Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hold on a little bit longer

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4

Don't lose heart

I'm not sure what the phrase "don't lose heart" conjures up in your mind but for application purposes to me it is when I become discouraged enough by the winds and waves of this life to the point of giving up. Yet haven't we all felt that way? At the end of our rope so to speak. We may feel like giving up on the thought of every breaking free of a habitual stronghold that has held us in its grip for far too long. What about the loved one you have been praying for and yet still no sign of change? What about the relationship that barely has an ember glowing and you feel the last bit of hope about to be snuffed out. What about the ones you want so badly to know Jesus and His redemptive power yet their hearts seem so hard and calloused that getting through to them would be like breaking through bars of bronze with your bare hands. I know someone is reading that feels washed up on life's shore wondering if she missed her calling. Maybe you feel like you have blown your testimony beyond repair and you have lost hope that God can still use you. The woman struggling with infertility or is on her fourth miscarriage yet all of her friends are pregnant all around her. Or the person who has been alone in their marriage for far too long and has almost given up on things ever changing. She feels abandoned, rejected and alone. Why would anyone want to fight for her anyway she wonders to herself. Or the woman whose husband has betrayed her with his sad addiction to p*rnography. These are just a few things that I am pitching out there because I do hope that one of them will at least conjure up in you the thoughts of what it is like to lose heart. Paul's admonition here was for those of us in Christ to not lose heart. We must take courage if you and I are going to make it to the finish line having fought the good fight. I really wish I could just be so honest in regards to some of the things I am facing or have faced yet I don't think it would glorify God to just throw out the details on my blog. All that is to say that I know what it is to lose heart. This week I really felt a call to step it up in the realm of spiritual disciplines. I felt in my heart that the Lord was calling me to abstain from food so I could press in and perhaps touch them hem of His garment. And so I did for two days. It was so pathetic at first at how weak my flesh is. Yet I was determined with His might working in me that my flesh was going to bow down to the Holy Spirit because I needed Jesus more than I needed food. I needed to sense His presence. I needed to take courage from His word which He imparts to us so readily...yet sadly so often I forfeit the grace that could be mine for lesser things.
I realized in that small act that I really am nothing apart from Him and can do nothing apart from Him. Also, I think the removal of something like food or whatever for a time brings you clarity and the blessed reminder that He is our portion in the land of the living.

In our Western Post-Modern Culture we are usually among "the have's" and not "have not's". I was up at 3 am in what would have been yesterday, studying James Chapter 5 and I was sickened over my own self-absorption. I had to hurry to obey the Lord at 4:30am to start cleaning out my closets to purge of my own greed and continual lust for more. It is so easy to get caught up in covetousness and greed and think little to nothing about what a discontented state we are in because it is so the norm. Especially when the culture surrounding us screams so loudly that we need to feed our flesh that the still small voice of the Holy Spirit is drowned out by the deafening noise of the modern day Babylon we live in. One sure fire way for us to lose heart is to amass wealth and things to the point that we become enslaved by them and in doing so lose sight on what is unseen because we get so flipping distracted by what is seen and what is temporary!

So, do the odds seem to be stacked against you? Take heart.

"Paul has supplied several reasons for refusing to grow discouraged in spite of seemingly overwhelming odds: (1) his divine commission as a minister of a new and superior covenant (4:1), (2) the prospect of sharing Christ's triumphant resurrection from the dead (4:14), and (3) his immediate task of promoting the Corinthians' spiritual welfare and the glory of God (4:15). But he was realistic enough to recognize that his toil and suffering had taken their toll on him physically. For this, however, there was a splendid compensation. Matching the progressive weakening of his physical powers was the daily renewal of his spiritual powers. It was as though the more he expended himself for the Gospel's sake..., the greater his spiritual resilience..."

Let me just say that you and I have got to be in the word of God if we are going to have this spiritual resilience I just quoted. I don't know any other way to withstand total defeat then to take up our sword of the Spirit and press in to know Him through His word. I'm not here to argue about "quiet times" but I know that I can sense the Lords guidance and presence more in the morning than any other time of the day. I can't tell you the number of times I am sure Rod and I both would have rather been out of our marriage yet I can only speak for me when I say it is the dailiness of seeking God that has kept my marriage as imperfect as it is. Anyone that knows us would say our pictures would not quite be in the yearbook under "most likely to succeed!" Yet God in His grace has continued to breathe life into us when we feel like we can't withstand another day. The pure fear of the Lord has kept us together and the mercy that triumphs judgment that we have both been such great recipients of.

This spoke volumes to me this morning about the staying, accomplishing work that the Lord wants to do in and through the life of the believer (in reference to how quick and momentary this life on planet earth is):

"This life goes fast. A vapor. A mist. Picture someone exhaling warm breath into the freezing cold. There it is. Then it's gone...When circumstances are really tough, we can find comfort and courage in the verses about life's brevity. We can think to ourselves, In the eternal scheme of things, He's only asking you to do this hard thing for a few minutes. You can be faithful. It's not that long!" (Beth Moore, page 152 of James:Mercy Triumphs)

Should you stay in an abusive relationship? NO! Are there biblical reasons to leave a marriage? YES! But what about doing the hard thing and being one of the ones that Hebrews 11 talks about when it says that the world was not worthy of them? I love the hall of faith passage because these people were certainly not living "their best life now"! They were being put to death, stoned, sawed in two and etc for their faith in Christ. You may not ever be martyred for your faith in Christ Jesus but He may call you to stay put in some hard situations and persevere. These people did not receive on earth what was promised but you can bet they will in eternity. Sometimes we have to wait for the answer, even when it comes to the Lord's judgment, but though it linger we should wait for it...even if it doesn't come this side of heaven

Hebrews 11:37-39

37 They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.

I just turned 32 last month and after having three kids I can T-E-S-T-I-F-Y that outwardly we are wasting away as our bodies decay but just like the Lord said, we are not to live in fear of those who can kill the body but not our souls. Because these earthly tents we live in will eventually be taken down and one day we who are in Christ will receive glorified bodies that are incorruptible. The Lord cares about what concerns you. Even when you don't feel it.

Luke 12:4-6

4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.

So, we must press on past our discouragement by letting Him teach us and speak to our weary souls. So many of you know that Rod's best friend and one of my best friends committed suicide almost two years ago in February. I wrote about that here.

He gave into the despair and the weakness of his flesh and unfortunately did not fight the good fight of faith. He became disheartened...he gave up.

In regards to focusing and fixing our gaze on what is unseen, I love this paragraph again out of Beth Moore's new study on James:

"I loved this commentary excerpt, she writes. See if it speaks to you, too: "This life cannot be properly understood without considering the spiritual realm, a realm that impinges on and ultimately determines the material realm in which we live day to day." Beth goes on to say, "Maybe we've heard this until the holes of our ears have grown over, but God is the only one looking through every layer and at every implication. He also looks upon a situation in context of what it is, what was, and what is to come. His deliberations don't just involve immediate impact. He sees our place and our positions amid carefully woven generations."

And I have to go on to quote this even though I realize how lengthy I am getting here:

"Are you ever tempted to think that this whole human thing is rigged? That God formed us with souls that seek well-being yet shuns us when we do what comes naturally? What if we understood down to the marrow of our bones that His is the only plan that really does end up prospering us (like spoken of in Jeremiah 29:11...I don't believe she is speaking of just monetary prosperity but a prospering in our soul)? What if we really believed Jesus when He said that those who insist on finding their own lives will lose them and those who lose them for His sake will find them (see Matt. 16:25)? What if we really believed that, if we seek God's kingdom and His righteousness, everything else of true value would be given to us, too (see Matt. 6:33)? What if we really believed that "He did not even spare His own Son but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything" (Romans 8:32)? What if we really believed that "godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come" (1 Timothy 4:8, NASB)?

To quote Moore again, "What if we really believed that God is not only great, He is good?"

To draw off of all of that when we focus only on circumstances and do not lift our eyes to His word we become jaded and then creeps in the losing heart, the despondency, the despair.

So as the weight of life comes down on your shoulders bend your knees or fall to your face and like Paul in 2 Cor. 4, let the idea of proportions that he experienced thrust you closer to the Father. "The greater affliction Paul suffered, the greater the glory produced for him."

As I live and breathe I can testify that some of the greatest gifts in my life have been pain because like a thorn in my flesh I would turn toward God and come to know Him in greater ways than I could have had that circumstance or pain not entered my life.

My only living grandparent died a few weeks before Blair was born. I think about it everyday...not to be preoccupied with death but it just washes all over me how brief this life is. Her body failed her and then of course she gave up her Spirit and she was cremated in the blink of an eye. Her presence seemed so immovable yet she is not here. She didn't take a single possession with her when her time was up. It keeps speaking volumes to me because she liked the finer things in life. I am reminded daily that this is not it...this is not my home. It's only temporary. Let's keep pressing in and pressing on until our redemption draweth nigh. He is coming and He will not delay.

Hang on my brother or sister and keep getting up, steadying your feet and gather the manna of God's word each day. We are more than overcomers in Christ Jesus our Lord! We can do this thing.

1 Cor 4:17-18

17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

His Ministry to the Brokenhearted

There are so many places that this post could go but I am trying to keep things a tad bit shorter because my little sister says my posts are too long. I love her honesty! She even tells me while I am mid-sentence that what I am saying is over her head and makes no sense to her. I love her for that as well because I get stupid some times and think that you are all reading the same book that I am! Anyway, Blair is just now five months old and to tell you that I am in love, drunk on him, smitten...are phrases that would just do no justice. If he were the richest dessert in the world I would take the tiniest spoon and eat him up! I am so humbled and thankful for the opportunity to stay home with my little mister and watch him grow. His cheeks are really filling in and he has the chubbiest little grin when he smiles from ear to ear. After losing our first child Shelby Hope, and then the war story of bringing Morgan into this world, I sure didn't envision having another child. Yet somewhere tucked away in the recesses of my mind I did not rule it out either. Each time I found out I was pregnant I literally got on the floor and bawled my eyes out before the Lord. I would literally freak out before Him because I felt all of the inadequacies rush in and the weight of responsibility fall on me no to mention the blessedness of being able to steward another child. I am one of those people who can't start a movie without googling it and reading what happens from the beginning to the end on wikipedia. Yes, I annoy even my own self. When certain parts of suspense come up I tell Rod resoundingly that yes I know what is about to happen its no secret to me, I am already well informed! When reading a Christian fiction book, I start about two chapters then thumb my way to the last few pages of the book to make sure everything will turn out like I want it to or I am not wasting my time with it. I am beyond annoying you are thinking! As I sit here on the floor typing let me tell you that my last irritating issue was picking out my pajamas. They have to match and as much as I have tried to convince myself that it will be OK if they don't...there is no going to bed with the mismatched pajamas. Listen, I know that there are far greater issues going on in the world this just happens to be part of my own madness. In a world where you and I have very little control I would at least like a bit of it in some areas if that is OK.
So, naturally I get ahead of myself even in the parenting department and start to worry about outcomes and years up ahead if I do not intentionally make myself stop and focus on passages like Matthew 6. I am comforted to think of the Israelites being brought out of their land of slavery and how God literally rained down their provisions daily for them. I would have been the chick out there gathering too much than what we needed, as evidenced by my pantry, (hoarding as our generation would call it) and then being scolded by the Lord for not trusting in Him to give me my daily bread (Click Here for the story of the manna in Exodus 16). We would have been the tent that smelled like rot from the manna that went bad. I am just saying.
Side note: When I found out I was pregnant with Blair I took the test in his friends cabin in Kansas (who does that but me?) so they all found out with us and I am sure they thought I was weird...I then went back to our cabin and had the freak out session with the Lord.
So, on to the point. Lately I have been in a funk. I have felt inadequate at best in so many areas. Then, with some things going on in my own life that are so personal, I have been focused on myself. I hate how that works out. Then, Friday night I went out to eat with the fam. As a new mother to Blair I so enjoy when others dote over him and tell me how cute he is. You know when you are the mom you think your baby is so cute even when he could be the ugliest baby anyone has ever seen. To you his face needs to be plastered all over baby food jars. Several people had commented on him in the restaurant and I noticed the waitress would not even look at him. She came back and forth to the table so many times and almost acted as if he wasn't even there. I noticed she did not wear any wedding rings as I tried to converse with her. Finally she told me that she had miscarried in September and she is expecting right now. Immediately I remembered how hard it was for me to share in other peoples joy of a child once I had released my own daughter to be with Jesus. I would scurry past the baby aisles and avoid contact with anyone that had a newborn. I was happy for others but was an emotional bomb waiting to go off on the inside. When you are in the throes of loss it doesn't take much for the floodgate of tears to open up, at least for me. So many people are so well intended yet maybe they have not been through grievous loss in their lives and they in attempt to provide some semblance of comfort to you say the dumbest things...or pious platitudes as some would call it. I was thankful to come in contact with her the other night to be reminded that so many people have desires that are not met in the way that they think they should and they are hurting and broken. It's not just the desire for children. There is severe loneliness, depression, feelings of worthlessness, despair, betrayal...and the list goes on. So even though I am fortunate enough to have this precious child I won't forget for a second that so many are struggling with infertility, miscarriages, the loss of a child and etc. I don't have much to offer here but I do know what it is like to suffer and to feel empty or have hope that is deferred maybe like the single girl that loves Jesus and is in her thirties and still waiting for the Lord to bring that man in her life. I know what it is like to look into Gods word and go oh this is what this relationship should look like but it doesn't and there is nothing I can do Lord but ask You to change me. To make me OK. To not let me grow bitter. I know what it is like to have to come to grips with the fact that some desires are not going to be met this side of heaven and to understand that it's going to be OK because those thorns in life are what drive me closer to Jesus and I wouldn't trade knowing Him for anything. So, tonight I come to say...the Lord cares about your broken heart. He cares about the state that you are in. He is truly what we need but let me ask you this...are you going to be okay if the longing is not fulfilled this side of heaven or will you quit because of the prosperity gospel that tells you that to have Jesus is to have all the best of this world. Or can you stand with me and continually lay yourself as an offering on the altar of the Lord and be the living sacrifice and allow that very longing to be your spiritual act of worship? It is not for the faint of heart when you come face to face with the fact that this world is fallen and broken and under a curse. You and I long for wholeness and there is nothing wrong with that but it will only be found in Christ.

Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

So, I am praying that if that baby never comes, (don't quit seeking God's face over it and don't quit telling Him the desires of your heart) if that relationship is never repaired, if there is someone that is not coming back from the dead, if your marriage is never what it is supposed to be, that you will know the One that will bind up your broken heart and that in your deepest need you will find that you would never have known Jesus the way that you could if that disappointment or hardship had not come into your life.

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

I do realize that what I wrote is not very encouraging yet it comes from great sincerity and the desire to see others know the Healer while living in such brokenness. It is also my prayer that the very thing you have hoped for does not turn into bitterness. Oh do I know that one well. It is so easy to become bitter toward others and God because you feel like you have been dealt a raw deal and maybe you have.

I pray that you will fight the good fight even when the road is rough. I pray that He will send forth His word and heal you. Because without that healing of the heart...we are destined for an early grave. We can allow ourselves to die long before we ever really do. Let's live unto God and press on to know Him.

Isaiah 61

The Year of the LORD’s Favor
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

May the Lord send forth His light and truth and guide us until we are ushered to His holy mountain, to the place where He dwells.
Psalm 43:3
Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Looking through the Rearview

Psalm 68: 5-7
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
6 God sets the lonely in families,
he leads forth the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. 7 When you went out before your people, O God,
when you marched through the wasteland,

Recently. I had the privilege to read Passport Through Darkness by Kimberly L. Smith. To tell you I was convicted would be an understatement. I felt almost as if the book were just pressing down on my heart and engaging my mind to things that I had no clue about. I felt pathetic and puny in my relationship to my reality colliding with the truth of Gods word. Sadly, as I evaluated my sacrifice for the Lord and my love for Him I would say that sometimes my talk didn't match my walk. The book is a must read for anyone with a pulse. Am I called to go to the Sudan and work in an orphanage...not necessarily. God has us each gifted in so many different ways and all of our callings are equally important. Yet I could not read it without assessing the sad state of my own soul. Am I wigging out in sin right now? No...but at times have I settled for what is mediocre...a resounding yes would beg to bellow up from the depths of my being. I have indeed been content with less than Gods best. There is a world out there starving for the truth and salvation of the gospel as well as basic human needs and here I am tonight opening the fridge 50 times hoping that the Lord would fill my refrigerator with a mirage of goodies because I have been to lazy to go to the store.
I am not trying to put anyone on a guilt trip this is a personal assessment of mine. I truly feel like our Western Civilization has spoiled us and we have deceived ourselves into thinking that we deserve all of the best that this world system (and a polluted world system at that) has to offer. We pity others and we pity ourselves so much so that we enable hosts of people to stay in their bondage when freedom beckons their name...yet they won't come because this life has dealt them a raw deal. After reading that book I realized that I really didn't grasp what it meant to show kindness to the poor and the widow of this world. Most of us in America are technically not poor. I am just saying. Some of us have no idea the atrocities that are out there in the midst of human life. There are real orphans out there that don't even have orphanages to go to. There are people that can't get a job because their civilization is so corrupt that they have no jobs available. I could go on. I will not be able to look at America in general under the same lens after digesting that book. Not to get into politics but when Morgan registered for kindergarten the first thing all of the kids received was a form to get free and reduced lunch. So many of our handouts are pure enabling yet I am not discounting the fact that there are people who are in true need. Please don't misunderstand. I know a family that had three kids who were abused mentally, emotionally, and physically. No child deserves that. Anyway, the three girls took three different paths. The first one decided to brush it all under the rug. This IS NOT biblical pretend like nothing ever happened. This person seems like she always has a front up, she doesn't deal with real issues of the heart, and seems like the star at the masquerade ball. She misses the chance to testify to the grace of God in her life and the power of full redemption. The second person chose wild living and played the victim card. Nothing is her fault it is everyone else. This person lives their life feeling sorry for herself and trying to get others to feel sorry for her. She forfeits the grace that God gives when He says that we can be more than overcomers. The third person was extremely determined to deal with her junk and chose to see that what people in her life meant for harm God turned around for the good. She chose to testify to the truth that there is resurrection power in the life of the believer that He can bring what is dead back to life in the empty places of the human heart, soul, and mind. She chose to try to help others be free from the victim mentality and in choosing so, she chose to cling to Christ as the Author and Perfecter of her faith. The Lord became her Father, her husband, her friend that sticks closer than a brother.
All this is to say that I think we spend so much time looking at ourselves and focused on self and how we can work things out in our cracked pot of a life that we lose focus of our Lord Jesus. It is such a paradox but if we lose ourselves in Him by steadying our weak knees on the path of His word and fervently seek to obey it we find life and strangely we find healing. Instead of greed and giving to others only out of our abundance we can sacrifice and actually have joy from it.

I had to grow up extremely quick in my opinion. Our real dad was out of the picture by the time I was four or so. I remember being so contemplative as a child and also feeling the deep pangs in my heart over rejection experienced at such a young age. I was an extremely fearful child and I don't have a lot of great memories of my adolescence. I never really felt loved or cherished. I thank the Lord for that because it became a gift in the sense that the Lord allowed it to turn into a desperation for Him, my one true love...the Lover of my soul. I felt very ugly as a child, I was ashamed of my clothes, my hair, and the things I felt that I didn't have. I wanted to be popular, a cheerleader, have boys like me, and be all of the things that popular kids were. But I was just a dork really that never fit in much anywhere. As misfit you could say. Friendship was so important to me. I will never forget my best friend in the 5th grade. We spent all kinds of time together. I mostly went to her house and we would stay up and giggle and play games until late in the night. I loved her with a friendship kind of love but I am sure I cared more about the friendship than she did. As time went on she changed B.F.F's and I didn't get invited over much and slowly the friendship faded out. I remember sitting at lunch by myself with a tight lump in my throat because I had lost my best friend. At that point I began building walls of protection in hopes of not getting hurt like that again. Rejection is an ugly beast isn't it? Something about it just sends us into a tailspin emotionally speaking. This wasn't the last time this would happen either. I hated my insecurities and I sure didn't have much of a foundation with the Lord at that time to help me get through my hurts. I really didn't know how to articulate them myself. Yet now as if I am almost looking through a rear-view mirror over the shoulder of my past, I see where God was orchestrating the friendships in my life and the paths that I would take to get me to where I am now in relationship with Him. The people I was friends with (with the exception of one) do not seek the Lord at all. They are missing out on the bridegroom. Why can't we sometimes step back and try to see that maybe in our rejection we are sharing in the sufferings of Christ but just maybe in our rejection we are being protected as God continues to mold us like clay on the potters wheel. On my last post I mentioned that I have been going through some very personal trials and the Lord gave me clear instruction to bear up under the load and to keep coming to Him to unburden my heavy heart and disappointment. Even if the mountains don't move in the hardships of life I will trust that even if not in this lifetime my suffering will not be in vain. It will not be wasted. The Lord will redeem it and help me to turn back and strengthen the brethren.
Now all of that leads me to say that my precious baby girl has had a hard time lately making friends. It physically hurts me when she hurts, yet I know that she is not so innocent either. I have seen her be rude and hurtful to people that want to be friends with her. I almost cried this week when Morgan told me that she wasn't going to wear a gift that had been given to her by another little girl because the girl told her that the item that said bff (best friends forever) was something that her mom made her get for Morgan because she is not Morgans bff. I felt as if a dagger was about to go through my heart...and then I remembered again that while we may not understand things at the time God is working out all things for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. This life is so short and so many of us are staring in the face of great hardship, rejection, fear, loneliness, loss, regret, guilt...but instead of wallowing in the mud of it all let's choose to be brave, to be strong, to be courageous and entrust ourselves and even our children and family to the One who neither slumbers nor sleeps.
I love the verses at the beginning because they are in reference to a desolate place being inhabited. We know that God had an allotment of land (that is still being fought over to this day in the Middle East) for His chosen people, the Israelites now referred to as the Jews, and He did not mean for it to be barren or uninhabited but thriving, flowing with milk and honey, and inhabited by His people. So I come to say, because I know it to be true in my life, whatever you are lacking He is the answer. Even if the answer isn't fulfilled until you cross your Jordan. Life isn't fair so can we just accept that and continue to persevere and pray like crazy that we will know Him all the more in our affliction and pain.

Defender of the widow.
Father to the fatherless.
The One who places the lonely in families.
The One who leads forth the prisoners with singing.

Oh please let Him break the chains that are binding you. Lord, please put a new song in our hearts in what seems to be our own personal Babylon, the land of captivity. Help us to remember that we are strangers here and let us be unpolluted by this world. Help us Lord to take up the case of the widow and orphan. Let our hearts be like Yours. Let us get lost in You instead of trying to figure out who we are so much so that in our attempts to find ourselves that we lose this small stretch of time here on planet earth and become lethargic and complacent. Rain down on us Lord.

LORD, we are in a battlefield and the enemy has taken many casualties. Help us like the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 12:12-13 "12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed."

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012


James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Man, I feel like I need to dust off the ol' laptop over here. The dust is finally starting to settle from what has been a whirlwind as of late. Major life events of moving, having a baby, then surgery and some very personal trials have kept me a tad preoccupied. Yet through it all I am so thankful for the constant One in my life. At times I have felt like curling up in a ball and crying from the deep longing in my soul for "a better country" a more lasting one. As much as I want things or people to be my rock to stand on I am ever aware that this earth is not my home and what is unseen is better than anything or anyone I can get my hands on here. I long for the place where there will be no more pain, no sorrow, no death, and yet in a strange way the things that bring me pain, the things that are close to home so to speak are the very things that drive me closer to the heart of Jesus. I truly know what it means to consider it pure joy whenever I face trials of many kinds. Let's face it, just like Josephs coat of many colors our trials can seem to come in a thousand different ways. We could call in the ROYGBIV of trials! Just a wide variety and spectrum of trials. I find it interesting if you jump down to verse for where it says that once perseverance (the ability to bear up under a load and not quit) finished its work we will be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Isn't that just it are trucking along and all of a sudden a bomb drops and you find this cavernous hole inside of you like a cannon ball has just been launched through your guts and you have that gnawing feeling that you are lacking in some way, shape or form? You long for wholeness and yet here you are at a crossroads and you are lacking. You don't feel complete and it is such a hard place to be but such a good place to be all at the same time. Trials and hardships will teach but will we let God have His way and use the good, bad, and the ugly to allow Him to heal and mold us and most of all fill us that we will be mature.complete.not lacking anything? Will we see the things that seem to devastate us through with Him until we see that He truly brought beauty from the ashes a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair?
Clearly I am not going to go into details but I recently experienced a major betrayal in my own life. Yet I am so thankful that I serve a God who is so relentless in His pursuit of me and thankful to the One who gives me hope in the midst of what would seem like a river of despair. No matter what I have endured as I seek Him through His word and prayer He changes me and reminds me that He is my comfort that His Name is Near and when I feel like quitting His word lights up the dark places and reminds me that I am more than an over-comer and that the same God that got up from the grave and rose from the dead lives and breathes life into me. These aren't just words on a page to me, they are life.
Even tonight I was playing out certain scenarios in my head regarding the season I am in and the hurt that has cut so deep and was wondering when these bombarding thoughts would quit crowding out my mind. If your hurt is not brought before Christ and you don't allow Him to tend to your brokenness that will eventually turn into bitterness and I know that all to well. So, feeling like I am just carrying these burdens I was gently reminded that I needed to take what was bottled up (because when you are in the throes of raising children esp ones like Morgan who are radar it is hard to just start praying outloud without her asking questions...or bawling my eyes out because of course then she will want to know why I am sad) and "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." Regardless of what pit you have found yourself in whether it was your fault or not that you got into that pit...He cares for You. Throw those cares off on Him. He will lighten your load and that may mean breaking out your prayer journal and casting that weight of the trial off onto Him several times a day but as you do your freedom will come and you will come to know the One who gave His life to redeem You. The only One who is constant. His name is Faithful and True. Truth in a world chock full of lies. He is Life and wholeness.

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