Saturday, March 26, 2011

Things Aren't Always What They Seem

Hidden in whispers of concern, criticism and judgement clothe themselves in convincing disguises.

Envy compliments through forced smiles.

Manipulation and control wear many masks, often confusing even the one on whose face they rest.

And there is not even one who is exempt from the trickery of pride.  Pretend humility.

Things are not always what they seem.

It is easy to read this and immediately think of everyone it applies to. 

Even while writing I found that pictures would pop into my mind of people who had manipulated or controlled or criticized or judged me. 

But what about the times when I criticized someone?

Or judged?

Or manipulated?

Or tried to control?

Suddenly, my words came more slowly and I meditated on what God was saying.

Do I have the courage to peek inside my own heart?

Am I brave enough to ask God to show me my true motives?

Help me, God.

Help me to examine the secret chambers of my heart....those places that I've hidden even from myself. 

You see them. 

And You are not pleased.

Forgive me.

All a person’s ways seem pure to them,but motives are weighed by the LORD. ~Proverbs 16:2

A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart. ~Proverbs 21:2

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Soul Longs For Him

No matter where I may be at the moment, or what my circumstances are, His presence always refreshes and sustains me.  Set aside some quiet time with Him and be refreshed and renewed in His presence this weekend. 

(Reposting from 2010)

All morning my spirit sang "My soul longs for soul longs for You..." Over and over again.

I could feel an invitation. It was an appointed time for me to fellowship with my Father, and I could find no words other than the five I had recited a hundred times already...

My soul longs for You...

With each breath I spoke these words came an increase in their depth and meaning.

My soul longs for You...

I spoke them until I could speak no more. I was captivated and captured by His holy presence and my words failed me.

From deep within, my spirit uttered words outside of my understanding and beyond my human comprehension. There were no words in my vocabulary appropriate or adequate for this moment...

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts...

Wonderfully amazing.

Indescribably good.

Like nothing on earth.

There is a yearning on the inside of each of us. A longing only our Creator can satisfy. No matter how or what we try to substitute, there is nothing or no one worthy to fill the place that cries out for Him.

My soul DOES long for Him....

And sometimes, whether in times of visitation, worship, repentance, brokenness or desperation, often our words fail us.

I am reminded of the song by Amy Grant, "Better Than a Hallelujah."

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody

Beautiful the mess we are
the honest cries of breaking hearts...

...the silence when the words don't come...

...better than a hallelujah sometimes...

It's not in the eloquence of our speech, the perfection in our posture, impressive vocabulary, or any righteousness we think we might have, but in the beauty of our brokenness, coming to God just as we are...




Answer Him when He calls.

Open the door when He knocks.

Say yes to His invitation.

Let Him be the One to satisfy the longing that only He can.

O God, You are my God,
Early will I seek You,
My soul thirsts for You,
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.

Psalm 63:1

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stand At Attention

This weekend during our Sunday morning service the presence of the Lord could be felt from the very beginning.  All through worship the holiness of God was proclaimed by those with hands lifted high, voices singing, sacrifices of praise offered to the King of Kings....the Holy Spirit moved down the aisles of the sanctuary tugging at heavy hearts and giving invitations to come. 

Healing and gifts to all who would have the courage to receive.

The order of service was changed more than once.  I am grateful for a Pastor who hears and is not afraid to obey.  And I am thankful to those who so bravely shared some of the most intimate details of their lives and allowed God to use their testimonies to bring encouragment, deliverance and renewal to so many.

The Bible tells us that one way the enemy is overcome is "by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of (our) testimony..." (Revelation 12:11).

While meditating on the events of our Sunday morning service, I felt like I heard the phrase "Stand At Attention."  I knew this was a military term, but was prompted to look up its exact meaning. (All you military experts out there, give me some grace :)

  • Standing upright with an assertive and correct posture: famously "chin up, chest out, shoulders back, stomach in".
  • Arms fixed at the side, thumb or middle finger parallel to trouser or skirt seam, depending on military drill specifics.
  • "Eyes front": head and eyes locked in a fixed forward posture. Ideally eyes unmoving fixated on a distant object. Blank facial expression.
  • Keeping the heels together, toes apart
  • No speech, facial or bodily movements except when as required by military drill
When you look closely, the spiritual significance is obvious. 

We are the army of the Lord. 

God is calling us to "stand at attention."
  • We are to stand upright (raised or directed vertically or upward; righteous, honest and just), with an assertive (confidently aggressive or self assured) and correct posture.  1 Corinthians 16:13 ~ "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong."
  • With our arms fixed at our side (removing all distractions of busyness)
  • With our eyes locked forward (keeping our eyes on Him) and a blank facial expression (not literally , of course, but being unmoved and unaffected by our circumstances)
  • Heels together, toes apart (He always has a certain order and way of doing things...although we may not understand or things may not always make sense, obedience is essential)
  • Speaking and moving only as commanded (God, let us learn to move only when you say move and speak when you say speak...)
Another phrase I heard was "A Call to Arms." This is a command to war, to arm with weapons, a calling or grouping together to fight.

As we inch closer to the return of Christ, there is an enemy preparing to advance with intentions to kill and destroy.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of his world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12).

The general orders are the same.
God is asking that we be ready.  Stand at attention and be ready. 
And in our waiting, righteousness calls and holiness commands obedience. 

But our specific instructions will vary according to the gifts God has placed on the inside of us.
We wait for the signal to advance...just as those who came forward and shared their testimonies Sunday morning and just as those who were ready to pray for all who responded to the invitation.
The enemy is already being overcome.
Old systems of religion are being broken down.
His Kingdom is being established on the Earth.
Often, the battle may prove fierce, the enemy unrelenting, but our victory is certain if we answer the call.
We must resist the temptation to lay down our (spiritual) weapons.

"For the weapons of our warfare are not physical (weapons of flesh and blood), but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of stronghold.." 2 Corinthians 10:4 Amp).
Let our only thought of surrender be to the Captain of the Hosts, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the One Who has assured us we are not standing alone or fighting in our own strength.
Stand at attention. 

Be ready. 

Hear the command.

Receive your instructions .

He is calling each of us to do our part. 

"For You have girded me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me and caused to bow down those who rose up against me" (Psalm 18:39).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Less Air To Breathe

Head on our pillow, our body rests but our mind cannot.

Unrest and worry attempt to grip our soul.

Tempted to give in, our mind wanders and begins to doubt.

Suddenly there seems less air to breathe...squeezed and emptied, our faith becomes small.

Uncertainty and fear take root.

Reeling from the events of the day - the month - we become servants to our circumstances and the thoughts they provoke.

In those times when we feel there is nothing else, no one else, no place to turn, our head hangs low, our feet stumble...fingers groping in the dark we long for something to grab on to.

But when we find the courage to look up - we see that there is a hand reaching out - arms open, waiting to pull us up...

...waiting to embrace us.

In our surrendering, we find Him.

In our brokenness, we are able to heal.

In our healing, we find that every suffering, every valley, every disappointment serves a greater purpose.

With all the uncertainty in this imperfect world - in our life - He is the one thing that remains constant.  His love for us is certain. He is unchanging - the same yesterday, today and forever.

And in our weakness, His power is displayed and made perfect!

But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me.   2 Corinthians 12:9

I can't do it alone.

And I don't have to...

No matter my circumstances, His grace is sufficient for me.  For you. 

Hold on to Him.

The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. 
 Isaiah 58:11

Trust in Him.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Know that He has a plan.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

He Knows Me Better

It is easy to look back over the course of one's life and see God's hand at work.  His supernatural intervention.  Divine direction.  Loving (and much needed) correction. Footprints in the sand.

But often, in the midst of our right now, the center of our present circumstances, "seeing" God at work can prove to be a difficult task.

Perhaps, that is why it is called faith.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  Hebrews 11:1

September 2007 marked the end of a season for me.  It also signaled the beginning of a new season.  Little did I know that this "beginning" would contain another season and level of preparation....not quite the beginning I had imagined.  But God knows me better than I know myself.

As I continue this "faith forward" journey, I find comfort in knowing that He is leading me, He is walking beside me, and He is behind me nudging me along.

"You hem me in behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me..." Psalm 139:5

I would probably mess things up anyway.

He knows me better than I know myself.  His timing is perfect.  And His plans are so much greater than mine.

Wherever you are today, don't lose heart. Remind yourself that you are not alone. Have faith to continue your journey...and take pleasure in You companion.


In my post from last week, Stepping Out of the Boat, I shared my excitement about registering (by faith!) for the She Speaks Conference in North Carolina, July 22-24.  You can read my post here if you missed it. :)

I said that to say this...

I received an email today from my blogger friend, Stacy (go ahead - click on her link - you'll be glad you did), letting me know about a scholarship opportunity on Lysa Terkheurst's blog.  If I win, my entire registration fee will be paid, leaving just my travel and miscellaneous expenses.  There are lots of ladies signing up - read about them here on Lysa's page.  And if you are considering attending the conference and need a little help, go sign up, girlfriend!!

Once again, you can get the 411 on the conference on the She Speaks website or by clicking the She Speaks button on my sidebar.

My good deed for the day: I've provided you lots of links and reading material - now get going! :)

Happy Tuesday, my friends...