Jody Lynne

Intersecting Life and Faith

Tag: following Jesus (page 1 of 3)

Sweeter Words Have Not Been Heard

cropped-flower.jpgSweeter words have not been heard for a struggling, unbalanced writer.
I really miss reading your blog.
Those five words were the push I needed to hear to get me back to this space today. There are oodles of reasons why I have been silent. If you could see my brain and open my chest to see the pathways my heart is taking these days, you would understand why I struggle to get words flowing out of these fingertips. John Piper put it so well in the following quote about writing advice
There is the impulse to write, not only to learn and not only to create something beautiful or interesting or compelling, but also the impulse to instruct and awaken and delight and transform people into obedient worshippers of Christ. When this impulse takes hold of a person, he is experiencing a call from God to write. (5 Pieces of Writing Advice...)
I've often said I can not, not  write. I don't know if that is grammatically correct, but I have the impulse to write. I have a prayer journal, random pieces of paper on my desk and kitchen counter and recently I've added a wedding journal, so pen and paper are some of my best friends. The neglect of writing at Jody Lynne is a result of a well run dry because of grief that keeps knocking at my door, making plans for a future wedding celebration of one of our daughters and the arrival of a baby which my son and daughter-in-law will greet this summer, making me a grandmother for the first time.  Add keeping up with a 16 year old at my age, an active church and family life. Much needed quiet time has been the result of up and down emotions, needing to re-fuel. The beginning of 2016 brought many reasons to rejoice and to weep with those who weep. But today, with the encouragement to press on, I am going to do just that. I am reaching forward, running to the One who keeps this soul on track.
Brothers(and sisters), I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it(being fully mature), But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
And thanks to the person, you know who you are, whose words were spoken at just the right time.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 25:11

Looking Over My Shoulder

Once again the world stopped because of unbelievable atrocities that have taken place. This time in Paris, France. It didn't take long for social media to light up with support and prayers for the people of our oldest ally.  I cannot find words to adequately vocalize what I am feeling about this latest tragedy of human lives lost because of hatred. We've  been here before, sadly we know what it feels like to have a bright sunny morning interrupted or a Friday night out on the town ended in blood and death. Truth be told, I find myself looking over my shoulder, wondering when it could happen in the United States again and could it happen here. It would be foolish of me to bury my head in the perceived safety and security of small town America. It would be selfish to look away and not read the stories of lives lost, of families changed forever or not pray. It would be easier to look away, it would be more comfortable to ignore what hatred and darkness has done once again. I cannot nor do I want to be ignorant or uncaring of those who are suffering. I will watch the news and read the headlines as to what is happening in the world. I will remember, with God's help, to pray for the people of Paris and the churches there who will be ministering to the hurting. What I don't want to do is focus on the darkness and hate or throw my hands up in despair because it seems the bad guys are winning.  I do not want to spend my days looking over my shoulder, wondering who is next or will it affect my loved ones. What I want to do is focus on the Light of the world. I want to follow the One who will not lead me into darkness, but will be the light of life. (John 8:12) I want to trust God everyday, whatever that day may bring. All of life is an opportunity to ask God if I can trust Him. Will I tether my life to the  Truth, to the Word of God? A message by Pastor Rob on the issue of trust can be heard here.  Hannah wrote a post on Paris, a city she fell in love with last year. Reflecting on the City of Light  

Pressed

Ahhhh the aroma of that first cup of coffee. Getting that first cup of brown, liquid java some mornings doesn't come quick enough. There are so many ways to brew addiction... coffee, whether from a Mr. Coffee coffee pot, a Keurig or a French Press, which I currently use. 

french_press

To make a great cup, only three things are needed. Water, coffee grounds and heat. Using a press, water is heated to 212 F, coffee grounds are added to the bottom of this container, the plunger is removed first. The boiling water is poured over the grounds, replacing the plunger, I let it set for 4 minutes for the coffee to steep. The plunger is then pushed to the bottom of the pot, pressing the water through the grounds resulting in the best cup of coffee to be poured and consumed. 

Think about where a choice up of coffee begins. A green bean is roasted to perfection over heat, crushed to fine grounds, heated with scalding liquid, pressed and poured out.

And so it is with followers of Jesus who have left everything to walk in the dust of their Savior who died for us. God's goal for each disciple is to be conformed to the image of His Son(Romans 8:29). Conforming to look like Jesus will take heat and pressing. (2 Corinthians 4:8) The Greek word for press is

thlib? (thl?'-b?) defined as to press like grapes(BLB)

Pressure, yes,

but not crushed.  

Perplexed, yes

 but not in despair .

Persecuted, yes,

but not abandoned. 

Struck down, yes,

but not destroyed. We do not give up in the pressing because the treasure is the unfading glory of our Savior. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10)

Sometimes the more humble the container, the more glorious its precious contents appear.(HSCB note)

There is so much to be perplexed about, to feel we are abandoned at times and in despair. Even though we cannot always feel God's presence, He promises to never leave or forsake us. Jesus does know how we feel when the darkness overwhelms and there seems to be no end to the despair. On the cross Jesus cried out, 'my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' (Matthew 27:46)

The gospel declares to us that God has made Himself close in Christ, holding us even tighter than a mother holds a newborn child. (Isaiah 49:15) When our feelings tell us that is not true, we must defy those feelings with faith in God's promise. J.D. Greear

Feeling pressed today? In despair and feeling the darkness will overwhelm? Faith my friends...God is near.

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