Saturday, August 31, 2013

Play by Play

Jeremiah 29:11

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
11 For I know the plans that I [a]have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and ahope.

One thing a sports announcer does is give you a play by play of the game.  He reports the events of the game to you and you feel as if you are there. That is what I want to do about the events of and leading to this most eventful day of the Ring of Honor.

It began last week.  One of my children decided they would make this great day of honor, to my husband, even more rememberable.  She would go to Texas and get our granddaughter and surprise him on the field at the time of the honoring.  My other children did not agree with this.  They wanted it to be before the game for various reasons.  Then the debate began.  I tried to stay out of it and say you kids decide.  They each had their good reasons. They even went as far as to say if this is not done this way I am not going. This continued until the day before she was suppose to go get our granddaughter.  The debate grew stronger in how this should be handled.  There was no compromise.  We were all getting angry with each other demanding our own way.  

I was so discouraged and perplexed I ask others to pray.  I said they are so angry.  I think I maybe angry too. The bottom line, I was not trusting God.  I, we all want this to be a special day for my husband.  I said we are angry.  The bickering must stop.  This is about your dad and we must focus on him.  They each thought this is what they were doing in their own way.  I was at loss and powerless to make this work or get all of us there in one piece.

Today came.  Many were praying.  The pieces all began to fall into place.  This would happen before the game.  We all would go.  I was going one step at a time just feeling the prayers of many step by step.  I was beginning to trust God to give His grace.  I didn't know how this would play out but starting to know it would be His best for us all.

My husband was waiting for my daughter to come so he they could ride to the game together.  She had ridden 5 hrs to pick my granddaughter up in the plane of a friend and five hours back in one day.  I got the camera ready. I told him I wanted to take his and my daughters picture together. He argued with me about time. He became impatient to leave.  He paced the floor.  Walked down the drive way. I followed him and he did not like that at all.   He became more upset by the minute.  He went inside and they drove up the drive way.  I yelled to him my daughter was here.  They, my daughter and granddaughter, came through the house and met him outside.  It was the most wonderful surprise he could imagine.  He was thrilled, hugged her and hugged her.  Ya'll did a great job.  A great surprise for me. I took picture after picture and off to the game they went.  My son and his fiance picked me up.  I had ask people to pray the rain would stop.  I shared this.  My son said mom.  I said when you have hit bottom as I have you depend on God for everything.  I fail at this so many times.

We waited for the time to come and waited. Finally the time had come.   We all went on the field.  My husband said wait here.  He walked ahead.  My daughter said lets go.  I said he said wait.  She said we will miss it.  We gathered together as he took picture after picture with fan, player and press. The rain stopped.  The thunder did not roar, the darkness had lifted, the skies separated and it was a perfect game nite.   Why are you smiling?  People are taking pictures.  Fix my hair, it is so curly. This dang humidity.  Well, the rain stopped.  It really is perfect. The teams fans are blowing. Lets take a picture together.  What is he wearing?  Fix my hair. He is chewing tobacco.  His teeth will be yellow.  Player after player came up from 30 years ago.  Names came to my mind.  I couldn't believe it with a memory as bad as mine.  It was time to walk to the field.  Ya'll hold your shoulders up.  Go up there with dad.  You need to be with dad.  It is about him I don't need to be up there.  Get Mary Kathryn and go up with dad.

We were all lined up.  Time seemed to stand still as I looked to the 83,000 people.  More orange than I remember seeing before.  Do I clap, hold my hands, what is my husband doing, do I grab his shoulder, kiss him on the cheek? Somehow I want him to know how proud of him I am right at this moment, this electric moment.  I don't want to make a scene.  My grandson puts his arms around my shoulder.  Thank you for holding me up. I love you. Just wait this place is about to erupt.  I was at loss.  The moment came and the crowd roared and I remembered.  The wins, the losses, the too great a sacrifice of family and children for a job, how great it all had been, how I loved the players, staff and fans, we were a family.  Time seemed to freeze as it all passed before me.  I could not move.

This was one of the most wonderful days of my life.  It was perfect.  It was a kiss of heaven.  My children's hearts were soften toward each other, my friends were together and my husband was honored. The hugs and congratulation hand shakes went on and on.  Is there more, than Jesus, a woman, wife and mother could want.  We rushed to the police car and I realized it had ended. The name would remain on the stadium as long as the stadium stands, the memories, the pain, the mistakes, the victories, it all came to a close as we left.

A friend said she thought exhortation was one of my gifts.  I had to look it up.  I do think I am an encourager.  I want to encourage you now.  Athletics and competition is a beautiful thing. I think God absolutely loves competition.  He always wins and I think, He thinks it is awesome.   It provided for my family and gave us more than I ever thought possible.  We had money, fame, success, such wonderful friends we will have forever.  We sacrificed each other as a married couple and time with our children.  There was the good, wonderfully good, but the cost.  My husband and I both know this.  We are so thankful to his profession and all that goes with it but at the same time know we gave it too much of ourselves and those we love.

We are made to be a people that worship.  God seeks those who worship Him. The problem is we worship any and everything but God.  In this world there are many talented and gifted coaches and players.  They are to be enjoyed and recognized as that.  They are not to be worshiped.  We pay them too much money.  We give them too much time.  We sacrifice our families and our lives to be a part of them. We find significance in their wins. Our happiness depends on their victories.  They, the players,  give us the same. The pressure of it all to  be great and win is too much. The thirst for it all can never be satisfied or satisfy. We are all in search of something more.  Something more than we think God can give us. We try to find it in athletics.  We try to find happiness and significance apart from God.  I want to appeal to you to help me pass the message that this must be stopped.  We must place athletics at its rightful place in our lives and God at His.  He is the only One to be worshipped. 

I love Clemson, the staffs we had and all the many players.  The problem was not theirs but within our own hearts.  We were seeking something apart from God.  God has used all of it, the things we did right and wrong, to glorify Himself and to be good for me and my family.  He's just like that.  He has taught us that other things are more important than professions and success.  Like loving God and others and family and putting them first and serving them and Him.  It has taken us a life time to see that being blessed with success in sports, and all that goes with it, cannot bring you true life and happiness.  Only Christ can.  It has been an amazing ride, our life.  It was an amazing day.  But God is greater than anything this world has to offer.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ring of Honor

A friend and I were talking about the award my husband will get Saturday in front of 83,000 people.  He was an extremely successful college football coach.  He, his team, his staff and the fans won the only National Championship this university has ever known.  His name will be unveiled at the stadium and he will be honored.  It will be there as long as the stadium is for all to remember the victory of the 1981 National Championship Team.

As my friend and I began to talk about 30 years ago I began to reminisce.  How things were back then. I shared with her the thrill of my husband being the youngest, still, head coach to win a National Championship and what that meant to us as a family.  We talked about our travels all over the world.  His wins against the very best of the best college football coaches.  Then I talked to her about one of the greatest rewards I was able to experience because of this team and their staffs accomplishments.  She said that is what you need to share with your grandchildren.

Because of these peoples accomplishments our team, and others were invited to the oval office to meet with the President of the United States, then Ronald Reagan.  I remember going shopping for the occasion.  I bought a $300 suede red dress 30 years ago.  That was more than I could imagine.  It was a once in a life time opportunity and I had to look my best.

We approached the White House and had a tour.  History before our very eyes.  The things I had learned all my life as a teenager and even child were alive and I was in awe.  So were the players.  I remember how nice they looked.  They were all dressed in suits and many didn't have the money to buy them.  It was a sacrifice for their families.  We had lunch in the White House dinning room.  There were senators, others even though it was intimate, our Athletic Director, Senator Thurman and Nancy.   I wondered if I remembered my manners there were so many forks and so many glasses.  I remember meeting the designer of the clothes of Nancy Reagan.  She was flamboyant, sophisticated and it was evident creative by her appearance and the clothes she wore. I still remember.  She had on a purple dress and a purple wide brim hat.  I tried to be a lady.  My husband was very much himself.  He always has been no matter whose company he was in.

Then it was time to meet the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan.  We all lined up and went through security.  Even the football we were presenting the President with of the signatures of the National Championship Team representing their victory, defeating the best of the best.   As we walked through the hall to the oval office I was imagining what it would be like.  What he would be like.  We entered the room and there he was waiting on us, or not lol.  He was at his desk and came over to us.  As we lined up to meet him for some reason I was right next to him.  He was about my height.  I always thought he was a very tall man in the cowboy movies I had seen him in.  He was warm, inviting and receptive.  He genuinely seemed excited to meet and be with us.  As I stood next to him all I could think of was how amazingly perfect he was.  You remember how he wore his hair?  It was perfect.  His suit was perfect.  It was brown.  His shoes were so shined I thought I might see my reflection in them.  I remember his hands and nails.  Only to be perfect also.  As we walked near to him I was overcome.  The room was silenced.  The cameras were going off one by one by many photographers.  All I knew to do was to say Mr President we so appreciate all you are doing for our country and I hugged him.  Don't ask me why.  I hugged the President of the United States of America.  The cameras continued to snap.  The secret service drew near.  I knew I had overstepped my boundaries and I respectfully stepped aside.  We all were introduced and presented him with the National Championship Football. It all seemed worth the sacrifices of the team, staff and their families.   He acted like it was the most wonderful thing he had ever received.  I didn't want our time to end.  It seemed so very short but time had stood still as I was in that room standing by him.  I had looked him in the eye and had seen him for myself face to face.  Not because of anything I had done but because of this wonderful experience shared with me.

Later I received pictures from the White House.  What was funny was none were of me hugging the President.  The other funny thing was I was surprised they weren't in there lol.

I can hardly think through life without thinking of how it relates to my God.  Many say we will be in such fear and awe of Him we will shy away.  Funny I think of hugging His neck when I see Him.  I think of how I will look and what I will wear.  I can imagine being clothed in the beautiful, breath taking righteousness of Christ.  Unlike our team earning our time with the President I will come into the presence of the Almighty, Holy God because of what His Son Jesus did for me on the cross.  I will be stunned by His beauty, by how very perfect He is. Because of the gorgeous robe of the righteousness of Christ I will be clothed with I will enter into His presence with confidence.  I will draw near His side and feel the nail prints on His hands.  The vision of the cross will be before me.  All of heaven will be rejoicing and praising Him.  It will be beauty and glory that will astound all, created creature and Spirit.  Yes I will be in awe.  But He will be so glad to see me I just know it.  How could He not after all He and His Son sacrificed to bring me there, into His presence.  He will put me at ease.  I will present Jesus with a crown that was given to me.  Not because of anything I did but because of what Jesus did for me at the cross.  The things I did believing and trusting in His perfect sacrifice for me.  The things I did in faith in Him and His work.  The things He designed for me to do before the beginning of time. The things He equipped and gave me the strength to do.   I would have the honor and joy of placing the crown at His feet.  I think there will be a huge party celebration.  A wedding feast.  There will be wine and food like I have never experienced or imagined.  The smell and taste of it all will take our breath away.  It will be an unbelievable place filled with things I have always thought of and people I have wondered about.  It will be a glorious worship of our King Jesus.  Of the victory of the cross against death and evil and even ourselves.  There will be people there, Saints, we will be in awe to see and spend time with.  I long for this day.  Especially when things get hard and I don't know what to do.  I imagine myself with Him for all eternity.  That it will all be worth it the glory of Him that will be revealed in us. Being in His presence.

We will never want it to end as we see Him face to face.  This visit will never end, ever.

Monday, August 26, 2013

He Meets The Deepest Needs Of Our Heart

For my God will meet all  your needs according to His riches and glory.

I have been thinking off and on about our needs.  It just hit me all day long we are either meeting our needs or the needs of others.  God created us to have lots of needs.  We have all kind, physical, mental, spiritual.   What is the greatest need of man kind?  I would say our greatest need is to be saved and loved by God.

This devotional is long and much to take in.  My suggestion would be maybe to take a few days, divide it up.  Think about it, pray about it, and just let Him meet your needs.  It is the gospel.

 We want to know who we are. Who we really truly are.   He tells us we are perfect with His perfection.  We can give up the striving for perfection.  We already are.  We are forgiven, loved, holy, saints, sinners saved by grace.  God wants us to enjoy Him.  To be happy in Him, with Him.  This shows the world how great He is in us.  Tim Keller said we are trophies of His grace.  We were created and made for intimacy.  We desire for someone to know everything there is to know about us, the ugly, the good, the things that we would not share with anyone, we long to share and be loved anyway.   God does this.  Not because He has to but because He wanted it so bad He sent Jesus to come get us.  I believe sharing the love the Father, Son and Spirit with us burned within Him.  Only then would He send His only Son to not only die to come get us but He knew the horrendous pain it would be to Him and Jesus to turn His back on Him because of bringing us into this relationship with them.  They had never, ever been separated and never would again.  The thoughts of how wonderful it would be to share their love with us it was worth it all to them both.

God is even interested and providing our physical needs for us.  We have to make these a priority.  We can not serve God or take care of anybody if we are broken physically or mentally.  I didn't take care of my family for 20 years because I thought it was selfish to take care of me.  I fell into a deep, dark hole.  Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  God values our bodies.  We are promised new bodies when we die.  God decided this was a way Jesus could move into our world.  He gave Christ a body to come and to relate to us in our pain, suffering, needs of rest and food and even death to make us His body.

We have a need for each other.  But others cannot meet the need we may think we have to be happy or just feel like me matter.  Like we are somebody.  God won't let that happen. He won't let something else that you think will make you happy keep you from knowing Him in such a way that His desires becomes your.   He may not give you a need you think you have to have just to show you how He can reach into the inner most part of your heart and meet your deepest longing.  This may take a lot of time.  He has been teaching me this for years and I still forget and wonder sometimes if I understand it at all.  But He just won't give up on me, you or let me go too far from Him.  Just far enough to make the longing of my heart for Him stronger, then I am willing to say you are my God.  Here is my heart.  Take it and seal it unto thee.  It is yours Lord.  I am yours.  I wake up in the morning, sometimes fighting discouragement, I fail everyday to love others as He loves me.  Then I know the gospel is for me.   I just can't stop praying Lord teach me to allow you to love others through me.  May I trust your finished work for me more.

The more we are open, honest, forgiving, and giving each other Jesus love and compassion the more the one Spirit within us brings us together as one, the body of Christ.  When one part of the body hurts the whole body hurts.  When one cries we cry with them.  We take upon ourselves the things  that is sometimes a weight so heavy it paralyzes them.  We do this by feeling the pain they are in.  By lifting them and their burdens to the throne of grace to the one who carries all our burdens.  He not only carries them He experienced them all on the cross.  Only by Jesus can we give each other the compassion He gives us.  We are to encourage, teach, rebuke, serve, pray and point each other to God.  Everything Jesus was in the bible we are to be to each other.  This is impossible for us.  All we can do is give Jesus to each other. Give each other the gospel.   It is His Spirit in us.  We have a passion for each other and  to help each other to grow in Christ. When a prisoner is most punished they are put in isolation.  Isolation is a dangerous, lonely, suffering place to be.  Jesus knew this isolation.  People need to be touched, and have relationships, and beauty.  We need each other.  We are human though and we will fail each other.  We must point each other to Jesus who will never let them down.  He will always be there.

We have a need to see our sin but at the same time the forgiveness of Christ so much bigger.  Don't focus on your sin, it is too big for you to even consider.  You won't be able to see Jesus.   Confess it repent of it and move on.  Seeing our sin is an indicator to us we have lost the way.  The way of Jesus.  We are not following Him. It is a reminder to us of how much we need a Savior.  We forget. We must remember the gospel, what Jesus did on the cross is all it took to meet the holiness of God and the extreme demands He had to have to forgive us our sin.   His demands were completely satisfied.  He wants us to be just as satisfied.  Martin Luther said

Be a sinner and sin strongly, but more strongly have faith and rejoice in Christ.
I don't think Martin Luther was saying sin more but rather live in the freedom and joy of being forgiven. Remember the gospel.  Do not worry so much you might mess up and sin that you don't enjoy God or move out in living life and trusting Him. Life by faith.  If you blow it go ahead and blow it big.  Don't hold back life because of fear of sin.  Your sins are forgiven.  Live as a child of the King, loved and forgiven.  Jack Miller wrote a wonderful study on "Sonship".  Living in the freedom and joy of who we are as a child of God.  He said "Abba", actually means Daddy Father.

God choses not to remember, not think of, our sins any more because the sweet aroma of the blood of Jesus that was perfect satisfied Gods cry for justice.  He gave us unbelievable mercy.    He feels nothing but love, compassion and delight in us.  He has such a design that He will be with us forever though out eternity where there is no end to time.  When this happened, Jesus gave this perfection to us. He was the only perfect man that ever lived and it is now who we are.   He died in our place, what we deserve He took.  Our sin killed Jesus.  It was Gods burning desire to make a broken, sinful people their very own, us. 

So we have a need for life and freedom and peace and joy and rest.   Every man longs for but it is totally impossible for us apart from God.  We try to find it is our circumstances or people.  God promises to meet these needs when we trust that there is nothing more we can do to make the gospel true.  Jesus said it is finished.  Nothing can make Him cherish you, adore you, long for you to be with Him where Hs is than right now.  You cannot add or take anything away from the gospel, not your good works, your right choices, your good kids, joy, marriage, health, money, theology, beauty, successes, fame, knowledge, creativity, large following in ministry, helping lots of people, even writing a book, nothing makes you more loved or accepted or forgiven that you are right now in Christ.  Don't focus on your sin.  Confess it, repent and be done.  

Go live life in the freedom of the gospel and let God meet the deepest needs of your heart.  The deepest need you will ever have is met in Him.  Spend time with Him.  Seek His face. Remember over and over He loves you even when you don't feel like He does.  When you think you can't go on remember He is there and He knows the beginning and the end.  Ask the Spirit to make it real to your heart.   Learn that He is good no matter how hard things get.  We have a need to be dependent and not independent.  We have a need to worship God and we will try to find anything to worship but Him.  But He went to such extreme measures to get your heart and mine He is not about to let you go.  He won and He is gonna win so give it up.  

You will be amazed just what our God can do.  He can raise the dead and give life.  Life abundant.  Jesus is Life.  The more satisfied we are in Him the more He is glorified.  I paraphrased John Piper.  It takes time.  Be patient with yourself, He is.  He is in the faithful process of showing us all how He can meet all our needs according to His riches and glory.  In heaven we will long no more and we will be completely satisfied.  It is not Gods incapability to satisfy us it is our in ability to receive it.   We will run to anything and everything but God to meet our deepest need.  When we can't do anything else or go anywhere else He says I already met your need.  I met it at the cross.  I knew you couldn't come to me.  I had to come to you.  I gave it all and you are mine.  Come to me.  I love you in ways you never dreamed or imagined.  Only then can I forget about my deepest need and go love another.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Did Jesus Die For The Self Righteous?

I was born as sinner.  We all are.  As a little girl all I wanted was to please my mother and daddy and I did.  This sounds all good but I needed to know that they and Jesus were pleased with me no matter what I did.  I believe this is true about my parents but none the less I thought it was because I did everything right.  My parents are gone now and I loved them dearly and them me.  They taught me many things about loving people and God I remember today.  They just didn't know how self centered I was.  Neither did I.  It was always all about me.

This carried over to high school.  All I was concerned about was people not being mad at me and like me.  I had various ways of proving I had this approval to myself.  Still thinking I had the approval of others.

I married with this same goal.  To get the approval of my husband and my children.  As you can imagine I was not a good mother or wife because of this.  You cannot discipline your children if you are afraid they will be mad with you.  You cannot even love your husband if you are always trying to get his praise to let you know you are worth while or that life is ok.  No man can do this for a woman and he cannot stand the responsibility of trying to make his wife happy.  No that does not mean we do not have happy marriages.  It means no one in this world can give you value or say you are ok.

Because of these things I got sick.  I did not see it then.  I saw what a failure I was and how I couldn't do things right but not the depth of my sin.  I could not stand the thoughts of my utter failure so I turned inward and got extremely depressed.  This has gone off and on for 20 years.

 I thought I was getting better about trusting Christ and not myself.  I shared with a group of people last night, and they prayed for me how I have always over thought stuff.  What I wrote or said, what I was reading, theology good stuff.  My husband even said you think to much.  So has my daughter.  I would even do things to quiet my conscience like thinking, figuring things out, writing, staying busy, even things I enjoyed taking pictures or hiking, riding horses, sleeping.  I knew deep in my heart I was not perfect nor could I be.  But boy was I sure giving it my best shot.

I saw this morning that in many ways I am no better than I was 20 years ago.  I am still trying to get things right.  When you let your world depend on you getting things right you are not trusting Christ.  That all you have is His perfect life.  You have none of your own.  I thought to myself  I cannot fix this in me.  This is too big.  What if I can't stop trying to be a perfectionist about the things I think matters?  Christ was the most angry at the self righteous because they thought they were good and didn't see their need for Him.  That they were a sinner.  I began to despair again.  This runs so deep in me only God can change me.  I didn't even see how I could get rid of all this sin.  Change my ways.  I thought so did He die for the self righteous?  Those that know they are a mess and can never change apart from Him.  Those who need Him and His righteousness.  That because of their self righteousness they can't fix themselves.

I believe because of the prayers of my prayer support and these other friends that I began to see the gospel.  No I may never stop trying to get things right.  I may always be self righteous.  I may never get any better.  Then I ask myself again did Jesus still die for me?  Can His death say even though you are trying to be perfect you know what a mess you are.  That this is screwed up because now you know even when you are trying that you really can't.  That you need me.  You need my payment for the sin of self righteousness.  It is ok
.  Yes I died even for the self righteous.  Those that find it hard to just give it up and completely rest in my works for you.  But at this point I am resting.  I know I can't fix me or change.  I may struggle with this all my life.  But Jesus is enough even for me.

I believe He showed me this to change me and my trust in the gospel and not in me getting everything right.  But that could be me just trying to be perfect again so I give even that up. But I have to believe Christ died to free me from thinking I need to keep the law or can to be accepted and loved by Him, the curse of the law. I have to believe He can do the impossible.  It is so beyond me.  He is the only One that can give me worth and make my life worth living.  The only one who can give me life.  If He never does change me you have to be ok with that and so do I if you are my friend.  I just believe my best Friend is.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

Teach Me About God

I had a friend, whom I love, said last nite, I want you to teach me about God.  So dear friend this is dedicated to you.  Of course no one knows all there is to know about God.  If we all who love to write about God waited til we knew it all or were all right we would never write.  We all are growing in the knowledge of God and will be throughout eternity and never tip the iceberg of who is God.

He has given us some truths though that we can understand, even some mysteries, revealed to us by His Spirit and His Word of God, through Jesus, the Word, scripture.  Jesus is the Word.  He became flesh.  He dwelt among us.  He came to bring us into relationship with the Father and to teach us, show us who He is.  This study is the study of theology.  I use to love theology before I got sick.  Now that I am well, my mind is healthy, I still love theology, the study of God.

I want to pretent, imagine, we are on a walk at our farm.  I want to talk to you about God, just a few things.  Who you are, who He is and His love for you.  You are a sinner who is saved by Gods unbelievable merciful grace.  He set His eyes on you before time and gave you to HIs Son.  His SOn, the plan, was for Jesus to come get you.  To live as you life and to die on the cross for your sins so you could come into the family of God through His sacrifice.  The whole bible points us to this King who came to save us.  Jesus completely and fully satisfied our debt to God for our sin.  It was an amazing thing.  Gods justice and mercy eclipse at the cross.

God is perfect, holy and righteous.  He is love. He is so good and is so for you. He will make you like Jesus and will not stop until you see Him face to face and it is complete.  He is everywhere all the time and knows everything that has happened and will happen.  Search Gods word for the character of God.  You will know Him better for it.  He is in control.  He uses it all for His purpose for us to know HIm, for our good.  This glorifies Him.  He has a plan for your life and you can trust Him completely.

  At the cross there was a great exchange.  God took your sin and gave you His righteousness, His perfect life is not just credited to you legally, which it is.  It is yours.  It is imputed into you by His very Spirit that lives in you.  Believe it live out of it.  Your sins are forgiven past, present and future.  You are no more guilty.  The Spirit of God lives in you and wants you to allow Him to live His life through you by faith.  Believe it is so.  He wants you to believe and remember daily Jesus and what He did for you on the cross is enough.  You can not earn His love, make it so or take it away.  It just is because you are His.  He loves you as much as He loves Jesus.  Jesus has a desire that you be with Him where He is.  You are secure.  Nothing can separate you from Him or His love.

This is only a devotional so I want to close.  In your suffering He is with you.  He never leaves you.  He is in complete control and wants you to come to Him in the midst of the storm and trust Him.  You will know HIm in a way that would never be possible apart from this.  Ask Him to meet all your needs and your longings and receive His love for you.  You are complete in Him.  We are broken people and we are going to struggle but Jesus died for strugglers.  Go to Him tonight and rest well my friend.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pleasing God

I want to tell you first I am just now working through this so you discover for yourself, read scripture, pray, seek counsel but I am going to talk to you a few seconds on what I think God is showing me tonight on pleasing Him.

I have heard a lot from grace people God is already pleased with you because of Jesus.  This is so true. Jesus work on the cross was complete.  The Father was pleased His Son suffered for our sins and it satisfied His justice for the payment that we owed, death, hell.  So when the Father looks on you He is completely satisfied with you because of Jesus.  He loves you unconditionally.  He has made you His own.  He has chosen you before time and set you apart for His Son, His bride, the church.  Nothing can change that or separate you from Him and His love for you.  You are secure.  He is about a good work in you, making you like His Son, sanctifying you and He will not stop til He has done it.  But as for now you are completely forgiven, righteous, and loved. This is not something that will be one day it is imputed in you, put in you, the goodness and perfect record of God, Jesus.   I believe the Father loved you from the beginning.  He was making a way for us to be in intimate relationship with Him, to know Him and to bring us unto Himself as one.  We cannot earn it, or work for it.  Nothing we can do can make Him love us.  Nothing can stop it.  It just is because we are His, we are set apart.  It is all because of His amazing grace and goodness that you are saved and have relationship with Him, Son and Spirit.

I was thinking I know God is please with me because of what Christ did on my behalf but can I still please Him.  I was thinking of all the ways I thought I might please Him.  Being with Him and enjoying Him.  Receiving His love for me.  Letting Him meet my needs.  Worshiping Him.  Then I remembered the verse with out faith it is impossible to please God.  I have been trying to have this blind faith.  Saying I trust you Lord.  But this faith is trusting that what Jesus did, the Father did in sending His Son, was complete and finished.  Faith without works is dead.  So whatever I do believing that Jesus died on the cross for me and the Father was pleased, makes the Father happy.  He is pleased. He is pleased that I believe and this is a gift.  The fruit of this is what I do.  The evidence of my faith in Jesus. He is pleased because I am walking in faith.  Living my life trusting Him because of Jesus. I believe He enjoys the things I do because I believe the gospel.   Even my suffering, trusting it is for me because my Father is in control and He loves me.  He showed me this in sending His only Son to come and rescue me from sin and myself.  What else could show more love than this.  The suffering of Christ.  So I do what I do believing this and because I love HIm.  I love Him because He first loved me.  That is why He sent His Son.

So I no longer have a blind faith.  Where have I been?  I have been so blind for 40 years.  It is amazing to me how the Lord let the Israelites out of bondage into freedom then into the dessert to learn to trust Him.  I have been thinking about this.  He is teaching me to trust that Jesus was enough.  I can't add anything to it.  But I can please the Father by believing it and stepping out in faith on that basis.  I cannot tell you how astounded I am by this.  I could feel Gods good pleasure.  I knew He was enjoying and delighting in me.  Not only did scripture say it but I knew it in my heart.  I did believe the gospel but I did not make the connection between having faith and trusting because of the gospel.

I pray I have spoken with clear understanding.  That the Lord will speak this wonderful truth to your heart.  That you will learn what pleases God.  Trusting in the finished work of His Son, Jesus and anything you might do believing that.  I am seeking the wisdom of counselors and mentors.  If they tell me this is not right I will let you know asap.  But I want to close in saying it is faith working through love.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Year of Jubilee

Chuck Colson told the story of a group of American prisoners of war during the Second World War, who were made to do hard labor in a prison camp. Each had a shovel and would dig all day, then come in and give an account of his tool in the evening. One evening 20 prisoners were lined up by the guard and the shovels were counted. The guard counted nineteen shovels and turned in rage on the 20 prisoners demanding to know which one did not bring his shovel back. No one responded. The guard took out his gun and said that he would shoot five men if the guilty prisoner did not step forward. After a moment of tense silence, a 19-year-old soldier—stepped forward with his head bowed down. The guard grabbed him, took him to the side and shot him in the head, and turned to warn the others that they better be more careful than he was. When he left, the men counted the shovels and there were 20. The guard had miscounted. And the boy had given his life for his friends.  I reread this tonight on John Pipers site.  This young boys life was not over, like Jesus.  He had his whole life in front of him, college, maybe a career in the service, a family but yet he gave it all.  Jesus had 3 years into ministry.  His whole life in front of Him.  But yet He laid it all down for the sake of us.  To save us.  To bring us into intimate relationship with the Father, Jesus and the Spirit.

As I have told you so many times, I know, you are tired of hearing it, I have been dead for 17 years.  Well I am no longer dead. I am very much alive.   I have this life of faith God has given me and I am trying to learn how to live it.  I want to take some counseling courses and learn myself how to counsel myself and my family.  I have taken a back seat to my family for the last 20 years.  I have decided tonight, no longer.  I am going to teach my heart out to them.  I don't know if they will receive it or not.  I want to example a life of Christ, of repentance and faith to them.  Not of getting it all right but one who God has been faithful to.  To trust Him.  To love others and God with all their hearts.  It is going to take all my time.  Please pray for me.  This is a big step of faith for me.  All I want to do is teach them Gods ways, that I know, and point them to Jesus.  I have one year with my grandson before he goes to college, one year before my son gets married, one year before my daughter is brought home and one year with my daughter before her life changes drastically with the leaving of her son, one year before another daughter goes into christian counseling.  This year my family is my priority.  I do not want to preach.  When they don't see Jesus in me and my love for them and Christ they will think I am preaching.  I want to guide, lead and love with the love of Christ.  I am scared.  I can't say it depends on me.  I know this is from the Lord speaking to me about what the next year of my life is to be.  I have been praying what God wants me to do.  I thought it was to be in ministry and serving the broken hearted but it is to pray and teach and show Jesus to my family in the most intense way the Love of God I have ever done anything in my life.  Like Pauls example was to us and the church.  I am here for such a time as this.  It is so clear.  I can see it now.  I am going to eat dinner, travel to go see, write letters, ride horses, help clean and shop, and what ever it takes to connect with my children and their children.

I know I have told you how important my family and children were to me.  I never will forget being on the cover of a magazine Todays Woman.  I wrote all about putting my family right under God.  Well I want to tell you I had a selfish love for my family.  It was all I knew.  I knew the right things to say but I was so selfish.  I tried so very hard to be a good mother.  I meet their physical needs and had them in church but I didn't listen to their hearts. I was so needy myself. I was such a mess looking for life in my husband and all the wrong places.   I have prayed for years the Lord would restore the years the Locus have eaten.  This is the year of restoration and healing.  For my husband too.  I am going to tell him what God has spoken to me and tell him how I need his help.  We have to unite in this.

OK I have got it.  God wants to reveal His plan to us.  We don't have to guess.  I know what I am doing and how I am going on a wing and a prayer.  This is more than I can accomplish or do but not God.  With Him all things are possible.  Like I say I am excited and just nervous.  I have never depended on God to do something through me so deliberate.  I am hanging on but by faith I am going forward.  It is a God size task and only He can do it.  It takes a humble confidence and I have it.  Not in me but in Jesus.  Ya'll He is redeeming I say with tears in my eyes..  I just know it.  I have prayed whatever it takes for my family to love the Lord with all their heart and depend on Him to do it.  Just to not leave us.  Well He has done it.  Each one of my children, husband and me has gone through the fire and now He is going to bring beauty out of ashes I just feel Him saying it in my heart.  It is the year of jubilee.  Is that right?  That was from the Lord to my heart and I looked it up and this is what it means.  I did not know.  It was God speaking to my heart this will be the year of Jubilee.   Jubilee year is mentioned to occur every fiftieth year, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest.  If this is all He uses this mother to do in this life it will be enough.  I will forever praise Him no matter what but I am going forward trusting I am hearing His voice.  The results is to Him, in His hands and that is where I leave it.   My son and one daughter is missing here so when you pray please remember them also.

We Are Not Jesus

I see this morning I am not Jesus.  I wrote about my week helping people last week.  I have a horrible headache and been down for two days.

I also wrote about helping people and how we should help everyone.  I saw I was like Jonah.  There was a whole group of people I ask for help and they did not help me.  I have always prided myself in forgiving people.  You know Jesus forgave me so I should forgive others.  That those that have been forgiven much love much.  I said Lord I cannot forgive.  You are going to have to forgive me on the basis of what Jesus did for me not because of my forgiveness for others.  God has been humbling me for two days.  When you ask him to humble you and show you who you are apart from Him He will.

He showed me I am just like these people to someone who needs me right now.  I just can't do what they are asking.  I am beginning to see my limitations.  There is just so much I can do for others.  I am not Jesus.  These people for whatever reason saw their limitations and they could not help me do what I was asking.  This someone who is asking of me right now, I just can help so far.  There are somethings I am just not capable of doing.  I will love them, pray for them and know God will provide what and who they need to carry them on.  I want to be a part of their life for as long as God places me there but I can't rescue them and they don't expect me to I don't think.  I think I did think others could rescue me.  So yes I can forgive.  There is really nothing to forgive.  I am just like them.  What they did for me was just what I needed.  With tears in my eyes I am hearing the Lord tell me do you accept and trust the plan I have had for your life.  Do you trust me?   I don't know what to say to that right now.  I think I need some more time on that one.  It is ok though.  I don't have to have it all figured out.  Right now for me to trust Him is to simply say as my daughter use to say to me, it is what it is.

I am trying to learn to live this new life of faith Jesus has given me.  I see part of that is not only accepting who I am in Christ and what He has done for me but accepting my fallenness, my frailty and limitations.  I am human I am not God and was not meant to be.  God is faithful to me and to His other children.  He is the one who sets the prisoners free, not me.  He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it.  I can share the burdens of others but I can't carry the load.  I can love them within the bounds of my limitations.  I can give what I can give and what I am capable of giving.  It does not mean someone else won't come along where I have left off and help someone.  We are not meant to take someone all the way through their life.  That is what God does.  Some plant, some water but the results are the Lords.  The greatest thing I can do for someone is to point them to Jesus.  Yes to practically help them when I can.  But realize there are things and times I just cannot.  I have to be ok with that.

God has always provided just who I needed in my life at just the right time and there have been many.  He has even used these that I didn't think help me help me.  They have been a friend to me and have given to me what they could give. They have prayed for me, sometimes just that is the very best we can do for someone.   It is what and how God planned to use them in me.  I didn't see until now what an issue this was with my heart.  I think that is why I wrote on helping people.  Not out of love but out of not accepting what God has had for me and how He has gone about it.  I hear God saying it is ok but do you know I love you?  Do you really know I love you.  I said, I don't know, after a long wait.  I don't know anything right now.  He said it is ok, I will wait.  I said are you sure it is ok or are you crushed?  He said I already was.  After hours and many tears...Yes, Yes I do believe it.  I believe you love me.  I believe the plan you have for me shows this love beyond any other plan there could have ever been.  Like my plan of happiness and pain free.  You love me and I accept this life you have for me.  Please help me to enjoy it and you to the fullest by your grace.  I just can't see things apart from your Spirit.  I need you.

I feel free right now.  Free to step into peoples lives when God leads me in ways he has equipped me with time, energy, resources and my gifting.  I am no longer going to try to be everyones savior nor expect them to be mine.  I am free to be me and to allow others to be them.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Man was made to worship

23-24 “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”

I have been at my daughters this past week.  My grandson had surgery and I was helping out so she could work.  We had a great week.  I love being with them.  We worked, laughed, shopped, cooked, cleaned, played nurse, talked, debated and remembered.  Last nite while there I got some news about another daughter of mine that is hurting.  I learned today she is not going to be able to come home for another year. She is in a horrible situation and I cannot rescue her.  Although I didn't know this at that time I knew I had to go home.  Just hearing a message from her was very upsetting to me.  I wanted to draw back.  To get in my comfort zone.  I did not pray, well finally some.  I ask God to show me my heart but I had no strength.  I was in so much pain.

I recounted my week.  I read and listened to scripture, and things that increased my faith.  Spent time with a great friend.  Slept and ate.  I couldn't figure out why I was so upset.  I knew I was tired but there was more to it than that.  It finally hit me.  All week I did not worship.  I did not go to corporate worship at church nor did I have daily worship.  I just had no time really alone and that is where I love to honor and soak in His love is in the quiet of my heart and alone.

We tell each other do your devotionals, study your bible, serve God, love others but we forget about the necessity of worship.  Man is made to worship.  God is seeking those who will worship Him with their whole heart.  It not is just in submission and fellowship in life it is a time set apart each day to glorify our Lord. But worship can happen anytime anywhere, in a carpool line, in a car to work, washing diapers or jogging. Taking the kids to a park, at lunch at work, at the supper table.  I notice things in my house that make a cross, a window pain, the tile floor, my screened in porch, it brings me to worship.  Worship is a condition of the heart. A lifestyle.  It is to meditate on who He is, what He has done, His love for us.  To lift our hands in song and praise to Him.  To dance, sing, be still, listen, rest, meditated, however you do it.  Just you and Him where your heart is His, undivided, open and honest not just about who He is but because of Him who you are. He illuminates the most wonderful scriptures to your heart and mind.  Worship not only honors God but it sustains us.  It lifts us to the throne of grace with Him above our circumstances.  Life seems so small when you are in the presence of God.  Your trust grows.  You are united with Him again in Spirit and He is the most important thing in your world.  He is worthy and you are loved.  He consumes you whole heart, mind and strength and His becomes yours.  You have life once again.

It is much easier to worship God when things are going along smoothly and happily but what about when the world you live in and those you love are hurting and you don't have the answers or understand why.  Can we give a sacrifice of praise then?  Like Job can we say though He slay me or my child can I praise Him?  Can you still trust Him with the dearest things of your heart besides Him?  This is when you reach in the deep recesses of His heart.  When you are in pain and you mingle your heart with His to cope, to be comforted, to just survive in His existence and you trust Him.  Feeling pain does not mean you do not forgive, love, worship, trust in surrender of heart and life.  Christ felt unbearable pain but yet He did the will of His Father completely.  He loved and forgave us.  He worshiped.  

John Piper said, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him".  This is to worship Him.  To delight and enjoy God is for Him to be your God.  To have intimacy of self in Him and Him in you.  You know there is no other.  He is your Beloved, Father and Spirit.  He will bring your heart to worship as you begin to gaze on Him.  He will give you a song to sing that is shared and born in the very heart of God.  You will remember His Son and the cross and the music will flow.  Life and love and sacrifice and suffering make sense again.  He has defined it

within you.  You are at peace, rest and His joy is in you.  What more could you want or need than to glorify your God?  You are the Kings child and you have his undivided attention.  He looks into your eyes and He is pleased.  It is worship because of your wonder of Him.  Now you can go out and love, serve, obey and follow.  You can move out of your comfort zone into the unknown world of faith and trust.  You have given and received.  You can go out expecting the impossible from an awesome God.

My daughter was an idol. No matter if I wrote about it or tried I could not worship.  It was all wrong.  Sorry I can't post the link.  Go to youtube Jimmy Needham "Clear The Stage".  So good. I have demanded from others what I cannot give myself.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Set the captives free

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[a]

There is a saying in AA, "you are as sick as your secrets".  Our secrets are killing us.  I guess in a way we all have secrets.  I am not talking about those.  I am talking about the destructive ones.  The ones that oppress us, keep us prisoners, us or our loved ones.  These secrets of oppression, addiction, mental illness, abuse, poverty, handicaps, that we have shared with no one, either because we are embarrassed, hopeless, scared, don't want to gossip or hurt someone, wives don't want to dishonor their husbands, don't know what to do, you are free in the name of Jesus to tell someone in order to get help.  These all are illusions and lies. The church is not immune to these lies.  We have to share our secrets with someone trustworthy of our heart in order to break free.  Satan loves for us to keep secrets, keep things in the dark.  There is no help there.  Jesus is the light of the world.

You may not have any idea who you can go to but I promise you there is someone out there that will help you.  God has an army of His people that are called to proclaim the good news.  Find someone that will not condemn you but will give you wisdom, support and the help you need for you or whoever touches your life that you love and care about.  Go to a pastor, yours preferably, but if not someone, an elder, a friend in the body of Christ that loves the Lord, a christian counselor, a support home or place, maybe another family member, someone that will and wants to help you.  Pray God will lead you to just the right person who will step out in faith into your life of confusion, pain and suffering.  Get others, even a couple of people to pray for you and those needing help and helping.  I am praying for you now.  Don't be someone who is afraid to be free.  Who feels safer in their own prison than willing to face fear and move out to life.  It is hell where you are.  You don't have to pray to go home to heaven to escape the pain anymore.  There is freedom and life.  Reach out and take it.  Jesus promises it.

We are not to run from these people.  Some people don't want to get involved.  They are scared to cause trouble. Don't want people mad at them. They don't know what to do.  Think it is not their place, always someone else.  I know many of you are not running from these people but seeking them out.  We are called to set the captives free.  It is our calling as a christian no matter what you think your gifts are.  If you honestly don't think you can help this person with this situation, go with the person, to someone who can.  We must break these chains that hold us and are killing our families, marriages, children, and loved ones and Gods church. Work to get our laws changed.  Be proactive. Our prisons, grave yards, streets, homes and churches are full of these people or those whose lives have been taken because of this.  It could be you.  Only by the grace of God is one of these people not you or someone you love.  It may have been.  Maybe that is why you have such a compassion, a heart for them now. It is Jesus. It is a gift from God and a blessing to you to be able to move into the mess of someone else life with hope and truth. They will be forever grateful.  Don't be hasty but seek wisdom and a multitude of counselors if necessary to help someone.  Get educated now, if you are not, on how to help the body of Christ, the broken hearted be whole and free.  They are people who God wants to give life and life abundant to.  He can and will do that through you.  He is calling us to obey Him and do it with a heart of love for Him and others. We are anointed for this purpose. You are here, now, for such a time as this. Christ died to set the captives free.  It is for freedom that we are free.  We all are free in Christ because of the cross.  Lets give the truth to the captives.  You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free, free indeed.

I do not write this to make anyone feel guilty.  I write it to me to not live in regret but to do something for someone else. They did it for me.

Friday, August 16, 2013

So How Do We Live?

About 20 years ago I took a bible study from my pastor and his wife.  It was called Sonship out of Philadelphia written by Jack Miller.  His son Paul Miller also did major work in this study.  It is a study of the gospel and how it is not just for salvation but for sanctification.  Living every day life.  People were getting free.  Knowing peace and joy they had never had.  I was among these.

Before the study ended we moved to Arkansas.  I talked to my pastor and he said Sonship was not in the area.  Problems and troubles were entering my life and I didn't know how to deal with them.  I called World Harvest Mission and ask them if I was mentored by their mentor could I teach the bible study.  I did this not that I understood the gospel or remembered what I had learned by I was desperate to hear it.

I began to teach the study to pastors wives, bible study leaders, from all denominations.  I would go to pastors and tell them about the study for them.  I was being mentored all along.  The gospel began to peel me like an onion.  I had daily repentance and faith but my life fell apart. It was changing me but not the way I wanted.   It began to reveal my heart, what I was trusting in, my life and how much I needed Jesus.

As you may know the next years were spent with me in and out of the mental hospital.  A friend ask me the other day.  How do you live and tell someone the gospel.  Even when you were so sick you gave the gospel and pointed others to Jesus.  I knew the words. I continued to be a student of all the gospel meant to us as Gods child, who He is and His ways of faithfulness and what Jesus did on, up to and after the cross.  I spoke them to everyone I came in contact with but the gospel had not moved me into freedom.  I spent these years seeking the Lord and being sick and more sick.

This last year I was counseled by Rick Thomas.  Rick has a forum, you can join, and over a thousand articles and webinars he has written on how to counsel.  He also has a website and counseling course I hope to be trained by.  He does this by the gospel.  Rick, the articles, and the fellowship and teaching of the forum God has used at just the right time to changed my life.  No counselor or program can change us but God does use us in each others lives to help us in trusting God.  The gospel began to grab hold of my heart.  The things I had been teaching and saying for 20 years I began to believe.  My life was changing, I am changing and freedom, peace and joy has become my friend. I am beginning to have the life that Jesus gives.  I am learning to trust God and not myself.  It was His timing and His purposes that brought me to a place of seeing Him clearer.  I don't always stay in this place of freedom but I know my way back.  I still forget all the time.  It has been exciting to me to see the how trusting a loving, faithful, good God, things I heard a thousand times, can bring me to a place of enjoying Him and others. Of what I write all the time, that God is faithful no matter what is going on in your life.  Like I said in my devotional I still am learning, struggling and failing.  Martha, who writes with me said, "you use to write what other people said now you write from experience".

When I write to you daily I bring my circumstances, people and things God is teaching to me to you.  Then I relate these things to truths about the gospel.  These truths are things that are so because of the gospel.  The whole bible is pointing to the gospel or away from it.  To the God who rescued an unfaithful people and brought them to Himself.  That either He was to come or He had come and what that meant.    I have to be able to see the heart issues of my life or anothers, the things that are being believed and know the gospel and its truths.  The Spirit brings these truths and discernment to my mind and heart. I have so much to learn in doing this but it has become a part of me.  We all have a theology, what we know in our head and we live out of another theology possibly of what we believe and live by.  What directs our heart.  I pray when I write and talk to people that the Spirit will show me their heart and the gospel.   Even as I am talking to a friend.  That God would cover my mistakes.  That it would work in the hearts of others.  I pray for you.  You might call this mentoring. For 20 years I have had mentors and wouldn't have survived without them.  My friends give me the gospel and share what God is doing and teaching them.  It keeps me going many times.  I never waited until I felt I was at a point of maturity to share my story, the bible doesn't.  I shared right where I was, what God was teaching me and doing in me, even how I was failing and struggling and how Jesus was the answer. I am still doing this.  I know no other way.  I did this in hopes others might could relate to where I was at some level or just be encouraged and turn to God.  That I might believe it myself.   It really is not about me anyway.  It is about the truths of the gospel and Jesus.

I want to encourage you to share your story and what God is teaching you to someone today.  Begin to think about all He did for you, look in scripture, it is full on the cross and all that means.  Just grab hold of one truth a day if you can and meditate on that.  Pray God gives you the faith to believe it.  It will not only change you but will change others.  We are called to the Great Commission.  Begin it in faith today and do all you can to be taught, mentored and study the gospel as you depend and trust Him.  The gospel is the power of God for our salvation not just to begin but to continue in this walk with God living in us.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Clanging Symbol

I have been gone from home for a few days.  I went home last night and my husband was not expecting me.  He is a farmer and had worked really hard yesterday.  It was late when he came in but I wanted to talk about issues.  Nothing wrong just talk.  He was not in the mood.  I know this about him at night but it did not stop me.  He hurt my feelings.  My feelings are easily hurt.  I tried not to say something I would regret, sin against him in response to having my feelings hurt.  He went to bed and I began to read.

The Spirit began to work on my heart.  He showed me how I had done and said things I should not have done.  I did not have love.  I was a clanging symbol.  Even though I had tried not to sin against my husband I had.  There were things in my heart and it was going to come out.  I decided to wait til morning to talk to him about it.  I ask some people to pray for my heart.  I could tell I had a proud heart.  I really had to spend time with the Lord before I could forgive my husband or ask him to forgive me.  I think one way to do this is to remember how we have sinned against God.  He died on the cross for our sins and then He said Father forgive them.  He was full of mercy and love.  He laid down His life for us.  He died in our place.  In a sense I was going to have to die.  I was going to have to chose to let my pride go, by Gods grace humble myself and confess my sin to my husband. I had demanded my own way.  I thought I was right and he was wrong.  A dangerous place to be, self righteousness and pride.   This is something I haven't understood before.  How you cannot forgive someone until your heart is right.  Until God has humbled you and shown your own need for Jesus. Until you receive forgiveness from God if you sinned.  Those who are forgiven much love much.   More times than not when there is an argument or disagreement both parties are wrong.

I prayed God would give me the heart and words I needed and the Spirit would work in my situation. I had to totally rely on God I could not do this alone or make things ok.   I went to my husband this morning and told him he hurt my feelings but that I was wrong.  That the Spirit had convicted me of the things I had done. The sin was removed from between us.  We made things right.  We talked about what were my heart issues.  The cause of my sin.  How I could change.  What he could do to help me change.  This was a deeper thing than me just not getting his attention.  I have somethings I am going to have to put off and put on and so is he. God had made us willing and wanting His way more than ours.

It is neat how God can use your sin and repentance to actually not only restore relationships but make them better than they were before things had even happened.  Grace runs downhill.  God gives grace to the humble.  We are to resist the devil and our wanting and demanding of our own way.  We are to draw near to God and He will draw near to us. When people can come together in forgiveness and the redemption of Christ.  How He makes wrong things right.  It is a beautiful freeing thing.  Burdens and guilt is lifted.  There is peace and joy again.  New faith in Christ is given through repentance.  It is a way to become more like Jesus and work with what the Spirit is doing in you and others.  You have a new hope, a new and deeper love for others.  God is glorified.

There are steps in this devotional I mostly followed from an article by Rick Thomas. I tried to adapt his program to my situation.  Study this as I did his article and see if you can see what the steps are.  I thought I understood repentance and forgiveness but I had never seen all I need to see.

This is Ricks article.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hearing Gods Voice

A few months ago I spoke to some women on hearing Gods voice.  I want to share some of the things I shared with them.  I by no means have exhausted this topic but am learning still after many years of exploring some of the ways God relates to us.  You might say it is being Spirit led by faith.  Or Christ living through you.  These all have in common that God is a relational God and He goes to great lengths to have a personal, individual, unique relationship with each of us, His children.  We are told in scripture that His sheep hear His voice and know it.  We are given the wisdom and discernment to know the voice of God.  It does take practice and a humility of giving up your will for His will and a desire to follow Him.  God speaks to our heart and mind through the Spirit of God.  Word in the New Testament means both spoken words.  One meaning is rhema-hearing the voice and sensing the Spirit by which the words are spoken.  The second meaning is Logos which is the recorded words which have been spoken.  Jesus Christ is also called Logos, the Word of God, the bible. This is one of the main ways God speaks to us.  Not only when we read it but His Spirit will write His laws on our heart.  The Law of Love.   God wants us all to hear His voice and we have when we responded to His call to our hearts to salvation.  That was the voice of God.

There are hindrances to hearing Gods voice.  One is a noisy mind.  We have to learn to quiet our minds.  To be able to distinguish where our thoughts are coming from.  This takes practice.  Fear can occupy our mind.  We bring the truths of God against these.  We are told to renew our mind.  Think on these things of God.  A noisy conscience can occupy our mind.  We have to be able to discern when we are being convicted and led to repentance or when we just have a false guilt.  Maybe due to circumstances we have endured in our life.  Repentance is a gift from God.  We hear Him show us we are going in our own direction instead of following Him. He searches our hearts and tells us our ways.  We cannot know our own heart.  Satan will send thoughts to our mind.  We are feed thoughts by the world and the flesh all day long if our mind is not occupied and consumed by God.  It is a battle field the min.. A overly sensitive conscience or a hard conscience is not of God.   God will never lead you opposite to scripture says Kay Arthur.  If you are hearing voices or thoughts that do contradict scripture it is not of God.  Pride, trying to be our own god or live life on our own can hinder us also.  Independent living.

God wants to direct our path. To guide us.  To live through us.  He is interested in even the smallest details of our life.  He knows the number of hairs on our head.  He wants us to believe in Him and trust Him with our whole heart.   He will tell us to this way or that way.  He wants to teach us and impart wisdom to us.  A great study on hearing Gods voice is Experiencing God.  He mentions God may do this through prayer, which is not just speaking but listening.  He may do this through others.  He may do this through circumstances.  Has He ever put on your heart a way to serve someone in deed or say something encouraging to someone.  To go into ministry?  Just how to live day to day in loving others and Him.  This is Jesus loving others through you.  He is speaking these things to your heart.

God wants to reveal Himself to us.  One way He does this is through His creation.  The Psalms speaks of creation revealing God to us.  If you have ever looked at a peace of art, read a book, a poem, heard a song or a movie maybe these things reveal something about the person who did it but it also can reveal Gods love as His gifts are displayed through the believer and unbeliever.  Have you ever been on a walk and just began worshiping?  This is the Spirit leading you and drawing you worship.  God seeks those who worship Him.  Creation is examples of Gods teaching throughout the bible.  He gives us constant reminders of His ways through a tree, a stream, river, stars, rainbow on and on.

Do you keep a journal, speak, give sermons, teach?  Are these things born out of your time with the Lord?  It is Him giving these words to you.  He says do not worry about what to say like to Moses. He will give them to you.   His Spirit is our teacher, counselor, healer, shepherd.  In doing these things and more He speaks to our heart and mind.  He gives us faith through hearing, hope and love are gifts to us. He assures us by His Spirit that we are His.  He reminds us of His promises and love for us.  Of His Son and who He is.  The Spirit does not do on His own but what the Father tells Him.

These are just a few thoughts on living by faith, being led by the Spirit or hearing Gods voice, Jesus living through you.  Learn to be sensitive to His Spirit.  To listen for His voice throughout your day.  Rejoice that He would go to such great links to love us and commune with us.  The way He relates to you will be special.  You are special to Him.  He wants to use you for His glory.  He wants to do good to you.  As we do what He ask us to do by trusting Him and enjoy Him the more we will hear His voice.  Find a quiet place, be still, listen for the whisper to your heart that He loves you.  Meditate on His words day and night.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Oh Ye of Little Faith

Many times I have written about how my life use to be together.  How I could handle any and everything.  How God in His mercy did not let me to continue to live this life apart from Him depending on my life with my plans for it.

Right after this time I became very sick most of you know.  I was on a lot of medicine.  I was so sedated I could not get out of bed.  It was a real struggle.  I would go days without a shower.  I ask friends to come and walk with me and pray so I could begin my day.  I would sit for days on end in a daze.  The strange thing is though I was always thinking about God.  Even in my illusions and delusions I knew God was with me.  He was teaching me to trust Him and to know my need for Him.

As time went on I was in and out of the hospital.  But then I began to get better.  On less medicine.  Still in another world most of the time. It usually was with Jesus.  Even when I wasn't delusional I couldn't make simple decisions.  I would have to pray Lord, what do I eat?  What do I wear?  Please show me what to do next.  I learned to talk to Him all throughout my day.  To depend on Him and believe He would be there for me.  I am in remission now.  I believe my mind is healed by the grace of God and good counsel, friends, family.  But I still have kept with me that relying on Jesus. I just can't function apart from Him.   I can tell when I am back to my old ways of trying to be my own savior.  I know I cannot save me or anyone else but I forget the gospel.  But the gospel does not forget me.  Jesus is always there wooing me back to life in Him.

I have a friend and I was sharing this with her.  She has had struggles and she was sharing with me the same thing, her continual need for Jesus.  I told her even when I wasn't praying I had Jesus, Father and Spirit in the back of my mind, leaning into them.  Knowing I can trust Him with this.  You are here with me without saying a word.  It is a humble confidence I have in the faithfulness of God that He has given me over these years.  He has proven Himself to me and now I depend on it.  My friend said I wonder when we will get better.  I said I don't think we need to try to get better.  I think Jesus loves our child like dependence on Him.  Our continual communion with Him.  Seeking His presence with us throughout our day.

I was with a friend yesterday.  She said you have so much faith.  I don't feel like I have much faith.  I feel so weak and needy for Christ to be my strength in my weakness as He promises.  Maybe that is faith I don't know.  When I boast in my faith it seems like the very next thing, I struggle believing, trusting.  Like Peter when He boast in loving the Lord and then he denied him even to the point of cursing.  God was faithful and used Peter in a mighty way in the church but it was not because Peter was faithful but Jesus was.  It is His faithfulness we must keep our eyes on.  I feel like Paul the older I get I know I am chief of all sinners.  When I lose sight of this I fail. It is like He is calling me to walk on water and I look down and I start to sink.  He humbles me all over again.  He breaks me because I have prayed three prayers in the last 20 years.

1.  That I would join Jesus and His suffering and that I would identify with Him, know Him and know the power of His resurrection.

2.  That whatever it takes for my family to depend on Him please do it.  Just don't leave us.

3.  That I want all of Him that I can possible receive in this life.

These are courageous prayers.  They are Jesus prayers for me.  He is interceding for me and He never stops.  I don't have this courage.  It is Jesus in me praying to the Father for me and my family.  So when hard times come and they have.  I remember again these prayers and His faithfulness to me and I say oh ye of little faith God is mighty to save.