Unwrapping His Promises: The Promise of an Abundant Life

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10

Today, do something playful. Maybe even a little crazy. And smile, radiant smiles spreading all over this world. 

The prompt is challenging me today.  Right now in this time of gift buying, and family visiting and house decorating and work and preparation….right now in the midst of all the “I shoulda oughtas”—to stop and play? Duane, you’re killing me with this offer of life in the midst of the mundane…the everyday…in the midst of a slow, worldy death.

And yet,  Jesus said—I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  Did you hear that? TO THE FULL!

So in this moment, when I am taking myself so seriously, an angel prompts me with a challenge….to play….to smile…to live. It’s so hard to shift gears, so I start with a smile…with a laugh at my daughters silly jokes…with a little game of foot ninja (this game has a much more interesting name that I can’t remember or spell) with my son…with a few moments to drink in the heavenly sound of my children laughing belly laughs that roll until the need to draw breath overtakes them.

This is life to the full….this is the promise of the abundant life.

 

Today’s promise can be downloaded by clicking here.  Thank you all so much for continuing this Advent journey with us.

Unwrapping His Promises: The Promise of Rest

This post is part of the Unwrapping His Promises series we’re doing this Advent season with Duane Scott over at Scribing the Journey.  If you’d like to join us, you can download today’s Promise here

The Promise of Rest

Seeking Solitude

I came here seeking solitude,

And found I like the quiet,

But am afraid of the alone.

I came here spent and desiring rest,

And found bounding energy

Yearning for outlet.

Busy energy-

Worldy energy.

“Rest,” You said, “Be still.”

But I find myself restless

And in perpetual motion.

In obedience and with discipline of will,

I sit.

Quiet.

Unmoving.

Eyes closed and thoughts clearing.

And finally,

I sink into Your grace.

-Cari Kaufman

Written on retreat at St Scholastica, 2/25/2011

Unwrapping His Promises: The Promise of Every Need Met

Do I believe this?

If  my actions speak to my beliefs and I look hard at how I act, do my actions say I believe that He will meet my every need?

I’ve worked hard today. I’ve been productive. I’ve called calls and written blogs. I’ve worked up budgets and hobbed and knobbed with potential ministry partners. I’ve knocked things off my to do list that I’ve been “meaning to” get to for weeks.

And yet….

It’s not finished. Not done. The cute little boxes are not all checked off.

There are clean clothes on the bed unfolded and dishes in the sink unwashed and chapters God asked me to write unwritten.

There are hugs unhugged and kisses unkissed, prayers unprayed and love unsaid.

I NEED more time. More energy. More motivation. More hands.

And if I truly believe that God has promised every need will be met, why do I feel so desperately overwhelmed by it all when I look around?

As I work today on the budget for a women’s conference we are hosting next fall, I laughed at the numbers.  I feel like I’m playing with monopoly money as I look at a budget that BEGINS thousands of dollars from reality is daunting.  And the question that rattles around is do I really believe God will provide?

EVERY NEED

That’s the promise.

Today I have to settle for claiming this promise- because today, well, frankly, belief is coming so readily.  God and I have spent a lot of time chatting about this today and He’s made other promises of need fulfilled.

“Lord, help my unbelief.”

Another need. One he’ll meet. Like all the others.

Unwrapping His Promises- The Promise of His Presence

But the afternoon passes without even waving and tomorrow morphs into yesterday without anyone noticing. ” He writes…my friend who blogs about love and life and what it means to be both.  He weaves a tale of busyness, of Christmas normal, and then of Christ’s love, of Christ’s choice, of Christ’s promises.  I was full of tears and hope when he writes: “Will you not sit with me as we unwrap these promises together?” 

Why yes, Duane Scott, yes I will.  

You can, too, you know…he’s created a beautiful downloadable printable with a writing prompt for each day between now and Christmas.  Share your words with us, here or through email. These are the best gifts of the season….don’t keep them to yourself.

The Promise of His Presence

The alarm clock sounded early this morning—well it seemed early—this morning it was actually set an hour later than normal.  Seems as if the alarm sounds earlier and earlier these past few days. We’ve battled a stomach virus in our house since last week—it brought with it a bone-weariness I haven’t experienced since my children were bassinet-bound babes.

I rolled over and snuggled into the warmth of my husband and began my morning prayers.

“Jesus, come….I invite you here. I love you.”

Heart full to bursting–gratitude spills over the edges of my early morning quiet.

“Thank you for this man, Lord.”

Happy tears sneak past the rims of closed eyes.

“Thank you for our family…for these kids…for this dog…for this house…for this life, Lord.”

This is how each of my days begins.  Ann Voskamp calls this love that flows from thankfulness “eucharisteo”…this life-filling gratitude.  It is the practice that keeps me centered…that keeps me focused…that reminds me of the beauty of all that God has given me.

This morning as I pray, I sense something more.  Something deep wells up.  Something bubbly and exciting.

Something called Joy. Unexplainable…Not for any earthly reason….just a love song from my Lord.

And as I open my eyes, a song plays in my head….

“and He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”

 

 

 

Guest Post- The Writer’s Prayer

This morning, as I rise before the sun comes up behind the clouds and rain, I think about the day ahead. I think about writing deadlines and speeches to give and when to move four foot tall feet on stage. I think about the moment of overwhelm my nine year old shared with me last night on our way to play practice when big shiny tear drops slipped down flushed cheeks as he lamented that he could never “finish it all.” And I wonder how will I…how will I finish it all today? What is the most important thing here in this space that God has created for me to do what He created me to do?  And I am reminded here in the stillness of a prayer that my new cyber-friend, Duane Scott, shared…a prayer that I echo today….

Courtesy of Susan Etole

I sit, staring silently at the cursor on my screen. I hear the gentle ticking of the mantle clock and in my mind’s eye, I see the pendulum swaying… Back and forth, time marching forward.

Time is a precious gift, I think. I don’t have any of it to spare staring at a blinking cursor.

Closing my eyes, I pause a moment, bowing my head over trembling fingers resting on the keyboard in front of me. I offer a short prayer and begin to write.

I’m new at this.

The praying part, not the writing.

No, I’ve been writing for almost two years now, fighting demons of self-doubt, slaying spirits of unwillingness, and finding the submission to open my heart to you, my readers. The vulnerability still scares me.

Bowing my head to the Author, the Author who penned the words to my life, terrifies me even more; because I may be asked to write something outside my comfort zone.

I start once, quickly utilizing the backspace button. The blank screen before me, I start again, writing a paragraph or two, then opening a new document, failing to save the last.

And as I write, I pray…

Dear Author,

Today, the words I use, let them be Your words.
Words of Hope, of Love, of Faith.
Allow me, with trembling hands, to be Your voice.
A voice not full of fear, but of reassurance in You.

Let me never forget, the words I write today,
May change the life of one, maybe two.
But as the Psalmist says, I bring You my sheaves,
They may not be many, but they are Yours.

Today, I won’t mind if no-one comments,
Because the words I write are Your words to me,
And the testament of my heart is full,
Because You were here… with me… and my few readers…
In this quiet place.

Let this site be one of stillness,
A harbor, a safe-house for Your children.
A place to find rest when the world is restless
A place not of answers, but where to find answers.
A place where each breath is breathed in praise to You.

Show me, Dear Author, Your will.

I humbly pen this prayer,
Not because I can’t speak,
But because You gave to me,
this small talent of writing,
and it is through this talent,
You have given my heart a voice.

Let my heart always be keen to
the sweet whisperings of Yours…
And may each chapter of my life,
Be written by You, not me.

Duane Scott