Monday, June 24, 2013

Flying High

This morning as I sat out on the porch, in the early hour, I saw a power line.  Right in the middle of the line was perched a bird.  The bird looked back and it looked forward.  I was thinking to myself...now what do you do. If he has fallen off he would for sure die.   He seemed so confident, not afraid, just standing there suspended in mid air on the power line.  Then is a few moments it did the thing I expect most.  He flew away.

Sometimes walking a tight rope can seem like walking in faith to me.  I feel like a bird perched in mid air.  I wonder which way do I go forward or backward or am I frozen still?  Why was the bird so confident?  Because he could fly.  Do I believe I can fly?  Do I believe Gods Spirit is beneath my wings?  If jumped off the rope could I survive?  If I began to fall would the Lord surly catch me?  How I believe effects everything I do.  What is the theology of my heart, not my mind but what are the forces than nudge we away from my illusion of safety.  I can be like that bird and think I am so afraid, nothing can help me.  It is just me and God here.

God draws these fears out of our heart.  He reveals them to us through circumstances and people.  That is where He meets us at the point of our need.  Fear can paralyze us.  The fear of not succeeding with our jobs, children, marriage, ministry.  The fear of failure is a powerful thing.  But when we have the confidence that even if I fall or fail my God is with me.  He promises to use it all, the successes and the failures for better good than we can imagine.  He just wants us to try our wings of faith.  To jump off our false securities and attempt to fly.

To know Gods promises and that He will keep them to us even when we are afraid.  You cannot stay in the middle.  You can either press on in your own strength.  You can go backward and lose ground.  Or you fly away into freedom, empowered beyond anything you can do.

In His Hands He's got the whole world, the whole world in His hands?  Do I believe God is big enough to hold my whole life and future in His hands?  When I am in fear of pain and failure there is only one place to run, under the wing of our God.  When you think this thing is just between me and God really.  Many may give you advice but in the end it is you before God.  Will I step out, off, my security line and attempt to be free.  It is better to fail than not to do nothing.  When we are consumed with fear of what might happen, we do not move.  We become isolated, depressed or stuck in sin, we regress.  We pull away from God and others.  God can pull you out of this, rescue you, but in the meantime you try to stop time.  You cannot stop time but it can pass you by.  I know, I have been frozen for 17 years.  Now I am learning to trust God with my everything, my heart, my possessions, the loves of my heart, my future.  I am beginning to dream again.  To see life as full and adventurous, exciting.  My passive, hard heart has gotten courage and compassion.  There is no limit to how high I can fly.  I must just keep looking up if I want to live not just survive.  This life of faith is a whole new way of living to someone who has tried to do all the rules and found out she just can't.  But Christ did and He gives us that perfect obedience.  We just don't have one of our own and when we try apart from Christ, in our own strength, we cease to act out as a human living in this world.  We merely exist.  But Christ is our life.  We can accept it, live His life through us and fly.  "I'll fly away oh glory, I'll fly away."

Saturday, June 22, 2013

What A Ride


“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

This afternoon I sat on the beach, watching my grandchildren, ride the waves.  They were not in very deep water but when the waves would come they would rise higher than them.  They would run into them.  There were times the waves would take them under.  Other times the waves would support them and their boards as they were on top, riding the waves.  It was a beautiful sight when this happened.  The waves, were the same as the ones that covered them.  The waves kept coming and they kept diving into the waves again and again.  I thought what is the difference.  It was not the waves, they were waiting for the big ones to come.  It was the way they confronted and experienced the waters.  Some would beat them up and some would take them riding high, but they did not give up.  The more practice they got the more they understood how not to be consumed by the ocean but have the waves actually lift them up and bring them to shore.  They were embracing the very thing that could defeat them.

These waves represent adversity to me.  How they keep coming into the life of the believer.  We can enter into the difficult times in our lives and ride the waves.  Or we can fight them and they will take us under.  In most cases we cannot stop suffering.  I can just decide will this swallow me up or am I choosing to let them teach me. The very thing that use to attempt to destroy me in insolation, bitterness, anger and resentment, lack of trusting God can be used to bring me to Him. Are we going to let the hard times and things we don't understand "beat us up"? Who is our God?  Who is in control? There is great glory to God when hard times come if we can overcome the very thing that use to be so defeating, so scary.  We persevere because He persevered for us.  His grace and mercy flood our very souls.

Jesus said on the cross, if it be your will take this cup from me, Father.  The cup Jesus chose to drink was our sin, suffering whether it be in relationships, in circumstances such as our health, our deformities, death, abuse, addiction, injustice, lack of faith, struggle with sin whether it is ours or those who sin against us, evil itself.

Trust Him with where you are right this minute. He has been there and is there with you now.  What ever has happened to you or is happening to you right this minute, Jesus knows how you feel and He has compassion.  There is no sin or suffering that He has not tasted, drank of, and realized through the cross.  The answer is to enter into Him by faith.  He said Father not my will but thy will be done.  Before Jesus drank of the cup it was like He experienced it, the pain, knowing what it would mean to take on the sins of the world, to be rejected by His Father, before it ever happened.  Instead of our sin consuming Christ, He consumed it.  He drank it.  We can now ride the waves of adversity and grow more like Him from them.  Suffering binds us together in deep unity and intimacy with Him. It is a beautiful thing when this happens.  What a ride!

"once we 'see' the depths of His love for us, as we taste this love, and as we see the purity, and strength that is found 'in' His love, we begin to become lovers".  Jim Puntney

We were promised sufferings, they were part of the program. We were even told, "Blessed Are They That Mourn" - C. S. Lewis

 Don't deny your suffering, don't run from it or harden your heart, don't be afraid to confront in love and mercy, to not allow sin towards you or others.  To speak and act on truth in Love.  Suffering will change you either for better or worse.  You will not remain the same. Remember His goodness, His love for you, even His discipline of you. He will teach you what true love really is.  Press into the very Spirit of God.  He may not take you out of hard circumstances or remove you from difficult people but maybe He will.  He will rescue you in the midst of it all, to Himself. There, He will guide you to understand the fullness and paradox of love.

 Christ was not removed from the cross but He was strengthen in it for a greater purpose.  To do the will of His Father. He thought we are worth the suffering.  Is He worth it to you?  Let Him show you how to love as He loves you.  Embrace the suffering, He embraces you.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Ebb and Flow of the Tide

I am sitting in an ocean front house.  The view is breathtaking.  Oh it is gray and fixing to storm.  The waters are getting high.  But I just am in awe of God how he keeps this world going.  How He keeps our hearts.  The waves keep pulling toward the shore one after another, never stopping.  Much like His grace to me.  It continually pours to my heart, soul and mind, whether I deserve it or not.  It just is because God is who He is.  The tide moves in and out over the course of the day.  Such does my heart to the Lover of my soul.  The separation is so painful.  There is an ache, a void, a feeling of me rejecting Him, never Him rejecting me.  He knows this and lets me go just so far out and then he brings me back to His heart in a deeper, richer, fuller way than before.  It is like being away from Him makes coming back to Him better than I remembered His love for me.  It is much like lovers who quarrel and then come back together.  They have worked through things that was bothering them.  Things that drove them apart for a time.  But when they come together, they are more in love than before the argument.  Things that troubled their hearts are resolved.  They treasure each other more and love each other deeper than thought possible.  Then they trust their heart to each other even more.  Forgiveness is rich and total and complete.  Hearts are restored and strengthened, united.

The Lord knows there are obstacles in our heart that keep us from giving ourselves totally to Him.  That keep us wandering away.  That is why He lets us go.  He lets us feel the distance, the loneliness that we will desire and long for Him in a deeper way.  Then as we come back to His heart we surrender more of ours.  I wonder if there is a time where we are completely surrendered in this life to His will for us.  If we were we would never sin and we will struggle with sin until we meet Him face to face.  Our flesh will continue to fight against His Spirit within us.  I don't think our flesh gets any better but our Spirit gets stronger maybe.  I am not sure I understand it.  We do become more like Christ, the Husband and best Friend to us.  The closer we get to Him the more we see that our hearts are not pure like His.  We see the flesh in us.  But we have a new heart.  It is the very heart of Christ.  The more we trust it and lean into Him I believe the weaker our flesh becomes.  It is not that we don't have all of Christ it is that we keep giving Him more and more of us.  It is His love and faithfulness and holiness, His goodness, His character that draws us into the chambers of His heart.  We are naked in our Spirits as we hide nothing from Him.  He knows it all.  We are like Adam and Eve before Him before sin and the covering.  He provides a covering for us.  It is His robe of righteousness that covers our sin.  That is what He sees.  The perfect righteousness of His Son, not our sin.

Holy God we come to you as your bride, clothed in the righteousness we cannot achieve but can receive.  In the love you love us with.  Speak to our hearts that we know you as never before.  We trust you.  May our Spirit unite with you and we become one with you in heart and mind and will and Spirit.  Thank you for never letting us go so far away from you that you do not bring us back.  It is good to be back with you Lord near your heart.  Thank you for never leaving me although I stray.  I am like Hosea's wife, I go to other lovers, idols of the heart.  Only you can satisfy my deepest longings, not people, circumstances, ministry, material possessions, health, beauty, knowledge, family, friends, counselor or a husband.  Just you.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Disappointment.

Have you ever though things were one way and found out they were another.  Have you thought your relationships were one way and found out they were quiet as close as you thought they were.  Have you needed someone to listen and they were too busy.  Have you hoped for a kind or encouraging word and they didn't come?  Expected that recognition at work that never got noticed?  Expected an event to turn out a certain way and it just didn't happen anything like you thought it would?  Have you thought you knew someone and found out you didn't know them at all?  It was more of a relationship on your end trying to make it happen and it just didn't, maybe a friend, a parent, a soul mate you thought and it turn out that it was all you?

Life can be a disappointment when we set expectations to people and circumstances.  You don't want to be suspicious of people nor expect the worst thing to happen.  But to put your peace and your joy into someone else or the turn of events is only setting you up for a let down.  People will always disappoint you.  There will be a circumstance than will not turn out sometime.

Maybe you lost a dream.  Something you though was coming your way didn't   Maybe God didn't use you in the way you expected and you don't see how it is going to happen the way you thought and hopped it would.  Can you let it go and not get cynical but dare to dream again.  Dare to trust others again.  Maybe with a little harder planning the circumstance can be better than what you imagined.  Maybe it is not to late to set goals and dream those dreams.  I am a visionary.  I think big.  I think the sky is the limit.  Someone always has to bring me down to size and I get disappointed.  But I am not going to let it get me down.  I am going to wake up with new hope and face my challenges head on with the help of my Savior.  I am going to seek the best in everyone.  I am going to enjoy even if things are going my way.  I am going to believe God is good even when it may not seem like it.  That He wants to be with me and listen to me and is never too busy.  But He is intimate and carrying and compassionate.  He brings technicolor to my black and white dreary world.  He makes the sun shine and the rainbow glisten brightly with visions of color beyond anything man can make.

It is not that I am not a realist but I know that God is able to do more than we can think or imagine.  I know He is a redeemer and He makes all things right.  Not that there are not consequences but He makes things better than they would have been other wise.  It is just the way He is.  Trust Him.  He has a plan and you are in it.  It is to give Him glory and to love Him with all your heart.  But the main point is He loves you.  He will not forget you.  Your name is written on the palm of His hand.  Your name is on His mind.  He does not sleep or slumber but is always working on your behalf, bring the people who need to be in your life, the circumstances you are to be a part of,  the miracle He is going to do in your life.  He has already done the most important one, He has made you His own.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Trying Harder to do better


My writing has been consumed with being independent, self reliant, pulling up your boot straps or receiving Gods love, grace and mercy and obedience comes effortless, willingly and easy.  God is teaching me a new thing.  It has been coming for awhile but this morning, today I am seeing it clearly (I think?).  I know there are many ways to living this Christian life in faith even though I have focused on the overflowing of faith and love through being with God in great joy!  I am going to write now on trying harder to do better.  The one thing I have talked against for so long.  But as I search the mind of God I see this still can be a life of faith, of dependence and reliance on Him.

This last week has been a sequent of events much like a roller coaster and my emotions have been drug along with them.  God has done some amazing things and I have been so very pleasantly surprised by His grace.  I have been filled with love and thankfulness and peace.  There has been extreme happiness and the feeling of complete failure and even struggling with hopelessness.  There has been faith, fear and doubt.  There has been pride and humility, the unknown and the surety, questions with no answers and answers with questions.  Feeling alone and scared and feeling supported and loved.  Yesterday I had a headache most of the day and slept off and on.  Today I am feeling a little teary and melancholy and wanting to go back to bed.  I have rested in the arms of my Father.  Talked to my best Friend.  Listened to the Spirit and so I am here, at this place, now.

Lee and Sarah called me from Charleston and can't wait to come back and have me cook a meal for them which delights my very soul.  Jennifer has flown out early this morning to go get the kids and come back today with them and I couldn't be happier about that.  But my body and my emotions are still wanting to crash.  I don't have energy.  I can't say I have a lot of peace and joy that Paul speaks about it all circumstances.  I am not troubled necessarily I am just drained.  I think well it has been some more week.  It is natural to feel the effects of it all give yourself grace and I am.  But the fact remains I have got to get moving, which is a wonderful thing for me right now.  I have got to try harder to do better.  I have got to get going when I don't feel like it.

Sometimes faith is hard.  Sometimes it is pulling up your boot straps and saying I can do this.  The difference is because I know God is with me.  He will provide the strength I need.  I just need to begin. 

I think of times a father or mother has to get up and go to work when they don't feel like it.  When they have to get up with the children and feed and take care of them.  When the addict has to say no one more time when their body is craving the substances.  When you have to forgive and do acts of love when it just isn't in your heart at the time.  When you have to do things you don't want to do for someone because maybe it grosses you out or you had rather be resentful toward them than to love and serve them.  Sometimes faith is hard.  Working out your salvation can be work.  It is doing what you do not want to do for no other reason than you love Jesus.  Yes you have to make yourself do the impossible thing knowing the One who makes the impossible possible will show up.  His name is Jesus.

When you step out trusting God will show up, even when things are really hard for you it is still depending on Him.  It is a test of your faith and trust that because He was there for you in the past He will be there for you in the present and the future.  That your heart will come along.  He will change it.  The power will be there.  The parachute will open if you just jump out of that plane.  My dad was a paratrooper and he told me about men they had to push out the door of the plane yelling and screaming because they were so terrified and didn't know if the shoot would open.  This is different.  You jump out of the plane because you know the chute will open.  You know God and His Spirit will come through even though it does not feel like it right now.  We are told to trust and obey.  Sometimes I think it is obey and trust.  You don't have that grace you need at this very moment but you know it will come.  In AA they say you have to fake it til you make it.  You know if you keep resisting that next drink at that moment there will come a day, two, then three where you have made it.  It is one step at a time sometimes.

I think this is one way our faith grows.  It is a way God stretches us beyond what we can do.  We are put to the test but He is the one who pulls out the miracle.  It has been said don't question in the darkness what He has shown you in the light.  It is still true whether you feel like it or not.  So I am going to make myself get up.  Go finished the kids rooms, take a shower, see if a friend can walk and go to the store hoping God puts the air beneath my wings on the way.  That somehow, someway I will start to fly.  That my parachute opens.
 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Could it be?

Could it be the bigger mess you are the more room for Gods glory?  Is this a reason to make bad choices or to sin?  Of course not.  Does this mean that God planned for us to and made provision for these circumstances to be used in such big way for good to display His goodness apart from any doing of man.  In the bible the miracles are God sized.  They are things man could not do apart from God.  He was about rebuking, healing, changing, telling truth to the blind, the deaf where they could see and hear.  He brought out of captivity.  He raised the dead.  He made the lame walk.  He gave a home to those who had no home and took others from the homes they had.  He had no place He could lay his head.  Our heart is His home.

Jesus thought, worked, played, rested, studied, prayed, depended on His Father for everything.  He would do nothing on His own.  I don't think it was that He couldn't, He wouldn't.  He saw Himself as One with the Father through the Spirit.  There had never been separation from His Father and Spirit.  That is the most painful thing He suffered on the cross for us, not the beatings, the humiliation, the pain of our sin and suffering, but His separation and rejection of His Father for us.  So we will never be separated.  My God, My God, What has thou forsaken me?

The grandchildren will be here tomorrow night.  I was thinking of things I want to do with them and teach them. I thought about doing bible stories with them at nights.  Getting them to help me around the house.  How I want Danny and I to be a good example for them.  I want us to show them we do disagree and we can ask each other for forgiveness and ask them.  I want to teach them how to serve and encourage others.  Then I just stopped. These are all good things but I thought the most important thing I can do and teach them is how much I need Jesus.  How I do blow it and screw it up.  That I tried to do it all right and I just couldn't get it right.  How selfish and self centered I can be.  How the Father taught me how to love others by how He loves me unconditionally.  How my need for Jesus only grows because I only see greater everyday how perfect He is and how like Jesus I can't do anything right that really matters apart from Him.  That no one or nothing can ever meet my needs like Jesus and my relationship with Him.  I want them to be open and honest about their struggles and not feel they will ever be rejected by me or their pop or God because of them.  That they are safe with us.  Our love for them is not as great as Jesus love for them.  That no one can love them like God does.  How He sees everything they think or do and He couldn't love them more.  I want to talk to Jesus all day with them.  I want them to see me ask Him what do I do that day and what do I say to others and where do I go when someone is mad at me or I feel like I can't get it right.  When I feel alone or scared where I go. When things are happening and they don't understand why, that Jesus does and they can trust Him.  That sometimes hurtful, hard things happen but He never leaves them and is there for them through it.  That the Spirit will guide them and give them the courage to make hard decisions and good choices but when they don't Jesus nor we will ever stop loving them.  That they are special and unique and God wants to enjoy them all through out their day.  That Jesus and His Father's Spirit lives in their hearts and He will never ever leave them.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What gives you life?


What gives you life do you think? What do you say if this would just happen I would be ok? I would be happy? Maybe it is a girlfriend or one you hoped for who hasn't noticed you. Maybe a husband or wife or job you hope to have one day. Then I will be happy. Maybe it is that your teenager would recognize how much you love them and that they would quit their rebellion. Maybe when my husband isn't so busy or when my work acknowledges how smart I am. Maybe when my ministry grows, or I have good health or I can understand this better. My kids are happily married or if they just weren't getting a divorce or if I weren't getting a divorce then I would be ok. I would be happy. I would have life.

Life is a Person. Life is not something we posses or that happens to us or the people around us it is Jesus. He is the way the truth the life. He gives life and no one or no one can take it away. When you have fellowship and true intimacy He shows you a life that is beyond anything you can imagine and nothing can rob you of it. It just is.

I know of someone in jail right now. It is a horrible situation. They are no criminal by our standards. They have lost everything. But they have gained everything. They are behind bars but know the freedom in Christ. They know the peace and the joy that is only in relationship with and trusting Him with every part of their life. THey are more free than many outside the bars. Oh for us all to know this freedom and peace and joy in all circumstances as Paul tells us of.

Stop! Stop everything. Sit down and be with God. Tell Him you want Him to reveal Himself and His love for you to you. That you need HIm. That you have sinned and you need His forgiveness and righteousness because you have none of your own. That He is everything you ever thought you needed to make you happy. He is your life and you want to experience Him and know HIm now in a deep and life giving way. As you give him of you He will give you of HIm. He is ready and willing and waiting. He will honor that prayer. I know. I have prayed it.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Daddy's" Girl


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Are you or do you know a perfectionist?

 Would you say you are a perfectionist or do you know one? I am. I had rather try to do things perfectly than admit to my sin and ask forgiveness. I really want to grow in this. It is much easier with friends and distant family, even strangers than it is those closest to me to confess my weakness, but harder to those who know my weakness. We all struggle to know our own weakness. I was thinking this morning when I cover up or defend myself instead of confessing and changing I am disowning the gospel. My need for Jesus. I am self righteous and Jesus died for sinners. I can do this, seem to humble myself, if I am in control of my confession but when someone close to me is critical it is hard to say you are right. I am much worse than you know. I am not an excellent example, as much as I long to be, but Jesus is for us all. We must look to Him as our perfect example I am going to fail you. But He is faithful and will never fail us as we look to Him and His perfect life, example. I have to remember His righteousness, perfection, is mine. So I can rest and give up trying to be perfect and just love my husband and family. I am going to screw it up. The Father loves me and sent His Son to die a horrible death to have me as His child so I can admit the worst there is about me without fear of any kind, to anyone. I can boast in my weakness for Gods power is made perfect in my weakness. Then I can be a better example than I ever could apart from dependence on God. The way I am this example is faith working through love. It is through repentance and faith to God and before others. I would appreciate your prayers in this for me. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

I don't understand it, It just is.


 I have just gotten through walking almost 4 mils. and going to go to lunch with a friend.  Then getting ready for the grands to come next week.  Finishing writing the preface to the devotional book and planning for the forum for women, praying about doing an on line bible study with young moms, planning meeting with the volunteer lady from shalom Tues. 

 I know this is silly but I am crying now.  I take a shower, put on makeup, somedays not much, but I get dressed everyday.  I remember when I couldn't get out of bed and wouldn't shower for days on end or change clothes.  I would go to AA meetings in the same clothes I had slept in and even had on the day before.  Now I feel clean, look clean and smell clean and I am clean with the blood of Jesus. My conscience is clean because of the cross.   He is my life.

  All this stuff, activity, ministry is great and I am  enjoying the heck out of it but it is just a fruit of the grace of God in my life. It is coming not out of strife or trying hard, it is just a joy that I have that I am trying to find a place for it to go to. It is evidence of the love that I have. This love that is being poured out to me has to keep going not to die.  I am convinced love has to be continual.  You cannot store up yesterdays love for today or todays for tomorrow.  It has to be like the manna.  It has to be fresh everyday.  It has to be like a stream flowing out of a pond, if the stream doesn't keep moving the pond goes stagnant.  This love thing has to keep going and moving and being rested in, enjoyed, bathed in.  The more we receive it and then give it away the more we receive.  It is the treasure we can multiply or bury.

 I am so humbled that He would let me know Him and that He would be with me in such a way even though I am still such a mess.  I feel whole and loved and healed and strengthen.  I just have such a peace and joy that is only in Him and I don't understand it or know how it works I just know it is.  It is such a relief to not have to figure it out for it to just be.
 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Unknown Rhythms of Grace


Philippians 3:8-11

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
More than that, I count all things to be loss [a]in view of the surpassing value of[b]knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, [c]for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not havinga righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and [d]the fellowship of His sufferings, beingconformed to His death; 11 [e]in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.


 All I remember ever wanting in life was to be a good wife and mother.  I wanted a family.  My husband and I began dating in high school and we married the day after my 20th birthday.  I was on my way to my dream come true.  The only thing was my husband had his own dream.  It was to be a head football coach.  I didn't see the conflict at the time.  

He became very successful while we were at a very young age.  At 31 he won a National Championship at Clemson University.  With this huge accomplishment came requirements and opportunities I had never dreamed of.  As wonderful as this appeared from the outside it was not my plan for my life.  We were in the public eye and my husband was consumed with work and me with our family.  I was a very self reliant, strong, capable person who thought I could handle any situation that came my way.  I was still looking for my husband and my children to meet my needs.  I was miserable when this didn't happen.  I searched everywhere for answers how to live.  I read books, studied the bible, went to people for counsel and advise but I still was not content.  Even though I had become a christian at a very young age I had this huge void within me that I was trying to fill.  I kept thinking if things were different I would be happy.  My goal then was to fix the people in my life and was not successful in trying to do so. 

We moved to Arkansas and there my world began to fall apart.  My husband and I were struggling, my children were struggling and my physical surgeries and problems seemed to go on an on.  I had to realize my dream to become a perfect wife and mother did not happen.  That I was a mess.  I didn't know what to do so I turned inward.  I isolated myself.  I began to do crazy things like not eat or sleep for days.  Get in my car and drive to another state in the middle of the night.  I was depressed and began to see illusions and have delusions.  I found myself locked behind doors of a mental hospital with people just like me.  My struggle was huge for me and my family.  How were we going to cope and handle this.  It was life changing for us all.

We moved back to Clemson and I was in and out of the hospital.  I began to live in a world all my own in my mind.  I would have periods of sanity but they never lasted very long.  My family and friends, and doctor and counselors worked to keep me well.  This continued for 17 years.

Then there began to be a turning point.  All those things of the bible I had heard for years, the Spirit began to put them in my heart.  I ask myself what did it mean to die?  To join in the suffering of Christ, to know Him and the power of His resurrection?  This is what I wanted.  I wanted to know God in a deeper, richer, fuller way. I was still on my search to find life.  I was counseled by a man who talked to me about my desires and knowing the love of God for me. It was everywhere I turned, articles, my friends, mentor, sermons, "that God loved me beyond measure and I could trust Him with my life."  "I could finally let go of my control, of my plan for my life, my desires."  My world had gotten so small me trying to stay safe, comfortable, and in control.  I had to face all my fears with the truth of who God is and who I am.  I had to give up what I wanted for my life in order to find life. Instead of believing God wanted what I wanted I began to want what was happening in my life and see it was because it was God's perfect plan for me.  I had to accept that God could change the people and circumstances in my life but He might not and I had to be ok with that. What had happened was I came to a point of saying Lord change me.  I studied and experienced the Fathers love for me in sending His Son for my sins.  That it was the Fathers plan to rescue me from me into this wonderful love relationship between the Father, Son and Spirit that He desired and would bring me into with them.  I saw that to lose my life I would find it.  I was to pick up my cross and follow Him.  I began to see my true self.  Who I was to God.  That I was His child, loved, accepted, forgiven.  That the Father loved me with the same love that He loved His Son.  How could this be, I thought, that God loves me that much?  I saw that the Spirit of the Father and Son actually lived in and through me.  That nothing I did could make Him leave me or love me more or love me any less. Nothing could separate us ever.   That I was no longer my own but was His.  I began to flourish.  I was loving people in new and different ways.  I was no longer depressed but peaceful and joyful.  I was enjoying the Father, Son and Spirit in ways I had never thought of.  I used my imagination and the things I loved to do, to picture God doing them with me.  I thought of being a little child learning to walk and I would take a step and fall into His arms.  Learning to walk by faith was not easy, dying was not easy, but knowing His love for me kept me pressing into Him. 

I had begun writing these devotionals of Gods faithfulness after writing 10 years of prayer letters.  My life was changing. I was changing. There were times like Peter who walked on water til he looked down and then he began to sink and so would I.  My past life was familiar and comfortable and I thought safe so I would return to it.  The Spirit would gently pull me out into the, unknown to me, rhythm of grace, into places I could not control.  I knew a new freedom, a new peace and joy, a new life, an abundant life.  Jesus was my life.  He meet the deep longings of my heart and soul.  I would run away but He would rescue me over and over until He became my safe place.  My place of existence, of continual communion, of true contentment not in my circumstances but in His love for me, my place of comfort.  He was the love I had dreamed of and tried to find in all the wrong places.  My love for others, my husband and my desire to serve God in loving the broken, the poor, the hurting was burning within me.  This love I was receiving had to go somewhere.  I could not contain it.  It had to be given away to make room for the endless giving of love from God to me.  God has given me a life I thought was only possible in heaven.  It simply overwhelms me at times and all I can do is worship Him and stop what I am doing and just enjoy His presence, His embrace. I would give Him my heart and my life once again.  I would repent of my control and my lack of faith. I would say with my heart and mouth Lord I want what you want for me.  I want all you have for me in this life.   He has more to give us than we are able to receive but He remains a fountain of living water, a stream that does not end, an ocean without any bottom.  His love goes to us forever and  so does our love and relationship with Him because of that.  It is love so amazing that He had rather die than live without me, without you and He did.

 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Men are tempted to lust, women to be lust after.


After Adam and Eve sinned they became aware they were naked.  They felt the need to hide themselves.  They were naked and ashamed and they hid themselves.  Since the fall we have been hiding ourselves our hearts and our bodies.  We see our nakedness through the eyes of sinful man and woman because of our hearts. The beauty of the body that was to be shared between the love of a man and a woman is now colored by the sinfulness of our hearts namely lust.  Matthew 5:28 says but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Not only do we as women tempt men to lust but they are tempted all throughout their day.  It can be pornography on the internet, magazines, or the screen, underwear or other advertisements on television or magazines.   It doesn't have to be naked women for them to be tempted, it can be the clothes we wear. Clothes are getting shorter and tighter and lower by the day.   It can be in the work place, or the grocery store or at church.  We women affect men and can cause them to sin in an area that is already a temptation for most if not all of them.  

Not only do men struggle with lust but we women desire to be desired.  Maybe we have not thought of it to the extent of being lust after but we want to be thought of as beautiful but we get confused what that is.  We go to great links to look curvy and young and beautiful.  There is no limit to the blood, sweat, tears, the sacrifices we make or money we will spend to buy the right clothes and have the right bodies, hair and faces or pay to have it done for us.  We are told that a womans beauty is not just by her outward adornment of clothes and jewelry but her gentle and quiet Spirit of trusting the Lord, her heart.  Prov 31:30 says that Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but that a women who fears (Holy awe of) the Lord is to be praised.  It is the Spirit of Jesus and the Father by His Spirit in us, that peaceful heart, that trust in Him, that makes us beautiful.  In heaven we all will have beautiful bodies but there will be no sin to distort our view of it.  Here we have flaws and defects and struggles and it shows up in our bodies and we can struggle with our value and worth because of it.  We are created in the image of Christ.  We are His child and loved abundantly by Him.  There is nothing wrong with loving beauty and wanting to look beautiful in a God honoring way but we must always be aware of our hearts who can be so deceitful. 

My plan is to go through my closet.  Any of those jeans that fit a little too snug because I didn't want to give in to buying a larger size is going to go no matter how expensive they were.   That top I have to keep tugging in the back to keep it high enough in the front, I am doing away with.  The next time I buy something I am going to look at it through these eyes of how I am seen by all.  There is nothing wrong with a woman dressing for her husband in the privacy of their home but in public we need to be educated in what we are doing by the clothes we wear and our actions.  How they can be interpreted.

We women need to tell our daughters and our friends.  You men need to tell your wives, Pastors tell you congregations.  We do not need to be kept in the darkness.  Jesus is the Light.  Women we can love and respect the opposite sex in a way that is Christ like by the way we dress.  It is not too late to change.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Not only am I forgiven much, I am loved much

God has really been dealing with me in my heart over the past several days. This is why I haven't written. I really didn't have anything to say. My emotions and my heart have been like being on a teeter totter, up and down. I have decided to swallow my pride and be honest with you in hopes God will be glorified and perhaps someone else can benefit some way from it.

My husband and I are doing really great. Probably the best we ever have because when we first got married I had kids, he had work, then the kids and work left us and we had to figure out how to really love each other without all the distractions.

We have been married for 43 years. You know in a marriage this long there is bound to be hurt in both peoples lives. I thought I kept a short list on the wrongs done and that I was always a big forgiver.

Yesterday I could sense a wall I was putting up. I thought was is wrong. This morning I read an article and I began to cry. I though why am I crying, why am I so hurt? The Spirit showed me that I was blaming my husband for things that had gone wrong in our lives and our children's. This caught me by complete surprise. I ask a few friends to pray. I saw that he was to blame but so was I. We were both responsible and had screwed up majorly. We needed to forgive each other and we needed Jesus forgiveness for us. That the price Jesus had paid on the cross could cover my sins and the sins of my husband. When I saw my sin and what Jesus had done for me I could forgive my husband.

This is what marriage is all about. Learning to ask for forgiveness and forgiving. Pointing each other to Jesus. Loving as Jesus loves us, unconditionally.  I became aware a long time ago God was using my marriage to make me more dependent on Him.  To make me more like Christ.  Even when times got hard for us both that reality kept me coming back, learning to love my husband and looking to my Savior and my God and the Spirit.

Do you have unresolved hurt in your heart, maybe even anger toward someone if you are honest? Maybe they did hurt you. Maybe you hurt them. Have you gotten the log out of your own eye before you see the speak in the other persons eye?  Are you like Paul chief of all sinners?  You know how much God has forgiven you and loves you.   Ask the Spirit to show you and people to pray. Those who are forgiven much love much. You can only forgive and love to the extent in which you know Jesus forgives and loves you.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Where does peace come from?



I am thinking tonight where does our peace come from.  Jesus promised it.

I think of the woman, with children and her husband found someone younger and more beautiful.  I think of the husband who lost his wife too early to cancer and is left with little ones at home.  The father and mother that lost their son to suicide because of mental disorder.  Of the pastor who has preached for years and sees no growth in his congregation.  To the teenager who just wanted her dad to love her and found herself in one sex relationship after another.  To the addict searching for love and received one too many prescriptions from her doc, even ended up in jail.  To the one who has suffered so much their whole life they look for comfort in anything and anyone they can not being able to rid themselves of sin.  To the one whose physical suffering never ends day after day.

Where does their peace come from?  Is it possible.  Their lives may never be straightened out, as far as our standards, in this life.  Where is there hope?  

Our hope is in Jesus.  Our peace is in Jesus.  No matter how we are fooled, or have the illusion we look any better than these people in the above examples it is a lie.  We are all the same.  The only way to peace and joy is in the finished work of Christ on our behalf on the cross.  If we say we are without sin we are a liar.  It is only because Christ paid the penalty for our sin that we can come before the Father in a loving intimate relationship.  Apart from Him we can do nothing.

You may say but I am such a mess.  On the cross Christ took your sin and gave you His righteousness, His perfect life.  He said it is finished.  That means everything is complete right now.  He sees the end from the beginning.  You are perfect, beautiful, sinless because of His faithfulness and forgiveness.  Then we can come to Jesus to help us deal with our sin, our brokenness.  This is the only way a holy God could possibly look on you is through the perfect lens of Jesus blood and sacrifice on your behalf.

We have the illusion that some are better than others.  The truth is the others are closer to home that many of us because they know what a mess they are and their need for Jesus, their Savior.  The Spirit of God lives in each of us.  He is our seal to the Father.  Nothing, heights, depths, nor death, nor suffering, nor sin, nor spiritual powers can separate us from the love of your loving Father who sent His only perfect, adored, cherished Son to die a horrible death to come and get you to become one with the Father, Son and Spirit.  To share in their glory, delight and love throughout all eternity.

So rest your weary mind, rest your soul and body, Christ has you.  He will not let you go.  The Father has chosen you before time and given you to His Son forever.  Peace of Christ my friend, joy and rest.  Shalom.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Learning Christ in Me

These are the things God is teaching me in understanding Christ in Me, the Hope of Glory


1. I came to understand God's unconditional love for me and that I could trust Him. That the Father loved me so much He sent His Son to die for me and the Son chose to do that to get me. What love. That He was in control and I could no longer trust what I thought God wanted but look to what He was doing right where I was. This love healed my broken heart.  Is 53:5 by his wounds we are healed. I began to live by faith.  The just shall live by faith alone.

2. I confessed my sin of lovelessness, lack of forgiveness, unbelief, anger, resentment, bitterness to others and to the Lord. I ask people to pray. Then I ask the Lord to bring me to repentance and soften my hard heart. Ez. 11:19 says the Lord has taken out our heart of stone and given us a heart of flesh.  I learned to be honest with myself, others and God.

This process caused me to confront and bring truth to many, many fears. I knew my fears could point me to Christ but I was not trusting Him when I was afraid. I was gaining a new confidence of who I really was in Christ. The real me.

3.I decided that what I wanted more than anything in this life was to please God. I knew I could not earn His favor or love but I could please Him. Heb ll:6 Without faith it is impossible to please God. Jesus told us to pray, Our Father, Not my will but Thy will be done.

4. I knew what God wanted me to do was to trust Him, to love others, to love Him with all my heart. I made a choice to love people.
Luke 6:34-35
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, [a]expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

5. I knew this love was impossible for me but I knew that Father and Son lived in me through their indwelling Spirit and their love could be lived out through me. That the same power that raised Christ from the dead lived in me and I could do the impossible through Him.

6.I decided that love does. The more I received Gods love for me the more love I had for others. It turned into a passion to concretely love people. To see their need and try to meet it. To give them Jesus. I started with my family. I started with my husband. I tried to help him and do things to please him, that he would enjoy. I realized that to first know God as the husband of my soul and then I would know how to love my husband. I wanted to love Him from my heart, to grow in Christ and to help him grow also. I realized I was not my own anymore. I was first Gods for eternity, then my husbands for life. That I was a bond servant of Christ, 2 Cor. 4:5 and I wanted to honor and glorify Him more than anything. I knew that was to first love Him then my husband.

7. My life did not get perfect. I did not love perfectly, only Jesus did. But I noticed a peace and joy no matter what was going on. I was enjoying God and enjoying life and people. I don't think I had ever done this since I was a little child. Thats what I prayed I would be like. A little child trying to learn to walk and falling into the arms of my Father.

I did not do this process once but have done it over and over in my personal relationship with God. My heart is ever before me, Luke 6:45 The good man out of the good [b]treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from [c]that which fills his heart.
 Prov 4:23 says watch over your heart, from it flows the Springs of Life. I had found life and life abundantly or rather Life, Himself had found me.