Saturday, February 21, 2009

Days 27-28 Living on Purpose with Furby

I love knowing that there is always a way out…and recently our hamster found a way out of his cage. This totally makes me think of how we can easily cage ourselves in by dwelling on and trying to fix our lives by ourselves—but with God…there is always a way out and it is freeing!

What do we desire to find a way out of??? Oh, I’m guessing some may want a way out of their financial problems, a way out of depressing thoughts, a way out of a feeling of insignificance, a way out of a relationship that is toxic, a way out of chaos, a way out of destructive behavior or some sort of addiction, or a way out of some sefl-defeating behavior…

Yet, just like our hamster Furby, being outside the walls of our cage can be quite scary. Furby was a bit shaken up by his journey and I have to say I am often shaken up by my own journey in this life. It is such a journey that we are on…a journey to maturing and becoming more and more like Christ. A journey that requires much patience and persistency; much like the patience and persistency I had to possess in finding where Furby had run off to.

In this process (oooh…and our maturity is such a process) of finding Furby, my family and I moved out everything from the crevices of the house and dusted off things that have not been dusted in awhile. Isn’t this much how we grow ourselves…I mean, dusting out the crevices of our lives emotionally, physically and spiritually. Getting real with ourselves and bringing everything out into the light and dealing with what God puts before us.

Oh, I know I have been through some seasons and think I may be coming out of one where I am doing some major house cleaning in this life of mine. Hence, my burning desire to write and reflect on what God is doing. I am never arriving--just forever striving and I don't want to forget what God has done because it brings me such joy knowing what He has done, is doing and will do in my life! I am content to be at a place where I know I am not where I want to be, but I know I am not where I used to be either.

For, I know that “God began doing a good work in me (I remember long ago as a little girl before I even knew Him…He was whispering my name) and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again.” Phil 1:6 NCV

I still have this under currant of a picture that I believe God has drawn my heart to that I want to share and will when I have more time…for now I am resting in the peace He has brought me. It is pretty cool that in the book Purpose Driven Life Warren is speaking so much of becoming like Christ and at the same time God has me studying the life of Christ…and I want to get out of the boat and meet Him—face to face! Into His marvelous light I'm running...oh yes I am!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Days 20-26 of Living on Purpose

These last four days of reading have been focusing on the importance of relationships and how we need to do all that we can to keep unity in our relationships. In addition, with the new week beginning on Sunday we are entering into a new theme of becoming like Christ.
I don’t think it is coincidence that some national headlines have come back to my mind as well as some very recent ones as I have been reading and studying.

I did just celebrate my 35th birthday; and my family tends to celebrate birthdays for a week,hence the lack of time to write in the morning. I have been embracing the celebratory state that has been in my home for not only my birthday but my being a princess for Valentine’s Day too. Can I just say I love how my husband loves me…he truly gives all his effort to love me like Christ loves the church and it is should be to no one’s surprise how instrumental he has been in allowing me to accept Christ’s love! I love thinking about how my husband and I came to choose each other…God made our lives inner-twine and just like I feel like God leaves me hanging on with bits of mysterious love to hang on too…so was really how Justin and I fell in love and continue to fall in love…I don’t know how else to describe it—God was clearly involved in bringing Justin into my life!

I think there are so many things we take for granted and don’t recognize God’s hand in—whether big or little—He is over it all! For instance, recently a miraculous landing of an airbus on Hudson River caught the attention of many. It occurred just last month prior to the inauguration of President Obama…really a freak thing occurred. How often do we hear of geese…flying into a jet engine? Not one but two engines were hit by geese!?! How often do we hear of a successful jet landing on water…just missing a bridge and everyone walking off of the plane safely? How often do we hear of an African American President?

God is in and over and through all of this…He allows and ordains things to happen and weeks go by and we forget the miracles and the powerful impact of what we “see” just like many move to a beautiful place like the beach or the Titan Mountains and before long take for granted of the beauty that may be in their backyard. I do believe that God has a purpose and specific plan in bringing Obama to be our 44th President and I will be praying for him even though I do not agree with him on every stance. Yet, still the same I am in awe of our God and His powerful demonstration…whether His beauty in nature, in allowing geese to take down a plane and covering the hands of a pilot to land the airbus safely, or orchestrating the US Presidency…or my marriage and other healthy God-centered relationships I have…I want to choose to see my God at work!

I also can’t overlook that just days ago I got reconnected with a former High School classmate on FB that shared a picture of herself with Obama and then I heard that Obama was scheduled to speak at my former High School. I feel a sense of either not ever leaving High School since reconnecting with so many from back in the day. But, also a sense in my heart to desire being young again…going back to a time where I maybe lived a little more care free…it is tempting…yet in the same breath I shutter and sense a nudging from God to keep going…keep growing…okay…grow up!

Rick Warren talks about this and shares three responsibilities that I have if I want to be more like Christ…and I do desire to be more like Him.
On page 175 Warren shares; first, we must let go of old ways; second, we must change the way we think; and third, we must develop new Godly habits.

I am forever a learner…forever growing up…forever sharing this journey with Christ and those around me as I embrace this life as one who is loved! I am choosing to surrender and trust more and more each moment.

I am meditating on a lot of truths this week, even though I have not been home much this week to process, reflect and write. One powerful picture and story found only in Matthew I hope to share tomorrow…until then I am basking in His love and my known inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade (1Peter 1:4).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 19 of Living on Purpose

Today’s chapter is all about cultivating community…one full of authenticity, mutuality, sympathy, mercy, honesty, humility, confidentiality, courtesy and frequency.

Thank you Father for the community I live in which is full of all of this…please increase it!!! Make it more of what You desire…open my eyes and my heart to see and love what you love.

I read this verse also this morning and my heart echoed in prayer…”The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1John 2:17)…Oh Lord help me to live as You did.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 18 of Living on Purpose

Oh how good and pleasant it is when we live together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)
I read this verse along with chapter 18 before hiking with some girlfriends this morning and then realized that Psalm 133 was part of the Psalms of Ascent. So fitting for this morning to remember this and go back to my study notes and journal entries written while studying the Psalms of Ascent. My eyes and heart were drawn to Psalm 125…in particular as I read from my Bible before joining the girls on the hike…”Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, both now and forevermore.” I thought about God’s protection and knew this was powerful and thought about His love as I hiked up the mountain and saw the great number of other mountain ranges which were hidden in the distance.

Upon getting home from this wonderful morning hiking with my girlfriends I went back and studied further to find that the time I was initially studying these scriptures I was in Oregon on vacation with my family and spending time on Cannon Beach in front of haystack rock…which to me is no rock..but more like a mountain near the shore line. (My current FB profile pic is in front of this rock). During the time that we were there the tide was the farthest out that it is apparently all year and there were government workers with red coats patrolling and guarding the rock…while they allowed onlookers to walk around the base of the rock and observe the wildlife in the tide pools; they also made sure to educate the onlookers of which areas were protected and prohibited. It was really beautiful to walk around to see the starfish and various other living creatures butted up against the rock. I remember feeling God whisper to me that just as these people in redcoats are guarding, protecting and caring for this Rock….He is my Rock and I can be 100% sure, 100% confident and 100% secure with all of my trust being in the Lord…I can be like Mount Zion in Psalm 125:1 and sit unmoved forever! I so needed to hear that this past summer and you know I so needed to be reminded of God's truth right this very moment!

God is so good and speaks to my heart in so many different ways…ways that I cannot always express. I know that I am not ever arriving at some higher place of greater destination…but just like hiking that mountain today…each step…each moment in my life is an opportunity to go higher with Him…my best friend…my Savior…my Rock!

I am so thankful for girlfriends who share in this journey of mine; for they too are embracing and finding victory and freedom in their own journey and share a love for my BFF. And oh how good it is when God brings the dew from one mountain and allows it to fall on another mountain…thus bringing the two together in a remarkable…sort of mysterious way…there; oh there is where His blessings reside. (Psalm 133)

Thank you God for teaching me continually that I need just what Rick Warren states on page 140; courage and humility in order to be authentic and real with those around me, so that I may grow spiritually and remain emotionally healthy.

Thank you Lord, for blessing me with the relationships with those who know both You and me deeply. Thank you that through the years I have come to understand a bit more of what fellowship means to You and that I am continually growing in this area of my life.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 14, 15, 16, & 17 of Living on Purpose

Between celebrating my birthday early with family and working at the school my time to reflect and write has been squished. I like that word…squished…especially right now because it kind of denotes a negative uncomfortable feeling yet it is also good to feel close and secure with something. And that is just how I feel about this…I am a bit frustrated that I have not had the time to reflect on His Word and write these last couple of days…yet my days have been full of comfy cozy moments with God and the one’s I love…I just haven’t been able to reflect on the moments like I have desired and get it on paper or on the computer where I definitely type faster than I handwrite.

And again, I do struggle with what is the purpose…who cares? But even if I write for my own children, my own heart, and one downcast spirit…just the simple act of responding to God’s love I believe He is pleased! And I too believe in what Rick Warren states on page 130, “My relationship with God…although it is personal…He never intended for it to be private.” Lord, please help me teach my children this and may I as an adult share Your love continually…both in cyberspace and in my daily interaction with others. I am remembering a Kindergartener who asked for a hug and reminded me of what he said on the playground the day prior, “You are beautiful! Did you know God made us and everything in the whole world?” This little boy was emphatic and truly desired for me to know…and I know because I know that my God also wants me to know…He wants all of us to know…We are beautifully and wonderfully made!!!

So, what have I been meditating on…
Point for Day #14: God is real no matter how I feel
Point for Day #15: I was made for God’s family.
Point for Day #16: Life is all about love.
Point for Day #17: I am called to belong, not just believe.

Today is my birthday and I am so excited to spend the day with friends and tonight with my family…first I know God has a plan for me to be my son’s teacher once again just for a couple of hours while his teacher is at an appointment.

I woke up with the first thoughts being on God and swear I heard Him say I love you…so glad you are mine…and I swear I felt His big arms around me. I am so desiring to fully grasp all that God is to me…just off of the top of my head I am thinking of Him as my Savior, my Redeemer, my Rescuer, my Father, my friend…Oh yes, I love what John 15:14 says, “you are my friends if you do what I command.”

Oh, this is my heart’s desire…not to just do what is right…but to without a doubt seek what God has for me to do in His Word…seek the truths about this life and act..not just to get a gold star at the end of day; not with an attitude that I am okay and secure when I do what is right…but truly I desire more and more to do what God desires because I love Him…

Praise you Father, that this is beyond my duty as a follower of You…Your love beckons me and has changed this heart of mine…I will never be perfect at this…but I move because I am responding to Your love today and everyday!! Please increase this love and my desire to respond to You!!

As a child my heart was full…but I don’t think full of what He desired!!! I praise You Lord that because You beckon the hearts of those You call children…I now know love!!! I know love because those around me know and love you, God…thank you!! We cannot love perfectly…but we definitely get parts right and receive glimpses of love when He is at center!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day 13 of Living on Purpose

Today the focal point is knowing that God wants all of me...and I'm finding I want to know more of Him...
I found these names of Him that I want to study further....

Jehovah Jireh
El (the Strong One)
Jehovah-Mekaddishkem (Jehovah Mekaddishkem)
El Elohe Yisrael
Jehovah-Nissi (Jehovah Nissi)
El Elyon
Jehovah-Rapha (Jehovah Rapha)
Jehovah-Rohi (Jehovah Rohi)
El Olam
Jehovah- Sabaoth (Jehovah Sabaoth)
El Roi
Jehovah-Shalom (Jehovah Shalom)
El Shaddai
Jehovah-Shammah (Jehovah-Shammah)
Jehovah Tsidkenu
Yah or Jah

Off to enjoy the day with my family and will be thinking about Him.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Bike Ride Out of Zoom Mode

Oh isn’t it just hard not to respond to love? Justin prayed over me and my day this morning and he prayed specifically that I would feel God’s big hugs and I just have to tell you how much I have gotten hugged today. Not to brag or say “Nanner nanner…I’m loved” cuz that is so not me—but because I think it is easy for us to just zoom right by moments in our life where God wants to just say, “I love you!” And I never would have learned where or how to look without first hearing someone share their moments…so I share in response to the love He has lavished on me today…knowing He is just waiting to lavish you too.

The boys got home around Noon like they do every Friday from school (Gotta love Eduprize ½ days on Fridays); and we finished lunch and went for a bike ride in the neighborhood and to the pecan groves where the boys like to ride on what they call the “dirt track.”

Here is just a glimpse into this hour long ride which I pedaled along while God captivated my heart. First, I glanced up in the sky and God had painted a picture I think just for me. He used the white from the clouds to form an airplane because just yesterday He pointed out two airplanes which were obvious flying together like I often see; one right in front of the other and I swear I heard deep in my heart God whisper like only He does…”Follow me just like that…” So, I saw my Artist’s work in the sky and just below it were what first appeared like three people cheering…you know with their hands up in the air and almost appearing to be jumping up and down because they were kind of fuzzy. Then the three figures turned into XXX…just like the sign for hugs as in xoxo. Oh, my heart was full!

We rode on and stopped at a shady spot under a tree in the grass. I talked to the boys about their day and talked about our plans for the weekend; they always like to know what the family has planned. When the conversation and snack time was done we continued on until we reached the dirt track; where I found a quiet place to just sit and watch the boys tackle the small dirt hills and absorbed the warm sunshine. I didn’t feel God nudge me to think about anything except for focusing on enjoying the moment—so I did.

On the ride back, I noticed I had “The Star Spangled Banner “ in my head for no particular reason. And I was stuck on the first words, “Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light.” I’m a little embarrassed to admit this; I will be 35 next week and I was chuckling to myself to just now be getting that first phrase…I felt like God just showed me the words…the right words without even seeing them on paper. As a child singing that I never quite understood it…as a child I remember it going something like, “Oh say, can you see? By the Donserly light…” What is Donserly? I don’t know…I just sang it. I felt like God was just smiling and talking to me at this point while I was LOL and riding in my neighborhood (I don’t even want to know what people were thinking). While laughing I glanced up at the mountains and laughed even harder because it was just this summer that I understood “America the Beautiful.” While driving through the beautiful NW I finally understood what ‘amber waves of grain’ were and then put it together what the ‘purple mountain majesties’ was referring to. Oh, what beauty of these two historic American songs---one of them being our national anthem that I have missed out on…all this time!

And I felt my laughter cease and turn a bit somber…how often do you suppose that we might miss out on God’s expression of love—because we don’t know what love is and how easily we can twist the happenings of this life to fit our own scope of things…like I did the words ‘dawn’s early light.’

I found myself singing all kinds of praise music in my head and even out loud a bit. What a beautiful day and how precious I felt that God brought about this moment.

Just before getting back home we passed through the park and I watched as my boys sped down the hill and raced through the park and waited for me by the end of the trail. I noticed right up above in a tree that they just passed by was a hummingbird perched on a leafless branch. I called my boys over to see and told my boys how I rarely saw hummingbirds growing up unless they were by the feeders and I always just thought they were fast birds…so fast you rarely saw them. But, just like us children of God...when we choose to seek God we will find Him…and on almost every walk I take through the neighborhood now; I find a hummingbird somewhere. My boys zoomed right passed the tree and would’ve missed seeing the treasure perched on the tree branch if I hadn’t pointed it out…and you know I too would have missed out on so much in this life if it weren’t for God and His children pointing things out to me! We need each other. We need to be reminded of the great things God does in a world that is tainted right now with pain and hurts.

The next stop reminded me of why we need to slow down enough to capture the loving moments and respond to them… celebrate them! We stopped at the mailbox and there awaiting us was three packages from Grandma and Grandpa. The boys were elated and so excited to get home and open the packages. Inside the packages were expressions of love and reminders of “We love you!” Oh, Lord, help us to be so excited to open your packages of love that you place throughout our paths each and everyday. And a clincher…a message in one of the cards caught my eye and so fit with the recent bike ride journey I had with God and my boys…

One life will soon be past…
Only what’s done through Christ will last.

This is such a brief time on earth compared to eternity...the Bible and Rick Warren have reminded me of that this last week. May we get out of zoom mode and be aware of His love for us and all of humanity. May His love captivate our souls; draw us to respond in the particular ways that only He can lead us to respond!

Day 12 of Living on Purpose

Where’s the love? I recently read an email that was forwarded to me with a picture of this huge ship, the Emma Maersk. It is the largest container ship that was made in Denmark for the purpose of China shipping cargo into the USA. I was saddened to read at the very bottom of the email that the USA often sends the ship back EMPTY…the gloomy email was explaining the poor economic state of our country and I wonder if our hearts our just as poor and gloomy.

I’m talking about our relationship with God…I think we can tend to have our friendship with God just as lopsided as the trading economies of China and USA may be. Jesus offers His relationship to us and I think so many of us are falling short of our end of the bargain.

I love what Rick Warren says in the beginning of Chapter 12, “We are as close to God as we choose to be.” And that our “bitterness is the greatest barrier to friendship with God.” I know I am more passionate about my God now because I have overcome great pain in my life—with all the glory to Him—because getting over the pain was done by accepting His great love for me.

I realize I am still not and will never be perfect (perfection is my enemy as Francesca sings) in how I deal with pain and struggles in my life but I am growing and maturing more each day realizing that I have a God who loves me and can handle my full vent of emotion. I know that even in the darkest of situations He desires and will make good of it! I admit I used to blame God and even when I didn’t blame Him I thought He must have not been able to be powerful enough to change the circumstances…but I know better now. How and why? Because I began to seek Him and study His Word—daily. I had a desire to know Him and I began to be encouraged by reading about others in the Bible like Moses, David, Abraham, Sara, Ruth and Naomi…they all shared their time of doubts with God…just like I have…and in sharing such vulnerable feelings with God (or anyone else for that matter) we benefit by experiencing greater intimacy with God (or whoever we are sharing our life with)!!

Isn’t it just so true in our own relationships with people; when we honestly share with one another our fears and doubts or concerns we enter into a deeper level of friendship. And even in my marriage….we joke that face time together leads to intimacy…YEP!! Give me a few minutes alone to have some deep conversation with my husband and you know what happens next….(sorry—forgive me if that is just TMI). But, oh, it is soooooooooo TRUE...intimacy doesn’t wane if we choose to make time to communicate and share our feelings intimately in our marriages!!!

In the same way, our intimacy will not fade if we choose to make time for Him in our day and express our feelings. When we are a good friend or a spouse we are not lackadaisical…we act. Jesus asks us to love others and true friendships grow when we find ways to love one another. I try to teach my own boys these principles: sharing, helping, forgiving and encouraging. We also show that we are good friends by proving ourselves trustworthy and giving of our own resources to put someone else ahead of us. Bottom-line, we love others best when we are loving God first and doing what He is asking us to do—not as an act of duty—but an expression of our love! I know I a gravitate towards those who are giving and loving--not one of my friends would I characterize as selfish...I would think pretty selfish people are pretty lonely!!

One last thing, I wanted to point out that I am also just so passionate about this truth that Rick Warren pointed out and that is that the dearest thing to God’s heart is the death of His Son and the second is when we, God’s children, share this great news about Jesus with others. As I read these words on page 97 Warren’s book, tears welled up in my eyes because I felt like God was giving me a HUGE HUG!! You see, I think God was telling me that every time that I have had to endure pain, or hardship in my life He too knew about it and it was dear to His heart too! I think He desires to whisper the same to all of us…whatever has happened in your life…God was there and it hurt Him deeply to see you in pain…and He looks forward to living with us where there is no pain…and He is preparing that place for us right now!

You know, Jesus’ death does not take away or erase my pain, or your pain, but I find comfort and encouragement in knowing that my God knows, my God understands, and my God cares about every detail of my life and He has a great purpose in all of it.

There is so much love and joy to experience in this life and holding onto hurts and pain leaves no room for love and joy to be experienced through our friendships. I’ve experienced great pain…and not just once…but sadly, over and over again…but my best friend is someone who can heal and help you and me over and over again!!! PRAISE YOU ABBA FATHER!!!

Oh, I so desire to tell all about my best friend…He is truly marvelous and He has made everything glorious in my life…even when others would not think so!! Let me know when we can meet for coffee and I will gladly share all I know about Him!! I'd hate for anyone to miss what Rick Warren stated and I wholeheartedly believe is the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 11 of Living on Purpose

God wants to be my best friend. This means He desires for me to seek Him, think about Him, love Him and honor Him.

I remember my very first best friend, I was 6 years old and her name was Lisa. I can still picture her bright smile, shoulder length hair and brown eyes. I would walk home from school with her and we shared and talked about all kinds of stuff. She was the first real ‘girlfriend’ besides my sister who really seemed interested in getting to know me and the things I liked…you know the kind of friend you are comfortable about telling anything…and can laugh and feel giddy about the silliest things together. But, this friendship didn’t last very long; we were only friends for just a few short months because her family moved out of the neighborhood. I was so sad…devastated really. I also remember my mom talking about how depressed I was for weeks afterwards.

I remember being a little girl and thinking about spending time with Lisa constantly…we were inseparable at school and all the time our parents would allow afterschool. I have found memories of running to her house to share the littlest of things…and she was always ready to listen…ready to tell me just how special I was in her adolescent way.

I love how God reminded me of her this morning as I think about Him being my best friend. I do think about Him and His Word throughout the day and I just when I think I cannot be more intimate with God…He WOWs me—blows me away with His tenacious love…which He chooses to lavish on me daily!!!

When I first read this book almost 10 years ago…I admit my relationship with my BFF wasn’t nearly what it is today; I was just barely understanding that Jesus wanted to be my friend…I look forward to what it is going to be 10 years from now!!! And I give God the glory in the fact that my boys are growing up knowing that they too have a BFF (JD told me He just talked to Him yesterday and Joshua told me that knowing Him helped him make a good choice even when I wasn't around!!! Not, that both boys behaved perfectly and didn't make some bad choices yesterday too...but there were definite victories that occurred just yesterday and we praised Him for it!!! THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!) and their friend, Jesus is with them wherever they go. My boys are learning that God has a specific purpose for each of their lives and He is answering my prayers and is building a new generation in my family line who seeks, loves, serves and worships Him!

My first BFF moved away and I never saw her again…(hmmm maybe God will use Facebook to reconnect us???) I praise God for all of the friends He has brought into my life; but there is only one true BFF in my life…His name is Jesus, and there is nothing like this journey with my BFF!!

Thank you Jesus for all that You are to me and how you continually fill this delicate tender heart of mine!!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Day 10 of Living on Purpose

If worship is an attitude or way of living that makes God smile what is at the heart of this? Rick Warren begins chapter 10 with this verse “Give yourselves to God…Surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes.” Rom 6:13 TEV.

I have to agree with Rick Warren too that surrender is not a popular word and the word has such a negative connotations attached to it…and it is scary sometimes to think about surrendering even a small part of our lives—let alone our whole beings.

And I’ll admit with my background of abuse and not at all understanding God’s desire for my body to be used for righteous purposes; I have had to rely on God and trust that He would both heal and transform my mind and enable me to grasp this idea (I’m still not sure I can completely wrap my mind around this). As I have learned to surrender and trust bit by bit, He has continually revealed His sweet love and made known things to me, in only ways that He can.
Yesterday, I had a girlfriend remind me of Psalm 123, she is studying Beth Moore’s Psalm of Ascent. Psalm 123:3 states, “Have mercy on us, O LORD, have mercy on us, for we have endured much contempt.” Beth Moore makes reference to Eph 1:18; a verse I have cherished, memorized, and prayed over myself and those I love “…that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which he has called us.”

I think this ties into this chapter today; we need to surrender; yet it is hard sometimes when we feel and may very well be justified because we have suffered like the Psalmist…endured much contempt…or in my words, endured feelings of being rejected, unloved, disrespected or devalued. I think this tied into what Rick Warren states, that “There are three barriers that block our total surrender to God; fear, pride and confusion because I know when I am hurt by someone it can bring up all kinds of emotions…leading to confusion in my mind.

I think we tend to hold onto these moments in our lives either intentionally or unintentionally where we have felt disrespected; first because we are often in shock (how can something happen to rock our beautiful wonderful world?)…since the majority of the time we are in relationships to some degree with the very people we feel disrespected by and then we try to rationalize it somehow. Desiring to either ignore the issue or want it to get fixed on its own and let the feelings fade away by not thinking about them—knowing it will take emotional effort to talk about our feelings in a constructive manner; and really sometimes just not knowing how to go about it. When has this been modeled for us in our lives???

Bottom-line; I think this is something that we all deal with at one time or another and the key here I think is taking all of our emotions to God first and allowing Him to heal and sort out and open our eyes to what is going on and then…and only then can we truly approach someone else with love, forgiveness and grace.

We need to embrace and allow God’s love and grace to fill us continually. I agree with Rick Warren in that our natural response to God’s love and mercy is to surrender our hearts, minds, souls…our entire bodies to worship. Isn’t this our natural tendency to love those that love us…we will love God because He first loved us—hallelujah!!!

I know I need to go to God and relinquish any hurts or pent up feelings of disrespect to Him and allow His love and mercy to enter into my heart. Just as I am going to fail…others are going to fail me and I need God to mend the gap and allow grace and forgiveness to cover the situation on both ends.

Praise God for His Word…in particularly Psalm 123 right now which gives us permission to come to Him when we feel disrespected and at our wits end…and God can so handle us coming to Him and hearing us cry out, “I’ve had enough; I feel so betrayed and hurt and disrespected…I’m surrendering to You…and I need You to help me walk through this.”
I’ve done this in recent years…even months and know I will continually need to be at the feet of my Savior…giving Him an earful of what He already knows. Then, and only then, can I give myself fully to God…not holding back anything—I don’t want to be a 95% girl!!!

Then maybe I can even love those He brings into my life that may be a little less than loving…because we all need people in our life that will encourage us to surrender and point us to Jesus...we all need a safe, loving place to surrender our whole being!!! We have that in Him!!!
Oh Lord, please continue to make me and my family, my friendships, my marriage…all that my heart entails a safe place for others to see You in some way…or in the least, may the see my whole being surrendering to You and give You Glory!

Help me Father, to surrender as often as I need to--surrendering 100% of my being, so that I may be used for Your righteous purposes….oh, this is the life I desire!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Day 9 of Living on Purpose

Today my thoughts are surrounded around what makes God smile and acting on those particular things.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Day 8 of Living on Purpose

We were made for God’s pleasure! We were made for God’s pleasure? I sense that something deep within me knows this is truth; but honestly with the environment that I was reared in…I can sense my mind is struggling to fully grasp this truth. There is so much I want to fully absorb, let soak in and make concrete…I read quite a few verses of scripture after reading this chapter and bottom line; I feel my heart is crying out… I want to know 100% of the time and rely on 100% of the time the love that God has for me. (1John 4:16)

Even though most of my life I have struggled with feelings of worth (I guess it is kind of hard to feel that you are pleasing and loved if this world can also be full of mixed messages of love and acceptance)…I know right now in this very moment that I was made to enjoy this life…not just endure it…and I want to remember these truths every moment of my life.

I have become intrigued also with this word pleasure; which is ratsah in Hebrew. It also means that God is pleased with me; God approves of me; God is satisfied with me; God has found favor with me; God has accepted me…God loves me! And not just me...but you too!!!

Lord, please continue to cover over the lies that I have one time or another held onto and please instill these pleasing, loving truths deep within my heart and help me to know that you created me so that you could love me and I could bring you pleasure!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day 7 of Living on Purpose

Day 7 of Living on Purpose

Today the focus is all about realizing that we are meant to be here on this earth to bring glory to God. In preparing to worship God this morning with my church family I am thinking about how I may do that.

Will I welcome a new family that comes to Epic for the first time; will I express love with my smile and hug and friendly face? Will I sing and praise my God? Will I share and talk with the children about their week’s experiences? Will I extend a blessing to someone I look forward to seeing every Sunday? Will I step out of my comfort zone and share something with someone with God’s promptings? Will I give you glory today God?

Oh, I desire too…and I love what Jon Piper wrote, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” This is so true and I know that I have become to love Sunday mornings with my family not out of a duty to be there every week…but sincerely, because I love God and am so grateful for all that He has done both for me personally and for us as people…all of humanity!
I know that I have not given God the full glory that he deserves from my life so I am going to spend my lifetime seeking to do this!!

Every that God has created…reflects His glory in some way. In pondering this; I think this is why I love to go camping so much…whether we are at the beach or in the mountains we are surrounded by God’s creation and while camping I have time to walk barefoot in the sand or along the grass and take in all of His love which reflects and shines everywhere…even in the simple little things like seashells in the sand or a chipmunk perched on a stump or the leaves whistling in the wind…I hear and see God’s magnificence and find myself praising Him within my heart constantly while camping…hmmmmm…how can I live like I am camping everyday??