Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Don't Laugh

Micah 7:8
New Century Version
Enemy, don’t laugh at me.
    I have fallen, but I will get up again.
I sit in the shadow of trouble now,
    but the Lord will be a light for me.
I literally just directed somebody else's attention to this scripture as an encouragement, and immediately I felt my own spirit jump up in recognition.  Recently, I have been discouraged with myself over some things, and I am the best at knocking myself around.
I fall down.  I mess up.  I do and say things that I wish I could take back.  Why?  Because I'm human.  Sometimes my legs are shaky and my feet stumble. 
I always think of the "enemy" as Satan, and while yes, he certainly is, sometimes I am my own worst enemy.  I beat myself up, I "laugh" at myself because of what I see as my own folly. 
Enemy........Self - don't laugh - get up!  The light of the Lord shines on, His light is never dimmed, the shadows disappear in His love. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Isaiah 53:5
The Voice
But he was hurt because of us; he suffered so.
    Our wrongdoing wounded and crushed him.
He endured the breaking that made us whole.
    The injuries he suffered became our healing.

When one has a physical wound one has to take care of it, medicate it, and sometimes baby it.  Our emotional, mental, and spiritual wounds are no different.  When we come to God with it, the initial examination diagnoses - and just like with a physical wound, we feel some relief just knowing what is wrong.  But, also just like a physical wound, then the healing process begins.  This can be painful as usually the damage has to be undone before the solution is applied. 

Jesus provided the initial washing of all of our wounds on the cross.  His sacrifice already has healed our wounds.  In the process of healing us individually, we need to let that washing repeat, for however long it takes, until the healing is complete in us.  It doesn't do much good to go to the doctor and find out what is wrong, and then not go back for the treatment. 

Get a check up with God.  Let Him diagnose you.  Then go back for another dose of His cleansing blood.  Rinse your wound with your tears....and go to Him again and let Him continue to wash your wound.  His supply is unending, and He will take as long as you need Him to.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

God's Eyes

Psalm 103:8-14
Living Bible

He is merciful and tender toward those who don’t deserve it; he is slow to get angry and full of kindness and love. He never bears a grudge, nor remains angry forever. 10 He has not punished us as we deserve for all our sins, 11 for his mercy toward those who fear and honor him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. 12 He has removed our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west. 13 He is like a father to us, tender and sympathetic to those who reverence him. 14 For he knows we are but dust.

I saw something recently that made me realize once again how much I don't understand God and who He is.  Yes, even in spite of my personal heritage and current role in life. 

How many reading this post has ever beat yourself up over past mistakes?  Have you ever felt unlovable?  How about that sense of self-worth...have any?  Most of us have struggled with these things for one reason or another.  Myself included.  I can look back, even into my childhood, and see things that may have hindered my understanding of God. 

I write today and freely admit that even as I have read the scripture passage above many times, and many others like it, I have had a really hard time applying them to myself.  I'm too aware of my shortcomings and failures to see how that could possibly apply to me. 

Interestingly enough though, just this morning in my prayer time, I asked God to let me see myself through His eyes.  This afternoon I was led to Psalms 103. 

The reader must agree that God purposefully showed me how He feels.  You are also seen through the lens of scripture.  His love and mercy is extended to me, you, and everyone else.  How can we be so sure?  Re-read Verse 8 - it's for everyone who does not deserve it.   

As God has once again proved His love to me, I trust someone else reading this has also has a clearer picture of who they are in His eyes. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

I Am Weak

2 Corinthians 12:9-11
New Life Version

He answered me, “I am all you need. I give you My loving-favor. My power works best in weak people.” I am happy to be weak and have troubles so I can have Christ’s power in me. 10 I receive joy when I am weak. I receive joy when people talk against me and make it hard for me and try to hurt me and make trouble for me. I receive joy when all these things come to me because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

It has been a while since I have posted on this blog.  While there has been the familiar urge every now and then, I have refrained.  The reason being that I have felt so weak at times.  And only a strong person should have something to say, right?   

Well, a thought that has been circling my brain for a couple months, just plopped itself right down and made itself at home this afternoon...

I know that everyone must feel weak and worn down and out at times.  In fact, my whole blog is about acknowledging the ups and downs of life.  The ups generally are never hard to handle.  The downs almost always are.  So, as I have struggled with my own sense of weakness, I have noticed strength in others.  There are particular people in my life in whom I see enormous strength.  I have often sat back and just thought "wow."  How do they do it?  Where do they find that strength? 

If I were to tell each of these people how strong they appear to me, I'm betting they would look very surprised.  Maybe they would think I didn't notice the difficulties they have faced, or the hard times they are going through. 

Of course, I have already given it away by mentioning 2 Corinthians 12:9.  There is definitely some strength going on.  But it is not our own.  I find it very interesting when one claims to be strong, without admitting weakness, that makes it sound like one is strong all on their own. 

I realize, of course, that my weakness is no weaker than anyone else's weakness.  The power of Christ in me is just as strong in me as I see it in others.  I am weak.  All of me needs all of Jesus.  I don't want someone to see strength in me without seeing weakness in me.  The strength is not my own - He is all I need.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

See the Invisible

Psalm 139:1-6
God's Word Translation

O Lord, you have examined me, and you know me.
You alone know when I sit down and when I get up.
    You read my thoughts from far away.
You watch me when I travel and when I rest.
    You are familiar with all my ways.
        Even before there is a single word on my tongue,
            you know all about it, Lord.
You are all around me—in front of me and in back of me.
    You lay your hand on me.
        Such knowledge is beyond my grasp.
        It is so high I cannot reach it.

Have you ever felt invisible?  I have.  There have been many times where I have cried in the frustration that the feeling brings.  Where you feel like people only see the shell of who you are - and completely miss the essence of who you are.  Why?  Because they don't see you.  You are invisible. 

Through some observations, including of my own life, I have come to realize that this feeling of invisibility comes from the shame and pain that one bears.  Shame, pain, hurt, confusion - you name it - has a way of isolating people.  Not too many people are willing to stand up and shout their burdens, and not too many people want to hear about them.  So, what do we do?  We put on our smiles.  We look like we are supposed to look.  We say, I'm fine, thank you.  Sometimes, the hurting are the ones encouraging others.  We hide.  We become invisible.

Only, no one really wants to be invisible!  As I have been contemplating all of these things, I came across the above passage.  I was struck by how un-invisible we are.  Whether God is close or far away, he sees us.  He knows us.  He touches us. 

I know that most of us will continue putting on our smiles, etc.  Me, included.  But, I think that for those of us who have ever felt invisible, or at least can imagine how that feels, we should put some spiritual x-ray glasses on look beyond the shell of people, and really see them.  Behind the smile, the perfect look, even the encouraging word, might be someone who needs to be seen. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Thoughts, Plans & Relationship

Jeremiah 29:10-14

10 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

I have been reading in Jeremiah lately and came across this passage.  As I read verse 11, I recognized it as a "popular" verse that people like to quote and put on cups and pictures, etc.  Don't get me wrong, I love the verse myself.  I may even have a travel cup that has it written on it and I don't mind the reminder of the goodness of God at all!

What struck me is that so many times we become familiar with a particular verse and forget that there is a context, and by doing so lose some of its meaning.  In this case, the children of Israel were in captivity because of their unfaithfulness and disobedience to God.  But, God already had thoughts or plans for them.  He didn't just randomly have a good thought or plan - He just keeps His word.  Period.  And in spite of their shortcomings, He was going to fulfill His promise and word. 

And if you read past verse 11, you will see that the good thoughts and plans of God are not just a one sided deal.  God wanted a relationship with Israel, He wanted them to seek Him, and turn to Him.  I believe this is the same context we should be reading verse 11 today.  God does have good thoughts and plans for us - but how will we know what those are or see them fulfilled in our lives until we call upon Him and seek Him with all our hearts?  

Whether one is turning to God for the first time, or has been one of those who has read verse 11 with a little bit of spiritual smugness - we still need to call on, turn to, and seek God - so He can fulfill the promise of His word in our lives!  It is a relationship.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Forward March

Isaiah 59:19

19 So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.

Just a short and hopefully sweet post here about letting the Lord fight the battle.  Sometimes after experiencing a mountaintop, the valley seems to come right up and smack you in the face.

And "enemy" seems like such a strong word.  We all know there is an enemy of our soul - but can we truly blame everything on him?  I would like to think I have no earthly enemies - although there has been a time or two that I've wondered.  A lot of times it is just life!  It happens!  In that case the enemy is discouragement and disappointment.

So, regardless of whatever "enemy" we face, if we get up, shake ourselves off, praise the name of the Lord, He will fight that enemy.  When we feel weak from our introduction to the valley, He will lift up a standard for us.  Forward march!