July 30, 2017

The Simplicity of It


I have been questioned regarding the walk I have with the Lord as others look on and observe a genuine desire of my heart to pursue a close relationship with Him and see it intently lived out in my life. I thought about this desire that I have and how to respond to this question. My answer is not complicated at all. It is the exact opposite because it is simple.

The simplicity of it is that you must simply want it.

I wondered how that answer would sound. But I thought about it and looked at it from various angles. It is the only answer I have. We must simply long for it.

Isn’t it in some ways similar to the other significant relationships in our lives that we want?

The ones we pursue…

The ones we make time for…

The ones we open up our hearts to…

Except with others there are times it will not work. The other person won’t always reciprocate, they aren’t interested and they don’t return your interest.

That cannot be said about God.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.

Nothing can come between us…

Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is the love that captured my heart when I heard the gospel message preached in a small rural church when I was an eleven year old girl, and it still captures my heart more than four decades later—and has in all the in between.

It is because of His great LOVE that I want to have a close relationship with the Lord.

Truth be told, having lived in this relationship for decades now, now I want Him even more.

1 John 4:19
We love Him because He first loved us.

July 25, 2017

Normal


Sometimes we forget how far we’ve come.

We can even forget how much we’ve healed.

That is how great God’s work is in our lives.

Before I let go of the past, I talked about the past all the time and churned up all the bad feelings that came with those memories.

But when I let it go, that is when the true healing work came in and restored my heart and soul.

That is how I can have lunch with friends that tell me I am way too normal to have grown up in a home with an abusive father. I am normal because I am healed!

As relatively new friends, they didn’t know my history and stumbled on it by accident when we were sharing stories from our past and then out came the ugly memories from mine.

I am not writing this to share those memories or tell that story. I am writing this to praise God for His healing work because He truly set me free from my past. I forgave my father for things he never said he was sorry for and it was the path to a whole new life for me, out from under the bondage of memories I was glad to put behind me. I could only do that because I allowed God to work and when He does something, it is amazing!

If I had known how beautiful God’s healing work would be, I would have forgiven and let go sooner!

I did let go of the past, and He did a great healing work that made me whole. That made me normal.

How far have you come? In what area of your life has God worked in a mighty and healing way?

Let’s thank Him and praise Him together for the great things He has done!

If you are still in the difficult place, ask Him to give you the strength to forgive and then let go. These two steps will bring His healing. You will be amazed at the healing work God can accomplish when you take His hand and let Him walk you through and out of the place you are in now.

And then, there will be a day when you look back and see how far you’ve come.

Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

July 23, 2017

Stand in Awe


This beautiful summer evening sunset against the backdrop of sky and church steeple stopped me in my tracks. No one else walking down 15th Street in downtown Plano seemed to notice the sight that I saw. I weaved around them and quickly tried to find the best vantage point to capture this image. I could not believe how fast that sun was setting which was not making it easy for me to take a good picture.

I finally took the best picture I could position myself for and then I put my phone away and stood still in breathless awe to watch the sunset on display before me.

I said, “Goodnight sun” as it continued to drop over the horizon and walked to the car and on the drive home I felt such joy from those few moments of gazing at a beautiful sunset by the tall church steeple.

Do you ever have those moments when your heart is just so abundantly full and overflowing because you cannot take in all the awe and wonder of our God?

Do you have those moments when you deeply breathe in all that’s around you and wonder how anyone could look at creation and not see our Creator?

I saw Him in the sunrise this morning as ribbons of violet and pink rose above housetops and golden bursts of sun followed, and the brightness soon made me look away, and I thought of the brightness of His Glory.

I saw Him in this awe-inspiring sunset and I know that by the power of His word all this world was made.

Oh, these are the moments of wonder and awe and I will not let them pass me by!

Psalm 33:8-9 Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.

July 19, 2017

When You Need Body and Soul Rest


Do we know when we need to rest, or do we think we are super human and can go on and on forever? I tend to think we believe that with enough determination and caffeine we can go on forever. Are we thinking about what our body and soul truly needs when we are pushing ourselves beyond our limits?

What is on your plate right now? Maybe you have a full plate or far too much on your plate. Maybe you have some hard things on your plate right now and haven’t even considered taking care of yourself with some body and soul rest.

We might not want to admit it, even when caring people around us are suggesting it – we need  rest.

If you are experiencing extreme weariness, frustration, and discouragement - the best remedy is to give all your cares to the Lord and rest in knowing He can carry it all. When you finally let go and stop wrestling, and instead rest, you will soon recognize that you are experiencing something new. In letting go and resting, you will find you are growing strong again.

Your strength is renewed when you let go and find God’s rest. 

Can you begin to imagine the incredible source of strength that comes from our Almighty All-Powerful God? Now, imagine… He is offering it to you.

Yes, the ultimate mystery and blessing is that when you find God’s rest you will also find God’s strength.


Matthew 11:28
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait on 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.

1 Peter 5:7
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.


(If you click on Verses for Your Encouragement at the top of this page, you will find many references among the verses listed there to God being our strength.)

July 16, 2017

Higher



I don’t know about you, but I find these verses above from Isaiah 55 genuinely comforting. They tell me about important attributes concerning the God I follow and the God I trust with all my heart.

God’s thoughts and ways are for a fact far superior to man’s wisdom. We can rest assured of this truth and that is the comforting part.

There is no doubt that God’s every thought and all His ways exceed our best human endeavors.

When we are bewildered by circumstances around us or wondering why an answer to prayer hasn’t come, or why God hasn’t worked in the way we hoped, we will find encouragement in these verses if we meditate on God’s higher ways and higher thoughts.

There is another aspect to these verses that I find to be the most powerful.
God is in control. 

Just let those words settle in your heart and believe they are true.

And, there is one more comforting aspect.

We are the benefactors of His higher ways. When we acknowledge that His ways are higher (far better!) and He is in control (Sovereign) then we can rest in knowing that the cares of this world that bear down on us, are in the hands of a Sovereign God who knows a lot more than we do.

Psalm 18:30
As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the LORD is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.