Friday, January 27, 2012

One More ...

One more person loved ... and I'm drawn closer to You.
One more step taken in faith ... and I'm drawn closer to You.
One more Truth believed ... and I'm drawn closer to You.
One more Promise claimed ... and I'm drawn closer to You.
One more Revelation accepted ... and I'm drawn closer to You.
One more awe of Understanding ... and I'm drawn closer to You.
One more cry for deliverance ... and I'm drawn closer to You.
One more urge surrendered ... and I'm drawn closer to You.
One more seed sown unto righteousness ... and I'm drawn closer to You.
One more declaration of authority ... and I'm drawn closer to You.
One more boast of Kinship ... and I'm drawn closer to You.
One more controlling spirit bound and cast out ... and I'm drawn closer to You.
One more Spirit of Light loosed within me ... and I'm drawn closer to You.
One more shout of thanksgiving ... and I'm drawn closer to You.
One more song of praise ... and I'm drawn closer to You.

One stepping stone at a time ... I'm drawn closer to You, my Holy God.
Thank You, Jesus
I praise Your Holy Name.
Amen and amen.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Crossing Over

In John 5:24 Jesus speaks of ‘crossing over from death to life’.  How often it is that we limit the application of that particular Scripture to only our conversion experience … when we ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, dying to self in order to gain new life in Christ.

But let us consider the powerful effect this passage would have on us if only we would apply it to the additional areas of our lives that are in need of a touch by the Christ.  Let me give you an example that may bring this home for you …
Let us consider someone you know who struggles with an addiction … maybe it’s even you.  Of course, the first ‘addictions’ that typically come to mind involve the consumption of alcohol and drugs but consider also the addictions that invade our lives as we shop, or work, or as we respond to the God given pleasures of sex.  Further consider, if you will, that casual chance of gambling or even the everyday need to eat.  And what about those folks who struggle with ‘secret’ addictions like those who clean only to think that more cleaning needs to be done … or those who struggle to be perfectionists in everything they do, those who allow worry and fear to rule their lives or even the person who obsesses to control every situation that arises in their lives. 

How often these ordinary events of life take on lives of their own … slowly but surely becoming addictions that bring death to the very spirit that God has placed inside of us.  No longer are we filled with the peace that God planned for our life for now we are being controlled by something that is not of God.  As the journey turns us away from the light of Christ, true joy fades … often allowing the darkness of depression, fears and frustrations to enter us …  all the while leaving us very little room for hope.
Yes, the truth is that each of us are susceptible to the cruelty of addictions but when you extend John 5:24 beyond your conversion experience you find that God, in all His infinite wisdom, realizes fully the schemes of the enemy and through His mercies provides us the hope of being able to cross over from the imposed death sentence of addictions to the freedom that is possible in a life lived out with Christ.

So ok … we can clearly see the multiple pools of darkness that all of us are susceptible to … and the need that so many of us have to escape the quicksand that we’ve fallen into … but how in the world do we cross over from this type of death to a life that is free of the captivity of obsessions?
In one word … Jesus.  He is the answer to ever question ever asked and every issue that we’ve ever come up against.  In John 14:6 Jesus tells us “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.” … beyond all the head knowledge (which in and of itself is necessary) beyond the feelings (which often serve to toss us to and fro) beyond all the effort we put out to manage the world around us … there we will find this Jesus who will reveal to us the truth.  There, if we allow Him, He will provide hope and peace and unconditional love.  So willing … so able … to move mightily in our lives … if only we would give Him permission to.  If only we would seek Him in our moment of need and surrender our own worldly desires over to Him.

Easy enough to say … but we’ve been trained up to feed our fleshly desires … surely we shouldn’t have to go without something that we ‘really’ want … something that brings us pleasure?
That, my friends, is a lie from the pit of hell.  Those are the chains that bind us and hold us captive.  How embarrassing it is to see myself stomping my feet … wanting to have my own way … having a childlike tantrum so that I can fulfill my fleshly desires without having to consider the spiritual consequences. 

Is the Light beginning to shine for you … as it did for me?  Has the idol that you’ve created before God been exposed as mine has been?
The path of righteousness (life) leads to a place of holiness (true peace).  It’s a journey … and we have the choice to walk away from this side of death and cross over to Light and Life.  Oh, don’t get me wrong … we can’t get there without Jesus … in and of ourselves we will fail every time … but with unconditional surrender of our own selfish desires, our faith will grow into stepping stones that build a road that will allow us to cross over to true peace.  Freedom FOREVER when our heart unites with His.

Psalm 119:105 tells us that ‘He is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path’
Psalm 23:6 tells us that “surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”  

I don’t know about you but I could never ask for anything more than that!
Father God, thank You for Your Divine Revelation that brought me into the Light and Life of Jesus.  Full dependency on Him is an awesome thing to behold and I thank You from the bottom of my heart for it.  I pray now Father, in the name that is above all name, Jesus the Christ, that you will go forth and reveal this and more to those who need the freedom of everyday addictions as I did.  Expose and exercise within us the Truth that will set us free indeed.
Amen and amen.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Beside The Still Waters

As my day began, the Lord put one person after another on my heart.  My dad, who passed away 31 years ago today, lead the group but he was joined in spirit by friends, co-workers and family members … all who are in need of a touch from Jesus.  It was then that I heard the Lord whisper in my ear to remind me that “He leadeth me beside the still waters”. 

Well, you don’t have to ask me twice … immediately I went to Him and found myself in a place where He provided refreshment for my soul… peace as I escaped from the chaos of this world … and hope for what is yet to come.
In His presence all issues faded away.  I cared not about the stock market  nor what the doctor’s report was for my friend nor about the destructive choices that are being made by more and more people of this world … no, my ONLY desire was to sit closely enough to Him that I could feel the warmth of His body and hear the beating of His heart. 

Refreshed and comfortable I listened to His words of love.  His kindness melted away every barrier that I ever built up to keep the world out.  Soon, an eagerness swelled within me to let others know about the incredible possibilities that exist when you sit quietly with Him by the still waters.  Indescribable joy fills you and I just can’t keep it to myself … so I asked the spirits of those He put on my heart to join us there.  Lifted from sick beds they came … out of pits of loneliness they ran … a few turned from the valley of the shadow of death to be by His side … there was even one who entered His rest rather than the door of their doctor’s office. 
Blessed are those who seek Him.
Blessed are those who surrender to His goodness.
Blessed are those who gather with Him and are restored in body, soul and spirit.

Father God, thank You for providing for a way of escape from the struggles that are of this world.  Thank You for the perfect plan that is Your Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ.  May all who join Him by the still waters be refreshed, renewed and saturated with hope.  I pray this, Father, in His Holy Name.
Amen and amen

Revelation …

I recently watched a movie that depicted the life of the Apostle John as he endured his time in exile on the Island of Patmos.  As the movie unfolded it wasn’t long before I realized how easy it has been to read in passing about John’s journey in the pages of history without ever truly attempting to comprehend the stark realities of the abusive conditions that he had to endure.

Like John, each of us, in one way or another, have been on a journey through a place that can easily resemble Patmos.  A place where you feel overwhelmed and alone … where it seems like you’re unable to take on one more stone from the quarry … where you must cry out to God for mercy for as my mother use to say … “enough is enough”!

But praise to this everlasting God of mercy for He IS in control … and like John, our saving grace is the revelation that comes as the light of Jesus reveals truth that brings us to our knees.  He is our hope.  He is our only hope.

Chills overcame me when in the movie John fell to his face in utter helplessness when he first gazed upon the face of the glorified Christ.  All who have ever lived will follow John’s lead … without exception, ALL people WILL realize the purity and power of the light of Christ and without exception ALL people – devout Christians who willingly serve Him or those who choose now to go their own way - WILL bend their knee as they succumb to His greatness. 

In the meantime, we are able to endure whatever conditions come our way if we are willing, as John was, to go to Him and seek revelation.  In John’s willingness, Jesus revealed to him the plan that unfolds the ultimate glory of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ … and, if willing, the revelation that awaits us … even in the here and now … promises to be nonetheless powerful and effective. 

Are you ready … and willing … for the Lord to shine His light into your life?  Psalm 46:10 tells us to ‘Be still and know that I am God’.  Where better than on an isolated island are we able to sit quietly in His presence and relinquish all control over to Him.  Endless beauty of God’s Spirit awaits us as we seek the Light of Christ, and choose freedom … and joyfully give thanks for the revelation that is possible only through the Revelation that is Christ Himself.

Father God, as each of us draws nearer to you I pray, in Jesus’ name, that you will fill us with Your Spirit and reveal all the goodness that is possible to us in and through Your Son, Jesus Christ. 
Amen and amen

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Who is This Jesus That I Love?

"Behold the man" ... Pilate said.  He was challenging the rioting mob to open their eyes to this man who claimed kinship with God ... who claimed to be King.  Our challenge today remains unchanged ... but the vision of the 'mob' has changed.  They gazed upon a bloodied, tortured, mangled prisoner who was on His way to execution ... but we, the mob of today, who marvel at His testimony, see that same Man bathed in glory!  Hallelujah!

The day that my eyes were opened to Jesus was like none other in my life.  The teaching that I learned as a child had developed within me the understanding of who this Man was and what it was that He had done for me ... sort of ... but my life was changed forever the day that the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see and my heart to understand that this Man was not only my Savior ... but even more importantly, He was to become the LORD of my life!  Hallelujah!

This Jesus ... in Whom there is no equal.
This Jesus ... in Whom there is the purity of faithfulness, compassion and inexhaustible hope.
This Jesus ... in whose presence my problems 'grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace'.

He is complete in everything that He is and everything that He does.
He completes me ... each of us ... as He shapes us and teaches us to be mirror images of Himself.
Each lesson He taught, every truth He uttered, is used to draw us to the beauty of His beautiful Spirit.

I can't think of Him without first loosing thoughts of myself ... thank You, Lord.  Turning from the realities of this world I am instantly filled with unspeakable joy as I contemplate time spent with Him in the Spirit.  My heart yearns to be totally preoccupied with living in the Spirit ... praying in the Spirit ... hearing, seeing and breathing in the Spirit ... a place of contentment and peace and love beyond description.  A place where paradise is a reality and I am forever united with my LORD.  A place in which my soul and spirit are one with Him.  A place from which I do not want to leave.

We are the apple of His eye and the treasure of His heart.  He takes pleasure in us as we seek to learn who He is and allow Him to guide our every thought.  Father God, I pray that you will ignite the embers of our heart, Lord, to set us on fire to know You ... and be with You ... our Triune God ... Hallelujah, in Jesus' name.
Amen and amen.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Seasons Turn

To everything ... turn, turn, turn ... there is a season ... turn, turn, turn, and a time to every purpose under heaven.  Good song ... even better Scripture! (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

When I was a little girl my family lived in a house that bordered a town park.  Some of my fondest memories from that era of my life were birthed by the hours spent in what became my very own back yard playground.  Even now I can return in my mind to that place and remember the bell shaped merry-go-round that my sisters and I hung upside down on ... the 10 story slide that singed many a bare leg on a hot summer day (ok, so maybe it wasn't quite that big!), and the swings - oh, the swings were my favorite, for on them you could take flight.  But that was another time ... that was another season of my life...

Over the course of time people, rather than parks, became my focus and with this blessing came relationships and a broad bank of memories.  Some people, like my children, will go with me into eternity.  Others have somehow become etched roses on my heart.  While still others were simply a part of God's plan to teach and heal and grow me.  And the seasons continue to turn .....

With the help of a beloved friend I have come to realize that I am but a sojourner ... passing through this life on assignment from the Throne Room.  I wish that I felt secure in knowing that I had been all that God intended for me to be, for every person He intended for me to touch ... but my humanness recognizes my shortcomings.  Consolation comes, however, as I pray that God would grant mercies to cover those things which I unintentionally leave undone.  And still the seasons continue to turn.....

Peace is assured if we wait on the assignments that the Lord has for each one of us.  Just as seasons of this earth turn at His direction, we must wait on Him as the evolution of each season of our own life unfolds before us.  Spring brings with it hope ... Summer strengthens us with promise and endurance ... Fall, with its complexity of beauty and death, bursts forth in both awe inspiring colors and a harvest that sustains and fortifies us during those long Winter nights.  In the midst of any season of life we must be willing to enter into whatever it is that God has planned for us ... going through each season of life with the single vision of being used by God to bring glory to His ultimate purpose.

Remembering Jeremiah 29:11 we can endure any test ... any trial ... any season ... "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  His promises are trustworthy.  Hope in Him sustains us, no matter what the season, for His love endures forever.

May each of us turn and praise His Holy Name ... turn, and praise the Name of Jesus now and forevermore.
Amen and amen.

A Pool of Love

This morning as I woke from a restful night's sleep, I realized immediately that I wasn't alone ... "Good morning, Lord" I said.  His welcomed presence was warm and with it I felt both safe and excited to begin another day.

As the moment unfolded He invited me to sense the presence of the spirits of many of my friends who had joined Him at my bedside.  "Oh look", I thought ... there's my friend whose current journey is riddled with one struggle after another ... and there's my friend who just had surgery ... and there, at the foot of my bed, stands a woman who endures endless hours of loneliness.  Many others who now gathered by the Lord's side were here simply with the hope of hearing a word of encouragement or receiving a soft touch of mercy ........ any sign at all, through me, of God's unconditional love.

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus tells us to come to Him and take up His yoke for it is easy and His burden is light.  I am of the belief that this hope filled teaching is both for the sufferer and for the children of God whose assignment it is to come along side of a weary traveler and offer them, through prayers and kindness, some much needed rest from their burden.  Then, and only then, are those who suffer able to bear up under the strain of the burdens that have befallen them.  Jesus doesn't just arbitrarily remove our pain ... sometimes He uses His children to redistribute the weight of the burden so that, through those who are willing to stand in the gap for others, the burden is bearable.

By the power of the Holy Spirit I soon found myself in the midst of an experience that now seems surreal.  With the richness of His Word utmost in my mind I entered into what appeared to be a pool that offered wisdom and healing and hope.  My desire to experience more and more was heightened only by the understanding that this pool was filled to the very brim with nothing less than the Living Water Himself!  Hallelujah!

Oh, the joy that filled me when I understood that we could want for nothing more ... that every need would be fulfilled ... every pain eliminated ... every weight lifted.

Anxious to share the Good News, I returned, without hesitation, to the place where my friends had been.  There I invited each of them to return with me to the pool for cleansing and refreshment and renewal.  Joining together, we praised the Lord's Holy Name and gave thanks for His trustworthy Word ... for His strength in time of need ... and for His endless love.  What an honor it is to be a child of God ... to be used by Him to love on others ... to be a bearer of Good News ... and to be counted worthy to share in the burdens of others.

Father God, the day is young ... refreshed and ready, in Jesus' name, I ask that you prepare my way ... providing strength and wisdom and endurance as Your plan for my life comes to fruition.  Thank You, Father, for the love that consumes You for each of my friends that gathered here with you today.  Bless them Lord, I pray, so that each of them shares in the experience of time spent with You in the everlasting pool of Living Water.
Amen and amen.