Growing or Just Planted?

Going on a holiday is all about finding rest – an internal rest. But even in those moments of almost complete abandonment, there is reflection.

-The joy in the sweet reunion with family and friends, and in the celebration of new and beautiful surroundings.

-The peace in the departure from focused routines and checklists.

-The opportunity to meditate on character, and relationships, and ample room for prayers of thanksgiving, for all the good God has done and continues to do.

There is space for questions, and re-evaluations about the place you are planted.

It would be absurd to think each time one bends towards the sun (a new destination), that one’s roots be moved as well.

Knowing we are rooted in God where ever we go is a holiday in itself.

But wondering….”are we growing where we’re planted, or are we just planted?” This is the question? This is the deep reflection and stirring in my heart.

After having had the privilege to sit in some SBS Bible classes at the YWAM base in Maroochydore, QLD, Australia, and witness their example – I’ve been challenged to learn more (Hebrews 5:12-13).

Is it to be accomplished here where we have settled into familiar soil? Are their ears to hear? Is their evidence of fruit? Does God have a new work for us here, or a work for us in a new field? Does God have a fresh wind, and refining fire for exactly where we are?

1 Peter 2:2 “like new born babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Walks the Recesses of the Deep

The stars, the stars above the waters. I looked up and out of the oval glass, then down to the blackness beneath. “God” my thoughts echoed into His silence, “I’m jammed in this metal tube, above your great expanse.” “But your spirit has wings” He answered instantly.

Reaching forward I found the flight information with a touch of the screen. We were still about five hours out of Brisbane. The ocean’s trenches and scattered islands off the east coast of Australia were identified. Seeing the features described made the Sea less foreboding, but no less deep.

“It had to be deep God, for You to compassionately hurl our sins there” another spirit thought spoke (Micah 7:19)

Saturday I sat at the kitchen table sipping coffee and still thinking about the ocean, “the sounds of Your breathing, the mist of Your nostrils, and yes, the depths of Your love.” I searched the web for those same “trench” names glowing on the airplane screen, instead I found a 3D map of the ocean floor, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-07/3d-map-of-australia-seafloor/5372132

I gazed at the swirls and globs of turquoise and teal clay on the map. I imagined Your hand reaching for Your magic dust. “Do You, the Master of the universe keep Your coloured paints in jars, or do you just think, and it appears?” It was You who first whispered the idea of colour, and their hints and hues into the world and our ears, as life burst forth from the womb.

“Do You have tools like we do, with wooden handles and sliver blades, to scrape the ocean floor and shape the underwater mountain ranges?” I asked and quickly scoffed at my question. “Of course not” I answered myself.

You trace the trenches with Your finger nails, and imprint the basins with the palm of Your hand!

My God, my God – who has “walked the recesses of the deep” Job 38:16.

 

 

 

FOURTEEN Things to Do When on a 14 hr Flight

  1. Delete 14 outdated contacts on your phone, pray for the crew, 14 more, pray for the plane….quit at the 1 hour mark, sooner if you don’t have many friends.
  2. 14 ankle rotations, 14 shoulder rolls, and 14 knee lifts (14 minutes).
  3. Find 14 new songs/quotes, that relate to your next presentation, 1 hour down.
  4. Stand up and go for a walk or stretch (14 minutes).
  5. Write 14 notes of kindness (make sure to pack note cards) 1 hour down.
  6.  14 ankle rotations, 14 shoulder rolls, and 14 knee lifts (14 minutes.)
  7. Sleep for four hours (you may want to have ear plugs with you).
  8. Stand up and go for a walk or stretch (14 minutes).
  9. Write a blog post about 14 things not to do on a plane (1 hour).
  10. If you absolutely have to – watch a movie, preferably non-disaster (1 hour).
  11. 14 ankle rotations, wait – where are your ankles? 14 shoulder rolls, and 14 knee lifts (14 minutes).
  12. Eat and then Sleep (two hours).
  13. Refresh clothes, brush teeth, check make-up and hair, etc. preferably in the bathroom (14 minutes).
  14. Memorize and meditate on 14 verses to set the tone for your attitude throughout your vacation (last hour and several minutes).

….AND MAYBE NOT IN THIS ORDER

Painted with the Sinner’s Brush

I came across a song I wrote ten years ago…. Changed by Love

“I hate it how the world creeps in, and tries to take me back again.

Just when I thought my mind was free, they come in through some door

And paint a picture of someone, that I no longer recognize,

with just enough blood on their brush, to bring me to the floor!”

…©Cindy Palin/March 30th, 2007

What kind of “world” creeps in and drags your mind out of His light? Is the world to blame, or are our bad habits and cyclical circumstances a result of our own choices? Has your curiosity left the door open a crack? For some, it is willful disobedience that has swung it wide. What kind of activities consume your days? What programs and games are filling your screen time? What kinds of “nano-bites” are eating away your morality?

Discipline in our lives is crucial. For our body we want to eat the right things and get exercise. How are we taking care of our minds? Our culture is more concerned about the outside, but the health of our mind determines what kind of person we truly are. The Bible is God’s food for a healthy mind, and yet our culture continues to turn to clever sounding manmade mantras.

Is it possible to have a free mind? It is difficult to understand what freedom in Christ means, until you experience it. To many, God’s commands and boundaries sound harsh, and unrealistic. Doing what ever “we want”, seems to be the current definition of freedom. The depression statistics in teens is evidence we have not taken godly truth and wisdom seriously. Doing “what ever we want” is leaving quite the bondage wake.

Most of the anxiety our medical charts are reflecting, comes from an unhealthy mind. That anxiety is often a sign of our need for repentance. The gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach may not be anxiety at all, but the muffled voice of the Holy Spirit calling you out of sin. 

www.quotescover.com
www.googleimages.com

You do not have to remain painted with the sinner’s brush…..

If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth—we’re not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin (1 John 1:7 MSG).

For at one time we too were foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to all sorts of desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not by the righteous deeds we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:3, 4 Berean Study Bible).

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2 NIV).

 

We Need This Kind of Love

How do we find this kind of love? How do we grow this kind of love? How do we be this kind of love? (Pertaining to the song “All We Need” © Cindy Palin, Nov. 2005, posted yesterday)

1 John 4:17-21 (The Message)

17-18 God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.

19 We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.

20-21 If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.

The reason why we human beings fail at love so miserably is because we expect love to be an easy thing. Many of us haven’t healed from past wounds. Many of us drag baggage into our so called ‘love nest”, and expect love to flourish amongst the garbage.

Many times we want love, and not God, and the two are synonymous. God first loved us and because He did, it is possible through him to love unconditionally, without fear, and with forgiveness and faithfulness.

We cannot truly love without the author of love.

All we need is love? The love we need is God, and then everything else will take shape accordingly.

Beware, love grows at different rates. Our friendships, our commitments, our covenants are not about choosing the drive through. Instant love does not exist. Instant love is temporary pleasure, and then you feel emptier than when you first started searching.

God’s love transforms us so that we are able to love others, love our spouses, love our children, and their children and cultivate generations of love.

Look at yourself in the mirror. Do you believe you need to know God to love? Do you recognize there is baggage in your life, sin that is weighing you down? Perhaps you are all too painfully aware of the baggage you carry, the confusion you brought into your relationship – ask for help. Put your pride aside. I recommend laying out on the floor face down – and ask for help. Don’t trust in your own strength, your own sense of responsibility or lack thereof. We can do all things through Him and by His strength (Phil 4:13).

Walk in His love, and you will be love to others.

Ephesians 5:2 The Message 

1-2 Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

 

 

 

To Be Loved, Part II

I saw the lovely trio skipping down the street one Saturday morning. More like the little ones were skipping, while dragging their mom along behind. I’m not sure how we struck up a conversation. She was asking for something in particular and I must have thought I could help. I set a time with her to come by her place.

She had given me her number and I called first. The morning it worked for me to go for a visit the sky was overcast and grey. Most of the snow had melted but the earth looked like a dirty carpet. I could hear the brittle ice snap, crackle and pop under my shoes as I approached her building.

I rounded the corner in the sidewalk, and thought I saw God’s little angels painting the earth white again. They were dressed in nothing but summer lace crinolines and black rubber boots. They were hopping on the tiny patches of ice left over from yesterday’s melt, and giggling with glee each time a new crack cried out. They didn’t notice me at first, but I saw the door to their apartment wide open, flapping in a north wind. I could see their breath crystals in the air, and I could see mine.

Quickly, but gently I introduced myself and scurried them inside. Thankfully they remembered my face from our previous brief encounter. Their mother was on the phone, standing at the end of the stairwell. I could hear her deflecting verbal punches from who knows who on the other end of the line.

I glanced to the right where nothing but a large mattress lay on the living room floor. My eyes dared glance to the left where a years worth of dishes and dried food decorated the kitchen counter. Their Momma looked up from the phone, smiled and waved me in to sit down.

I can’t remember what it was I was doing there, but the memories of that morning never fade, and the words we shared gave more insight into her world. Here is the second verse to yesterday’s song “All We Need”.

Winter’s arrived, I find her girls out in their dresses

Palin lyrics/Google Images

The look she wears can make you question how she stresses

She married far too young and craved herself a family

Only to starve to death from the silence inside

She’d never harm a flea, but she’ll break on empty

All she needs, all she needs is to be loved.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard it

It’s not the last time I’ll see

It is the all too familiar – calamity.

Where do we find this kind of love?

How do we grow this kind of love?

How can we be this kind of love?

All we need, all we need, all we need is to be loved.

©Cindy Palin November 2005

To Be Loved, Part I

I met her when I was dating my (now) husband. Back then she was maybe twelve. Powder white skin and long ebony tresses. Not a care in the world. I noticed she liked to care for the little ones at Sunday School, like a Shepherd gathers his little lambs. We got to know her Mom and Dad a little, but when we returned home from our honeymoon, there had been an ugly split in the tiny church plant we’d been attending, and they were no longer around.

Years later I saw her downtown, and she had grown into a lovely young woman in her twenties. She was dating a young man with a high profile career, and excited about life. No sooner had I imagined a lovely wedding and dreamy future for this beautiful spirit, I heard about the break-up. I didn’t know how to get a hold of her to see if I could take her out for coffee and chat.

One day out of the blue I get a phone call. Did I remember who she was? Absolutely. She needed to meet me.

google images

I’ll never forget how I felt holding her hand across the table and watching her tremble. She was addicted to prescription drugs. Her Mother and Father had split. She had a child from a lover, but her child had been taken away. No one really knows how to determine which hearts break and recover, and which hearts crumble and lay down and die. Why had my little Snow White not found her Prince Charming? Why had there not been anyone to protect her from the wolves?

I went home that day and wrote this song. It has never been recorded, but remains to be a favourite of mine. Not that it is pleasant to remember the demise of a dear friend, but it is important to remember there is only a window of time for us to cherish and nurture each unique life.

I wait for her and know our meeting won’t be pretty

She’s cut her hair and tells me she is far too heavy

But I see the twelve year old I knew when I was twenty

Who used her up and left her second hand?

How my soul aches to see her shake drinkin’ her coffee

All she needs, all she needs is to be loved!

It’s not the first time I’ve heard it

It’s not the last time I’ll see

It’s the all too familiar calamity

All we need, all we need, all we need is to be loved…..©Cindy Palin, Nov. 2005

That same day, I went to check on another friend I had met on a Saturday morning, out shopping. I will share the second half of the song, which is her story – tomorrow.

 

 

Quick to Pour Out, and Slow to Consider….

I woke up with worship on my mind.

“Not a bad way to wake up”, I thought.

Once songs were chosen and emailed off to the different worship team members, I sat at the breakfast table and wondered “what next God?” Every day is an open window, a portal to new lessons waiting to be learned.

By the end of the day I wasn’t sure what it was I was supposed to learn. “I may have been better off staying inside with a closed door.” I muttered under my breath.

But there in the middle of an absent answer – was the answer itself. Every phone call, every errand ran, every conversation had been riddled with obvious pain. Maybe it wasn’t obvious to everyone, but I could feel it. I could hear it in their voices. I could see it in their body language, like a crippling disease. As I witnessed and embraced my beloved (those who Christ has blessed my life with) I too felt my bones weaken, and my spirit faint, and knelt to hand my anguish over to God. Prayer was the lesson. Prayer was the answer that always leads to action.

For the addict whose name was the same as a biblical warrior – I prayed for the Holy Spirit to intervene, so that he too could march around his walls of Jericho, and conquer his demons once and for all.

For the mother, I thought of Jochebed, Moses’ mother and how she too had to let go of her son unwillingly, and watch a stranger raise him. I asked the Holy Spirit to comfort her, and remembered Romans 8:26 “In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

And for a friend who is always struggling to make ends meet I thought of the Israelites wandering in the desert, afraid for how they were going to find food and water. God had given them manna with instructions on how to collect it and use it to keep their bodies fueled, but in their disconnect they squandered it and the food spoiled. Their wandering cycle lasted for 40 years and many died on the way to the Promised Land. I prayed for my friend, for the power of the Holy Spirit to help her look up and take hold of God’s provision, and so break the generational cycle, which threatened to end her life and the lives of her children, and their children.

And for me, I cried out to God that I would get up off my knees and act out His compassion, as Christ and the early church exemplified (Acts 2:43-47).

As I wondered just how much we should give, and where the balance should be the words “poured out” tumbled out of my mouth.

google images

Isaiah 53:12b “…..because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Let us be quick to pour out what He has given us, and be slow to consider ourselves.

WATERFALL

The song came before the picture, but one of my favourite lines….”if there’s any truth to ‘right as rain’, you’re my waterfall, fill me again.

Standing in a waterfall means all you can see and feel, and hear is the water. Many times life’s circumstances swirl around us and drain us dry. How can we keep a healthy perspective? I suggest you stand in the waterfall…..and for me that waterfall is God. David talks about great grief being swept over him in the waterfall, in the deep, in the waves (Psalm 42:7). But I see God’s waterfall as place of strength, standing on the rock, surrounded by His presence. The water not sweeping me away, but filling me with His truth.

WATERFALL

I’ve been here before, not so long ago

Almost missed the signs, now I know, I know

The sky can be blue, the wind can blow wide

But without you here, I’m desert dry

Gotta hear your voice before birds sing

Gotta say your name, as you grow these wings

If there’s any truth to ‘right as rain’

You’re my waterfall, fill me again

I will live by faith and not by sight

Where you roar is great, and the world’s dark night

is a shadow small, and a moment’s pain

You’re my waterfall, fill me again.

Worry’s at my door, thinking he’s at home

Sometimes he gets in, but it’s not for long

He stirs up the storm to empty and drain

But in the waterfall – I will remain

lyrics and music by Cindy Palin @Feb. 9, 2017 All Rights Reserved

Religious Talk MINUS the GRACE

google images

This week I was witness to a grievous situation. Much is expected of those who represent Christ, and whom are vessels of his love. Scripture emphasizes that those in leadership, who teach, are judged more strictly (James 3:1). The every day tasks we share together must never overshadow the value of another man’s soul. Our projects, and dreams must always be tested by God’s Word, lest we get a head of Him, and trample all over His children in the process. Do we know the people we are leading? Have we bothered to take the time to get to know them? Have we heard their stories, or have we settled for warm bodies filling chairs, to make it look like we’re doing something right? Are our words reflecting Christ, or turning people away – for eternity?

My Untitled Song

When did your vision become the goal?

Who put the ‘holy cause’ before the soul?

History reveals that nothing’s changed,

still marching on – using His name.

Pushing agendas that are worldly sound?

Caring for others, but the numbers count?

No mystery here, a classic case,

religious talk minus the grace.

What were your reasons to believe?

What high and mighty dream got up your sleeve?

Today is all some people have

What face did they see looking back?

Adding a rule or two, to up the game?

When did your faith become more about fame?

Tomorrow comes, it’s not enough,

because religion isn’t love.

Words and music by Cindy Palin ©January 27, 2017 All Rights Reserved

“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart” (Proverbs 27:19).