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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Spills

Image result for cleaning coffee spill on carpet
 
"I need ALL of you," the Lord spoke. 
 
The good.  The bad.  The ugly.  The pain.  The struggles.  The frustrations.  The questions.
 
 ALL. 
 
Notice He didn't say He "wants."  Though He does, in order to work in us, He NEEDS us.  He needs our cooperation.
 
Image result for stop sweeping things under the rugSweeping things under the rug has to stop.  It's impossible to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, body, and strength, if we don't give Him all of it.   Secrets in any relationship destroy intimacy.  Even with God.  We need to expose to Him the things He already sees.  This will open our ears to hear Him more clearly to what He is saying to us.   This grants Him permission to begin to heal and adjust our mindsets that don’t align with His.  He won't pull His love from us.  He won’t ignore us.  He won’t mistreat us when we become vulnerable to Him.  We can trust Him.
 
What remains hidden can’t be fixed.  When a spill is not dealt with or is carelessly spot cleaned, damage is done.  In order to fix the "spills" in our lives, we have to confront them head on by allowing God to shine His healing presence on our condition.  When our "free will" chooses to let God in, He then has something to work with.  
 
Image result for god will use pain to get us in our purposeWe need to trust that whatever He tells us is for our benefit and the benefit of others.  Trust Him that even if what He tells us is painful at the moment, it is always for our greater good.  He may require you to rip out the flooring to get to the damage.  You will be working alongside the Carpenter of your soul to tear out and restore a messy foundation.  Not an easy task.  It will be uncomfortable.  It will be ugly.   It will hurt.   It may cause every fiber of your being to want to give up and start sweeping again.   BUT NO MORE SWEEPING! 
 
I challenge myself - I challenge you - to surrender your ALL.  Work with God as He works in you.  Expect Him to do some rearranging because He will.   He won't always do what we are comfortable with because His ways are different than our ways, but they are the right way.   His purpose is always to get you to the side of His will for you.  The process isn't always a quick work, but anything rushed is rarely done well.
 
Image result for stop hiding from God
Quiet yourself.  Wait on Him.  His voice is calling out, "I need ALL of you."
 
 
 
(Matthew 22:37, Isaiah 55:9, Psalm 16:11, Psalm 139:23, Psalm 51:10-12, Isaiah 53:4-5, Psalm 30:11, Jeremiah 29:11, Jeremiah 18:4)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Peace

 A cycle of confusion, so constant, that contentment can never take root.  Band-Aids don’t heal and time never cures.   You’re surviving, but you’re far from living.  Your day becomes about holding it together, but inside you are crumbling. 


Maybe it's pain inflicted upon you by another.  Your heart is unsafe.  You long for true acceptance and unconditional love.  Your level of peace is being constantly aware and managing your actions, denying your own desires if needed, or even talking about them.  You try and you try until you realize that even if perfection were possible, it wouldn’t be enough.  Callous words leave your heart numb, and yet somehow you still feel the pain.  Every time.
 
Maybe you’re at war with yourself.  Choices in life have left you devastated, guilty, or full of shame.  Or you have something going on inside of you.  It doesn’t have a name or a known reason for being there.  It’s sad.  It’s angry.  It’s depressed.  It’s stressed.  It’s hopeless.  So… you enlist.  You enlist in a losing battle plan of addiction, self harm, or abusing others.

Only the One who made us can restore us back to wholeness. In the midst of your raging storm, I pray you look to Him ~ where your release and your peace is found.


Peace
 Crashing waves
Bruise my shore
Howling winds
 Blow in once more

Torrential rains
Pelt my skin
Lightning bolts
Come again
 
Turbulent waters
Staggered stance
Cycle repeated
In this dying dance
 
Trembling knees
Strike the ground
Eyes glance up
To where help is found
 
An instant hush
The storm to cease
All at once
A soul at peace…
 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Be Still



 

Image result for be still looking out at water

Burdened by life's challenges.  Overwhelmed by surrounding pressures.  Moments of anxiety convincing you that "down" is the only direction your life will spiral...  

"Be still and know that I am God."  Psalm 46:10
 
This Scripture, so simple and yet so difficult.  It's hard for us to wrap our minds around surrendering what appears insurmountable to someone else.  Our worry gives us a twisted sense of control and we can't fathom victory in our lives apart from our own efforts. I mean after all this is BIG stuff we're faced with, but all of the stress and loss of sleep isn't quite working for us, is it?

Be still. 
 
Image result for let go
Part of the literal translation is "to let drop, let go, cease from striving, release."  We need to drop our hands from fruitless, fleshly efforts, let go of the worry that torments our minds, tune out the other voices, and just release it to Him.  KNOWING that He is God takes the pressure off of our shoulders to be in control, and allows Him to take over supernaturally.   We need to get ourselves out of the way; lay back in His arms and know He's got this taken care of; that He only wants what's best for His child.  

Yes, the giants in our life are big, but our Daddy is bigger!  

Be still...

Friday, February 10, 2017

Character



Our character, if not developed and matured, will eventually catch up with us and knock us down from the platform in which our gifting and talents have taken us.

We all have seen it.  Highly gifted performers who have the world's attention, but lack of character shows through in their actions and their credibility is marred.   Ministers, oftentimes those with a worldwide voice, but eventually their character flaws shine through and it's the very thing that dethrones them from their position.  Marriages that appeared "OK" suddenly end in divorce.  The "perfect" child becomes the prodigal... Why? Because the hidden issues of the heart have been ignored.

"The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them." Proverbs 11:3

Our greatest weaknesses, if left undealt with, will surface to the top.  You can only wear a mask for so long. The rubber band eventually snaps and what used to hide you has now left you revealed.  The self constructed platform, that once elevated your ego, comes crashing down from the weight of the junk that was left unchecked. 
Image result for quiet times with jesus
Band-Aids are not a substitute for surgery.  Developing our character is a deep work that requires facing our heart issues, not covering them up.   It takes place in deliberate, quiet, "at the feet of Jesus" moments: diligently exposing ourselves to the Word of God and letting it shine a light on those areas that do not line up. 

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." Psalm 139:23-24

Related imageOftentimes we are blinded to our issues and need to seek professional help in order to work along with what God is trying to accomplish.  How do you know when greater help is needed?  Take a look at your relationships around you; take heed to what people have said about you that you rejected.  There could be truth if the majority are saying the same thing.  Ignoring it or making excuses won't bring healing.  Choosing to continue to dismiss it will result in the same broken road of loss. 
 
"The way of the fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice." Proverbs 12:15
 
"Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in the abundance of counselors, there is safety." Proverbs 11:14
 
The other day I learned of a great word picture.  We all have our accomplishments.  Things we've done or do in life that are honorable.  If you can, picture a trophy case that represent these things; a beautiful display of wonderful things you do.  However, all over the floor are piles of junk you have to step over in order to get to these tokens of success.  Are the trophies great?  Yes.  But they do not null and void the fact that we have a garbage heap on the floor.  The good we do in life does not excuse the bad.  Jesus Himself did not excuse sin and say, "Oh, it's okay.  You have a lot going for you over in this area."  No, He showed love and compassion but also clearly said, "Go and sin no more."  If we don't look away from the awards for a time and deal with the stained carpet, our character will never be developed.
 
Image result for who are youSlow down and take a look at who you are.  Not at your accomplishments.  Not at your successes.  Not who you lead others or yourself to believe you are.  Not what your reputation says about you.  Who are you when no one else is looking?  What do you allow your eyes to let in and your ears to hear?  How do you treat people?  What heart attitudes reign behind your smile?  What would God say about your character?

Lord, we all have "stuff" that we cover up so beautifully. On the outside everything looks good and yet inside their is decay that needs a touch from You.  Whatever it is in our lives that is keeping us from fully serving and pleasing You, please shine a light on it.  Shine Your light on the ugly parts so that we can, with Your help, become all You have called us to be.  We want to be a living example of Christ in the earth - not a false representation that gives Him a bad name because of our undealt with "stuff."   We love You, Lord, and we desire to become more and more like You.