Archive | Faith Walk RSS feed for this section

Blessed Lessons

22 Oct

As we journey through our lives, we will find ourselves either between trials or smack dab in the middle of one.  We can’t stop trials from happening, nor can we “snap out of it” when the very pain we feel is exactly what is meant to bring us to our knees, closer to Him.

Coming out from under darkness, from unraveling the lies, I can get very caught up in the why’s and the how’s and the what is the matter with me?  I wonder when I stopped listening to God, stopped hearing Him.  [The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (psalm 111:10) the fear of man is the beginning of folly]-Jen Wilken

When we think in terms of “our” decisions, “our” consequences, “our” pain, “our” journey,  we fool ourselves thinking we could actually stop the tide from rising.  How did I let this happen?

A friend quoted this to me yesterday. She said “ If we knew in advance, God’s plan for our lives, we would pray to be exactly where we are at, right now”.

Would I really? I pondered that question and even dreamed about it. I know the answer to most certainly to be yes. I just don’t want to suffer, none of us want to suffer.

The enemy will lie, cheat and steal to gain his footing.  “The Lion is most handsome when he is hunting for food”-Rumi

He is the one that goes before me, behind me and nothing, nothing comes to us that didn’t go through His hands.  When peace is not mine, when the storm is brewing, He whispers “Come” (Matthew 14:23)

I am grateful for Him. For all He is and does, even when I don’t see it at the time.

The truth is: When I feel alone, He brings me someone who is alone too, to share the journey together. When my enemies lie about me, He brings me truth and reminds me of all that He is and who I am in Him. When I get lost in fears , He reminds me  He is the creator of all things.

Today, I am grateful for friends that bear with my crazy long enough for me to shut out the lies of satan and help me to hear my beloved Father’s voice again.

Today, I am grateful for this loving heart he put inside of me.  I am grateful for the truth:  This loving heart that without seeking wisdom, without discernment, was so easily misled. Grateful that  in the end, this is truly a gift from God. This heart He placed in me, was able to share the broken journey of a friend.  “Blessed to be a blessing”, we are meant to share our journey; Meant to carry the heavy bucket of trial together.  (Proverbs 11:25-31 and 2 Corinthians 9:8-11).

Today I am grateful for a God that has this difficult journey all mapped out regardless of how much I get in the way, for loving me even in my wrecked completeness. Grateful that when I bring to Him my bad decisions, my unholy thoughts, my wrong thinking, my lack of faith,my dishonesty, my yuck, He loves me anyways. Always brushing me off and putting me right back on His pathway.

He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. Psalm 40:2 KJV

Advertisements

Right Place, Right Time

18 Oct

This afternoon is just one of many examples in my life of God’s perfect timing bumping up against my ego.

I was busy doing what I do well. I was getting things done. I was on a roll, “in the zone” so to speak. I still had a lot to finish and then…I had an interruption to that rhythm. Truth is, I was kind of put out by it.  To make me sound even worse, it was to meet with a family to discuss end of life options.  Ugh.
I  had to stop what I was doing, alter my plans, only to arrive at bedside to find a nurse has already joined the family.  I was not needed,after all.

Well, as you can imagine, that went over super well in my spirit. Outwardly, I had a smile on my face as I typed the finding in an email, with emphasis.

I, in my “must get back on track”, so important,  hurrying back to my car to get on with my day, nearly passed by an open door; my next interruption.

She only said “hello Beckie”. I almost just said hello, but backed up and stopped to chat for just a moment. I don’t know why, but I truly felt pulled back to the door. As I stood there, I felt the prompting to really be there, to be completely present. It took a moment for me to hear Him tell me to listen. As the chit chat turned to a heart talk, I realized God tangibly had moved into the room and we were sharing a very important discussion. My being there, to listen, to hear her and to pray with her, was an absolute divine appointment. I know it blessed her, but I cannot tell you how much it blessed me.

I was so grateful and humbled. Believe me when I tell you, I had to fall a good ways, in that moment, to hit my knees in awe of Him.  (Dang!  I really started this day so strong in Him!)

The truth is, we all get busy, we all have interuptions. We get rushed and interruptions do frustrate us in our hurried days. We do tend to take ourselves, and our time, way too seriously.

But, when God says stop, when He says, “feed my sheep”, He will put you there, even if you go kicking and screaming.

Much like my Jonah study, He will make sure you obey, especially when it isn’t about you. Now the choice you have is to do it right away, or from the belly of a big fish.

Happily, I listened. Happily, I was there to hear the pouring out of a heart in need.

Thank you, God for being so wise, so right and so perfect in your plans. One day, I hope I learn that this huge, amazing, wonderful, blessed life isn’t really coordinated by me and most certainly isn’t really about me at all!

  Remember what it says:

“Today when you hear his voice,
    don’t harden your hearts
    as Israel did when they rebelled.”

Hebrews 3:15

Filling Holes

17 Oct

There was a time in my walk that I found great joy and deep fulfillment in my one on one relationship with Christ. I loved my alone time with Him. I was also surrounded with constant activity and demands of my time and attention. He was my solace, my retreat.   He wasn’t my first and most, He was my refuge. He instructs us to make Him our firm foundation, not just our  ‘go to’ for peace.

He calls us deeper and we tend to put more energy, more weight in the tangible: Leaning on friends in hard times and trusting Him from a distance. Like the Wizard (Oz)  behind the curtain.

I have just walked through a season of loneliness.  I am reminded that Jesus wants the firsts and the most of us. He tells us over and over that we are not alone. Yet…we are all afraid of being alone. We seek friendship, we seek love, we occupy our spaces of alone times. We focus on our kids or keep the television on as a distraction.

Learning to enjoy Him, to lean into Him first, truly is the foundation of faith- removing all idols and just be still with Him. He wants to sit with you one on one before anyone else pulls up a chair.  No distractions, no other loves before Him, no busy life. He wants to be that call on the drive home.

When life changes and you find yourself alone, as well as lonely; Trust Him.

Commune with just Him. Let Him show you the deep content of relationship with Him. Over time He will bring your people to you – the right people will show up at the right time.

In His infinite wisdom, He has kept me to himself until I finally stopped hearing the silence and began to hear Him. Feel Him again.

Until being alone with Jesus is enough, more than enough – even a full room won’t fill the ache, the hole of loneliness we feel and strive to satisfy. So, turn off the world -begin to speak to Him of your day, your thoughts. Join Him. He is waiting for you.

 

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.”‭‭John‬ ‭14:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬                 

““If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.”Matthew‬ ‭10:38-39‬ ‭MSG

“I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭94:18-19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.””‭‭Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Call Me Peter 

11 Oct

I am such a Peter in my walk. I love Him so much and long for that full surrender, full trust. Like Peter, I am obedient, I DO get out of the boat, but like Peter, I sink. Every now and then I have a night where I wake around 3 am and can’t return to sleep. In those quiet hours, He is there with me. From the minute I wake, waiting for me. As I climb into His word, to work out whatever thoughts, ideas or emotions I need to work out, He is there. 

This night was no different. As I lay there thinking about my brokenness, my aloneness, my broken marriage, about my response to all that was thrown at me, about God and His desire for my life, about healing; I have questions… So many questions. My mind strives to put this puzzle together.

What is the purpose, what outcome do I expect? What is God’s desire for my path? 

In the middle of the night, I am vulnerable, exposed. Satan attempts to capitalize on this time. I seem to always come up with a doubt or a fear. It takes The Word and an intentional shift to allow God to speak to my heart instead. 

Tonight I realized, I need Grace, desperately. 

Grace is so relational. I give it far easier than I apply it to myself. Logically, I understand the cross and what it means. and I know that it applies to me, yet I keep it at a distance. I share this part of the Gospel, yet I fall short of it.

Being a perfectionist is self-defeating. I understand that I can never achieve perfection, never arrive at good enough, without grace, but it is for this exact reason, Grace was completely lost on me. 

Jesus is showing me that Grace has nothing to do with my lovability, perfection or my ability to earn it. Grace is a gift, from Him, the only Perfect One, for me, one of all imperfect people. Trusting in this means I surrender my whole heart, to the one that never has and never will harm me. I accept that I am loved by my Father, that Jesus died for me, just as I am, that God has pursued me in a way no man ever can live up to, that He loves me. Accepting that, logically, is joy in my heart…Oh but to trust that, means I let go of the self-protective, abused, injured, broken heart that has such a hard time letting go and letting God’s Grace replace it. It means I trust fully. And that frightens me. 
To surrender to Him as to make Him the head of my life, to accept Christ’s death as my salvation, this is done. But to accept the full on Grace is a leap of faith like no other I have taken so far. 
Grace: This is the answer. This is the path to holiness and joy. This is the truth that will set us free. This is the chasm between us and Him. So worth it. 
Ephesians 1:2-10(AMP)
2 Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 [a]Blessed and worthy of praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ, 4 just as [in His love] He chose us in Christ [actually selected us for Himself as His own] before the foundation of the world, so that we would be holy [that is, consecrated, set apart for Him, purpose-driven] and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined and lovingly planned for us to be adopted to Himself as [His own] children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the kind intention and good pleasure of His will— 6 to the praise of His glorious grace and favor, which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved [His Son, Jesus Christ]. 7 In Him we have redemption [that is, our deliverance and salvation] through His blood, [which paid the penalty for our sin and resulted in] the forgiveness and complete pardon of our sin, in accordance with the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and understanding [with practical insight] 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, 10 with regard to the fulfillment of the times [that is, the end of history, the climax of the ages]—to bring all things together in Christ, [both] things in the heavens and things on the earth.

Grace

19 Sep

Grace. What a powerful word.

There is a calling on each of our lives, plain and simple.

When we mature in our faith, and walk in Grace, we walk with The Lord and we are the light that shines hope. When we forgive, (because we are instructed to forgive), and offer grace to someone that by the worlds standards, we should despise and reject, we are heeding our call to  ‘lead like Jesus’.

In the process of grieving my short marriage, I often asked God why?  I have grown to understand, what He reminds me of; There is not one moment in our lives that has not come through God’s hands. Even betrayals (and hurricanes) have been allowed for reasons only He knows and understands.

Only because of His incredible mercy towards me, His healing in my heart, have I found peace.  Grace and Mercy through forgiveness that is not really possible without the fullness of God in our hearts.

There is something about seeing the full power of God coming straight for you that changes everything. What is good and righteous, surfaced within me.  It was purged through raw grief which poured from the deepest part of me. As quickly as it began, it healed, and it healed swiftly. My soul was raw and opened up to His final healing.

When you extend mercy and kindness to someone that caused anguish in your heart it is obviously God. Knowing Him, seeking Him, being surrounded by wise women that walked with me through the valley, all pointed me straight on the path He laid before me. I am so grateful for the peace found there.

Here is the important lesson: as with all trial, this wasn’t just meant for me.  As we grow in our faith, we realize that whatever we walk through, truly is meant to shine the light of Hope to one or many. My grappling attempts, my moments of humanness, are elementary, as common as the darkness in this world and they don’t heal.

But God! He placed his supernatural healing in my broken heart because He needed me to be the light for a soul that is lost.  Grace shown and shared with someone that harmed us is a powerful healer. For both.

In the end, nothing we endure is just meant for us. With God leading us, we will be shown beautiful mercy in our trials when we focus on shining His light. What we journey through is meant to bless the broken with hope, to be the beacon of possibility to a lost and broken world.

When we are well on our journey of faith, we know our lot is already secure and we know who has us, who holds our future. We may get tossed a bit, but we remain steady in the end. We know the outcome.

When we let that Grace fill us to overwhelming joy, it spills over and pours out on everyone. No matter the circumstances, no matter the trial; That just builds more joy.

Thank you, Jesus.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deedsand glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  Matthew 7:1

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14

Shift Change

3 Sep

 

It took many years for me to understand who Jesus is, who He said He is.  Surrender was difficult and honestly only happened from despair.  Religion had clouded the truth of the cross so completely,  it became about how we appear to the world, not the simple (yet so difficult) act of a sinner accepting Jesus as her savior.

I didn’t understand that Grace is Grace, that I don’t have to earn my salvation. My blessings are not earned. He doesn’t punish me, nor remove His blessings. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today and for ever.“ Hebrews 13:8 

He already won the war I was still fighting. How many of us are trying to be good enough?  That belief didn’t do anything but frustrate me, because it meant my imperfection and sin kept me from salvation. I also had this hole, this place of loneliness, of not being enough, of anger at not being able to find joy, or peace. Happiness was fickle.

Until the night I surrendered the heartbreaking, defeating strive to earn His love, to being good enough, to just believing Him when He said, “My Grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 9).

He spent the next few years slowly healing me.  I had to spend that time with Him as well,  but I wanted to. I loved hearing the word in church, but also talking to Him. Learning to just sit and feel His love was healing all in itself. I suddenly began to not feel so alone.

I read the Jesus Calling devotional. It became my daily time to read, to meditate and to look up scripture.  Slowly, I began to be transformed. Slowly, I grew in understanding. Sin fell away as I went deeper. Lies became truths, resentments healed, forgiveness became necessary, and peace settled on my heart. I stopped reacting to the world and began seeking His calm when I didn’t have any, His hope when I felt hopeless, His love when I was feeling unloved.  I wanted to know Him more, I wanted to understand more.

As He healed my broken insides, there came the desire to share this amazing Hope. The hope from Grace is like none other. It became less about me, more about Him. The transformation continued. Even this sharing was still about me and my journey.
Slowly, that stopped being enough, purpose began to come to the surface. My time here on this earth, this time of grace and understanding wasn’t about me. My war had been won. My major transformation time evolved to my purpose here. I felt the need to share my testimony, what he did for me, my journey with Him, in the hopes that those caught between faith and doubt would understand what took me so long to learn and truly unlearn.

There is nothing you can do to earn it, there is nothing you can do to lose it. You are never too far gone to be saved. Never too perfect  to not need Christ to enter Heaven. Religion isn’t Faith. Religion tends to be about doctrine and laws. Christ fulfilled the Law. What the law does is create more sin, our world will show you just how much religion can get in the way of who Christ is.  If you believe in Him, you are saved. But! my gosh!… there is a rich and beautiful calling on your life. Not financial, not health, not perfect. Purpose. Healing. Hope. Joy. Peace that surpasses all understanding. Forgiveness.

What the total surrender to and acceptance of Grace creates is a place for Him to begin His work in you; the Holy Spirit enters and dwells upon your heart and you are never alone again. My cup overflows with the Joy of the Lord just writing this.  You have that calling, if you listen. That longing, that need. That is God. He is waiting on the steps, watching for his prodigal son/daughter to appear on the road a long way off… coming towards Him. He will run to you and embrace you from there.

You do have to surrender to Him. You must grasp that He truly died for you and because He did that, by your faith in the power of the cross, builds the bridge for what you can’t do for your self. Be sinless enough.

“Turning a car on but staying park, doesn’t get you anywhere. You have to put it into gear in order to move forward”. (heard on JoyFM)

John 3:16-20 (NLT)

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.

Romans 3:20-24 (NLT)

20 For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

Christ Took Our Punishment

21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses[a] and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

 

 

The War

27 Aug

As we look back over our lives, there are many battles won and lost. This is true of every life that walks this earth.

Most wars end with deep human loss.  Like Hiroshima, an addiction or affair, or the shock of an unexpected divorce announcement; The devastation is  something you didn’t see coming, you didn’t plan for it. You are completely devastated by it and you must start from scratch to rebuild from.

The pain slowly dies, and healing begins. Scars form and memories slowly fade, changing the landscape of a life. From that destruction, growth and renewal begin; new things happen. When in this time, you are fortunate to find deeper faith, when you guard against bitterness by forgiving, this is where true miracle happens. God fulfills his promise to bestow beauty from ashes. (Isaiah 61:3) What was meant to break you becomes a part of your testimony of strength, and how much God loves you.

When we are at the bottom, when our spirit is crushed, when we cry out  to Him…He comes closer to us. (Psalm 34:18). How sweet is amazing grace as we begin to heal from that devastation and destruction.  His grace is enough, we slowly begin to heal, we forgive, we seek forgiveness and we grow. Hope builds and joy returns. Redemption.

Now, I ask you to pause and imagine what it must be like for the person that has caused significant damage to heart after heart. What of the one, always on the move, onto the next thing, hoping this is the one thing that will finally bring them happiness. What must that look like, when all they see behind them is lives tossed aside, hearts crushed by destruction? How it must feel to be that one that has to keep hiding, lying, running, always avoiding looking behind. What must that feel like?

This is the liars cycle, the abuser’s cycle, the addiction cycle. This is the cycle of unforgiveness and holes the size of humans inside hearts so lost and dark. This breaks my heart as it must break Gods. Not the gravity of the sin behind them but the distance they  keep from God Himself as He longingly holds his hand out, offering sweet redemption.

As a Christian, so desperate to walk this world like Christ did, with deep compassion and love for the broken and lost of this world, this should break your heart; Even if the bomb was dropped in your heart! This doesn’t mean we have to walk with this person, but we must offer the gift of Grace (forgiveness).

Humans want penance and a reckoning. God simply wants reconciliation.

There is only one healer that can miraculously set a person free from what must be complete hell. To be a slave to darkness and sin with no idea the freedom that salvation brings; that Jesus brings. To be so lost. We are all broken  but it is the lies of Satan himself that tells a person, they are too far gone. It is only in salvation that one can begin to see this metamorphosis take place. It is only in absolute, utter surrender.

We as the body, longingly to look like Christ, should bear deep compassion for those that will suffer in their shame and unforgiveness; never understanding the gift that is there for the asking. Jesus died and set us free from our past.

Paul (Saul) was a murderer of Christ followers. He was there in the stoning of Stephen! He was freed from that sin and shame . Paul said “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”(Hope and believing the promise)~ Isaiah 43:18 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.” Paul knew what the crucifixion set us free from.  There are epistles upon epistles about this very thing.
Stop letting your past keep you locked in darkness. Let Hope and Grace choose for you, None of us is righteous; Not even one.

Grace is grace and grace never ends. Nothing is too far or too much or too big for God. He just gives us more grace!  ( James 4:8)  That said, you can empty a soul of it’s past sin, but like a parked car –you are not going anywhere even if it has power. You MUST engage in a gear to move forward and reverse is the wrong direction.

Lean in, seek to understand the mercy that is in Christ, ask God to change you, to forgive you. It is only then that you can begin to heal. And accept the gift that is Christ… because my love, no one is too far gone. No one.

Here are a few great links.

A few great songs:

Listen and hear the lyrics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A0irzN9hOk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqjU2taeGrA

Todd White is a former addict turned preacher…. He is the real deal, full of hope and wisdom. Great sermons.
https://www.youtube.com/user/ToddWhiteChannel