Inheritance

16 Mar

Trust is a funny thing. It is all or nothing.

In this modern world, you need to rely on yourself, make yourself happy, be happy, play the game, defend yourself, look out for yourself and ‘you do you, boo’. In this modern world it matters more about who you know, what you post and who you voted for. (Like there is a single politician or party that is worthy of that kind of adoration or loyalty).
Hundreds of look good, feel good, be happy, oh but you’re beautiful cliché’s aka Meme’s are posted every day, meanwhile on social medial, saying horrible things to people, with no thought to filters, or manners, or boundaries. The world is constant chaos, going from one headline, one rumor, one disaster to the next. This is blasted at you from social media, television etc.

Faith is the opposite of all that. It is quiet. It is stillness. Christianity has such a bad rap, but I believed the bad rap for a very long time. Holier than though, the measure of people by good and bad, religion, it was not much to grab hold of. It left me unable to measure up; Defeated.

What I found when I finally understood what faith really was about, is a constant, unchanging, source of peace. I choose to grab hold or do it my way.

I had to hit bottom twice to really understand faith. The first time filled me overwhelming hope. The second filled me with trust.
He ministered to my soul and rebuilt me from the inside out, healing so many wounds from a lifetime of doing it the hard way. The second time was the shaking off of false beliefs, false expectations, the old legalism I hung on to and my own need to hold on to my steering wheel. I dove in to my faith because He rescued me, I stayed because He never waivered. I did, but He never did.

It has been an honest, deeply challenging, difficult journey trying to really get to the core of faith, of trust. Do I really believe the bible?  Do I really believe God is who His word tells me He is?  Do I really believe Christ lived and died for my sin, but more than anything, do I trust Him? Do I trust in perfect Grace? Do I trust Him to provide for my needs? Do I trust Him with my journey no matter how different it is from how I think it should be or want it to be? I came face to face with God Himself and I can say I now trust Him like never before.

I trust Him, with all of this. Disease, pandemic threats don’t frighten me. That said, I had anxiety over my financial well being. I still held that idea that I control my security, that’s my idol. I realized my lack of trust the minute I began to feel anxious as the stock market began to slip. I found myself having to constantly, intentionally, refocus my heart on trusting Him. It’s His anyways. He doesn’t need me to be financially set. He needs me to trust Him to provide all that I need.

My friend recently used the word manifest. It is a word that implies so much work to me, going backwards to so much on my shoulders. I never want to have that bondage again. I have so much freedom by surrendering it all to Him. I simply talk to God. I ask for what I need. I listen to Him in His word, in His whisper of “this way” or “be still”. I read His word and learn what He wants me to learn. I grow through my losses and find strength in Him always, even when I may not have any of my own. I always have hope. Always.

Hope comes from knowing He has a plan and a purpose for every hardship, which happens to us all, with or without Him. There is such a blessing that comes from sharing the hardship with others, the strength you found in Him, the peace. When I get those inbox messages that say, I am going through a hard time, can you talk with me? Pray for me? When I get the messages that ask me about God, about faith. That is the blessing for me. That is purpose of being transparent.

Once I fully grasped that He never changes, that He never leaves me, Once I surrendered fully to that, Once I went all in with trusting Him with everything,  I was free. It is a dying to self every single day and sometimes several times a day. It is a peace beyond measure. It is freedom from fear, loneliness, anger, defensiveness, having to fill the box myself.

I am loved. Because of Him;  I have a delightful inheritance. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. He is everything I need. My portion, my cup, my lot is secure. I am here to love Him, to know His love for me and to let that be what drives me every day to do for others. Simple as that.

Psalm 16

Psalm 16

miktam[a] of David.

Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”

I say of the holy people who are in the land,
    “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
    I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
    or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

What Can It Mean: “Faith”, “Christian”

2 Mar

Recently I shared the story of the night the lead singer from Tenth Avenue North performed for me personally a song he had recorded. It was a beautiful gift and a reminder of God’s perfection and immense love.

For me the song had significant meaning; *(lyrics below) It wasnt just a song. It was a song that had helped me grasp who Jesus was and what He accomplished. It was my aha moment of fully grasping the Grace and Mercy of the cross.

The shift from it impossibly being on me to earn heaven to fully grasping unmerited grace. The shift to hope.

I’ve spent so much of my last 10 years reading and studying the word of God. When I first came back to faith, I fought legalism, in any shape or form, thinking I was defending grace. In the end I realized I was working out my own belief and disbelief. Honestly, I think God was simply working things out within me, communing with me. I was so aware of His presence, so loved and held, especially since I had never had that deep knowing He was near. I didn’t see the changes He was making in me at the time. He does that. He changes us, reaffirms us, softens the edges that hard things created.

The shift began from a place of giving up, a deep desperate, empty longing from loss, fear, rejection and hopelessness. It was there that I finally looked up and saw Him, from the bottom of despair. 

I learned that even though I had great passion for Him, great desires to be the woman after His heart, even though I clung to grace,  I was still trying to earn it, trying to be good enough, trying to fit what my perception of salvation was against the Word.

Now I can see, looking back, even as recent as 2 years ago,  As I was working through the idea that Christ fulfilled the law; I realized that I wanted to be set free, grasp the grace, forgiving me of my sins, but I was still wanting “credit” for doing good things, my goodness.

This journey of faith isn’t scary, like I thought, it isn’t fraught with failure. Fear of the Lord isn’t a hell and brimfire. It isn’t condemning, not of me or anyone else.

Our journey of faith is deeply personal. It is ours alone to work out. No one can change it, direct it, or make it happen. It’s only us, standing before our creator. And I want to hear, I know you and you know me. We have walked this garden together for a long, long time. Welcome.

If I really believe in Him, if I really trust in Him, I see it as all about Him, for Him, because of Him. I can let go of control. Surrender my grasp to control outcomes, my fear of everything, my disappointments because things aren’t how I thought they should or would be. I can press forward with Hope, with trust. I can believe He is always working things out not just for my good, but also for His purposes. Which are always good.

But its a journey. We don’t read something and have all the knowledge. We learned and grow all the time. I am not sin free simply because I know Jesus. I am not without trauma or sorrow either. I just have strong faith that this too, is part of the plan, I am to work out my salvation with trembling. Meaning I will be like Christ was in the garden of Gethsemane. He worked it out in prayer until he surrendered and finally said “Thy Will Be Done”.  It’s hard to surrender. But we must do the work to get there, He isn’t going to just be content with us ignoring Him, and expecting the God that created all of the universe to also do all the work in you without your submission. Without your desire for Him to do so. 

Religion has it messed up. People have messed it up. Paul says clearly in Roman’s it all comes down to  faith. Jesus says clearly in Matthew 5-7, it’s personal.

It’s a personal reconciliation between us and God. Grasping our own need to control everything to surrendering to our own inability to be good enough at fulfilling the entire law ( seriously read the Torah! Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, no way can we do it all) all by ourselves.

Trying to be good enough means we need to measure. Measuring us against each other. It makes us finger pointers and holier than thou and judgemental and fearful. Everyone is that way if they haven’t surrendered. Even those that don’t follow faith at all. 

We have a perfect healer, perfect hope,a perfect promise keeper, a perfect I AM the way. We either reject it all completely, or we grab hold and work out our idea of Him with truth. His truth. Obedience comes from suffering. Christ suffered too. Suffering meaning- it’s hard to let go of our own God’s for the one God. It’s hard to let go of our own ego centric idea we can affect the world around us to be the way we want. To let go of legalism.

I am not the person you can’t question faith with, I’m the person that openly, transparently has shown my crazy journey to wholeness. I’m stronger than ever, yet I have so far to go. And honestly, there is so much freedom in knowing I don’t have to. I won’t tell you your sins. I won’t tell you the bible isn’t accurate. I believe every single word even when I don’t want to. Even when I disagree. I believe it is the Living breathing word of God. Because I have seen the truth with my own eyes. 

If you haven’t read the bible, or you have only read a scripture here and there, and you aren’t sure what you believe. Just some food for thought. Read some of it. Start with Roman’s, Matthew, Luke and John. Read it in the NLT or NIV which is much easier  to read, a more conversational language.Read it and ask God, to show you what He wants you to understand. Tell Him you don’t believe. He already knows anyways. 

Maybe I will get to the end of the road and it will stop there. But my hope is in heaven and I am joyful even in sorrowful times. What have I lost? Nothing. What have I gained? Immeasurable strength, courage, love, hope, joy, peace. It’s pretty amazing. 

Romans 10:1‭-‬11 NLT
Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God. For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands. But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” In fact, it says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”

Lyrics to By your Side, Tenth Avenue North

Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?
Why are you crying?
Let me lift up your face, just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love?
Why are you still searching as if I’m not enough?
To where will you go child?
Tell me where will you run, to where will you run?

cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands at my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in and give you life
I wanna give you life

And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

‘Cause I, I love you, I want you to know
That I, I love you, I’ll never let you go
And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding youHere at my side
My hands are holding you

 

Love, Always

25 Feb

I wrote this last year, it was in my Facebook memories today. I love when my words come to soothe my soul. He flows through me when I write, and it always blesses me. His words on my fingers always lift my weary heart, cleanse the thoughts that take me down dark paths, remind me … He is my only Hope. He is all I need. He is my everything. ❤

So many need encouragement -thought worthy of sharing.
I was thinking tonight how much of our lives really don’t turn out the way we thought they would. It’s not even close to how we wished it would be. We made mistakes we wish we hadn’t, we have watched our loved ones make devastating choices. We have lost loved ones and had our hearts torn to pieces.
But God.
He remained the same in all of it, even when we couldn’t see Him anywhere in it. Even when we want to believe He has it, but we just can’t!
There is nothing we can do to change the outcomes of our days, let alone the outcomes for our children or our spouses, or our friends. God knows all the why’s and all the whens, all the yeses and all the no’s. and we can’t ever know.
People suffer. We live in a world of sin. We will always have the suffering. Nothing is new there. Jesus promised us we would have trial here. It’s just so awful when it feels so painful, so hopeless.
But God.
God gave us tools and prayers to help us through. He gave us community. Love. Church.
He gave us His word. ❤
I found this nugget yesterday in my reading. It has stayed with me. Simple but truth.
God’s sovereignty, Glory and Omnipotence.
But also his grace.

Proverbs 30
The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message.[a]
I am weary, O God;
I am weary and worn out, O God.[b]
I am too stupid to be human,
and I lack common sense.
I have not mastered human wisdom,
nor do I know the Holy One.
Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down?
Who holds the wind in his fists?
Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak?
Who has created the whole wide world?
What is his name—and his son’s name?
Tell me if you know!
Every word of God proves true.
He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.

He is a God of compassion, promise and fairness.
Even when it feels so unfair.
Even when it hurts so badly.
I once made this statement, and it follows here;Do NOT give to satan in fear what is meant for God in Glory.

Keep your eyes on Him and surrender to His plan. All His plans are perfect. We just can’t always see it. Yet. ❤ Amen.

Light Up the Room

15 Feb

By Beckie Halaska

People have often spoke of my light, post divorce 2010. There is a very real reason for this.

The light that people comment on isn’t because I am special in some way. I am not. I am loved by but no more special to God than the very least, the very worst of his creation.  I like to remind myself of this often or I get a bit too me focused, too approval needing. God finds us all special;  The homeless man, the man that murdered someone, the drug addict, the prostitute, the liar, the betrayer, the bully, the wealthy, the “saintly”, and even the successful, when they are humble and stewards of Him. When they use their blessings to shine the light back to Him.  He is the light. Not us. We are simply just the reflection of the light, and let’s face it, we are not always shiny! I’m not!

There is this perception out there, among both Christians, Jews and non-believers that when we say we are Christians, we become instantly like God, that we now should measure the rest of the world by how they uphold every law of God.
First of all, we aren’t capable, none of us, of that kind of perfection. We have sin in us, all of us do. The truth is, all sin is equal in the eyes of God. (Matthew 5-7).  The absolute truth of salvation is this, we have three choices: Believe in nothing, believe we have to live by the law and be perfect in it, (be a good person, that’s enough…are you able to be that good all the time?) or we can accept our need for an intercessor because living by law makes us fail every single day. Living by the law makes us finger pointers or with a sense of failure in light of those that live better than we do. Comparison is lethal!  There is also the believer, the hopeful believer that there is more to this story of God, and we believe, deeply or sort of, but it really isn’t a defining part of our lives. We may attend church sporadically, or maybe just the major ones (just in case) we may feel guilty on those occasions, because what if it actually matters? (this was me my whole life, fear and guilt but no real foundation or relationship to that weird place). Or we can be the rejector’s because God wasn’t the genie we wanted Him to be. We wanted to not have to suffer,  even though He did for us. He never said it would be easy, He just said you will never be alone in it.

My story, which I share openly, was that I found God at the bottom of me. I was suicidal, going through empty nesting and divorce. I was tired of living this hard, hard life and not finding any absolution, more than that, not finding love and acceptance. Depleted from striving for all that I felt, in the end, I had failed at, mostly love. I had no sense of belonging to this world. When you have decided that people or success are your mirror of who you are, how you are, there is not a good enough human able to fill that void!  It was all so heavy within my spirit, too heavy. The day I planned my suicide was the day God took me out of the wilderness and set my feet into His Glory instead.
Instead of taking my life that night, which was perfectly planned, I broke. I broke and cried from the depth of my soul. It was a cleansing with Him. He replaced the betrayals, the abuse, the hopelessness, the guilt, the shame, the fear, the empty with His light of hope; Hope beyond all Hope. I found acceptance and freedom from a life of lies and betrayals, hurts and failure.

There was, in that waking up the next day, a joy and a hope for sure, but more than that, His light was in my face. Like Moses. My life didn’t suddenly become so wonderful. Not even close. I have suffered incredibly in the 10 years since I found a hand to grasp, a hope to hang on to and a peace that absolutely sits in me, even in the worst of times. When my son was lost in his addiction, I had peace. When I married a conman and learned a thousand lessons, I had hope. When I lost loved ones, I had a joy that no one can explain, because they went home to be with the Lord.  Let’s get this right, right now. Not in any, not one, of my trials did I behave perfectly, saintly, without sin nor was I not humbled, convicted, in need of laying at the foot of the cross. But I was able to do that, go to Him, fully exposed, no lies between us, no pride,  knowing I was welcomed and set free from any bondage from those choices, though they cost me.  I was free and still accepted by my God, because of the blood of Jesus. Every. Single. Time. That my friend is what being a Christian is about. Surrender and Hope. Learning and growing. Seeking and finding.

This light that shines so brightly on my face is because I have been in the presence of God Himself. Because He dwells within me.  His word lights up my face. Worshipping Him lights up my face. Prayer lights up my face. Because my heart is set on Him and not me. That is where the light is found. Him. Not me. Not because of me. But because of Him. Just Him.

 

Exodus 34:29-30,34-34
The Radiant Face of Moses
29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. 34 But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.

Proverbs 27:19
As in water face reflects face,[like a mirror] So the heart of man reflects man.

Matthew 5:14-16
14 You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

John 8:12
Jesus, the Light of the World
12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Psalm 119:105
105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

John 1:5
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

1 John 1:5-9
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Luke 11:34-35  (AMP)
34 The eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive, focused on God], your whole body also is full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. But when it is bad [spiritually blind], your body also is full of darkness [devoid of God’s word]35 Be careful, therefore, that the light that is in you is not darkness.

Revelation 21:23
23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Psalm 119:130
130 The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

 

Help My Unbelief

11 Feb

I recently wrote a bible study for a group of strong, wise women, leaders. In the writing of this, I was not really writing about what I fully know but rather what God knows and what I understand Him to be saying. His nature, His being, His qualifications. I really didn’t grasp the depth of what I was writing at the time. Truth be told, I will probably never fully grasp it all.  Sometimes God just writes through me. I just obey.

I have been drawn to Psalm 139 since my mother was passing a few months past. I would read it to her, that and several others. Psalm 139 has come to my heart a few times since. I woke this morning with this scripture on my heart. More specifically the question “do I really believe God is who He says He is?”

Omnipresent and Omniscient. Two big words at the very top of this scripture.  All knowing and all being. The understanding that God is in everything and everywhere at all times. That he is not away from me. Not ever. Nor is ever away from those that would be my enemy but also claim faith in Him. He is never away from them either.

That he knows every single thought before I am aware of them myself. (Do my thoughts always match what my words speak? Oh my friend, absolutely not. )

Omnipresent. Meaning His presence is never apart from me; Never apart from me. Not one moment have I been alone, ever.

As a Christian, we can gloss over this and say “of course, I believe this to be truth”. But last night the question came up “But do you really?”  Do I? If I believe that He is omnipresent, how could I ever feel alone or lonely.  If He is all knowing, all being, all powerful (Omnipotent). Sovereign over all and I believed Him, I would never fear, never feel alone, never be prideful, never be reactive to circumstances. I wouldn’t make bad relationship choices. I would be… like Him.

How many times in my life have I cried out from loneliness, felt too alone, felt separated, isolated? What did I feel isolated from?   How many times have I been so self-sufficient that I stood in my own sorrow, my own suffering, my own fears, rather than grasp hold of His nearness at all times.

He is near to us,  always. The truth in that then is that we just don’t draw near to Him.

Oh how my unbelief is evident in so many ways. It is not a lack of God. It is not a lack of trust. It is a lack of belief. You can’t trust what you don’t believe in. So the truth is, and this rocks me to my soul; I don’t, at the core, believe it all.  Isn’t that a shattering thought?

Christians, like all people struggle, with truth, with our quest to understand God and how it all applies to us. We struggle with our belief. That however, doesn’t change Him in any way.

Growing in our understanding, in our submission, in our belief and our faith is a journey. More times than not, because of my openness about my Christian journey, more is expected of me. To be less of a work in progress than I am.  To be without stumbles and hard times. As much as I am in the deep end of seeking, I am still at the core, ego. I will still try to do this my way. My unbelief will be exposed over and over to me, us.

However, as we learn and grow, layers of misguided thoughts, or ways that we have learned that are not His ways, get shed from us, we become more submitted to Him.

Mark 9:23-24  Jesus said to him, “What do you mean ‘if’? If you are able to believe, all things are possible to the believer.” When he heard this, the boy’s father cried out with tears, saying, “I do believe, Lord; help my little faith!” (The Greek is “I do believe; help my unbelief.”)  What a beautiful example of humility and submission. We that can’t, ask the One that can. The One that will.

As I realize my lack, my unbelief, the beauty is, I know He knows and is waiting for me to simply ask. The more submitted I become, the more freedom and joy I have. Less of me and more of Him is not a decision. It is a work that He promises to finish in me, over a lifetime of lessons and opportunities, trials and joys.

Oh Lord, help my unbelief today. Amen.

Psalm 139 (AMP)God’s Omnipresence and Omniscience.

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

139 O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do];
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And You are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken],
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And [You have] placed Your hand upon me.
Such [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high [above me], I cannot reach it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead), behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will take hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me,
And the night will be the only light around me,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark to You and conceals nothing from You,
But the night shines as bright as the day;
Darkness and light are alike to You.

13 For You formed my innermost parts;
You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was being formed in secret,
And intricately and skillfully formed [as if embroidered with many colors] in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were appointed for me,
When as yet there was not one of them [even taking shape].

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I could count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

19 a]O that You would kill the wicked, O God;
Go away from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.
20 For they speak against You wickedly,
Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with perfect and utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.

23 Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Footnotes:  In the first eighteen verses of this psalm, the psalmist acknowledges that God knows everything that the psalmist ever does, no matter when or where he does it. Although God’s vast knowledge of an individual’s deeds can be reassuring for the righteous, it should be frightening for the wicked. 

The Christian Journey

16 Dec

This is to my family of believers and my skeptical faith walkers;  My Sunday traditionalists and my in the deep end of bible banging believers.  We are all in this together and it isn’t easier for any of us. Not one of us has it all perfected, not one of us is able to judge another, able to cast a stone. Not one of us is so right.

Faith is so hard! We are instinctively (because we have sin in us) so legalistic, so prideful, so quick to be disappointed, quick to fear, quick to judge. We look at the world and see the wrong in other’s. The bible was recorded for each of us, individually.  It is the living word of God written just for each of us, for our own personal journey with our Father.

We can get so weary on this road at times. This world can be hard on us. Mostly because we look to the world for our perception of how it should look and not to the gospel. The gospel is clear! It’s going to be hard, you are going to mess it up a ton of times and it’s going to be amazing, mind blowing beauty.

So many of our scriptures remind us to not love the world but rather the creator of the world; to not grow weary in doing “good”, to not grow weary in the race-he isn’t talking about a physical race.

There is the Facebook factor, the self-help factor, the constant barrage of comparison; The need to fit in, the need to belong, the need to be happy.

Here is the truth.  If we acknowledge that God is sovereign,then everything else is less than. It means He is in charge.  We have not just a worlds perception but even worse, an American perception of how it’s supposed to look.  The pursuit of happiness. Let’s remember the woman holding her starving child in another country, or let’s remember the woman who has to hide her faith or be murdered, stoned to death. If the teaching/lesson from the scriptures are not true for all, it’s not true at all.

God in the Gospels reminds us to set our sights on Him. Paul reminds us to keep going even when it’s hard. To be a beacon of hope, not perfection, but hope. Hope, even when, not if, but when, it gets beyond difficult.

If we believe we are set apart for heavenly places, then why on earth would we let the sinful side of this dark world bring us down?

The Sermon on the Mount puts everything into perspective. Everything comes back down to us; Our relationship with Christ. Do we really believe what He is saying to us? Do we really believe He came to set us free? Do we really believe we are solely responsible for every thought, every word, every reaction and every response? Do we really believe that when we submit it all to Him, process it all from a faith journey rather than it being all on our shoulders, we are forgiven, cared for, provided for,  free?

If we really believe His words, there would be no room for offense, for fear, for self-focus, for longing, for weary.  We would not put people in a position above him to be able to affect our peace, our hope, our joy. But, He knew our journey would be hard here, so He provided us the grace when we mess up. Which we will and do, constantly.

Being a christian is not about being any single way, not about being so great at this, it is a state of constant turning back to Him and humbling ourselves and saying “You have this, I surrender, I trust you, I believe you are providing all that I need and protecting me even when I can’t see it, I believe you will work this all out for my good and your purposes. Thank you. “  That’s the light that shines in us, our joy that spills over from that kind of love and hope.

If you read the Psalms in order, it can feel so much like our lives. Psalm 19 is so beautiful, so full of perfect worship, Psalm 22 is so stressed out, so rock bottom, then Psalm 23 is so perfect. David was a mess! He had family dynamics, he cheated, he had not just one but several wives. It wasn’t about him, but rather we were gifted the beauty of seeing what surrender and a seeking heart looks like. That is faith, that alone is a such a great lesson. This will be our walk and our journey until the day we are made whole and perfect in heaven with Him. Not about how well you do, it’s about continually turning back to him, continually remembering. Continuing to love Him with your whole messed up, broken heart. He is the Lord your God and He is doing a beautiful thing.

Even when you can’t see it. Thank you Jesus! This is where our hope and joy come from! Hallelujah what a savior.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205-7&version=NKJV;MSG

Work In Progress

5 Dec

I have learned so much in the past 10 years. 10 years ago today, I went to a tea at a non-denominational church. I began attending this church every week. Within a few months I bought my own bible for the first time AND I actually began to read it. 9 years ago today, I was re-baptized at that wonderful church.

You have to know this. I am still a work in progress. I have been studying His word for 10 years. I have been in deep relationship with him for about 8 of those years, or maybe 7. I am being changed and healed and softened and made stronger, every single day.  I submitted every nook and cranny to Him. And then, I pretty much forget and take it all back on my shoulders for a bit, then re-submit. It’s okay! That is our journey with Him. Not one part of us is perfect and we cannot perfect our selves. He can though. I am slowly being perfected. One day, when I get to heaven, I will be perfected. Not before then.

I say this often because I really struggled to grasp what Grace meant, what Jesus meant to me, for me. “Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.” Hebrew 5:8 NLT.   I had to learn that being a Christ follower has nothing to do with me. It is all about Him. I didn’t earn my way to heaven. You can’t earn it by being good. Heaven is about accepting that this Christmas birth was a gift! That Jesus came to show us what faith is. What God is seeking from us is to let go of our own ego’s and our need to earn; our own checks and balances way of living and just accept the gift.

Salvation is simply a life altering, mind blowing, ego balancing, rule crashing, insecurity killing acceptance of the greatest act of love ever.

I have learned that abusive people and unkind people, swindlers, manipulators and cruel people can actually have that mustard seed of faith and can also be saved. I have learned that really devout people have super big doubts sometimes. I have learned that it doesn’t matter what we do or who we are, salvation is not about us. It is about accepting Christ. In the same breath, I have accepted that God is not a punishing God. We don’t earn that either. We do suffer, but everyone suffer’s. Jesus did too and God as His Father, suffered for us, and Mary his mother, suffered. It’s our journey here. We suffer because of darkness, sin, because of brokenness. It’s important.

If you know me, I promised to be transparent every step of the way.  This former perfectionist put on a good front for the world. The need to be right enough and validated enough girl is now the self-proclaimed wishy washy Christian. I still sin, in my head, my words and in my heart. I am constantly learning and growing, I have a sense of confidence in Christ I have never had before.  God has changed so much in my heart, healed so much and filled the hole inside my heart.
I am also the girl that has a hard time with trust. Actually I believe that to be my biggest hurdle.  Probably for all of us, this is the biggest hurdle. Trusting when we can’t control or see the future. Trust is faith. Period. Trust when it all looks like it’s falling apart at the seams. Trust when our hearts our broken. Trust when we can’t understand.

No matter how far I swing away, no matter how close I walk; the words below are my reminder, and if I write it all on my heart, then I can constantly redirect my fears, my worries, my self reliance, my anger, my sorrow, my hopes and my desires of my heart. If we are seeking His will, we will have perfect peace, if we focus on our own plans, our own path; there is no peace.

They say “Leap of Faith” for a major reason! Faith is hard! It’s also an amazing journey full of amazing people. There is a deep joy that comes from hope in God. I have had deep doubts in Him, He was fine with that. He is steady, sure, unchanging and un-freaked out.
Isn’t it time to figure out what you really know about Him, what is truth to you? Based on learning who He really is? Not what you see a building of people being but what His word tells you about him?

Without Him I am nothing.

“My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart. If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying.
Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
nothing you desire can compare with her (wisdom).”

Proverbs 3:1-6 NLT