonder how they’ve become so strong.
So deep.
So established.
As long as satan can keep us distracted with discontentment, anger, bitterness, hate, greed, self pity, anxiety, temptation or any other sinful thought or act, he is “winning”(even though it has been finished John 19:28-30).
We feed the sin seeds when we agree with the world.
In our hearts.
Music, movies, articles, celebrities, politicians, anything that is in opposition to God’s Word (1st John!!).
When we listen/watch/read, continuously, we are agreeing that the what the world has to say is better, more fulfilling than what God has said.
Don’t give the world nor the prince of this world that pleasure of your attention.
Don’t agree that your ways and your strength is more fulfilling than that which has been accomplished at the cross: death defying power and beauty of our risen Lord Jesus Christ.
Promise of eternal life at the confession from lips and surge in heart (John 10:10, John 3:16-17).
We’re left with a command to tell the world of Him and His Love (Matthew 28). A command to Love Him and to love others (Matthew 22:36-40).
Time isn’t supposed to stop because this is earth is not all there is. He knew that now matter how hard I pounded my fists, that stopping time would set us back form the beauty He has is store for us. For me. He always knows best.
There is more to the story (read Revelation).
Every tick is a minute gained toward the coming of Jesus Christ, a new heaven and new earth.
Not another minute lost to history.
This world is passing.
Nothing in my hands I bring. Simply to the cross I cling.
Humble yourselves.
Skylar, blessed are the humble.
Put your weight of full attention in this truth:
You stand from a position of victory because Christ’s victory at the cross. You are not fighting for victory. He has already done the work (Philippians 4:13).
It is however, your job to be steward of your mind (2 Corinthians 5:10, Romans 12, 1st John, James).
You get to choose what grows in your garden.
All seeds start out small.
Cultivate. Breaking the dry weary earth open.
Working the soil until it is pliable.
Fertilizing the ground.
Planting the seeds.
Watering.
Storms come.
Winds howl, test the integrity. Connection to the source. Stability.
Shaken but not moved. (Psalms 55:22, Hebrews 12:28)

“Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;” Hebrews 12:28

The harvest of gratitude is joy.
It is praise.
It is humility.
It is security.
Blessed are the humble.
Eucharisteo.
Giving thanks.
Pausing.
Looking.
Looking for Him.
Looking for reasons to thank Him.
Plant lie seeds (beliefs) and you’ll reap bitterness, anger, hate, ingratitude and all sorts of ugly.
The mind soil is very fertile.
You will reap what you sow.
Sow gratitude.
Reap more gratitude. Reap praise.
Fullness comes believing in the Truth.
In Christ.
Wholeness.
Whole living.
Living whole means living right.
Living right, loving God and His Word.
Eucharisteo.
Breath by breath, step by step.
Don’t be a hollow body just existing.
Be a warm body with a loud heart reflecting the glory and beauty of Christ.
Thank Him.
Open your heart to see with full weight of attention.
Open your eyes.

“Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. ” Galations 6:6-9

 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

Thank you Father.
I’ve spilled my thoughts out as eloquently as I can. They are still tangled–riddons dangling beyond my reach floating farther into the blue– There are still untreked trails that I am simply too tired to venture tonight. See my heart and the way it wants to do good. I feel I can utter the words from Romans 7 as if they were my own . . . “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. “
Even now as  I am typing these last few words, I see my eyes looking at my wrongs. The weight of conviction is heavy. Possibly shame? I know to do better. To make every effort (2 Peter 1:5-11, Ephesians 4:3, Hebrews 12:14, Luke 13:24, Romans 14:9).  Thank you for reminding me of the continual task it is to guard my heart. I have not made every effort.
My heart is relearning to beat. As it stings new songs of gratitude, I am dictated by joy to make every effort. Yes, it is out of the gratitude swelling in my heart, and the Joy that comes from know that You loved me so dearly, so preciously, to die for me that I can make every effort. I fall, fail, allow apathy to devour me. But the time is near, even this hour, Father as Your Word said. Help me tend my thoughts. To top wasting time on me stuff and be utterly devoted to Christ stuff. Your word. Your work.
Thank you that your burden is light (Matthew 11:30).
Help me remember to do what is right in Your sight. 
Skylar
 “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23 (AMP)
74. gratitude and regret swelling my heart–human girl emoting
75.Remembering my weakness. Your way is full-filling.

76. Remembering: Fireflies imitating the stars above us. Twirling in barn skirts. Dreams pulse. Hope sown. Waiting begins.

77.Fragile times-delicate emotions. Easily shattered.

78. Continuously shattered. Continuously repaired.
79. Shepherd King who leads me by still waters
 
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K#13|Hurried Life Empties Soul

“Surely, every man walks about like a shadow. Surely they busy themselves in vain. He heaps up riches and does not know who will gather them. ” Psalm 39:6

“Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained by being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing . . . Through all of that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out, I was throwing it away. ” – Mark Buchanan The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Your Sabbath 

“Haste makes waste.”

“Hurry makes hurt. And maybe its the hurt that drives us on? For all our frenzied running seemingly toward something, could it be that we are in fact fleeing–desperate to escape pain that pursues? . . . Hurry always empties a soul. ” *

“Every sin is an attempt to fly from emptiness.” -Simone Weil

You cannot both rush and relish life.

One or the other.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” J.R.R. Tolken

Pause.

Salah. 

“And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1st John 2:17

I know I’ve been pretty chattery here during the past few posts. But vocalizing my thoughts (or I guess more appropriately type-L-izing my thoughts) is necessary for me to get a new concept.

Its almost like this: Words of new truth and fresh wisdom float around in my head-many colors shining in the sun. If I don’t reach for the strings curled and intertwined, and anchor them with led ink on my heart, then they will either pop or float away into the clouds.

Some usually get away, only for me to come across again another time deflated. Only, I’m deflated and the Word brings the concept back to life.

So I try not to stress over remembering everything at once. After all-hurriedness is an unnecessary evil.

Key word: Try.

This new concept of eucharisteofor example, is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read in a long time.

The lifestyle changing, paradigm transforming game.

The heart thing.

“The Lord said to Samuel ‘ do not look at his appearance or the height of his stature because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. ” 1 Samuel 16:7

“Eucharist [thanksgiving] is the state of the perfect man. Eucharist is the life of paradise.  Eucharist is the only full and real response of man to God’s creation, redemption, and gift of heaven. ” Alexander Schmemann

I read and read and smile as the breeze of book pages cool my face.

I close the book and my brain is buzzing. “What did I just read?”

But then I walk outside and inhale the cool evening air (autumn is lurking in the shadows of the night) and think long and hard about what I’ve just spent the last few hours devouring. . .

I read with heart pulsing whole agreement about the futility of speeding through life: “And did he, the deceased, push to get through each day so he’d be first lunging over the finish line, life done? Did the dashing to grab fistfuls of life fill his emptiness . . . fill the emptiness of a coffin? ” *

These words make me bleed–because I too have lived in such a panic to finish. 

Finish what?

“Surely, every man walks about like a shadow. Surely they busy themselves in vain. He heaps up riches and does not know who will gather them. ” Psalm 39:6

” They say time is money but thats not true. Time is life. And if I want the fullest life, I need to find the fullest time. . .the busyness of your life leaving little room for the source of your life. . . God gives us time. And who has time for God? Which makes no sense. ” *

“In a world addicted to speed, I blur the moments into one unholy spear.” *

. . .Oh yeah. . .

Stop.

Slow.

Breath.

Feel.

Touch.

See.

Smell.

Laugh.

Look.

Hold eye contact.

Feel the hug.

Listen for the heartbeat.

Live.

Eva-‘to live’

Salah. 

Biblically, you must remember, dare I say embrace that reality of earth’s futility.

“Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” James 4:14

I am wounded with conviction by the realization of how poorly I’ve managed my time. How I’ve been ungrateful with certain seasons of my life and wished many of them away, sealed with complaints and idle meaningless gossip and criticisms.

Why was my heart so wicked?

But I’m not consumed with regret.

Anymore at least.

I was at one point.

Shame and regret for all of my past sin–not just the bad attitudes.

To regret is to focus on what cannot be changed. A fixed gaze on the wrongs of a past that will forever be untouched.

Want to talk about wasting time?

Then keep on regretting.

Haha!

Its  balance: Learn to live the full life, but for the cause of something bigger. Not just so you can be full. Never make you your focus or aim. If you are ever the target for your happiness then you will never be happy.

You will always be unhappy as long as you’re focusing on yourself regardless of the manner (self love, self hatred, shame, regret.. its all pride).

Again, I say to you as before, I’m not advocating a fluffy weak life cradled in good feelings and feel-good notions.

I want my life to look different from the world.

I want my heart to sing again.

Fake food doesn’t fill. It can’t satisfy.

Why do I keep buying the junk food?

And I’m learning that the only way to really change is to do something different. 

That something different is actually dying to myself.

Yes, choosing to seek other’s interest above my own.

Yes, choosing to focus of giving instead of getting (acts 20:35).

Ann (with an ‘e’)  says it so perfectly: “Its not what the world holds for you. Its what your bring to it.”

Aaa those words echo.

There, something I can actually do: give. 

 Live to give, and give for His name sake.

For eternity.

Eternity is for the human soul. Everything else will pass away.

Fill your soul with Truth of God’s word.

I guarantee that you will not have an empty soul if you feed it what it craves.

It is God whom we endlessly crave.*

“But He answered and said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’”Matthew 4:4

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be satisfied” Matthew 5:6

6. Sleep: food for wear bodies. Tired bones.

7. Bonfire cackling along with the autumn leaves that chatter in the wind

8. Fresh cut timbers: sweet to the nose and cold to the fingers.

9. Anytime Dad smiles.

10. Every time mother laughs-it is magic peacemaking potion.

Give me a mind that will remember Your truth. Thank you for You spirit of Power, love and self-control living in me,

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thanks.

Thankful.

Sleeping. . .

. . .

. .

.

Ann Voskamp One Thousand Gifts *

I do not own this photo

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K#12|Eucharisteo

The ink with which these beautiful truths have been written is oozing off  the pages and onto everything in me.

My fingers dance on the keys, and leave black marks and ‘foot’ prints on the keyboard. I wipe my brow and rest my head in my palm, leaving smudges on my face as a reminder of how beautiful humility is.

Another excerpt from the book I mentioned in my last post:

(Paraphrased)

” Eucharisteo [in the context of the last supper] – greek for ‘He gave thanks’ or ‘thanksgiving’.

Charis - greek for ‘grace’ ( as in euCHARISteo )

Chara – greek for joy’ “

This chara joy, charis  grace and eucharist thanks make up for the triplet constellation that hangs in the backdrop of our dark earthy circumstances.

With these three lights flickering in the dark, they light the way for us to fully experience what our (humans/humanity) original purpose for existence was supposed to be like.

If you haven’t noticed by now, these three things (joy, grace and thankfulness) are very dim components in most everybody’s role as a human.

We choose sin over righteousness, flesh over spirit and lies over truth every day.

The constellation of peace is there for everyone. It is just often out shined by other focuses and faulty beliefs. Its not that she doesn’t shine bright enough, its just that the other planets and stars we’ve let in our personal solar systems crowd out the truth; the True light.

We become our center focus thus everything around us becomes incurably out of balance.

Turning from one thing we are voluntarily turning towards another. That other is usually self.

It always boils down to choice: who are you going to serve/love/trust?

It is not chance that these words are related. They are so closely knit because this family of words (charis, chara euchrist) are the missing concept of this world–their void is the direct result of the fall.

To be even more specific, ingratitude was exactly what plagued the earth in the Garden.

Satan implied that God was withholding something from them; that there was something more that they could have:

“…Then the serpent said to the woman ” You will not surely die, for God knows that in the days you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil…” Genesis 3:4

To be like God- they weren’t content with being His precious creation? Not to mention being totally set apart from everything else he had put on earth and crafted in His own image? They weren’t content with the luxurious beauty of paradise: perfect  communion with God our creator and total access and liberty to everything? 

Everything of course, excluding that one tree.

Ann continues in the chapter about eucharisteo :

“If our fall was the non-eucharisteo, the ingratitude, then our solution must be immediately related to eucharisteo, the giving of thanks. “

“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.” Psalms 50:23

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“Therefore, as you receive Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7

Further more, I’d like to point out that when one gives thanks to God, you are agreeing with God that you are not to credit for whatever ‘it’ is you’re thankful for. You are agreeing with your inability and praising Him for is ability (and love and care toward you mere human).

All of that is really going on when you say “Abba, Father, thank you”.

“When pride comes then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2

“Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches, honor and life.” Proverbs 22:4

“He has shown you O Mortal what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and walk humbly with your God.” Micha 6:8

“God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things- and the thing that are not- to nullify the things that are so that no one may boast before him.” 1 Corinthians 1:28-29

“Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.” Proverbs 15:33

“Who is wise and understand among you? Le them show it by their good life, in deeds done by the humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13

“Blessed are the humble, for they shall inherit the earth…” Matthew 5:5-15

It is the humility in human hearts that God pours insight and blessings into.  Blessed are the humble, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Blessed blessed blessed are who don’t think less of yourself (because you are of great worth), but who think of themselves less.

Humility.

Blessed are you who minimize the thoughts of man to magnify the truth of God. And to live the truth of God is to Love God. To love God is to obey Him (1st John).

And then there is chara: Joy

The secret of Joy is that it is consequential. You’re not supposed to just be joyful. Joy is the hidden gift. It is invisible. It hides in the inhale after you’ve exhaled you’re gratitude and praise.

You may find yourself enamored by the purity of a child (son or sibling) helping the weak one untangle his limbs from the trike, chalk dust mixed with blood, a stain gladly shared. In that moment, you lift up that scene with thanks, and sharing in the beauty of that pure heart, joy settles in your heart as a remnant of praise.

“Now shall my head be lifted up above my enemies around me. I will offer sacrifices of joy in his tent. I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to Yahweh.” Psalm 27:6

“…and the ransomed of Yahweh shall return, and come with singing to Zion; and everlasting joy shall be on their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isaiah 35:10

“I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7

“The prospect of the righteous is joy, But the hope of the wicked will perish.” Proverbs 10:28

“…For the JOY of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.” Nehemiah 8:10

“Is the height of my chara joy dependent on the depth of my eucharisteo ? ” 

I  contemplate this simple phrase.

Let these words brew in my brain.

And now state an eloquent: Yes.

In part of my new reading, I will conclude at the end of the next however many blog posts with some named joys (e.g. one thousands gifts in my life).

The concept of this practice (naming the good things in your life-and knowing that every good thing comes from Him) is to drive out the old rusty nails (habits) of ingratitude with the sharpened clean nails of eucharisteo.

By consciously naming things that you love about life, you are truly subconsciously confirming the many ways that God loves you; that He is alive, active and invested in your life.

I don’t want you to miss the big picture though: this exercise is not for my gratification. By magnifying the things and thoughts of God I aim to reflect Him to the world.

To contrast the world: be light in the darkness.

And yes, I believe obedience reaps peace and joy, but my aim is not to have a comfortable cushy lets-hold-hands-and-sing-koombya- sort of testimony. My aim is to glorify God. Point blank. This practice (gratitude) is about changing my paradigm so I can better reflect Christ.

And yes, consequentially I will be happier. (Isaiah 48:17-18)

Plus, having any combination of joy, peace and contentment drastically contrasts this world of discontentment, greed and fear. So,  your happiness is powerful evidence of God at work in human hearts in a world so brutally beaten with lies and weary with unbelief.

That in mind:

The same fingerprints that are on creation are on your heart– the heart that beats when autumn gusts breath through the door and raptures your body with his freshness. The heart that claps along with heavens when they orchestrate the song to which the raindrops dances from the sky onto your thirsty face.  The same hand that made the mountains and its inhabitants made this body and this heart and these eyes and these ears. And with this mouth I want to proclaim His goodness.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17

Naming the gifts for what they are (that is, gifts from God) and thanking Him for peppering you with them concretes that new attitude of gratitude in your heart.

It is a choice.

Its an action.

It isn’t passive or unintentional.

Soon (if you are consistent with your search for goodness and returning thanks to God for it) the mundane thoughts of darkness in this present age with be very mightily over shadowed by joy and peace: the two emotions we were crated to carry  from the beginning.

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
The Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
Who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you by the way you should go.
Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Isaiah 48:17-18

Thank You Father for the details in my life that illuminate Your goodness.  Thank you that this paradigm change is a process and that joy is accumulative. Thank you for these tangible tokens of your love tucked in the small things. Thank you for the call to live moment by moment, embracing Your goodness one gratitude at a time. Open my eyes to all that You are so I might return praise to You in the fullness that You deserve. 

Now for the things…

1. My heartbeat; the many songs that it sings.

2.  Shattered crystal scattered across the cold dark night.

3. Dew kissed daisies.

4. My spiral hair and all of its frizz and fluff.

5. Tear drops that quench my dehydrated soul.

That is all for now. I’ll keep logging and be sure to include an excerpt form my hopefully every growing gratitude list.

I’d love to connect with you on this topic of gratitude. Please leave comments of some gifts that you’ve named in your life. I like hearing what ya’ll have to say.

Your kingdom come and Your will be done..come Lord Jesus… thank you for the beauty in between.

It is never about me, but always about You.

 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another,forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:12-17

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K#11|Heart Dump.

” With memories of gravestones, of combing fingers through tangled hair, I wonder too . . . if the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually become places to see.

To see through to God.

That that which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become a thin open place to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave.

Maybe so.

But how? How do we choose to allow the holes to become seeing-through-to-God places? To more-God places?

How do I give up resentment for gratitude, gnawing anger for spilling joy? Self-focus for God-communion.

To fully live–to live full of grace and joy and all that is beauty eternal. It is possible, wildly.

I now see and testify.

So this story–my story.

A dare to an emptier, fuller life. “

-Ann Voskamp “One Thousand Gifts” 

The quote above was part of the concluding paragraph of the first chapter form a book a new friend let me borrow.

I believe the Lord knows my heart and is after it ferociously.

For that I am grateful.

Glory and honor to Your Name father.

As gratitude swells in my threadbare heart, let it seep through the rugged seams and onto the lives around me so that You will be lifted high and honored and loved in a world that refuses Your goodness and existence altogether.

Fill me up Lord with your character. As the moon reflects the sun, help me learn to reflect You. Lord remind me to live in the ways You have already taught me. Help me remember that because of Jesus’ demolition of death and its infectious power on and consequential corruption on human souls, I now stand in a position of victory and not from a position fighting for victory.

You have won and it is finished. Because of that I can do all things through You who strengthens me.

I cannot do anything to become righteous.

Out of obedience Father I long to be cleansed from the sinfulness of my lust for this world  and know Your Word confidently. I want to quill your words on my heart with led so that they will not depart from me.

Give me a mind that will absorb truth and refute lies. As I sharpen my sword with Words, allow me to exercise its strength.

Fill me up God so that Your love will spill over my heart into other peoples lives.

For your Name alone,

Amen.

 

 

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Genesis

 

I wrote this poem almost exactly two years ago. This is one of my favorite pieces of work. My hope is that the words written here might strike a chord in your heart as you contemplate the true origins of humanity as a God breathed, purposed and cherished creation. 

-Sky

The Breath Of Life  

By Skylar Barger

September Sixth, Two Thousand Twelve

 

Inspired by Genesis 2:7

You formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of Life. Then the man became a living being. “

 

Dust and clay lay lifeless; dormant

Pale browns and greys, rest cold and silent.

In His heart sound a great pain.

 

“This earth We created, something is missing.

We’ve separated light and dark,

we’ve given place to  the planets, clouds and stars.

The roaring seas resound my greatness,

Beneath the woodland trees, the animals know my voice.

It is good! It is good! Who else can we share with?

What else can we include, who else would enjoy this?

Lets add one element, inspired my Our image.

Lets make them for Our delight, for Our embrace.

We’ll craft them so perfectly, love them so dearly,

know them so thoroughly, keep track of every heart beat. “

 

Dust and clay lay lifeless; dormant.

Pale browns and greys, cold and silent.

With His hands, He scooped up the dirt.

Crumbly earth fell through His fingers.

The dry brittle clay soon turned moist and soft

The lifeless dust starts to wake up.

He sculpted every finger in the palm of His hand

Every bone and every muscle, every hair on his head.

“Look what we’ve done!” He cradled the hollow body.

“Lets give him breath in his lungs, I want him to Know Me.”

 

Frail, no movement, quiet small human. Almighty God embraced the one He loved.

He held this lifeless form in His palm, with joy in His heart He said “To Me, you belong.”

 

Adam lay quiet, eyes sealed tight

The God of Heaven breathed into his nostrils The breath of life.

Then the man became a living being.

Full thinking, full breathing.

Full heart beating.

 

Dust and clay lay lifeless around him.

Pale browns and greys stay on the ground behind him

As he rises up, takes his first steps,

his toes sink in the fertile soil from which he came.

 

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K#10|I am Mountain

Before you start to scroll down, open  this video in a new tab (for back ground music). 

Push play and wait for 20 seconds.

Good, ok now you may proceed. 

:D

(..I just want you to get the most out of this experience). 

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From top: Sunrise before we got to the top, stopped for a rest, south-east view from the top, sun filtered through the jap. maple leaves, through Daniella’s lenses, dragonfly. 

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From Top: Hannah sharing her crackers with some weary fellow hikers, he was showing us the superb quality of is phone camera, Abby took a picture of them with it, then they took one for us with my camera (L-R: Abby, Daniella, Me, Hannah). 

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From Top: Same south-east view the previous night, leaves dangling over a quiet creek, another SE view (little further back), Abby taking in the beautiful NW view. 

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From Top: Through Hannah’s lenses, NW view (clouds interfered.. :( ), sentimental bracelets, Hannah drinking in the majesty of God’s ‘foot hills’. 

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“I am mountain I am dust..”

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These were all taken of the sunset the night prior. 

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After our hike, Hannah and I wandered around the resort. We found a very extravagant flower garden.

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*These three photos  above were taken by and belong to another friend, Laura*

Hannah and I stayed in the garden for a little while to take a breath. We perched ourselves on a dewy swing and listened to some very good  music that fit the mood perfectly. The day was still  new and the air was still sweet with that wonderful mountain morning freshness. I’ve been craving for a very long time,  so it did my heart more than good to sit for a while and breath it in after a grueling vertical 1 1/2 hour-ish  hike.

Come to find out, Hannah and I have very similar taste in music.

:D

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This belongs to Laura as well. 

Hannah and I took the gondola up to a small cafe atop the SE mountains. The span of beauty before my eyes of course couldn’t be completely captured with a camera (even though Laura’s camera did a very fine job!). 

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View from my room.

I love the shadows tucked in the folds of the earth and beneath the leaves. The texture and detail in nature are very inspiring to me. God is so artistic. 

Being away from modern conveniences and submerging myself in nature is always very humbling. I stand against a mountain and I feel so small. My body is so futile and hollow, too often sustained by pride and anxiety. I’d love to have the poised stature of a mountain. 

A mountain is the embodiment of confidence and solidity.

A peaceful mind- can you imagine what that is like?

Being enclosed by such an overwhelming span of ‘confidence’ for two days reminded me of how capable and sure God is. He constructed everything that is in a span of 6 days (Gen. 1:1), and I still choose to believe that my own strength is more efficient and capable than His.

I still believe the lie that I have control over what happens to my life. In some ways I do (taking responsibility for my actions and attitude), but thats really it. 

Thus far during my trip here, I can defiantly say that God has imprinted on my heart that I don’t need to plan my story. I’m actually coming to find out that I’m not supposed to have everything penciled out. I’m learning that the beauty in a new book is not knowing what it is about. And whats more, I don’t have the control to turn the pages anyway. Thats just a misconception of my imagination. 

He’s also teaching me that my story isn’t supposed to look like anyone else. He as a plan for my life and He has given me specific tools and talents that I’ll need to accomplish what I need to do. I defiantly have goals and ambitions and often I look at the spinning hands of the clock and get anxious about time racing away before I have done anything. But there is a balance that I’m trying to understand that rests between staying idol stuck in a dream wishing for something to happen vs. being driven to accomplish all of the things on my to-do book  (my list as tuned into a book at this point in my life.. it deserves an honest title). 

There is a lot of peace I’ve found in letting God write the chapters in my book and then trusting Him to turn the pages when its time. The paper cuts I’ve made in the past by trying to speed read through the chapters are now starting to heal. The scars still remain on the surface of my heart and serve as a reminder (as scars do) to choose to trust God’s sovereign, caring capability over my impulsive (and usually ignorant or dangerous!!) incapabilities. 

I’m learning slowly. But I’m learning nonetheless. 

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This photo belongs to Hannah. It is of me looking out into the grander beauty of the mountains. 

Read the lyrics to the song “I Am Mountain” by Gungor here. 

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K#9|Insadong

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Some neat kiosks we saw in historical Seoul yesterday. The waffle creation Bess is holding tasted very good. 

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Bess spotted this art store. 

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Evvie’s Highlights. That turtle statue was either a replica of one built in the 1400’s, or it was built in the 1400’s. I was unsure.. but I think it is a replica because…DSC04824…this guy was built in the 1400’s and it is securely encased by glass and steel. Evvie liked the turtle regardless of his authenticity. 

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This park was restored in honor of those two structors. It was a quiet park surrounded by the chaos of the city. It was simple and peaceful. I like it very much.

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This Boy. <3

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I took this picture mainly for John. Bess pointed them out as something that he would probably enjoy eating. They were eggs cracked in these little black pans on top of a pastry like dough. The woman running the stand cooked them in a tiny oven right there on the street. 

I love going to Seoul. I always leave there eager to go back again. 

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