The prickles along the path remind you - you're in motion. I came to Him not knowing. Just letting my longing lead me. He received me, took me in, crowned me. My filthy rags burned away in His purifying light. As I sang to Him He cleansed me. As I sought Him He delivered me. As I closed my eyes in His presence He placed me in a wide open space. The transformation was like that of a butterfly not knowing how or having the responsibility of it's own change. Longing and desires are meant to be purely placed in the hidden protection of The Father's heart.
He created her brilliant. She had no idea.
There was a Way made for her. She had no idea.
He had seen to everything.
She was not worthy – but that didn’t matter to Him.
He loved her. He loves her still.
She lived lost for a long time. Guilt like a rock in the pit of her stomach. Shame like a cloak around her neck. Despair had her number. He had her name.
He knew there would be a day when she would cry out to Him. He waited.
Then, that day came and He answered her. He did more than answer her. He picked her up. He dusted her off. He knew. She knew.
Now they are together.
United by Love.
I’ve been pondering on sin lately. I know….not the most exciting thing of which to ponder. However, when God speaks and you know you’ve heard Him, the best thing to do, is listen. (And then obey, but we’ll get to that in a minute.)
These last few years have been a salve seeking journey. Seeking truth and guidance like a salve for the dry and parched chafing of my heart. Honestly it wasn’t that poetic. There were days…oh there were days. But, with God the latter days will be greater than the former.
Don’t ever dismiss the deep ponderings and searchings of your heart. Allow Him to fall on those dry places and renew your spirit. It’s true that you can “soar like wings of an eagle” but you’ve got to be willing to take the flight.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…” Hebrews 12:1
My husband and I attended what our church calls Kairos (an ancient greek word meaning right, or opportune moment) a few years ago and during one of the sessions, we looked at each other and asked, “what makes something a sin?” We really wanted to be able to identify the “sins” in our lives; other than the obvious 10 in the OT. Now I’m not saying we were necessarily ready to give them up but we at least wanted to know what they were. Maybe we didn’t have any!?!
Later that day, walking through the halls, I ran into one of the women pastors and I asked her…so, what is sin? How do I identify it?
She sort of stared at me and decided this was too big of a question for a person to answer on the run. So, that question has been lingering in me for a while. Until now. And here is the real answer.
Sin can only be identified through a personal relationship with God. It’s the Holy Spirit that identifies sin for us. And the ten commandants is not an exhaustive list. Within our hearts lie areas that need fulfillment and sometimes we can use temporary, earthly salves to sooth ourselves. That’s when something becomes a sin. Sin is anything that separates us from God. My sin became noticeably a crutch, something I leaned on for support but ultimately made me weary and exhausted.
THE GOOD NEWS is sin can never overpower the work and blood of Jesus.
Sin exhausts the flesh and quenches The Spirit. I am amazed at how much more energy I have to complete my daily tasks when sin is removed from my lifestyle.
Sin is tricky and can separates us from the will and purpose of our lives. And I’ve noticed it can even suffocate the beauty and opportunities for life and wholeness in my home.
Sin can be identified when you notice (the action, belief or feeling) has begun to have power over you.
Sin is not a one time mistake. That’s when Grace is sufficient. Sin is a reoccurring crutch the enemy uses to sneak in and take up territory on our inheritance. Sin can cause us to backslide and deteriorate in our identity in Christ. And it’s tricky. Did I already say that? Well, it is. It’s tricky because we’ve gotten good at justification. We’ve gotten really good at comparison and really slack in pursuing the voice of God. Honestly, there have been times when I didn’t want to hear the voice of God. I was afraid of what He might ask of me. But, you know what? His voice and His guidance have always lead me to things that sin can’t even compare to.
When we allow God to identify a hindering sin in our lives, if we will listen to His voice and obey His commands, we will begin to see life unfold in a new way. Things that we were too exhausted for before, will come alive with strength and beauty. We will have a new perspective and vision for moving forward. Sin keeps us stagnant.
Grace saves you. Obedience advances you.
He sees the heart. He sees the sin. He sees us in love and will give us as many chances as it takes and He will never stop being there for us. Seek Him. Ask Him to search your heart and show you if there is any offensive way in you. It will be worth the sacrifice. He will bless you.
When we are face to face with disappointment we are vulnerable to truth, love and comfort. “Consider it pure joy…”
God understands disappointment.
God understands pain.
God waits for us with truth, perspective and comfort.
God is Love and when Love experienced pain and disappointment He made a way for us to find Him and live beyond emotional responses.
In every disappointment under the sun, God has an equal or greater portion of Love and perspective to give.
The key is….Him. We are blind to truth and separated from comfort without Jesus. He is truth. He is comfort. He is love. So seek Him and find your way out of the pit of disappointment.
Disappointment holds hands with expectations. Let God have your expectations and listen to what He has to say about them, then….
Let people have your love.
So here are the keys that open the door past disappointment:
- Know who you are and Whose you are. You are set apart. Most of my life God has been setting me apart. Those times when I didn’t fit in or belong, now I see that those times were intentional. Fitting in and belonging to the things and the people of this world can be a quick sand swallowing up our true identity.
- Look beyond the disappointment, to the heart.
- Allow God to speak truth and set you free from disappointment.
Standing in my kitchen (accurately claimed as the heart of the home); cleaning, washing, fully aware of a new reality—-Something was missing.
The struggle that once dominated my emotions, had become silent. The strength that once fueled weariness was now my guide to peace. As I witnessed the hand of God in the heart of my home, I realized something had shifted…something had changed…something was different.
Do you carry a burden for order? Do you carry a burden for Peace? Do you get overwhelmed with tasks that pile up and as a result, tension and frustration dominate your attitude toward the people around you? If things aren’t just so-so, do you feel overwhelmed and depleted of Joy?
Enters, Order and Peace.
“This year is the year of order”…I heard God whisper… I felt it waving like a banner over my home. If one were to look with spiritual glasses over the horizon of my house, they would see ORDER waving with a fierceness in the wind.
This morning I realized the messes that once weighed heavy on my emotions ensued from not knowing there was order underneath my visibility. God has shown me how to order the ways of this house.
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31
I am now able to watch over the ways of my household without feeling overwhelmed and I realize it has everything to do with order.
Order creates a path to sustainability. Everything God does has Purpose and Order. Everything.
I now am able to establish order in the small recesses of my home; creating a foundation for beauty to live, without being overwhelmed and bound to the day to day up-keep that always seemed to encircle me. Rather now, I am encircling the needs of my home with a strength and direction that can only be explained by His goodness. Let me explain further… There was a time so very recently that the day to day dishes and laundry and homeschooling and meals seemed like a mountain I could never reach the top of. The closets and the windows and the showers seemed to be a battle for which I showed up too late. This may seem so strange, and maybe even insignificant to some, but it was important to me. I longed to have the order and strength to tackle all of the things that needed my attention. I wanted my home, our nest, to be beautiful and clean and restorative and restful. A place to thrive in and explore and pray and hear and worship and share….the list really goes on. However there was a hindrance and frustration to my plan and the enemy used house-keeping to bring weariness to this old soul of mine. BUT, GOD…. He cares about the things that He calls us to do. He would never ask us to do something where He hadn’t already established His plan, power and grace for achievement. And if we are not feeding on His fruit of the Spirit while accomplishing that which He has called us, then maybe we are striving and working from our own flesh. Can you just image the picture of a woman on the front of a magazine vacuuming while partaking in the sweetest of fruits, in a sort of daze of enchantment and enlightenment, with a whirlwind of energy and order and strategy. Well, maybe I am embellishing a little too much here. But the fact is… He cares about us. He has prepared a way for us. His way is perfect and blessed.
The things that lie in the hidden closets away from sight, I am now able to go there and many other places along the way of my day with a sort of inner Strategy that makes all things come together for good. As I care for the deep places, keeping things moving and circulating and clean under my sight, I am able to handle with peace and grace the hiccups that always seem to come up. Let His order come alive in your home. Let go and Let Him.
May you rise early and watch over the ways of your household with a strength that defies gravity.
In Jesus name.
“Above all else GUARD your heart….”Proverbs 4:23Little by little the enemy seeps in and steals our weapons without us even realizing it.
Little by little we can begin to compromise our standards until we look back and realize how far away we’ve stepped from our sure footing.
Little by little we can begin to lean in, blend in and flow with the culture around us.
Little by little we are loosing our way, the Way.
It’s easy to do! It’s easy to want to please those around us. It’s easy to try and be polite, but it’s the fear of man that leads us into the land where men make their own rules and foundations are built on sinking sand. Then before you know it, you’re struggling to breath.
We must gather back together and realign as a strong, fortified unit; as a family. This begins first in our marriage and then it trickles down to our children as they witness first hand the solid structure in truth and unity.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon (the tallest mountain in the region, noted for it’s abundant precipitation) were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.” Psalm 133:1-3
We must look to our husbands/wives, the Bible, spirit-filled leaders, and God himself to reaffirm what it looks like (The Vision) to be who God has called us to be. We will need from time to time reinforcements and reminders because we will be going against the grain. We will be ruffling feathers. We will be walking on territory that others will stand and block but with the voice of God we must continue on.
Little by little we get fueled up and suited up, armed and stronger than before, to go back out and set things right.
Little by little we start stepping back into alignment with the True voice of God and thus bringing our homes and family back into alignment with victory, purpose, vision and JOY.
Little by little we blaze a new path and tare down strongholds and iniquities, allowing The Vision of God to resurface and ultimately prevail.
Proverbs 2:2 Turn your ears to wisdom.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Habakkuk 2:2-3 Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak and it will not lie. Thought it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come.
A Parenting side note: YOU influence your children. Do not rest that mantle (a covering given by God) on anyone else. Do not allow anyone else to take it from you. It is yours to carry, uphold and reinforce. Wear it well. It was made for YOU.
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 11:19
That mantle is yours to respect and honor. Do not diminish the calling. Do not waste the mantle. For without it, your children may never fully develop into their calling and gifting. Do we understand our role as parents or are we falling prey to the theft and destruction found in wayward influences? Oh the power of the diligent pursuit of the child’s heart by the parent. We get one chance.
Stand up, Stand firm and do not compromise the vision God has shown YOU. Write it down, read it, allow it to sustain you through thick and thin. Hold on and do not give up! Lay claim to your flock and continue onward and upward. In Jesus name!
ARE WE COMPROMISING OUR STANDARDS?
Isaiah 55:12 You will go out in joy and be lead forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Oh how many times the enemy has talked us in to walking down the wrong path and there we are with no Peace….blaming God. You are about to read the true story. The one you will want to hear before taking that next step.
Let’s start with the good stuff….oh, who am I kidding, it’s all good stuff.
Sometimes we praise God (clap our hands) in the uncomfortable places because we know comfort is not our measure of Peace. We’ve been down that road before. Comfort or discomfort can be a feeling or emotion brought on by a fallacy (a mistaken belief, faulty reasoning, unsound argument). I know it’s hard to accept when we’re wrong, but this is where we can get caught in the trap. Peace is a gift that transcends and transforms any circumstance for which God has called us. It’s sort of the boat that Truth rides in on. Peace gives us courage to put on our armor, to take the step when our feelings and everyone around us says….well, you know what “they” say. Remember, we don’t fight against flesh and blood, so you can stop being angry at your neighbor and focus your righteous anger on your true enemy, Satan. He speaks in all things lacking – in truth, faith, Word from God…all things…well, obvious, scattered and disoriented. God is strategic, faith focused and love driven.
and then there are times…..
Sometimes God withholds peace to help us realize we are not where we need to be or headed down the right path. A lack of peace looks something like noticing signs that alert you to a dessert coming up and knowing you have no gas or water on hand. NO PEACE….BACK UP AND RETURN TO YOUR NEAREST FILLING STATION.
God is so amazing, He creates a fire wall of hesitation (i.e. lack of peace) at the entrance upon the forbidden path. Peace is our guide and friend; a confidant in times of pursuit or times of waiting.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
He will provide Peace as you wait for your promise; as an indicator that you are on the right path or rest stop to your promise.
His Peace is heavenly Provision. We need not look around for our provision when He has given us peace. Peace is the provision. And it is sufficient. HE is sufficient.
Sometimes the perfect will of God will lead us to a place where we had rather not be. In that Place, He will send His Peace as Provision to cover and aid us until the next step is called forth. Just because a path seems uncomfortable or full of chaos does not necessarily mean we were not meant to walk through it. His Peace is our assurance to step or not to step. Do not allow the way something looks to speak truth to you. Truth comes form above, not from appearance.
Praise Him for His Peace. It is a sign that you are in His perfect will and not just His permissive will. (Oswald Chambers wrote a devotional where he mentioned perfect vs permissive will and I just think that is an extremely helpful determination.)
Align your vision with the peace that is unseen as you walk by Faith not by sight.
Praise Him and watch Him move on your behalf. Stand when He says stand and move forward when He says move forward…praising Him all the while.
2 Corinthians 5:7
Peace be to you and yours in all your ways and in all your days as you follow and seek Him first and above all things earthly, knowing your reward is found in Him. He is so worthy of your pursuit. Amen.
I recently clung to an agreement with this verse in a way that began to separate my thoughts and realign my vision with the holy nature and purposes of God.
He has called many, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14
To be called means to be invited.
To be chosen means to be picked out or selected.
“Many are called but few are chosen.”….this sent me on a dialogue with The Father on a search for wisdom and discernment. Here is a snap shot of my quest….
Why are some chosen and some not, from the ones who are called?
What is the variable between the two? If you read on in the scripture the one who was called but not chosen, was turned away because he came to the wedding banquet not wearing his wedding garment.
I believe Jesus IS our garment.
“I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation…” Isaiah 61:10
I have noticed in my Spirit recently a distinct variance in some Christians verses others. (Bare with me.) Maybe it’s our garments…? When a child has been picked up from the possible abandoned foster house in rags, one of the first things a good parent will do is bring them new clean clothes. When God picks us up He gives us new clothes. Will we wear them? Will we lean on our new found love and acceptance, live in our new home and wear our new garments? Or will we turn back to the dirty rags? Much like the prodigal son….
What we know best isn’t always the best for us. Can we believe that we belong? Can we believe that we deserve….the Good things?
The Father’s desire is for us to receive based on what He has done for us as a gift. It is ok to receive. It is good to receive. It is expected out of love for the Father and for His delight, that we receive with open arms and turn to Him as his adopted child; co-heir with Jesus. He called us. He invited us to live with Him. He picked us up. He did. The real turning point for us is if we will allow ourselves to BE chosen.
Some have chosen this new home, wearing the new garments while others are still wondering around as though they can’t fully commit or see the things of God as authentic and worth that risky step; maybe out of fear of rejection or abandonment we believe we must do all things on our own, be our own savour, trusting only in ourselves; which in turn leaves us entangled in the things of this world. Only then to be swept back into the walls of the abandoned foster care. Wondering where we went wrong and where God is…..
Oh, how we have all been there. We have all experienced the entanglement of the enemy of this world, with the deceit and underhanded blackmale that takes place beyond our earthy comprehension. We can make an agreement with the enemy and not even realize it. We can sign on the dotted line in a rush with a promise of something false. The enemy can and will use that agreement to entangle us (from purpose and beauty in our lives) for years and years, possibly even into eternity.
That’s the thing with the enemy, he doesn’t care that we don’t understand the rules. He takes clear and present advantage anywhere he can. It’s like sitting down at a poker table at the age of 5 with your Father’s millions, across the table from the world’s scariest, meanest, best poker player on Earth and he is intent on leaving with all of your money, your home and he won’t stop until he leaves with your life. There is no mercy. There is no grace. There is only devastation, greed and destruction in his eyes. We must be aware of his game. It isn’t our focus but it should be part of our watch.
However, in the moment when we realize we’ve stepped in over our heads, a simple turning around and calling out to God trumps the table. He comes always. He is victorious always. He acts on our behalf always. He pays our debt in full. And then……then….what do we do with that new found freedom. Hopefully we begin to prepare (get dressed) for The Banquet of which we’ve been called.
Where ever we find ourselves, none of us have arrived yet. There is still time to make the call and receive the call, get dressed and be ready when the bridegroom comes to open the door. You do realize you are the bride. You are the one HE is coming back for. He has prepared a place for you. He has prepared a wedding banquet in your honor in the presence of your enemies.
God is very gracious, slow to anger and compassionate but in the end if we arrive at the banquet, knocking on the door, slouched over in our rags, without being fully dressed in our wedding banquet attire, He will know (as if He doesn’t already) that we did not take the call seriously…that we did not realize our need for Help. There is nothing heroic about trying to win victory on our own. That is a foolish fable taught on this Earth by the one who knows he will never win against our true and present Helper. (If you are reading this and wondering if you have answered the call, chances are you have or you wouldn’t have read down this far. Just ask Him. He will let you know if you have received your salvation in Christ and then He will show you The Way.)
Have you ever received a phone call while you were on a call with someone else? There is a choice at that moment…do we quickly hang up with the one caller and answer the call from the other line? Or do we ignore the call all together?
There is a call being made on this earth. And your name is on the list. Will you answer the call? Are we too busy to pick up the phone, or will we look and see the name on the screen and answer with jubilee the call from The King.
Be the chosen one. All you have to do is answer His call. He will take over and lead you to your dressing room, the rest of the way to the banquet, fully dressed in splendor and majesty, for an eternal wedding, celebration and home prepared just for you, His bride.