Sunday, July 17, 2011

Macro View

 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me…” ~ Psalm 139:23-24 (NAS)

I love taking photographs! I particularly like getting close up shots using a macro setting on the camera. I love capturing the details of blossoms, bees and tiny views that are often missed when taking shots from afar. There’s something about taking the time to zoom in and notice things I would ordinarily overlook.

Psalm 139:23-24 is like God’s macro lens. And, as much as I don’t want to be under anyone’s microscope, I know I need Him to point out the details that I often gloss over: anxious thoughts, unconfessed sins and anything that will hurt me and keep me from a right relationship with Him and others.

I came into focus under His macro lens today. A visiting missionary shared a request of how we can pray for the work his team is doing:

Pray that people will understand the difference between worshipping God and feeling they need to serve in order to please Him.

There is a subtle difference and I find I am guilty. My service and work for Him doesn’t replace my need for worshipping Him alone. Busyness and a desire to please hinders my relationship with Him, and the result is a loss of joy.

His word says, “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation”; a time when He was all I needed. A time when I realized my desperate need of His mercy and grace and realized that He loves me in spite of who I am. That hasn’t changed; He loves me just as I am and I am still desperate for Him and Him alone.

So as I see myself a little more clearly, I ask for His forgiveness for making my work and service an idol. I cannot write, speak, teach or do anything without His help. John 15 says I need to abide in Him, staying close to the vine because He is the source of all things—and everything I need.

My life is but a breath in eternity. I want it to be spent in daily worship of the One who loves me despite what I do. Out of this will come a life lived to the fullest, for His glory and His alone.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Truth Is.....

I bumped into myself this weekend and I don’t like what I see! Pride. Self-sufficiency. I’ve been relying on my own strength and wonder why I feel exhausted? I know I am not alone; I am trying to juggle a job, husband, home, family, ministry, and there are just not enough hours in a day. The trouble comes when I listen to the lies..

          Lie #1 - You’re not good enough

          Lie #2 - You have to be perfect

          Lie #3 - People won’t like you if you make mistakes

          Lie #4 - You can avoid conflict by doing the right thing (it helps to remember that Jesus always did the right thing and He was always facing conflict of one kind or another)

The truth is, I will never be good enough, or perfect, and I will always make mistakes. And, conflict comes with the territory of being God’s child because He says in His word it will happen in this world. In my head I know my adequacy and confidence are in Christ alone; I just need that knowledge to travel daily, the twelve inches and settle deeply in my heart as well. He only asks that I have a tender spirit, willing to learn from my mistakes. Like David, maybe if I am responsive to His lessons, I will be a woman after God’s own heart.

I have never liked conflict. I think I am quick to avoid it at all costs, but I wonder if there are lessons I am skirting because I fear them. Conflict is uncomfortable and often messy, but I think God will give me the grace to be able to face it with confidence if I ask for His help.

I’ve done a lot of wrestling over the last few days. I still need to settle things so that I know I am believing His truth over the lies of the enemy that have been ingrained since I was a little girl. I know I make progress at times, and then fall back into the old pattern again. Oh, for His grace and mercy to overflow and overcome, giving me victory one day at a time.

The enemy loves it when I believe His lies and twisted truths. And, I am determined not to allow him to cloud my mind and clutter my heart so that I become ineffective and discouraged. Christ came to free me from the hold of the enemy, and promises abundant life to all who believe. He transforms and renews my mind to right thinking; kingdom thinking; all for His glory and by the power that raised Jesus from the dead!

All He asks of me is, surrender.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Enter the Gate

I peer through a secret-garden gate—grasping the wrought iron, my hand tentatively on the latch; do I dare enter?

Fear usually keeps me just peeking through gates. I am not normally a risk taker—I like to play it safe. Yet, I would like to take a step into the unknown. I have begun to overcome a lot of my fearful tendencies—I guess that’s what happens when you reach 50+. I am ready to take some risks and find that God is faithful to provide what is needed on the other side. I’ve discovered a gate can either be what keeps me out or ushers me in, depending on my point of view—an opportunity or a barrier.

Suddenly, I hear a voice.

"Come. Step through. Do not be afraid. I promise to go with you."

But, what if..?

Butterflies fill in my innermost places. But, what if..?

Yet, the voice continues...



Should I enter?

I strain to listen for clues. What if..?

My heart longs for what lies beyond. But, what if..?

My pulse quickens, catching the beat of Him who calls.

My hand quivers and reaches again for the latch. What if..?

Then, my ears tune in to the One voice and all else fades as I step through the gate.

Jesus calls Himself the door, the gate to the sheepfold. We enter into the Father’s presence through Him. Jesus is either a barrier or an opportunity—depending on your point of view. What lies beyond the gate is abundant life—details unknown but He promises to be with us. Adventure awaits you as you answer the One who calls. He bids you to step through the gate to find all that you long for—

Whether you are stepping through the gate in response to your invitation to salvation through Christ, or taking a next step of faith in obedience, He is there.

Will you enter?