Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Sweet Call of God

The other day I walked by a deep red cardinal who began to sing a sweet melody. As I listened, I discovered that another cardinal always responded to him with the same song. Someone told me that cardinals are monogamous and that the male always protects the female. They call to know the location of the other.

I don't know if this is true, but as they continued calling to each other, I thought about how God calls us, saying "Here I am, My beloved! I am here with you just as I promised." With a sweet song God can comfort our hearts, minds and souls. Whenever I see a cardinal, I like to think that it is God letting me know He is with me wherever I go and in spite of what I believe my life, vocation, appearance, etc. are like, all is well. This simple reminder always brings a smile to my face and a prayer of thanksgiving.

For today, I encourage you to take notice of the longing in your heart and soul. What is it crying out for? Ask God to call to you now and reveal His deepest desires for you. He promises to be found when He is sought (Jeremiah 29:13). Trust that He will reveal the longing within you and bless you with joy in its fulfillment (Ephesians 3:16-19). Don't be surprised if He reveals that He simply wants time alone with you. Enjoy!

Throughout His Word, God shares His longing for us and calls us with promises of protection, rest, provision and love - everything we need for living. Imagine His delight when we respond!

For reflection:
"I have summoned you by name; you are Mine. Do not be afraid, for I am with you." Isaiah 43:1

"Come all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness." Jeremiah 31:3

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Missing the Light

One of our ceiling lights had blown out and as I moved the ladder towards it, I noticed a long cobweb running from it. I thought, how did we miss it in our cleaning? Simple, we didn't look up!

I thought about this in regards to my relationship with God. I am not aware of the light until there is darkness and I am not aware of the cobwebs until I look up. When I look up, remove the dust and darkness there is light.

In living each day, we are more often focused on who or what is at our feet and around us, forgetting to take much needed time to look up. How my perspective changes when I take my eyes off of myself, my desires, needs, wants and circumstances and look to my heavenly Father! I am usually comforted and encouraged because like Motel 6, the light is always on.

May God be the Light you need today. May He comfort and bless you where you are. Receive and rest in His warm embrace.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the reminder to look up to You where I am and with all that I am. You are merciful and loving and as You promised, You can always be found when we seek You. Your children need you more and more every day, Lord. Be the Light we need. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

God - The More We Need

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work...Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. " (2 Corinthians 9:8, 10-11)

Church and the fellowship that followed was full of lessons today. For years I have struggled with a lack mentality and once again, came to a point where I begged God to set me free. As usual, spiritual warfare ensued and I could not find relief or peace for the remainder of this past week.

When I arrived at church today, every worship song was about rejoicing in the Lord for all He has done and for who He is - Living Water. After worship, one of our pastors stood up and shared a story about how her children had been graciously and respectfully sharing a bottle of fruit punch. When they got near the end of the bottle, one of her children decided to finish it all which sent the other children into a tizzy. Our pastor kept telling her children to look at her and hear her words. "There is more in the refrigerator." She shared that oftentimes we cling to what we have and hold back in giving because of our lack or fear of loss. But God wants us to know that there is more. He has more for us. He is the More we need. Talk about a different perspective! I needed to see God in a new light as my Provider. I knew He was, but today I had a better understanding of Ephesians 3:20. I know in my head that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all I could ask or imagine, but I needed to know that truth within me.

Later in the service our senior pastor preached John 4:7-10 about the meeting between Jesus and the woman at the well. Our pastor shared that Jesus will meet us in our dry places and be the tall drink we need. He will stoop deep for us to be filled and at peace. That is why Jesus extended His invitation to rest (Mt 11:28-30). He knew about the dry places, our position in the spiritual tug-of-war and how weak we become in the battle. He is our refuge and He will go to the ends of the earth even if all we can do is cry out, "Help me!" I cried out last night, praying for peace and to be set free from the oppressive stronghold of a lack mentality. I want to be sold out for Him. I want to stand in strength and confidence in Him, but last night I could not where I was. How gracious and merciful He is!

Heavenly Father, thank you for relief, peace, rest and freedom. Thank you for quenching my thirst and for Your promise of more. Know that I am truly grateful for all that You have given me, but know even more, that I love You for You have been what I needed right when I needed it. Be glorified and honored. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

And We Learn to Sing

"If we have God's assurance behind us, the most amazing strength becomes ours, and we learn to sing, glorifying Him..." My Utmost for His Highest

No matter what circumstances, disappointing or seemingly hopeless situations we encounter, we can learn to sing. We can sing hymns of praise and psalms that speak of our despair or heartbreak and sin. Either way, we can learn to sing.

In the duties of our day, a song comes to mind. Lift it up to Him. When we wake in the morning and there is a song playing in our heads, lift it up to Him. Let it flow. Let it be. It honors Him, comforts and delights Him.

Let us rejoice and sing because of who He is! Let us rejoice and sing because He is always with us! Let us rejoice and sing because He has sustained and delivered us! Rejoice and sing because He showed up and showed off!

Sing, just because...


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Failure - Stay or Grow Forward?

I was reading John Ortberg's book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat, for the fifth or sixth time and realized that "failure" is okay. It provides me a choice - I can stay where I am, dreaming of what I could do or be, or I could learn and grow forward.

I have been stuck in a comfort zone for four years. The first two were necessary because I was so burned out from working in the retail industry for 24 years where no matter how hard you try, if you don't achieve the goals set before you, you are not good enough. During that time period, I watched a lot of dreams die, so by the end of those years I had nothing left to give. So I rested and got comfortable. Now, it is time to step out in faith again in my business/ministry, relationships and other areas of my life. I have stepped out in faith before, but things didn't turn out the way I had planned which equals failure in the eyes of many. What Ortberg teaches about failure is that it does not shape us; it is how we respond to it that shapes us (p. 24). This means that when life and plans don't work out, I can choose to give up or I can choose to feel disappointment, hurt and frustration, learn from what didn't work, celebrate what did and grow forward.

Today we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has given us new life, freedom from unbelief, fear of public humiliation and stuck-itis. Will I choose to follow Him and receive the more He has for me or will I choose to stay safe? I want to be free and experience the joy that comes with living His life for me instead of living in the fear of failure.

Lord, help me nail my shame and fear to the Cross of Christ and leave it there! Move me to step out in faith and if bridges have to be burned or the boat has to sink leaving me no choice but to move forward, so be it. Strengthen me. Help me keep my eyes on You. Help me be who You created me to be for Your glory and honor. In Jesus' name, Amen.