Wednesday, November 4, 2009

When a beating feels good....

This may or may not make any sense to anyone but to me and God.... but I feel like I want to put it out there anyway....

This has happened more than once in the past month or so.... I just got a beating from God.

This is how I really know that I belong to God.... not that I doubted, but this is just the proof.

Lately my mind has been being consumed more and more with something. And it was not God. But something that I WANTED to fix or control. My mind and my appetite for this had begun to take control of my thought life. I thought about it constantly... I tried to reason out that it was to protect someone I love. and with that excuse... I could justify what I was doing. Is trying to protect my loved one wrong? No, I don't believe it is. Was my thought life being consumed with the wrongs of someone else a sin? Oh yes.... I know it was.

God in His great mercy... in His great love for me... put a stop to it today. He showed it to me for what it really is.... SIN.

He just wouldn't let me be. He wouldn't let me keep going. Just like a parent that sees something in their child that they know is harmful... He knew the road that I was on was not good... so He opened my eyes to that today. I think my eyes were already at least halfway opened... but with them only halfway opened... I could just ignore the little nudging that I felt. But today.... I was smacked in the head with it.... STOP IT!! This is sin!!

Although it was painful for a few moments.... it was like a hand delivered invitation to get "right" with Him. God desires for me to stay in a "right" relationship with Him. And my mind being consumed with the wrongs of others had put a wedge in my "right" relationship with Him.

It was like a beating.... that felt good in the end.

Hebrews 12:5b-6 says,

"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
Because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

then it goes on to say in verses 10-11,

"Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those have been trained by it."

I so love the Lord.... He is so merciful and loving. He knows my heart. He knows the motives of my heart... even when I don't. OR even when I ignore them. But as my Father.... He disciplines me so that in time... I can share in His holiness. So that I can produce a harvest of righteousness because I have been trained by his discipline. AND.... then there is that peace. The peace that comes when you confess your sin to Him... believing He is faithful and just to forgive you... and catching back up with Him on the path. A right walk. Walking closely together.

The bottom line is that I didn't need to think that I could control anything. (umm... there is another sin... pride) By doing that... I was trying to take God's job. He is the one in control. And I am so thankful that He loves me enough to discipline me. For my own good. So that I can share in his holiness... and produce a harvest of righteousness and peace... because I have been trained by it. I pray that God always finds me willing to take a greatly needed beating for my own good... for His name's sake.

post signature

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The pain of others....

Man! It has been over two months since I have posted on my blog. Where did that time go??

What brings me back to my blog today is the pain of others. Why is it that the pain of others hurt more than your own?? Maybe it is because when I am going through something painful... I HAVE the peace that passes all understanding and the comfort of my Heavenly Father.... knowing that God loves me and has my best interest at heart.... but when I hurt for others.... I can't pass that along to them. I just have to sit back and hurt for them.

My brother is really going through a terrible time right now. His wife of 4 years left him about two weeks ago.... and this week he had to put his "best friend" to sleep because of an aggressive liver cancer... after having him for 12 years. Well... if that isn't enough to knock your feet out from underneath you.... I don't know what is. Watching him go through this is miserable for me. I don't want to lose my husband.... or my sweet dogs... but I would rather have to go through this myself than to watch him struggle through it. Isn't that the craziest thing??

God tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that....

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness"

To me... that tells me that at the very moment of my weakness.... or pain.... that is when His grace is sufficient for me. Not three hours before.... not three hours later. That is why so often when we look at the life of others.... and wonder how in the world they can go through what they are going through... it is because His grace is sufficient at that moment for them... NOT us. Even when they seem to be handling things in such a gracious way.... watching them is so painful... because the grace is theirs for that moment.... not ours.

Thankfully the Bible has much to say about being brokenhearted...

Psalm 34:18 "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

Psalm 147:3 "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds"

Isaiah 61:1 "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to
preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim
freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners."

Each one of them speaks to the great care and love that God has for the brokenhearted. The last one.... Isaiah 61:1... is the job description for Jesus Christ. That is what He came here for.... to give us the good news... to bind up our brokenness... to free us from bondage... and bring us into His light.

That is something to be thankful for. Knowing that God's Word is 100% true... I am choosing to take that to the spiritual bank.

In Romans 12... the writer, Paul... gives us some instructions for living the christian life.... in verse 15 he says....

"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."

So... in the meantime.... that is what I will do. Mourn with him as he mourns. Cry with him as he cries. Wait on God as he waits on God.

You know.... life sure is hard sometimes. But God's Word is true.... and God is always GOOD. And none of that depends upon our circumstances.... BUT on God himself.

You know... there is something else that I have realized recently. When you tell others of your pain... or the pain of your loved ones.... no one can really take on the full extent of the pain. It just rolls right off their backs. They don't mean for it too.... it just doesn't bring the same pain to their heart.

Proverbs 14:10 says this...

"Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy."

Each heart alone feels the extent of the burden. No one else can share in that... 100%. The only one that can feel the exact burden we have is Jesus himself. That would explain our intense need for Christ during such a heartbreaking time. He is the only one that can totally understand our pain... AND better yet.... He is the only one that can do something about it. He came to bind up our broken hearts.

This is how much God loves us.... and this is worth jumping up and down for.

Isaiah 43:1-4 in the Message

"But now, God's Message,
the God who make you in the first place, Jacob.
The One who got you started Israel:
Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you.
I've called your name. You are mine.
When you are in over your head, I'll be there with you.
When you are in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end--
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Bush and Seba thrown in!
THAT'S how much you mean to me!
THAT'S how much I love you!
I'd sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you."

I just love that.... He would trade creation just for me... just for you... and just for my brother. And... sell off the whole world... now that is love. I am so thankful for the comfort that comes from knowing that He truly loves me... and my brother. So... in the meantime I will be waiting on the Lord.

post signature

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Rubber Band...

Have you ever just felt like something is missing?? Can't really put your finger on it, but you know there is something missing?? Well... I have had that feeling for the last couple weeks. I had been doing all the same things.... but it just didn't feel the same.

So... I spent last weekend at the Deeper Still event with Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer, and Beth Moore. Those ladies didn't hold anything back. They really brought a Word from God. I thought I had received "my" Word. Priscilla really spoke to my heart about believing that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20) I took that as "my" Word. There are so many times that I just ask God for the bare minimum... when I could ask Him for more.... because He is more than able to deliver. Like.... when I pray that my children will all come to know Him. When I could be asking Him to fill my children with an unbelievable love for Himself. Does that make sense?? There are many more examples that I could give.... but that's not the purpose of this post.

Monday, while reading the Living Proof Ministry Blog... I look through some of the comments that others had written about the Deeper Still event. There right in front of my face was a truth that slapped me right in the head.... someone else's comment included the statements that Beth said..... "if you are wondering what is missing, it's the FELLOWSHIP" and "in-depth Bible study is not fellowship". I just sat there. I realized that was it. Now... if the rest of you are shocked at that.... I am so sorry. I wish that it wasn't the truth, but I do believe that it is. I hope that none of you have ever experienced that.... but the truth is the truth.

First of all.... how did I miss that?? I heard her say that. I was listening. I knew that she said that. It just didn't register in my mind. But Monday.... it sure did.

That is what it is. I believe that I have been missing the fellowship. I have been "doing" the stuff. The Bible study, the prayer time, church, you know.... the stuff. But.... somewhere, I think I left the fellowship on the side of the road.

So... I sat down and just poured out my heart to the Lord. Seeking His forgiveness.... and begging Him to refresh me. I felt like I wanted to do something to "remind" myself of His constant presence.... and His desire to fellowship with me at every moment. So... I found myself a rubberband and put it on my left wrist.

Well.... Monday night I went to work. In case you don't know.... I work in the Emergency Room at a local hospital. I put gloves on and take them off at least 100 times a day. At some point... I looked down and the rubber band was gone. I guess while taking off my gloves, I slipped it of too. I wondered.... "how long has it been gone"?? I couldn't remember feeling it come off. It happened without my noticing it. I thought about my fellowship with God.... it had slipped away without my noticing also. How does that happen??

I thought about the time that I spend doing my Bible study... even discussing it with my friends that come to study with me. I thought about going to church week after week. I thought about singing to my praise music. I thought about speaking His Truth to others. None of that is fellowship WITH Him. There is a huge difference. If I spent time learning about my husband, spending time in his car, or even talking about him to my friends.... BUT never spent TIME really communicating with him, listening to him, telling about the things that matter to me, sharing dreams and desires.... what would our marriage be like???

So... there is another rubberband on my wrist. I am trying to be more careful with it... but I am really trying to be more careful with my fellowship with my Lord. He is so worth it....

post signature

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Where is my mirror??

Hmmm... have you ever thought much about the difference between a mircoscope and a mirror?? I had never really given it much thought.

The only times that I remember using a microscope is in science class. And, I have to admit that I really didn't like it. Usually it was looking at something yucky.... and honestly.... I couldn't really see in there all that well. I just couldn't get my eyes adjusted to looking into those two little lenses.... and ending up with a clear image.

But.... as a female, I certainly know how to use a mirror. I didn't say that I always like what I see.... but I do know how to use one. When I stop to think about it.... mirrors are much more accessible than microscopes. You can find mirrors everywhere.... in our homes.... in public places... and in our purses. But not microscopes. They are much harder to find.

While working through my current Bible study last week.... we were looking at what God has to say about legalism. Matthew 7:1-5 says...

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. " "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank our of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

So... why is it, that it is easier for us to find a microscope to inspect others.... than it is for us to find a mirror to inspect ourselves?? It should be the other way around.

That reminds me of the saying I have heard since I was a child.... "why do you think you have two ears and one mouth??" Of course the answer would be because we should do more listening than we do talking. According to James 1:19...

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry."

So... that would explain why mirrors are so much more accessible than mircoscopes. We need to spend more time looking into our own hearts and lives than looking so closely and judgementally at the actions of others. Not to be "self absorbed".... but to examine our hearts and motives for what we do. God looks straight into our hearts. We just can't fool Him with our actions. He knows what we do... and why we do it.

My Tuesday night Bible Study group is doing Beth Moore's Breaking Free study. I did this same study about 5 or 6 years ago. It was life changing. I am not the same person now that I was then. But... I am afraid that as I lead my little group through it... I am focused more on their freedom than I am on looking inside myself to see if there are areas that God desires to free ME. As we looked at the 5 benefits that God intends for His children to enjoy... I noted the things that made such a huge difference in my thinking... and my life. I so wanted to make sure that my little group caught them. I didn't want them to miss anything that God had used to change me. AND... honestly I do want freedom for them. BUT....

Where is my mirror?? I dont want to miss this opportunity for God to show me areas of bondage in my life. I want to make sure that I am using my mirror... looking in.... checking out my motives... allowing God to show me areas that are standing in my way of living the abundant life He planned for me. No wonder there are more mirrors than there are microscopes. HE is more interested in my "in". He doesn't want my focus to be on inspecting the "out" of others. Does any of that make sense to anyone besides me?? There are so many mirrors around... surely I can find mine.

post signature

Friday, July 17, 2009

One of the hard things about parenting...

You know... I wish someone had really warned me about how painful parenting really is. I doubt that I would have listened... but I would have remembered their warning now.

There have been many hard things that I have had to do as a parent. Some have to do with disciplining my children. Some have to do with keeping them from doing some of the things that they want to do... but one of the hardest is to watch them hurt or suffer.

Last year... about this same time... I took my youngest daughter to the eye doctor. At her request. She loved to try on my reading glasses... so when she told me that she couldn't see very well, I just thought that she wanted to wear glasses like mine. I actually put her off for about a month before I made the appointment. She asked me several times a week.... "have you made my appointment yet?"... to which I always answered, "no, not yet." The day finally arrived to go to the doctor.... and boy was I shocked when she couldn't read anything expect the big "E" with her left eye. So... she got her first pair of glasses that day. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I couldn't believe that she had been telling me this for a month or more.... and I ignored her. It killed me on the inside. She was absolutely thrilled.

Fast forward to last Tuesday. It was time for her one year check up. So.... imagine my shock when she climbed up in the chair.... with her glasses ON... and with that same little left eye... could only read that same big "E" on the top line. WHAT?? One year ago these glasses corrected the vision in her left eye to 20/20. Now... she can barely read the top line of the chart. So our newest solution is wearing new glasses, patching the GOOD eye, to hopefully strengthen that left eye. So this is her today... and for 8 hours everyday....

This picture shows her smiling.... but believe me when I tell you it was only for the picture. She started wearing it on Wednesday. Within the first couple hours, we went through about 10 patches. It itched. She pulled it off to scratch. It wouldn't stick back. She cried. It got wet from the tears. It was uncomfortable. We changed it again. We finally got one on that seemed to be comfortable... and dry. So... off to church we go. The closer we got to church, the more nervous she got. By the time we pulled into the parking lot... she was crying again. She didn't want to go in to the childrens activities with the patch on. She was afraid that the other children would make fun of her. So after about 10 minutes of watching her hurt and worry.... I told her to take it off.

To some... I know that this may not be a big deal. But to this mom... it is a huge deal. I hate to think that she is going to have to wear this everday for at least a month or more. It is painful to watch her try to cover it up with her hair while we are in public. It is painful to watch the other children stare at her. It is painful to watch her look at the ground while others are around... to keep them from making eye contact with her. It is killing me.

God must feel exactly the same when his children are hurting. As we suffer through difficult times in our lives. As we endure the consequences of poor decisions. As we ask 'why?" when we don't understand what is going on around us. He knows that He has our best interest at heart. He knows what will bring us to the place where He wants us to be.... so that we can bring Him glory.

So... knowing that it is for her best... I will stand back and watch her go through this. With His help I will continue to encourage her... and pray that this will accomplish its purpose. Sometimes is just hard to see the big picture in our little signature

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Time...

It's summer. Our schedules are more relaxed. We get to sleep later. We have more time for fun. But, one thing that I really like about summer is that my Tuesday night Bible study girls don't have to rush home to get children in the bed for school the next morning. This allows us more time for discussing our current lessons. I am especially glad about that this week.... I think that my girls might even want to bring their pajamas tonight. This week has been a doosey!!

When we were finishing up our last study... I started praying about what study God would have us do next. I had narrowed it down to two or three different studies. I prayed and prayed for direction.... but I just didn't feel completely led to one study. When I talked with the group about them.... they kept bringing up the title of another study. Beth Moore's study... Breaking Free. Now... I've done that study before. And.... in my mind, I kept thinking.... "we are not doing that". Not because it isn't a great study.... but it is personal and intense. I just didn't think I could lead that. Well... in the next 24 hours, God made it pretty clear to me that this was the study He wanted us to do. So we started 2 weeks ago.

Oh my.... God has just thrilled me with this study so far. I have so much highlighted and written on the sides of my pages. I can't wait til tonight. Will you let me share some of it with you?????

**According to Isaiah 43:10 one of my chief purposes on this planet is to know God intimately! He wants me to know Him... and believe Him. Not just believe IN Him... but believe Him... what He says about himself... and about me.

**God never sheds light on our weaknesses or shortcomings for the sake of condemnation... only to make us aware of hinderances so He can set us free!! Only when I come face-to-face with my weaknesses can I allow Christ to heal me and make me whole and free.

**According to John 8:32 Christ continually uses the TRUTH as the means to our destination. It is His Word that will lead me to freedom.

**AND our destination is freedom according to Gal. 5:1. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

**This statement just about brought me to tears.... A person can receive Christ as Savior, serve Him for decades, and meet Him face-to-face in glory without ever experiencing satisfaction IN Him on this earth. Oh Lord.... please don't let that be anyone in my Bible study group.... or anyone else for that matter. How tragic. To be satisfied with Christ... that is enough to make me have a spell.

**Along with the statement above.... there is a huge difference between salvation from sin and satisfaction of the soul. Salvation secures our lives for all eternity. Soul satisfaction insures abundant life on earth. I want the abundant life here on earth as well as security for eternity.

**The key to peace is authority. When we allow the Prince of Peace to govern our lives, peace either immediately or ultimately results. Peace accompanies authority.

I wish that I could share every single thought here.... but there is just too much.

I started this post on Tuesday morning.... and here it is on Thursday. Can I just tell you that I wasn't the only one that had lots to say on Tuesday night?? We were able to talk about three out of the five days worth of questions..... in almost 4 hours. No time for the video teaching. We will have to finish up next week. Now, that is a lot of talking.

I can see that God is up to something huge in our little group. I can't wait. I am so thankful to be an eye-witness to HIS work.

I hope that God is up to something in your life too. Why don't you tell me a little bit about it??

post signature

Monday, June 15, 2009

Not guilty...

You have got to listen to this..... I have said before how much I LOVE Mandisa... but this will show you why...

There is nothing that I can add to this.......... my hands are in the air!!!!!!
Face to the ground!!!!

post signature