Nowhere to Hide

Scripture: Hebrews 4:12-13

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

Observation: God sees ALL. We really do stand naked before him: body, mind and soul; past, present, and future. 

Application: He knows it all . . . so why do we spend so much time trying to find a dark place to hide? Why do we hide things from ourselves, why do we ignore God, when all we're really doing is clamping our hands over our eyes?

Prayer: Lord, sometimes hiding is so attractive. To stop looking at the mountain of things I want so much to do for Your name's glory and the benefit of my family and loved ones. Heck, even getting the laundry done on any given day would be fantastic. I feel tired, I miss You, and I just want to find a quiet, dark place to cradle my overwhelmed heart. And then, then I remember who You really are. What You really can do. And I want to run to where You are, and let you cradle me, instead. Walk with me today, Father. Sweep away the cacophony of "should's" and "could's" and "might've's" that my training and flesh keep piling high, and let me see You. Only You. Show me the plan You have for me today. I want to receive Your grace, walk in Your will, crucifying my flesh and the philosophies of men that I have relied on in the past so I can rise in newness of life in You. Thank You so, so much for all You've done, all You do, and who You are.  And thank you for letting me write my prayers when I can't find a quiet corner to kneel. I love you.

Musings on Gathering

Scripture: Jeremiah 23:3-4 NLT

But I will gather together the remnant of my flock from the countries where I have driven them.  I will bring them back to their own sheepfold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number.  Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again.  Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the Lord, have spoken!

Observation: 

What a lovely, lovely prophecy this is.  While I'm not currently living in a physical gathering of Saints, I look forward to the day I will . . . even if I have to wait until Christ comes again.  I have long had a feeling that this is a gathering place, this county of ours, and I look forward to seeing what that means to God, and what He plans he will bring about.

Application: 

In the meantime, I will cherish verses like these.  I will surrender and live among my family, and among my friends, in this way.  I don't want a single one to go missing, or be lost.  I want to live in fellowship with the Saints, in unity, in the love of Christ, so His joy can flow among and through us without obstruction.

Prayer: 

Father in heaven, I praise Your glorious and holy name for the gathering you have done in my life; for the precious loved ones I have who have led me to You.  Thank you, thank you, thank you! And I thank you for the way that I'm beginning to find kindred where I didn't expect, to help and support me--those who understand very well what I have experienced. Lord, please guide me. Help me to know how to love my own, and Your own, and all others, with Your love.  Show me how to raise my children, how to train and teach them, so they can come to know You as You really are.  Put people in their paths--TRUE disciples of Your Son, Jesus--who can show them Your way, and the true nature of God's love.  Let Your love touch those I speak to, those I touch.  And please bless me with a constant desire to do so, and the awareness to recognize when I have allowed the enemy to slip back into my life. he is so, so sneaky, and I don't always catch it before he has managed to make me forget so, so much. In Jesus' name, amen.

Might and Power

Scripture: 2 Chronicles 27:6

NLT: King Jotham became powerful because he was careful to live in obedience to the LORD his God.

ESV: So Jotham became mighty, because he ordered his ways before the LORD his God.

Observation: This stood out to me starkly today . . . that God will honor obedience.  Not performance, but willing obedience.

Application: I've felt pretty powerless today.  Children fighting and giving in to despair over the smallest things, a whole avalanche of things getting in the way of my time in the Word.  (I finally had to lock myself in the bathroom in order to read the last three chapters. lol)  The enemy has gone from tactics of confusion to chaos. But we're overcoming in Christ.  And He rocks my world. :o)  And this verse served to remind me that as I obey (out of love, in dilligence), my God will honor that, and will make sure that I have what I need.  I'll learn from every mistake and hardship, and He will carry me through.

Prayer: Oh, Lord my God, sustain me today.  Sustain me always.  Pour our Your strength upon me and my household so we can stand unmoved in the face of the chaos and shadow-puppet attacks of the trickster, and see YOUR salvation for us made real.  In Jesus name, so be it!!! Amen.

(Can I just say, ever since my Life Journal buddy Dustin used the old Greek name of "trickster" for the enemy, it has just seemed so shiveringly appropriate? I don't use it often, because it gives me the willies, but man-oh-man, is it true!)

Pursuit and Sacrifice

Scripture: Jonah 2:8-9, 2 Timothy 2:9, 20-22 AMP

"Those who pay regard to false, useless, and worthless idols forsake their own [Source of] mercy and loving-kindness. But as for me, I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that which I have vowed. Salvation and deliverance belong to the Lord!"

"For that [Gospel] I am suffering affliction and even wearing chains like a criminal. But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!"

"But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also [utensils] of wood and earthenware, and some for honorable and noble [use] and some for menial and ignoble [use]. So whoever cleanses himself [from what is ignoble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences] will [then himself] be a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work. Shun youthful lusts and flee from them, and aim at and pursue righteousness (all that is virtuous and good, right living, conformity to the will of God in thought, word and deed); [and aim at and pursue] faith, love, [and] peace (harmony and concord with others) in fellowship with all [Christians], who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.

Observation: God is freedom. God is deliverance.  God is abundance and love and an endless future bright and shining. And He offers it to us, no matter how soiled our past, or humble our beginnings.

Application: Before I was saved, I gave my time and energy to stuff.  Temporal, mortal, physical, stuff.  I was a Hobby Queen.  And I hoarded all of my supplies and goodies so I could do whichever one I chose, whenever I chose.  And I compulsively shopped and watched sales flyers and emails so I could garner yet more against some unforseeable day ahead.  I was one who paid regard to fales, useless and worthless idols.  Mine were just fabric, beads, paper, and yarn.

And then everything changed.  God blasted into vapor the carefully and long-constructed fortress I had built 

And now, when God asks something of me, I rejoice! I sacrifice with a voice of thanksgiving both audible and in my heart, and count it as no sacrifice at all, for God's ROI is off the charts. ;o)  Not only do I have His sweet assurance that He has already made all provision for me for the rest of my life, (including crafting beautiful things) but His generous blessings continue to flow more and more as I open my heart and submit to the Holy Spirit.  This freedom in Christ fills the gaping hole I had been trying to fill with lovely colors & texture, shining beautiful things, with crafting and hoarding.  The dark corners are filling with light, and the love and joy that comes from that satisfies and motivates me more than anything else.  Who would have EVER guessed that something as intangible in nature as freedom could fill such a void?

And that brings me to the last bit . . . Paul's urging to pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace so I can be a vessel set apart and useful for God's own purposes--a vessel overflowing with freedom, yet still empty and waiting for God to fill it. The knowledge that God is working in me, and both using me every moment I let Him as well as preparing me for future purposes He has for me, is more exciting than I can ever say. :o)  And how do I know this? By the fruits of the Spirit in my life.  They are sweet; so, so sweet.

Prayer: Father in Heaven, I praise and glorify You and the high and holy purposes You have for Your children, and that I get to step into the walk You have prepared for me.  I'm ready to burst with excitement as soon as I really stop and think about that . . . so please, remind me and help me to stop and think about it often!  You have taken such good care of me--and I can see Your hand in even the darkest times of my life, now that I look back . . . and I pray I'll NEVER be blind to it again.  Take the rest of this life, Father; take this heart; take the fruit of Your teachings and word and love and keep on using them up for Your glorious purposes.  There is nothing that brings joy and love and happiness and laughter into my heart (and my home!!!!) the way You do when I give everything to You.  Please, don't stop.  Don't let me stop.  I don't ever want to forget the contrast between the night of the life of my own making and the brilliance of the light of Your life for me. Show me where I can sacrifice.  Show me where I can give.  And let me continue to learn of You, and walk in the meekness of Your Spirit, so Your love might pour out of my life and into the lives of those around me, that others might feel this same miracle, this same mind-blowing freedom, this same joy.  In the name of Him whom I praise daily for His miraculous intercession, even Jesus Christ. Amen.