Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Where is the Joy?

Where is the joy?  Anybody besides me been wondering that lately?  I haven’t really been seeing it or feeling it.  Joy.  I know it’s something followers of Jesus are supposed to have and yet, for some reason I just don’t.  I think part of the problem is simply not maintaining my awareness of all that the Lord has done for me. 
One of the things David - psalmist, shepherd and king – did best was to remind himself of all that the Lord had done for him.  Psalm 30 is an enthusiastic declaration of how wonderfully God saved, healed and redeemed his life.  Look at the last two verses with me. 
You turned my wailing into dancing;
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing Your praises and not be silent.
LORD my God, I will praise You forever.  Psalm 30:11-12
David remembered what the Lord had done and he used those remembrances to stir his heart to worship and praise.  That my heart may sing Your praises and not be silent.  I was convicted when I read that because all too often my heart is silent.  If I do feel moved to worship, I can turn on a cd and while I know that I can genuinely worship the Lord with the help of a recording, I also know it is easy to let the singers on the cd do all the worshipping while I just enjoy the music.  To truly worship, I need to think about the Lord and who He is to me.  I need to remind my heart of all that He has done for me, and I need to open my mouth and sing His praises.  I need to remember all the times He has met me at the point of my need and declare that I know He always will.  Worship isn’t a weekly event at a building.  It’s something I need to engage in every day because when I do, joy isn’t hard to find.  It’s a well springing up inside me, a river of living water. 
Abba Father, please help us take the time to focus on You and Your goodness.  Please bring to our remembrance all the good things You have done.  Help us learn to sing Your praise and not be silent – not just at church, but in our homes and cars, too!  Help us engage in true worship.  Thank You for giving us a reason to sing.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Relationship Not Religion!

Last week I found myself having one of those days where it is a struggle to string one clear thought to the next.  Too many things were screaming for my attention and I couldn’t decide where to put my focus.  Ever have one of those?  I hate that kind of day because I always end up feeling like I didn’t accomplish much more than spinning my wheels and driving myself crazy.  When I got up the next day, I made a point of talking to the Lord about how the day before had gone.  I sure didn’t want to repeat the experience.  It didn’t take long for the Holy Spirit to take me straight to the bottom line.  Yesterday had been so miserable because I was trying to figure out what God wanted me to do without actually asking Him.  Why?  Because I was afraid to ask for fear of it being too hard, not what I wanted to do, or both.  Yep, I was totally busted; nailed for trying to find a way to make God happy without it interfering too much with my plans.  Isn’t it insane that I would rather stumble around in the darkness of my own mind rather than turn to my Father and simply ask Him to light my way?  That’s religion for you and it flies in the face of the fact that what the Father wants for us is a relationship built on trust.  If I trust Him and His love for me, I won’t be trying to weasel out of doing what He has for me.  I’ll know that even if it looks hard, Jesus is in me, enabling me to do what He asks.  I’ll trust the Holy Spirit to lead me and tell me which way to go and I will have peace,  knowing that I’m right where my Abba Father wants me.  Jesus went around doing what the Father told him to do and that’s what He wants for us, too!  Just in case you were wondering, once I submitted my agenda to the Lord, I had a great day!
 No one can come to Me  unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.  It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.  John 6:44-45

Abba Father, thank you for drawing us to Your Son Jesus.  Thank You for being a patient teacher.  Please help us stop running from You.  Help us believe Your plans are good and not evil.  Help us live in unbroken fellowship with You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More Than Able

More than able.  God spoke those words to my heart during worship Sunday.  It is so easy to slip into a mindset of seeing our problems as mountain- sized in comparison with the small strength we have to meet the crisis.  But God is not a man that He should be perplexed by our difficulties.  He is more than able to handle whatever we face.  Not only is His strength enough, He says it is actually perfected when we are weak and unable to stand on our own.   (2 Corinthians 12:9)
This week, my Abba Father has been challenging me to thank Him even in the face of difficulty.  Paul told us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks in all circumstances.  When I thank Him for my problem, I invite His presence and His power into the situation and free Him to make something wonderful out of something the enemy wanted to use to tear down my faith.  That’s what being a Redeemer is  all about!  He can redeem ANY thing in our lives and use it to bring His name glory and transform our hearts.  Just in case you were wondering, I’m not thanking Him for evil, but I’m thanking Him for being more than able to overcome it with His goodness.  Our problems are where we can meet our Father God face to face if we choose to take them to Him with thankfulness. 

Abba, please help us trust You in the hard things -  even to the point of thanking you for them.  Please bring Your Kingdom to life in our lives.  Thank You for being more than able!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Believing His Promises

This week, the Father is talking to me about trusting Him to do what He has promised.  I don’t know what you might be waiting on the Lord to do in your life, but I do hope that you have some things that you are believing He will do.  If you don’t, I hope you will take a look at your life, especially those messy areas you have no idea how to straighten out, and ask Him what He wants to do about them.  In at least one area of my life, I’ve asked the Lord to give me a picture for my heart’s wallet of what He plans to do so that I can take it out and look at it whenever I start to doubt.  This week, I needed His reminder to do just that.  Here is what He had to say:

You must not look with your eyes and think that is all there is.  I’ve called you to trust Me – to believe Me for what your eyes don’t see.  Believe Me!  Believe what I’ve promised!  Call those things that are not yet revealed into being in your life.  Trust me to make happen what I have shown you with your spiritual eyes.  As in heaven, so on earth - as you believe and trust Me for it all. 

To be honest, I wrote those words down during worship on Sunday and Monday morning I sat down with my Bible to be sure what I heard lined up with the Word.  The good news – it does!  Romans 4:17 states plainly that the God Abraham put his faith in is “the God Who gives life to the dead and calls those things that are not as though they were.”  Abraham believed God’s word to him concerning his righteousness and concerning his circumstances.  As one of Abraham’s children of faith, I can do the same. 

Bottom line, faith in our Abba Father brings peace.  Looking at our own meager resources brings anxiety.  Even when we have nothing, He says, “I am enough!” 

Thank You, Father God, that You are all we need.  You are faithful and You keep all Your promises.  Help our unbelief.  Help us hold on to your promises without wavering.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Floating on the Ocean of His Love

I just have to start off today by giving a shout of praise to the Lord for His wonderful goodness to us over the last two weeks.  Thank you for praying for us as we took a long-desired trip to the beach with our six children.  Our time there was truly blessed with many fun and unforgettable experiences.  My youngest daughter Rebecca had a deep desire to see dolphins while we were in Florida.  We had to tell her to pray about it, because we couldn’t guarantee it would happen.  Well, the Lord answered the desire of her heart and we saw not just one, but groups of dolphins surfacing out in the ocean one morning when we went out on jet skis.  It was an incredible thing to cut the motor and sit there on the crystal blue water with my little girls and watch those amazing creatures appear.  We were all blown away that God would do that for us. 

Whenever I look at the ocean, my heart is singing about my Abba Father’s incredibly big love for me.  I always think of Dennis Jernigan’s song, “Wider than the ocean, deeper than the sea is my Father’s love for me.”  A few years ago, during a time of great struggle for me as a wife and mother, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Stop trying to push the waves back and forth.”  I saw so clearly that I was living as if everything depended on me making it happen.  When the Lord said this to me, I could see for the first time how foolish and futile my way of life was.  It also explained why I was so tired all the time!  I wasn’t getting anywhere, but I sure was wearing myself out!  Then the Lord began to reassure me that He had all the things that concerned me under control.  What He wanted from me was trust and rest, and obedience when He did have something for me to do.  I began to get a wonderful vision of the ocean of His love and how I could float on it if I would just lay back and breathe, relaxed and trusting.  Since then, I’ve been learning to do just that.  At the beach last week, I was able to act out this spiritual truth in the physical realm.  My husband and I took pool noodles and swam out far enough from the shore to get to the clear, beautiful water where we could see the sandy bottom down below.  As we floated there enjoying the cool water and the beautiful scene all around us, I realized how far the Lord has brought me.  The last time we visited the ocean, I was afraid to go more than waist deep.  This time, I was free to swim out into the deeps and trust my Father to take care of me.  My prayer as I come home and take up once again the life the Lord has given me is that I will continue to float in His love and trust Him to take care of all that concerns me, no matter how deep the water gets. 

Abba Father, thank You for being so good to us, Your children.  You are a good Father and so patient.  Keep us aware of Your everlasting love.  Help us trust You in all things. Please use us to bring glory and honor to You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.