Category Archives: Life

Brand New Eyes

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I woke up Friday morning with the intent of spending a good hour or so soaking up the presence of God and intently listening to an IHOP sermon. But, my intentions meant nothing unless they were acted upon. Wait, I take that back, my intentions were acted upon- just not the way that I wanted for them to go. We act on our intentions by choosing or not choosing to do what we want/plan. Golly, God’s teaching me more and more lessons, just by writing all of this out! Anyways, what I intended my morning to look like did not come to fruition. I chose to hit the snooze, more times that I’d care to admit. I then proceeded to go do chores and find out that the cattle have escaped. I spent the good part of my morning chasing cows, calves, two rather intimidating steers, and a bull back where they belong and mending fence. So much for my quiet morning.

Two things the Lord revealed to me through that morning. One being that things don’t always go as planned. I need to be reminded that what I perceive as inconveniencies are both teachable moments and ways that I can grow in character and in the knowledge of Him! Secondly, I was greatly reminded of just how much I chose to gratify my fleshly desires, such as sleeping in, day-dreaming, worry, pride, etc.

The funny thing is, I was able to have my quiet time and both the sermon I listened to and my ‘devo’ fit perfectly with what my morning had consisted of. An example: Trust ME in the midst of your messy day… Seek MY face and I will share MY mind with you, opening your eyes to see things from my perspective…

I am deeply burdened by my inability to consistently see with my spiritual eyes. Lately it seems as though all I am doing is seeking with my physical eyes, all the while in my heart knowing that God IS sovereign. It’s been such a struggle, but my reflections from this IHOP sermon spoke so much truth into my struggle and have helped me so much this past week! It’s something I will be continually working on. My inability to see with my spiritual eyes is a clear reflection of how my time with God has been. I haven’t sought after Him as fervently as I have in the past weeks, and it shows. My fleshly desires are claiming their victories because I am not cultivating my relationship with the Spirit, nor preparing my heart and mind for battle. The following are my notes from the sermon I listened to. They spoke to me in ways that exceeded my expectations and I pray that the Lord will use them to minister to you as well!

Walking In The Spirit: Feeding Our Spirit On God’s Word:

(Galatians 5:16-26)

If you walk in the Spirit, you won’t fulfill the desires of the flesh- the violent nature of the war inside of us- the flesh it lusts (wars) against the spirit. The Spirit wars back against the flesh- ENGAGE WITH HIM in the process. The spirit’s agenda is to give us LIBERTY from the war inside- liberated: from the power and dominion of the flesh- physical, emotional (pride, bitterness, anger). Now the LORD is the Spirit- the Spirit is God. Liberty is the fruit of when the Spirit is received.

Who will deliver me? – Through an ongoing encounter (present tense) through encountering the presence of Jesus through an active relationship with the Spirit.

We can have victory and dominion in the war, but it will never go away- we will ONLY have victory and dominion if we are ACTIVELY FELLOWSHIPPING with the Spirit- vital relationship with the Spirit It’s like an airplane. We have defied the law of gravity by being able to fly from one place to the other. That does not mean that gravity is non-existent during our time of flight, but rather we are able to not feel it’s affects. Now, if we decide that we are cruising right along just fine and decide that we don’t need the engine anymore, we immediately begin our tumble to the earth. Gravity has regained its’ power. Your flesh is like gravity, the Spirit is our airplane- how is your engine running? The fuel for your engine- God’s Word, Prayer, seeking wise counsel, resting in HIS presence.

Many people put their attention on denying the flesh- they try harder- others try to put their attention on the recovery after crisis- the planes going down, I need to find all the bible verses that tell me that God still loves me when I fail, They spend most of their energy managing the crash- others make quality decisions to stay out of things that excite the desires of their flesh- most effective: cultivate the Spirit’s relationship- you will have dominion instead of management.

We can ONLY find liberty from sinful desires by maintaining a relationship with the Spirit

1) Walk by the Spirit: Walk (the choices, behavior choices) in the Spirit’s values. Say no to the things that grieve the Spirit, say yes to those that the Spirit approves

2) Be Led by the Spirit: Follow the Spirit’s leadership; being watchful to the Holy Spirit’s promptings in our lives- we decide that we want to be more aware- especially in our Spiritual life- beyond religious. Don’t trivialize the Spirits leadership. Be attentive to how He guides- is it more warnings or more ‘do this’. We honor the spirits leadership instead of ignore it in the small decisions of our inner life. When a big decision comes, you’re less equipped to follow the leadership if you are not in tune for the small decisions. How much time do we give to feed our Spirit?

3) Live in the Spirit: Is to be empowered by the Spirit’s life as we are fed by the Spirit’s food, which is the word of God. A collision is inevitable if we are not living in the Spirit. It matters how much time we give in our schedules to feed the Spirit. How much time is enough?- varies per person. (myself- a minimum of 30 min in AM, 1.5hrs @ night. A 3hr solo 1x/week) One that has an undernourished Spirit will walk in lust/flesh.

As we pursue the 3 above, we are renewed in the Spirit of our mind (the whole condition on the inside- not isolated to thinking). When we feed out Spirit on the light, the darkness cannot overcome it. Put more energy into having light entered than trying to get darkness to flee- when light enters darkness flees. Many people are so used to living with a quenched Spirit that they think it’s normal. The voice of the Word is stronger than the voice of our flesh, but we need to strengthen and feed it. Our inheritance is to have a fully alive heart. (I’m going to put my laws into your heart). Psalm 119. Our victory will occur when we are fervently pursing and acting on #3- God has provided the higher law (gravity analogy) but it will not act on its own. If you want to see fruition- be active.

God, give my new eyes, ones that see the world from Your perspective. Give me a passion to feed my Spirit in Your Truth. Give me the discipline to cultivate the relationship I have with the Spirit, tune my heart to His promptings. I desire to have victory and dominion over my flesh Lord, these physical eyes and fleshly desires are so meaningless and destructive to my relationship with You. I will seek you above all else!

Blessed are those whose way is blameless,

Who walk in the law of the LORD!

Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,

Who seek Him with their whole heart,

Who also do no wrong,

But walk in His ways!

You have commanded your precepts

To be kept diligently.

Oh that my ways may be steadfast

In keeping Your statutes!

Then I shall not be put to shame,

Having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.

I will praise you with an upright heart,

When I learn your righteous rules.

I will keep your statutes;

Do not utterly forsake me!

How can a young man keep his way pure?

By guarding it according to Your word.

With my whole heart I seek you;

Let me not wander from your commandments!

I have stored up Your word in my heart,

That I might not sin against you.

Blessed are you, O LORD;

Teach me Your statutes!

With my lips I declare

All the rules of Your mouth.

In the way of your testimonies I delight

As much as in all riches.

I will meditate on your precepts

And fix my eyes on Your ways.

I will delight in your statutes;

I will not forget Your word.

 

 

 

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Summarizing A Summer

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How does one even begin to summarize the last 3 months of my life?

Firstly, being away from technology has been a wonderful blessing. I can honestly say that I didn’t miss it that much, but that might be the old-fashioned letter writer inside of me shining through. I was able to focus solely on my campers this summer and not worry about what was going on in the “Facebook world” or be distracted by the voice mails and text messages on my phone. The one thing I did miss very much was being able to write this blog and the ability to express my thoughts and what God has done. But He has been faithful to show me how to articulate those feelings and thoughts verbally to those around me, for which I am exceedingly grateful.

Now here I sit, taking a break from writing follow-up letters to the campers who accepted Christ this summer, and all I can think about is how exceedingly and underservingly blessed I am. I am so humbled by God’s goodness, faithfulness, and the grace lavishes so generously.

This summer I found myself at the end of me every moment of every day. I had to continually rely on Him 24/7. I could not do it on my own. He was faithful to show up, in His perfect time, exactly when I needed Him the most. He truly showed me His sovereignty this summer, in mighty and miraculous ways.

To sum up the summer in a bible verse: Exodus 14:14. “The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

I have learned to surrender the fight. The battle belongs to Him, I am merely a soldier. I now fight living in the knowledge that my God has already won, that I cannot fail, and that He will supply me with every tool I need. This battle is not based on performance, and that truth is something that is finally beginning to sink in.

I long to tell tales of all that has happened this summer, but I will keep those memories in my heart. All I care to share, is that when you follow where He leads, He is faithful to show up; exactly when He means to.

Love Has Laid Hold Of Me

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Tonight, I am basking in the faithful and ever-constant love of my Jesus. I am completely satisfied in His life-giving presence. This is where I find all of me. This is where I am meant to be. All that is within me is relaxed and at peace when I let myself sit at the feet of my Father and gaze at His beauty, when I simply take the time to take in all that He is. I am overwhelmed at His love. The resounding echo of my heart, and the song that is on my lips:

You can’t make somebody love you
God won’t force a heart to move
He so values our decision
The human heart he won’t abuse

You can’t make somebody love you
God won’t force a heart to move
He so values our decision
The human heart he won’t abuse

But still I say that
Love has laid hold of me
And I can’t let go
Love has laid hold of me
And I can’t let go

I am all Yours tonight, it’s just You and me. I will embrace sweet surrender, I will let go of all of me. You are all I want, all I need, all I thirst for, all I seek.

Truth Is

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You keep saying something’s wrong

Like I’m hiding something inside,

Like there’s a storm that’s raging strong,

 Behind my hazel eyes,

And I don’t want to let you know your right

Cause you’re everything I’ve dreamed of,

Everything and more,

And to let you know what’s on my mind,

Might be my final words,

Cause baby I’ve got so good at lying,

No one has seen right through me like you did, baby

 

 

Truth is, I’d love to love you,

But I’m terrified,

Truth is, I’d love to hold you,

But I’d have to leave you in the night,

Cause this heart is restless from a bruised and broken past,

And to let down my guard would be the hardest thing I ever did,

Right now I don’t think I can

Baby, that’s what the truth is

 

 

I know you say you’re different,

I want to trust you so bad it hurts,

I see it in your actions

And I hear it in your words,

I don’t know why it’s so hard to believe

Cause you’ve never put me down,

No you’ve always built me up,

But I’m clinging to old familiar lies

Because they’re all I’ve ever known

And it’s a comfortable place to be,

Even though you’re my everything

 

 

Maybe someday, maybe someday,

I can love you with all that I have

But I won’t let you give your all

While I’m holding back

 

Fruit In It’s Season

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Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

but his delight is in the law of the Lord,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

 

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields it’s fruit in its season,

and its leaf does not wither.

In all that he does he prospers.

The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

 

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

for the LORD knows he way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked will perish.

 

I’m one of those people who like to kill two birds with one stone; you know, one of those ridiculous multi-taskers that either gets things done but maybe not as well as they could have been done or stands back, hands on hips, and nods head in approval of a “job” well done. I’ve found this system to be rather inconsistent, but alas, there are times when things just need to get done.

Over this past month, I have had undeniable conviction. This isn’t your typical ‘moment’ of conviction i.e. when you do something you shouldn’t or didn’t do something you should. This is the always pressing, grief causing, and repentance stirring conviction. This is serious heart work, an unmasking of a flaw of character. Embracing transparency, I will tell you that I ignored the constant echo in my heart. I simply didn’t want to deal with it. I wanted to hold off the teachable season.

A large part of my reason for wanting God to withhold this season was that I was already working on so much. I truthfully didn’t want to deal with anymore. I don’t remember the exact moment it happened, but I remember Him simply revealing to me that it was my working on too much that was the issue. You see, if I notice a character flaw in me, I add it to my ‘to-do’ list of things to change. Currently, there’s about 7 things on that list right now.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to change those seven things. The problem comes in where I try to change all seven at once, which leads to very inconsistent heart work. When trying to sift through habits that have been formed, when trying to sort through things you’ve learned, when trying to unlearn lies you heart believes, when trying to destroy false perspectives, when trying to instill discipline, it’s better to tackle them one at a time.

One thing I wanted to work on was my meditation on the scripture. I want the word of God to become a part of me, to be etched into my heart, and to overflow out of my mouth. In order for that to happen I need to spend more time really soaking in the word, studying it, taking it apart and putting it back together. I need to memorize the life-giving words that will be effective in battle, give me comfort in times of need, and heal my heart. I started in the book of Psalms. Psalm 1 is where my world fell apart, and God put it back together the way it was intended to be.

The first stanza opened my eyes to the importance of being rooted and consistently in the word. Do you notice the progression of first lines? First he walks. He is surrounded by non-believers where-ever he goes, he walks among them, but if rooted in the word, does not listen to their counsel, and the Lord counts him blessed. Second, he stands. Our friend is not rooted in the word and began to listen to the counsel of the unbelievers he walked among. Now he stands among them, he doesn’t pass through. Lastly, he sits. He no longer is a beaming light of a different color, but radiates the same dull, hopeless color as the rest of the world. He has forsaken the word of the Lord for the counsel of man. He has lost his delight in the Lord. If the word of God is not rooted in us, if it is not our delight, if we don’t understand the privilege we have and what a blessing it is, and take advantage of it, we will slowly follow this pattern, and the piece of our heart that was once filled to the brim with hope of salvation, the joy of Jesus, and the overflow of love bestowed on us will be unsatisfied, longing for what it once had.

As if that wasn’t enough conviction to pull from a passage, the Lord led me to glean the most profound piece of truth that I ever needed to hear: …that yields it’s fruit in its season… Now, that was a shot to my multi-tasking heart, but one that I am grateful to have taken. As I let that statement sink in, all I could hear was His sweet, sweet voice whisper to my heart: My child, slow down, slow down; find your refuge in me. Don’t try to fix everything at once, you are beautiful, you are loved, just as you are. You are my work of art that I shape daily to reflect me, more and more. You are becoming everything I created you to be. Let me prune your heart, and develop character in its due season. Do not rush this, MY timing is PERFECT. Rest in my all-knowing, all-powerful presence. Take heart in knowing that I will not leave you unfinished, for I am faithful to finish what I start, I will not forsake you, my love, my daughter, my child; rest in knowing you are mine.

My heart is still absorbing this Truth. My desire to see results as quickly as possible, does not abide well with His perfect timing. I need to slow down, and really let genuine heart work happen. I need to be rooted in the word, so that I will bear fruit in its due season. Spending time pouring over the word, just me and Jesus. Being established in prayer, so as to keep a repentant heart, a heart that exults her God, a heart that is in tune with the Spirit.

My Jesus, my precious Jesus, my Lord, my Savior, my Treasure- You will not forsake me.

You are God unchangeable

The solid rock to which I cling

I will run to you my refuge

In Your shelter find my peace

 

This Time Around

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I’m roughly 4 hours away from turning a page in life. A new year comes to close, another begins. Fresh uncharted territory that beckons me in the sweetest voice. This past year has been one full of changes, transitions, and the stretching of my faith, personality, and character.

As I reflect on the last twelve months, I am amazed at how much I have changed for the better. I am speechless at what a willing and trusting heart can do to allow the Lord to work in your life. I am so thankful for the constant love of my ever-present Savior.

As I look ahead to what is to come, I am expectant. I have goals of all shapes and sizes. I have an idea of how I want things to go. I am concerned about how certain things will play out. I am determined to be flexible.

 I am thankful for this gift of life, to be loved intimately, to be known fully, and to be a part of something bigger than myself. I want to not solely commit this next year to the Lord, but rather every moment of each coming day. I want to fall deeper in love with my Jesus, my only One.

I will embrace the ache of a lovesick heart, I will trust, I will follow, I will worship this time around.

I Will Run To You My Refuge

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Tonight I had something happen to me that nearly caused me to cry on the spot. I went into panic mode for a brief second, then shock for several minutes, and was eventually able to regain composure and continue on. What happened was so small and insignificant but yet it sent me backwards what seemed like five hundred steps. My heart hurts. I am reliving feelings that I never wanted to revisit.

And yet through these unwanted feelings and unwanted memories, I hear my Savior whisper oh so sweetly in my ear, “My child, all that happens to you will bear fruit if you let me use it. Let me take you through this, trust me in the depth of your being. I am always faithful, always loving. I have never led you astray before. That doesn’t mean I wanted what happened to happen tonight, but I will always come away with the victory. You are treasured, you are loved, you are my daughter. I love you my child, I love you. Let my love be enough to get you through this. Let my love be enough to carry you through these ups and downs that you know are coming. Let me love you.”

I will run to you my refuge, I will dwell on who you are, I will stay here in your presence, when things are right or when they’re wrong, for you are God unchangeable, the solid rock to which I cling, I will run to you my refuge, in your shelter find my peace.

There’s beauty in the free fall to Your arms.