Archive | January, 2014

Simply Love

23 Jan


The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.Psalm 145:8 (NIV)

Each one of us will find ourselves at the pit of despair at some point in our lives. Some will realize they cannot possibly do this journey alone, others will seek comfort in outside ways, never fully feeling the deepest parts of life.

I laid my journey before God without really realizing it. I was so lost and broken, I reached out to the God of my youth; What I found was a God of immeasurable Hope and Compassion, a peace and joy I had never known before. I gave up my stubborn self-suffiency and dove in the deep end of His Ocean of Love;I will never look back.

You probably find yourself, like me, taking three steps forward, two steps back, sometimes I even just stand in place for a while. In looking back, it has all been so carefully laid out, allowing this knowledge in, letting it marinate until I was ready to understand it. From that understanding comes wisdom and a new maturity in me that is able to boldly walk what I have learned.

Find Him at the beginning, find Him right where you are. Then, proceed in His Love to grow into being His Love.

Nothing more, nothing less. Just Amazing love.

Ephesians 2:1-6 (MSG)
It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

Ephesians 5:1-2(MSG)
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

Philippians 2:1-4(MSG)
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Matthew 5:13-16 (MSG)
13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

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Removing the Thorn of Security

19 Jan

“The burden borne by mankind is a heavy and a crushing thing. The word Jesus used means a load carried or toil borne to the point of exhaustion. Rest is simply the release of that burden. It is not something we do, it is what comes to us when we cease to do.” A.W.Tozer

Every now and then there is a sermon that hits you between the eyes. Something is said that opens a whole new understanding. The sermon last night really hit me in a new way. I found a thorn, an idol. Now that may not be what Pastor was speaking of, but I found it none-the-less.

My idol of security has been there my whole life, but interestingly, it has probably become most important to me during my closest walk with Christ! Wow!

After being let go of 2 jobs in 2 years, then being unable to find work, having to take a job that was completely foreign to me for half the pay, I hung on tightly to that job. Out of fear. Yes, I opened that door wide open for warfare, He let it happen and boy was there! I prayed the Armor of God over me everyday, several times during the day, everyday. I find myself in a similar situation, though I manage to escape much of it. I thought it was because I have been praying the Armor of God over this place and myself every day.

Pastor Dustin stated: “The Armor of God is something we put on and leave on”. That struck me hard! Light bulb! Idol! This is Satan’s sidewalk to my front door, which I left wide open for him to enter.

I still find my security in work, in myself. If I work harder, continue to be the light, it will all be good. God will win, satan will lose. If that was the thorn, it would be fine, but it is not the thorn. My idol of security is alive and well, though I thought I had relinquished that control. Christ is the Peace in our warfare, and conflict is the open door to make room for Him and His Light, (not ours) instead of darkness. It all really just depends on whom we are inviting in.

When we are ready to relinquish our lives to Jesus, give all our plans, worries, fears, hope, security and burden’s to Him, we find His Perfect Rest and Peace. Seeking him in EVERY circumstance, worshiping Him, even in our darkest moments.

Finding our idols and relinquishing them, allows us to claim the seat next to Jesus that is already there with our name on it. We just don’t believe that.

Ephesians 2:6(NIV) And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus

Find your warfare, and you will find your idol. Lay your idol down and find His Peace.

Thank you Lord, for teaching me how to be loved by You completely. Amen

Psalm 27:8 (NKJV)When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

Philippians 4:7 (NKJV)and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7(MSG) Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Colossians 2:14 (NIV) having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

Ephesians 3:20(NIV) Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

Romans 16:20(NIV) The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Exodus 15:3(NIV)The Lord is a warrior;
the Lord is his name.

Lamp For My Feet

17 Jan

Psalm 119:105 (NIV) 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

The Bible.

Skeptics will read the words and say Man has distorted The Bible. For those that have pieced together and studied the Dead Sea Scroll’s (some looking for validation, some to discredit) none can discredit The Bible’s near accuracy. When you translate from Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, there are words that closely match. Only a few words have changed. Not books.

That said, while skeptics argue the validity, believers argue the meaning. We read with our experience and our emotional response to that experience. Trust, or distrust, hope or hopeless, fear or courageous, it doesn’t matter. But the truth is, you will find scripture to inspire you in the exact place you are.

The Bible is a miraculous book. It is the living word, if and when you seek God in the pages. The Bible can be used to hurt, to prove, to argue, to pray, to inspire, to learn, to validate. “Do you see? Do you see what it says here?”

Isaiah 40:8 (NIV)
8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,but the word of our God endures forever.”

Here is what The Bible is for me:

The Bible is a reminder. The words are lyrical and remind me of the promises. When I have questions about my faith walk, I find comfort in the knowledge The Word provides for me. The answers are there for me, regardless if I like them or they convict me. The pages contain nothing but great hope in my heart.

Matthew 24:35 (NIV)
35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

I love that each Sunday, I get to be in a room full of other Jesus questioners and Jesus followers, even some Jesus skeptics. I love the message that each new teacher brings to that congregation, that class, to give my faith more depth, more inspiration, more conviction and more hope.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (AMP)
16 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action),

Hebrews 4:12 (AMP)
12 For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the [a]breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart

I love the connectivity The Bible has to the bond I have with Christ. It creates a place of dialogue or sometimes, the dialogue provides the scripture He intends for me to read. I love that when I need to hear certain words, they come to life and present themselves to me. His words. His promise. How cool is that?

John 1:1(NIV)
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The words in The Bible, teach me, from sermons, to quiet devotions, or from other’s that study. I do not study in great depth. I long to learn Hebrew, not so I can be learned, but because it is such a romantic idea to me. Hebrew is so enchanting in it’s lyrical, mystical ways. I love language.

The Bible is there for me, when I am feeling alone, when I don’t feel connected in my walk, when I am questioning, or worried, or lonely, or grateful. There is scripture that I can go to, to calm my fears, to reassure my path, to remind me to seek comfort from the Holy Spirit, to bless me. It is not a living being, and we don’t worship The Bible, and honestly, my close walk began with very little time in the pages. My time was spent in conversation with God. Seeking Him, seeking His guidance and reassurance. From there, came The Word.

Romans 15:4 (NIV)
4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Take My Hand Lord

10 Jan

Take My Hand Lord by Beckie Halaska

Take my hand Lord, hold me close,
Let me feel your heart beat,
Let me be aware of your fragrance.
Whisper gently into my ear, reassurance of love,
Hold me tight, until the fear fades.
Quiet my soul, in the dark of night.
Strip me of my pride and self,
Break the chains I wrap myself in.
Fill my sorrow with Your Loving Promises
Just a gentle touch to catch the tears as they fall
You are enough, You are Everything, my Everything.
Build dreams in my desert, and wisdom in my thoughts
Your peace fills the room with light and hope.
Lift my face to see Your love, to know Your love is all I need.
I long to be with You Lord, the world no longer is enough.
Fill me with your light, so that others may know You.
Take my hand Lord

Eggshells and Landmines

4 Jan

I posted this in a Fellowship page on Facebook. This is fellowship and part of fellowship is accountability. I thought long about sharing this here, but it is truth and it is part of my journey. The part about dating.

It is a difficult journey for someone that was married for a very long time.
(well, probably for all of us that are single). I think not trusting myself to remain true to biblical teaching is one problem I have to face.. though I thought I was strong enough. My belief that God has great purpose for calling us to only be intimate within marriage is founded on scripture. I firmly believe that we are not to bend scripture to meet our weaknesses but be touched by scripture and give our weakness up.

Now..I was created to be this way, as surely as my loving nature and my laughter.. so this isn’t about rules or about being rejected by God.. It isn’t about being bad or good. He isn’t going to throw me out of Heaven.. It is about our journey. And our journey is so difficult to remain faithful and in closeness with Him. By being intimate with someone too soon or to whom I am not married to, I would begin feeling bad about that.. I separate myself from Him and He can’t protect me. That is how I see this.

I find the temptation is great. I went to The Word and of course, to my beloved poetic Message version…to find my reassurance and I wanted to share this with you. It is one thing to talk the talk, it is hard as all get out to walk The Word…. but God created that with our hearts and our best interest in mind. Even though I have begun dating a Christian, I was told that this was too much of a burden. Probably very scary too.. it means commitment. That is a lot to take in from the get go. But.. that is the way it is and I am okay with this.

I learned so much, about me, but mostly about how much God loves me so very much in this moment…

And when we learn and share, we let God pour healing and strength into our weakness. ( so hard to push post)

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5(MSG)
You’re God-Taught
4 1-3 One final word, friends. We ask you—urge is more like it—that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance. You know the guidelines we laid out for you from the Master Jesus. God wants you to live a pure life.
Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity.
4-5 Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God.

1 Corinthians 6:18(MSG)

16-20 There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.

2 Timothy 2:22(MSG)

22-26 Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God. Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. God’s servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, enabling them to escape the Devil’s trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands.

2 Timothy 2:22(NIV)

22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Proverbs 31:30(AMP)

30 Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!

Billboard Dream

2 Jan

Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will. ~Jonathan Edwards

When you look forward to the New Year, know that I am here in this minute. When you set your sights on your goals,you move about your life without Me. Instead, bring to Me in prayerful submission, all your hearts desires. Write them and leave them. Lay your dreams at My feet with reverence for all I Am. Trust Me with a heart that is grateful for all that you have, all you have endured and all you are enduring, because I am here. Feel my Holy Presence in all you do;Let that calm you and give you hope. Look forward to My blessings, because I long to shower you with many. You are My precious child. You are bought and paid for at such a great price because I love you. See your value, that I pursued You. You are My beloved, an heiress to the richest of blessings, beyond anything you can imagine, accept that and because of that: Be wise, be frugal, be content, be kind, be patient, be prayerful, but most of all, be aware of Me in all you do.

Prayer
Matthew 7:7-8(NIV)
Ask, Seek, Knock
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Philippians 4:6(NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Romans 8:26(NIV)
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
Romans 8:26(AMP)
26 So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.

Psalm 37:5(MSG)
5-6
Open up before God, keep nothing back;
 he’ll do whatever needs to be done:
He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day
 and stamp you with approval at high noon.

Philippians 4:6(AMP)
6 Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition ([a]definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

Matthew 7:7-8(AMP)
7 [a]Keep on asking and it will be given you; [b] keep on seeking and you will find; [c]keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.

Understanding your Inheritance and His Promise
Psalm 18:30(NIV)
30 As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.

Matthew 7:11(NIV)
11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Psalm 54:4(NIV)
4 Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.

Psalm 16:6(NIV)
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Endurance, Hope, and Trust
Isaiah 26:4(NIV)
4 Trust in the Lord forever,
 for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

Psalm 54:4(NIV)
4 Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.

Psalm 118:8(NIV)
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.

Psalm 37:5(NIV)
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:

Psalm 62:8(NIV)
8 Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

Gratitude:
Hebrews 13:5(NIV)
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,“Never will I leave you;
 never will I forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5(MSG)
5-6 Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote,
God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?

Colossians 3:23-24(NIV)
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

If this is to be a Happy New Year, a year of usefulness, a year in which we shall live to make this earth better, it is because God will direct our pathway. How important then, to feel our dependence upon Him! ~Matthew Simpson