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Sometimes, we journey to the dark so we can be moved by the Light. We trace the furthest boundary lines behind our eyes. We get deep next to demons, weighed down from evil within and without. And when warmth first touches cheek or shoulder or the back of our knees, the weight may not lift but there is relief. . . . And it is the same magic— to feel Light's warmth after a cold night or a long stretch of summer, it is the same glory— to be reading the lectionary in a Home Depot parking lot with sleeping car seats or having a morning cup of coffee on the front stoop with my co-laborers. . . . Somehow, God has anchored the pale blue ombre sky above me like an endless umbrella. He covers and cloaks with Light and sometimes I have to go deep in dark to feel it's warmth. . . . Morning Call:  Lamentations 1:12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if  there is any sorrow like my sorrow which was brought upon  me, whom the Lord hath afflicted. . . . Opening Prayer:  Loving Father, as we journey with your Son in this week of remembrance and hope, help us to experience and receive you and your love for the world more clearly. Transform us by the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of your Son, our Lord, we pray. Amen. #holyweek #notredame #outofthedarkness #intothelight
Naked morning comfort and I'm just basking in the humble light of it. They wear all their affections like clothes and this one makes me melt because they aren't so attached to their wholeness. They are ready to be broken to make peace with one another -- more ready than me, so I take notes. . . . The making of our Peace broke Him, completely. His humble persistence was full of glory because He was God, not because it looked good. Making peace means breaking pride, breaking selfish gain, breaking the sin inside that so easily entangles us, and breaking the power of the sin outside that so deceives us. . . . #newblog #momswhowrite #writersofinstagram #motherhood #siblings #siblingsasfriends #braveryofsmalllife #Godseconomy #kitchen #atlanta #family #teamkolts #teampixel #teampixelnofilter #nofilter #morningglow #morning #liveauthentic #kids #georgia #southernsummer
"Look, Mom! Edelweisses!!!!" And she passed the peace to me with flower weed stems and smooshed petals. The brisk tickle of Spring wind swept my elbows as I reached out to receive. . . . And it got made again, Peace. Established with delicate weed offerings and vulnerable outstretched hands, peace mended for a moment the breaks of the morning. The Great Deceiver's attempts to put us at odds— to wound one other with war words thrown in defense and pride— got smooshed underfoot in the backyard. . . . And I thought of Jesus making literal Peace, because the world doesn't allow it to come and be kept. Peace must be forged with active rebellion against the forces within and without that would rather war. We are a peace breaking people made in the image of One who carries Peace in his character, One who made Peace for us forever with God so that we can make peace today exactly where we are. . . . "For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility." Ephesians 2:14 . . . And the little child shall lead us.
I studied Job's friends pretending comfort, while withholding kindness and refusing to revive a weary spirit. I taught about the people in Jerusalem spreading their coats out like a royal carpet for the King of glory to ride in on a borrowed mule. I learned about the invisible God we try to force fit our image but our invisible spirit is made in His. I chased my littles in circles in the newly cut backyard and followed Foster's gaze to find birds high on budding branches. I heard Zella yell to our neighbor two houses down to move her apple trees far away because our juniper tree has a bad disease that could infect it. I wrestled through pride and failure and defending ideas. I made a very late afternoon cup of coffee and cooked with my baby strapped on my back. I snuggled my girl and gave her choices while praying she would choose right. On the first day of Spring. . . . We rode to Bible study, the kids and me, in an Uber because I ran the battery down on the van. I caught the sun glory streaming in to hit all our faces in the backseat as Zella chatted with the driver about music, imaginary children, and her preference to not wear socks and shoes. Our Wednesdays have so much Bible in them — sometimes nothing connects and I arrive at the end with mush brain and then sleep in my day clothes. But yesterday, I fell into bed so thankful that there are constellations in all these bits of Light. He is holding all things together and sometimes He connects dots and reveals a special glimpse of the glory of it all. #writersofinstagram #momswhowrite
My brows converge over my nose and my face squints against the dark. I pray, "O, God. O, God." I lay flat on my bed between two littles and take a deep breath that reaches my shoulders and sides and ankles "O, God." . . . It feels like Spring shouldn't come, that it is so *wrong* here that Lent should last forever. That, though our hope for Spring is strong, it is mostly about escape and not about salvation. We have made ourselves at home in winter, comfortable with the frosted ground under our hibernation. Our evil isn't seasonal. It isn't an epoch, a phase, a time period. It is in us— bones, marrow and evil. And we don't even want out. A Stockholm syndrome sickness that's eating us up from the inside but we refuse rescue. . . . The mercy of the Lord comes anyway, budding trees and blooms for the just and unjust. He woos us— relentlessly— out of our captivity with kindness. He calls us to repent of our soul's winter so we can finally see and taste His Spring. He calls us out of shadow and into marvelous light where our winter is exposed and we can squint to see our salvation. And we can know even a little bit more the extent of His glory and the depth of His grace. . . . Spring is coming and we are Easter people, but today there is lament. #light #shadow
Why is it that when we talk about the beginning of the United States it's always "when we founded this great nation" but when we talk about slavery it skips to the Civil War and it's always, "they were fighting to keep slavery in the south." The same humans who founded this nation bought humans and made them slaves in it. And today, for that, I mourn. . . . Every human made in the image of God is the same amount of invaluable. The same amount of mysterious wonder is knit up in our bones, from those first moments curled up in the womb. Lord, have mercy on us for acting like it is not so. . . . . . #americanlent #lentenrose #whiteprivilege #slavery #lent #lament #foundingfathers #letstalkaboutit #repentanceproject #didyouknow #spring #teamkolts #liturgy #reflection #monday #teampixel #atlanta #blackandwhite #slavetrade

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we shall always be victorious

 

John Calvin

Image via Wikipedia

 

I am reading “John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology,” and learning about John Calvin from some of the authors, pastors, and theologians I most respect. It still amazes me how words penned in the early 1500s could be so poignant today. When the Gospel is at the center, your message never wears out, I suppose.

I have been so encouraged as I grow to know a little more about this fascinating man. Most recently, I have been reading the chapter “The transforming work of the Spirit” by Thabiti Anyabwile.

I’m still carrying around the blessing of these words, quoted from Calvin’s original work.

“Hence we are furnished, as far as God knows to be expedient for us, with the gifts of the Spirit, which we lack by nature. By these fruits we may perceive that we are truly joined to God in perfect blessedness. Then, relying upon the power of the same Spirit, let us not doubt that we shall always be victorious over the devil, the world, and ever kind of harmful thing.”

John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, 2.15.5

Wow. I love that word furnished. We are furnished, as an empty house is with furniture, with the gifts of the Spirit. The gifts are IN us and they weren’t before. We were an empty house, except that God saw fit to give us what we did not have to be “truly joined to Him in perfect blessedness.”

Let us not doubt! God has FURNISHED us with the the power to be victorious. Always.

God always wins. Did you know that?

The other day, I was talking to a distraught student in my office who needed to make it through the day. From the look in her eyes, her 10th grade strength was failing and she needed back-up. I had the shortest counseling conversation on record, but I think I’ll be giving myself the same therapy. It went something like this:

“What is your only weapon against evil (bad days, grouchy people, sadness…)?”
(reluctantly)”God…?”
“No, wait, really. What is your only weapon?”
“God. The Bible.”
“Do you believe that?”
“Yes.”
“Do you really believe that?”
“Yes.”
“Okay, so you are going into battle right now and you’ve got your sword, the Bible. Are you protected?”
“I think so.”
“With what?”
“Armor of God.”
“So, you are going into battle with God’s armor as protection and God’s Word as your weapon.”
“Okay.”
“Is there any chance you will lose?”
“….No.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure. No chance.”
“Why?”
“Because!”
“Because God always wins.”

Off she went.

You can question my counseling techniques, I don’t mind at all. But, I will say that when she left I felt like God had just given me the same pep talk. It was not a feel-good message about mastering bullies or getting my own way.

It was a reminder that God defeats evil. Always. He hems us in, behind and beside and before and for eternity, in all His victory.

He is always victorious and He has furnished our human houses with gifts of the Spirit. We shall always be victorious over the devil, the world, and every other harmful kind of thing.

That is something beautiful. Evil doesn’t stand a chance.

let LOVE FLY like cRaZY

4 comments on “we shall always be victorious

  1. Debbie says:

    Caroline ~ Thank you for your encouraging words of TRUTH!! Your blog is a blessing to me every time I read it (more on that later :p). I read in Taste & See (Piper devotional) “Faith feeds on the Word of God. Without a steady diet it gets weaker and weaker.” I had always though “faith comes from hearing and hearing from the word of God” meant that my faith grows as I spend time with the Lord in His Word…but I had not thought that my faith weakens if I withhold the food of the Word!! Don’t you love new perspectives?!! Your new perspectives that you share in your blog are what blesses me! Thank you for making the time to share!

    1. Caroline says:

      God is such a faithful minister … His Word is always true and always present and always relevant!

      1. Caroline says:

        Debbie – thanks for YOUR encouragement and inspiration and perspective! The best perspective-giving we can offer is always pointing the direction of God’s Word. I am so thankful that God, in His grace, allows us to see anew what He has always held before us! Thank you for this reminder about tasting and seeing … you have no idea how beautifully that fits with the Lord’s work in my life!

  2. Caroline says:

    Reblogged this on musings in montage and commented:

    I wrote this back in October 2010, but I was reminded of these thoughts again tonight.

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