Request, Relax, Receive and Repeat not Retreat

2019-05-27-09.50.19-1.jpg

They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.” Nehemiah 6:9

I’ve carried six beautiful children. It’s pretty safe to say I have enough extra skin in the middle section to stretch out and nicely tie into 6 beautiful bows as well now! Why is it so often in the middle section of things that seem to afford us the most problems, fears, anxieties, stress…?! Is it because we are too far from the “shore” to really turn back and we are still yet too far from our destination to truly visualize the light at the end of the tunnel?!

I think God speaks to us in the middle because what’s so hard about life is that it is daily, right?! Between birth and the Kingdom is our middle section and it is going to take daily perseverance to finish the race well. Perseverance in prayer and the Word so that we remember to abide in Him continually as He is the source of all we will ever need and He promises to fill us with as much of His Spirit as we will have (John 3:34)! Eph. 1:19-20 states that it is incomparably great power for us who believe! In fact it is the same as the mighty strength that raised Jesus Christ from the dead! Now that’s the kind of fuel we need in our oars to get us paddled all the way through the middle!

Speaking of oars, in Mark 6:45-52 tells us it was in the middle of a storm in the middle of a lake that Jesus’ disciples were straining at the oars. Jesus walks on water to meet them right there in the middle because He promises He will never fail us.

I’m reminded of when the Israelites crossed the Jordan river during high flood stage on dry ground in Joshua 3! God wanted them to remember how He had saved them and brought them all the way safely across by building an alter out of stones. Joshua 4:3 tells us God told them to gather those stones of remembrance from the MIDDLE of where they crossed!!

God knows how difficult it can be in the middle of the mess and He wants us to remember Who is with us right there in the middle – the great I AM possible that stood in the middle of the burning bush for Moses and Who stood in the middle of the fire with Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego and who Himself hung in the middle of the cross to save us.

The key is to abide in Him like John 15 states. So often like Saul in 1 Samuel 9, we are so caught up stressing in the “middle” looking for our “donkeys”! Samuel invites Saul for a meal, then by chapter 10 he lets him know his donkey’s are fine but that Saul himself is the greater concern of his father. Maybe we could chill about our “donkey’s” long enough to abide in communion at the foot of the cross where all answers are found in Jesus Who cares more than anyone.

Request (Matt. 7:7), Relax (John 15:5, Ps. 46:10), Receive (Matt. 6:33). See how relax is the middle ‘r’ word which is what we do when we abide in our heavenly Father right!!

God has greater purpose than we can comprehend for our middle ground here. He has peace to give that passes human understanding which often comes following the difficult act of obedience. Might we be like Nehemiah rebuilding the wall, which was scary, uncomfortable and hard, though he pushed through discouragement and fear, allowing God to build something greater inside him than the wall he could see. Lets not mistake the peace He gives with the relief we may feel when we retreat. Sometime we are called to repeat rather than retreat. Like Nehemiah… just pick up another brick right there in your middle and keep building in faithful obedience. Often to repeat is harder than to retreat but He promises to be our sufficient strength and all that we need as we abide in Him.

I might have a stretched out middle section but I wouldn’t trade one stretch mark for the beauty He was building within me. I guess He gave me my own personal reminders that God is in the middle. Praise Him!

So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. 1 Peter 4:19

Independent Read: Psalm 90:17, Phil. 4:7, 2 Cor. 12:9, Phil. 3:10-11, Joshua 1:9, 2 Cor. 5:7, Hebrews 10:35-39, John 15:1-11

 

Out of Rock

2019-05-25 12.10.18

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

When I saw all these beautiful purple irises thriving right out of a bed of total rock I thought, well now THAT is an image of the beauty in overcoming!

Sometimes I think what we see as the “inconvenience”, like the iris seeds may have seen the overhead rocks, may really be what God is using to shield us from stormier winds that threaten to steal His seed from our hearts. Maybe it’s the inconvenient rock that is actually our refuge and what is holding us strong against stormier rains (and snow in MAY!). Maybe the inconvenience we want to complain about is actually saving us!

I was reminded that Jeremiah preached faithfully over 60 years without a positive response to his message! And Paul sang faithfully in prison! We are all called to walk by faith and not sight (2 Cor. 5:7) but what keeps us rooted in faith in the storms of life that we can’t understand and can’t make sense of?!

I know that He uses His Word (John 15:3) and circumstance (James 1:2-4) as pruning tools. Romans 8:28-29 states He can work all things according to His good purpose which is to make us more like His Son. In John 17 Jesus prays for us to be one in Him, to know His love (verses 21-23). John 15:5 states it’s only in Him that we can accomplish anything and that we can do all things through Him who gives us strength (Phil 4:13).

The safest bet when I’m required to walk in faith and not sight is found rooted in His faithful Word. Psalm 61:2-3 From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Cling to the Rock Who’s promises never fail.

We are all “nuts” – great mighty oaks are just the nuts that refused to give up ground – may we faithfully bloom where we are planted for the display of His splendor!

Independent Read: Phil. 1:6, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 36:9, Romans 15:13, John 14:1-2, Isaiah 43:19, Eph. 3:14-21, Is. 61:1-3, Romans 8:37

 

Sea of Glass

2019-05-25 07.41.09

He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. Psalm 103:12

My morning run brought be by this pristine body of water to which I very nearly hurled myself into to revive myself from teetering on heat exhaustion!! You see, after a few days of snow in May I’ve learned that sun does not always mean warm where I live; so with the snow now melted, today I packed on a few extra (unneeded) layers for my run outdoors.

God is faithful however and provided a way out of the temptation to cannonball myself into the water… with incoming pedestrians. I didn’t want to set a bad example of course or startle the innocent pelicans with an out-of-the-blue tsunami so I opted to take the above picture instead. This allowed God a moment to bring to my mind some Scripture.

Revelation 4:6 Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, as clear as crystal. I wonder if this might be the same sea mentioned in Micah? You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19

I know for a fact that water would not have looked like glass had I hurled myself in but I wonder if the sea around the throne remains glass like because in Hebrews 8:12 it states, For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. When God forgives its ALL the way as far as the east is from the west and there is not even a ripple of remembrance of it in His mind. Praise the mighty victorious name of Jesus!!

So when the enemy stands accusing us before God (Rev. 12:10) Jesus turns the pointed finger back on Himself. I imagine He says, that one?! That one who believes in Me as their Savior?! Devil you can’t possibly be talking about that one! All I see when I look on that one is My precious blood shed for that precious child of Mine…you got nothin’ on them My blood hasn’t already covered. I love that one with My whole heart and that one has a room in My Kingdom. In fact…

My Spirit dwells within that child (1 Cor. 3:16) I’ve set them apart (Deut. 14:2); that’s a heart fully devoted to Me in which I aim to strengthen (2 Chron. 16:9) …because I love em’ (Is. 43:3).

I guess suffering a bit of heat exhaustion was well worth His love note this morning…I know the pelicans think so! Hope it blesses you too.

Independent read: John 3:16

 

 

 

Snow in MAY!?!

https://youtu.be/QdIOaAvvOp8 – “So Will I” (A powerful worship video.)

Snow in May reminds me that my God is able! Nothing is too hard or impossible for Him – He is creative. He thinks outside the box of impossible to I’Mpossible and as I see that my tulips are bowing to their Maker this morning (as my mom pointed out to me) just resting and trusting in His ways, it reminds me… so should I. “If creation sings your praises so will I.”

Psalm 96

1 Sing a new song to the Lord!

Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!

2 Sing to the Lord; praise his name.

Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.

3 Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.

Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.

4 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!

He is to be feared above all gods.

5 The gods of other nations are mere idols,

but the Lord made the heavens!

6 Honor and majesty surround him;

strength and beauty fill his sanctuary.

7 O nations of the world, recognize the Lord;

recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong.

8 Give to the Lord the glory he deserves!

Bring your offering and come into his courts.

9 Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.

Let all the earth tremble before him.

10 Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!”

The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.

He will judge all peoples fairly.

11 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!

Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!

12 Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!

Let the trees of the forest sing for joy

13 before the Lord, for he is coming!

He is coming to judge the earth.

He will judge the world with justice,

and the nations with his truth.

Live Enamored

The morning dew is such a miracle to me! Everything soaking wet yet it has not rained!!!! He does miracles everyday…the breath in my lungs and beat of my heart, the smile of a friend… So when I don’t see the miracle I’m wanting I have to trust… Jesus help me to trust… That right now I see the underside of the masterpiece but that You see the top and that You are creating something beautiful.
(Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 55:9)
Deuteronomy 32:1-4
 1“Listen, O heavens, and I will speak!
Hear, O earth, the words that I say!
2Let my teaching fall on you like rain;
let my speech settle like dew.
Let my words fall like rain on tender grass,
like gentle showers on young plants.
3I will proclaim the name of the LORD;
how glorious is our God!
4He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect.
Everything he does is just and fair.
He is a faithful God who does no wrong;
how just and upright he is!

Radiating A Filtered Perspective

2019-05-21 17.09.42

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

This world is very much performance driven isn’t it?!! From a very young age too! “If you eat all your dinner… you can have desert.” Performance driven– and now with social media it’s taken on new heights and depths that threaten to eat us all alive if we are not careful right!

Psalm 18:30 begins with, God’s way is perfect. So why oh why then do I strive to have MY way?! God must think I look pretty silly straining and striving to just measure up and do all and be all “that”; whatever or whoever “that” is right! He’s probably thinking… girl, you gonna pull a hammy trying so hard; or at least slip a disc with all the ways you are trying to bend over backward to do things YOUR way…girl, don’t you know you’re not built for “that”?! I in all My infinite wisdom did not build you to do that, or to be like so and so either!! Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 

Good grief before I hurt myself somethin’ awful maybe I need to be more about His presence than my performance! Lets look at Exodus 34:29. Here we see Moses spending time with God and his very face began to glow radiantly!! Who knew!?! All these expensive face creams and all it takes to glow radiantly is to spend time with our Maker…for free!!!

This verse states that, Moses wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant — Moses wasn’t thinking about what he looked like only what his God was like! Yet what did others notice? Verse 30 says they noticed the radiance of Moses’ face! When we marinate in Him, in His presence it will be His fragrance we leave in our wake everywhere we go…with out even trying. People will experience the fruit of His Spirit within us and we won’t even know it and we won’t become weary doing it because the fruit will not be our concern; we can leave that to Him as we swim in the unfathomable heights and depths of His love for us. Jesus, make me more about Your presence than my performance in life.

Not saying it’s easy, this world is pretty hard but we can choose not to let it make us that way. God is good and He is good at being God -we can take that to the spiritual bank. Anything He has allowed into my life had to pass through the filter of His mighty hand.  I can trust that if He allowed it He can use it to bring me closer to His heart and don’t I want to experience every part of Him I can this side of heaven?!! Could there be anything more gloriously fulfilling than to get to the end and face God and say I didn’t waste a heartbeat; especially when You are a God willing to redeem, recharge and restore every flat line around!  I desire to abide-marinate in His presence till I’m soft and pliable enough to receive HIS perspective in all of my life…don’t you?!

Jesus I praise You that You filter all that comes to me through Your mighty able hands, please help me to see it all through Your filter as well.

Independent Read: Ephesians 3:14-21

 

Live Enamored On Better Promises

2019-05-20 12.43.01

But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. Hebrews 8:6 (NLT)

Ever wanted a “yes” but received a “no”? Me too, but today… right within my “no” came the realization that “no” really means “a better yes”! Look at Heb. 8:6, we have in Jesus a new covenant based not on law but on grace! Christ offers to forgive our sins through His sacrificial death and provided a way into eternal life through His resurrection! May we LIVE enamored for the rest of time on that mighty Truth! This Truth reaches to Israel and Judah and right on into the Gentile nations AND it is now written on our hearts and minds! Praise Jesus the mighty One who saves!

2 Corinthians 1:20 states, For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. Did you read that?! “A resounding ‘Yes!'”! So you ask, why do I feel like I keep hearing resounding “No’s!”?!?  Wellll, let’s look at something in Romans 8:28-29. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. —- What’s His purpose? See verse 29… to be conformed to the image of His Son – to be like Jesus! So maybe any “no” we feel we hear is because God is saying I have a BETTER “yes” for you than the one you think you want. A “yes” that will bring you closer to My heart dear child.

God says no to addiction to say yes to freedom and no to sex outside of marriage to say yes to marital bliss… God says yes to salvation, yes to forgiveness, yes to abundant life, yes to living in an eternal kingdom!! All these “Yes’s” are made possible to us because of Jesus!

Yes to healing, why? – Jesus! See Isaiah 53:5

Yes to good things, why? Jesus! See Romans 8:28-29

Yes to love, why? Jesus! See Romans 8:38-39

Yes to blessings, why? Jesus! See Ephesians 1:3

Yes to meeting needs, why? Jesus! See Philippians 4:19

So if I get a “no” and I feel I need a “yes” it’s got to be because He has “a better yes” and blessed will I be if I wait for it (Isaiah 30:18); and allow Him to shape my perspective of what that “yes” should really look like (Romans 12:2).

Jesus, thank You for the “no’s” that direct me further into the “yes’s” of Your perfect will. I praise You for making known to me the path of life; for filling me with joy in Your presence and with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. (Psalm 16:11) Thank You for Your better promises and for giving me every reason to LIVE enamored every day. Amen.

Independent read: Jeremiah 31:31-37, Hebrews 8:7-13