Monday, October 29, 2012

Anchor in the Storm


[Time] Always gets to me…How often I waste…
Just throwing it away as if we know just how much we really have.

We have so little control. A storm raging on reminds us of how fragile all of this really is.

 Spending time with Jesus…always the right choice.
“Being with me is always doing something—the right thing.” –Ann Voskamp

Why do we wait? Why is it so hard to break away and to dive into the quality time with the Lord? When disaster strikes…when a storm comes…we kneel over in pain…fear takes over and we have no other choice but to grab hold of the LORD. Why wait until the rain thunders down?

It can be so frustrating…to be in a jam…stuck—suffocating…to be trapped in the everyday life drama…then trauma hits and we fight hard to get through the tangled mess we created to get back into the open-air presence of God

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11

Return to the passion. Do not lose sight of the awesome, powerful and Holy God we serve. The only way to fall more in love…is to devote this time to Him…

How much deeper could worship be if we stayed connected to the power source? How much farther could we dig if we remained consistent? The Holy Spirit is our worship leader, our guide, our comfort, our source of power and strength. We have this amazing gift of always having access to the one who can send us deeper into relationship with our Savior. One of my favorite lines from my Dad…You can’t just sit there. We can’t hesitate to dive in. You cannot sit & follow after Jesus..
1 Peter 1:3The Message

3-5 What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.

Whatever happens in the next coming hours…as the hurricane storms toward us…He is keeping careful watch over us and the future…this is a Promise…Take action. Have faith.

Faith is a response and an action…not just what we believe but WHO we believe in. He is the rock. Everything worth living for…everything worth risking it all for…How faithful He is when we are so faithless.

Do not lose sight. Do not lose hope. Do not lose faith. Because fact: We cannot lose the ONE who is our HOPE.
Hebrews 11 The Message

11 1-2 The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living

With Hands lifted high…We are trusting in the ANCHOR of our SOULS…because NOTHING and NO PERSON or THING could ever separate us from the LOVING Reach of our Savior.

Fellow believers keep quoting, “Praise You in the Storm”…
What a great time to dive in, take action, have faith, and learn how to praise Him in a history-making hurricane…

Lift Your voices….All You have to do is speak this precious Holy powerful GREAT name.

Psalm 113 The Message

1-3 Hallelujah!
You who serve God, praise God!
Just to speak his name is praise!
Just to remember God is a blessing—
now and tomorrow and always.
From east to west, from dawn to dusk,
keep lifting all your praises to God!

4-9 God is higher than anything and anyone,
outshining everything you can see in the skies.
Who can compare with God, our God,
so majestically enthroned,
Surveying his magnificent
heavens and earth?
He picks up the poor from out of the dirt,
rescues the wretched who’ve been thrown out with the trash,
Seats them among the honored guests,
a place of honor among the brightest and best.
He gives childless couples a family,
gives them joy as the parents of children.
Hallelujah!

“The praise of those who truly praise the Lord cannot rest until it fills all time—and space…”

Praise the Lord through the storm…always until it fills all time…and space…for always.

I am freaking out. I am so afraid of this storm, of the waiting, of the anticipation…Not knowing what tonight will bring.

But whatever it does bring…I know we won’t be alone. Whatever this life brings we have the promise that we do not have to travel it alone…His Perfect Love…Speaking His name…brings the peace beyond comprehension.

“Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I will never let you down, never walk off and leave you’, we can boldly quote, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:5-6

He makes good...good…That which makes us more like Christ. Through the pain…through this storm…always the cry of our hearts…make us more like YOU. No matter what—You are worth it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Changing Seasons. He Remains.

 

Living in South Jersey…we don't always have the front row seat to watch seasons change. The weather has yet to feel consistently fall-like….but we know it is inching deeper into the year when towns start looking deserted…places shut down…no more summer traffic...Tourists return home…we remain.

The beach. Empty. People may disappear but the waves continue to crash and the beauty of the Lord’s creation continues...Every morning the sun continues to rise…and at night stars will continue to shine through...
Psalm 63:
O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,

To see Your power and Your glory.
3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.
4 So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
6 When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,
7 For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to You;
Your right hand upholds me.


How many of us miss this. We leave for the season. We forget.

Summer ends. Energy starts to become a thing of the past, nights become colder, the couch looks more inviting, it gets darker—quicker, we lose sight of the lessons learned…we grow weary and tired.

I don’t want my soul to begin to look like the town…deserted.

It is so easy to make a list of excuses. Changing seasons brings allergies—now I am sick. I am sick and I hurt. It hurts to swallow, I have a runny nose, itchy eyes...I can't talk. I can't sing—[which is possibly the worst thing in the world to me]. I am tired. I am tired of eating soup. I am tired of lying in bed but I am too tired to get out of bed.

Psalm 63 The Message

God—you’re my God!
I can’t get enough of you!
I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God,
traveling across dry and weary deserts.
2-4 So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open,
drinking in your strength and glory.
In your generous love I am really living at last!
My lips brim praises like fountains.
I bless you every time I take a breath;
My arms wave like banners of praise to you.
5-8 I eat my fill of prime rib and gravy;
I smack my lips. It’s time to shout praises!
If I’m sleepless at midnight,
I spend the hours in grateful reflection.
Because you’ve always stood up for me,
I’m free to run and play.

I hold on to you for dear life,
and you hold me steady as a post.

 
It is easy to come up with a list of excuses. But God never called us to easy. I read Psalm 63. I remember what Jesus has done. The good news of great joy. Seasons are changing…but I do not want to grow comfortable clinging to my list of excuses.

I am weary. I am hungry. I am thirsty. I sit on the deserted beach…”here in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory”…In His generous love we can find reason to live and love. God made us in such a way that the only way we can ever truly be satisfied is through and with Him. Let go…of the complaints…so I can “hold on to You for dear life”

Today...my words mumble out of my sore throat in whispers that no one can hear...and yet I have said much inside. I haven't stopped running my thoughts and the Lord knows, “Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us” Psalm 62. We can trust. He knows our hearts and our desires.

He remains with the changing seasons. Like the crashing waves. Like the rising sun. Constant.


Help us not to grow stagnant Lord…when all around is life to be lived.

God, like a desert soul...I'm thirsty for more of you…and
You are exactly what we need.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Brokenness


[Some days I am plain exhausted.]
I wake up tired...wanting to go back to bed before I have even left the comfort of my covers. Oh but the routines and schedules force me up and out...before long—the hours pass...my eyelids remain droopy...Moon rises--Sun fades...

…finally adrenaline kicks in and at last I'm ready to start the day…The tick tocks rage on...I lay wide awake.

Tick tock...This is one of those nights…

My mind begins the process of analyzing the day, words said, those not, thoughts had. Big questions arise.

Tonight's thoughts: People. Why do people come and go? Why do some people come into your life for only a season and what causes them to move on? Do I push them away? Why do some leave? Why does God choose to intertwine your story with another's?

Disappointing people is unbearable to me. I do not seek out confrontation. I think about the different people who I have come across in my short lifetime of twenty one years and it amazes me how quickly some leave as swiftly as they came.
Could I have done something more to save the connection? To keep them close? Did I push too hard? Were my expectations too high? Was I too much? Or not enough? Was I a friend?

I will not pretend to understand the way God works because He is so much bigger than all of this. I trust and have faith in His power, control and stable hand in each and every moment and event in life. I believe He cares and has a plan and a purpose—always...These are truths I know.

But we do live on this earth that is full of instability and chaos. Full of goodbyes, hurts, disappointments...full of change.

I think about how many times I have had my heart "broken"…

The punk enemy tries to use lies against a girl's fragility. Heightens the insecurities. Never forget the battle that we are in. Those same reminders of times you failed people can creep in...please stay awake. As much as I have grown in the Lord and as much as I continue to fall head over heels I still find moments of frailty where panic attacks set in and lies overwhelm.

But...What if we were to never get hurt again? Would we learn the hard lessons…would we grow...could we connect with Christ in His suffering? Some of the hardest lessons come from the deepest pains? Part of me wants to lock up my heart and never fall again...stop myself from feeling or becoming connected…to put up walls. The Word says to guard your heart--does this mean to put it in a safe and never risk the chance of love? Always guard your heart from sin--from what isn't from above--but from caring too much? A locked up heart with no room to beat can be just as damaging. Our hearts cannot become recluses hiding away afraid to take the climb.

My wise friend once said, "I know one thing: it seems the more authentically I love, the deeper the pain...but also the deeper the joy…maybe that’s it...because without love, we are nothing...sacrificial love…that was what Jesus lived for…so why not we also?"

God always smacks me--right on...I awaken with this revelation.

God gave me a glimpse of the big picture.

I throw around the phrase "broke my heart" too loosely. People cannot be avoided and sometimes you are going to get hurt...But...

The Lord is the only one who can break my heart. He is the only one who has enough power and strength and love to break open my heart and let His grace-love pour in. A boy or people or situations can wound my heart. My heart can become offended by disappointments in life. But in the
big picture...what life is all about...my Lord is still pouring His love into those weak areas if I let Him take the brokenness...to make the ragged broken pieces into something beautiful.

A wounded heart shouldn't keep you from connecting with the source of healing…with God. In this big picture none of this "stuff" matters. What matters is am I still connected? Do I still believe He is good...despite failed expectations...despite constant disappointment...despite these rude awakenings? Truth: Looking up...sitting at His feet...the only thing that matters
is Him. Just to remember is a gift. Just to speak His name.

Why do we so easily give other things or people more control over the heart than the author of romance Himself...

Returning to my first love…I want to dance with my King to the song of all songs...to this love song He so sweetly sings over us.

Break my heart for what breaks Yours Father. Thank you for taking the brokenness and making it into something beautiful for You...Keep making me more like You...into the me you always intended for me to be...thank you for your unconditional and unceasing love...Let us dance away my Jesus into Sweet dreams.