Of Haircuts, Bananas, and Traffic Patterns: Is anything too Small for the Lord?

Of Haircuts, Bananas, and Traffic Patterns: Is anything too Small for the Lord?

Is there anything too small for the Lord?

OK, that's not how the verse goes: 

Is there anything too hard for the Lord? (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17; 32:27; Luke 18:27)

But maybe the first is a question we should also ask. Let me share why...

The other day I was taking my daily walk down our hill, through the nature path, alongside the horse farm, through a park area with the baseball fields and grove of trees...then back again. Many times this walk is when I commune with the Lord....listening to praise music, talking with  my Savior and Friend.

And other times, I commune with friends or family via my cell phone. Also lovely and meaningful.

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Fragile Souls...all of us, but especially...

Fragile Souls...all of us, but especially...

As I was getting ready to write a short blog about how easy it is to run ahead of the Lord, word came through of another pastor of a large multi campus ministry, a dear brother in the Lord, who has fallen into the mire of "moral failure."

Tragic, devastating news!

We all grieve for our brother...for his lovely wife...for his precious children.

And for ourselves who have heard God's Word and Spirit speaking to our hearts through this gifted brother.

But we also grieve with him...yes, with!

Because none of us is far from the same pit...though in different circumstances. This could easily be you or me.

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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 Acceptance of FAITH: Embracing that I Am who I Am... by Grace

The Acceptance of FAITH: Embracing that I Am who I Am... by Grace
If God Himself is the Strong One who does the doing, what is my part…yes faith, but what about my doing? 

To answer that, let’s look again at our second “yet not I” verse:

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been in vain. In fact, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God with [sun, united with] me. (1 Corinthians 15:10 NET)
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A Living FAITH: What is it?

A Living FAITH: What is it?

What is a living faith? 

To understand a faith that is alive, vibrant, real and restful, we need to explore two verses and two questions.  Both of our verses contain the same interesting phrase, “yet not I.” And both are from Paul’s writings: Galatians 2:20 and 2 Corinthians 15:10.

1. What is “the faith” by which we live while on this earth? 

I am crucified [united with] Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

2. If God lives the life that only He can live in and through me, what about me? Do I do anything? 

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been in vain. In fact, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God with [united with] me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)

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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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Happy Dependence Day 2016

Happy Dependence Day 2016

Here at A Branch in the Vine, we are proclaiming our Declaration of Dependence again for another year.

We are celebrating that every day is Dependence Day for those of us who "live from the life of Another." True liberation, freedom inexpressible and full of glory, begins when we embrace the words of Jesus,

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 ESV

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Revelation 201: "Why do kids raised in Christian homes walk away from the faith?" and other such questions

Revelation 201: "Why do kids raised in Christian homes walk away from the faith?" and other such questions

Kids who have been raised in Christian homes, and even educated in Christian schools, seem to be "leaving the faith" in surprising numbers.

And maybe there are just as many young people and adults that "stay" but are bored, just going through the motions. 

What is going on? Why is this happening?

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Caught in the Web: Getting Free*

Caught in the Web: Getting Free*

Look carefully! Can you see it? A perfectly formed circular spider web hanging across a path, suspended by a thread! Th is is the amazing sight that my friend Penny and I happened upon early one morning as we were walking down some little-traveled paths in a wooded area in my neighborhood. Here was one spider who was serious! She was ready to get a good catch that day!

There was a period of insecurity in my life when I was a good catch in a craftily constructed web—not made by earthly designs but that of the Father of Lies (John 8:44). It started out with a series of real, and perhaps imagined, rejections which then developed into a lie. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I had recognized it for what it was, but I didn’t. And so I embraced it as truth and struggled for many years.

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Revelation -101: How NOT to See & Hear God

Revelation -101: How NOT to See & Hear God

You read that right "Revelation MINUS 101." 

I wish I didn't have to write this post, but I wouldn't be honest if I didn't.

And can I be honest? I've been cranky . . . crabby . . . "out of sorts" . . . ok, nasty! Ask my husband. I had gotten tired of being a "punching bag" in little ways in a certain relationship. My house is torn apart with a pending reconstruction project. I feel in limbo emotionally (aftermath of my husband's and my retirement?) . . . all potential reasons but very poor excuses!

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Children Incognito!

Children Incognito!

In April 2005, my husband John came home from work and said, “I’m going to Shanghai next week for work!”  Now you have to know that neither John nor I had been world travelers and haven’t even really had that on our “bucket list”.  The idea of his going (by himself, mind you) to Shanghai was very terrifying…to both of us!  As he was preparing to go, he was prayed over and encouraged by our kinship/small group to trust the Lord in this test to his faith. I took him to the Dayton airport very early the morning of his departure. After John checked his bags, I cried, kissed him good-by, and prayed.

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Keeping God's Word Fresh: a Guest Branch

Keeping God's Word Fresh: a Guest Branch

If I want to keep my relationship with Jesus strong I need to keep the lines of communication open. We speak to God through prayer and He speaks to us through His Word and through the Holy Spirit. 

Sometimes it can seem like a chore, however, so I’m always looking for ways to keep the Bible “living and active”. 

I discovered a fun Bible last year. It’s called The ESV Journaling Bible. It has room on the sides to write notes or to draw or paint. I’ve always enjoyed drawing and painting as a hobby so what better way to elevate God’s Word! 

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God's Coloring Book: Praying & Reflecting in Colors

God's Coloring Book: Praying & Reflecting in Colors

In my last post, we reflected on living our life in full color rather than in muted and dulled shades. I also shared an amazing song discovered as a delightful "God-wink," God's Coloring Book.

So in keeping with the theme of color and our spiritual walk with the Lord, I would like to share some possible ways to use color to help nurture our souls.

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Living the Colorful Life

Living the Colorful Life

God lives a colorful life . . . or maybe better said, God lives His life in color!

All we need do is look around. Color is everywhere . . . in nature, in people, even in feelings, ideas, and circumstances.

But as Christians, who embrace a color-loving God who gives us fullness of life through the indwelling Spirit, we most often live inwardly in colors muted and shaded and not alive.

Why is that, I wonder? 

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Rejoicing, not just Weeping

Rejoicing, not just Weeping

Why is it easier to weep with others in their suffering than rejoice with them in their success?  Jealousy?  Insecurity?  Self-importance?  Disappointment with my own life? Scarcity mentality (that there's not enough "good stuff" out there for me too)? Have you found that it's much easier to find others to weep with you in your distress than rejoice with you in your success...even among your friends and loved ones?

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When the Unfolding Gets Hard

When the Unfolding Gets Hard

Today the "Unfolding Fullness" of God in my life just got hard . . . not hard like cancer or broken marriage or wayward children- type hard. It was the stress of my plans being rearranged- kind of hard. Now I love spontaneity when it's MY spontaneity (a.k.a. my own change of plans). So today didn't start out well . . . until my husband John reminded me, "It's His Unfolding Fullness." 

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Unfolding Fullness

Unfolding Fullness

At the beginning of this calendar year something interesting happened . . . the Lord gave me "a word" for my year. Have you heard of having a word for your year? I had a few years ago, but I never really had one . . . until 2016. The word He gave me was "unfolding." But it didn't stop there. I sensed the Lord adding to it . . . "fullness." So it became "Unfolding Fullness."

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