September 3, 2019

Hidden Away... The Colossian Series.

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As Fall hints at making an appearance around these parts, (and I'm telling you -- I am HERE for it!) it is time for another installment of our Colossians series As you know by now, we take a couple of verses from Colossians at a time, read them in a few different translations, and see what stands out. We've been going through Pauls' letter, verse by verse, and leaving room for the Holy Spirit to speak to us about it all year in this little corner of the interweb!
Today, our text is Colossians 3:3-4! Let's open the Word together!
 {If you're new to this series on the blog, the basic layout of each post in this series includes the text in several translations, a few of my thoughts on the passage, possibly a deeper truth or root word meaning found there and closes with a prayer!}

***
COLOSSIANS 3:3-4:
Let's dig in, starting with the full passage from The Passion Translation Bible:

"Your crucifixion with Christ has severed the tie to this life, and now your true life is hidden away in God in Christ. And as Christ himself is seen for who he really is, who you really are will also be revealed, for you are now one with him in his glory!" (The Passion Translation)
Wait... what? MY crucifixion? Um... what are we actually talking about here? 
Please tell me that at least some times, you are like me and you forget that you died... you're dead! 
When our flesh wants to rise up --its' first job is to convince us that it's still living...
(and the second is that it we have rights, man!)

September 1, 2019

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back... -A Five Minute Friday post.

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Hello, sweet readers! It feels like it has been forever! I have been keeping up with our first-ever, year-long, bible series on Colossians but other than that -I have not been sitting in this chair (or --to be honest-- writing in my journal!) much at all lately! But Autumn is almost here and that always means a season of restarting and resetting routines! And that goes along well with our One Word Prompt, so let's go!

This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free-write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: BACK



{GO!}

I see the prompt and --yet again... I laugh. This time, however, I realize right away that the laugh is to cover the pull toward tears.  

I see "Back" and I feel the pull backward... 

In this season, in a few areas of our life, we are witnessing and feeling the whole, "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back"... but some days it feels like WAY more than just one step.

I can really pick among many things to focus on but really --the most urgent and back and forth pull is all around my sweet sister and her beloved husband, Jack.  

Many of you may remember that he battled Stage 4 Breast Cancer awhile ago. He lived a full and healthy cancer-free life for several years however we found out a few months back that cancer returned. 

August 20, 2019

Set Your Mind on Heaven Above... The Colossian Series.

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It's been pretty quiet around here! Obviously, summer hit hard for us in August and I have not been sitting in this chair, typing out all the words much at all lately!  However, it is time for another installment of our Colossians series, and you know I am always down to take a couple of verses from Colossians in a few different translations and see what sticks out. We've been going through Pauls' letter, verse by verse, and leaving room for the Holy Spirit to speak to us about it this year in this little corner of the interweb!
Today, our text is Colossians 3:1-2! Let's open the Word together!
 {If you're new to this series on the blog, the basic layout of each post in this series includes the text in several translations, a few of my thoughts on the passage, possibly a deeper truth or root word meaning found there and closes with a prayer!}

***
COLOSSIANS 3:1-2:
Let's dig in, starting with the full passage from The Passion Translation Bible:

"Christ’s resurrection is your resurrection too. This is why we are to yearn for all that is above, for that’s where Christ sits enthroned at the place of all power, honor, and authority! Yes, feast on all the treasures of the heavenly realm and fill your thoughts with heavenly realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm." (The Passion Translation)
So - we have to start with the beginning of verse 1, right? Christ's resurrection is your resurrection too!  Tell me I'm not the only one who forgets this! Take a minute and think over your life --even just the last couple of days, and let yourself wonder what may have gone differently had you remembered this? And then let's just sit with the rest of this portion for a moment: 'Feast on all the treasures of the heavenly realm and fill your thoughts with heavenly realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm.'

August 6, 2019

Don't Be Bullied by Religion... The Colossian Series.

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Hello there, Sweet Readers! August is already underway and it is time for another installment of our Colossians series, where we go through the letter verse by verse and give room to the Holy Spirit to speak!
Today, our text is Colossians 2:20-23! Let's open the Word together!
{If you're new to this series on the blog, the basic layout of each post in this series includes the text in several translations, a few of my thoughts on the passage, possibly a deeper truth or root word meaning found there and closes with a prayer! 

***
COLOSSIANS 2:20-23:
Let's dig in, starting with the full passage from The Passion Translation Bible:

"For you were included in the death of Christ and have died with him to the religious system and powers of this world. Don’t retreat back to being bullied by the standards and opinions of religion— for example, their strict requirements, “You can’t associate with that person!” or, “Don’t eat that!” or, “You can’t touch that!” These are the doctrines of men and corrupt customs that are worthless to help you spiritually. For though they may appear to possess the promise of wisdom in their submission to God through the deprivation of their physical bodies, it is actually nothing more than empty rules rooted in religious rituals!" (The Passion Translation)
I can't say for you --but for me? Yeah... I've most definitely allowed myself to be 'bullied by the standards and opinions of religion.' 
Listen --I've been a believer long enough, and been 'in ministry' long enough, to have sadly more than likely bullied people myself... (somewhat) unaware!  I'm most definitely a Grace girl now and much prefer real, inward motivational change over appearance-based, outward fake behavioral change! 

I do love me some lists though! 
And also -- I think if we are honest (and we try to be that around here, for sure!) we also appreciate being able to 'grade' or judge where we are and how we are doing in comparison to other Christians around us!  (What!? Was that too honest? #sorrynotsorry!)

August 4, 2019

A Random List of Last Fives... -A Five Minute Friday post.

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Another post already? I know... but I accidentally saw the One Word Prompt even though I had no plans of writing again so soon.  Once I saw the word, however, I realized I had just been wanting to do a lighter post --something less heavy and more fun and this will work perfectly! So... let's go!

This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free-write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: FIVE


{GO!}

I have been missing those What I Learned link-up posts and how lighthearted and fun they were! Coming out of a long hard season, I wanted to follow Emily P. Freeman's lead and write some lists, so let's see what Last Fives come to mind after hitting the timer...

A Random List of Last Fives...

August 1, 2019

The Middle Matters... a Five Minute Friday post (and Book review post --because, of course!)

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August? It's already August? If you subscribe to the monthly NewsyLetter then you may have just read about how I feel like we JUST fell into the rhythm of lazy summer days and it's already August? (Not that I'm actually complaining because if you have been around this little corner for long at all, you know Fall is my favorite!)

This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free-write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: MIDDLE


{GO!}


I have said it several times: Whenever Lisa-Jo Baker writes something, I'm gonna get my hands and my head and my heart all around it. (And more than likely, I'm gonna share it and tell all my friends to read it, too!) So it was no real surprise to find myself on the Launch Team for her latest book, The Middle Matters. I've been on all of her launch teams to date... I knew that going in this book was different in that it is a collection of essays and they are all based on the Middle --of life, of parenting, of marriage, of --you know, our middles!?

I love Lisa-Jo because she is real... she is honest and open and she just tells it like it is. She is full of grace and love and she makes room at any given table and scooches over on any given couch. Her message rings loud and clear: You are welcome here.  

There is something that is so needed for voices like hers --for hearts like hers-- in our world right now! She is an InCourager (--ya see what I did there?) and a Champion and, gah! We need more people to be people that love well and follow hard after Him (while being Oh So Real about our messy lives!)

I have found myself in the middle of oh so many things right now... 

July 18, 2019

Cup Your Hands & Position Your Heart... Willing - A Five Minute Friday post.

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Oh, Summer! (Am I right?)

Let's just get to it! This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free-write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: WILLING


{GO!}

I'm tempted to just wait... I mean... it's Thursday afternoon and I know a 'new' word will be released tonight. I already wrote two posts this week because --at least for a couple of things-- I'm letting my calendar boss me around.  Honestly - the only reason that is true is that I have felt, shall we say, uninspired as of late.  So while my heart is willing --my flesh is weak and I just haven't set aside time to sit in this chair and tap out words consistently for a while now.

Mostly, I'm totally ok with that.


I've been busy being present in my actual life and
while it is not easy or fun a lot of the time right now,
it is vital and it is a priority and I have no regrets...
well --other than these two:
#1. I miss Y'all tons! ...and
#2. This is how I process.

For real... writing here in this space helps me to unpack the things God has whispered to me along the way and gives me perspective and insight and hope that I may miss if I just try to keep it to myself! So here I sit... willing... and waiting... and remembering how my OneWord for this year is a Do-Over (or Do-Better) word and, My oh My...
Joy is a promise He just
keeps on giving me...

July 16, 2019

Light from Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker... A Book Review post.

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Two posts... in one day? I know... Honestly, I do! But our Colossians Series is on a set schedule, and this is Launch Day for Light from Distant Stars, so...

Here's the thing... I was not going to do anymore Book Launch Teams for awhile!  I had long been saying that I needed to add more fiction into my stacks of books and so I had already decided to pass on any invitations over the summer.  And then I saw this upcoming novel by Shawn Smucker and signed up right away!  
I know!? I can't help myself! Plus --bonus!-- I was reading his non-fiction book, Once We Were Strangers, and I was loving it! So I had some high expectations for this new release! I had heard a ton of great things about his other fiction works but haven't read them... however, (spoiler alert!) they are now on my list for summer reading!
I made it onto that Launch Team and I'm here today to encourage you to order a copy of Light from Distant Stars for yourself --or order a couple so you can give one away! You just may want to do that --so you can talk about it with a friend when you're done reading it! 

I had started reading Once We Were Strangers, also written by this author, before joining the launch team for Light from Distant Stars. So I already knew I would enjoy the book. I had been saying for months that I needed to add more fiction to my reading list so this was perfect timing!

I was hungry for a book that would draw me in and make me put off sleep for all the best reasons! So I had high hopes for this one, and Shawn Smucker did not disappoint!

Only Shadows... The Colossian Series.


***

Happy Summer! Here we are mid-July and summer is flying by!  Today we are going to continue with our Colossians series, going through the letter verse by verse and give room to the Holy Spirit to speak!

And again, I'll tell you why we are going slowly on purpose:

1. Colossians is SO FULL of goodness! And
2. We are spreading these posts out, so there are two per month and by the end of the year we will have really Saturated ourselves in His Goodness found in the book of Colossians! (Ya see what I did there?)

Today, let's read through Colossians 2:16-19 together!

{If you are new, the basic layout of each post in this series includes the text in several translations, a few of my thoughts on the passage, possibly a deeper truth or root word meaning found there, and then we close with prayer! This is a new type of series here and I can't tell you how honored I am to have you here, reading through the Book of Colossians with me!}

***
COLOSSIANS 2:16-19:
Let's dig in, starting with the full passage from The Passion Translation Bible:
"So why would you allow anyone to judge you because of what you eat or drink, or insist that you keep the feasts, observe new moon celebrations, or the Sabbath? All of these were but a prophetic shadow and the evidence of what would be fulfilled, for the body is now Christ! Don’t let anyone disqualify you from your prize!


July 2, 2019

Never To Return... -The Colossians Series.

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Welcome back! We are already in July and we are plugging away verse by verse in this Colossians series! I'm so happy you are joining in! We're going to simply read a few verses slowly and make room for the Holy Spirit to unpack them for us today!

Once again, I want to state the truth of why we're going slow on purpose:

1. Colossians is SO FULL of goodness! And
2. We are spreading these posts out, so there are two per month and by the end of the year we will have really Saturated ourselves in His Goodness found in the book of Colossians! (Ya see what I did there?)

Today, we will read through Colossians 2:12-15
in a few different translations!

{If you are new, the basic layout of each post in this series includes the text in several translations, a few of my thoughts on the passage, possibly a deeper truth or root word meaning found there, and then we close with prayer! This is a new type of series here and I can't tell you how honored I am to have you here, reading through the Book of Colossians with me!}

***
COLOSSIANS 2:12-15:
Let's dig in, starting with the full passage from The Passion Translation Bible:
"For we’ve been buried with him into his death. Our “baptism into death” also means we were raised with him when we believed in God’s resurrection power, the power that raised him from death’s realm. This “realm of death” describes our former state, for we were held in sin’s grasp. But now, we’ve been resurrected out of that “realm of death” never to return, for we are forever alive and forgiven of all our sins! 
He canceled out every legal violation we had on our record and the old arrest warrant that stood to indict us. He erased it all—our sins, our stained soul—he deleted it all and they cannot be retrieved! Everything we once were in Adam has been placed onto his cross and nailed permanently there as a public display of cancellation. 
Then Jesus made a public spectacle of all the powers and principalities of darkness, stripping away from them every weapon and all their spiritual authority and power to accuse us. And by the power of the cross, Jesus led them around as prisoners in a procession of triumph. He was not their prisoner; they were his!" (The Passion Translation)
I don't know about you, but I can easily read right through this and keep on going like it's a normal thing. I mean --it's so familiar and true, but I think every single time we read these facts, we should be Shocked and Awed into a posture of worship! 
It should take our breath away every time we reflect back on the Cross and Christs' resurrection (which is, as this text says, our resurrection too!) 

June 26, 2019

When Questions Still Linger... A Five Minute Friday post.

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Hey there, Sweet Readers! Can you even believe that July is almost upon us? Slow Down Summer... Gah! We need to savor all of your long days and warm nights and the slower way of unwinding!

Let's just get to it! This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: QUESTION


{GO!}

Oye, with the Questions, right? 

I mean... they can seem to be on an endless loop
that never slows to a stop
or gives room for answers!


Listen, I think we are all 'prone to wander...' 
and we are all prone to wonder... 
to question and ask over and over...
to overthink or second-guess or obsess...
to fear and worry and doubt... 
to forget that God --as He likes to remind me
from time to time-- doesn't actually answer to us!

June 18, 2019

His Power Extends Over Everything - The Colossians Series.

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Welcome back to another post in our Colossians series! As has become our routine during this Bible Study series, we're going to simply read a few verses slowly and make room for the Holy Spirit to unpack them for us today!

I wanted to restate the truth of why we are going slow on purpose:

1. Colossians is SO FULL of goodness! And
2. We are spreading these posts out, so there are two per month and by the end of the year we will have really Saturated ourselves in His Goodness found in the book of Colossians! (Ya see what I did there?)

Today, we will read through Colossians 2:9-11
in a few different translations!

{If you are new, the basic layout of each post in this series includes the text in several translations, a few of my thoughts on the passage, possibly a deeper truth or root word meaning found there, and then we close with prayer! This is a new type of series here and I can't tell you how honored I am to have you here, reading through the Book of Colossians with me!}

***
COLOSSIANS 2:9-11:
Let's dig in, starting with the full passage from The Passion Translation Bible:
"For he is the complete fullness of deity living in human form. And our own completeness is now found in him. We are completely filled with God as Christ’s fullness overflows within us. He is the Head of every kingdom and authority in the universe! Through our union with him we have experienced circumcision of heart. All of the guilt and power of sin has been cut away and is now extinct because of what Christ, the Anointed One, has accomplished for us." (The Passion Translation)
I was tempted to jump into verse 10 but, you guys, don't miss verse 9! He is the COMPLETE FULLNESS of God, living in human form! This is our Jesus... but that's not all! "Our own completeness is now found in him."  I mean... come on!?
Anything that feels like we are lacking or running short of...
Anything that we think we need to make us our best selves --it's all hidden in and found in Jesus!
All of it. All of us... in Him!

June 14, 2019

Our Weekend Goal... A Five Minute Friday post.

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Oh, Friends!  I don't know about where you live, but here in my little corner of the PNW:

Summer is
HERE big time and, let me tell you, I am so FOR it!

I'm talking forego the hot cuppa and go for the iced coffee in the morning instead because it's
already sunny and warm but the patio is calling my name! You know how it is with me! #patiolife

Let's just get to it! This is a Five Minute Friday post... which simply means I set a timer and free write for five minutes flat on the one-word prompt: GOAL


{GO!}


Last week we nearly hit triple digits.
It's not that this is unusual, really!
After all - we live in a desert land...
where the sun beats hot and the heat is dry.
It's all I've ever really known. 
I grew up in this town and never left. 
I'm assured I would know the difference
between humid and dry heat and I'm sure it's true. 
Still... as long as I have access to my beloved A/C,
I'm good with long summer days that
start out warm and never fully cool off.

But again, it is desert land
so once the sun goes down,
it usually DOES cool off
--at least a bit!

Listen, while not all things are meant for the interwebs, 
and we have played many cards close to our hearts
over the past year or so, many of you have walked with
and prayed for us in this long, hard season
of living in the in-between! 

Many of you have traveled these
parched 'desert lands' with us...

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