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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Faithful to me

Have you ever been in bed as a kid (for myself usually with the help of my little sister) and kicked up your sheet high above you?

I would lie still there waiting for the sheet to come back down. The sheet would drift slowly and gently until finally it would come to rest on me softly. Giggles would ensue and then another kick...... back into the air the sheet went flying.

Have you ever known something without ever really stopping to meditate on it and let the enormity of the realization fall over you like that sheet? I have to be sure. This is one of those truths I realize I need to patiently allow to settle over me today:

Through the covenant relationship we've entered into by faith in the work of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ , the God of all creation is faithful to us.

Okay, you may say: I know this already. Yeah, me too but do I live and breath, think and act, like I really KNOW it?

For years I've been so afraid that I'd never get this whole walking with Jesus thing right. I feared of coming to the end of my life and finding I missed the boat entirely. My lack of perfection messed with me in a HUGE way. How could I ever be trusted to get things right in my relationship with God?

2 Timothy 2:13 says: If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown himself.

The Amplified version says this : If we are faithless (do not believe and are untrue to Him), He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself.

This makes me think of Ephesians 1:13, 14 which talks about the Holy Spirit being sealed within us, and other places where we are told we are a temple.

I am also reminded of Philippians 1:6 which tells us God will finish His good works in us.

God loves me so much that he died for me so that He could make His home in me in order that He could be faithful to me. This puts to rest my fears of not ever being able to get "it" right. I am relieved to know that I can rely on Christ's faithfulness and not my own!

Not only is God rooting for me to get "it" right in my life. He's got to power to make it happen for me. By His faithfulness "it" is done.

WHAT!? To amazing to handle!

Monday, February 12, 2007

I'm a bit overwhelmed here

Ok, so I wrote the previous post which is a great uplifting post. Yeah! All is well, right?

Well, this week's post won't have the same chipper tone! Last week's schedule had it's fair share of twists and turns. Enter three sick children with hacking coughs, my own cold brewing, a semi-retarded dog who is barking ALL NIGHT LONG these days, a mountain of laundry so high it will take days to conquer, a home still in the process of being remodeled, a business dinner, a church meeting and a myriad of other scheduled events and responsibilities.... oh, and don't forget helping my dear sister and brother-in-law trench their back yard and install a sprinkler system. Let me just state things up front here: I am a bit overwhelmed!!

I think our schedules must pretty much resemble each other's with just a few variations on the who, what, when and where, but the why always seems to be the same. No, I mean the "WHY? Why am I so crazy all of a sudden?"

Last night I was in bed wondering how could I be in this state of affairs after my mountain top blog of last week? Isn't this how life tends to go though? Just when I think I have a handle on things...... um, NO I don't!!!! I have so many responsibilities weighing on me. Good responsibilities. Things I need to do and do well. I simply find that I am unable. I need the Lord desperately! I still stink at time management and even if I was the worlds most disciplined and efficient woman I would still need Him! The truth is I am way beyond myself here. This morning I am absolutely clinging to the promise that the Lord's mercies are new every morning. Today I have a chance once again to choose better things, to choose Him more and to trust once again in His sufficiency! That's it. That's is all I know how to do! I am just running as fast as I can into my father's arm and begging him to help me and give me strength do X, Y, Z, etc., or if He so desires just to miraculously deliver me from that huge pile of laundry (wink, wink).

Whatever His solution is, whatever the plan, I trust Him and I am waiting on my Help and my Deliverer.

Lamentations 3:21-26

21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

Friday, February 2, 2007

My Struggle

I did my homework! Yeah!

It is always a confidence booster when I actually do something I have committed to. This may seem strange to anyone reading this who hasn't struggled with discipline in their past.

What can I say? I have been prone to rebel against things that are very good for me in my past. Thankfully in recent years the Lord has been working on that very serious character deficiency in me. I can now stand before anyone and confidently say that I consistently have my devotional time with the Lord daily. For some people that might sound like a no brain-er.... but for me it was just another thing I failed at.

For many years I allowed my emotions to determine my devotion (A very LAME way to walk with my Lord!!!) If I felt I had disappointed God, or if I was frustrated or disappointed I foolishly let myself drift in such emotional currents away from my God, my Anchor. I allowed every human carnal sin to redirect my thoughts to my failure instead of God's grace for me and His power over me.

It was just what my enemy wanted. Every bump in the road could interrupt my time with the Lord and shake my devotion. The Lord was always faithful to me and even graciously still spoke with me whenever I came to Him, but OH the time I lost and surrendered over to useless idleness when I could have had continued fellowship with my God all along! You see I failed to comprehend how big my God is! I discounted the truth that He deals with my failures and disappointments and is able to overcome them even though I, emotionally, may not be able to.

What I came to understand, as the Lord worked in me, is that I was making a fatal mistake. I was looking around me at all those faithful people I admired and wanted to be like and I was, in a backwards way, trying to become one of them by my own strength. I had to come to terms with the fact that up to that point I had not committed to doing the "face time" with the Lord which is required to be transformed by Him. I mean, it takes time to overhaul a seriously dysfunctional mindset. Truth takes time to saturate. I was impatient and was not submitting to the process. I somehow thought that I should just be able to will myself a stronger Christian and will for myself an unshakable faith. I hadn't submitted my thoughts over to him and I wasn't obedient and disciplined (unpopular words for many people, I know!)

Then God spoke to me. He caused me to realize that what I saw in these amazing people of faith and desired for myself so much, was not something they had which I never could, but it was the LORD himself. I, too, could have all of Him I wanted if I did things His way. The difference between myself and these "superstars" was that Christ, in them, had transformed them and the byproduct of Christ's transformation within them was the behavior I was witnessing. WE CANNOT KEEP FROM GLORIFYING HIM when HE gets a hold of us!

God made a way for me to grasp His love for me and His desire/ability to change me. It is called the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and prayer (Duh Jen!!!) It took many years for me to trust God more than my emotions and to learn the discipline of laying aside my emotions and my flawed way of thinking and just release myself over to Him. It began with simple stubborn prayers. In my anger I would confess to the Lord that I was mad at myself and mad at everything, but that I wanted Him more than anything else, that I needed to be delivered, and that I really needed Him to rescue me from myself. I committed to read His Word, the Truth, despite my emotions or circumstances and to trust His Holy Spirit to do what He says the Spirit will do when we submit ourselves to Him. Guess what girls....... It worked! HA! HE is so FAITHFUL!! As time went on I began to see the enemy's schemes clearly and I saw how I had fallen for them in the past. I saw how destructive my thinking had been and how it was not glorifying God.

Baby steps became confident strides.

One day I was asked by a friend how often I did my devotional time and I was completely caught of guard by the dreaded question. I was sitting there trying to remember the last time I had MISSED my devotional time when my husband jumped in for me and said "every day!" I was shocked. A part of me was trying to back away from that statement, "Am I really there? Have I become......disciplined?" I thought.

In the car on the way home I asked Dustin why he said that out loud and he told me "Because I see you every night reading and praying- you do it every day." WHOOO HOOO ladies, I have arrived! What I thought I could never do I am doing (largely without realizing it) because God has picked me up and given me strength. He really does want me to have the desires of my heart and if I really trust Him enough to do things His way, and not my own, I receive everything He promises. WOW!

If you find yourself in that place where it is a struggle to meet God in prayer and in reading the Bible, I want to tell you DO NOT GIVE UP, GIVE IN! Give in to Jesus and let Him drive the boat. Maybe your like me and you don't know how to let go. He can handle that too. My prayer is that you will be drawn in by His amazing love for you and that you will be swept up in His majesty and romance. I most of all desire that we ladies will spend time with the Lord daily, a priority which I pray will usurp even the study homework, because the Lord is worth our time and He is worth placing first in our daily priorities.

I used to have major struggles, but I have learned something awesome: The Lord has benefits!
For me, sanity is one of them!!!!!