Saturday, April 13, 2013

It’s Settled, Oh Yeah!

It’s Settled, Oh Yeah!

Pens of Praise April 12, 2013

By Susan Marlene Kinney


And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessings and favor] Who has called you to His {own} eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make your what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely and strengthen, and settle you.  

1Peter 5:10 Amplified Bible


It seems that I keep running into the truth that God accomplishes such a huge work inside and around us. Much of his provision is beyond our notice. What is He planning today? What does our future look like to Him? We can be sure that he loves us enough to swiggel his hand into our situations to stir us up.

Picture this with me, a glass filled with clear as Chrystal water, until we pour in a package of Kool-Aide and begin to stir. The water clouds up with an uneven dose of the powdery mixture. What then? More stirring. This kind of agitation is necessary to blend the mixture and water. Only in this way is the flavor balanced and water made smooth again so that they can taste as though they were one.



Aren’t we like that glass of water? First, we’re real happy to be still, not looking for or wishing to be disturbed. Here comes the spoon of our situation. Our agitation. The waves of disruption start with the pouring of our own personal Kool-Aide. The agitation, which we will symbolize as a spoon, dips into what was our smooth clear concentration, making our life muddy with confusion. Everything seems to swirl around and within us. Oh no! Everything or at least significant relationships and situations in our world are changing!

Until the agitation does its work we usually don’t see the purpose of disruption. Once our Kool-Aid make us better tasting and smelling we find that we like our new flavor and color. Oh, when we draw a smile from Him or we pour out comfort to someone we care about or even a stranger that’s when we realize it was all good to experience what we did. We didn’t enjoy the swirling confusion and annoyances or pain but somehow they matter in the big scheme of things. The swirling, agitating, disturbance and even the pain make a little sense. Sometimes. But even when we don’t understand, as in when the pain is too gripping and raw, but we stay faithful to Him there is an even greater reward. The Lord is pure, faithful and undefiled.

When He offers me my personal Kool-Aide, I may cringe; try to make my own waves to escape. But, deep inside I know He has my personal best and the blessings of many others in mind. Yeah, bring that Kool-Aide and spoon on over here Lord. I hope you stir gently, but I really do want to taste and smell better.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessings and favor] Who has called you to His {own} eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make your what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely and strengthen, and settle you.

I want that – how about you? 

Oh Zoey! I turn my back and look who wants to benefit from my Kool-Aide!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

June Gallogher
My precious friend, June! What a perfect name because your smile holds the warmth of a summer day! I’ve thought of you so often, but not called enough. It’s true I’ve allowed the urgent and busy to get the upper hand. But each time your face danced across my mind a smile plays upon my lips. The thought of you swells my heart with gratitude for we shared talks and laughter that time cannot erase. You graceful, spunky lady! You showered kindness upon all who came in contact with you. Your obliviousness to your own beauty made you all the more lovely to me.
We met at one of the first Pens of Praise meetings. Remember us few, eager, and excited writers, so thrilled to meet with those who understood the power that pen and paper held over us. Together we realized the need to communicate, comfort, and inspire. The passion of expression pumped through our veins, igniting ideas and hope.  Your warm and encouraging ways touched my heart and changed me forever. I am so grateful that I know you! Your unselfishly written poetry, shared to comfort grieving hearts unaccustomed to the temporary separation of a loved one, quickened the memory of joy filled and treasured moments.  Your ministry of comfort brought a balm of healing to those caught off balance by the realization that we are mortal after all.  How many fortunate people did you write your precious poetry for? Even if you knew the number of them, you have no way to measure the sweet comfort you’re willingness to serve provided. When I asked you to write one of your poems for my own daughter’s friend with very short notice, you put your hand and mind to the task to serve someone you'd never met. You never looked at what you could receive but only what you could offer. I wanted to write you a poem today, but I don’t have your knack. So I thought I would write you this note instead to share my admiration, love, and gratitude for your influence on my life.
I keep the creative, pizzazzy Valentine’s Day card you made me in my writer’s room. It rests in plain sight on my book shelf. This is my favorite room though it is small, so I only include the most important books and memorabilia on the shelves. You wrote a note of gratitude to me for organizing a great writers group and you blessed me! My darling friend, you were of more help and encouragement than you ever realized. (You gave a card like this to Becky too!) The poem you and your friend Mary Melberg had pasted inside went like this:
Love is like a flower,
So beautiful and true.
Today I’m sending Lots of love….
Especially for ….YOU!!
Happy Valentine’s Day.
I know that you’re not feeling up to a hug or a phone call my friend. But, I’m wishing you all the love and comfort and joy your sweet spirit can hold! I think of you more often then you know! As I think of you it is almost as rich as our telephone calls and our walk that summer day I visited you at your home. Thank you dear friend for your listening ear and words of encouragement, which were always laced with wisdom and kindness! Your love for family and friends and those in need always shines through like the sun kissed warmth of a summer day.
Oh how I do appreciate and love you June Gallogher…
Blessings to you and yours,
Susan Kinney J

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Time, Abide IN, Secrets of, Lessons From...

NOW YOU WOULD THINK THAT..A Time, Abide in, Secrets Of, Lessons From …would hold no special bond or tie. But to me they do.  I want to share with you the unique journey of discovery I’ve enjoyed recently. It stated when I began to read Chris L. Kincaid’s book called a time for every PURPOSE under heaven. Chris has a fun blog and she is devoted to sharing ideas, thoughts, and photos each week. I bring this up because her book has the same wonderful voice, as though she had all the time in the world with me as she shares her missionary tour to Africa. The warmth and reality of her struggles makes me feel as though I’m there too. The vivid imagery of the people and the challenges they face is not overshadowed by hopelessness. God is with them.

When I decided to make Andrew Murray’s book abide in CHRIST my daily devotion for this month I was pleased to find that he wrote from one of my favorite passages John 15:1 – 12.  Each day I read about abiding, resting and trusting God, so important when we endeavor to do anything for him or for his kingdom and for anyone in need. God knows what He is doing and when to do whatever needs done.  I was tickled to discover that Andrew Murray was also from Africa.

 Several days later I decided to start reading Secrets of The Vine by Bruce Wilkinson. I saw the tie between these three books when I read what he wrote about John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” The vinedresser works hard to provide and nurture those vines. Chris’s book showed me courage and devotion and love in action from generous people. People like you and me. All the while I’m recognizing that God is working a bigger work behind the scenes. He is available and attentive toward His people. His love and dedication is the bigger work. I’ve driven past vineyards before and appreciated the fruitful vines and exquisite fragrance, but I’ve never caught the vinedresser working. Though I never saw the work being done I admired the fruit from such efforts.

I’ve been passing over the book called Lessons from a Sheep Dog for two years. On Easter Sunday I was sick and so I stayed home from church. When I picked this book off the shelf it just felt right. This was the day to read it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the author, Phillip Keller, was from Africa. He wrote a touching and very personal accounting about how God taught him spiritual truth through working with a sheep dog. Lass had been abused and started life in a home where her abilities were not appreciated or allowed. Mr. Keller demonstrated the care, love, and discipline of a shepherd, which so reflects God’s relationship with us. When I read that book I felt as though I had eaten a full meal. His down to earth and humble thoughts touched my heart.

Sometimes life gets pushy. Sometimes people expect something more or different than what we can give. Those are the right times to draw back and rest in Him. Wait on Him and find refuge in Him. All these different books have spoken to me that God is working harder for our good then we ever could.  He is there when I or you need a drink from His living waters. I suppose I just needed a bigger picture of what He has been accomplishing in the background, beyond my notice. It’s been nice to realize that though I pay attention to what I should be doing, or what others expect, or what is happening now…Father God is still working on being the master of my (our) situations, the tiller of the soil I (we) have the opportunity to grow and flourish in.

I invite you to take one or all of these books in hand and gain a BIGGER picture of our  FATHER GOD, I doubt you’ll be sorry that you did!