Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What if?

Slow down and take time to be with me.

Slow down and stop running. 

Be still. 


This is what I hear the Father saying today.  He’s been talking to my heart lately about the things I do to refresh myself.  He’s been daring me to find out if spending time with Him could be better than picking up a book or flipping on the television.  I’m being honest here – I’ve spent most of my life finding rest for my soul in a plate of nachos and a good book.  I love the Lord and I love spending time with Him, but I think this may be one more wall in my brain that needs to be torn down.  Early in the morning and last thing at night seem like natural times to seek the Lord, but there are lots of times throughout my day when I turn in other directions for rest and relaxation.  Still…there’s that quiet voice in my heart saying “What if you turned to Me instead?”  What if I found relationship with Him on a whole new level when I let Him into all of my day? 

Abba – my loving Father God, Jesus – most faithful Friend and Lord, Holy Spirit – Comforter and Helper to You I pray. Please help me believe You to be this big in my life!  Please help me trust You to be all I need all day.  Please help me be brave enough to lay down my crutches and really walk with you.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waiting for "Well Done"

Have you ever found yourself incredibly discouraged by hearing someone else’s success story?  All of the long nights and endless days are reduced to a couple of sentences and it seems as if the hard times really didn’t last very long.  It’s kind of like watching Julia Child.  You see her begin to make a really complex dish and then after the next commercial break, suddenly she is pulling the finished product out of the oven looking picture perfect and saying, “Voila!  Bon appetit!”   We’re all sitting there thinking, “I’d be a chef, too, if it were really that simple.”  The problem with all of this seemingly instant success is that it is incredibly discouraging to those of us living in real time, isn’t it?  We are waiting on some situation that involves people dear to us to be resolved and it seems like it will never happen.  We pray, we cry, and we resolve to leave it in the Lord’s hands and then, bam!  The smoke alarm is going off and we are calling our 911 prayer line again.  That is where I am today - opening the windows to clear the smoke out and getting on my knees again to put this dish back in God’s oven, trusting His timer to be the right one.  As dearly as I would love to already be at the “Voila!” moment, I know the Father is asking me to trust Him for as long as it takes for this dish to receive His “Well done.” 
What I hear the Lord saying today is simply, “Don’t faint.  Don’t let go of my promise.  Keep holding on and trusting that I am holding on to you.”  Hebrews 10:23 puts it this way, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”

Yes, He is!  Keep holding on.  One day, we will have a joyous celebration when all of the works of the Lord are complete, and all the waiting will be worth it! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Leaping Over Walls

For a while now, I’ve been aware of walls in my thought patterns.  Barriers that only exist in my head and yet, they still keep me from doing things I need to do.  For example, I have a wall in the area of my head where I plan meals, buy groceries and cook.  The reasons for this are mostly fear-based.  I’m afraid I’ll spend too much.  I’m afraid no one will want to eat what I make, including me.  I’m afraid it won’t be healthy enough.  When I hit this wall, I usually sit there and beat myself up for not having licked this thing 20 years ago.  This is one of those places where I need the Lord to step into my everyday life and set me free.  Today, I am choosing to believe that the amazing God who has saved me from my sin is also willing to help me live moment by moment.  Regarding this wall, His answer to me is to step past the fear and just do it.  Make a plan.  Stop sitting there stewing and wishing for perfect.  My family will be blessed if I make them food – period.  It isn’t just fear that makes a wall.  Wishing for perfect is another wall builder for me.  Last night, my ideal was sitting down to dinner together.  Unfortunately schedules didn’t come together and I only had one family member out of four around when it was dinnertime.  I was frustrated and hungry (never a good combo!) and then I realized, my daughter and I could just go ahead and eat.  The rest of the family would eat later and it wasn’t the end of the world.  Again, I heard the Lord saying: Just do what you can.  This may sound really lame and obvious, but for me I’ve felt like each day was an obstacle course.  I thought for a long time it was because of all that I had to do, but now I am beginning to wonder how much has been the mental/emotional baggage I’ve been dragging around as I tried to do what needed to be done perfectly.  Today the Lord is saying to me:  Just do it.  Just do what you can.  And finally:  Just do what I give you peace to do.  How many times do we tie ourselves up in knots doing things that we really aren’t called to, but they sounded like good ideas?  I’m not saying there won’t be times when we are called to do something out of our comfort zone, but if God is saying “Go for it!” we will have peace even as we push ourselves. 
Abba Father, thank you for being so faithful to speak to us right where we are.  Please help us turn to You always, no matter what kind of wall we are up against.  Thank You, Jesus, for being the Good Shepherd who promises to lead us and never leave us! 

John 10:27

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

Psalm 18:28-29

For You will light my lamp;
The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.
For by You I can run against a troop,
By my God I can leap over a wall.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Standing in Grace

This week, I’d like to share with you some verses from Romans, at the end of chapter 4 and on into the beginning of chapter 5 from the paraphrase called The Message.  One of my prayers for this year is to have new eyes.  Looking at these powerful verses through a different pair of lenses has given me a fresh take on the truth they express.  My prayer is that they will bless you, too.

Abraham didn't tiptoe around God's promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong…sure that God would make good on what he had said. That's why it is said, "Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right." But it's not just Abraham; it's also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

There’s a victory being described here that is definitely beyond where I am living currently, but I certainly hope it is where I am headed. 

Abba, please help us stand in Your amazing grace, instead of being willing to crawl through our days under the burden of condemnation, hopelessness and frustration.  Please fill us again with your Holy Spirit, so we can know Your love in all it’s fullness.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.