Monday, February 22, 2016

True Freedom



When I divide my life into what God wants me to do and having enough time to complete my projects, my life is not at peace. That's because this represents a divided heart. Simplicity calls me to a single laser focus on Jesus and that is where I want to live. To do that I recognize I have to live in each present moment, aware and focused on His Presence.

True freedom lies hidden in total surrender to God's love.   Henri Nouwen

Your will, Your way, always, Yahweh.

And so He asks me, "Are you willing to live that out even when it is excruciatingly hard?

Honestly, Jesus, I can't say I won't fail You there (or even if it is less hard than that) but it IS my desire to be totally surrendered to You because I know You are the only One who loves me totally and unconditionally. Your love is worth it all. I'll need Your help to say yes when it is hard. Help me come to You and pray as You did in the garden so You can empower me to live this out.

I will always be with you to help you obey and love Me first and foremost.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Thankful

The Ten Lepers
As I walked with the other nine souls who were also unclean, a cohort of sinners, we could only keep company with one another. Our shame made us outcasts, hidden, not able to be touched by anyone, lest our "sin" be transferred to another. We covered ourselves so no one could see, but they knew . . . because you can't really hide that kind of stink. Alone, even among the other nine, I was isolated from life and love and relationship, desperate, dying from the outside in AND from the inside out. No hope, just going through the motions till the end, looking forward to whenever that blissful moment of release might arrive.

Then I saw Him, from a distance only, but He embodied hope. He'd healed others, could He possibly heal me? I called to Him, humbled myself, telling Him who I was, a sinner, and begged for His mercy to cleanse me, to make me whole again. Mercy...mercy...undeserved but so desired.

He called out, "Go, show yourself to the priest" as if I were already clean! I looked at my skin expecting it to be clear. How disappointed I felt when I saw the white spots were still there. But His voice was so powerful, so joyful, so hopeful, so compelling that I started to walk toward the temple as if I were already clean. His words had birthed something in me. Love, love born from hope, from an encounter with this Jesus, the Master some called Him. I sensed that just being in His presence was healing and so I went toward the temple, walked toward my healing, believing, believing in Him, believing He is the Messiah, believing He can heal and He intended to heal me... or why else would He send me to the priest to be declared clean?

As I took those first few believing steps, I noticed a change, first inside. The hopelessness was gone, replaced by a magnanimous love that filled my being to overflowing. He was on the inside, making me whole! Then I turned my gaze to my "outside" and miracle of miracles, it was changed as well! I was clean, whole, new, inside and out! My joy was indescribable!!! I turned and ran, ran to Jesus and fell at His feet and kissed them with my lips and my tears. He received my gratitude, it could not be contained. His words pierced my heart, "Your faith has healed you." My inner belief in Him and who He is, God, brought about a new heart and a new life. I will never be the same again, the old has gone, the new has come.

Unclean
Walking death
Shameful, undeserving, hopeless
Lord, have mercy on me
Healed

As I entered fully into the story as if I were that leper, I learned how important gratitude is. Focusing on where I've come from, that I was that leper makes me incredibly grateful for God's love, healing, forgiveness and makes me love Jesus more.

As I read Luke 17: 11-19, I saw myself as that leper with all my sin hanging off of me, stinking and ugly. I had no hope of ever escaping it. Shame and disgust were my constant companions and kept me isolated and hiding. I felt so "unclean." I wouldn't even really allow myself to come close to Jesus with this sin, even though I knew Him. But from afar, He called to me and told me to "go to the priest" to admit my sinfulness and receive the cleansing I so desperately needed. As I shared my shame with the one in charge, God began His healing process on my wounded and sinful heart. He met me in my healing prayer time with Him in such a powerful yet intimate way, I was never the same again. My heart was so grateful, I ran to Him! I thanked Him and it is my gratitude and love for Him that makes me different than the other nine that were glad for their healing but did not connect it in a personal way to Jesus. My love has grown because I saw this as an intimate, loving, personal touch from Him and I wanted more of this Jesus and I still do. I can't get enough of you Jesus!

And I am so pleased My Delight. Your falling at My feet in love, devotion, thankfulness fills Me with joy. You are always welcome in My arms. Come to Me, learn from journeying with Me. As you allow Me to travel the highway of your heart, I will continue to heal you and make you Shalom whole.

My shame hung tight, putrid -
An encounter with Jesus . . .
Healed, whole, grateful, loved


Monday, February 15, 2016

Stairway to Heaven



John 1:51 Then Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth. NLT

Yes, I bridge the gap between Heaven and earth. Without Me there is no access to Heaven. Many follow but never commit to taking the first step of inviting Me into their hearts, of admitting their need of Me by recognizing their sin and not wanting to live that way any longer and knowing they can't change or save themselves, knowing they need Someone greater to do that for them. 

Before the foundation of time I called you, I chose you to be Mine. I am so glad you chose to respond to My calling your name and that you continue to respond. It is not a one time surrender but truly a life long surrender. Continue on the ladder that is Me. I am so please with you, My Delight. Your heart desires more of Me and desires to share Me with others. You are My unique child and you are completing My call on your life...who I designed you to be.

Jesus, I am so grateful to know You, be one with You, growing because of You and for what you've created me to do. It brings me great pleasure to be who You've made me to be. I adore You, Jesus, my Love, my Life.


Monday, February 08, 2016

I Will Find You



Psalm 139: 7-12 The Message
Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
    to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
    If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
    to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
    you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
    At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
    night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.


Sin makes me want to run from You, just like Adam and Eve did as they hid in the garden once they disobeyed You. Also busyness encourages me to forget about You Lord. What I'm most fearful about is drifting away from You for choosing something over You that will cause me to leave You, like Solomon did. Interesting that it wasn't bad theology that caused him to do that, it was relationships.
But I know, becuase I just read that even if I do that, You won't turn from me. I can never get away from You, really! Even in my darkness, dark night of the soul, You re there because dark and light are the same to you. Darkness doesn't hide me from You. It's like You have night vision goggles that allow You to see just as if it was daytime. How I rejoice in this truth!

I can never escape from Your spirit because You reside inside of me and are never moving out. Even if I choose to not be aware of You, not listen to You, You are still there with me. You are the "with me" God. If I try to hide, ask the darkness to cover me (so to speak my sin covers, me, keeps me from You) You still find me.  Reminds me of Clannad's song from Last of the Mohicans: "I Will Find You" [click here to listen and think of God singing this to you  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdCbkbGtNO4]  

If I hide like Adam and Eve, You knew right where they were, what they did and You still conversed with them, inviting them back to You through their confession. Thank Your for the provision You've made through Your death and resurrection for me to have an eternal forever relationship with you. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude! Thank You that You will always be with me, even  in spite of myself. That's commitment, that's covenant.