The Warning of Watchman Nee

I wish I had read the quote below as a young woman. But, I wouldn’t have been able to grasp the heart of it.

Spending time with God.

Deliberately. Always. All the time.

Constant, consistent Prayer.

Gut wrenching, pleading Prayer.

Hallelujah, jumping up and down, hands raised, singing Prayer.

Is the One you are talking to the convenient God you send arrow prayers to in the middle of traffic, or as you walk into a meeting?

Is He your backup, your last resort?

Is He the one you turn to when you just can’t face the day and what you know it brings?

I look back and realize that I have missed the point of talking with God many times in my life.

The One we are talking with is at the heart of the matter of Prayer.

I want this generation to know the reason we pray is the same reason we talk to our family, our friends.

Connection.

In order to keep our family and friend relationships vital, we connect as often as we can. In those relationships we are limited by the physical world.

But with God-He is present. Always. Even when we choose not to talk He is here. Now. When we believe in Jesus and His Holy Spirit is in us we always have access. We can always connect. Our relationship with Him that can not be severed

When we get busy, things are hectic and scheduled for us 24/7 we begin to ignore that connection. Like human connections- time passes and distance increases in our hearts and minds. We find more and more we are relying on our own abilities. And this is why this quote hit me in my conscience. I am guilty of just getting on with life in the everyday. I’m doing just fine under my own power.

Until I’m not.

In reading this quote I began to understand. I slip away under my own power. Deceived.

“He [Satan] will take away your prayer life little by little, and cause you to trust God less and less and yourself more and more, a little at a time. He will make you feel somewhat cleverer than before. Step by step, you are misled to rely more on your own gift, and step by step your heart is enticed away from the Lord.” —Watchman Nee

Only when I stay connected in prayer do I find my confidence, my trust in God increases. I can rest in Him. In knowing He does all things well. I stop being confident in myself and in the letting go I can be the me He designed me to be.

 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18

The Closing of one year and the Opening of Another

Two years ago. about this time, I was beginning to consider another year with One Word. That word that shapes one’s perspective for the year. I started doing this about 5-6 years ago.

It seemed like a good idea at the time… I picked out a word that I was comfortable with and knew I had to work on its presence in my life for a year. You know, anyone can do that for a year…

That was when “I” picked out the word.

Two years ago, God took that task on for me. He very strongly impressed on me that surrender was to be my One Word.  And, it was.

I’ve learned a lot about myself and that word and how it’s supposed to work in my life since then. And I’ve discovered that surrender, no matter which way you look at it, is what He desires from us all. Not just in the big things. But in all things.

That’s a hard place to be. Surrender. I’m definitely not comfortable with that word or how it fits into my life. But as I’ve lived the past two years with this word, it has popped up in conversations, in something I’ve read,  as something I’ve heard on the radio or tv and around almost every corner of my life. It is ever present in my thoughts.

Hear me: I don’t want to surrender. To wave a white flag. To give up. Because to give up, wave the white flag and to admit to God or the world that I just don’t have it anymore is admitting I never did “have it”. That’s hard for me to do willingly.

Sometimes the horse has to get mighty thirsty before it’s willing to take a drink from strange waters. Well, this horse anyway.

God can do some pretty amazing things when we let Him; when we admit that we aren’t in control of the situation, our lives, our families’ lives, our work life. Those amazing things look different in every life.

Whatever that is to you, I’d like to ask you to stop and take a look at life and consider whether surrender might be something that He is asking of you.

I don’t have any over the top stories other than the way He keeps bringing it up in my life. But that’s enough for me. No shockers here, no sudden winds of change. Just me being obedient in surrender. Day by day.

Some days are difficult. My human nature is to grab hold of something  and to not let go. {confessions of a packrat}. But here I am, still learning Who He is and who I am and what He wants me to let go of so that He can accomplish His purpose in my life.

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13

Any thoughts on One Word? Any stories? I’d love to hear yours!

The Light of the World is waiting

This time of year we hear the carols, we see the red and the green, we smell the evergreens, our mouths are feasting on great food and if we are lucky we touch the snow.

All of our senses are involved in the experience that is Christmas.

Our emotions, however, can hold sway on our perspective and can cause us to miss out on the most important thing about Christmas: Jesus.

We can walk around in the darkness of loneliness, sadness, grief, missed joy, loveless, pain, loss, despair, depression, anger, frustration, jealousy and a host of other things that come to mind.

We do not see. We walk in blindness caused by our own hearts when we fail to hear the Good News of the Gospel because of the cacophony in our brains that interferes with the simple message.

Jesus is here.

He is the Light of the World.

He came for us.

All of us.

Let Him be your Light this Christmas.

Come and See.

The Newborn King awaits.

Bring Him your darkness

and

Come into the light.

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-5, 9-14 NIV

Full Speed Ahead

Like tendrils of mist it comes creeping along, trailing out  behind  me. Swirling at my feet. I fear that if I’m still too long it will overtake me and take hold-this thing called aging.

It carries along with it various infirmities. Each one different, each one of us immune or subject to one or another.

They take silent hold on our lives, strands in the web of life. Slowing us down. Holding us back. Creating drag on forward momentum.

The mirror reflects the gradual change that’s been happening since we were born. Sometimes the speed of the change slows down or speeds up. Suddenly, one day, a look and we don’t quite recognize the face that looks back. More gray, a crease or crevice there, a dark spot that wasn’t there yesterday, a tiredness in the eyes.

Eyes that say “slow down. You need rest.” The body agrees; and less and less is accomplished.

All the while the mind bounds full tilt toward life like a dog greeting its owner at the end of the day.

So much to say. So little time. The words spin around in my head. I grasp at one here, another there. Finally a sentence is formed. If I rush, the wrong words tumble out. Safer to write them down.

Then sabotaged by the relentless spellchecker and auto-correct.

Can’t win.

It’s not until we see death approaching from a distance that we kick into high gear and have so much we want to say, to do, to see, to share with those we will be leaving here to soldier on in our wake.

How do we make the most of it then? How do I?

I find that I must grasp the moment I’m given and hold on. I must speak the words that matter. Must tell the next generation.

They must know Who they believe.

“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.”- 1 Corinthians 2:13

“I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Saviour through your apostles.”- 2 Peter 3:2

Declare Conference 2016 #DigitalEvangelist(s)

The end of this month is the Declare Conference for Christian Women Bloggers. This year will be the fifth year I’ve attended. I look forward to it in so many ways. The sense of community, vitality and the fellowship of Christian sisters is so full of meaning to me.

This year’s theme: Equipping women to be Jesus online #DigitalEvangelist  is something I crave for my words, my life- to be the best reflection of Jesus to others that I can be; (I’m not always successful by a long shot- maybe I should phrase it this way- sometimes I get it right).

 In his book, Paul for Everyone- The Pastoral Letters, Tom Wright makes a statement about different types of teaching that Paul is relating to Timothy in 1Timothy 1. I think he expresses exactly what I’ve been thinking about being a #DigitalEvangelist.

“In it, he (Paul) has in mind two basic types of teaching.  

One goes round and round in circles, picking up interesting ideas and theories and playing with them endlessly- though not necessarily having a very detailed understanding of what such things might really be all about.  

The other has a clear aim, cuts out anything that gets in the way of it, and go straight to the point. “

Paul tells Timothy in verse 5:  “What we aim at in our teaching is the love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience and sincere faith.”

 I think that this verse describes the #DigitalEvangelist in all of us because we are teaching the world about Jesus.

Regardless of what we write about- that reflection of Jesus from us to the world comes shining through and in revealing Him to the world we are teaching whether we realize it or not. And that is what I hope we all take home with us- just what it means to be a #DigitalEvangelist.

It’s all about Him. That’s all. 

 

This year in anticipation of the conference and to introduce ourselves we have been asked to answer a few questions. Here are my answers.

Looking forward to meeting you all!

1. If we were meeting in person, how would you introduce yourself? (job, family, career, ministry, where you live … share whatever details come to mind)

I can give you a dissertation on paper, however, when I meet someone  or I’m introducing myself to a group verbally most of what I’d like to say escapes me.

Hello, my name is Nancy. I’m 63 years old. I’ve been a wife for 44 years, a mother for almost 40 years, a MIL for 16 years, Nana for almost 14 years. We have 10 grands and we live in Rockwall, TX near the lake. I worked as a nurse for over 30 years; 16 of those years in the schools. It was my calling for a season; now I’m called to family. I have seen God work in many ways in my life and it always comes back to total dependence on Him.

Trivia round: I went to 14 different schools from kindergarten to graduation from high school and I lived in Germany for two years as a child.

2. What is your favorite thing to write and why?

It would appear that I love to write out my opinions and share them; however, when I started writing as a teen, my first experience was with poetry- free verse. That has always been where my thoughts go first and what flows most easily from my pen.

3. What is your favorite thing to read and why? (If this question is too broad for you avid readers, what’s a favorite book or blog you’ve read lately?)

My favorite genre is Scifi and fantasy- but I haven’t seen much that I would consider quality in recent years.  Next is historical fiction, history and poetry. Everyday reading includes blogs by friends. I suppose the reason I like those kind of books is the escape-ism. Growing up I needed that escape valve and I still do from time to time. I’m reading “The Boys in the Boat” right now- it’s about the US Olympic rowing team in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. 

4. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

That’s a toughie. The first thing that comes to mind is finding a cabin in the mountains in East Tennessee where I could sit on the porch in ideal weather and just soak in the world around me and write. The second is to spend the day in the pool with all of the grands. And then, finally it would be to go to this little village that I love in England and walk the trails and spend time chatting with the locals. Obviously, this was a hard question for me. 

5. What is one thing you love about your blog and one thing you’d like to improve?

What I like is to put the words out there. I’d just like to do it more regularly. What I’d like to improve is to make it more photogenic without it looking like a travel brochure.

6. [Lightening Round] Would you rather …

  • Read on Kindle or paperback?  Paperback – I’m a highlighter queen. Although a kindle at night works.
  • Drink coffee or tea? Tea mostly, but coffee when I’m feeling groggy (like every morning)
  • Go to a musical or a movie? either
  • Vacation at the beach or the mountains? beach in summer, mountains in winter
  • Have an exciting night out or a relaxing night in? depends on how tired I am
  • Watch sports, play sports, or no sports? Watch some sports, baseball and soccer to be specific. Watch the Winter Olympics. Not football. Period.  And, I swim.

 Curious?    http://declareconference.com 

 

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Five Minute Friday: Risk

Now there’s a risky word if ever I heard one. The very thought brings up fear, anticipation, joy, annoyance and a whole other bag of words most of us would rather not think about.

Take it a step further, risk is what propels us to move from the spot we are on to the next spot… we risk it all to stay. we risk it all to go. We take a risk every moment of every day, it’s like breathing. Yet, there is so much fear attached to that little four letter word.

When I think of it, Jim Elliot’s famous quote comes to mind: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. “

In finding the exact quote to paste hereI came upon another by Jim that I think is a perfect definition of the word risk. In talking of Stephen, who was martyred- the man who will not act until he knows all will never act at all.”

Ok that’s my 5.

Ding.