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Wake Up My Faith

After six years of living by faith and attempting to share the results, I am unconvinced that it’s any easier to outwardly express the pain of a difficult moment than it is to live by faith through that moment.

Mainly because seeking comfort is logical (the unspoken rule of popular Christian culture), while seeking the will of God at any cost is not. So for those with the task of publicly displaying their burdens in the name of encouragement, the risk is great that some who hear will simply not listen beyond their own understanding, and miss the point entirely.

But for the sake of those who will truly listen – for the sake of those who recognize that God will never say “Well done my good and financially secure servant” – we will continue to take that risk unflinchingly, and to seek His will at any cost by aiming…

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Good Intentions

Unshakable Hope

With all the bad going on in the world, I was thinking about how much better it would be if we acted on most of our good intentions. Not only would the recipients of the good actions be better off, but I’m convinced that the doers of those that act on their good intentions would experience a greater sense of joy, hope and overall contentment.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Jesus did say that the southbound road is really wide and the northbound road is extremely narrow (Matthew 7:13), but I don’t remember Him ever mentioning what the pavement was made of. I think legalistic religion would tell us that the road to hell is paved with evil actions (sin). The opposite extreme would tell us that this dark road is paved with legalistic bricks that have impossible-to-keep rules imprinted on them. Like most things, I…

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Psalm 6 – I am Heard

As I stood staring at the “V” in the road, anxiety gnawed at my stomach. Which path do I take? Both paths led through dense forest impairing my ability to see what lay ahead. Both roads seemed safe enough, but I knew that there was really only one correct one. Which one was it that my Father wanted me to take? Again, my stomach knotted with worry.

Anxiously I glanced behind me. In the distance, I could see the enemy approaching. If I didn’t make a decision soon, they would be upon me. Despair seeped into my soul as I stared back at the two roads.

“Which road do I take?” I cried out into the air.

Silence answered me.

Again, I attempted to call out, “Abba, which road do I take?”

The empty stillness of the air was suffocating.

Fearfully looking back, I could now see that the enemy was no longer a silhoutte against the sun, but colorful details of his clothing and face were beginning to show clearly.

“Abba, why aren’t you hearing me? Where are you? Don’t you see that trouble is coming?” My impatience demanded an answer.

Nothing.

With desperation I cried louder, “Abba, I don’t want to take the wrong road! Where do you want me to go?” Now I could hear the footsteps of the fast approaching pursuer. “Please hurry!”

Silence.

Doubt was now seizing hold of me whispering, Does it matter which road I take? Just pick one and go for it!

As much as I wanted to run from the pursuer, deep down I knew it would be better to wait for my Father’s instructions. Thud. Thud. Thud. The forceful pounding of footsteps told me that time was about to run out. I turned in time to see a bony hand reaching out to grab me. In a split second another hand, a more familiar hand, tightly grasped the bony appendage and threw it off of me. While the enemy fought back, my protector skillfully wedged his body between me and the assailant forming an impenetrable barrier. It didn’t take long for my Father to subdue the enemy and send him running back the way we had come.

With eyes wide with fright, I stared at Abba babbling, “Why didn’t you hear me calling to you? What took so long? Where were you?”

Holding up his hand for silence, he chuckled, “Whoa! One question at a time, daughter!” Growing more serious he began, “As to your last question of where I was, I’ve always been here. I’ve never abandoned you.”

“But…” I tried to protest.

“Do you want answers or not?” My Father interrupted. I quickly shut my mouth and nodded my assent.

“What took me so long?” Father proceeded, “I wanted to see if you would wait for my answer or try to solve the problem on your own.”

My mouth hung open with surprise. I felt a little perturbed to realize that he was testing me, but at the same time felt relieved that I had obeyed and waited.

He continued, “And as to your first question, why didn’t I hear you? I did hear you. Daughter, you will always be heard, and I will never be late in rescuing you!”

Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger; do not discipline me in Your wrath. Be gracious to me, Lord, for I am weak; heal me, Lord, for my bones are shaking; my whole being is shaken with terror. And You, Lord — how long? Turn, Lord! Rescue me; save me because of Your faithful love. For there is no remembrance of You in death; who can thank You in Sheol? I am weary from my groaning; with my tears I dampen my pillow and drench my bed every night. My eyes are swollen from grief; they grow old because of all my enemies. Depart from me, all evildoers, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea for help; the Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be ashamed and shake with terror; they will turn back and suddenly be disgraced. (Psalms 6:1-10 HCSB)

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Accepted!

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“Abba, I just read that I was accepted by you while others were not, why? There’s nothing special about me.” I asked confused.

“As I’ve told you before, you received my Son’s and my invitation to become apart of our family. Our invitation is extended to everyone, I am not a discriminate or prejudicial Father. It’s our desire that the whole world would agree to us being a family. Sadly, not everyone feels that way and so rejects the offer.” He let out a heavy sigh indicating the weight of a painful burden in which he carried that I couldn’t fully understand.

“So, because they have not agreed to being in your family, they are not accepted?”

Father thought a moment before answering and then said, “Let me explain. It’s like having your neighborhood kids over to your house, even though you love them, do you allow them the privilege of going through your cupboards and refrigerator whenever they’re hungry? Do you buy them clothes? Are they allowed to experience the same privileges that your children do?”

“No.”

“Now let’s say, you meet a child who has no parents and he accepts your invitation to adopt him and bring him into your family. Will he now experience the same privileges that you extend to your children but not to your neighbors?”

“Well, yes, because if I adopted him, then he would be my son and I would want him to feel that he belongs.”

My Father smiled triumphantly, “Exactly!” He exclaimed. Pausing in our walk together, he grasped my shoulders turning me to face him. “You’ve been adopted into my family, you are my daughter. Because of that, I accept you and extend all the privileges of being my daughter to you. Don’t allow anyone to make you feel differently!”

As I stood there basking in his acceptance, I silently wondered why more people didn’t consent to his invitation to join his family. He was the best Father any girl or boy could have ever hoped for.

Listen to my words, Lord; consider my sighing. Pay attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for I pray to You. At daybreak, Lord, You hear my voice; at daybreak I plead my case to You and watch expectantly. For You are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil cannot dwell with You. The boastful cannot stand in Your presence; You hate all evildoers. You destroy those who tell lies; the Lord abhors a man of bloodshed and treachery. But I enter Your house by the abundance of Your faithful love; I bow down toward Your holy temple in reverential awe of You. Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my adversaries; make Your way straight before me. For there is nothing reliable in what they say; destruction is within them; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongues. Punish them, God; let them fall by their own schemes. Drive them out because of their many crimes, for they rebel against You. But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them shout for joy forever. May You shelter them, and may those who love Your name boast about You. For You, Lord, bless the righteous one; You surround him with favor like a shield. (Psalms 5:1-12 HCSB)

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I’m Innocent!

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I stood staring down at the scuff mark on my shoe. My hands nervously twisted back and forth together as I silently listened to my accuser. Will my Father believe him? I fretted.

Father quickly lifted his hand signaling the accuser to be silent. “That’s enough. I don’t want to hear any more. She’s my daughter and I will not listen to any lies about her.”

Relief overcame me so strongly that I began to collapse. Concerned, my Father quickly caught me and gathered me close to his chest.

“Why didn’t you believe him?” My question was muffled against him.

“Because he is a chronic liar and loves to accuse my children night and day.” My Father replied with disgust.

Cupping my chin, he tilted my face so that he could look at me and said, “Daughter, from here on out, I want you to know that you are innocent. There’s no need to stand there in shame and guilt. Forgiveness will always be yours.”

Scrunching up my nose, I questioned, “Innocent?”

“Yes, that’s also who you are – vindicated, exonerated, justified, not guilty! So don’t live as if you are. Don’t let the accuser hold you hostage with shame, but live in freedom!”

A teasing smile spread across my lips, “Well, then, can we have dinner together?”

My Father laughed, “Absolutely! Let’s go somewhere very special, nothing but the best for my daughter!”

Answer me when I call, God, who vindicates me. You freed me from affliction; be gracious to me and hear my prayer. How long, exalted men, will my honor be insulted? How long will you love what is worthless and pursue a lie? Selah Know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for Himself; the Lord will hear when I call to Him. Be angry and do not sin; on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still. Selah Offer sacrifices in righteousness and trust in the Lord. Many are saying, “Who can show us anything good? ” Look on us with favor, Lord. You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and new wine abound. I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety. (Psalms 4:1-8 HCSB)

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“Wow! So, I’m a tree and I’m a victor?” I asked incredulously.

Father chuckled. “Absolutely!”

A small flame of hope ignited within me, this was so different than what I had thought I was. Eagerly, I leaned forward staring wide-eyed at my Father. “Please keep going! What else am I?”

Playfully, he tapped my nose, “You are confident!”

“I am?” I felt confused not sure whether he was teasing or serious.

“Yes, you are confident because I am with you!” Growing serious, he turned to face me, “Daughter, you must remember that no matter how many people reject you or put you down and no matter what difficulties you might face, I am there with you. I will protect you and sustain you. If I have given you a difficult job, I will enable you to accomplish it. If enemies rise against you, I will defend you, and when life just hurts, I will comfort you.” He gathered my small hands into his larger ones and gave them a tender squeeze. “You just need to trust me on this, and when you do you will have the confidence you need to face and endure any situation.”

“I will trust you, Abba.” I whispered.

“Then you are confident!” He smiled.

Lord, how my foes increase! There are many who attack me. Many say about me, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah But You, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts up my head. I cry aloud to the Lord, and He answers me from His holy mountain. Selah I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me. I am not afraid of the thousands of people who have taken their stand against me on every side. Rise up, Lord! Save me, my God! You strike all my enemies on the cheek; You break the teeth of the wicked. Salvation belongs to the Lord; may Your blessing be on Your people. Selah (Psalms 3:1-8 HCSB)

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I’m a What?

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Picture by ChrisWeeks.net

As we sat silently on the jagged rocks watching the waves roll in, I decided to break the silence, “Abba, tell me more. Who am I?”

A smile danced across my Father’s handsomely chiseled face, “You’re a victor!”

“A victor?” I asked confused.

“A long time ago you made a very important decision. You were given a choice to accept me as your Father or to reject me. Thankfully, you chose to accept me.” His smile broadened as he looked at me with a loving twinkle in his eye.

At my puzzled expression, he continued, “People fight against me because they don’t want me in their lives, families, schools, or even in their governments. What they don’t realize is that their effort to get rid of me is for nothing. I have a plan and that plan can not be thwarted. Someday, my Son (your Groom) will rule over the world. Because you have accepted myself and my Son, you, too, will have the victory in this “battle” called life.”

I quietly pondered what He had just shared with me, “Knowing that you’ll defeat evil and pain in the end will help me be confident in the hard times that I go through. Those things don’t have to defeat me now because you will have the victory over them, and when you win, I win!”

A quiet chuckle escaped from his lips, “That’s right! Just view the difficult times as bumps in the road that you can drive right over.”

“I’m so glad that I made the right decision when I accepted you. You’re the best Father a girl could ever hope for!” I sighed contentedly leaning my head upon his massive shoulder.

Why do the nations rebel and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers conspire together against the Lord and His Anointed One: “Let us tear off their chains and free ourselves from their restraints.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord ridicules them. Then He speaks to them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath: “I have consecrated My King on Zion, My holy mountain.” I will declare the Lord ’s decree: He said to Me, “You are My Son; today I have become Your Father. Ask of Me, and I will make the nations Your inheritance and the ends of the earth Your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; You will shatter them like pottery.” So now, kings, be wise; receive instruction, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with reverential awe and rejoice with trembling. Pay homage to the Son or He will be angry and you will perish in your rebellion, for His anger may ignite at any moment. All those who take refuge in Him are happy. (Psalms 2:1-12 HCSB)

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