Thursday, February 28, 2013

Take Me Deeper. Faith be Made Stronger.

The other day I spent hours crying to Jesus. I literally could not stop the streams of tears drenching my face...

Because we are human...death happens. I am never ready to say goodbye...

As soon as I heard the news, that a person I loved dearly passed away, I felt the strong uncontrollable pull to go to my hiding-prayer-runaway spot to be with the One who knows me best...the One who knows my emotions, understands my thoughts, allows me to cry, to be real, to be hurt and upset and vulnerable--because He is the One who made me. I ran away. I escaped to the beach. And I cried.

I love the moments when I don't have to explain or breakdown my thought process because His overwhelming presence is sweet and smacking me in the face with each crashing wave. He is calling my name. He is jealous and "guarding my heart". Broken--I am singing His name because it holds power and I do not have strength to face this life on my own..

Psalm 18 The Message
"I love you, God—you make me strong. God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight...where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout...I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty, and find myself safe and saved...God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, He gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to God’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works...I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes..."

The Lord hears...and yes...He is always there to rescue and the only reason we can find comfort--the only reason we can have hope on this side of Heaven but it still isn't complete and will never be ultimately fulfilled here--we will always long for more of His presence and more of Him--"to want to be where He is"

This is not our final destination. This is not where we belong. 

[1 Peter 2:11; 1 John 2:15
1 John 3:19Matthew 5:13
Matthew 5:4-7; Isaiah 30:15]

Even with hearts yearning to be with God--we have responsibility. We have a purpose to become more like Jesus daily--to worship Jesus in everything we do--to walk in the Spirit--to BE Jesus to everyone with that extravagant and un-cautious love. 

Bold. Be confident in following and seeking. Never settling. 

Oh how short we live here on earth. How little time we have to re-present Jesus to all we come in contact is so easy to become self-seeking, routine-following, sleep-walking, Sunday-sitting-believers. It is always about Him.

Like Peter I want to jump into the crashing waves and walk to the Lord with locked eyes. I want to be the One He chooses and uses. If I need to face fears and get on an airplane to go serve overseas--I will go. I will go. Choose me. I want to be challenged. I want to go deeper--I want my faith to be pushed and made stronger. 

This song--Oceans (Where feet may fail) by Hillsong--listen!! It leaves me undone. As soon as I heard it I had to leave the room and go to Jesus. I had to go and just be...these words are the cry of my heart.  [Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders...Let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me...Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger...In the presence of my Savior] No longer content. No longer comfortable. I want to go deeper.

Because this life is not forever, goodbyes happen, and the unavoidable last breath comes--I want my time here to be spent not just surviving but living with passionate heart-breaking aching love for my Rescuer--that overflows into the rest of life.

Listen to the words of this song..

"You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail and there I find You in the mystery...In oceans deep...My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters, Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide...Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me...You've never failed and You won't start now

[Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior]

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine"

Thank you God that we can always run to You. For always Father, I want to be falling deeper..

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Be Still in the Presence

It was one of those rare moments. The sun's warmth was victorious over the cold winter's wrath. I took my blankets and headed out to my back porch. I felt the sun.

I was completely still...afraid if I moved I would somehow scare the sunbeams away.

Psalm 46:10 The Message
"Attention, all! See the marvels of God!
    He plants flowers and trees all over the earth,
Bans war from pole to pole,
    breaks all the weapons across his knee.
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
    loving look at me, your High God,
    above politics, above everything.”

Psalm 46: AMP
 "Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand)
that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!"

Be still...It is easy for the body to rest. It is easy to find those moments for actions to cease. To lay out on the porch and soak in the warmth of the sun. But I wanted my mind to be still. I wanted to look at the cloudless sky, the creation around me, to "take a long, loving look" at my God and let my mind cease striving.

My mind never seems to stop. An on-going constant stream of traffic...the thoughts rage on. I cannot remember when I became this. When I became this stressful, worry-filled, pressure-driven, bundle of anxiety. I have moments of joy. I have moments of laughter. of fun. 

But when did I stop being joy. 

As I was sitting on the back porch I felt the Lord calling me to return to my name. I was completely overwhelmed with the emotions and lightness of being a little girl. I wanted to return to my Father's arms. 

Sometimes I feel like I make my walk with the Lord more painful than it needs to be. I think diving deeper means adding more equipment for the jump. Studying the Word should not be tedious. It should not be stressful. Asking the hard questions, learning, growing--it is hard--but it doesnt need to be ugly.

This year's prayer in my life is that the Lord would show Himself...that I would not grow numb to Who He is, the power I have inside through the Holy Spirit...that the truths would remain fresh and real.

Adding to this prayer--I want to sit. I want to be still. I want be full of wonder. I want to be amazed. I want to just be in the presence of Jesus. Letting go of expectations...I want to be joy.

Rejoice in the Lord always...this is really hard for me. The sun hides behind the trees and it starts to get chillier. Even in the shadows, dark days, or the miserable moments of winter--I can experience the hope. I have realized lately just how much I chain myself. I build walls and close windows. I shut myself in--complaints, comparisons, disappointments, stress, pressure, expectations--it is too much to handle and to take on...and we are not supposed to take all of these burdens. Let go. 

To be full of joy. This does not mean we are happy all the time. I can not stand to be around those people. They are so annoying to me. That is not real. Life is hard. I love that joy means more than just a fuzzy emotion. I love that joy is so much deeper. I love that the Lord made me who I am.

Be in my Father's arms. To be a little girl. To enjoy today. I do not know what is going to happen tomorrow, or the outcome of several situations in my life...but I want to live life free. With eyes focused high--I want to marvel and enjoy that I walk life with my best friend. 

Stop. Drop and take off the extra equipment. Breathe. Relax. Live.

We face so many little trials, tragedies, responsibilities, projects, people,--so much that is craving our attention and emotion--do not forget that our Heavenly Father wants to remind you who you are....wants you to be like a little child and run to Him, to get excited and be joy, to cry when it is hard, to be angry when things don't make sense, but always to go to Him.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Embrace. Learning how to Cling to my Father

It is always the words. The words that sink into the mind and refuse to leave until I have analyzed, learned, breathed and completely made them my own. My mind does not believe in sleep these I go to bed armed and ready for a wrestling match with heavy thoughts.

I look over my adventures with the Lord and see the different chapters with the different word titles...Enough, Wait, Secure, Hope, Abide, Trust, Humble, Let Go...

This chapter: Embrace. 
Embrace: Hold closely in ones arms; accept; support willingly and enthusiastically; encircle; surround; enclose.

Over and over this word has appeared in devotionals, sermons and the Word. We are commanded to embrace.

He calls us into the hard places. Isn't the goal of good parents to push...isn't their plan always grounded in the roots that they want the best. Plans for children to grow, challenging them in broken areas so they can become good. And is not our Heavenly Papa the ultimate good? 

"Not my will but Yours be done"...not my plans Father but what are You calling me to embrace?

Hebrews 12 The Message
"Have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects...He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training...Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live?...God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain...but it's the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God."

It is hard to embrace when your hands are full. 

1 Peter 5:12 The Message
"This is God’s generous truth; embrace it with [both] arms!"

Why do we hold onto things that shouldn't be in our hands...Without surrendering--without letting go--these things keep us from [fully] embracing everything the Lord wants to give us and everything that He is...

Philippians 3:7 The Message
"Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash [so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him.] I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ..."

We can learn all the words. We can go over all of the lessons. We can dive into truths. We can turn on God's love song and sing out praises to Him. We can do this...but if we don't learn how to embrace....if we do not learn how to let go of what we are holding onto so we can grab hold and cling...all of the words, truth, and hallelujahs will be not just go through actions with hands full. 

Life is too short to not live it real. Be true to Your actions. Let God give.

Make the words permanent. We are called to empty so He can fill...

I fail daily. I find myself with hands full. Along the way I pick up complaints, bitterness, disappointing expectations, hurt, anger, comparisons, jealousy, frustration when people are blind to what is right in front of them, selfish desires--I look down and realize I have brought the weight of the world with me. 

A friend sends me a truth verse about rejoicing all the time and I want to throw my phone...who has time to rejoice when I've made a mess of my heart and have to solve the world's problems.

We are so unworthy to be called sons and daughters of the King...
but it doesn't stop the embrace. 

Ephesians 2:1 
"It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ..."

Embracing this life as imitators of Christ...embracing is not an option. It is in the is a necessary response to this faith life God has called us to live.

Romans 10 The Message
"The word that saves is right here, as near as the tongue in your mouth, as close as the heart in your chest. It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us...Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—[embracing], body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right..."

Like most good things in this journey--this is a process. I need to learn to let go of people I'm holding on to, of the plans I think are better, of trying to control. I want to embrace. I want to run to my Heavenly Papa with two open arms-emptied so He can be my all-so there is nothing between us. Without intimacy this relationship with the Lord is not all that it is supposed to be. 

Let go. Trust. Wait. Hope. Embrace...then maybe I sleep.