Wednesday, January 26, 2011
To Better Serve My Lord?
I'll Read My Bible Everyday,
And Be More in Accord.
I'll Find New Ways To Serve Others,
I'LL Love My Neighbor, Too.
I'LL Focus on "Give" Instead Of "Get",
In Everything I Do.
I'll Forgive The People I'm Mad At,
Angry Feelings I'll Discard.
I'll Try to Love My Enemies,
Even Though It's Hard.
I'll Love My Lord With All My Heart,
With All My Mind And Soul.
And If I Do That Essential Thing,
All The Rest Will Be In Control!
(Reference to Deut. 6:5)
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
"Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted," Jesus said to the throng of humanity that sat on that mountainside in the afternoon sun. These were not random words flung out to make people feel good. This was God in the flesh - knowing the past, present and the future looking out over broken humanity and saying, "You will sorrow, your dreams will break, your world will shatter, your hope will falter, prayers won't always be answered your way - BUT you will be comforted, I will not leave you or forsake you, you will not be crushed or overcome, I will deliver you!"
He knew the world would shame people out of their sorrow convincing them some things "don't really hurt", or some sorrows are greater than others, or that there is an acceptable time to sorrow. He knew people would deny their sorrows hiding them in deep places in the heart. His invitation was to face it - I will comfort you.
Take a lesson from Jesus himself. Leading up to the Crucifixion he tried to prepare to his disciples. He tried to reach out in His humanity and share his heavy heart that had peace to impart. He even invited some to the Mount of Olives to pray with him to walk in the valley with him. Then there in that garden God in flesh wept openly and agonizingly. Sorrow and grief rolled over Him and He cried out to Abba. Jehovah, Immanuel, The Lamb poured out in His humanity cried out to Abba, "Father if there be another way let this cup pass from me!!" - let this sorrow end. "None the less YOUR will..." - surrender to the walk in the valley with hope secured in His father's will. And then the comforter was sent - and angel to minister to Jehovah. Notice what happened next. Jesus didn't get up with a smile on his face and go to the disciples and say, "OK I'm fine, I'm about to die an agonizing death, walk through a dark valley - darker than any valley known to man - so let's move on!" NO - scripture reveals that Jesus wept even harder with the comforter there - he came face to face with His heartbreak - he cried then so hard, so openly that blood poured from His brow. Then he stood and walked through the valley - not with giggles - not denying the pain - not denying His sorrow - BUT SURRENDER TO ABBA'S will - His faith anchored in God - His sight set on the Father's face - putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.
When faced with the valleys of life (whatever they be) Keep moving anchored in Christ. Do not be deceived by the enemy. There is no shame is sorrow or disappointment or grief. The shame comes when we allow that instead of Christ to define us - when we allow that instead of Christ to become our focus (for when we do these things we have taken our sorrow as an idol and placed in before God). In recognizing it, facing it, owning it - we allow God to send comfort and strengthen us as we walk through our valleys - to move past all things in due time according to the seasons of God.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
I am amazed that God chose His pain - and a most agonizing sacrifice of His beloved -so that I could be brought close. For in my most meager attempts of sacrifice I have found I fall sadly short. My offerings are mere shadows of what was so willingly lain upon the alter for me. In fact upon looking at what I have called sacrifice I am fully ashamed to say that I have chosen that which has often cost me very little or nothing and then very proudly (albeit, not spoken except in the farthest reaches of my heart) been proud of MY ability to do so well for the Lord when in fact I was using His resources. For all the talents and abilities I possess he formed within me before time began - as stated in Jeremiah 1:1 "I knew you before I formed you, before I placed you in your mother's womb". So who am I to take credit for what God Himself created within me - these talents or things are merely my duty to use for His glory.
This valley I am in - this loss that I have suffered - I pray constantly will bring me closer to Him who created me. I began last year with a prayer that God would change my life and my sight. I offered up to Him who created all things this life (that on it's own is useless and can accomplish nothing of lasting value) for His use. Little did I know that this prayer, prayed daily until November 2, 2011 would lead me on a journey that would turn my faith and my world upside down so that I might finally see right side up.
We began with the challenge of taking in two children - when the obviously easier answer would have been no. Brent was in seminary, I home school 4 children and these two children we knew had issues (much more serious than we knew at first). Yet we felt compelled that this was what God would have us to do. After they were removed from our home after their CPS court date to be placed in a different county (away from their parents who live only 2 blocks from us) I found out I was pregnant.
This too turned out to be a challenge. For when hope was seemingly lost we were forced to decide where our faith would stand. Daily a battle raged for my allegiance - would I surrender to desperation and despair or cling to the cross? Daily a reached for my savior, daily I begged for God's provision. Daily I saw His grace and the more the hope was extinguished by this world and the odds stacked up against us the more that grace became clear and new dreams and hopes arose. Then we lost our son - my world shattered - and the greatest grief, the most terrible ache, the deepest sorrow entered my world - and my world spun and tilted, tipped and rolled. There in the devastation of hopes, the brokenness of dreams, the desperation of heart my Savior reached out. Not promising relief, not offering sanctuary from this agonizing pain but whispering "Can you not stay one hour with me, I have not left you....I am able to deliver you". "Able to deliver", how strange these words sound - not delivered from this thing but able to be delivered into grace! Amazing how God changes our sight when we lean into him.
My prayer this year: still the same as last.
Here is my life Lord, take it, break it, bless it for your glory. Use it as you see fit. You chose your loss willingly so that it would be my gain. Teach me to lie down those things most precious without thought for your will. Help me not to cling to the things of this earth. Keep me humble. Keep me close. Keep my feet from temptation.
Is in the songs that fill the air
The broken hallelujahs from
God's children walking there
In the midst of terrible pain,
and in the wake of shattered dreams
On the bank where tears have fallen
into flowing streams
There the children cling
to the hope they know is true
That God is a loving Father
who will carry them through
So up from broken hearts,
poured out of aching souls
Rises a redeeming chant
The Father already knows
He hears his children's cries
has counted every sorrow
Knows their very hearts
and has penned their tomorrows
And though the shadows press
and the enemy stands near
He offers them a shelter
from their devouring fear
He may not ease the suffering
or change the circumstance
But ministers to hearts and souls
causes aching feet to dance
He holds them in his arms
so gently whispers love
Reminds them of redemption
the perfect gift from above
He gently takes their hands
and guides them on the way
Down the path of sorrow
to a brighter day.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
God's word is like rain, like snow. It will water what it lands on. We cooperate in the distribution of this moisture by pouring it out in prayer over people, over situations. As Christians we need to release scripture prayers and it can pile up like a snowpack!
"Throw a snowball of Prayer on Someone Today!"
Isaiah 55:11-""So will My word be which goes forth from m y mouth; It will not return to me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."
Psalm 6:9-"The Lord has heard my supplication, The Lord receives my prayer."
Proverbs 15:29-"The Lord is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayers of the righteous."
Philippians 4:6-"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
James 5: 16 -"Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much."
Friday, January 7, 2011
This is going to be a year of focus for me.
focus my Father
focus on His goodness, His mercy, His forgiveness, His love, His joy, His peace, His boldness, His blessings.
focus on one another
focus on other’s needs, building up others, encouraging others, serving one another
focus on the race before me
focus “pressing on” towards the goal, forgetting what lays behind.
focus my goals, goals that honor and glorify my Father
focus on serving Him with my goals