Worship, Create, Dream

Be free to Worship God. Create with abandonement because He is the Creator. Let's discover our Dreams together.


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The Alabaster Jar

Jpeg

A warm evening with a gentle breeze blowing bits of sand.  The streets are  empty. Lit candles glow  through  open windows show families enjoying their meals.   Laughter carries up and down the vacant cobblestones. Simon the Pharisee  is very delighted. Tonight he is hosting Jesus, the PROPHET whom  everyone is talking about. Almost giddily he thinks,  “Maybe I can find something out about this Man  that makes Him so special.”

Is the Pharisee, really showing an act of hospitality or are there ulterior motives?

 

Another part of town, a colder, darker part of town  contains less laughter. The meals are not filled with gaiety. Joy does not filter through these streets. The normal sound  is chaos from, wailing, unattended babies and  coughing,  sick children. If laughter is heard, it is anything but joyful.

 

The Woman’s small living quarters are in this part of town. While she lived with her mother, her house was decent. Her mother made a decent living. Now the Woman is alone. She makes her living in a sad fashion non decent manner.  Her heart is empty.

 

The Woman heard rumors. ” Could this be the Prophet.The Teacher everyone is talking about.?” she pondered. Gazing at the beautiful alabaster jar, her mind swirls..

  • “ I have no right to even think about going to that house.
  •   I caught a quick glance of Him in the market. His gentle eyes gave me hope.
  •  There will be other men in that house  who will know me possible who have known me. (she shutters).
  •   He looked into the eyes of that sick girl with such love and tenderness. With one touch a soft word,  He healed her.

 

Of course He healed her. She is holy. I AM NOT!

Could she deny the deep yearning and passion  drawing her to go to the house.and give?

 

The Woman looked again at the jar containing the costly oils for her livelihood. The jar was priceless. It belonged to her mother.

The Woman could not dwell on the matter any longer. Fear would consume her thoughts  making the decision for her if she did not move.

Quickly she wrapped a simple  shawl around her head and face  Grabbing the alabaster jar, she left her home. She could not be  bothered as she moved  to the other side of town. The fear of failure and  rejection ran rampant through her body. Beads of sweat from the brisk walk and the heat did not stop her body from shaking. She had no idea what to expect once she reached her destination.

The Woman did not consider how food would be purchased or bills paid after the oil was gone. It was not a consequence to consider now.

As unrealistic as it seemed, the intense draw to give everything to this Man was the only reality that mattered. The Woman would break her beloved jar, if she must.  She would pour out her oil, her love, her all.

 

Everyone was enjoying the well prepared meal. Food was perfect for the special guest.  Jesus was a perfect guest. Too perfect for Simon’s  taste. Nothing was happening. The evening was coming to a close with not even a tiny miracle or odd word.

 

The conversations continued. Without notice, as though covered by a shadowy protection, the Woman was on her knees in front of Jesus. Upon noticing the crumpled figured at His feet, the other men, close to Jesus gasped and moved away. They knew who she was. They knew her reputation.  Simon sneered to himself , “He can’t be as good as they say He is.  He should know what kind of a woman she is.”

Jesus looked sternly toward  Simon and said,  “Silence”.

Simon blinked being caught off guard.

 

Jesus eyes returned to the Woman. Softly and gently His gaze took in her actions, he took in her heart.  Her tears ran down her face. She could not stop crying. Raising to her feet, she broke the seal of the jar and stood over Jesus head. She tipped the jar.   The thick contents poured slowly  onto the head  beneath her.  With eyes  closed and head slightly lifted, Jesus received the entire offering, down His head, His beard, His shoulders. . This fragrant perfume flowed to his feet. The pungent aroma filled the dining area and beyond.

Moments went by. Not a sound.

No words passed between Jesus and the Woman. He looked into her eyes, into her soul as if to say.:  “Your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more.”

 

The Woman unbound her hair to dry  tears and oil from Jesus.  Such deep love she had never known. It protected her from the judgemental statements against her actions.

 

” Wasteful!  If you really wanted to repent, the oil should have been sold to meet the needs of the poor,”  came  the verbal accusation on her pure act of love .  The Woman was not enslaved  by these attacks.  His love without rejection freed her.

 

Simon got what he wanted.  A card to use against this Prophet. He smiled to himself, “Either this Man  does not know the sinners, which means He isn’t a real prophet, or He does not keep the law by allowing a woman of this sort to touch Him. This Jesus cannot be the Messiah.”

 

The Woman rebound her hair as the men resumed their meal.  She gathered her shawl. With one last glance to Jesus, she turned and left the house without the alabaster jar.

 

As she walked down the street, the Woman’s  steps were light, relaxed, peaceful.  She had  no need to protect her face. Everything was  bright.  She looked to the sky. “Do stars always twinkle so beautifully?” She smiled.  Her breathing was deep and full. The Woman felt Joy. The Woman was Free..

glory of the Lord

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In this Lenten season, dare to go deep and experience the intimacy of real people referred to in the Passion stories. My story is a fictional  adaptation of Matthew 26:6-10 Mark 14:3-9,  and Luke 7:37-39. God is releasing people from fears through honest deep, intimate interaction with Him. Take His hand and walk through whatever it is He wants to show you.


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Delight in The Lord

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Psalm 37:4

4 Delight yourself in the Lord,

   and he will give you the desires of your heart.

                                                                                     ESV

Why would I experience

FEAR

                                                                         if I am receiving the desires of my heart?

That sounds absurd. Or does it?

As I was reading the devotional A STORY OF GOD AND ALL OF US  REFLECTIONS,  I came across this statement. It  seemed rather comical.:

“If a Mercedes Benz is the desire of your heart, your heart probably needs a change..”1

Seriously, though, when was the last time you asked the question:

“What is the desire of my heart?”

God saw the true desire of my heart when I looked to Him and said YES  44 years ago. With tear filled eyes and a heart filled with more love than I had ever known, I took His Hand.

The desire of my heart was to love Him and allow Him to love me.

WORSHIP!

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When I opened my hands, my life, my heart to God and said YES  that also declared,” I trust  you. I trust You to know the desires of my heart deeper than I know them.”

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.      What was the true desires of my heart?

For me, freedom was vocal worship and music.  I could not see deep reality or intimacy in connecting with God  any way  other than participating on worship teams.  It was not for the sake of being up front. It was connecting in the beauty of worship. It was a gift to God and others.

Suddenly  a radical change took place many years ago. I was no longer  asked or needed to participate on the vocal worship teams.  Devastation hit. My heart’s desire came crashing down around me. How could I show my  extravagant, intimate love if not through music?

He is the Creator.  I am not.

God is my  creator. He put my parts together. He  knows me (Psalm 139). If God knows me that well, He also knows the needed steps to reach the core .   I thought music was  the reflection of my heart’s desire to intimately worship God and reflect that love forever. It was holy. It was good.

 What is my heart’s desire?

WORSHIP

God gave me a heart of worship not satisfied with anything less than ultimate intimacy and true freedom.   God deserves the best.

God asked : “Will you Worship Me the way I call you to Worship Me?”

My response is: “That is the desire of my heart!”

I have been answering this question in ways  I never would have imagined. It has not stopped either. My heart’s desire is to  worship  with God calling the shots. The deeper He calls me into intimacy with Him, I am free to share what I receive.

Have you lost a job? Been asked to step down from calling you felt was from God? Felt as though something has been taken away and you just do not know why?  You may feel :

  •  Pain
  •  Fear
  • Rejection toward your writing, your gift
  • Should I even try again?
  • Has God pulled the rug from under your feet. .

These questions and more are not doubting your delight in God. It is being honest. You need to run to the only One who will free you in finding your true heart’s desire. Do not run from  community either.  Run to the people in the community you can trust. Delighting in God is going to Him.  Be honest with Him in your pain and doubts so He can free you to discover the true desires of your heart.
Discovering your heart’s desire, is not a one time activity. It is a wonderful exciting journey through your entire life. God created you. He will go to those places where only He can free you. There may be fear along the ride in the uncertainties, but you are never alone.

Be

Free

To

Worship

As

You

Were

Created!

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Psalm 121 MSG

1-2 I look up to the mountains;

does my strength come from mountains?

No, my strength comes from God,

who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

3-4He won’t let you stumble,

your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.

Not on your life! Israel’s

Guardian will never doze or sleep


1A STORY OF GOD AND ALL OF US  REFLECTIONS.  by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett ©2013 day 32

Thank you Anna for allowing me to use your photo overlooking the mountains. Taken by her friend Nicholas.


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GOD LOVES ME EVEN IN MY FEAR

God fiercely loves us through our flaws and imperfections—not in spite of them.1

                                                                                                         Margaret Feinberg

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As you know, God is walking me through a journey in redefining the word Fear.

Redefining might not be the correct word. Possibly the adventure (if I can call it that) is how  do I am respond to fear? How to walk  when approached/ surrounded in an attack?

If I were to look in a mirror while in a fear-filled state, who would I see? Who do you see? A strong Spirit-filled Christian who knows her joy? or someone questioning her  worth? Do I  start judging myself  as “less than?”IMG_0378

Is it safe to cry out in the pain? I am not always honest with this emotion. You get be a certain age and are duped to believe you are suppose to have it all together. How will people look at me in my  angst?  How will I be treated if they really knew  of this silly fear? Would I receive words of true encouragement or just biblical rhetoric?

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Even as Christians, do we honestly allow ourselves to open this door to our hearts? The fear to recognize and admit we have fear. The exposure of shame or pride may  become greater than the original fear itself.

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Victory through each fear happens in honesty. Admitting where you are. Fear is by no means greater than God’s love,  but something is present. The need for help is real.

                I need you God, Help me in this. Take my hand. I know the facts of “Your grace is sufficient”. I need to experience the reality of that sufficiency.  I need to see Your Face.

The following is a simple story where God walked with me. I saw fear and called myself incompetent. God saw me and gave me His Love.:

As I received  instructions for a straightforward job, I nodded my head expressing I understood the task expected of me. It was a simple task, but not one I had done for awhile. Suddenly my mind went into the question/attack mode. I was struck with thoughts flying out of nowhere saying:

  • YOU ARE FORGETTING WHAT THEY JUST ASKED YOU TO DO. THEY JUST TOLD YOU! HUH!
  • YOU WILL NEVER REMEMBER WHAT TO DO!
  • YOU WILL START DOING THE JOB, THEN FORGET AND LOOK DUMB!
  • YOU ARE REALLY STUPID!

I was never in any real danger. The whole inner conversation may  sound silly but fear has no rules. It just attacks. Big jobs, little jobs. Lots of experience, No experience.  No matter who you are, what you are doing, what is happening to you.  Fear attacks your weak points.

I know God loves me.  I am a Daughter of the King,  but lies/fear yell so loud, it is hard to remember and walk in that reality.  I needed to run into God’s arms for His reality in my weakness. This brings the victory.

Before I actually needed to perform the activity, I sat with my journal and laid my inside angst to God.  The following words poured out.:

      “Fear takes a shape of lies. Lies which yell INCOMPETENT. Reality? My brain has cross wires not completely understanding what is asked.”

    This was God’s response to me:  “ ‘Sandi I am with you. Be At Peace’.”


I could not pretend everything was fine. I went to God in my fear. I asked Him to clear my brain.The Creator of the Universe came to me in my time of need.  He stated “You are loved”.  My fear left. I completed the task in peace.

How I respond to the fear will allow God to work deeper in my worship of Him. Pride or shame can keep a top layer of fear covering the truth where God wants to take me. When I am honest with Him, or in a safe community, the lies of fear will not keep strangling me.    God’s perfect love surrounded me and cast out the fear as I laid down the lies inside calling me incompetent. I was honest about what was going on inside. That chain was broken. I could breathe.IMG_0905IMG_1837

God has something He wants to release in you. Allow Him to Love you in the way only He can love you.  As you are walking in His love, dealing with the big and little fears all around, worship will flow.

Be

Free

To

Worship

As

You

Were

Created!


1FLOURISH Live Loved. Live Fearless. Live Free ©2016 Margaret Feinberg p.20


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HAPPY NEW YEAR

JpegHere I am returning from a fantastic vacation with my family.  Christmas  in  sunny warm  Orlando, Florida, was a sharp contrast to the normal  cold snowy ones in Duluth,  Minnesota.

The weather was green and balmy outside any where from  50-80 degrees. ♥

While inside, the decorations were warm and cozy.

Even though we took time off from our regular daily schedules so far from home, it is wonderful to know there is One who NEVER takes a vacation.

He won’t let you stumble,

   your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.

Not on your life! Israel’s

   Guardian will never doze or sleep.

                                                                           Ps.121 4-5 MSG

When God has a plan for His loved ones, He will carry it out, you can rest assure of that. How he chooses to do it is completely up to Him. Why?

He is God.

Bringing the Savior of all mankind into the world by birthing Him in an animal stall is not exactly what most people would call a good social promotion move.  ( What was He thinking? His own Son born in a barn???)

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To be totally honest, aren’t we a little two faced sometimes?   We have a problem and finally decide to say a quick prayer.  A precarious predicament comes about and we don’t know what to do. We then actually ask God what He wants. We receive the answer to the prayer  and our response is : “ AWWW NO”  or we look at what He expects us to do and our reaction is: “You have got to be kidding”!

Tenderly the gift is still extended. The loving hand never recoils.

“God has never failed. He’s never not delivered. He has an amazing track record that is completely trustworthy.  Skylar Turek Message Duluth Vineyard 12/31/16

In Orlando, we each had  a wonderful but challenging opportunity.  Before Christmas Day, we were to write on a piece of paper, a gift we wanted to give Baby Jesus.

What would you write on  that sheet of paper?

On Christmas Day  shared  our gifts.

This was mine…

“We don’t just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them, and then go on to celebrate every strength, every triumph of the truth in you. We pray hard that it will all come together in your lives. 2 Cor. 13:9

My limitations keep me from rejoicing and running at times in the freedom I have in You.  I see  age, causing memory dips,  hearing rips,  physical blips, not allowing me to boldly run the race as I once did. To be honest, it makes me sad.

As I  read   2 Cor. 13, V 9, I offer a strange gift to You. I offer my Fear.  It is not a pretty gift. It is not a majestic gift.   In some respects, I see it is similar to a piece of coal which you definitely do not deserve.

A piece of coal is worked with until it finally becomes a beautiful gem. With this gift of fear, I see the same process happen. Work with my fear and through my fears  so all the worship and creativity You are so worthy of, is free to express itself.”

Tears came flowing because I knew my weakness was not a pretty gift.

It was also not one He rejects.

Each time I hear, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Cor 12: 9-10) New Living Translation will I be able to boast? To be honest, probably not all the time. I still see through a dirty lens at times. God does not recoil His Hand. His gift is still extended.

In beginning this new year I will ask you a few questions:

  1. What would you have written on the sheet of paper as your gift to Jesus?
  2. Have you ever answered God with a “You Have Got to Be Kidding!” to His response when you pray?
  3. If you wish to share one of your own “God amazing love stories regarding His unfailing track record”, I would love to hear it.

Creativity and Worship are expressed in life through bounteous forms. We have a Magnificent God lovingly drawing  out  what He put inside.

What stops us from living the wonderful, creative worship filled  life available to us?
This next year through creative stories, personal adventures, your input, we will go on a journey to open doors. We will discover ways to say yes and what barriers  keep us from seeing God’s extended hand.  This will release not only life in us but to share what we receive with the world.

I returned to snowy Minnesota.

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Release From Fear

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. The weather brought sudden changes.   Beautiful colorful  leaf filled autumn branches  to barren empty trees and pre- winter brown.  Cold , brisk , sometimes even dark, without the tingle of dancing snowflakes.

Beautiful Tree.

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Dark Branches

 

 

I am experiencing a completely opposite inner transformation. To get this  picture , go to  a few of my previous blog posts.    Fear ran rampant everywhere inside my being. I kept asking permission to  “be”. Be what? Be a writer, be a photographer, be a fun person,  to be a communicator who is free in expressing God’s Heart. Be Me.

The  life filled colorful leaves on this tree had  fallen.  The tree  began to shrivel and withdraw  into a square box hidden from everyone. Even me.


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              I am caught in a box

 

Correct time to open the box. Correct time to open the door.

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FEAR

Fear controlled  my brain.  I feared  I could  not retain technical information. This eliminated the  pursuit of taking  classes on writing and photography.  Fear of rejection limited  what or how I might share something. Fear stopped me from  pursuing deeper expressions of creativity.  Layers upon Layers were placed on this original MASTERPIECE of me.  I received them. Instead of taking the blessings God  offered to enhance the Masterpiece, I took junk. I still served my King.   It was filtering through  many layers before coming to the surface.

My heart seemed to be slowly shriveling. I cried out:  Help

I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Joshua 1 4-6)     

God promised to take care of Joshua during his time of fear and desperation.  God gave this same promise to me. God knew the deepest desire of my heart. He would not leave this Masterpiece in the box.

FORSAKE

1.to quit or leave entirely; abandon; desert:

 2.to give up or renounce

IMG_2966[1]The original prayer need  expressed that special night was for  people who had come to a crossroads in their lives and wanted help. After I prayed for a few people God told  me “this word is for you”.

God saw the Tiny Box my heart was trapped in. It was time.

Satan used lies from the past many years constructing  the  mirror I kept holding.  He used abuse to color my value. He used  deceit and twisted information concerning my worth or how I could serve God.

 

PRAYER

Freedom started in prayer. God  literally exposed lies I had taken on. Lies I accepted and lived under.  EXPOSING LIES!!!!!  That was the beginning.  Fear laced many past decisions, (good, bad, acceptance, rejection, etc).

That night I was released from deep seeded fears directing portions of  my life. In Jesus I said “NO MORE”!

Hard jubilant long laughter was the response in this freedom.   The Masterpiece desiring to express all that was within with no holds came out of her box. I could breathe. It was a day and night experience.

This step had to take place before the next two. God’s timing is perfect.

Step two  and step three will be explored in following blogs.

Please take time to focus  on  your soul. Are you totally released to express the Masterpiece God created you to be in  Jesus? No boundaries?

I am outside of the box looking at choices and who is in control in a different light.

Fear is not the controller of my heart or how I see myself. I can take issues such as:

1.-will you like my post, 2.  will I accidentally post a blurry photograph, 3.can I really express my worship this way, 4. the angst before going to the dentist, 5. driving at night, 6.  comparing my writing, 7. will you understand me, 7. my life,

very realistically to the one Who loves me, Who frees me, Who sees me, Who lovingly directs me. I can grab the words given to friends long ago and to us now.

FEAR NOT FOR I AM WITH YOU. (Is. 41:10 NIV)

 

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(footnote: I would like to share my extreme appreciation to the birthplace in writing about MASTERPIECE. One is the book THE ARTISAN SOUL, by  Erwin McManus. I highly recommend it. It speaks deeper than your outer creative  expression. It speaks to the creativity of your very being.  The other is a warm thanks to Tammy Morton. A bold woman, willing to share her story during a CREATIVITY IN THE KINGDOM conference held at our church.  It was through her testimony, God opened my eyes to the gray layers I was giving permission to cover His Masterpiece of Me.  )