Monday, October 19, 2015

God's Kingdom Come

Bringing to light how I pursued my kingdom has revealed other areas I sought to glorify me.  It is hard, but I am thankful.  I lay down me so I can pursue God's Kingdom.  I won't do it perfectly, but God isn't calling me to perfect - not just yet.  He's calling me to trust and step out in faith.

If my hand is out wanting love, then I do not love.

God is teaching me to love fully.  He has poured His knowledge into me.  He has equipped me with understanding of His ways.  That dry spell I felt wasn't because I needed to know more or that someone needed to spiritually move me with their teachings, activities or ???  I'm at a point where learning shouldn't be the priority, it's learning to act out of love.  Practice to improve, to be in more situations where it may be hard to love, but love anyway. 

Love as the other person needs, not to expect anything in return. 

Love by walking with others, not condemning them and holding the bar high and expecting them to live up to it (I mainly do this with one person and am working hard to stop.)

Love by taking care of their needs, serving them. 

Removing me and my needs from the equation, for I trust God to provide. 

This is God's Kingdom - Love God, Love Others.

To live out the verse God has shown is my life verse:

and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.

Isaiah 58:10 [underline added]

Monday, October 12, 2015

My Kingdom Come

It was a simple dinner with friends.  The men watched football while the women sat around the table discussing up coming events in our lives.  Dinner served, game over, conversations continued.  It was pleasant.  Then BAM.

Out of no where.

I'm hit.

In the face.

With a nerf dart.

The mothers turn, ready to pounce on their son for doing such a thing.

All were shocked, me the most, that it wasn't a young foolish boy, but my husband.  What had possessed him to do such a thing.

I tried to process and remain calm.  I decided it was a great time to break for the bathroom.  I calmed myself.  I realized it wasn't so much about what he did - for he never had done something like that to me.  It was what it brought back to mind from my childhood.  This type of behavior and much worse happened to me at the hands of my brothers, cousins, step-fathers (yes, there an S at the end of that word) and basically any male in my life.

It was remembering that no one was taught how to treat others and especially no one taught the boys/men in my life how to treat a girl/woman.  I recalled my prayer through much of my childhood, back when I thought God was about sending wants up and He filled them.

Send someone to love me - only me.

After I committed my life to God, I began to understand that Jesus answered that prayer long ago.  But that didn't change my desire to find someone on earth to fill that request.  The desire diminished, but after this incident I received clarity as I cried for that lost girl so many years ago, how lonely she was, how unconnected she was to any love that may have been present.

In that little prayer, I wanted my kingdom to grow.  I wanted to assurance that I would be worshiped - for that was really what I desired.  Someone to love me and to demonstrate it loudly in a specific way so that I would always know, feel it.  Which, of course is not possible.  Especially for someone who didn't know how to love in return!

Although this wasn't the forefront of my motives anymore, I had never repented of this.   I can look at the years after committing to Jesus that I still tried to get my kingdom going.  Oddly enough, no one jumped on board.

Thank you Jesus for this revelation into my past.  Thank you for the ability to forgive my husband and laugh it off.  Thank you for showing me that I need to lay my kingdom down. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Knowing Me Better

This past week has been focused on phones.  Something that should be simple, but just isn't.  We have dumb phones and love it.  However, we were lured into a pricing that would allow us to have smart phones, so we decided to jump head first.  We even found great prices on the newest fruit phone on the market.  Well, the guy who doesn't know the plans he sells didn't give us all the information and a long story short after several phone calls to our provider, those phones went back.


It wasn't how I wanted to spend my time, enduring phone call after phone call, reviewing my account online, explaining it all to the hubs.  However, through it all, I learned something about myself, for that I am thankful.

I'm ok with a smart phone, just not one quiet so indulgent - which is how I felt having it.  It was just something I simply did not need (I hate using the word 'need' here because I only NEED Jesus.)  I actually had anxiety for having something like that in my possession.  I gladly returned the phones and everything returned to how it was before.  Somewhat...

In God's timely way, he sent a blog post about how many parents have their noses in their phones, ignoring their children.  I took the warning, for I know I could easily get sucked into it myself.  I mean there's the app to update and keep all my lists in order.  Yes, I could see myself easily doing that.

On another front, I'm counseling my girl on making straight A's an idol.  That we can't hold onto something so tightly, because God will not allow us to have idols.  In one way or another He will take it (whatever we are clinging to more than trusting Him) away from us.

All this tied into my heart to take warning and to not seek out the latest and greatest in the phone department.  That getting a phone the will text (and not shut itself off!), make phone calls is the major focus, not how great it connects to the internet.  Because I really don't want it to be that great, because I don't want to use it for that purpose.  I have other devices to do that.  I don't want to be that devoted to my phone.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Grace Vs. Excuses

Time has settle my schedule and I find myself wanting to write.  To kick start this I wanted to repost this list from Living Well Spending Less

Grace vs. Excuses
  • Grace says ‘mistakes aren’t fatal’; excuses use mistakes as a reason to quit.
  • Grace realizes that progress is more important than perfection; excuses use perfection as a reason to procrastinate.
  • Grace says ‘I am not my mess’; excuses let the mess define them.
  • Grace understands the bigger picture; excuses fixate on the small details.
  • Grace recognizes that people aren’t perfect and offers forgiveness; excuses use the failure as a reason to write someone off.
  • Grace is big; excuses are small.
  • Grace offers courage; excuses propagate fear.
  • Grace brings hope; excuses make you feel hopeless.
  • Grace gives you the ability to try again tomorrow; excuses allow you to give up.
How does this change your thinking? 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Future failure?

To follow up on the previous post, I wanted to share a concept I hadn't considered until I was asked.

What if your greatest failure is yet to happen?

This question isn't to cause you to live in fear, but to warn you, we could all falter at anytime.  If you study the Bible long, you'll see those who failed the greatest often thought they were doing the right thing.  Eve, Jacob, Saul, Judas, Saul/Paul, to name a few, all thought they knew best, some God redeemed, others He did not.

It's a warning to keep you on your knees, seeking God's grace to live for Him, to understand His Scripture that you are studying diligently.

When I look at my past, I couldn't imagine my greatest failure to be future, I've messed up so much.  But there's a chance, even greater if I become confident in myself, slack off in my pursuit of God and His word and lose the awe I have of Jesus.  This is where having fellow Christians that you live in community with are helpful to pull you back on track if they see you going astray. 

Take warning, love God, humble yourself before Him.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Back to where I failed

It's a scary thought - to go back to a place where I failed so greatly.  I knew it would probably happen and it did.  I will serve as a leader next year where I failed four years ago.  God has matured me greatly in the past four years, for that I am thankful.  Godly courage isn't the absence of fear, it is the willingness to trust God, obey Him in the face of fear.

In studying the Life of Moses, I got to look at how Moses too was called back to where He had failed.  He probably sensed God's calling for Him to lead the Israelites, but he went about it in the wrong way (murder.)  After the humbling experience of the desert, God calls Moses back to where he failed.  I learned that God focuses on our present faith and not our past failures.

In taking that to heart I know if I rely on God (which I should do!), there will be victory.  God is giving me a second chance.  He is a good God!

With that, God has shown me how those I lead before have grown closer to Him.  Perhaps it wasn't just me that failed that year and was motivated to seek God.

During that year, I saw CV come out of her shell and talk openly.

JM went on to leadership within two years and now works full time in ministry.

CC, as quiet as she is, is beginning leadership, stepping out of her comfort zone in a big way.

SK isn't so focused on self now that she's leading others.

I know the other ladies went on to continue in the Lord.  I'm not saying that I had a great influence in their lives, but I was a direct part of it for a year.  God took that failure and in His normal godly way, turned it into BEAUTY!

So if failure is looming over you, don't let it get you down.  Turn to God, return to Him and He will lift you up.  Look at the beauty of the Cross and the victory of the Risen Christ.  Once you get to the other side of a trial, you are at Victory!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What to do?

I have this compulsive side that likes to know.  I want to plan, I want to have it all aligned.  Of course, it is completely differently to what faith is about and trusting God**.  Just another example of me needing to lay my life down to follow God.  He calls His people to a land of the unknown (Abraham), He calls us to battle with few resources (Gideon) and uses us in ways we couldn't imagine (Mary, but just about everyone who ever loved God.)

In this God is working great things in me so I can die to self.  When I want to plan and make decisions on my own on how things should be, I am focused on self.  I don't take into account others, nor do I really consider God. 

In Bible study, I was reminded of a time when I used the following verse to remain focused on work, not on the pain of my foot (see this post.)

so I sent messengers to them with this reply: "I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?" Neh 6:3.

And of course it applied to what I was doing with my self-focused planning.  I was allowing it to be a distraction - which is what the men addressing Nehemiah wanted - to stop the Lord's work.  As I reviewed the verse again, placed it above my kitchen sink again, the awe of the verse spoke to me.  I challenged my planning and I called the distractions what they were - attempts to get me to stop working on the great project before me - God's Kingdom.

What is distracting you?  What is consuming your thoughts?  Fight with your husband?  Fantasies of the perfect life?  Food?  Weight?  The worldly storyline of your favorite show?  

**(And I know all planning isn't out of God's will or sin for God wants His people to be prespared - I'm saying my self-focused planning was!)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Time of Deficiency

In studying Leviticus 25, God instructs on the Sabbatical years, along with the year a Jubilee. 

" I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years." Lev 25:21

God promises to give an abundance.  But what if what God calls abundant is not what we call abundant?  This passage describes what God means, you will still have leftovers when you get to harvest your crops three years later.

It's all on faith.  Will it really last?  What if mold or rodents invade the store houses?  What if what God calls abundant isn't what I call abundant?  Sadly, the Israelites never practice this concept (as far as we have recorded.)

Scripture states that God gives and takes away.  His purpose is for us to rely on Him.  A deep reliance that is above our physical needs.  So a time of deficiencies of physical supply could be an abundance of Spiritual supply.  A time to grow faith, trust and to experience the kindness of God's people. 

One thing is clear - God gives us what we need - either blessing or discipline.  As Jesus did many times in His ministry - He didn't always answer the question asked, but He went straight to the heart. 

"What if" is worry - and Jesus directs in Matthew 6:34  "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Who's in Control?

God revealed something in me that I was surprised by...well I shouldn't be but was. 

I dreaded having to spend time with the people - not just any people, but a certain set of people, who they are isn't important.  On this particular week I was scheduled to spend potentially three days with the people.  That naturally lead me to a big debate could I endure three settings?  Could I do so with a good attitude...I didn't think I could.  And if I couldn't do it with a good attitude, wouldn't I hurt my witness to Jesus?  So not to damage His reputation, I was better off NOT going the "elected" day - which happened to be the middle day of the visits.

Then I began reading my the next book on my list:  When People Are Big and God Is Small by Ed Welch.  This quote made me look at the circumstances in a new light - Thank you God for setting my heart up to hear the message.

"Do you avoid people?  If so, even though you might not say that you need people, you are still controlled by them.  Isn't a hermit dominated by the fear of man?"

God labeled my temptation not to go as avoidance and said that I'm controlled by them.  It was hard for me to wrap my head around at first.

What I wanted to avoid more wasn't the people, it was the ugliness that came out of me while around them.  I would be easily frustrated, lacked compassion, became was self-centered.  I scratched out became because all this ugliness lurked within my heart.  It's as if I checked the Holy Spirit at the door around the people and allowed my sinful nature to take over.  Yea, that sinful nature that is dead and whose habits I want gone from my life.  I was indulging it every time.

Thank you Papa for answered prayer.  Thank you for revealing what was really happening around the people, that it isn't their fault (oh how my dead sinful nature loves to blame others!)  Now that You've shown me, I can offer it up as a sacrifice.  It's no longer OK for me to avoid my ugliness by avoiding the people.  I submit to the Holy Spirit's leading.  I want and desire to follow.  You give me the strength to follow.  Thank you as well that You've already proven it true, You already helped me have a better attitude, one of love.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Whole Heart Search - Jer 29:13

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer. 29:13

It was verse 11 that I was instructed to look at, but I couldn't help but to read on since verse 11 was so encouraging.

This verse struck to the middle of my heart.  I will find God when I seek with my whole heart.  What does that mean?  God is teaching me.  He's shown me other verses that speak on the same thing.  God wants us to find Him.  He enables us to do so. 

So I go boldly into this journey to find out what it means to seek God wholeheartedly.  To surrender all of me.  To study what is happening when God says "Come, follow Me," and the many ways in which He does:
Delight yourself in the Lord, Diligently seek Me, Allow me to learn from You are just some of the ways.

The journey is moving along - it will have no end until I'm basking in the glow of the Glory of Jesus.

God planned to prosper the Israelites.  After the 70 years of exile, God planned to return His people to the land He gave their forefathers.  The Israelites were His chosen people, a priesthood that would be a shining light unto the world (Ex 19:3-6.)  They didn't keep God's covenant, nor did they observe the Sabbath rest.  The seventy years of exile were the Sabbath rest that the Israelites did not observe. 

We see God's plan for the Isralites was just a shadow of things to come.  The Israelites went their own way, they did not rely on God's grace to keep His commandments.  Now, as a follower of Christ, I am woven into His church, a member of His Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2,) by God's mercy - not by my own doing.  All because He choose me to seek Him.  What a wonderful gift it is. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Being Undone - luxury

If you're like much of the mid-west, you're currently under a freeze.  Schools cancelled or delayed.  I am tucked in my warm house, a fire in the fireplace, warm breakfast in my tummy and a hot cup of tea in my hand.

Then I peruse the morning news with at statement like this on a local shelter:

"There is also an elevator that will allow those who use wheelchairs to have access to the sleeping quarters upstairs. In the past, those men would have to sleep in their wheelchairs. Craig Liparoto is one of them.
“It’s great! A luxury,” he said. “I’m grateful.”

This man thinks it is a luxury to have a bed. defines luxury as:
: a condition or situation of great comfort, ease, and wealth
: something that is expensive and not necessary
: something that is helpful or welcome and that is not usually or always available
A warm place to sleep is "not necessary, not always available."  I don't know how this man got to where he is, it doesn't matter to me.  For God has called me to spend myself on behalf of the oppressed.  As tears fall for a man I don't know, for the ones I was blessed to know, my heart breaks for what breaks God's heart.  I go confidently unto the next step.  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Plans

Well I did it again.  Over and over I have in my mind I won't do it, but I do.  How I so get Paul in Romans 7.  It wasn't just because it's New Years, I also have completed all the requirements for certification of biblical counseling (Woohoo!)

So what a perfect time to make some changes - form new habits.  I instruct in counseling the need to put off old habits of our dead sinful nature and put on new habits that reflect our alive status in Christ (Christ alive in our place.)  So I went out and found something call a powersheet.  I planned it, I would choose three components to work on each month...Spirit, health and home.  I would work at these three things for three weeks to form the habit and then spend the last week of the month praying for the next month habits.

Verses for the year are for Spirit, health and home:
  • Roman 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then your will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.
  • Titus 2:12 It [grace of God] teaches us to say "no" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and live self-controlled, upright godly lives in this present age.
  • Proverb 31:27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Of course through the process of changing me for God, my thoughts went to changing me for me.  I had to once more repent of that and seek God's forgiveness.  I returned to Him to seek His guidance.

The more I thought about the process, the more I thought about what I was going to "do" that the Spirit revealed I was once more going wrong.  It isn't about what I DO.  If I make it about what I do, I am pursuing self-righteousness.

In comes John 3:30 "He must become greater; I must become less."  Yes, it isn't about me changing, putting off old habits of my dead sinful nature by putting on new godly habits.  It's all about me decreasing and Christ increasing.  It's about me seeking God, learning from my Papa, seeking Him, just as Jesus did while He walked the earth.  Jesus didn't seek His own will, but the Father's (Mat 26.)  It's only when I'm part of the Vine that I can bear fruit (John 15.) 

Still further, I am to learn to walk by the Spirit everyday, every minute in all circumstances (Gal 5:16.)  It's not about working on specific habits.  That so limits what I do.  I want to learn to walk by the Spirit so well that doing whatever pops into my head is replaced with purposeful, intentional actions.

I can tell you that I've been assaulted majorly by my fleshly desires.  Last night, to unwind I sat down at the computer.  Before I even click the link to pinterest, I thought "this isn't the best way to unwind."  Yet I clicked anyway.  I could have used that time to stretch, read a chapter in a book, something, anything that would have drawn me closer to my Papa.  

Pinterest isn't bad in itself, but I didn't have anything particular to look for, I didn't have purpose in the action.  It fell into the category of idleness or emptiness that I've posted on before.  This is that type of old habits I'd like to get away from.  If I ignore the Spirit's direction to not click, how am I learning to listen to Him?  

Powersheet will be put down.  I have one simple quest:

I hope to write devos that will help me stay on track and explore what God's Word says on the Pursuit.

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