Tag Archives: Jesus

Equipped

I watched a squirrel in amazement this morning as he walked a limb with his hind paws holding a walnut with his front paws chewing away the covering as he went along.  Amazing to me God equipped even the critters around us to survive many of their circumstances.  We know they’ll eventually die (as will we) but in the right now they have all the instincts and abilities to survive…and thrive!

God gives humans amazing abilities to survive our circumstances as well, even more so than animals.  Humans were created by God to be houses for the Holy Spirit and afterward, being instilled with all the power He used to create this beautiful planet, hang the stars in the sky (and name them) and the power to raise the dead Jesus after He was crucified to eternal life.  Think about that.  If you’ve surrendered to the authority of personal relationship with Jesus you have all that power inside you. Right now!

Not only do you have physical attributes of survival and provision for the same, you have God’s spiritual dynamite inside of you right now.  You’re thoroughly equipped to live a life honoring Him thanks to Him.  You’re not a victim; you’re not a prisoner to your circumstances (or you don’t have to be).  You’re not a less than, overlooked or discounted IF you believe God’s word and take Him up on His promises.

The “seed” of the Holy Spirit was planted in you when you accepted the Savior-hood of the person of Christ.  However, it’s up to us to “grow” the seed.  “Work out your own salvation” (Philippians 2:12) means we grow through a relationship with Jesus – getting to know Him and what His death and resurrection means to us personally because that’s where the power is.  We grow up and into all the fullness of God and all the promises that relationship brings to us when we learn to trust Him and live like we do.

The closer we get to God and the more we come to believe Him, we see He has equipped us with amazing gifts for every area of our lives – for us and for others.  It’s easy to believe that when paths are smooth but when the way gets rocky do you still believe?

No matter what we face the key to surviving it, overcoming it and being victorious through it is found in God and accessed only through Jesus.  He is the only way.  Pray and ask God to show you WHO is inside of you and believe.  You – through Jesus – got this!

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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

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

A Table in the Wilderness: The Invitation

Have you felt it?  That emptiness or perhaps a great need that we can’t even speak. If we could articulate, it would be ill-defined.  It may be masked in a physical lack but it stems from a spiritual one.

Perhaps some of our greatest blessings have produced the biggest heartaches.  We sometimes trust God and know we’re living and moving to please Him, yet pain creeps in, in ways we never expected.  We’ve fooled ourselves; we’ve listened to the wrong message.  The world has lied to us; it has let us down.  God allowed it, yes; but He never fails. So what’s the deal? Why are we feeling so defeated and discouraged?

Maybe it’s because we haven’t been to the table in a while.  What table you ask?  That one.

Meticulously set in the middle of our messes and our huts, it beckons us the way the burning bush did Moses. How could all that beauty and the pull of a sacred invitation even be here in all this ugliness, fear, heartbreak…how could HE be in the midst of all this madness?  Really…is it Him?

Yes, beloved.  It’s Him.  He’s right there amongst the disorder to bring order.  In our hurts, He longs to bring healing.  Jesus awaits His most prized possession:  you – and time with you. He embodies everything we’re looking for and so much more. He’s sitting there, waiting for a one-on-one moment with you.  Yes, you.

Do you accept His invitation?  How? Only one thing is required…come.

Ultimate Makeover

IMAG0720A friend brought me a box full of vases his mother was going to throw away. Before the storm (as I like to call it), I loved to paint glassware and decided it was time to get back in to doing what I really enjoyed. From what they considered as trash – although not perfect – I created some things I think are quite beautiful. Of course, I’m the creator of these pieces and although I can look and see every single mess-up and flaw, every imperfection, I’m proud of my accomplishment.  I think they’re beautiful.

Wow.

If that isn’t a picture of God and what He does for us, I don’t know what is.  As I look at these vases, I’m reduced to tears.  Isn’t that what God has done for us?

He takes “vessels” – plain, ordinary, used up perhaps and considered of no use and not only rescues us from being completely trashed and shattered, He makes something brand new out of us.  If we allow Him to create in and through us, as He “paints” we become new; our hearts and minds are mended to the point that we sometimes don’t resemble at all what (and who) we started out to be!  What He creates, heals, restores and blesses, He cherishes and takes great pride in.  Why wouldn’t He?  As he intricately works at mixing, healing, restoring and creating us from the inside out, He begins to see who He created us to be:  His Son’s image.

He knows every imperfection yet He loves us.  He doesn’t discard us, just the opposite. He insists every bit of who we are what we’ve been through is working for both our good and His glory.  Only the Master Painter can do that.  Because of those truths if we choose to believe, we’ll give Him “creative freedom” and ask Him to touch everything of who we are.  Somehow what was so bland and broken becomes His masterpiece.

I painted those old vases because I imagined what they could look like. I wanted to make them into something beautiful that could be used to brighten and bless someone.  That’s what God wants to do with us.  Will we let Him?

“But now O LORD, You are our Father, we are the clay and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your Hand.”  Isaiah 64:8

The Place of Nothingness

I’ve never heard anyone celebrate the fact that they lost, their prayers weren’t answered or what they were expecting didn’t come.  Have you?

Dire, desperate situations, it seems, customize themselves to our lives.  We all have them. The Bible says to wait on the Lord so we do, believing as best we can He will somehow make a way.  When the time comes when we think it should be over and it’s not, decisions must be made.  Do we continue to wait?  Take matters into our own hands?

That place of nothingness can be good or it can be bad. If we resort to desperation, desperate decisions can produce devastating consequences.  Desperate people do desperate things. However, if we bring forward what we’ve learned from God during the times He has provided, consoled and comforted in times past…miraculously or otherwise, we could save ourselves from piles of regret.

When the answers don’t come; when all seems lost and hopeless that’s where our faith-talk meets our faith-walk.  I’ve found myself in countless situations over the past few years similar to those I had helped others through.  When you walk a road yourself that you’ve watched someone else walk, the view is certainly different! Truth is, until we find ourselves in something, we have no idea what we’ll do. That’s why Jesus warns us to never judge anyone else.  We may think we know how we would handle it but we don’t!

During those “nothing”, waiting times, I’m learning to draw on my past experiences with God.  I remember how we got through then and believe Him for now.  Nothingness is a place where our faith can grow…or die.  The choice is ours.  After all, haven’t we been taught to “walk by faith, not by sight”?  Will we, when the rubber meets the road? Nothingness is the OPPORTUNITY to believe His ways aren’t our ways; His thoughts aren’t our thoughts.  Sometimes he has to bring us to “nothing” to see for ourselves how big (or little) our faith in Him is when there is nothing to place hope in but Him.

Give your faith a chance to manifest itself for what it is. The only way to do that is to get to the place where there is nothing left but faith. Faith isn’t just a word and it’s not just a feeling; faith is a Person.  Faith IS Christ. At the end of the day in the horrifying place of nothingness, we’ll see how real He is to us…or how real He isn’t.

 

(For we walk by faith and not by sight.)  2 Corinthians 5:7

“And Jesus answered and said to them,”Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to his mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen.” Matthew 21:21

My Killing

What picture comes to mind when you think of an island?   Mine is of a plush and gorgeous spot of land, in the middle of water where plants and fruits grow in abundance.  In my mind’s eye, every time I picture an island, it’s the closest thing to paradise I can imagine.

When I read Revelation and the fact that John the disciple was exiled to Patmos as punishment for preaching Jesus, I thought that isn’t such a bad punishment.  I was wrong. While further studying Patmos I discovered it was a barren island that was incapable of producing anything but rocks.  No greenery, no delectable fruits and veggies, no trees even.  Just caves and rocks.  Prisoners were sent there to mine the caves.  It was a place no one wanted to be.  The Bible doesn’t mention anything about anyone else being there but John so imagine with me, if the island was truly barren with no shade, nothing to eat or enjoy and on top of that, being there completely alone how it must have felt. Patmos actually means the title of this blog, “my killing”.

It’s not a stretch to some to imagine a place like this.  It’s not hard to remember a time feeling completely isolated and alone with no sign or site of any kind of relief.  Some are there right now. In a split second, one’s life can change forever and our normal flies right out the window.  Devastation has come to live and sometimes we feel we can’t recover or worse, we don’t want to.

Out of the darkest, loneliest and most barren times in life, God can produce something amazing.  If we tune in to him and tune out our feelings and how we perceive the place or the situation, it’s possible for Him to produce in us many things.  Faith can grow when nothing else can.  Trust can flourish and begin to color the blandness of an ugly reality.  The mind and heart can be forever changed when they know the God of our lives.

John could have spent his time mulling over every wrong done to him and how unfair it was for him to be a prisoner to start with, let alone exiled on an island no one wanted to be on but he didn’t.  Instead he chose to still – after all he had been through – look for and listen to God. I imagine he rattled the stillness of that place by singing to Jesus at the top of his lungs.  From his faithfulness and steadfast heart, God gave John the most amazing gift – the Revelation.

We can receive beautiful things, comforting words, strength, joy, peace and a growing faithfulness from God during our darkest times.  Stay close to the Father and keep staying close.