Saturday, September 23, 2017

Learning and Leaning in the Stillness

Learning to be content, learning to be still, and learning to lean are all difficult for me. I wonder why I get so easily discouraged sometimes, and then I remember - I have a punk that whispers lies in my ear, "you can't actually be successful in things and remain humble," "do you really think God wants to use someone as dirty and vile as you have been?" or, this subtle, but daily, inflection, "your dreams are too big." <insert angry sigh> The struggle is real folks, real I say. But, as I was listening to a Tony Evans sermon today, I heard him say this, "God's perspective changes the way you look at things.," and I thought, "oh my word, YES, it does, it does!!" So, I wanna take the lies, right now, and see them in light of God's truth.
 1. Success, ability, blessings...none of these are ever about us, they are given by God! Joseph followed after God and God prospered him in his spirit and blessed him in life (just read Genesis 38 and 39.) The key to remaining humble is keeping your focus on Christ and not yourself, or the blessings. “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it  is He who gives you power...Blessed  is the man who trusts in the Lord , And whose hope is the Lord." (Deut. 8:18a, Jer. 17:7) It is all Him.
2. God uses the messy to create beauty, He made us out of dirt didn't He? Rahab, a prostitute. David, an adulterer. Saul, a murderer. Peter, a liar. All called out from the muck of sinful attitudes and lives to be used mightily of God. Shall I continue Satan, really, let the Word put things in the right perspective. I am washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (I Corinthians 6:11) Jesus redeems, His blood cleanses from all unrighteousness. Enough said.
 3. When my dreams are centered in His will, they can never be too grand because it is the Father's good pleasure to give His children the kingdom. It is when I am not looking at things from His perspective that my desires become inundated with the world's expectations, and my ideas of what big and small are become distorted. We are more than conquerors through Christ, (Rom. 8:37) and when we seek to make Him foremost in our lives, nothing is impossible with Him. (Luke 1:37) Nothing.

So, my friends, I end today resting in the great and capable hands of my Father - learning, and leaning, in the stillness.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

He Will Go With Me...

"Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:5‭-‬9

So many times I struggle to overcome things in my own wisdom and strength - that only resluts in me growing fearful,  frustrated and frozen. When I picked up a friend's Sunday school book this morning, I was encouraged by the Lord's admonishment and promise to Joshua and the people of Israel. It is a wonderful truth - if I would only observe God's word, live in His ways, and simply surrender to His will, His promise is to always lead me, and to deliver me from the enemy. As His child, I have the promise of His unrelenting love, but as a faithful servant and observer of His word, I have the promise that He will go with me wherever I go. There is truly no reason to allow fear to overwhelm me - walking with Him has the definite potential to bring boldness, fevor and freedom. I will be chewing on this truth for a while. Happy Friday!!


"Joshua would accomplish the mission God had given him, not through superior strategy or personal strength, but by leaning on God's perfect character." Tony Evans

He Believes in Me...

"Weaknesses do not depart us from mercy; rather they incline God to us more... (a bruised Reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out [Is. 42:3])" -Ann Voskamp

But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, And did not destroy them. Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, And did not stir up all His wrath; For He remembered that they were  but flesh, A breath that passes away and does not come again.
                                                      Psalms 78:38‭-‬39

What a humbly sobering truth ... we can never weaken God's mercy, we can't stop the Holy one of Heaven from loving us with His glory and grace. Everyday it's a new and fresh, overwhelming love, He believes in us, so much so that He makes the sun rise everyday with a day full of possibilities. He believes in me - even when my faith and belief in Him is so very small. He believes in me even when I fall down and struggle getting back up.  He believes in me even when I don't believe in myself. He believes in me so much He died on a cross for me. He loves me so much that He wants to spend an eternity with me, yes, broken, messed up, sinful me. Thinking about that touches my soul with joy, and encourages me in a way that I desperately need. Oh that I would believe in Him like He does me.


Friday, December 23, 2016

This evening, this post comes through my newsfeed:

“…gunshots fired right beside our car in Kmart parking lot. JJ gets out calls cops and cop coming to scene t-bones an suv!!!!! CRAZYYYY!!!"

My brother, his wife and all his kids were there, gunshots firing right beside their car, and the cop coming to help was sidelined with his own catastrophe. While I was relieved, and thankful that they were ok, and the assailant was taken into custody, I still couldn’t help think about how quickly a life (lives) could have been taken. I praised the Lord for protecting them, and then something came to my spirit – we all carry such immense potential to “fire” misguided bullets of anger, resentment, pride, jealously, bitterness, hurtful words and actions. Just like the woman with the real gun did, we get caught up in our own world, we see only our own hurt and discontentedness, and the ones in close proximity to us end up being the ones affected most. Sometimes, like a ticket of entitlement, we use our situations, hurts and confusion as an excuse to carry on in a way that is not kind, or very considerate of those who love us. I know it’s human to have bad moments, bad days, heck, even bad weeks; nevertheless, we are to be careful that our “speech always be with grace.” (Col. 4:6) I know that’s incredibly difficult sometimes when you are hurting, I’m the worst at it so very often, yet, we still are called to do it. And, it stings when I read, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me," (Phil. 4:13) because, I know that means I have to get my mind off myself and on to Him. That’s not as easy as it sounds cause I battle the “it’s all about me” syndrome at times. I'm sure my nephews will not ever forget how scared they were tonight, and neither do the people we hurt. Just a thought, life is precious – so, where’s your aim?


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Just a Season...

Transparency time -  I'll just admit it, I have grown weary (and let my spirit become malnourished because of it.) It seems to have started with not being able to sense God working in my life, I couldn’t feel His presence as I had over the summer. At first, I kept praying and seeking His truth, but then, as the weeks rolled by, I began to get discouraged, not understanding where He went; I allowed the enemy to steal my peace. I was counting “my own life dear” and began losing my joy, and making myself easy prey to the one who seeks to steal my peace, kill my joy and destroy my faith. And although I kept praying for others, my prayers lost their fervor, their zeal – and so did my walk with my God. Waking up with a certain amount of sadness and dread is not a comforting thing. I know several people who face this struggle besides myself, and lemme just say, it stinks! Nevertheless, our God is always faithful to see us through those times if we will turn our thoughts and heart toward Heaven and seek to draw close to Him – even when we don’t 'feel' like it. Quite honestly, sometimes I have allowed myself to become so focused on my own weariness that I grew self-centered instead of Christ-centered . Sad thing is, we seek rest in the wrong ways because the enemy let’s us be when we are not finding our respite in Christ. Truthfully, he doesn’t care about us when we aren’t doing anything for Jesus, and to get a “break” from his assault is what is so alluring to the flesh and mind in the first place; and what do we do?  We listen to the subtle lies of the adversary. But oh the leanness that is sent to our souls when we lay down our armor, even for a little while.  I may not know how to pray (or what to pray) as I go through this weird valley I’m walking, but, I do know He has told me that I can trust Him to be in my midst, and that I “shall not be moved." He will show up “right at the break of dawn.” (Ps. 46:5) I know that He has told me to reach out to others for their prayers and counsel, for surely, "two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. (Eccl. 4:9‭-‬10) I have seen that “as iron sharpens iron, so does the counsel of a good friend." I know what it means to both bear a burden for a friend, as well as have my own burdens bore by another. It matters not if I 'feel' my Father, I can always trust that He is there with an everlasting love, and a power to see me ton hrough. So, I will keep looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, knowing that this is just a trying season, and it is "working patience, and patience experience and experience hope." (Rom. 5:4)  And, I will pray - after all, that's where the battle is won now isn't it.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Both Day and Night...

Sometimes I find that sitting down to read the Word of God isn’t easy to do. I get distracted, my thoughts are here,  there, and everywhere, and, I find myself growing frustrated that I’m not more disciplined. Then, this happens – He loves me anyway – and blesses me with truth about His truth. Lately, as I have been moving through Psalm 1 (at a snail’s pace it seems) I am beginning to see how much I miss when I rush through a reading just to say, “yay, I got my daily word in!” Last year, in one of my classes, we talked about how spiritual disciplines become more of a duty instead of devotion. I get busy, grow increasingly tired as the school year moves along, and I lose sight of the richness of grace and power found in His law; I forget how beautiful it is to abide within its safety. Psalm 1:2 pricked my hurried heart this morning about that very thing. When all is well, and the light is shining (day,) when the Holy Spirit’s comfort surrounds me, I need to carefully consider the forcefully compelling teachings and facts (law) He has laid before me in His word, focusing on their truth and power. I need to mentally plan (meditate) a strategy– an offensive battle plan constructed from His law; and, in unison, when the final part of the day comes, the darkness falls, night has come and it’s time to defend my soul and the souls of those around me, I will remember the day’s mediations, I will focus my thoughts toward their truth and power. The day and night become a force to be reckoned with when I make them both a dwelling place firmly fixed upon the Him. God’s word is full of treasure, and this morning, while the light shines, He is reminding me of that faithful fact. So, when the night falls, and the black of midnight tries to assail my soul, may  I find myself securely planted amid the strength of His word!


But his delight in in the law of the Lord, and in His law he mediates both day and night.  Psalm 1:2

Friday, November 11, 2016

A walk to remember....

God’s favor rests upon His children when we separate ourselves from the enemy camp. (Ps. 1:1) God delights to stay connected to us, but many times, we find our plans and purpose being influenced by all the wrong things. To desire His divine protection, and long for a right relationship with our Father is where victory lies.

  I am beginning to understand more and more just how important it is to be a steward that seeks to take great pleasure in the Lord’s word and will, and not take counsel from, or tarry among the negative and disrespectful influences of the enemy. It may be, learning a pilgrim's walk with God is harder than one would realize, but totally doable through Jesus (all things remember?) And, although this world is not my home, (Heb. 13:14) as a Christian, I am never to act as judge and jury of others, this is not what loving Him is about - rather, I am to rejoice in His grace, understanding that it is He who is my Savior, and live my life in such a manner that others see His redeeming and powerful love. (Acts 22:15, John 3:16, Heb. 9:12)

Although it was hard to take in at first, His word enlightened and moved me today, and gave me a sense of direction and peace - and even though obedience is often difficult, therein lies the reward – a walk to remember.


Psalm 1:1-2 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly , nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord and he mediates in it both day and night.