Tuesday, January 29, 2013

4 a.m Talks

I was awake. Wide awake. Dare I look at the clock? I already knew what it would read.
4 a.m. I'm getting used to this.

"This worry is not from Me. It's an attack from the Evil One who seeks to destroy you. But I have overcome and victory is yours because of Me."

I know, Lord, I know. All these things ring true to me...

"I have a plan for you, oh and it's good! Even while I was forming you, I was planning all the days of your life. I saw your unformed body and started creating you in My image. I've had my hand on you ever since."

Father, sometimes I feel so unsettled. I can't quite seem to find rest.

"My daughter, My peace is yours to claim. Not the fallible peace the world offers, but peace that passes all understanding. You don't have to know what I'm doing, or where the path will lead, you just have to follow and trust Me."

I trust you Lord. I do. I know you don't want to harm me. I know you're working all things out for my good...

"I began a new work that I will perform until the day of completion. You need only to rest under my wings where you will find safety and rest."

Sometimes this burden is too much for me to bear. I feel so overwhelmed.

"I've told you, child, cast all your cares and worries upon me. My burden is easy and My yoke is light. I will walk beside you and lead you beside quiet pastures and still waters where you will bask in my goodness and mercy. My plan is for your cup to run over."

God, You have been so good - SO GOOD! I am overwhelmed by You. I just don't deserve ....

"I keep you as the Apple of My Eye. You are my daughter and I, Your King, am enthralled with your beauty. As you draw until Me, I will show you even more of Myself. I did not mean to leave you as you are. No, I am not finished. Even now I am burning away the chaff and refining you as my own."

Sometimes, Lord, just being honest... It hurts.

"What I am doing is for my own glory and the reflection I want others to see is your life hidden in Me."

His words were like a whisper in my ear, quietly calming my spirit. I curled into my pillow as if I was resting my head on His chest. I could almost sense Him stroking my hair as I began to relax. His presence was now the only thing that overwhelmed me and peace had replaced my unrest. I had not yet figured out every detail...but that was no longer on my mind.

I know some of you are truly struggling. More than one of you has admitted to being wide awake at all hours of the night. I know you're crying out to Him. I know you're seeking Him. In those early morning hours, I pray you find Him. I pray you hear from Him. I pray His peace passes over you and I pray your spirit finds rest. I know some of you are dealing with things so far beyond what you can comprehend, or even begin to deal with. He has a plan for you. He wants to prosper you. He wants to draw you unto Himself. He wants to comfort you. I pray you'll experience Him, even when sleep doesn't come.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Not One Word

"Focus on enjoying Me and all that I am to you - even though your circumstances scream for resolution. Refuse to obsess about your problems and how you are going to fix them. Instead, affirm your trust in Me; wait hopefully in My Presence, and watch to see what I will do." ~ Jesus Today

Nailed it. Square between the eyes. I gotta love it when that happens. Or maybe I just cringe. Either way, I'm left with the striking reality that if I'd just stop obsessing about what I can do and focus on who He is, then I'd stop getting in the way.

The truth is, if I wouldn't single-handedly keep trying to take control, then I really would get to experience more of Him. Oh yes, you know. Type A. Miss Independent. Strong-willed. We've been over all this before. So why do I keep finding myself back at the same starting point?! Did I mention hard-headed? ... I guess some lessons are harder to learn than others. But it doesn't keep me from wanting to come back to Him. Over and over again.

He reminded me of the verse I claimed time and time again: "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14. Oh how quickly I forget. Being still is obviously not my forte. So today's admonition is right on target and strikes me as a reminder that all I can really do is wait on Him, bask in His Presence, and watch Him work.

As if that wasn't enough encouragement, I saw this verse on a friend's post today: "Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to Israel failed; all came to pass." Joshua 21:45.

Not one word. Not one promise. Nothing. No not one. None of it failed. HE did not fail. Even when I have, His promises are true. His love remains and, praise God, it's not dependent on me or anything I do. All He expects from me is to be still and enjoy His presence.



Monday, January 21, 2013

The Right Way

I found myself lost in my reading from Jesus Today as my Savior reminds me, "This world in its fallen condition can never satisfy you fully. You yearn for perfection, and I am the fulfillment of that deep longing."

He's urging me, "Look the right way." In essence, look to Him. I admit my deficient attention span when it comes to the distractions all around me.

I know it. I sense it. Deep within the marrow of who I am and at the very center of my core, I long for more. I desire perfection. This is what I was made for - eternity. But I'm a stranger here and the things in this world are waging war against my soul (I Peter 2:11-12). I live in conflict because I live in a fallen state, the depravity of my own flesh, and yet I recognize that perfection will only be attained once I make it to my final, eternal destitination with Most Holy God.

So here in the in-between I struggle with the fulfillment of that deep longing...and that's the very place He urges me to choose the right way. Because He knows. He created me, so He knows. He understands that the limits of my humanity cause me to stray outside of His righteousness. When I choose for myself that which is temporary, momentary, fleeting and self-seeking, I lose sight of the eternal permanence of His Holiness and that which He's truly created me for.

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Psalm 16:11

That is what I seek. The way of life - HIS way of life. The right way. The joy of His presence overflowing in my life so that it infiltrates every part of who I am. The pleasure of living with Him forever as a constant guide for each and every choice I make here in the temporal.

And what about the times that hasn't been true of me? What about the lessons I've had to learn the hard way? What about the decisions I've made on my own accord? What of the times I've taken matters into my own hands? What about the distractions I've gravitated toward and become engaged in? What about the times I yearned for perfection but sought to fulfill the longing with something far less?

These lessons are reminders of my humanity, but even more, my need for a Savior. Praise God His grace is sufficient for even me. I'm given grace for this moment. But I have to decide to claim it. I have to choose it. I have to turn the right way and follow Him. If I lost sight of Him, the world around me will surely grab hold of me and pull me a million wrong directions. If I listen to the temptations buzzing about, I may risk choosing my own way. But if I listen closely and stay arm-in-arm with Him, I will hear His voice reminding me as I feel His tender strength nudging me in the way that is right.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I was about to write this blog on Friday after a very big and very specific answer to prayer. Then time got away from me, I had a very busy weekend, a Miss America party, a garage to clean, and then I got sick. So by the time I got back around to this unfinished draft, I had to stop and ask myself where exactly I was headed. You see, Friday I was singing God's praises, in awe of how He handles the details. By Sunday I was overwhelmed with emotion, but of a different kind.

Feelings are ever-changing. Constantly teasing us with the cycle of highs and lows. But what I've learned in the midst of unreliable emotions is my life rests in an always-reliable, never-changing God.

If I'm honest, I was somewhat surprised at how quickly He gave an answer to something I just started asking for. But why was I surprised? Is He not God? Did He not say for me to ask and seek and I would find? Did He not say the answer would be given? It's not that I was doubtful, or was it? It's not wrong to ask Him for answer to prayer, the way I hope He'll answer. But I've also grown accustomed to including the addendum, "not my will but thine." So I guess when I dissect this, I realize the shock and awe was that He answered how I hoped He would. For that, I must pause and say thanks. Thank You, Lord!

Here's the thing. If He'd answered a different way I would still be giving praise. If it hadn't been how I had hoped, He would still be good, and I would still rejoice in His sovereignty in my life.

It seems the harder I try to keep my will surrendered to His the more I'm reminded how He wants me to bring Him the desires of my heart. He doesn't wish to always take me through the fire, though I've spent my fair share of lesson-learning in the blaze. So with yet another reminder, I'm giving Him all the praise.

Flex Your spiritual muscle, Lord, and may You receive the honor that You're due. I worship You for answered prayers, and unanswered ones, because I know no matter what You decide, You are working all things for my good according to Your purpose!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

You

As I pause in the present season of my life, all I can do is stand in awe of my Faithful God. I can't begin to express my gratitude for a loving and patient Father who has kept His hand upon me every step of the way. With the twists and bends and ruts in the road, I can look back and see how intentional He's been to carry me when I've needed Him most, yet walk beside me when He knew I needed to stand on my own two feet. When I think about His grace at work in my life, I am undone because His unconditional love and neverending mercies flow freely to a feeble and undeserving life. Praise You, Father.

I'll be the first to admit my weakness. On my own I know I can't keep it together. And even at my "best" I still stumble on my own. I'm so thankful He doesn't leave me in this state. It's never a result of Him leaving me, rather I'm the one who wanders off. Oh, my wandering soul be bound to Thee!

I've learned what it is to be in need - truly in need of His presence in my life. Nothing can compare. The more I learn about Him, the more I know how desperate my life is without Him. Finding my place in this world no longer becomes my aim because He is my focus. If my trajectory is not altered by the way in which I've come, then I'm on the wrong path. Or worse, I may be standing still. Lead me, Lord.

Seeking isn't out of desperation but out of desire. A heart's cry for more. A soul's yearning to be filled. I walk by faith and not by sight. I fix my eyes on the unseen and not the temporal in front of me. Surrendering my will sometimes feels as though I'm losing all control. And rightly so! Because if I am leading the way, then I'm not letting Him lead me. So I trust. I trust in Him with all my heart. I lean not on my own understanding - because, boy oh boy, sometimes I just flat out don't understand. I give Him the plans in my heart and I ask for His purpose to prevail. Work out Your plan, Lord. Your will and not mine. Your loving kindness is better than the very life I live. It is what I seek. You, Lord. Only and always You.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Seeking

This time last year I was seeking... Praying to God for His peace and joy. Desiring change and comfort, hopeful for His will to be done and claiming His promises for my life.

"Sometimes my Sovereign hand - My control over your life - places you in humbling circumstances. You long to break free and feel in control of your life once again... When you are suffering, your need for Me is greater than ever. The more you choose to come near to Me, the more you can find hope in My unfailing love. You can even learn to be joyful in hope while waiting in My Presence..." Jesus Today

Truly that's where I found myself at the beginning of last year. But I can honestly say at the start of this year, that prophecy has come true for me. That place of discomfort and brokenness brought me to the place of His Presence where I learned not only my need for Him but also what He required of me. Surrender. My full and complete will. Oh, there was a battle over this. It wasn't just a laying down on the altar and walking away. I could never learn that easily.

I learned what being joyful In hope meant - having no thought or idea of what was to come, yet wholeheartedly trusting my Father with my shattered heart. I didn't know how He'd do it, but I gave Him every last shred with the faith and assurance He would mend the broken hearted.

I found hope in His unfailing love because I'd already experienced the feeble and fatal attempts at imperfect, shallow human love. It's self-seeking and fallible apart from Him. Oh, thank God He never fails!

My need for Him was great, greater than I'd ever experienced, and having been in the depths of that place where I could do nothing other than seek Him... I found Him. I would never ask for the pain again, but I would do it all over again to get the same result of finding and experiencing my Abba Father.

"Persevere in trusting Me and eventually I will lift you up." Jesus Today

Oh, how true that promise is! See, what I'm learning is this isn't about what I get at the end. It isn't about if I receive an answer to prayer. It's not whether I find peace and experience joy. It's solely and purely about Him. My God. My Strength. My Refuge. My Hope. My Peace. My Joy. All in Him. Nothing a part from my Lord. So seeking peace and joy, or desiring happiness and contentment are all irrelevant. The journey I've been on this past year has brought me to the point of seeing that all that matters is seeking Him. And there, in Him, is more than the deepest desire if any ache my soul might have.

Whatever it is you seek, whatever you desire or lack, I pray you'll come to the point of finding Him. No matter where the journey leads, or how deep the pit sinks where you might find yourself, you're never beyond His reach, never too far from Him finding you. And when He does, He won't just give you what you ask, He will reveal Himself to you. And the very nature of who He is will be exactly what you seek.

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=hN7L3m9jIcc&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DhN7L3m9jIcc