The Word Weaver
Inviting you to know & embrace Jesus Christ
Deb Weaver
by The Word Weaver, Deb on March 15th, 2018

​As I sat before my open Bible one day, I felt the whisper of God asking, “Do you know that you’re beautiful?” 

It was an uncomfortable question, one that I kinda wanted to brush off and avoid. 

Over the past several years, I’ve come to increasingly believe, savor, and rest in the personal, passionate love of God.  He’s helping me to grasp that He delights in and rejoices over me—Me!—of all people, at all times, whether I’m a mess or not.  And it’s true for you too; you are the special apple of His eye!  It’s an amazing, life-altering, wondrous truth. 

But this—being considered beautiful by God—I wasn’t so sure about that.  

​And yet…

Psalm 45:11 is an Old Testament wedding song and also a foreshadowing reference to Christ the King.  Jesus calls His followers—the Church, corporately and individually—His bride.  So let’s accept that He’s saying these words to us:  “The King is enthralled by Your beauty; honor Him, for He is your Lord.”  (NIV)

My heart beat a little faster as I reread the verse.  God really thinks I’m beautiful. He doesn’t think I’m just okay.  Or that some days I look good.  No, God sees me right now as I am, and He is enthralled by my beauty.  What?! Doesn’t that almost shatter your mind? 

Think about it.

Our Savior Jesus Christ is staring at us passionately.  Picture the look on His face.  He is not bored, angry, or indifferent.  He’s not looking past us watching for someone more interesting and beautiful.  He’s gazing at us with unabashed, unabated, unrelenting love.  A smile is playing around His lips.  His breath is caught.  His intensely personal look radiates His esteem.  He’s trying to catch our eye.  He wants us to know that we reside in His view and that He wants what is best for us.  He’s waiting, willing us to look up at Him. Captivated.  Enthralled.   

Overwhelming, right?  Personal.  Passionate.  Vulnerable.  Unnerving.

My response was to drop my eyes.  To duck my head in insecurity or deflect His gaze in shame. The intensity of God’s passion for me felt too much.  In those moments, my view of myself and my sin eclipsed my view of Him. 

But as I sat in His presence over the next few weeks, He reminded me of Scriptural truths: 
  • “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 8:1 NIV)
  • NOTHING separates me from the love of God in Christ Jesus.  (See Romans 8:31-39)
  • His love is wider, deeper, higher, longer, better than I can currently grasp.  (See Ephesians 3: 16-19)
  • “His words evoke her beauty.  Everything He does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness.”  (Ephesians 5: 26-27 MSG) 
  • I am chosen, holy, belonging to God (See 1 Peter 2: 9)
  • He cherishes the unfading beauty of my inner self (See 1 Peter 3:4)
Journaling helps me process life with God/ Excerpts used in The Word Weaver blog post
​Increasingly, I’ve begun to ask Him to enable me to believe and receive the truth that He is enthralled by my beauty and that our deepening relationship makes me even more beautiful. 

This is an excerpt from my journal:

“Help me to truly, deeply grasp Your love, desires, and perspective.  I am Yours.  I am beautiful in Your eyes.  Open my heart and eyes to how personally You enjoy, appreciate, see, and hold me.  May I sense and experience the passion of Your gaze and Your care. 

By Your grace, may I not:
  • Duck my head out of insecurity
  • Deny it out of false pride or worry over what others might think
  • Reject it from unbelief
  • Ignore it out of shame. 

As I humbly live in You and nakedly lift my eyes to You, Your Word, Your Spirit, and Your loving graces, may I:
  • Accept, embrace, and believe the wonder of Your unconditional love, unending grace, and unrelenting passion. 
  • Recognize and return Your look in increasing vulnerability, unabashed gratitude, and wholehearted surrender.

May this passionate communion with You mark my life with absolute joy and humble confidence—regardless of circumstances.  May it radiate Your Son as I awaken each day to bask in the radiance of Jesus’ loving gaze of truth and grace.

May it not be marred by my efforts and striving, perfectionism or people-pleasing.  Instead, may it spotlight the inner transformation that You are accomplishing within me. 

I bow before You and honor You, My God, My King, My Love.  Speak; Your servant, Your child, Your bride listens.”
Scripture Psalm 45:11/ The King is Enthralled with Your Beauty
​The second part of that verse urges us to honor our King.  How do we do that?  I’m sure there are many ways to do so.  These are the ones that come to my mind (not in any order):
  • Spend time reading His Word
  • Believe what He says
  • Listen for His voice
  • Grow in gratitude for every thing
  • Slow down and savor His presence
  • Delight in Him!
  • Journal our thoughts in conversation with Him
  • Accept and ponder His goodness and love
  • Love Him back
  • Respond to His truth
  • Obey Him
  • Talk with Him throughout the day
  • Love those around us just like He loves us
  • Worship the King!
Opening our hearts/ Questions for the soul in this Word Weaver blog post

​What about you?  

Do you know that you’re beautiful? 

It is my hope that you’ll prayerfully read Psalm 139 and then consider the following questions.  Reject shame in this space.  Just answer before the Lord who loves you and who is enthralled by your beauty. 

May it be an open, honest, sacred interaction:
  • Do I understand that Jesus Christ not only knows and loves me, but He likes me too?  He delights in my uniqueness and personality.  He loves being with me.  *If you struggle with believing this, ask Him to help you to accept it, believe it, relish in it.
  • Do I know that He is enthralled by me, by my beauty?  *Ask Him to show You what He sees.  Listen for His answers that reveal truth.
  • What is one way I could honor Him?  What small thing would show Him that I am reveling in His thoughts toward me?  How could I express my love back to Him?
  • What if I dared to take God at His Word?  What if I truly believed it?  What if I grasped it with every fiber of my being?  
What if I met my Savior
​Let’s walk forward in the eternal light of His love, secure in our beauty and utterly satisfied by Jesus.  We are His!  He is ours!
 
Related and recommended resources to The Word Weaver blog post
If this post resonates with you, you may appreciate the following related posts from The Word Weaver blog:

Only Jesus Satisfies

I NEED Jesus.  You NEED Jesus.

Grasping Love

Unwrapping Grace

You may also enjoy checking out other previous posts from the Archive page.
Tweetables/ Quotes from The Word Weaver blog post in convenient tweets.

by The Word Weaver, Deb on March 1st, 2018

​At times, I am an emotional eater.  If I’m not cognizant of what is stirring deep within me, I live inside the pantry.  I park between the microwave popcorn & the Triscuit crackers.  Sometimes I party with the Thin Mint cookies on the upper shelf or embark on a road trip to the freezer for ice cream sandwiches. 

Turbulent emotions play a large determining factor in my use of time as well.  If I haven’t processed strong conflict or the deep pain of someone close to me, I dive into self-soothing activities.  It’s one thing to watch an episode or two of a favorite show to relax; it’s quite another thing altogether to binge-watch an entire season of it. 

I can’t handle myself on days like this.  But God can.  He knows me completely and loves me utterly.  He knows when I want to run and hide from life.  He doesn’t shake His head in disgust when I’m drowning in emotion or when I’m tempted to self-soothe.  I’m not too much for God.  He welcomes my sensitive nature and delights in me. He invites me closer and reminds me of another way.  
Taste & see that the Lord is good/ Scripture accompanying blog post by The Word Weaver
​Daily, we who believe in Jesus are invited to the banquet of God.  Imagine this huge table filled with the finest of cuisine.  Fragrant and filling.  Platters brimming with everything we need and that which we might truly desire.  We’re urged to step up and partake repeatedly, fully, joyfully.

Jesus declares in John 6, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and He who believes in Me will never be thirsty. . . Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me.” 

This feast is symbolized in communion, but it is an even more beautiful picture of what abiding in Jesus looks like.  The Bread of Life gives us His life.  He is enough for us.  He satisfies.  We need Him more and more.
Jesus is the Bread of Life/ Do we want More of Him? / Blog post of The Word Weaver
If you are like me, there are days it’s simple to feast at the table of God.  I meet with Him over His Word.  We walk through the day together.  My thoughts return repeatedly to Him.  I gasp with wonder and gaze with gratitude during small moments.  I run to Him with hurts and requests, fully assured of His goodness and greatness.  Rich, satisfying, delightful relationship.

Other days I’m blindsided by doubt, worry, or fear.  I forget that God is with me.  I blindly charge through the packed hours as if the world rested on my shoulders.  These days—the ones I am in most need of divine refreshment—tend to be the ones when I shy away from the table.  I quickly nibble and dash off.  Or I pick up crumbs from the floor in an effort to comfort myself.  I hide from God instead of pouring out my honest lament at His feet.  Cold, empty, nagging hunger.

And then there are many days that include both.  I’m learning on the worst of my days—when I want to bury myself under a blanket and not feel anything—to return to the table.  Jesus never turns me away.  He embraces me in welcome and delight each time I return to Him.  God continually beckons me close.  I reach out to Him again and again, and He satisfies me.
Quote by Author Sara Hagerty from Unseen/ quoted in blog post by The Word Weaver
​Author Sara Hagerty, in her book Unseen, expresses her heart’s desire: “As Mary did with her fragrant oil, I want to spend myself on Jesus. I want to move His heart with an extravagant outpouring. The world changes from an exchange such as this.  Instead of frantically scurrying to meet the latest need, I slowly pattern my life toward pouring myself out at His feet—toward giving Him the best of my affection, sometimes in a hundred small glances a day.  It’s from that place of connection that I hear His heartbeat for the needs around me and see His perspective on my role.  It’s from there, that place of carrying His heart, that I learn how and when to respond to others’ cries.”
​I, too, desire for my life to be poured out in extravagant, lavish love, trust, and worship.  It starts in the small moments and slowly increases as my appetite for Jesus increases.  Could I start small?  Could I spend 10 more minutes poring over His Word, savoring His Presence?  When I’m hurting, could I take a walk and tell Him all about it?  Could I accept His comfort instead of stuffing myself with other things?  Could I praise and thank Him in the midst of this holy hard?

Couldn't I daily, over and over, declare this truth?  “Taste and see that the LORD is good; oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!”  (Psalm 34:8, NLT)

He beckons us again and again, Come.  Will we?  

​Let’s consider our hearts before the Lord: 

Important soul-searching questions to consider in the blog post by The Word Weaver
In gentle honesty, please consider with me the following questions concerning the soul:  

​​Am I rejecting His offer of salvation and of everlasting life?  Do I only think I know what He tastes like?  If this is so for you, please carefully reconsider.  This is the most important choice we make in this life. Take a real taste.

Am I nibbling or am I feasting?  Am I settling for a crust when Jesus offers the whole loaf?  There’s a tremendous difference.

What empty calories am I consuming instead of The Bread of Life?  Is my plate filled with too many other—perhaps tasty but less important—things?  How could I begin to grant Jesus more of me, of my time?

What if I don’t want more of Him?  What if I’m satisfied with the dessert plate-sized portion? Could I ask Him to change my desires?

Do I really believe that Jesus satisfies?  Do I trust Him to satisfy my deepest longings and hopes?  He is God. Nothing is too difficult for Him.

Do I want to allow Him to transform my desires so that I want Him more? Will I pray for willingness, desire, and change of heart?  

​Let’s consider these urgings:

​We will not live abundantly in this day and age if we are not absolutely filled and satisfied by Jesus Christ.  Our love will grow cold.  Let’s feast on the Bread of Life!

We will not be able to flee from the overwhelmingly, flesh-satisfying succulent temptations of this world.  None of us are strong enough to forgo temptation without inner strength and satisfaction and perspective.  Let’s rely upon the Bread of Life.

If we’re standing here, pointing out someone else who has stumbled headlong into sin, and we’re not looking within, we’re probably stuffing ourselves with pride.  Regardless of what tempts us, we need Jesus.  Only He transforms our lives from the inside out.  Let’s confess our own sin before the Bread of Life.

We must want Jesus Christ, and we must feast on Him more than anything else.  More than anything we desire: comfort, happiness, ease, favorite pastimes, friends, romance, or even holiness.  He is the connection, the source of all we actually need and want.  Let’s refuse anything less than the Bread of Life’s best.

Paradoxically, the more I eat of that which does not satisfy, the less I want that which does.  And also, if I really know how good the main course is, why would I fill my plate with excess junk?

You see, the more we look to Him, the more we receive of Him.  The more we have of Him, the more we give of ourselves to Him.  The more we grasp His love, the more we can trust Him.  The more we can trust Him, the more we love Him.  The more we love Him, the more we have of Him.  This extravagant cycle of worship and surrender transforms us and our lives. 

And when we embrace more of Him, we actually receive more of the other important gifts we need:  healing, freedom, strength, happiness, holiness, and help.  

​What if?

​We have been given the infinitely fulfilling, surpassingly glorious gift of Jesus Christ.  He is everything! 

What if we lived with a growing, ravenous appetite for Jesus?  Imagine refusing to be pacified by anything else.  Not caring what others think anymore.  Pursuing and spending time daily in the Presence and Word of God, in small moments and in larger chunks.  Thinking about and enjoying Him.  Listening to His voice.  Watching Him.  Believing His promises.  Savoring His Presence.  Surrendering to His ways.  Following in obedience.  Worshipping Him in wonder.  Desperate for Him.

Imagine being joyfully, humbly, wholly satisfied by Jesus.  I want that kind of life!  Don’t you?

​Let’s pray:

​Heavenly Father,

We are grateful.  You have given us Your Son, Jesus, the Bread of Life.  Everything we need is found in Him.  What a precious, priceless gift!

We confess that we gorge ourselves on things that do not and cannot satisfy our souls.  We ignore Your outstretched arms and grasp idols in our efforts to comfort ourselves.  In pride we assure ourselves that we can fix the holes in our hearts by our own efforts and in our own ways.  This is sin.  It is folly. 

Only You can heal our hearts and lives.  Only You can meet our deepest cravings.  Only You can fill us with abundance, joy, and satisfaction.  Please forgive us for turning anywhere, everywhere but to You.  Please change us.

O God, grant us a ravenous, righteous, willing appetite for more.  Create in us a deeper desire to know who You are, what You are like, what You say, & what You do.  May we increasingly recognize and respond to Your voice of truth.  May we hunger for, accept, and extend more of Your grace.  Draw us more to Your Word, and enable us to deeply believe it. Lead our thoughts back to You and to Your truth more and more throughout our days.  May we reject anything that leads us away from You and Your purposes.  May we press into Your embrace of love, perspective, and peace.  More and more, we want to know, love, and embrace You back.  Oh, that we may taste, see, and declare that You are good! 
 
In the name of Jesus,
Amen.
Related Resources in the blog post by The Word Weaver
Photo credit and gratitude to a Savannah Grandfather for the sweet girl with a peach.

Recommended Resources:
How to Keep Your Heart Alive, blog post by Sara Hagerty
Unseen by Sara Hagerty

Related Posts on The Word Weaver website:
We Are Not Alone, Even in the Dark
I NEED Jesus.  You NEED Jesus.  Let’s Fix Our Eyes on Him
Prayer Focus:  Allowing God to Quench Our Thirst
Prayer Focus:  Grasping Love
Tweetables/ Convenient quotes from The Word Weaver blog post to tweet

by The Word Weaver, Deb on February 15th, 2018

​If there was an urgent, life-altering message, wouldn’t you want to know? 

Wouldn’t you want to investigate its veracity? 

Wouldn’t you want to respond aright?

​Here it is:  

​We NEED Jesus.  Every single one of us need Him, regardless of our differences:  
  • age 
  • background 
  • choices we’ve made 
  • the color of our skin 
  • gender 
  • interests 
  • I.Q.
  • nationality 
  • religious beliefs 
  • socio-economic status 
  • titles we bear
  • what’s been done by us or to us

We share this one absolute need.  We NEED Jesus. 

This universal truth has not been hidden from us.  It has been proclaimed fiercely, relentlessly, passionately.

Stop a moment and look for its message:
  • Revealed in the deepening blush of the afternoon sky
  • Declared on the blood-stained cross
  • Exploded from the empty tomb
  • Whispered in the sprout of joy that unfurls in a quiet moment
  • Highlighted throughout our Bibles
  • Echoed in the black, empty cells of our darkest sin
  • Experienced in the excruciating crucible of hurt, loss, need, or fear
  • Demonstrated in the lives of the faithful throughout history

God repeats this truth over and over. 

But maybe you’ve missed it.

Or perhaps you’re nodding your heard in mental ascent that Jesus is important, but you’re failing to embrace this real, resurrected God in the grit, grime, and grunt of your daily life.
Quote by David G. Benner from his book The Gift of Being Yourself/ Used in The Word Weaver blog post
​Dr. David G. Benner, in his book, The Gift of Being Yourself, says:
 
“Too often we have not allowed the initial introduction to deepen into a deep, intimate knowing.  Though we glibly talk about a personal relationship with God, many of us know God less well than we know our casual acquaintances.  Too easily we have settled for knowing about God.  Too easily our actual relationship with God is remarkably superficial…

If this is your experience, don’t allow yourself to be distracted by guilt. Hear God’s call to a deep personal encounter as an invitation, not a reprimand.  It is an invitation to step out of the security of your boat and meet Jesus in the vulnerability and chaos of your inner storms.  It is an invitation to move beyond objective knowledge to personal knowing.  It is an invitation to truly know God.”
Heart to heart conversation on The Word Weaver blog
​Friend, there’s no shame here. 

Just let me lean in closer to you and gently reiterate how important it is that we get this truth. 

Personally.  Deeply.  Experientially. 

There is no greater priority than our relationship with Jesus. 

You and I need Jesus.  Yes, we absolutely need Him for the salvation and new life that was purchased for us by Christ’s sacrificial death and victorious resurrection. 

We also need Him in the now moments of our everyday lives.  
For the person who staggers in confusion, there is no greater priority.  The Bible tells us the truth about who we are and what we are like, and who God is and what He is like.  We are deeply loved and deeply flawed.  We are in desperate need of a Savior.  There is one way to God the Father, and we will only find it in Jesus Christ.  Seek Him. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you.  Lucidity expands as we discover truth. 

For the person who has recently held out her hands and accepted the gift of salvation, there is no greater priority.  Love grows us as we embrace the God delights in us just as we are.

For the person imprisoned and bound by his sin, there is no greater priority. Jesus transforms us from the inside out as we look to and respond to Him.  Liberty resides in the resurrection power of the Living God. 

For the person who is walking with Jesus through a painful, piercing season, there is no greater priority.  Perspective and peace descend in the presence of Christ.

For the person whose hope has drained through life’s sieve of pace and pain, there is no greater priority.  When we realize that He is not only with us but for us and when we rely upon His power within us, perseverance reshapes and strengthens us.

We need Jesus.  There is no greater priority than leaning on and learning from Him.
 
In John 5: 19-20 (NIV): “Jesus gave them this answer: I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does.  Yes, to your amazement He will show Him even greater things than these.” 

If the Savior of the world could not do anything of eternal value without focusing on and following the Father, how can we? 

We can’t. 

Jesus spelled it out in John 15:5 (NIV):  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” 

Without Jesus Christ in the center, I can do nothing.  You can do nothing.  

​So how do we live?  

​The apostle Paul gives us instructions:  

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12: 1-2 (NIV)

Surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses—countless numbers of real people, (many of whom were noted in the previous chapter of Hebrews), surround us.  These ordinary individuals walked this dusty orb too.  They:
  • lived extraordinary lives by faith
  • heard, believed, and heeded the voice of the Living God
  • continue to live forever in the glorious, radiant presence of God
  • stand and testify to us that our God is trustworthy, able, enough, worthy
  • cheer us on toward the finish line  

​Listen!  Can you hear them?  

​They shout truth!  They urge us to believe and to trust Him regardless of what happens or what we face.  They declare that whatever He asks of us is worth it, that He is worthy, that He can transform our lives.  They encourage us to take the next step and to keep at it till we get Home. Victory is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.

They were ordinary men and women like us.  They didn’t have it easier.  It wasn’t easier for them.  They didn’t possess skills or qualities that made it possible for them to do amazing things.

No, what these faithful men and women of the past had—and what is also available to us—is the presence and power of the Living God for those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  

This overcoming power is from the Gospel of grace.  The work of God in our lives changes us, and it changes the world. 

Jesus offers this life of power to all of us in His nail-scarred hands.  When we believe in Him, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit who enables us to live with extraordinary faith and obedience.

Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles—We can’t run in a heavy, flapping robe.  The extra weight and excess fabric gets in the way.  The same is for us in this life.  If we are to follow Jesus, there are things we need to throw off in order to race well.  We need to discard whatever hinders us regardless of how small or seemingly insignificant.  What this entails—what habits, attitudes, or actions—may be different for you and for me. 

It’s important to daily inventory our lives.  May we ask the Holy Spirit to reveal: 
  • What does God say about this?  Does it line up with His Word?
  • What gets in the way of God’s purposes in me? 
  • What distracts me? 
  • What moves my attention from the things above to earthly things? 
  • What sins repeatedly trip me up? 
  • How may I flee them? 
  • What boundaries and safety nets does God want me to employ so that I may circumvent these traps? 

We do this in order to run well during this pilgrimage of faith.

Run with perseverance the race marked out for us—without looking to the left or to the right. 

No comparing ourselves with others or our tasks with theirs.  No pouting over how hard our life is compared to how easy theirs looks.  No complaining that they’re doing it wrong.  No wishing that we had their calling, their life, or their gifts. We resolutely refuse the bitter seeds of jealousy.

Rather than looking around at others and what God seems to be doing in their lives, we must narrow our field of vision and, instead, focus on how God is calling us. 

It’s essential to get our individual instructions from the One who marked the map of our races before the foundations of the world (see Ephesians 1:4, 2: 10, Psalm 139:16, John 10: 1-5)

Fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith

Where our gaze lingers, our lives follow.   

If our heads are whipping around trying to attend to everything, we will miss the mark. 

If we’re not concentrating on the Word and Spirit of God, we will miss important information. 

If we’re enthralled by anything other than Jesus, we are headed for disaster.

MacMillan Dictionary notes that if you fix your eyes on someone or something, you “look straight at them and at nothing else.” 

We are not just to fix our eyes anywhere, but to fix our eyes on Jesus. 

He initiated our faith, and He will complete it.  He is the One to whom we must pay attention.  His opinion matters most.  His voice is vital.  His direction is necessary.  Heeding His call is vital.

​This call is costly.   

​It requires tuning out the cacophony of competing calls: The seductive whisper of personal desire and ease. The subtle insinuation of selfishness and personal rights.  The driving beat of ambition and desire.  The bitter traps of envy and entitlement.  The clamor of fear and lies. The relentless temptation to waste moments. 

The distractions we face are endless.

Though God is able to speak loudly, He most often chooses to speak in a still, small voice.  It’s easy to miss it, especially in a world screaming as if its hair is on fire, in a media-conscious society that notifies us whenever anyone breathes, and in a culture that rewards our shallow attention spans.  We must focus in the midst of this noise.

I often have trouble hearing when there’s ambient noise in the background.  Sounds bounce off and collide with one another, and I can’t hear clearly. It takes more concentration and effort to interpret the message.   When it’s loud, I find myself leaning in, paying closer attention.  I watch the lips of the person speaking.  It helps if I know them and their thoughts well.

Likewise, we must lean in closer to Jesus to listen and to train our attention on His face so that we hear His voice.  We ask Him to show us:  How do you see me?  What do You think?  What is most important?  What is most needed?   What do You want me to do? 

We redirect our roots into the nourishing soil of His love and grace.  We soak ourselves in His truth.  We study His character, His ways, His words, His works. We worship and converse with Him continually. We learn to accept and savor His love, and we learn to love Him back in every small moment of our lives.

Writer Jessica Van Roekel  reminds us, “If we want to be held by the anchor, then we must behold the anchor.”

So, how do we run with perseverance? 
How do we throw off everything that hinders our steps? 
How do we cut free from the entrapment of our own sin? 
How do we quiet the clamoring of our own hearts? 
How do we know where to go or what to say? 
How do we successfully complete this race of faith?

This is how we live: we fix our eyes on Jesus.  We behold Him in every moment.

There’s no other way.
Scripture Hebrews 12:2 Fix Our Eyes on Jesus/ The Word Weaver blog post

 
Related posts & resources on The Word Weaver blog
​“The Hope Series”, Welcome Grace blog posts by Jessica Van Roekel
Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman
 
The Word Weaver blog:
Praying For God’s Strength in My Weakness
Led by Love
Take My Hand
Tweetable quotes from The Word Weaver blog post

by The Word Weaver, Deb on February 1st, 2018

​We like stories of strength, don’t we?

When I was barely old enough to walk to our local library, I checked out tale after tale about legendary lumberjack Paul Bunyan.  I relished the unbelievable stories of his superhuman strength.  Growing up along Lake Huron, one of my favorite pieces of folklore was how he cupped his humongous hands and carved out The Great Lakes to provide fresh watering holes for Babe, his enormous blue ox.

As I got a little older, I moved beyond make-believe to real-life heroes such as: Harriet Tubman, Davy Crockett, Babe Ruth, George Washington Carver, and Winston Churchill.  I still love a true story of strength and determination.

I’ve been following Jesus for thirty-seven years now.  Because I appear quiet and steady, you might look at me and think that I’ve got it together.  That I am strong. You may even think that faith comes easily or naturally for me.  

​May I be completely honest with you?  

​That perception is erroneous and far from true. 

You don’t see my insides.  You don’t see the struggles.  You don’t see the battles I fight with depression or anxiety.  You don’t see the tears I shed over the pages of my Bible. 

I have more questions than I did when I was eighteen.  I see my sin more clearly.  I struggle with my motives and ambitions.  Without realizing it, I often chase myself in circles trying to make things happen in my way, in my timing, and with my effort. 

More days than not, I find myself weary and ragged inside. When I look too far ahead, uncertainty looms large and fear blots my vision.  I am overwhelmed by the raucous pace, the ravaging needs, and the relentless weight of this wicked world. I ache over injustice and cruelty. I hurt deeply for others and absorb their bloody pain along with my own. 

Without immersing myself in the truth of God’s Word (and many times even after I’ve done so), I’m ready to collapse.

I berate myself, feeling like I should be stronger by now, that a life of faith should be easier by now, that I shouldn’t have to fight for joy quite so often.

My “should be’s” sometimes keep me from seeking and accepting God’s ready help.  Perhaps you understand this struggle too. 
Blog post quoting Unseen author Sara Hagerty/ Praying for God
​Author Sara Hagerty understands too.  In her excellent book, Unseen, she says: 

“I am afraid because I am naked.  And I hide myself from God while simply waiting for this hard moment to pass. 

These bare places are invitations.  God invites us to exchange what feels raw and vulnerable for His strength.  God never intended for us to hide from Him, to live with parts of us untouchable to Him.  It’s in those naked-place moments—the times we allow ourselves to be exposed before God—that He covers us with Himself, blankets us in His safe love, and replaces our exposed weakness with His strength.”
​For years this weakness—this inability to barrel through life—has felt like a detriment to me.  I’m discovering that is a lie.

My acknowledgement of weakness is a sacred gift.  It’s actually the only key that unlocks true strength.

When I strive to depend upon my false perception of strength, it crumples quickly like sodden, soggy cardboard sitting in the rain.  My strength is no strength at all.  That’s actually good news.  By divine design, we cannot live on our own. In John 15, Jesus said, “… Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”  I’m embarrassed to tell you, though, how often I’ve tried.  

​We appreciate stories of strength. So why do I tell you all this about my weakness?  

​I’m sharing a divine mystery that I’m learning.  When I am overcome by the painful realities of this life, if I will choose to:
  • stop trying to fortify or stretch my nothing over anything
  • admit my true needy state, &
  • look to Jesus, our Immanuel—God WITH us,
something miraculous happens.  He exchanges what I lack with His unending supply.  I begin to depend—truly depend—upon Him, moment by moment, day by day. 

He is enough.  And His supernatural strength surpasses my desperate need. 

And, man, do I need Him!    
My weakness is the key that unlocks True Strength in Jesus/ The Word Weaver blog post/ Praying for God
​My weakness is the secret key to His source of strength.  In Christ is hidden all the treasures—every single thing that we need. (Colossians 2: 3 & 2 Peter 1:3)  My admission of lack unlocks the storeroom of heavenly resources.  

When I admit that I am weak, God reveals His strength.  He exchanges my lack for His abundance.  Jesus Christ proclaims, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV)

Recognition of my weakness is an internal emergency signal reminding me to turn to the One who is strong.  He delights in giving me what I truly need.  Pleasure is written all over His face when I bring Him my weakness and exchange it for His ability.

And He offers to do the same for you.

​Speaking of whom, let’s think about you for a moment.  

Opening Our Hearts together with soul questions in the The Word Weaver blog post/ Praying For God
​In this space before God, please consider these questions personally and honestly:
  • Are you feeling weak?  Worn out?
  • Do you fear you will not be able to keep going?
  • Are you disheartened by our world’s capacity for evil?
  • Are you crippling beneath the weight of your own sin?
  • Do you despair of ever conquering the battles you face?
  • Are you (or someone you love) staggering with excruciating pain and fear?
​Did your heart pound yes in response to any of these questions?  Did tears crowd your eyes? 

If so, I am sorry.  I stand with you.  I stretch out my arms in supplication toward heaven asking God to meet your every need.     

​Perhaps…

​Perhaps in our weakness, we could scoot over and walk more closely together in the sustaining light of God’s truth and grace.

Perhaps in our weakness, we could stop trying to muster up more faith and ask God for it.

Perhaps in our weakness, we could remind one another to stop shaming ourselves for human frailties and to ask God for His divine strength.  We could remember that He is drawn to our weakness.  He never rolls His eyes over our neediness.  He welcomes us into His arms of love, and in Jesus, we have the right and privilege to be there. 

Perhaps in our weakness, we could take heart in our good, great God.  We could follow the example of King David who dropped to his knees in the midst of his real grief, outrage, distress, fear, and pain; and he “strengthened himself in God.” (1 Samuel 30.)  We could also run to Him and learn to drive our souls’ thirsty, wounded roots deeply down into His nourishing presence and promises. 

Perhaps in our weakness, at the intersection of our real need and His real resource, we will discover real life.  I want that dearly, don’t you?
At the intersection of our real need & God

​Let’s seek God now for what we need:

​Heavenly Father,

Thank You for Your great love and compassion toward us.  You delight in us, take pleasure in us, and give us what we need.  We are able to approach You as beloved children—what a privilege that is!   

We confess that, all too often, we have rejected You as our source and strength. We’ve tried to do life on our own.  At times, when we’ve been shattered by circumstances, we’ve assumed the worst of You and felt that You didn’t care or couldn't help.  We’ve doubted Your Word, Your ways, and Your character.

But we are coming and confessing this before You.  We are laying down our hurt, our independence, our willfulness, and our pride. 

You are our God, and You are good.  Grant us strength to believe that You are who You say You are & that You do what Your Word promises You will do.  You are trustworthy.

Grant us sustaining, supernatural, unexplainable strength right where we are—right in the place that threatens to sink us.  Give us strength to face this day and the next and the next.  With You.  In You.

Please give us the strength to love others right where they are even when we are heartsick over their choices.  Show us how to love one another as You love us.  Embolden us to do so.

May we have strength to ask You to transform us—our thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions. We are holy because You dwell within us, and it is Your power and Your strength that makes us more like Jesus.  May we trust You more.

We are weak, Lord, but You are strong.  We need You, AND we want You.  You are our strength in every situation.

Amen. 
Scripture from Philippians 4:13 / I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. / Included in The Word Weaver blog prayer post about strength
The Word Weaver blog post Praying For God
The Word Weaver Blog post quotes to tweet

by The Word Weaver, Deb on January 18th, 2018

Offer what you hold in your hands to God
​Writers create meals from raw ingredients: experiences, ideas, and words.  Sometimes as we pray and stir, the phrases transform the concepts into sumptuous, savory recipes that nourish and sustain our readers. 

Sometimes we pray and labor long, yet nothing holds together.  The words fall flat.  The scene scorches.  Every thought sours and separates.  It happens.  We clean up the mess and start over.   

Eventually, though, it’s time to serve the guests.   

​What happens if nothing is ready?   

​Sitting in exhausted anguish amidst the discarded drafts, I asked, “What do we do now, Lord?”

The story of the young boy who offered his lunch to Jesus came to mind.  I sensed God saying, “Offer what you hold in your hands.”   

To be honest, I cried.  “Lord, I don’t see anything.  Please show me what’s there.”

There was only one thing in my hands.  It was so small that He had to point it out to me, but it was there.

It had been there all week.  As I showed up to write, asking for God to speak in and through me.  As I crafted sentences and discarded them.  As I watched the deadline approach without panic.  As I waited and listened.  As I asked and anticipated without demanding.  And even as I expressed my disappointment.

​We marveled over it together:

​Faith.     

Childlike faith in Christ Jesus. 

Faith that listens for His voice, seeks His heart, and believes His Word. 

Faith rooted in grace and flowering in holiness.  

Open-hearted faith stretching in halting steps of trust and reliance.    
​Susie Larson says, in her excellent book, Your Beautiful Purpose, “Our calling isn’t to eloquence or perfection.  But our calling is to faith—engaged, living, and breathing faith that pursues the heart of God and brings life to the circumstances we encounter on the journey.” 

So, now, at the request of my Father, I extend this offering of faith in my hands—however meager it may seem—and trust that Jesus will miraculously multiply it into a meaningful meal for another hungry soul.   
Our Calling is to faith/ Quote by Susie Larson