Tag Archive | receive

Freedom

Numazawako Lake Reflecting Sky“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV)

I know, I know, I know…

I know all the things I should do, all the things I shouldn’t, why I do, why I don’t, I just should, I just shouldn’t, the guilt, the worry, the fear.

I know it all, and yet…

In Christ, none of it matters.

I don’t need to consider my response to the world, but my response to Christ because He knows how my response to Him will impact the world; those in my life who I can influence and effect for Him.

It’s hard though, to remember the difference, to separate myself from the expectations of others trusting that their immediate reaction is temporary because if Jesus truly is going to have His way, their real need will be met whether it’s through me or someone else.

I can think of people who I no longer see because their reaction to my action was not pleasant and while I can’t say that I handled my part perfectly, I trust that God is showing them their part as well and is working it out in them to bring them peace in the situation. I pray they have grown from it as I believe I have and one day we will be reconciled. I’m open to whatever God has in these relationships. It may not be until heaven, but that’s really not so far off.

There are also people in my life who I worry about losing if I do not perform to expectation. Talk when it’s okay and when I do, say what they want to hear. Do the things the way they prefer in order to show them they matter to me hoping I get it right, hoping I remember, hoping they aren’t having an off day and really want something completely different. It sounds like the people I know are tough and hard, but really, it’s what we all do. We want what we want when we want it and are hurt when we don’t get it.

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” James 4:1 (NIV)

I trust Jesus knows my heart and I’m serious about that. I know there was a time when I wasn’t so sure I wanted Him knowing what was in my heart: the hurt, the anger, and the unforgiveness.  But now, I want Him to clearly see the intentions of my heart so He can correct anything not in line with His ways. And I trust that my desire for that matters to Him.

This is also my desire for those I know: to know and trust my heart, not only for them, but for Jesus. I hope that in trusting Him, they can trust me even though I may screw up and miss the mark on occasion.

Something to Consider…

Do you trust that Jesus knows your heart? Is your heart right with Him to begin with? Are there areas of your heart you hold back from Him? He has good things for you. Let Him in and trust His goodness.

Do you worry about holding all the pieces together, wondering what will happen if they fall? Who will walk away, who will be disappointed, who will help you pick them up again? In Christ, we have the freedom to do the right thing and sometimes the hard thing trusting He will bring good even from our mistakes.

 

Thankful for the Battle

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Galatians 5:17

This past Sunday, my husband and I were home from our morning at church and we had a bit of time before we needed to get going on dinner to be ready for our evening event with a group of friends. As my husband and I talked, he asked me if I wanted to take a nap.

I’m sure to him it was a simple question. But as I thought about it, I felt a tensing and tightening of my insides. I finally admitted to him I didn’t want to do anything.

At first, he kind of shrugged it off and asked another simple, clarifying question.

I said, “No, I don’t want to do anything! I don’t want to do anything that I know I should do!”

Right away he says, “Isn’t that like Paul in the ‘I don’t know why I do what I don’t want to and don’t do what I want to’ passage?”

My initial thought was no, it’s nothing like that. But it was exactly that.

I had often thought of this rant of Paul’s as one where he doesn’t realize until after the fact that he did the wrong thing. Why? Because if he knew the right thing from the beginning, he would do it, right?

Wrong.

Sometimes, we know exactly what we should or shouldn’t do and we don’t do or do exactly that. We do it with full knowledge and full compliance. And then we feel horrible and remorseful. At least, hopefully we do.

After I listed off all the things I didn’t want to do, my husband said he was taking a nap. No convincing me of anything, no advice, only him stepping away. And once he did, I picked something from my list and did it knowing it was good.

And it felt good.

I felt relaxed and peaceful in my decision and I enjoyed my time and activity. In the end, I felt accomplished.

On Monday morning, during my quiet time, I thought about the events of the day before. I thanked God for the battle I had experienced. It wasn’t pleasant but it was good because it was proof of God’s Spirit at work in me showing me the wrong attitudes of my heart and the right ways to move forward with Him.

Lord, I thank you for the battle between my spirit and Yours. I thank you for your work within me. I long for your correction, instruction and guidance in your unconditional love. Thank you for showing me when what I want is not what you want for me. I pray the battle lessens and I am willingly able to follow You in all things. In Jesus name, Amen.

Something to Consider…

Do you find yourself in a battle between doing what you shouldn’t or not doing what you should?

Ask God to show you any wrong attitudes or thoughts that keep you from His right ways. Be willing to allow His Spirit to work in your life. Choose to follow His Spirit in your decisions.

“This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.” Isaiah 48:17-18

Be Honest with God

California Poppies and Gazanias“You have looked deep into my heart, Lord, and you know all about me.” Psalm 139:1 (CEV)

I didn’t grow up going to church, but when I became an adult I had a growing interest. If Jesus was really God, I wanted to know more. Although my fiancé had not been active in his church for a number of years, we decided to go to the same one in which he had been confirmed.

I spent years going to church, sometimes understanding the message, most of the time not. Even so, it felt good and right to be there so we continued. I had no idea how God was using this time to speak to me and my husband. We couldn’t comprehend how our lives were slowly changing, growing and yielding to Him.

This went on for approximately 16 years. Over time, God was working things out in His way, in His time. We had become more active in our church and knew He was active in our lives. I thought I had come to a place where His grace was received, forgiveness accepted and love embraced.

And then one day, as I was riding home from church, an incident from my past crossed my mind. I realized that as I thought about it this incident, I had turned my head down and away closing my eyes.

I was trying to hide from God. I didn’t want Him to know what I was thinking, what had happened, what I had done.

I felt ashamed and ugly, not worthy of God’s view. Not worthy of the grace, forgiveness and love I had been cherishing all these years.

But here’s the thing about God: He already knows where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and what’s been done to me. When I try to hide the truth from God, I only distance myself from Him. I appear to have it all together on the outside while on the inside I’m continuing to live apart from Him.

God doesn’t just know my past, He knows your past as well. He also knows what you’re going through right now, as well as what you will experience in the future. He knows every thought and every desire. We have an entire life to live here before we reach heaven and He wants to be part of it.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)

When we are honest with God about our hurts, mistakes, and desires, He will help us let go, move on and move into all He has for us here in this place and at this time. When we are honest, we make our hearts available and open to a real relationship with Him. We are willing to hear His answer and receive His blessings.

Something to Consider…

Have you allowed God into the hurting places in your life? As you do, He will heal your wounds and mend your heart.

Have you confessed your mistakes to God, intentional or unintentional? He will forgive your sins and show you how to move forward in His right ways.

Have you shared with Him the deepest desires of your heart? He’s the one who has put them there. He will work them out in accordance with His best for you.

But Why?

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:8 (NIV)

I was talking to my oldest daughter this morning before she went on a photo shoot. She is just beginning a photography business and does amazing work. While she is starting to get leads and line up work, she is young and still in college. She has not quite made the transition to the adult, working world.

One of the people who she was “shooting” was someone from her day job. They know each other well and have seen each other in various states of being “put-together” and completely falling apart. It was an early appointment so she was going to get up, throw herself together and go.

Before jumping in the shower, she asked me about her attire for the morning. I gave my input and watched her cringe in disappointment.

She told me what she planned to wear and why. I let her know that it didn’t matter who it was, the goal was to look professional whenever possible. She wants her clients to know she is capable and trustworthy with their memories.

While we shouldn’t judge others on looks, it is one way we can influence the relationship from the first moment of meeting. Regardless of our desire to not judge, often we have an initial reaction to what we see.

As she tried to convince me of why it should be okay to wear what she had first chosen, I told her, “You obviously questioned your choice of clothing or you wouldn’t have asked me. I simply confirmed what you already knew. Stop fighting it and do what you know it right.”

And with that she picked out different clothes and went to get ready.

And I smiled as I watched the Holy Spirit direct her in the way she should go.

Does the Holy Spirit, God, really care what we wear? Is it that big of a deal? Who cares? We already know people shouldn’t judge us so shouldn’t they just accept us as we are regardless of what we look like, clothes and all?

I admit, I don’t know to what extent God cares but here is what I do know: We have the ability to influence. Our appearance may matter, it may not. If God knows our appearance may make the difference, He will let us know. I don’t think He will tell us to buy clothes we can’t afford just to look good. He won’t tell us to use our looks to get what we want. But He does know what is best in every situation and since He is working in all things, He knows and cares about every detail.

For my daughter, this may have been the beginning of a lead to something more. There were others involved, not just her co-worker. While that was the relationship she was thinking of, it may not have been the one God was orchestrating.

“The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should.” Galatians 5:17 (CEV)

Stop fighting God and do what you know is right.

As God speaks to you through the Holy Spirit, stop fighting His direction, guidance and counsel. Be willing to submit to His will and His way because everything He does leads to His love.

To finish the story, as my daughter left the house, she had a bounce in her step, a smile on her face and she carried herself with confidence. God is good indeed!

Something to Consider:

Is there something God is asking you to do and you are fighting it because you don’t understand why it matters? Do you find yourself struggling with what you want versus what God is telling you to do?

Seek God’s guidance and counsel. Step out in faith doing what He asks even if when you don’t understand. Jesus has made a way for us to have direct access to the Father through His Spirit; choose to listen, learn and live out what He tells you.

Where Does Your Help Come From?

“You willingly forgive, and your love is always there for those who pray to you. Please listen, Lord! Answer my prayer for help. When I am in trouble, I pray, knowing you will listen.” Psalm 86:5-7 (CEV)

My daughter came down the stairs this morning before going to work with her keys in one hand and her lanyard in the other. They are supposed to be attached. “Look what happened,” she said.

Of course, I have to look it over and I start playing with it. “What about this?”

“No, that was for the price tag.” The plastic piece that held the price tag has been attached since she bought the lanyard some twelve months ago. Odds and ends pieces don’t phase my kids; it drives me crazy. Get rid of the junk already…maybe that’s for another post!

So once that’s taken care of I start looking over the lanyard again. She points out that there is a screw in the middle of the cap and that’s why the strap won’t go back in. In my bi-focal needing way, I stretch my arms out to be able to see the screw and make out what type of screwdriver is needed.

My daughter politely lets me know that I don’t have a screwdriver small enough. GAME ON!

“Oh, I don’t? I bet I do.”

After rummaging around a bit, I find two that might work. The first one is too big, but with a few turns of the second, that little screw starts to move. Once out far enough, I slide the straps back in and tighten the screw holding the straps firmly in place.

Problem solved. Next?

I posted on my Facebook page that I love it when my kids think I can’t fix something but then I do! I love their amazement!

But then I wondered, do I really love it? Wouldn’t I prefer that they believe I can fix it and come to me willingly seeking my help? I still love that they are amazed at my ability to solve the problem but I don’t ever want them assuming I can’t help. Or worse yet, that I won’t help.

And isn’t that what God, our heavenly Father wants? Doesn’t He desire that we know we can come to Him with any problem and He will help us?

So what keeps us from asking?

  • We believe it can’t be fixed so we don’t bother asking…but all things are possible with God. (Matthew 19:26)
  • We don’t think God will help even though we want to ask…but God always hears us and is always willing to help when we turn to Him. (Isaiah 41:13)
  • We don’t want to do our part. We just want it fixed…but God says we are to put off the old self and get rid of the old way of thinking. We are to take on His ways in all areas. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

The truth is it can be fixed, it can be better. We may need to make some changes in the process, we need to be willing to believe He can and will help, and we definitely need to be willing to ask for His help.

“My help comes from the LORD,  the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2 (NIV)

Something to Consider…

Is there a problem in your life that you just can’t seem to fix on your own? Are you trying to find a way around dealing with certain issues because it just seems like it’s too much, too big, or too difficult?

Turn to God, ask Him to help and believe that He will. And then be willing to make the necessary changes He shows you in the process.