Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Break

It seems I have taken the month of July off from blogging.
I wish I could say it was intentional.

Summer has simply gotten in the way.

God is showing me great things. I want to share them with you. I guess I need to get better at recognizing a changing season and adjusting my schedule and expectations accordingly. Its not like I didn't know summer was coming. I did. I just didn't know all that summer was bringing with it, or rather I didn't realize the time and energy the things summer was bringing would take. I knew some of them would be "lots of work" but I didn't translate that into hours invested. I tried, but I need much more practice.

I planned lots of time to write. Time for projects, maybe getting ahead for when we start back to homeschooling? Oh no, it was not to be so, at least not the way I planned it.

God has been pouring into me this summer. The pouring in and the processing are not quickly coming to a finished product.I wanted to keep posting on my One Word, Dream. I seem to be stuck there though. All my other projects and processing hasn't left me time for study about my word.I am doing a great Bible Study with a wonderful group of women. I'll be telling you more about it in September.
How has your summer been?  What you expected?
What are the blessings?
What are the struggles?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Are You Listening?

When I am seeking God for an answer.... Well no that is not quite right.
 
When I should be seeking God for an answer.... I am often seeking an answer, not God. I am often trying to solve a problem and hope God will barge through my thoughts. I am thinking , pondering, analyzing from every angle. The thoughts fast, furious, and stressed.

Last week I slowed down and realized He was speaking, I just wasn't paying attention. His still small voice will not drown out the barrage of my thinking. I have to do that.

I was out in the field where I help my friend garden. Thoughts were racing through about schedules, friends with cancer, relationships, finances - life. In the midst I kept signing the words to the chorus of a country song. "That's my job, that's what I do. Everything I do is because of you, to keep you safe with me. That's my job you see." I was getting pretty annoyed. I wanted answers, solutions.

Back to pondering and trying to figure things out. After a couple of hours my thoughts had run out -part of why I so enjoy working over there.

Then I heard the still small voice. "That's my job, that's what I do. Everything I do is because of you, to keep you safe with me. That's my job you see. I have been signing this to you. I will take care of you, it's my job. Everything will be okay. Better than okay."

I thanked Him for continuing to speak until I finally listened. I thanked Him for taking care of me and all that concerns me.

The song was no longer running through my head. A new song was there, Kentucky Rain. I guess you can tell I grew up on country music! I was singing it wrong I learned, but I believe I was singing it right from the Father.

The words I sang the rest of the day were "Love keeps pourin' down like the ol' Kentucky rain." My husband found it on YouTube later. The song is about a lost love. The singer is pursing their love even out in the dark, cold rain, vowing not to stop until they are found.
 
I bask in the knowledge that God did and still does pursue me the same way.

How do you hear from God?
Are you willing to listen for Him to speak in new ways?
I would love to hear from you about how He encourages and directs you.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Everything Is Going My Way



And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose,...No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! Romans 8:28, 37 NET
 As I watched Brian drive away this morning I looked around. The words to a song came "Oh what a beautiful morning. Oh what a beautiful day. I've got a beautiful feeling every thing's going my way."

While it is a beautiful morning, overcast, but the sun shining through, green, growing, peaceful- beautiful, I do not have that wonderful feeling of everything going my way. Quite the contrary if I look at things. However, I have something better.

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I have the promises of God. Romans 8:28 was the first to come to mind.  "And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose," (NET) We really should read on. All things working for our good is a wonderful promise, but there is more. Verse 29 tells us we are predestined, planned out ahead of time, to be conformed to the image of Jesus.

Meditate on that for a wonderful feeling! To be assured of being conformed to the image of Jesus! Verse 30 says we are called, justified and glorified. That is quite a package. God is doing it all.
  What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 NET
Who indeed? Not that we won't have opposition, we will. The more favor God shows us the more opposition will rise against us. It won't do any good though. God Himself is for us! I don't know about you but I need this verse burned on my heart.

 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Romans 8:33 NET

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Do you avoid God because He must be so tired of you messing up? I do. I get lost in focusing on my mistakes and don't love or accept myself so how could a perfect God? I don't have to know how. I must take it by faith. I can explain it to you, but I need it real- where I live from- to be changed.
Who is the one who will condemn? Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us. Romans 8:34 NET
I often feel I disappoint Jesus. I don't walk in the freedom and authority He died to provide. Verse 34 clearly tells me He is not condemning me. He is praying for me. Jesus Christ the perfect Son of God is praying for me. Praying for you, too. Once I get through the weight of that- what a beautiful feeling!

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As I said, with all this favor here comes the opposition.
35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” The opposition will come and it will come to nought. 37 No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! Romans 8:35-37 NET
Complete victory! Complete victory over any opposition because Jesus who loves us took care of everything.

 Jesus is praying for me. God is conforming me to the image of Jesus. I have complete victory through Jesus who loves me.

Have a beautiful day! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Asking the Wrong Question


I have spent much time over the past months- no years, wondering what God’s dream for me was. There have been times I knew, times I thought I knew, and times I had no clue beyond the most basic “I exist to bring God glory.” While it is true I exist to bring God glory it isn’t overly helpful in trying to determine what to do with my time, which ministry to pursue, where to focus my energy.


It was that realization that showed me once again I was asking the wrong question. Knowing God’s plan for me in all it’s glory and minute details appeals to the planner within me. Thinking if I knew the end I could make all the right choices along the way. That’s probably not true. Seeing God’s plan for me might make me run and hide. In myself I cannot do what He has planned for me. It also would remove the need for faith. Faith is trusting what we do not see. Without faith it is impossible to please Him, so bringing Him glory would be out then, too.


Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 NLT
If it is beyond our ability to think it, it’s likely not a good idea to show it to us. How likely would I be to pull an Abraham and Sarah trick? Deciding God forgot what the plan was and needed my help to get it done. (Read their story beginning in Genesis 16) Way too likely! 

I can think of more than one project I had charged off into and made a mess of because He gave me a glimpse of my purpose. I set out to work on it right away. I’m enthusiastic about new projects. I work hard. Too often I work on my own, missing God’s provision and grace for the task at hand. I think often He is showing me a glimpse so I can pray and prepare, not so I can get busy. I don’t listen well when I’m busy. Do you?

Rather than ask "What is the dream?", or "What life will look like when I 'arrive'?" I need to ask questions like: “What do I do now? Right now?” “How can I love you today, Lord?”

I know God is big enough to have everything I do be part of preparing me for my future. I do not have to understand or see how it fits into the big picture. I do not have to see the specific dream, the detailed plan. If my purpose is to bring Him glory, obeying today will do that. So will obeying tomorrow and the day after that. Each day of obedience will bring me closer to the dreams and purposes He has for me.

Is there an area He has been asking you to obey? Have you taken a new step of obedience?

Trust Him with today and all your tomorrows.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Recap

Dream. Vision. Purpose. Destiny.
 
These have become buzz words in our culture and even in our churches. Good ideas are not always Biblical ideas. I have been trying to find the Biblical view. I am still working on it. Before I go on I thought I would revisit what I have learned. 

What I've learned:
  • It's not all about me, it 's not about me at all really. It is about God, his purposes, his ways, his Kingdom.
  • It is about me. God designed and knew me before the foundations of the earth. He chose for me to live in this time with this family with every strength, weakness, talent, gift and personality trait I possess. Jesus suffered and died for my deliverance, so no weapon formed against me can prosper.
  • I guess what I have learned is that I need to focus on God and He will focus on me. That is a great trade, if you understand who God is. If the thought of God focusing on you makes you a little queasy, nervous, or think "I'll pass, thanks" you don't know how God thinks when he focuses on you. I strongly encourage you to find out what he is really like. I am certainly in the process of moving my knowledge of him from my head to my heart so I truly believe instead of just knowing how good he is. That is the focusing on him. Look in his word. Listen to his voice. Be willing to let go of what you thought or felt that does not line up with scripture.
 Okay, back to what I have learned.
  • A dream can be an idol, even if we think we are pursing God's dream for us.
  • How we process hurts, failures, and disappointments from the past impact our ability and willingness to dream in the future.
  • Dead dreams stink.
  • Dreaming takes faith.
  • The hope must always be in God not the dream or the anticipated results.
As I continue on I still have two big questions: "What is God's perspective on dreaming?" I feel like I have the idea, but not the scriptures. And "What specific dreams does God have for me?"

Do you have any questions about dreaming? Any insights to share?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A god Called Destiny: An Example

Christ is the source of everything we need and the giver of all good gifts … but in telling people about Him, it’s possible we’ve sold them on a solution for life’s problems and not life itself.
What if we as girls had learned early on that having Him was everything, not a means to the life we think He would want us to have.
If we had learned we don’t abstain from sex because we’re “waiting.” We abstain because we love Him.
If I’d had on my bulletin board, “Fall in love with Jesus.” That’s it. Bottom line. That’s everything you need to know, to work toward, to put your hope in.
If I’d learned who He is, what He wants, how to give Him everything, not “wait” so that one day I could give my everything to someone else.
If I’d learned that it’s not bad to pray for a husband, but that my greater prayer should be for Him to spend my life as He chooses for His glory.
Quoted form Grace for the Road, I don't wait anymore posted February 3, 2012



This week I was struck when I read this young woman's post. She eloquently highlights my point in A god Called "Destiny". how the goal, the destiny, the desired outcome replaced God. 

It is subtle. Deception is sometimes hard to find. 

She voices the disillusionment and confusion that comes from having the order reversed, focus on destiny then God, whether it is intentional or not. 

How easily, how slight an adjustment can take us off course, or get us back on. 

I encourage you to read her well written post. 

Ponder whether there is somewhere you are seeking the gift, the outcome, the goal, the dream instead of the Giver Himself.

Are we giving our children the correct message? 

God is not the means to a desired end, though He throws that in the deal. God is the end. He is everything.

“Fall in love with Jesus.” That’s it. Bottom line. That’s everything you need to know, to work toward, to put your hope in.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A god Called 'Destiny'?

Isaiah 65
11  But as for you who abandon the LORD and forget about worshiping at my holy mountain, who prepare a feast for the god called ‘Fortune,’ and fill up wine jugs for the god called ‘Destiny’ –     
12  I predestine you to die by the sword, all of you will kneel down at the slaughtering block, because I called to you, and you did not respond, I spoke and you did not listen. You did evil before me; you chose to do what displeases me.”     
13  So this is what the sovereign LORD says: “Look, my servants will eat, but you will be hungry! Look, my servants will drink, but you will be thirsty! Look, my servants will rejoice, but you will be humiliated!     
14  Look, my servants will shout for joy as happiness fills their hearts! But you will cry out as sorrow fills your hearts; you will wail because your spirits will be crushed.  
I did a search for the word destiny in the scripture. Most of the time it is used referring to the destiny of the wicked or fools. Isaiah 65:11 really caught my eye. The people of Israel sound like Americans today. They have left the holy mountain, true and righteous worship, and now pursue a god called "Fortune" and a god called "Destiny".   The Hebrew word (meniy) translated destiny in
several versions is actually the word for a god of fate the Jews worshiped in Babylonia!

A god called "Destiny".  

I have been guilty of being in that camp. I have spent far more time pursuing a dream, not even working at accomplishing something, just trying to get the idea of the dream just perfect. 

I am not saying dreaming is wrong,  nor do I believe fortune is wrong. It is a matter of priority and purpose. There is no doubt God has purpose and plans for each one of us, good ones, too. However, neither the dream nor the fortune can be more important than pursuing God, listening for His voice and responding to it.  

A god called "Destiny".  
 
What follows is a stern warning. Death by the sword!  Those who do not listen and respond are condemned to die.  
 
The Lord requires that we listen and obey. His servants will eat, drink and rejoice! "My servants will shout for joy as happiness fills their hearts!"   His servants are defined as those who respond to his voice. They obey His commands.
 
I have seen in my own experience how holding the dream or vision of destiny too closely, esteeming too highly, causes a crushed spirit. It is God alone who can satisfy. 

A shift in focus is needed. The resources I have directed to seeking my destiny must be redirected. The resources must be used to learn to hear and practicing to obey. Fulfilling my destiny will be a by product. He will lead and direct me to learn skills, build relationships, make career moves, whatever is needed to have me in the place He most wants to use me. I will eat, drink, and rejoice along the way.   It takes so much pressure off finding a dream and calling, my 'destiny'.
 
I only need to hear Him calling.
 
I often think I need to see the big picture, what will it all look like, where exactly am I going in my life. (What is my destiny?) I realize now I need a far bigger picture than that. I need an eternal picture. I need a God big enough to trust with the next step one step at a time. A belief big enough to step out whether I can see the step or not, mush less miles down the road.

I will listen and obey today. I abandon the god called 'destiny'.

In our purpose driven world today have you slipped with me into have 'destiny' be a god instead of a tool?