"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."~from ISAIAH 61 Bible verse for this Blog

APOLOGY to READERS who followed a SEARCH to HERE & didn't find it

On July 18, 2017, I drafted almost 3000 blog posts that I had published since 2008 when I began blogging, rather than edit each one. So if you clicked here from somewhere else and ended up with the post unavailable or error, I am sorry but this is why. It'd be too much work for me to go back and fix them. There's an explanation on 7/19/17 as I'm still learning.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Focus: on the One Word for this Week

but

"... SEEK first His Kingdom... "

"Give your entire attention ..."
(MSG)


The One Word for this week rhymes
(with week)
it's

SEEK

"to search out by any method"
"to inquire or search carefully for something"
"to try to acquire or gain; to strive after"

<><><>

There are so many Bible verses with SEEK;
 but the one given is:

Ecclesiastes 3:1 

"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven"

I'm sure many of you know or are familiar with a verse or two with "SEEK" and 
as you can see it's not in the NLT version above.

In fact, I didn't see "SEEK" in any of the versions;
[Voice; MSG; AMP; CEB; etc]
which is usually how this author does her devotions 
each week in her book
"Focus: How One Word a Week
Will Transform Your Life"
 - verses without the One Word in them -
but I assure you that the devotion focuses on that One Word

However, there are no shortage of verses with

"SEEK"

and
Cleere Cherry Reaves (author)
will definitely show us how to focus and
"SEEK"
through her message

[Note: I don't generally read her devotional for the week ahead of sharing these blog posts. I may make an exception in this case. I often read & reread throughout the week as I focus & read one of her scriptures given, sometimes in different versions. besides research & look for other Bible verses with the One Word for that week.]

"... Stillness with the Father. Through SEEKING what Jesus wants for our lives, we are able to release some of the pressure ..."

"... As we SEEK Jesus and His Promises, we receive a true peace about what He asks us to release & what He commands us to hold" ... C. Cheery Reaves


The other verses that are given for this week are:

* Matthew 6:33 ESV

2 Corinthians 5:9 ESV

Luke 10:41-42 NLT 

Ephesians 5:15 NIV

* well-known verse that does have SEEK in it

<><><>

Since there are so many verses for 

"SEEK"

I will start out my One Word verses 
with this choice from:

Jeremiah 29:13

(which uses the One Word: SEEK)

then I will SEEK more of Jesus

(& read this week's devotion again๐Ÿ˜‰)

"... SEEK & you will find ... "

{As I was closing this, one of our online local church services began singing this, 
so I had to share with the original singer}
(one of my favorites)



<>

I'm still SEEKING my RHYTHM from last week.

<>

Sunday, April 28, 2024

PAUSES... Week 5

Pentecost is getting closer 


There are

50 Days & Words 

between 

Resurrection Sunday & Pentecost

this week we're in the 5th week 

so there's 2 weeks after this

Fifth Week of Eastertide
Day 29: Desert* -                Matthew 4:1
Day 30: Transformed -       2 Corinthians 3:18 
Day 31: Devout -                Luke 2:25
Day 32: Dwell -                  Ephesians 3:16-17
Day 33: Guide -                 Isaiah 58:11
Day 34: Responsibility -    Acts 6:3-4
Day 35: Encouragement - Acts 4:36

* most versions use "wilderness"

DESERT found in CSV; DRB, GW, GNT, NAB, WNT in Matthew 4:1

from Day 29

" .. Is the Holy Spirit leading you into the "DESERT"?..."

"... the DESERT is the training ground of the Holy Spirit for those who want
to be faithful, effective, and competent in the rest of their lives."

The suggested Daily Practice (which this book has each day) 
has this for day 29:

"Carve out a DESERT moment of solitude.
Allow it to be a time when you can simply be alone with God & yourself. ..."



Since last week I wrote that I was looking forward to the One Words chosen (and they were very good), I quickly looked through this week's One Word Pauses and I thought, perhaps not as good as the ones from last week, until I started to look at them and their verses. Clearly, each One Word Pause is drawing us closer to a Pentecostal moment and empowering us.

from Day 30

"As people of faith, we constantly face the challenge of being credible to the people around us. In fact, it could be the greatest challenge facing us at the present moment of history. ... "

"... Is there any evidence that the Holy Spirit is TRANSFORMING our self- centered lives into a greater likeness of Christ? ..."

"... Constantly,
we need to remind ourselves that 
the Holy Spirit is the great
TRANSFORMER
We cannot stay the same." ...

"... a process of TRANSFORMATION that causes us 
to reflect the glory of Jesus ..."

{actually the entire devotional from that beginning line above to James 2:17 is transformative for me}

It reiterates that the reason for the "Daily Practice" at the end of each day 
after the meditation of the devotional are there 
to open our lives more widely to the 
TRANSFORMING
grace of the Spirit."

WOW!
Powerful words!

"Holy Spirit, make me like Jesus."

<>

So again, I look for a connection between the One Words and begin to see how they do.

I could go on like above for each day this week

stating what stands out

and I'd love to

but

since I'm not the author

I really can't (copyright, etc.)

But I have to take a risk with the following part because it's that good

and taken from Ephesians 3:17-19 for day 32 DWELL

"Ask the Holy Spirit to help you hear Jesus saying these words to you"

"I want to come and DWELL in your life. Through you I want to touch the lives of those around you. Be willing to let go of your own agendas and plans that so often keep you from living and acting in and through me. Let yourself be led, strengthened, and renewed by my own Spirit living in your inner being. As you do, you "may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and how long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God"

Spend time alone & in the silence

๐Ÿ•Šallow the Holy Spirit to help you hear those words from Jesus๐Ÿ’“

as you sense and know that

Christ DWELLS in you.

allow Him to 

GUIDE

you

Be

DEVOUT

TRANSFORMED

ENCOURAGED

&

"See each of your daily 

RESPONSIBILITIES

as an opportunity for you to live

in the power of the Holy Spirit"

๐Ÿ™





Friday, April 26, 2024

"Learn My Unforced RHYTHMS of Grace ~ Jesus"

Maybe I spoke too soon 
when I wrote
"Out of Rhythm"

because I do believe that I am learning still

"Unforced RHYTHMS of Grace"

I had another YV plan in draft, but chose the youth longer one 

when I wrote that blog post & I should have chosen this 7 day one first:

"FIND YOUR RHYTHM: RETURN TO HEALTHY, NOT TO NORMAL"

(perhaps this is for the younger generations also)

provided by an initiative of Christian Vision (CV)
a global Christian charity with evangelism at its heart called
yesHEis


Although I have not completed this short 7 day plan, each day has a theme with "simple, practical and healthy habits" so that we can "live the deep and meaningful life God intended" which means that it helps us develop a RHTHM that is more "intentional, balanced & healthy."

Right on the first day, they inspired me to continue with hopes to develop a more healthy RHYTHM with these words and perhaps you'll recognize some of it from the Scripture verses found in The Message of Matthew 11:29b-30:


"Find & Explore Healthy Rhythms (day 1)

"Your life has a rhythm. Whether you know it or not, your daily practices and habits create a rhythm. Your rhythm is the beat of your life & determines how you ultimately live. The question is, is your current rhythm intentional, balanced and healthy?

Jesus invites each of us to learn His unforced rhythms of grace. He promised that He wouldn’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on us. Rather, a life kept in company with Him is a life lived freely & lightly. The problem is, life seems more stressed, fast-paced & tiring than what Jesus promises. It is as though the pressure to do more, post more & be more is stronger than our desire to learn His unforced rhythms of grace. It is as though we’ve got our wires crossed & priorities a little mixed up.

If you were honest with yourself, would you say you are thriving or surviving? Does your life feel full of meaning & depth? If not, maybe it is time to slow down, trust God & begin to learn His unforced rhythms of grace. Maybe it is time to find your rhythm, explore healthy habits & commit to keeping company with Jesus.


Today, spend time contemplating your current rhythm & your current life pace. List out your current practices & habits and imagine what a more intentional and healthy rhythm could look like. A healthy rhythm isn’t about reaching perfection quickly. It is about committing to growth over time with Jesus by your side."  ...

{I'm sure that I should not share the entire first day (so I did leave out some) but my hope is 
that maybe it will capture you as it did me so that you consider doing this plan too.}

In other words, even without having completed this, I highly recommend.
If only it had a prayer each day 
I'd guarantee my 5⭐️ rating

so I'm sharing this verse image prayer

[image credit: YV] 
3 John 1:2

<>

As I mentioned above, each day has a different focus (outlined below):

Day 2 - SOUL       Spiritual Health
Day 3 - MIND        Mental Health
Day 4 - BODY       Physical Health
Day 5 - HEART     Emotional Health
Day 6 - FRIENDS Relational Health
Day 7 - OTHERS  Community Health

Clearly, this is an all-inclusive package deal!

Each daily devotional with accompanying scriptures give you 

simple practices to embrace to learn & grow in 

God's 

"... unforced RHYTHMS of Grace ..."

{of course, this could be expanded on, but the devotionals are brief/concise}

As an example, I will just enumerate the 3 simple practices given for Day 2 for our SOUL (Spiritual Health)

  1. "Read the Bible Daily" ...
  2. "Regular Prayer - a foundational habit ..."
  3. "Attend Church ..."
"While each of these practices may seem rudimentary, 
they are pivotal to a sustainable and healthy spiritual life." 


<>

Once again, I am sharing the Verses of  "FOCUS ..." by C.C. Reaves for the 

One Word this week:

RHYTHM

"... Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."   Matthew 11:29b-30 MSG


As we continue to learn together

and grow in Christ Jesus

intentionally

in all these areas

to become healthy and balanced

living freely and full with

less weight

as

Jesus

invites us to rest

 & take His yoke upon us

so that we become less weary

and less burdened

because

His yoke is easy

๐Ÿ™


Wednesday, April 24, 2024

OUT OF RHYTHM

It took me awhile to get the "RHYTHM" of this week and 'get' research on "RHYTHMS". I even read & reread quite a few times the devotion. I enjoy "RHYTHMS" in music for most of my life but for some reason I just couldn't figure out this concept of "RHYTHMS" of Jesus or what this meant. It didn't help me at all to check for Bible verses not many with the actual One Word, because most of them & the topical search on Bible Hub landed me on poetic "RHYTHMS" of syllables and meters; and singing. It didn't help at all for me to recall that when I was attempting to learn how to play guitar, I never was able to sync strumming chords with the RHYTHM either and the actual song, keeping the RHYTHM going. I guess I really didn't 'get' (understand) RHYTHMS. Yet I knew that I have RHYTHMS in my everyday life because I read that "we all do life in rhythms" ... the ebb and flow of our daily living, melodic or hum-drum. Known or not. Regular RHYTHM: a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound. 


So, I began to look at sermon series (and there are so many available) until I finally came up with a better idea of what is meant by using RHYTHM spiritually; and the concepts modeled in scripture of: "Rest, Restore, Connect, Create" as Rebekah Lyons shared in her book, "Rhythms of Renewal". It was when I found this post on "Spiritual Rhythms" that I better understood that they are how we connect with God. I think my understanding of this was our routine, or pattern (habits) in our lives, and how we spend time with God, and others. I saw/read many that seemed like RHYTHMS meant like opposites; like where God built RHYTHMS into creation: day & night, work & rest, etc. I even tried a YV plan of RHYTHMS (I think intended for youth). I was also confused if RHYTHMS meant "seasons" as in Ecclesiastes.

One of the series I found was by Living on the Edge Chip Ingram & Ryan Ingram called "Sacred Rhythms", which finally helped me understand better and I really liked this statement:

"Sacred rhythms are a specific way we arrange our life to cultivate a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus."

So, it's resolved that I DO have RHYTHMS, at least, in my 'sacred' part of life.

Soul Shepherding shared one of the best, inclusive teaching:

"My RHYTHM of Life with Jesus"

{I was totally captured by their Soul Shepherding ministry website as their name}

๐Ÿ˜‡Makes me want to sign up for a retreat with them๐Ÿ˜‰
Thankful that my Shepherd knows my soul & rhythms.
♬He walks with me & talks with me ...

<>

One of the "youth" articles that I read had a Mary/Martha pendulum (Luke 10:38-42) that I liked, calling it "RHYTHMS of action and contemplation" ... now that I understand. But again the ones given just seem like opposites: RHYTHMS of "pain & joy"; ... "silence & noise";  and the same as I listed above. I'm still missing the beat and understanding of RHYTHM. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

The article that I shared first in my last blog post gave a plan for "finding your own RHYTHM" from Jesus' RHYTHMS & rest. Now in music, I know that there are RESTS that tell us to pause & breathe. Christianity Today had a good article from back in 2016, and it had 2 very helpful points to grasp "this simple RHYTHM and live it well" - "a two-beat rhythm of life" from Mark 3:13-14.

"To be with Him in prayer and devotion.

And to be sent from Him into the world.

The 'being with Him' part of the rhythm provides space in our lives for prayer, solitude, contemplation on scripture, and rest. The 'being sent' aspect gives us a mission in life through daily tasks of love. In being with him we love God. In being sent we love our neighbour. Being with, being sent – that's Jesus' rhythm of life. "

Another favorite that I encountered was "... Practicing the RHYTHMS of God's Grace" because (of course) that fits well with this blog being "aMazing Grace" and going "Back to the Basics ..." by Lauren Bowerman (on Journeywomen). Perhaps "Four RHYTHMS I learned from Jesus"  synchronized all I needed to finally understand RHYTHMS. 

I tucked away far too many You Tube videos/ series (that I didn't watch, but saved) wondering if or when I might need to incorporate them into my search for RHYTHMS and need to view, like:

๐Ÿ’šRHYTHMS of JOY๐Ÿ’š
my playlist of 6 videos

RHYTHMS of JESUS (playlist)




Chrystal Evans Hurst with Hosanna Wong

[also read a post from Chrystal Evans Hurst 
and she lists another related post in this]


Rhythm of Grace

A few verses with the One Word
RHYTHM

Psalm 96:11 And so, let the heavens resound in gladness! Let joy be the earth’s rhythm as the sea and all its creatures roar.

Psalm 149:3 So let the music begin; praise His name—dance and sing to the rhythm of the tambourine, and to the tune of the harp.
Jeremiah 33:19-20 Again, the word of the Eternal came to Jeremiah. Eternal One: If you can figure out a way to break My covenant with the day and with the night so they do not always arrive on schedule, the very rhythm of life on this earth
Revelation 18:22 Never again will the sound of music grace your streets. The melodies and harmonies of the harpists and musicians and flutists and trumpeters will never be heard again. And never again will an artisan of any craft be found in your markets, And never again will the grinding of the millstone provide rhythm to your city


Believe it or not, I probably am drawn to these verses, because later in life (not when I attempted to learn playing a guitar - kinda mid-life), I began playing tambourine during worship time (and found out how much RHYTHM I have hidden in me) but it was because I took a class on Tambourine patterns (like this or this and these) and then taught younger girls. I stayed with the more simple patterns and usually did not do the ones with dance steps. But I really love to use a tambourine in worship & warfare because that's what I learned it was for ... yes, those were the days ...
<><><>

I believe that God wants us to be well-stringed symphonies of RHYTHM,

our voices, our hands, our feet, our lives

tuned and adequately rested

in sync with Jesus

which means

"Being with Him & sent from Him"

real 'sabbath' *rest, meaningful time with God,

strong connections with others

and

serving others

*not only on the Sabbath, but especially on the Sabbath

Hillsong actually has recorded a song

RHYTHMS of GRACE

"... Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:29b-30 MSG

Maybe I'm not really

Out of RHYTHM

with life or my life with Jesus

after all

{I just march to a different beat/drummer/tune & didn't know 
about my "rhythms" or the meaning, because I follow plenty of them.}


Hopefully 

you understood better than I did

๐Ÿ‘

Monday, April 22, 2024

Focus: RHYTHM


 One Word for this Week:

RHYTHM

"... Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
 I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 
30 Keep company with me and you'll learn to live 
freely and lightly." Matthew 11:29b-30 MSG

The very first article in my RHYTHM search was:

"How You Can Find Rest in the Rhythms of Jesus"

and after that (& because I have her book)

"Rhythms of Renewal: Living with Rhythm"
by Rebekah Lyons

but before that 

"Rhythms of Work, Rest and Worship"

"Spiritual rhythms are your regular pattern of connecting with God" and it seems from the above articles that those rhythms include grace, rest, renewal, work and worship. 

RHYTHM

The other verses shared in FOCUS with this week's devotion:

1 John 2:6 CSB; Galatians 5:16 CSB; 
Deuteronomy 8:6 MSG; Genesis 6:9 NASB

"Jesus, set my RHYTHM; help me to follow."

๐Ÿ’™my key favorites that stand out from Cleere Cherry Reaves

"... Jesus had a different RHYTHM..."

"...His (Jesus') RHTHYM was always adaptable to where His Father pointed."

 "...When we bring our imperfect selves to the feet of Jesus through the discipline of RHYTHM, we allow His perfection to shine through us." 


perhaps there will be more as I
 FOCUS on RHYTHM

This week's FOCUS TIP!

asking God  to help me 
set the perfect cadence - 
one that will give me peace & abundance."

I really ๐Ÿ’™ this!



Sunday, April 21, 2024

One Word PAUSES ... Week 4



Anticipating Pentecost

May 19, 2024

by taking

PAUSES

to reflect on the

One Words for this week:

Fourth Week of Eastertide
Day 22: Counselor - John 14:16
Day 23: Remind -     John 14:16
Day 24: Testify -       John 15:26
Day 25: Truth -         John 16:13
Day 26: Anointed -   Luke 4:18
Day 27: Love -         Romans 5:5
Day 28: Body - 1 Corinthians 6:19

These devotions each week along with these Pauses for Pentecost One Words & Scripture really help me to focus each day. You may notice that the same verse is used for Day 22 & Day 23 because both of these One Words are in this verse, yet in the book, Trevor Hudson takes the first part of the verse for Day 22 (and I found that the CSB & HCSB versions use the One Word "Counselor" whereas other versions use Advocate, Helper, Comforter) and the last part of the verse for Day 23 - you can compare here all the versions. Of course the Amplified expands on even more terms for the "Counselor" besides those listed it adds Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby for the Holy Spirit, Paraclete, who is all this and more. 

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you." HCSB

Paraclete

the Greek Word parakletos
(line above the "e")

meaning

"someone who is called to come alongside someone else"

How wonderful this is to know that 

God the Holy Spirit

the third Person of the Trinity

has been called to our side

to support us who need 

Him

Holy Spirit is a personal being

and

He indwells every believer

Jesus

promises that the Spirit of God would come & indwell to

"teach us all things and remind us of everything Jesus has told us"


We seriously need this MORE than ever in this time in which we live!

We are "empowered" to become paracletes to others in need.

<>

Looking forward to the messages this week

with these ONE WORDS as reminders

as we PAUSE & listen & reflect


* take note of the second part of the Prayer of St, Francis

" ... grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console ..."

Let us be "instruments of Peace - God's Peace" 

Let the Holy Spirit breath into us

the consolation that only Jesus gives

so we may console others

and there are many

who need us

"The Spirit personalizes the gospel when we face difficult situations,

when we don't know what to say, or when we are uncertain ..."

Let His Spirit lead, be present & active in our lives!



May these One Words draw you closer to the Holy Spirit alive in us!

(each week - but the ones for this week look powerful)

๐Ÿ™

Saturday, April 20, 2024

GLORIOUS GIFT of FORGIVENESS


This image was in my April 18th ๐Ÿ“ง

because in the "Jesus Always" devotional book; 

it is the devotion for that day.

Sharing part:

"..I want you to enjoy the wonder of walking through your life as My follower—totally forgiven! The best response to this wondrous gift is to live in gratitude, seeking to please Me above all else."

If you're at all familiar with Sarah Young's (1946-2023) writings, than you know that she writes as if it is Jesus/God speaking to you (as this was the biggest criticism of her writings).Critics write: "she speaks for God" or that "she hears from Jesus" and "brings His messages" to her readers.

Frankly, in my opinion, that's exactly what 
I appreciate when reading all her devotionals -
for THAT reason. 

She takes the Word of God & speaks it to me/us.

I did not share this to debate her as an author,
or against people (pastors) that criticize her.

But as I read that small boxed quote
 from her devotion,

I am thankful to read these words as if 
Jesus is saying these words to me!

It means so much more!

Sarah Young always shares what verses 
in the Bible 

her words are based or taken from:

(such as this one)

John 1:12: Acts 4:12 NASB; Romans 8:1-2

[and quite often those parts are in italics]

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved. —Acts 4:12 NASB

"Thank Me for the glorious gift of FORGIVENESS. I am Your Savior-God, and I alone can give you this blessing. ... "

This is what's on the image (in bold) and also is the first line of the devotion 
& here is some more (not all, but some) 
in this two paragraph devotion in

"Jesus Always"

April 18

" ...  You receive FORGIVENESS and become My child by receiving Me and believing in My Name. This Name, Jesus, means the Lord saves." ...

"Rejoice, beloved, for through Me the law of the Spirit of Life has set you free!"

I'd love to share the full devotion but I try not to as my way to respect the author & copyright.

<>

Truly

FORGIVENESS

is a 

Glorious Gift from God!

I believe my previous blog post
which links to my own writing on 

FORGIVENESS,

is a testimony to that gift in my own life 
from my earthly father. 

The other ones that I've written also do,
 but I did not re-publish all of them
so I'm sure that many of them are still in draft.

Yet, once again, I'd like to state that reading 
the Scripture verses in God's Word and 
reading the devotionals that Sarah Young wrote, 
allow me to actually sense God 
comforting me through her words
from His Word.

I know that her style may be controversial to some
but I, for one, benefit greatly from reading them.

Often we are encouraged to apply the Word
 or speak the Scripture verse as a prayer 
or respond to 
"what do you think God is saying to you?"
when we are reading or discussing.

Isn't that what Sarah Young 

has so beautifully done?

[I've read the critics, now I'd like this -ism to end, 
as I would many -isms in our world today]

<><><>

As a NOTE, separate to this blog post, I'd like to let you know that I re-posted (which means I moved & published again) my original post from April 17th (so it's no longer there) to Fri. April 19th in order to publish it again with the links for all of the devotions by Christine Wyrtzen on Forgiveness for this past week. She may continue next week, but I'm already looking ahead to a new One Word for next week's FOCUS (on Mon.) and the ones for "Pauses for Pentecost" (on Sun. 6 pm). Rhythm for Reflection?





To my faithful visitors;
all of you who spend your valuable time here with me
I do appreciate you so much!

Thank you for taking your time to visit!

Love, Sweet blessings & Hugs!

DIOS TE BENDIGA
GOD BLESS YOU

always

Peggy