Remembering Loved Ones

The evidence of a story is in the lines they leave across the face.

Distance can deliver a hard truth that separates two souls. But time, time is a treasure that heals with all the parts it won’t let us forget.

20 years have blown by, the seasons have changed many times, sometimes with the bite of a howling winter wind.time, healing, losing a loved one, death

A tidal wave of thoughts will still soak my face in memories, though all I can do is learn to swim. The calm eventually comes because strong is the only choice we have here.

My lips lead with thanksgiving for all the stories we shared. I wouldn’t trade the storms; that’s where we lived the dance and leaned in with tender care.

Thank you, Father, for the change this one life has made, in his living years and even after death. The depth of loss sheds light on the richness of life. Without knowing the valley, we cannot really know the height.

Time does not separate us. The echo of a voice and the outline of a sweet face is never too far. All these years later, his life still touches a place in my heart. Time is what changes us.

May our hearts remain sensitive to the brevity of life as we breathe in love and peace and blow out the joy of this grace we have in Jesus.

In Loving Memory of my beloved brother, Michael.
(October 17, 1982 – November 14, 1996)

Honoring Our Fearless Ones

veterans day, fearless, valorOn bended knee my head hangs with deep gratitude at the wonder of it all. We need these long pauses to live in a little more awe of the beautiful brave hearts who serve valiantly to give us these safe moments to pray, to live, to sing and the space to make our own beautiful things. My prayers linger into a conversation of thanksgiving over such sacrifice as I pour another cup of coffee, wondering all the courageous stories these veteran souls of valor would tell at my table.

In humble adoration, our hearts honor you, o Fearless Ones. Thank you.

Raising the Dead

Do you have dreams that seem dead? Is there something you were believing for, but this extended season of silence has you believing they are gone? It might be that you think your dream is too big? Perhaps circumstances have destroyed the possibilities?

We have a God of resurrection power. His ways are not our ways. Redemption of a dream may not look the way you expected. What you thought was dead may be lying dormant or through another door that you’re denying. With one word, Jesus can bring dead dreams back to life.

If this is something God wants for your life, then there is NO WAY He designed it for you to do on your own.

dead things to life, God raises dead things, dreams, dead dreams, dream on, lean on God, your dreams are not deadGod plants dreams that are beyond your reach of doing on your own. He whispers audacious, crazy, and unimaginable ideas to your timid heart in hope that the impossibility of the idea would drive your dependence on Him.

The things that have you afraid are designed to buckle your knees. Feelings of fear might have your thoughts caught in a knotted up net of your own limitations. You are not created to carry the burden. God knows you can’t do this on your own.

Your weakness reveals the need for God’s strength.

The purpose of a ‘walking on water’ dream is to draw you out of the boat and into deeper waters with Him. Do you trust Jesus when he says, ‘do not be afraid’?

He hears your desperation. Bring your unbearable requests to the One who gave them to you. Trust is a beautiful thing when grace is there to catch you when you fall.

Through the hesitancy when you want to grip tighter to the things you can see, God is speaking into your pain and asking you to open your hand, release your heart, and trust Him with all that you can’t. Trust He has possibilities for your problems and back doors out of your brokenness.

God has something significant He wants to do in you, through you. And in His power, the Almighty will be the one accomplishing it, not you.

Living God’s Purpose

Begins in His Presence

When we want God to do something in our lives, the first step is to get closer to His presence. When we bring our brokenness, we don’t have to beg God for a blessing or for an answer to our prayers. He wants to do good things for his children.

The people of Judah were already in a state of distress when their king had died. (Isaiah 6:1) God had warned this nation of severe judgment for their wicked ways. With an enemy threatening an attack on the land, the people of Judah had questions and doubts concerning their future. Everything was so up in the air. With surmounting fear and hesitancy, Isaiah, desperate for answers, got in the presence of the Lord.desperation, gods purpose, gods presence

Here on his knees, Isaiah received a revelation from God. The holiness of the Lord shined a light on the sin and darkness in Isaiah. “Woe is me! For I am lost and a man of unclean lips.” (Isaiah 6:5) This was a work of humility in Isaiah. This place of brokenness and surrender allowed Isaiah to be used by God.

We are not strangers to God. We don’t have to convince Him for salvation. We have full access to his favor and healing. We don’t have to beg for access to His goodness, His grace, His provision and mercy. We have access to His sufficiency through Jesus. You just need to accept it.

When we operate in our own ability and power, we only glorify ourselves. And when we use our solutions to address a situation, we have the potential to do more damage than good. A believer’s aim is not to be spiritual know-it-all’s. Our goal is for the Holy Spirit to be the reigning voice inside us. When we walk in His presence, we operate out of His power.

There are times God allows a desperation in our soul, spiritually, to draw us back into His presence.

In desperate places, the temptation is to take matters into our own hands. We might create a list of things we need to change. We might want to fix our own failures. In the end, we learn that trying to make ourselves good enough for God is futile.

There’s no spiritual work happening in our hearts when we take matters into our own hands. When we operate out of our own strength, we try to do what only Jesus can do for the soul. When the Holy Spirit brings conviction to your heart, it’s not because He thinks you can clean up the mess in your strength.

Our Restorer will repurpose sin to draw us into His presence.

Sometimes our circumstances corner Jesus with bitterness. We hold grudges against God because our situation isn’t good. It hurts. So we spend less time in His presence. We might even rebel against everything God wants from us. That’s what Judah did. The devil will devise every distortion of the truth to draw us away from God’s purpose, which is being in the Healer’s presence.

When a tragedy has us asking ‘why,’ the answer begins with bending our will to His.

Isaiah 6, God's Purpose, God's PresenceIf it’s not a place of pain that’s driving us away from God’s presence, it can be the competition of our own priorities. The volume of our to-do’s and want-to’s can drown out the whisper of a should-do in the stillness with Jesus. Often we wait until our plans hit a roadblock, or until things aren’t working out the way we rigged them before we seek favor from the Father.

When we release the weight of control in our grip and reach this position of surrender, God can go to work in His power and His grace.

Your problems are meant to point you to His strength. This is His grace.

It’s our brokenness and submission that opens our spiritual ears to hear from God. Once Isaiah humbled himself (Isaiah 6:5), God delivered a word.

In God’s presence, with God’s word, Isaiah was able to walk out His purpose.

God has a purpose and a plan for you.

Living out the purposes of God begins with being in the presence of God.

 

The Process of Preparation

What God promised will come to pass. Sometimes, it just takes longer than you expected.

Often when God plants a dream in your heart, He sends you back to the shepherd’s field to work out the things below the surface; character, faithfulness, humility, patience, obedience.

God's plan, my plan, God is preparing you, the process of preparationYou might be ready for what you have in mind, but you may not be ready for what God has in mind.

His plans are bigger than your willing heart can fathom. He not only knows where He’s taking you, He knows what it’s going to take to keep you there.

As much as you want this dream to happen sooner, if it came before you were ready, the blessing would be more of a burden.

Did you know that a Chinese bamboo plant spends its first four years establishing a root system underground? It barely shows any progress above ground during this time, but in the fifth year the plant shoots up to 80 feet in the air. What makes the fifth year possible is the four years of preparation.

You might not see progress on the surface of your life, but the roots are growing down deep inside. When God knows you’re prepared, your ‘suddenly’ will happen.

Silence the Fear

Are you giving fear permission to access the promises God has made?

There’s an enemy of our souls and he’d love nothing more than a permanent place to filter every plan God prepared for you. Fear is crippling. Fear causes us to react irrationally. Fear drives a wedge between our relationships.

Today, we see natural disasters, racial tension and political division panicking our world. Personally, you might be suffering with a broken heart, loneliness or struggling with becoming another statistic; falling victim to addiction, divorce or suicide.

This isn’t Satan’s first rodeo. The author of confusion and doubt will use your insecurities to stir up questions in every corner you put your confidence. The enemy will use this freak tidal wave of uncertainty and hesitation to drown every declaration you were once so sure of.

Even our past carries the power to pause present day promises if we allow pain to produce the kind of panic that alters our perception of truth.

Fear likes to grip the best intentions and suffocate God’s truths with these burdens from a hardened heart. Be careful here because good decisions don’t come out of our reactions to fear. Worry won’t provoke positive changes.

Jesus says, “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT)

fear, peace, God's presenceThis peace Jesus gives is not of this world. He’s the only one who can give you lasting peace. In His presence, there is an absence of fear. It’s a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Jesus silences fear.

The pain of our past will pursue our present day stories until we give the hurt a proper burial and lay these insecurities to rest permanently.

The pain of our past wants to prove nothing has changed. Peace is asking you to step out from the shadow of the past and process life through the lens of Jesus. As you learn to let go, cling to this deep reassurance that His unflinching love, His unfailing hope, and His very best for you is here in His presence. Draw near to this peace.

When it looks like He’s not changing the hard things, know that the Father’s delays are designed to draw out the darkness in our hearts by drawing us into Him.

“The breaking of you will be the making of you. A new you. A stronger you.” (Lysa TerKeurst)

In this world, there will be trouble. The storms will swirl through your emotions with debris from other people’s messes but you still have the final say. You have a choice to settle your mind and steady your stance on this truth: Jesus has overcome the world, fully, completely, finally and for all of time. It’s already done.

Fear only resides within us. And, the perfect love of Christ resides in us also. You may feel fear but you don’t have to live fear. At the feet of Jesus is where you are set free.

I pray for peace to permeate every part of your heart wherever fear has found a grip. Thank you, Jesus, for your perfect peace. You are THE way, THE truth, and THE life. We put our feelings and thoughts into your hands. We are determined to dismantle the doubt and fear as we invite your peace, Jesus, to stand guard at the door of our hearts and minds today. May Your perfect peace invade every thought and emotion that crosses our mind, and may this peace of Yours preside as our stronghold today, Jesus. Prince of Peace. It’s in Your name above all names that we commit these requests, Jesus, Amen.

Key Change

A minor change on a major scale

A key change doesn’t require a large shift on the scale or grandiose measures. Did you know that a half step can make all the difference? A small change can create some beautiful music.

To appreciate a key change, you don’t need to know music theory. A listener can hear the transition in tone.

Every now and then life calls for a key change. Without it there is little music produced, for a piece puts out true beauty not from the fixed notes it embraces but rather from the subtle modulation we experience.

Life is packed with opportunities for you to take the stage on some major and minor scales, but you won’t get far in a performance if you’re not willing to embrace a key change.

The key change is your perspective. A slight shift in how you view life’s circumstances will make all the difference. When someone uses words you didn’t expect or reacts contrary to the culture’s perception, that’s a result of changing perspective.

If you want to stand out in the crowd and survive with your dignity among life’s situations, it’s going to require a key change in perspective.

Your circumstance, that cross you’ve been called to carry, looks different than mine.

You could be performing mundane tasks in a job, when you may be suited for much greater work.

Perhaps you’ve been cultivating the same field, nurturing a dream year after year, even though it yields no harvest.

Or, you may be called to walk through this world with a smile while your heart secretly breaks inside.

change, perspective, spiritual growthThere are so many crosses we carry and every one of them is painful.

Outwardly this cross may appear destructive, but inwardly its spiritual work is planting the richness of a blessing deep into the soil of your soul. Many of the blessings you inherit are the fruit of sorrow or pain.

Jesus on the cross, redemption itself, is the world’s greatest blessing and was produced through the greatest pain.

The Apostle Paul made a key change. He learned how to be content whatever the circumstances. (Philippians 4:11)

The attitude we live with is what determines our growth in God. This isn’t about being fake. The key change in our perspective is trusting God when other people are getting what we want.

Growth doesn’t happen when you remain with the same heart in the same place. A harmonious arrangement in life calls for a key change in perspective.

Where is that place that presses up against your threshold of yesterday? Where do you need to die to your own will, pride and sin and surrender at the feet of Jesus the very things that keep you proud and strong?

The charm of a broken spirit leaves us with an imprint of the cross. There’s a fragrant aroma of brokenness and humility that rises after it’s been touched by fire. Make the key change to transform the song of your sorrows into a beautiful melody of redemption.

Do you trust God so much that you absolutely do not want anything that He doesn’t want you to have? That’s perspective. That’s the key change in your mind that will take an ordinary song and dance and create a signature that’s all of you glorifying all of Him.

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Key Change: A Minor Change on a Major Scale by Trisha Keehn first appeared on LiftUpYourDay on September 23, 2016.

Courage in the Quiet

Sometimes A Brave Heart Waits

I waited patiently for the Lord… (Psalm 40:1)

Waiting can be much more difficult than walking. It requires patience. Not a very natural fruit of the spirit we’re born with. As babies, we cried until we were content. As children, we ignored the stop signs. In our adolescence, we found ways around the rules. And as a teen, we flat out rebelled against ‘no’. And now, here we are as adults. Now, we can buy our way through the delay.

Did you know that God has a purpose in ALL His delays? And the ‘stops’ too.

When we don’t rush the race, this steady walk provides a renewal of strength. We are empowered by our self-control in the stops. Edges are chiseled as we wait. The wait is growing endurance and perseverance below the surface. It is refining the steps in front of us. But so often we see standing still as failure and being forced into inaction – required to watch the tides of life as we stand on the shore.

It takes a fierce faith to submit to the will of God and give up opportunities for work and leave honors to others. To be quiet. Confident. And even rejoicing while the busyness rushes past you.

In a cloud of isolated quick thinking, our fleeting feelings are apt to react with coward logic when life isn’t moving. Poor decisions are made. Life-staking choices. We exchange God’s best for an offer of immediate gratification. Almost always, we regret it.

The winner’s circle is a quiet waiting. Stay still. Surrender your schedule. When the pressure in life hits your tender places and the reflex is to react, remember it requires more courage to stand still, wait and still not lose heart or hope.

Instead of running for relief, relax. Rest. Push through the crowded thoughts that are limiting time and self-defeating in light of your submission. Your words carry weight and create reality. Your words in your own mind, about yourself, circulate the truth. What truth are you telling yourself?

In the heat of pressure and resistance, reach into the vault of God’s Truth and align your thinking with the path of faith and perseverance.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

You are His masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)

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)

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.(1 Corinthians 9:25)

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)

…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)

Be still. And know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

Visualize yourself in the winner’s circle. You have the power of Jesus to create life or death with what you think about. Speak the right words into your situation. Push your thoughts around. Pray the burdens down. Get your faith and focus set on His strength. Nothing is impossible for Him (Matthew 19:26). He holds this world securely in His grip. His supernatural love surrounds us and can break through the heartache of letting go.

“There are seasons when being still is the hardest, most obedient thing we can do. God doesn’t require you to do everything. He does ask for your obedience.” — Christina Patterson, Daughters of Fire

Be still. Watch Him work. Waiting and keeping yourself steady, faithful in His leading is the secret of strength. Anything that does not align with obedience to His will is a waste of time and energy.

Sometimes the most effective thing we can do is to let go of the reins and trust Him. Do you trust God enough to just be still? It’s tempting to fill the stillness to distract us from the discomfort of feeling alone. Yet in the stillness is where we realize God is enough.

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Courage in the Quiet by Trisha Keehn first appeared on LiftUpYourDay.com on August 26, 2016.

Seeking Peace in Politics

When you allow other people to be right, it doesn’t make you wrong. It makes you a peacemaker.

peace, world peace, peace in the politics, trishakeehn.comAs far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)

Peace is a place where God wants us to live. We’re not put on this earth to straighten everybody out.

Peace is the assurance that God is fighting your battles for you. He has the ultimate control of this situation.

Resting in peace isn’t saying you have to agree with everything that is said or that you aren’t allowed an opinion. But let me just say this: being right is over-rated. If a conversation steals your peace, if it makes you miserable, frustrated or discouraged… if a conversation gets an upper hand and causes strife in your relationships, then it’s not a blessing for you to live in.

Be sensitive to when a conversation is going too far. Let peace be your guard. Let peace be your guide in every conversation. Let go of pushing back or feeling the need to prove yourself. You don’t have to be right to do what is right. Doing what is right is holding onto your peace. It’s a gift. Don’t give that away.

Peace shouldn’t come and go according to what is going on in our lives. Peace is a powerful force that allows you to maintain stability in a storm. You have control when you have peace. It comes from knowing God, meditating on his promises and standing on the Truth that He is in control.

The Offensive Advantage

Have you ever experienced a dramatic deliverance in your circumstances; from sickness, from financial pressure or within a relationship?

Sometimes our struggles aren’t miraculously relieved by God. Sometimes we merely endure. Which isn’t such a bad thing because we are never nearer to God than when we are troubled.

Often, in times of comfort and ease we forget ‘our present help in time of need’. And when the worst of times come, we suddenly remember Him.

Sometimes the answer is the help we pray for. Sometimes the answer is to simply lean into Him to survive. God will use the difficulty to move us toward our destiny. That trial can transport you toward your goals and drive your dreams into existence.

The Almighty won’t allow what won’t work for your advantage. Average people will have average problems. The big obstacles are there to prepare you for a big reality. God is the one who determines your destiny. He knows what He’s doing. What the opposition uses to defeat you, God will use to position you.

One door closes so bigger doors can open. One relationship ends so you can begin a better connection. Challenges and conflict can strengthen your spiritual muscles for opposition on the horizon.

We grow in the tough times. The trials pour in deposits of experience and endurance that good times can’t give. That resistance is the weight you need to exercise your courage, faith and wisdom to persevere into the next level.

When you feel stuck, surrender to the rest. Take this time to set up stakes on solid ground for the battle up ahead. Plant yourself in the Word.

We may know all these things and yet still feel discouraged and defeated in the battle. Sometimes that comes from living isolated from a community of believers. We can’t do life on our own. We need a band of believing brothers and sisters to join forces with.

offensive line, defense, victory in Jesus, trishakeehn.comThere’s another reason believers feel so depleted in the battle though. Too often we live life as defensive Christians. We walk out of the church and enter into a mindset of defeat. We are tempted to engage in the devil’s dialogue either in our head or with others. We find ourselves defending places Jesus has already given us victory in, like our worth and choices.

When you understand what Christ has done, then you are on the offensive side. You have the ball. Hell is on the defensive line, not the Church.

When you walk into this world, you are walking out into a place of victory. When you met Jesus, you met victory. He is building the Church (Matthew 16:18).

Next time the gates of hell come knocking on your door, use the victory of Christ to remind Satan that you owe him no other explanation. The enemy can’t steal what you aren’t willing to engage in. When we are about our Father’s business, whatever we bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven (Matthew 18:18). This is the authority we have to unlock access to the kingdom of Heaven on earth.

Take your position on the offensive line next time opposition presents itself.

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This post, The Offensive Advantage, by Trisha Keehn, appeared first on LiftUpYourDay.com