2 Corinthians 3:17-18 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
What an awesome day. I am continually impressed with God’s ability to mold me and shape me into a better version of myself. Closer to His own image. Transforming me little by little, or sometimes (like today) suddenly in a big chunk.
I am a perfectionist by nature. My own worst critic, I have a tendency to never allow myself a passing grade. I realize God has gifted me in many ways, but my first instinct is usually to find fault with just about everything. No matter what my success, I’m always following it up with a list of ways I could have done better. This is an area the Lord has been working on with me for several years. Slowly changing my heart to allow for the things in life I cannot change, nor can I control. Do you know how God “fixes” a control-freak-perfectionist? He gives you things utterly completely and entirely beyond your ability to handle or even manage. And you know what, it works really well. Continue reading
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Thanks again Mom for my “Jesus Calling” devotional. It’s awesome. From today’s reading “If you live your life too safely, you will never know the thrill of seeing Me work through you. — It is so wrong to measure your energy level against the challenges ahead of you. The issue is not your strength, but Mine, which is limitless.”
So often in life, I see obstacles and suddenly, my focus shifts from allowing God to work through me, to figuring out how to conquer the problem myself. I easily forget that regardless of what I see or feel, the Lord has it under control. At no time in the history of the universe has God said “Wow. Didn’t see that coming.”. Continue reading
As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is flawless.
He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
Flawless. Perfect. These words describe the unattainable in life. For us at least, but not for God. The word “flawless” in the King James is “tried”, which is from the Hebrew word tsaraph, which refers to the process a smelter uses to refine metal, making it pure. Flawless. Ready to be used. How amazing is it that back in the day one of the primary uses for metals having gone thru this process was fashioning weaponry…like, a shield. The Bible is so cool. Continue reading
1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
I was reflecting this morning on how it feels to be loved. There are people in life who radiate the love of Christ. It absolutely seeps out of their very pores. It’s infectious, overpowering and wonderful to see. When you are with them, you can feel that they care. These are the people in your life who never have a harsh word to say about anyone, they give of themselves freely and fully yet never make you feel that it’s a hardship for them to do so. I have several friends who are amazing in this way, and it never ceases to impress me. I come away from my time with them feeling peaceful and filled up with joy and love. How can I become more like that? Continue reading
1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore!
I’ve fallen off the bandwagon. In more ways than one. First, with my devotional time. Second, with my exercise routine. I have been lamenting my loss of passion for the gym (what I call “Jim”). I went on a cruise a couple weeks ago, gained 8 pounds in those 7 blissful days and have not managed to get myself back to a good workout/eating right schedule since I’ve been back. But NOT being at the gym so much this past week has made me realize a few things.
The past year or so, exercise has become a HUGE portion of my life. I spend 8-10 hours a week visiting “Jim”. Not getting my time in lately has caused some unexpected results. My house is clean. I’m spending more time playing with my children, errands are done, I’m talking to my mom and sisters more, I’m back in the word in my devotional time. I’m feeling very convicted this morning that my enthusiasm for weight loss has become something more. It’s become an idol. Continue reading
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
Good to know God is waiting for me right where I left Him. I’ve struggled with my quiet time lately. I’m allowing life to get in the way. I had myself in such a great rhythm, but have totally lost momentum. Although getting back into my devotionals has been on my mind frequently the last few weeks, I have been keenly aware the past 48 hours of how much I miss my time with the Lord.
My daughter is sick and I’ve been up dealing with vomit the last two nights. Not fun stuff. In the midst of all those night-time dashes between my room and hers, I’ve felt totally unprepared for this thing called parenting. Holding back my own nausea at the smells and sounds of a sick child, I’ve prayed for strength and wisdom frequently. Finally, after Madison’s bedroom was no fit place for anyone, I slept (or more accurately did not sleep) on the playroom floor, comforting my child. I used the time awake to pray for my baby girl, and think about how God cares for me. Stroking Maddie’s hair and listening to her breathing made me think how much it would hurt me if my little girl decided she didn’t want to spend any time with me. And yet I’m doing that same thing to a God who loves me infinitely more than I cherish my daughter.
Then, my first devotional back begins with this wonderful passage from Psalm 63 and a reminder that Jesus wants to help me through my day – that the challenges I face are only going to be handled well in Him. Thank the Lord that He is my help. I’m so in awe this morning at God’s ability to continually meet me right where I am. That in my night watches over my daughter, God has been drawing me back to Himself. That in my bleary-eyed, weary state, He is waiting to stroke my hair and help me through all that is before me in this day.
Luke 1:17 For with God, nothing will be impossible.
Do I really believe that? The Bible says it. Plain as day. It is all possible. Anything you can dream or imagine is within the realm of possibility with God. It might seem crazy. You may think there’s just no way it will happen, but NOTHING is out of the question.
This week, I received a huge lesson in trusting God for what seems impossible. A person I thought would never see Jesus for the loving Savior He is, came to know Him in a personal way. This man has been on the receiving end of desperate pleading prayers for 30 years. Right up to the day before I learned of his salvation, I would have told you there was no way. His heart seemed impenetrable. His mind totally closed off to the things of the Lord. And yet, God was able to reach him and touch him in an amazingly mighty way. I’m particularly thankful for God’s grace and mercy in this life because, it was my grandfather (Poppa). I visited him a couple times this week and am overwhelmed by that change God’s peace has brought to his demeanor. He is a new person. Incredibly soft and sweet in the midst of severe pain – with a graciousness I have never witnessed in him before.
It has made me reconsider the limitations I put on God. The box I keep Him in seems so small in light of such an obvious transformation in a life previously so lost. I think the problem is, we assume God is restrained by our own weaknesses. I am too tired, emotionally drained, physically weak to really accomplish the things I want to each day, and I place those same limitations on the Lord. How can He have the time and energy to deal with all the world’s issues, and still take an active role in my little life? Isn’t He exhausted? If, in all my mental prowess and debating skills, I am unable to make someone see the logic of following God’s plan instead of their own, how will God reach their mind and heart? Even in my prayers, I’m trying to ask or tell God how I think things should work out, rather than relying on Him to direct me in His perfect will and plan.
The incredible reality is, our Lord is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. Even when we think we’ve figured out the “best-case-scenario”, God’s end-game is always far better. I need to start allowing myself to open up the box and let God be free to do His work in my life, and through me into other lives.
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the Lord. And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
For years my mother has been pleading with me to have a daily quiet time with God. Many times, I shrugged off her requests in irritation. I would get extremely annoyed at her insistence that my walk with the Lord needed to be deeper than church on Sundays. Carving out twenty, thirty or forty minutes of my precious time each day just didn’t seem worth it to me. I was doing alright. I was saved wasn’t I? Why didn’t she just let me be?
In my dozen years as an “adult”, I have learned lessons the hard way. Without a real relationship with God, decisions have been consistently made based on what I thought, felt or desired at any given moment. Raised in the church, I prayed for things often, but only lately have I realized that I couldn’t possibly have actually heard God when waiting for direction. I mean, I had no idea what His voice sounded like. I’d never spent any time with Him, so how could I possibly expect to discern His prompting apart from my own ideas about things? Ultimately, I’m pretty sure it’s been my way, not God’s that my life has been lived. Continue reading
Luke 10:42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
So, it’s time to fess up. I haven’t done my devotional time in 4 days. The week prior to that was very hit or miss. I have all the normal excuses. My kids have been sick, I’ve been sick. Too much crammed into the day. Going to bed late. House is a mess. Errands to run. Ultimately, I just haven’t been making time in my day to spend with God.
The first line in my devotional today was “Trust me enough to spend ample time with Me, pushing back the demands of the day.” Um, yeah. Good to know the Lord is still paying attention in my life. Could there be a more perfect “welcome back”? I love the feeling that swept over me as I read the passage in Luke about Mary choosing time with the Lord. It was like God was saying to me, “I’ve missed you. Thanks for coming to see me again.”. Like an old friend, no matter how much time passes between visits, you pick right back up where you left off. I feel like God has been sitting, waiting for me to be with Him, wanting my company, but willing to wait for me to make the time.
It’s really so comforting to be in His presence and know that He’s not waiting with a stern lecture about how long it’s been. At the same time, I feel very convicted about allowing so many things to fill up the space I had previously reserved for the Lord. Dishes, laundry, workouts, bills, kids bathed/dressed etc. As much as I have to do, none of it should be more important than my time in His word. Placing God’s time ahead of all else starts my day in the right perspective. Which can only lead to properly prioritizing the rest of my daily activities. So today is a new start, a fresh clean slate. I’m back to making God first. I’m sure the laundry will still be there after my quiet time.
Numbers 6:24-26 The Lord bless you and keep you: The Lord make His face shine upon you. And be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.
A lovely blessing for this, the end of another work week. Like so many passages I’ve read in the last month, I’ve heard these verses from various pulpits, pastors and other people in my life, but never read it myself in the Bible. It is a nice feeling to read such familiar words, and see them in a new light as God opens His word to me. Continue reading