November 8, 2014

A Free E-Book for You!!!


Last year I had the privilege of writing a short foreward for my friend David's e-book, Jesus Beside Me, Volume 2. He recently blogged here on adventure, and you can catch him over at Dave vs. Life and David Ramos. I'm sharing with you blog readers the foreward and a link to go download it for free! We both hope and pray it blesses you in reading it. Enjoy!
      Unapologetically, I pray for myself this earnest plea found in the beloved hymn Come Thou Fount: “Bind my wandering heart to Thee!” For the Christian there remains a deep desire to live out our days closely tied to the heart of our great, gracious King Jesus. To daily live aware of his presence, to commune with him, and to enjoy him. The paths and ways in which we draw close to Christ are innumerable, diverse, and divine, but one so sweet to the heart and soul is that of the reading and soaking in of his very own words to us through scripture.

     The act sounds too simple, sometimes even elementary for the seasoned Christian, including myself, but if the cliché holds true—that the Bible is God’s love letter written to us—why would we want to nonchalantly dismiss or put it away? After all, who’s ever heard of a lover, who upon receiving a letter from their significant other, toss it aside, never reading their words? Reading the words found in scripture illuminates who our Savior is as well as his character, wisdom, good commands, and wonderful grace. It’s through the meditation of these same words that Christ comes near to the heart of man that we may know and love him, and be known and loved by him.

       The book you’re holding does just this: Marrying the art of reading God’s word then meditating upon it. In doing so, David gets you up beside the Savior so you may know Him all the more. And it’s my hope that through this book that your heart may be tethered a bit more to Christ… that you would cry out to him, “Here’s my heart, take and seal it!” 
You can read and download Jesus Beside Me, Volume 2, here.

October 23, 2014

Quotable


The simple program of Christ for winning the whole world is to make each person he touches magnetic enough with love to draw others. ~Frank Laubach
I’m often difficult to love. I go through dark periods like the moon and I hide from myself. But I promise I will kiss your wounds when they’re hurting. Even if they’re in your soul, I can find them with the light in my fingertips. I will lead you to the river so you can remember how beautiful it feels to be moved by something that is out of your control. And when our dark periods match, we can breathe with the grass and look at the night sky. The stars will remind us of the beauty in our struggles and we won’t feel lost anymore. ~Emery Allen
Sleep with me. I couldn’t care less if we’re wearing five layers of clothes, or nothing at all. You belong in my bed. You deserve to feel the comfort of what I call ‘paradise’. Sleep with me. I’ll help you recreate the warmth that left your fingertips years ago. I want to hear you breathe easily, as the sound drowns out every single worry on my weary mind. Sleep with me. I don’t mean to create such a sense of urgency, but you deserve to feel safe, and I’ll do everything in my power to make that happen. ~Connotativewords
In order to receive grace, you must accept Jesus. Not the idea of Jesus, but the actual Jesus; the one who calls you to leave everything behind. The one who says that you must carry your cross, the one who spoke truth in the face of deceit. The Christ who clung unto a world that had let go long ago, Jesus who calls us beloved. If grace is an ocean, you must jump in! ~T.B. LaBerge
God’s mercy is so great that you may sooner drain the sea of its water, or deprive the sun of its light, or make space too narrow, than diminish the great mercy of God. ~C.H. Spurgeon

October 21, 2014

Becoming Childlike

There are days where I'm reminded just how much we adults make this Christian walk and talk complicated. If you want to learn an enormous amount about God's love for you get around kids. Get around lots of kids. And do it frequently.

The greatest joy of teaching is that it's never just a one-way interaction. As much as I think I'm teaching these little ones--though each child is beautifully and wonderfully unique in their own right--they probably end up teaching me astronomically more. They probably will end up teaching me more than any of my adult teachers ever will in the long run.

Days like these I catch myself just marveling at how people so little, so innocent, so inexperienced can be such incredible teachers themselves. And they don't even know it.

Sometimes I want to just hold them in my arms and whisper, "You have no, no, no idea how wondrous you actually are! Your little mind cannot even begin to fathom it." Each one of these are precious and valuable.

Matthew 18 records a remarkable teaching moment:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (verses 1-4)
Clearly there's a difference between being childlike and acting childish (which we're exhorted to put aside as we age--only children are garnered with that kind of behavior for a short while), but here, Jesus is saying to become the former--become childlike.

Children understand and accept things at face value that as adults we loose over time, over the experiences we collect in a fallen world. Children trust. Children get excited over small things--they see the wonderment that abounds all around. Children are rather resilient, and haven't grown as weary yet. They laugh, giggle, create without concern of someone judging their handicraft; they dance and sing without care. If they fall, once their parents pick them back up, they'll keep trying whatever crazy idea they were at before. Children know when they're loved--it's written in their smiles, woven into all that they do.

And this is what God wants us to become to be great! He wants us to trust him. He wants us to get excited and be astounded at the wonder of His creation. He wants us to rest in Him, and not grow weary. He wants us to laugh, giggle, create, dance, and sing. And He wants us to get back up again and keep moving forward even when we fall, we fail, we sin--this is why He's given us grace--why he sent us His own Son. He wants us to know we are so, so, so deeply loved. Our little minds cannot even begin to fathom it.

How remarkable that this is what makes His children great. Are we humble enough to become as such as these? To become like little children? Let it be so.

October 15, 2014

In All Seasons


Where I live here in the States, fall is in full swing now. Cooler temperatures make way for cozy sweaters, mugs filled to the brim with apple cider, apple dumplings, apple pie, apple crisp (in case you hadn't caught on, we're big on apples here… don't get me started on all the desserts we make with pumpkin as well), and the trees are shimmering in hues of red, orange, and yellow.

I have this "thing" for seasons, and I don't just mean the literal weather type ones, but the various seasons of our faith, or as one pastor put it "soul seasons." Autumn in normally seen as a time of harvest; the seeds and labor put forth finally coming to an abundant fruition. We too have soul seasons kind of like autumn... but we also have seasons like spring, summer, and (the usually dreaded) winter. Maybe you're like me, and an autumnal soul season is not where you find yourself in, but in a season of barrenness; a season with little harvest.

But I've learned that God is just as active in the times of harvest as He is in the times of dormancy--alive, but not active at the moment... temporarily slowed. In John chapter 15, Jesus says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" (verses 4 & 5). Jesus is talking about remaining connected to Him, the true vine... to live near to Him in all seasons. Grapevines, and for that matter any type of fruit, have life cycles... clusters of grapes don't just appear overnight: In the winter, the vine dresser predetermines how many buds he wants on each shoot of the vine. During spring, buds come forth, turning into flowers, and then into berries. In late summer and early fall, the fruit is harvested, to be enjoyed by others. The leaves fall from the vine and the vine dresser prepares the soil for winter so that the process can start all over again. Such it is with us.

We all have those times of barrenness, planting, swelling (slow, continual growth), and gleaning. The important thing though is to remain close to Christ... to trust in His timing and His role as THE vinedresser of our hearts, for in all, and through all He is faithful to accomplish His work in you and I. "Barrenness," as the prince of preachers, Charles H. Spurgeon said, "is the platform for his fruit-creating power." It's not permanent, but a platform to lead to greater things. 

Let this be an encouragement to you if you find yourself in such a place. God has not forgotten you, and the dormancy will pass into vibrant, fresh fruit once again. The work in the winter is just as important as the crop gathering of autumn. But remain connected to Him, the true vine. 
Living near to Jesus, thou art covered with the wings of God, and underneath thee are the everlasting arms. Let nothing keep thee from that hallowed intercourse, which is the choice privilege of a soul wedded to THE WELL-BELOVED. Be not content with an interview now and then, but seek always to retain his company, for only in his presence hast thou either comfort or safety. Jesus should not be unto us a friend who calls upon us now and then, but one with whom we walk evermore. ~C.H. Spurgeon

~This post was originally written and shared on Darling Companion, 2013, by Natalie Grimm~

October 13, 2014

Autumnal Joys

The scents and scenes of autumn are finally being welcomed here, and it's my favorite season of them all. But it's all short-lived in this area, so I have to relish it while I can.

Autumn is what ushers in that steady rhythm of work and play for me. August and September are always crazy busy, and I wear a stress level to match it. But by the time October shows its lovely face, I've settled into my work routine with a new group of kiddos, and finally have gotten around to planning get-togethers with friends and family that I put off temporarily. 

Everything about this season speaks joy to me.

I love how the weather finally hits that perfect temperature; it's cool enough to wear jeans and comfy tops without having to wear a parka on top of everything. It's the start of all things cozy: fuzzy socks, sweaters, blankets, and sleeping under down comforters. If you've never slept underneath a down comforter on a crisp, cool, breezy night, you've missed out friend. I want to perpetually live in the state of cozy.

Weekends are spent hitting the trails to enjoy the scenic views and taking trips to local pumpkin patches and apple orchards. Evenings in front of the occasional campfire or snuggled in bed watching old black and white movies--because that Cary Grant... he's charming and classy, folks. I like to steal away to bookstores with a cider or chai in hand, because this is also the season I tend to romanticize, and books--words--are one of the love languages I speak so well. I've always thought this would be the perfect time of year to fall in love... 

And can we just talk about the food for a moment? Personally, this is prime baking season: apple dumplings, apple crisp, apple crumble top pie, pumpkin bread, cinnamon rolls, cranberry hand-pies, and maple scones. Pretty much just all things apple, pumpkin, cinnamon, maple, and cranberry. Let's not fail to mention the hearty stews and soups either. Or kettle corn. Or butternut squash. Or sweet potatoes. Or turkey. Just comfort food galore.


Enough about my fall favorites though, share with me some of yours!