Tuesday, July 31, 2012

He Will Settle You

Cast the whole of your cares—
all your anxieties, all your worries,
all your concerns--
once and for all on Him, 
for He cares for you affectionately 
and cares about you watchfully...
The God of all grace,
will Himself complete and make you
what you ought to be, 
establish and ground you securely, 
and strengthen and settle you.
1Peter 5
OK, I know this one, especially the first part. 
I have it memorized and believe it is the only way 
to stay sane in this crazy world.
So why do I find myself once again carrying a bunch 
of these anxieties, worries and cares on my own?
I cast these away yesterday, I think to myself.
I feel like a casting failure.
His word says to cast all your cares--once and for all.
I just asked God if "once and for all"
could mean every hour.
Maybe even more often.
He said the most remarkable thing to me:
"You're better than you think at this.
You have more reflex than you know."
And He said it with a smile.
I expected a little rebuke, 
but He gave a vote of confidence.
"I am the God of all grace and favor.
It is my joy to complete you
and make you what you ought to be.
My desire is to establish you, 
ground you securely, strengthen you
and settle you down.
I am a Father and 
that is my heart toward My children.
Go in complete peace today
that I am at work in you
and I will accomplish that 
which I have promised."
So today, I cast all my cares on my Father
Who cares for me affectionately and watchfully.
He is the God of all grace
and I stand in that grace today.
His mercies are new every morning.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pleasing to You

May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to You,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19
It is my desire to keep my heart
full of thoughts that line up with His.
I cannot trust my mind to go off on its own
because in a new-york-second I can go off
into self focus, self centeredness, 
self righteousness...
And not even know how I got there.
I have been barraged all day long.
I am so grateful the Lord hears my cry
and rescues me from myself.
Because of your unfailing love, 
I can enter Your house;
Lead me in the right path, O Lord,
or my enemies will conquer me.
Make your way plain for me to follow.
His great love keeps us and covers us.
I love the simple yet beautiful
prayers of the psalmist.
May everything about me be pleasing to You, God,
because You are my strength
and my salvation everyday.
In my self, I have no hope; 
yet I have hope a million times over in You.
Make Your way plain for me to follow.
May the words of my mouth
and the thoughts in my heart
bless Your name.
Because You are worthy a million times over
to receive any glory my life can give You.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Look Down!

To those who love God, 
and called according to His plan, 
everything that happens 
fits into a pattern for good.
Romans 8:28
God uses everything that comes our way
to help us become who He created us to be,
living fully in our inheritance as His children.
It often feels that everything that comes our way
is designed to rob us of that inheritance.
I have to remember what He says.
Recently in worship, we sang the beautiful song
from United Pursuit, "Nothing I Hold Onto:"
I lean not on my own understanding.
My life is in the hands 
of the Maker of heaven.
I give it all to You God,
trusting that You'll make 
something beautiful out of me.

There has been much shaking going on lately.
In the midst of it all, I have struggled to let go.
Everything is changing and there is 
nothing I can do about it.
Whenever that sense of fear begins creeping in,
I have been trained to go "up" because--
as the title of this blog declares--Up is Better.
But this morning, Jesus came and 
reminded me to occasionally look down.
"My feet are planted solidly next to yours
and I am not moving."
He never leaves me or forsakes me. 
He is my rock, my fortress and my hope.
On Christ the solid rock I stand.
All other ground is shifting sand.
He causes everything to fit
into a pattern of good
for those who love Him.
God, I trust that You will make
something beautiful out of me
that will bring glory to Your name.

Image: spiritualinspiration.tumblr.com

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Witness to The Life of Faith

Therefore, since we are surrounded 
by such a huge crowd of witnesses 
to the life of faith...
let us run with endurance 
the race God has set before us. 
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, 
the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Hebrews 12:1-2

Yesterday, a great hero of the faith
went home to be with his Hero.
This man of courage, character and passion
for his Lord, Jesus Christ, influenced many--
well beyond the borders of his own family
and the community that he pastored.
He ran with endurance; he completed the race.
He kept his eyes on Jesus and never lost sight
of His champion who was perfecting his faith
up until the hour of his death.
The crowd of witnesses are those whose lives
were a testimony and a demonstration of faith.
This man was such a witness.
I have been overwhelmed by this life that mattered.
The outpouring of love and words of affirmation
are not common in this culture.
People from all over the world wrote words of encouragement
to honor him in his last weeks of life 
for his faithfulness to his God and his love for his people.

Pastor Dennis, I honor you and your life.
You are a man of valor and wisdom.
You pulled the purposes of God in your generation and fought 
that the generations coming behind you would continue 
to pull the King's carriage all the way until Christ returns.

This "Joisey girl" has been greatly impacted by your life-- 
because you were undistractedly devoted to Him.
Those kinds of lives ripple for a very, very long time.
I will deeply miss you.
May my life bring a measure 
of the glory of God that yours did.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Letting Go

Every situation in my life
should make me more God-conscious, 
not more "situation conscious."
The circumstances of life have to be
more about my relationship with God
than my relationship with the circumstances.
Am I willing to lay my burdens down
just to be alone with my Father
that I may get to know Him more?
Give your burdens to the Lord 
and He will take care of you.
Psalm 55
Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and He will help you.
Psalm 37
The word for commit means to 
"roll over and release."
At times, I am more about
rolling around and holding onto.
His Word gives instruction for all
the circumstances we confront everyday.
Never stop praying. 
Be thankful in all circumstances, 
for this is God’s will for you 
who belong to Christ Jesus.
1Thes 5:16

Lord, today I let go of all the things
that I am holding onto.
I want to be more conscious of 
my relationship with You than anything else.
I choose to worship, pray and be thankful.
For I know that You will perfect 
all that concerns me.

Image: tomstuart.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Let-Go-Let-God.jpg

Monday, July 23, 2012

Just Swim

"If you have been trained to swim,
why would you panic just because
you can't feel the bottom?
It is still there; and you know what to do.
I am right here with you."
The Holy Spirit spoke these words to me
during worship yesterday at church.
We had just been singing "Your Love Never Fails."
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me...
The wind is strong and the water's deep
But I'm not alone here in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails

I had been declaring my trust in Him,
repenting for the fear that had crept in.
He came to me as a Coach,
and encouraged me to trust the training.
It can be so disconcerting 
to feel the bottom drop out.
And if I didn't know how to swim, 
that could be a big problem.
"The bottom will come back to you,
but until it does, just swim."
He knows what is ahead of me
and has prepared me for victory.
I know that He loves me,
and His love will never fail.
He is a great Trainer.
I am just going to swim until 
I can feel bottom once again.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Choosing to be Faithful

“I have chosen to be faithful...”
Psalm 119:30 
Faith is a gift, by grace.
Faithfulness is what we do with it.
Every day I have to choose to be faithful.
It is the battle of the mind.
Do I give anything more priority in my thoughts
than the high privilege of knowing Him
and the great gift of redemption that 
He gave me through the Cross?

When everything is stripped away, 
when there is nothing defining my life,
when expectations and motivations
are set on the shelf
that I may come before God 
in the nakedness of who I am in Him...
I cry out for mercy that I would know in the 
deepest places of my soul that 
nothing else matters.
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you...
If I allow anything to hold my attention--
whether it be the good or the bad--
that's greater than my thoughts of Him,
then I need to be adjusted.
This is a season of adjustment.
I move the lens to bring clearer focus.
There have been the hints of a shadow 
appearing on the horizon. 
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever will be.

You are faithful God.
And I choose to be faithful too.
By Your great mercy and grace.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rivers, Fountains and Pools

I began a post yesterday out of 2Chronicles 16:9
about the Lord strengthening those committed to Him.
This morning I just had nothing to add. Nada.
I need to write about being completely dry--like desert dry,
I thought to myself.
I need water more than I need strength.
There are times when the Lord is so close 
and even though I may not feel filled up,
I know that He is with me and I rest in that. 
But today, all I thought about was being dry.
I need the scripture about streams in the desert, 
I thought to myself. 
I went on to Biblegateway to look it up.
Isaiah 41:10 was the verse of the day
and just below that was my streams in the desert verse.
I sat overwhelmed, tears flooding my eyes.
Really God? Would You really do that for me?
I can barely see even now as I write.
When the poor and needy search for water and there is none,
and their tongues are parched from thirst,
then I, the Lord, will answer them.
I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.
I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus.
I will give them fountains of water in the valleys.
I will fill the desert with pools of water.
Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground.
The verse of the day, Isaiah 41:10, 
was like a bonus He just threw in because
He is extravagant in His goodness.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
All I know is: God, You are so good.
I was searching for water and You answered me.
You didn't just promise me a drink.
You told me that you would give me 
rivers, fountains and pools.
Then You promised that You would strengthen me--
You resurrected the post I started yesterday and deleted.
I have nothing to give except the life You have given me.
And You keep on life-ing me.
By Your great mercy and grace, 
I will keep on giving it back.

Monday, July 16, 2012

He Already Knows

It is the Lord Who goes before you; 
He will march with you; 
He will not fail you or let you go;
let there be no flinching, but fear not, 
neither become broken in spirit—
depressed, dismayed, and unnerved with alarm.
Deut 31:8
All Scriptures are filled with the breath of God;
they give us strength so that we can fight against 
being depressed, dismayed and unnerved with alarm.
I have been bombarded with situations and thoughts 
that want me to agree with all of those.
The Lord gave me this weapon of faith this morning;
I am wrapping it around my mind like a shield.
I love how God will hunt me down 
to give me help in times of need--
no matter how big or small those needs might be.
I read My Utmost for His Highest this morning as well.
Once again, the Lord was standing faithfully
to give me another weapon of faith.
Fill your mind with the thought that God is there. 
And once your mind is truly filled with that thought, 
when you experience difficulties it will be as easy 
as breathing for you to remember, 
“My heavenly Father knows all about this!” 
God is my Father, He loves me, 
and I will never think of anything that He will forget, 
so why should I worry?
Oswald Chambers
Father, thank You that You know me
and know what I will face before I get there.
I am trusting that You will stand with me
and I will not be broken in spirit.
I fill my mind with the thought that You are here.
I think about those things that are true
and excellent and praiseworthy.
I can never face something 
that You are not already aware of.
I will not flinch or fear.
You are good.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


In the perfect and eternal world, 
the Law will vanish. 
But the results of having lived 
faithfully under it will not. 
C.S. Lewis
Daily living is all about faithfulness.
It doesn't matter if I have memorized
the entire Bible or whether
I profess my faith with my mouth.
There are many Scriptures about that.
The challenge is to live my faith.
Especially when no one around me
knows or even cares what my faith means.
There are enough examples of word faith.
People need deed faith.
There aren't many who haven't heard the gospel;
there are a whole lot of people who
haven't seen the gospel.
And even if there were no one else around,
the holy and reverent fear of the Lord
must motivate my heart 
to be one with my mouth.
If you continue to be faithful, 
I will give you the reward of life. 
Revelation 2:10
I have been continually challenged 
these past weeks staying back east with family 
and friends who have a different faith.
Their lives line up consistently with their values.
Without absolute truth, anything goes.
And it has been a swirl of anythings.
I have had to turn to the Lord often
to ask for guidance for my actions.
How do You want to handle this one, Lord?
Because I have absolutely no idea.
And He has helped me to be His.
Sometimes by being quiet and 
sometimes by being gentle.
Every once in a while by simply stating truth
and trusting that I don't have to defend it.
I want to be faithful.
It really does matter.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What Really Matters

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, 
and that you will keep on growing 
in knowledge and understanding. 
For I want you to understand what really matters, 
so you may live pure and blameless lives.
May you be filled with the fruit of your salvation—
the righteous character produced 
in your life by Jesus Christ
for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
Philippians 1:9-11

God wants to replicate His character in His children.
It begins with overflowing love
and an understanding of what really matters.
If I could stop throughout my day
and ask myself how an overflowing love
would respond to each situation, 
I think my days might look different.
As I grow in knowledge and understanding,
I am able to understand what really matters.
And what really matters is what I need to care about.
The fruit of my salvation is the character of Christ 
being expressed in my life.
Lord, I pray today that my love will overflow.
Help me to understand what matters--
and what doesn't--as I face this day.
May I be filled with the fruit of my salvation, 
a character that bears semblance to Yours.
To bring honor to Your name is what matters.
And without the promise that You would
come and live Your life through mine,
it would simply be pie in the sky fantasy.
May Your grace and mercy surround me
as I trust You to do this impossible thing--
that my life would bring You glory.
It is what really matters.