Archive | April 2015

You Know That You Know

Blue flower

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT) The faithful love of the Lord never ends![a] His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

My husband and I had an enlightening conversation this week.  In fact, we were watching a sermon that was really opening our eyes on some things we’d been praying about for quite a while and during that we paused the sermon and had that conversation.  It’s so important that things move from our head to our heart but what is becoming abundantly clear is the timing of that is all God because the interesting thing was we’d watched this sermon before and it didn’t “speak” to us the way it did this time.  The first time it was really good and we enjoyed it, but this time we were changed in our hearts, minds and spirits.  The Holy Spirit at that particular time breathed life and we literally had an awakening moment.  We will never be the same.

What happened?  I’m sure I don’t even have a full view of what all happened, but I’ll share the things that I do know.  As I mentioned in previous posts, God has my husband and I on a very unique journey right now, we’ve never been on anything like it before.  Over the last nine months God has been intently molding us, shaping us, pruning us, teaching us, and retraining areas where we had wrong thinking…a lot of that actually.

We’ve told God we want to live and have all that He has for us, but funny enough, you really never realize what your opening yourself up for with that request.  For us it has been inside out, upside down, complete overhaul time.  Don’t get me wrong, we needed it, but in it sometimes you’re wondering, “Was anything in my life working?  Does EVERYTHING have to be redone?”  Sometimes there is a lot that we need renewed, but the whole purpose of the process is preparation and getting you ready for where God is leading you and make you fit for His use in that.  Joseph comes to mind.  He had the visions of his family bowing down to him, which seemed pretty prideful at the time!, and I imagine he did have some pride issues going on being his Father’s favored son and seeing these dreams.  However, what those dreams represented were way beyond what was seen at the time; all of the known nations of the world would be under Joseph when the time came, because he would be the way any of them would survive.  During the seven year famine every person needing food had to go through Joseph to get it, and the reason it was available was because of Joseph’s stewardship…wow!

God took Joseph through some pretty intense training, that at the time made absolutely no sense to Joseph.  He’d have favor and then the pit; he’d have favor and then prison; he’d have favor and then be forgotten.  But the purpose for it was there and the time was coming and God was weaving all the necessary pieces together while Joseph waited, was tested, while Joseph changed, served and matured.

That’s been us, fortunately so far we’ve gotten to skip the literal pit and prison experiences but many of Joseph’s experiences we can relate to.  So lately God has really impressed upon us the importance of having Hope in our lives.  I even did a post on Hope a couple of weeks ago, that confident expectation of good.  I have it on my board in my office, I’ve been reading devotionals and Christian books that cover hope, and I’ve been regularly reading awesome scriptures on hope.  I’ve also prayed that the Holy Spirit would fill me with hope and that the all to often confident expectation of nothing good would be transformed to what God has promised!!  I know all of those things probably don’t sound that exciting and they may even sound trite, but I’m here to tell you that when God says,  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV), that’s really what He means and when we take Him at His Word, what He promised and what we’ve been praying for will come to pass.

Back to Ed’s and my conversation.  We’re watching the sermon and getting revelation and all of a sudden we have that hope.  It’s no longer just in our head, it’s in our hearts and we are seeing and feeling totally different than we did an hour ago.  We pause the message and Ed tells me that it’s like knowing we are saved and going to heaven.  Both of us are so sure of that, there is nothing anyone could say or do to us that would cause us to stop believing that truth.  We are unshakable in our confidence of our salvation, we know that we know.  If we can believe that, the most amazing gift God gives us, why are we struggling with all of these seemingly lesser beliefs?  Really, I can believe that Jesus saved me from hell and I’m going to spend an eternity in heaven with God, but I struggle with where this month’s milk money is coming from…it seems crazy.  I think, though, it’s a few reasons we have these daily struggles; the enemy, our culture, we are growing each day from glory to glory, and the list goes on.  Here’s the pièce de résistance:  if we will truly commit and surrender ourselves to our Heavenly Father (no take backs!!), and if we will be willing to take Him at His Word and press in and keep on seeking and knocking, He has promised that absolutely He will reveal to us His ways and they will come in with a confidence and strength that it will no longer be something you just understand in your head, you will know that you know that you know and the victory and joy and peace that come with that will be the joy that is set before you that dims all the struggle our human flesh went through to obtain His glorious promise!

I don’t know where you are today and what challenges, frustrations, griefs, or obstacles you are in the middle of, but your Heavenly Father does know.  He knows and He’s provided a promise and a provision that are far beyond the problem.  For us, our circumstances over the years had led to a season where we really needed to be living in God’s hope for what He has next for us.  In our heads a lot of it didn’t make sense and we’ve knocked heads with God on a number of occasions (maybe not the brightest move on our part!), but His loving-kindness and His faithfulness and gentleness continued to envelope us and we are learning more about what God wants to be for us in this time far beyond what we’ve ever known before, and we know are truly living in hope.  For this season of what we are learning, because this is a continual journey, we know what we know…and we are unshakeable.

Resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi6nZA2wUqo  If you’re interested in the sermon God used for Ed & I, here’s the link.  It’s Graham Cooke’s “The Language of Heaven”

A Daughter’s Prayer:  Abba, I stand in a place I do not understand and that I do not want to be.  Instead of being in Your green pastures I feel as though I am banished to the most barren desert.  I have no idea how to get to where I am, to where You’ve promised You will lead me.  But it is You, Lord, that I want.  There is nothing in this life that will ever be as important as You.  I know You can take me from my wilderness and from my wanderings and lead me by Your still waters.  You can set me at Your table in the presence of my enemies and I can see Your marvelous glory turn my wasteland into a land flowing with milk and honey.  You, Abba, are my hope. In You will I trust.  I lay my brokenness at your feet and I surrender myself wholly to You that not only will I reap life everlasting, I will have hope, peace, joy, grace, mercy and Your loving-kindness all the days of my life.  In Jesus’ holy name, amen.

My Normal

Daisy

Romans 14:17 (NKJV) – for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

 

The last few weeks have been interestingly normal and I say that implying that normal means ups and downs, good experiences and bad, laughter and tears on any given day.  As I continue to tread along this journey of discovery about my Heavenly Father, I also find out more and more about myself.  I’m discovering that while I know correct things in my head, I still expect something else in my life.  Take normal for example.  In my head I know that normal means all kinds of different experiences, including ones I like and those I don’t, because we all have that, that’s normal.  But I want my normal to mean that I’m driving in my convertible, perfect humidity free breeze blowing (don’t want my hair to get frizzy!), sun shining, the right song on the radio and not a care in the world.  Unfortunately, most of my days don’t look like that, so my emotions and that voice in my head begin to tell me I’m living a sub-par life, I’m not living a normal life.  Ha!  Joke’s on me!

It’s time to take on a more mature, and I mean spiritually mature, view of what normal should look like and it’s not either view I have so carefully crafted.  Instead, it’s a beautiful blend where I am living my very normal, roll coaster of a life, but inside I’m experiencing the peace, stability and carefree existence the Bible describes over and over and over again.  That familiar scripture in Philippians 4:11-13 (AMP):

11 Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be [a] content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.  12 I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want.  13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who [b]infuses inner strength into me; I am [c]self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].

Again, another area where I mentally understood what Paul was saying, but in living life, never truly comprehended how something like that could be me.  How can I, how can we, be steadfast, content, satisfied, not disturbed, nor disquieted regardless of our situation and circumstances?  How can I be riding the scariest roller coaster on the outside and be driving peacefully and relaxed in my convertible on the inside?  Honestly, I don’t think I truly felt like that is something I could be.  Not because I didn’t think that was what God wanted for me, I just didn’t know what I needed or needed to do or be…to BE that person.

Here’s what I’m discovering.  This journey is less and less about me and more and more about Him.  Remember that scripture, I’ve been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live (Galatians 2:20) and this one, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:2).  So a lot of my life has been a picture of how I saw it, how I thought it should be and my efforts in creating that environment and prayers to God to change circumstances to come into line with my thoughts on my life.  Many of my thoughts were founded on scriptures, but it’s been my weaving and selection of scriptures to best fit my current circumstance and desired outcome.  The reality is, however, very different.  God has planned a life for each one of us whereby we live in His love, acceptance, joy, peace and favor and accomplish His design and plan for us.  I’m able to walk this walk because my time is spent in His presence and receiving all that Jesus died for me to have (that love, acceptance, joy, etc.) and He works in me and through me to pour that out as I walk the path He has set before me. ( Proverbs 3:6  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct[a] your paths.) 

The how is not found in what I must figure out to do, it’s in choosing to seek Him and His kingdom and my inner life becomes one of constancy because He does not change even when things around me are crashing and clanging.  I believe the reason Paul was able to say what he had become in all of his circumstances is because he went from seeking the perfect place and settled in the perfect person…His Heavenly Father, the shelter from the storm, the stillness in midst of the hurricane, the provision in the middle of lack…Paul’s internal rest in the secret place of the almighty.  I leave you with Psalms 91 that I believe is what God has spoken to us that we are to have as our normal regardless of any situation we find ourselves in.  It is what I am reaching for as the normal life I believe God planned for me…and for you!

Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler[a]
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”