I recently made some delicious Apple Butter for my neighbors for Christmas. When I was finished, the sides of the crock pot were covered with burned, stuck-on sugar that wouldn’t come off no matter how hard I scrubbed. I heard … Continue reading
8 years ago yesterday my life was forever changed when our daughter died. My pain was incomprehensible, even to me. I was in so much pain that I cried in my sleep and while awake. I truly thought that God hated me, especially after walking through years of life-threatening sickness and pain, the premature birth of our son, the challenges he faced, and now this death. It was more than I could bear on my own. Honestly, I didn’t even know how to pray…I just cried. Then, over the course of time, He did something I will never forget…He drew near to me. He drew me to Himself and His Grace. This encounter took my orphaned, devastated and broken heart and transformed it with His love. I like to say that He jump-started my heart back to life again with His love.
Now, here I am 8 years into this new place and of course I still long for my daughter, I grieve for my daughter, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that my God loves me and that He loves her and so my grief is now with HOPE. I know that He found me in my hopeless places and gave me life again. I know that He has healed my body and my son and my daughter. I also know that the impossible has happened in me after so much pain, no, actually in the middle of my pain and there is no way I could ever do this on my own….I now rejoice.
If you find yourself believing or feeling like God hates you, I pray that you will be encouraged to open your heart to Jesus. Letting Him in, is the way to life again, especially after devastation. He is the way. He draws close to the brokenhearted. He is love. Love is not an attribute of God, it is God.
“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” 1 Cor. 13:12
While I was perusing Facebook this morning, I heard Jesus speak to my heart, “If you are looking for connection, turn off Facebook and come see Me face to face.” I love to hear Him call to me, it is my favorite voice, my favorite words. Reminds me of something I read a while back, “God does not want us to seek His will, He wants us to seek His face.” So good. He longs for relationship just as I do. The God of all the Universe longs for connection with me…and with you. He bids you come…I can hear Him calling to you today…
Why do I let myself get so empty and lonely feeling? I don’t mean the kind of empty where you are poured out like a drink offering empty, I mean empty, lonely, tired, depressed, hopeless…when I know that I am empty without Him? I am created to experience Him. To look in His face and know this love and know this devotion and know this kindness and know this help and know this strength and know this peace all of my life, and it is readily available, yet I don’t come? I know that I come to Him with nothing and He expects nothing, yet I still don’t connect. Is it time or lack of it, is it busyness, is it disappointment? I perceive it is different for each of us. I know for me it is rooted in performance. In my mind I understand He doesn’t want an act, He wants me…the good, the brilliant, the bad and the ugly. So why do I avoid Him at times? Why do I not wake up, roll over and proclaim in the most endearing tone, “Good morning Holy Spirit!”? For me, when I don’t feel successful, when I feel hopeless, or powerless I assume I haven’t performed as perfectly as I should or I ignore Him when He hasn’t performed the way I hoped He would…I warned you really ugly.
I look in a mirror right now. You know that I always thought the King James version was literal. It says a glass and I just thought of that as being like windows
at my house, really dirty, distorted and hard to see through with clarity. But I looked up the meaning today and did you know that it doesn’t mean glass at all, it means a mirror. Not something you see through, something that reflects you. It liberated me. Right now we see in a mirror. We see what we are spiritually becoming incrementally. Similar to viewing your body age with a time lapsed camera. I have been looking in a mirror all of my life thinking I was looking through a dirty, hazy, blurry window at Him, never able to fully know Him. He doesn’t want me waking up every morning putting on a show for Him, judging myself, manipulating His presence or rejecting it. He knows that I see only partially in a mirror, but He doesn’t. I am known better than I know! I am seen better than I see! I am heard better than I hear! I am led better than I lead! I am graced more than I grace! I am helped more than I help! I am loved more than I love!
I can seek His face because He knows all of my limitations are at rest in Him. My face to face encounters come because of His love not mine, they come because I am known by Him.
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2
Whatever revelation you have of Him today, see Him as He is. If you know Him as Savior, see Him saving you continually. If you know Him as healer, see Him healing you. If you know Him as peace, see Him commanding, “Peace be still over your life.” If you don’t know Him today or don’t know Him well, cry out to Him for greater revelation of Jesus and rest in that He knows you deeply and perfectly and completely and still bids you to come. Don’t settle for the mirror, when you can have face to face. Know that you are known by Him today and He longs for you to rest in that knowing. A funny thing will happen, the more you know He knows you and accepts you, the more you want to know Him. What a beautiful Savior. What a beautiful Jesus and “…as He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17 b
He is the Well by friend, come partake with me today!
“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:13-21
My son and I were having a discussion about church which quickly turned to a verbal wrestling match with me trying to get him to want-to do something because he wanted-to, not just get him to do something because he felt he had-to or was being made-to (which I see nothing wrong with, but in this situation, I wanted more). Motivating the unmotivated, that was my pursuit…not so easy, especially when it is oneself…
I had been thinking about this topic for a few days as it concerned me. I kept pondering the question, How do I get from the feeling of ‘I have-to’ to ‘I want-to’? In return, the same thought kept coming back to me…”Turn your have-to, to your get-to, then your want-to will come.”
I intentionally applied this to myself and I could feel a general gratefulness come over me as my mind shifted to the right perspective. It was kind of a spin on,”Kids all over the world are starving, so don’t take your food for granted” talk my parents had with me as a child and as I have with mine today, only with a much broader application. In that moment, I applied it to my boy. He didn’t want to go to church. I wanted him to want-to go to church as I always want him to want Jesus and all things Jesus. I didn’t want to threaten him to want Jesus, I didn’t want to convince him to want Jesus, I wanted him to want Jesus.
I read this article awhile back entitled, “7 year-old Indian boy tortured and killed for being a Christian”. I discussed with Jackson the get-to. This murder took place in India on November 17, 2013. Not 10, 25, 50 nor 100 years ago. This took place in our world 50 days ago…50. This child and his family endured the worst known pain for being filled with the Jesus we are begging people to surrender to. This child and his family only dreamed of getting to worship freely, yet we can and most times don’t.
As horrific as this story is and will always be, we can’t let this lesson pass us by. This may not be affecting our families to this degree today, but it always starts somewhere…as a thought. We don’t have-to worship Jesus, we don’t have-to read our Bibles, we don’t have-to stand against the Devil, we don’t have-to act like Jesus people, WE GET TO!! We get-to talk about Him, we get-to praise Him, we get-to go to church and proclaim Him. We get-to freely learn about Him and we get-to teach our children about Him!
We are new creations, not new converts!! We have gotten into this obligatory mindset that wreaks of death and filth when we were called out into the privilege of His marvelous light and life and truth and peace!!
As I shared this with my son I saw this have-to mentality get put in check. I saw him awestruck by the story of Anmol and he began instantly to change his mind (which by the way is to REPENT) about the things he and we all take for granted in our “Sunday School” culture. I saw him arise, dress himself on time and I genuinely saw him want-to worship Jesus because he gets-to!!!
How about you? Time to turn our have-to to our get-to so we will want-to. When we want-to, we really can go and change our world!
He is the WELL my friends, let’s partake of Him together!
Happy New Year my friends! I wanted you to know that I stopped making New Year’s resolutions about 10 years ago. Partly because by late February I had achieved the failure of self-effort and partly because I was just trying to survive my life, … Continue reading
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us…” 1 John 4:4-6
Know in your heart today that you are not of the world because you are a new creation when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. The world/ everything that is not of God does not hear you…but they do hear Him!
“…because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. 7 And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” 8 Suddenly, when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves.” Mark 9:6-8
” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
” For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
When we open our mouths with the Word of God the world hears, the Devil hears and our spirit responds. We stop seeing our life as limited and useless and purposeless no matter the circumstances that haunt us. When we let the Word of God, who is Jesus, transform our mouths with His words, He transforms our lives. Then we become the nightmare to the Devil that he has tried to be to us!
Need a breakthrough? Stop using your words and start using His. He gave us His Word so that we would come to His fullness. Open your Bible and Open your Mouth! Begin to proclaim God’s word over your life and the lives of others. His words are healing and victory and power and peace. Watch Him lead you through into His breakthrough!
Start by declaring the books of the Psalm out loud each morning! No, you won’t feel like it when you start, but your spirit will respond and you will begin to feel your heart respond, then your emotions and so on. Read the word of God out loud and you will Hear Him! Then when you look around at your life you will see none of it anymore, but only Jesus!! His limitless, life-giving, loving self and you will say to yourself and everyone else, with Jesus all things are possible!
Beloved, He is the Well, let’s partake of Him together!
This is my little doggy and her name is Zoe! She is our little bundle of life and energy!!
One of our mainstays in training her is using treats. When she goes outside to potty she gets a treat. When she comes back in she will follow you everywhere expecting her treat… right behind your heels…everywhere! She never forgets until you get the message that she wants her blessing. Sounds similar to another story I know…
“And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. 23 He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. 24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” 27 So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” 28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. 30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”; ” Gen. 32:22-30
Our friend Jacob was in trouble, I mean it kind of seemed to follow him. In the natural, he had been given a name that meant, “Supplanter (substitute) or Deceiver” and apparently had lived up to that meaning. He had deceived his dad in blessing him rather than his brother Esau and Esau in turn hated him and wanted to kill him. Now some 20 years later God was speaking to Jacob and telling him to return to his family of birth because God wanted to deal well with him. I’m sure he was thinking, well? After what I have done?
At the same time Jacob is pondering his presumed demise, you see this scenario unfolding where Jacob’s men have just given him a report that Esau is coming near with a force of 400 men (vs. 6). Jacob is shaking in his boots with fear and dread. He has his wife and whole family that he has invested years to have and to build and adore. Now, this thing he did 20 years ago is coming back to potentially take everything from him the same way he took everything from his brother? What a dilemma! So, he continues reasoning and scheming to justify in his own mind how things could possibly go “well” with him and how he might, “help” God along. He tries to win Esau’s favor with stuff, tradition, intimidation and his preferred method…deceit. That night with his future uncertain and looming before him he has this encounter with what Hosea says is an angel of the Lord.
We know that Jacob is quite a tenacious man and he knows a thing or two about blessing. He deceived Esau out of his and then worked for Laban for years for a blessing from him. It seems fitting that he would go after it since it is such familiar territory! But, as with all things concerning God, mans tactics may work on man for a season, but they don’t work on Jesus. He sees straight through them and straight through us; right to our heart. He knows that Jacob has learned bad behaviors and has never understood who he is and that will not work for the ultimate blessing God wants to give him. He doesn’t mess around, He understands how Jacob sees himself and He doesn’t want to give him the opportunity to rely on his past methods. He jumps right in there in his face and wrestles him!! I love this!!
You can rest in knowing that God sees you. He will not allow you to operate in your learned behaviors when it concerns Him! He will not be manipulated or controlled! He loves you too much! He knows the only way for the blessing to come is by complete encounter with Him!!! Complete encounter brings complete transformation!! This transformation brought Jacob a new name, Israel. Israel means “Prince with God”!! All of these years Jacob saw himself as a deceiver and a substitute and God wanted him to know how He saw him…as Prince!
Jacob was destined for encounter. He was destined for blessing, that is why he was so drawn towards it his whole life. He just had to learn that he didn’t have to trick for it, work for it or any other human method. You simply receive God’s blessing through encounter. Then when he saw who he was in God’s eyes He longed to know who this was who had loved him so…
Do you ever find yourself like Jacob. God has given you a promise but the circumstances are the exact opposite of that promise and those circumstances are producing a dread in your heart, strategizing in your mind and anxiety in your soul? Well one thing you can trust is that God knows how to find you and there is nothing in all creation that will ever separate you from His love!! He will do what He needs to have a vibrant encounter with you. Call out to Him today in response to His love, grace and favor on your life. Jesus has made a way for you to have great relationship with him! He is the blessing! And that relationship is what will guide you through your distresses. He wants you to know how He sees you and what name He has for you so you don’t fall back into your old patterns and reasonings. So, when face to face with Him, you like Jacob will understand all He died to give and when you really see that love, you will not let Him go either until you receive Him as your blessing in Jesus Name!!
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. ” Romans 7:21-8:4
Phew!!! Can any one say COMPLICATED!!! Let’s see if we can look at it this way today….
Ever feel torn, unhappy, conflicted, desperate, disconnected with life, disqualified, feel guilty for something but not sure why or what? Perhaps this scripture may bring some light to the situation. Perhaps you are continuing to live according to the law of sin and death? Remember when the 10 commandments were introduced….. they are what the scripture calls the law in the Bible. This came as a way for people to become “righteous” through what they did, literally. However, it really was a way for people to see their desperate need for a Savior. When Jesus came, the law had perfectly showed the way to Him, it laid a path for Him, it rolled out the red carpet for the Real Star (if you will). But now that the Star has come, we sometimes continue to look back at the law and look for a guide…..to what? To merit what? Now that the Lord Jesus has come, He is the way to complete reconciliation with God and in following Him, He produces an even greater standard in us by His Spirit! When you accept Jesus into your heart, you live led by the Holy Spirit. That means that you listen for His leading, you put your trust and faith in Him as your way to being okay with God, and you know that your salvation has come from what He has done for you, not what you can do for you. This can be a hard concept to grasp in a “merit” oriented culture and with a “works” mindset and a fear that too much “Grace” will lead to rampant sin, but that is why He reassures us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8 and “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:56-57 and Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”
Perhaps this has spoken to a desperate part of your heart today and you can relate. Cry out to God today for His mercy. Ask Him to help you come out from under this blanket of condemnation, control, and confusion and see Him face to face in His grace. Ask Him to lead you down His path of grace, even though it may feel too easy…..(it really is meant to feel that way). Ask Him to help you be less “sin and death” conscious and more “Jesus and His Power and Love for you” conscious. Ask Him for a revelation of His love for you and ask Him to help you grasp everything that Jesus died to give you freely. Now, release the stress, financial needs, sicknesses, conflicts, loneliness, isolation, fear, and pain to the lover of your soul today. His grace is free, it is complete and it shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus!