Monday, March 26, 2012

Not Yet Time

Are your plans God's plans or are they your wants? Is that project you are working on His or is it something you are doing because you want the end result to be a certain way? We are used to things in life being in our hands, in our control and working as planned. Past experience of waiting on God takes too long and the end result never comes, it shows up and we don't want it anymore, or it turns out to be totally different and we don't know what to do with it.

We strive to live 24/7 to achieve the "shoulds" in life. Controlling our plans leaves us exhausted. We work to keep our eyes and hands on every body and every thing involved. If we don't, one slip could cause our plans to tumble and fall. Then we would be left with nothing, or so we believe.

With all the work we have put into our plans and the fruition of our desires, we have a hard time understanding times of waiting on the Lord. When we have had confirmations, been commissioned, received visions and support from others but are not seeing the desired results, we become fearful, frustrated, angry, uncertain and disappointed. There is a possibility that what we want may not happen. Yet, we want what we want when we want it, especially if we have worked hard for it.

Life with Christ is the exact opposite. What would happen if we didn't hold on tightly? What would happen if we decided we wanted something but did not plan or set goals for it? What would happen if we just trusted God to bring our desire to pass in His own time? After all, He claims He is in control and nothing happens without His knowledge. If we were to accept that, then what do we do in the meantime? Surely there has to be something for us to do because, well, we're supposed to be doing something all the time. If we aren't, then we're lazy. Besides, God would not and could not give us the dreams in our hearts if we did not help Him or take control of the plans. Or could He?

The Bible is full of characters who took matters into their own hands because of unbelief, impatience, and/or peer pressure. We have Abraham and Sarah who decided to have a baby through Sarah's maid instead of waiting for God's timing for their son, Isaac. There is Peter who rebukes Jesus when He declares His impending death, not understanding that Christ's purpose was death.

In these instances and our own circumstances, if we look we will see that our waiting is simply because it is not yet time. I am learning that life is not about all we can get, do or be. We were created to live in relationship with God. Period. Our getting, doing and being are by-products of that relationship, not its purpose.

Waiting is not the norm in this world. Being still is equated with laziness. Yet, being still in the Lord, even while we are in the midst of an activity or in time alone with Him, gives us the ability to receive and manage the fruition of our plans, dreams and desires when they do come. Waiting is frightening because we are used to going and afraid of what people will think if we are not. But being still is sweeter. The peace of God is in that place of waiting. The presence of God is in that place of waiting. The answers, the truth and the path to take are in our waiting.

When done for the Lord's sake, our waiting will never be in vain.

Be blessed,

"Be still, and know that I am God..." Psalm 46:10

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Obeying God's Nudges

Sometimes you just don't know. Sometimes God surprises you when you least expect it, but what He surprises us with is oftentimes an answer to prayer. We can never know when or how God will answer our prayers, but we can trust that He will.

I am finding that when I obey His nudges and do what He is urging me to do, a prayer is answered. Last week I had been praying for direction and assistance for my business. On Sunday morning, God kept nudging me to attend a different church for service and worship. I scrambled to get ready and arrived at what I thought would be late. But God always knows who and what we need when we need them. Throughout the service He answered prayers and provided an opportunity to worship and fellowship with new and seasoned friends.

I have read that it is important to be open to and aware of God's presence, being in a statement of expectation. He always comes in unexpected ways which may be why the Bible says we should be ready in and out of season. This passage was meant to remind us of the importance of being prepared to share the Gospel at any time as we may be brought before someone who needs to hear it. I also think this passage means that we should always be prepared for God to speak to and live through us.

What an honor it is knowing that God wants to meet us and be with us at all times. What an even greater honor to know that He will always be found when we choose to seek Him. Finding Him in the details of my day is where my joy is. Seeing how He meets me is a delight and knowing that He wants to always leaves me in awe.

I am often asked how I could be so in love with Jesus. My answer is that it took a long time and took me making the decision to believe Him. I am no where near perfect and there are moments of every day where I allow fear, worry and unbelief to settle in. But God is good and He has a way of reminding me of His goodness. I then have to decide if I want to stay in a place of turmoil or do I want what He has for me instead.

My experience may seem silly, but I have and am living in a better place emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I have lived in the dark hole of depression and despair. I have spent months and years in oppressive depression, tension, anger and frustration. It is by the grace and power of God working in and through me that I am able to experience relief, healing and freedom from the pain of darkness.

Everyone's journey is different, but God is the same all the time. He is and always will be present, providing, directing, correcting and loving. We have to decide if we want to believe Him, receive Him and follow His nudges.

Be blessed.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why Would and How Could He Love Me?

God loves me. I know this, not just because the Bible says so, but because He has said so. He has whispered answers to prayers in the midst of my struggles and laying down of burdens. He has placed delightful surprises in the midst of my cares and concerns. He has led me to Scripture verses that spoke what I mean to Him.

When I ask Him why He answers, "Because I want to. Because I can no matter what you believe you are. Because My heart melts when I look at you. I know you don't understand why or how, and that's okay. There are things I do that you will never grasp, so sometimes you will have to let go of your need for understanding and just accept that I do what I do.

As My child, you are much more than you believe yourself to be. I know this is hard for you to receive or believe, but someday you will. I tell you, don't worry about when or how, because it is something that only I can work in and through you. The only thing you can do is let go. Your belief and understanding will come in My time and in My way.

You are in My hands and on this earth because I want you to do and be something for Me. I know you are struggling and the tension and oppression are often too strong to bear. Living is difficult when you don't know why you are here or what you are supposed to do. Know that I am taking care of everything and in due time, you will know and see your why's answered.

I am asking you to endure in trust and patience. I know it's hard and I know you don't know how much more you can take. Take a deep breath; and then one more. Now lean on Me one more time.

I know these words are hard to receive, but know that I do love you because I want to. In the same way you seek companionship, love and intimacy with another, I seek companionship, love and intimacy with you."

On the days when I don't know what I am to be doing or where I am supposed to be on this journey, I listen for God. Even if I can't see or receive His words, I can take a deep breath and go one step further.

When you can't see or don't understand, please stop and listen. I promise He will whisper something good.

In Him,

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

To Follow - Lay Down and Deny

For the past few days I have been stuck on Matthew 16:24 where Christ tells us that if anyone wants to follow Him, they must deny themselves and take up their cross. Each day I ask myself a different question that comes to mind after I read this verse. Christ's instruction to deny ourselves and associate with Him requires a willingness that at times, cannot be fathomed. Sometimes we have to accept that we will never understand the depths we must go in order to serve Him. No matter what, we must go.

When Jesus says I must deny myself in order to follow Him, I discover that this may require me to let go of dreams, desires and even the fulfillment of some needs. But as I do this, I discover that greater works are accomplished because I have decreased - gotten out of His way - so that His plans can be fulfilled. I may play a part in fulfilling those plans, but the greater result could only come from Him.

This journey of denying ourselves and taking up our crosses for Christ can leave us bombarded with choices that may fulfill opportunities in this world. Do we go by the world's standards for fulfillment or Christ's? Do we do what is good or do we do what is beneficial for God, others and ourselves?

My choice to follow Christ has brought me under alignment with the calling/purpose/place He has created for me as a disciple. I have been in this place for some time and it feels huge, wide open and a blur because there is so much possibility and great potential. At times, this place can be overwhelming, to the point that I have been uncertain as to which steps to take next. So I take small steps in different directions, which for someone who likes to have everything clear and in place, this is chaotic. This often comes with an uneasy feeling as I am afraid my ducks are not in a row, I will miss something and someone will be disappointed.

I want to do so much for the Lord. I want to feed His sheep through words that inspire, bring new life and transform. My heart wants Him delighted and His children devoted to Him. My prayer is that I will be a vessel that makes a difference day in and day out. May He inhabit me so that I am a form of light, comfort, beauty and grace in the midst of the world's turmoil. This is not for my recognition but for His. I have never known a love like His and everyone should have this for themselves. There is nothing like it!

I pray you will seek Him and answer His call, that deep longing within your heart. Know that there are many who have made the choice to take up their cross and that you will not be alone. Be encouraged and take the step forward into Him.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Comparison and Calling

Why do we spend time comparing ourselves to each other? What on earth do we each have that the other wants bad enough to do almost anything to have it? We spend money on clothes, beauty products and other material items. We go to conference after conference, buy book after book hoping for the key that will unlock exactly what we want or the true path to achieving it all. We drive ourselves crazy and in some cases become obsessed with getting who and/or what we want at any cost.

Is this comparison frenzy worth the cost? Is it worth going to jail for? Is it worth getting into debt? Is the physical and/or emotional pain due to loss, heartbreak, or change worth it? When you achieve or receive what you want, are you pleased, happy, overjoyed, or are you overwhelmed, disappointed, scared? What do you do after you have what you want? What's next to chase after?

For me, comparison has been an enemy all of my life. It has kept me from moving forward to try new things, speak the truth when the situation arises, stand strong for myself and pursue dreams. When I compare myself to someone else who looks the way I would like to or is doing something that I long to do, I work myself into an anxious place because I know I can do what they are doing or look the way they look. I think it is in my ability to achieve and have what they have and if I just work a little harder, discipline myself a little more, I know I can get there. The solution will come. God said all things are possible, so there has to be a way.

I forget that I was created in His image for His purposes, not mine. When the Apostle Peter asks Jesus what would happen to the Apostle John, Jesus said, "...what is that to you?!...You must follow Me"(Jn 21:20,22). To achieve the deep longings within, longings that come from Jesus in me, I have to keep my eyes on Him. He calls each of us to feed His sheep, not measure up to or out do them.

Instead of focusing on what other people are called to do, I must focus on the Lord and the plan He has for me. I am to remain faithful to the call He has placed on my life, not the one He placed on someone else. I can still learn from others because we all have something good to offer each other. But I must remember that my uniqueness has a purpose, and it is His.

Remembering that I am chosen, a co-heir, predestined for a particular work that He works through me, helps me get back on track. As I faithfully use the gifts and talents He has given me, I find that opportunities arise where I get to do what I long to do and be who I long to be. I trust Him instead of what others have to say about getting ahead. He opens doors that no human being could open on their own.

All things are possible, but only with God. We have to choose who we will follow and at what cost.