Full

 

Guilt

Shame

Sin

Judgment

 

make us feel empty

hollow

lacking

condemned

 

and our souls echo back

the sound

of hopelessness

 

But You, God

You are FULL

 

You are everything

You are abundant

You are plenty

and overflowing

 

Your Fullness

replenishes us

with grace

upon grace

upon grace

 

because we need it, Lord

 

We need the Full

that You give willingly

to the ones You created

 

 

Our empty

is met

with grace

accepted

 

and we become beings

overflowing with the love

that You gave us

 

Fully

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.

– John 1:16 (NIV)

 

The heart overflows in the words a person speaks; your words reveal what’s within your heart.

– Luke 6:45 (VOICE)

 

When I think of the greatness of this great plan I fall on my knees before God the Father (from whom all fatherhood, earthly or heavenly, derives its name), and I pray that out of the glorious richness of His resources He will enable you to know the strength of the spirit’s inner re-inforcement—that Christ may actually live in your hearts by your faith. And I pray that you, firmly fixed in love yourselves, may be able to grasp (with all Christians) how wide and deep and long and high is the love of Christ—and to know for yourselves that love so far beyond our comprehension. May you be filled though all your being with God himself!

– Ephesians 3:18-20 (PHILLIPS)

 

For God in all His fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through Him God reconciled
everything to Himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

– Colossians 1:19,20 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Goodness

 

God promises to work ALL things for the GOOD

 

for those of us who love Him

and have been called by Him

 

He takes our mistakes

our heartache

our everything

 

and brings purpose and good

 

Beauty from ashes

from all that happens in our lives

 

No exceptions

because of unconditional love

 

How unimaginably gracious!

 

 

So, what if you and I sought to do that

for people?

 

What if we were to respond with grace

when wronged,

bringing the good

to that situation?

 

And what if we loved

when it makes more sense

to hate?

 

And what if we took awful circumstances,

and inserted compassion

and truth

instead of criticism?

 

What if we responded with patience

when it isn’t warranted?

 

What if we sought,

by God’s Spirit,

the good

in everything?

 

What if we showed His goodness,

by His power,

with His Light,

in the darkness?

– Susie Stewart

 

 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

– Romans 8:28 (NIV)

 

…we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

– Romans 8:28 (MSG)

 

And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.

– 2 Corinthians 3:18 (AMP)

 

To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.  In their righteousness, they will be like great oak that the Lord has planted for His own glory.

– Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)

 

Photo taken by Susie Stewart

 

 

 

What you deserve

Next time you are tempted to allow yourself

to be weighed down by forgiven sins,

remember that Jesus already got what you deserved.

 

He reminded me of that recently.

I was walking my dog Larry and started to slip on some sidewalk ice.  I didn’t fall down and the thought popped into my mind, “I probably would have deserved that”.

I had been hashing over some past regrets.  Not a healthy way for me to be spending my time on this beautiful dark evening under the stars with Larry and God.

As quickly as that downgrading thought entered my mind, I then also heard in my mind, “I GOT what you deserve.”

Such a swift response.  It took my breath away.

Yes, my Jesus!  You paid the ultimate price for all the sins I’ve committed and instead of me getting what was coming to me, You, my beautiful Savior, took the punishment I deserved.

You paid the ultimate price for me.  And You have forgiven me.  You continue to forgive me.

You didn’t deserve that.  I did.

 

And I want to consciously and graciously accept the forgiveness You give,

and move on.

 

Because that’s what You desire.

Moving on.

Turning the opposite direction.

Doing better.

Being free.

 

“I GOT what you deserve.”

 

Regret and sin

need to be left in the past

 

– Susie Stewart

 

“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.

– Isaiah 43:18,19 (MSG)

 

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

– 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

 

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

– Philippians 4:23,14 (NLT)

 

…this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.

– Matthew 26:28 (VOICE)

 

Photo taken by Susie Stewart

Chocolate Truffles & Bacon

Chocolate truffles and bacon

 

That’s all it took

 

for me to fall into the ditch

from my higher road

 

Resolved to eat better,

I was on my way

 

less sweets

less carbs

more exercise

 

The usual song and dance

for many a New Year enthusiast

 

only 13 days in…

 

But it had been a rough day

and I really wanted to eat bacon

and I really wanted to eat truffles

 

and I jumped in

with both feet

 

Not just a little

 

but a lot

 

and man it tasted good!

 

Then

the after…

 

the feeling crummy

the regret

the guilt

the sigh

 

Isn’t it that way with sin?

 

Without vigilance

we can find ourselves

up to our necks in it

 

Sin can be so tasty

 

But there is always the after

 

and in Jesus

we are free from those chains!

 

Sin reigns no more in us

because of Christ!

 

So when we choose to sin

it’s like bacon and chocolate truffles

 

It is blatant

or

it’s because we haven’t taken up our armor

 

Something is slipping

 

and I have left myself exposed

without a piece of my armor

 

Flesh exposed

 

And I’m not just talking

about the supposed “biggies” of sin

 

How often do we know

the Holy Spirit is pricking our hearts

when we start to speak gossip about another?

 

And we know we should stop

but we’ve already started

so we jump in deeper

because we’re already there

 

Run from sin’s snare!

 

Christ will fight for us

We need to surrender to Him

 

Don’t be burdened with slavery

free Warrior

 

– Susie Stewart

 

 

Version 2

 

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

– Exodus 14:14 (NIV)

 

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

– Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

 

Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

– Ephesians 6:10-18 (NLT)

 

Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, 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. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

– Romans 6:12-14 (NLT)

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Photos taken by Susie Stewart and Arik Stewart

 

 

 

 

The Truth

 

The tension.

It’s everywhere.

The battle is seen, and yet so unseen.

 

And my heart longs to really see each one.

 

And each one wants to be seen.

 

The aggressor, the victim, the marginalized, the misunderstood, the confused, the angry, the hurt,

the human.

 

And I seek HIM.

 

I seek the One who sees all the earth,

and all the people,

and how we are falling apart

and ripping apart at the seams.

 

How we are lashing out at one another,

and hurting one another,

and self-destructing,

 

and blaming Him.

 

And He knows each heart.

Because He is love.

 

And when He walked this earth,

Immanuel,

He looked out at the masses

and He had compassion, and His heart broke.

We were harassed and helpless,

like sheep without a Shepherd.

 

There was a battle

and He knew it.

 

And the battle was not with flesh and blood – with people against people –

but the real battle was spiritual.

 

Spiritual forces,

angelic and demonic,

Deity and satanic,

locked in combat.

Good versus evil.

 

And there was,

and there IS,

a battle for the human mind and heart.

 

Confusion,

hatred,

discord,

violence,

abuse,

isolation,

dullness,

compromise,

doubt,

fear….

 

Truth came in human form,

and He saw through it all.

 

And He had compassion,

and He condemned those that claimed to have the corner market on truth

without truth.

 

And He stood up to temptation

 

with His sights on the goal

 

and He reached the goal

 

and He was silenced……………..

 

And humanity went on with their day

and their next

and their next

not knowing that a precious,

and holy,

and sacred

sacrifice

had been made for each of them.

 

Out of love.

For He is Love.

 

And when my Jesus,

my Jesus,

walked out of that tomb,

He had heaven’s glow.

For the weight of the world,

the weight of sin,

the sting of death,

and condemnation for wrong-doing,

had been conquered with that act.

 

And He had made it so simple!

Follow Him, trust Him, believe that

He

is the only One to save.

 

And He invited everyone to the table.

 

Everyone.

 

And He invited everyone to drink deep of His love and wisdom.

And He invited everyone to freedom from the harassment of evil.

And He invited everyone to walk in truth.

 

Truth.

 

He validated the O.T. writings.

He fulfilled the law.

God with us.

Holiness was finally satisfied with this one act,

perfect,

necessary.

 

And before Jesus

ascended heavenward before their eyes,

He charged His followers with unwavering commitment.

He warned His followers that they would be treated badly,

because although He conquered death,

the battle raged on seen and unseen.

 

Because now it was a race against time

before the end,

 

and the glorious beginning.

 

Evil knew this.

 

And a small contingent of humans

started the word

about the Word,

Indwelled by Spirit,

holy and wise.

 

And people,

all

of the people that were born into this world,

were loved by He who formed them

and who is Love.

 

And the weight of sin on this world,

and the attacks unseen,

and the choices made

that don’t follow He who is Truth,

cause the mind to battle

and cause the enemy to double-up forces

and cause brother to be against brother

 

and looking up

is what we need.

 

And we stare at our feet,

stuck and mired in mud.

 

And we embrace life in the mess.

 

And we go with the crowd.

 

And we delight in our rebellion.

 

And we are unaware….

 

That we are meant to be kept in the dark

by those who are darkness.

And that light and Light are pursuing

and offering a way out

to freedom.

 

And this man, Jesus, who mingled among us,

walked humbly and boldly,

a beautiful combination.

 

Sinners were the ones He moved in and through life with.

But He always offered His righteous hand,

to pull them out of being stuck.

 

Some would grab hold,

some would refuse.

 

And that is still the case.

 

You know the truth.

Know the Truth.

Be set free.

– Susie Stewart

 

“…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free….if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.”

– John 8:32, 36 (NLT)

God in a Box

You have Him wrapped up tight, don’t you?

 

In a box

of your own design

of your own size

of your own weight, height, depth.

 

He fits, doesn’t He?

Fits in your constraining box.

 

Of course He must fit, right?

He must fit, because you get to choose….

 

When to bring Him out,

when to acknowledge Him,

when to worship Him,

when to listen to Him,

when to take advantage of His power.

 

As if He were a genie

at your beckon call.

 

It is surreal to try and imagine

GOD in a box.

 

If there ever was anyone who didn’t fit

in a box

it is Him.

 

But we try to do it, don’t we?

 

We try to just bring Him out of that box

on Sunday

when we are afraid

when life is caving in

when we walk through the valley of the shadow…

 

What would we do with a God

who could fit in a box?

 

We would manipulate Him

to do what we want

We would keep Him in there

when we didn’t want Him to see

our sin

our choices

our mediocrity.

 

We would not respect Him.

Because He would be a God

who could be placed in a box.

Relegated to a list.

Put on a shelf.

 

But don’t be fooled.

If anyone is in a box, it is the one who tries to put God there.

 

He is trapped and confined

by his schedule

his sin

his choices

his lack of vision….

 

of THE GOD

who is in all

over all

Alive

Infinite

Uncontainable

Un-boxable.

 

For the one who is wise

God will not be able to be contained

in your mind

or on your list

or in your box.

 

He is so big and so all-encompassing

and so lovingly piercing

that you will know Him

in every part

in every corner

of your life.

 

And you will worship Him

during any moment

in every circumstance

with love in your heart

for God

 

Who cannot fit in a box.

 

He wants your everything.

Are you willing to give it to Him?

Or do you still think He fits neatly and you get to choose?

– Susie Stewart

 

…one God and Father of all,

who is over all, in all, and living through all.

– Ephesians 4:6 (NLT)

Able

Your Glory  —–  Untamable

Your Sacrifice  —–  Unthinkable

Your Pain  —–  Unfathomable

Your Determination  —–  Unstoppable

Your Love  —–  Unquenchable

Your Redemption  —–  Unalterable

Your Timing  —–  Undeniable

Your Peace  —–  Unbelievable

Your Purposes  —–  Unbreakable

Your Authority  —–  Unanswerable

My Sin  —–  Untraceable 

My Joy  —–  Unspeakable

My Life  —–  Uncontainable

– Susie Stewart

But Christ came only once and for all time at just the right time to take away all sin by sacrificing Himself.

– Hebrews 9:26 (NCV)