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Posts Tagged ‘www.juliebcosgrove.com’

Today, I read a daily devotional from Power to Change. It is written by Shelaine Strom. She talks about how quickly, often without warning, the weather can change on the lake shore where her cabin rests. Even though she knows that place so well, she is still in awe of that phenomenon:

“And so it is in my relationship with the Lord. He is the mighty rushing wind that takes my breath away with His strength and power to heal and change lives. He is the gentle breeze that nudges me to speak or act, giving counsel and direction. He is the quiet voice whispering love and forever-presence in the still moments of an unhurried life. And He is more.”

see the whole devotional at http://powertochange.com/blogposts/2014/01/15/more-than-i-know/ 
 (I get one in my email box each morning for free- you can as well.) 
 

Our riverTucked in the Texas Hill Country my family has a summer cabin on a bluff overlooking the Guadalupe River. The river can be still and as smooth as glass, or it can dance with glistening ripples like a million microscopic Tinker Bells. Serene, peaceful, refreshing, heavenly… until a sudden roar can bring a wall of water, from a deluge upstream, crashing down on left-behind inner-tubes, kayaks, and lawn chairs.

Destructive? Yes. I have seen it bend mighty cypresses like sipping straws. But the land recovers, and often, the silt left behind replenishes the eroded soil and actually helps the grass to flourish and grow. Underbrush is pruned with one swish of the swirling undercurrent so saplings can stretch their limbs and roots.

In a few days, the flood is over. The milk-chocolate turmoil returns to its peaceful aqua-green, ripply state. The banks again contain the river’s flow. The quickly moving current slows once more to a lazy pace, waiting to be tickled by the breeze.

I cannot control that river. No one except God can, though some foolish folks who build along the banks think they are able to with makeshift dams and terracing. They try, in vain of course, to manipulate it’s path. But, the river has a power all its own. All you can do is respect it and let it do its thing.

I cannot control God. But one thing I have learned, I can cope with life better if I let Him control me instead of trying to manipulate Him to do things my way. Whatever happens in my life–in the quiet times and in the roaring, take-cover tempests–He is at work, eventually bringing it all into good purpose. Even when it seems my life is uncontrollably spilling over the banks, I know His mighty hands are cupping it and directing it’s flow.

May he rule from sea to sea
    and from the River to the ends of the earth.   Psalm 72:8

And my place? Sheltered where He wants me to be, on my knees, in patient awe. I am learning to be more of the spectator of His mighty power in my life, just I have learned to respect the river. Yes, our Lord wants us involved in the directions our lives are to go- we are not puppets on a string.  But to go against the flow of His holy current or the power of His mighty wind is futile, frustrating and foolhardy. Yet, how often do we try, just like the riverbank dwellers? We block His flow in our souls. We build walls to keep Him out. We terrace our payers with conditions and plea bargaining.

Each time I gaze out over that river, or soak my toes in its cool, spring-fed current, its majestic power and grand beauty reminds my soul of the One who created it.  

He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?” Then he led me back to the bank of the river.   Ezekiel 47:6

 
Shelaine sees Him on the lake where she lives. 
Where do you find God today?  I’d love for you to comment and let me, and other readers, know. 

 

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This year, my body didn’t want Christmas. In fact, it rejected everything, either up or down for three days except IVs and ice chips. No eggnog. No Tamales (a true Texas tradition.) No candy or plum ID-10087293pudding.No warm smiles during the children’s pageant as kids tugged on over-sized bathrobes and stumbled over their lines. No Christ’s Mass by candlelight singing Silent Night Family and friends avoided me – as well they should have. 

I faded in and out of restless sleep. The carpet between my bed and the bathroom is now well matted with footprints.

But, God still reigns. Strip away the glistening ornament-laden tree, the candy canes, the traditions and even the church services, and somehow Christmas was still there. I saw Christmas in the gentle hands of the nurse in the ER clinic as she patiently needled my arm to receive fluids, even though my veins had collapsed from dehydration. I saw Christmas in the smile of a kind doctor who treated me as his only patient when he had a packed waiting room, many with the same stomach flu as I.  I saw Christmas in my son who was at my beck and call while juggling work, and in his boss who told him to be with me on Christmas Eve in the ER instead of waiting on customers during the busiest time of the year in their store. I saw Christmas in the love oozing from the concerned  texts and emails, and the understanding that I was not up to even talking on the phone, thank you.

No, this is not how I planned to spend Christmas. But, in a way it was a very meaningful one for me. Despite the ravaging virus inside my body, Christ was there as well. Emmanuel. God with us.

I hope this Christmas you found God in your day, too…no matter how it turned out. May each day be an Emmanuel day.

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Bless Me, then Let Me Be

by Julie B Cosgrove

 

How often does God want to bless us 

Or maybe He wants to test us,

But we tell Him, thanks, but no.

Let’s just leave things status quo.

Don’t take me somewhere new,

I’d rather stay right here, thank you.

Don’t stretch me or bend or challenge me

Just please leave me alone, let me be.

I like it here in my little box.

All safe and cuddly with all the locks

I have placed on it to keep You out.

I’d rather complaint and whine and pout.

I don’t want to grow, I want to stay idle,

Nor spend or time on my knees reading the Bible.

I’m a mess, I know that, but hey, that’s me.

So give your grace and mercy for free.

Change the other people in my life,

The ones that hurt me and bring me strife.

Keep me warm and secure and healthy.

Oh, and yes, I’d like to be wealthy.

But don’t change a hair on my head,

mold my heart, or have me be led

down a path of service or sacrifice.

Nor have your Spirit give me advice.

Just give me what I want, Lord – that’s all.

Oh, and please be there when I fall.

And when I die, open the gates Above.

Until then, grant me unconditional love.

There’s plenty of time to be my Savior.

I have all of eternity to win your favor.

But for now, let me just believe you exist.

Be there for me, but don’t insist

I do anything different with my life.

Don’t trim me with your holy knife,

Or alter my lifestyle or way of thinking.

Just love me Lord and keep me from sinking.

“I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot….I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. (Revelation 3:16,19)

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Here is a Christmas story I wrote. You are free to share it with your family and friends.
 

ID-100124657The Purpose Revealed

by Julie B Cosgrove

It took all the effort Little Grass had, but he finally did it. The dirt that had surrounded him since birth no longer held him. He pushed through to the sunlight. Now he could grow tall. He could wave in the breeze with the other grasses and be drenched by the spring rains. He could feel the warmth of the sun’s rays cover him. So, he reached towards the sky. He grew and grew and grew. Life was great.

Then one day men came swinging large sharp things. Ouch! They whacked him off at the roots and bundled him up with the other grasses next to him.

“What is to happen to us?”

A wiser stalk of grass under him said, “I have heard stories. This is the end, my friend. No more water will seep up into our veins because we have no roots. They will dry us out. We will become yellow and brittle.”

“No,” Little Grass said. “There has to be more. We must have purpose.”

Another grass laying next to them laughed, but it was not a happy laugh. It sounded harsh and sad. “Our purpose is to be consumed. Either animals will eat us so they can grow, or we will be thrown over coals and caught on fire so others can be warm.”

Yet another groaned. “We don’t matter. We’re worthless now. This is the end.”

“I don’t believe you. Any of you.” Little Grass stretched himself as long as he could. “We have more purpose than that. We have to. Why else would we’ve struggled so hard to push out of the darkness? Something deep inside of us yearned to find the sunlight.”

“Yes, and all for nothing. Now, because we have no roots to draw in the water from the soil, the sun will bear down on us and parch us until not a drop of moisture is left in us. We will become yellow and brittle. Dead. Why did we ever push out of the ground?”

Sure enough, the grasses were spread out onto the dirt. The sun’s heat gleamed down onto them day after day. Little Grass could feel all the water in his veins leaving him. His stalk became stiff. He no longer could bend and dance in the wind as he’d loved to do. “But, at least this is making me stronger.” Little Grass smiled.  “Maybe there is a reason. I have to believe that.”

The other grasses sighed. “He’ll learn. The worst is yet to come.”

Ropes were tied around the grasses and they were lifted high onto the back of a donkey. Little Grass lay on the very top of the bundle.  “I had no idea the world was so big. All I could see before was the tops of other grasses. Now I can see trees, and birds, and mountains. Oh, this is wonderful.”

The other grasses sighed. “He just doesn’t get it, does he?”

They traveled all day. At night, the stars shone down on the grasses as their animal carrier and the men rested. One star gleamed so much brighter than all the others.

“Oh, look at that, Little Grass gasped. “I have never seen such a beautiful sight.”

The next day the caravan journeyed over hills and down into a valley. Then, at dusk, the donkey carrying the grasses stopped.  Little Grass craned to see why. People shuffled by. There were so many of them, and other animals, too. Their footsteps kicked dirt into the faces of the other grasses. They coughed and complained.

Little Grass wondered where all these people were going? He saw a building up ahead with lanterns shining in its windows. “Are we going in there? Into that golden light?”

“No.” One of the other grasses sighed. “We will be laid in the stable. Soon the animals will eat us and we will die.”

The little piece of grass said, “I don’t believe that. Something else will happen to us— something wonderful. We were made for another reason. I just know it.”

Then, a man gathered the grasses and spread them in a manager. “There. In the morning, the animals will have a feast.”

The grasses all groaned and told each other goodbye. All except the little piece of grass.

In the middle of the night, strange noises woke the grasses. A donkey came in with a man and a woman. She groaned and huffed deep breaths. His voice was soothing and calm. Then, after a while,  a third voice sounded—a soft babbling. It came from a very small human.

The woman took off her shawl, wrapped the wiggly baby in it and laid it on top of Little Grass and the others. Immediately a warm glow spread through them. They became soft again, not stiff and scratchy.

“Oh, “Little Grass said. “He has made us alive again.”

They wrapped their stalks around the child to keep him warm.

The grasses heard beautiful voices singing from above. Day and night, people came to look at the baby hugged by the grasses. They bowed and worshiped him as his parents stood by smiling.

“Praise be to God he found us this dry stable and these warm, soft grasses in which to lay his son, Jesus, “ the man said.

The people all said, “Praise be to God for the stable and the grasses.”

The smallest amount of moisture left deep inside Little Grass formed into a drop, like a tear of joy. “See,” he said. “I knew we had a special purpose.”

“Yes, you were right after all,” the other grasses admitted. They glowed with happiness and cuddled themselves around this child of God. Together, the grasses worshipped him the only way they could—by being there for his use.

For Scripture says… I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display  my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

Romans 9:17 NIV

May The Lord bless you this Christmas and reveal His purpose for you in the upcoming year.                    

   Julie B Cosgrove

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buster on blankieIt’s been bitter cold for Texas. Schools have been closed. Icy roads and parking lots that resemble skating rinks have kept holiday shoppers at bay. Large tree limbs and power lines have cracked and tumbled from the weight of the ice. Facebook is littered with ice and snow pictures.

Even churches shut down for Sunday services and told their congregations to stay home and stay safe. They posted their lessons and sermons online so their flocks could cyberspace worship.

Our thin,Texas blood, designed for 100 plus F temps in the summer, is not insulating us very well from the sub-freezing digits that have settled over the state.Fleece sweat pants, knobby sweaters and gallons of hot tea and cocoa are not sufficient to keep the chill off the back of our necks.

Same for our pets! But they are smart. My cat decided the left hand side of my desk was optimal for catching the blast of warmth from the central heating vent. But he was still cold. So, I took my prayer shawl, which always hangs on my desk chair ready for use, and folded it for him to lie upon. He slept peacefully and allowed me to get my praying, writing, and Bible study done. And yes, check my email and Facebook, and bank online, too.

And of course, God decided to use my cat nestled in my prayer shawl as a lesson. That is where I found Him today. He showed me (again) that —

Prayer is our insulator. When life bears down on us and the world seems harsh and cold, the warmth of God’s love can envelope us like a towel fresh from the dryer. All we need to do is to wrap ourselves in His peace, settle in and rest.

But instead, how often do I try other ways to “stay warm”? Do I dash for chocolate and carbs, or veg out on a favorite TV show that allows me to escape the things on my mind, or indulge in a computer game with superficial cyber-friends?

Prayer can cushion us from the icy stares of others, from the slippery paths that tempt us, and the cold harshness that those without faith call reality.

But instead, how often do I turn to other sources or people for advice, direction and protection?

Prayer can soften the hard, frigid surfaces of our lives and bring us comfort.

But instead, how often do I seek comfort in other ways?

Lord God, blanket me in Your love today. Let me feel the warmth of Your Holy Spirit wrapped around me. Cushion me for the world and comfort me with your inestimable love. Let me seek you first, and not the things of this world. And in all things, let me ever praise You and seek Your blessings in all that happens. I choose to nestle in You and not in the things that fade. I pray this through Your Son who hung on the cross for my sake.  Amen.

 

 

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NEWSFLASH:

00436172Despite all the jinglely commercials, the glistening decorations, and the seasonal music playing on the radio…

IT IS NOT CHRISTMAS!

Not yet. The 12 days of Christmas start on December 25th.

This is the season of Advent. “Advent” means preparing. We are on the verge of something grand and wonderful that will soon happen. Like a bride who prepares for her wedding day, we are to prepare our hearts for Christ.

Okay, you say, I thought I did that when I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. Yes, you did. Just as the bride said, “Yes, I will” when her love asked her to marry him. And, as you proclaimed it at your baptism and asked the Holy Spirit to dwell in you, so the bride  and groom proclaim to the world, “I do” and take each other’s ring as a token of their vows of love, cherishing and fidelity.

But it doesn’t stop there. Each day, that husband and wife should renew their vow to each other. “Today, I again choose to keep fulfilling my promise to love, cherish and be faithful to you.” And perhaps, their upcoming anniversary serves as a reminder they should be doing that. So it is with Advent for the Christian.

We should daily renew our vow to Christ, because, let’s face it, we are tempted each and every day to slip back into the worldly view. We still need a Savior. We still need forgiveness, Like Paul, we still do the things we know we shouldn’t do.

???????????????????????????????????????Advent is a time of re-examination. It is a time to prepare, and perhaps repair, the manager of our souls in which Christ lays. The reminder that He came to earth in human form for our sake should spur us to look deep into our own lives and see if we are shining His light into the world just as that star shone that announced His birthing.

As Jesus humbled Himself to be born as an infant who dwelt in his mother’s womb, so we should be reminded that we are to humble ourselves so He can dwell in us – each and every day. We are now His light shining into the dark world- and has there ever been a time more dark than this secular age?

Advent is the time to rub the soot of the world off our lamps so they can again shine brightly as a beacon of hope, love and peace.

Matthew 5:16     In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

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icon_1_image_x16 IMG_20131202_092238_869Our cat kept scratching his notched ear. He’d rub it against the carpet. Not all the time, just every now and then. Still, obviously  something in that ear was bothering him. So I held the squirming fur ball as my son peered into his ear cavity. But because of the curved folds, my son couldn’t really see.

“We need to carry him into the light so I can see deep inside of his ear,” my son suggested. So, we went  into the bathroom where the light was stronger. The cat really squirmed now.

“Hmm. I think there is some gunk in the cat’s ear, but I still need more light.”

My son got the pen flashlight and  aimed the beam deep into the cat’s ear canal.  “Aha. No wonder he was scratching it!”

He got a Q-tip and gently ran it along the inside folds of the cat’s ear as our beloved fur ball wiggled in my arms. One hind leg began to thump, as it tried to to stop him. But success.The Q-tip came out full of dark, yucky wax.

I let our cat down and off he skittered to hide under the dining table. I bent down and sweetly reminded him we loved him and we did that not to be mean or cruel, but for his own good.

okay- I know some of you are squirming right now as much as the cat did. Some may say, “Oh, they shouldn’t have stuck a Q-tip in there.” But instead of going there, read on…
 

Where did I see a God message in this? Am I not the same way when it comes to sin? It bothers me now and then, but do I really want to have it exposed to God’s light? Do I want Him to dig deep down inside of me to get it out?  Do I squirm in the process? And, like my cat, do I then hear Him gently tell me it has to be done because He loves me?

“This is the verdict: the Light has come into the world.. Everyone who loves evil hates the light,.and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” John 3:19a,20

None of us want our faults exposed. But God know they are there. His Holy Spirit will keep reminding us of that one little area we have yet brought before the throne. Like  the gunk in my cat’s ear, it will irritate us now and then. Is it not better to let God hold us in His arms of love and gently pry the sin form deep inside of us? Sure, it will be uncomfortable, but it will be worth it.

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