Life Happens and God Draws Near

Brokenness

Coffee is brewing and the warm smell fills the room and I want to linger here in the presence of my Father.  He is calling me and I have not been listening.  I have been avoiding, living my own life, believing I was still in relationship with him only to find myself afraid, alone, and on my knees.  “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18.  I know I have not been listening, but God has my attention.  I know that he held my life before me and called me back to him.  I am here in your presence once again, not pretending to be whole, but broken and needy.  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  Psalm 147:3.  I am binding my wounds.

Self-Righteous

Who have I been?  I have been a selfish, self-righteous person, yet Romans 3:10 reads, “As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;”   I have not put others first, I have failed to not just be strong in myself, but allowed myself to wallow in self-pity.  I see all the ugliness inside of me.  Who did I think I was?  Did I feel I was better than others?  Did I forget to walk in others shoes?  How did I find my way back to this place?  I know I have allowed Satan a crack into my life and he encouraged me to think only about myself.  Why did God choose to bring me out of this pit?  I feel the weight of my selfishness lifting off of me as God is showing me my lack of relationship with him and begins to heal the brokenness.  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17.

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Broken Vessel

Walking along in my selfish life, I suddenly found myself in a situation that was like deja vu deep from my past.  Where did that ugly person come from?  This person that I thought was lost suddenly emerged like a monster from the dark.  Yet, probably not as suddenly as it seemed.  Recently, I have been a “Debbie Downer”.  I have been a self-righteous pompous person.  So finding myself selfishly raising my ugly head like a monster in the dark may have seemed sudden, but now I see that I was racing down a path of destruction. The humiliation means I want to hide, but I know that I have to move forward.  Although, the pain that comes with seeing my selfishness hurts deeply, it has been nothing like facing the emptiness where God should be in my life.  It is nothing like knowing he could choose to take my life with each breath, but has chosen to hold my beating heart in his hands.

My heart is broken because I have broken the most important person in my life.  I alone have created deep pain and sorrow that is hard to forgive.  I have hurt my husband deeply and that pain is like no other pain.  I imagine that the pain God has felt is much the same, watching his son hang upon the cross for my sins.   Words and sometimes even actions can not repair such damage, but I pray that our relationship can weather the storm.  Romans 5:1-5 promises me, “Father, we feel the burden of our sin, and it is exhausting to try and make ourselves whole.  Our hearts long for your presence.  We rejoice in our sufferings, know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”  I am a broken vessel… (a few lyrics from a powerful song)

Broken Vessels

You take our failures, You take our weakness
You set Your treasure in jars of clay
So take this heart Lord, I’ll be your vessel
The world to see Your life in me

Oh, I can see You now
Oh, I can see the love in Your eyes.
Laying Yourself down
Raising up the broken to life

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”  Corinthians 4:7

(1° Broken Vessels – 00:00 2° Touch The Sky – 09:32 3° Say The Word – 13:55 4° Heart Like Heaven – 18:19 5° Closer Than You Know – 24:49 6° Even When It Hurts – 33:34 7° Oceans – 39:52 8° Love Is War – 48:48 9° Captain – 56:05)

Worthy

As I contemplate my sin and move toward Christ, I realize that I am worthy in God’s eyes.  I feel God drawing near to me and feeling his strength now I can see where my focus should be.  First and foremost I need to focus on him and ensure he is the priority in my life.  “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  James 4:8.  So I seek his presence in prayer and in my daily walk.  I think of others before myself.  I smile so others might smile.  I seek the happiness in my life that is my choice and no one else.  I trust in God.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6.  I am focusing on my heart once again in order to put my Father first in my life.

My Worth Is Not What I Own 

Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed – my ransom paid
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer,
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul

Closing Verse: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Challenge:  Protect Your Heart.

A Simple Life

Be Awesome! Be You!

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New Year Resolutions

As the new year begins, so many of us make resolutions or promises to ourselves and our futures.  A resolution according to the Google Dictionary, is a firm decision to do or not to do something.  Many of these resolutions go unfulfilled each year, so I am struggling as this new begins to decide whether I will make any promises to myself for 2018.  Or, I could just choose to be happy, grow closer to my Father, and just Be Me!.  I am leaning toward the latter decision, but I stumble at Being Me because how easy will it be for me to actually be me.  Can I even be true to myself?

The Scale

I have to stop and be honest here.  Coming out of the New Year, I look in the mirror and struggle to find love for myself.  The holidays are not always physically nice to me, and especially on the scales, but as I work to make a decision on a resolution, keeping the ultimate resolution of weight loss also on my mind, I found this quote…

To be honest, after reading the quote, I added the Be Awesome, Be You, it seemed like a perfect ending.  I  believe that this quote means that if I can Be Me, then I will not have anything to really worry about from the scale.  If I put Me first, and work to bring deeper meaning to my life then the scale will take care of itself.  I know I need to be conscious of it, but not driven by it.  I need to stop the worry of the scale and Be Me!

Choosing Happiness

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 is a direct reminder to seek the Lord to find the happiness that my heart desires.  2018 will be a year for me to really work harder on my relationship with the Lord.  I seek his love and path for me, and will spend more time praying for his guidance in my life.

Relationship with the Lord

James 4:8 reads, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  This is a promise from scripture that if I want deeper relationship with the Lord then God will meet me.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing”.  As I enter the new year I will pray. My constant prayer will be to build a stronger relationship with the Lord and the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 will be more fruitful, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

New Me

This will be my new year resolution for 2018.  I will seek who I am.  I will stop allowing society and others to drive and determine who I am, but will turn inward and dig to find the scattered pieces inside that make me – ME.  I will seek the presence of my Father even more.  I pray for his guidance in walking a path of self discovery.  I have let the world create Me and somewhere along the way, I believe pieces of me have been lost. Psalm 139:13-14 reminds me that God is my creator, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  God knows my heart and he created me, so together we can find ME.  I believe the beginning of a new year is about reflection and moving forward and that is the path I am going to choose to Be Me.  Happy New Year.

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Closing Verse:  You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.  Song of Solomon 4:7

Challenge:  Seek Yourself!  Be Awesome!  Be You!

 

Voice of Truth

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Voice Of Truth – Casting Crowns

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He’s holding out His hand

As 2017 is coming to a close and I am beginning to look toward the future and what 2018 will bring.  As I plan and look at 2018 and my future, I realize that I am going to need the faith of Peter to take the steps to make my dreams come true.   I need the faith he had to step out of the boat and know that Jesus had him.  I need this faith when I step out to know that I will walk and not fall.  “He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. ” Matthew 14:29.

But the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. ‘Boy, you’ll never win!’
‘You’ll never win!’

Although, I have failed many times in my life and know that feeling sometimes the fear of failure and how it will affect your life is just too daunting to take the steps out of the boat.  Yet, I know that God is with me and holding me as I make that leap onto the water.  I Corinthians 10:13 makes this promise, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”  Temptation or failure.  God will be there and not allow more than I can handle.
Chorus:
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, ‘Do not be afraid!’
The voice of truth says, ‘This is for My glory’
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

If I stop and listen, I hear God’s voice telling me to write a new and different story in my life.  I hear him telling me to reach and grab a dream.  As long as I have God first he will be glorified.  I know that big changes bring great fear, but I know that God is near.  I believe that God will glorify this decision that he can find a way for him to be glorified in any and all that I do.  “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”, 1 Corinthians 10:31.

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they’d have had the strength to stand

But the giant’s calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again. ‘Boy you’ll never win!’
‘You’ll never win!’

As 2018 approaches, I hear the giant laughing, but I feel the strength of God telling me that I can take the next step in my life.  I can be David before what seems like Goliath and conquer!  “Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” 1 Samuel 17:45.  I walk in the name of the Lord and he will be by my side, so I look to the future may God show me his path that I might glorify him.
But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don’t seem so high
From on top of them lookin’ down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me

I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

I choose to listen and believe the voice of truth, the voice of my Father and his son Jesus Christ.  I will not let my heart worry, but know that God is in control.  “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1.  I will find my strength in the Lord on his wings.  “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31.

Closing Verse: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Challenge:  Find Faith, and listen for the Voice of God.

 

The Empty Manger

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The Empty Manger

As I look down into the manger this Christmas season, I want to remember the simple birth of my Savior.  The manger was empty so that Jesus could fill it with His glory so many years ago.  “And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”  Luke 2:7  As I remember that empty manager, I see my life as the manager and I pray that my advocate, Jesus, will fill my life simply, yet fully as He filled the manger. This simple manger when filled with Christ became a beacon that called many to seek him so long ago just as we continue to seek him today.  His simple beginnings remind me that He has walked my path and knows my struggle.  As I struggle, I pray that God will fill the manger of my life, and He will take root in my heart.

Heart of the Manger

Prior to Christ’s birth the manger was empty and man struggled with his sin and evil heart.  God knew that only the sacrifice of His Son would bring salvation to His people. How can we plant the seed of Christmas in our hearts and weed the evil from within?  During this Christmas season, I hope that we all are reminded that we need Christ in our hearts.  My desire is not for the heart of Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” but for the heart that God creates in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”  Christ in my heart is a promised blessing from Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  I pray that blessing for all this Christmas season.  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”  Matthew 7:7.

Seeking the Manager

The first Christmas when Christ was born the heavens rejoiced and many sought to find the manger and worship this Miracle Baby.  The shepherds were in the fields with their flock that night so long ago when the heavens opened and the angels brought the great news to them. “When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.” Luke 2:15-16.

The wise men in Matthew 2:2  saw the star (link), “For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” They prepared for the journey to worship the Child in the manager.  “After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”  Matthew 2: 9-10.  Following the star the wise men found the child, “and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”  Matthew 2:11.

Gift of the Manger

I often ponder the wise men and their travels to see the Christ child.  I wonder about the gifts they brought.  I have researched and studied the meaning of each, but I guess I have often been drawn to why they brought three.  What does this mean?  The number three can be found throughout scripture, but my curiosity was more interested in why the wisemen brought only three gifts and did these gifts somehow symbolize the gifts Christ’s birth brought to man.  As I searched and read scripture, I found these verses in 1 John 5:6-8 that explain the three gifts Christ birth brought, “This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.” Christ did not come by water only into our lives which is the outward symbol of cleansing, but by blood which is his sacrifice so that His people might be saved.  Christ sacrifice brought the Spirit which is the inward symbol of our cleansing.  These gifts created the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”, and John 15:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

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Closing Verse: Matthew 1:21, “She will bear a son, and you shall his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Challenge:  Fill the Manger of your heart this Christmas with Christ.

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