Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Isaiah 6:13b Israel will remain a stump, like a tree that is cut down, but the stump will be a holy seed that will grow again.
Something I read this morning.....
Isaiah 9:2 For God will break the chains that bind his people and the whip that scourges them.....
Isaiah 9:10 In their pride and arrogance they say, "Our land lies in ruins now, but we will rebuild it better than before.....
**what He breaks, He does not want ME to rebuild....rest in Him, and He will rebuild it as He intended in the first place.....before I messed it all up.
2 Corinthians 12:9 Each time He said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me.
**rest in His gracious favor...it's all I NEED.
HIS POWER is made known in my weakness.
Break me down, Father....whatever it looks like.
I pray an open heart, obedient to what you call...
Rebuild as you will.....make me anew in You.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
“For love is as strong as death, and its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. Many waters cannot quench love; neither can rivers drown it.” (Song of Songs 8:6b-7a, NLT)
May this be an encouraging reminder of His pursuance of your heart and desire for your affections…
Know that the first time I read this, I was bent to read it with worldly eyes…desiring what any woman wants from a man that pursues her heart…which are all good things (a strong, enduring, purifying, unquenchable love that will not drown, but withstand the test of time…one that challenges us…edifies to make us holier). But as I prayed through it, allowing the Scriptures to read and align my heart with His, I realized God was wanting me to see a picture of how HE is a pursuer of my heart. Humbled and incredibly thankful, I re-read with new eyes…and received a fuller heart.
A few personal thoughts here…
Love is as strong as death.
Death is final. Complete. Nothing halfway…when it’s done, it’s done.
He died on the cross for me. This is love. True, final, complete Love.
Its jealousy as enduring (unyielding; NIV) as the grave.
We cannot stop the grave from coming…each second, one second closer to our death. No slowing it down. Love’s jealousy is the same way…unyielding, that it will stop at nothing. The Lord is jealous of our hearts being anyone’s but His. He wants our deepest desires, innermost longings, and uninhibited affections…and he will stop at nothing to draw us nearer to Him.
Love flashes like fire.
His love is passionate…like the roar of flashing fire. Ever just stared at fire? Amazing.
His love purifies us. His wrath-absorbing sacrifice on the cross makes us holy and blameless in God’s eyes… a saint. His love, a refiner’s fire.
Waters cannot quench love.
I pray my thirst for Him is never quenched. I was once told in VBS when I was little, that I had a “God-shaped hole in my heart that only God could fill.” It’s shaped only for Him to fit. Nothing can “quench that thirst” or “fill that hole” (if you will) but Him. Until the day He calls me home, I’ll long for the fulfillment and completeness of my One True Love.
Rivers cannot drown it.
A river’s flow is of a definite course…but even it’s strong current cannot drown or wash away this Love.
Nothing I do can separate me from the love of Christ Jesus. Nothing. Period.
Thank you, Lord, for being an intimate pursuer of my heart…and for teaching me what the pursuance of my heart should look like.
Strong, intentional, unyielding, passionate, pure, withstanding all…a love that makes me holier.
Your Love for me does not have to be worked for, but rested in. You’ve already fought for my heart, and now long for the return of it’s affections.
I pray you have ALL of my desires and affections…my WHOLE heart. Be my Beloved.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Again, I haven’t posted here lately. I’m always reading. Always writing. Always having good conversations. Always learning. I desire to be better at sharing on here…
Within the last three weeks, my summer vacation ended with a screeching halt. If you know me, you know that this past summer was a summer of rejuvenation for me…mind, body, and spirit. I read, read, read…worked out…spent MUCH quality time with old/new friends…lots of lunches and coffee shop time….lots of just sittin and thinkin…just learning to live in each moment and took life as it came. Was amazing. Refreshing. A good season for me…and one that was overdue. And then school came. I must admit I’m usually a fan of structure and organization…however, this summer I really got used to “taking things in stride…moment-to-moment.” So, with the rush of starting school and becoming extremely busy with the “to-do’s” of life, while getting my wisdom teeth extracted and attending the Launch Retreat right smack in the middle of it, I began feeling that my summer of rejuvenation was being quickly depleted and sleep deprivation a constant companion.
However, all that to say, my heart remains at peace.
Amongst the chaos of life around me, the busyness of “to-do’s,” the lack of sleep in the last few weeks, etc., I have an inner-calm. A peace that transcends all understanding. A peace that guards my heart and mind. I have Him. I can’t remember a time of late that I could honestly say this. And say it with full conviction. PTL, my friends. My summer of rejuvenation was a summer of stillness at His Feet…a summer of just “being.” The intimate time spent just being with Him, and nothing of my doing or attempting to attain (which I’m all too guilty of), results in my ability to claim Philippians 4:4-7. I rejoice in Him.
So…as not to write an entire novel, and attempt to stay in theme, I will give a small nugget of something He revealed to me at Launch.
We spent time in Jonah…discussing how Jonah ran from the Lord and His call of him into Nineveh, escaping towards “Tarshish.”
“Tarshish”—Jonah’s place of “hiding” or “comfort”
What is my “Tarshish?” I asked myself. Well, my place of “hiding and comfort” for nearly 20 years of my life was just that…“hiding.” Hiding in who my friends and relationships told me I was, rather than just being me. It was more comfortable to just be what they needed, rather than run the risk of being myself and not being able to live up to their standards and needs/wants, perform adequately for their acceptance, or just “fit in.” And I questioned and came to realization within the last year, whether it was truly my friends/family who had these standards set before me, or if I am really just my own worst enemy?
Ok, so God sends a storm…and Jonah sleeps.
God pressed upon and stirred within my heart so many times….praise Him that while I “slept,” knowing He was calling me to awake in His truth, HE IS FAITHFUL…because I was not.
And the storm gets worse. Should Jonah be thrown over, as to save the other men on the boat from harm? Jonah would rather DIE than conform to the Lord’s call. Rather DIE, or risk death, than go to Nineveh.
I lived a life of death before knowing Christ. Materialistic, self-centered, hope in fleeting things…chasing what I was told would produce happiness and fulfillment, but only full of emptiness (oxymoron, it seems), disappointment, and despair. I thought it was living, but LIFE I was far from.
So, they still attempt to row forward in their own strength, against the will of God, but it is useless.
I’ll just say “self-sufficiency.” Have to come to the end of myself EVERY morning….humbled that I can’t, and thankful that He can, will, and does.
So, finally Jonah is thrown overboard and swallowed by a large fish. It was there Jonah PRAYED to the Lord his God….Jonah 2 (don’t just read it…personally pray this one on your knees…it’s a good one).
Now the Lord commanded the fish to VOMIT Jonah onto dry land. And finally, at the Lords’ second call of the same thing, Jonah goes to Nineveh.
My Nineveh…stepping out of hiding due to my own insecurities, and BEING who He’s designed me to be. Period. Security in Him alone. I will not be ashamed of who I am, because I am His…and I stand proudly, yet completely humbled (another somewhat oxymoron) in the fact that He’d have me as His own.
**Thank you, Abba Father, for being a pursuer of my heart…faithful to take me to whatever ends you must, in order to get my sometimes stubborn, many times selfish, and always war-waging heart to be broken and open to what You call…and to helping me to know how to BELIEVE and TRUST in your promises to the point of FOLLOWING and PRAISING with a heart and spirit of JOY.
It’s your turn, friends…
What is YOUR “Tarshish?” And YOUR “Nineveh?”
And you know me, I’d love for you to share your story…
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
(1) romans 7 speaks of the "waging war"...between our hearts and minds...i know each of our hearts desire to be FULL of our Lord, and to EXUDE His character, peace, and presence....but we have a sinful nature that hinders this ability...
HOWEVER, romans 8 reminds us that if we SET OUR MINDS ON what the SPIRIT DESIRES (not our own sinful desires...*guilty*), it will lead to LIFE and PEACE. let me say it again, because it can be so simple, yet so complex for "minds that do not understand" (ha)....
"a mind controlled by the Spirit leads to life and peace!"
i pray our minds are SET ON THE SPIRIT today, friends.
(2) romans 8 calls us "heirs to God" and "co-heirs to Christ," if we share in His suffering, so we may also share in His glory. whoa. does that take anyone else back a few steps!? wow. talk about feelin' like a "saint!" who doesn't want to be an "heir" to HIS THRONE!? and all we are called to do is embrace suffering in His likeness (which i often question if i even know what true "suffering" is), so we may KNOW HIM more FULLY. we will groan inwardly as we wait for our adoption and bodily redemeption.....we have HOPE.
i pray we welcome and embrace suffering today, because it allows us to KNOW HIM MORE FULLY, and makes us MORE LIKE HIM.
(3) the Spirit intercedes for us in prayer. we don't know what to ask for, but He intercedes for "the saints," that we are in accordance to GOD'S WILL. our prayers aren't about US or OUR DESIRES, but about aligning our hearts with His Heart...our pleadings and wonderings becoming HIS....our desires becoming His desires....
i laughed when i read this because i thought, "geez, we can't even pray right! He has to intercede THERE too!?!" haha. funny.
i pray that we seek Him in fervent prayer today, allowing the Spirit to align our hearts with His.
(4) all things God works for good of those who love Him...
i feel i've been reminded of this alot lately, but Scripture goes on to say something more....
-who can/will bring charge against us? GOD JUSTIFIES.
-who condemns? CHRIST INTERCEDES.
-NOTHING can separate us from GOD'S LOVE. Nothing.
i pray we write this on our hearts today, friends. that we don't just choose to read it, think about it.....but that we choose to believe it, trust it, and live it. everything He uses for good. and He'll always love us. He promises.
let the SPIRIT overtake you today....ask Him to open your heart to the possibilities of where He wants to take you and use you...how He wants to sharpen, mold, refine, and transform you today....just today. and let Him move in that.
i pray we become more like Him in fighting the waging war, setting our minds on things of the Spirit....embracing suffering w/ joyful hearts in order that we may know Him more fully......allowing the Spirit to intercede in our prayers, and that our hearts be aligned with HIM and HIM ALONE....
all these things, knowing NOTHING can separate us from His love.
deny self and risk all things for HIM....nothing can separate you.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Are the Ten Commandments....the law.…a set of rules that God expects us to obey in order to live righteously in His good graces?
If so, how many have attained this?
Only Jesus fulfilled the law completely. And He did so resting fully and dependently on God. Fully. Dependently.
The Ten Commandments show us just how sinful we are. And proves to us that we will never, ever be able to fulfill this law, no matter how hard we try. The Law shows us that we cannot attain righteousness by works…. Yet, we still try? And why?
Attempting to keep the law is another declaration of “independence” on our parts…an attempt to keep control. Freedom comes from trusting and depending fully on Him. Fully. For everything.
The more independently we live from Him, living by our own standards, efforts, strength and sufficiency, the filthier we become when viewing ourselves at the cross…because apart from Him, we are nothing…and there is no good.
“Jesus laid the demand of the law to rest; it no longer has any power to accuse or command. Jesus is both the promise and the fulfillment.”
I’ll say it again: He is the promise. He is the fulfillment.
I pray this promise is written on my heart, and that my own futile efforts cease.
I pray to make a declaration of “dependence” each day.
(Romans 3:20, 23-24)
Monday, June 23, 2008
I watched “The Great Debators” last night. Wonderful flick starring Denzel Washington, and a myriad of other great actors, some old and some new. I was moved by so many things stated and debated, wrestled with and overcome. One of my favorite quotes was one introduced in the beginning of the movie, and then revisited at the end with much climactic impact.
Allow me to share.
Mr. Tolson: “Who is the judge?”
Samantha, Henry, James, Hamilton (Debators): “The judge is God.”
Mr. Tolson: “Why is he God?”
Samantha, Henry, James, Hamilton (Debators): “Because he decides who wins or loses. Not my opponent.”
Mr. Tolson: “Who is your opponent?”
Samantha, Henry, James, Hamilton (Debators): “He does not exist.”
Mr. Tolson: “Why does he not exist?”
Samantha, Henry, James, Hamilton (Debators): “Because he is a mere dissenting voice of the truth I speak!”
So I ask myself, “What does this mean for me? Or for us?”
Speak the Truth.
John 7:16-18 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain great honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of TRUTH; there is nothing false about him.”
John 14:6a Jesus answered, “I am the way and the TRUTH and the life.”
John 16:13a But when he, the Spirit of TRUTH, comes, he will guide you into all TRUTH.
We could go on and on…
Bottom line, there really is no debate.
God is the ultimate authority and judge. Our enemies do not exist, nor do they have any power over us, because they are merely voices of opposition to the TRUTH we can choose to believe, to trust, and to speak.
And He has already won. It is done. Finished.
(John 19:28-30; Hebrews 9:26-28; Ephesians 1:7-8)
He is God. He is Abba Father. He is Son and Holy Spirit. He is love. He is hope. He is grace. He is good. He is sovereign. He is holy. He is just. He is mighty. He is omnipotent. He is perfect. He is helper, keeper, protector, preserver, provider. He is All in All. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the Great I Am. He is the Way. He is the TRUTH.
Be challenged today…
Truly believe. Trust Him. Fear nothing. Speak the Truth.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Excerpt from The Shack by William P. Young:
“It was chaos in color. His eyes tried unsuccessfully to find some order in this blatant disregard for certainty. Dazzling sprays of flowers were blasted through patches of randomly planted vegetables and herbs, vegetation the likes of which Mack had never seen. It was confusing, stunning, and incredibly beautiful.”
“From above it’s a fractal…” Sarayu said over her shoulder.
Every step he [Mack] took changed whatever patterns he for an instant thought he had seen, and nothing was like it had been.
“A fractal…something considered simple and orderly that is actually composed of repeated patterns no matter how magnified. A fractal is almost infinitely complex. I love fractals, so I put them everywhere.”
“Looks like a mess to me,” said Mack.
“That IS exactly what this is—a mess. “But,” she looked back at Mack and beamed, “it’s still a fractal, too.”
The testimony of my life could be seen as a mess. A complete mess. Yet repeated patterns of sin and struggles can be found throughout. Sometimes I wonder if from above, if I could step back and see the bigger picture that God sees, if it is more like a fractal.
What seems to be a mess, is a mess…
Chaos in color…
Disregard for certainty…
Infinitely complex in it’s composed pattern…
Yet to Him, from His view, organized chaos. And to Him, stunning and incredibly beautiful.
After all, that infinitely complex composed pattern…well, He’s the composer. In His infinite knowledge, love, and grace.
In the details on any scale that my finite mind is given opportunity to see…
I pray to not miss the beauty of each individual, simple or complex, fractal of this life.
And now my mind wanders to ponder…do the fractals of our individual lives intertwine to make even more infinitely complex fractals?
Monday, June 9, 2008
What is it about the kitchen? Or better yet the kitchen floor? Of late, I’ve found that when people gather at someone’s house, we always tend to end up in the kitchen. And it’s a place where some of my favorite conversations have happened. We had a party last winter at our place, and most of my time was spent in the kitchen with friends talking, with nobody on one of our three couches sitting in our comfy living room. And I must admit our couches are very comfy! J Anyways, sound familiar? Could it be because we like to surround ourselves around the comfort of food? Ok, so I spent time with some girlfriends the other night over dinner and good conversation. We were well into the night, when I found myself sitting with three dear friends on the kitchen floor laughing, reflecting on life, and delving into a depth of conversation that centered on all things God. We never realized we were there until another friend looked over and laughed at and questioned us. Why the kitchen? And the floor, nonetheless? No food there. Yet another evening this week, upon visiting my momma, we ended up sitting in her kitchen on opposing countertops in multifaceted contemplation... It was on the drive home that I realized I’d love to throw this question out for feedback…”Why the kitchen? Is this a common occurrence for anyone else? Maybe a pattern you’ve never questioned to realize before? Do you find yourself amongst friends in the kitchen often? And, if so, does it come accompanied with good convo? Do your families huddle there unbeknownst to themselves?”
But then I remembered I don’t blog publicly, which is something I’ve prayed about for the last year or so….
And then, like ALL things in my life, another lesson from above…
(Stick with me…my wandering mind, paired with all things divine, is a crazy one…)
And deriving from the thoughts of the kitchen, here is what I’ve come to….
An imposter is a false self.
An imposter fits everywhere because his personality changes to each evolving situation. He wants to be safe, to fit in, to be liked. He’s famous for being a nobody, or non-person. Blending. He is preoccupied by acceptance and approval. He overextends himself, not by personal commitment, but by fear of other’s expectations. He is what he “does.” He gains his identity from interpersonal relationships, as well as achievements. An imposter is born as a defense to pain. (Manning)
I’ve given and written the Lord’s story of my life more times than I can show on my two hands. He never ceases to amaze me at how He uses each time I give it to speak to my own heart something new about myself. Yet a different perspective. A further refining. In sharing it with a group of gals last Wednesday, I was reminded of the incredible and exhausting amount of life I spent on a journey towards learning to be a great imposter. Could probably go so far as to say that I almost had it perfected. My testimony includes many patterns that are deeply rooted insecurity, manifesting itself in people pleasing, codependency, performance based acceptance, and some past hurts that yield guilt and shame.
Without going into great detail (another time), nor being too vague to miss the point, I claimed a relationship with God for a long time, but was still caught up in the bondage of “attemping” to be self-sufficient (do whatever it took within my own power to feel secure, accepted, or accomplished) in order to cover my insecurity. Yes, just cover it, not face or deal with it.
Not faith at all.
I was not surrendering anything, and therefore, not trusting Him. I was ever-changing my outward, but never my inward. Never my heart.
Finally there was realization that sin is not what I DO, but who I AM. I am a born sinner, and in great need of my Savior every second of everyday. I can’t change WHO I am, like I’ve so long tried to do. Only He can do that. But I think it’s not about Him ‘changing’ who I am, as much as it is about Him showing me who He created and always intended me to be. I’m not who I say, the world says, or who I thought I desired to be. I am who He says I am. And I now believe just that, and that alone.
Praise Him for redemption everyday, and for a resurrected life.
Transforming of heart. A process. I’m no longer hiding. Allowing the Lord to come into, purge, and cleanse even the deepest and darkest parts of my heart. Light. Exposure. Fig leaves removed. Transparency.
“You are beautifully and wonderfully made,” He tells me. To hide myself is to be ashamed of what HE has created.
We give glory to God by being ourselves.
A fervor of reading and writing. Passionate about thoughts and ramblings on paper in an attempt to more fully understand and grasp Him, His heart…as well as His stirrings of my heart and whispers to my soul.
To put my blogs public is an attempt to remove yet another fig leaf. To not hide or be fearful of what you may think of my mere “utterings.” That you may not see me, but Him. His heart. To ramble thoughts, questions, stirrings in a public way…may He use it.
Augustine says, “There can be only two basic loves. The love of God unto the forgetfulness of self, or the love of self unto the forgetfulness and denial of God.”
May I get out of the way…forget self. Love Him.
Love God. Love others.
So, care to ponder the kitchen with me?