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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Headed For Destruction?

Tonight I am making minestrone and i spent about 15 minutes looking for extra ingredients to make it taste that much better. I finally ended with salt and a dash of pepper.  I decided to use the recipe and measurements it gave. As I was cooking I thought about all the years I would measure my success by other peoples standards and yet somehow I would always come up short.  when I began to embrace the freedom I have in Christ that measuring stick went into the trash can.  I desire to be who God created me to be. I recently read in Joshua and I was reminded of a passage that made me think about how many times I have ended up in the hands of the enemy and asked God what in the world was going on and often questioned His sovereignty in my life. What a brat I am...

Joshua 7: 12 that is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. 13 "Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, 'consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies UNTIL YOU REMOVE IT."

Removing things in our hearts that will lead to destruction is a painful process.  I have taken God off the throne and replaced it with food along with other things for many years.  I begged God for years to give me freedom and victory but it wasn't until I admitted it and then surrendered it to my Father in Heaven that I could feel the release it had on my heart.  For some maybe its your job and the pursuit of "success" that your devoted to and it consumes your time and causes you to miss out on life. For some its your weight,body image and appearance you are devoting every single thought to and the desire to look and feel a certain way. I had to remove the things I was devoted to in order to stand before my enemy and embrace the freedom my heart longed for. Today what needs to be removed from your heart in order for you to claim victory and avoid destruction from the giants in your life?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Is Your Heart a Wasteland?

Last night I was talking to a group of middle school girls during our life group and we were discussing things that seem to take away from our desire to pursue Jesus more.  Their answers were boys, good/bad grades, friendships and relationships. They were so honest and even shared their frustration with even the idea of not chasing boys with such relentless pursuit. Their little hearts are like sponges and I LOVE IT!  I then asked each of them to give me some practical ways in which pursuing God could happen in their lives from this moment on that didn’t look like a chore. The more I heard them talking about the difficulties of reading their bibles I thought about how as Christ followers we seem to make reading our bibles look like that nasty medicine you use to take as a kid. I hated it so much I would hold my nose and try and drink something right after to avoid the nasty after taste. I think the bible has that same effect on many of us because we have made it out to be such a chore and it stirs up the good bag and ugly in our hearts. I also think that we run from time with the Creator because we know He will call us out of sin.  The bible was not written to make us feel guilty, or to confuse us. We now have a ton of bible apps on our phones, tons of devotionals to pick from and yet we cringe to sit down in the presence of our Creator.  God’s presence highlights the very things that we need to pull out of our hearts and lives and yet we often ignore it.  Satan uses those things that are highlighted to be “not so bad” so we will continue in it.  God’s grace is beautiful, unfailing and yes never ending but if you aren’t moving forward in the pursuit of righteousness and holiness then you have to understand that complacency is right around the corner. Complacency is defined as “self satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.”  WOW!! Self satisfaction is exactly what sin does in the moment. Giving us instant gratification without any preview of what possible danger is waiting around the corner.  It is like water that just sits in a dark place.  Without the light to evaporate it, it literally just sits and sits and becomes stagnant and what purpose does stagnant water have? NO PURPOSE whatsoever!   Pursing God helps you see more clearly what being clothed in righteousness looks like.  You have to understand that it is not being self righteous to pursue holiness its understanding that when you have encountered Jesus everything changed within you.  The desire to be loved from your peers/guys turns into lavishing in the love of your Creator and pouring that love you craved for so long on to others who have NO hope. When crisis and chaos hit, when depression sets in, or you cannot understand why your dreams don’t come true its then that those who have NO hope look to you and no longer see failed attempts, broken dreams and broken hearts but a Creator that makes ALL things work together for the good.  We choose to rest in His sovereignty and though sadness and grief, frustration and anger may set in you have an unexplainable joy that surfaces and those around you see Jesus.  We have to  lean to our HOPE because if not the world will continue to lean on those things we have been called to let go of.   I became a believer my first year in college and yet it took me being in my late 20’s that I began to see who Jesus was without all the legalistic rules that I had been fed my whole life.  I remember a pastor once said “you can watch television for an hour but you can’t spend an hour reading your bible?”  We then wonder why we have a generation struggling to read their bibles.   I finally got it and it was because I began to pursue Jesus and not the chore of just pleasing Him. And when that happened He began to peel back the layers of my heart and show me the dark and insecurities that had become stagnant waste lands. The deeper into His word the deeper the pain would surface. I would often give up and tuck it back away and stop reading the bible to feel normal.  But once I surrendered those secrets God released the grip satan had on my heart and took those insecurities, dark places and turned them into instruments that helped me find freedom.   Be encouraged today and know that God just wants you… ALL of you. 
Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
1 Peter 1:16 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Matthew 22: 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Psalm 143:10 1Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
on level ground!
Isaiah 61:10 10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I Am Expecting! (Not Pregnant...)

Today is January 1, 2013

This morning as I woke up I realized the newness of this day. 2012 is history and the possibilities for the upcoming year is endless.  God did so much in 2012 and the resistance that often took place in my heart or in my follow through didn't stop Him from changing lives. This past Sunday Richard honestly preached the best sermon I have ever heard him preach. He asked the question " God if I don't accomplish anything else this year what is the ONE thing you want me to do?"  Today I am abandoning my ways, my wish list, my plans and my passion to be fully open and empty as I ready myself for what God wants me to accomplish.  Genesis chapter 22 Abraham was asked to to do something crazy, bold and full of total surrender and faith. This one line rocked my world. He was asked to sacrifice his adult son and yet with his heart ready, open and fully surrendered he says this to the servants....

Verse 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, "stay here with the donkey;I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you"

He was asked essentially to kill his son and yet he said with confident expectation that both of them would return!! What is it that God is asking you to give up, sacrifice or do in 2013?  Better yet what can you do today to walk in the direction of obedience and surrender.  My one word is all through this passage in Genesis. Abraham had HOPE. He didn't know how God would do it and he NEVER asked he just knew with confident expectation that God is God and His faithfulness is constant.  As I was closing out 2012 I came across this verse and it is a beautiful picture of exactly where I am this morning as I embrace a new year with an expectant heart.  Let today be a spiritual marker of your total surrender:) Happy NEW Year everyone!

Psalm 106:12 then they BELIEVED His words;they sang His praise