Posts filed under Knots That Bind---

Knots That Bind #13...

"By your words I can see where I'm going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path."- Psalm 119:105

I live in San Diego, California, the city where people congregate, crowding in, in order to enjoy it's perpetually sunny days. There is a golden gleam that bounces from the ocean's blue to well manicured, well foliaged yards then back into cloudless skies. After spending 8 years here I can say that I know about sunlight. I know about surroundings that are clearly seen and are vibrant due to days upon days and weeks upon weeks of sun basking.

Light surrounds us San Diegans and we move freely from home to beach to work to coffee to church to parks to beaches and home again. Homes are built with large windows that stretch, sometimes, from floor to ceiling. In fact, as I sit here at my kitchen counter I can look at these walls that surround me and see almost as much glass as I can drywall, making my living space seem as though it moves well beyond the square footage that my hardwood flooring covers and into our yard. Because of this huge window/sunlight ratio, we rarely need to turn on artificial light until the sun dips well below the horizon.

I look around and everything is illuminated.

People flock to cities where "being" in the sunlight is thought of as an activity. People close their eyes, surrounded by cubicle walls, and dream about future holidays spent laying in the sun.

Portland, OR. tops the statistical charts as the #1 most unhappy city in the country and has an average of over 220 cloudy days a year. Many of the other top unhappiest cities have over 170 cloudy days a year while cities like Honolulu, Hi. and various cities in California dominate the top 10 happiest cities in the U.S. each having 270+ sunny days a year.

We love the sun.

We love being able to see.

We thrive and are happiest (as per the happy cities statistics) in places where the sun dominates the climate.

When I read this verse in Psalms, I think about the word of God and say "Yes! When I am in the word, studying, ingesting, reading, discussing, meditating on it I am bathed in it's light and I am happiest. I am most secure. I am most stable. I am most relaxed. I am able to see."

So what kind of spiritual city do you live in? Are you in Portland with sporadic glimmers of God's word in your life when you are desperate or are you Honolulu and awash day after day with the word of our Illuminant God?

Look at the sunlight around you today or even the lack of it depending on where you are and be reminded of this verse, make it your prayer.

(This is my newest blog in a weekly series where I share my thoughts behind some of my favorite scriptures out of the bible. If you want to see why I've started this weekly undertaking you can go back and read my blog called "Pirates And Their Knots...")

Posted on June 1, 2011 and filed under Anything and Everything, Knots That Bind---.

Knots That Bind #12...

"Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!" Psalm 139:23

Last week in my "Knots That Bind #11..." blog I wrote about the first section of this beautiful Psalm and throughout the week my thoughts have lingered on it, sometimes at the forefront of my mind and sometimes hovering towards the back, only making themselves known randomly.

It was one of these random moments where this verse jumped out at me one more time when I went to our mailbox today and saw the cover of the new Rolling Stone magazine. As you can probably imagine, the cover shot is one of the uber popular Lady Gaga.

As I caught a glimpse of her crazy hair/makeup/getup on the cover, I found myself a bit sick to my stomach.

"Really? Another place where I am being assaulted by this woman?"

It seems like everywhere I turn she is being pushed, no, shoved on me and it is making me feel a bit like I've just eaten 12 Quarter Pounder's with cheese in a row.

"Oh, I liked that burger on the first one but please, please, please don't force me to eat another."

She is everywhere and the media(American Idol, CNN, Rolling Stone, Amazon) all have little tidbits that they are throwing at us in an attempt to get us to buy into the Lady Gaga enterprise.

It reminds me of a girl I knew in high school. She was very pretty and quite smart but didn't know it. In fact I think that she thought otherwise. So much so that when we were in a group of people she laughed a little too loudly, her clothing was always a little to provocative, her makeup caked on a little too heavily, and her thoughts blurted out too quickly all in an attempt to get anyone's attention/devotion/friendship/love.

The result of her smothering was a withdrawal of those around her, both girls and boys. No one got closely enough to ever know her very well because there was the risk of suffocation. So she hovered, never becoming more than a persistent annoyance to those of us that clicked together.

So, If we walk all the way around from Lady Gaga and my friend in high school back to this verse I can see why my brain was holding on to it, waiting for the right moment to bring it shooting towards the front of my thoughts again. We desire to be known. Really, really known. Not in the way the public media stalks and thinks they know Lady Gaga but really KNOWN. There is someone who can know us this well. His name is Jesus and we can relax, at ease, because He knows us and always wants us closer. He always wants more of us. He always desires our company. So find yourself whispering to Him today "Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I'm about."(MSG translation)

***Side Note- Sorry if this blog containing Lady Gaga is just the 13th Quarter Pounder for you. At least I'm not trying to sell you her record :)

(This is my newest blog in a weekly series where I share my thoughts behind some of my favorite scriptures out of the bible. If you want to see why I've started this weekly undertaking you can go back and read my blog called "Pirates And Their Knots...")

Posted on May 25, 2011 and filed under Anything and Everything, Knots That Bind---.

Knots That Bind #11...

"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!" -Psalm 139:6

This chapter of the bible has long been one of my favorites. In it I have found the warm comfort of being known, of being purposefully created, of being wonderfully made, and of being without escape from God's presence.

Within the 24 verses of Psalm 139 I have found my identity as a child adored.

There is a point, though, where I sit back and think, "I don't get it. I can't comprehend this!" I try to sit still. I try to drink a great amount of coffee just before meditating on the implications found wedged within these verses. I try to close my eyes and focus, using every scrap of mind control to chase the thoughts of a Creator truly knowing me, even my thoughts and my intentions, and always being with me.

But.

It is useless.

It is impossible to understand and I find myself sharing David's bafflement in verse 6.

It has never bothered me, though, that I can't wrap my brain around God's omniscience and omnipresence. I have accepted that these things are too high for me, too lofty for me to attain or grasp or understand.

I have recently heard people arguing over verses and themes in the bible and I am reminded of others that I have known in the past who pick and pick at the Word of God as if they could ever possibly know it all. In fact there are some people that I have known who are so insecure that they would give off the feeling that they actually do have it all figured out, implying that only their answers to some of the most debated topics of the bible are the right answers.

While I think our knowledge of the Word is without question, one of the most important factors in our Christian lives, there has to be a point, on some things, where we throw our hands up and say, "It is impossible for me to understand this."

Oh!

But be careful when you do, because it can be humbling. If you pride yourself in the amount knowledge you can horde or if you love to debate your friends or if you find your identity in what you know or even if you just need to know the details of how things work then this statement may bring you to your knees.

Would that really be so bad though?

If we were to remember that He is not only "best friend God" but He is my Creator who has thoughts and intentions and purposes so great that they easily dwarf my finite brain.

No.

That would not be so bad to be humbled by such a God. What other God would I want to serve but one who blows my mind?

None.

Because only a God who could confound the greatest thinkers of this world could grasp and put into motion the steps it would take to provide our rescue.

So I will stick with the Savior to whom David wrote this Psalm and agree

"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!"

(This is my newest blog in a weekly series where I share my thoughts behind some of my favorite scriptures out of the bible. If you want to see why I've started this weekly undertaking you can go back and read my blog called "Pirates And Their Knots...")

Posted on May 18, 2011 and filed under Knots That Bind---.

Knots That Bind #8...

"Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump." -1 Corinthians 5:6

In this verse Paul is giving a written tongue-lashing to the Corinthian church about their boasting while a man in their church has committed a great sin. He tells them in the previous verses that they should be mourning because of what has taken place. Their boasting shows that they don't worry that a little sin will affect them and he makes it clear with this verse that they are wrong.

Leaven is a type of foaming agent that causes gas bubbles to multiply within dough "raising" it and causing it to become softer and lighter.

I can remember making homemade sourdough rolls with my mother when I was young. We would clear the entire counter top in the kitchen, grab the index card with the recipe on it from the place it stayed in a magnetic clip clinging to the front of the refrigerator, and push back our sleeves. The making of the rolls was messy and took quite a bit of time but the time spent alone in the kitchen with my mother, flour on our arms and sometimes faces, and the sharp smell of yeast in the room has left a warm, smiley memory.

Although I helped with the rolls more than once, I still remember looking into the oven in awe each time. The oven, at this point, was not turned on. My mother would place a large bowl with the sphere of dough inside, a towel laying over the top of the bowl and the oven light on for just a bit of heat to help with raising of the dough. Every few minutes I could look in and see that the towel had raised a bit further and further, off of its place on the bowl, until it looked like it would touch the top of the oven and spill over.

It was only a tiny packet of dry yeast that we added to the dough but in the end the the dough had doubled in size.

Just today I have seen the effects of the negative leaven that Paul is talking about at work in my own life. It is only a small, dim reflection but I sit here and see clearly how true this statement is in so many aspects of my life.

I have been feeling the weight of stress in my life and without getting into the details of the stress inducing elements I will say that it seems like the more I allow myself to relinquish a bit of my mind to anxiety or worry the more of my mind it takes over.

Maybe I just started this morning with my eyes opening and maybe I allowed myself a few thoughts about what sort of things lay ahead of me today (writing, singing, laundry, mothering, wife-ing, cleaning, studying, etc. etc.). Then just as quickly as the blinking of my groggy morning eyes I allowed myself to spend a heartbeat worrying about how it would all get done and how well I would do at each one. Perhaps I then tried to tuck that worry/leaven into a quiet spot of my brain while I stumbled downstairs and grabbed a cup of coffee, spent some time with my beautiful laughing unworried daughter, and spoke with my husband.

Eventually I made my way upstiars to change from my pajamas into my running clothes but after brushing my teeth I stood in the bathroom and made the decision to dress in my regular clothes instead of my jogging shorts and shirt and shoes.

I knew the decision I was making was a poor one, one that I would later regret but I had let that stress/yeast sit quietly inside and it had doubled weighing on me to the point that I even gave up my daily run. That seems like such a stupid thing to be bummed about but if a tiny bit of worrying can keep me from running then what other decisions is it affecting, guiding, steering?

This is what it looks like:

Worry thoughts lead to not running lead to not relieving tension through the run lead to being disappointed lead to more stress thoughts lead to tight shouldered neck tension lead to headache lead to....

This is the formula that is outlining this day. This is the string of yuck that is leading up to me singing tonight at my church's night of prayer and fasting. How horrible of a job I will be doing if I let myself walk into the church with such a great leavened/infected/affected mind and heart.

Lord I confess that I have thought these bits of worry and stress and anxiety were inconsequential. Please relieve me of this doubled/massive/overflowing mess I have worked myself into and bring me back to being unleavened. Lord let me start afresh.

(This is my newest blog in a weekly series where I share my thoughts behind some of my favorite scriptures out of the bible. If you want to see why I've started this weekly undertaking you can go back and read my blog called "Pirates And Their Knots...")

Posted on April 20, 2011 and filed under Anything and Everything, Knots That Bind---.

Knots That Bind #7...

"For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

Two weeks ago I quoted and talked about Romans 10:17 in my "Knots That Bind #5..." blog. It says

"Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."

I couldn't stop thinking about this topic so I was lead in my studying to this verse in Hebrews 4 today.

What is hearing?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary says to hear is "to gain information: learn." What better opportunity to learn than from the Word of God that is alive, full of power and sharp enough to divide between how we act or try to be perceived and how we truly are.

I can't tell you how many times I've sat down and thought "Sarah, who are you? Really?" It astounds me that I frequently don't even recognize or know myself. I do things that seem so unlike me and often don't do the things that I think I would be doing. So in this scripture I have found a promise, if I really want to know who I am, I can go to the Word of God and let it show me. Then after learning who it is I really am I can move towards being more like Him, through faith.

Perhaps this is why I and many people so frequently veer away from the Word of God. We conjure up all kinds of excuses why our Bibles remain on the bookshelf all week till we dust it off and take it to church with us Sunday. We don't have the time, we don't understand it and need someone else to explain it to us, we forget. The one that keeps popping up in my life is the fact that I have read through the bible cover to cover multiple times, I don't even remember how many times anymore, but I know I am foolish if I think I have even made a dent in my knowledge of the entire word that the Lord has for me.

Why do I resists digging through it continuously with a hunger for more?

Maybe it is because of its swordlike qualities. Isn't it easier to live in sin or even complacency if I lie to myself about who I really am? Then the Word brings a mirror close to my face and shows me the real me. No wonder I keep my eyes averted.

The other night I was taking my makeup off at the side of my bed and didn't bother to look in the mirror to make sure I had gotten my face entirely clean. The next morning I stumbled toward the bathroom and happened to glance at a mirror on the way in. Ahhh! I looked like someone had swirled black smudges all over the upper half of my face. In fact I'm sure they did. It was me the night before, thinking I was wiping the eyeliner off but instead I was just moving it around.

Imagine if I hadn't seen myself, or if I decided one day that I didn't like the mirror showing me stuff like that. I could walk out of my house never knowing what face I am showing to others. No matter what comes out of my mouth or how cheerful I might be, the reality of what I really looked like would be a distraction many wouldn't be able to ignore.

I need that mirror. I need the Word of God and it's ability to dig down deep into those joints and marrow. This isn't something I can do for myself. It's not even something I could rely on the person I think is closest to me or knows me best to do. Only His Word. His living, powerful, swordlike Word.

Here we go mirror/sword, let's see who I really am.

(This is my newest blog in a weekly series where I share my thoughts behind some of my favorite scriptures out of the bible. If you want to see why I've started this weekly undertaking you can go back and read my blog called "Pirates And Their Knots...")

Posted on April 13, 2011 and filed under Anything and Everything, Knots That Bind---.

Knots That Bind #6...

"Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only does wondrous things." -Psalm 72:18 A few years ago I wrote a song called "My Jesus." I had been sitting and reading this verse over and over while flying to Cape Cod to sing at a womens event. I kept thinking about those last few words

"who ONLY does WONDROUS things."

Job 5:9 says that our God "does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number."

My God, ONLY does WONDROUS, UNSEARCHABLE, MARVELOUS things AND they are without number. It was in that moment when I stopped and thought, "Sarah, why aren't you seeing all of those wondrous things? Why does it sometimes seem like I think that the things God does are small and insignificant? Not needing to be noticed?"

My problem is myself. I have made Sarah too big and my Creator too small. I have tucked Him into a nice spot near me but not straight in front of me. It's no wonder that I miss His innumerable wondrous works.

So this week My lyrics to my song "My Jesus," are my blog as well as my prayer:

My Jesus

I'll be the grain of sand You are the water wash over me I'll be the star You are the night wrapped around me

Just so I am small And it's You that are seen Because You are God And You came to die for me

Lord let me see Your glory Help me to know Your touch Lord help me hear Your voice So I can be right where You are

There's nothing small About my Jesus He is powerful! His works are wondrous! My Jesus

I'll be the tree You are the wind blowing through me I am the child You are my Father watch over me

(This is my newest blog in a weekly series where I share my thoughts behind some of my favorite scriptures out of the bible. If you want to see why I've started this weekly undertaking you can go back and read my blog called "Pirates And Their Knots...")

Posted on April 7, 2011 and filed under Knots That Bind---, Stories Behind Songs.

Knots That Bind #5..

Bungee
Bungee

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." -Hebrews 11:1

Faith.

I always think this is a strange word. It's almost like you have to have it to understand it. It's all or nothing. You can't stand on top of a bridge with a bungee chord around your legs and say "I'm going to jump off this bridge to see if I have faith that this chord will hold me and not break." No, you jump because you have faith, already, that it will hold you. Otherwise you would not jump. Maybe you would wait, staring down at the ground below you and ask a few more questions about the trustworthiness of that chord.

If we take this verse and apply it to the bungee diving metaphor then to have faith would be the jumping out into this life of ours with the assurance that the bungee chord or the things we hope for are worth trusting in, that they are trustworthy.

The jumping is the proof that we know we will be caught by the bungee

or

The faith is the evidence that we know we will see what we hope for realized.

Bob Utley says in his book "The Superiority of the New Covenant: Hebrews, "Physical reality is known by the five senses, and is not eternal, but fleeting. True, eternal reality is unseen and; therefore, must be held by faith, not sight. However, it is so real and true to believers that it controls and demands their priorities."

Wow! Could I say every second of my day and every one of my priorities are controlled by what I believe about eternal reality? I'm distraught to say, no, I don't. I can think of a number of times that I have lashed out with harsh words towards someone, or held back from telling someone about Jesus, or told what could be considered a "white" lie just because I was living in the present reality and letting my emotions of right now control my priorities. How many times have I proven my lack of faith because I was more concerned with the things of right now that I can see/taste/touch/hear?

Lashing out? Faith would have had me bite my tongue because I would have the assurance that God is the judge and I don't need to defend myself, therefore not being controlled by anger.

Holding back from telling someone about Jesus? Faith would have me speak boldly and confidently about my Savior instead of me being controlled by embarrassment or fear of rejection.

Telling a lie? Faith would have me speak the truth despite the inconvenience I think it might cause.

Through each of the acts of faith I would be proving what I believe. So how do I strengthen my faith? How do I keep from slipping and living my life without it?

Romans 10:17 says: "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."

It is simple. I need to hear. I need to read. I need to take in and chew on and digest the word of Christ till it comes seeping out of every pore as the fragrance of faith.

Lord, help me to know You and Your word. Draw me constantly to You, to hear from You so that it will be faith in You that is the only evidence being shown in my life. Help me to jump...

(This is my newest blog in a weekly series where I share my thoughts behind some of my favorite scriptures out of the bible. If you want to see why I've started this weekly undertaking you can go back and read my blog called "Pirates And Their Knots...")

Posted on March 31, 2011 and filed under Anything and Everything, Knots That Bind---.