Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Love Songs from God

Yesterday I woke up to the Lord quietly calling me to Himself with a love song.  It was so gentle, I could have easily brushed it aside and gone back to sleep.  I had a choice – dismiss it as random brain waves or receive it as an invitation from the One who loves me most.  Grace enabled me to do the latter and I am so glad!  I guess I’ve always thought, so stupidly, that I have to get myself together to come to Him – as if I ever could get myself together without Him.  Daring to believe that He was calling for me, wooing me to come to Him – Wow!  That’s a game changer.  You see, for the last two days, I’ve been on the run.  Running from what?  I didn’t know until He stopped me.  Then I could see.  I was running from the pain of trying to figure it all out.  When did I decide that was my job?  Here’s what my Abba, my loving Lord, had to say about that: 
Trying to figure it all out will crush you.  That is what keeps most people from embracing Me.  They have decided they have to figure it all out first.  They think they have to completely understand Me with their minds before they are willing to let their hearts trust.  What faith really comes down to is being brave enough to truly look Me in the eye and see that all I have for you is love.  I’ve made provision for your sin to be covered.  I’ve revealed myself as the One who comes with mercy to heal, restore and set free.  My heart says to My creation, “Come on, come on, into My arms.  Give in to Me.” 

John 1:16-18  “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What Got In the Way?

Last week the Lord spoke these words to my heart:  Something comes between us and a shadow falls on your heart, but My great love never leaves you. 

You might have wondered what could have possibly been big enough to block my awareness of the Father’s love.  Sigh.  First, let me just say that sometimes it is really hard to be so open with you.  I wish I could hide myself and just share the distilled truth I believe I’ve been given without showing you the muddy path to the well from which I draw.  Knowing that we all walk those same muddy paths is what keeps me willing to lay down my mask and let you see me as I am.  My dearest hope is that I can help you avoid or climb out of a few of the holes I’ve fallen into. 

What came between me and my awareness of my Abba and His love?  I had shifted my focus from Him to a person.  My thought life was dominated by how this person had disappointed me, let me down, and not been to me what I had hoped they would be.  I was stuck in a place of finding it hard to let go of how I wanted things to be.  I didn’t want to let go of my claim ticket that said “So and so owes me ____________”, only that little blank would go on for a paragraph or two.  Have you ever wandered this barren land?  It is not a happy place.  It is pretty much the opposite of the picture painted by Psalm 23.  This is where we end up when we seek to be our own shepherds, searching desperately for the way to make sure our needs get met by those around us, or even by ourselves.  In the end, there is nothing but darkness and howling emptiness.  The only way out is to let go of our right to demand that someone be what we need.  Now, here is the part where we get to see how wonderful our Abba Father is.  He doesn’t ask us to deny the needs of our hearts.  What He asks is that we will take those needs and trust Him to meet them.  He speaks to our hearts the incredible comfort that we are His sons, and He will provide for us.  We are not orphans that we should cry at the gate for a crust to be thrown our way.  No!  He promises that every need will be met abundantly if we will only trust Him.  With this treasure before us, it is easy to let go of the little rock we’ve been clutching so desperately.  Now we are able to go beyond forgiveness in the traditional sense of “you did this, it was wrong, but I forgive you”.  We are able to look at those responsible for our deepest let-downs and say, “I forgive you for not being who I wanted you to be for me.  I accept you as you are.  I trust my Abba Father to meet all those needs that you either won’t or can’t meet.  You are released from my debt.  I won’t keep trying to shake you down for something you just don’t have.” 

Is this a one-time deal?  No way!  I have to keep choosing where I put my focus.  Is it on the immense awesomeness of my Abba God or have I allowed a tree to block my view of the One Who made every forest?  This is why worship is vital to the life of our souls.  Not because God needs it, but because we need to remember Who rules, and how wonderful He is and always will be.  He is ALL we need.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What Am I Really Hungry For?

This past week I’ve been wrestling with the hunger in my heart to be known and loved deeply.  When I say wrestling, I mean most of the week it had me pinned to the mat, crushed under the weight of this huge craving in my soul.  Now, when I talk about hunger and cravings, I know you ladies know what I’m talking about.  Sometimes it’s our stomachs and sometimes it’s our souls, but there are times when we feel as if the canyon inside of us can never be filled.  When I finally sat down and began to write my heart out to the Lord in my journal, I realized on one level, it is true.  I am a broken human who has a cavern of emptiness in me that no amount of mother love, father love, husband love, child love or friend love has ever been able to fill.  The kicker is that I know it is only the divine love of my God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – that can fill up this huge pit.  I know no human can completely meet this need for another.  My cry to the Father was, “Why don’t I know it right now?!”  Here is what I heard my Abba say:  You have known it and you will know it again, but sometimes you lose sight of it.  Something comes between us and a shadow falls on your heart, but My great love never leaves you. 
As I thought about that, I picked up my Bible and ended up turning to Psalm 115.  I was especially blessed by verses 9 through 13. 
O Israel, trust the LORD!
He is your helper and your shield.
O priests, descendants of Aaron, trust the LORD!
He is your helper and your shield.
All you who fear the LORD, trust the LORD!
He is your helper and your shield.
The LORD remembers us and will bless us.
He will bless the people of Israel
and bless the priests, the descendants of Aaron.
He will bless those who fear the LORD,
both great and lowly.
The Lord remembers us and will bless us.  That’s worth writing up and posting on your bathroom mirror.  He is our helper and our shield.  He is the ONE who truly understands us, knows us, and loves us completely and unconditionally.  At our worst, He loves us.  He has promised never to leave us or forsake us, and even better, He has promised to perfect the work He has begun in us.  His love is Enough.  Thank You, Lord!  We bless You and praise You! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Time To Move On

Well ladies, it’s the first Wednesday of the new year and I’ve been asking the Lord for His word for us for several days now.  For many people I know, the next few months will bring many changes.  Our beloved church called Restoration is coming to an end and something new will begin.  I’m sure I’m not the only one with a mixed-up swirl of emotions over this fact.  My husband and I came to this church as two-week-old newlyweds in 1989.  This place has been our spiritual home, our community, and the center point of our lives.  We have been so blessed to be part of this small portion of the Body of Christ.  This morning when I logged onto my Facebook, I saw a video link to a song by Dennis Jernigan posted by my wonderful cousin by marriage.  The song is called “Time To Move On”.  I’d like to share a few lines with you.      
It’s time to move on! 
Time to conquer that mountain.
 Time for crossing that ocean. 
Time for calming that sea.
It’s time to leave your past behind! 
It’s time to loose those chains that bind.
But if you never seek you will never ever find
All you’ve been hoping for
Right through that next open door
But you’ve got to move on.
Moving forward with the Lord always means leaving something behind.  Good or bad, we have to be willing to put the past in the Lord’s hands and keep moving forward with Him.  We can thank Him for all that was good.  Receive His healing for all that was painful.  But we can’t move forward until we let go of where we’ve been.  God is great and He is good.  He has a future for each one of us.  Jeremiah 29:11 assures us with these words.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Abba, thank You for loving us always, and always being at work for the best in our lives.  Help us trust You with our memories and our tomorrows.  Give us grace to be brave because You go before us, preparing the way.   In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 
*If you would like to hear the entire song, you can find it on www.youtube.com.   The video was posted by Dennis himself and includes a wonderful testimony about how this song came to be.