Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tomorrow is His Too!

There is a verse that God has been whispering to me. Hebrews 13 chapter 8 says; Jesus the Anointed One is always the same: yesterday, today, and forever.

I can look back and see His hand all over my life. I acknowledge that He has brought me through some hard times of testing. He has healed me and loved ones. He has provided financially at times when we literally did not know how we would make it to the next pay check. He gave me a husband that I absolutely adore and puts up with me. He has even protected and directed Doug and I as we raised three kids from infancy, through teenage angst, and into adulthood with lives of their own. So God of "Yesterday" is well known.

I acknowledge that "Today", He has given me breath to breathe and eyes to see. I woke up with a song on my lips and a joy in my heart. Friends surround me in a rich tapestry of influence and laughter. The God of 'Today' is well known and enjoyed as each step I take I bless Him.

It's the forever I sometimes, maybe more than sometimes, struggle with. I am a planner, and as a planner I am having to learn to let go of my future and let God have it. There is much victory in my life right now in regards to this. What a relief to learn how NOT to say, "What if..."!

God of 'Tomorrow' is good. I mean really good. I am so glad that He IS the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Fifth Day

There are five days that I can remember in my life with absolute clarity: My wedding day, the births of my three children, and the day I said 'YES' to Jesus. All five days changed my life forever.

Someone questioned me one day and asked why saying yes to Jesus was a life changer. The answer is pretty easy - before Jesus, I had a life defined by emotions and positions that eventually will end. After Jesus, I have a life with purpose that stretches into eternity.

Growing up, we went to church. My Mom and my Paternal Grandmother made sure of that; however, my view of God was of someone who looked down on me, who was distant and way too important to approach by myself. I was taught that I had to be very careful because God could get angry with me very easily for anything I did that was not good. Honestly, as a kid I was scared to death of him. But, I also wanted to serve Him and please Him.

As a young adult, I decided to just not acknowledge that He was there. I stopped going to church, I read the Bible through so I could argue with the Bible thumpers in my life, and I looked around to find something else to help explain the "whys" of life. I thought I had God figured out pretty good, and intellectually could define who he was and wasn't. I was miserable.

In 1984 while I was in college, my Mom and Dad split up. Honestly, I was surprised their marriage had lasted as long as it did. My Dad was not a very nice man. He was an alcoholic who was not faithful and was a very mean and angry man. My Mom went her way and Dad followed me home. Several months after living with me, he got a job, moved out, and got his own place. He also found a girlfriend I thought was a religious fanatic.

In 1985 I met and fell in love with Doug. We met in September and were married three months later. Two babies showed up within two years. I was truly happy, but still had this heart in me that was searching for something more... a something I knew had to be out there.

In November of 1988, five months after our daughter was born, my Dad showed up to hang out at our house for the weekend. The first thing I noticed was that he wasn't smoking (he was a two packer a day before). The second thing was that he seemed to be at peace with himself...he was different. One night as I was getting ready to go to bed, he asked if I would stay up and talk a little while. As he talked, he spoke about the change in him...about Who had made a difference in his life. He opened his Bible, we read some passages together that for the first time I could understand, and He told me about Jesus - that Jesus loved me and how He had come to earth as a baby, grew up and lived a perfect life before God, and then was crucified and died so that I did not have to be separated from God because of my sin. I realized at that moment all the things that I had done wrong, asked Jesus for forgiveness, and prayed a simple prayer that went something like this;
Jesus, I know I am a sinner and am so sorry. I believe that you came to earth and that you died for me. I believe that you did not stay dead and that you will come again. Please be the Lord of my life, be the ruler of my heart and all that is within me. Amen
That prayer started an adventure of a lifetime. The something more that was missing had been found.

Everything in my life is not perfect, I am still a sinner who has to minute by minute choose to do what I know is right. Daily I acknowledge how much I need Jesus to direct my steps and to give me strength for the day, to give me wisdom as I am faced with decisions.

Choosing Jesus is not a difficult thing - it's as easy as ABC:

  • Acknowledge that you are a sinner, that you make wrong choices that hurt you and others. Sin defined is simply missing the mark - just not doing the right thing either by what we do or what we don't do. There are no big sins or little sins. It all is just sin.
  • Believe that Jesus was born, that he was crucified on a cross, and that on the third day he rose again and that he is still alive. He died and took our punishment for our sins. Without that one selfless act, we would not have access to God. Without him, when we face death, it is a permanent separation from God that leads to an eternity of torment. With him, we walk into eternity with Joy.
  • Confess Him as Lord of your life. People know about Jesus and have heard the Christmas story of the baby Jesus who was born in a manager. They know the story about His crucifixion and death and how three days later the tomb he was buried in was empty. To know those things is not enough. You must bow your head and call him "Lord".
This is my story. The things that happened are true. I am a work in progress.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lesson From Polly

During my quiet time today I really felt convicted on something.  I have a tendency to go back to things and dwell in places in my past that are painful. As I reflected on God's word, I knew that I needed to really ask God to show me what was going on. I truly needed freedom.

He gave me an image of our sweet dog, Polly,  I have pictured here. It's been a year since we had to let her go and be at rest. I still miss her. But it wasn't this that he was showing me, but my feelings that I had when she would lick at a spot on her leg, a hot spot, that would cause her much pain. No matter how much we tried to stop her from licking it, she would go back to it until it was raw and ready to bleed.

I realized from that picture that when I went and dwelled in memories where forgiveness and healing had been applied, it was just like licking a hot spot. Unlike Polly, I do have a choice. I can choose where my thoughts go because I have Someone who will supply me with the strength to keep my mind focused on Him instead of running to old thoughts and ways.

Jesus is ever faithful to love and forgive us and cleanse us from all of the dirt and hot spots that show up in our lives if we turn to Him and ask Him to.

Jesus, thank you for grace, for forgiveness, for strength. Thank you for lovingly reminding me that you are always with me.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

He is For Me

It's so easy to think about what I want to say and then never speak. It's also too easy to know what I don't want to say and let it spill out.

Writing a blog is like that. Time and time again I have ideas that are on my mind and heart and somehow, something more important pops up and I forget. Much has happened since the last time I posted here. A thousand great ideas that didn't get conveyed, words of wisdom swallowed, and still yet, the world continues on.

I have started a new phase of life. I am quieter, a bit more observant, and not as ready to speak as I used to be. I know that God is doing a new thing in me and I am willing and eager to wait and see what will be the outcome. Prophetically speaking, He is deepening me - stretching me to grow in ways that I have not been yet; a new awareness of not so much His plans for me, but an eye opening view of His heart around me and for me.

I am learning how much God truly does love me and how much I have taken that for granted. 
"He is for me", I hear it whispered in the deepest reaches of my hidden heart.
"Forgiven", spoken in the darkest corners of my very being.
"Chosen", breathed into my very spirit.
"Healed", into this body of mine that daily decays and into my emotions that are bruised and have been abused.
The longing of my heart is to know Him more, to seek His face and intimately know every curve, every pore of who He is. 

Too often I have pursued the promises and have missed chasing the Promiser. 

Turning away from everything else and relinquishing to the very essence of Living Water - my heart does so thirst for You... and for You alone! Make me long for You even more.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

His Church or his church?

I met with a friend today and we had a great time of just talking and catching up. It's been 20 years since we last met. I am now a grandmother and she is an awesome young woman. We talked about old friends we knew, places we both had in common, where we've been and what God is doing in our lives.

One of the things we talked about was ministries we have been a part of. Both of us have seen "the ministry" from the good side and we have both seen it from the 'other' side. I shared with her an insight God gave me many years ago. A simple question, really. A very honest question with a deep answer. The question? Is this God's ministry or is it the leaders?

I have been in places where the presence of God and His fingerprints were in every nook and cranny. I am a part of that type of ministry right now and am thankful that I am here. I have also been in places where the foundation is led more by personality than by presence. If I am really truthful, I have led ministries by my personality, and I have also been a part of God placed leadership led by Him.

So, relationship or religion? Spirit led or man controlled? God breathed or feelings inspired? Redeemed or faking it till you make it? Interesting questions. One real answer.

Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Psalm 127:1a