Tag Archives: surrender

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

 

Truth in the Storms

8 Jun

By Beckie Halaska

When storms come, no sign of sunlight
My soul betrays me, waves coming crashing in

I silently cry out, tired from the battle.
I hear your voice. “Look at me love, you will be safe with me”.

Fear seeps in, my mind building doubts.
Reminding myself over again, “Trust in Him. Follow Him. Dive in. “

I cry out for you, that your promises stand true
I give up my need to control the direction of the tide.

This world weary traveler longs to know rest in you.
Longs to know there is no journey too hard for her again.

You grab my heart, as my mind surrenders the fear
Peace transcends. You are here. You are sovereign.

You become the air filling my lungs again.
You are sun in the darkest of spaces. Peace in the hurricane’s that come and go.

Oh but I can get lost in the mess of this life. You never change.
I hesitate a bit as I surrender and say “I need you, I trust you”

And you come. You remind. You rebuild.

And you say… “It’s going to be alright”

Beautiful traveler, there is a future waiting… just a bit more.
I need you strong for just a bit more.

In this world you will have trials, but you are no longer a slave of this world.

You were made for so much more.  I am your strength.

and you say.,, ”It’s going to be alright”.

Amen.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights ~Habukkuk 3:19

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand~ Isaiah 41:10

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding; ~Proverbs 3:5

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:5

 

 

Philadelphia

16 Jan

Weary one, walking this world trying to make your way. Are you tired yet?Lift your eyes, weary one. He is there, making all things work for your good. For His Glory.

This world is dying, quickly.
He is calling to you, do you hear Him?

He says “don’t love the things of this world, love me”
He says to “build our lives on the rock”. Jesus.
He says  “Keep your eyes on me”. “Let my words build you up, restore what this world has stolen from you”.
Don’t spend another moment crying over what Satan took. He say’s “I will restore everything that was stolen from you”
He says “I will make beauty from ashes”.
He says “I have placed every tear you cried, in a jar.”

Tired one, rest in Him, He is restoration. He refreshes us.
As you cry, as you fret, He says I am still here. Unmoved, unchanged.
Seek me. I will answer you.
Turn from your pride, your fear, your anger, your exhaustion, your defeat and find Him.
Trust Him with every bit of this life.

Trust Him in the aloneness, trust Him in the waiting, trust Him in the heartbreak.
Trust Him in the darkness, trust Him when everything is falling apart. Trust Him no matter what your eyes see. He isn’t the world. He is more.

To the sinners; the liars, the judges, the gossips, the prideful, the arrogant, the adulterers, the ones hiding in the dark, He is clear. Aren’t you tired yet? Aren’t you tired of sin that separates you? This world will drag you down if you dwell too long on it. God lifts you up and fills your soul.

Surrender it all. Everything. Attach to Him and let go of every lie this world tells you.
Love Him that loves you more than anything. Give Him all the love your bridegroom desires and would receive if He were flesh.  His love is first. His love is most important. His love lasts forever.

Love, The Church of Philadelphia
Revelations 2-3 NLT.

Choosing Joy

1 Jan

As we look forward to what comes next, we have to also know that what comes next isn’t always what we wish for, desire, or plan for.

I personally have family that is facing end of life. T is the bravest, strongest person I know. She is so inspiring to so many.  I have a close friend doing everything her little body can to rid her body of cancer. She is so strong and brave as well. Determined. These are not the things we plan for or wish for but they are as much a part of our life as the good.

Having had to face my own misunderstanding that life is always supposed to feel good; It isn’t and it doesn’t. The truth is, living gets really hard at times and sometimes we suffer deeply. Sometimes people do unkind things, sometimes people get sick, sometimes we are left out, sometimes relationships are really hard. … but God, but love.

Through all of the ups and downs, there is love. At the core of everything, love is there and love is truly all there really is. Some people may not treat us well or be kind to us and some may never love us, but there are those that do.  Hold on to those people.

Some people may be cruel, selfish, mean spirited. We may not want to love some people but do it, do just that! When we come from a place of love, regardless of other’s, we grow in peace and joy. We steady our hearts and minds. It isn’t determined by them, it is your heart that chooses to love no matter what.

Let go of control. We may make plans and we may think we drive this life, but at the end of the day, we really can’t control anything, and especially any one. We can only choose for ourselves how we react and respond to what we will never control.

As a woman seeking and thirsting for the truest lover of my soul, what I have learned most is this… God remains the same through all of it. When I stop comparing how I think it should be, or what I planned, to the way it really is, I can climb into the peace of knowing that through it all, He has it all worked out for my good. When we surrender to His omnipotent plans and power, then suffering last’s only a little while.

At the end of the day, we only have this very minute, to choose what we think on. To choose what we focus on. To choose if we cherish or complain.  We can choose to let go of our peace over things we can’t control, or we can gain peace by embracing what is good and steady in the face of turbulence.  We can love through the worst of times… because one day we will wish we had done more of that. I promise you that.

2019 will have it’s own wonder and it’s own trials… but today, I am centered on His Sovereignty.  Peace settles so well on my heart, knowing that through it all, He is there, working it all out for my good and for His glory.

Today… my cup overflows. This moment I choose joy.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28 

choose this day whom you will serve Joshua 24:14-15

Re-Solution

30 Dec

Every year at this time, we talk about resolutions and goals.

In truth, 2018 was the year for me to heal. 2017 had so much loss, so much sorrow, so much crazy. I needed a year of peace and God was gracious. Though there were moments, some my own doing (and in some cases, my own undoing), some were completely out of left field but God in His amazing Love, truly walked me through quickly. He nourished me, refreshed me, tested me, and strengthened me. He made me suffer through my emotions and expectations to seek truth and to find Him, who He really is, not the God I had in my head.   I had to come to terms with what faith really meant to me, from the depths of hurt and disappointments and find what trust in God really meant.  What exactly are His promises and how do they apply to me.

At the end of this year, I can look back and see how much I have changed, how I have grown.  I can see the blessings.  Yes, I was able to do some really great things, a trip to Greece, trips to the kids, a trip to Minnesota.  I have been blessed with amazing friendships, a job I absolutely love, having a social calendar again.  But the greatest blessing is finding the truth that none of this matter’s without my full surrender to Him.

I have found the rest, joy and peace of knowing that God is sovereign.  My life will always have really difficult times. My life will have amazing gifts.   It is a constant receiving and letting go. The only true constant is God. He never changes; Never.

He tells us in His word -1 John 2:15- “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.”
Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount to build our foundation of our acknowledgement of just this truth. He is sovereign. Our faith is a vertical relationship that is not distracted by the things that other people have, say, do or what we lose or gain. (Matthew 5-7) It is solid in the trust that as long as we stay focused on Him, we are okay.  He is able to work on us, through us, and for us.

I have discovered all of my barriers to really surrendering to His Sovereignty. My lack of faith in areas that I think I can do better I suppose. I hold tight to my idea of what this world should look like, fairness, goodness. I had this idea of what happiness was, especially if you are doing it “right” such as marriage, love, family, constant peace, no issues, no loss. I have grown weary trying to make it better. I have found the very last stitch of control I thought I had.
The truth says, stop looking to this world to give you anything you need. This world is flesh, this world is false.  It doesn’t last. Nothing lasts forever.

But God.

The truest lover of your soul is calling you, wooing you, pursuing you to love Him. It is the LAW.
Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself. This doesn’t mean fit in, like run a 10k or drive a fancy car or be invited to the finest events. This means to love yourself enough to lose yourself completely, regardless of your circumstances.  He doesn’t just ask us to obediently surrender to Him every need for food and shelter; He asks for so much more. He wants all of it. .  He longs for every desire. Surrender every longing for popularity, fitting in, being loved, being accepted, success, things, beauty, adventure and of perfect joy.

From His perfectly designed place of surrender, knowing who God is, and who you are and are not, who can offend you? Who can speak against you, who can hurt you, what can shake you to your core?  Oh please let these trials shake off the lies and expose to you, God’s nature.

Why on earth do we think we should suffer less in this world than the one that sent His own Son, His Son that suffered so greatly , just for us?   If we get stuck in the place of trying to play God, trying to make it make sense, we become bitter or we lose our faith.

Our resolutions should be made, intentionally, to draw near to God. Our goal should be to shake of this world and the distractions and just Love God and Love People. Learn to draw near to Him at all times and in all circumstances. Grow in your trust that this is all for His glory and His purposes. These are healthy resolutions. These are the plans that do not direct our steps but give God the reigns to speak into our lives and direct our steps.

Surrendered.

James 4: 4-8 NLT

You adulterers!Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him.And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,

“God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble.”

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 

Turn Back

9 Aug

As I begin to really get into the prophecies now, I am prompted to share. One commentary brought me to 2 Peter 3:9,15.
We that are called have to first come to a deep understanding of who God is. The old testament tells us clearly that this world is a fallen world. Nothing is new under the sun.  Sin runs rampant and always has. Time after time, we lost our way from Him and His desires for our living.
Time and time again, we turn back. This new age of believers – harmed by legalism, have swung a bit too far from really knowing His desire for our obedience, and how it protects. New age Christianity will tell you that sin is not that big of a deal because you have Grace. Grace doesn’t exclude the law, it just made you saved regardless of your sin. But you have to know Him, you have to know His laws. Others may attend church, they may believe but really don’t know Him or what His word says. It’s not about punishment or judgement. It’s about freedom. The law was written for our protection and also to give Him praise. What pleasure to Him when we choose to obey rather than sin. When we choose to really be like the disciples, like Paul.
We are not meant to correct the behavior of others, we are called to love our sister’s and brother’s and help them stay the course! What is that course?

Do you ever stop to think about the way you see your Christian Life through God’s eyes?

We are not condemned. We are blessed. We have been set free and Satan knows he can’t steal our salvation, but he will try everything to steal our reputation, our legitimacy in this world, so we can’t be the hands and feet, so we can’t be the light!
He will encourage other’s to lie about you, to discredit you. He will use other’s to negatively affect your ability to touch more lives. He will use your pride, your ego to poke at you. He will use your mistakes and your past to hold you back from really surrendering. He will lie and tell you that to go all in, is to be the church lady! None of those are true. He is a liar. He is very smart and very cunning. But his power is beneath ours that walk in faith.
Every one of our sins, great and small, is still known by God, whether we ever bring it to His feet or not. You are not so far gone that Grace can’t reach you. If we are so self focused, so worried about our lives, so panicked about provision or loneliness or what other’s think of us, how can we honestly give Him glory, how can we be ready if He calls?
This is not the religion of right and wrong, this is the religion of faith, of worship, or trust, of being a disciple! We are saved, and we all sin. Every single one of us. Our salvation happened the moment we turned back. the minute we surrendered, whether we sin or not. He died for us while we were still lost. Sin is what we always battle.. for sure, but our sin, if not observed by us, acknowledged by us, repented by us, is giving Satan a handle on our lives. We give him tools to hold over us.  It causes us to harm ourselves and other’s.  Only the truth will ever set you free. God already knows it all.

Peace comes from knowing we are set free because we can take our unholiness and bring it Christ and we are forgiven. It doesn’t mean we can ignore our unholiness and continue to just be who we are. We must surrender, we must turn to him. Submit to Him. It isn’t the finger pointing, shaming of our sin but rather the “tell me everything so we have nothing between us, so we can be close and I can do everything I promised to do for you. He says to confess to one another, and forgive and ask forgiveness of other sinners. It removes all power from darkness when you do that. You break the chains that hold you back. God say’s I will protect you, love you, grow you, help you and lead you to lead others”.
Deep thoughts!! But my fellow believers, we are Babylon!! We are Isreal! We are Judah! We are Nineveh. Clean your hearts of the sin that is there. Stop living in hiding! No one can judge you as harshly as you do! Go to Him and worship Him. Give him your sin, break the chains that Satan uses to hold you back from a full relationship with Christ!! 
Amen!

Valuable Lessons

16 Jun

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”  Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT

I lead a study for women. I started this group for women walking alone from divorce, widowhood or never been married, but this summer, God opened this up for all women. It happened so naturally, it could only be Him.  When that happens, there is a magic that takes place, a blessing that comes because He placed certain people together.

Grief is grief, so perfectly shared last night, it isn’t just loss of loved ones, or marriages, but we can grieve our health, or anything we perceive as a loss. We all lose over time, things we value. A friend just lost her home due to fire, a family member just lost their job.

As I prayed this morning, read my bible and thought of our conversations about control, fear and loss, it dawned on me that the root for fear in grief is that we don’t see ourselves or our lives the way God sees us. Yes, we naturally mourn deeply when our life changes, when there is loss. Missing someone or the familiar or what we have had before is natural.

Where we get stuck in loss is when we think whatever we lost, defined us.We fear being nothing without that which we think defined us. Having made us valuable, and losing made us nothing.

I revisited Eve and found this truth in Genesis 3:6. “The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her.”  The snake was able to get to Eve because she wanted to have more. She wanted to do more. She wanted to  know more and mostly, she wanted to BE more. She wasn’t enough.

Somewhere inside us all, there is the fear that we are not enough. It comes alive when we go through our trials, when we are weakened. We become weak in our sorrow, or health issues, our sleep deprivation, our hunger. There are many ways our fears can begin to play havoc with the truth. We begin to compare and fall short.

God already displayed the grandeur and value of us when He created us. We are beyond valuable to him. He tells us over and over, in many ways.  When He created us in His image He didn’t make any mistakes. He made man in His image. Strong and sturdy. He created women in His image as well, though very different from men. He gave one word to name our hearts and it is only used to describe one other heart. HIS. He numbered the hair on our head!

He tells us that He thinks of us more than the grains of sand on all the beaches of this world. 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!How great is the sum of them!18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; Psalm 139:17-18.  

Most of us at one time or another, have lived in a state of comparison. In some way or another. We compare ourselves not just to people, but also to God.  As crazy as that sounds, unless we are fully surrendered, we are trying to control our world, even if it comes from a pure heart.

God doesn’t ask us to be Him. He provides us the Holy Spirit to be our strength where we are weak. He promises to give us wisdom when we seek it from Him. He asks us to humbly submit all the pieces before Him. To trust Him. It is there, in that perfect place of humble surrender that we fully find His Grace and Mercy.

We must accept and battle, what Eve did not remember, the hardest truth to believe. We are who HE tells us we are. He is who He says He is.  Our bodies do not define us. Our marriages do not define us. Our jobs do not define us. Our social status does not define us. Our children do not define us. Even how well we walk with Him, doesn’t define us. We must come to, and then constantly returning, from a place of surrender. Become humble enough to embrace that He is Omnipotent and Sovereign. To stay in worship of Him only. To constantly let go of idols that mess us up!

God defines us and until we actually grasp of the fullness of that we will never have peace.

         

You Know All About Me

139 For the Pure and Shining One
King David’s poetic song
Lord, you know everything there is to know about me.
You perceive every movement of my heart and soul,
    and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.
3–4 You are so intimately aware of me, Lord.
    You read my heart like an open book
    and you know all the words I’m about to speak
    before I even start a sentence!
    You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.
You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way,
    and in kindness you follow behind me
    to spare me from the harm of my past.[a]
    With your hand of love upon my life,
    you impart a blessing to me.
This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible!
    Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.[b]
Where could I go from your Spirit?
    Where could I run and hide from your face?
If I go up to heaven, you’re there!
    If I go down to the realm of the dead, you’re there too!
If I fly with wings into the shining dawn, you’re there!
    If I fly into the radiant sunset, you’re there waiting![c]
10 Wherever I go, your hand will guide me;
    your strength will empower me.
11 It’s impossible to disappear from you
    or to ask the darkness to hide me,
    for your presence is everywhere, bringing light into my night.
12 There is no such thing as darkness with you.
    The night, to you, is as bright as the day;
    there’s no difference between the two.
13 You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside
    and my intricate outside,
    and wove them all together in my mother’s womb.[d]
14 I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex!
    Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking.
    It simply amazes me to think about it!
    How thoroughly you know me, Lord!
15 You even formed every bone in my body
    when you created me in the secret place,[e]
    carefully, skillfully shaping me[f] from nothing to something.
16 You saw who you created me to be before I became me![g]
    Before I’d ever seen the light of day,
    the number of days you planned for me
    were already recorded in your book.[h]
17–18 Every single moment you are thinking of me!
    How precious and wonderful to consider
    that you cherish me constantly in your every thought!
    O God, your desires toward me are more
    than the grains of sand on every shore!
    When I awake each morning, you’re still with me.
19 O God, come and slay these bloodthirsty, murderous men!
    For I cry out, “Depart from me, you wicked ones!”
20 See how they blaspheme your sacred name
    and lift up themselves against you, but all in vain!
21 Lord, can’t you see how I despise those who despise you?
    For I grieve when I see them rise up against you.
22 I have nothing but complete hatred and disgust for them.
    Your enemies shall be my enemies!
23 God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart.
    Examine me through and through;
    find out everything that may be hidden within me.
    Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.
24 See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on,
    and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways—
    the path that brings me back to you.

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.

 

 

Called For More

30 Jul

Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)

As Christ followers, we are called to live Holy lives. Lives free from sin, living in such a way that when other’s look at us, they can’t help but see Jesus.

I fail. All the time. I seriously feel like I just never get there. He must just shake his glorious fist at me sometimes.

Give me a journey that is laughter, sunsets, no money issues. I am THERE! I am in-tuned, plugged in, so God focused and driven. Yep. I am great with no distraction. When life is smooth…

Now, throw a hardship in my way and I am all over the place. I become drama mama *big sigh*

Here is the truth. I know too much now. I am not a child any longer. I have grown into a mature Christian. It is time for me to walk like Jesus. What does that mean? Does that mean I am wiser, more confident in myself, sin less, take life’s ups and downs in stride with ease? Actually it doesn’t. It means I submit more, seek more, trust more, hope more, lean more, obey better, learn more,become convicted quicker and surround myself with friends that will keep me on His path, not my own.

Maturity isn’t about wisdom, it is about knowing where to find my wisdom, whom my wisdom comes from. Maturity isn’t about telling other’s how to live, it is about showing other’s the truth about living in The Light of Salvation. Showing other’s where my hope comes from, about showing them how I get through hard times, being transparent and sharing all the Love I receive.

Maturity is knowing, nothing I have is because of me, but because He has showered me with favor. Nothing I have lost is because I deserved it. It is all meant to keep me close to Him. Maturity knows that I am to Love. If I love God first, ALL people second, and love this person I have been created to be, then the rest of the law is redundant.

My life will always be shared, I will be transparent. I think in a world that has had so much hurt and harm done, even in the name of thinking they were doing good, it is important to share my heart, my mistakes, my weakness, my complete hypocrisy. I will seek to ask myself if I can cast a stone at you, before I throw it. I will do my very best to always be truthful with myself, I will surround myself with friends and leaders that will speak truth into my life, even when it hurts. Friends that will say, why on earth are you holding that stone? I am a willing example of a truthful journey to understand and know God, to seek truth and to give all of my heart and soul to pleasing The One, The Way, The Hope, My Savior.

You heard the story! You know what He did for us! What is my life worth without that? He is so patient with me. The bible uses the word forbearance. Synonyms are patience, long-suffering, sufferance, tolerance. Such truth in that word! He didn’t just suffer on the cross, He is still suffering over me! I am so not close to being Him…. But I would so love to love His people like He does.

Romans 2:4 (MSG)

3-4 You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he’s such a nice God, he’d let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.

Matthew 8:23-27 NIV
Jesus Calms the Storm
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Romans 3:25 (NIV)

25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[a] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—