Three Strand Blog

Filling The Emptiness

 

 
 
 
     I recently completed an 8 mile hike – out of shape and on an empty stomach. As I caught myself wondering if I would ever reach the top several hikers passed me on their way back down the mountain. “You’re close”, they reassured but close didn’t feel close enough. I was so ready to be done.

     As I acknowledged by own impatience, discouragement, and frustration I suddenly related to the Israelites. How miserable must it have been wandering in the dessert for 40 years, knowing the end was not yet in sight? I’ve been much like the Israelite at times. God has offered me promises that I’ve refused to take hold of. Instead, my choices have left me wandering in circles chasing after the wind. How many times have I walked away from God’s plan for me looking to fulfill my own desires? Each time I found that futility was my reward. Each time I sought worldly “fulfillment” I found emptiness instead. Oh, how I remember the emptiness. An empty stomach doesn’t begin to compare to an empty spirit.

     There is a statue in Switzerland that can be found in a small park along the shore of Lake Geneva. I don’t know that words can capture its haunting depiction of emptiness and grief. As a widower, the artist who created it, Albert György, was no stranger to loss. His sculpture depicts a person, head hung low seeming to look though a gaping hole in their own chest, seeing the world from a position of looking back on it though their own emptiness. 

     Grief, shame, rejection, worldly pursuits…so many things we experience in this life leave us feeling empty. What can mend us? Can anything fill such an emptiness? Yes, my friend there is hope. Jesus mends the broken heart. He fills the empty spirit. He redeems and restores. Jesus came to give us eternal life and life abundant. 

     A relationship with Jesus means that the Holy Spirit comes to live inside us, fill up the empty space, commune with us, guide us and give us hope for the future God has prepared for us. We try to fill our emptiness with so many things – drugs, alcohol, possessions, human relationships but only the Holy Spirit of God can fill the God-shaped hole inside of us. Do you feel the emptiness? An unspoken sadness as if there is a loss you can’t quite explain? Ask God to fill you to overflowing with His Spirit then to guide you in His path for you that you might walk closely together in the purpose for which you were created. 
 
 Prayer:

Dear Father,

Fill us up to overflowing with your Spirit. Let your power and your healing fill every empty space in us. Let it be true of us what was spoken of the early church in Acts 13:52 – “And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Draw us into oneness with you that our lives may be an extension of your power and your love.

 

                                                                      In Jesus Name,

                                                                            Amen
 
 
 


Letting Go…

 
 
   
 
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
 
     I love autumn. It’s my favorite season. I love the colorful trees, crisp cooler “sweater weather”, and bonfires with friends! I love pumpkin spice lattes, chili cooking in the crock pot, and cuddling up in cozy blankets.  As I scrolled through  Facebook this morning I saw a meme that seems particularly popular this fall.  It has crossed my feed may times since autumn began. It reads “The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go.” It caused me to stop to contemplate, “What things has Jesus invited me to let go of?” and “Have I accepted His invitations?”
 
     A quick search of the internet shows that there are at least 100 Bible Verses related to letting go. How beautiful is that? God encourages us to release anxiety (Philippians 4:6), fear (2 Timothy 1:7), bitterness, anger, (Ephesians 4:31-32), and guilt (Romans 8:1) among other things. He reminds us we don’t have to lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). We can put our trust in Him. He has peace (John 14:27) and rest (Matthew 11:28-30) waiting for us.
 
     I am going to schedule some time to just sit quietly in His presence today. Won’t you join me? Let our time begin with praise. It will remind our spirits of His power and faithfulness.  Rehearse your blessings. Name his attributes. Don’t stop there. One by one let’s release to God  those things that weigh us down. Speak it in the silence or write it in a letter. Then in the stillness let us listen for God to respond to our hearts. Let us Allow Him time to give us comfort, to renew His peace as He moves the burdens and holds them for us. 
 
     Letting go is possible.  I was in church deeply immersed in God’s presence one Sunday morning. My heart was filled with gratitude as I sang praises to Him. My mind’s eye saw nothing but His glory. In that moment He spoke to my heart. He said “Breathe it out”. I exhaled. In an instant the anxiety I had long carried left me. It is not cliche to say we find our hope and healing in Him. We will find Him when we seek him with our whole heart (Jeremiah 29:13). Let us seek Him now. 
 
“Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” – Jeremiah 17:14
 

Prayer:

Lord God,
 
Thank you for loving us and for offering us peace, freedom, and rest. Help us pull away from the distractions of this world and find stillness. When we find stillness we shall find you waiting there. Lord, you are mighty, loving, faithful, and are above all things. We can trust you with our cares. We release to you our anxiety, fear, hurt, and doubt. Please carry for us that which weighs us down. Speak truth, promise, and reassurance to our hearts. Help us walk with the awareness every moment of you by our sides. Build our hope and faith that we may rest confidently in you.
 
In Jesus Name,
Amen
 
 
 



Let Your Light Shine

 
“Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.”
– Matthew 5:16

 

    

     I’m writing today to encourage you that the influence your walk with Christ has on others may be way more far reaching than you know. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christ follower will produce fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These traits are rare thus when they are experienced people take notice. Actively living out Christ’s attributes makes our little corner of the world more heaven like. Thus others experience God’s light and love through us as we walk according to His leading.

     My faith was small when I first met my husband. However, watching him live his faith helped my faith to grow. When hard times came I would fall into hopelessness. He however had hope and peace, even in the hardest times. He trusted that God would move and move He did  bringing provision, comfort, and power. Thus, as I watched my husband be faith-filled and God be faithful it shined a light into my life that brought change and growth. My faith grew and so did my peace and patience.

     I know a beautiful woman of faith with the gentlest spirit. The kindness and goodness she spreads inspires. Seeing Christ’s work in her awakened deep within me a desire to walk in such gentleness. It allowed me to see meekness as strength, rather than weakness, and to aspire to the same level of self-control.  The light of Christ in her shone brightly leading me to something new.

     What does it mean to let your light shine? Let us envision  for a moment  a boat on a dark and stormy sea. The passengers fumble in the darkness not knowing which way to go. Suddenly in the distance they see a light. There is the promise of solid ground and that brings hope. As they draw near the light shines more brightly and leads them onto the shore where there is safety. Jesus is the lighthouse. 

     I have learned that when we walk in the Spirit the light of Christ in us burns brightly and that light leads others to seek Him. Let us never forget that God’s Spirit lives in us. You and I are meant to be beacons of light in this dark world. How will you bring light and love to those around you today?

 
Prayer:
Lord,
 
You are light. In you there is no darkness. I ask you to lead me to your light. Let me see the beauty of your Spirit in your word, in your nature, in your people. Let that light be a spark that lights me on fire for you. Transform me. Grow me. Allow me to carry your light within and to shine that light into the lives of others bringing them into the warmth and hope that is life in you! I thank you for your work in me and for allowing me to be a part of your kingdom.
 
In Jesus Name, Amen.
 
 
 
 
                     
 
 
“I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me will not remain in darkness.”
– John 12:46


New Beginnings

     I love new beginnings – new notebooks with fresh new pages, new adventures, new goals, new friends, new ideas, and of course new years full of hope, promise, and possibility! As I write this, I’m sitting in a coffee shop across the street from my church listening to two new mamas talk. As they sit holding new babies, chatting about new sleep schedules, new milestones, and new discoveries I can’t ignore the excitement that newness brings and am reminded of one of God’s beautiful promises – “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV). How wonderful that we don’t have to wait for January 1st or any other special occasion or invitation to get a fresh start. We are offered a new beginning every morning and we are promised that our heavenly father is waiting with mercy and love with every sunrise. God is so good!
 
Prayer: Thank you, Father for new beginnings big and small and thank you for your love and mercy that know no end. Guide us to live in and share your love with all creation.  Help us to make this new year one of deep relationship with you. May you be glorified by all we do and may we do nothing that is not done with love.
 
~Pastor Sandee


Happy New Year

Happy New Year!
 
Another year has come and gone, and along with it some of the hopes, fears, successes and failures we began it with. When you consider 2018 what do you remember? What do you wish you could forget? Do you look at 2019 with a sense of expectation or dread? Take some time and talk with God about the year you just lived. Talk about the good and the bad, and be honest about both. Ask him what he wants from you in 2019 and be willing to really listen. You might be surprised at his answer to you.
 
Blessings – Pastor Tony