Saturday, January 30, 2010

Singin' in the Reign

Recent events have called "Praise" to my remembrance.

Probably not alone, I find it so much easier to praise when things are going well or God reveals Himself in a miraculous way. But, even as I currently wait for him to teach, heal, and speak to me, is He still not God? Worthy to be praised? God, in the name of Jesus, help me to spend my time not waiting, but praising and rejoicing over You, for You, through You. For when the assaults of heartache pound me, I tend to loose my voice, and thus my perspective. I want to lead the choir of voices tilted toward Heaven as the showers of storms pelt us where we can not see and Gail-force winds howl in our ears where we can not hear. As the enemy tries to forecast disaster, destruction, dismay, disillusionment, and dissention...I want to an umbrella!

Today, I lay down my umbrella and designer golashes and slicker. I stand under Your reign of protection in awe of Your character, Your comfort, Your compassion...they fail me not! Despite the forecast, may I not only speak to You daily, but hear from you daily as well!

From a mentor from afar,one whom I have never even met, I appreciate the encouragement to do both... Q & A with Sarah Young

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

HUMANitarian Aid

Did you hear hear that another earthquake hit Haiti today? Just outside of the capital.
Did you hear that the USS Comfort arrived in Haiti today? 83 patients in 2 hours.
Did you hear that rescuers found a survivor after 8 days buried in rumble? A 5 year old boy.

This is what I heard today, but it wasn't all that I listened to.

My heart sank this morning when I was running water in the kitchen to fill up the coffee pot and heard that Haiti was in the midst of aftershocks. I whispered out loud, "Again?" Immediately my soul went quiet and felt the Presence of God. My mind was fast forwarding the previous days events, not all stable. Then other's. I thought of a friend calling her mom. I thought of a friend crossing the threshold of a classroom. I thought of a friend arriving at her desk. Aftershock after aftershock in these lives. Some are greater than others, then there are those that just make us quiver. Where is my USS Comfort? After these images, I was still. Then, I felt the answer.

"Yes, living in the valley of faith is like trying to climb out of a crumbling home and someone is there to rescue you, but you have to will yourself to keep crawling until you reach Him...He will never leave and positions Himself to grab our hand...even if you feel that you can not move, KEEP CRAWLING APRIL!"

At times, the physical destruction of Haiti and the dire need of the people have been too much to witness even through television, but it is REAL! Emotional and spiritual unrest can be just as catastrophic on the inside. How encouraging to know God sent a Comforter...anchored in a hope, ever-reaching, extremely capable, and possible by way of human pierced palms! I want to complain. I am tired. I am uncomfortable. I don't want to move. But, He will NOT leave me or forsake me. In fact, He has already lifted levels off of me and I remain huddled and braced for the next aftershock.

"CRAWL INTO MY ARMS. COME UNTO ME. You are dusty, bruised, bleeding, torn, thirsty, and not self-sufficient...why can you not accept you can only crawl right now, you can barely stand it...isn't that what you have told Me? Crawl. I don't expect anything more."

May our Comforter bring relief to our heavy hearts as the massive white ship with a bold red cross stands just off shore ready to heal Haitian hurts.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bull's eye

New Year's Resolution #5 has not been pretty ya'all!

My fifth resolution of 2010 was to allow God to purify and cleanse what He wished so that His desires could take root in my life. What was I thinking?! Allow me to translate New Year's Resolution #5 to help you get a better picture, "Lord, paint a bull's eye on my forehead, set me in an open meadow, and yell, "April, is IN SEASON!"

Matthew 5:8 says, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." So many of us want to see God, face to face, but purification is painful. Unpleasant. And right now, I feel like it's Poster-child!

I got "hit" for the first time at Christmas...I covet...I want what I want, not what is always best or even what God wants for me. Then, at New Year's...I'm jealous...I want what other people have instead of what God wants for me. Then, I mean, I have already identified 2 sins in my life, I mean how many more could there be, right? But, as recent as Monday, I saw that I wanted to be right so much more than to be healed. To only my surprise, pride was the third and final blow. It was finished. Resuscitate me, FATHER!

For me, it is not a far stretch to think of Jesus cleansing the temple when I think of Jesus cleansing the crevasses of my heart. Look at this picture, it looks painful, unpleasant, even purposeful, right? The items He was casting out are not the focus of the painting, you can barely see them; but our focus is His Presence. So, in hopes to aid the Omnipotent, again what was I thinking I ran to the Word. Are you there God, its me, I need to see you. And after reading 3 accounts of Jesus's Presence in the Temple, Mark 11, John 2, and Matthew 21, He met me 3 different times.

First, John 2:15 says that Jesus made a whip out of cords, that is pretty purposeful purification if you ask me. Then, step two, Matthew 21:12 tells us that he "drove out" those buying and selling and "overturned" tables and benches. When you hit people in here pockets (finances) that is pretty painful, don't you think? Hmmmm...does my oven have anything to do with this?! You know, even if there was this little old man sitting there petting a dove quietly, Jesus came in overturned his table, too. Nothing was allowed to stay. Then, and I did not know this, Mark 11:15-17 says that after he did that that He didn't even let anyone carry a basket back into the Temple. That is permanent purification, no? But in the end, look at all the things that happened. People were healed, amazed by his teachings, and the very next morning by a withered fig tree, He told His disciples to forgive. To live isn't just to love, but to forgive. This is not new for the Universe. It is not new to me, but I have been praying for "spiritual eyes" to see. Things are starting to focus. God cleanses, teaches, and perfects through the love of His Spirit and the forgiveness He extends through His Son. So...

Father God, you have been been very purposeful by using what is close to me to get my attention. There is no other way to hit those targets of sin hidden from view. I know that. It hurts. But Your aim is perfect. It does not miss. You have even struck here before and tried to clean, teach, and perfect and I would not allow You. I have brought more and more into your dwelling place. Forgive me. In the name of Jesus, work to make this lesson permanent. I do not want you to have to teach me the same thing over and over. You have so much more for me than this. If I have to stay in a place of purification to be used and cannot move from here, I will be still. In this spot, your strength is made perfect. I have found peace here. But, if it be Your Will to use me beyond this, I am ready to forgive. Forgive myself for sin and others, too. Now, teach me to forgive. Amen.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Deer New Year,

Uggh! Can you believe that I have not been able to articulate my New Year's Resolutions? I mean we are into the 5th day of 2010 and I've got nothin'! Those who can relate to a textbook Type A personality can sense my urgency and frustration. I have written out New Year's Resolutions since I was in grade school. For some, that does not surprise you.

Multiple times today January 5th, 2010, I, what are my goals this year?!? Wake up earlier? Eat better? Different and deep devotions? What?!

Then, I read my devotional. If anyone has talked to me about the Lord in the last year, they can bare witness to how Sarah Young's devotional, Jesus Calling, has radically blessed me in recent months. The short devotions are messages she received during prayer and journaling and are written "in first person, with 'I' designating God." Read this from January 5th:

"True dependence is not simply asking Me to bless what you have decided to do. It is coming to Me with an open mind, and heart, inviting Me to plant My desires within you."

Gosh! Why doesn't my mind work like that?! Not my will, but Thine! I have been praying that I would not only be more confident in claiming God's Word, promises, and character, but proclaim it, articulate it, and believe it. Here is a practical way for me to do just that. Invite Him to garden in my life! So in a matter of minutes, the question is no longer what are My goals, but what are His desires for me?! Friends, don't you want to learn what those are for yourself, too? Not mine. But yours?

So, I go from zero personal resolutions to 10 prayerful revelations for 2010. I'll share them with you for accountability and to satisfy my own personality disorder: :)
1. Accept that God has plans for me. Jeremiah 29:11
2. Believe that His plans are better than my own. John 10:10
3. Repent of my own selfish desires. Luke 5:32
4. "Invite Him to plant His desires within me." Psalm 1:3
5. Allow God to purify what He desires within me so that His desires can take root. Matthew 5:8
6. Pray for 5 spiritual senses to recognize His desires for me. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
7. Change my speech so that I can (pro)claim His plans with boldness. Matthew 15:18; Hebrews 4:16
8. Offer God my whole heart to help me make His desires my own. Matthew 22:37
9. Hide His Word in my heart. Psalm 119:11
10. Continually seek Him. Psalm 42:1

Some easier said than done. Currently on #4.

God, may this be a "deer" year for all of us.