Diana Nesbitt

Always Go Deeper

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 10)

What is Easter?

Easter is one of those holidays that never seems adequately celebrated. At the beginning of spring, winter is dying away and the pace of life is quickening in anticipation of warmer weather (which in New England, you have to anticipate by faith some years) and more time outdoors. Easter slips by in a flurry of fuzzy chicks, dyed eggs, new clothing, and ham dinners. But there is so much more to the purpose behind the holiday than this.
Easter, or rather Resurrection Day, to put it more accurately, celebrates one of the greatest climaxes of the story of mankind. It is the fulfillment of the oldest promise on record, kept centuries after it was made. Were it not for Easter, we would have nothing to celebrate at Christmas. For if Christ were only a good prophet like some claim Him to be, and not the Savior of the world, His birth would be inconsequential and His death on the cross would mean nothing other than that He is a liar and a failure. But because Jesus was the Messiah, given to us through the miraculous virgin birth, and because He lived a sinless life, died for our sins, and rose on the third day, Easter is the completion of the gift that we unwrapped on Christmas morning.
Easter is victory, accomplishment, and conquering. There were no human eyes to witness the moment when life returned to Jesus’ body, but if there had been, imagine what they might have seen. Jesus’ body lay still and cold in the dark tomb. In the most important moment in the history of the entire world, his chest, still for three long days, moves. The breath of life which He gave up on the cross reenters His body, and He emerges from the darkness of death into unconquerable life. Scarred and sacred, His resurrected body will bear the signs of our sins for eternity.
Easter is the celebration of this defining moment of victory. All of God’s signs, wonders, and promises led up to this moment. Like the first light of dawn, it is so quiet, so unpretentious, and yet it means so much. This moment means that God really does keep His promises. It means that Jesus really was the Messiah. It means that salvation really is ours for the believing. The blood-stained cross, the torn temple curtain, and the empty grave all silently shout testimony of how deeply God wants us close to Him.
So in the bright mix of Easter baskets and sunrise services, let us carry the joyful reverence of knowing what Resurrection Day is really all about, and engage in full-hearted praise to the God who keeps His promises.

How Faith and Muscle Memory Can Help You Finish

The fingers of my left hand strained to reach their places on the fretboard, and as my right hand swept the pick across the strings, I overshot and struck the next set too. “Ping, thunk. Ping, thunk.” It sounded like someone had stepped on a cat’s tail and then grabbed it by the windpipe.

 
Frustration knotted in my chest and I sat back from my mandolin with a huff. In a deja vu moment I saw myself as a beginner piano student pressing my uncontrollable fingers hard against the keys, the dissonant sound echoing what I felt inside. That was before I discovered the secret weapon I didn’t know I had.

 
What you’re not always told when you begin play an instrument is that your body possesses a type of memory that records repeated movements and etches them into your brain, so in time you will be able to do without conscious effort what is now awkward and uncomfortable. After I discovered muscle memory and learned how to use it, my frustration level dropped, since I knew my practice was sure to pay off.

 
The remembrance of this truth renewed my determination to persevere. Shoving down my impatience, I resumed practice, carefully picking the notes. The choked cat yowls didn’t disappear, but they did become less frequent.

 
We will face challenges and be tempted to quit whenever we set out to achieve something. But if we want to reach our goal, we must finish what we start. This is the most basic requirement for any reward, because nothing is useful unless it is completed. This is true, not only in the projects we undertake, but also in our faith. Just like we intend to finish the projects we begin so they may be useful, so God intends to bring our faith to maturity so we may be useful. He does this by testing our faith, and though being tested is not always fun, gaining maturity in faith is always beneficial in every area of life.

 
Regardless of the goal we are trying to reach, there is one necessity for completion: endurance. If you’re like me, trying to persevere just because you know you should doesn’t work out that well. You need something more to turn you from a sprinter into a marathoner. That something is faith – confidence in your reward. When I apply the knowledge of muscle memory as I practice an instrument, I am able to endure the times when practice is difficult, because I know that with enough repetition, my fingers will automatically reach for the right notes. Likewise, when we apply the knowledge of God’s trustworthiness to our lives, we can endure challenges because God promises to reward our endurance and He has the power to keep His promises.

 
Faith and muscle memory are like trains that will carry you to your goal, even through the dark tunnels of struggle and opposition. It takes endurance to stay on the train, especially when it feels like you’re hanging on for dear life on top of it instead of riding safely inside. But if you want to see the light at the end of the tunnel, you can’t jump off the train in the dark. It is by putting your hope in the right place – the sure and firm character of God – and choosing to believe Him in all He says that you will gain the strength to stay on the train until you reach your reward.

 
By faith you endure to receive the reward, and because of your faith you will be rewarded.

 
So be confident, and endure. Your reward will come.

 

Echoes of a Masterpiece

DSC08657

My coworker is one of the most passionate people I know. I love to listen to her talk. She gets so excited about things and is so positive. She believes. One thing she’s been excited about lately is drawing. She has been reading a book called “Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain”, and as she tells it, one day she was drawing stick figures, and the next, she had drawn a beautiful sketch of a horse and rider. The key, she explained, was to begin by turning the picture of the horse upside-down, so that the left side of the brain (which, from what I understand, likes to take over and tell the right side to sit down and shut up and let it do all the work) backs off and lets you simply draw what you see, instead of what you think you see. So, instead of your brain recognizing the image of a horse, it’s just seeing the lines that make up a horse.

I think we have a spiritual “left brain” and “right brain” too. The spiritual left brain says things like “You already know everything in the Bible…this is boring,” or, “God doesn’t really hear you when you pray.” It likes to think about the circumstances you’re in right now, your worries or excitement, or what you’re going to wear tomorrow. Anything but being still and waiting for Jesus to speak to your heart. It can easily take over the spiritual “right brain,” squelching it until it’s nothing more than a feeble whisper.

That’s why God turns the picture of life upside down. He says “See, this the line I want you to follow. Ignore what you think you know- what your fleshly nature is telling you to think. Follow the path I have sketched out for you. Trace over the lines of My example with your life. Only then will your childish scribblings turn into the echoes of a masterpiece.”
Just like the right side of our physical brain, the right side of our spiritual mindset needs to be exercised too. Give yourself enough time to pray so that your spiritual “left side” quiets down and backs off, and lets you hear the whispers of the Messiah teaching your heart.

It takes discipline and practice to train your spiritual right brain, your heart, to be attuned to the whispers of the Holy Spirit. It takes faith to see what God wants us to see in the everyday rumble of life.
With this mindset, we can view life with the excitement of my coworker. She said “I’m so excited about the next 30 years – I have an entire half of my brain to explore!” Likewise, we have an entire life to explore in Christ. So tell your spiritual left brain to back off. Seat yourself at the Master’s feet. Be still. Listen.

 

 

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/3p23pOLD3mM” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Matthew Musings: The Family Line of Jesus

I have been doing an inductive Bible study on the book of Matthew, and I thought it would be a good exercise to write about the truths that I glean and the principles that stand out to me as I study. So, here is the first of my Matthew Musings.

matthew musings

Matthew begins with a genealogy, which is not typically the type of passage we consider the most scintillating in the Bible. But this genealogy is scintillating (sorry, I like that word). Look at the people that Jesus, the Creator and Ruler of the whole entire universe, chose to have in His family tree. Right away we can spot a prostitute and an adulterer, who also killed the husband of the woman with whom he committed adultery. And, if you’ve ever happened to come across a rather sordid account back in Genesis, dropped right in the middle of the story of Joseph, about a woman disguising herself as a prostitute, getting pregnant by her father-in-law, and giving birth to twins…well, she’s in there too.

Centuries before He’s even born, Jesus shows us how humble and gracious He is by the people He allowed into His family tree. In His love, the pure, untainted Son of God chose to come to earth. He chose to associate with broken, messed up sinners, and not only to associate with them, but also to call them His family.

But His humility didn’t stop there. Even though He had the pick of every human being who ever walked the planet to be in His genealogy, He didn’t choose a pristine family line of priests and religious leaders (not that He could have found a pristine family line if He’d wanted to. None exists, because genealogies are a line of people.) He didn’t even choose people who were, relatively speaking for the human race, respectable. Because that’s not what Jesus does.
He chose them all- faithful and unfaithful alike, all given the opportunity to know and live for Him; some accepted Him, some rejected Him, all were loved by Him. He chose the outcasts, the misfits, the godly kings, the evil kings…He chose people from every possible walk of life to be in His family tree. He gave them all the honor of being recorded for all eternity as ancestors of the King of kings.

Yes, this genealogy gives us a clear example of Jesus’ graciousness. But that is not the only attribute we witness here. His holiness and righteousness are also clearly visible. God does not brush sin under the rug, and even in something as brief as a genealogy, we are reminded of the permanent consequences of sin. You can see it right there in verse six- “And David fathered Solomon by Uriah’s wife.” God did not approve of David’s actions with Bathsheba, and He’s keeping the record clear and straight on that for all eternity. David took another man’s wife. It doesn’t matter if David conveniently removed Uriah from the picture and married Bathsheba later. He committed adultery with her, and they lost the first child they conceived together because of their sin.
But David repented. You can see the depth of his sorrow over this sin in Psalm 51. He acknowledged that he had sinned against God. He didn’t call God unfair or mean for allowing him to suffer the painful consequences of his actions; rather, he said “You are right when You pass sentence; You are blameless when You judge.”
And then, the beauty from the ugliness, the proof of the overflowing mercy of God: He let David have another child with Bathsheba- and this was Solomon, the heir to the throne, the son who would be part of the Messiah’s family tree.

Sin, repentance, mercy. This is why Jesus came. The whole story is there in the genealogy. Sin, repentance, mercy. We sin, we suffer consequences, and if we repent and stop doing the sin, in His mercy, Jesus forgives. Our sin causes Him pain and caused Him to suffer more than we will ever comprehend. Yet He still forgives when we truly repent. He lets us take part in His story. He takes our repentant hearts and failures, and in spite of them, in spite of us, He makes things turn out for His glory.

And, if we do His will, He even calls us family.
May the family trait of His gracious humility be passed on through every generation.

Spring All Year

From the archives~ I came across this post the other day that I published a couple years ago on my old blog and thought the sentiment was pretty appropriate for this spring, since winter just kept hanging on this year! 

Spring all Year

A few minutes ago, if the occupants of the dark green truck driving by bothered to look up, they would have seen a crazy girl sprawled on the steps of a front porch, wearing a sequin-sprinkled sweatshirt, lifting her face to the sun while brushing her teeth. (It’s March in New Hampshire. You get outside while the sun is shining or you miss out.) Yes, the promise of spring is in the air today, the bright sunshine which has been absent for so long of late luring me outside again, this time with a pen and paper instead of a toothbrush, as I draft this post.

I don’t usually look forward to spring very much, preferring snow and cold weather over heat and humidity and lawn mowing and gardening and black flies and mosquitoes and ticks (I will admit, working outside does have its rewards, the bugs NOT being among them, however). But this winter has been a different one, and I haven’t been able to get outside as much as usual. I’m looking forward to the brightness of spring after the darkness of winter. This time of year I start thirsting for sunshine and color. I crave the feeling of the gentle rays of the sun soaking into my skin, the cool breeze sweeping over the snow keeping my nose chilled and making me enjoy the blanket lying over me.

Another thirst accompanies that which I feel for light and color; a thirst for my Savior, for hearing His voice in my heart and communing with Him. For being purged of the sin that lies too comfortably within me and being washed pure white like the snow that the sun is reflecting so brightly. To be refreshed in the Word like the cool breeze refreshes my warm face and stale lungs. To sing a sweet song of praise with my life like the birds chirping in the trees and the wind chimes blowing in the breeze. To have spring in my heart.

In a few short weeks the sun will grow stronger and I will again hide from it instead of seeking its warmth, and black flies will prevent the luxury of laying outside on the porch in peace. But spiritual spring, the warm sunshine of God’s undeserved favor and the refreshing breeze of His Word, can live on in my heart all year long.

The one thing you need when the winter blues threaten

onething

After a Christmas day with good family time like it seems we haven’t had in months, reality came rushing back with a jolt on the way home. An overfull crockpot of borscht (Ukrainian beet soup for those of you who may not be aware of this deliciousness) spilled over in the car, ruining my slippers and the evening. We traveled back to the house, back to life and its frustrations and struggles. The familiar hopeless and helpless gloom descended once again over us, and I could feel my heart sinking. I can’t do this again, I thought, remembering the heavy, sad way I felt for a good portion of last winter. I am not ready to feel that way again. None of us can take this anymore. I felt something slightly akin to panic creeping toward the edges of my heart. After having the holidays to look forward to and a nice day with family, I wasn’t ready to be slammed back into discouragement and hopelessness. I was ready to plan a trip to Florida the next day.

But, before my dread could grow, God reminded me of the lesson I had learned last winter. Faith. Faith is what’s missing.

Faith is the only thing that can bring us through a hard, bleak season of life. {tweet that}

I remember I was sitting on my bed as the realization hit me: I have no faith. Oh, I had faith in God and knew that He was good, but I had no believing faith that He had good things in store for me and my family, that He was actively working on our behalf. Unlike David, I wasn’t certain that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.

On Christmas night, I remembered this. Being unwilling to go back to that dark place of weak faith, I chose to believe. I chose to believe that God was good and that He has good things in store for me and my family. I quoted Jeremiah 29:11 to myself: “For I know the plans I have for you- This is the LORD’S declaration- plans for your welfare, not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.”

Strangely, though we were still dealing with the messes of the evening and I was trying not to be disappointed that Christmas was over so quickly, I found my heavy heart lightening. As I purposed to trust God’s plans for my family’s future, I couldn’t help but begin to find things to look forward to. It felt strange to not be bound under the weight of hopelessness, but it was good.

The next day I had another opportunity to exercise faith in God’s goodness. My friend, whom I haven’t seen in a year and a half, was in the area and was coming over to visit for a bit before we went ice skating with her husband and sister. I had stayed up late many nights in December, and the previous night was no exception. Weary of pushing myself to rush around, I wasn’t feeling like moving quickly that morning, and after taking a few minutes for Bible study I had very little time left to get myself and the house presentable before she came. Frustration and anger were setting in, and as I rushed around vacuuming and cleaning up after the dog, I found myself reverting to the same old anger at life I had felt so many times this past year. It was happening again. I had a chance to spend some time with a friend, and because of the surrounding circumstances, I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy it. I was (and am) sick of that happening. I was frustrated, and I was angry, and in the midst of that my conscience pricked me.

Just because things don’t go the way I want them to doesn’t mean God has suddenly turned against me. I realized. He’s still working things out for good, even if I can’t see them, and it demonstrates a lack of faith if I lose all my hope just because things don’t work out sometimes.

“Stand still and see the salvation of the LORD,” The Still Small Voice whispered in my heart. “I can’t stand still physically but I can spiritually,” I decided, and put the morning into God’s hands. I finished getting ready and had time to put myself together and eat breakfast before my friend arrived. Unfortunately it was having a minor car accident that caused her to be late and gave me more time to get ready (I’m not sure how to figure that one out…I didn’t want more time to get ready at my friend’s expense!) but thankfully everyone was okay.

As it has happened every time I choose to stop freaking out and trust God, He didn’t let me down. He never lets us down when we put our faith in Him. Things may not always work out the way we expect or desire, but God is always working on our behalf and for His glory. Oh the joy we could have if we’d always remember that!

When we really trust God, not to be our genie and do what we want Him to do, but to be a loving God who is always working things together for good even if we can’t see or understand His ways, He will never let us down.

So when the after-holidays blues threaten and life seems as bleak as a winter sky, hold on to faith. Make the choice to believe that God is always working on your behalf. Be like Job and Joseph and be faithful to Him, even when to all appearances He has forgotten you. He hasn’t.

faithisreailty

The Force That Cannot Be Held

DSC02574-001

 

“But in reality they’re simply blind to the greater, infinite Force that is ceaselessly working for His glory and the ultimate good of mankind. God always has and will accomplish His plans.”

 

Yesterday I went to the the beach with my mom, sister-in-law, and nieces and nephews. It was a bit cool and breezy, but I talked myself in to going into the water since this was the first chance I’d had to go swimming this summer.

“Come on! We need to stop the waves!” My six-year-old niece urged me to help with this important mission. She waded out and began pushing back at the waves and smacking them down with her hands.

“Take that! Ha!” She shouted. After a flurry of splashes, she said, “It’s working! The waves are getting smaller!” The only difference I could see in the undulating waves was the area just around her, churned smooth by her frenzied actions. But to her, it looked like she was making a difference.

waves

As I watched her childish optimism, I realized that her play at the beach was symbolic of the hopeless struggle of those who try to fight God, past and present. They will yell at and about God, kill His followers, deny Him, blaspheme Him, abuse His reputation, and try to wipe every reminder that He exists off the face of the planet.

But they’re just as effective as a six-year-old beating the waves.

They may look at the space around them, their small area of influence in an instant of time, and think they’re winning. But in reality they’re simply blind to the greater, infinite Force that is ceaselessly working for His glory and the ultimate good of mankind. God always has and will accomplish His plans. You can either work for Him or against Him, but be assured that it is much harder to fight against the waves than to move with them. And if you fight God, you will always lose.
Fighting God is like trying to hold back the ocean: you can fight as hard as you want, but the waves will always reach the shore. {tweet that}

Simple Joys of Summer…

DSC00435

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
-Marcus Tullius Cicero

Theatres, Novels, and Old Towns…These are a Few of My Favorite Things

P1130058

Today my parents and I went to a play at the Barnstormer’s Theatre in Tamworth, NH. We saw “Toad of Toad Hall”, a play by A. A. Milne based on Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows, which is one of my favorite books. (You can read my review of the book here.) The play was extremely well done and the actors and actresses did an outstanding job of capturing the personalities of each of the characters in the story.

I was also very interested in seeing the town of Tamworth in person, because it is the perfect setting for the novel I am working on at present (my first!). Since I haven’t really talked much about this work in progress yet, let me give you a brief synopsis of the plot:

Margaret Louise Harris, (or Madge, as she is otherwise known) has dreams of becoming a Broadway star someday. But when her mother is injured by a fall, Madge has to take over the daycare her mother runs for children of mothers working in the nearby munitions factory. She’s not happy about spending the summer taking care of children instead of being in her beloved theatre, and she struggles to trust that following God’s plan for her life instead of pursuing her long-held dreams will make her happy.

 

As you can see, the theatre plays an important part in the story. Summer stock theatre originated in New England (a fact I discovered after deciding that my main character would be involved in a summer stock theatre and that the story would be set in a small New England town, so that worked out quite conveniently for me.)  The theatre that Madge loves so much is a summer stock theatre, held in a renovated barn. Although the theatre in Tamworth is a converted general store, not a barn, the quaint setting is very much the type of town I had imagined and the old houses will give me much inspiration as I develop the setting.

My next quest is to find out more about theatres such as this one as they were in the 1940’s, which will require possibly contacting people at the theatres so I can ask questions and gain more information- something which is way outside of my comfort zone! I think research will be one of the most challenging parts of being a writer, and yet I also think it will be one of the most fun and interesting parts of it.

Here are a few pictures I took while we were driving out of town:

 

P1130049-001

The theatre

 

 

P1130038-

The church

P1130048-001

I like that yellow building!

P1130039-001

I think this is what Madge’s house might look like…

 

Here Goes Nothing…

DSC01952-001
On a whim, I have possibly decided to do something a little bit crazy.

I may be attempting to publish a blog post every day this month.

That’s not all that crazy, I know. I’ve done it once before.

What’s crazy about this is the timing.

It’s August.

Green bean canning season is upon us.

It’s two weeks after my dad had an emergency appendectomy and one week after my Grandma went home to heaven.

But I think I might need to do this. I’m not sure if it’ll really happen, but I think maybe I should try. (I’m still praying and deciding about it. So this post is just in case.)

I think I need to do this because there are these elusive beings called readers and I think that this could help me befriend some of them.

I need to do this because I haven’t blogged for three months. (That’s painful to admit.)

I need to do this because I still haven’t found my voice for this blog, and I want to.

I need to do this because there are words sitting around squashed inside of notebooks and they may never see the light of day otherwise.

I need to do this because I think it could be fun.

I’m not doing any strict set of topics, just whatever strikes my fancy. I’m going to try to keep it simple. A few photography posts, a story (I hope!), a couple of  childhood memories I had fun writing about, something I’m learning from my devotions, and maybe even a personal update or two (Because if you’re a little nosy like me sometimes those are the most fun posts to read. Like peeking inside of people’s houses when you’re driving by at night! Did I just admit to doing that?).

So let’s have some fun in this last month of summer, shall we? If you’re reading this, I would love it if you’d do two things: subscribe, so you don’t miss a post, and leave a comment and tell me about yourself. Let’s be friends!

All right, here goes nothing……

Question: So how’s your summer been? Has it been everything you hoped? What exciting (or not-so-exciting) things have happened to you?

 

Older posts

© 2017 Diana Nesbitt

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: