Pursuing the abundance of a closer walk with Christ

Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

EMBRACING LOVE


 

I hear your voice draw me close

To a deeper walk with Thee

You know my heart, its desires and my dreams

But it’s Your plan and purpose I need to seek

Every hidden thing, every cell, thought and deed

Is seen by You, for You created my inmost being

A broken and contrite heart You will not turn away

Your healing balm restores my soul as I in earnest pray

I lay my life, my plans and concerns before Your Throne

May Your Sovereign Will be done that I may glorify You alone

In sweet communion and bliss I meet with you here

You shield me from hardships, toils and snares

With whispers of love You draw me nearer still

In a harmony of praise Your music the air fills

You closely watch over and guide me with tender care

A friend like no other, a husband beyond compare

And I long to tarry in this intimate union

In Your Embracing Love, a Divine Fusion

Once broken and contrite I entered this place

Now there’s healing in my heart, it transforms my soul and face

Thank You, Father, for Your perfect Embracing Love

In Your mercy and grace, You sent Your only Son

Jesus willingly left His Throne from on high

The King of Kings humbly lived, for all humanity He died

It was our guilt, our shame and sin on the cross You bore

It is our souls You saved, Your Embracing Love restores

Every insult, betrayal, condemnation, sorrow, bruise and pain

You endured for our sake, a new life in You we gain

Flogged and beaten beyond recognition

A crown of thorns You wore for our sin condition

With Your last breath You breathed on the cross at Calvary

Embracing Love won us all everlasting victory

But for the joy did You give Your all

How merciful, gracious and wonderful You are

You blessed us with the Comforter You sent

After Your Resurrection and glorious assent

Your Presence, Lord, is all we need

It is so sweet to sit at Your feet

But You bid Your saints into the world to go

Making disciples and helping each one to grow

Embracing Love, our only hope in life

Help us to serve You as a living sacrifice

 

 

TBI and Us or IN ALL THINGS


March is TBI Awareness Month.  The picture of a brain was a difficult puzzle given to us at the Cr3ative Expressions Support Group meeting to help us focus. It  stumped me,  but Rachel, my daughter who sustained a brain injury, was the first to finish hers in the group and then worked on my unfinished puzzle at home as pictured here in less than one minute. GO FIGURE!?

This post features a poem written and recited by me for the Cr3ative Expressions TBI Support Group.

TBI and Us (or IN ALL THINGS) Page 1

by Virginia Cradlebaugh

The Fourteenth of July, Two-thousand-one,

Was a perfect summer’s day.

Dad, Mom and Rachel, our quaint family,

Drove the car Medina’s way.

It certainly wasn’t our desire,

Nor was it God’s plan or will,

To end up in a ditch, rammed by a car,

By one who had almost killed.

Dear Dad was knocked out and sustained whiplash,

The wreck crushed Mom’s vertebrae.

Rachel unresponsive, had been thrown ’bout,

In earnest I bowed and prayed.

Just passing through, A father and son came,

It wasn’t a coincidence.

The son was a doctor and brought his bag,

Just right for her circumstance.

Shallow she breathed and blood flowed from her ear,

From a sleep she might not wake.

On pins and needles I hovered nearby

Continued to pray for her sake.

The father spoke to me with words of peace,

My son will guard her with care.”

I watched the Life-flight take Rachel upward

My heart heavy with despair.

Page 2

I know you see this, you know everything,

What gives?”, my query to Him.

In a clear, audible voice I discerned,

A verse that should be a hymn.

And we know that IN ALL THINGS God works for

the good of those who love him,

Who have been called according to His purpose.”

Not once, but twice I heard this.

Romans Eight: Twenty-eight I’ll not forget,

No more questions would I implore.

IN All THINGS had arranged for the best place,

that Rachel’s care could afford.

I knew that Jesus held her close to his heart

Carried in His arms as a lamb.

For three days I battled in prayer prostrate,

The outcome was in God’s hands.

The Lord gave to me a gift of faith,

Great peace in my heart remained.

IN ALL THINGS the doctors came with the news,

The pressure too much for her brain.

Page 3

A last ditch effort was made to save her,

An operation on her skull.

In deep freeze the bone was carefully placed,

Till the swelling came to null.

ICU struggled hard to bring her through,

Tweaking meds both day and night.

Two weeks later came her fifteenth birthday,

ICU joined the delight.

The next day by ambulance we left Metro,

To a Rehab on the hill,

The intensive, extensive care she needed,

IN ALL THINGS, this was God’s will.

From a vegetative state she made progress,

As a young babe would learn new things.

The trache and g-tube removed paved the way,

To swallow, eat, and dress; what blessings!

Her drawn up limbs placed in casts to straighten,

Walking remained a hurdle.

Staff pressed her on with many therapies,

At times it seemed slow as a turtle.

Page 4

For months I longed to hear Rachel’s sweet voice,

She spoke to her nurse the name Tex.

God is good, she remembers and does speak,

It was more than I could expect.

The next week she recited the Lord’s prayer,

Her faith in God had remained.

She quoted Psalms Twenty-three, I welled with tears,

And friends from church did the same.

Discharged before Christmas she returned home,

OUT-PATIENT Care was her need.

Edwin Shaw, Children’s, next Akron General.

Her favorite was PT.

From wheelchair to walker, then a gait belt,

But without a cane she’d move.

Fifteen years recovering a TBI,

It was God who helped her improve.

Midway through this long TBI journey,

Dad underwent neck surgery.

For two weeks he felt much better, UNTIL,

A blood clot sent him to Glory.

Page 5

Each year in Autumn we grieve his absence,

Support and prayer bring us through.

There’s a void in our life which only he filled,

One day we’ll all meet, it’s true.

In mysterious ways our God does work,

In wonders and miracles too.

IN ALL THINGS, challenges are for our good,

To God all glory is due.

I’m sure there are struggles we too have shared,

relating to a TBI

Care giving, therapies, doctors, and falls,

IN ALL THINGS on God rely.

Seeking His Kingdom


open-bible-with-coffee-cup

 

Bible reading is different than using a devotional written by authors whether it is published by a denomination or as an individual featuring the author’s name.

I use a devotional, but I also like to open my Bible and begin reading God’s Word; whatever I open to or what I am impressed to read.

Isn’t it wonderful to have scriptures illuminated in the early part of your day?

Today, I opened to DO NOT WORRY. It is written in red letter, which means, Jesus is talking.  I have heard many a sermon given from the passage of Luke 12:22-31. But did I learn from any of them?

I admit, I do think too much. A lot of energy is wasted thinking about the list of to do’s; which include repairs to the house, chores, shopping for necessities, ordering scripts or calling for new ones, scheduling appointments and keeping them, family, care giving duties, exercise, menus, writing and what I should be doing next.

Did you see anything in the aforementioned list that mentions seeking His Kingdom? No. The swirling cloud over my head amounts to worry. A mountain of stuff with a load of stress piled on instead of sitting at the feet of Jesus.

I’m glad the Lenten season is underway. It is a time of seeking His kingdom first, in the middle, last and even during the night when not sleeping is the case.

It is a time of repentance and each person’s area of life that needs change and growth is different.

It is a time of refreshing and renewal.

It is a time of walking more closely with Christ, keeping in step with the Spirit and accomplishing His purpose.

Staying on course in seeking Him first will lead to an enriched celebration of the Resurrection of Christ.

The answer to the habit of worrying about the distraction of responsibilities is given in the last verse of the passage listed above-“But seek His Kingdom and these things will be given to you as well.”

blessings-of-sunshine

God bless your Lenten Season! 

 

 

Shine Your Light


cell-light

 

They say things come in three’s and for the third time in a few days, I’ve been impressed with specific illumination for the year 2017.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Mathew 5:16 NIV)

What does that involve?  Are there specific things you must do so others will see your light? Is my light shining bright enough or does it flicker here and there? These are some of the questions I have thought about relating to the repeated theme.

I first heard the prompt to shine your light when a friend called my cell while I was in the grocery store on December 31st, 2016.  She announced that she was a great-grandmother of a baby boy and that she wanted to pray for me. She prayed specifically that I would be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing to glorify God and added a request not normally used in her prayers for me:

That I would shine my light and point others to Jesus.

Would you believe within a half hour, I did exactly that?

I put the groceries in the trunk, entered my car, sat behind the wheel and prepared to head home when I noticed a young lady in the car parked in front of mine, was upset. She mumbled a few things and slammed a door, then proceeded to look on the ground for something she apparently dropped.

I said a prayer for her and looked over in her direction again before I started my car. She was shining a light from her phone that not only was dim but too small to see well enough to find the item she lost.

I reached for my cell phone, pulled it out of my purse and pressed the LED flashlight app on the home screen. I walked over and offered to help her search.

She seemed relieved to have some help and commented how bright it was as she continued to search for a key.

She explained her predicament, “It must have dropped off the key chain after I opened the car door. My grandmother is waiting for me to pick her up and I can’t do that until I find the key to start the car!”

I tried to reassure and comfort her with the fact that I had just prayed for her before I came to assist her with my light. I empathized with her plight of being in the middle of an anxious frantic search. I told her, “These situations don’t get any easier as you get older. I still have moments where I get upset when I misplace something that I need and have to stop and pray for help.”

She searched again on the ground and rummaged through the numerous bags laying on the front and back seats and rear floors. It wasn’t until the third time going over each step since losing the key, that she finally found it.

“Thank you, Lord”,  I exclaimed as I looked up. I then said to her, “He answered prayer!”

She replied, “Heaven knows.”

She thanked me as I returned to my car.

I wished her a Happy New Year and paused in prayer once more before starting for home.

There have been more occasions to shine my light since the encounter with the young lady who searched for a lost key. And there is more than just shining your light applications that come to mind when reflecting on this story.

Basically, I want to list additional suggestions that I have been challenged with and that we as Christians can do to shine our light for Jesus.

 

  1. Stay plugged into the source to become brighter. Loving God with all your heart mind, soul and strength is essential.
  2. Pray without ceasing. Pray for: our leaders, others in need, the sick, our military, our schools, family, loved ones, neighbors, missions, unsaved people and your own personal list.
  3. Meditate on God’s Word. Read a devotional, start a Bible reading plan or write a Devotional yourself.
  4. Avoid listening to or initiating Gossip.
  5. Be slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to anger.
  6. Be who God created you to be and ask for His help to keep moving in the direction He is pointing you to go.
  7. Speak the Truth and balance it with love.
  8. Praise God for His answers to prayer and count your blessings.
  9. Do your good deed for the day as God opens an opportunity to help a stranger. Little random acts of kindness preceded by prayer cause you to glow outwardly and inwardly with His love.
  10. Eliminate complaining. If you find yourself falling short in this or another habit/s, as I have, ask forgiveness and begin again with items 1, 2 and 3.  God is merciful to forgive and help us grow into becoming more like Christ. Staying close through humble communication and obedient submission is key.

 

 

Maybe your list may look differently than what is posted above or you have a few things to add that would be helpful.

Be encouraged with the hope of a great new year filled with wonderful opportunities to connect with others and help them pursue a closer, abundant walk with Christ.

We are both privileged and blessed to partner with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Shine Your Light!

candle-lit-glow

There is Room in My Heart for Thee


manger

How well we know the Christmas story, since wee ones our ears have heard.

About God’s Son born in a manger, no room was found according to the Word.

 

Today as we celebrate His Birthday, a familiar hymn rings out the reason for God’s Gift to all mankind.

The song written by Emily E. S. Elliott is named;

Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne

The chorus reads:

 O Come to my heart, Lord, Jesus; There is room in my heart for Thee

But when you read through to the last verse and stanza written below, the chorus changes.

 

Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown when Thou camest to earth for me;

But in Bethlehem’s home there was found no room For Thy holy nativity

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus; There is room in my heart for Thee.

 

Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang, Proclaiming Thy royal decree

But in lowly birth didst thou come to earth, And in great humility.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus; There is room in my heart for Thee.

 

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living word That shouldst set thy people free;

But with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn, They bore Thee to Calvary.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus; There is room in my heart for Thee.

 

When the heaven’s shall ring and her choir shall sing At Thy coming to victory.

Let Thy voice call me home, saying, “Yet there is room; There is room at my side for thee.”

My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus, when Thou comest and callest me for me.

 

Not only is there room in my heart for the precious gift of God’s only begotten Son, but there is room at his side. 

And we will rejoice when He comes and calls us home.

 

The more people who make room in their heart, the merrier!

And, there is always enough room at His side for one more.

I hope you are rejoicing in His indescribable Gift.

If not, I hope you soon will be rejoicing.

 

Merry Christmas!

 

 

Draw Me Nearer


The title to this post contain words penned by a well know songwriter from another era. Though many of Fanny Crosby’s songs were written and published  more than a century ago, they speak relevance in my life today.

Giving care to another day after day, year after year leaves one exhausted and weary. Drawing nearer to the One who can replenish an empty vessel is a day after day, year after year necessity.

I’m glad that as I draw nearer to God, He draws nearer to me and today this intimate fellowship paralleled in a wonderfully visual way.

I often go outside to sit in a chair under the awning on my back porch facing the woods, which is literally a stones throw away. I take along a cup of hot tea, my Bible, notebook, and pen.

Today’s wintry weather in below freezing temperature didn’t feel as frigid in the outdoors while I began to draw nearer to God. This was a day when the circumstances that surrounded me couldn’t keep me from telling Him I didn’t know how long I would be able to keep this up, that giving care to someone on a daily basis began effecting my ability to function, make decisions, concentrate and accomplish the seemingly mountains (though really more like mounds) of to do’s.

In the distance I could hear the faint call of the red-tail hawk. It’s no secret to God (nothing ever is) how much I enjoy hearing its distinct cry and  revel seeing the majestic wingspan as it glides effortlessly through the sky and my woods.  As a matter of fact, a hawk’s nest was built high in the top branches of a maple tree in my woods this year.

The hawk called and called and didn’t stop calling as I poured out my heart to the Lord.

“I know, Lord, you want me to cast my cares on you, that your yoke is easy and your burden is light.”

A sense of peace came over me and the struggle I felt began to lift, as if it had been blown at that moment away in the wind.

“Thank you Lord, your Presence is here with me and you know what I’m going  through.”

Photos taken near Banning Ranch

I continued my talk and thanked God that I am blessed with having my very own park in my backyard that helps to ease my stress, then, I noticed that the hawk flew closer and perched high in the branch of a nearby tree.

I went on praying for other’s needs and as I finished, I looked up and the hawk flew even more closer to the woods edge. My eyes opened wide in amazement and a comfort washed over me as I thought about God’s greatness. He is able to make His presence, comfort and peace known in visually tangible ways!

The appearance of the hawk in perfect timing made me aware of the fact that God was near me in a difficult time today.

It was as if I was given double the comfort for what I was going through.

 

Fanny Crosby, in spite of becoming blind as an infant as a result of a doctor’s incompetence, wrote over 8,000 hymns using numerous pen names.

I am Thine, O Lord is one of the hymns she wrote that speaks volumes to me today.

 

I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard your voice, And it told Thy love to me; But I long to rise in the arms of faith, and be closer drawn to Thee

Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord, By the pow’r of grace divine; Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope, and my will be lost in Thine.

O the pure delight of a single hour That before Thy throne I spend, When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God, I commune as friend to friend!

There are depths of love that I cannot know Till I cross the narrow sea; There are heights of joy that I may not reach Till I rest in peace with Thee.

Chorus:

Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, To the cross where Thou hast died; Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, To Thy precious, bleeding side.

 

How good and gracious to be in the Presence of the Great I AM.

Thank you, Jesus for coming to Earth and making a way to the Father through your death on the Cross.

Christmas, AKA Jesus’ birthday, is celebrated on December 25th each year, but Jesus’ sacrifice, Resurrection and abiding love can be known every day.

 

A Challenge of Change


A Challenge of Change

In life, I’ve had numerous challenges. Who hasn’t? Life would be boring without them. You wouldn’t grow, learn, develop character, reach your potential and ultimately you wouldn’t fulfill your purpose without challenges, more specifically; the challenge of change.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

As the leaves change colors, our creator’s paintbrush tends to strike us with awe.

 

I seek to change my attitude, to let go of habits that hinder progressing toward my goals,  and to move away from past mistakes that mar the beautiful image God desires for me.

I am challenged to change into the masterpiece God has created me to be.

May a purer reflection of Christ be seen in me, a vibrant life bursting forth to bring Glory to him.

“Therefore, if any man  be in Christ,  he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)

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