Beautiful Ruin

As I peer deep into the depths of my own heart,
I run away in fear, who can stand your holiness?
My heart more wicked than I know.
Evidence is everywhere. What have I done?
Only the vilest of sinners could turn such beauty into ruin.

Suddenly I’m blinded by the light of your face.
Confusing grace brings clarity.

The levels of despair and misery I find in my own heart,
are not to be found in you. The deeper into myself I go,
the greater the sin. Level after level I’m amazed.
Yet there is something that amazes me even more.
The longer I look at you the more beautiful you become.
Me, more wicked, more sinful than I’ll ever know.
You, greater than I’d ever dreamed. Grace beyond comprehension.

Suddenly in the light of your grace it makes perfect sense.
This was the point all along.

As I peer into the depths of my own heart,
I run to you, longing for your grace.
Who can stand without your peace?
Your love greater than I know. What have you done?
Only a God as great as you could turn such ruin into beauty.

Cyber Monday

This is the last day to get my books at these prices. Both of my books are available for Kindle at only $0.99 and paperbacks are also available at a super low price!

testimonyAbout three years ago I self published a book entitled “Testimony” loosely based on my own personal testimony. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that the writing in the book is far from wonderful. By the grace of God, I’ve grown in both my abilities as a writer, as well as in my knowledge of the faith. Because some of the writing is so raw, I was hesitant to make the book available in the kindle format, as well as do much to publicize it. The more I thought about it though, I decided to put it out there. It does much to show where I was as I began seeking, and it shows the grace of God in his pursuit of his blessed children. Despite the fact that this book won’t win any literary awards, I still enjoy the story and find myself getting sucked in,(Does this make me vain?) and I have received much positive feed back. Both paperback and kindle versions are available.

Paperback $5.99

Kindle $0.99

RuminationsRuminations: Reflections In The Midst Of The Journey  is a selection of my writings that I’ve written over the last four years, most of which have appeared here on the blog, and edited into book form. I’m very proud of the way this collection came together, and excited to share it with you. If you would like to grab a copy of the book in either paperback or on kindle you can find it over on Amazon, the links are below.

Paperback $5.49

Kindle $0.99

Beginning of December

Everyday a new day,
a reminder of resurrection.
Everyday a new day,
a chance to start again.
God’s love is in the sunrise,
he whispers in the breeze.
A gentle word of affirmation,
with you he is well pleased.
Yesterday is no more,
don’t forget to remember,
November is only the beginning of December.
Sin is gone, east from the west.
He loves the poor in spirit.
Damn, I must be blessed…

Ruminations by Chris Canuel

chriscanuel:

A very gracious review of my book “Ruminations.” Everything this girl writes is pure gold, thankful for these kind words.

Originally posted on The Beggar's Bakery:

Ruminations

Ruminations

I have a friend. I know, I know…don’t we all?  Sometimes I even have more than one at a time!  Sometimes, friendships evolve as a result of “a God Thing,” which is the circumstance I found myself in by ‘friending’ a ‘friend’ of a friend on Facebook. Yeah, that old chestnut.

But wait! This friend grew to be an actual friend, on account of the fact that he is a gifted writer/blogger AND loves Jesus. He just came out with a new book, Ruminations.

I am plugging it here, because it is an excellent collection of essays on faith (and surrender) and also – because that’s what friends DO. I believe in his work wholeheartedly.

May it bless you as it blessed me. My review of the book is below, and here is the link on Amazon, if you are so inclined:

http://www.amazon.com/Ruminations-ebook/dp/B00FO997ME/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1382710055&sr=1-3&keywords=Canuel

Author Chris Canuel writes in his…

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Still Wandering In The Wilderness

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Following his baptism,  Jesus was lead by the Spirit out into the wilderness in order that he might be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1)  I’m sure most of us have heard countless sermons on Jesus’ time in the wilderness and the temptations that he endured. Something that we don’t hear that much about however, is the fact that following his conversion, Paul also spent time in a wilderness of sorts, a time of testing and temptation. Paul alludes to this Galatians 1:17. As this was brought to my attention this morning, it made me start to think…

What is the spiritual significance for us? For me? Might our entire lives following our conversion be a kind of wilderness…a learning process…a learning of how to walk in the way of, and to follow Jesus?

I found the following observation scribbled down in my journal, and I’m not sure if it’s an observation of Eugene Peterson himself, or if it’s my observation I made as I was reading him…Still, I think it’s a powerful thought:

The way of Jesus is both a path to follow, and a destination. Most times (all of the time?) it is the unattainable goal…We are all still wandering in the wilderness.

Sacramental Clumsiness

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“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Luke 22:19-20

Two weeks ago at my church we took Communion. Celebrating Communion amongst the saints is one of the most important, as well as one of the most beautiful things a church body can do together. God present amongst his people, evident in the weight of grace we experience as we partake of the elements. The bread and the wine (grape juice for us), symbolizing the body and the blood of our Lord.

Such rich symbolism-The body of Christ broken, the blood of Christ poured out-for my sin, and the sin of those all around me. We receive the elements, and we receive this grace one more time. Grace imparted, symbolic and very real.

We all see the symbolism within the Lord’s Supper. We understand what the elements represent. We understand, at least to the degree our finite minds can understand, what Christ has done for us. But, I wonder if perhaps many of us are missing one other key symbol contained within this most precious of ceremonies.

As we pass the elements, there is a certain clumsiness. There is an uncertainty. There is nervousness and even a bit of quiet and controlled chaos. “Is the gentleman going to bring the plate to me, or do I need to get up and get it?” Even he doesn’t seem too sure of where he is supposed to go. There is space between myself and the person to my right, so I gingerly walk it over, afraid to spill the juice. I slowly pass the cups, she carefully receives them from my hand. This scenario repeats itself time and again throughout the congregation. My 3 year old daughter loudly whispers throughout as I try to shush her, then she finally decides to get up and take off down the aisle. I have to race after her.

This clumsiness, this uncertainty, this bit of chaos in the midst of the sacred as we receive the elements is the perfect symbol to represent the way in which we receive Christ. And how powerful it is! We fumble around, so unsure of ourselves. To the naked eye there is nothing elegant, nothing sacred, nothing graceful about it. As we shakily received the cups, so we shakily took hold of Christ himself. In all of our clumsiness and gracelessness we receive the infinite grace of Christ. In spite of all of our uncertainty we can be sure of our place in his kingdom.

Thank God it doesn’t depend on us. Thank God our receiving of his grace has nothing to do with the gracefulness or gracelessness with which we receive it.

Walking in the Light

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:5-10)

The last time we looked at 1 John, we talked about fellowship, both our fellowship with God and our fellowship with each other. Here in this passage, we will get a clearer picture (I hope) of what this fellowship should and could look like.

First off, and hopefully this was at least implied in our last entry, all fellowship begins with Christ Jesus. It is through his blood that we are able to have fellowship with Him, and it is through his blood that we are able to have fellowship with each other. This is because it is through his blood that we have been cleansed from all of our sin. (verse 7) Once we have experienced this cleansing grace, we can begin to walk in the light of Christ. When John is here telling us that we are able to “walk in the light” he is telling us that we can walk in the ways of Christ. As verse 5 tells us, “…in him(God) is no darkness at all.” In Christ, we can begin to live our lives, and love others, as Jesus did. As there is no darkness in God (sin, evil, traits contrary to what we see evidenced in the life of Jesus) so there should be no darkness in our lives. Through the blood of Christ, this is not only possible, but this is a reality.

 This doesn’t mean of course that we will live lives, or enjoy relationships that never encounter any type of struggles. It doesn’t mean that we begin to live a sinless existence once we enter a relationship with Jesus. Anyone who lives in the world knows this simply isn’t true. What we do see however, is that when Christ went to the cross, he bore our sins. All of our sin, past, present, and future were laid upon him. For believers, through this sacrifice, we receive the righteousness of Christ. I’ll be the first to acknowledge, this isn’t a transaction that we can fully understand, but it is a truth plainly put forth in Scripture. (2 Corinthians 5:21) As we continue to grow in our understanding and knowledge of this truth, we continue to exhibit more and more of this light of God in our lives. (Galatians 5:22-23)

So, what are our first steps to this kind of life, and this kind of fellowship? Look at verse 9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confession of our sins is the first step. As we confess our sin, we are forgiven for our sin. We can’t expect forgiveness if we refuse to confess. This is true not only in our relationship with God, but it is also true as we cultivate relationships with each other. For any relationship to be healthy there must always be an acknowledgement of our failures and our sins. So often though, as opposed to freely confessing our sins and shortcomings, we act as if we have already attained perfection. However, John tells us here that if we are doing this, we make God a liar. (verse 10)

Therefore, if we want to truly walk in the light of God, and if we truly want to cultivate fellowship within the body of Christ, and in every sphere of our lives, we must be willing to continually acknowledge and confess our sin. If we fail to do this, instead of revealing light, we reveal darkness. Where there is darkness, God does not dwell.  As long as we continue to walk in darkness, we cannot have fellowship with God, for in him darkness cannot dwell. (verse 5)

Some things to think about:

How many of you have ever had a dispute with a brother or sister in the Lord or even a family member, and each of you refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing? How did this turn out?

Do you always see yourself as the victim, or do you sometimes acknowledge that there are times when you probably could have and even should have done things differently?

Is there a situation right now in which you might need to confess wrongdoing, not only to God, but also a fellow believer and/or family member/friend?