Archive | March, 2020

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