The seeker finds …
The seeker finds …
The visionary sees …
Yesterday I rediscovered this encouragement sent from a friend …
Thank you, Jaylene (at Heartwork Center for Creative Living). A decade ago, I found your words and your illustration delightful. Now, they show me where I am.
Late on a winter Thursday, I finished the rough draft of The Esther Blessing: Grace to Reign in Life. I completed and published the e-book later that spring.
Of course, a rough draft does not a finished book make. But a completed draft is a huge step in the process and a cause for celebration. That Thursday night, I celebrated. Imagine my astonishment on Friday morning to see:
God had showed up to celebrate with me.
The Esther Blessing explores a concept I’ve never heard taught: that grace flows in an amazing cycle very similar to the water cycle. Here’s a taste of chapter 8 – and a testimony to the God of all grace.
The rain comes down from heaven. As I finished drafting The Esther Blessing, I watched the rain fall, gently, persistently. Evening, morning and afternoon, it pattered against the windows and soaked into the ground.
The water flows into rivulets, streams, lakes and oceans. The day the rain just kept coming, the previously dry creek bed down the hill behind our house filled nearly to overflowing. As I concluded the first draft of a work inviting God’s people to cooperate fully in conducting his grace, I watched the newly surging creek waters flow past.
The water evaporates, rising upward to form clouds and start the process again. The morning after the all-day rain, I stepped out onto our back porch to refill our bird feeder. I gasped to see an ethereal mist rising from the ground. The sun peered through the treetops, calling the soggy land to release the water droplets skyward. The earth responded with a resounding, yes!
What a beautiful sign and wonder God had sent! Stunned, I stood silently, watching the earth itself praise the Creator. Then, I began to sing: “How can I keep from singing Your praise? How can I ever say enough how amazing is Your love? How can I keep from shouting Your name? I know I am loved by the King and it makes my heart want to sing.”
Before I started singing, a fine, translucent vapor rose about knee-high from the winter-white grass all across our back yard. As I praised the Lord, the mist visibly increased and intensified. By the end of my song, it had literally formed a cloud – a glory-cloud shimmering in the sunlight – that filled our lawn and extended far above my head. Undone, I stood in awe.
Continually, the Lord God accomplishes the wonder of the water cycle:
- “Who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land – the Lord is his name” (Amos 5:8).
- “He bestows rain on the earth; he sends water on the countryside” (Job 5:10).
- “Behold, He restrains the waters, and they dry up; and He sends them out, and they inundate the earth” (Job 12:15 NASU).
- “He casts forth His ice as fragments; Who can stand before His cold? He sends forth His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow” (Ps. 147:17-18 NASU).
- “He calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land – the Lord is his name” (Amos 9:6).
Continually, the Lord God accomplishes the amazing cycle of grace:
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work … You will be made rich in every way [as grace flows down] so that you can be generous on every occasion [as grace flows out], and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God [as grace flows up!] … Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:8, 11, 15 NIV).
Adapted from The Esther Blessing: Grace to Reign in Life, by Deborah P. Brunt, © 2013.
“How Can I Keep From Singing?” Written by Ed Cash, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, CCLI #: 4822372. Copyright © 2006 Thankyou Music (PRS) (adm. worldwide at EMICMGPublishing.com excluding Europe which is adm. by kingswaysongs.com) / worshiptogether.com Songs (ASCAP) sixsteps Music (ASCAP) Vamos Publishing (ASCAP) (adm. at EMICMGPublishing.com) / Alletrop Music (BMI) All rights reserved.
You have the time.
The ticking – that’s the devil’s whisper:
“Hurry, hurry, hurry!” He’s afraid, you see,
that if you stop, you’ll think of me
and know I made the time for you –
not to be master of your life
but servant to your needs in me.
I give you time, abundant time, to lift
your eyes, your heart and voice up to my throne.
because you’ve been so filled with me,
you’re overflowing with my love, my peace
and joy and faith and hope and – all good gifts –
you cannot help but sing my praise.
And yes, you have the time.
I give you time, abundant time, to work
my will in perfect peace – always reaping
as you sow, blessings – no regrets;
no wasted efforts draining precious
moments from short earthly lives.
My children always have the time –
the time to shine for me.
What’s more, you have the time to grow into
the new, true you that I foresaw – and then
redeemed, rebirthed and quickened by my blood
and resurrection life. Your spirit
has the time it needs, to learn, grow strong,
to lead, so all you are can honor me
in Spirit-given unity.
Oh yes, I give you time to praise, to work,
to grow, to live the life that I designed.
Know this: If you will take it,
you will always have the time.
“You Have the Time,” © 1979, 2015 Deborah P. Brunt. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Return to Your Rest: A Spirit-to-spirit Journey, soon to be released!
Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 CEB)
In December 2013, I had written all but one chapter of a book manuscript exploring Jesus’ wonderful, but seemingly impossible, invitation, “Come to me … and I will give you rest.” I knew the thrust of the final chapter, but had no words even to begin it.
After reviewing and editing the other chapters, I set the manuscript aside for the holidays, thinking I would write the closing chapter in January 2014 and have a new ebook published by spring. It would be titled, Return to Your Rest.
January 6, 2014, my father went in for a heart cath. January 13, he underwent open heart surgery. February 1, he died. At his passing, I wrote two posts that expressed the grief and acceptance I felt: “Homecoming” and “Eulogy.”
I didn’t know that the months ahead held far more than natural grief. For my father’s death triggered a series of events that turned my world upside down.
I’ve had other hard years, mind you, but 2014 proved the darkest yet. Strangely, as the year progressed, I had a strong sense that God was birthing something – almost as if I myself had re-entered the womb. Along the way, I could see glimpses of profound things the Lord was accomplishing. But that didn’t mean it felt good.
Most definitely, the rest I’d enjoyed previously had fled. For months, my thoughts and emotions ricocheted everywhere. At the same time, the Spirit of Christ continually said to my spirit:
The source of your rest lies in him who has invited you and to whom you have come. He has not forsaken you. His rest will return, if you do not give up but rather press in with Jesus to go through.
As the months of 2014 passed, I didn’t even try to revisit my manuscript or to start that elusive last chapter. I dared not return to my book until I had returned to my rest.
By the one-year anniversary of my father’s death, I had begun to see light and to feel lighter. Once again, I started reading and meditating on the psalm that, a year earlier, God had showed me would form the heart of that last chapter. It’s Psalm 23, David’s song of rest.
As I pondered and waited before the Lord, words began to flow again, along with the release to write them. At last, I saw what God the Spirit was showing me in this beautiful song.
What I had gained in the interim wasn’t so much new insight, mentally, as it was new awareness in my inmost part. Having walked the valley of the shadow in 2014, I can now sing David’s song from a deeper, richer place.
Life’s struggles and battles will continue, of course. And there may be other seasons when rest seems to have permanently fled. But now, from experience, I can say to myself and to you:
No matter how completely God’s rest seems to have disappeared from your life, he still holds it out, and he makes the way for you to return.
This week, I wrote the last chapter of my soon-to-be book. Once again, I’m singing a song of rest.
God sees you.
Any given moment, it may frighten you – or delight you – to realize that. Either way, it’s an incredibly important truth to embrace.
When you’re doing something you want to keep hidden because, deep down, you know it’s wrong, a healthy fear of the God who sees you could stop you in your tracks and save you a world of grief.
Doom to those who hide their plan deep, away from the Lord, whose deeds are in the dark, who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?” (Isa. 29:15 CEB).
The one who made the ear, can’t he hear? The one who formed the eye, can’t he see? The one who disciplines nations, can’t he punish? The one who teaches humans, doesn’t he know? (Ps. 94:9-10 CEB).
When you feel your situation, your need, even your existence is hidden – that no one with any compassion and authority to help you even knows you exist – Hagar’s story can set you up for a God-encounter of your own.
Hagar – the servant that Sarai and Abram exploited and then turned against, the pregnant woman who ran out into the desert, hopeless and alone – found herself miles from anywhere, beside a spring. Even more important, God found her there. Firmly, compassionately, he spoke to her, instructed her and made rock-solid promises to her.
“Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, ‘You are the God who sees me.’ She asked, ‘Have I truly seen the One who sees me?’” (Gen. 16:13 NLT).
The God who saw Hagar sees you. When you think you’re hidden, be blessed to know: You’re not.
. . . . . . .
Again and again, the “God who …” phrases in Scripture reveal God’s works. As we respond to our Lord deep within, receiving what he communicates Spirit-to-spirit, those phrases also reveal his ways.