You Have As Much As You Want

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The rain is coming down with a vigor and purpose like I haven’t seen in quite some time. It’s rather refreshing, even though I do wish it were *gasp* snow. My contemplative nature has taken over today, and there are many thoughts circling around in my head.

One of them being: You have as much of God as you want.

He has been made 100% accesible through the blood of Jesus Christ.

It’s one of the most convicting statements I’ve heard in a while.

It’s causing me to really reflect, and I pray it does the same for you too.

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Turkeys in the Trees

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I apologize for my absence. Saying the last two weeks of my life have been a whirlwind would most certainly be an understatement. I can barely keep my head on straight!

The Lord has been working in so many profound ways in my heart – continually showing His faithfulness to create anew, mold my heart, and reveal Himself to me.

I was walking home from the office this afternoon, and as is typical of any day of the week, had to walk past the flock of 30 turkeys that like to occupy our little ‘wood-triangle’ in the front of our house. I still think turkeys are rather unattractive looking birds. (I’m just grateful they taste better than they look!)

I’ve always known that turkeys could fly, but I guess just by looking at them, they don’t seem to me like a bird that can fly very far, or very gracefully. As I walked past them today, many of them ran into the woods for protection (I guess i’m intimidating?), while a few others flew into the trees. I was actually quite baffled at how high they had flown.

The Lord proceeded to reveal to me, that the same way I look at those turkeys is the same way that I look at myself. I have no problem looking at another person and knowing that the Lord will work in unexplainable ways through them, but I can’t seem to think that or believe it about myself. I’ve SEEN Him work through me, and yet I know that I am so unworthy.

I forget the grace that He lavishes. I forget my PURPOSE – to bring Him the glory due Him. I am stealing His glory if I continually think “I can’t do that” – true, maybe not of my own strength- but I have the power of the Holy Spirit!

I am reminded that although I am a soldier in this battle, the war is already won. I will let Him fight for me, and I will march boldly into battle. I will know that He is both before, beside, and behind me – I cannot fail in His eyes. I will have an expectant heart of the ways He has prepared to reveal His glory through me.

Thank you turkeys in my front yard for being a convicting reminder of who I am in HIM.

(also, thank you for your sacrafice so I can enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner).

A Legacy Worth Leaving

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Sometimes I’m astonished at where my sub-conscience spaghetti brain will take me. It leaves me in awe of the intricate design of my Lord and His faithfulness to provide divine inspiration. I was trying to come up with something profound to say for this blog and was lacking of any ideas. This leads me to believe that I shouldn’t try to force ideas, as this one seemed to have found me with no problem….at 5:30 this morning. It’s a good thing I’m a morning person!

Grandmas ring

It all started with a ring; this ring actually. ^ As I’ve been slowly in the process of moving my belongings up here, I stumbled upon a jewelry box that got hidden away on a shelf. Inside was this ring that my grandmother had given me. I’m not one for gold or pearls, but this ring had somehow captured my attention, and I’ve been wearing it ever since; I’ve even grown quite fond of it.

I then proceeded to find two books I forgot I had, titled: O Jerusalem! by Larry Collins and Dominique LaPierre, as well as, A Mother’s Legacy by Barbara Rainey and Ashley Rainey Escue. The latter of the two tells tales of various women, whose mothers feared the Lord, and the memories and lessons learned that have stuck with them through adult-hood. Now, I am not a mother, but this book has been surprisingly fun and profound to read. I am not only learning to examine the relationship with my own mother, both past and present, but I am also learning to cultivate some of these characteristics now. It’s been a huge blessing.

And now to reveal my inner nerd! O Jerusalem- a book (a very thick book) that centers around the great controversy of 1948 concerning Jerusalem and Palestine. The British had just removed their 30 year presence from Israel, and now the United Nations were on the edge of their seats trying to decide how much land to give each. But the most looming question of all: Who would get Jerusalem? (see I’m trying to make it sound interesting!)

Now, you may be wondering how all of these things tie together, but let me assure you, they do.

Let’s venture back to my grandmothers ring. To be honest, it’s not something that I would have boughten if I had seen it in a store a few months ago. At the time, I wasn’t sure why I was bringing it home with me, but I just felt I should. This morning, I understood why. This ring was important to my grandmother. She didn’t wear it anymore, but she had kept it to give to me. I’ve learned to love it, not because it’s gold and has a pearl, but rather because I understand the privilege of tradition; the privilege of inheritance.

A Mother’s Legacy- a collection of daughters telling what they remember, admire, and cherish about their mothers. Each one at the end of her story, stating that she hopes to do the same for her children.

O Jerusalem! – Tradition is rooted out of love, heritage, and culture. Rituals are rooted out of religion and a sense of duty. This book discretely displays the depth of Jewish tradition. Reading, memorizing, copying the Torah. The verbal passing down of Scripture, the feasts, the celebration, the anguish and struggle of always being outside of Jerusalem. A real life display of The Great Shema, found in Deuteronomy 6.

I’m also currently going through Psalm 119, and the theme of all 176 verses is the love of the law of the Lord, and how he can’t get enough of it, he meditates on it constantly, it is displayed in his life, it is always on his lips.

I hope you’ve begun to see the common threads of inheritance, tradition, and legacy. My heart has been overwhelmed by the importance of this lesson to be learned; this characteristic to develop. Not only to think of the future legacy I want to leave for my children (Lord willing I have them), but also the legacy I am leaving in the here and now, as everywhere I go, I leave one.

I want my life to resonate The Great Shema of Deuteronomy 6 – the love of the Lord and His Word being completely intertwined with EVERY part of my life – from my sleeping to my rising, my sitting to standing, from my smile to my words, from the presence I radiate. I want to echo the authors heart of Psalm 119 – where nothing is sweeter to me than the life-giving Word of God.

I may not have children of my own right now, but I do teach an AWANA class. I have been burdened as to the importance of the legacy that I am currently creating for them to remember me by. I want them to remember me as someone who was excited and enthusiastic about the Word of God. Someone who took the time to really listen to what was going on in their hearts. Someone who wasn’t too caught up in following a lesson plan, but rather was more concerned about the soul. I want to inspire them to fall in love with Jesus. I want my love for Jesus and His Word to become contagious for them. I want them to see that reading of the Word, prayer, and living a Gospel centered life is supposed to be tradition, not ritual. I want them to understand the privilege of tradition; the privilege of the inheritance we have through Jesus.

All this to be said: I understand that these are my desires, the burdens of my heart, but the only way that I will have a legacy worth leaving is if I get out of the way and let Jesus shine forth. I will continue to let HIM cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit, a passion for HIS TRUTH, a burden for those in need.

The only tradition, the only legacy worth leaving is Jesus.

Epimenō

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Perseverance. Epimenō.

This word defines the last five days of my life. 

Trails were abundant, hope was often burning dim.

I was arising for my 3am shift of walking my friends sick horse when the Lord revealed to me the truth that I was to learn from these past few days, and one that I was to engrave on my heart.

Perseverance is rooted in love.

We persevere because we love. We persevere in the race for the simple love of running. We persevere in the midst of a trial in a relationship because we love the other. We persevere by taking overnight shifts to walk a sick horse for love of the horse and its owner.

Our perseverance and willingness to persevere displays the depth of our love.

As fallible human beings, we can only love so much. But I have once again been awestruck by my God.

The ultimate perseverance was Jesus taking on the cross. He persevered because of His love for us. That is the ultimate model of perseverance; an unmatchable display of love.

Wow. I Have An Amazing Job

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Yep. The title says it all.

Over the next few days I get to make phone calls to previous campers who are in the age range for our next retreat. I’ll be contacting roughly 75 families, which is a rather intimidating number. At first I was nervous about this task, as i’ve done “cold calling” before, but my boss reassured me there wasn’t any pressure for “sales” as he knew that was one of my concerns from previous conversations I had had with him.

I then got thinking – how amazing an opportunity the Lord has placed before me. I get to call 75 families. I get to ask them how they are genuinely doing. I get to talk to the camper and ask what they loved about camp. I get to pray for them.

Over the last year the Lord has cultivated a burden for intercession and prayer within me, and now He has placed me in a job where I get to do just that. He knows my heart so well. I am exceedingly humbled to be able to be a part of this ministry!

 

A Servant’s Heart

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My attitude over the last few days has been anything but admirable. Sure I can put on a good façade, but the honest condition of my heart has been self absorbed at the very least. I have chosen to focus on my own selfish desires, or more accurately, I took on the attitudes of those around me.

I woke up with the joy of the Lord this morning. I have continued to let His JOY bring me STRENGTH. He has taught me so much in the few hours i’ve been awake about the difference between a “heart to serve” and a “servant’s heart”.

Romans 1:1 “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God…”

What does Paul mean by being a servant of Jesus? The original Greek word is doulos which means bondservant which is defined as devoted to another to the disregard of ones own interests.

The ultimate desire of my heart is to serve HIM wholeheartedly, to live a life or reckless abandon to Him – to love and serve well. If all I have is the desire to serve and not the heart of a servant,  I will never succeed. If I do not forsake my own interests, my own flesh, anything for selfish gain – I will have given fruition to a hypocritical life-ministry. I will have sung His praises with my lips while my heart was running in the other direction.

In James 2:14-26 it states “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder! Do you want to be show, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not our Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active alone with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to Him as righteousness” – and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”

My works, if not acted out with a pure and sincere heart, will not prove my faith, so to speak. I may fool man, but I cannot fool God. He knows my heart, my motives, my selfish reasons.

As I type this out, I am yet convicted of my selfishness this week. I have the most amazing job in the world – I get to serve so many different people everyday, especially on the weekends. I have an opportunity to be a refreshing face – one that radiates the love of Jesus and creates an aura of peace. I get to invest in the lives of 3rd-6th graders every Wednesday night. I get to continue to cultivate the relationships with my campers from this summer. I even get to teach riding lessons every friday! How can I be so blind to pick my own self centered interests instead of seeing these amazing blessings placed right before me!?

I am exceedingly blessed to be in the ministry that God has placed me. I have much to learn about cultivating a servant’s heart and not merely possessing a desire to serve, but I serve a God who will continue to mold and shape that within me so long as my spirit is willing.

So let me ask you, which one do you have? A heart to serve or a servant’s heart?

Chivalry Is Not Dead

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I had one of those days that you don’t ever want to experience again. I was on the verge of tears almost constantly, and for the life of me didn’t know why. I had unrest in my soul to extremes that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. Before dinner tonight I took a walk down to the barn to feed and to try and clear my head. The walk didn’t do what I had intended it to do, but it proved to be a way for God to show His love more intimately than I could  have ever imagined. I was about halfway back to main camp when a vehicle pulled up behind me. The gentleman had his window rolled down and simply asked if I’d like a ride. I pondered for a moment, and gratefully accepted his offer. We made small talk to on the very short remainder of the journey. He asked me where I would like to be dropped off, and instead of saying “where ever is most convenient” or “it doesn’t matter”, I said “the dining hall area would be great”- and he obliged without complaint or any reference to it being out of his way. I stepped out of his jeep, walked in the back door of the dining hall, started my work, and let myself dwell on that simple, but profound, act of kindness. He picked me up and gave me a ride when I needed it most, even though I was capable of walking the rest of the way. I allowed myself to be “carried”. It was almost as if God was physically showing me what He wanted to do with my heart- pick it up and carry it to it’s ultimate destination- the refuge of His arms. I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness to show Himself at exactly the right moment. We serve a good, good God.

So, kind sir, (I realize now that I never did ask your name) wherever you are- thank you.