Sunday, December 30, 2012

This Is the Way - Walk In It

I have discovered that there is no greater help in this life than a personal relationship with Jesus.
He is the savior of the universe, his father is the creator God....

Yet he STILL bends down and has unlimited time to counsel me.  He has proven to be tenderhearted toward me, even when I fail him.  God will always counsel through Spirit and Truth...  Truth being his word, and Spirit is: don't dare put him in a box because he is going to lead you the way he sees fit to deal with you!

I have discovered that God decided to speak to me plainly. The voice is not audible but I hear it in my spirit. In 1st Kings 19:12 the bible describes it as the still small voice.  When I hear it I am still amazed even though I have probably heard it more than two dozen times across an array of situations in my adult life.

I have never spoken in tongues, nor have I healed the sick because of my prayers.  I cannot play an instrument and lead people in worship even though I have longed to do that.  I questioned the Lord one day as to why he decided to speak to me in this mannor.  This question he decided to reply to, "I couldn't have gotten you any other way."

That took me into some very deep reflection.  I remember hearing his voice distinctly when I was twenty years old which was a very destructive time in my life.  What people saw of me was a girl who needed attention. A girl on drugs that loved instant gratification and the attention of men.  What people didn't see was the meditations of my heart that were hidden to all except God.

The things that would pierce and stab my heart the most during those dark years were abused children and the desire to be intimately loved and intimately known.  That's when this "Jesus" started pursuing me.  "I love you", "Your important to me", "Repent", "Those earings don't make you beautiful, it's your heart." His words were always strategically placed, when I needed them the most.

I started a journal of all my encounters with God.  At 21 I was involved in a roll over car accident. A week before the accident the Lord assured me that he was protecting me and that I would not die.  The day he said that to me I had just come out of a church where I was compelled to stand up before a congregation I did not know.  Through tears I was asking God to help me stop living a life of wickedness.

For the past 13 years his voice has directed me through many trials.  I have been delivered of many sins. Out of all the things his voice has shown me the greatest thing is that I can do NOTHING apart from him.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sowing & Reaping

I wanted to write a blog about something the Lord had been showing me.  I could not think of a way to start it so I began with writing the second and third paragraphs instead.  I then decided to save the draft and run to the corner store for a soda.  When I left the store a young man was walking in.  He was dirty with huge gages in his ears. As I walked outside I noticed a young girl on foot who was obviously paired up with that young man.  They both had the big gages and looked equally disheveled. She was talking to another young woman who was sitting in a parked car.  The woman in the parked car was waiting for the driver of the car who was in the store buying cigarrettes and a case of beer behind me in line.  I noticed that the young woman in the car was shaming the girl who was pared up with the dirty young man; "Those gages in your ear will mess up your ears." And, "are you on birth control? You don't want to get pregnant with that guy."

I wondered if this girl had walked up to the young woman in the car and asked for money.  I could almost feel the girls shame as she left the car and walked across the parking lot.  It was clear to me that this woman in the car did not understand that shaming someone does not bring change.  We see so many times in the Bible that Jesus loved the sinner whom he was talking to and jumped into the person's pain with them and took the time to explain to them the better way to live.  The only times in scripture we see Jesus being consistently harsh was when he addressed the self-righteous religious people.

I believe that God wants his people to understand a spiritual law that if broken will keep his people enrobed in frustration and will hinder an abundant life. But in order for people to receive His teachings they first must understand that Jesus is not like that woman mentioned above who sat in the car shaming the outward appearance or even the sins we have hidden inside.  God brings conviction and restoration, not shame and condemnation.

The spiritual law is that of reaping and sowing. Scripture gives us so many pictures of our lives being parallel with how things grow in nature.  When we sow seeds like a farmer does, we will reap whatever seed we planted. Sow carrot seeds, reap carrots. Sow peach pits, reap a peach tree.  So it is with our lives. When we sow obedience to the scripture we know, we will then reap a harvest of blessings.  When we sow disobedience to his word, we will reap destruction.

When a farmer sows his seed he does not reap immediate results.  He must first cultivate his seeds with the proper nutrients, especially the nutrient of time.  Time requires patience on the part of the farmer.  So it is in our lives. When we start obeying the spiritual laws written out for us in the Bible we need to cultivate these seeds with faith and patience. Two days of abstaining from obsessive shopping, alcohol abuse, or a sexual addiction does not turn a planted seed into a full grown tree.  It takes time and continued faithfulness to break these addictions off our lives.

The fruit from a tree is the crowning purpose and finished product of a plant. The fruit once started as a seed that was sown. Continued trust in a good heavenly father who knows what is best for us is the only way we will see this crowning fruit in our lives. The fruit is what others can get from us to nourish and heal themselves with.  God's desire is always to produce this choice fruit in our lives.  He will even prune his peoples branches in order to produce more fruit! Pruning is usually the equivalent of having us go through trials to make us stronger and more enduring of hardship.

Let the seeds sprout, let them have their time in the ground to germinate, let them be young plants in the sun. Do not throw away the progress in your life and give up because the harvest is not yet visible.  Harvests take time and are nourished one day at a time.

"So let us not get tired of doing what is good. For at the proper time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we do not give up."  Galatians 6:9

"Do not be deceived: God will not be mocked. A man will reap whatever he has sown." Galatians 6:7

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Hosea 4:6

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways." Isaiah 55:8

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Just Listen"

Yesterday I had the best day. I feared nothing and was walking in victorious faith, and then there was today. It was awful. I forced myself out of bed and after a Starbucks run I made it into work.  I gave my forced smiles and hello's to coworkers and started my day.  I did have that truth in the back of my mind that I am to live by faith and not my feelings. I am to believe what God says about me and where he is taking me in life and not get side tracked by my circumstances, discouraging voices of others, and my own tendency to believe lies. Knowing this got me to work this morning.

I know in the past when I forced myself to do what I am supposed to do out of obedience, that God would bless me. Today was one of those days.  A student came up to me pretty early on in the day and asked to speak with me. Normally when she needs to talk to me her countenance is discouraged and she needs some encouragement.  She is a believer and when I speak of Jesus and spiritual things she leaves our conversation encouraged. But today was different. Our roles were reversed. I was discouraged and her face was shining.  Her joy was contagious.

She told me that she had recently heard the "still small voice" of God. She said she had been upset about how her situation with her peers had been going and how the girls had been struggling with one another. She cried out to God as to what to do.

She then heard his voice, "Just Listen".  She knew he was telling her to sit and listen to them. When she obeyed his voice she was then given even greater wisdom.  He showed her different reasons why one of girls acted the way she did. It gave her more compassion for her peers as she just listened.

By this point in this young woman's conversation with me I was completely filled with faith again, ready to walk in victory and strength, without fear.  I was happy that she is now experiencing that intimacy with the Lord that he desires with all of us...but to get it we need to let go of ourselves and in humility seek him with a whole heart.  There is no doubt in my mind that if any person pursues God in this way he will take them on an adventure that will result in the salvation of peoples souls.

This morning my student became my teacher and it was affirmed that I am in the right place. I know seasons change but for now I am where I am and I'm learning to die to my perceived rights and my comfort in order to bless others.  This is so much more rewarding and exciting and more difficult (for real) than the life that I used to live.  I can only hope to mirror my teacher Jesus Christ in greater intensity as I am taken through these tests of faith.

Friday, September 7, 2012

What is my greatest flaw Lord?

My soul thirsts for you; 

my whole body longs for you. 

Psalm 63:1 

I was just telling my husband at dinner that I feel what is described in the above Psalm. I just don't have an agenda anymore. I don't want anything but Him. I want to have more kids. I want a comfortable life. I don't want trials, but none of that really matters. What matters to me at this moment is my longing to be one with Christ. To be at home with him, to learn all about him, to experience his power and great wisdom.

Yet I am in a big trial. I'm smack dab in the midst of a whopping trial.  The Bible says trials would come so I am not responding like something strange is happening to me; instead I sat on the back patio in the cool night air and stared at the stars.

And there it happened. I allowed my soul to long for him. I stared out at the majesty of his stars and allowed the tears to fall. I accepted that I am in a trial and my good father knows about it. For once in my life I embraced the trial, knowing it was in the will of God for me to suffer. But I did question! My father who formed me knows I'm too tenacious for anything less.

How long God? How long will this trial last? Then I wondered why I am am required to walk in faith and not by sight. I know that God will not waste a moment of my life. And finally, the resolution to my questioning... 

I asked him: "What is my greatest flaw Lord? What do I need to work on?"  I thought he was going to tell me to go and apologize to my husband (ahh marital bliss!) 

But I heard only one word within me, "Endurance."

Oh his majesty. His one word satisfied me. His one word proved that this trial is not in vain and he is guiding me and shaping me through it.  I've also been realizing that if his people will stay in a trial until it is finished, without bitterness, he will do things for his kingdom that will be far reaching. 

Ok Lord. My soul longs to return to you, but if that is what you require of me I will study and practice endurance -in your strength.

Thank you

  1. The measure of a person's stamina or persistence.
    He has great endurance, he ran a marathon and then rode his bicycle home.
  2. Ability to endure hardship.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Let Them Fail

My son is now twelve and I have been shown an excellent parenting tip.

  My new husband has actually helped me discover this treasure.  I started to discover it on my own but didn't completely live it. Not sure why, maybe it's because giving people what they want takes no effort on my part, but resisting them does.

 I think we have raised a generation of children who have been given what they wanted and not told no very often.

Simply, here it is. Tell them NO and let them fail.  Both of these things are vital.  When we don't set boundaries that cannot be passed and tell them no they see people as objects. When they grow up parents, siblings, friends, and spouses are seen as what they can do for them, not what can be done for the other person.

When a child is rescued from every failure they never experience disappointment. Disappointment can lead us to a relationship with God. Rescuing incapacitates them from doing things on their own.

I will never forget when my son learned to ride a bike.  I tried to teach him a year prior but he had no interest. He finally wanted to play with the other boys in the neighborhood who all had bikes so he had to learn.  We were out side and he fell many times. I tried to rush in and help but he kept pushing me away. I felt so sad to see him cry.  At one point he was about to give up and there was my que. I encouraged him with my words and he got back up again. After several more tries and frustrations he was off and riding on his own.

I have learned the very best thing I can do as a mom is be there for advice and encouragement but I cannot put him in a bubble, I cannot rescue him from trial, and I cannot allow him to do whatever he wants.  I am the parent and he is the child.  I grow the most in my life through pain and trial and I see the same pattern in my son.  As he is suffering we talk through it. I remind him that it's okay to suffer and it's part of life. I remind him that God sees him and is forming his character through the trials. I remind him that to be a Christ follower he will suffer for the kingdom of God. Part of Love actually means to "long suffer" for the good of another person.

Once I repented (changed my mind) about trials, I was a better parent because I allowed my child to experience them too.  He will not isolate on video games, he will not have everything he asks for, he will not stay home from school because of this or that, he will not control me because I have been given the duty of showing him what it will mean to be a man with responsibilities. A man that works, forgives, loves, and is faithful.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I'm 35 Today

Today I am 35 years old.  I guess this is a pretty significant birthday.  My husband told me that 35 was not a big deal, but 36 was because you were on that other half of 30 that was nearing 40. Not sure about his logic. I’m fighting off the idea that he was down playing it so he wouldn’t have to make a big deal out of it.  He’s not very festive.  I guess in one year I will make sure he knows to celebrate it, after all, 36 is closer to the big 40.  I really want to call him a Jehovah’s Witness right now.

My birthday has always been important to me.  My mom used to make them special for me.  I remember being a little girl and my mom would buy me presents and celebrate.  She also would take me to the store to buy gifts for my friend’s birthday parties.  She gave me special moments in life. 

My most significant birthday was my 21st.  I don’t remember going out and partying.  To the contrary, I partied, but that part of my life brought me great pain and emptiness.  I remember the eve of my 21st birthday. I lived alone in an apartment in southern California.  I slept on the couch that night because I was so depressed. Being heavily dependent on marijuana at that time didn’t help the depressive state I was in either.  On the morning of my birthday I woke up on the couch with the light from the sliding glass door reaching me with its warmth.  Right upon waking I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Happy birthday to you.”

It makes me cry when I even think about it.  How lost I was and how desperate I was, that God spoke gently to me.  That was just one of many times I have heard his “still small voice” drawing me out of my sin and spurring me on toward salvation.  

So today I “celebrate” 35 years, my son is a middle schooler, my husband is already over 40, I have wrinkles when I smile,  some music is too fast and too loud, rollercoasters make me dizzy… basically, I am nearing middle age and if I die at 70 I am officially middle age.  And I would like to declare, I am so okay with this fact.  God has been so patient and kind with me. I long to be at home with Jesus! I no longer get presents, cakes, and parties and the cycle of life is rolling along but eternity is becoming more real to me every day.  It’s almost too good to be true. 

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. – Matthew 16:25

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Consider Job's Friends

How do you handle a situation or a tragedy in the life of a friend? Do you comfort with silence? Do you love? Do you offer your words? If so, what would ever could you say? Do you speak God's words? How do you discern God's heart toward that person before you speak?

Job was a man in the Bible that lost everything. Job had three friends that came to him with the intention of mourning with him and comforting him (2:11).  With all their good intentions, we know that in the end of this story these men were in error (42:7).

I believe that there are some serious implications in the book of Job.  I do not want to make the errors that Bildad, Zophar, and Eliphaz did. As I read Job I gleaned the following about his friends and the text as a whole:

1. God makes it clear in chapter one that He, the Creator of all things, was testing Job. His calamities were designed by God. Job's friends misrepresented God by accusing their brother of having some unrepentant sin in his life (8:6).  Can you image how Job's pain increased as he did the best he could to bless the Lord in his life yet have some of the closest people to him point an accusing finger? Telling him that the God he loves has something against him? 

2. Through it all, Job knew his own private life was clean and he maintained his belief in God's sovereignty and would not curse him. Job questioned God because of his trial, but he did not reject nor curse him (2:10). This is a beautiful picture of God's power in the life of a believer. Even through the circumstantial trials, and condemning voices of other believers, Job did not lose his faith, walk away from, nor curse his God.

3. God allowed Job's friends to speak into his life despite their error even though it brought Job more grief. God was ready to be glorified in Job's suffering and he would be further glorified as the error of his friends was exposed. Job's initial trial, then enduring condemning words were going to bring God glory because Job refused to curse God. And his friends were about to learn a valuable lesson....
Job's friends were believers. I'm pretty sure they attended religious services and worship through animal sacrifices too. His friends spoke a lot of truths about God (8:20) but got it all wrong when they tried to discern Job's situation. We need to be so careful of our judgement of others. The measure we judge another, is the measure we will be judged. We also need to have a strong personal relationship with Jesus so we can weather the voices of other believers if they happen to be in opposition to God. Other people will not be standing with us on judgement day. We stand alone before God.

4. Job had a question for God and that question was "why".  We always ask that question don't we? I know I do when I suffer. Job's friend's attempted to answer that "why" question but they misrepresented God.  They thought surely Job has some sin in his life...but that was not the correct answer. God answered Job's question even though he did not sin with his lips during the ordeal (2:10).  I cannot fully touch the depth of the real answer why God decided to allow Satan to strike Job.  The quick answer is that he was testing him and glorifying himself. But take a moment to read God speaking to Job in chapter 38-41. I found it interesting that God actually uses sarcasm to get his point across (38:5) and we also learn many things such as;  God made borders for the ocean and it's proud waves, God reserves snow and hail in a treasury for the time of trouble, God has put wisdom in the mind and given understanding to the heart, God deprived an ostrich of wisdom yet made her eggs too strong to break and her legs faster than a horse, God made the extinct dragon to shout sparks of fire, be plated with prideful scales of protection, and watch the sorrow he causes dance before him! God why do you do what you do?  

"Shall the one who contends with the almighty correct him?" (40:2)
"Will you condemn me that you may be justified?" (40:8)
"The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom!" (Proverbs 9:10)

God had admiration for Job, he loved the fact the he feared Him and shunned evil. Job was humble. We see in this story that Job submitted to God's authority. Job's friends were prideful. They were not okay with not knowing the answers. Even a fourth person came on the scene named Elihu. He was wrathful against Job because Job maintained his innocence (32:2). He was also wrathful against the three friends because they didn't come up with an answer (32:5). Can we be okay in not controlling others? Can we be ok with not controlling God and allowing God to speak? Once we are okay with these things we are humbling our self in the sight of God. We are allowing Him to be God in the lives of others. Job's three friends would have been better off loving Job without their many words as they did in the first seven days they were with him sitting in silence (2:13).

Fear is a great motivator for control. People like to control things because they are afraid of what could happen if they don't. But God's perfect love will cast out our fear! Job's friends may have been afraid of the suffering of Job, not wanting it to happen to them. They in turn had to be able to explain why the trials came upon Job- so they could predict how to avoid them.  His friends operated in fear and pride. Fear, pride, and unbelief are cancers. They cause us to be in error and allow ourselves to be deceived.  We serve a God that cares about our character more than our comfort. Trials produce character so we should not avoid them...we should not protect our children from them as well. God loved Job and allowed his suffering to shape his character and the character of his friends. I don't want to forget these many lessons in God's word...these lessons bring about the salvation of our souls.