A verse to start 2017

Many things are happening as we start 2017 and you will find I have written a couple of posts at least about what God is doing in our lives right now.  Today I would like to share the verse God gave me in all of this.

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This whole passage was about the details of building the temple but this verse just jumped out at me. The Spirit just used it. I tried to move on because it wasn’t technically in context and I don’t want to be using scripture to make my own world seem right. But He would not let go till I recorded it in my journal; then moved me to make it a highlight in my bullet journal.  He pushed His meaning deeper each time I wrote it till tonight I felt called to write about it even here.

David was this amazing guy with so many flaws, but with so much love for God and God was always at his side. He had put everything together for the temple and he had all the plans but he was not slated to build it.  So I can only imagine what a huge job this seemed like to those coming behind him to take it up.

As we look at 2017 there are so many new things in front of us.  Things that God has been setting in front of us but we did not know when and how we would proceed.  Here we are ready to embark on a whole new world and He brought this verse to the forefront.  So what are some of the things that stuck out.

  • Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Even though these are good things that He is doing there will be work.
  • Don’t be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task. These changes will affect so many aspects of our lives that we have taken for granted for years. So the size of the task completely hit home.
  • He will not fail you or forsake you.  I so often get going down a road and forget I am not doing this alone. He used this as a heads up to not forget we are not doing this alone.
  • He will see that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord will be finished correctly.  This is not our work but His, He will see it is finished correctly He is not depending on us to do it right. I always need a reminder of this.

It is times like this I am so thankful for Jesus, as the Spirit brings this passage to life and once again shows me God at work in my life.  I love how the Spirit of God dwells in us and reveals to us how He will do these things in OUR life, they are not just some historical perspective for us to reflect on. This then brings to mind the Good News of Jesus and I want to do like they do in the Old Testament, stop and worship.  I think this is what it is all about.  Good News, Worship and Praise.

Thanks for listening to my little reflection point today.  

Who is taking the lead in your dance of life? A reflection for Valentines Day

Emotions are amazing! They add depth and breadth to life but if they are what are leading our dance of life we will miss the beauty and power of the dance.  When we follow His lead the dance is powerful, and stunning, you don’t want to stop you are so enraptured by it! Emotions can add beauty, depth and connection to our lives but often they lead to conflict and chaos.  One day God gave me this incredible picture when we let our emotions take the lead it ruins the beauty of the dance.

What the Holy Spirit brought one day as I sat before Jesus was a picture of the tango.  This dance can be an incredible thing to watch when the participants know their roles and work within them.  If both dancers are trying to lead it is not a pretty picture.  In a dance there is one person who takes the lead and one person Ballroom dancingwho trusts and follows.  Our walk with our God is a bit like this.  When we follow His lead the things in our life even the hard things can be beautiful and amazing.  When we take the lead we make a messy stilted dance .  We may still be dancing but no one is taking pleasure in it.

God gave us this wonderful spectrum of emotions that add so much color and personality to our lives.  How we react to and interact with our circumstances and the people puts in our lives is the beautiful fabric that makes up our individual world.  But we live in a fallen world and those emotions can ruin the dance when we let them take the lead.

As I look out over the panorama of my life I can see the times that love, hurt, anger or excitement were taking the lead.  While these emotions can add so much,when we are following them they can lead us down wrong roads.  God is right there with the perfect path and those emotions were designed to add to the gifts He has given us and the paths He leads us down. So with Valentine’s Day, a day full of emotion, just around the corner. Let’s ask ourselves who is leading our dance? Are we experiencing the beauty and power of following His lead or are we struggling through a stilted messy picture?

Through the Glass

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This year has been very full. Life was changing for all of us each in different ways. We all just needed a quiet do nothing vacation. Usually the mountains are calling with hikes and sight-seeing  but this year we just wanted to sit and be quiet. So we picked a place that is always hot, found a fun mid-century modern home and off we went for a week of quiet rest and as happens when you rest reflection.

The first day of vacation was hot.  We had been enjoying the first half of the day  in or by the pool.   It was nice to get this quiet time together with no obligations and nowhere we needed to be. Everyone was getting hungry so we fired up the BBQ and got some hot dogs and sausages grilled up.  As we gathered around the table outside we realized there were not enough chairs for everyone.  We could have gotten stools or sat on lounges nearby but for some, the dry heat was too much.  Where the table sat outside there sat another table on the inside separated by a wall of glass, so the hot people went inside.  In a funny way it was like we were eating together.

As we on the outside sat looking in, we noticed something, we had a choice of what we looked at. When you looked you could either see someone at the table inside or you could see the reflection of yourself.  The comments going around were that it was hard to see inside because you were just seeing yourself.  I wasn’t having this problem so I looked up at my reflection and the Spirit brought a profound picture to my mind.  It was a life illustration I know I will never forget so I had to share it.

When we looked at the window we had a choice, we could look and see the others inside or we could be distracted by our own reflection and only see ourselves.  Remember the comments were they couldn’t see the others because they could only see their own reflections.

I was struck by how true this is. How many times have I missed seeing something in someone else because I was looking at myself.  For me often times it has been me obsessing about what I might have done wrong in a given situation but for others it is that they are so impressed with what they have done and still others need to be in control, they need their vision realized.  No matter what perspective a person is coming from gazing at your own reflection makes you unable to see others.

Now we could spend a whole blog on how we should spend time in reflection looking at ourself and getting God’s perspective but that is not the freedom we are discussing here we are discussing how freeing it is to look away from the reflection of ourselves and truly look at others.  God has us, He wants us to see the beauty He created in others.

God has spent years teaching me this lesson, starting with people who I did not necessarily agree with. He began, as I opened myself up, to show me what He created in these people who did things so differently than I did.  He showed me the good in who they were and what they were doing.

It is so easy to look at the weaknesses of others and miss their strengths. Only in seeing them as God created them and intended them to be, do we have any hope of loving them the way He intended.  Love cannot be manufactured that is a lie that I believe is being spread heavily right now.  Put on the face of love, act loving and this will bring about change.  But when it doesn’t? What then? Where does the face of love go? I am sure you have all seen it, it fades very quickly.

I am so thankful for this picture lesson God gave me in my quiet time. I am thankful for the freedom to see people as God designed them not as they present themselves or satan tries to distort them so I will look away.  I am thankful to be free to love in every moment not just the ones that meet my expectations.  I am thankful to be free to look away from the reflection of myself and look through the glass at the beautiful creations which God placed around me. Where are you looking today are you looking through the glass at the people God has placed in your life? Or are you looking at your own reflection?

Free from Fear

Where He is, where He leads, there is always light, there is always strength, there is always peace when I open that door

I would love to start this off today telling you I am free from fear. That Jesus has set me free and this is how you get there, but I cannot.  It isn’t because Jesus has not set me free, that is just not true.  I am free I just choose to stay in my jail cell even though I could walk right up and push the door open.

I am comfortable here in my jail cell.  No it is not pleasant, I don’t get treated well and  sometimes bad things happen, but, if I keep quiet, and eat the food I am being given I at least know what to expect for the most part.  Let’s be honest I am in jail, you can picture, it no matter how I draw it, cell-windowit is not good.

We are asked to “Throw off the fear that so easily enslaves us” (prompted by Hebrews 12:1) Why am I not doing that.  I serve the King, The sovereign God of the universe and there is so much out there He is waiting to show me.  Why do I resist?  Why do I shut the door like a child and say no?  What do I gain? Peace? Quiet?  These come to mind, but it is not really like that because it is a jail cell, little vermin are crawling around you, you can hear them even when you cannot see them.  It is hard cold and uncomfortable. You are always being confronted with why you are there. No it is neither peaceful nor quiet.

As He paints this picture while I write, I am seeing it all in a new light.  Several months ago God asked me to write, He asked me to share the journey He has set me on with others. Slowly He has been opening my mind to this and showing me His thoughts and direction.  Last night I read a post by a blog I love One September Day. The post was Brave Steps for a Quiet Heart. It was another step in my journey to freedom from fear.  Here is a mother of ten blogging and this post was Jesus speaking right to me from the honesty of this womans heart.  She spoke of her fears , of being honest, of showing the good and the bad. Everything she wrote about in this post were things the Spirit had already been saying to me.  Her post was confirmation and opened my eyes to the fact that I was not alone, I was not hearing wrong.

This morning I got some rare alone time.  I began my time writing out the things of yesterday and this morning I was thankful for, my blessings, my gifts, as another gifted woman of God (Ann Voskamp) has put it, and Jesus took my hand and walked me down this road.  He showed me the flowers waiting to bloom on the roadside and the beautiful sights I was missing as I sat in my cell or trudged down my road not looking around me.  The birds, as I wrote, were singing a literal chorus in my background I had never heard so many in all my quiet times sitting outside. I looked back at myself sitting in that jail cell and I am thinking “What am I doing? I should open it! I want to open it!” So here 2015-08-13-15-06-28I am writing, opening the door, looking outside.

As I write this post I know not all of them are going to be about me being free but about Christ freeing me.  They will sometimes be about my journey  opening the door, stepping out and looking around . They will sometimes be about my steps to freedom rather than the freedom I know.

Today I started with fear and as I wrote, the words of Jesus washed over and freed me a little more.  I am so thankful to stand in His presence and go in His direction no matter how scary. Where He is, where He leads, there is always light, there is always strength, there is always peace when I open that door. Here is to freedom from fear!

 

An Avenue of Renewal

The passionate feelings we feel in the physical world are but a shadow of what we have with Him.

Marriage for me has been a gift. A main avenue through which the Spirit works to renew and transform my mind.  The parallels that run through marriage and our life with Himsillhoutte-couple run deep.   They are  a training ground of spiritual expression.   Even as I write this I am astounded by a revelation as He opens my mind to a deeper truth of something He has been teaching me for years!

My spouse can never fulfill me the way the Spirit can.  He can never meet my needs at the deepest level the way Jesus can and wants to.  Song of Solomon is expressed the way it is on purpose.  We have turned all our focus on the physical, getting our needs met, making sure we are happy and with people who build us up.  That puts a lot of pressure on us!  I have seen posts and books about an affair proof marriage keeping your man interested in you. Now I don’t want to take away from what some of these wise women are saying, addressing certain weak areas of self focus.  I am speaking of freedom. Freedom in marriage is  a deep abiding reliance on Jesus to meet our needs.  It is a faith often so hard to grasp we are weeping at His feet, but the end of this road is a vision of grandeur. Sometimes the work He is doing isn’t on us, we are just a part of the process and in the end we get to stand in awe.  Casting our care on Him seems so clique but really only in letting go and being free do we see Him and what He is doing in our marriage and in our life.  When we are working so hard in our own power to make things work we can’t see Him.  All we see is the effort we are making and we are looking for the expected response.  This only ever leads to deception and disillusionment.  Gideon watched God work, Moses held up his hands and watched God work, Peter, Paul and the apostles laid their hands and said words. This is not work and human effort. We gain nothing on this road and in our marriage it is no different. This is not a new story or a new way.

So let’s put down our expectations. Let’s be free and look around and see what God is doing. Is your spouse not saying what you need or want to hear right now or some other loved one? Let’s live free to ask why.  I am loved, I am cherished where is this darkness coming from. Should I speak to it? Can I express love in the face of it? So often for me the answer is no. The best I can do is hold tightly to my control and not respond. Let me tell you I fail often! What should I be in prayer about?  So often I can see how my spouse should be handling our relationship differently and what His best behavior is but really the question comes back to me?  This is really between God and I. The spiritual manifests itself in the physical and satan just amps it up makes it bigger than it is.  heavens

So today I am going to take a moment and sit before Jesus and listen to the Spirit.  What does He want me to see? What army is He conquering while I am looking the other way and complaining about what I don’t have? Today I am going to look freedom in the face and see the chains the Spirit wants to break. The chains that are binding me and keeping me back from loving those He has put in my life because I only infinitesimally grasp His love for me.

I am thankful for the reminder I don’t need my spouse to act in a certain way or say certain things. I can love because I am learning more each day how I am loved.  I am thankful as I have been for years that God chose to show His love for me through my spouse and then my children and He continues in so many ways.  I am thankful I am not responsible to live with the spin in my head and to rely on those around me who have their own challenges, I can rest in Jesus. When there is no clear instruction I just rest and for that I am thankful. I am thankful that as I watch Him handle these challenges in my physical realm with my spouse He takes me deeper inside of my relationship with Him where He is healing me and bringing out what He intended when He created me.

Are you challenged in your relationships? Is it hard to hear God? Is your feeling of love coming from those around you and you just are not feeling it right now?  Leave a comment and let me pray for you. This is an ongoing struggle. Let go today and open yourself up to God’s true intent for you? See the you He created.