Friday, April 30, 2010

Mighty Warrior

Do not let your hearts be troubled trust in God; trust also in me. John 14:1
We as women are so in tune with our feelings and emotions at times we fall into the trap of believing our feelings and emotions are truth. How we feel about something becomes our reality. We rely so much on how we “feel” about a situation that our feelings often override God’s truths.
For instance, when we say things like, "that just doesn’t feel right to me.", "I don’t feel like God loves me.", "I don’t feel like I love my husband anymore.", "I’m feeling a little off today.", "I feel like I’m about to lose it!” We are allowing how we feel at any particular moment to define our actions and our reality. We must remember, God's truths triumph over our feelings.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. The Greek word for trouble in this verse is the word Tarasso, which means to agitate, to cause one inward commotion; to take away one’s calmness of mind. It goes on to use words like to disquiet, to strike with fear and dread; to suggest scruples and doubts. When I read this definition I picture someone who is restless, who doubts, someone who is unfocused and controlled by whatever the day holds. Henceforth, the word Tarasso distracts us from God’s truths and causes our minds to be filled with lies and confusion.
When looking at the life of Gideon I am encouraged by his faith in the midst of his feeling fearful. I think we can learn a powerful lesson from observing his life.

When we are feeling fearful but acting in faith, are we fearful or full of faith?

Gideon "felt" fearful but acted in faith. He didn't bow down to his feelings of fear instead he asked God for a sign and he trusted Him with the outcome. He surrendered his fear to a mighty God. He obeyed God. He didn't allow his "feelings of fear" to override God's truths. He might have been feeling fear during those times of battle but he didn't allow his fear to keep him from what God had called him to do.
So let me ask again, "was Gideon fearful or full of faith?"
Oftentimes, we allow how we are feeling to describe who we are. We feel guilty for "feeling" fearful even when we are acting in faith. Often times, when we act in faith despite how we feel we are demonstrating to a mighty God our trust in Him. I believe it's much more honoring to Him when we trust Him despite how we feel.

"The LORD is with you, mighty warrior."
Mighty Warrior written July 2009

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sustain Them

This prayer was written for the families and their beautiful babies in the NICU.

O LORD, you go before me and behind me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up. I can never escape from your Spirit nor can I get away from your love!
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every day was laid out before a single day had passed.
O God listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, to a rock that is higher than I. For you are my safe refuge, a mighty fortress in my time of need.
Psalm 61:1-2,3 139:2,5,7-8, 13-16
Lord, you create life and give it purpose and meaning. You created me and the little one you have blessed me with for a divine purpose. Sustain us by your mighty right hand for your arm is not too short to save.

Because you are with me, I will not fear.

Picture above: Hollen at the beach.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sun Scorched Land

Post written August 2009
The one thing that stands out to me when studying the life of Jesus is the fact people loved to be around Him. His disciples left everything to follow Him. Crowds gathered to hear Him speak. The truth He spoke gave them hope and life. In the Gospel of Luke it is documented the Pharisees and teachers of the law complained to the disciples that Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors.
Jesus' response to this complaint,"It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance." Luke 5:31,32 What we see from the Gospels is the religious leaders of Jesus' day hated Him because he confronted their hypocrisy. He cared for the the hopeless and healed the sick. He proclaimed freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind. He released the oppressed and brought hope to the hopeless. In fact earlier in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus when speaking at the synagogue in Nazareth quoted Isaiah 61:1 to the people of His hometown. "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD." Luke 4:18,19
We too have this calling. We are called to go to those who are sick and hurting. We are called to bring the good news to the poor. Often times, I think we get so caught up in church we neglect our calling to go out into the world and meet the needs of the hurting. We fail to serve and bring hope to the hopeless. We are too busy to go into this hurting world and be the hands and feet of Christ. You see Christ went to them. He healed them, He had compassion on them, He met their needs. People who were hurting followed Him because He cared enough to go. He cared enough to come down to reveal to them the truth and most importantly to die and be raised again as the final atoning sacrifice. He not only healed them physically but He made them alive spiritually. He addressed their heart issues and spoke truth into the moments of their greatest despair.
I want to take a moment to address the Samaritan woman at the well because it is the perfect illustration when observing how Jesus spoke the truth in love. Her story is documented in John 4.
Jesus was waiting for the samaritan woman at the well and when she came He offered her living water. After offering her the living water He goes on to say, "but first go and bring back your husband." Jesus knowing that she didn't have a husband asked her to bring him back to the well knowing that this confrontation would expose her sin and depravity and reveal to her His divinity.
He also takes a moment to reveal to her the heart of the Father, "for such a time is coming and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." Jesus goes on to reveal His Divinity as Messiah in verse 26 by stating plainly that He is the Messiah to the one whom He just exposed. His words penetrated the dark depths of her pain shining His glorious light into her places of sin and marking her as a chosen recipiant of His undeserved grace. "I who speak to you am He."John 4:23,24,26.
You see, Jesus wanted to expose her pain not because he wanted to hurt her but because he wanted to free her from it. Exposing her sin and desperation in hopes to free her from her bondage and to reveal to her His divinity. Jesus knowing that to receive "living water" we must repent to be set free from the bondage of sin. Let's look at the conversation with this in mind. SW: "I have no husband". JC: "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is quite true." John 4:17,18 Can you feel the long pause... You see, Jesus got right to the heart of the issue. He states plainly the sin but not to make her feel guilty. After all, He was there waiting for her. He exposes the sin out of His desire to heal her pain and set her free from her past.He pursued her. It was out of His great compassion that He exposed her sin and shame. He does the same for us, He waits for us. He brings us to moments where we see our pain and our sin for the sole purpose of exposing the lies we have believed. He does this to give us the opportunity to repent and to be set free.
Who is the Lord calling you to minister to today? Is there someone in your life that is embracing a lifestyle that leads to destruction? Could it be that He wants you to love this person and to see them through His eyes.
To speak the truth in love and release the chains of bondage and destruction. Behind every addiction is an enemy that seeks to destroy and who loves death. Are we willing to expose the lies and reveal to those God puts in our path the truth. The only truth that is powerful enough to set them free. The truth of salvation. The truth of real life sustaining living water. Jesus is powerful enough to break the chains of bondage. He is powerful enough to shine light into the darkest places of humanity. Are we willing to risk rejection and our personal comfort to bring the saving knowledge of Jesus to those He puts in our path? Our time here is short and what we do with it is eternal.
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11