Anchor and Umpire

Over the last few weeks I have cried tears of joy…. and tears of sorrow.

During the last weekend in January I was blessed to watch another grandchild enter this world. You would think that after the other two births I would know what to expect and not be so utterly overcome by the emotions of awe, love and joy. Not so! It happened again just like it did  the other two times. Waves of tears, laughter, praise and words of aaahhh’s and ooohhh’s kept flowing from within me. My job during labor and delivery is to help my son-in-love (heard that term from a friend and I like it a lot better than son-in-law).  He in turn devotes himself to attending to his wife, my daughter. I fetch his snacks and coffee, text updates to the rest of the family and friends, take memory-making photos and pray. This loving couple place their focus intently on the task before them. Their unity and support of each other is precious to behold. I am so thankful they allow me to witness the births of their babies. Who can ever fully explain the marvel of a newborn baby drawing his first breath of air and flexing his lungs with hardy cries! With tears of joy it is so easy to praise the Lord and release words of thankfulness in prayers to Him.

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Then came the tears of sorrow. Due to circumstances, unexpected and from another area of life, confusion and turmoil manifested. I again felt emotions flow from deep inside of me, but this time the tears were mingled with fear, worry, anxiety, and discouragement. It was harder to kneel before the Lord with thanksgiving and praise. It was difficult to find that place of rest in Him, His peace. But as I ran to Him, thanking Him for His love and trusting Him to bless me through this dilemma, He lovingly and patiently taught me how to deal with my problem and gave me two very precious verses to encourage me. Blessings came in the form of hope and peace as His grace made my path straight again.

I am a visual learner so I love word pictures that teach a principle. Both of the verses  the Lord revealed to me use a specific word to elaborate the truth.

Hebrews 6:17-20 New International Version (NIV)

17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised,he confirmed it with an oath.18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

An anchor “holds something else secure; gives stability or security”.  In the verse above, hope is the anchor for the soul. Not just hope in general, like being positive or optimistic. It is hope in God, His truthfulness, His faithfulness, and the fact that He is a promise keeper. What He says He will do… will be done. Whenever trouble comes, it is our hope in Him that anchors us. The waves of life don’t have to sweep us into the rocks of the shoreline. I found it interesting as I looked for images of anchors to discover that many anchors have a cross in the center of their design. The work Jesus did at the cross provided us with the ability to approach our Heavenly Father with confidence, to go through the veil of the Holy of Holies, meeting Him, receiving the fullness of our inheritance in Him, and finding our security through His promises that He has the power, desire and ability to accomplish.

Colossians 3:15 Amplified Bible (AMP)

 

15 And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]

This verse really got my attention when the Amplified translation interpreted  ” let the peace from Christ rule” as like an umpire.  An umpire is “a person chosen to render a decision in a dispute; an official who administers the rules”.  The Peace of Jesus Christ, who is the Prince of Peace, is the umpire of our hearts, continually ruling out the thoughts that do not line up with the Father’s heart and purposes for our lives. The enemy, the world and our own minds can speak into our lives untruthful words of hopelessness, despair, faithlessness, and words lacking in love. We are all tempted when turmoil enters to allow these destructive thoughts to take seed in our hearts.  If we do, the harvest is fruitlessness and defeat. When I yielded to the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, His Peace lovingly pointed out the untruths that I was allowing to germinate within me. He knew those thoughts would prevent me from being in the blessing of God’s game plan for that difficult situation. The analogy grows weak as I compare Jesus Christ to a real life umpire. Jesus is not the demanding, dictatorial force that would insist on getting the final word in His ruling. No, the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ stands ready with His wisdom and love, waiting on us to seek His way and yield to His work in us. I  see Him as that consistent Reminder saying, “this is the way, walk in it”.  So, this turmoil became another opportunity to praise and give thanksgiving to God even in the midst of it. He calmed the storm within me, giving me His Peace.  Then I could live with hope in Him, waiting and expecting Him to calm the storm around me as well.

Philippians 4 New King James Version (NKJV) 

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Connecting, with love

Donna

Words -written and spoken

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Vocalizing my thoughts has always been my favorite way to communicate. When I receive a phone call from family or friends, or I am surrounded by loved ones in a nice quiet setting, words will flow out of my mouth like water from a fountain…just ask my family 🙂 I love to see someone’s face during a one-on-one exchange of thoughts. I give others that same ample opportunity to observe me 🙂 My husband says I use my hands so much when I talk that if I sat on my hands, words would stop coming out of my mouth. I gesture with animated body language, and use facial expressions to convey my thoughts. I appreciate the added advantage of  listening to the tones of spoken words and the emotions that are detected just by hearing and watching.

Because I am more comfortable talking, writing isn’t usually my first choice to express my heart. However, early last year I started feeling this unusual compelling to write what the Lord was teaching me.  So, here I am, six months into writing this blog! Who would have thought? 🙂 I know it was the Lord stirring my heart to write. He affirmed this new way (for me) to communicate, by His Word, and through some encouragement from a dear mentor. The Holy Spirit started giving me impressions, affirming them with His Word, and then guiding the develop of those thoughts with instruction and correction. If I don’t hear a message from Him, I have nothing to write. I have always loved reading and am inspired by the talents of those able to craft a new thought or explain something with innovative skills in written form. It usually is a struggle for me to find words to write, to arrange them in a way that expresses my heart accurately, and to arrange them correctly. If the Lord had not given me the message, the drive and the courage to do so, there would not be a Salt Cinnamon and Love blog.

Spaghetti

Spaghetti (Photo credit: avatar-1)

In saying all that, I am discovering a deep appreciation for writing out thoughts, as I have benefited by it. Writing has become a way to release words and thoughts trapped inside of me like a plate of spaghetti pasta.  When spoken, these jumbled thoughts may straighten up for a period of time, but can often revert back to a jumbled state. The more I write, the more these thoughts untangle themselves. There is something about seeing thoughts in black fonts on a white screen that causes them to line up with greater clarity and become more entrenched within me. I can say “hmmmmm” if I don’t know what to say, but I sure can’t use it when writing. It is either there or it isn’t. It is my prayer that as I write, others will also have more clarity about our Heavenly Father’s heart, a deeper yearning for Jesus, and a greater awareness for the necessity of depending on His Holy Spirit.

Spaghetti

Spaghetti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, I believe the Lord has also led me to write this blog for another reason. I have gained access to the world of other bloggers. It is a privilege for me to follow some inspiring blog sites.

There is so much diversity. I read about God’s grace, redemptive power and love from those who have won the battle against abuse, addiction, cancer, infertility, diseases, abortion, bad relationships and abandonment. I see God given creativity implanted into those who use written words for prose or poetry, who capture beauty with photography or artwork,  and who cook, sew and design with talented expression.

There are those who hear from the Lord in prophetic ways and can usher forth a word to encourage, warn or edify. There are gifted teachers, able to research and document accurately, offering lessons that generate a deeper understanding of God. There are those still struggling, yet willing to be vulnerable and honest, describing their battles as they press on toward victory. Life experiences are described with humor, reality and wit. There are trail blazers who establish a new work or challenge others in new endeavors.

World wide, I see a greater picture of the true bride of Christ, His body, His church, His people. There is so much to appreciate about this bigger concept of who we are in Christ. There is so much more to God than what one would learn in a singular mainstream denomination. There is so more to experience within the wholeness of His Body world-wide, than what one would experience solely relating within familiar surroundings. There is more about praying than just praying for what we see and know, when the needs and struggles of others, we don’t know, are expressed. There is larger burden for the advancement of God’s Kingdom when indifference and unbelief are revealed. There is more to rejoice about with the countless testimonies of faith and overcoming victory through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is magnified by the many words of praise, spoken, sung, signed and written.

I express great gratitude to all of you whose blogs inspire and edify me. May the Lord be glorified by our voices and words!

1 Peter 5:12 Amplified Bible (AMP) By Silvanus, a true (loyal, consistent, incorruptible) brother, as I consider him, I have written briefly to you, to counsel and urge and stimulate [you] and to declare [to you] that this is the true [account of the] grace (the undeserved favor) of God. Be steadfast and persevere in it.

Connecting, with love

Donna

Altogether Lovely

The greatest change that Jesus brought to this world is the presence of  Himself, and what He offers to every man, woman and child.  Only through His Holy Spirit are we able to comprehend just how lovely, how beautiful He is. The  magnitude of His glory and loveliness is expressed through His revealed names found in scripture. I want to share a few of His marvelous names. The quotes are from a devotional entitled The Wonderful Names of Our Wonderful Lord by Charles E. Hurlburt and T.C. Horton, a classic that has been in print for nearly a century.

I recently visited a glass blower’s shop and was fascinated by the lovely glass work. I’m including photos of the glass art in this post. As the glass blower demonstrated his work, I saw an analogy to the beauty that can come from us through the beauty of Jesus within us, as we walk in the power of His names.

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Altogether Lovely

His mouth is most sweet: yea He is altogether lovely. Song of Solomon 5:16

Every earthly joy will pall,

Every earthly friend will fall.

Only Christ is to the end

“Altogether Lovely,” Friend.

Do you see His wondrous face?

Full of glory, love and grace?

Look, and all thy need confess,

Worship His pure Holiness.

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The Brightness of His Glory

Who being the brightness of His Glory  Hebrews 1:3

Do you want to visualize the glory of God? Then gaze upon Jesus Christ. When we see Him, we see God, for He is God. Oh, the marvel of the Godhead! …

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A Sweet-Smelling Savor

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself…for a sweet-smelling savor. Ephesians 5:2

When Christ laid down His life on the cross what a perfume went up to God – the perfume from the sacrifice of His Son! Has the perfume of the cross yet reached you? It reached heaven. Has the love of God, as manifested in the sacrifice of His Son, mastered you? Our Father, forgive us that we have been so unmindful of the wonders of Thy love. May its perfume pervade our lives, and through us, the lives of others. Amen.

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The Unspeakable Gift

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15 (ASV)

…There was no treasure which God could give comparable to the gift of His Son, and “Having given us His Son, will He not with Him freely give us all things?”  How could it be possible that the Father would give to sinners the Son of His Love?  How we ought to love Him! Is there anything we have or are that we would withhold from Him? Loving Lord, help us to sense in a new way what it means for us to possess Thee, the unspeakable Gift. Amen,

May Jesus, and all that His names represent about Him, be fresh in our hearts for the days ahead. I hope and pray you and your family are blessed this Christmas season with awe for the beauty of Jesus.

Connecting, with love

Donna

A Baby’s cry changes everything


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On Keith and Kristyn Getty’s Christmas album is a song entitled How Suddenly a Baby Cries. The lyrics of the first line are “How suddenly a baby cries and all forever changed”. This phrase caused me to consider how Jesus Christ has indeed changed everything.

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Concentrating on what Jesus has done, the basic concept for this post began to formulate. By basic I mean, a thought here, a belief there, random thoughts, not connected together. Every time I set out to write a post, those random thoughts are the first to appear in the draft. Even though I am new to blogging, I learned very quickly to appreciate the delete key when what I have written does not adequately express what I know or what I believe. I also use the delete key when my writing stumbles upon my lack of knowledge on a subject. As I try developing a thought, I realize I’m not able to adequately describe it just yet. I then have to consult with my Editor, the Holy Spirit, Who instructs me more thoroughly or leads me to another blog subject. If I sense there isn’t a confident flow with a certain draft, I will put it aside until a later date.

I have discovered that writing is a wonderful discipline and I welcome the challenge because it causes me to look at what I know, and discover what I don’t know. Yes, it is easy to readily agree that the birth of Jesus forever changed our world. It is something else to express that concept in a manner that reveals  I own that truth. Restating truths gathered from others is not ownership. I own a revelation or truth when the Holy Spirit reveals it to me, and I then accept it by faith and seek to live it out. Once that truth belongs to me, I can express it with certainty and confidence. It holds steadfast in the light of God’s Word, as the Holy Spirit continues to work it out within me.

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In admitting this, I broach this subject with caution. I want to devote December’s posts to some simple, but significant ways Jesus has changed things, things we don’t normally consider at Christmas.  I will not attempt to examine those bigger, more profound changes attributed to Jesus. This will be a process to clarify some simple truths for me. Hopefully others will appreciate the process as well.

Baby, Lamb, and Lion, Jesus has touched every aspect of our lives in this world. Regardless that those who deny Him would negate His impact, this truth will one day be fully revealed and totally validated by the Lord Himself. Until then we have opportunities to be blessed by the changes Jesus provided, if we allow the Holy Spirit to teach us how to welcome those changes into our lives.

This is the link to How Suddenly a Baby Cries by Keith and Kristyn Getty

Connecting, with love

Donna

I’m thankful…

…for God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit…for the cross and all that Jesus made available through that cross to those willing to receive it

…for grandchildren and sunny days at the beach

…for sunrises, even when the red sky foretells of coming storms…because my hope is based on Jesus Christ and nothing less

..for peaceful sunsets at the end of blessed days

..for spring days abounding with flowers in all their varied colors, sizes and aromas

…summer green all over

..for fall days and nights and brightly painted mountains

…winter beauty with mountains dressed in snow

..for the Body of Christ…brothers and sister, near and far…related to each other by the Holy Spirit…joined in worship, praise, prayer, service, ministry and fellowship…knitted together in love

…did I mention grandchildren…and a husband, a daughter, a son, and their spouses…a mother, a father, a sister, a brother and their spouses…aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and grandparents, long gone, but still close to my heart

…for all the joys of nature

…mountain streams

…for rain

…lakes, rivers, and creeks

…gardens, orchards, farms….provision of food

So many more people and things to be grateful for…friends…new and old, homes, comfort, love and acceptance…safety, good health and strength…helpers, servers, supporters and mentors…provision and jobs…laughter, fun and adventure…seasons, climates, holidays, celebrations… people of all nations…visitors, guest, neighbors and strangers…memories, and anticipation of the future…painful lessons learned… fears overcome…tears shed with loved ones…

How do I wrap this up?  During this week before Thanksgiving, as I become still to consider, the good in life is without measure. Even the bad is made right by God’s grace and loving kindness. To abide in Christ is a win-win. He causes us to walk in His favor and He cause what would be considered painful or wrong to be made favorable for our good.  So, I praise you Lord with all my heart! I thank you for each and every day You have given me, and for whatever lies ahead.

Isaiah 30:18 Amplified Bible (AMP)

18 And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!

Connecting, with love

Donna