Category Archives: anchor verse

Peace continued . . .

Sometimes we cannot see the way that God is taking us. Really, most days it’s that way, is it not? Just steppin’ on in faith because it’s the best we can do. As a people deeply connected to the heart of God, we try to honor that connection through our obedience and our allegiance to those not-yet-taken steps by actually taking them . . . one at a time.

We scratch our heads, as well as our hearts, and wonder what God is up to – believing that he is, in fact, up to something. Isn’t that most of the battle—settling our confidence regarding the God who can be known and trusted? That he thinks holy thoughts about us and offers holy ground for the clay feet that carry our frames forward?

This is faith on the edge. Alive, active, keeping pace with the day and keeping prayerful during the night.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so settled in my life of faith. Even four years ago when those death words were spoken over me and my faith sprouted all kinds of fresh wings, even then my faith was less. God grew me in th

 

at season, shaped my heart in a way that might not have been shaped otherwise. I accept this shaping. Most days, I glory in this shaping because I can measure the progression of my heart. Without those suffering days, I’m certain that my God-confidence would be lesser in this place where I am standing today.

I would still be waiting for faith to take hold at a deeper level. I’d still be wading in the shallows instead of splashing around in the deep. Life is better here in the deep. To be certain, it’s more mysterious, perhaps even a little more dangerous. But it’s a better pool of trust when the only shoreline within reach is the hemline of a water-walking Jesus.

I’m not saying that my faith is as strong as Peter’s was on that night when he took those sweet steps of trust across the sea. I am, however, simply willing to position my heart in a similar place of possibility. I’ve been keeping my eyes and my mind fixed on Jesus, and the communion has been sweet and certain.

 

Kept in peace. This has been a year for such a sacred keeping. I couldn’t have imagined on the front side of 2014 all of the many challenges that would confront my peace-keeping mission. With three months remaining, I imagine that a few more disruptions will work their way onto my calendar.

But I will cling to Peace.
And I will dip my hand over the side of the boat and wait for the waters to stir.
And when I feel the holy vibrations from the approach of the water-Walker, I will be brave.
And I will step out.
And I will step forward.
And just maybe (if only for a moment) I will walk on the waters with the King and know what it is to be fully alive and fully at peace.

The waters are stirring, friends. The Master approaches. Keep watch and keep ready. These next steps just might be your best ones. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

Anchor Verse 2014 ~ Kept

 

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” –Isaiah 26:3, ESV

Kept.

This is who I want to be in 2014. This is how I want to live.

Kept … in perfect peace—the Father’s pledge to me preceded by my obedience to him. That obedience? To trust God first and, then, out of that unwavering confidence, to lay, lean, rest, and support my mind upon him … to stay with God.

With that trusting and in that staying comes a God-guarded, perfect peace—completeness, tranquility, safety, and contentment that cannot be secured in any other way. Like a night watchman keeping vigilance over his vineyard, the Father promises to safeguard my peace so that the harvest remains intact, healthy and thriving to fullness.

I don’t imagine I’ve ever experienced this perfect peace long-term. There have been moments, even days, perhaps a season or two of holding this kind of sustained, perfect peace, but I want more than seasonal glimpses. What I’m after is an enduring fellowship with this God-protected contentment.

And so, when I dreamed about these words from Isaiah 26:3 a few nights ago (to be fair, I didn’t know they were found in Isaiah 26:3 at the time), I awakened in the morning holding a fresh purpose for my 2014. This year, I want to know my Father as Keeper. I want to be kept in his perfect peace. Accordingly, I must tend to my trusting and to my staying.

A pledge preceded by an obedience. A pledge and an obedience tucked securely within the set of bookends who can and who does author such reality:

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

You. God. Father. Keeper.

He is where I begin my 2014. He is where I’ll finish. And in between my now and my then, a long season of trusting and staying … an enduring season of fellowship with God-protected contentment.

Kept. This is who I want to be in 2014. This is how I want to live … anchored and held by the rich truth and work of Isaiah 26:3. And so I offer my “welcome” to this New Year, and I offer my welcome to you as well. For as much and as little as we are able, the fellowship we share here is a stone of remembrance for me on this journey of grace. May God keep you strong and in the faith this 2014, and may you be guarded by his perfect peace every step of the way.

Stay with God,

Anchor Verse 2013 ~ Reconciliation

 

I read his words in the early morning hours of 2013, beginning words about new things, new hopes, new desires (especially as it pertains to those who busy themselves with resolution list-making):

“They believe that a good intention already means a new beginning; they believe that on their own they can make a new start whenever they want. But that is an evil illusion; only God can make a new beginning with people whenever God pleases, but not people with God. Therefore, people cannot make a new beginning at all; they can only pray for one.” (Bonhoeffer, God is in the Manger, pg. 80)

And so, I bow my head and heart and pray for one . . . a new beginning, knowing that anything I might conjure up impulsively will ultimately fail if God is not in it. I ask for a new heart, a new approach to living with the older history that resides inside my aging flesh. And I pray for eyes to see this new beginning as it arrives, to lay hold of it, and to fully live it, even when it’s uncomfortable . . . especially then. To receive a new beginning from God only to reject it in the end is to squander the blessing—ultimately, to make a mockery of the gift so earnestly sought after, so divinely given.

Don’t ask for a new beginning from God if you don’t want one, because to receive one and to waste it is irreverence at the highest level.

Accordingly, I tread humbly, yet willingly toward the Father on this first day of 2013 as I ask for my “new.” I cannot perceive it, not yet. I can only believe that it awaits me, knowing that as I ask for this bread, my Father will not respond with a stone. He will answer me with his “much more”—good gifts from his God-heart (see Mt. 7:7-11).

Along these lines, and for the past several years, I’ve made it my practice to choose an anchor verse that would serve as a foundational guideline for my comings and goings throughout the year—a “go to” word from the Word when other words fail . . . when my heart and soul lose focus. Last year’s anchor was rooted in Phil. 3:12-14 and the phrase “movement wins.” I cannot begin to chronicle for you the many ways these verses and that phrase have pushed me, fortified me, and encouraged me in 2012. Movement wins stands as forever strength for me going forward. I pray the same power to be present in and through the anchor verses that I’ve selected for the New Year. For the past few months, I’ve known that these would be God’s watchwords for my 2013.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:17-20)

The ministry and message of reconciliation—the Greek word katallage meaning “exchange, adjustment of a difference, restoration of the favor of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the atoning death of Christ.”

God has placed me, placed all Christians, in the middle of a sacred exchange between himself and his created, between his holiness and man’s sinfulness. He has commissioned us to stand as a bridge linking the dying, fear-filled soul to the living, faithful God. What trust! What responsibility! What privilege!

Accordingly, I tread humbly toward the Father on this first day of 2013. To be a reconciler in the kingdom of God—to no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view—is to ratchet up faith’s commitment. With the responsibility comes accountability, of this I am certain. And so, I cannot ask for this “new” with only good intentions to fuel my well-doing. God must be the energy behind this undertaking. He is the author and finisher of my faith; it all begins and ends with him. So must my bridge-building. Bridges built by good intentions will ultimately collapse. Bridges built by God’s intentions will stand forever, eternally upheld by the heart and hands of his love.

This is where I am this morning, kneeling on a bridge, and praying for strength enough to be one of God’s. He, alone, knows where these verses and this prayer will take me in the next twelve months.

What about you? What is the prayer of your heart on this first day of 2013? What leading from God is leading you to ask for your new beginning? What strength do you find in his Word? What anchor will be your “go to” word in coming days? I pray one finds you—a verse or an entire chapter of holy writ that will work its way into your soul and serve as a strong foundation for your faith in coming days. Think on it; pray on it, and as it arrives, inscribe it upon your heart.

Don’t waste your new beginning; live it like you mean it. I’ll meet you on the road, and I’ll link arms with you in prayer for the steps ahead.

God will see to it all.

Anchor Verse for 2012

In honor of the New Year, I’ve selected the following Bible verse(s) to serve as my anchor verse for the next fifty-two weeks:

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

Over the last few years, I’ve made this my practice. Not out of obligation. Not because others are doing it. Not because I think I’m super-spiritual. Rather, I’ve chosen an anchor verse because I need a touch stone of remembrance for the daily practicing of my faith… especially on those days when the earth beneath my feet begins to tremble. On those occasions, I need a “go to” word from the Word.

I’ve also found it helpful to have a tangible reminder of my “go to” word engraved upon a bracelet. It keeps me attached to higher thoughts and keeps me chained to the Gospel and to the Gospel-Giver. And so, my gift to myself this Christmas, designed by Lisa Leonard. A scripture and a simple phrase that God impressed upon my heart in early October.

Movement wins. You can read my previous thoughts about this phrase by clicking on this link. Soberly, I take this one on, and I’ll wear it in the upcoming year. I want the reminder, friends. I need the reminder to keep moving, keep pressing forward in order to “take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

Progression is a key to spiritual development. Without movement, our hearts remain as is. Without movement, our hearts weaken. Without movement, our hearts stay stuck, and over time, move backward to a lesser place of understanding. Without movement, we’ve missed the point of our purpose on this earth—to know God and then, out of that knowing, to lead others to know the same.

Movement is God’s desire for all of us. On the front side of a new year, we cannot foresee the moments that will fill our calendars in 2012. We can, however, make a commitment to move our faith forward as each one of them arrives.

I want to keep pace with Jesus this year. To go where he goes. To do what he says. To love as he loves. To give as he gives.

Going, doing, loving, and giving. Movement. With Jesus at the lead, movement wins.

 

Keep moving, friends. Your best days are ahead of you. I look forward to moving alongside you in 2012. As always…

Peace for the journey,

PS: How is God challenging you to move your faith forward in this season? What “word” is he speaking to your heart?

entrusted {word for 2011}

entrusted {word for 2011}

From my perch on the couch, I watched him trim her nails. Never in her eight years on this earth did I recall him trimming baby girl’s nails. She was caught off-guard as well, looking at me occasionally as if to say, “Daddy isn’t doing this right…” or “What’s with the nail file?” And while I should have been grateful for his willingness to help, instead I was sad. Really sad, and I began to cry.
“I should be doing this, Billy. I always do this for her. You’re doing it wrong. I want to do this.”
He offered his apologies, understanding that there was something greater going on inside of me than just a compulsion for nail clipping. He knew that my mothering heartstrings were pulling hard and that his helpfulness was a direct reflection on just how little energy I have for the small things of life these days. That out of his great love for me, he wanted to spare me the details and allow me room enough to focus on the stuff that really matters. What he doesn’t understand is that nail-clipping really does matter to me; not because I’m an expert. Rarely have I acquiesced to a manicurist’s touch. No, my daughter’s nails matter to me because there are just some jobs that belong to me as her mother. Some things that I’ve always done… still need to do, because in doing them, I feel like I matter. Like I’m needed. Like I belong to something bigger than myself. Like my being here has purpose, even if that purpose seems small to others. Perhaps you understand.
We all need jobs that belong to us… need a focus and a reason to stir our hearts into action each day that we live on this earth. Without our attachments along these lines, we default to couch-livin’ and ample tears. We pass on the duties that are supposed to be ours rather than living out the responsibilities that are within our reaches and tethered closely to our hearts. God made our hearts for good work—for putting our hands to the plow and breaking up the unplowed earth beneath our feet. He understands that faith is best preserved when faith is liberally sown. Thus, he’s given each of us a job.
A similar job. We may travel all manners of terrain to get there, may institute a wide variety of regimens to accomplish our goals, but at the end of the day… at the end of this life, our life’s work really boils down to one, main objective.
To know God and then out of that knowing lead others to know the same. (I wrote about that here).
Accordingly, as I look to the New Year and as I have been reflecting on this one job that God has given me, several scriptures (with one overriding theme) have come into focus to serve as my anchor verses for the year. Read them to discover a common thread:
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men….” (Matthew 5:14-16a).
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20a).
 “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation… And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-20).
“Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God game me to present to you the word of God in its fullness.” (Colossians 2:24-25).
And finally,
“So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2).
Entrusted.
My “word” and my focus for 2011; not just with any task, but with the high and holy task of telling others the reason behind the hope that I hold in my heart. A weighty assignment for certain, but one that is required of me because of my status as a daughter of the King. I hold a great Truth inside of me. Sharing about Him isn’t an option for any believer. We think that it sometimes is… that sometimes we get a pass because we didn’t go to seminary and get the professional degree or receive official ordination from a committee. But kingdom work of this kind belongs to all of us. It’s simply time for me to get a bit more serious about it all. Wouldn’t you agree?
As I reflect back to my anchor verses for 2010(1 Cor. 6:19-20), I had no idea at the time of my selecting them just exactly what would be required of me to honor them. My body… a temple of the Holy Spirit? Honoring God with my body because I was bought at a price—the very blood of God’s own Son? Have mercy, I imagine it a good thing I didn’t fully grasp the breadth and depth of what that would mean for me on the front side of 2010. It’s only now, standing on the backside of an almost indescribable year of suffering faith that I’m even able to hold a bit of insight along these lines. I imagine I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to make the puzzle pieces fit together neatly, but I am confident that they will… fit. One day… on the backside of my earthly tenure.
Until then, I’m going to be busy with God’s business… with the sacred trust that’s been entrusted to me. No more couch livin’ and ample tears because I’ve handed off the responsibility to someone else. Instead, the clippers are in my hands for the trimming. For the mattering. For the needing. For the belonging to something… Someone bigger than myself. For the only purpose that truly matters on the front side of my living this thing out—
to know God and then out of that knowing, lead others to know the same.
Therefore, I no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view. I view them from God’s point of view and that, my friends, is a rich perspective from which to anchor a year’s view.
Entrusted. Oh God keep me faithful to the truth I’ve been given. Keep my brothers and sisters as well. As always…
Peace for the journey,
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