Believe, Live and Love

Today’s my 59th birthday.  Honestly I didn’t think I would live to see it.  The majority of my family didn’t live to see 59, including a 35-year-old brother (died on his birthday) and a 47-year-old younger sister, all pretty good reasons to think I wouldn’t.  But here I am, the first day of my 59th year.  I’m thinking…well knowing…there’s a reason I’m still here.  I asked God what He wanted me to do with this year and this is what I felt Him say:

Believe. Believe that I am good.  Believe I have your best interest in my heart.  Believe I control everything concerning you, even the bad stuff.  Believe I have a good plan.  Believe the enemy is still very much working in everything (and lots of those around you) and he’s a worthy opponent for you…but no match for Me.  You’ll witness and experience bad, heartbreaking things you don’t understand and when you do…believe.

Live.  Not just breathe; not just do the thing but live each moment knowing I’m in you and around you.  Even in the mundane, remember?  How many things have I shown you in the everyday moments of your life (?remember The Last Mile Home?).  If you search for Me in everything, every day, I promise, you’ll find Me, you’ll hear Me and you’ll experience Me.  No matter where you are, what you’re doing, look for Me.  I give life…even in the most ordinary things of life…its true and fulfilling meaning.

Love.  The greatest thing you can do, is to intentionally be a person who exhibits love for Love is the one thing…the greatest thing…that shows others who I am.  I know your world, it’s not very easy to be kind with so much meanness and ungratefulness but I called you to be different.  You’re not supposed to act like you’re lost because you’re not!  I called you to be light in all that darkness.  You’re alive for My glory and good pleasure “for a time such as this”.  Don’t waste it.  Don’t think love is a waste of time or not worth the effort.  What if I had felt that way about you?  Remember where I found you!!! Do the same for others.  Don’t fret over their response, I’ll see to that.  Do what I called you to do; do what only you can do – be you – for My Glory.

How easy it is to get caught up in our lives, thinking we’re just here to make money, buy the things we want and do what we enjoy.  God wants so much more for us.  His ultimate will is to know Him and love Him.  My greatest fear is to leave for heaven and never know I’ve fulfilled His purpose for my life.  What a regret that would be!  I want His will in my life so I’m going for it and doing exactly what He told me to do: Believe, Live and Love.

Colossians 3:23  “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men…”

One More Time!

I listen to doctors dictate and type what they say (medical transcription).  Sometimes the doctors are wonderful speakers and the job is easy.  Others are difficult to understand due to language barriers, mumbling.  To make matters worse sometimes they’re shuffling papers, not speaking into the microphone clearly, they’re in loud places and many other contributing factors.

I listened to a dictation over and over again and for the life of me, I couldn’t understand what he was saying.  Especially to those of us who have been in this profession for a long time, nothing is more frustrating.  I listened for 25 minutes, over and over again!  That’s a long time in the production world of transcription!

After I finished relistening to the entire dictation, I was going to send it to QA and let them figure it out.  Because I find it excruciating to give up, I decided to listen one more time and to my delight, I very clearly heard what the doctor was saying. It was so clear I couldn’t believe I didn’t hear it before!

Just as clearly as I heard the doctor, I hear God saying:

“I know you’ve tried and tried.  You believed you could do it, but believe One More Time.  Believe because I said so.  I know you’re weary and just want to walk away and if you do, that’s okay too.  Come on.  Just because I said so, do it one more time.”

It would have been acceptable…”okay”… to send the document on to QA. That’s what they’re there for and they excel in solving mysteries.  No harm no foul.  I tried but I couldn’t get it.  But I tried, one more time after listening time after time and I finally got it.

God won’t bail on us if we decide to quit.  We won’t be any less in His eyes if we stop where we are.  He always gives us the choice to try, one more time.  One more time, we put our feet to the floor with nothing but faith, believing we can and believing God will do His part.  Don’t be afraid to fail or fall short. Don’t think about it.  Just do it.  One more time.

Matthew 7:7 (NLT)  “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

Just Come

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I feel you.  I see you.  So weighted down by what you’re going through. So burdened and fearful.  My heart aches for you…but I can’t reach you.  I won’t run after you but I’ll wait for you. I’m right here.  Stop.  Breathe. Close your eyes.  See me?  I’m waiting.  Just think Me; speak to Me.  Tell Me about what’s on you.  I have what you need.  It’s all wrapped up in Me.  Everything….every thing you need can be found in Me.

I have all of it, right here.  I’ve prepared a Table for you.  Just you.  Won’t you come sit with me a while?

In Me.  Rest.  Comfort. Consolation.  Peace.  Understanding.  Love.  Acceptance. Strength.  You name it, I have it.

Come.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

What Makes Us Do It?!

A horrible thing happened this morning.  Horrible.

Sampson, my dog, loves to chase squirrels.  He will run them all day long up trees, hoping fiercely to catch one but it’s never happened…until today.

He ran a squirrel up a very tall light pole at the park.  While other squirrels ran for safety in the surrounding trees, Sampson was fixed his prisoner.  He taunted, barked, bounced and badgered the squirrel but he just scurried higher up the pole.  Sampson didn’t move.  He refused to give up.  Suddenly, for no reason at all, the squirrel jumped down off the pole!  He was dazed and couldn’t scamper very fast so Sampson got him.  Can’t be mad at the dog, that’s what dogs do! I stood there, shocked and amazed.  Why.  Why in the world would that critter take such a chance knowing it was a long fall, Sampson was right there and he may not survive it?

What makes us think we can jump into things we know we shouldn’t and not be hurt or hurt those we love?  Why do we think it’ll always turn out ok when the chances are 50/50 – sometimes less – that they will? What makes us lurch into danger giving no thought to the consequences that await us?

Maybe it was fear.  The squirrel was probably terrified.  I reason in my mind that had Sampson treed him he would have never taken such a chance.  Sampson kept on taunting him, the squirrel went up as high as he could but maybe felt he wasn’t far enough away from his enemy that he thought, “If I could just get to that tree, it’s close…I can make it, then he won’t see me and I’ll be safe…” and went for it.  Sometimes don’t we think the same?  We think if we can’t see the enemy he surely can’t see us; we think any decision we make out of fear is an ok one; we have to do something, so we do what we know to do, maybe what we’ve always done: JUMP!  Maybe it was wanting to hide, to get away.  Maybe it was the challenge, boredom, adventure, something different.  I don’t know.  All I know is it didn’t end well for the squirrel and it won’t end well for us if we flirt with disaster thinking we can get away with it.

Jumping into danger (whatever the danger is) in all likelihood won’t end well for us either. Humans (supposedly) have another sense to guide us and perhaps talk us down before we take the plunge and if a Christian, an even greater resource, the Holy Spirit.  Before we move for whatever reason, take a minute to think (yes) but especially to pray.  He has the best sense of what’s good for us and will always guide us, if we let Him.  Always pray before plunging.  Okay?

Isaiah 30:21 “Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.”

To Grieve or Regret?

I caught myself grieving my life this morning.  Do you ever do that? I grieved the fact that I made horrible choices when I was younger – I just didn’t care about anything or anyone, not even myself. I just wanted to be happy, to feel good, to be loved at whatever the cost.

One of my first memories was my parents telling me, a 6-year-old child and my 4-year-old sister they were getting a divorce. I think a part of me died or at least changed me forever.  That may sound foreign to the reader since divorce is so “normal” now.  Back then it wasn’t.  There was no therapy available; coping skills were “suck it up and go on”. Because it was so hard on Mom and younger sister, I buried my feelings and told no one how I felt. That was just the beginning.

I’m knocking on the door of 60 and to this day, I look back and see every wrong turn, every decision made out of self-righteousness and self-loathing.  If no one else was going to care about me and what I do, why should I so I pursued self-destructive things and habits and because of MY choices (not because of anyone else) here I am today.  Alive?  Yes.  Saved and changed?  Yes, thank God. But I can’t help looking back to what could have been.

I stop short of regret, but grieve more than I care to admit. I think there’s a difference.  Grief allows me a healthy awareness of sorrow over things in my life.  Regret is, well regret.  I do regret – but I can’t wish it had never happened.  Regret would lead me (I fear) to resent my life, and all the things that led me straight into the presence of Jesus.  How could I regret anything?  I wish I had lived differently; I wish I had KNOWN to live differently.  I grieve the years I could’ve been different and the things I could’ve done differently.  I grieve the death of myself but I don’t regret who I am now.

Would I have been saved or had the privileges of seeing the hand of God in my life and in my son’s life had I (or my circumstances) been different?  Would I have ever written for Him, live to honor Him?  I know this:  I wouldn’t have this powerful testimony to share about a “wretch like me”.  I wouldn’t know what I know.

So there you have it – the point of it all, the beauty for ashes. All that ugly is turning into something beautiful…in EVERY life, not just mine.  Look back occasionally and no matter what you feel, see how God has brought you through it all for His good pleasure. Grieve a moment, but don’t regret.  Believe all of it has a grand purpose:  for His glory and for you to know He is the One True God and that He’s faithful to see His plan through to the end. Always.

Jeremiah 29:11-13; Isaiah 61:3; Romans 8:28; Philippians 2:13

Witness Protection Program

Close your eyes and think of the most unthinkable thing you’ve been through.  Remember it.  Feel it.  Got it?

Tell me why it happened.  Can you? You never saw it coming, right? Never in a million years would you have even conceived the thought that it may happen…but it did.

I know from experience God can use anything – ANYTHING for His good.  After all, if we’ve professed our loyalty to Him it’s ultimately His goodness and character that are at stake – not just our reputations, feelings or plans.  Ultimately it’s His love for His child that you and those around you will see.  It isn’t always pretty or comfortable and certainly it’s not what we expect as His beloved!  We expect wonderful, good things – we’ve somehow convinced ourselves bad things shouldn’t happen to us because we’re His!

What if we changed our focus to try to see through the pain in a godly perspective?  What if what we’ve been through or going through has very little to do with us?  What if God CHOSE you to suffer just so you can show the lost ones around you that no matter what He’s good? He’s faithful?  He won’t abandon us when we’ve messed up, fallen short or been devastated by events we had nothing to do with?  What if there’s someone in our lives who needs to see someone they love and admire handle things with faith in Him when everything else has been torn away?

We’re called to be witnesses – not just to the corners of the world but right in our neighborhoods!  That’s our Jerusalem; that’s as real as it gets.  When we dare to swallow our pride, to stop worrying how we’ll be thought of or talked about and live out our faith, God will bless us. He’s the ultimate witness protection program – you’re being used to show Him and share Him with someone else.  If He allowed it to happen, how can there not be good come from it?

Maybe we’ve been selected to suffer for His glory. If so, we can believe He will protect, comfort and heal us all the way through it.  Do we dare trust Him that much?

 

“You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He.” Isaiah 43:10

Your Second Thought

I’ll gladly be second…but to only One.  Him.

Let Him invade your thoughts first. Let Him make your heart beat faster.  Let Him be the reason for the smile on your face and the joy that makes you soar.  Then me.

I don’t want to be your first thought; I want Him to be.  I don’t want your first minute; I want your minutes and attention after you’ve spent time with Number One.

I don’t want first place.  That spot is reserved for the One who loves you more…and more perfectly…than I ever could. I’ll gladly be second.  In everything, especially your heart.

Making Him Number One will allow you to be what we need you to be; He can make you a better man, I can’t.  He can heal your broken places, calm your doubts, fears and misconceptions.  I can’t.

Please.  Let me be your second thought.

“But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strike after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right – the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.” Matthew 6:33 AMP