Puppies

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“…but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:10-11

 

Téa…Her name means, “Gift of God”… and she is. Lying beside me, in the place Beatrice used to be. Right next to me, in that place that has been empty since Bea passed a year and a half ago. God is faithful. He is forever reminding me of that truth. He is faithful even when I’m not. I get so caught up in the things of this life. I get distracted, interrupted; I wax and wane. God does not. He is steadfast, unwavering, and constant.

I haven’t had a puppy in over seventeen years. Bea came to us as an adult dog, fully trained. Puppies are exhausting; mischievous, strong willed, mouthy, whiny, with an incredibly short attention span. Sounds familiar….the illustration has certainly not been lost on me.   It’s been a great reminder of how patient the Lord is, how He teaches and trains me, how He loves, protects and saves me –on a daily basis. We are like puppies, pulling, tugging, biting, barking… and our Lord who loved us enough to give His own life for ours, reels us in, corrects us, loves us and cares for us.

Sometimes, when I lean in to kiss Téa, she bites back at me, in her fresh puppy way. Of everything she does this always offends me the most; when I am trying to love on her and she is being fresh. Sound familiar? Praise God, for His love, for His patience, for His grace and for His forgiveness! I’ve said it before and I will say it once more; we are all hound dogs in need of training and discipline… so when God says, “Wait” …we wait, and when He says, “Let’s go”…we go.

 

–Kimberly Murray

God’s Timing

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“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”  Psalm 143:8

I was reminded recently of the importance of waiting… waiting on what’s right, on what’s best—on what’s from God. Most often God’s timing isn’t ours. We want things now, yesterday, last week. We get impatient, we push, rush, orchestrate and manipulate our options. We like to be in control, to assume the driver’s seat. But when we attempt to hijack God’s plans, what we are really saying is… “I’ve got this. I know better than You Lord. I am God.”

Regrets… something I try never to have; they’re hard to live with. Regrets have a way of hanging around, of haunting our thoughts. We can’t see what’s up ahead, or even just around the corner and one sure way to accumulate regret is to get ahead of God; to take your life into your own hands. God’s timing is perfect, from your birth to your death, and every detail in between; mapped out for your good and God’s glory. There is no benefit to getting out of step with God. His course is the best course. Why would we settle for less than everything God has for us?  …I knew it was from God. His hand was all over the details. But then the timing. I said now. God said wait. I lifted my foot, to move in a different direction, but I stopped… and I waited. And God is good.

Slow down. The world will pass and time will travel, but God stands firm and steadfast. The Keeper of the universe, the Author of your faith, the Lord your God—Will. Not. Fail. You.

–Kimberly Murray

The Eternal Perspective

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“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

We don’t like the tough stuff, but more and more, I am convinced we need it; to build our character, to prove our faith, to demonstrate our need and to shatter our earthly perspective. Without our trials and tribulations we can become soft, comfortable, and content; erroneously convinced that we’ve got this. When people we love die, and things we thought would last don’t, when we suffer disappointments and life lets us down, it drives us to our knees, to the limits of our earthly view. Praise God when in our desperation, in our failure, in our mediocrity, we seek to know something more, something that can’t fail or falter something that can’t die, something everlasting, something eternal.

The eternal perspective… I am thankful for the ways the Lord has reminded me, how He’s removed my ties, just enough of them, so that I wouldn’t be content with what the world has to offer. I’ve lost just enough, mourned just enough, suffered just enough, to sever my attachment and look beyond this life. Considering the invaluable perspective, I am thankful for the times the Lord has grabbed me by the ankles, turned me upside down, and shook me, until I surrendered–my life into His hands.

 

~Kimberly Murray

Give Thanks

boyBlessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Give thanks in your trials, not for your struggle, but for everything else; all the blessings that remain in the shadow of your tribulation. Giving thanks in our suffering moves the spot light off of our pain and shines it on all the awesome reasons we have to rejoice in Christ—still. God still loves you, He cares and provides for you. He redeemed, saved and sealed you. He is preparing a place for you. Earthly pain is temporary, the world is temporary; one microscopic snippet of the eternal life God has prepared for us.

When my life seemed as though it was falling apart one painful piece at a time…when I was suffering… when I was losing, in my brokenness the Lord was able to reveal Himself to me in a brand new way. If I hadn’t plunged to those depths I could not have known what I now know. For that reason, to this day, I am thankful for my suffering, for that reason I am willing to suffer whatever the Lord deems necessary to bring me into a deeply intimate relationship with Him—ready and prepared to pass seamlessly from this life to meet Him face to face.

–Kimberly Murray

 

“My Redeemer’s love grows sweeter

As eternity draws near

I’ll enjoy His love forever

At His throne for endless years

My Redeemer’s love will fill me

On the day I see His face

I will love Him back forever

And forever sing His praise”

(Sovereign Grace, “My Redeemers Love”)

 

Warmth

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‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Mathew 25:40

 

I love the Christmas season. The lights and the music, the giving and the decorating, family traditions and get-togethers. It’s my favorite time of year. Sitting safely and warmly inside, admiring a gentle snow falling, serenaded by all my Christmas favorites, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of thanksgiving. I am so thankful for the many blessings the Lord has allowed me, but admittedly I often take them for granted–warmth is one of them. Recently, while serving meals to the homeless, in the cold of a late November day, I was reminded that not everyone has a warm place to go, not everyone has enough; not everyone has a coat, or gloves, or food… There was this man, who didn’t have a home, or even a coat. Everyone scurried around to see if any had one to give. It was cold. We all had coats, and we were still cold. I wondered, if my coat would have fit him, would I be willing to give it to him? MY coat, the one that was keeping ME warm, would I give it up? Just then, a man from our church group, gave the homeless man his own fleece and his own coat. I was moved. I was moved by the love of Christ in action.

 

We serve food to the homeless, on the fourth Sunday of each month. In December the fourth Sunday falls on Christmas day. Initially I was quick to give a handful of excuses as to why I couldn’t serve on Christmas day. I had presents and dinner and family and plans. But after firing off a string of weak excuses the Lord reminded me… that I am blessed.

 

I will be serving on Christmas Day, doing something so much more meaningful than opening gifts and eating turkey. I will be serving turkey, to people who don’t have Christmas trees, or presents, or coats, or homes. God has given us so much, and we keep so much of it for ourselves. This Christmas season I pray we would take time out of the hustle and bustle each day to give thanks to the Lord, for all He’s given us. For our homes and our families, for food and warmth, and especially for His Son, for His grace, for His mercy, for His love and then give something back, to someone in need. Christ’s love in action– for the glory of God.

 

Kimberly Murray

 

(If anyone has any coats or warm clothes they would like to donate, please email me at kimberlyrmurray@yahoo.com)

Where You Go

7a91d34732658d9b1fa6a77491304a93I always feel sad when the hummingbirds leave… the summer was a continuous heat wave and there’s a part that is glad the humid days are fleeting, but, there is also that familiar creeping sadness while staring at empty feeders, hoping to catch a glimpse of one more…

This past summer season was unique, filled with many weekends away and many days in the sand; sun and waves, whales and seals, and a small senior dog near our campsite that captured my affections. I’ve been sifting, for a few weeks, brimming with thoughts and memories, feeling inspired to write but not knowing quite where to start, seeking a common thread.

I didn’t know it, but this summer was transitionary, a break in rhythm, in preparation for a change. Change is difficult, and I especially struggle with it. I find comfort in routine. I don’t like to let people down, to shake things up or turn against the tide. But as summer was ending, I realized that tangled within that familiar nostalgia was the truth, the truth I couldn’t run from or deny… the truth that God was moving us… that I needed to let go and move on. God has a way or working things out, He’s always working, even when we can’t see Him. And God is good… we forget that.

You never know which hummingbird is the last of the season. I suspected they were gone, but I stared at the feeders anyways. For nearly a week I lingered out the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of just one more. And God is good. After one week He sent just one more, most likely a quick stop on his migratory path from the North, but I was looking, and I saw it. I lingered and then gave thanks. A small gift, designed for me. I knew that was it… an end of a season, and the beginning of a new…

 

 

Intimacy with God

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Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. Revelation 2:17

I realized soon after my bulldog, Beatrice passed away that the thing I missed most was the connection we had. I missed the way she looked at me, the way she loved me, the way I knew her and what she needed without a spoken word. I missed her presence, I missed her beside me, with me, around me. I missed the time we spent together. She was always there… in the car beside me when I drove, on the couch beside me when I wrote, in bed beside me when I slept, at the door waiting when I arrived. She loved me, without conditions, fully without fault. That’s how our relationship with the Lord is supposed to be —intimate. Intimacy is knowing and being known. Intimacy is developed in the sands of time, it is created when you share you heart, the minutes of your life with another. I was convicted of late… when I considered my time with the Lord. When I allow busyness to shut Him out, does my heart grieve the same way it did when my Beatrice passed? It should.

God loves us with an everlasting love that ensures His faithfulness to us. He is with us always. He is there, always there; with me when I write, when I drive, when I sleep… when I grieve, when I pray, and when I sin. God knows us intimately, inside, backwards and every which way, better than our spouse, our friends, better than we know ourselves. When I stop, really stop and try to fathom the awesome privilege we have in knowing and being known by God, I am deeply moved. God says to those who overcome He will give a white stone with a new name… a new name, known only by you and the Lord. What intimacy. What amazing, incredible, eternal intimacy!  What a shame when we neglect Him…

Kimberly Murray

The Love of God

“I have loved you with an everlasting love…” Jeremiah 31:3

I am a hands-on kind of learner. It is difficult for me to read something and know how to do it. I’ve always learned best by doing, by seeing. I like to have a face for a name, when friends share stories of their families I often request to see a picture and I am pleased upon meeting someone I’ve heard so much about. I have difficulty understanding, grasping and fathoming, the love of God because I know it is unlike anything I’ve ever known. It is immeasurable. I think that’s why it’s so easy for me to fill my time with other more tangible things… things I can see, and touch, with tasks I can measure and accomplish. And that is why it is so important for me to fill my heart and mind daily with the truth of God’s word. The truth of God’s love for me, and why it is important for me to write things down, to journal the ways in which He loves, protects, cares and provides for me.

Recently I realized, the closest earthly example I had of the unconditional love of God, was the love of my mother. She carried me in her womb, and through the pain she birthed me. When I was sick she nursed me, when I was sad she nurtured me and when I was hungry she nourished me. She sacrificed for me, loved me, she gave herself to me and for me. She encouraged and lifted me. She pushed me, corrected and disciplined me. She forgave and encouraged me. And she was there, always there-always. She would have given her life for me, without a thought of her own.

When I need an example of God’s love… I will remember my mother’s love, and know, that as wonderful and awesome as it was, it pales in comparison to God’s amazing love for me—like a raindrop to an ocean.

–Kimberly Murray

Give It Over

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“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

I struggle, to be present, to live in the moment. My thoughts tend to wander, to the future, to what’s next, where I will go, what I will do, when I will do it. Since I was a young child I’ve battled with anxiety. It is my dominant struggle, and I am acutely aware of it. Fear and worry are thieves, they will rob you of peace and of joy; they will cripple your walk with the Lord. God tells us to cast our cares upon Him. When we worry what we are really saying is, “I don’t trust you Lord…even though you loved, created and saved me…”

Anxiety is a powerful foe, whether rooted deep within our past traumas or passed down from previous generations; conquering fear is no small feat. In your own power it may be as impossible as trying to keep from breathing, but in Christ we are MORE than conquerors. Give it over to the Lord, step by step, moment by moment; choose to give it over, to cast it upon Him. The Lord is there… beside you, in you, ahead of you, around you. You are not alone. We need a new vision! Let go and trust the Lord, cry out in prayer, be honest and give it to Him, over and over and leave it there…even when you want to pick it back up, even when it whispers your name, even when you can’t see-leave it there, and fly away. Then look back and see His hand and remember, look back and remember His providence. Keep it in a journal or write it on your heart, but praise the Lord for loving you and for being forever faithful!

—Kimberly Murray

 

Circumstances

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“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:29-30)

Circumstances—situations, events, conditions, position or surroundings. It’s when I choose to focus on my situation that I begin to fear. When Peter’s eyes were fixed on Christ, he walked on water, and when he looked at the waves, he sunk. We are no different.

We need a new perspective. We take so much for granted. We are so blessed, no matter our circumstances and in spite of our sufferings. Each and every day I allow myself to be put into a position where I am stressed and torn, triangulated and burdened. I focus on how my circumstances make me feel, how they put me in a place where I feel overwhelmed and unsure. I’ve prayed for God to remove me. His answer was, “stay”,  at least for now. I have purpose there, I recognize it, and until God’s purposes have been fulfilled I will remain. So what is my choice? To grumble and complain? If I wasn’t so focused on myself, my expectations and plans, if I would surrender myself to the purposes of God and not my own, this burden I chose to carry, would be lifted.

I pray for a new focus for the New Year. I pray God will grow me up, to a new place in the promise land a place residing above my circumstances. It’s not easy… I have found the warfare to be intense; an all and out war for my thoughts. Fear, anxiety and discouragement seek to consume us—WE MUST NOT LET THEM. The enemy cannot rob us of our salvation but he can try to steal our joy, he can tarnish our testimonies and dim our lights…if we allow him.

We must discipline ourselves… We must daily fill our hearts and minds with the truth of God’s word. Commit to that. We must turn our focus. When I focus on my circumstances, instead of Christ, I begin to stress, and to worry, that’s when my mind runs away with my thoughts. When I take matters into my own hands, God’s voice is silenced amidst the clamor of myself. Fight the good fight with the truth of God’s word as we seek to be emptied of self and filled with the Spirit. Coming to the end of yourself, to the place you have nothing left to offer, is a good place to be. That’s when the Lord our God pours His spirit out upon us. We are more than conquerors and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

~Kimberly Murray