Friday, May 28, 2010

Live Deep

And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we'll be ready for him when he appears, ready to receive him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when he arrives.

~ What can cause you red-faced guilt or lame excuses? Until I got right with God regarding my abortion, it was unforgiveness. Selfish unforgiveness, to be exact.

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we're called children of God! That's who we really are. But that's also why the world doesn't recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he's up to.

~ Even though we may wonder and struggle at times as our hearts writhe in pain, we are His children. And we know He loves us. We know this is absolutely true. So, knowing all this, do you take Him seriously? Do you wear His name tag only on your outer garment or do you pin it to the inside of your heart?

But friends, that's exactly who we are: children of God. And that's only the beginning. Who knows how we'll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we'll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus' life as a model for our own.

~ Wow. There is a lot going on in that verse.

1. We are children of God. Indeed this is true.

2. When Christ is openly revealed--uh, you mean when I wipe my own fog off of the window and I clearly see me in the way God sees me? Then, that is when I will see Him?

3. Okay, now things are looking clearer, I realize I have some smudges and held-onto sins that I need to hand over to Christ. I cannot fathom being pure as Jesus, but I want to set my sights on glistening, just a little bit. For Him.

All who indulge in a sinful life are dangerously lawless, for sin is a major disruption of God's order. Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program. No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. They've got him all backward.

~ Once I met the Lord and begged Him to reside in my heart, I still continued to disrupt His order. I mean really, did I need to tell Him of my past? My whole past?

Even the stuff I stuffed deep down?

Oh yeah. I did. I mean He showed me that my selfish sin of unforgiveness has no part in His program. He forgave me. Yeah, I had heard about that. But what I hadn't grasped was that my holding onto my selfish unforgiveness was a sin. It was as if I had my reflection in Him all backwards. For in Him, I was wholly forgiven.

So, my dear children, don't let anyone divert you from the truth. It's the person who acts right who is right, just as we see it lived out in our righteous Messiah. Those who make a practice of sin are straight from the Devil, the pioneer in the practice of sin. The Son of God entered the scene to abolish the Devil's ways.

~ Diverted from the Truth. Yeah, the world doesn't understand how God could forgive a wretch like me (and like them), but He did! I was acting right for the world to see, but my whole heart wasn't right. Not until I fell to my face and asked for forgiveness. It is true, I asked for forgiveness that was already mine. I pleaded with Him to give it to me. Once I felt certain I had it, then I was able to ask Him to help me forgive my very own selfish self.

That was the hardest part. Not only wiping off the window fog, but wiping off the gooey unforgiveness. I had to step back into the shower and run the waters of purity and lather up with His love, all before I could face myself in the mirror again.

And then ya know what I did? I burned the towel that rubbed me raw with the enemy's ways. Afterward, when I bent down to blow the ashes away, they were white as snow.

People conceived and brought into life by God don't make a practice of sin. How could they? God's seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It's not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin. Here's how you tell the difference between God's children and the Devil's children: The one who won't practice righteous ways isn't from God, nor is the one who won't love brother or sister. A simple test.

~ So, now I try not to make a practice of sin. I try really hard. I bet you do too. It is challenging enough to keep the day-to-day strife at bay, but when you add in selfish-sins, it becomes near impossible to practice righteousness. And it oftentimes entangles you in such a way that you keep falling upon and injuring your brothers and sisters in Christ. Did I fail the simple test? Or did I pass it?

For this is the original message we heard: We should love each other.

~ And in loving each other, we must love our very own selfish selves enough to look upon our reflections in the same way that God does...we are children of God! He loves us, even the sin-smudged parts.

What are you waiting for? Step into the shower so you can glisten with His droplets of purity and forgiveness.

Then we'll be ready for him when he appears, ready to receive him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when he arrives.

~ 1 John 2:28-3:11 (The Message Bible)

Let us humbly pray:
Father God, You have extended us such marvelous love, thank you! Your forgiveness and righteousness are ours, thank you! Please touch each one reading this and fill them with these Truths. Fill them to the point of bursting so that when they look into the mirror, they see these things glistening on their skin. Lord, overcome the world's impact and influence. Heal us with Your love and renew us with your Truth. In Jesus' name, amen.

* Cross image: first posted at my other blog, Aspire to Lead a Quiet Life. What reflections do you see in your mirror?

Friday, May 21, 2010


Do you really know how God's mercy and love and grace drip from my soul? Can you see the trail of suds and bubbles that fall from my bucket, the one He put into my hands? I pray that something here at this ministry site is a blessing you...

You are God's very own precious daughter. He dwells within you and He yearns for you to open your windows and doors, to expose the mess within your soul's rooms and closets.

Are there any doors you leave shut or windows you leave closed, firmly trying to keep something locked away or neatly shelved or hidden from view? Why?

Recently a friend shared the following scripture with me. It really stuck with me, for it seems to have a variety of meanings tucked into its reassuring words. Today as I thought of those looking for peace and comfort and Truth, it came to mind again. Let His divine Words wash over you...

"The God who made the world and everything in it
is the Lord of heaven and earth
and does not live in temples built by hands.
And he is not served by human hands,
as if he needed anything,
because he himself gives all men life
and breath and everything else.
From one man he made every nation of men,
that they should inhabit the whole earth;
and he determined the times set for them
and the exact places where they should live.
God did this so that men would seek him
and perhaps reach out for him
and find him,
though he is not far from each one of us.
~ Acts 17:24-27 (NIV)

I am a new person in Christ. I knew that when I accepted the Lord as my Savior. But I admit, I didn't willingly invite Him into all of my rooms. Golly, no.

Why would I ask Him into my dingy and disorganized and disheveled places? Wouldn't He flee from me?

Uh, no. No He did not flee from me. Rather, He did the initial sudsing and mopping and organizing. Then God handed me the bucket of soapy water. And amazingly, He refills it with His powerful cleaning solution. Time and again.

When a friend let me show her all my nooks-n-crannies that were filled with clutter and junk, she actually enabled me to wildly fling open once-locked doors and stuck windows. And when I invited God inside, He just came a waltzing right into those dungeon-like rooms and simply flicked on the Light of His Truth and love and mercy and grace and forgiveness. Then He scrubbed the sticky places, mopped the confusion, and left a fresh scent of Truth. With God as my HouseKeeper, I am a new person. All of my doors are freely flung open. Everything is right in plain sight, for all to see.

And just like our real brick and wood and mortar homes, things can get all messy, even after we've invited Him in. But now I know that when the messy things (fear, doubt, depression, guilt...) of me get too big, I open His Word and reach for that which calms the chaos and directs the disaster. And if needed, I willingly (not begrudgingly, but willingly) call upon some friends, some sisters in Christ. They help me to organize and sort and re-shelve the mess that I have become.

Friends, it is Spring. A time of new growth and blossoms and sweet scents. Prop open your doors and lift up your windows and let His healing and renewing rush in.

For you are His house and He is the best Housekeeper you will ever find.

Let us humbly pray:
Father God, there are women today who need Your touch in their lives. And there are some who keep doors tightly shut and windows bolted down. As You fill the earth with the wonders of Spring, fill hearts with healing and minds with renewing. Enter our beings and make us new. Wash us in all that is Truth and love. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Can I pray for you today? Leave your request right here. I have my soap, bucket, and a sponge...but mostly, I have God.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Talking Psalms 107/108

Psalm 107:26-30 (NLT)

Their ships were tossed to the heavens
and plunged again to the depths;
the sailors cringed in terror.

Have you sailed the seas of your life on a similar ship? I think we all have faced storms that toss and plunge and torment us until we are barely able to hang on.

They reeled and staggered like drunkards
and were at their wits’ end.

Does that sailor's uniform fit you? Yes, indeed, it used to be just my size. Although I gave my life to the Lord, I had wrongfully held back bits and pieces, some knowingly because I misjudged His capacity to handle my sins. And in doing so, I cringed and reeled and staggered. And I was most definitely at my wit's ends.

“Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.

These sailors finally hollered out to God, the one captain who could see them through the raging seas and rocking vessel. Why did they wait until the point of near-destruction to yield their ways to God and His ways?

He calmed the storm to a whisper
and stilled the waves.

Perhaps it was so that God's greatness would be magnified in His contrast. His gentle, loving calm, settled the destructive waters.

What a blessing was that stillness
as he brought them safely into harbor!

Have you felt your rollicking ship stop lurching and tossing you against the splintered rails? If not, call out to God. He will reach out, hold you, and comfort you until the waves quiet and your soul meets Him in placid stillness. He needs your full attention. He needs your full heart. He needs you to meet Him in the very place where He calms the storm.

Psalm 108:1-4 (NLT)

My heart is confident in you, O God;
no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart!

What about this? Isn't this the sort of cruise you would like to take?

Wake up, lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn with my song.

You bring on the morning with your singing. Because of the Lord's mercy, you chase the darkness away by shouting His praises.

I will thank you, Lord, among all the people.
I will sing your praises among the nations.

And then you keep singing His glorious, redemptive song. All the day long. And loud enough for all the other sailors to hear.

For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

This ship is right on course. This ship not only gently sails on the waters of life, but it gives you ample opportunities to touch the clouds.

Friends, when we have suffered storms and our very souls seem scattered to the wind and our hearts feel as though they are battered beyond repair, hand tight to God. Once you have a firm grip, let go. Not of His hand, but of the things that storm within.

Toss the fear, guilt, shame, burdens, regret, and remorse. Toss them right over the edge.

Now ease into God's grace and mercy and love. He will take those items which you tossed overboard and He will sink them deeper than the bowels of the raging sea. You are now free!

Do not cling to that railing while you search for what has been removed from you. Turn to Him with your whole self! Give Him your hands, your heart, your mind. God will fill you up with all that you need. He will heal your broken heart and He will renew your muddled mind. Remember that God's Truth reaches to the clouds.

It also reaches right into your very soul.

Let us humbly pray:
Father God, let all those saying this prayer with me feel Your lovingkindness and Your mercy. While we suffer and struggle as the storms toss us about and ravage our souls, come into our midst to calm the seas. Touch us with Your stillness and in doing so, let us be renewed in You. Give us all that we need to find You and cling to You. Be our stillness. Be our life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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