June 14, 2018

An Expression of Worship

So what have I been doing while waiting for my book to be ready?

I have had to read my manuscript several times lately as part of going through the edit process. I thought I would grow tired of reading what I have written over and over like when you say a word over and over and it stops sounding like the word. I was afraid what I wrote would stop sounding like what I wrote.

But the opposite happened. I saw something I hadn’t seen before. How worshipful my book is. The last chapter is focused on worship intentionally yet I found throughout that what I have written in the faith chapter, the love chapter, the trials chapter, in the drawing near chapter and the relationship chapter, all of it is an expression of worship.

All of it is declaring how great and amazing our God is as we learn to trust Him more, as we learn to give Him our cares, as we learn to sit quietly with Him and get to know Him more intimately than before.

When I put all of these thoughts together, I wrote the sentence in the graphic above in my journal. Then I decided I liked the sentiment enough to give it breathing room beyond my journal. I chose to share it with the world.

After all, isn’t He worthy of all our praise? 

Psalm 29:2
Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name;
Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

June 12, 2018

You Are Gifted

Each one of us is gifted by God. We all have talents and abilities that God has placed in us. From one person to another they are going to look different. It always amazes me to hear one person say how they love to work with teenagers in their church group and someone else say they could never work with teenagers but love teaching the little ones in preschool. And someone else chimes in and admits they don’t work well with either age group but they enjoy helping to plan a ministry event and making sure all those details come together.

In a women’s Bible study small group I heard a lady sadly declare that she didn’t think she had much talent and then when we pursued the subject, she admitted that she loved coming up with the idea for the centerpiece for the women’s ministry events and other church wide functions. We all started recalling the different centerpieces we had seen and assured her that she indeed had a gift and a talent and we helped her to see herself as an artist. She had not looked at herself that way. But her face brightened when she realized she had something special to offer.

Some people are good at crunching numbers while others are good at nursing or photography, or teaching, leading, cooking, counseling, and all types of different skills. All are God-given and the wide range of diversity is reflected as soon as you talk to a group of people and find out what they see as their talents and interests.

God our Creator made us unique and the gifts He gives us are part of His design to bring our lives purpose and satisfaction. They are also the evidence that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

There is an important truth we need to remember: We are each individually gifted because we are wonderfully made by God.
Psalm 139:14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.

June 9, 2018

Place of Rest

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

When I try to figure things out all on my own it seems like it becomes more complicated with each angle I attempt to analyze and fix. When I admit it’s not mine to figure out and leave it in God’s hands, I find that I am wringing and twisting mine a whole lot less.

Whatever made me think it was mine to figure out? How thankful I am that He asks me to trust Him, seek Him first and He’ll take care of the rest. When I rest in knowing this, I find a joy and peace I could not know when I was trying to manage everything myself.

I’m often asked how did I find this place of peace and joy and my answer is, I have learned through my life experiences and walk with God that because my life is in His hands, all my worries and cares can be placed there too.

There were painful times in my life long ago that were difficult to endure. There were disappointments I could not understand. There were hurts I could have held on to, but chose to let them go and give it all to the Lord. The faith I have placed in Him gave me the courage and strength to do that.

He taught me to cast all my cares on Him, and He showed me He would bless this step of faith. What a difference it made in my life when I stopped trying to figure everything out myself.

When I let Him have His perfect way I found myself in a new place—a place of rest. This new place of quiet rest in my heart was also a place of peace and great contentment. Most of all, the place of rest and confidence I found in the Lord was a place of blessing and joy.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

June 6, 2018

This I Pray

I have recently heard more than one person say they don’t pray for themselves. They pray for others but not themselves. I guess that makes me selfish because I regularly pray for myself.

This does not mean that I am constantly asking God for things. It does mean I am constantly asking Him to work in me and through me and for me and in spite of me. It means I am praying for wisdom and discernment, guidance and direction, and to change me and make me more like Him.

I have prayed to be a good wife, a good mom, to be a good witness to those around me and for many areas of my life where God is growing me. I have prayed to always have a teachable heart. The list goes on. I cannot fathom not praying for myself.

My encouragement to you today would be to look at your prayer list and if your name isn’t already there, write it down. You can pray for others, most definitely, but also remember to pray for yourself.

Psalm 25:4-5
Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

Open my eyes to see all 
You want to show me.
Open my ears to hear all 
You want to speak to my heart. 
Open wide my heart 
To know and love You more.
Draw me near to You, 
Father, this day I pray.

June 3, 2018

Anger Management

Ephesians 4:26-27 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. 

A friend was going through a difficult circumstance and I was always very careful about how I approached the sensitive subject with her. She still had a lot of anger and I was giving her space and room to work through it.

After many months had gone by I asked her if she was experiencing God’s nearness, His presence, His comfort helping her through the process of coping with what had happened.

She quickly said, “No, not at all.”

I was silent. I was silent because I was surprised.

That didn’t sound like how God is.

He is our God of comfort.
He is near.
He is with us.
He understands what we are going through.
He is our helper. 

I realize there are extreme circumstances when anger is where we live for a while and we can hardly even deal with God at that point. But this was not that kind of circumstance. 

In her answer I still heard the anger. The kind of anger that is unhealthy. My friend already knew that and so I didn’t spend much time trying to remind her. I knew I risked offending her at this point and backed off and decided to approach her about it again at a later date.

Prolonged anger is completely different than initially experiencing anger and then finding a healthy way to deal with it. When we are hurt and angry we are extremely vulnerable to veering off in a direction that takes us away from God and not closer to Him for the help we so desperately need.

Anger is certain to hinder the nearness of God and the healing work He desires to do.

When we lay our hurt and anger at His feet and let it go, then something amazing happens. He moves us out of the place of anger and into a place of healing. The weight that anger was pressing on us is lifted and we will experience the nearness of God again. He never moved. Anger moves us away from Him.

The only way to manage anger is to let it go.