The Pull

Heaven is not here, it’s There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.

– Elisabeth Elliott

 

Life without God is a slow decline of heart and soul, ever accepting a lower standard, and gaining speed toward eternal darkness. Less happy every day and needing ever more distractions from the pain. Lost, miserable, and feeding on the greedy pull of things in the world. But never really enjoying anything because there is always this nagging in the back of the mind that Hell awaits. For those without God, the fear of dying must be overwhelming. As it should be.

– Rex Rouis

 

The Pull

is real

 

Luring, coaxing, beckoning

 

to eternal joy

or eternal pain

 

Without being saved

weighted by sin

the pull is ever downward

 

But as children of God

graciously saved

the pull is upward

 

We either await eternity

with dread

or peace

 

Choose wisely

 

You will be pulled to one or the other

– Susie Stewart

 

We know that if our earthly house—a mere tent that can easily be taken down—is destroyed, we will then live in an eternal home in the heavens, a building crafted by divine—not human—hands. Currently, in this tent of a house, we continue to groan and ache with a deep desire to be sheltered in our permanent home because then we will be truly clothed and comfortable, protected by a covering for our current nakedness. The fact is that in this tent we anxiously moan, fearing the naked truth of our reality. What we crave above all is to be clothed so that what is temporary and mortal can be wrapped completely in life. The One who has worked and tailored us for this is God Himself, who has gifted His Spirit to us as a pledge toward our permanent home.

– 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 (VOICE)

 

On that day—when the clouds draw back displaying His powerful heavenly messengers in a fiery blaze, Jesus the Lord will appear from heaven dealing out perfect justice to anyone who doesn’t know God and anyone who disobeys the good news of our Lord Jesus. And what’s to become of them? They’ll pay for what they’ve done; their punishment will be eternal destruction. And what’s worse? They’ll be banished from the Lord’s presence and glorious power.

– 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 (VOICE)

 

Photo by CoffeePam

 

 

 

 

 

Dark to Light

What is your Dark?

 

What eats at you

grieves you

overwhelms you

discourages you

tears at you?

 

Bring that dark

and expose it to Light

 

Lay it down

before He who illuminates

even the deepest black

 

Bask in the light

of who He is

and the glory of His Words

 

He can

and He will

bring light

to your Dark

 

Let Him

be Him

for You

– Susie Stewart

 

Only words of Light can drive out worlds of dark.
Only deeds of Light can drive out depths of dark.
Only lives of Light can drive out lies of dark.

Darkness can never travel as fast as Light. No matter how bad things get, no matter how black the dark seeps in, no matter the depths of the night — the dark can never travel as fast as Light. The Light is always there first, waiting to shatter the dark.

You can always hold His Word like a ball of light right there your hand, right up there next to your warming heart.

You can always count on it: Jesus is bendable Light, warmth around every unexpected corner.

– Ann Voskamp

 

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

– John 8:12 (NLT)

 

A light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazes through murky bottoms. It cannot and will not be quenched.

– John 1:5 (VOICE)

 

For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!

– Ephesians 5:8 (NLT)  

 

The deepest darkness of all is separation from God because of sin.  You are in need of a savior and He will be that for you.  Accept Him today as the only One able to cleanse you of ALL unrighteousness.  His light will penetrate your darkness and change your life!  Only let Him in.  Humble yourself and accept His free gift of salvation.   ~Susie

 

Photo by Arik Stewart

Today

Love and cherish

those you love and cherish

today

 

All the things

you’d like to say

say today

 

For tomorrow isn’t promised

 

And life is richer

deeper

lovelier

and more profound

if you choose today

 

– Susie Stewart

 

The reality is you have no idea where your life will take you tomorrow. You are like a mist that appears one moment and then vanishes another.

– James 4:14 (VOICE)

 

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults.

– 1 Peter 4:8 (VOICE)

 

Let love prevail in your life, words, and actions.

– 1 Corinthians 16:14 (VOICE)

 

Photo by Andy Stewart

Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Kids

1. Salvation—”Lord, let salvation spring up within my children, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” (Isa. 45:8; 2 Tim. 2:10)

2. Growth in Grace—”I pray that my children may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 3:18)

3. Love—”Grant, Lord, that my children may learn to live a life of love, through the Spirit who dwells in them.” (Gal. 5:25; Eph. 5:2)

4. Honesty and Integrity—”May integrity and honesty be their virtue and their protection.” (Ps. 25:21)

5. Self-Control—”Father, help my children not to be like many others around them, but let them be alert and self-controlled in all they do.”
(1 Thess. 5:6)

6. Love for God’s Word—”May my children grow to find Your Word more precious than much pure gold and sweeter than honey from the comb.” (Ps. 19:10)

7. Justice—”God, help my children to love justice as You do and act justly in all they do.” (Ps. 11:7; Mic. 6:8)

8. Mercy—”May my children always be merciful, just as their Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36)

9. Respect (for self, others, and authority)—”Father, grant that my children may show proper respect to everyone, as Your Word commands.”  (1 Pet. 2:17)

10. Biblical Self-Esteem—”Help my children develop a strong self-esteem that is rooted in the realization that they are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:10)

11. Faithfulness—”Let love and faithfulness never leave my children, but bind these twin virtues around their necks and write them on the tablet of their hearts.” (Prov. 3:3)

12. Courage—”May my children always be strong and courageous in their character.” (Deut. 31:6)

13. Purity—”Create in them a pure heart, O God, and let that purity of heart be shown in their actions.” (Ps. 51:10)

14. Kindness—”Lord, may my children always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” (1 Thess. 5:15)

15. Generosity—”Grant that my children may be generous and willing to share, and so lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age.” (1 Tim. 6:18-19)

16. Peace-Loving—”Father, let my children make every effort to do what leads to peace.” (Rom. 14:19)

17. Joy—”May my children be filled with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Thes. 1:6)

18. Perseverance—”Lord, teach my children perseverance in all they do, and help them especially to run with perseverance the race marked out for them.” (Heb. 12:1)

19. Humility—”God, please cultivate in my children the ability to show true humility toward all.” (Titus 3:2)

20. Compassion—”Lord, please clothe my children with the virtue of compassion.” (Col. 3:12)

21. Responsibility—”Grant that my children may learn responsibility, for each one should carry his own load.” (Gal. 6:5)

22. Contentment—”Father, teach my children the secret of being content in any and every situation, through Him who gives them strength.” (Phil. 4:12-13)

23. Faith—”I pray that faith will find root and grow in my children’s hearts, that by faith they may gain what has been promised to them.” (Luke 17:5-6; Heb. 11:1-40)

24. A Servant’s Heart—”God, please help my children develop servant’s hearts, that they may serve wholeheartedly, as if they were serving the Lord, not men.” (Eph. 6:7)

25. Hope—”May the God of hope grant that my children may overflow with hope and hopefulness by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13)

26. Willingness and Ability to Work—”Teach my children, Lord, to value work and to work at it with all their heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.” (Col. 3:23)

27. Passion for God—”Lord, please instill in my children a soul that ‘followeth hard after thee,’ one that clings passionately to You.” (Ps. 63:8)

28.Self-Discipline—”Father, I pray that my children may acquire a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair.” (Prov. 1:3)

29. Prayerfulness—”Grant, Lord, that my children’s lives may be marked by prayerfulness, that they may learn to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers.” (1 Thess. 5:17)

30. Gratitude—”Help my children to live lives that are always overflowing with thankfulness and always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 5:20; Col. 2:7)

– Bob Hostetler

 

Photo by Andy Stewart

Dirty Little Secret

You have a dirty little secret

 

Your life that people see

is not what they don’t

 

Your outward

is not the same

as your inward

 

God and people

are not truly honored

behind closed doors

 

Lies and deception

are disguised as piety

and truth

 

And people are hurt by secrets

especially the one doing the hurting

 

Because what you don’t realize

is that the one who truly has

a dirty little secret

 

is the enemy of your soul

 

He has you in his grip

and you thought you were in control

 

of the facade

 

Nothing is truly secret

Except the way you are being deceived

 

– Susie Stewart

 

There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. There is nothing kept secret that will not come to light.

– Luke 8:17 (GW)

 

Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!

– Luke 12:3 (NLT)

 

For God will judge every action—including everything done in secret—whether it be good or evil.

– Ecclesiastes 12:14 (VOICE)

 

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.

– Hebrews 4:13 (NLT)

 

* Disclaimer — This is not written about anyone within the walls of our home. Friend, if your life inside your home does not match up with your life outside your home, if you are putting on a facade, if you are being deceived by the enemy into not living out God’s grace and honor toward the people you are closest to, please wake up!  Your enemy prowls and looks for those who he may devour.  Don’t be deceived, God is not mocked.  Bring all into the light and let God’s Spirit cleanse and mend.

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Attachment

Our Lord did not teach detachment from other things:  He taught attachment to Himself.   Jesus Christ was not a recluse.  He did not cut Himself off from society.  He was amazingly in and out among the ordinary things of life; but He was disconnected fundamentally from it all.  He was not aloof, but He lived in another world.

– Oswald Chambers

 

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.

– Hebrews 13:1 (NLT)

 

I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by Your truth; teach them Your word, which is truth. Just as you sent Me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give Myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by Your truth.

– John 17:15-19 (NLT)

 

A divided heart loses both worlds.

– A.B. Simpson

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

My Need

 

Needs and wants

can be so muddled in my head

 

And, God, I pray to You

for that which I think I need

 

But really,

in this world of pain

of happiness

of joy and sorrow

 

only YOU really know what I need

 

It is not health

or prosperity

or well-being

as some may think

 

One thing is needed

 

Only ONE

 

It is to sit at Your feet

and listen

 

Only this is truly needed

 

All else is unmerited blessing

 

Cultivate contentment

in me

For Divine Vision

sees my singular need

 

– Susie Stewart

 

As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

– Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!
Fear the Lord, you His godly people,
for those who fear Him will have all they need.
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

– Psalm 34:8-10 (NLT)

 

For the Lord God is our sun and our shield.
He gives us grace and glory.
The Lord will withhold no good thing
from those who do what is right.

– Psalm 84:11 (NLT)

 

This is a comprehensive promise, and is such an assurance of the present comfort of the saints that, whatever they desire, and think they need, they may be sure that either Infinite Wisdom sees it is not good for them or Infinite Goodness will give it to them in due time.  Let it be our care to walk uprightly, and then let us trust God to give us everything that is good for us.

– Matthew Henry

 

“No good thing will He withheld,” but how is this true, when God oftentimes withholds riches and honors, and health of body from men, though they walk never so uprightly;  we may therefore know that honors and riches and bodily strength, are none of God’s good things; they are of the number of things indifferent which God bestows promiscuously upon the just and unjust, as the rain to fall and the sun to shine.  The good things of God are chiefly peace of conscience and the joy in the Holy Gost in this life;  fruition of God’s presence, and the vision of His blessed face in the next, and these good things God never bestows upon the wicked, never withholds from the godly, and they are all cast up in one sum where it is said, “Blessed are the pure in heart (and such are only they that walk uprightly) for they shall see God.”

– Charles H. Spurgeon

 

For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

– Matthew 5:45 (NLT)  

 

Photo by Andy Stewart

 

 

Cling

 

To grasp ahold of another

with vows sacred

 

To cling to my love

through joys and trials

 

To not let go

 

Is the picture You use, Lord,

for Your bride with You

 

Intimacy real

and fierce

 

Holding value

remaining true

 

A grasp so tight

a treasure so rare

 

As firm as that grip is with him

my embrace with You more

 

I cling to You my groom, Jesus,

Forever

 

– Susie Stewart

 

I cling to You;
Your strong right hand holds me securely.

– Psalm 63:8 (NLT)

 

For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is His name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.

– Ephesians 54:5 (NLT)

 

Revere the Lord your God, serve Him, cling to Him, swear by His name alone!

– Deuteronomy 10:20 (CEB)

 

…cling tightly to the Lord your God as you have done until now.

– Joshua 23:8 (NLT)

 

Husbands, you must love your wives so deeply, purely, and sacrificially that we can understand it only when we compare it to the love the Anointed One has for His bride, the church. We know He gave Himself up completely to make her His own, washing her clean of all her impurity with water and the powerful presence of His word.

– Ephesians 5:24-26 (VOICE)

 

Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following Him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.

– 2 Kings 18:5-7 (NIV)

 

Men ought to give their wives the love they naturally have for their own bodies. The love a man gives his wife is the extending of his love for himself to enfold her. Nobody ever hates or neglects his own body; he feeds and looks after it. And that is what Christ does for His body, the Church. And we are all members of that body, we are His flesh and blood! ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’. The marriage relationship is doubtless a great mystery, but I am speaking of something deeper still—the marriage of Christ and his Church. In practice what I have said amounts to this: let every one of you who is a husband love his wife as he loves himself; let the wife reverence her husband.

– Ephesians 5:30-32 (PHILLIPS)

 

Let us be glad and rejoice,
and let us give honor to Him.
For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb,
and His bride has prepared herself.
She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.”
For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.”

– Revelation 19:7-9 (NLT)

 

Photo by Nicole Stewart

Sacred

A worshipful lifestyle entails an orientation that views all of life as sacred.  Whether you are at church, home, work, or in your community, whatever you do, it is to the glory of God the Father and Jesus Christ, His Son.

…My mother would reference anything and everything in life as connecting with God somehow.  She wanted us to know that God was in the midst of everything, and that everything in our lives was somehow tied into His providence, involvement, and plan.  Even if what she said or did bothered those around her, she wouldn’t budge from connecting the sacred to all of life, because her life was lived in an attitude of worship.  Paul indicated that spiritual maturity…ought to produce a lifestyle of reverence and worship.

– Tony Evans

 

All of it, Lord,

Yours

 

No part hidden from Your eyes

Everything touching the Sacred

 

A Life of Worship

Not just Sunday demonstration

 

Poured out

Focused

Intentional

 

All of it, Lord,

Yours

– Susie Stewart

 

So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to Him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to Him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect.

– Romans 12:1,2 (NCV)

 

…give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.

–  Romans 6:13 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Gracious

Divine Graciousness

is what I desire

 

A gracious attitude

of the heart

 

showing

in the most difficult

of circumstances

 

showing

with the most difficult

of people

 

showing

so that the world knows

it’s not me

 

But YOU

 

for You are gracious

humble of heart

slow to anger

abounding in love

 

Gracious to those

who don’t deserve it

 

Grace personified to me

showing through to them

 

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Let your speech at all times be gracious and pleasant, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to answer each one [who questions you].

– Colossians 4:6 (AMP)

 

A Christian must always be kind, gracious, and wise in order to conquer evil by good.

– John of Kronstadt

 

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!

– Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)

 

But the Eternal One was gracious and compassionate toward them. He was good and turned His face to them because of the covenant He had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Eternal, true to His promise, had protected them and remained near them until now.

– 2 Kings 13:23 (VOICE)

 

And you know, when you’ve experienced grace and you feel like you’ve been forgiven, you’re a lot more forgiving of other people. You’re a lot more gracious to others.

– Rick Warren

 

Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.

– Joel 2:13 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart