Monday, November 24, 2014

When you are scared to leap in faith

Psalm 40:4  "Oh the joys of those who trust the Lord, who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols."

People in motion will bump into more opportunities!   That's a proven fact.  To get outside your circle of comfort you have to do something that isn't comfortable.  So why is it that we tend to hide behind our fears when making a move in faith?

In the worship song, Oceans, we sing at top of our lungs and it speaks to the fear that I am talking about.  It's from Hillsong Church and the song includes the line "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders...."  

Do you really mean what you are singing?

Are you singing this because it's the current worship song on the screen?
Are you singing it with all the praise you can muster in your fear-filled voice?
Are you singing it with intention for God to hear?

To let your trust go to a place without borders, means that you are aligning your trust with God who has no borders.  God is outside of time and space so you can't order His plans for you.

God's plans are so big for you that you can't put a border around them!  You can't wrap your heart of trust around something that He has defined.  You can, however let your heart be led to that kind of trust by giving in to His sovereignty all the while as He defines His plans for you.

If you are praying while singing that song, you are asking God, who knows all, who sees all, who reigns over His church, to work in ways that will take more of Him to accomplish.  That very often leads us to a place or places where we have never gone before and it's filled with a lot of unknowns to get there.  

Our level of faith is where our trust kicks in, that's where our faith is activated.  Faith is like a muscle, if we don't use what we believe about God over what we don't believe, our faith will shrink and not grow.  If we let God activate our faith to a place that He can grow it, with a heart of full trust, it will grow strong and powerful.  It will be expanded to have great visions outside of ourselves to grasp what God truly has planned for us.  When we rely on faith that pleases the Father instead of the things we can see.  Faith is not about evidence.

We need to get to the place of trust that when it's our turn to step out onto the unknown we will not be fearful, because we have eye-lock on the one who is calling our name in those unknowns.  

"When we are under God's submission to His mission so have we been commissioned."  ~ Kris Vallotton

When we let our trust go to the unknown, it is always known by God.  

Incredible opportunities lie ahead for us when we trust God in new, never before seen, live in action and uncompromising ways!  This is the kind of trust you are singing about.  A trust that simply says, "Yes, I will go, wherever you lead me to go, no matter how."

You can't get to that kind of trust hiding behind those fears you are comfortable with. 

When you pray for more of God, you are praying with a heart of faith that will lead you to places that He has specifically for you.  He's God, He will hem Himself in around you to guard you, protect you, direct you and keep you.  Accessing this level of trust is matched by His boundless mercy, abounding grace, fearless faith and continual confidence.

To trust someone means that you don't care where you are being led or directed to, you just simply follow where God leads.  You trust the Plan Maker, your Guide, your Leader.  You simply put your questions aside and say yes.  To be lead like this you have to fine tune your hearing so that you only hear His voice above all the distracting voices that throw you off track.

You lead yourself in confidence, in turning to your Leader and not relying on yourself or what you could ever bring along to help God out.  In doing this we lean on His confidence!  Needing more confidence today?  Read Psalm 40, it will boost a holy confidence that can lead you to walking on water and taking a hold of God's confidence that will lead you to an awesome place of trust!

What fear gets in the way of you trusting God more?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

God's economy

Just think....God took care of our forever need, first and foremost...with His eternal love attached.

We hear the term "God's economy" in church as it relates to realizing that our income and resources come from God.  I get that and agree that is true.  ALL that we have comes from God and it all belongs to Him.  But how often do we tend to think that God only blesses those He loves?   

How do we shift our perspective from pauper to princess?  Gratitude.

When I acknowledge that it's all God's, and that all gifts come from Him, then I become more grateful for everything that God has richly given to me. When I see Him blessing others and not me, I'm also joyful for them. 

The God I know won't run out of glorious riches. Ever.

One big life-changing gift that God blesses us with is one we tend to take for granted is the gift of salvation and forgiveness. Recently, I found myself in a season of unforgiving. I had forgiven someone from my past over and over, but I couldn't shake the nagging reminder to guard my heart to not be hurt like that again.  

One day, God's economy hit my heart about it all. 

In God's economy, with His forgiveness comes His forgetfulness.  It's a two part process.  I had forgiven but was hanging on to the memory of the hurt, to guard my heart against being hurt again. God gently reminded me that He forgets as soon as He forgives and that I must do the same.

God has enough forgiveness and enough forgetfulness to protect us from being hurt from our past and those who have hurt us.
From my tear stained heart and after many, many words of gratitude, I realized I had to forgive God's way, with the additional measure of asking God to help me forget those hurtful issues too. 

God's answer was my peace in knowing that I wouldn't be hurt like that again.

What a gift forgetfulness can be only when we aren't hanging on to hurts of the past. We must let God release His forgiveness but also unlock His complete forgetfulness.  I walked away with a smile on my face and more healed than I had ever felt before.

Be grateful for forgiveness, for the complete work of salvation, and the opportunities we can experience this on a daily basis.   Everyday is a renewing of His grace and mercy.

Be grateful for forgetfulness.  By forgetting our hurts from others we are giving release to them in ways we will never know but you will grow so much closer to God in doing so that the hurts can't touch you.  Forgetting puts distance between you and the hurt that plagues you.

Be grateful for love... God's loving ways just keep on giving. I don't know where you are in your attitude of gratitude but when I think about how God has given me eternal salvation, something none of us deserve but is our most important need, then it makes sense to trust Him for everything else that I need to live a blessed life.  Even in my emotional economy. 

When I let His measure of love come against my hurts or wounds.  His grace and forgiveness mend each and every one.

Just think....that God took care of our forever need, first and foremost...with His eternal love attached.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
When we acknowledge the gift of Christ from the view of the cross, everything else falls into place regarding who owns what, who should have what, and what we need to focus on. Because God loves us so and gives us more than we need, deserve, and could imagine, why wouldn't we want to give him our ALL our life in response to His greatest and most rich gift?

What a gift of great wealth and value, such a rich response of God's heart!

What are you grateful for today because of what you know about God's great gift of love?

Monday, November 17, 2014

The "b" word is not my final answer

One day I asked some questions on Facebook. They were:

"My life doesn't look broken, but I feel broken. Who can I tell?"
"How can I get over the hurt?" "Does God even care that I feel this way?
"My childhood is long behind me, so why do I still feel like a hurting little girl?"
"Does God see us as broken? Can anyone be so heartbroken that they are beyond healing?"
"Where does healing begin? What does God have for me?"
"How far is too far before God gives up on you?"
"My brokenness comes from the choices of others. Where was God when it took place?"

It seems there is a common thread in these questions. The word I don't like to use. Broken.

I understand it's only a word, but it's the destination of this word that I'd like to address. What I know about God is that He is in our broken places.  "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all." Ps. 34:18-19

What God knows is that we have those places that need a repair. But I don't think He wants us to stay in a state of brokenness. With Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, God has already given us a covering of forgiveness that has canceled our brokenness and He offers deliverance for every one of them.  

Deliverance out of brokenness is God's final answer.

God will restore what seems to be the broken in our lives. We shouldn't hide behind our broken state as He would never leave us in a state of disrepair.  I believe our brokenness is a state of mind versus and  runaway destination.  So for me, it's not my final answer to stay there.  Where do we get the idea that God doesn't want us whole and healed? Do you not feel forgiven from a past hurt? What is causing your feelings of separation from your Healer? 

Fear wants you to believe you are beyond repair.  Fear is never invited to be the final answer.

God sees us as whole. It's the only way he can see us. So if you are feeling "broken" then there is something that is hindering you.  Perhaps it's from hurts from your past, hurts from your parents, or emotional scars from abuse that still need to be dealt with. Forgiving those who have caused the hurt helps.  Whatever is throwing doubt into your life, it needs to be removed, cut out, or forgotten about. We have to choose to believe and receive God's healing in store for us.  We must grasp a heavenly perspective of how God sees us. Seeing ourselves as God sees us is a choice. Hurts keep us bound to some deep brokenness. Healing God's way paves the way to wholeness.

Wholeness is God's final answer, not broken pieces.

"I want to be whole!" was my emotional cry out to God one day. It was painful and there were many free flowing tears.  I had to choose to believe that His grace and His gentle love could heal my emotional scars too.  I had to honestly admit my weakness of hiding behind hurts to cover the pains of my past.  In the uncovering God provided a supernaturally love-powered healing that covered me in ways I can't describe. When I accepted and submitted to His ways, it brought much mending.

Emotional healing came through in ways I can't say.

So I refuse to use the "b" word as a final destination for where my heart will stay.  God's grace has bridged the gap.  His ways bring a straight path to our hearts that have been wounded, hurt, and have weak pieces.  The choice to be put back together by way of giving it all over to God to manage can sometimes be puzzling and uncertain, but in doing so we will receive His best and final answer by drawing closer to His character.

The outcome is the only right choice to make. Believe that God is for you and is not holding anything against you. You too can rest in knowing that His love is real.   God sees you and keeps you near.  He knows you as you long to be fully known.  We are His righteous as His sons and daughters.  If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, then you have all the wholeness you need.  Christ didn't hold back on that day your life was changed.  

We became co-heirs with Christ when we accepted His work on the cross as our final answer to salvation.  

When we grasp who we are in Christ, our identity is something that can never be broken. Yes, we will have trouble in this world but God has delivered us from all our brokenness.
When we grasp our likeness in Christ, when we know that we are His, by the reconciliation that only comes from the One who has overcome death, then this bond of God's love is powerful and can never be broken.

Never. God's love for us can't be broken.

So consider this...if you feel like you are broken perhaps it's your perspective that needs a repair. The wonderful thing about God is that He loves you enough to reach into the deepest parts of your need and reveal to you just what you are longing for. He will bring the right amount of mending in ways that could never be stolen, broken, or hurt again.

God's love is the strongest to cover all our fragile pieces.

Even when your brokenness feels so overwhelming, know that all of your emotional hurts, wounds, the old, the fresh cuts, whether they are deep or wide or long are fixable. Even if they can't come to the heart's surface, even if you have buried them deep. God doesn't hold back His healing that helps us become more like Him. Believe that He wants you to be whole too, after all, He sent His one and only Healer to take care of every wound that's in you right now.

"Stop making what your past did to you greater than what Jesus did for you." ~ Christine Caine. 

God wants to use you to make a difference but he wants to heal you of the fears laying deep inside first.  The healing you long for is His best final answer.

Friday, November 14, 2014

I would be a bag of tears too

Jesus didn't concern himself about the celebration details, his grand entry, nor the what list it took to prepare for each man, woman and child to have a palm branch to wave.  He didn't concern himself with that matter.  Yet He was moved to show emotions upon His grand entry on the biggest week of his ministry.

I am moved by the Savior's emotions.  When He displayed emotions it's powerful and it speaks to His heart of compassion.  Jesus wept.  As he enters the city that was welcoming a King, His cheeks streamed with tears and they weren't tears of joy.

He was brokenhearted over the people who didn't get him, moved by those those who missed his purpose and didn't listen to his message.  He wept from his deep love for those whom he was about to die for.

He wept from the deep heart of the Father.  He cried for those who would be rejecting him, beating him, and putting the nails in his hands.  In my opinion, the biggest grace filled verse is the shortest shout from John 11:35.

This love strikes a deep cord in my soul with "Jesus wept."

Picture this, the disciples had traveled with them, Jesus had performed mighty miracles and given great and encouraging messages to believers and definitely shown his healing powers with many communities.  What stands out to me about his announcement at the beginning of a most intense and passion-filled week is that Jesus is deeply moved by his love to reach those who he knew were going to lead him to death.

Jesus is mourning.

"When will they get it?"
"When will they get who I really am?"
"When will they just trust me for what I have said?"

There's something striking about presumed endings that are really new beginnings. The ministry of Jesus was about to transition into a world-wide ministry, and even his disciples were missing the point of why He had come.  I think I would be a bag of tears at that point too.

How often do we miss it?  How often do we miss Jesus in our daily lives?  I shudder to think.  That's why we need to go back to the basics of Jesus.  We need to remember that Jesus has deep feelings for us.  Remember.

Remember who He is,
Remember what He has done,
Remember his teaching,
Remember where we are going,
Remember why Jesus.

Remember why Jesus wept.  As He said it will be, it will be just as He said.  Remember He is a man of His word.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Don't be like these cats

My mother taught me that if you "can't say anything nice then say nothing at all". She had a lot of adages she lived by. Another was "It's not a mistake if you can cover it up" in reference to my imperfections. She said this often, "If tomorrow doesn't come, we don't have to worry about it".  I immediately worried if a tomorrow would come.

She had many sayings she lived by.  I have to believe those phrases were picked up along the way as she just did life as a mom. Isn't that how we all learn? Along the way as we make attempts, mistakes, tries?

Our lives are like layers, living one day at a time, walking to the beat of a heavenly drum.

You've heard that "oil and water don't mix." I remember feeling like a misfit most days in my family, so many misunderstood conversations. I suppose that's typical in all families to feel like a "square peg in a round hole". I was different, odd, a little left out and always picked on. I guess you could call me the "runt of the litter." I never measured up. So what happens to us that makes us want or feel the need to compare and criticize with those around us? Do we learn this ourselves, from our parents, our employers or do we just pick it up through osmosis from life as we "learn the ropes"?

As we get older we believe what our past has said about us or how our past has shaped our thoughts. Whatever the reason for our failures, either because of someone else or by our own bad choices in life, the hurt is buried.  I had to dig deep to stop this behavior in me, of letting my past pursue me because it's not in my best interest to be criticized and compared.  It led me to a place of low self-esteem.

Why do we do this? We seek perfectionism but it's in the wrong places. We must consider who we are looking to for our source of approval.

God doesn't compare or criticize His children. He is the One who holds the holy yardstick.

When are we ever going to learn that words can encourage or become life-long weapons against us? They can give life or speak death. They can inspire and aspire. Words are powerful. They can fill us or deflate.  Even the words we choose to say to ourselves.  Words can crush and rush the worst of humanity in a few thoughtless and most certainly careless conversations.

God placed us in the lives of others to build them up, not tear them down or try to dominate over each other. He certainly never intended for His love to be twisted in such a way that we hurt our own brothers and sisters in Christ and leave them for dead in the pew.

One thing to remember...hurt people hurt people. So how do you stop negativity from becoming a cancer in your life?
I will never find the perfect approval that my soul craves from an imperfect source. My self-esteem was bitten by the "disease to please". (Lysa TerKeurst)  If it weren't for praying this verse over my life I would still be stuck there.  ..."Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting." Ps. 139:23-24

Has your perfectionism caused you to put on the facade of cattiness, gossiping, whining, sarcasm, martyrdom, cynicism, snide remarks, realism or feeling left wounded? Isn't it awful that the pursuit of perfection gets us to a place that uses our morphed imperfections for such word ugliness?  

"Unfortunately, there are people who criticize, chastise and ridicule others for their work, efforts and accomplishments.  They are like cats ready to pounce.  Their own insecurities are their trigger."  Bryan Hutchinson.  (Shared from his eBook "Good Enough:Stop Seeking Perfection and Approval")

Don't be like these cats.  Perfectionism only breeds discontentment and births an insatiable hunger for man's approval.  

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.  Small people do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can somehow become great." ~ Mark Twain.

God didn't create us to be perfect. There was only Jesus for that.  God wants us to be holy, set apart for Him.   Our treatment of others and of ourselves has to change to conform to God's pattern of holiness.

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of it's Creator." Colossians 3:2, 5, 8 - 10

I love the way the writer encourages us to clean up our lips. This is God telling us that any comparison, criticism, or careless words towards ourselves or others said out of malice, jealousy, anger, pride, false humility or any other reason except for pure love, is wrong.

Maybe you have been searching for validation, approval, and acceptance. You won't find it in where you have been looking. Nor will you hear it from the life adages you grew up with. You will only find it in the Perfect Source, our Creator, who encourages us to live holy lives.

Everything God says to us is His love shown to us.

Look for the love that is spoken over you in God's word. Remind yourself to stop this negative behavior. When you compare or criticize you are discounting the work that God is doing in you.  That's not love...that's idol noise.  God sings over us with His mercy.

Where have you been looking for approval?