For When a Flicker Lights a Way for Hope to Come (Word of the Week)

isaiah 9-2Longing for a word from The Word to guide me through the week, I come before Him expectantly.

He leads me through a labyrinth of anticipation. Of yearning. Of hopefulness. Of waiting.

Of Advent. The Coming of all our hearts long for. Both those things of which we are quite aware. And the fullness of abundantly more that He promises as our inheritance.

We long for a Messiah — our salvation. We long for Emmanuel — God with us.

We long for an experience of His love. A taste of His grace. A promise of His peace.

We long for the days of no more tears and no more pain.

Because the world, so often, is dark and cold. I have heard its stories on the news. I have listened to its echoes in the aching words of those I hold dear. I have read its reports across the blogosphere. I have harbored its weariness in my own soul.

We long. We are restless. We wait.

In the waiting, I am at a loss for words.

And maybe silence is the only proper response. The only appropriate action for the anxious anticipation. The only prayer that makes any sense in the lighting of Advent’s first bit of light in a world full of darkness.

The candle of Hope. advent

Those who walked in the dark     have seen a bright light. And it shines upon everyone who lives in the land     of darkest shadows.  (Isaiah 9:2)

Just one light in the blackness. Just a flicker of hope. It is enough to push back against despair.

It is enough to awaken our hearts. It is enough for us, the waiters — the Advent people, to declare the coming King.

And by its light, may we find our way to all the corners of darkness, until the Light of the World, shines fully on us all.

If you have 10 more minutes, please watch this message about Hope from Ann Voskamp. It’s powerful, darkness-shattering stuff.

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I return each Sabbath for a fresh Word of the Week. For the God-breathed pages to come alive in a phrase or two on which to spend a 7-day feast. To meditate upon. To use as a jumping off point for whatever other words God would have me hear during the week. I would love for you to join the Word of the Week (WOW) discussion by adding your selected verse to the comments … or reflections on any scripture reading. 

Linking with Unforced Rhythms — a wonderful community of writers who gather each Monday to share with you HERE.

For When Hearts are United Through Hands (Word of The Week)

psalm-168He was across the room when the call for prayer was heard. I instinctively and quickly make may way to him. Because my soul knows where my body needs to be. Next to him. Because that’s what we do.

We bow our heads and link our fingers.

Somewhere in 16 years of marriage, we started this approach to prayer. A physical reaching for each other as a spiritual positioning before God in our requests. United as one. An intertwining of a cord of three strands. Him. Me. Jesus.

And there are few other times when I feel as sure of the path we’ve vowed to take together than I do in those moments. Regardless of the circumstances, I have learned.

Him. Me. Jesus. We’ve got this.

This single, simple act adds mortar to our bricks and reinforces our foundation. One Amen at a time. Because far too many things — and sometimes even we, ourselves — chip away at our union. man-and-woman-holding-hands

It’s the reason we keep returning to this joining of our fingers and our faith.

In fact, it’s one of the reasons I pray at all.

Because sometimes a prayer is nothing more than a reaching. A remembering that God’s hand is there. That He longs to weave his digits with mine and walk with me.

Because when I place my requests, my heart, and future in His hands, I find myself confident in His care.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8)

And when my hand is in His, I stand united with His sovereign plan.

His hand will strengthen me. His hand will lead me home.

Hand in Hand, I already am.

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I return each Sabbath for a fresh Word of the Week. For the God-breathed pages to come alive in a phrase or two on which to spend a 7-day feast. To meditate upon. To use as a jumping off point for whatever other words God would have me hear during the week. I would love for you to join the Word of the Week (WOW) discussion by adding your selected verse to the comments … or reflections on any scripture reading. 

Linking with Unforced Rhythms — a wonderful community of writers who gather each Monday to share with you HERE.

 

Is There Anybody?

raised-hands-2If there’s anybody here
who’s found Him faithful
Anybody here
who knows He’s able
Say Amen

And if there’s anybody here
who’s seen His power
Anybody here
brought through the fire
Say Amen

Anybody here
found joy in the middle of sorrow
Peace in the storm, hope for tomorrow
And seen it time and time again
Then just Say AMEN! 

(Say Amen, by Finding Favour)

Please use the comments section below to add your Amen!

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Linking up with #ThreeWordWednesday friends. Link on the photo below to read more.

ThreeWordWednesday

What to Pray When you Say you Will

candlehandsWe mean well. I know we do. When we hear hard news — Disease. Death. Broken hearts. Battered families.

The circumstances of life hit those we care for below the belt, and we say we will pray. But what should we say?

I certainly am not suggesting there is any magic formula for prayer. There are thousands of ways to humble our hearts and bring our petitions to the God of grace. The God who tells us to Ask. Seek. Knock. The God who calls himself “Abba” — Daddy — as a reminder to climb into his lap with our worries.

But when The Holy Spirit brings people to my mind and invites me to escort them to the throne, these are some of the words I often find most helpful.

Nearness. God can feel far away when our hearts are hurting. Pray that your friend will not feel this distance. That God will, instead, feel very, very close. That He would make himself known again and again. That even if we question His plans, we cannot deny His presence. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalm 34:18)

Clearness. Often hard times call for hard decisions to be made. And it can be confusing. Pray for clarity of God’s will. Or, as I often shorthand it, “God, please be loud in her head.” May the path be clear. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”  (Isaiah 30:21)

Boldness. It can be scary to ask for the big thing. For the complete healing. For the total restoration. For the seemingly impossible. For the miracle. But scripture promises we have the right to ask. That, in fact, we have the tools at our disposal to make it happen. “Then Jesus told them, ‘I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, “May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,” and it will happen.'” (Matthew 21:21)

Stillness. So many times, the things that drive us to our knees reveal our weaknesses. Our lack of control. Our complete inability to make the things happen the way we wish they could happen. Often the best we can do is wait. To stop fighting the battering waves and float. And this means stillness. Pray, then, for true release. For peace. For God to take over and to provide supernatural rest. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

What a privilege it is to pray for one another. May these themes help guide your heart and your words during these seasons.

Please use the comments section below to add your own thoughts and tips on how to support others in prayer.

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Linking up with #ThreeWordWednesday friends. Link on the photo below to read more.

ThreeWordWednesday

Acting Naturally

The wind and waves obey Him.
I ask for an explanation.

The skies proclaim the work of His hands.
I focus on my lack.

The lilies do not toil or spin.
I run in circles.

The rocks cry out in praise.
I’m more inclined to pout.

The sun knows its time for setting.
I overstay my welcome.

The trees yield their fruit in season.
I’d rather not wait.

My human nature doesn’t resemble nature at all. Oh, that it would.

Enjoy this blog? Find Beth in these Places, too.