30 July 2015

Be not afraid: our God is a Good Dad.

"Be not afraid of sudden fear . . . For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken." ~Proverbs 3:25a, 26
We don't have to be afraid, if fear comes upon us suddenly. It's God who provides our confidence, and who guards our paths.

When fear comes upon me suddenly, for no apparent reason, I'm not to give it heed. (I've struggled with this for much of my life--thankfully now it only happens sometimes when I've indulged in a little too much sugar.) And when it does happen, I am confident in my authority over it. It's not of God, and therefore has no power in my life. I speak in the name of Jesus. It has to leave. And it DOES.

God truly IS my confidence. I trust what He has said, as a little child trusts her father's word. To a little girl, her daddy IS the world. He frames it, through him she learns how to respond to things in life, and she learns how to approach, interact with, and learn from experiences. God is a GOOD daddy, and I choose Him. I have long known that I belong to Him, but it was only recently that I realized that in order for me to belong to Him, He had to give Himself, fully and without reserve, to me. He is MINE, every bit as much as I am HIS.

Dear God, I choose YOU. I choose Your ways, Your perspective, Your thoughts and responses to any given situation. I want to learn all about the world from Your vantage point, and teach that to my children. Thank You for being mine, for loving me so much. I just hope that I can give myself as fully to You as You have given yourself to me. All my love, Annalea.

25 July 2015

Come Unto Him: Words are powerful things.

"No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15).
When the King James Bible was translated, "thee", "thou", "thy", and suffixes such as "-est" were the informal/familiar forms. They were the language of the peasants and poor, spoken in the street. The Septuagint was written in the common slang of the day. Joseph Smith's inspired version of the Bible, quoted in the non-doctored Lectures on Faith, uses the informal "you", "yours", etc. But in our day, the King James language has become the highly formal form, thanks to the inexorable effect of the flesh. (Man's tendency to innovate outside of the word of God, to elevate various things in order to show God "even better" devotion. The Jews called this Strange Fire, which is a topic for another post.)

The literary history of scripture is consistently found within the realm of informal language.

Our God demands no obeisance. No bowing and scraping. Jesus LOVES us. He wants to be our best friend, the One we turn to first, in all things. He wants us to ACCEPT Him. Just accept Him. He wants to be our constant companion in the Spirit, for us to be WHOLLY open to Him, even ranting at Him when we're truly struggling. We do not have to perform, do not have to achieve, in order to be acceptable to Him. He already completed His work and sacrifice, and has the right to come to where we are, wherever we are, and wrap His arms around us. And then, when we choose to follow Him, walk us to where He has planned for our best good and benefit. He IS our friend. He calls us friends, and wants so much for us to treat Him as that: a beloved, trusted, intimate friend that we talk to, laugh with, cry with, rant and rave to, hold nothing back from.

He is a big God, not only mighty to save, but strong enough to bear every heartache, every tantrum, every grouchy moment. He already DID bear all of those things. And, at least in my experience, one word from Him . . . cajoling, lovingly chuckling, or firm with the deep and gentle strength of His love . . . changes EVERYTHING. I laugh so much more now than I ever have before, and a lot of that is because my Jesus tells me jokes and cajoles me out of bad moods and points out the joyfully ludicrous things in life.

Don't let anything--and I mean ANYTHING--separate you from God. Not even the idea that you can't "pray right". We are to be like little children before Him. Little children speak, in all the wonderful, imperfect English they possess, the honest contents of their hearts. We should do the same with our God, Who is both Father and Friend.

I don't speak to my husband, calling him by his titles and formal name, using formal language and modes of address. I ***love*** him. Saying his name is one of the most beautiful acts of love I can offer him. I speak to him as an equal, because doing otherwise would separate us.

The same holds true for Jesus. :)

Can we be close to Him, using formal language? Yes, I believe so. But there is a depth of intimacy and relationship that opens up when we change our words. Words are POWERFUL THINGS, and I'm constantly amazed at what a small change in them can do. <3

23 July 2015

Who I Am

I was listening to this song a few weeks ago, and I was able to realize a few very important things. I'd love it if you'd listen to the song, following along with the lyrics, and then read what came to me.




"Who I Am"

Another voice, another choice
To listen to words somebody said
Another day
I replay
One too many doubts inside my head

Am I strong
Beautiful
Am I good enough
Do I belong
After all
That I’ve said and done
Is it real
When I feel
I don't measure up
Am I loved

[Chorus:]
I’m running to the One who knows me
Who made every part of me in His hands
I’m holding to the One who holds me
‘Cause I know whose I am, I know who I am

I am sure I am Yours

Turning down
Tuning out
Every single word
That caused me pain
Unashamed
And unafraid
‘Cause I believe You mean it when You say

I am strong
Beautiful
I am good enough
I belong
After all
‘Cause of what You've done
This is real
What I feel
No one made it up
I am loved

[Chorus]

I am sure I am Yours
I know who I am
I am sure I am Yours

Fearfully
Wonderfully
Perfectly
You have made me

I’m running to the One who knows me
I’m holding to the One who holds me

[Chorus]

I am sure I am Yours
And I know who I am

What came to me:

When we honestly say we're turning to God, we DO.

God is so much more powerful than the enemy of our souls. When we call out to Him He Answers. Always. Every time. It's important to know WHO He is; that gives us confidence to recognize His voice. Aaron taught King Lamoni's father, expounding the scriptures to him, all day,  about Jesus Christ and His good news. Then, after the King knew Who to pray to, he did, and he and his entire household were saved. This was a warlike and bloodthirsty ruler, and the love of God overwhelmed him and he was born again, filled with the love of God for ALL people. We have a good, good dad in God. When we ask Him for bread, He will NOT give us stones. Ever. He is always speaking blessing, strength, encouragement, and exhorting us to live better, believe higher, and trust Him more. The blessings we receive are limited by a two things:

1) Our unbelief.

Unbelief is believing untrue things. It's believing lies. And the fruit of it is confusion.

2) Our willingness to receive.

Receiving from God means making ourselves fully vulnerable to Him, and opening our hearts and souls to Him. When we actually trust Him, stop trying to achieve some level of righteousness or perfection, and just accept that we are already accepted and fully loved by Him, worthy of receiving from Him because Jesus already paid the price, already extended grace and forgiveness, then the windows of heaven open and we're overwhelmed with what our God is willing to do for us.

Our God is generous. Our God is kind. Our God is faithful to His word, and always fulfills His promises.

22 July 2015

Evening Prayer of the Righteous

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
2 How long, O you sons of men,
Will you turn my glory to shame?
How long will you love worthlessness
And seek falsehood? Selah
3 But know that the Lord has set apart[a] for Himself him who is godly;
The Lord will hear when I call to Him.
4 Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah
5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the Lord.
6 There are many who say,
“Who will show us any good?”
Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
7 You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. (4th Psalm, NKJV)
I could make a half dozen journal posts about this psalm; it details so much of my experience with God over the last few years. My God HAS relieved me in my distress, had mercy on me, heard my prayer, put boundless gladness in my heart, and given me peace beyond understanding in the storm.

We can TRUST our God. We can KNOW the Godhead: Father, Son & Holy Spirit. We can be connected to & communicate with God, and be led more and more into good things. I will not be afraid, and I will not forsake what I know. God has been loving, generous, faithful, and so much more. My main work has been to learn how to simply receive, and to find quiet space in which to do so.

Father God, I rejoice in knowing who You are! Lord Jesus, I can't imagine what existence would be like without Your victory, without Your salvation. And Holy Spirit, I know too much about what it is like to live without You. I don't ever want to go back. Thank You, God. Just thank You. Amen.

15 July 2015

Those who wait upon the Lord

Last night's meditation brought, not sleep, but Isaiah 40:31:
"But those who wait on the LordShall renew their strength;They shall mount up with wings like eagles,They shall run and not be weary,They shall walk and not faint."
Then it brought understanding. 
. . . those who wait on the Lord 
That's not just waiting, passively. That's "waiting on", as a servant waits upon his master, or a waitress or waiter waits tables. It is active. And in that activity lies tremendous power. 
. . . shall renew their strength 
Waiting on the Lord, hearing and doing His word, His will, brings an inflow, a flooding, of life to our souls. He becomes, within us, a fountain of living water, springing up continuously unto life eternal.
They shall mount up with wings like eagles.
Why not "with wings like sparrows", or "like hawks", or "like falcons", or any other fowl of the sky? What makes eagles different? Or, more specifically, what makes eagle's wings different?

When presented with an approaching storm, eagles do exactly the opposite of all other birds. While other flighted creatures seek shelter, the eagle flies into the very teeth of the gale, and the mighty wind lifts the eagle higher and higher, far higher than it could ever fly alone. The storm winds strengthen the eagle's wings more than flying in calm weather ever could, and the storm's heights provide views simply not possible in other conditions. 
They shall run and not be weary;they shall walk and not faint. 
Vern is an ultra runner. Ultra Marathons are anything longer than a marathon, and often extend over crazy and amazing mountainous terrain. These races commonly go between 50 km and 100 miles. Some of the latest ones are even more, 150 miles or even 200. Runners in these races don't sprint--they use a combination of power hiking and running. (Unless you're a super-incredible elite ultra runner like Max King. Then you hold a six-minute pace for fifty miles. No joke.) Add to the running/hiking combination the fact that ultra marathon performance has everything to do with what you let yourself think. (You can start at 2:00, if you want.) It's the nicest people who usually do the best in these races.  Believers aren't thick on the ground in ultra running . . . but those who carry love in their hearts show a distinct advantage over all others. You just don't hear of mean ultra runners. Some of the early finishers in ultras will hang around at the finish line for many hours, until the last of the runners come in. Scott Jurek, one of the most most successful early ultra runners, did so religiously. Every race he won, he stayed at to cheer in every other runner, until the very last one appeared. His reason? When he started running cross country in high school, he was usually in last place, and he knew how much harder it is to run for so much longer than anyone else. I've met Scott, and he truly is one of the nicest and kindest souls around.

If you want to be renewed, if you want to mount up with strength, if you want to be unweary and unfainting, the path of Jesus Christ is the only way to go. Doing as He did, doing as He leads you from moment to moment, waiting on Him in all things.

Father God, thank You so much for Your Son. I can't even begin to tell You how much I love the both of You, how much Jesus means to me. I'm so glad you know my heart, that I can stand before You clothed in the robes of His righteousness and empowered by His grace, and be called higher, lifted up high by the storms that come and show me how strong You are in me, and give me perspective and knowledge that I simply couldn't otherwise have. Thank You for Your promises, for I KNOW they are sure! Thank You for Your Word, where I find the promises You've made, the covenants You extend to Your people and that are open to me if I will but walk in them. Thank You for the openness of the gate, where all can enter in if they so desire, and receive the full endowment of love and grace that begins their life anew. Thank You for healing, for love, for music, and for the unending forgiveness and love that I can receive from You . . . that I do receive from You . . . every morning, and every moment. Love You, God. In Jesus' name, amen.

14 July 2015

Hallelujah, the Veil is Torn!

I've been thinking a lot about the fact that the temple veil was torn in two when Christ gave His life for us

Matt 27:51 NKJV: "Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,"

I especially love the fact that, when the veil was rent, the priests officiating in the Passover in the Holy Place were given a sudden & unexpected but very clear view into the Holy of Holies--and were not struck dead upon the sight. The symbolism there is so powerful to me. The wholeness of Jesus' work for us is manifest in that one scene: the astonished priests gaping as they looked and saw what had been veiled before.

We are granted access to the Father, to the Throne of Grace, right now. And it is the experience of that encounter when we finally drop our fears and approach, the personal knowledge of the existence and character of the Godhead, that changes everything and fills our lives with inexpressible joy and the desire to sing the song of redeeming love. 

Dear God, it has been a good, good day, and everywhere I turned I saw Your hand, Your glory, You smilingly pointing out beauty as if it You orchestrated it just for me. I'm so incredibly, beyond-words grateful for what Jesus did for us. For me. It changes everything. I get to know You, now. Thank You, Father. I love You. In Jesus' name, amen.