October 1, 2014

-Hold Fast-

When things happen that are out of our control, it can be very discouraging. It's easy, so easy, to become frustrated, to feel afraid, to question what the future holds. What I've been learning is this: putting our faith in God's plan allows us to trust that the events in our lives are meant to be. It brings us to our knees as we face these tough choices that must be made, and truly realize that things- that life itself- are really out of control (though praise God, it's out of mine)- they are under His...the Creator of the Universe. There is such a peace that can be found knowing that His plan us truly playing out in our lives. Holding fast to the truth of His Word and sharing that with others is one of the most important things to ever grasp- and one thing we will only ever be able to scratch the surface of. I am constantly reminded to be aware of how I am sharing Christ's work in my life, Christ's truth, Christ's neverending love. 
So...I know things can be confusing for you- for me- right now. But I just need to stay reminded to hold fast to this truth: that, above all else, God is in control. It's something that can sound so cliche, something that can be oh, so easy, to forget. May we trust Him and His plans alone, and above all else just follow Him, despite the difficulties, hardships, and through the joy and beauty. To pursue Him with all our hearts and souls. 
"I love you to the moon and back." But God loves you even more. If He is for us, who can be against us? It's grace. His grace. And that's all it can ever, ever be.


September 29, 2014

-Sails Point to the Son-

My Savior's grace + glory is much to behold. 
In Luke 22:61...where Jesus looks at Peter, and Peter remembers how the rooster would crow after he denied his beloved Master not once, twice, but three times. We can't make excuses for our behavior, because any part of us that we would try to "excuse" would still be awake. I want no part of myself- none. My deepest cry is for Jesus to so thoroughly consume me that I may no longer exist. In me...dwells no good thing. I do not doubt that when Christ's gaze met Peter's in the courtyard that night...that it was painted with pain. But I think the more conspicuous absence of condemnation must also have torn through Peter's heart and soul. I wonder if the Lord's gaze might have sounded like, "Remember, Peter: I AM the Christ. You know that. I know that. I called you. I gave you a new name. I invited you to Myself, oh precious one, to follow...Me. Don't forget. Don't forget who I am. Don't forget what I have made you capable of doing. And, in whatever you do, don't let this destroy you." 
He says the same to us.  

We as people...simply do not live for love. 
We do not live for generosity. 
We fall into the trap of forgetting that we live for something bigger, living instead by temporary fills. 

Ah, there is a better story to live for! 
A story that shows that life is, indeed, worth sacrificing all we hold so dearly. 
A life centered in Jesus and His will. 
A life loving. 
A life giving. 
A life living for our Abba, a heavenly Daddy who loves us so much He would die on a cross, sacrificing Himself...for us. 
So this is a calling: to live and to love others with a life and a Love that is His, a grace that is His...not ours. Praise Him.


September 28, 2014

-To Strongest Arms, Let Me Cling-

"Abandon. Because He is enough. Actually, Abandon and Enough were my "tossup" words. I am by no means good enough- I never will be. With Him, I can move mountains. My inner voice often says that there's no way I could do this; and I'm learning to surrender all- including this little voice, and realize that though I haven't been "there", He has. And He is enough. However, I chose Abandon because I'm consistently learning the lesson of surrender. Each day, each hour, each minute. My heart is leaning more and more into the mission field- as in, looking at everything as a mission. Through this, I desire to live with abandon.
G-d is an on-time G-d. 
Never early. 
Never late. He is our provider, and He will come through. He is faithful. And I cannot experience His full grace as a provider unless I live with abandon and trust." 

I read this journal and blog post from January of this year and teared up more than a little. Ah, how well my Savior knows me. How much more does He know what happens, where my heart is, and the day, steps, and hours of my day. 
This has been a year of abandon, but more of learning just how much abandon takes. It can make you or break your heart. Trust is a matter of total reliance under stressed time. Last fall, I sensed something around the corner- I literally slept through the night, and dreamed a strange dream. That dream came to pass. And it passed and ended  much differently than I wanted it to. 

What is this life in the here and now compared to what is to come?
We say keep calm and carry on; what about keep calm and trust the Creator of the Universe, the Author and Perfecter of our every step? 

Because we might think we have a good idea of where we're going. 
But when He starts moving and shaking, there's nothing we can do about it but hold on tighter. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness and constant comfort; because without trust in these... we have no hope. 

Abandon this summer for me meant: I have been given an opportunity most precious- to experience a strengthening trust, and finding total and complete fulfillment in our Abba.  Trust in an abiding confidence or active dependence. 

But My righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”
-Hebrews 10:38

This verse speaks volumes to me. It's been cried over, underlined countless times, and ink has blackened the margins of my Bible to a fascinating point because of how often I have "come across" these words, and my heart jumps to a place between shudders and great joy. 
Because the question isn't if. It's where you will place your trust. On whom or what will you fully depend? As believers and followers of our Lord, this is an easier question to answer- much harder to live out. God commands us to trust Him. 
To fall into His arms. 
To abandon ourselves to find Him, and be still. 
His righteous ones are justified by faith. Not because we've earned, deserved, or live up to it, because of what Christ has called us to do. 

i hope in the Lord. 

And we shall live by faith. 
even when I cannot see, because this broken road declares Your will for me. 
When we trust our Abba, we obey Him. There are no ifs. There are no wonderings or worries, cares or fears. As in Habakkuk 2:4... as in the stories of Esther... as in the stories of all those who truly followed Jesus and lived for Him without bounds, who were just like you and I... there's a reason for such a time as this. 
If only to call us back to His arms. 

Jesus called Peter to step on to a stormy sea: for a reason. 
It's not about looking at Jesus and walking away. 
It's looking at Jesus, and hanging on to Him
May we just say, "say the word Lord, it'll be done." 
Trust is needed in any Love relationship. I don't want to stay in my comfort zone, because in a sense, we're taking our trust out of His hands, and putting it into whatever element. I want to live uncomfortably, because it takes more trust than anything else. 

Trust doesn't adjust to circumstances. 
A second verse I've clung to through the years is Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you;

    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.I will strengthen you and help you;    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

He says this to us. To you. To me. 
We are called to so much more than we can see. Beyond our wildest dreams. 
Satan wants to kill our faith and hope with failure, fear, fatigue, falsehood. Faltering. "You can't do it." 
Yes. By God's grace, I will. 
God lifts us up with faith, focus, foundation, and freedom. Trust in the Lord is exalted freedom- to live without fear of others, ourselves, knowing we can trust an unknown future to a known God. 

Oh, friend. No matter how small and big "it" may seem, hold fast. 
You can't get through this. 
He can. 
"I've been there." 

My situations come and go, change and remain, as easily as a shifting shadow. 
But I can rejoice. Because He holds my hand. He does not change. And as we put our confidence in Him, we are truly blessed, because we trust that the God we serve is bigger than any lions that might come my way. On wings of eagles, we shall soar.  

Our victory comes when we don't look to the left or to the right. 
this world and its hopes, dreams, joys, darkness, fears... terrifies me. But we can so easily believe, as we grasp at straws, that it is our source- when it isn't

"What are some prayer requests I can be praying for for you this week? What are some fears you're struggling with?" I ask my Sunday school students. 
"Let's open our hands to the Lord. We're opening our hands to surrender all." 
"Hey, Jesus did that on the cross. He surrendered all." My fourth grader who recently decided he wanted to be a pastor after a year of struggling with the (planted by me) idea that following Jesus is not an easy way of life strikes again. 
"Yes. Jesus did that." My voice struggles to keep calm as my insides threaten to spill with this simple truth. He comes over after we're through and says, "Are you okay? Can I pray with you?" 

I get so excited when I think of the future God has planned for him. 

Trust draws us to our knees as we simply wait on Him
It's not based on a logical outcome. 
It's not if we feel like it. 
It's because He works His will and way in every single matter. 
When there's no answer, He comes through. 

This is the most exciting thing to me. 
When we say, "I need You to do what only You can do." 
He is my plan; I have no other. 
To trust is sto stare our lion in the face, as He reveals His plan, future, and purpose for us. 
One day at a time. 
He comes through. 
Because He loves us. 
How can we not put our hearts and lives on the line for Him? 

Holy Fire burn away 
my desire for anything 
that is not of You
and is of me. 
I want more of You 
and less of me.