Quotable Quote

Oh, would that my mind could let fall its dead ideas, as the tree does its withered leaves!

-Andre Gide, author, Nobel laureate (1869-1951)

...reminds me of a worship song by Kelanie Gloekler (and God bless Jamie at Finished Work, for introducing me to this incredible young worship leader, who sings only of the gospel of grace!) ~


Holy Spirit, overshadow me
Take me by the corners of my soul and shake me
What a love,
You’ve been waiting to
Break me wide open to carry Your heart

Oh my Jesus, draw near to me
Take me to the center of the flame, consume me
I surrender to this holy burn
Break me wide open to carry Your heart

All I wanna do is lose myself in You
Lean back in Your arms and just let go (repeat)

Let it be to me according to Your Word
Your ways are higher than mine
Let it be to me according to Your Word
Your ways are higher than mine

I let go…
Your kingdom come
In my life…
Your will be done
I let go!

"Gotta put yourself smack dab in it..."

Pastor Tim's Favorite Song ~

(not really, but it is a great song...sounds a lot like his messages of recent weeks. Feel free to turn your speakers way up and hit the "play" button on the YouTube screen. You won't regret it. )

Freedom - keep walkin'
Keep on your toes and don't stop talkin' 'bout
Freedom - get goin'
Lots to be learned and lots to be knowin' 'bout
People - gotta reach 'em
Sit 'em right down and then you gotta teach 'em 'bout
Freedom - gotta win it
Gotta put yourself smack dab in it

Hey tomorrow
Now don't you go away
'Cause freedom
Just might come your way

Freedom - keep tryin'
People stay alive and people keep dyin' for
Freedom - so don't lose it
Ya gotta understand ya just can't abuse it
Freedom - get movin'
Never gonna stop till everybody's groovin' on
Love for - one another
Callin' some friend and callin' some brother

Hey tomorrow
You're not so far away
We'll know you well someday...

Paul Prayed What?

And this I pray: that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. (Paul, in Philippians 1)

So, Paul doesn't pray that I will find a supernatural ability to keep the ten commandments better?


So, Paul isn't praying that I will increase more and more in my personal excellence, work ethic, honesty, integrity, and morality?


If not, why not?

Well, because Paul chooses not to pray for secondary things. Paul, as a wise apostle with the heart of a true pastor, prays for first things. Remember, if you focus on secondary things, you lose both first and second things; but if you focus on first things, secondary issues get tossed in, seemingly for free.

Paul prays that my relationships be blessed to overflowing, as a direct result of both my intellect and my emotions being deeply affected by the power of the gospel of grace.

"But Sheila...Paul said '..that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all judgement.' " That's what I just said. Love is a moot point outside the context of relationship. Without relationship, love does not exist. The knowledge of what Christ accomplished on my behalf contains enough doctrine to keep my intellect busy for an eternity, and it also infuses my heart with wonder, awe, and praise...love and adoration. The knowledge of what Christ accomplished on your behalf causes me to so urgently desire that you personally experience this great salvation, that I'd lay my life down to see you "get it". If I would lay my life down, I would certainly do anything else for you - anything necessary to your revelation of Christ. If that isn't loving you, what would loving you look like?

When first things are put in their proper place, what is the result? What is the result of abounding love-relationships, relationship with God and with people, relationships overflowing in a knowledge and experience of the gospel?

Answer: everything following the word "that". When Paul's first request, the one for abounding love, is answered, the other requests will also be answered - this he knew!

THAT I would discern the things that are excellent. (Not that I would have an ability to find fault. Ahem.)

THAT I would be sincere and untroubled by sin-consciousness until the day Jesus Christ returns, or I go to be with Him. That is what the phrase "without offense" means! It means to be untroubled by sin-consciousness....uh, probably because I'm too busy approving the things that are excellent, to become jaded by your mistakes. Or my own mistakes. Or the mistakes of my present or former church leaders. (Oh, this is huge! I have met people all over the world, who have been hurt in their church experience...)

I want very much to dig into what being "sincere" really means, but that will have to be another blog post for another day. Suffice it to say, being sincere is the opposite of being critical and jaded. The Lord is showing me that sincerity of faith is almost non existent in spiritual leadership today. Those who have managed to guard their sincerity are the cream of the crop.

If you know a leader who is sincere, as opposed to sophisticated or cynical, please give him or her a (sincere) tender embrace, and then pray for that person every day. I promise you, they and their heart of sincerity are the prime target of satan. The devil is out to rob them of their honest and childlike belief in the simple power of the gospel, as proclaimed through the foolishness of preaching it. And since misery loves company, every jaded person in the church wants to darken the heart of the sincere with their quasi-spiritual perspective.

In Paul's own words, the consequence of putting first things first (putting the focus on an abounding love for God and love for the saints) is that I am filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ.

Those are better results, by far, than I would get by adherence to anywhere from ten to six hundred plus commandments.

Wise man, that Paul. A true leader.

Wordless (Not Really) Wednesday

Pictures from my daughter Hannah's bridal shower, held this past Saturday, and hosted by my sister Lynn..."the hostess with the mostest"....who I could never, ever, thank enough for such beautiful, life long memories. Hannah and I were so blessed...

Pillars, dripping with fragrant wisteria, at the Avalon Clubhouse, on a storybook April morning...

...and a pile of presents. I mean, a pile!

Our Hannah, with Katie in the background to her right...

Hannah, Katie, and my gorgeous sister, Lynn...(who got all the "great hair genes" in my family genepool. Whoever said life was fair??)

Hannah, reading her hand made card from Katie...

Hannah and her "Wendy Basket"....

I wish I still had a piece of this cake right now...it was that good.

This is part, of just one of the food tables - each one loaded down with delectable things to eat, and lovingly and beautifully appointed with photographs and fresh roses...

A picture of Hannah and her man, on one of the tables...

It was the sort of bridal shower every girl (and her mother) dreams of. I was surrounded by life long friends, my Harvest Church family...plus my beautiful and supportive and loving mother, sister, and aunt...the sun was shining...there was an air of abundance...the fragrance of wisteria perfuming the breezes through the open doors leading to the balcony...and did I mention the veritable pile of presents?

"Father, I thank you..." My heart is so full. Thank you, dear online friends, for sharing these moments with me, via my blog!

Seek and Ye Shall Find

You and I are not to pursue “righteousness”. We submit to the gift of righteousness, that came from and through Christ alone. If you want to pursue something, to make yourself feel alive or somehow spiritual, then seek peace with people. Pursue right relationships. Ah…that is Biblical!!!

We do not pursue right standing with God. We submit to what has been done. We say, “I give up. I will never be able to bring anything to this covenant. God is always right. He is the only one righteous, and He has removed the law from me, nailing it to the cross forever.”

Romans 10: 13 ~ For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

“Ignorant” does not mean stupid. If you are “ignorant” of God’s righteousness, it might mean that you simply have not been thoroughly taught. Perhaps you came up in a denominational or charismatic church that never spent significant time establishing you in grace. Again – we would do well to thank God, if He has placed us in a church where this “full gospel” of grace is being hammered and taught and preached and spoken of - a church where, consistently, with maddening repetitiveness, the gospel is loved and esteemed.

Some will say, “Oh, but I want to live in the blessings spoken of in Deuteronomy that come with obeying the law!” Please. Please, please. You still don’t get it! (I say it in humility, because neither did I"get it"...not for many years!!!) If you insist on hugging Deuteronomy to your breast like a treasure, then you are under a curse.

There. I said it.

Anyone who does not FULLY obey “all these commands I give to you this day”, then ALL the curses come upon you. Read your Deuteronomy. Then read your New Testament. Those who are under the law (choosing to relate to God through their own ‘acts of righteousness’) are under a curse. But you don’t have to be. Christ became a curse FOR us. So that we could inherit the blessing of Abraham. (Not the blessing of Moses….the big “IF, THEN” blessing… “if you obey the law, then all these blessings will overtake you…”)

So stop seeking “righteousness” for the sake of righteousness. Instead, seek first the Kingdom of God and HIS righteousness, and all you could possibly need will be added to you. He who spared not His own Son, shall He not, WITH HIM, freely give us all things? I'm blessed.

Seek peace. Seek God’s face. Seek those things which are above. Set your affections on things above, where CHRIST SITS at the right hand of God. If you are IN CHRIST, you sit at the right hand of blessing….period. Stop seeking righteousness, and submit to the gift.

Oh Dear...

I wasn't good at multitasking before wedding plans were underway. Now, one month before the Big Day (my daughter's Big Day), I am much worse than ever.

This past Sunday, after church, I was driving home when I realized...I'd been chewing on the same piece of minty gum since before I got there, that morning. I was instantly obsessed with the notion of getting rid of it.

As I motored along, I rooted about my console for the tiny ice-blue wrapper the piece of gum came in - or any wrapper, for that matter. Nothing. Not even a piece of paper, anywhere, from which a small corner could be sacrificed, and the no-longer-minty gum deposited in the fragment, then stuffed into my ashtray, which obviously is not ever used for ashes. (It is full of tiny wads of chewed gum, scrupulously wrapped in the tiny paper each piece came in. I can't bring myself to divest of my used gum in any other manner.)

Where is this going? Steel yourselves, my friends. This is psychotic.

No wrappers, no paper. What to do? I planned that at the next stop light, I would roll down my window, and very forcefully eject said piece of gum onto the grassy median to my immediate left. Unladylike, but necessary. Besides, no one ever walks there, I promise. As I neared the stop light, I rolled down my window. The light went from green to yellow. "HOO-rah." thought I. "This'll be an easy spit. From a stopped car."

As I came to a stop, with perfect timing, my cell phone rang. From my purse.

Ooooh, you can't make this stuff up.

I took a deep cleansing breath....iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin through the nose.....and pulled my purse onto my lap, unzipping it and opening it wide.

I. Almost. Did it.

I came within a split second of hocking that wad of gum into my purse, just as hard as I could. But I didn't. My inner alarm sounded: RED ALERT! RED ALERT! RED ALERT! My face froze into what had to have been a shocking expression of horror.

That phone call never got answered. I giggled till the tears came, very nearly (and gleefully) losing my mind in the process.

Ever since Sunday, the memory returns to me at the most inopportune times, robbing me of all dignity.