Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What We Must Do When the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days Come

This morning I walked into the kitchen to get a drink of water. As I turned on the faucet I noticed tiny black sugar ants attacking a spilled drop of Kool-aid. I followed their trail up to the window, where they had somehow found an invisible entrance into my home on their quest for something sweet to drink.

They were very intentional about their target. Militant in their traveling, one by one they followed suit with a common purpose: Identify and attack. Aggressive and unified in their consuming, it was impossible to know what they had found until my interference caused them to scatter.

Just like these ants, the enemy of our soul is on a mission. He is looking for even the tiniest crack which might provide entry into our lives – our heart, our mind, our emotions.

Have you ever noticed that when you have a negative thought or a day that is starting out a little less than perfect, that once we choose to dwell on the bad it seems to multiply? Once we meditate on that negative thought or give in to our circumstances, it’s all downhill from there.

The other day proved to be just such a day for me. And really, I know better.

I started the day not feeling well. Sparing you the details, let’s just say that I didn’t get out of bed for even a drink of water until 3:00 P.M.

My day (and my state of mind) got progressively worse. As I considered how terrible I felt, I began to also have thoughts of how much I needed to get done and how it would probably never happen. I was bombarded with negative thoughts one right after another. Doubts about everything. And it all started from a tummy ache. (Sounds so silly now…)

The enemy of my soul had found a crack and gained entry into my thoughts…in like a flood and on a mission to devour its target: Me.

(And I KNOW the scripture that says to cast down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ….2 Cor. 10:5)

Let me tell ya…this Christian walk is not for wimps.

The easy (and dangerous) thing to do would be to stay right there in that place, agreeing with all the lies being spoken and acting on them emotionally. Seriously, it would take no effort to do such.

But I cannot afford to do that (nor do I want to).

And neither can you.

The Bible says in 1 Samuel that David encouraged himself in the Lord. You can safely say that he was having a bad day, but instead of becoming a victim of his circumstances, he chose to gather strength from God.

Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him,…But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. ~1 Samuel 30:6

Most of us won’t have to face an angry crowd ready to stone us, but at times it might feel like the stones are already being thrown. Our heart, our mind, our emotions can be susceptible to discouragement… especially if we provide a way of entry.

We must refuse to give in.

We must encourage ourselves in the Lord.

After wallowing in doubt and discouragement for a few hours, I began to remind myself what the Word of truth says. I began to praise God for His goodness and mercy and draw on His strength when I felt depleted.

His strength really is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).

He really is our support.

He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me. ~Psalm 18:16-19

He gives us what we need for whatever circumstance we may find ourselves in.

For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me. ~Psalm18:39

We must open our Bible and read.

We must open our mouth and praise.

We must open our heart and receive.

We must take every thought captive.

We must encourage ourselves in the Lord.

Even on those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days, our God is always greater.

Our circumstances may change, but He never does.

Refuse to give in.  Embrace all that God has already given you and use it to accomplish the things He has called you to do.

Monday, June 27, 2011

An Invitation...A Call To Intimacy

(From my journal last Friday night 2:00 a.m.)

Dark outside, the day sleeps.  The only sounds uttered are those of tiny crickets hidden in blades of grass.  The only movements made by the glaring red numbers on the clock, a gentle reminder that time continues even when everything else seems to stop.  My body commands sleep but my soul awakens, desperate for its Maker.

In the stillness, He is here.

I sense His majesty in the silence.  Overwhelmed by His presence I can only breathe.

How many times have I ignored this invitation...this call to intimacy?

Let not one opportunity pass me by....let not one invitation go unanswered.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How Did That Grow There?

In my hurried state, I step over it, never glancing down to confirm its existence.

But he, six and very aware, focuses in on the lone weed trespassing on the pavement.

"Mom, how did that grow there?"

Turning around I notice the obvious subject of his question.  Hard and rough, the asphalt lies bare except for this intruder that has somehow found its being where it should have been impossible to grow.  Tall and proud and boldly declaring that it belongs here.

I consider his question and know that God will speak in the answer.

"There must be a crack in the foundation."

Our Pastor has been preaching boldly the last three weeks on sin in the church, in the lives of Christians.  According to published polls and statistics there is not much difference in the lives of Christians and the lives of non-Christians in areas such as divorce, adultery, drug and alcohol abuse, pornography, teen sex and pretty much anything else you can think of.

"There must be a crack in the foundation."

When I consider my own life and the struggles and strongholds present - no matter how small or how great - I hear my son's question once again...

"How did that grow there?"

In my hurried state, perhaps I have stepped over some weeds and neglected to confirm their existence, but to deny or ignore their existence doesn't mean they are not there.

Help me, Lord, to slow down and recognize those things that are not pleasing to You.  Search me and and show me the cracks in my foundation.  Rain down your mercy and grace and give me wisdom to repair.  Let my life be pleasing to You, revealing Your character in me, sharing You love with those around me. 

"Search me, O God, and know my heart..." Psalm 139:23a

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

"And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God." Colossians 1:10

"Nevertheless, the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." 2 Timothy 2:19

Monday, June 20, 2011

Updated Bio

I finally updated my bio (sort of).  Please feel free to take a peek.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Unworthy but Invited to Come

One by one- secret chambers of my heart are being opened, a light shining into the darkest of corners...exposing that which was hidden even from myself. I can hear a gentle knocking, the Lord calling me to Himself.  The closer I come, the more of me that spills out, revealing things binding me to this place.  Pride, selfish desires and ambitions, unforgiveness, neglect, careless words.  Unworthy to even say His name, yet chosen and asked to come.

Asked to come closer. 

He is calling us to Himself. 

As we submit to His leading and answer His call to come closer, our sins are exposed, idols are identified and strongholds are revealed. In this place of refining, this place where the impurities rise to the top and are scooped away by the Master, the heat is intense and the pressure is extreme but the process is necessary.

One of my spiritual mentors, Dale Gentry, sent this prophetic word out in an email recently:

Prophetic Word for 6-13-11
I hear the Holy Spirit saying, "Come away with me to your secret place (prayer place). Let me see your face, let me hear your voice. Come and sit with me in heavenly places. More than anything else I want your time, your undivided attention. To begin with, you will hear many distracting voices, but eventually you will only hear my voice. A voice that says,THIS IS THE WAY, WALK IN IT."

The Holy Spirit has been speaking this to me for some time now.  Our hearts have been divided and distracted with too many things. 

Do not resist the urging to come closer.  Jesus is preparing His bride for Himself. 

When all of me is stripped away, I pray that the only thing left is Him.  His character, His love, His mercy. 

Let us step away from all the distractions, open our hearts to listen and find Him in the secret place. As we draw closer to Him, change and transformation are inevitable.

But whenever a person turns [in repentance] to the Lord, the veil is stripped off and taken away.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom). And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit. ~2 Corinthians 3:16-18

Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. ~Jeremiah 29:13

More of you, Lord, less of me.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's HIM

The perfect place of resting in who I am in Christ...of knowing it is not what I can do but what He can do through me...

Why is it sometimes hard to stay in that place?

Tempted to succumb to the pressures and opinions of the world which unfairly categorizes, labels and judges...motivated by false hopes, worthless dreams and aspirations that glorify self...validated by human praise, acceptance and positive feedback.

What is this unquenchable desire that can never be satisfied?

It is the need to please man. The want to feel loved and accepted.  The desire to feel equal or better.

Selfish ambitions.
Vain and hollow pursuits.
Empty hopes.
Religious strivings.

A place we have all at one time (or many times) found ourselves.

All of these things leave us feeling discouraged and let down.  When we find that we are in this place, it is essential that we check our motivation.

Why are we doing what we are doing?
Who are we trying to please (who are we serving)?
What is our purpose in living?

The answer to each of these questions should point toward eternity and the One with Whom we are going to spend it.

Without Christ at the center of everything, our life gets out of order.  Our flesh begins to take over with its insatiable appetite.  We can never have enough, never be good enough, and never accomplish enough.

Our heart becomes divided, leaving little space for Him.

We weren't meant to be filled with us.  The Bible clearly warns us that when our heart is not centered on God, it has the power to turn us away from Him.

Therefore beware] brethren, take care, lest there be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving heart [which refuses to cleave to, trust in, and rely on Him], leading you to turn away and desert or stand aloof from the living God. Hebrews 3:12

The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]? Jeremiah 17:9

We are encouraged to guard our heart...

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23

Our satisfaction and contentment, our joy and fulfillment, our peace and security...only come when the void that demands to be filled is overflowing with the One Who encompasses everything.

The secret to our success is Him.

The answer to our questions is Him.

That which we so desperately long for, the thing that can never be earned or found in accomplishments or given by man...

It is HIM.

He is everything we have been searching for.

In His presence is where we belong. 

In Him, we are complete.

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23-24

Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk and live in Your truth; direct and unite my heart [solely, reverently] to fear and honor Your name. Psalms 86:11

O GOD, my heart is fixed (steadfast, in the confidence of faith); I will sing, yes, I will sing praises, even with my glory [all the faculties and powers of one created in Your image! Psalms 108:1

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Don't Forfeit Your Destiny

Don't you love it when God is dealing with you in a specific area?  Or several at a time?  Feels good, doesn't it?

Not really.

But how will we ever become the person we were created to be without correction, rebuke and repentance?  The truth is....We won't.

With that being said, one of the areas God is dealing with me about at this very moment is self-discipline, or more specifically, the lack of.

I read a passage from Destiny Thieves by Sandie Freed and thought I would share (just in case someone else needs to hear it to):

Esau's lack of self-discipline canceled his spiritual destiny in God.

  • If our flesh is in an exalted place of authority, then we become heavily tempted with worldly desires, and we easily sell out to the world.
  • We forfeit our leadership calling and spiritual passion, we forfeit our marriages, we forfeit the benefits of our inheritance, and we forfeit destiny.
I don't want to forfeit my destiny.  And I know you don't want to forfeit yours either.  If God has revealed an area in your life that is not pleasing to Him, do what you need to do to change it.  And if there isn't an area that He's working on right now, it probably wouldn't hurt to ask Him to point out anything that might be hindering your walk or relationship with Him and minimizing the (positive) impact your life is having on those around you.  He loves us enough to show us.  And He loves us enough to help us through to the other side.

Not sure how to ask or where to start?  Open up your Bible.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. ~2 Timothy 3:16-17

My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? ~Hebrews 12:5b-7