The Word

I’ve been a little laid-back this year about my bible reading.  For many years, now, my habit has been to read before I go to sleep.  I alternate years – one year I’ll use a bible reading plan to read through the bible and then the next I’ll use a devotional with selected bible readings that I love.

This year has been a read-through the bible year and I’ve skipped alot.

While driving the other day, I popped in an old CD and I heard this song.  (Sara Groves is one of my favorites, have I mentioned that?)

Sara Groves \ The Word

I’ve done every devotional
Been every place emotional
Trying to hear a new word from God
And I think it’s very odd
That while I attempt to help myself
My Bible sits upon my shelf
With every promise I could ever need

CHORUS:
And the Word was
And the Word is
And the Word will be

People are getting fit for truth
Like they’re buying a new tailored suit
Does it fit across the shoulders
Does it fade when it get older
We throw ideas that aren’t in style
In the Salvation Army pile
And search for something more to meet our needs

And the Word was
And the Word is
And the Word will be

I think it’s time I rediscover
All the ground that I have covered,
Like seek ye first what a verse
We are pressed but not crushed
Perplexed but don’t despair
We are persecuted but not abandoned
We are no longer slaves
We are daughters and sons
And when we are weak we are very strong
And neither death nor life nor present
Nor future nor depth nor height
Can keep us from the love of Christ
And the Word I need is the Word that was
Who put on flesh to dwell with us
In the beginning

Message received, God!  Course correction needed!

Has God given you any course corrections lately?

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Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

Because of the all-encompassing nature of my son’s OCD diagnosis and treatment, I’ve had to step away from some ministry roles within the last month.

There is no denying it – I’m sad about this.

And more than once I’ve found myself questioning whether or not I made the right decision to step away, because of the sadness and disappointment I feel.

“If I’d done what God really wanted me to do, wouldn’t I not be feeling sad?”

“Maybe the disappointment and sadness is telling me I made the wrong choice.”

Etcetera.

But God put this verse in my mind this morning:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”

~ John 14:1

God kindly paraphrased this in my mind, for my situation:

Just because you’re following Me doesn’t mean you’re immune to negative feelings.  Don’t be swayed by them.

Because at the end of the day, I DO feel like the decisions I made were the right ones.  And feeling sadness and disappointment about it is normal, I suppose – they were ministries I loved and felt passionate about (I still do!)

But to say that those feelings mean that I didn’t make the right decision is the wrong conclusion.  And probably a lie from Satan meant to detract me from what it is God wants me doing right now.

Which is to minister to my family.  To my son.  To attend to what needs doing at home.

 

 

 

For He Alone is Worthy

I sat in the church pew alone this past Sunday and sang these words.


And God spoke to me.

We have had a rough year.  My son was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder in June.  It’s not any sort of joke the way people kid each other and say, “you’re so OCD!”  It is a serious and often debilitating mental health disorder.  In my son’s case it centers around contamination and the fear of becoming ill.  It led him to basically stop eating and as a result he was also diagnosed with an (unspecified) eating disorder.  This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life, by far.  Words can’t ever explain the difficulty of this journey.   It has become all-consuming- the treatment, the appointments, the stress of feeding him, the extra laundry, the hyper-vigilance about not breaking his OCD rules, the crisis moments, the heartbreak of seeing him struggle.  We have seen some improvement but treatment is going to be a long road.  It often feels like one step forward and two back.

Back to my story- I was sitting in church listening to and singing those words and I just felt like God told me- “I alone am worthy of all the attention that your mind is giving this circumstance. Yes, it’s serious.  But I am in control, I know what’s best, I am good, and you can trust me.”

These are all things I already knew- but I needed the reminder.  The reminder to keep my eyes on Him.

Do you need a reminder today, too?

For Freedom

Galatians 5:1

It is for freedom that Christ has set you free.

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Do you know how many times I’ve read this verse?  Lots.  And I’ve never really thought deeply about it.

Like, yeah, it’s kinda obvious, isn’t it?  It’s a verse that’s easy to skip over.

It’s so obvious but yet it is still included in God’s love letter to us.  So now I’m thinking it must be important.  🙂

Maybe it’s because Christ has set us free but we need to step out by faith into that freedom.

Have you been stuck before?

In sin?  Maybe it’s something you’ve tried over and over again to stop doing but you just can’t.  You’re stuck.

In bad attitudes?  Maybe you’re critical of others (or yourself?)  Maybe you have a habit of complaining and you just can’t seem to stop.  You’re stuck.

In guilt?  Maybe you did something in your past that you can’t get over – something you have a hard time forgiving yourself for?  You’re stuck.

In unforgiveness?  Maybe you’ve been hurt so badly that you feel you simply cannot forgive.  You’re stuck.

I know I’ve felt stuck -in fact, right now I’m going through a season of feeling stuck in a couple of areas.  But God’s loving and tender persistence is starting to pierce through.

He’s telling me (and if you’re stuck, too – hear this today, friend):

Christ has {already} set you free!!!!

He knows our situation inside and out, he knows us intimately, and he knows our future.  And he has already set us free.

Let’s not be like that bird that’s still in the cage, even though the door is open!  We are free, now we need to walk in freedom!


 

I’d love to hear from you if this resonated with you!  How can we support each other in walking in the freedom Christ has provided?!?

 

 

Grateful.

004-lumo-jesus-paralysed-man

(photo from www.LumoProject.com)

A few months ago my pastor touched on the story of Jesus told in Mark 2:2-12.  Four men had a paralyzed friend who needed to see Jesus.  They went to great lengths to get him into Jesus’ presence – lowering him down through the roof.

I’m going to paraphrase here, but one of the applications to real life that was given in the sermon was, as a Christian, if we aren’t the one lying on the mat, we should be one of the people picking up the corner of a friend’s mat.

This has stuck with me.  Initially I was asking myself the questions, “Whose mat am I carrying?”  “Do I even know what friends around me need to be carried to Jesus?, or am I too self-absorbed to notice?”  “What can I do for those I know who are suffering?”

These are all great questions and I believe led me to take some action that I might not have otherwise taken.  But I was looking at this story from only one perspective, and mostly thinking about it as outward actions I needed to take.

This summer, however, the WHOLE picture of this has become clear to me.

I have been the one lying on the mat.  We have been dealing with some serious mental health issues in our family (I may or may not write more about this as I do want to protect privacy).

In the midst of this I’ve been having a hard time praying about it.  I have never, at least since recommitting my life to Jesus in my mid-twenties, had a hard time praying about anything.  I’m still not even sure why it’s been hard.

But what I DO know?  I have amazing friends who have carried me into Jesus’ presence by praying FOR me, my family, and our specific needs.

It makes me want to cry with thankfulness when I think of the love and faithfulness of these dear friends.

They have picked up the corner of my mat.

Anniversary Trip

At the beginning of summer, Dave and I took a trip to Mexico to celebrate our 20th anniversary.  Our anniversary isn’t actually until October, but this was the most convenient time of year for us to be away!

We splurged on an amazing resort, Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita.  We would highly recommend it.

We’ve never been away from the kids (together) for a whole week and it was glorious.  Rest, relaxation, quiet.  Not to mention beautiful views and amazing food. Just what we needed!


I think we’ve decided we need to do this more often!

 

What am I seeking?

What do you most often ask for when you are praying?

Very often I ask God for His direction.  To tell me what to do.  

I ask Him for His peace, His wisdom, His strength, His protection, His provision.

I don’t know why this question or thought came into my head, but it occurred to me recently that maybe I’m not seeking the BEST things when I pray.

So often I’m asking for things God can give me.  Not just asking for Him.

Now don’t misunderstand me, I don’t think it’s a bad or wrong thing to ask God for specific things.  In fact I think the Bible is clear that we should be in prayer about all things.

But God impressed upon me the thought that my prayers need to have the first priority of seeking relationship with Him.

I did a quick search of my bible.  Most of the verses I found with the word “seek” in them talk about seeking God himself, not His direction, peace, wisdom, strength, or any other thing we might want from Him.  WOW!  It was like a light bulb went on for me.

Suddenly Matthew 6:33 looked new as I thought about it from a different perspective – specifically the perspective of how I approach prayer and how I prepare my heart for prayer.  “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

I’m so thankful for God’s divine whispers to me.

What has God been whispering to you?