Psalm 143:8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143:8

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Choosing joy...a repost

Chin up.  Shoulders back.  Put on the armor of God and feet forward.  I admit it...I've been wallowing in self-pity.  Sadness, depression, fear.  Allowing Satan to speak his words of lies into my heart.  Well, no more.  Satan can take his lies and keep them to himself.  I am grateful for who I am, what I have, and what my Father has in store for me.  It's a new day, full of potential.  I will pray for the one I miss each time I think of them, but I will not allow their choices to break me.  It is a new day to put on confidence in who I am in God, in what I have to offer, and to step forward and Shine for Him. 

I can do all things, through Christ, who gives me strength.  Phil 4:13

I would like to repost something here.... a post I wrote some time ago about choosing joy...

I've been thinking about joy today.  Elusive sometimes, isn't it?  And yet, it's within our reach.  It's within the moments of every day.  It's there for us to choose.  "To choose?" you might ask.  Yes, to choose.  When you wake in the morning, do you say to yourself "Today I am going to have a crummy day?  Today I choose to be grumpy.  Today I choose to look at the wrong side of the fabric and live my life with fear, anxiety and desperation.  Today I will let bitterness and anger rule in my heart."  Of course, you don't.  Who would choose to have a bad day?

On the other hand, however, how often do you get up in the morning and say "Today, I choose joy!  Today I will look at the brighter side of things.  Today I will trust God to direct my footsteps.  Today I will look on Him for all I need.  Today I will say "Yes" to His purposes for me.  Today I will be grateful for the things I have, the gifts I am blessed with, the people who grace my life."

Ok, so the first one is a little extreme.  But what if you wake in the morning and open your eyes, take a deep breath and say "Today, I choose joy."  How would that change your outlook?  Maybe just try it right now.  Breathe in deep, and as you slowly let it out let your heart say these words...."Today, I choose joy."

Today I choose to trust in God.  Today I choose to give all my trials, fears, worries to Him.  Today I choose to live a life of thankfulness.  Today I choose to love those around me with the love of God...not my own weak version of it.  Today I choose to forgive and let go of the things that hurt me.  Today I will let those who matter to me know it.  Today I will give as God would have me give.

Today, I choose joy.

I thank you, God for all you have given me.  For all that has come into my life...even for brief periods.  For those that leave gaping holes and hurts, I turn them over to You and trust that You will use those holes and hurts for good.  Thank you, Father, for forgiving me and for holding me fast in Your righteous and strong right hand.  Help me now to move forward, eyes on the goal...Your goal. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

To live like this....

This was posted on the wall of the church where we stayed recently on a short mission trip.  I went with a group of high school students and a few other adults to serve in a community that is dear to my heart.  I have been there several times now...painted many homes and hugged many of the children and watched God at work. 

This quote of Mother Teresa's has been on my heart ever since.  This is how I want to love without measure.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

When accepting grace is hard...

A few years ago, I had a conversation with some very dear friends of mine about accepting help.  Seems like so much of my life I have been in the position of accepting gifts and financial help to get by...and after a while it is SOO hard to accept even one more.  I told my friends I didn't want to NEED like that any more...that I wanted to be able to be the one to GIVE.  And yet, I felt like all I ever did was take, take, take.

Fast forward to several weeks ago.  I had a visitor at my house who offered to fix several of the things that need to be fixed around my house.  Things that are somewhat "big" tasks for me because I just don't have the knowledge or skill...but would have been "small" tasks for this friend who offered help.  I said "No" to every offer of assistance that day because I just wanted to be able to denied.... Why didn't I just accept it and let my friend help me?

Then just yesterday, I was at the grocery store.  I was in line...waiting....waiting....waiting...with my single loaf of bread in my hand.  When I sat it on the counter behind the items of the people in line ahead of me, the woman said to me "oh, go ahead of us.  We haven't stared yet and you have only one thing.  You don't have to wait on us!!"  "Oh no!" I said, "I'm fine.  I don't need to."  The look she gave me was precious!  She insisted I go ahead saying, "Just let someone do something nice!" 

I went ahead of them.  Grateful, somewhat embarrassed and feeling a little guilty.  But the smile on her face showed me that by accepting her small gift, she also received joy.

Why?  Why was it so hard to accept that tiny little bit of help?  And then I got to thinking about it a little harder....what if I had refused altogether?

How does it make us feel to offer help to someone?  I have offered the same thing many times...I love letting someone go ahead of me to make their day just a little lighter.  It's a great feeling to be helpful!  So why would I deny that feeling to someone else?  Why break the chain of spreading little bits of kindness?

A couple years ago, my family was the recipients of a "12 Days of Christmas" gift spree.  It was soooo much fun.  Each day we were surprised by a gift on our porch.  It came at different times...sometimes we were home, sometimes we were not.  Sometimes there was a knock, sometimes there wasn't.  The gifts were lovely and sometimes it was overwhelming in the sheer bounty in the package.  My kids would get so excited to see what was going to come each day.  Sometimes they tried to keep watch on the porch....but we talked about that.  Whoever was doing this wanted to remain anonymous.  The joy we received by accepting these gifts was, I am quite sure, matched by the joy the giver received to leave those packages.  I imagined them laughing along with us as we unwrapped each item and shared our excitement with each other.  And I encouraged my children not to ruin their fun by trying to "catch" them.

Accepting help has a tendency to make us feel weak, vulnerable, guilty, indebted.  How can I ever pay back some of the kindnesses that have been offered to me and my family?  In a lot of ways, I can't.  I cannot tell you how many Christmases I have been able to buy gifts for my children....ONLY because of the kindness of friends and sometimes even secret gift-givers.  I may never be able to afford to give monetarily like I have received...but I CAN give in so many other ways - my time, my place in line, extras I may have, my talents and skills and abilities, listening...and sometimes, just sitting silently by and quietly offering a shoulder or a hand and no words.

I think that God uses these moments as teaching moments for us.  It is not a weakness to need help once in a while.  It is a part of life.  Sometimes we simply receive.  And the moment will come when we can also give.  Grace.  Always grace.  God provides opportunities for both.  It's what we do with those opportunities that counts. 

And so I move gratefully for the gifts I receive...and the gifts I can give....

Intense love does not measure, it only gives.      ~Mother Teresa

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Singin on Sunday

He is faithful forever....lift your hands...and believe again....

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Words for today...

These are the words that God speaks to me over and over since Thursday....

I will let them do all the talking today....

Isaiah 41:9-10

9 you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:13

13 For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.”


Friday, July 13, 2012

Who Am I Really? (Or...Letting Go of the Lies....again)

I have a confession to make....I have had a really rotten couple of days.  Really rotten.  And in these last couple of days I have had to do some letting go.  That I REALLY did not want to do.  And it hurts and it brings back all those voices in my head that tell me over and over that I am not enough, I am worthless, I am a fool, I am stupid and ugly and, and, and.....  I feel like I am drowning in an ocean of horrible cold tendrils reaching out and pulling me under....

And I wonder why?  Why do I let the Enemy speak to me?  Why do I let his voice have precedence in my head??  Why do I listen to his hiss and let those words take hold of my heart?  Why do I believe that's who I am?

In the search box on the right, type in the words letting go of lies.  This will give you a list of posts where I share some of these lies that I have allowed to be truths in my life.  These lies that I supposedly laid at the foot of the cross....NOT to take up again.  But guess what?  In my human frailty, I crawled right back over there and put each one of them back in my pocket.  You know what??  I think they grew there in my pocket....

The time has come to lay them down again.  To tell the Teller of Lies to go away.  To let the Light of the World shine on my heart and illuminate the very darkness that tries to dwell there.  Time to send that ancient serpent slithering away and to fall into the arms of my Savior who loves me with no conditions, with grace and forgiveness.  Time to be confident in who I am in Christ.

In the book by Sarah Young titled Jesus Calling, I read these words today...."Instead of trying to "fix" yourself, fix your gaze on Me, the Lover of your soul.  Rather than using your energy to judge yourself, redirect it to praising Me.  Remember that I see you clothed in My righteousness, radiant in My perfect Love." 

So, who am I really?  I am beloved.  I am daughter of the King.  I am beautiful, radiant, worthy, whole, forgiven, saved, sealed, and enough.  In the eyes of man?  Doesn't matter what the world thinks or says.  In the eyes of God?  I matter.  Period.

Are you struggling with lies today?  Are you struggling to "fix" yourself because you think don't measure up to someone else's standards, or even your own?  Let it all go.  Fix your gaze on the One who truly loves you and know that you truly matter to Him.  He desires relationship with you, and for you to let go of the lies that hold you down...the old hurts, the new hurts, the things by which you think others judge you, the things by which you judge yourself.

Who are you really?  You are His.  And so am I.  And how dare I say I don't matter?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What's your foundation?

Funny how things come up repeatedly.  This topic was in a conversation I had with a friend, in the Bible verses in my reading plan this morning, in the old sermon notes of my son's found in a file in my office this I'm thinking it's a divine suggestion of a topic to ponder... 

Let's start with the Bible verses....Luke 6:46-49

Build Your House on the Rock

46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

As I read these words this morning, I thought of the song that we sing at Sunday school with the little ones.  Do you know it?  Can you hum it along with me?  "The foolish man built his house upon the sand, the foolish man built his house upon the sand, the foolish man built his house upon the sand...and the rains came a-tumblin' down.  Well, the rains came down and the floods came up, the rains came down and the floods came up, the rains came down and the floods came up, and the house on the sand went splat!"  The children smack their hands together and laugh at the "splat."   But really, it's not so funny is it?  

 What's my foundation?  What do I build my life on?  If I build on the I building it on sands that shift, sink...don't hold firm when the storms of life come upon my life-house?  What happens when the rain falls?  When I can't see through the storm.  If I have built my life on money, other people, my job, my home...the things of this world....then what supports me when the storm crashes in?  Does the money make everything better?  Do the people stand firm and support me no matter what happens?  Does my job always stay to give me security?  Are my worldly goods and material things going to keep me going?  Money and jobs and homes and stuff don't always last.  People, even well-intentioned people who love us, are only human and they sometimes fail us.  Can I stand alone against the storm?  Can I do it by myself?  

Sometimes I'd like to say yes!  I am strong.  I can go it alone.  I don't need anyone or anything to help me.  But then come the long, dark and stormy nights, the moments when I feel I have no hope....there is pain, and fear...dark and unrelenting.   The walls are crashing down. The stuff is gone.  The people are gone.  And I am.....alone, weak.  And I can't do it by myself.  

Sing with me again.... "The wise man built his house upon the rock, the wise man built his house upon the rock, the wise man built his house upon the rock and the rains came a-tumblin' down.  Well, the rains came down and the floods came up, the rains came down and the floods came up, the rains came down and the floods came up...and the house on the rock stood firm!"  Ahh....the Word says the man who comes to God, hears His words and does them is like a man who digs deep and builds his house on a firm foundation of rock.  If I build my life on my Rock....I cannot be shaken.   Look...this is beautiful, the words of Psalm 62:2....

2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

He alone is my rock....I shall not be greatly shaken. Yes.  When I build my life on the Rock...the One who is my Father, my Creator, my Protector...when I look to the Son who is my Savior, my Redeemer...when I listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit who is my Comforter, my Guide, my Intercessor....what have I to fear?  Yes, the storms will still come.  Yes, I may lose all my stuff.  Yes, the people in my life may not be able or willing to step up in that moment.  Yes, I may bend...but I won't break.  And even if I do??  God is there to pick me up, hold me tight and put me back on firm ground.  He is my foundation.  My source of strength, hope, salvation, and joy.  

Shall we finish the song?  "So build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ, build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ, build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ, and the blessings will come down.  Well, the blessings come down as the prayers go up, the blessings come down as the prayers go up, the blessings come down as the prayers go up, so build your life on the Lord."  

We don't have to go it alone.  We don't have to rely on the things of this world, or even ourselves.  Just God.  He's the foundation that holds us firm, that keeps us living a life of hope.