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Rock Hill, SC, United States
"My heart is overflowing with a good theme. I recite my compositions concerning the King. My tongue is the pen of a ready writer." (Psalm 45:1) This verse has become a life verse for me. As I continue to walk it out, I realize this journey as a breast cancer survivor has changed me but does not define me. I remain the loved, chosen, redeemed and blessed child of the living God who supplies me daily with more hope, strength, grace and courage than I ever dreamed I could possess! God has been so good to me ... indeed my tongue is the pen of a ready writer ... poised to tell the story of my faithful Father! I love Him so!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012

Well, here we stand again ... saying goodbye to the current year and welcoming in a brand new one. And, I do love this time of year as we look ahead with such hope and anticipation! It's all so untouched and the possibilities seem endless. What will we accomplish? What dreams will be awakened or fulfilled? How will we grow and change, mature and deepen? How do we become more in the new year than we were in the old one? Because, you see, I don't believe we should leave one year and go into the next without some type of growth being evident. We like the kind of growth that comes to us easily but what about the growth that came through uncomfortable circumstances?

I've had a little of both during 2011 for it has been a year full of ups and downs for me personally. Mostly ups, but there were bumps along the way and some of it was, indeed, uncomfortable but I wouldn't change a thing. I wouldn't change one moment of it. In all things, God has been faithful to me and I couldn't have faced a day ... not one single day of the last year ... without Him.

I've laughed, I've cried, I'm been hopeful and also struggled with defeat and feelings of rejection. I've lost and I've gained. I've succeeded and I've failed. I've been afraid and full of courage. I've felt both devastation and great elation! I've been faithful and I've been faithless. I have loved and been unloving. I have been loved by others and been unlovable at times. And that's just a drop in the bucket! Anybody else?

But mostly, I look back on 2011 and see where I've grown in my dependence on my God, my Father, my Maker, my Savior, my King, my Friend. There's just no one like our God and He has been more faithful to me than I could ever have dreamed in 2011. He has met my every need, calmed my every fear, answered all of my prayers ... yes, even the ones where "waiting" seems to be the answer for the moment.

So, as we look forward to 2012, I feel confident in saying that I won't be able to face a single day of it without Him right by my side. So, it is my prayer ...

  • That no matter what comes our way we will remember Who our Source of Strength really is.
  • That we will remember to Whom we owe all honor and thanks. 
  • That the God of all creation will fill our hearts with more hunger and thirst for Himself than we could have imagined. 
  • That when we seek Him we will find Him.
  • That when we surrender to Him we will be filled up to overflowing. 

These are a few of my Happy New Year 2012 prayers for you and me! So, be blessed in Him as we all walk into the new, untouched moments, hours, days, weeks and months of 2012!

Happy New Year, 

Cindy K

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ladies Conference - February 2012

Ladies ~ you're invited to join Leslie Nease for a weekend conference being held at the Narroway Productions Theatre and Conference Center on February 3 & 4, 2012. I'll be there, too, leading worship with a couple of my dearest friends. Here are the details ... Hope to see you there!

Be Blessed,

Cindy K.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Real Life!: Not Just Another Love Story Ladies Conference!

Real Life!: Not Just Another Love Story Ladies Conference!: Once our hectic schedules of the holidays are a thing of the past, it's time to take a well-deserved break and join us for a ladies weekend ...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Miami Man Memories 2011

This past weekend I traveled with Mark to Miami, Fla. where he participated in the Miami Man 1/2 Iron on Sunday, 11/13. Wow! I am so proud of him. Here's a pic of him crossing the finish line! I can't imagine pushing my body to that extreme. Let it be known that if it were me then this picture would have included a few EMS heroes in it! Ha!

5 hours, 38 min, 1 second

He finished the 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run in 5 hours, 38 min, 1 sec! Yay! But, extreme sports weren't all we did while we were in Miami. We had a few days to be together and it's been quite a while since we've done that. Life, jobs, raising a family ... all of that gets in the way sometimes. We had a great time, just the two of us.

We arrived in Miami late Thursday evening but on Friday, we drove to the Keys with a couple of other TRI club members and spent most of the day in Key West. The keys are just beautiful!

Key West, Fla.
AT the Southernmost Point of the US

At Ernest Hemingway's Home

Walking the streets of Key West

(L to R) Cindy, Charlotte, Jim & Mark

After a few hours in Key West, we traveled back toward Miami along US 1stopping to spend some time on the beach at this beautiful place ...

Bahia Honda State Park

Finally, we hit the road again stopping for dinner at Islamorada Fish Company in Marathon. The restaurant overlooks the water and we had just missed the sunset. The colorful sky was evidence that it had been spectacular for sure. Felt alittle bummed by that because you see, I've never actually seen a Sunset over the ocean. Living in Carolina when I visit the NC/SC coast I always get the Sunrise ......

Sunset in Key Biscayne, Fla.

BUT... on Saturday, in Key Biscayne, I finally saw my first "over the water" Sunset. Here's the pic, taken with my phone, so the quality isn't the best but still ... I thought it was beautiful!

Earlier in the day on Saturday, I got to visit with my best friend from childhood, Sandra. Her family moved to the Miami area in 1978 but before that she lived right across the street from me. The memories of growing up together on Furman Place are endless and so sweet. She holds a special place in my heart.

We met for lunch at Monty's in Coconut Grove, Fla. Here we are 33 years later ....

Cindy and Sandra

What a great trip! I left there feeling so abundantly blessed. Tried counting those blessings but found myself overwhelmed by them all. God has been so good to me all of my life and I felt His continued goodness, His love & mercy, everywhere I looked. Did I mention all of my life?  It includes the tough times. It just brings me to my knees.

And it makes me think about you and those thoughts compel me to pray that you are feeling the goodness of our God in your life today as well. I realize that maybe your race is getting the best of you. I've had a few discouraging laps on my course as well. I realize that maybe the view from your day, from your surroundings, isn't too spectacular right now. Mine isn't always either. I realize that maybe the memories of past friendships and relationships are filled with regrets. I have a few of those myself.

But this I know ...this I have come to realize ....

Our Father loves us. He loves me and He loves you! He sent His Son to save us. He is Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Deliverer, Lord of lords and King of kings. And this King longs to walk alongside of you. He longs to meet your every need. He longs to make every moment count for His great glory and fame. He longs to show you a beautiful view of life ... one lived in Him. You see, apart from Him, we are only desperate at best! For "in Him we live and move and exist" (Acts 17:28)

He longs to be your everything. I pray that you will run to Him! I pray that you will be changed in His sweet presence! I promise that He will be ALL you ever need!

In His Grip,
Cindy K

Friday, October 28, 2011

Forever and Always

Well, last Sunday, October 23, 2011, I welcomed my first daughter into the family when Brad (my oldest) married his sweet Katelyn. I don't have the official wedding pictures yet but I am going to share the few that I do have with you.

First of all, before I get to the main attraction, which would be the bride and groom, let me just take a moment and show you my Mother-Of-The-Groom dress. The color is Espresso; the fabric is Taffeta ... I know, I know, Taffeta makes noise but this didn't and I just loved it! And the fabric had a sheen on it that made the color change. I loved it! Loved it so much, in fact, that I need to find somewhere else I can wear it! Ha!

Here it is ....


Now on to the main attraction for the day by way of a little video that I've put together using the few wedding day shots I have and some earlier engagement photos. Of course, when I get more pics I'm liable to change it all! But for now this is what I have ... and it's all set to music ... a song that the Lord entrusted to me, as a gift to them, and I was privileged to record it and then sing it live at their reception. My heart was bursting with all that I wish for these two young people. I love them both so much! I believe in them and am so thankful for the blessing of their union. May God be glorified and honored in and through their life together ... Forever and Always!


Blessings to ya!

Cindy K

Friday, September 30, 2011

Elevators, Starbucks & The Occasional Overnight Bag

Well, my goodness! Can you believe that today is the last day of September? Where did the month go? And, I've not blogged the entire time? While my fingers may have been silent my mouth hasn't! I've been doing a lot of talking and lots of ministry! Fun times!

But I've also had my share of quietness with my mind engaged and focused on prayer and journaling. You see, I've had some minor medical issues come up that will have to be taken care of and the appointments leading up to them were kind of stressful and yet strangely peaceful at the same time. This has no connection to my journey with breast cancer so I don't want you to worry about me. I'll get to those details in a bit but before I begin, I have a confession to make, well three confessions actually. Here goes ....

One ~ I don't ride elevators (extremely claustrophobic!)

Two ~ I love Starbucks (just because!)

Three ~ I can't tell a story without details (men you may want to skip this blog!)

Now, why in the world are these confessions important? That'd be because of how God met me in the midst of my recent stress and taught me something important with the first two of these completely unrelated dynamic of my life. The third one? Well, I just want to prepare you for what could be a lot of detail but don't worry, I don't charge for those! Ha!

It all began back in June when my doctor mentioned that since I'm on Tamoxifen and since that medicine can cause changes in a womans uterus he'd like to take a look, by way of ultrasound, and stay ahead of things. So we had the first ultrasound and, for crying out loud, he found a little something ~ a little polyp. Why'd we have to look? Ugh! Kidding.

So, we scheduled a second ultrasound which would use a contrast, of sorts, to get a better look at the area and to confirm that it was a polyp and not something serious. This ultrasound was to take place at a medical facility where I'd have to go to the fourth floor. Ugh! Being that I just confessed to you that I don't ride elevators, ever, can you say .... "where's the stairs?"

Well, I don't know exactly why,  but I felt determined in my heart that I would ride the elevator up to that appointment (like every other rational person) and so I spent the month leading up to it in prayer, asking for peace, strength, and courage to follow through with this resolve. Afterall, what's a little elevator ride in light of all that God has already delivered me from? Perspective, Cindy! Rational thoughts, Cindy! Get a grip, Cindy!

The night before the appointment, I had looked online to get the exact directions to the medical clinic and noticed that the website mentioned that patients were to park in the parking deck and take the elevator (in the parking deck) to the 3rd floor level; then, take the Skywalk across the street below to the medical plaza and take the lobby elevator up to the 4th floor. Seriously, God? Really? Two elevators?

I remember, asking Him if it would be cheating to just PARK on the 3rd level of the parking deck and avoid that particular elevator all together! Not hearing an immediate response, I decided that would be exactly what I would do. I also had decided that since I was determined to ride the one elevator up to the doctor I would go prepared, you know in case the unthinkable happened? Like doors closing and not opening again! Ah! I can't hardly bear that thought! But, I digress!

As I was saying I decided to go prepared so I packed my attractive book satchel ~ the big one! Inside, I had my Bible (and it's kind of big), my journal, a pen, my fully charged (that's very important!) iPod with earbuds, my wallet and my cell phone (also very important!). But I stopped short at the Tylenol PM and the water to swallow it. I decided it might be cheating to carry those things! Besides, it was already heavy enough anyway. LOL! I'm serious though when I say I considered it ~ at great length!

The morning of the appointment, I was at home, alone, enjoying some quiet time with the Lord and was feeling so strengthened and peaceful in His presence even in light of what may lay ahead. During that time, I felt the Lord speaking into my heart, with His usual tenderness, saying that it would be okay to take the stairs; that my love for Him is not proven by riding an elevator & that He is mindful of man and remembers that I am dust. I felt no shame, only acceptance by Him even in the midst of my inner struggle and I remember, saying out loud to Him, "God, when I'm done can I just have a Starbucks! In fact, lets just fast forward to the Starbucks part? K?"

Well, the car ride over was uneventful and I found the 3rd floor nearly deserted of cars so parking was easy ~ just a few paces from the Skywalk. Onward! The Skywalk was quite lovely, too, taking me over the road and into the medical plaza and just as I walked down the final incline which emptied into the lobby of the medical plaza what do I see before me? Did you guess it? Well, let me just tell you. A Starbucks! There those big, green letters straight ahead of me were spelling out the name and marking the place! What?!?! Right there in the middle of the medical plaza atrium?

I said under my breath but I think it was kind of out loud, and I wonder if anyone heard, "God, do You see that? I just mentioned that, remember? Of course You do. Is that my treat after this day is over?" He's so good to us right on down to noticing the things of this tough world that mean a little something to us; those little things that have no eternal value but still He can, and sometimes does, use them to give us a little wink and a heavenly kiss; a little bit of affirmation and comfort. What a loving Father!

Feeling a renewed sense of determination, I turned to the elevator and got in, with well-packed and heavy bag in hand, and I submitted to the doors being closed for my short ride up. I submitted to the momentary loss of control which is really the heart of my issue. I remember the young woman who got in with me and vaguely remember thinking, "this poor woman has no idea what a nut she is cooped up in here with!"

When the doors opened, I was trembling from head to toe. I don't know if anyone could see it except for the woman at the reception desk asking me to put my hand on the palm scanner. I'm sure she couldn't miss it. I slapped that hand down quickly just from the sheer need to steady it and all the while, my soul was feeling so victorious. Yep, I may have been shaking in my armor but I felt victorious!

Victorious because I had crushed the enemy's head. It's a big deal, too, when we are able, through the One who lives within us, to take the tormentor down a notch; to get that front row seat and watch as the Creator of the ends of the earth releases the unhealthy grip the enemy has on us. The enemy has no authority in our lives. Oh he tries, yes, but "...greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4) That is how much He loves us! He does not leave us ~ never, not ever! He is our valiant Warrior! How good is our God!

So, I learned something in all the silliness of that day doing something that, for most of you, would have been a non-issue. And that thing that I learned is that my God is mighty! Of course, I already know that but it's always helpful to be reminded in such a tangible, personal way because the irrational nature of fear in the first place is one of distorting the truth. Proverbs 2:25 says "Do not be afraid of sudden fear...". I read this the other day, several days after my elevator ride, and it really struck me. Do not be afraid of fear. Fearing fear. What a vicious, irrational cycle we can find ourselves in but the next verse (v26) begins by saying "For the Lord will be your confidence..." Love that truth!

You see, the enemy wants to steal my faith. The enemy wants to steal my trust. And, he wants to steal yours too. Thing is, he just can't have it because I also learned that if the unthinkable were to happen in an elevator, even there, in that little cramped place, my God would be right beside me, upholding me, comforting me and maybe even counting out the change for my Starbucks treat once I'm safely delivered back out into the hallway. I learned that the momentary confinement of an elevator taking me where I need to be is nothing compared to the bondage of believing a paralyzing lie straight from the enemy of my soul.

So, now I want to ask you. What is the bondage that is holding you bound in your life? What is it, that at the very thought of it, turns your blood cold? Can I encourage you to give it to the Master and let Him help you with it? Your situation, your fear, may not dissolve overnight. It's a work in progress to surrender that "thing" unto Him but come along with me, and though we may tremble again at the sight of our giant(s), we can be determined to press on and trust Him. That's what I intend to do!

By the way, my appt went well, the polyp was confirmed and my surgery is scheduled. I rode the elevator back down, because after all ~ what goes up must come down ~ and, I got my Starbucks afterward, too. I admit that I immensely enjoyed my "Venti, Non-Fat, Upside-down, Caramel Macchiato".  Yummy!

I will have minor outpatient surgery on Monday, Oct 3rd. If I happen to cross your mind around 12:30 pm (ET) on Monday, I'd appreciate your prayers. After that, it's onward to my sons wedding on Oct 23 and by that time the reheasals will be in full swing for the 2011 opening of "The Real Christmas Story" at Narroway Productions (showing in Nov and Dec). Then, before we know it, we'll be buying our 2012 calendars.

But, for today, on this last day of September, I simply want to remember to be thankful that God is faithful! He loves me! He's in control! My life is in His hands and He's in the middle of my right now moment! I pray you find Him in the middle of yours!

Cindy K

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Psalm 32: Forgiven and Blessed!

Psalm 32 ~ It's all about the blessedness of forgiveness and trust in God. So rich, from the first word to the last! Mind if I share a little commentary? My heart is just overflowing and you know me ..... what comes up must find it's way out .....

Oh how I wish that we could sit over coffee, our Bibles open wide, and just share what God has been saying to our hearts with the conversation flowing both ways. Where are you on your journey? Are you inviting Him along? You see, I'm absolutely convinced that He is not a "one size fits all situations" kind of God. No, He's more personal than that, more intimately acquainted with each of our journey's than that. And I believe that as we press in, He leads and guides us to the very strength building passages of scripture that apply at the very moments of our lives in which we need them. So don't leave Him behind.

And then other times, we may not feel a specific need but as we continue to press in, He just thrills us with the truth of His Word by reminding us of His greatness to ALL mankind. His mercy to ALL mankind. His sovereignty over ALL mankind. But, don't get lost in the crowd and don't leave Him behind here either because even in the all inclusive sense He's still completely personal.

Back to Psalm 32 ~ It was simply the next Psalm to read as I've been reading them in order over the last few days. Well, kind of in order but not from the beginning ~ I started in Psalm 28 and have been going forward ever since ~ So today, when I read Psalm 32 my spirit sang out just from the sheer truth of it. My fears, my apprehension of upcoming tests, doctor appts., etc just faded to the background as I took it all in. Yes, it's that time again for me. When they remind me that I am a cancer patient/survivor and some things (like procedures and tests) are necessary! Argh! But have I mentioned how good our God is? And that's why it touched me so, I guess, because it broadened my view a bit from the medical appts swirling around me and reminded me that there is more to living than just that with all it's worry and fear.

This Psalm starts out with David declaring forgiveness ~ being justified ~ through faith and not works. How could he in Old Testament times have known this truth about faith? Only God could reveal it to him and it was very important to David, too. He needed atonement for his sin. He needed a covering. To us, on this side of the cross, we understand that it is more than just a covering for our sins.  We know that our sins have been completely put away and cast into the sea of forgetfulness. (Paul refers to this passage in Ro. 4:7, 8  to show that justification was by faith apart from works even in the Old Testament times ~ I love it when the OT and NT intertwine). It's faith, It's believing ~ that reckons us as righteousness! It's all He has done and nothing we can do!

David needed to know this truth and God showed it to him.

And in the nick of time too because verse 3 and 4 describe how ignoring sin and pretending things are a-okay will "eat you alive". We were not made to carry such a burden that sin creates. It weighs us down. I think that's why David said "how blessed ..." He was feeling a bit of relief but when he started the chapter he hadn't specifically revealed how he got that relief. It would come ...

In verse 5, he shares what he had to do to find it. He confessed. That's it? Yes, it is. Seems all God was waiting on was for him to say ..."I have sinned" ... Then the whole shameful story of his sin opened up like a festering wound that could now be cleansed ~ from the inside out. I bet he felt the entire weight lift in that instance. I've been there too. Different sins ~ same Savior! (1 John 4:9)

Verse 6, he tells us ~ and I'm paraphrasing here ~ that those who belong to the Father should pray & seek Him while He may be found because then when the floods of life come they won't overtake you. Oh yeah! I know how that feels. When the fears assail and the concerns grow large I just keep clinging to my Rock and He holds me firm. He brings to mind all that He has told me. Gotta be prepared for those times cause they sometimes come without warning and the only way to be prepared is to be in His Word.

Verse 7, David declares that He is our hiding place, our refuge, then One who fills us with song.

Verse 8, Now in this verse we wonder if it's God answering David? Some commentaries say it is. I think it would be just like God to suddenly interject into the conversation and declare that He will instruct us. He is, after all, the God of all comfort and it's pretty comforting to me to know that He's going to instruct me and guide me. Recently, I was memorizing John 14:26 and it spoke of this very thing...

  • Here it is from the NET Bible: "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you."  Love that! He is with me always ~ leading, guiding, reminding me and teaching me!

Verse 9, Did you read it yet? It's a bit of a strong recommendation. Again, who's speaking here David or the Lord, Himself? No matter. It's advice I will heed. I can identify and I get it ~ I'm a bit spoiled, stubborn, bull headed and I like to be in control. I know, I know, some of you are surprised, right? LOL! Back to the point of verse 9 ~ Don't do it! Don't be that way! It won't end well!

Verse 10, Trusting in Him provides a surrounding of lovingkindness (mercy, faithfulness, steadfastness, goodness) and, by the way, this word used here for lovingkindness is also found in Psalm 136. In that chapter it is used 26 times to proclaim that God's kindness and love are eternal. Whoo! Now that's a promise that I can cling to!

Verse 11, Be glad, Rejoice, Shout for joy! That's the encouraged posture! Much easier to do when our hearts are light (forgiven) and our minds are focused (not stubborn) and our lives are blessed (happy, blissful) as a result!

Go with God today ~ you can be abundantly blessed and completely forgiven! All you have to do is ask Him!

Cindy K

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A heart that leaps and sings? Yes, please!

Sometimes, all it takes is seeing something simple to inspire us and get the wheels of our minds fully engaged. Today, that  simple something was from my journal. Just across on the opposite page, to be exact, from where I had put pen to paper. It was a verse ... Psalm 28:7 ...  and it said (from the NIV) ... "my heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song" ...

A heart that leaps? Giving thanks in song? Yes, please, I'll take lots of that!

And how appropriate, too! You see, I am sitting on the balcony of my room here at Jekyll Island, Ga. It is the last day of a wonderful relaxing weekend where I've had my toes in the sand and a gentle breeze on my face. Just the perfect late summer, quick getaway. And, indeed, my heart does leap for joy and I do find myself giving thanks to Him in song and humming ~ incessantly ~ of course, for those who really know me that's not a surprise, I'm always humming! Always want my heart to "leap" with "song"! Don't you? After all, He gives us so much to "hum" and "sing" about ~ you just gotta let it out!

Anyway, reading this little snippet from Psalm 28 just peaked my interest and before I knew it I was reading the entire Psalm. I wanted to see what it was all about. Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? How could it speak to me right now, today, thousands of years after it was written by the pen of David.

My Bible titles this Psalm: "A prayer for help, and praise for it's answer". Now that's confidence. I'm sitting here with my prayer list in hand. A prayer list that has some very urgent needs on it. A prayer list that reflects the desperate places we find ourselves in. Actually, though, we are all desperate for Him ... daily! And this Psalm is reflecting prayer and praise all wrapped up before we even say Amen! I like that notion. I like that confidence!

So, here's Psalm 28 .... (and just a few of my thoughts and practical application while I read)

1 To you I call, O LORD my Rock;
   do not turn a deaf ear to me.

(We call to You, our God, our Rock ~ there is no other that can help us)

For if you remain silent,
   I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.

(If You don't help us we won't be helped!)

  2 Hear my cry for mercy
   as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
   toward your Most Holy Place.

(We are desperate for Your touch; we are desperate for Your mercy!)

3 Do not drag me away with the wicked,
   with those who do evil
 who speak cordially with their neighbors
   but harbor malice in their hearts.
4 Repay them for their deeds
   and for their evil work;
repay them for what their hands have done
   and bring back upon them what they deserve.
5 Since they show no regard for the works of the LORD
   and what his hands have done,

(Don't ever want to miss seeing all that You have done! You are magnificent!)

he will tear them down
   and never build them up again.

(These are the consequences of not looking to You, O God, and giving You ALL glory. It is all about You! Don't let me be counted among them ~ keep me pure; guard my heart!)

 6 Praise be to the LORD,
   for he has heard my cry for mercy.
(You Are Faithful to me ~ always and in all ways!)

7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
   my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
   and I will give thanks to him in song.
(You are my Strength! You are my Shield! You are my Trust! You are my Help! You are my Praise! You are my Song; my Hum! You are my object of thanksgiving!)

8 The LORD is the strength of his people,
   a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
9 Save your people and bless your inheritance;
   be their shepherd and carry them forever.

(The intercessory prayer of a king to his King for his people! Don't neglect intercessory prayer ~ it's a privilege! Be all these things to us, O God!)

Well, just a glimpse into my morning quiet time. Thanks for letting me share. You're on my heart and in my prayers ...

I pray that your heart is leaping and your voice (your heart) is singing. 

I pray that you are in the Word,  with hands lifted to His Most Holy Place, 
seeking the only Source of our help. 

I pray that your prayer list doesn't overwhelm but rather keeps you face-down 
with full assurance that He hears your cry. 

I pray that He is your everything for, truly, we are all desperate for Him.

And I pray that He is your Shepherd. May He carry you forever!

Caught In His embrace,

Cindy K

Friday, August 5, 2011

Favor or Favoritism

I recently bought a new Bible. I must admit it was hard to let go of my old one, the one given to me by my guys in 2001, each of them signing on the "Presented By" page. At the time they were 12, 10, & 4 years old. Never again will they sign their names quite like those young hands did that day. Needless to say, their handwritten signatures are very precious to me in the front cover of that Bible.

This Bible is the one I've held tightly to for the past 10 years. The one that is all marked up in the margins. The one that has brought me unspeakable comfort and strength in the midst of life; and, as I transition to my unmarked, new Bible I have to wonder what great journey God and I will walk as He leads me through the truths upon it's pages.

Already, I'm finding myself captured anew by His great love and mercy for us. His Truth is just leaping from the pages and setting my heart aflame with fresh love for Him and fresh insight from Him.  He absolutely stuns me with His greatness! What a mighty God we serve! What a tender, compassionate Father we adore! There is no one like Him. And, His Word ~ so alive and active in us!

So, for the past couple of mornings I have been reading in James. I began in James 5 because of a verse printed on the bottom of my journal page that caught my eye. After looking that verse up I decided to read the entire chapter and then the entire book of James. Today I read chapter 2 ... it begins like this ....

My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious 
Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.  
James 2:1 (nasb)

Now, I realize that this verse was written to believers. I know this because it is addressed to the "brethren". And I know that James is talking about favoritism being shown one to another. A horizontal kind of favoritism. You know, showing partiality by judging a person based on where they live, or what they drive, or how much money they do or do not make. Society says to love the beautiful and despise the unattractive; to listen to the successful and disregard the less fortunate. It's a very sad reality in life. But, nope. Don't do it. Don't judge the book by it's cover. Resist that urge!

I think the heart of the matter is really the matter of the heart. I started to think about what it  really looks like in us and what the far reaching implications really are of "holding our faith ... with an attitude of personal favoritism" if we do so in view of what God has done for us. You know, like thinking we somehow deserved, above others, the grace and mercy, the salvation and deliverance of our great God.

You see, this verse is talking about the way we treat others based on how much we think they deserve His grace, by measuring their worth ... that's where the judgment comes in. Seems like we may have forgotten the grace we ourselves have received and when we forget that then we are in danger of treating others based on how much we think we deserve His grace. Ah! Now there's a sobering thought and it's not rocket science. It's just another way of looking at what James is saying. I'm talking about a heart check here, I'm talking about humility here because there's a lot of puffed up Christians who think they have the corner market on God's favoritism.

But, God doesn't show partiality. He does not have favorites and He won't take a bribe. Thinking He does, and even more, thinking that I am (or you are) one of his personal favorites will only lead to arrogance. Likewise, thinking I'm not special enough to be loved by Him will lead me to despair when the hard times come.

It's true He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. But that's blessing, not favoritism. We are the head and not the tail. But that's identity & position, not favoritism. He has rescued us from darkness and brought us into His marvelous light. But that's deliverance and salvation, not favoritism. He is our righteousness. But that's mercy and grace, not favoritism.

These things I've mentioned are just a few examples of Favor, Divine Favor, born in the heart of a Father that loves each and every one of us with such a lavish and personal love. Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father ...

The word Favor, in the Old Testament, comes from the Hebrew word "chen" ~ in the New Testament, it comes from the Greek word charis. Both words mean "unmerited favor or regard in God's sight;  graciousness, grace, acceptance, precious, to show pity"

Favor compels us to fall to our knees & bless Almighty God for His gracious love. 
Favor compels  us to rise from our beds in the morning with thankful hearts. 
Favor walks with us through the uncertainties of life ... for He is with us. 
Favor springs fresh hope into our weary souls ... for He is our hope. 

Favor is not defined by everything going right in our lives nor is it diminished just because I'm in a battle. Favor is that which humbly says, "I am His. He has chosen me. I am precious in His sight. He loves me like none other can." 

Knowing these simple truths will cause us to bow the knee to One so great! To cling to His unmerited favor in our lives which is way better than depending on favoritism anyway! And in so doing I feel quite sure we will end up looking at those around us with fresh eyes, humble eyes and a fresh compassion that causes us to invite them into this wonderful relationship with the heavenly Father. A relationship full of favor, not favoritism.

Now, fellow "grasshoppers", go about your day and frolick in the beautiful favor of the One "who sits above the circle of the earth" (Isaiah 40:22) and bring someone along with you! I promise they are worth it! The Father loves me, you and them! 

Until the whole world knows, 
Cindy K

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Real Freedom!

I was reading in Exodus today ~ chapter 11, 12 & 13 (from the NIV) to be exact and enjoyed it so much I just had to share the nuggets that the Lord showed me. Maybe you are familiar with these chapters. It marks the end of God's patience with Pharaoh whose heart was hardened with each request denied of "let My people go!" And why the continual refusal? We find the answer to that in the last verse of Exodus 11 (verse 10)

The LORD had said to Moses, "Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you 
so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt."

God was about to display His matchless power and might right there in Egypt for all to see! He was about to multiply His wonders! But first things first ~  He instructs Moses and the Israelites about the plan to sacrifice lambs and use their blood to identify those who are God's own people. Death will surely visit Egypt but all who are under the blood will be delivered and this will bring about a mass exodus of the Hebrew people from the country of their bondage, Egypt. Yes, there was about to be a display of grand deliverance right in the midst of oppression and bondage. 

So I kept on reading. Reading about the preparations, the instructions for each household including the aliens and servants. I read about the LORD carrying out the death of the firstborn, just as He promised, "from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well". 

I read about the favor of the Egyptians toward the Hebrews which caused them to willingly give them what they asked for. I read about the exodus beginning with such haste that the people took their unleavened dough and carried it out in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing.  

I read about the 600,000 men on foot, not counting the women and children, heading out from Rameses to Succoth. I read about how, after 430 years of captivity, the LORD was faithful to His promise of deliverance and kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the LORD kept vigil. I mean, don't you think that He had been doing that very thing for 430 years already? Watching over His precious people even in the midst of their captivity? That very thought warmed my heart! I know He stills keeps vigil over His own even today!

I read about the Feast of Unleavened Bread and how the Israelites would commemorate this day ~ what day? The day of deliverance, for generations to come, "... the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the LORD brought you out of it with a mighty hand." (vs 3)

Funny thing is I am reading all of this from the advantage of looking back through the lens of history and I know what is going to happen and I know the significance of the symbolism of the blood of the sacrificial lamb applied to the "door posts" of the Hebrew dwellings marking them as God's own. I know how the story ends!
But then the biggest nugget for me today came in verse 8 .... my "ah-ha" moment, all over again, checking the motive and obedience to the command....

On that day tell your son, "I do this because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt."

I know how vitally important it is for me to be intentional and tell the generations that come behind me what the LORD has done for me. That's why verse 8 was such a nugget for me. Such a reminder to tell of God's incredible faithfulness! To proclaim His great name throughout the earth! And to do it because of what He has done. Am I that thankful?

Have I ever been in bondage in Egypt? Have I been enslaved? The answer to both of these questions is yes and no. I have been in bondage but my "Egypt, my land of bondage", has been fear, worry, doubt, and unbelief ~ just to name a few. My "Egypt" has not been a physical place found on the map but a place, nonetheless,  and try as I might in my own strength the cords around me only tightened. I have been enslaved too and my masters have been ~ to name a few ~ my bad habits, unwise choices, condemnation, and self-loathing and try as I might I could not deliver myself from the anguish of it all .... the weight of it all.

I remember that moment in time when I dared to look upon the spotless, perfect Lamb, and applying His atoning sacrifice to my life, found the chains that had me bound lying on the ground in front of me. Finding my mind renewed and my liberated soul soaring. My hope ~ the Hope of glory ~ set ablaze within me. Finding that the cup of wrath and judgment meant for me had been taken from me and borne by the Son of God, the Savior of the World, His name is Jesus. 

Kind of blows my mind and one thing He asks of me is to remember how He brought me up from my land of captivity and set me free. And in that day of remembrance, which should be every moment of every day, to be sure to say to my sons, my daughters, "I do this (I remember) because of what the LORD has done for me when I came out of Egypt (my personal bondage)." I am that thankful!

It's simply magnificent that One so Great would stoop so low and, finding me, say .... "come, follow me and I will keep vigil over you as we make our way out of your 'Egypt'".

What a Savior! Yes, I remember, and as I do my heart will sing of His great love and mercy ~ mercy and freedom so undeserved!

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life my lips will praise You; 
So, I will bless You as long as I live; 
I lift up my hands in Your name.
Psalm 63:3-4 nas

Now that's Real Freedom ~ oh precious one, don't miss out!

Cindy K

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Still Sovereign, Still Great!

My mind reels every time I see the news reports of the extreme weather that has been hitting the US over the past few weeks. It is so unsettling seeing the pictures and videos of the devastation and hearing the stories of survival and loss.

My heart breaks and my prayers turn heavenward while the age old questions rise within us, again ... the same questions that have been asked since the dawn of time ... and will continue to the end of time ...
  • Why does God allow these tragedies to happen?
  • How do people deal with situations of this magnitude? 
Along with those honest questions comes the mockery of those who don't believe ... and they ask ...
  • Where is your God now? 
And, my heart breaks a little more. It breaks for the lack of understanding all around. It breaks for the lack of trust all around. It breaks for the mockery directed toward my God.

You see, I don't have the answers either. I can't say why horrible things happen but I am learning in my own life that I don't always have to have the answers. In fact, I must confess there are no easy answers, no box to pull from, no magic formula that can fully explain why certain things happen. The only answer that works, the only theology that resounds within me with any kind of sense is to know that God is sovereign.

Yes, He is sovereign over all. He is El Roi, the God who sees. He is merciful and compassionate. His loving-kindness endures forever. His does not slumber nor sleep. He is a Rock, a Shield, a Fortress. He is the very-present Help in time of need. He is matchless in all His ways.

Isaiah 40 speaks of His greatness, His sovereignty, His power and His might. If you haven't read it lately I hope you will. It brings me great, settling peace to be reminded that ...

It is He who sits above the circle of the earth! vs 22

Knowing this one simple fact makes it enough to bow to His sovereignty in the midst of uncertainty. It makes it enough to cling to faith when answers do not come. To trust in His mercy and run to His arms of compassion. To choose to fix my eyes on the Hope that is in Christ Jesus even when all hope seems lost. It is a glorious mystery that this simple truth, that He, can be enough in times of deep sorrow, deep loss and overwhelming confusion.

My heart goes out to those affected by the storms. My prayers are with them as they pick up the pieces of their lives and find a new normal. I pray that they will find Him to be enough. I pray they will look to His Word and be strengthened. I pray they hold on to their faith and hope. I pray they never miss seeing His greatness!

Job said it best when he found himself humbled by, crushed by, the weight of God's greatness that all he could do was simply bow before God Almighty, his Maker and say ...

I have heard of You by the hearing of the ears;
But now my eye sees You
Job 42:5 (nasb updated)

Let's make it our aim to not just hear with our ears but with eyes wide open to look for His greatness all around and in the midst of even the toughest of our days. Let's find Him in His Word first and then surely we'll be less likely to miss Him in His World.

Blessings and prayers for the journey!

Cindy K

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's my Birthday & I'll reminisce if I want to ...

Well, here I am again. One year older! My, my how those birthdays roll around with rapid speed!

I was out walking the other day thinking of the upcoming "day of birth" and was reminded of the birthdays of yesterday. I got all warm and fuzzy on the inside just recounting how blessed I have been. Here's a bit of what I remembered ...

1972 ~ my 8th, and I woke up to the loudest sound of a bird singing, singing right in my room! When I opened my eyes I saw a bird stand and a cage with the most beautiful yellow canary inside just singing his heart out. He had a crooked beak so I promptly named him "Ernie".  Why? You might ask just like my parents did. To which I replied, "in honor, of course, of  Ernie on My Three Sons!" I used to love watching the re-runs, did you?

Anyway, I don't remember exactly how long little Ernie lived but I do remember that when he died we gently covered him, from the neck down, in a blanket of Kleenex. We placed him on his side with his head on a little pillow, also made of Kleenex, and sealed him tightly in a quart size Mason glass canning jar.

I'm here to tell you that he was beautifully preserved. In fact, I would repeatedly dig him up to show him to our visitors. My Dad finally moved his grave so I couldn't find him anymore. Now, neither of us know where he's buried. Probably a good thing! LOL! What a weird kid I must have been.

1979 ~ my 15th birthday, had a cookout with my family and they invited my Jr High School sweetheart (and future hubby), Mark. He gave me the prettiest, and daintiest, gold earrings. I think I still have them. I'll have to check!

1989 ~ my 25th. Storms and Tornadoes were in the area that evening and we had been at a friends home. They lived in a mobile home and as the storms approached we all decided to head to our house while it was still safe enough to do so. Our house was about 5 miles away. We (Mark, myself and 10 mo. old Bradley) were in the car in front, and something told us to turn left and take the back way home. Our friends behind us didn't know we had turned and as they continued straight they came to a bridge and saw an odd looking cloud (we'd later come to know it was a small twister) just crossing the road ahead of them. They just knew it had blown over us!

Indeed, had we not turned it might have crossed right over us surely resulting in a powerful collision. I'm sure our car would have lost that battle. Thank God for His prompting. I'll always know it was His hand upon us.

1995 ~ my 31st. I've never doubted the love of my parents for me. They have made me feel secure all my life. Not perfect parents but I don't blame them for any of my issues and you won't see me on Oprah railing them either! LOL!

Anyway, on this particular birthday, I was really feeling the Lord call me to a deeper walk with Him. Calling me to a more exclusive dependence upon Him. To let go of the hands around me, except for Mark ~ we are one, and to hold tighter to the hand of my Maker. Little did I know the ride we were about to embark on. Glorious and it continues to this day!

For that birthday, I wrote my parents a little poem of thanks and I want to share it with you now. Hopefully, knowing how God was stirring in my heart will help you to understand the poem a little better. Remember, it was meant to honor my parents for the heritage of faith which gave me courage to follow hard after Christ.

From May 5, 1995 ~


I'm thirty-one today, you know, another year has passed
It's the deep desire of my heart to be "growed-up" at last. 
Not in appearance ~ that would be a physical kind of "growed".
I'm speaking of the inner kind that only Christians know.

It seems I've always been a child, dependent on the ones
who brought me life and taught me life and always sought my good.
I love you Mom, I love you Dad, and I want you to know
I'm grateful for your guiding hand and all the love you show.

It was in your home where I first heard the story of my Lord
where I became a child of God and trusted in His word
I live in calm assurance now that Jesus lives in me,
I know Him as my Source of joy ~ the Calmer of my seas. 

But, more often now I hear Him say, "Hold tighter to MY hand.
Through every joy and sorrow; beside you I will stand. 
Life isn't always easy. You'll have your share of pain.
Sometimes it really hurts to grow; sometimes it has to rain."

How will I know when I am "growed"? The answer's very clear!
I'll find His grace and mercy when I smile or shed a tear.
Then when I lay my burdens down at Jesus' precious feet
I'll know my earthly journey's done and I'll be "growed-up" complete.

And, what a wild ride we've had ever since and I can say with more confidence than ever before ~ I wouldn't trade not one moment of it. My hand in His. His hand is firm. His hand upholds me. His hand sustains me. There's no safer place to rest than with my hand securely holding on to His. Yep, my hand in His!

So on this birthday, my 47th birthday, I say to my Father ~ Happy Birthday! What an honor to have received Your breath of life 47 years ago and may I use every ounce of breath that remains in me to boldly proclaim Your goodness!

Lead on, O King, lead on ~ I'm just all Yours and I love You will all that I am!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Love Defined!

The Bible says in 1 John 4:19 that  "We love, because He first loved us." I'm thinking you've heard many messages around that particular verse. I know I have and usually those messages are focused on the if and how and why of loving others. I guess this is because the very next verse tells us that if we say we love God and yet hate our brother then we are a liar (1 John 4:20). That's important to know in our application and stewardship of His love in our lives. 

But, I'd like to suggest to you that until we fully comprehend and embrace how much we are loved by God Almighty, the Creator of the Universe, our Father, then we cannot truly love another human being. Love at its best will be self-seeking. It's human nature to want something in return for the love we give. We want desperately to be loved ~ to feel loved ~ and many of us have been disappointed and wounded by those in our lives that haven't loved us well and so our view of what love really is, of what the Father's love really is, gets horribly distorted. Likewise, the love we give will be also.

I'm loving this verse (I Jn 4:19) in my life right now because I'm just a bit overwhelmed by what it says, by what it means ... imagine, to be able to love someone simply because He first loved me? Kind of takes the pressure off. I mean, it redefines where I reach to find the reservoir of love to draw from in the first place. It redefines, where I find the capacity to love those around me. It redefines my definition of what love even looks like and my understanding of whether or not I deserve it.

Earlier in that same chapter,  at the end of verse 8, we find these 3 words ...  "God is love" It does not say that "God loves" although that is true but John is emphasizing the nature of God ... God is love. It's Who. He. Is.

Love Defined! Not an emotion, not an attraction, not a feeling to be conjured up but rather a deep abiding, everlasting, intentional, lavish, unconditional, undeserved, unfailing, life giving, perfect expression of the very nature of our God. God. Is. Love.  Love Defined!

G.S. Barrett says about these words, God is love, 

"the greatest words ever spoken in human speech, the greatest words in the whole Bible ... It is impossible to suggest even in briefest outline all that these words contain, for no human and no created intellect has ever, or will ever, fathom their unfathomable meaning; but we may reverently say that this one sentence concerning God contains the key to all God's works and way ... the mystery of creation ... redemption ... and the Being of God Himself."

And this Love ...

~ has come to us in the gift of God's Only Begotten Son (1 Jn. 4: 9-10)

And, this Love ...

~ has come to us in the pouring out of His perfect (complete) love into our imperfect hearts through the indwelling Holy Spirit (I Jn 4:13 & Romans 5:5)

And, this Love ...

~ has come to us in the confidence (no fear) that we will stand before Holy God, as the forgiven and redeemed, made pure through the blood of Christ Jesus, our Sacrifice (1 Jn 4:16-17)

And, this Love ... loved us first; therefore, we can love.

I heard it said recently, and I wholeheartedly agree, that the appropriate response to such lavish, first love might be to simply say ... "I love You, too" ~ After all ~ I love because He first loved me.

So, next time He's on your mind, no matter what you're doing, take a moment and acknowledge that He first loved you and echo back to Him ... "I love you, too"  It'll do your heart good ~ that imperfect heart of the believer filled with the continuous pouring of His perfect (complete) love!

Be blessed, be filled, be made complete by the One who is Love!

Cindy K

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Sweet Sound of Mercy & Grace

I was thinking the other day about how the melody of God's mercy and grace just constantly runs through my very being. I know that might sound a little odd to you, especially if you don't particularly like to sing or don't play an instrument, but I'm hoping you know what I'm talking about.

You see, I'm convinced that there is a "Song of the Redeemed" that bubbles up and overflows. It comes from deep within the soul of those who love the Lord with all their heart and I think God has placed it there. It is a song our soul must sing! A song of His incredible mercy and grace!

Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name. (Psalm 30:4)

So, naturally, one thought led to another until finally I found myself at the beginning of time ~ yep, right there at the edge of everlasting, gazing at Holy, Eternal God, and just wondering ~

How the melody of mercy and the refrain of grace must have sounded...

in the nothingness as His spirit hovered above the dark and formless earth.

How must it have sounded...

as He spoke the worlds into existence and all that lives and moves upon it.

Oh, how it must have sounded... 

as He formed man from the dust of the earth,
breathed His breath of life into his nostrils, 
placed him in the garden and walked with him in the cool of the day. 

Even as man fell, his eyes now opened to death, driven out from the garden and separated from Holy God, yes, even then I am sure I hear the melody of mercy and the refrain of grace. Can you?

I hear it echoing through the ages as God tells Abraham, "I will make you the father of a multitude of nations." (Gen 17:5) And then He brings fulfillment to this promise through the birth of Isaac, Jacob and the generations that followed establishing the lineage of our Messiah.

I hear it as God leads His chosen people out of slavery and bondage, and tends to their every need. I hear it as they complain about everything! I hear it as God writes his law upon stone tablets and gives them to His people. I hear it as He, with outstretched arm and surely a broken heart, is continually rejected by His beloved, chosen people.

I hear it as the prophets speak the Word of the living God to these stubborn and rebellious people ... yes, the melody of mercy is audible as one such prophet, Isaiah, proclaims ~

For this the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, 
"In repentance and rest you wil be saved. 
In quietness and trust is your strength
But you were not willing."
(Is. 30:15)

Can you hear the melody of mercy as God must let them have their way but assures them He will once again be gracious to them? Mercy and Grace!

Does your heart sing with praise as the Deliverer comes ~ our Redeemer, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world? Messiah ~ walking among us. Healing the sick, touching the lame, giving life ~ real life ~ to destitute souls. That'd be you and that'd be me ~ but do we hear the melody of mercy, the chorus of grace and realize that He is singing over us?

Do we hum this melody of mercy as we see Christ ride into Jerusalem, His beloved city, and hear Him weep over it? (Luke 19:41) Do we sing along as we hear the people cry, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord"? (Luke 19:37-38)

Do we sing in perfect harmony, this song of mercy, as He stands before the High Priest to answer the question, "Are you the Christ the Son of the Blessed One?"
(Mark 14:61)

Do we hear the crescendo of the ages as He says in reply, "I AM ..."  (Mark 14:62) That is His name! He is the great I AM!

I wonder do we keep time to the melody of mercy as we walk the dusty road leading to Golgotha, the Place of the Skull. Once there, do we look upon the cross and imagine our Lord Jesus Christ breathing His last and uttering the words "It is finished"? Do we find ourselves wondering if the world will ever hear the sweet melody of mercy again?

Well, I hope you know the answer to that question.  We, the redeemed, look at the cross from the benefit of historical perspective and we see that not only is it empty ~ His body long since removed, the crowds long since dispersed ~ but we also see an empty tomb. Indeed, we look to the empty cross and to the empty tomb and we know our Hope, our Promise, our Joy, our Salvation, our Deliverance has come!

We find our worth in Him because He alone is worthy. He alone is worthy to remove the stain of sin from our lives and clothe us in His righteousness. He alone makes us whole again ~ and in so doing, we hear the melody of mercy and the chorus of grace. He sings over us, the redeemed, this sweet refrain of redemption. Mercy and Grace!

Oh my friend, don't let this Holy week, this blessed season, pass you by without a new perspective of all that He has done for us. This week is placed on the calendar and we intentionally reflect on His sacrifice and His victory over the grave; but, remember, every day is the time to remember and rejoice in what He has done!

Keep Him ever before you. Love Him with your entire being. Give Him all You have. Don't be afraid to lose this life which you cannot keep in order to gain real Life that you cannot lose! His life!
He is the Melody that our hearts can sing;
He is the Chorus that beats within;
He is our Song and it rises from deep within the soul of those who are His own. 

              Christ Jesus
He is the spotless Lamb of God, our perfect Sacrifice
He is the Way, the Truth and the Life
He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords!

So, sing it out Saints! Your Salvation has come!

Have a Blessed and Holy Easter and ... be His!
Cindy K

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Still Undone ~

It was two years ago today that I became completely and utterly UNDONE by One so Great who cared enough about me to extend His strong arm of safety and flood my soul with a depth of peace I never knew could exist. And incredibly, He did all of that and so much more, right in the midst of my storm.

Undone, I tell you, and, I am not over it yet! I'm still just as undone in His presence today as I was the very moment the Dr said to me ... "it's breast cancer".  In fact, I'm a continual mess in His presence and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Who could have known that I would find myself on the other side, looking back and feeling so blessed as I recall the journey, remembering how we sang and danced under the stormy skies. What joy He has placed deep within! I remember how He led me in His Word and created in me an appetite for more. I remember how He spoke peace, comfort and courage directly to my heart; how He never left me, not for one moment, and guided my every step! Truly He is our Refuge and Very-Present Help in time of need!

Yesterday was a perfect example of His very-present-ness in my life. I was riding in the car and had put my CD (Overwhelmed) in the player. I was listening to the song Still (track 5) and thinking of how good He had been to me. Then the chorus began ....

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm .... 

And right then, as those words hung in the air ~ "I will soar with You" ~ I looked up above the stoplight where I was sitting and saw a large, strong, dark colored bird soaring from one side of the road to the other. His graceful flight was just above the Bradford Pear trees, the Crepe Myrtles and the power lines; yet, close enough to capture my eye; drawing my gaze heavenward. As I glanced past the bird and to the heavens my heart quickened for I had to wonder if God was recalling our journey too.  This was our moment, our gentle reminder, of the journey together.

I want you to know that there has been no greater joy in all of my life, no greater time of growth in all of my days, no deeper love for my Master than that which He has allowed me to experience while dodging the storm's fury. He has refined me in ways that I could never have dreamed and I don't ever want to be the same!

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has walked through a storm and found herself stunned speechless by the faithfulness and mercy of God. I'm convinced there is something that rearranges deep within the child of God when faced with their own mortality.  But I think the change comes not from just "accepting" the medical facts and deciding to fight. That is important and we must find the courage and the wherewithal to do exactly that but in that medical knowledge alone is not where the transformation will take place.

No, I feel that the transforming change occurs as we grip more tightly to our Father and say to Him, "I trust You. Have Your way in me." We are changed in the midst of surrender. We are strengthened in the midst of being still. We are upheld as we reach for the outstretched hands of the Sovereign God of the universe ~ our Healer ~ our Everything! And, He will be faithful! It is who He is ... faithful! (2 Tim. 2:13)

Oh God, have you found me faithful? 
Am I walking it well for Your glory and fame?

I pray that He has and I pray that I am. I pray that as long as He gives me breath, I will use it for His great glory! Not out of my own strength, mind you, because I know I will fail ~ but in the mighty strength and power that He provides.

So, today I remember ... and I also keep moving forward. We all must do that. There are new storm clouds gathering all around. Some will be severe and life-altering while others just a mere inconvenience. No matter what, He alone holds the peace, the power, the purpose, the joy, and the victory in the midst of them all because ~ There is no one like our God!

Simply Undone,

Cindy K.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Where Does All The Time Go?

I can't believe that March is almost gone. In just a few more hours we will flip the calendar and start again at the beginning with another "First", another "Day 1" of a brand new month. Oh how quickly the days and years go. We often race through life with little regard of what might be waiting around the corner.

We all do it. Rush, Rush, Rush! We leave the house, usually in a hurry, and forget to say "Goodbye" or "I love you" to those we share life with. Once on the outside, we avoid opportunities that might inconvenience us. Why?  Because we've built no margin in our day to offer a word of encouragement to those who cross our path. No margin to discern the pain of others and be the very one to offer them hope. We neglect sharing a word of life with someone because we don't want to offend them.  So we just keep quiet and justify our silence. "Maybe tomorrow", we reason, "and I'll be more prepared. I'll have more time."

Could it be we've become numb to the fact that life is so very brief? But, what if tomorrow doesn't come for you, or for them? Or what if it does come but it looks vastly different than you had expected it to look? Let me just get to the heart of the matter because I'm burdened about something and I'm not going to beat around the bush ... time is too fleeting! I'm seeing this reality all around me lately. In fact, I say it as recently as Tuesday.

Tuesday, you may recall (if you live around here) has been the ONLY sunny, warm day this week. A day that you just think all is well in the world for everybody, right? I mean, for me it was a day when the house was clean, laundry was caught up, dinner was planned, the sun was shining ~ you get the picture ~ peace and order all around and so I headed out for a wonderful, refreshing walk. But sometimes a closer look quickly reveals that all is not well. Real life is happening all around us. People are hurting, grieving, losing their grip and my heart just breaks for them. Which is exactly what happened when I got in from my walk and turned on the local news. 

Little did I know that while I was out walking, a car accident had taken place nearby claiming the life of a local high school senior. Hearing the news, my heart immediately began to pray for a faceless, nameless mom and dad that I will probably never meet but possibly at that moment were somewhere receiving the news that their son was gone, forever. Taken so abruptly and in such a horrific way. It was more than I could stand! Seriously! My heart broke into a million pieces for them. And so I began to pray ~ taking a cue from the book of Daniel (chapter 9) ...

"So, I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications (vs 3a) ... 
for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, 
but on account of Your great compassion. (vs 18 b)" (NASB)

 I prayed for their comfort. I prayed that Almighty God would surround them with His great love and compassion even in the midst of what must be the most suffocating of emotions and pain. I prayed that, even though there are no easy answers to life's hardest questions, that knowing God is sovereign will be enough. I am still praying for them that He will be enough!

You see, I'm convinced that resting in God's sovereignty does indeed have to be enough. Don't misunderstand me, when tragedy strikes we don't just stick our head in the sand and say, "Oh well!" No, that would be denial. In this life we will have hard questions, countless tears, deep doubts, burning anger, fear, broken hearts but guess what? He can handle it all

His lovingkindness and patience with us is so vast! His love is so lavish! He remembers that we are but dust and, therefore, is not caught off guard by our range of emotions. We present all our supplications, as Daniel said, not on any merit of our own but totally dependent on God's great compassion for us! And so, I say it again ... in the end, the conclusion we must come to is that He is sovereign and that fact, alone, must be enough!

I've been in Psalm 90 today and at first glance it can be little depressing. I mean, really, it speaks of the frailty of man, our many afflictions, our sin and God's wrath but look deeper. It also speaks of, it declares, the eternity of God,  His mercy and grace and joy. It speaks of Hope which is found only in Him.  Psalm 90, in part or in whole, our reality to face as we walk through this life. Our decision to make too ~ to exchange all that we are for all that He is. 

And so, I want to share this Psalm with you in the hopes that you will be encouraged in whatever you are facing in your own life. I pray that you will be undone in His holy presence. Absolutely in awe by His majesty, His glory, His splendor! May you find yourself facedown seeking Him, His wisdom, His joy, His favor ~ fresh and new or maybe for the very first time.

   A prayer of Moses the man of God.
 1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
   throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
   or you brought forth the whole world,
   from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
 3 You turn people back to dust,
   saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
4 A thousand years in your sight
   are like a day that has just gone by,
   or like a watch in the night.
5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
   they are like the new grass of the morning:
6 In the morning it springs up new,
   but by evening it is dry and withered.
 7 We are consumed by your anger
   and terrified by your indignation.
8 You have set our iniquities before you,
   our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 All our days pass away under your wrath;
   we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years,
   or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
   for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
   Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
   that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
 13 Relent, LORD! How long will it be?
   Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
   that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
   for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
   your splendor to their children.
 17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
   establish the work of our hands for us—
   yes, establish the work of our hands. 
Psalm 90 (NIV)

Remember, we are not promised tomorrow ... so we've got to get it right today and that's made possible only by His grace.  Oh, my friend, how I pray that you know Him. Don't risk the uncertainty of another day without Him!

Holy God, thank you for your great compassion; Your mercy and grace. You continually stun us with you splendor and majesty. And I ask that You would walk with us through the moments of our days teaching us to number them. Teach us to gain a heart of wisdom!

In Jesus mighty and matchless name!