Picking Steel Magnolias

A Photo Blog

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"If a man cannot get through to God it is because there is a secret thing he does not intend to give up." - Oswald Chambers
The photo is of a tree in South India called the Royal Poinciana. It’s red flowers put it in a category of trees called “Flame Trees.” Red reminds me of passion. 
The Spirit ignites our hearts so that we are on fire for the Gospel, living, speaking, breathing and walking like Jesus. 
Our secrets put barriers between us and that life filled with passion, love and peace. But we can break them down with swords, cutting deep into the dark places of our hearts and exposing and surrendering them to God. 
The only way is through and it will likely be painful. What do I need to give up today? 

"If a man cannot get through to God it is because there is a secret thing he does not intend to give up." - Oswald Chambers

The photo is of a tree in South India called the Royal Poinciana. It’s red flowers put it in a category of trees called “Flame Trees.” Red reminds me of passion. 

The Spirit ignites our hearts so that we are on fire for the Gospel, living, speaking, breathing and walking like Jesus. 

Our secrets put barriers between us and that life filled with passion, love and peace. But we can break them down with swords, cutting deep into the dark places of our hearts and exposing and surrendering them to God. 

The only way is through and it will likely be painful. What do I need to give up today? 

Filed under God peace My Utmost for His Highest Oswald Chambers faith

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Pray for me to be strong and of good courage and to remain faithful, with an attitude of submission, a true handmaid of the Lord.

Elisabeth Elliot

If you would have asked me a couple of years ago what I needed prayer for. It would certainly not have been to have an attitude of submission. I have learned that submission is a fearful word in our culture because it implies the resignation of freedom, an injustice. However, and ironically, I’ve come to realize that God wants me to submit to Him as an ultimate surrendering of of my life, so that He can give me the only true freedom.

I can choose to submit to God, where I am free. Or I can choose to submit to this crazy world, where I become anxiously enslaved by never ending to-dos, expectations and consuming awareness of everything I want that I don’t have. So I choose to submit to God, and even though I’m still afraid sometimes, He is always faithful in keeping His promises of freedom and peace. 

This freedom and peace was made possible by Jesus being born into this world. Jesus died so that we could be forgiven. God’s grace and forgiveness for us through His son, and then in turn our grace and forgiveness for others is where freedom and peace are found. 

Filed under submission God Elisabeth Elliot

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Prayer: Afghan woman released but encouraged to marry her attacker

An Afghan woman whose plight gained international attention when she was imprisoned for adultery after a relative raped her has been freed.

The woman, identified only as Gulnaz for her own protection, had been sentenced to prison for 12 years after she reported that her cousin’s husband had raped her two years ago. Wednesday, she was free after President Hamid Karzai intervened on her behalf.

The woman is staying at a women’s shelter in Kabul with her daughter, whose father is the attacker.”

Link to CNN Story

Filed under prayer afghanistan

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From the Inside Out

What does it mean to be transformed from the inside out? In Romans 12:1-3, Paul encourages believers to not only live a different lifestyle but to have a renewed mind, the mission control center that determines our thoughts, feelings and actions. 

"The Greek verb translated "transformed" is seen in the English word "metamorphosis." - The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 

The meaning of metamorphosis is:

change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means” or

  ”striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances” or

a typically marked and more or less abrupt developmental change in the form or structure of an animal

(as a butterfly or a frog) occurring subsequent to birth or hatching.” - MW Collegiate Dictionary

…a rebirth, a renewal of the mind and body, a drastic and dramatic shift in our very being…are some of the words that come to mind when I think about metamorphosis. 

How does it happen? I don’t feel capable to change in that way. How do I give all that I have over to God? It’s not like I sign a paper, do a little turn and am transformed into this person that is able to make good decisions and to love like Him, to what is “good and acceptable and perfect.”

I can’t control it and that frustrates me a little bit because my tendency is to try and do everything on my own, of course that lands me in a big mess and with an anxious heart. 

The commentary mentioned above also says that when we are renewed, our prayer life, fellowship and lifestyle shifts. I would have never believed that but then I experienced it. I am a different person now that I have put my hope and faith in Jesus. 

Today, I had a moment where my mind went to a place that I didn’t feel was characteristic of the transformed woman I’ve become. It both humbled and disturbed me. I am so prone to leave the one I love, as the song goes. So I praise God for what he’s done for me today, ask the Spirit to help me turn from that deceptively delicious temptation and to choose him. 

Transformation is a process and I sometimes forget that I am being renewed daily (2 Cor. 16-18). I’m not perfect and my mind wonders, but the Spirit is helping to guide me back today and He gave me solid friends to love me and to help me continue on His path, not my own. 

God, guide my steps today and everyday. When I choose my path, it’s always headed in the wrong direction. His road is the one less traveled by and mine, the popular route that could only lead toward selfishness and ugliness. 

Filed under faith transformation

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We do not always get what we want, but that doesn’t mean that we no longer want. It means we stay awake to the unmet longing and ache. Wait there. Invite Jesus to come there.
John & Stasi Eldridge

Filed under Jesus waiting Eldridge

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This loose-leaf tea maker is the perfect gift for any tea-lover. I was skeptical at first because I like to keep it simple but it actually makes the process more simplistic. This travel-friendly contraption works like a french press. When the tea is done brewing, you set the maker on top of your mug and it releases the tea. No pour, no mess, easy-to-clean…and I sound like an infomercial. 
Many tea infusers aren’t fine enough to filter out all of the tea leaves from the brewed tea but this one has an extra-fine filter…there are no little bits of leaves in my tea this morning :-) Gosh, there is nothing like a hot cup of steaming English Breakfast on a chilly Chicago morning!
Anyway, this maker was a gift from my mom so thanks, mom. You can purchase them for $20 here: http://www.teavana.com/tea-products/tea-makers-infusers/p/teavana-perfect-teamaker

This loose-leaf tea maker is the perfect gift for any tea-lover. I was skeptical at first because I like to keep it simple but it actually makes the process more simplistic. This travel-friendly contraption works like a french press. When the tea is done brewing, you set the maker on top of your mug and it releases the tea. No pour, no mess, easy-to-clean…and I sound like an infomercial. 

Many tea infusers aren’t fine enough to filter out all of the tea leaves from the brewed tea but this one has an extra-fine filter…there are no little bits of leaves in my tea this morning :-) Gosh, there is nothing like a hot cup of steaming English Breakfast on a chilly Chicago morning!

Anyway, this maker was a gift from my mom so thanks, mom. You can purchase them for $20 here: http://www.teavana.com/tea-products/tea-makers-infusers/p/teavana-perfect-teamaker

Filed under tea gift tea maker

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In the News Prayer: Indiana family dies in private plane crash

A family from Marion, Indiana died in a plane crash this past Saturday. A father, his two daughters and one of the girl’s friends were on the plane. They were flying one of the daughters back to Wheaten College after being home for Thanksgiving.

Their wife/mom and son/brother, as well as their community, are grieving the loss. Please pray for this family, that they would draw close to God rather than push Him away in this very difficult time. 

Filed under prayer plane crash faith news

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Anxiety

A. ngry heart.

N. ot trusting in Him. 

X. aggerated weight.

I. ncomparable fear. 

E. yes open but not seeing.

T. ethered to someone or something unreachable. 

Y. earning for a deep breath. 

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).

T. ruth-filled 

R. est in Him.

U. unhinged heart.

T. otal surrender.

H. ope renewed. 

Filed under anxiety