Sweet Surrender

4 Nov

Oh, but if only we didn’t have to suffer!

Life is so many things, but there is something about discomfort that makes us not see anything but the discomfort. Why is that?

As I comforted a friend in her grief yesterday, I realized that honestly, sometimes we have to just be in it. Just be sad. There was a time when people wore a band or put on burlap and put ash on their face, to let the world know they were grieving. They didn’t buck up, they didn’t try to hide it, they announced it. It was their’s. They owned their own emotions. They were just going through what they were going through.

Somehow in our “enlightenment”, we became unable to endure anything but happy. Truth be told, I think this only makes us more unhappy!  We say “don’t dwell on it”, “focus on the good”, “take your mind off of it”.  What a disservice we do to real grief! The strength that comes from really embracing all of life. I see it in my work as well, people trying to “avoid” death. “If we don’t talk about it, it won’t happen.”

There is a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that nothing is new.  There will always be times of joy and times of sorrow, times of birth and times of death.  Sadly we have gotten so fragile that we can’t even bear someone cutting us off in traffic or having a different perspective.

This is the root of all hatred and bitterness. This set up we create of how we think our life should look instead of embracing what we have and where we are at.

As for the modern church,somewhere along the line, we decided that being Christian meant that we would be blessed with happiness. We are blessed with peace in the trials, because of Hope, Hope for more than this hard world! Jesus was pretty point-blank when he said “you will have trials in this world”

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33. 

I am growing to understand the depth of what He meant.  My friend and I have both walked through this harsh reality this week. She helped me really awaken to the truth. We, (me), tend to think we deserve something good because we are walking with God. Not consciously, but we still do it. This is legalism;  As if our works do anything except glorify Him. We tend to think we should be blessed with more than what Jesus was blessed with.

Jesus was alone in the garden, abandoned, betrayed. He suffered greatly, went to hell for us, all before His final Blessing.  What is it we think we actually deserve again?  It is pretty humbling to think we try to put ourselves above Jesus?

Submission is hard, faith is hard, life is hard.  We have sin in us, so this world is full of hardship. There is both good and evil here. We have to stop worrying about everyone else’s sin, about what other’s do, especially when it is aimed at us. In the end, it isn’t really about us. Our journey is our own.  We can’t control the wind, we can’t control people and we can’t control God.  As much as we love beginnings, endings are as important and natural. They just come with discomfort.  And we don’t like that. We expect it be better than that.  Disappointment is just unrealized expectations. What really do we have a right to expect?

Works is just a form of worship and glorification, not about earning.  Blessings are not rewards just as hardship is not punishment. It is just part of our journey. Nothing new. Nothing is a surprise to God. Just us.

Feel your hurt, feel your sorrow, feel your pain, feel your anger. Stop being so afraid of the hardship that you miss out on the fullness of God’s Glory.  There is something very precious about climbing into your sorrow with God. Just being still in your pain and in Him. It is a tangible closeness that I have never felt any other time.

It really blows my mind when a christian judges another for their journey. Especially when calling another christian a hypocrite. None of us is above another and humility comes as a blessing, not a punishment.  What a joy it is to know I will never be perfect and it isn’t an expectation. What a blessing it is to have exposed my entire inner thought life to Him, shared every dark detail of my thoughts, my actions and to know I am still seen as beautiful, beloved, as precious as a ruby.  To be forgiven and set free from guilt. In the end, it is His opinion of me that matters.

Now for those that are not Christian, this is where it gets really muddy. We as christians have been so legalistic that those that aren’t Christian expect us to be something different that what we can really be.

Being set free from sin, does not mean we don’t sin. There are those that think this means we are free to sin. No, we are not free to sin. Sin is our burden, we will always mess it up, but when you know you are forgiven by God, it honestly begins to change you, it brings you closer to Him, you begin to think more like Him, talk more like Him, and hopefully, love more like Him. God can’t change what you try to hide. He sees it, nothing is hidden, but being afraid to surrender it all, expose it all, before the throne, keeps you enslaved to it. We are set free from it. Confessed sin is cleaned.  It is between us and God.

Legalism is a hard, hard thing. It is prevalent in our churches as much as this world. It is prevalent among believers and non believers alike. It says, you must look and act a certain way. You must do. You must or must not be this or that. You must not sin, you must be joyful all the time, you must be… or not be. False. Relationship with God is vertical. The horizontal is the welcoming portion of the cross. The love. The all.

Faith is actually about surrender. We are all sinners and the one common thing we share is that not one single one of us has it all figured out.  Faith is this, Jesus died for us, because we couldn’t earn our way to heaven. We failed.  Faith is trusting in this. Faith is dying to your own ego and thinking it’s about you at all! It’s about God.  This is the safety to fully process everything but from a place of surrender. This is the peace that is above your circumstances, because He is beside you. He is your Rod and Staff, and refreshes your weary soul. (Psalm 23).

So feel what you feel. Climb in and let God’s glory lighten your sorrow, your burden’s because with Him, it’s not heavy.  Surrender yourself. Confess your dark.  With God, it is healing. It is freedom.

Laugh, fellowship, enjoy your life. Cry when you hurt, cry out when your are afraid. Don’t judge, not even yourself:

Submit.

Be.

Be still and let Him be God. Because He is, anyways.

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

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Tend To Your Own Weeds

29 Oct

I am that girl. The Jesus freak girl.

I am that girl that found Jesus late in life, though I had religion much of my life.  I am a bit of a rebel  at heart. I am an “I can do it myself” kind of girl. It’s been hard for me to surrender to God. I have found great peace in this place of surrender, but obviously I have trust issues as I keep finding myself back in the driver’s seat.

I am also the girl that always hated injustice. I’ve stood up for people, fought battles for people, alongside of people.

I am that girl; the one that brought home the stray pets and outer fringe people.

I am also the girl that at age 47,  finally heard the words of Jesus, echoing in my heart as I read, and reread “The Sermon on the Mount” (*Matthew 5-7).   Literally, I understood my salvation as I read the words of Matthew 5:3-5 in the Message version.  It changed everything.

Church friends…We can talk about needing a revival all we want, but we have to start within our own four walls. It’s time for the church to wake up. It is time for us to hear what He has been saying to us, in Matthew, Mark, in John, in Roman’s. Stop with the rules and rituals. Stop thinking that your actions determine your salvation. They don’t.  Stop thinking you have to fit a type! Stop rejecting people based on sin. Seriously!

Love God and Love your neighbor. Believe that Jesus is exactly who He said He is.  Our redeemer. For the man hanging next to him on the cross, it was as simple as saying “remember me”.  It isn’t hard! Stop making it so hard!  These are the simple rules we have unless we want to go back to trying to earn it again by doing our best to follow the Ten Commandments.  I can’t even get through traffic on my way to work!  I am desperate for a Savior!

This is my takeaway on the very words of Jesus from that sermon.  It is the philosophy of not throwing stones before you look into your heart to see if you have ANY sin.

If you are going to call out Homosexuals for not “turning from their sin”, you had better be free from every single sin you meant to turn from. Every single one.   Because that is how you will now be judged.

If you are going to hate or judge a person for the color of their skin, their religion, for their economic status or their politics, you are acting as if they are your enemy. You have villainized them and you are  not loving your neighbor. Period. Period. Period.   The verb.

If you are not going to forgive every single person, every single thing they have done, every single time, then you don’t know what redemption is.  (This isn’t about boundaries, this is about forgiveness).  See, I can say all this because I know how prideful I can be, I know how unfair it can seem in my tunnel vision of looking at other’s instead of myself. The really sad truth is, when you don’t love the people of this world…then you have not loved God.

I have walked through grief, fear, anger, un-forgiveness and I have walked through peace. Unshakable peace even in the midst of great trials. Oh how I wish I could sit here and write this from a place of having it all together.  Some days, I am there. Some days, not so much.

I have had great faith, great joy, deep peace and I have really messed it up.  I have hurt people I loved, I have been selfish. I am never perfect like Christ. Never!  But this is the truth. I have zero secrets from God. I have confessed all of my sin. I can walk in freedom knowing this.

I really wish I was so faith filled that I would ALWAYS come from love, always forgive everyone everything, always be filled with supernatural peace.  One day, in Heaven. I will have all of that and more.

I don’t care what your sin is, because we all do it. We all have our thing, the thing we know the bible tells us is wrong, but we have this thorn in us. Stop letting ANYONE tell you that it separates you from God ‘s redeeming Grace. It never has and it never will. He loves every single one of his beautiful sheep.
He probably loves his homosexual sheep a bit deeper because they have been treated like lepers.  Just sayin!  They are like the tax collectors, and remember who Jesus spent time with!

I want every single person I come alongside to see so much of God in me, that they want to know if it applies to them. (It does, but that is YOUR journey).

What real faith looks like, perfected: Being grace filled when someone slanders you, when someone lies about you, when someone blames you or uses you, rejects you, or disrespects you.  When you watch a loved one suffer or there is more month than money. When things unravel or no longer look the way we thought it would look, that is the kind of disappointment that makes faith really hard.  Oh but when our faith is that big, NOTHING can touch us.  This is MY religion.

Grace is perfect. I am not. No matter if I mess it up or remain in Him, He never stops loving me. He never leaves my side or stops reminding me to check myself first.

Before we look over the fence at anyone, ever… we may want to check our own yard. We have to constantly look for new weeds, especially the ones hidden in corners.

My friend and I were on the phone the other night. She was driving around, retracing her stops, searching for her son’s missing glove. When she finally found it, she happily texted me to share the good news! We were both happily giving God praise. That is how God feels about the people that He is searching for. When they turn to Him, Heaven sings praise!

God’s words of loving affirmation belong to you, whether you know them or not.
He lovingly knit you together, carefully planning every detail of you, even numbering the hairs on your head. Even if you never stop to wonder at His amazing creation that is you, He still loves you.  He pursues you, longs for you to know Him. Not the church, not the rules, not the teachers, not the religions, not the writer of this blog.

Him. He just wants you to know Him.

 *Matthew 5:3-5 The Message (MSG)

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

 

His Purposes

14 Sep

At the beginning of our walk with Christ, we see Him begin to heal us, change us, make us new in new ways. We bask in the joy of getting it! Of knowing Grace, mercy! It is the beginning of a journey. We love Him.

Satan will do everything he can to distract you from continuing from there. Not because you aren’t saved – our salvation is a gift – we can’t earn it.

He tries to distract us so we don’t grow stronger and more able to be used for our purpose. To keep moving forward. Deep roots.

Those of us who push through battle after battle and continue to grow through failure and hardships, those of us who always turn back to Him, over and over, grow to understand Him. We understand who He is and we achieve this place of knowing who we are in Christ.

Many stop here loving the blessings of being loved and provided for. Maybe leading bible studies. Teaching believers.

And then there are some of us that go deeper with Him still and grow to understand it’s not about Satan or who is against us or for us, it is about who we are for. Our whole purpose and passion shifts.

It becomes all about Him. Not about us at all.

We get to this place where we feel urgency to bring others to Him, to shed the light of Hope in this dark world. We don’t care about the world and it’s distractions/ we enjoy them but our passion remains in Him.

Satan will do everything he can to stop you, warfare becomes very real.

But if not us, then who?

We will take up the sword, we will walk confidently in His power, not our own strength. We will seek Him in everything, and see the blessings are not houses when His house sits empty. It is not money or love, when His lost are still lost and need us to love them to help them never go hungry again.

I read the last of Daniel today.

And yes, urgency is burning in my soul. The minute I knew I was useful to God was when I stopped thinking it was about me, but rather it was His purpose for me.

I am already empowered, embraced, equipped and loved. It is about Him.

He who dwells within me. I can do all things- because of Him. For Hm. His purposes.

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:31-34‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Love, Just Do It

4 Sep

My blessed and beloved Christian brothers and sisters. This is on my heart so big… It isn’t your command to Christianize the world. Your command is to Love. To Love God, to Love your neighbor (believer or not) as you Love yourself.

Your sermon should be your walk.

Are you walking in biblical direction? Are you the peacemaker, the grace giver, the light on a hill, the one that doesn’t forget the lost sheep, what does your faith look like in great trial, are you the one that refuses to gossip, do you have an inner eyeroll when someone is talking, or… are you humble enough to know you haven’t perfected it. are you the one that examines their own heart and not the hearts of others. are you the one that loves your fellow church goers, encouraging them? Are your thoughts the thoughts of God? Did you spent your whole day processing it all through His eyes? Did you seek wisdom.. His thoughts, His desires. Are you fully submitted to the word of God at all times?

I think unless we have it all perfected, we’re not really equipped to stand in judgement of anyone. Matthew 5-7 Sermon on the mount. This broken world that needs us to be on the same page.. desperately..

Do you know what I have discovered? I spend most of my day in communication with God, I begin and end my day in scripture,and prayer.. I listen to Christian music all day.. and still I can’t even trust my own heart to not betray me!

You are not different from me. … You are not different than I am. We can’t do it right. He does. We just need Him.We need Him badly…

Can we remember: It isn’t about the sin, or the sinner, it is about Our Lord! It’s about His amazing love and His incredible gift of Grace. He saved a wretch like me. This wretch that loves Him with all I have to give and still can’t get it all right.

Please…remember.. it is about God’s pursuit of the lost and broken. The non-believers.

If your words do not point to His Glory, I pray for your mouth to not open.

Temple

29 Aug

I was thinking about the words I speak. God said the words that come out of our mouth show what’s in our hearts.

Do I speak like Christ? Do I speak like one who’s heart is “The temple of God”?

No! Not even most of the time.

His Glory dwells inside of us. Every believer. Our hearts, not our body. He tells us to guard our hearts because if we make room for bitterness or envy or pride or hate or arrogance or evil or lust or attention or judgement or gossip, how does that exist beside the Glory of God? It really can’t! We choose one over the other!

Can you imagine if we spent as much time and care of our heart as we do our appearance? Weight, fashion, hair, accessories, shoes, what we eat, what is bad to eat, meal planning, prepping, working out?

If we spent as much time thinking on His glory within us as we do about our dissatisfaction or fear or sorrow or hurts or marriages or illnesses or seeking love?

How would it be for us if God were to actually show us His glory that is within us next to our thoughts! Showed His Glory like he showed Solomon and His people and like Isaiah -sending him to his knees in despairing repentance?

Maybe some of us do give “some” time and attention to this, but none of us are living in an “awestruck state” of the Glory dwelling within. I’m not, for sure. But what if we did? Can you imagine?

Oh Lord, help me set my mind right, glorifying God, help me to dwell on and seek after and have the mind of Christ, let Your Word transform me, and Holy Spirit, speak life into my heart that betrays me. Build in me a strength and a longing to always do the will of God.

Lord I’m so like Paul when he said – why do I do what I shouldn’t do and not do what I should? Amen!

“Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Turn back again, and again…

28 Aug

I received news yesterday that I didn’t anticipate. Permanent damage to the nerves controlling my hand. I was so disappointed. Crushed actually.

He finished by saying – we may do an MRI, maybe repair something that may be causing this result. What I heard was “No hope”.

I let one person speak into my spirit. A person.

A friend reminded me “ we will see what God says”. Amen!!

Important timing for my mind and heart to be set right as a precious friend reached out for prayers as she begins her own battle with cancer. My instant thought for her was -“We’ll see what God does and says”!

This morning reading my one year Chronological bible, Jeremiah and Ezekiel-it hit me.

It’s about staying focused at all times, in ALL circumstances, who God is. Infinite, immutable, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, and sovereign. Our firm foundation and our Father just to name a few.

We tend to stay away from the Old Testament God (I did) thinking he was different, more of an angry God. We cling to the New Testament God thinking that he has changed somehow into a new God. A kinder God, a more forgiving God. More lax-He hasn’t changed at all.

As my friend and I read the Old Testament together, we see that the greatest sin of all, was the people, God’s people, forgetting about God altogether. We have all done this quite well. Politics, kids, marriage, work, hurts, illness, money.. life!

I forgot about God yesterday. I took to a different idol- me,myself and I.

But God! He reminded me in a friends words – to turn back to Him. Let go of fear or idols. Return to Him.

As I return my thoughts to Him, I thankfully accept His grace. We turn back again and again and again.

“~‘I will give them a heart to know Me, [understanding fully] that I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.”

‭‭JEREMIAH‬ ‭24:7‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Fair-weathered

26 Aug

We’ve all had that friend that kind of blows you off all the time.Makes plans with you, but never follows thru, or ditches you for someone or something else. Just calls when nothing else is going on or when they need something.

It struck me as I read these scriptures, that’s exactly what we do to God.

We ditch him for fear, for control, for love, for popularity, for attention, for fun, for sin, for money, for pride .. for our kids, our dreams, our spouse … our hurts.

We turn away from Him constantly and do we want to do knowing His word says differently, thinking well, he gives us grace.

How does it make you feel when you are treated so irrelevantly?

Matthew 22:37

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind

❤️