Sunday, September 26, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
I can't wait for Jesus to return. I know there's work left to do. I know we're still here for a reason. But, when the time is right-I'm ready to go.
I like to think all of Heaven waits in joyful anticipation of that day. I think from the moment Jesus returned to Heaven the angels and beings looked to Him to go back, this time for the final time, this time for the ultimate victory. Since they live out of the space time continuum in some aspects they are already there at the last battle-mind boggling.
I don't know what kind of conversations take place in Heaven but I like to think there are some fabulous interactions there.
I know no one knows the hour or the day He will return, but I like to think they have some kind of idea of the time frame. Like the other night when there was a harvest moon and the next one will be in 2022. Like maybe Jesus leaned over to Abraham and said, "You see the moon? You know how the next one is in several years? Not going to happen. They'll be home by then." And they both smile knowing how amazing that will be.
I like to think when the angels sit down for a cup of coffee with Jesus he says to them, "You know Christmas 2040? Don't make plans. By then we're going to have A LOT of company!! Best Christmas ever!"
I like to think about it, but I can't imagine.
Until then-Live for Him.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Not being where you want to be physically...................check.
Not being where you want to be spiritually..................check.
Not being where you want to be literally......................check.
Wondering if you'll ever be where you feel like God has called you....................Big check. Big.
Feeling like every spiritual brick you're laying toward whatever it is God is building is physically exhausting.......................weary check.
On a better note I've discovered this week that asking God the (really) hard questions will always be easier than not asking. And knowing He ultimately is the Answer changes everything.
Trusting God is really less an active struggle as it is a collapsing into His strength.
Finding Him so faithful.
Remembering He's enough.
Knowing my life does not escape His knowledge.
Trusting that my life's purpose has nothing to do with my plan and everything to do with His.
Believing He's big enough to do whatever it is and to write this story in such a way that is a miraculous testament to His ability to take the broken and make it beautiful.
For His glory.
Let it be so.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
I love that with God there's always a silver lining. Just recently I've started praying about an opportunity to do some missions work. I'll tell you more about that later, but it has given me something to look forward to. Just a short trip, but a chance to put my time, efforts, thoughts and money toward something eternal. I'm praying it will work out if it's of Him.
I'm restarting yoga (again!) tomorrow. I think it will help with running and mind clearing stress that I seem to attract like a magnet lately. I really love all things that force you to be quiet even for a short time. It's going to be good.
I'm not going to talk nonstop about The Patriarchs Bible study for the next 11 weeks but it seems like I could. I'm amazed that I wanted to do this one SO much last year, but this year is when I've needed it. Awesome reminders. As in, "God doesn't send forth His word just to hear himself speak." and "God is complete without you, but he chooses to be in relationship with you."
Ah the circle of life. Sometimes you just have to hang on long enough for things to change.
Thanks again :)
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Today started out bad. I got to work last night and there was a snake in my office. A real snake all twisted up like it was going to strike at me. The guy that works the shift before mine screamed like a girl and went running. Thanks. Finally the security guard came up front with a duster (really?) and picked him up to take him outside. Apparently he wasn't poisonous since he had circle eyes. Whatev. I'm not getting that close to find out. So once the reptile drama was solved I settled into work realizing not only had I not slept last night but for many nights.
I'm frustrated which is my go to emotion for just about everything. But this week I've been really frustrated. Transition is difficult especially spiritually. I'm looking for a new church and it's really hard. My schedule doesn't really allow that much church involvement as it is and I keep finding myself when I can go with nowhere to go. Humph. Thankfully fall Bible study started this past Tuesday and I can already tell Abraham and I have been divinely connected for a time such as this. The music CD that accompanies the study says, "I'm longing for a place I cannot find." HEARD!!! That about wraps up my spiritual journey at the moment. Blah.
We're running the half marathon October 2nd and this past week was not filled with good workouts. All I think of when I imagine the race is-I. am. so. tired. already. I'm excited about going and in certain moments believe I can actually finish that, but I'm really......well....tired!
This past week for whatever reason I just feel lonely. I spent the week surrounded by lots of people everywhere, but I just felt sad. I'm fiercely independent and have never been on a quest to get married or die trying, but this week I just kind of wanted someone to ask how my day was and want to know the answer. I just wanted someone to say, "If you need a hand - I've got two. If you need a hug - I'm here." And this past week I kinda needed both.
It's a phase. It's a season. It's fine. It will most certainly pass.
In the meantime I'm thankful for a Savior who offers us Himself as the God of all comfort. And for silver linings......but I'll save that for tomorrow :)
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
I want to leave a legacy, how will they remember me, did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough to make a mark on things? I want to leave an offering, A child of mercy and grace who blessed your Name unapologetically. And leave that kind of legacy. -Nichole Nordeman
I have to be honest, this book took me forever to read and most books don't. I just couldn't get into it. I love the idea of grace and I really love David Jeremiah, but this one wasn't my favorite. It might just be that this season in my life is overwhelmed by lots of good books and this one did not rank high on my list. It is biblically accurate of course and the truths are more than relevant for this time period. I do like how he used John Newton's song of Amazing Grace as his outline. Creative and powerful. The bottom line is grace is available to all of us every single day. The only question is will we accept it.
Again, I really like David Jeremiah. Some of his other books recently have been more powerful to me than this. Just my opinion.
Monday, September 6, 2010
But as the days went by I started to realize sugar wasn't in the forefront of my mind anymore. I didn't have to continually remind myself not to eat it. I didn't have to try so hard to avoid it so I wouldn't be tempted. And then one day I just stopped thinking about it. At the 6 week mark I had zero desire for sugar and I realized it would be ridiculous to start eating sugar again "just because." Pretty soon I'd made it through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter and my birthday without sugar. I decided after the first year that was it for me. No more sugar.
To reinforce my decision I've read some amazing books about the dangers and health hazards of sugar. I love The Prism Weight Loss System, Suicide by Sugar and Dr. Gott's material. I think what sealed the deal though was when a high school classmate was being diagnosed with cancer. To see where the cancer was growing they gave him a sugar solution to drink and then monitored where it went. The cancer was attracted to the sugar.
There's tons of reasons not to eat sugar, but for me it's a spiritual decision. I don't take the best care of this temple. I don't sleep a lot, I still don't eat as carefully as I should, I could stand to lose more weight and stand up straighter. At the heart of the matter, this temple doesn't belong to me. I am a home for the Holy Spirit to live. I want Him to be comfortable here. I don't want him to spend his time fighting through my bad habits to get to the heart of me. I want Him to have a straight path right to who I am. I want Him to make changes, convict and convince, love me and surround me with reminders of the Father without me getting in the way.
I've replaced refined sugar with an awareness of the Refiners Fire. There's nothing more I want to be than a refined vessel available to Him.
My Heart's one desire
Is to be-Holy
Set apart for You Lord.
I choose to be Holy
Set apart for You my Maker
Ready to do your will.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
I'm absolutely certain God speaks through His word ALL the time and I'm grateful for that. But I really love when He speaks through unexpected things which tends to happen to me, well, all the time.
The other day I was walking 2 of my dogs. Ella will walk right beside me as long as I want to walk and happily go home, curl up on the couch, and take a nap. She does not waver from the path. She doesn't smell everything that goes by. She just walks at whatever pace I decide for her. Odyssey acts like a crazy dog the minute I pick up his leash. He has never walked straight even with many books by The Dog Whisperer and lots of hours on the path. He's distracted in a half second by just about anything and goes home to run circles around the house until he passes out from exhaustion. I was thinking on that particular walk, "Ella, you are so much easier to lead. Odyssey, you're killing me. It would be more enjoyable for both of us if you were more willing to be led." I don't know what sounds the Lord is prone to making, but he more than occasionally resounds in my soul with a loud AHEM!
Oh, He's so right!! I've got His plan. I know His way. I know what He expects on this walk. I know His ways are perfection and He wants the best for me. And then I'm distracted by, well, everything. I can almost audibly hear the Lord saying to me, "This would be more enjoyable for both of us if you were willing to be led."
I'm really trying to get the word "but" out of my relationship with the Lord. I tend to have conversations more like this at the moment.
God: This way.
Me: okay, but, that way is shorter.
God: This way.
Me: okay, but, that way is easier.
God: This way.
Me: But I think I'd like that way better.
God: This way.
(Oh, he must delight in my immediate obedience!)
But this is the conversation my soul would rather have on a more regular basis.
God: This Way.
Me: Absolutely. Your way is best. I don't have to understand all the details, I just have to know You. After you. And then proceed to actually follow Him at HIS pace.
After a conversation last night about how we can't get it all together and be perfect in an instant (DARN), I had to laugh at a sign at starbucks this morning. "Our promise. Your drink will be perfect." It was such a sweet reminder to my life that we will be perfect too. It won't be here, but it will happen in a twinkling of an eye. We have the promise of Heaven and the hope of one day having it all together. Until then, we have to trust the One who can unravel the cords, put the pieces together, and meet us at every turn. It made such a difference to my life this morning to stop long enough to really hear His heart. He promises if we seek Him, we WILL find Him. What a relief that He's not falling off His throne every time we don't look or act like Him. But He does expect more from us. He expects us to give Him time to respond to our questions in whatever way he chooses. He expects us to give Him the time to work out the things in our life on His terms and in His way. He deserves that. I might think so, but I don't know better. Those who cannot save themselves need a Savior.
Hear Him telling you today, "Let me lead you on the path. It will be more enjoyable for both of us. And don't worry. You will be perfect one day. It's my promise to you."
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Christ........is our life. Col 3:4
Sometimes our spiritual lives require a jump start. A new beginning. A fresh revelation. A renewing of our minds, bodies and souls sometimes simultaneously. A line in the sand if you will that everything from this point will not, cannot be the same. Once the information gets filtered through our minds and into our souls we have a responsibility to respond to it. And it's too late to go on with our lives the same way we always have doing what we've always done. Even in deciding not to decide we've made a decision.
I so love to read. I always have. And I especially love really, really good books that take you on an adventure and by the end you're just certain you'll never be the same. I love books that make the next one seem dull by comparison. And I especially love when you discover a book by accident and find by the end that the timing is absolute perfection.
I read a ton of books once, a few books twice and my all time favorite books three times. I can count on one hand the books I've read more than that. That said I've just finished The Indwelling Life of Christ by Major Ian Thomas-for the 4th time! And I can say with absolute certainty it won't be the last time.
The danger in growing up with Christ is that we develop a kind of holy familiarity. Maybe you sat on the couch and prayed the prayer. Maybe you responded to an alter call. Maybe you asked Christ into your life and in exchange received some holy get out of hell free card. And maybe over time it seemed like enough. Grow up. Be a good human being. Don't go to hell. Check, check, check. And with that seemingly out of the way, we go on with our lives. People ask if we believe in God. "Of course." People ask if we are a Christian. "For sure." People ask if we're going to Heaven. "Absolutely." Sure we don't murder anyone, we try to live a life that's pleasing to the Lord, we read the Bible and prayer powerful prayers and our lives stay exactly the same. We have no victory. We're frustrated that we aren't doing all that we can for the Lord. We can't find our purpose in life and we're on a curvy road to who knows where most of the time. Maybe that's just me.
I grew up in church. I've professed to be a Christian for more than 20 years. I've been on mission trips. I went to a Christian college for 4 years of my life. And I only say those things to say, this really shouldn't be new information to me! How have I missed this seemingly simple concept that kept me up at night all last week? "Salvation is so much more than a change of destination from Hell to Heaven. It's not just Heaven one day, but Christ here and now." Jesus taking up residence within Redeemed Humanity. Yes, we do get out of hell free, but we miss everything if we stop there. I've always thought of living for Him, but totally not! It's all about Him living through me. Revolutionary.
"True repentance is stepping out of independence back into dependence." "It's not a matter of our doing our best for Him, but of Christ being His best in us."
I really, really admire people that live well. You know them. Some of you are exactly those people! People who just live really well. People you just want to hold onto because God comes out of absolutely everything they do. People that make you want desperately to have what they have even if you don't know what it is.
I've never felt that I particularly live well. I border on frantic about 90% of the time. Peace is a foreign concept to most of the situations I come into contact with and if things happen to straighten themselves out in a somewhat miraculous way I'm tempted to feel more lucky than that I trusted my way through that! God might still get the glory for putting the puzzle together, but it's not because I willingly handed over the pieces!
I've always felt like I just needed to do more. I needed to pray more and with more faith. I needed to read the Bible more and know more of the Bible. What an incredible weight to carry! With no hope of perfection in sight, it makes perfect sense to me now that we live in a state of perpetual disappointment. We're trying to do the impossible! "It's not a matter of our doing our best for Him, but of Christ being His best in us." "It's not a question of improving or being reformed, but of substitution." Christ IN us-the hope of glory. Again, why is this news to me? I have no idea.
The only thing that stands in our way is the flesh and I absolutely love the way he deals with that issue. We cannot reason with the flesh. We cannot bargain with the flesh. "Flesh has NO salvageable content." "The moment of truth comes when you stop exchanging courtesies with the flesh." "Dying to self is a wonderful position to be in because dead people cannot die."
And here's the kicker-"you cannot crucify yourself. that's God's business." Give it to Him. "Confirm the sentence of death for your flesh." Inform your flesh that you are, "Under new management" and then live like He is occupying every cell of your being.
Lest we need to look for a better example, Jesus "acted at all times on the assumption that the Father was handling the situation. That someone else was handling the consequences." He is our perfect example of letting The Father live through Him to touch all of humanity-even to the point of death! I don't even let Christ lead me out of the bed most mornings to spend time with Him. It's no wonder we feel so often that we aren't living up to our highest purpose.
That said, when we get this straight in our minds and in our hearts, Spirituality is, "Simply our availability to God for His divine activity." "If it pleases you always and only to do what pleases God -you can do as you please." And sanctification then becomes, "The highest measure of Christ's regenerate work being accomplished in our lives. Something (we) are being put to our correct use!"
If Jesus has truly taken up occupancy in our lives. If we have not just received a get out of hell free card, but we've truly received Christ Himself into our humanity then, "What should Christ expect from us? Nothing less than the behavior of Christ himself." And the great news is, it's not up to us to make that happen. We bow out and He bows in. "We vacate the flesh." And in doing so, He occupies our very being to go about the work He has planned. We're a vessel, but He's the captain. To the point that we look nothing like ourselves and everything like Jesus. That by bumping into us, people have bumped into the Jesus living through us. That by the example of Christ given the opportunity to live through our lives people see Him at work in the world. It's not even a little bit about us.
I honestly don't have it yet (hence the being up at all hours of the night!), but I want to. That alone has brought relief to be struggling soul. I want Him to have the freedom in this body to be all that He wants to be to the Earth around me. If I got nothing else out of the book, it's given me for now my new life motto. "My determined purpose is to know Him." And I would add to that, to let Him in.
There isn't another life. There isn't another decision. It's not a matter of if He's working, it's a matter of when I let Him in enough that He is able to accomplish the purposes He has for this life, for this moment, for such a time as this. It may be big things and it may be small things. I don't know and He doesn't have to tell me. I honestly feel like our purpose in life is directly in proportion to our yielding to Him. The more we get out, the more He comes in and that changes everything.
Christ......is our life. Col 3:4