Tag Archives: heart

Is He Worthy of It All?

WORSHIP

They say it came upon a midnight clear on a silent night, a holy night.  It happened in the little town of Bethlehem and brought great joy to the world.  The first noel from angels we have heard on high sang as the shepherds asked those around them, “Do your hear what I hear?”. 

“Hark!  The herald angels sing, ” they said to the people everywhere.  For away in a manger lay sweet little Jesus boy causing many people to wonder what child is this and asking Mary, “Did you know?” Many traveled for miles, saying along the way, “O come let us a adore Him and proclaiming, “God rest ye gentlemen, for the King of the world has come!”  As three wise men followed the beautiful star of Bethlehem we are willing in our hearts to go tell it on the mountain for peace has come to earth.

Year after year we sing the traditional Christmas Carols mostly from memory not meaning.  Many of us learned these songs when we were very little along with Jingle Bells and Santa Claus is coming to town.  So this year I am pausing to reflect if these songs really have any meaning for me.  I love to worship.  I love to sing songs to the One who created us for this very thing.  Nothing brings me into the courts of His Presence like worship.  So today I ponder what all the fuss is about Christmas Carols.

In a way I feel like we should sing them all year round as a witnessing tool, after all they proclaim the birth of Jesus and what He came to do.  And personally do we even really know for certain December 25th is actually Jesus’ birthday?  But, let’s put all of that aside and truly focus on what Christmas really is.  Webster’s dictionary defines Christmas like this:

Christ·mas
noun
  1. 1.
    the annual Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth, held on December 25 in the Western Church.

In the description of Christmas it says celebration which means to me a happy, joyous time, yet so many spend the holidays depressed and unable to enter into the celebrations.  Many are wounded and are pushing Jesus away rather than bringing themselves into His presence and allowing Him to heal them.  Jesus came to save us from sin and in that moment on the cross he bore every sickness and disease.  To me this is cause for continual celebration, more than just a season of songs.

It matters not to God which song we choose to sing when we come into His presence it is all about the heart and a song which comes from a  place a gratitude and thankfulness.  It’s not about the tune or the lyrics, it’s about the attitude and motive. If we are just worshiping out of obligation or it’s just what we do on Sunday mornings our hearts may not be in it.  Worship is a continual succession of praise to God.  A moment to moment intimacy with God Himself.

So this Christmas season as we pour out our worship to God let’s remember His amazing grace and sing praises to His name.  Let us sing here I am Lord, come abide with me.  Sing to Him how great thou art and great is Your faithfulness.  Let Him know it is well with your soul and crown Him with many crowns.  Turn your eyes upon Jesus and sing holy, holy, holy.  Surrender  it all and sing hosanna!  Just tell Him that He is worthy of it all.

Dear Lord, it is with a humble heart we come to You asking You to show us what true worship is.  We thank you and praise you for creating us to worship and we long for a deeper intimacy with you.  Show us how to enter your courts with thanksgiving.  Teach us how to praise You.  We open our hearts to a deeper intimacy with You.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

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Who Took My Blankie?

My very own

Just recently I had a passionate conversation and I wished I had recorded it, however, I will do my best to repeat the magnitude of what was said.

We are born.  Not by our own choice, but God’s.  We come into this world very unaware of our surroundings.  No clue perhaps in those first few moments of taking our first breaths.  Then as if out of nowhere there is a cutting.  A sudden revelation of a separation takes place.  The life line which you had been connected to for nine or so months suddenly is gone.

Now of course in those early stages of life we don’t actually have those thoughts running through our heads as birthing is a natural process which has been happening in this earth for a very long time.  For those who have anxiety at the moment you can probably close your eyes and imagine that whole beginning scene.  Those with separation issues could also relate.  What you once knew as comfort and connection is suddenly gone. Taken away.

So let’s take this to the next level.  As children we often cling to things such as stuffed animals, dolls or the ever so popular blankie.  These items become very important to us in early life.  You share EVERYTHING with this object, things you probably never told anyone else except for maybe your imaginary friend if you had one around.  I remember my son had a favorite teddy bear.  He went every where my son went.  If it was time for Teddy to have a bath, my son would stand by the washer and dryer until the whole process was complete.  He was clearly attached.

For the purposes of this discussion I am going to use the representation of the Blankie as I move through this next phase.  The Blankie is going to represent things we cling to in life as a comfort: food, family, friends, secret sins, drugs, alcohol and the likes.  Anything which we choose to go to instead of God.  As with the Blankie, we develop a relationship with our source of comfort.  It’s the one thing we know that will never let us down, it does not have the ability to.  We know when no one else understands us, our Blankie will.  It will comfort us.  Keep us close.  Never rejecting us.  Always a true friend and confidante.

What happens when God asks us to let go of the Blankie so that He can be our comfort, our true friend and confidante?  Of course!  We panic.  We cling all the tighter to our Blankie because a fear rises up in us.  How can we trust anyone else with our Blankie?  It knows us inside and out and would never hurt us or reject us or leave us hanging.  How do we know we will find comfort after we let go of the Blankie?

It all comes down to trust.  A trust beyond all thinking.  A trust so strong you have no choice but to cling to it instead of your false comforts.  For you see, a Blankie is just a false representation of love and trust.  In the end, you can’t take it with you.  It will be burned up with the things of the past.  You will step into heaven and God will be there.  Not your Blankie,–your false comfort.

God is calling us to trust Him with EVERYTHING.  Just like we shared our entire early stages of life with said Blankie, God wants you to choose to trust Him.  He wants to be your comfort.  Your security.  You source of Acceptance.

Some of us are still clinging to our Blankies.  We are at a point in our adult lives where we are afraid of being hurt and disappointed.  We don’t want to give up the very thing which has been there all along.  Drugs, alcohol, secret sins, food, bad relationships and various other addictions are not our security.  They are not our comfort.  They are not to be trusted.  Only God. God is the only one who will never let you down.  He will be there from the beginning until the end.  You can take Him where ever you go.  You can share every secret with Him.

One final thought.  In the beginning, we are not the ones who get to choose who cuts the cord.  When it comes to our false comforts we don’t have to do anything but trust God to take them and heal us from the aftermath.  We run around this big earth thinking we have to do more.  Thinking we are the ones who have to fix ourselves before we can go to God.  Those are lies.  God will take your Blankie.  All you have to do is believe.

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Dear Lord, Help me today to trust you with my Blankie.  I choose today to trust you with my Blankie.  I believe You can be trusted.  I believe You are my source of comfort and security.  Lord let me learn that the past is behind me and You are right in front of me, waiting to heal me.  I thank You Lord for removing those things in my life which are not of You.  I pray for all those who feel stuck in their sin or addictions that they made find true comfort in You alone and be healed from their wounds.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Play Nice

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Ever have one of those intense days at work when one minute everything seems to be going well and then all of a sudden you are in the middle of chaos and there is nothing you can do to stop it?  It’s like one thing happens and you shrug it off and push forward and then something else goes wrong and you try to fix it but while you are fixing that situation a worse one pops up and soon you have a snowball of messes that cannot be untangled.  Well, that very thing happened to me just the other day.  I will keep the details vague because I don’t need to name names or be specific about the issues.

So I work in fast food.  Five days a week.  45 hours.  And for the most part I love my job.  But in the 29 years that I have worked in this industry I have noticed that the crew work ethic has changed and so have the customers.  It is getting more difficult to work in this environment and I really don’t understand why except to say that we live in a different world now.  With restaurants offering more and more options it makes the crews job more difficult and can at times be confusing and frustrating.  What keeps me here you may ask, well it’s my love for people in general and that’s why this particular day was so sad.

It was a normal busy Saturday.  Crew were preparing for the day.  Customers were trickling in.  Things were going smooth and it was business as usual, until someone was an hour late.  We started to get very busy and being one person short just put us behind the game very quickly.  As we began to run out of product and the lines were building, my frustration was growing.  Considering that fact that my back was hurting  from a previous injury, I was not really myself and at one point I lost it and began speaking firmly and loudly about product not being made properly.  Of course a customer over heard the commotion and I had to personally deal with that later.

We just kept getting busier and busier.  Probably could have used one or two more persons but with limited availability there was no one to call.  So we just pressed in and did our best.  Finally things began to turn around and we had a break in the rush to catch up, but not for long because the lines began to grow again.  In the middle of all of this, a customer approached the counter asking to speak with a manager.  Now mind you I was frustrated, in pain and still busy as I confronted this customer.

She began to explain a situation which had happened hours prior to her coming to speak with me.  To save time, it was an incident where she felt her daughter was being teased by one of my employees for they way they reacted to a situation in the lobby.  I began to apologize and she interrupted me and said I should be apologizing to the daughter, so I started again only to be interrupted once more for the mother to tell me I was scolding her daughter instead of apologizing.  In that moment I realized I was not going to be right no matter how I approached this so I just became quiet.

What happened next was the lesson for the whole day.  The lady began to tell me that no matter what the situation is that we all just need to be nice to one another.  She further explained that everyone has different things going on in their lives and we need to be sensitive to that fact.  I agreed with her and tried to smooth things over the best I could and then she said to me so matter of factually, “I just found out last week I have cancer.”

What do you say in a situation such as this?  My heart filled with compassion and I wanted to just sit her down and pray with her.  She was hurting and all she wanted to do was protect her daughter,  It really wasn’t about what happened early, it was simply the fact that she wanted us all to be nice to each other.  At the end of the day what do we remember?  Did I pause to reflect on how busy we were?  No I prayed for this woman who had come into my restaurant pleading for someone to be nice to her daughter.  This was a large lesson in humility and compassion.  A lesson I will not soon forget.

Dear Lord, Please help us to be aware of those hurting around us.  Teach us to be nice no matter where we go or whatever we are doing.  Help us to see the good in others and be able to respond rather than react in everyday situations.  Lord forgive us for the times we are ungrateful and unfriendly towards those around us.  We thank you for the Holy Spirit who guides into right thoughts.  In Jesus Name Amen

Treasurable Love

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Today my life is good.  The heart ache is gone and has been replaced with pure, treasurable love.  My life once again has purpose and meaning.  I finally feel like I have been placed on the right path which will propel me into my destiny.  Life has not always been easy and even now there are steps I still am hesitant to take.  I have come to this place where I trust God and I go where He says to go.  Like Jesus mirrored in His ministry, he only did what He saw the Father doing, anything else would have been man’s doing,

How did I get from point A to point B without losing myself?  I am not sure except there came this one day when my life was crashing all around me and I chose to stop running.  It’s hard to wrap my mind around some of the things God calls us to do, and often they make absolutely no sense to the human thought process, yet I know beyond the shadow of a doubt it’s the way of God working in my life.

What caused me to write today about treasure? My husband.  He left yesterday for a 2 day road trip.  For most married couples that is no big deal, in fact often welcomed.  Not me.  Within the hour of him leaving I felt a loss.  Not that I can’t be without him, I didn’t WANT to be without him.  My husband is not what I asked for at all.  I really had no choice when he dropped onto the radar of my life.  For you see, I had this in-depth conversation with God in which I clearly stated that I did not want another man in my life after my divorce.  Sometimes I am glad God does not listen to our pleas only because He has something so much better to offer us.

When John came in to my life I was broken.  My heart had been shattered into a bazillion pieces and I had no desire to put them back together or be loved again, BUT God softened my heart.  He renewed my thinking.  As He did this, John became a true treasure in my life.  The more I tried to say I did not deserve his love, the more God moved.  Now, I would not trade my husband for anything in the world because I know how much he means to me and I know beyond the shadow of a doubt this is God’s plan for my life.

So what is your treasure?  Is there something God has given to you that perhaps you did not understand?  I encourage you to seek God for what your treausrable love is.  Sometimes His ways do not make sense to us, but He is our loving Father and He desires to give us the best of everything.  My best gift was love.  The love of my children.  The love of my husband.  The love of dear friends.  And most importantly the love of God which He has poured into my life even in the moments where I felt less than deserving of anything.  Be still right now and KNOW that God is at work on your behalf and He will never leave you or forsake you.

mytreasure

Know It All

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1 NLT

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About a week ago I was captivated by this marvelous sunset on Lake Michigan.  As I was trying to capture its’ beauty I noticed just to the left of the lighthouse flashing blue lights in the water and in summer that only means one thing, they were looking for someone.  I stopped taking pictures and began to pray for the victim and the family, not knowing how long the person had been missing.

I got home and checked Facebook (as we don’t watch television) and discovered a 15 year old young girl had drowned around 7:30 pm and they were trying to locate her.  Her body was actually not discovered until two days later late in the evening.  What a sad tragedy for this family.  We can dwell on the fact that there were warnings.  We can debate whether she was a strong enough swimmer.  We can argue that we should have done something else.  We can blame the city for not enough accessible life rings.  What good would all of that do?  A family has lost a member and that’s where the focus has got to be.

Sometimes we just have to come to a place where we know it was God’s will and we need to be at peace with that.  Does it not say in the Bible that He turns all things to good?  We need to find that place in our existence where we trust all the parts of the Bible and begin to apply it to our lives.  My heart grieves with the family and I fully recognize the loss yet I know God had a plan.  He may have used this to touch the hearts of people in and around the family.  He possibly touched hearts in the community and on the rescue teams.  He  already knew this was going to happen if we believe in Jeremiah 29:11.

All in all I just want to convey that we need to know that we know that we know God is in control.  We need to begin to fully rely on God and trust in His plan for each of our lives.  As my heart goes out to the family,  I pray they recover quickly from the loss of their little girl.  I know God will send comfort to all who are in mourning.  Soon they will be able to see that God was not angry or out to get anyone, He just has plans sometimes which we do not comprehend.

Are We There YET?

Hebrews 12:1

God’s Discipline Proves His Love ] Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
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Ever been in that moment where you just want to get where you are going and don’t want to do all the stuff in between?  Like I want to be a published author but the steps to get there seem almost impossible.  Take for instance the writing, the editing, the financing……..all the necessary steps which need to be completed before the goal is accomplished.  I have been dreaming of being a writer since I wrote my first poem in kindergarten.  I loved arranging words and having them take on a whole new meaning.  As I grew up I learned how to convey my emotions through mere words and I found great excitement in doing so.
At this point in my “career” I would like to be writing for a Christian magazine or something bigger than just this blog.  I aspire to have writing about the things of God be my full time work….yet here I am with just this blog.  I often wonder what God is doing.  I thought by now the books would be published.  My plans obviously are different than God’s.
So let’s put this into perspective for a moment….I have dreams and aspirations for my life, but God has already planned everything out, so why I am even trying to figure this out?  In Jeremiah 29:11 it clearly states He knows the plans He has for our lives.  We should be willing to let it all go and trust that God has it all taken care of.  If we could just wake up in the morning and look up the heavens and say, “Here I am Lord, what’s on the agenda for today?”
I trust God with all my heart and I know He will give me the desires of my heart because He is the one who placed those desires in our hearts in the first place as our Creator.  I know I just need to relax and go with the flow as God sets up things for me that I can’t even see.  I have had the pity party.  I have stood behind the brick wall wondering why I can’t move forward.  I have done everything possible to move myself forward only to come to discover that I will not be moved until God has made the way……..ya know that patience thing.
“So here I am Lord, waiting to move.  Show me today where we are going.  I choose to take Your hand and lead me into the adventures you have already planned for me.”

Release Yourself

Romans 7:6

But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.
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Ever just feel stuck where you are at? Sorta frozen in place unable to go up or down?  Perhaps not wanting to face the future or revisit the past and undecided of which way you should go?  What gets us so bound up that we lie in waiting for something to just happen? We know there are seasons in our lives so, maybe we just write off our stagnancy for a quiet, uneventful season of our existence.  I have been in this place quite a few times and just now as I was flipping through some old journals I noticed something startling about myself, I was stuck at one point.
Going back to that blog from the other day “Is is Safe to Open My Eyes?”, I was closing my eyes and hoping everything would go away.  I found my journal from April of 2009, the one I take to church and take notes on or record my soaking times, and I realized I had revelation and things from God right up to the point of April 13th.  What I saw as I flipped through the pages was that after my ex-husbands suicide attempt, I wrote nothing about what God was speaking to me, there were just “notes” random, ordinary notes.  What was holding me back from God at that point?  What was keeping me from moving ahead or receiving words of knowledge?
I guess maybe that while my eyes were shut I was mad at God for some reason.  I did not understand why He separated me from my husband.  I could not see what laid ahead for me.  I felt lost and alone even though the life I had led for 20 years was just one disaster after another.  I was just scared and I had not released myself from the pain of my past.  It wasn’t until a revival started at a nearby church that my eyes became open.  It was in that revival that God started speaking to me again and I began listening.  He gave me the release I needed and then the more I surrendered to Him, the more He released me from my past.
If I look back on journals past the revival time, I can clearly see that my eyes were open and I was released.  I had finally reached a level in my relationship with God that I could trust Him with everything me.  I could pray and find release from some very painful memories.  I was finally able to trust again, not only in God but also myself.  I had released my heart into the hands of God so that He could begin a work in me that continues to this day.  By releasing the pain I opened up areas in my heart for restoration.
Are you ready to release yourself?  What is preventing you from stepping forward?  Do you need to set your heart into the hands of God so that He can begin the restoration process in you?  Search your heart today and see if you are ready for a change.