Monday, January 28, 2013

What honesty with God really means?...

One of the things I love about my relationship with God 
is how honest I can be with Him.  
Several years ago now, 
when God truly got my attention, 
I came to the realization that 
God Knew me....I mean really knew me.  
He knows the ins and outs of me 
better than I know myself
and anything I think I am keeping from Him 
is just silliness because He knows it all...
and crazily enough..
he loves me anyway!

Since then, there's pretty much nothing I keep from God.
I may try to keep up a facade for the world,
I may think I have to impress people and put on a show
or cover up my real feeling and just act like I think I "should",
But with God it's different
He's seen me at my worst and 
loves me still,
so there's pretty much nothing
I feel I can say to scare Him away
or make Him ashamed of Me.

....or is there?!!

Like 18 million other Christians out there
I decided that as of the first of the year
I would start reading through the entire bible.
I've read the entire thing before,
but it's been a while
and I knew I needed to revisit all of it
and try to see it in the "big picture" sense.

The thing is...
as much as I proclaim to 
not be detail oriented
When it comes to the bible
I am
and thus
I keep getting caught up
in tiny little details.

In fact the other day I was reading in Exodus
where God calls Moses to go to Pharaoh
and say the oh so famous
"Let my people go".
At first Moses rejects it.
He thinks "Who am I?" 
and "Why would people listen to me?"
He even asks God to send someone else.
And do you know what happens?

In my bible it says God gets angry with Him!
Sure He answers him and gives Him Aaron,
a second mouth piece to go with him,
but none-the-less God is angry 
at Abraham's insistence that
He's not the right man for the Job!

This worries me....
...because... times...
I've been Abraham.
I've said no to God
and questioned if He's 
made a mistake in calling me.
I've asked for signs
and after getting them
told God he's still crazy
for choosing me.

I was just being honest....

Does my honesty
really just tell God
how much I don't trust Him.
Am I just hurting God
and making Him angry
by trying to be Honest?

I guess whether I voice these things or not
God still knows they are in me
and I would prefer to think that 
God would want me to bring them to Him
No matter what...

Honesty is always the best policy
and I've enjoyed having it be
the forefront  of my relationship
with God for years,
So I'm sure the answer is not 
to change that....
But maybe I need to look
at what my Honesty is really saying 
about my heart!

Maybe God's been trying to speak to me
and in all my "being honest" moments
and I've been talking too much to hear Him.
Maybe I just need to learn to sit still,
let God be God,
and allow Him to search my heart
without my impute.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

What Happens when God makes Good out of Evil...

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. 
He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.
Genesis 50:20

Four years ago this past Thursday, my Brother in Law passed away.
It was one of the worst things that has happened in my family.
It changed everything for us....and for me...
especially when it came to my relationship with God.
While I would never have wished for any of this to have happened....
A wife should have her husband and children should have their dad for longer...
I will say it's one of the few examples I have in my own life where God 
took what was meant for evil and some how used it for good.

I remember the morning he passed away like it was yesterday.
My sister woke me up at like 2am to let me know an ambulance was on it's way
and her and my brother in law where on the way to the hospital.
It was the second weekend in a row this had happened, so I wasn't worried.
I even specifically remember not saying good-bye to Elliot 
because I didn't want him to feel embarrassed about going out on a stretcher.
But...when I walked in my sisters room...or more specifically the bathroom...
and saw all the blood that was left behind,  I knew it was bad.

Even more specifically I remember trying to scrub all the blood 
off of the floor and out of the sink (I didn't want it to stain)...
and begging God....pleading with not let that be my last memory of Elliot!
I didn't want to look back and always think of that moment...
it felt to much like a right of passage, like by cleaning up his blood
I was agreeing to clean up whatever mess was left behind in life, if he didn't make it.
I wasn't prepared for that....not while cleaning the bathroom...
and not when I got the call from my mom telling me he was gone!

After that moment, and all that led up to it, I was pretty angry at God.
I had so many questions and so many doubts about His goodness and care.
I was afraid of Him because I knew He was God, 
but mad at Him for what had happened.
I couldn't understand why God would allow such a horrible thing to happen
to someone whom seemingly did so many things in life right.
If being a good person and doing good in this world didn't matter to God,
then I wasn't sure I even knew who God was!

The reality of the situation was....I didn't know God....not really!
I knew stories about Him and I had pre-concieved ideas of who He was.
And I formed my life around those conclusions, 
which although looked good from the outside,
left me empty, without hope and far from God in my heart.

A little over a year later, I found my way back to church
and sitting in my first service in months
I met God...
and once again...

It was one of those moments that I'll never really be able to explain
but God showed up and although I couldn't see Him, I felt Him...
and all I could do was bow before Him and cry out to Him through my tears.
It was like that story in the Bible where  the Lord appears to Isaiah
and upon seeing God, Isaiah falls to his knees and says, "Woe is me"!
Except, instead of being afraid and wanting to run away,
I felt loved for the first time and it overwhelmed me.

Since then my relationship with God has been so different than anything I knew before.
I left church that day and instead of pretending like everything made sense now,
I brought my questions, and anger and frustrations to God.
I was honest with Him about so much...
more than I had been honest about with even myself.
I let Him see into the dirtiest parts of my soul 
and hear me admit things I'd been too scared to say.
God became my best friend through those days....He saw me at my worst 
(or at least what I thought at the time was my worst)
and instead of condemning me, He loved me and accepted me!
And while I have come to understand more and more over the years
what that actually means and how it impacts my life
in that one moment
I got it...
and I was made new!

Good has triumphed over evil.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What you Get When you Mix Hope and Fear...

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."
Romans 5:3-5 

I'm not very big on getting my hopes up for things.
In fact, there are very few things worse to me than having my hopes dashed,
so I often times I  have found it better, or at least easier, not to hope at all.
Yet it seems, in recent years though, God has been restoring hope to me.
And even in the fear and the insecurity of hoping I am starting to find peace in him.
Or so it seems...

But then there are weeks like this one, where I feel like all I can do
is just cling to God and rely on Him to bind His hope to my heart.
For it seems as I find myself longing more and more to step out and move in Him
I also feel the fear that I will be disappointed welling up inside of me..
and thus internally I prepare myself for disappointment by pushing my hopes away.

I'm not saying that life has to go according to my plan
I'm not even saying that things need to work out as I expect
I'm just need to believe ...hope against hope in  a way...
that this life...this adventure he's leading me on
the one that seems to be costing me so much
while also returning to me ten fold that of which I didn't know I needed,
will be the life that brings me face to face with Him.
Cause the reality is, I matter the heartache no matter the sacrifice
no matter the choices I have to make, if in the end it all just leads to him,
Then it will all be worth it!

And that is the Hope in which I need...and thus I cling to Him!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What I've Started doing to Combat Worry...

I am a worry-wort.
I don't really know why,
but it probably has to do
with my control issues.
None the less
when I am 
working on or
working through
my mind automatically
thinks of the 
900 million possibilities
of how things could go wrong
and before I know it,
I am completely stressed out.

It's absolutely ridiculous
and quite honestly 
shows how much growing
I still need to do 
when it comes to
TRUSTing in
my relationship 
with God. 

Lately though
it seems
my stress level
has been at 
an all time high.
I have spent 
more hours
than I can count
talking myself off
the invisible ledges
I create 
all because of
the what if's
that flood my mind!

in an effort to 
combat this,
I've decided to 
take a cue from Jesus.

In the Bible 
there is a story
about how Jesus
was tempted by the Devil
for 40 days in the wilderness.
The devil would try to tempt Him
with power, prestige, etc
and each time
Jesus responded 
with the "Word of God".

To be honest
I've never been really good
about trying to memorize scripture.
I normally blame it on the fact
that I have a horrible memory,
but the reality is
I am just lazy.

However, as I read
the story of Jesus' temptation,
I couldn't help but think
how maybe the best defense
against my stress and anxiety
would be the Word as well!
Scripture does say
That the truth will set you free
and God's word is truth.

I've started memorizing scripture.
Every day this week
I've picked a new verse
to try to memorize
and meditate on through out the day.
Things like
"Do not be anxious 
about anything
but in everything 
through prayer and petition
with thanksgiving
present your requests to God
and the peace of God
which transcends all understanding
will guard your heart and your mind
in Christ Jesus"
(Philippians 4:6-7)
"Trust in the Lord
with all your heart
and lean not on 
your own understanding.
In all your ways 
acknowledge Him
and He will make 
your paths straight".
(Proverbs 3:4-6).

I can't say doing this
has magically made 
all my worry disappear.
But I can say
that in those moments
when I feel that anxiousness
bubbling up inside of me,
I remind myself of my daily verse
and for that moment 
that I am concentrating on the word,
my mind is off what is stressing me.
And I think,
that is at least
a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What the Faith of Those Past has Shown Me...

Last night I had 
a really interesting
with a customer
at work.
She came up
and asked for
any book 
we might have
on Smith Wigglesworth.

In case you don't know
who that is,
Smith Wigglesworth
was an amazing
minister of the Gospel
in the early 20th century
who is best known
for the miraculous
healings that God
preformed through Him!

His story amazes me
and has ever since
I first read about him
in high school.
I have stood in awe
of His connection 
with God
and desire nothing more
than to have that
type of relationship
with God myself.

But back to my customer...
after we searched
and found we had 
nothing in store for her
to purchase
I wrote down a list 
of his books for her to check out
and other men of God
she should read about...
people like
George Mueller
and Charles Spurgeon!

Then we got to talking 
about how
now a days
we don't seem to see 
this type of 
insane faith
and how sadly 
we've become
such a self-sufficient society
that we only seem
to turn to God
when things fall apart.

I confess
that over the years
I have been this exact person
I've been self reliant...
I try figure things out
on my own..
I don't want to need anybody
or anything from anybody...
at times,
not even from God!

But the truth of the matter is
I am absolutely and completely
in desperate need of God
every moment of every day!
And those just aren't words...
I'm not paying lip service
to God or you...
but I've come to know
through experience
and life circumstances
that when it seems
everything in life 
is falling apart
and nothing
seems to be going my way...
when all my friends have left me
and I feel alone
and unsure of
where to go 
and what to do...
has been there!

He's been 
my breath
my movement
my voice
my strength
my hope
my desire...

He's fulfilled
my every 
and prayer!

I cannot live this life without Him
nor do I ever want to!
So forgive me lord
for all the times
I've walked out on my own...
doing things my own way...
walking in my own strength..
and Thank you for
always holding me 
in your hands...
No matter what!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What Kingdom Are We Living For?!...

So yesterday I was
running around doing errands
and passed this lady
near the bank
who had set up a booth
for people to come
and sign a petition
to impeach the president.

To be honest
I don't pay a lot
of attention to politics
so I can't say much
either way about
how I feel
about our country's
head honcho.

However I couldn't help 
but think about how
I'm living for a different Kingdom...
God's kingdom...
and the kingdom of God
is not of this world.

When Jesus came into the world
People thought He would 
become king and lead a revolution.
He did do that...
in fact He's still doing it...
it just doesn't look 
like people expected.

Today it seems we live 
under the same mis-conceptions.
As followers of Jesus
we try to change laws
and elect governments
that will honor 
all that God stands for.
As if somehow we can
bring The Kingdom come
through the worlds system.

But I don't think 
God can be contained
by our laws and government.
I don't think He's waiting around
for our president
to invite Him back into our country.

God is above all.
He will reign
His kingdom will come
it will be on
God's terms..
Not through the
world standards or ideas.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What I don't Understand About My Faith...

I believe in God.
I talk about Him enough!
But Seriously..
I mean it... 
I really
believe in Him.

For me,
God is not some 
big guy in the sky,
who created 
the whole world
and me
but has no connection
to that world
or me.

God is so much
more to me.

He's my 

In short...
He is (or at least is becoming)
my everything (as it should be)!
And I feel so close to Him
that it's almost like
I could reach out and touch Him!

So why is it...
that every once in a while...
completely out of the blue...
I get blind sided by 
this little voice inside of me
that wonders...
What if  all of THIS 
(aka faith)
is a lie
and I've bet 
my whole life on it?!?!

I mean,
the reality is
I can't see God
I don't always feel Him
And I've never heard His audible voice...

(and that's a BIG BUT...
in fact it's a 
life altering BUT!!!)...
in my heart of hearts
I know He's real...
I do!

There have been moments
through out my life
where God has shown up...
moments where 
He's so strongly just
made Himself known to me...
moments where 
everything else seems to fade away
and the only thing that remains
is God.

And in those moments
every doubt
every wonder
every insecurity
fades away
God is Truth
and I know Him...
I am HIS
and HE is mine.

So why can't I 
live there
in that place 
of total confidence
all the time?
And how does that 
small voice
of doubt 
creep in?
And how do I 
keep it out?!?