On thinking deeply, following more closely and how His capturing my heart benefits my marriage…

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May you know more and more of grace and peace as your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord grows deeper. He has by His own action given us everything that is necessary for living the truly good life, in allowing us to know the One who has called us to Him, through His own glorious goodness.
2 Peter 1:2-3

Often while it is yet dark and I sit still with my Father in the secret place reading the first chapter of 2 Peter, I find myself encouraged to live like Jesus to the best of my ability, hopefully becoming more like Him day by day.

This morning it was the phrase to know the One that jumped out at me.

And I continue digging deeper.

Over the years I acquired lots of knowledge about God but it is only in knowing the One who died for me that sets me free to truly follow Him.

Surrendered, submissive and obedient. In love!

Verse seven of this chapter ends in love. Agape. The highest love. Unconditional. Love, the Alpha and the Omega of all existence, for God is love.

And we were all created in love, even if our parents didn’t plan or want us.

We all have our sins covered with love never failing even when others may choose not to forgive us.

We all our blessed, even those who may not know yet, because Love hung on a tree all bloody to take away my sins, and yours.

This Love changes us, heals us, setting hearts free to be the people, spouses or parents He has created us to be.

And it is only as my heart is captured by the Son of Man who came to earth to reveal the Father’s heart that I can learn to love my husband like God does and in so doing bring Him glory.

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Getting back to Peter, it is love and the other qualities listed that render my life fruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For this very reason you must do your utmost from your side, and see that your faith carries with it real goodness of life. Your goodness must be accompanied by knowledge, your knowledge by self-control, your self-control by the ability to endure. Your endurance too must always be accompanied by devotion to God; that in turn must have in it the quality of brotherliness, and your brotherliness must lead on to Christian love.
2 Peter 1: 5-7

My confession, and maybe yours too, is that for a very long time I didn’t have true knowledge.

Rather I had predigested tidbits regurgitated to me over and over, often blindly accepted without really wrestling with those whispers in my heart about words that evoke questions.

And so often in fear, ignorance or laziness I dismissed my questions, if I had even entertained them in the first place, telling myself that they know better than me.

But God wants me to think deep and be a Berean.

Since about 2009 God has me on an interesting and challenging quest of becoming who He has created me to be by knowing Him better and being more obedient than I ever have before. And my heart and mind have been opening in ways different than in the earlier years of my continually-growing faith. With deeper thinking for myself, not merely accepting all I’ve been traditionally taught along the way.

Yet it is a process of learning and growing in love one day at a time.

As I press in more, through the Gospels where Jesus reveals the Father, I come to know God’s Father Heart in a simpler, perhaps more real or child-like way that is expanding me in love.

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I believe that God has been stirring up my previous status quo approach to things like church and doctrines and forging in me a questioning, seeking disciple heart. Willing to read the four gospel accounts AS IF I had never been taught ANYTHING about God! And asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to me what He will about God. And I see Him stirring the hearts of others as well and through respectful, noble discourse we all learn. Perhaps we all begin to wake up?

Yet God is and always will be mysterious and big…and we have these finite little brains!

No one would deny that this religion of ours is a tremendous mystery, resting as it does on the One who appeared in human flesh, was vindicated in the spirit, seen by angels; proclaimed among the nations, believed in throughout the world, taken back to Heaven in glory.
1 Timothy 3:16

I am not suggesting rising against authority in anarchy or anything like that. I am urging, however, that each of us go deeper with our Lord.

As we do our lives will change.

For it is only when our heart is made free by His love that we are released from being the world’s captive. We may be saved the moment we come to our Lord but it can take many moments over decades before we truly surrender our hearts and love like He does.

Freely.

And in His great love for us He patiently waits as we dance around the issue of submitting ourselves to His lordship and following hard after the One who followed the way to the Cross, His heart crying out take this from me if you will, but not my will but Yours be done.

Us needing to learn to surrender: Thy will, not mine. And maybe even us needing to unlearn certain things?

Can you cry that from the innermost part of your heart? Can I?

Can you give yourself so completely to this Son of Man and Son of God that you are willing to follow Him wherever He leads, trusting Him regardless of what you see or feel, exploring areas that might make you a bit uncomfortable, resting in Father’s great love even though you do not know what your future holds?

This is my prayer.

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And recently I read that the Greek word oida means to have seen or perceived, appreciate, aware, become learned, having knowledge, become conscious.

Father, I want to be fully awake and alert, highly conscious of You in truth with a heart that accepts that You are limitless and I have much to learn.

This is what I seek, before being a good wife or writer or anything else. This above all to know, love and best serve my Lord all the days of my life. So I ask Him to keep my mind and my heart open. To make me unafraid to ask Him questions on subjects I have learned to accept and maybe even take for granted.

To go forward with Him ever deeper into His heart.

And this quest is humbling. I once thought I had a handle on God. {YIKES!} And years ago when I was younger and foolish-er I would spout {read that demand} that others accept what I said because I accepted without question what others had told me. Before God ever made it real to my own heart. Prior to understanding how great is the Father’s love for us.

Forgive me, Father, for presenting you in a way that was so much less than who you truly are.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:14-21

Lord, fill me up...

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When you’re moving and you can’t get enough of God’s grace…

BOARDWALK BRIDGE Copyright 2013 Sheila Kimball

Like the fleeting hours of my favorite season sleep is short these days.

Yet the to-do list is long and hours pass quickly.

I am busier than ever with a houseful of grown kids for the summer and with closing up this old place as we prepare to close on the sale of our home in early August.

So I haven’t been able to write as much at Longings End and I thank you kindly for grace in understanding.

And humbly ask for a million prayers during this wonderful, crazy, exhausting transition.

I am working on a post, however, which I hope to put up Friday or Saturday.

Until then here is one of my favorites on the only thing that passes more quickly than summer.

Our children’s childhoods.

Click here to read that post.

And God bless you for your patience and love…

~sheila

When God says no…

Or at least, in the present moment, it appears to be no.

And we don’t understand, and our wanting and begging just won’t stop.

Yet it seems like Heaven’s ears are plugged and our pleading in prayer makes no difference.

We stoop bewildered under the apparent blow, the burden to bear bearing down hard.

Asking why?

Why this and not that?

Why later {if at all} and not now?

And how in all the world do we reconcile the facts that God is good all the time and delights in giving his children good gifts?

There in lies the crux.

The crux of the Cross. Our redemption and His plan for our life.

Faith, and hoping for things unseen…

Not necessarily a life of ease, but a life of easing our grip, releasing our control of our own lives.

Of letting go of thinking that we know what is best for us.

Of what we think {or want} in this moment is best for us. At present. Close up of our lives not revealing the broad reaching vista that only God can see. The big picture as painted by His hand. The later on and yet to be, where He already is.

But just suppose, for a moment, that in all our praying and pleading for some one particular thing or outcome…

In all our crying and worrying late into the night…

In even, perhaps, our momentary anger when things don’t go our way…

What if we could stop all that restless fussing and just rest?

Lay it all down. Put it all aside, and open our hearts to that grand, eternal heart of Heaven.

Always good, He is!

Even when we are blind to that truth and our heart screams the opposite.

And try to understand that the best for us is learning to love well, and becoming more like Jesus who gave His sacred, sinless life for us on the Cross.

What Jesus accomplished at Calvary may not have looked like a particularly good thing on that dark day to those who loved him dearly.

But is was indeed God’s best for us.

And when we pick up our own crosses, they can be hard to bear and we balk at the bulk of the weight on our shoulders.

Weighing us down when we stop looking up. Needing to exchange with Jesus, His yoke for ours.

But how else can we practice the virtues God wants to develop in us? All those fruits of the spirit, like so many apples heavy on the bough in the orchards at harvest. Golden and delicious.

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Galatians 5:22-23 The Message

He is producing in us a crop of righteousness that grows extremely well in soil watered with the tears of our suffering.

And that is why James tell us to Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
James 1: 2-4 The Message

And like the colors of the changing leaves falling down, God uses the pressure cooker of life’s situations to reveal our true colors.How we think, speak and react to a person, circumstance or hurt in life tells more about our level of maturity and relationship to our Savior than any number of bible verses memorized or Sunday services attended.

And then Paul reminds us to continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Romans 5: 3-5 The Message

Sometimes, I think, God needs to leave us right where we are.

For a season.

But seasons change. And each season has it’s purpose under the sun. And the Son will tend the garden of our hearts. Planting good seed even during a season of drought or torrential storm.

And prayers seemingly unanswered, are truly answered with His best for us.

But our eyes can cloud with the dust from the fields where we think we toil in vain. Yet what lies buried in the warm, dark soil unseen will one day blossom to produce plenty of good.

So let us not weary when we now see only dimly through the glass.

Rather let’s respond in faith strong and love burning hot, and let His perfect ways have their way in us. Even when it hurts, bewilders or stretches us uncomfortably.

And one fine day, when all the goings on here are said and done and all has been made brand new, we will know that the end from the beginning was incredibly worth the journey of a thousand miles with all its cuts and scrapes along the way.

Looking back, we will say with glad hearts, that the most amazing vistas our hearts ever beheld were in the shadow lands as we held out our hand and firmly grasped His, yielding.

And we will know deep in our hearts that His promises are Yes and Amen!

If only we will have the faith to believe one day at at time…

~sheila

 

Same old, same old…NOT

Hit the snooze. Again.

Roll outta bed. Brush your teeth. Grab some breakfast or at least a cuppa joe.

Run out the door. Sit in traffic. Or wait at the station.

And so on and so on. Day evaporating into day, one not much different than the next.

A similar replay at the end of the evening with rush, rush, rush and no time to exhale. Then collapse into bed and get ready to do it all over again in the morning.

Mindlessly ground up in the daily routine. One foot after the other in a journey of a thousand miles going where, I ask?

The common complaint I hear around the water cooler, at the supermarket and inside my own head is, what’s the point?

And as I live out my life each day, so much of which is positively lovely, I cry out to the One who made me, is this it? Am I fulfilling my purpose?

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

God has put certain desires in our hearts for His glory. Desires that when fulfilled, help others and make our own hearts happy.

I don’t think any of us want to finish our days on earth and realize we missed the boat. That we merely existed — instead of truly living — while we journeyed this side of the veil.

Merely existing! Such a dreadful thought.

And what about you?

Do you run through your days, the hours slipping away like so much sand between your fingers, in a chaotic swirl of must do’s? Racing here, racing there. Heart pounding, shoulders tight, a grimace where a smile should reside?

It’s been said that the way we spend our days is the way we will live our lives.

Eeekk!

Time for a change. And there is no time like the present!

Our God given heart’s desire is the one which completes our reason for being here, I am sure.

It’s the desire that’s skimmed the surface of our hearts for as long as we can remember. It tumbles over and over in the back of our minds preventing sleep, like squirrels running in the attic. It tugs at us like a whiny child simply wanting to be embraced while we keep ignoring it in lieu of the life we feel compelled to push through. And no matter how we may try to bury it, that desire never dies…

God tells us to run the race with endurance and finish well. I highly doubt he was talking about the rat race!

Have you squeezed yourself into the mold because you feel there is no other way?

Well we don’t have to keep doing the same old, same old.

We have a BIG God who is crazy about us.

More than anything else, he desires a relationship with us. He desires that we should understand His heart and follow Him. And as we do, we will find our life.

A life abundant with good plans and hope for our futures.

And He wants us to dream big!

For shame if our epitaphs should someday read: Here lies a worker drone who toiled without ceasing, yet never fulfilled the purpose for which he or she was created.

That thought hurts my belly.

So what’s the alternative?

Love mixed with radical faith in a God who holds everyone of us in his tenderhearted hands!

He even takes care of the sparrows and we, made in His image, are a whole bunch more dear to His heart.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows… Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. Matthew 10:29, 33

Having radical faith can make us brave and can make things happen. God will hold us close and provide for us should we decide to follow Him with passion, let go of this “life” which may not be true life at all…and just GO.

Last August, son #2 did just that. He felt led to pick up and move to Hawaii. He literally left with only a backpack, an extra pair of shorts and a little money he had saved. But he had no doubt God would provide for all he needed.

Ben landed a job, complete with room and board, immediately upon landing on the Big Island. For the last five months, he sends home the most lush and lovely photos of the amazing adventure he is on, now joined by his girlfriend. And God is caring for them both every day, in all ways.

In God’s love, and in believing God’s word, we will find the courage to go forward into the unknown and conquer Canaan (our current existence) so we can enter the land flowing with milk and honey, our promised land where we will find our real lives.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

And when we get there…well, that’s when we stop spinning our wheels and our hearts will sing as we take our first breath of life as He intends …

~sheila

Reposted from the archives…while we’re away taking a “second honeymoon” to celebrate our First Anniversary {and catch our breath transitioning between the tower and LEft — Longings End full-time} Whether you have read this particular post or not, we think you will find it of value. We’re excited to share it with you again and welcome your comments!

Sailboat photo by attorney Fred Schaeffer
Hawaii photos by Kimmi Jeffers
Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
     Bedroom by Winnond
     Morning Rush Hour by EA

Drawn by Light…

It was the light that drew me, begging a closer look.

So we wound up the mountain, road cutting through woods green and thick.

Tires crunching gravel as we pulled off, turning into the light. Soft instrumental notes welcomed us as they floated through open windows, carried on a warm summer breeze.

As we stepped across the threshold of what was once a 19th century church now historical society and art gallery, my eyes scanned the room to find the one painting that had called to my heart with its light.

The Rhododendron Bower, painted by Charles Curran in 1920.

Standing inches from the oil on canvas I found myself caught in its grip.

Captivating painting tugging my heart strings, me desiring to be there.

Right there, where Curran’s brushstrokes had captured all that light falling softly over his daughter, Emily.

Surrounded by light she was, and me standing here decades later wanting to be in the Light.

Realizing the call of this painting is Him calling to His daughter.

Creator Artist, the God who paints the skies and sculpts the mountains.

Him calling me to keep walking in the Light, sharing my light.  Light of Love that conquers all, making hearts brand new.

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.  Isaiah 9:2

How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O LORD, they walk in the light of Your countenance. Psalm 89:15

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  John 8:11-13

If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

In the beginning, when darkness covered the whole earth, God spoke Light into being, creating something from nothing.

Light bursting from eastern sky, pink with dawn’s first blush.

Light comes, eclipsing darkness.

His lush Light shining daily on global masterpiece, this Earth He’s given. Each hand crafted gift from Creator God, a hallowed work of art. Bearing His signature.

And we, created in His image, share the joy and privilege of creating.

He’s placed desire in each of us to create art from our hearts, uniquely expressed in various ways.

Our works of art, little lights showcasing Him.

Shining in the dark, drawing others to the Light…

~sheila
Dearest Husband and I will be slipping away to celebrate our First Anniversary!! Just for a few days we’ll feature here some of our top posts. Looking forward to connecting with you as Year Two begins!  All glory to God and our gratitude to you for visiting Longings End to read our humble words of faith, hope and love…God bless you!