Thursday, May 10, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
When I first began studying the scriptures, I noticed that when God described Himself to His people, He often used the Name, The Lord, Your God. I love that! It was extremely endearing to me that He would emphasize that He was mine.
Psalm 73:26 declares to us, My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. This is the very heart of the message, that God dwells in us, that He is with us and that He is ours.
We must remember that He does not give as this world gives (John 14:27), He is ours as long as we continue to choose Him. We cannot allow ourselves to be deceived into believing His methods are like those we may be used to. If we aren’t careful we can confuse the gospel with religion.
Religion makes us believe that if we do the right things and avoid the wrong things God will bless us. Religion makes our reward based on us and our actions.
The center of the gospel is Jesus Christ! He is our life, our heart, our breath! Christians don't obey to get things from God, we obey because we are loved. It is an overflow of who we are. We obey not to get anything from Him, we obey to get Him. In our obedience we get nearness to Christ, we get transformation, we receive wholeness! We
don’t go to God to get things, we go to God to get God! This is only possible because of what Christ did for us on the cross. The sinless became sin for us, so that we could love Him face to face. He does not just give Peace, Peace Himself comes to live in us!
I pray that we will always remember His great sacrifice, and that He is waiting to meet with us daily with His resurrection power at work in our lives.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Anything but Mundane
If you’re like me, then you dream of a fresh start. One that holds the promise of a new beginning, a new attitude, a new perspective and a new you, at least in part! That is the hope of a new year.
Like many of us, I find myself in reflection this time of year, praying for renewed strength and a clear vision for myself and my family. Above all I pray, “Lord, let my life be anything but mundane.” It can be an intimidating prayer, who knows what God will bring, what He will trust me with, what trials will come and stretch my faith? But the life of a child of God should be anything but mundane. Just the meaning of the word causes me to cringe:
mundane: of or pertaining to this world or earth as contrasted with heaven; worldly; earthly.
If we are not careful we can find ourselves dividing our lives into compartments; our church life, work life, social life, family life, etc. Doing so not only causes us to feel completely out of balance but also puts those things in competition with each other, often leaving us laden in guilt. God desires to give us wholeness of soul and a life full of grace. Your life will be anything but mundane when it is a life that is free and in constant fellowship with God. In every area of our life there must be allowed intercommunication. Prayer should flow like breath throughout our day as we are in constant need of
communion with our source.
It was said of the great Charles Spurgeon that he “glided from laughter to prayer with the naturalist of one who lived in both elements.” Once asked of a devout Scotsman, “Do you expect to go to heaven?”
“Why, sir, I live there,” was the reply. Walking in heaven daily is possible for the Christian whose habit of prayer is so developed that he “walks close enough to God the hear the secrets He has to impart.”
(E.M. Bounds on Prayer)
Craving a life immersed by heaven? Join me this year and commit to pray without ceasing
(I Thes 5:17); the remedy for ordinary.
Monday, January 16, 2012
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Mathew 11:29-30
This morning I am sick. Still. But the chores must be done so I am plugging away, scrubbing, organizing, folding, washing, vacuuming, dusting, blah blah blah. Mundane, mundane…I need strength so I go to my source. He speaks softly as I worry again if I could possibly add up to the woman I am “supposed to be.”
I am not asking you to do, I just want you to be.
Yea, right. I need to pray, witness, study, write, preach, etc., these are things you have called me to do, I rattle off.
I am not asking you to do, I just want you to be. When you be who I created you to be, your doing will flow from freely and will be a joy, not a list of to-dos.
Your doing must come out of who you are, not who you are trying to be. Hmmm, my flesh will not let go so easy. My mind will be an issue here. It constantly reminds me of what I am not doing. First to-do: overcome flesh. Um, yea that’s done already…thank you, Jesus!
2nd to-do:Practice Being. I will never be who I am unless I spend more time in His presence. Yes, the chores still have to be done, but after a minute with him, well, all is well with my soul as the saying goes. Many times we hide from Him, afraid of what He might ask of us. We are deceived and truly don’t know Him. Find the time, fall to the ground and…listen. Recover your life and find rest…ahhhhhh…
Friday, January 6, 2012
I remember when I first fell in love. I was 17. Never knew Love like this before, never even knew a Love like this existed. But that’s the thing about Love, you can hear about Love, sing songs about Love, answer trivia questions about Love, but until you have experienced Love, you don’t really know Love. You must taste for yourself before you know the goodness of Love. So after years of wondering about Love and getting glimpses of Love through special providential moments, I finally came face to face with Love. Wrecked. Abandoned. Unashamed.
After our meeting, Love walked with me everywhere. I often flaunted Love, not in a prideful way, but so others might also share in the joy of Love. Jesus opened my soul up like never before and the world was brighter. My Bible became my engagement ring and I never left home without it. I was roses and sunshine until I left the confines of my safety net and into the slightly larger world of junior college. I was disturbed to be face to face with those who opposed my Love, looked down on Love and told lies about my Love. More than disturbed. I wanted justice. Justice for my Love and justice for those who would oppose Love. One of my professors, a deacon in a nearby Baptist Church, told the entire class that the Bible was full of contradictions. I could barely stay in my seat, I was enraged! I promptly wrote a 3 page letter and practically insisted he repent for his damaging words and reminded him (like he needed to know) that he was a deacon! He did.
Love never left me although I chose to leave Love more than once. My experiences defied Truth in those younger years I am sad to say. But through all the rough years my defense of Love was foremost. I think I was born for conflict, I tend to run to it rather than avoid it. When I finally was able to finish college I chose Science. Its like I wanted to be in the battle. You might be surprised by how much God is mentioned in the science world. Although many of the scientific leaders are Christians, the mainstream educational science world would have us scoff at God. I was older now, less argumentative but still defensive, and just as bold as I was 10 years earlier.
I was beginning my Junior year of college and having some issues with the Science Director and his constant remarks against the inerrancy of the Scriptures. I will never forget the day that Love came into my house, stood in my presence and spoke to me in an audible voice. I had always wondered what it would be like to hear Him, not by the inward Spirit, not by the Word that speaks to our hearts or by the preached Word that pierces our souls, but in an audible voice. I will share here not all of what He said but this one part;
I Am the I Am. I do not need to be proved or argued.
Ok, so when God speaks these words to you, well, it was rattling to say the least. After I dried my tears and got my legs back, I headed to my first class with a different attitude. I am still learning today the full meaning of those 2 sentences. But I can tell you this, I will not enter into an argument with anyone. I will answer questions the best I can, but the gospel “is foolishness to them who are perishing” ( 1 Cor. 1:18), and until they taste and see, they can never fully understand. I mean, seriously, as Christians we do believe things that sound crazy: men made from dust, women from the man’s rib, prophets swallowed by whales, virgin births, men walking through walls, the resurrection, etc. etc.
My heart attitude is different. I no longer feel the need for justice. I still feel enraged at times over the defense of my Love, but those are few and far between, and certainly not aimed at the unsaved. By my senior year of college, my classmates knew my heart and my intent. They respected me because I did not repel or reject them or their beliefs. I allowed my Father to teach me His heart, one of Love. I will always speak on my Love’s behalf and never be timid or ashamed, but I am determined to be quick to listen and only speak what I hear Him saying. It is a work in progress. By the end of that year, 2 of my classmates committed their hearts to Christ and another friend, a professed atheist accepted my gift of The Purpose Driven Life and promised to read it with his fiance. I lost touch with him but still pray he tasted Love as well. Some others came to me for prayer, although they never prayed before in their lives. I pray my comments and my answers spurred many others into taking a risk to taste and see.
Since my college years there have been times when I have been led to enter the conflict and times when I have been led to be silent. For me, the silent part is the hardest. (Those that know me are laughing.) After having walked with Love for a number of years, I know the grace he has for those that still reject His name, Savior. I pray for those that oppose my Love that they receive that name. For the Scripture says:
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:17-18For they are still believing a lie that His name is Judge. Its true that when he returns He will judge, but his character, his name, is Savior. My job, then, is to not to argue His Truth, but to live His Love. Love the unlovable, love those who hate, love those who have not tasted, and pray, pray, pray, pray that they might reconsider.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
This morning I read from Mark 11, today's reading selection from the Life Journal. I love this chapter for so many reasons, but this morning I am focusing on this portion:
12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.
When I read this passage I can't help but wonder what Jesus was thinking when he cursed the tree! I am inclined to believe he was just so hungry and quite perturbed that the tree did not accommodate him! Funny that he expected it to when it wasn't even in season. Nevertheless, the poor tree should have been prepared at his coming! We read later:
20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
I love this so much because it always reminds me of my own withered tree experience. In the Spring of 2005, my husband and I were out back doing some yard work. We had this insanely large pear tree right off the back deck that left hundreds of pears in the yard. The pears drew in swarms of yellow jackets, bees, hornets and other spiteful insects. We hated it! We just wanted the tree gone but could not afford to pay someone to dig it up for us. So we casually placed our hands on the tree and together prayed that it be cursed and wither up and die! It was a humble little prayer and in our hearts I cannot say we really expected it to obey.
About a month later as I pulled into my driveway, I noticed the top of the pear tree had turned brown. (The tree was so large it towered over my house). I went around back to check it out. The tree was fine except for the very top. The two trees next to it were fine, only the pear tree seemed to be affected. Hmmmmm, this tree was dying from the top down! Each day it got worse and worse. It was several weeks later before I even remembered the prayer! I was in awe that this tree was obeying our command to die! Before too long, that tree died and we were able to cut it down! The laws of nature must bend and break to make room for our prayers and the supernatural desires of our hearts. I learned so much about faith from that tree. Everyday as I pulled into my driveway after a long day of work, unmet goals, disappointments, hurts, doubts, and weariness, that tree revived my spirit and quickened my faith.
The passage in Mark 11 continues:
22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Our God is so faithful. Our faith comes from Him, He generates faith in our hearts. The more we spend time with Him, the more we have faith in His Word and His promises. Our withered tree was a sign for us, to prepare us to believe that our prayers carry power and authority. This tree was a visible example to us that God was at work in the midst of us and even the smallest amount of faith has the power to fulfill any prayer. The tree could not acquire nutrients from the ground even though our soil was rich. It could not generate energy from the sun even though it had the best spot for unobstructed rays of sunlight. It was forced to turn away the water that seeped through the ground, because of a humble prayer. All the laws of nature, the rules of this world, had to bend and break to make way for the authoritative command of His people!
It was a small example to two newly reformed believers of the potential of prayer with a foundation of faith. Go God!!!
Monday, October 25, 2010
I have discovered want I need and can no longer go with out. I have been busy and it has been amazing to see what God has done with my hands. But lately my physical body has been stressed and relief has literally been playing hide and seek.
For these next few months I am determined to stay as inactive as possible and SOAK........
I am so in need of His presence. I am so thirsty for His warmth. I do not want direction, I do not want "a word," I am not seeking wisdom, I am not looking for the next idea or plan, I am not asking for favor or seeking promotion. I am no longer praying for material things, the want of them has left a sour taste in my mouth. I am not searching for deep revelation or spiritual truth. I can no longer present my case to Him and plead for grace, I am left empty and devoid. I need no council or knowledge, I am not asking for strength or healing or comfort or peace....
I pray for just your presence...I pray for you, God. I long to be saturated by your loving embrace, to feel you holding onto me so tightly that I am engraved in the palm of your hand (Is. 49:10). I long just to behold your face, to see your eyes shine down on me, to hear you sing over me (Zeph 3:17). My only prayer is that you find me humble enough to visit me and to stay awhile. I am here, waiting upon you, the only desire of my soul. I love you and your presence is my only cure and I refuse to go anywhere without it.
SOAK: to become known to the mind or feelings, to absorb with one's mind or senses; to take in. To permeate thoroughly, to saturate.