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My Soul Waits in Silence

The Milk

Psalms 62:5-8 ‘My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. With God rests my salvation and my glory; He is my Rock of unyielding strength and impenetrable hardness, and my refuge is in God! Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him always, you people; pour your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower) Selah’

The Meat

In a recent conversation with my sister, she asked the question, why do we fear silence? Her research involved asking several people’s opinion including her young grandson. After research and pondering, the conclusion is this…we become uneasy in dark silence. There is just something unsettling about the silence. We don’t know what is out there. Silence is supposed to give us rest but yet it makes us anxious. Psalms 62 tells us to silently submit to Him and all hope and expectation are from Him. My sister and I talked about Elijah looking for God. Elijah failed God just like we do. Elijah feared and became discouraged just like we do. Elijah got scared just like we do. And he ran, just like we do. Scared of the unknown.

Show of hands, who reading this enjoys waiting? If you can wait, do you have the ability to wait in silence? Anyone? I’m glad that I’m not alone. Waiting…remaining inactive for a bit until something happens. An expectation of something. At rest, until you get the go-ahead to do something. At rest. Wait. I’m not a patient person at all. I’ve gotten better over the years but waiting, patience has never been a strength of mine. The reality is that waiting on God is completely different than any other waiting that we can ever do. It is so hard for us to wait on God because we have more confidence in ourselves than we do in God. Our actions during the time when we are commanded to rest can cause us more issues. The scripture states that we are to only wait patiently for God and submit to Him. Resting and waiting for God causes us to have a comfort that we cannot find anywhere else. But we don’t follow the advice of Psalm 62. Our stubbornness, our impatience and our lack of trust causes us to plunge forward without waiting. Our refuge is in God. Our hope is in God. If we have confidence that He will supply all our needs and we pour out our hearts to Him in all situations, what do we have to fear?

The Honey

God gave Elijah sleep. He was exhausted and he needed to rest. God gave Elijah an angel even though he was out of fellowship with God. It occurred when he was in the wilderness when Elijah was out of fellowship. It was when he was depressed and alone only with the best that his own strategies could supply–a scrubby desert bush. The angel of the Lord gave Elijah love, grace, and power. God provided nourishment to Elijah which he took for granted. Elijah was led to Horeb. He was given physical strength to make the journey. God restored his health but he still didn’t recognize what God was doing in his life. Silence in the cave is what God needed to get Elijah’s attention. The wind and rain swell around us creating white noise and yes, God speaks to us during those times but…God needs to get us in a cave to say hey, I got this. Why stress? Why worry? I told you that I would never leave you. Sometimes we need to hear from Jehovah Jireh, but we must sit in silence to really hear Him speak. I believe that some people thrive amid distractions and because that is where they are comfortable, therefore, they will create noise to keep from hearing the truth from God. My opinion on fearing silence? We are scared because we don’t know what is out there. It could be good, or it could be bad but either way it will change our lives. God will change your life. He sets you on a trajectory that this world cannot offer. The path is different, the grief is different, the love is different, the pain is different, and the hope is different. God is in the light, dark, chaos and the silence but He is always the same.

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Church is a No-Go

Reasons I may never go to church again

1. The church is just a building. I do not go to church to worship a building. The church is supposed to be the people. Be the church. Once you are saved, you are a member of God’s church. You are that church inside or outside the church building. Many churches do not walk through the doors of a church building on Sunday morning.
2. The church does not meet my needs and/or hurt me. I hate to break it to you, we do not live in a perfect world. The church building is ran by imperfect people and there are imperfect people who attend. Each and every person has an opinion on how things should operate, right down to the color of the pencils at your guest table. Many people have a perception that the church is perfect and perfect people attend. You will get hurt. You will not get all your needs met at a church. The reason? A perfect church does not exist. It never has and it never will.
3. The family structure has changed, and the church hasn’t. This one can be tricky. The Bible states one man and one woman. Children are born to that one man and one woman. A perfect family. The problem is that this family unit very seldom exists anymore. Families are blended. She has a child, he has two and they are both divorced. I believe in what the Bible says for our instruction for our families, but the unit looks different. I don’t mean that the church needs to change the rules, but I believe that the church needs to adapt and accept people where they are.
4. God is missing. We sing a few songs, shake hands with our neighbor, hear a message and then leave. Many times, I’ve left church, got to my car and thought, wait a minute, did I hear from God? Where was God in all that? His spirit wasn’t there. I did not feel His presence. God wants to show up. He wants to bless us. The structure of the service sometimes gets in the way of His presence. What if we threw out the set list and tore up the sermon notes and just done what God wanted? I guarantee it would be a different service and you would feel God’s spirit dwelling.
5. I’m going to church not a singles club. Although its good to meet a fellow believer and build a life that God wants for you, I’m not interested in being chased in church. Don’t follow me around or join a class just because I’m there. Don’t join the choir because I’m there. Just don’t.
6. My God is not a genie in a bottle. God wants us to have a prosperous life. He desires for us to be happy. He does not want us to live a defeated life and He does not want us to use Him for our gain. He is a sovereign God who guides our path and does not respond to ‘I wish’ statements.
7. Fake people. Church in the morning, bar at night. Worship in the morning, cussing in the parking lot. Do you know people like this? You cannot talk out of both side of your mouth. You do not get to pick and choose when you will be Christ-like. Christ wants all moments of your days not just the ones that you want to give Him.
8. It’s a show. There isn’t popcorn. Or coffee. Or stadium seating. The only thing missing is the guy walking around selling foam fingers or souvenir t-shirts. Church is not entertainment, it’s not meant to be. It doesn’t mean that you cannot laugh and have fun but rather focus your attention of why you are there. Learn, grow and fellowship. Its not a pizza party with 500 of your closest friends nor is it a concert where you use the lighter app on your phone. Its supposed to be pure, unadulterated worship and reflection time with lessons that are life-changing.
9. Scarlet letters. We all have sin in our lives. We have all done things that go against what God’s word teaches. The rumor mill church will make sure that all members know what is going on with you and place the appropriate letters on your chest for all to see. There is no forgiveness, compassion or hope for you, just condemnation. We should all get shirts with the entire alphabet listed on them. I’m no better than you and you are no better than me. We are all equal and searching for the same thing.
10. We count people because people count. No, we don’t. The church counts people because numbers are important to them, not people.
11. What if? What if we prayed rather than giving tips on prayer? What if we gathered around the table expecting Christ to be present rather than adding more screens to keep people engaged? Or if we practiced authentic fellowship, including accountability and discipline, rather than a two-minute greeting? What if preachers turned to Scripture rather than TED Talks to find fresh material?

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When Life Hands You Lemons

September 1970
A young girl was born in Chicago, IL to a woman that did not have the financial resources to care for her. The woman chose to give her daughter a better life and decided to give her up for adoption so that she could be taken care of properly. As she grew older, she realized that money doesn’t buy everything. It doesn’t buy love, security, hope, honesty and normal mothers. She remembers thinking about her mother in hopes of trying to figure her out. She remembers thinking about why a mother would hide from her when she got off the bus and then saying, “what would you do if I was really gone?” “If I wasn’t so chicken I would kill myself,” the mother would say sometimes. You must clean the entire house on Saturday she would say, and then there was the dreaded white glove test. Learn how to give me shots so that I don’t have to go to the allergy doctor. The mother would attend doctor’s visits and say, he said that he never saw anything like me! There is no point in joining that club, you can’t stay after school, you must be home to take care of me. The list goes on. One constant lie, hurtful word, and manipulation after another for 47 years.
October 2012
The daughter dealt with all she could handle. One part of her heart still felt compassion for her mother. Compassionate people are the ones that narcissistic people prey upon. She always expected the daughter to treat her like a queen. I’m the most important person in this room, the narcissist will say. The daughter had a broken marriage had to move back home with her mother. It was a bad move in more ways than one. The daughter once again felt like a child. If her shower took too long, the mother would yell. If she stayed out too late, the mother would yell. If she left a crumb on the counter, the mother would yell. If she spent too much time with her art, the mother would yell. It was like being let out of prison for a while only to find yourself back there serving another sentence. The daughter’s life was a prison with no chance for parole. Never. It was a for better or for worse, ‘til death do us part type of relationship. It was always the worse and death will be the only way to break free. The warden did everything she could to keep the convict in her place. Verbal and mental abuse was her choice of punishment. The convict often referred to the warden as a porcupine. The warden would allow the convict to get close enough so that it really hurt when the quills came out. Over the years the warden took advantage of the convict by pulling her into drama, not allowing her to live, treating her like she was clueless and degrading her every chance she got. She hurt…. on purpose. I’m counting on you, text me in the morning and make sure I answer. I could be dead. I get so scared at night, you need to be here. I don’t know what would happen to the convict if she ever gets the opportunity to live. What will she do? Where will she go? Set free from the prison life. Will she grieve, or will she be relieved?
November 2017
Although the abuse continued, the convict kept in touch with the warden. Compassion fueled the fire. The convict prayed for the warden in hope. The convict never gave up on the warden. Eventually, this drained everything within her. She cringed with the phone rang and let it go to voicemail. She would read messages and not respond to the drama. She would pretend she wasn’t home when she came by. There was never a place to truly rest. She avoided her at all cost but eventually they would have to talk. In researching about narcissism, the convict learned terms and their meanings.
Gaslighting found its way into the research. A persistent manipulation. The convict realized that over her lifetime, she had jumped from one career to another. She even pursued careers because that is what the warden wanted her to do. The convict doubted every decision she ever made. She always worried that she would hear the dreaded, I told you so. She was convinced that she could never do anything right, so she quit trying. You will never be good enough, so she thought, so just give up. Let life knock you down, its ok, that’s what you deserve. If narcissistic predators can get you to believe this about yourself, they have won. They will sit there and look down their nose at you in satisfaction.
Any conversation that you could possibly have was always one-sided. There was always an interruption and the conversation always turned back to the warden. I know you are facing foreclosure but let’s talk about what I have and how I always managed money successfully. Here let me rescue you and give you money. The more she gave, the more power she had in the convict’s life. She loved being the center of attention. She loved having people worship the ground she walked on. She loved being in control.
Hoovering happens when you least expect it. Hoover vacuum cleaners are made to suck up things and that just what narcissists do, they suck you back into drama. If the convict wanders too far, the warden will suck you back in using guilt or other similar tactics. The goal is to get the convict back under their power and control. Sometimes they admit that they are wrong or that they will change their ways, but this convict has never gotten an apology, only blame.
Sometimes a narcissist will become like you. They want to dress like you, do their hair or makeup like you, or mimic your behavior. It doesn’t make sense that the narcissist wants to consume your life, ridicule you and then want to become like you but it happens. Jealously plays a key role in mirroring. What are they jealous of though? This convict was raised by a narcissist, but I’ve worked so hard to not become her. I recognized the narcissistic characteristics and have chosen to be something different. I do not want that negativity in my life. I do not want the drama and I do not want the pain.
Sometimes the narcissist will take anything adoration that they can get. They need, not want, to feel in control. If something goes wrong, they only resolution is to blame their problem on their victim. There is no way that the narcissist is at fault nor will they take responsibility. They must have a scapegoat. I’ve taken the blame and apologized for her behavior for years. As a result, people assume that I’m the same way which is very frustrating by the way. Again, I’ve worked hard to not become her but, yet I justify her behavior. Am I the enabler?
This process has led me to believe that I cultivate this personality glitch in her. But then I remind myself that she was already broken before I came around. Speaking to her sisters has reaffirmed the fact that she has been shattered for years. So, did she create drama when something happened that she didn’t like and then she got her way? Where is that fine line? What causes the behavior?
My youngest granddaughter is almost 2. At the age of 2, she tends to be the center of things. For more than one reason (but that’s another story). At some point in time, proper rearing of this child will include transitioning her to believe that you don’t always win every time and the world does not revolve around her. You see, early childhood ‘narc’ behavior is normal. The parents fail when they don’t cut the child off at appropriate times. Do I think that my grandparents are to blame? No, not necessarily. Do I think that my aunts and uncles are to blame? No. What about my father? No. I really wish I could narrow down the why. I love solving problems, but this is one that I have waved the white flag on.
According to Psychology Today, there are the following reasons for this behavior. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/warning-signs-parents/201701/childhood-roots-narcissistic-personality-disorder
• persistent bullying behaviors such as making fun of, threatening, degrading, or scapegoating people (including parents and other adults)
• persistent need to win no matter who is hurt
• persistent lying to benefit oneself (will lie about lying, turn lies into someone else’s fault, deflect accountability by attacking messengers who point out lies)
• egotistical view of extraordinary self-worth
• preoccupation with getting own needs met over other people’s
• entitled attitudes which lead to acting as if they deserve special treatment and to get whatever they want, no matter the circumstances
• aggressive responses to being criticized, wronged, or upset
• repetitively blaming others for bad outcomes
• and being much more competitive than cooperative
I would never say that this is anyone’s fault, per se, but where did it come from? Why wasn’t it stopped? Does the person or persons that caused this behavior know what they were doing, or did they simply not care? Did this go back more than one generation? Something in their lives that bruised their ego and chipped away at their self-image. Intentional? I’m not sure. Reality? Yes. An unbroken cycle? Yes. Create the same problem for generations? Yes. Healing begins when someone recognizes the problem and makes a conscious effort to change the pattern.
Narcissists are incapable of true empathy and true love. They cannot exist outside of themselves. They align themselves with a weaker person to elevate themselves. At the end of the day, their goal is to look good and feel superior to others.
I have heard and read that the best way to deal with a narcissist is to cut the tie with them. To be honest, this bothers me a bit. It may be good for some to do so but I live my life with compassion. I believe that a person can set a boundary and stick to their guns. Does this make me weak? I don’t think so. I believe it makes me strong. I do not deal with the drama. I do not let things bother me as they have in the past. I know who I am and what I stand for. To answer my previous question, will the convict grieve or be relieved when she passes? I think both. I choose to see good in the warden despite everything, there is good. It is a glimmer of good, but it’s still there. But yes, this convict will be relieved because the abuse will finally be over.

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424 Days

Scrolling through social media apps, what do you see?  Pictures, always pictures.  Pictures of the family, dog, scenery, parents, siblings, work, co-workers, the list goes on.  All those pictures show the best of the best, but things aren’t always as they appear.  If you look closely at the above picture, you see what appears to be a mother and daughter.  A happy and healthy family is what you see. Let me explain what I see.  I see an aunt who took it upon herself to protect her niece when her mother couldn’t.  I see a niece that loves her aunt as a mother.  I see a grieving sister.  I see a growing child who was robbed of the opportunity to know her mom due to the selfishness of others.  I see my daughter displaying the ultimate love for her sister by raising her child.

My girls fought.  When it was good, it was good.  When it was bad, it was bad.  They were each other’s biggest cheerleader but worst enemies.  I’m grateful that they resolved their differences two days before the accident.  I’m grateful that they had one another and I’m grateful that my granddaughter has her aunt.

Families are not always blood and they don’t have to be.  Families fight for each other, love unapologetically and stand up for one another.  Every family has a weird person.  If you don’t know who that is, it’s probably you.  But….it’s ok.  You’re ok.  Maybe you have an aunt that is now your mom.  Maybe grandma is your mom.  And maybe, like me, your cousin is your mom.  We must love people where they are and no matter what the situation is.

My oldest daughter was pushed.  She was pushed by her sister-in-law.  Pushed into driving fast.  Pushed into losing control of her car.  Pushed into an accident.  Those same people made a mockery of her death and funeral.  Her sister and I were subjected to many episodes of bullying behavior.  We were told that we should have died.  We didn’t love her.  She died hating you.  We had no right being at the funeral.  Every tear that you cried was fake, I was told.  You are evil, I was told.  You will never see your granddaughter again, I was told.  BUT GOD…(vengeance does belong to God).  He knew exactly what He was doing.  In 424 days, I have realized His purpose and His plan to take my daughter.  I’ve never been mad at God even though I have every right to be.  His plan was for my granddaughter to be rescued and He used her aunt to make it happen.  I miss my daughter incredibly.  424 days later, I still see Him working and I will see my daughter again.

 

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You Are Worth More


If you had ever met Megan, you would have immediately loved her.  She had very high highs and very low lows but anytime she met someone, she made an impression on you.  She was kind and compassionate soul that would give you the last of what she had and do without herself.  She had a tough life, partly because of her choices, but she tried.

I cannot tell you how many times I prayed for this child.  At 18, I was pregnant, unmarried and scared.  I had no idea what God was up to.  She was a child that I didn’t know I wanted until I got her.  I remember sitting at the hospital holding a newborn baby thinking, now what do I do?  I had never been around children.  I have never even changed a diaper. She moved quickly through the growing up.  She never could sit still.  She crawled for one day.  One day.  She was walking the next.  I joked with her as she grew up, you are my experiment.  We would laugh together when I told her that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.  She reassured me that I was doing fine and then she would tell me what to change.  It was usually something that was in her favor.  Sneaky kid. We laughed more than we cried.  We grew up together.  And at the end of the day, we muddled along and both turned out okay.  I wanted to teach her things about life that I had learned from the school of hard knocks.  I never wanted her to deal with the things that I did.  I never wanted her to hurt, be in pain or miss any good opportunities.  I was her mom, her cheerleader, her friend, her encourager, and sometimes her conscience aka Jiminy Cricket.  She was full of questions. Most of them I didn’t have an answer for but I tried.  That is all I can say, this momma tried.  Mommying is hard.  Very hard.  I had to do it alone for most of her life.  I do feel that the greatest thing that I ever done for her is to pray for her.  I didn’t have anything else.  It was my greatest source of defense.  I don’t think she ever knew how much I prayed for her.  And I do not regret one second of it.  I literally wore out my knees on that child.  She was a challenge.  I tried to teach her but honestly, she taught me more than I ever taught her.  She taught me unconditional love, honesty, patience, heartache, consistency and compassion.  Did I mention patience?  This kid was so stubborn.  She wanted to find her own way.  She was determined to do what she wanted.  I prayed wisdom, peace and joy over her.  Constantly.  It was needed.  Time and time again, she would call me.  She didn’t have to tell me anything, I could tell in the tone of her voice that she needed to hear 4 words from me.  You are worth more.  I have no idea why but I began telling her that when she was young.  Megan, you are worth more.  Low self-esteem plagued her life.  No matter how hard she tried to move past it, it remained a hardship.  She just wanted to fit, belong and be content.  She befriended everyone and never knew a stranger.  I would come home from work to find strange people in my house.  It was kind of nerve wracking but that was Megan.  She would do anything for her friends.  Feed them, gave them clothes and shoes, talked to them, cried with them and loved them where they were.  She was the example of a person who felt true and honest compassion for people and it didn’t matter their background, color or religion.

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Grief Part 1

Grief

Part 1

Deep sorrow, misery, sadness, anguish, pain, distress, heartache, heartbreak, agony, torment, affliction, suffering, woe, desolation, despair, mourning, bereavement, lamentation.

Although this is the official definition of grief, personally, I can define grief in one word…ugly.  There is no perfect transition between denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  There is no straight line between point a to point e.  I believe that if you truly grief losing someone, you bounce from a to c, c to b etc.  It’s just ugly.  Life never goes back to normal.  All we can do is adjust to a new normal.  Whatever that looks like.  None of us like change but it is going to happen.  You cannot lose someone you love and continue life just like it never happened.  I do believe that for some people, when they have been sick for some time, when a death is expected, somehow it is almost comforting.  When they finally take their last breath is it an end to pain and suffering.  We do not want the ones that we love to suffer.  I remember sitting by my dad’s bedside. It was so difficult to watch the biggest, strongest man that I ever loved, reduce to pain.  I was prepared but not prepared.  The aftermath of his passing has been a challenge.  I have a mother to care for now.  Her care has increased over the years and the responsibility falls to me.    It’s extra time that I must give her.  My life on hold.  No doing what I want to do on days off from work.  I do what she needs and take care of things.  I have learned and adjusted to doing what needs to be done.  Things that dad would have done or taken care of around the house.  Help her make decisions etc.  Do I want this job?  Is this normal?  No, but it is a responsibility that I have and I do it with joy.

What about the death that we don’t see coming?  Those unexpected ones.  We think we have more time.  Valuable time.  If I give you my time, I care about you and your life.  We are only allowed so many times to circle the sun.  Just like your checkbook, where you write the most checks equals what you value as the most important thing in your life.  Where you spend the most of your time equals what you value the most in life.  How on earth do you deal with those unexpected deaths?  The ones that you think you have a lifetime with.  The ones who give you joy. The ones who you depend on.  The ones that you think will bury you instead of the other way around.

(This is the first part in a twelve part series.  More to come.)

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Abound In Hope

Romans 15:13

‘Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’

The Milk

Abound, large numbers or generous amounts.  A large amount of hope by the power of the Holy Spirit is basically what verse 13 is telling us.  It is hard for us to have a small amount of hope let alone a large amount.  So how do we get there?  Smallest amount to largest.  First, realize that God is watching over you.  Isaiah 41:10, ‘fear not, for I am with you.’  God will never leave us. Sometimes it feels like it but He doesn’t ever leave.  People leave but God does not.  Psalms 32:8 tells us that He guides us with His eye.

The Meat

Remember when your children were little and you took them to the park.  They wanted to do everything on their own.  Reluctantly, we let them climb to the top of the slide unattended or swing from the tallest part of the monkey bars.  Even though they thought they were on their own, we sat and watched them, ready to run towards them in troubled times to pick up the pieces.  We waited for them to scream out our names.  We carefully guided their steps even though they may have been unaware of our actions.  We would eliminate obstacles before they got there, filled a hole, killed a bee or wiped water from a slick step to prevent injury.  Even though they were on their own, we carefully watched and never left them.  We see them tackle things that we knew all along they could do, we seen them share a piece of candy with a stranger, we seen them include an ‘outcast’ in the game, we seen them encourage a shy, timid child to the top rung.  In those moments, we realized that the lessons that we had been teaching them we finally sinking in.  Not only did they have hope and faith in themselves but also in others.

The Honey

God was working in their lives even though they were completely oblivious to that fact.  Sometimes, no matter what they did, there was someone that they couldn’t get along with.  Another child said hurtful things.  Psalm 147, He heals the brokenhearted.  He wants to heal us but we should ask for healing in faith. Emotional energy used on past hurts only damages our present and our future.   We must release those who hurt and let go of the right to get even.  If you get pushed off the swing, dust yourself off and swing higher to the sky than before the fall.  God is watching with His careful eye and vengeance is His.

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Call Upon Me

Psalm 50:15

Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me.

There are many tests and trial that we endure in this life.  I believe that the types of test can be condensed to four distinct categories.

  1. Pressure test – reminds me of when my mom used to can tomatoes. Once the pressure was built up enough, the steam would overflow from the spout.  We do that.  Hold circumstances, events and disappointments inside until it bubbles over.  Psalm 50:15 tells us to call on Him, when we do, He delivers us.  Here’s the kicker, in that deliverance from the pressure, we are to glorify Him.  We are commanded to give Him the glory for overcoming the trial.
  2. People test – everyone, and I mean everyone will disappoint you in some way, shape or form. The answer to our worries, depression and dissatisfaction is not found in another person but only in God.  Isaiah 2:22 is very clear about such a thought. “stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils.  Why hold them in esteem?” People cannot save you.  We place hope and trust in people that will lead us to destruction.  Isaiah 49:23 says that once we see people for who they are, then we will know that He is the Lord.
  3. Commitment test – Ecclesiastes 5:45 “when you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed. Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.” What commitment have you made to God that you haven’t followed thru on your promise? It is a test of our character.  A weak person does not follow up on a promise without an action.
  4. Priorities test – Placing a job, task or person above something else. We all do it, don’t we?  Matthew 6:33 tells us to seek His kingdom first, once we do, all things will be added to us.  Keep in mind that God doesn’t place chess.  We should never seek out to do God’s work for God to give a blessing.  Our actions should glorify Him always not just when we need something.  Call upon God in all ways and in all situations first and foremost.  Rest in Him only.
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You Have Found Grace Exodus 33:17

The Meat

Exodus 33:17 ‘So the Lord said to Moses, I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.’

Isn’t that great to know that one day you will audibly hear God whisper your name?  The creator of the universe knows your name.  The creator of the heavens and the earth wants a relationship with you.  The creator of the stars placed each one in the sky just for you to enjoy.  If that doesn’t give you chills, you need a spiritual double-check!

The Milk

In searching for the Bible references to the word grace, Paul probably used the word more than any other writer.  It was possibly because of his prior experience with grace and the journey that his life took before encountering Jesus on the Damascus road.

The Honey

Talking about God’s grace and defining God’s grace are two completely different things.  You see, the definition of grace cannot be found in the dictionary nor can words be assembled in a sentence that can give the word justice.  I’m afraid that God’s grace cannot be expounded upon.  We can use words like good will, favor, lovingkindness….but even those words fail in comparison.

God’s grace was wrapped in swaddling clothes.  God’s grace is in His healing touch.  God’s grace is in the sunset.  God’s grace is in our salvation.  God’s grace is _____.  We can fill the blank with anything.  That is God’s grace.  Paul made attempts in the book of Ephesians but he could only use adjectives and descriptive words like ‘the glory of His grace’ Ephesians 1:6 and ‘exceeding riches of His grace’ Ephesians 2:7.  The bottom line is that we are not worthy of His grace.  His grace is also free.  We must only believe that we can put our faith in God for anything at anytime for anyone, period.  We can do all the right things, live for Him, pray, minister, teach, do great works, write, sing, worship, but it still isn’t enough to deserve His grace.  That is compassion, that is love….that is grace.

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Stand Fast – Galatians 5:1

The Milk

Stand Fast

‘Stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.’

Paul challenged the Galatian church to stand firm in their faith and not to return to the bondage of the law.  Deliverance from the curse that law pronounces on the sinners who has been striving unsuccessfully to achieve his own righteousness.  Making a commitment to God mean that He demands your attention.  Just like any relationship worth pursing, we must give attention, nurture and cultivate those relationships.  Our relationship with God is no exception.  He demands immediate obedience.  When you are told to do something, you must listen and obey.  God doesn’t give us suggestions but instead give us commands.  It is a privilege for us to do His work.  He doesn’t call just anyone to a particular place for a particular task.  It is like being a member of a ball team and just standing on the court not playing.  We will not be productive and we will not be showing God’s love just standing there in the middle of the court.  It is an honor to know that God placed you in a particular place for a particular reason.  Enjoy that thought.  You were made for a reason.  He had plans for you when you were created by Him.  When we pray to Him, He promises that He will listen.  He wants that conversation with us.  There is nothing we can say to Him that He won’t understand.  As David told his son Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28:9, ‘the Lord searches all hearts and understand all the intent of the thoughts.  If you seek Him, He will be found by you.’ Are we really seeking?  Are we really committed?  Do we really surrender all?  If we are honest, you will probably admit that we surrender about a quarter of our lives.  That means that we are only about a quarter full.  Our cups do not run over.  If our cups are dry, how can the love of God overflow onto others?  Correct me I’m wrong but isn’t that what we are supposed to be doing here?  Filled with Christ and the overflow from our worship fall onto others so that they see His love through us?  You see, that is the definition of true freedom, being ‘full’ of God.   Keeping the tank on F. Drinking in His spirit from the Living Water, Feeding on His Word.  Finding rest in His Peace and becoming a light so that others can see a path directly to Him.  Anything else we do in life is unimportant.

The Meat

Let’s concentrate on the word steadfast.  It is an interesting word.  It is one of those words that the meaning could be misunderstood.  Steadfast means unwavering, firmly fixed, constant, firmly loyal or totally dependent upon.  Over 200 times the word steadfast is mentioned in the Bible.

Proverbs 4:26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.  I’m reminded of the kid’s song that says, oh be careful little feet where you go.  That is exactly what this verse tells us.  Don’t go where you don’t belong and be firmly fixed in the ways of God.

Isaiah 54:10 ‘For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed but my steadfast love shall not depart from you.’ His constant love shall never leave you.  He moves mountains and removes hills.  Climbing those mountains and hills are daunting.  Allow Him to move them for you and you will never be alone.

Psalm 103:8 ‘The Lord is merciful and gracious and abounding in steadfast love.  Constant – never changes, never stops.  Unlike humans who leave us, forsake us and seek to destroy us; God never does.  He is merciful and gracious to us always.

The Honey

Grasp the full definition of steadfast.  God is unwavering, He never changes.  His is firmly fixed in His love for us.  He is constant with His grace and mercy.  He is firmly loyal and we can fully and totally depend on Him.