Saturday, August 31, 2013

Look Up

When distraction comes in like a flood,  
look up.
When anxiety stirs the waters of the soul, 
look up.
When negativity argues against gratitude,
look up.
When the heart can find no place to rest,
look up.

Our peace is only found in looking up,
into the eyes of the One who is 
intimately acquainted with us,
with the One who can fix our gaze, 
focus our thoughts, calm our waters
and bring us rest.

When I look up and gaze into His eyes, 
consciously looking away from self,
 I can honestly say, 
I trust You Jesus.
And then I say it again 
a few minutes later when distraction 
comes back to pull me away.
And then again. And again.

One thing have I asked of the Lord, 
that will I seek and insistently require: 
that I may dwell in His presence 
and gaze upon His beauty
all the days of my life.
Psalm 27:4

"When the eyes of the soul looking out 
meet the eyes of God looking in, 
heaven has begun right here on this earth."
~AW Tozer
Today, I choose to fix my eyes on Jesus
that I may hear the sound
of heaven and earth interacting all day long.
Lord, would Your mercy come 
to help me choose again and again.
Help me remember that to fix my gaze
I must look up.




Image: http://pinterest.com/pin/132011832797987282


Monday, August 26, 2013

Same Scenery, Different Track

For we walk by faith and not by sight.
~2 Corinthians 5:7
Faith is always important to those who
love Jesus and are committed to His way.
But there are times when faith
gets called on to come up front 
and pull the entire load.

Transition seasons are one of those times.
When we are leaving one season and 
fighting for entrance into the next,
it is often a fight led by faith.
The Lord gave me a picture 
during a transition season years ago.
He showed me two sets of tracks and
then told me that He was pulling a switch 
that took me off one set and onto another.
He warned me that the new track would
run parallel with the old for a while.
I had to learn to say, 
"Same scenery. Different track."

The Lord had given me a promise
that He was bringing me out of
a season of pain and sadness,
but it all looked "same ol same ol."
It doesn't matter that the scenery looks the same.
You are on a different track.
And at some point, this train will take a turn,
and you will begin to climb toward your promise.
Set your faith on the promise, not on the scenery.
I had to ignore every lying circumstance that
insisted it would always look the same way.
And the train eventually did break away
from the other track and began to climb.
It was gradual and I didn't notice at first.
But after a while it was obvious
that I was not in the same place anymore.
I am hearing again the sound of transition.
Because we live multi-dimensional lives,
we are always crossing over 
from one thing to another in some area.
But sometimes, those transitions are bigger.
The Lord has spoken to me once again
about the need to walk by faith and not sight.

Do not glance around at your circumstances.
They will lie to you during this shift.
I am setting you on a different track that
you might reach My purpose during this season.
I will grow your ability once again to walk by faith.
Just because there is a tumbleweed again today
doesn't mean there won't be scenic vistas tomorrow.
My goodness goes before you.
Your faith in My goodness will lead you
all the way to where 
I have purposed to take you.
Rest in My love and 
allow faith to pull your load.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Art of Being Quiet


In quietness and rest is your strength.
Isaiah 30:15
I have been living in this verse
for some time now,
with increasing degrees of intentionality.
I've been on a quest for living in rest
and finding how difficult simplicity can be.
The part about quietness has 
gotten my attention today.
I think the two somehow go together.

We are constantly bombarded with noise.
Some of this comes from our own thoughts.
Some of it comes from our own mouths,
and some of it comes from living in the world.
It is hard to rest in an atmosphere of noise.

A recent article in the New York Times
points out that auditory stimuli uses mental energy,
creates stress, and induces brain fatigue.
“With brain fatigue, you are easily distracted,
forgetful and mentally flighty.”

"Easily distracted" still describes me
way more than I would like to admit.
I am asking for a single ear,
an ear that is attuned to God's voice.
I had no idea how challenging 
this was going to be.
I want to learn to be quiet.
Not in a selfish inward way,
but in a way that invites His voice
to take the central place.
When I communicate, I want it 
to be a deep calling to deep--
not a little bit of deep, 
a little bit of chaos and 
a little bit of distortion.
Whether it is a kind word to 
someone in need of kindness
(which is just about everyone we meet),
or a word of encouragement to
one needing courage,
I want it to be a word of grace, 
a word of edification.
"Let us therefore follow after the things
which edify each other."

I have to learn the art of being quiet.





Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Surrounded by Favor


Don’t let negative words 
stop God’s favor for your life. 
Choose to speak faith 
even though your mind is being 
bombarded with doubt.
~Joel Olsteen 

This came across my newsfeed 
on a day when I really needed it.
It is not a new thought.
Negativity verses favor.
Faith verses doubt.
But on that day, I realized doubt
was in full blown bombardment mode.
It awakened me to my state of mind
so that I could get back on track 
and remember that God's favor
is constantly pursuing me.
Surely your goodness and faithfulness 
will pursue me all my days...
Psalm 23:6

Not by might, nor by power, 
but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
 Today I realized that this great truth
is followed by an important message:
So, big mountain, who do you think you are? 
Next to Zerubbabel you’re nothing but a molehill. 
He’ll proceed to set the Cornerstone in place, 
accompanied by cheers: 
Yes! Yes! Do it!

The very thing that is in front of us--
bombarding us with doubt and negativity--
might be a mountain in our eyes.
The Lord reminds us that it is not our
striving and grasping and figuring out
that levels our mountains.
His Spirit fights with favor on our behalf.
We can see the mountain as a molehill,
taking our negative thoughts and 
turning them into cheers of:
Yes! Yes! Do it!

Lord, Your favor is hunting me down today
and turning this mountain into a molehill.
Yes, Lord, do it!!




Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Full Busy

Martha Martha!
Thou art full busy and
troubled about many things.
Only one thing is necessary.
Mary has chosen what is best
and it will never be taken from her.
Luke 10:41-42

"Full busy" requires diversity.
But one thing is necessary.
We can barely handle the thought.
One thing? 
Our attention spans are ridiculously short.
We are energized by the fast and the furious.
But Jesus comes to say, 
Only one thing is necessary.
Mary chose what could never be taken:
her love for Jesus over all else.

Jesus was demonstrating 
that His priority was serving them.
Martha decided her priority was serving Him.
She was mad at Mary for not seeing it her way.
And she was a bit offended with Jesus as well.
Is it nothing to You that my sister 
has left me to serve alone?

Jesus says, I want to teach you. Sit down.
We say, "I want to serve You." 
(which, by the way, usually means ourselves)
"I can't sit down when I have things to do!"
And we wonder why we live conflicted lives.
The battle between our love for diversity
and Jesus' love for the one thing.

My attention span has been short and
I have been energized by many things.
I want to be about "one thing."
To know Him and learn from Him
and receive His love
that I might love Him and others
with the fullness of His love.
 If I do not live in love, 
I gain precisely nothing by my selfless acts.
1Corinthians 13:3

Martha's acts were seemingly selfless.
Jesus told her Mary chose the thing of value.
I have valued the diversity of "full busy."
I want to value the "one thing"of
sitting at His feet and receiving His love.
It sounds so simple.

Lord have mercy...



Saturday, August 10, 2013

Today's Garage Sale

Our neighbor is having a garage sale today.
 I look at the tables of kitsch and 
knicks and knacks and nuts and bolts, 
and think, where the heck did she keep all this?
Was it really all crammed into that house?
The signs around the neighborhood shout,
"Come one, come all. 
Please help me get rid of all my stuff!" 
That is to say,
Garage Sale 9-5.
Once you put it out on the table, 
you have already labeled it 
"not coming back in."
It was a whole lot of work,
but there is less clutter, more room.

"Let every heart prepare Him room..."
God has been speaking about letting go--
not so much for the need to have less stuff,
but for the need to have more room.
I have been an accumulator in ways even more 
challenging than the garage sale type stuff.
Most of us are.

We accumulate habits, desires, and attitudes
that drive us to lifestyles of busyness.
I am seeing that there is a focus on self
that puts God and people just outside
my circle of priorities.
I want to simplify and make room for Him. 
Because I really do want to love God 
and people more than I love myself.

He is a slow God,
allowing us to make changes
with His grace and kindness.
That garage sale today is going to 
drive me crazy, in a good way.
I am laying some things out on the table
and marking them as 
"not coming back in."


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Resting--Again

Sometimes I get up in the morning,
looking forward to being quiet before the Lord.
And I have a picture of my burdens
lining up before me like attentive children.
They sit quietly, waiting to be addressed.
Most mornings I acknowledge them, 
assuring them I will bring them 
before Jesus.
And they go away as quietly as they came.
Other mornings, they are not quietly waiting.
They are loud, demanding and insistent
that they will not go away.
They don't want to go before Jesus.
They want to stay with me that I might
acknowledge how big they are getting.

This morning is one of those mornings.
During these times, I have to consciously 
take authority over them.
"No, you are going to see Jesus.
He will always be the One 
who deals with you.
I will not talk to you, coddle you,
try to understand you, or feed you."

One of my life verses 
comes into play on days like today.
Returning to Me and resting in Me 
is what will save you; 
If you will remain calm and trust in Me,
I will make you strong.
Isaiah 30:15
As I rest in Him, 
He extends His mercy, 
His goodness and 
His kindness to me.
And I am made strong.

Those attention demanding burdens
are not as big as they were 
when we first got up.
Resting in Him is my key for the day--
the day, as in, 
every single moment of my life.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A No-Words Message


What would people think of us
if they never heard a word we said?
If our words couldn't reach someone,
how would they know us?
Do our actions gather enough mass
to produce a message?
The message we want to send?

The Lord is great in kindness. 
~Ps 145:8
In our hurry up world, 
we often express a message
radically different from kindness.
Our actions often express self-centeredness, 
inconvenience, judgment, entitlement, pride.
People become interruptions to our agendas,
and they know us by those responses.

To be great in kindness suggests that 
our agendas have to shift focus.
Perhaps our interruptions 
need to be our highest priority.
What would my interruption say about me
when we parted ways?
***
I had just written this part about kindness and
was deeply impacted by how real this needed to be.
I then went to Costco. Around noon. On a Saturday.
Oh dear.
There were interruptions everywhere.
I developed amnesia and didn't remember
anything the Lord had just said.
I don't think any of my interruptions
would have commented on my kindness.
Lord Jesus, be merciful to me, a sinner.
Kindness must be demonstrated.
We can tell someone we love them, 
but we cannot tell them of our kindness.
We can tell them of our gratitude,
joy and appreciation for them.
But kindness must be shown. 
I have to to be able to generate 
enough substance "doing kindness" 
that my message is not muddled.
For the Lord is good; 
 His mercy and kindness 
and steadfast love endure forever! 
Jeremiah 33:11
He is the Way, the Truth and Life. 
If I can't be like Him in 
His way of kindness,
I will never be like HIm in Truth or Life.
“You cannot do a kindness too soon, 
for you never know how soon it will be too late."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson