Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Living It Out-Day 12-Unconditionally Loved

"God loves you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be, because nobody is as they should be."            ~Brennan Manning

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Living It Out-Day 11-Derailed In The Name Of Religion

Every once in awhile you will hear about a train that derailed and got off track from the original course.  It doesn't happen often, thankfully, but it's bad news when it does.  The Lord had given the priests their direct orders through the law and they were disobedient, leading the people incorrectly, representing God in the worst way.  If they had done what the Lord had told them, the people would've followed their lead for the good and would've been blessed.  God repeatedly called them to return and repent.  Getting off course when you have a track to guide you means there is a miscue or a command that isn't respected.  Obedience is forgotten.

Living It Out:  Make sure those you follow are leading you correctly by Godly example or you will be swayed by their path of derailment. 

The tribe of Levi had been set apart as priests but they departed from doing what was right and caused the people to stumble.  These "men of God" were derailed in the name of religion and weren't showing the people the right image of God's Law.  God had given them His requirement earlier in Leviticus but they didn't heed the command.

 Leviticus 21:7 and 8
".....because priests are holy to their God.  Regard them as holy because they offer up the food of your God.  Consider them holy, because I the Lord am holy-I who make you holy."
Living It Out:  Apart from Him we can do nothing.  Only the Holy Spirit can change us and make us holy.

Derailment is easy because distractions and things of the world look so enticing and are at our disposal, here and now.  As Christians, we are to live for eternity and what is to come, a better world. 
Living It Out:  All of us can stumble at any time.  Work at staying strong so you don't lose the eternal battle for the temporary pleasures of this life.  The Israelites and others that have gone before us serve as an example.  Some of our biggest obstacles are lies straight from Satan who wants to derail us.

1 Peter 5:8 and 9
"Be self controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith"....

Friday, October 18, 2013

Living It Out-Day 10-Derek Jeter, wwhhhaatt?

After the postings on blemished sacrifices and spiritual compromise (I could've written many more), I was thinking I wanted to write something lighter when, last night, my dream seemed to have the answer!

In the dream my youngest son, Aaron, who is now 21, is 4 or 5.  While I'm laying on the bed, he comes in to talk to me and informs me that for Christmas the family doesn't know what to give me so they have decided they are going to give me a plated Derek Jeter footprint!  Now, I come from a house of men who are all into sports and though I have received a couple of gifts that weren't top on my list, I gotta say this one kind of blew me away and NOT for the better!

I wish in this dream I was composed when I answered my son, but, unfortunately, the response was pretty true to my nature.  The conversation went something like this:

Me, aghast with horror, "What do you mean a footprint of Derek Jeter"?  My attitude was totally less than grateful!

Aaron replies calmly, "Mom, that's no way to react.  It's a sacrificial gift and we have done our best! 

I woke laughing thinking about God meeting my need for some humor but still weaving the concepts of Malachi within my night thoughts.  I was reminded about the Israelites wanting more when they went back into Judah and my hope for more than a plated Derek Jeter footprint for Christmas.  I was also reminded that in all things it's about the sacrifice of the heart.

For the record, my family isn't a fan of Derek Jeter so I'm really praying this will never come to pass!

Living It Out:   If your family decides to give you a plated Derek Jeter footprint for Christmas, don't react as though it's a blemished sacrifice!

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Living It Out-Day 9-Worship as Adoration

 "Worship as adoration of God is a distinctive activity;  it embraces both understanding and emotions, the whole person in the presence of the God of creation and redemption. ...Even so, this does not mean turning away from the world.  It involves, rather, the right perception of how God relates to the world, and the world to God.  In such a framework, worship, embracing both adoration and action, is nothing but the outworking of God centeredness in the individual and corporate experience of the people of God."   ~D.A.Carson

Monday, October 14, 2013

Living It Out-Day 8-Moldy Bologna and Brown Bananas Anyone?

"In light of moldy bologna and brown bananas the priests were offering up in the temple, they didn't have any enthusiasm for their jobs either.  Instead of happily frying up the fattest chickens in the churchyard for God, they were throwing greasy nuggets into paper bags and shoving them across the counter, not even looking up to acknowledge the King they were serving." 
                                                       ~Lisa Harper Malachi, A Love That Never Lets Go

Living It Out:  Watch what you are serving the King.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Living It Out-Day 7-Checking for Spiritual Compromise

Pollution is the introduction of a contaminant, something defiled and compromised.  It could be anything from noise pollution to air pollution to water pollution and more.  But today as I read the scripture and pondered how to blog "Living It Out",  I am challenged not by the contamination of the environment but measuring to see if I have any spiritual compromise.

In Malachi 1:6 and 7 the Lord is explaining to the priests in Israel that they have despised or shown contempt for the name of the Lord.  Yes, that's right, it was the priests!  They replied by asking the Lord, "How"?  "How have we shown contempt for your name?"

He told them because you have placed "polluted food, defiled food" on the altar.  The priests were responsible for offerings that had no defect, the offerings were to be without blemish.  They were giving God less than perfect sacrifices.

It's crazy to think we want God to give us HIS best, HIS blessing to us, yet, we offer Him a blemished offering of ourselves.

At least, I know I don't always give Him the best of me. 

You might ask how?  By not putting Him first, by not placing my all on the altar.  Do I want Him more than anything in this world?  Do I desire to know Him above all else?

Romans 12:1  from the message Bible says it best:

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you:  Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering."

Living It Out:  Let us ask the Lord to check for Spiritual Compromise within our lives or any area of a blemished sacrifice.  And then, place our lives daily before Him as an offering, even in the everyday, ordinary life.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Living It Out-Day 6-Due Respect

"Living It Out" thought for today:
As parents, we expect obedience and respect from our children, after all, look what we've done for them!  We say, even if only to ourselves, we've given you shelter, fed you, raised you for all these years and you owe it to us to show honor.  How easily our defenses become more about us than having the attitude of Christ and showing our children the character of God.
God is so gracious to not have that same mindset with us when we do not show Him the honor and respect He more than deserves.
 Malachi 1:6, "A son honors his father, and a servant his master.  If I am a master, where is the respect due me?, says the Lord Almighty."
Curly girl question today for "Living It Out"....
Do I give you the Lord the same respect and honor I expect from my children?  Others?  How much greater it should be than even that!  Great is the Lord and worthy to be praised!  Selah

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Living It Out-Day 5-Does Your Spirit Need To Be Lifted?

"Living It Out"-Today just focus on this:  "Great is the Lord"!

Do you remember the old hymn  "How Great Thou Art"?  Proclaim with me today, "My God, how great thou art!"  Feel your spirit within you well up at the words you speak.

There is no limit to what God can or will do on your behalf if you are a child of the King and follow Him.  Is there an area today where you might be thinking I can't do that, I'm not good enough, or it will never happen?

I have many of those places and am no expert on having this conquered.  I falter and waffle faster than you can blink but when I speak His name and remember how great He is, it changes my view at that moment.

The people of Israel were doubting God.  They had moved back to their home land expecting more than what they saw. They desired more and were discouraged.

God told the Israelites He would take care of the land of Edom by destroying them, and, when He did, Israel would acknowledge Him as Lord!  A change would take place in their spirit and they would see Him as He truly is, great and mighty.

The circumstances became bigger at that moment for the Israelites than their God.  He reminds them to change their perspective.

It is a constant battle to remember that this life isn't about me or what I'm going through but how great the Lord is!  He know my concerns and will deal with them.

When our focus stays where it belongs, we will see and acknowledge how great is the Lord!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Living It Out-Day 4-Let Him Be the Master Builder

P R I D E.....

We can have pride in a team (Go Braves), pride in our accomplishments, pride in our children, but, pride isn't necessarily a good thing.  The Bible has a lot to say about this 5 letter word that creeps into our heart.  And just for the record, it's the lesson I most need to learn and relearn from the scriptures.  Pride comes before a fall, so watch out!

Malachi 1:4  reads:
'Edom may say, "Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins." 
      But this is what the Lord Almighty says:  "They may build but I will demolish."

In this scripture, Edom (the geographical location) was relying on her own strength.  She was prideful in saying what she WILL DO on her own despite what was God's Sovereign will or plan for the nation.  Edom had been destroyed and planned to rebuild.  God reminded them, that, in fact, even if they did rebuild, they would be demolished, wiped out.  This is the story of the two nations of Israel and Edom.  One receiving blessing and one cursing.

The two nations came from Jacob and Esau, the two twins that the Bible prophesied would be at war with one another.  On Day 3, I wrote that through God's Sovereign will, Jacob became the nation of Israel which was chosen and blessed by God as a nation and Esau became the land of Edom.  Edom had been destroyed and was adamant would come back with a vengeance.

God basically said you can do what you want but I have control, "They may build but I will demolish". 

One of the key lessons the Bible speaks on is that of pride and denying self.  As a whole, we humans are independent and stubborn, like these Edomites, wanting to do things our way without the intervention of a God who has all knowledge.  We want to be our own Master but true freedom comes when we surrender our lives to the One who controls all things.  I don't think we understand this principle until we realize His life must come out of us, not our own.  1 Corinthians 4:7 reminds us, "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."  We must be broken (of ourselves) and poured out (all Him) for others before He can use us and before we are able to experience true freedom.

"Living It Out":

Instead of being so determined to do it our way, we should ask Him before we build something (our lives, our homes, our future, our career, our families) and allow Him to be the Master Builder
           WE SAY :   "though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins" 
GOD SAYS:  "They may build but I will demolish."
If you are a Christ Follower, the daily trials He gives us are to profit us, not harm us. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Living It Out-Day 3-Only God


Living It Out....Curly Girl NEEDS grace and God is Sovereign, therefore, He knows.

Only God can mend a broken heart.
Only God can heal a leper.
Only God can perform miracles.
Only God can restore a marriage.
Only God can provide peace.
Only God can satisfy the deepest need.
Only God can raise the dead.
Some things in the Bible are a mystery they say, unexplainable, we won't know until we get to heaven.  Accept it by faith.
How is one brother loved, one hated?
Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated.
Only God because He is Sovereign and because I don't know all things, I must leave it to a God who does.
This teaches me to trust.
Since a Sovereign God knows the heart of man, His decisions are based on
His foreknowledge.  After Esau sold his inheritance for a bowl of soup, when he wanted to receive the blessing, he was rejected.  He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.
Only God knows the heart of man.
He is Sovereign, I am not.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Living It Out-Day 2-True Love

Graciously, the Lord told the Israelites that He loved them.  Oh, how we all want to be loved, to be known and received just as we are.  Here, in Malachi 1:2, God tells them He has always loved them and the tone of the people when they answer is anything but respectful. 

"How have you loved us?", they ask, in disbelief.  The promises they were expecting about their kingdom had not happened upon their return to Judah. The blessings they awaited, specifically, the Lord, had not yet manifested.  They had returned from Babylon many years ago and still they were waiting.  And while they remained, they became slack in the things of God.  I can almost hear the tone of the disgruntled lot, the indignation in their voices.

Living It Out for Today:  Do I become disgruntled and indignant when I am waiting on God to bring something about that He has placed in my heart, something I need or desire?  Am I being slack in my Christian walk, more focused on me than on Him?

In fact, my heart sinks as I muse that I probably sound like they did when I think He has forgotten me or not answered a request I might ask.  His promises are supposed to remind me of what I need to think on.  But you know what I do instead of focusing on the promises from the Bible?  Like the Israelites, I often question and doubt my Lord and put my thoughts on the situations of life. You see, I'm no different.  I live now, they lived then, but I'm a lot like them.  Nothing has changed on the human scope of life-we still question and walk in disbelief rather than confidence and trust. 

Living It Out:  When He says to believe, I must do it in faith, in Him not me.

If God looked down from heaven and told me He loved me, unless I was having a really spiritual day, I might react as the Israelites did.  I like to see and feel things.  I want LIVING proof of the spiritual realities the Bible says is true.  But, the Christian walk is all about walking in faith not sight.  In my flesh, if life isn't treating me well, I might think just like they did.  Instead of focusing on God and His love for me, believing He is for me not against me, I'd probably focus on my circumstances and the whirlwind of life-marriage, kids, bills, sickness, hurts.

God told them He loved them in the Old Testament, and we continue to see it in the New Testament.  He is consistent and true to His Word.  1 John 3:1 "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!" 

Living It Out:  What a privilege to be called His child!  Just as God had an inheritance for the Israelites, so He has for His children today.  He wants us to bask in that love, walk confidently moment by moment realizing He is with us and has eternity waiting for us.   In a world that offers nothing of permanence, we can hang on to His promises that will never fade or be blown like the wind.

Your true worth and legitimacy all come from the One who has always loved you and always will.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

You have a burden, He's got you covered

 LIVING  IT  OUT...What does the Old Testament book of Malachi have to do with you and me?  Spend 31 days with Curly Girl Meets Grace and you will discover what the prophet spoke in 430 B.C.  (or so)  has relevance for our lives in 2013, practical tips and guidance for our hurried lives in a messed up world.  Slow down, take a breath, and follow along as we see the hand of God throughout all time speaks the same message for us today.

The opening line of Malachi 1:1, "An oracle:  The word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi", indicates Malachi heard directly from the Lord and this can only be done through a personal relationship, being alone in thought with the living God and hearing His voice.  A messenger must receive something before he can deliver.  A simple truth to learn from Malachi in the opening line is to take time to listen and hear from the Lord.

After hearing, we must do something. Obedience is the second step and practical truth. Malachi delivered a message to the Israelites because it was a burden, a heavy weight on his heart.  The hearing of the prophet would have meant nothing without obedience to the Word.  However, the message was so powerful, he had to speak it out.

 "When God puts a burden upon you, He puts His own arm underneath."  -Spurgeon

As a Christ Follower the message on our hearts is always to tell others about Jesus and to be LIVING IT OUT.  When He gives you the burden, He will give you the way, the strength, and the power (Eph. 1:19 & 20).  Receive it for yourself, obey, share the message with others. 

You see?  God's Word never changes and the principles endure time. 

                                                                            ~Blessings, my friends!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Meeting A New Challenge

Living It Out....How can an Old Testament book of the Bible like Malachi speak to me in todays world?  What does that look like in this century?  It's my October challenge!  Stay tuned for real life practical tips from The Word.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cinderella, Your Chariot Awaits

Have you ever noticed life doesn't always hand you a glass slipper?  I often forget that every new day brings a different set of challenges and midway through the day have to stop and remind myself that the obstacles I am facing at that moment are the very vehicle God is using in my life to conform me to His image.  For example, it could be an interruption in my schedule and God wants me to learn patience, a problem in my family and He wants better communication, or a hurtful thing someone has said and God wants me to let go of offense.  None of these are easy but there is a greater reward when I understand God has a purpose and His mode of transportation isn't always pretty.  After all, He came in on a donkey!

Whatever it is, instead of viewing the situation as a clunker, I need to remind myself it's a chariot that takes me to a deeper place of sanctification.  If you don't have a glass slipper, just remember it might be a chariot in disguise!

" 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares The Lord."
           Isaiah 55:8

Monday, September 2, 2013

Power thought: His Right Hand is Big Enough

Wouldn't it be great to have a friend that came alongside you to continually support you?  Whose primary thought was what you need for today?  That's the comfort I receive when I read God's Word like He's talking to me personally.

"So do not fear, for I am with you;  do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you;  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  Is.  41:10

In case you missed that, here's the power promise we can stand on today:
1.  DON'T be fearful-it's a command
2.  He is with you (you are not alone)
3.  DON'T be dismayed (or discouraged-ANOTHER command)
4.  He is my God (meaning He is before all things)
5.  He WILL strengthen me
6.  He WILL help me
7.  He WILL uphold me (this one seals the deal)

After you read that and think on His commands and what He says He will do, think on this:

His righteous right hand must be mighty big and strong enough for you to lay down every fear and discouragement.   Selah.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Power thought for today: He Strengthens You For Battle

Do you feel weak today and need a little help?  Whatever obstacle is coming your way, when the Lord is on your side, you can overcome no matter how massive the situation.

"With your help I can advance against a troop, with my God I can scale a wall."  Psalm 18:29

Climb the wall with confidence as you realize He is your strength.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Power thought for today

Are you fearful or afraid about anything this morning?  Your God is bigger!  Think on this power verse:

"He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?"  Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the       waves, and it was completely calm."  Matthew 8:26

Just remember who controls the winds and the waves of your life today and may your peace be restored.

Monday, August 26, 2013

"Dominate Game Changer"

Being the only female in our family, many of our conversations revolve around sports.  What the Braves are doing, the new uniforms for all the teams, trades, coaches, who's on steroids, stats, Ichiro got 4000 hits, Sweet Sixteen, Final Four, Super Bowl, World Series, Little League World Series, Women's Softball, Olympics Ping Pong, do you get my drift?   It's not a little, it's a lot.  It's a lot of talk about the world of sports.  The point is, sports are discussed at my house like women talk about different hair products and make up colors.

Over the years, I have actually grown to love these table topics and add them to my memory bank because I know I will be asked a random question from time to time about some fact my family thinks I should know.  After all, to them, I'm just one of the guys.

On one occasion recently, my husband was sharing some thoughts about a particular football player when he used the term "Dominant Game Changer".   My thinker tank began.  Hhhmmm... "Honey, why do you say he is a "Dominant Game Changer?", I ask him.  I'm wondering, is that good or bad?  I mean, think about it, it could be either.

I'm a how kind of a girl.  If it's positive, I want to know more.  How did this guy become a "Dominant Game Changer"?  So I ask.

My other half told me the man on the field was a positive force on his team, he had influence and motivated those around him which led to the success of the team as a whole.  He encouraged the other players by his attitudes, his choices, his behaviors.  He was a game changer because his presence on and off the field brought the players to a level of play beyond what they would've experienced without him.  He was a "Dominate Game Changer" because he had an effect on the people around him that caused them to do things they wouldn't ordinarily do.  He made things happen for the better.

Suddenly my thoughts went to another "Dominant Game Changer" in a completely different time in history.  Jesus came on the scene more than 2000 years ago and was born to a virgin.  You have to agree, that's not the norm.  Dying on a cross, yea, that's pretty much a game changer circumstance, too.  The course or end of life for a Christ follower was changed because of this one event.  Let's see, One who has been the dominating presence throughout history who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who can be everywhere at all times, and who knows things past, present and in the future.  That changes everything.  Game on.  He changed the whole playing field.  Instead of life stopping at death and God saying "game over" see ya, we have all of eternity ahead of us:  that's a "Dominant Game Changer" (DGC).

While I will never be the DGC that Jesus was, I can still play a role in the game of life alongside Him.  When I am changed, I can then help others change the direction of their lives by seeking the one Dominant Game Changer for their eternal destiny and playing the game well while we are here on earth by building a relationship with Him.  It is through that relationship that we all receive positive influence and become like the man on the field.  We then have the ability to make a difference in the lives of others and do things that we could never do otherwise.  Things in our own lives like forgive when we are hurt, overcome insurmountable situations such as drugs or rape, the loss of a baby, real life junk.  This changes the game.

Where's your game?  Does your game end here on earth or did you make a choice to keep playing into eternity?  If so, you got game?  Are you running well?

"Do you know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize."  1 Corinthians 9:24

Run to the "Dominating Game Changer" of all times, Jesus.  Let Him change the whole playing field of your life. Run to the prize!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Normal or Nuts

While watching a news show earlier today, the anchors had people call or write in to discuss if an activity someone was doing was quirky or if their behavior was considered normal.  The segment was called "Normal or Nuts" .  Once the question was posed, a doctor would respond with an answer.  One discussion was about someone who had an aversion to velvet.  The Dr. confirmed what most of you already have guessed. This behavior is nuts!   The person had a sensory related issue that was abnormal.

Another reference talked about a 9 year old girl who was still sleeping with stuffed animals at night while acting older than her age during the day.  The medical expert said, believe it or not, this one is fairly normal.

The topic, though, that piqued my attention was called "Lawn Lunacy".  The caller wanted to know if his neighbor was crazy or ok because the neighbor's lawn was always perfectly manicured.  If a petal fell to the ground, the woman would pick it up within a few hours so that nothing ever stayed on the grass. This man had even seen her shake a bush to get hanging petals to fall prematurely so she could pick them up.  Anything on the grass made the lawn look defective.  No leaves or petals on the grass meant all was well with her world.

As the reporter was talking, I was thinking, "None of us like it when something makes us look less than perfect.  However, in God's kingdom and economy, we understand, God isn't concerned with the outward appearance. None of us are perfect so why do we waste energy trying to appear anything other than what we are?  Doesn't everybody know anyway?

Dr. Ablow went on to explain, by making everything look perfect on the surface this woman was covering up a way deeper problem which would eventually erupt.  Keeping the lawn spotless wasn't fixing what was troubling her, she had a disorder that no leaf blower could blow away.  She was strangled by something bothering her within and was trying to keep the outward appearance of everything being well.

I wonder how many times I have appeared this way to others.  All looks fine on the outside but on the inside, there's a petal blowing, not on my lawn but in my head.

Do you have any areas that look like this woman?  It's all good on the surface but beneath the appearance there is a hurricane force wind coming and the leaves will soon be scattering?

This lawn keeper woman reminds me of the Pharisees in the Bible.  The Pharisees were a religious society of their time who were devoted to God but became so committed to following all the rules of the law (and the ones they instituted) that they seemed to have forgotten Jesus was in their midst working miracles and worried more about how they looked than what He was doing among them.  Instead of enjoying His presence, the joy was sucked out by their heavy burdens of appearance.  She, too, like them, was trying to follow the letter of the law, her own lawn lunacy standards!  What a burden to carry by running after every petal or rules that are impossible to follow!
As Christians, we want to follow Him because we have a heart that loves Him, not because its our duty or we want people to think we have it all together and we look good on the outside.  That's not normal, that's nuts!  We don't need a doctor to tell us that.

Had this woman simply enjoyed taking care of the lawn and basked in enjoying it's beauty, she wouldn't have been consumed with maintaining it to the point of obsessive compulsiveness.  What Jesus wants for us, is not a rule abiding relationship based on appearance but one designed for mutual pleasure.

Today, my friends, enjoy the love of a Father who desires you above all else just the way you are, leaves and all!  After all, He created you that way.  He isn't tainted by the world's standards of what's normal or nuts, or by rules and regulations that can't be met.   We meet every standard because of who we are in Him!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Ye Ole Pine Needle"

When the rain comes down and the wind blows just right, pine needles fall from the surrounding trees in our yard.  The other day, those little pixie stick lookin thingies fell on my car and covered it.  I figured when I drove on Interstate 95 the majority of them would fly away.  Most of them did, however, one of those skinny brown needles stayed in the gap between the hood of my car and the windshield wiper.

At first it wasn't a big deal but later it started bugging me.  I flipped the wiper switch to get it loose.  That didn't work.  So I figured when I got out of the car, I would reach over and pull it out.  Not a big deal.  But, when I got out of the car, I forgot, having something more important to do.

Time went on and days went by.  I would get back in the car never thinking about that twig until I sat in the drivers seat.  Each time I did, I would think to myself, "when I get out of this car,  I am taking that pine needle out of that wiper!"  Many days continued, each time was the same;  I forgot, having something more important to do.

As I got in the car today and looked at that stupid thing,  I said to myself, "Ye ole pine needle!  How like my sin you are!  I forget about you because you are out of my mind and I seem to have something more important to do (than to worry about it right now), you continue to stay when you're not wanted, and I have a hard time plucking you out!"

Thankfully, removing that sin is as easy as taking that brown twirly piece of nothing out of the blade and throwing it down!  Once I make up my mind to make it a priority, and REPENT, God will cast it to the ground!

How wonderful that our heavenly Father takes away those nagging needles of sin from our lives and throws them "as far as the east is from the west", further than any wind can find my windshield wiper!

Psalm 103:3,12  "who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases" and "as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us."

I wonder if there will be pine needles in heaven?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Conformity To What?

When I begin to realize I am dwelling on the things of this world instead of Jesus, one of my greatest tools to get back in alignment with Him is to study His attributes.  After I spend time recognizing His character, I can only humble myself and thank Him.  It leaves me speechless.

His Holiness points to more than the fact that He never sinned.  His actions, attitudes, and motives all pointed to flawless alignment to the will of God.  Think about what is written:

-John 6:38   He came from heaven "not to do His will but to do the will of Him who sent me"
-John 4:34  "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me"
-John 8:29  "I always do what pleases Him"

I see my lack of holiness as I read these scriptures.

The Holy Spirit makes us aware of our need of holiness, but, it is to stir us for a deeper place of commitment not to condemn us.

Once we see the need, we can turn and thank Him for our salvation and His righteousness.  We begin to think as God thinks and do the things that please Him.  He is our example as 1 Peter 2:21 shows us.

Holiness, then, is conformity to the character of God and the purpose of our salvation, Ephesians 1:4, "For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"Have You Seen Your Father's Eyes Today?"

Her long brown hair bounced off her back as she ran to the oceans edge.  She giggled with delight.  The small preschooler never looked back but instead fearlessly got closer to the water.  Her father casually walked to where the shore line was and stood with pride while watching her play.

She moved in further, now to her knees. You could hear her squeals and laughter, see her jumping with abandonment. The pappa inched his way out but never so close that he interrupted her enjoyment.

From the look on her face you could tell she never once thought about any danger that could be below the surface of the water or that any moment a wave could knock her over. But the daddy knew what harm was around her and he was there to protect her.

Two more steps, she was waist deep. She looked at the man who was still behind her. She LOOKED straight into his eyes as He spoke and motioned to her to come closer to him.  She obeyed.  Closer to her father, closer she went.  His love and concern drew her to him.

I saw all of this as I sat in my chair on the beach and three simple things hit me. One, how our Heavenly Father must take great delight when we get pleasure and enjoyment in the things He has created.  Secondly, He is always there watching over us with protection just like this earthly Father was with his child. The third thing I was reminded of is, how easy it is to take our eyes off Jesus, our Heavenly Father, and get caught wading further into an ocean of danger.  It is only by constantly being aware of Him and focusing on Him that our eyes stay locked on Him. It is easy for Him to keep calling us but we must be close enough to hear, and close enough to gaze directly into His eyes.

I left the beach that day asking myself, have I looked into His eyes today? Am I so close that He can pick me up if the worlds waves get too close?  Or is the world around me taking me further into its ocean?

Hebrews 12:1 and 2....."Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus".....

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Haven or Hive?

While sitting outside drinking coffee and having a quiet morning, I listened to the red cardinal chirp.  Another sound came buzzing by my ear, a whirling sound that made me think a helicopter might land on my head.  It was that of a bee. 

While shooing it away, I started questioning what it wanted with me.  What did I have that attracted this insect?

It wasn't my perfume because there wasn't any and there was no honey on the table.  But let me describe a picture that might be the draw.  It's my curly hair in the morning, pre shower.  It looks more like a well woven nest than locks of curls.  Could it be this little honeybee was looking for a hive?

This caused me to think.  How's my attraction?  Am I a haven for the world pointing them to Christ, a safe place from the cares of this world or an artificial hive offering nothing?  As a Christ Follower, we are either attracting or repelling others to our Lord.   2 Corinthians 2:14-16 says, "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.  For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  To one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life."

Lord, today may I be the fragrance this world needs to draw them to You.  May I attract others to You by being a sweet aroma and pointing them to You as a haven away from the perishing hive this world offers.

Friday, August 2, 2013

"The Cloud of Unknowing"

Desiring More....

From "The Cloud of Unknowing", author anonymous, "God, unto whom all hearts be open...and unto whom no secret thing is hid, I beseech Thee so for to cleanse the intent of mine heart with the unspeakable gift of Thy grace, that I may perfectly love Thee and worthily praise Thee.  Amen"

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Call Me Jacob"ina"....

Don't seek the plan but rather the One who reveals the plan and when you do, you will find the answers you need. 
Decisions, decisions, decisions.  Most of us are fairly good at reasoning.  We have methods of deduction, get advice from friends, or do a pros and cons list.   We are fairly confident our final choice will be well thought and planned.  But have you ever felt like you were struggling to get an answer on something that wasn't so clear?  I think we all have; I know I have, and, so it seems scripturally, did Jacob.   The book of Hosea says in chapter 12, "...he wrestled with the angel and prevailed;  He wept and sought His favor." 

It seems Jacob didn't easily make a decision, he struggled to make a decision.   He wrestled.  Who is he wrestling?  The angel, who is God.  God has met him in order to change him.  God wanted to do something IN Jacob that was according to HIS plan for Jacob's life.  This kind of transformation can only take place by way of a supernatural experience.  An altercation that would be life changing.

Like Jacob, I wrestle.  I wrestle with the things of The Lord and my decisions in life.  What God wants for me and you, instead of wrestling, is to rest in Him.  Surrender, surrender all we want for what He wants.

In Jacobss strength, he tried to fight God, he wanted the blessing of the victory.  He wrestled with submitting to the ways of God; while all along Gods intention was that Jacob would be blessed in the relinquishing of himself.

Once Jacob prevails, he weeps and finds favor.  How does Jacob obtain favor?  Favor was found in the surrender of his will to God's will.  Jacob loses himself but gains the Lord's favor.  He weeps because he now understands true brokenness before God.   

In Genesis 32:28, God told Jacob he was changing his name because of the transformation that had taken place.  Jacob was no longer the same man because "you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."  Jacob was learning to let go and let God be in control.  Jacob acknowledged that the blessing comes from God.  Jacob witnessed God face to face and discovered intimacy in Him!  He overcame the struggle through a personal encounter with the Almighty God and recognized his weakness.

Jacob limped as the match closes.  It was a permanent reminder that God spared him and did not want him to resist God's will.  Although he was broken and worn out, he realized the power of God when he let go.

Prayer:  Lord, help me, to not wrestle with surrender, but, instead to recognize the value and blessing behind Your perfect will for every situation in my life.  Today, Lord, may I see You and observe (being fully present in time) Your loving kindness and justice.  May I wait for you continually and be still while you become my focus over the end result of all my plans.