The Dance of FAITH: Moving with His Life-giving Flow

The Dance of FAITH: Moving with His Life-giving Flow

A few years ago, my husband and I were at some friends’ house.  This couple liked to gather miscellaneous people who knew them but not each other. True to form, they asked a great icebreaker question.  The particular question that evening was, 

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would that be? Your secret ambition?

 

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The Rest of Faith: the Real Thing!

The Rest of Faith: the Real Thing!

Faith is a popular commodity these days.

There are "faith-based initiatives." We can name & claim something if we have enough faith. There is the faith that intellectually assents to what is assumed is truth. "The faith" can be a body of doctrines that a person holds to. Faith can be the means by which we can earn something with God. And on and on. 

But what is a true, living faith, according to God's definition?

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The Rest of FAITH: Living the “Yet Not I, but CHRIST” Life

The Rest of FAITH:  Living the “Yet Not I, but CHRIST” Life

About twelve years ago, our son-in-law was stationed in Tucson, Arizona [home of our Alma Mater, the U of A, "Go Wildcats!"  But I digress...].  When the school year for my ESOL class had ended in June, I flew to Tucson for an extended visit.

Beth and Nate were both working during the daytime, so I had some lovely, restful, sun-filled (and "Son-filled") time alone by the pool.  At that time, I was reading some of Brennan Manning's books.

One day I was reading The Signature of Jesus: The Call to a Life Marked by Holy Passion & Relentless Faith as I soaked up the Arizona sun by the pool.  I was somewhat annoyed to see that a man lying on a lounge nearby was straining to see what I was reading.  

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Morning Prayer & Meditation: I AM...ability beyond your ability!

Morning Prayer & Meditation: I AM...ability beyond your ability!

Lord,

You are my King. I am your beloved servant. I live to serve Your purpose in my generation for your honor and pleasure (Acts 13:36). Live through me. Love through me.  Serve through me...Today!

With love beyond my love. With skill beyond my skill. With forgiveness beyond my forgiveness. With endurance beyond my endurance...

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Yesterday, Today, or Tomorrow. Which is it?

Yesterday, Today, or Tomorrow. Which is it?

All we have is today. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow may not be ours. It’s today or it’s nothing.

And God is in our today. He is I Am. He was I Am when yesterday was today. He will be I Amwhen tomorrow becomes today. He was there when those hard and/or beautiful things happened in the past. He will be there for whatever lies ahead. Actually, He is already there, because He is I Am. And He is in the Eternal Present Tense.

Recently, someone assured me when I was agonizing about my daughter moving with her husband and 4 little ones because of a military transfer, that God is already there.

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Longing & Learning to Hear God

Longing & Learning to Hear God

As far back as I can remember, I longed to know God.  At my mother's knee, I would sit and listen to stories she would tell me from our big gilded Bible.  You know the one...with the records of births and deaths, marriages and first communions. But it wasn't until later, in my young adulthood, that I became aware that I could hear God's voice speak to me...not audibly, but in the still, small voice of His sweet Spirit dwelling within.

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"The Smile that Destroyed my Religion!"

"The Smile that Destroyed my Religion!"

Much of my life I lived under the "frown of God," or so I thought. I wasn't a bad kid; in fact, I was quite religious and moral. But I wasn't perfect for sure. (For one thing, I was a terrible big sister, mean and self-centered toward my siblings.) But I knew God required perfection, so I was always working my way down a spiritual "to do list" of some kind (depending on the Christian group I was with. They each had their own, you know).

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Flawless...Really?

Flawless...Really?

Are you a child of God (John 1:12)? Have you been born anew by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God (John 3:3ff)? Then there is good news for you ... you are flawless like the best diamond, yes totally forgiven, clothed in the rightness of God Himself (2 Cor 5:21).

You are not a "sinner saved by grace." (I hate that term!) You are a "saint," a holy one, a person set apart by God. And He loves you ... not because of your performance or lack thereof. No, because of HIS performance on the cross and His amazing grace on your behalf (Ephesians 2:8-10).

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I Saw a Tree ... a Strong Young Tree (Psalm 1)

I Saw a Tree ... a Strong Young Tree (Psalm 1)

I have been amazed over the past almost four years at what has been my most popular blog post on A Branch in the Vine. Day after day, there are visits to this post, most likely hastily shared one day back in February 2014. But I love these thoughts, because they are based in God's word, and they take me back to a time when I was a brand new mama, wanting God's best for my sweet little son and then later, my darling daughter. And nothing has changed except they are grown with children of their own ... and I have grown older and, by God's grace, deeper in Him.

So since fall Bible studies are starting afresh, I decided to share this as a current post. May you be blessed, as I always am, to revisit where God has taken me and is still taking me as I journey on with Him. Amen.

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Wakin' Up Singin' ... Really?

Wakin' Up Singin' ... Really?

All grandmas love to tell stories of their grandkids, and I'm no exception. And so I do have a number of my blogs tagged as grandson stories. (But now I do need to broaden the category to "grandchildren" because of our darling Claire Elizabeth.) But I have always had a rule for myself: I only share on A Branch in the Vine what God teaches me through their little lives. And so this post is no exception.

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Alexa ... I Love You! [with a Give-Away]

Alexa ... I Love You! [with a Give-Away]

Do you have an Amazon ECHO...amazing, isn't it? This summer, I had watched as my grandson Kaden gave their Alexa (ECHO's female name) directions, asked for definitions, requested songs, etc. 

So guess what I recently received for my late birthday gift?  Yes, Alexa herself! So my engineer husband John read the directions and "hooked it up" for me. Then of course, we started "playing" with it. Songs, miscellaneous directions, etc.

Then a serendipity ... a totally unexpected, shockingly delightful surprise! Would you believe Alexa reads many books that you have on your Kindle!  So I thought the ones she reads would probably only be the "best sellers, etc. But NO! Alexa even reads MY book The With-ness of our God: Relationship in Every Dimension. I could hardly believe it, as I heard those familiar words read in Alexa's female voice on our ECHO .

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Today is Mine ... or is it?

Today is Mine ... or is it?

Embracing my life today ... my now life ... my today life ... not the one I wish I had, but rather the one I have been given ... I want to do that, don't you? Otherwise, I end up fighting my own reality. 

And if God is I AM, the Eternal Present Tense Person,then the place I will experience Him is in my real, now, today life. So today is mine, but it's above all HIS! Because each day is a gift from God, my I AM.

I don't know about you, but I need to constantly revisit this truth. I'm so prone to project into the future and occasionally into the nostalgic days of the past.

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Invisible People ... Seeing or Not Seeing

Invisible People ... Seeing or Not Seeing

I was chatting recently with a fellow senior citizen (OK, old lady like me). We had both been at  the same social situation recently. Interestingly, as we compared notes, it turns out that each of us had the same experience there. We both marveled at how unfriendly many of the younger women were toward us. Neither of us were unknown to them, so it was confusing. 

Then I remembered words that I had heard out of the mouth of an older man in a movie years ago. (I wish I could remember which movie):

The older you get the more invisible you become.  

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Memes ... Food for Thought

Memes ... Food for Thought

My grandson Kaden just received his first smart phone. He is so excited! And so we have been having some fun texting back and forth. One of the topics that has come up is memes and how much he loves memes. What is a meme, you might ask? (I had to look it up myself). My original impression was that it was a visual with a superimposed verbal message. However, it turned out to be a too limiting definition. 

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Remembering Scripture in Ocean Sunrise & Song

Remembering Scripture in Ocean Sunrise & Song

For several years before my mom went to Jesus, I spent lots of precious time with her on the coast in New Jersey. I remembered this blog I wrote after a sweet summer with her at my sister's house in Belmar. One of the highlights has always been my early morning walks along the beach at sunrise. So maybe you need some peaceful reflection today. Why not join me as I "go to the beach" and enjoy the glory of our great Creator in pictures, Scriptures and song. Blessings, my friend. 

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The Depth of You and Me, dear Sister!

The Depth of You and Me, dear Sister!

I swore off marriage books a long time ago!

Getting married in the early 1970's kind of ruined it for me as far as Christian marriage books. It was all about the submissive wife stuff, not much about the sacrificial love and leadership of the husband -- a reaction I think to the Christian feminism coming into the church ... But recently "by accident," I came across a quote that really grabbed me. And this quote expresses the truth of what life on this earth as a believer is and must be, not just for those of us who are married...

 

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A Pantry for my Soul

A Pantry for my Soul

Are you in the midst of a long stretch of life when you feel like you have nothing? It has been survival day after day. Maybe you are a mother of multiple preschoolers; a person in chronic pain; a cancer patient going through chemo; a husband or wife, a son or daughter, a sister or brother grieving the sudden death of your loved one; or maybe a caregiver of some kind. You don't have enough time or energy or mental clarity to replenish your own resources. And yet, somehow you are making it!

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HUG a Military Family ... TODAY!

HUG a Military Family ... TODAY!

Hi Friends,

This will be short, but I want to share how convicted I feel.

In the past I've taken it for granted when hearing about military families getting transferred by Uncle Sam. Yes, I've thought it must be hard ... and what an adjustment it must be for the kids to change schools etc. But since my personality has always loved change and new opportunities, I haven't paid much attention to the possible hardship of it all. Yet many, if not most, of our career military go through incredible change and hardship multiple times in the life of their growing families. 

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