Friday, February 27, 2009


This is a post I drafted on January 8th. It was prompted by my spirit being so deeply moved in church by the song "Indescribable". I remember the previous weeks had been difficult beginnning with December 31st being my beloved's birthday and to me a "couples" holiday. Then, the first week of January was stressful at work as the week prior to classes starting is always difficult for my office. (I work at a college.) So, that Sunday I remember I just raised my heart to praise Him when this song was sung. I came home after church that day and drafted my own description of God using some of the words in the song (indescribable, uncontainable, incomparable, and unchangeable). Other than that, this is what flowed from my heart. I want to make it my ring tone but haven't yet. is not working with my Verizon. (Any free ring tone sites? Let me know.)

He can't be described in a way to do Him justice.
We can't put into words all that He is.
All that He does, gives, and is can't be scripted.

What He does for us is more than we could ever imagine. (Eph. 3:20)
God makes the most impossible odds into amazing miracles.
He makes good out of the worst of the worse.
Only He could cause an atheist to proclaim Christ as Lord.

Every prayer, every word uttered, is heard by God at the same time.
All of creation, earth, stars and galaxies are His doing.
He knows every hair on our heads.
He has told every lightning bolt where to go.

His depth of love is unexplainable.

His power and love cannot be contained.
His majesty is too large.
What He can do is not restricted.
His devotion cannot escape us.
His Spirit cannot be contained in His children.
He cannot contain His forgiveness but gives it freely.

He cannot be compared to anything else.
His love cannot be measured by any other.
His ways out scale any plan of ours.
His faithfulness is without compare.
His forgiveness is pure, unlike another.

He is the same today, tomorrow, and forever.
His character remains through and through.
His love is steady when we are not.
His forgiveness is never ending, never changing.

In Awe of All He Is,

© Copyright 2008

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Look Back, Remember, Meditate

Let's look back at chapter eight, "Look Back: Forget Not His Benefits, O My Soul". If you want to look back at the thoughts of others, go to Lelia's. (Jennifer Rothschild's quotes in brown.)

"The real power of any moment is fully realized when it is remembered. The experience might have been painful or pleasant, but its intensity and meaning grow when we remember and reflect upon it."

As Jennifer explains, our thought closet is like a library in our heads, holding the stories of our lives, with both good and bad books. We should look back only on what is profitable. Jennifer defines profitable when it:
♥Adds to soul wellness
♥Prompts maturity and growth
♥Contributes to personal and understanding
♥Challenges broad thinking
♥Can be pleasant or painful
♥Assigns meaning
♥Protects from repeating mistakes
♥Guards from needless worry
♥Becomes stepping stone

"Even hard times in our lives can contribute great wisdom to our thought closets."

Painful memories allow for some great soul talk. They provide reflection on what the pain brought: peace, trust, gratitude, and meaning. ...Beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair... Isaiah 61:3

"If you don't label a painful memory with meaning, it will retain a negative connotation. It will be stripped of its potential profit." What a revelation. Imagine if we all began to add meaning to our painful memories. We'd have a closet full of profitable memories, instead of ones that pull us down with anger, resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness. If we see meaning in our pain, we can even release from our closets all the negative effects and feelings created by the pain and transform the effects into positive and profitable.

Forget me not. Forget Him not. Forget not what He has done. Forget not the good He has brought in the worst of times. "Remembering the good things of God sometimes causes you to reflect back on the bad things of life. But don't shy away from those painful memories because in those dark, difficult places, we often become more deeply acquainted with the good and comforting presence of God." Amen, sister! Is that not the truth?! In our darkest of times, we find the unimaginable comfort from God. Unimaginable. It is in those times, we see the greatness of God. Without the bad in life, we cannot experience the depth of good from God.

Though we are prone to forgetfulness (from what I hear starting at 40)...
Let us promote "forgetting not".
Let us choose to remember.

I will remember my songs in the night.
I will meditate with my heart,
And my spirit ponders...
I shall remember the deeds of the Lord;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
I will meditate on all Your work
And muse on Your deeds. Psalm 77:6, 11-12

I will. I shall. Remember. Meditate.

"Meditating on the past is a form of remembering, but meditating on the future is a form of worry. Ever thought of that? Are you good at meditating?" Well, yes. Unfortunately, I have a resounding yes to both forms of meditating. I desire to increase the remembering and decrease the worry.

Not true yet. Oh how such worry can come from three little words. How can we so easily worry over something that is not true yet? How can that be? God specifically tells us to not worry about tomorrow. If it's not true yet, then it's worry over tomorrow. If it's worry over tomorrow then it's not true yet.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25, 35

In her interview with Jennifer, Alicia Britt Chole (a former atheist) says "Meditation on untruth is unprofitable for the soul. So if it's not true, or not true yet, I won't allow myself to go there." Alicia shared how she has to train her brain to not dwell on the unprofitable, not-true-yet thoughts. Want to guess what she does to combat those thoughts? You got it...praying for other people and reading God's Word. Surprise, surprise. Are those not the two strengths in life we have for everything: prayer and God's Word.

I leave you with a final thought of Jennifer's. "Remembering can turn even the most difficult milestones into stepping stones on a path of gratitude, contentment, and peace."

I have definitely learned to label the worst and most painful milestones in my life as a spiritual marker. If it were not for this extremely difficult heartache being a spiritual marker of God's, I'd never survive. I gleam such encouragement and hope from knowing that my pain has purpose and from my tragedy and heartache there is so much 'spiritualness' to be gained and nurtured.

God kept speaking this verse to me.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Remembering Him and Meditating on His,

© Copyright 2008

Friday, February 20, 2009

Persistence. Perseverance. Prayer.

So for those two lonely souls :-) who have been waiting on the edge to read the second half to Do Not Lose Heart, here it is. I hope it's not a disappointment (if you anticipated something grander). This is what I found in my notebook as I referenced in my previous post.

Jesus loved teaching in parables. One of those was to teach us we should never give up in prayer. Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: 'In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.' 'For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' And the Lord said, 'Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?' Luke 18:1-8

Jesus proposed to the listener the question of how many people with such persistent faith He'd find upon His return. That, to me, is very convicting. Discouragement does come easy when we don't see results to our prayers but Jesus challenges us to not give up. Pray continually. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Devote yourselves to prayer. Colossians 4:2

I believe that God views differently our faithful dedication to prayer in the most difficult of circumstances. Faith is easy when we see answers to prayers and blessings showered on us. God knows the endurance and strength required to be persistent and dedicated to not lose hope when we see nothing happening.

~~How would you rate your faith in believing for your most urgent prayer request?
~~Are you being persistent and faithful in prayer for this thing the Lord has not yet answered?
~~Do you often forget to pray for that particular need as you feel like it may never happen?
~~What has caused you to lighten up on this heaviest prayer request of yours?

"Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly." Luke 18:7-8

Let's quickly look at two other examples of women persisted in faith and prayer. Shunammite and Hannah.

The Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:8-37) often opened her home to Elisha. She provided him his own space and Elisha returned the favor by putting a favorable word in the king's ear about her desire for a child. When her son became ill and died, Elisha cried out to God asking for life to be restored to this dead boy. God heard. God listened. God answered. God returned life.

She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out. 2 Kings 4:37

Obedience. Commitment. Persistence. Perseverance.

The story of Hannah has become one of my favorites. There's so much to her life, actions, and character. However, her persistence is resounding. She never relented. She continually went before the Throne asking for a child. She never stopped asking. She never stopped seeking. She never stopped listening. Even in her weakest moments--moments of doubt, moments of questions--she shared her heart, grief, and desires with God. I can so relate to her not necessarily in regards to her desires for a child. Doubts yet persistence. Questions yet persistence. Weariness yet persistence. Grief yet persistence. Longing yet persistence.

Then Hannah prayed and said:"My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. "There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. "The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. "It is not by strength that one prevails." 1 Samuel 2:1-2, 6-7, 9

Another consideration is that the enemy wants us to give up, stop praying, stop believing, stop persisting. If we give in, lose heart, and stop believing, he has won. He wants us to stop communicating with the Father. He wants us to stop believing in God to act. He wants us to be filled with doubt. God is not the father of doubt and confusion. Satan fathers those. And do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:27

Instead, let us follow Jesus' example and His instructions.
"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. Mark 14:38-39

You may have been praying for a very long time, but possibly you have stopped praying regularly. May I challenge you to never give up on praying for that prayer not yet answered.

Your persistence, perseverance, and faith will be rewarded in God's perfect timing!

Persisting, Persevering, Praying, Believing,
© Copyright 2008

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Heat Up, Cool Down

The beginning of this seventh chapter, "Calm Down: I Have Stilled and Quieted My Soul", met me with memories flowing of a time less peaceful and calm. Unfortunately, I can relate to Jennifer Rothschild's description of the time she exploded on her husband. Too many times I could sadly say. "Our reactions reveal the temperature inside our thought closet." Then unfortunately, my thought closet would've been found at a very dangerously high temperature. Of course back then, I had no idea about using my "soul talk to keep the thermostat at a cool and steady temperature." I didn't learn then how to still and quiet my soul.

Most know shalom is Greek for peace. But I never thought of it as Jennifer noted--"a prayer that asks God to secure a person's well being." Well being. My well being. Your well being. We know peace is not a matter of having peaceful, calm, and smooth circumstances. Rather, peace is within us and is only provided by God Himself. True peace is when our lives are chaotic, crazy, stressful, and even 'out of control'.

What a beautiful revelation when Jennifer realized her blindness didn't take away her control but rather exposed that she never really had ultimate control to begin. She hit it on the head with this statement. "So much of the anger in our lives comes from unmet expectations and frustrations that we don't have ultimate control."

Peace...ahhh...what we all want and need. Open hands show trust. Open hands are positioned to receive. To have open hands, we need to trust God. "Our trust in God is inextricably linked to our peace from God. Peace comes when we loosen our grip and let down our guard before our Heavenly Father." You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

Relax the grip of your hand. Relax the grip of my hand. I need to relax my grip and trust Him more with His timing, His way, His plan. I trust Him with my life so why do I question His timing or His way in certain areas? Why do I want to say "can ya hurry though God"? If His timing is perfect (which it is), then why would I want 'it' to come earlier and have anything less than perfect?

Ultimate peace comes from acknowledging ultimate control is His.

Know Him, know peace.
No Him, no peace.

Jennifer shares some washouts to the path of peace: negative mind-set, anger over adversity, stubborn defiance.

Our mind-set can be a bridge or a wall.
Bridge: open, progress, movement, travel
Wall: barrier, obstacle, block, end, hindrance, washout

Anger over adversity can cause a washout on our path to peace.
Adversity can cause anger or acceptance.
Acceptance: hope, encouragement, peace
Anger: kills, wearing, defeating, washout

Marcus Aurelius says "How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it." Stop. Ponder that.

Stubborn defiance can cause a washout on our road to peace.
"Absence of peace is not an I can't situation. It's an I won't problem." Defiance, if unwilling to let go of anger, hurts us and causes a block to the peace we desire. Anger is not always known. Anger is not always seen. Anger is not always out loud. It is not just what we consider in actions and words. It can be something we harbor internally from childhood. It can pretty much come from any adversity we face in life when we don't deal with our real feelings. It can dwell so deep into our souls that we may not realize it is there or even how it got there.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? James 4:1

We are never void of sin's temptation. We are also never void of the spark of anger within us. What causes the temptation to turn into sin? What causes the spark of anger to ignite? Our self talk. Soul talk. The contents of our thought closet. It all starts there. A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 I don't know about you but I use to always think of this scripture meaning our verbal words to other people. Oh no. It means the quiet ones to our self also...our self talk. We need to readjust our thought closet so our answers to ourselves are gentle and not harsh words that can stir our own anger deep within our well.

Water. Water is so pure. It is good for so many things: gardens, yards, animals, vegetation, clothes, vehicles, bodies, skin...and anger. Anger? Yes, we can throw water onto our anger and calm the flames. Water can extinguish what gasoline will explode to an inferno.

Gasoline: highlights flaws, criticizes, escalates emotions, judges quickly, harsh without mercy
Water: soothes, settles emotions, encourages, cleanses, full of discretion/grace/mercy, no condemnation, can be difficult and corrective bringing wellness

Choose water. Choose a bridge. Choose acceptance. Choose P-E-A-C-E.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

Choosing Him for it all,

To see other reflections of Self Talk, Soul Talk visit Lelia.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Do Not Lose Heart

This post was originally meant to go last Friday but God had something else for me to post (praise and worship for Him). So some of the timing may sound off because this was written in the perspective as it occurred January 30th.

After a week of asking God to "show me", I sit saying, could this be it? Could this be what You are showing me? Once again, I read a back issue of a devotional (RM 1/22/09) and the scripture screamed at me: "believe, do not doubt, do not lose heart." God is coming and He's coming in a big way for me and in my life. I knew that I needed to pen what He was saying to me in this specific Luke scripture. I did just that. Later, I wanted to further meditate on this particular scripture. These verses spoke on persistence and perseverance. Those seem to be the themes resonating on my heart as of late and in the last 19 months.

Let me retract just a bit. About two months ago I purchased a simple notebook. This would be kept close to jot down anything the Lord brings to mind. It could be a page full or just three lines. It is a place to record thoughts and subjects God speaks to me. As I pondered this Luke scripture on persistence, I was positive I had already written some thoughts on the subject. What sweet amazement when I scanned my notebook to find two pages entitled: "Persistence. Perseverance. Prayer." Wow, Lord! Thank You, Lord! You do speak to me. You are speaking to me. And, I can hear You, too. I find it no coincidence that the week I've cried to Him in prayer to 'show me' that He shows me persistence, perseverance, and prayer. That is exactly what I needed to hear on this particular issue on my heart. I had fallen into some moments of doubt and question and He came through (no surprise, huh) and I'm claiming this message!

Stay tuned to be amazed what God had already said to me. Return to find out the result of putting pen to paper over a month ago and see how the scripture today relates to the message He gave me previously at the beginning of January.

I hate to cut this right here but if I include the rest it will be too long. I also don't like posting without giving you something that uplifts, encourages, strengthens, or enlightens. So I will give you the passage to examine.

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.' For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' "

And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:1-8

Please come back this time next week. You won't regret it. It's some powerful stuff!!! Powerful! I hope I can wait until then to post the remaining.

Not Losing Heart (or Hope),

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Look Up, Look Down, Look All Around

Look up, look down, look all around...
and hope will be found...
in God alone.

That's not quite the version we sang as children, but it's just something that flowed from my heart as I began this sixth chapter titled "Look Up: Hope in God, My Soul." Check what others took from this chapter by going to Lelia's. Or sit back and reap whatever encouragement I can sow to you, dear ones.

Unshakable and fearless that's to be desired. Not falling into despair.

We can be:
~Overcome with fear
~Shaken by doubt
~Bonded in guilt
~Intimidated by despair

Or we can be:
~Grounded in hope
~Anchored by hope
~Living full of hope
~Clinging to hope

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Psalm 42:5

Many times in the busyness of the day, I can feel something not right within me. I have to literally stop and ask myself what is the piece of sand rubbing in my shell. I, then, can recognize it again--oh yeah--I'm hurt over a friend's comment, I'm worried over a relative's spiritual state, I'm self-conscious about a conversation, I'm regretful over a harsh word, I'm bothered by an insensitive reaction...whatever it is, my heart must stop and face it again. Instead of letting the busyness of the day cover it.

Jennifer says "Christians who have every reason to hope experience feelings of hopelessness." Though the examples previously given do not cause me to feel despair and hopelessness, I do feel overcome with these feelings more times than not regarding more serious situations. Along with that, comes the guilt of knowing I have so much for which to be thankful and hopeful, yet...yet, I can be filled with sadness, disappointment, blues, depression, despair, and hopelessness...shamefully so, for me.

Emerson wrote "Life is a train of moods like a string of beads." However, I want my string to be made of unshakeable and unbreakable material. A string that is worn and torn is likely to break dispersing all the beads on the floor. God is my string. He will not break. He will not be shaken. Our beads will be secure on the string of God. He can keep our moods in tact. He can keep our beads together.

Jennifer gives a wonderful illustration of us being like a table with four even and sturdy legs: emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual.

Emotional Leg
Emotions can: give false conclusions, take over, cause despair, enslave, deplete.
Instead they should: serve, strengthen, compliment the truth.

"Our problems usually have less to do with our circumstances than with the way we choose to feel about them." Amen, sister. You speak right to my heart and convict me. I know this is so true for me. I can get wrapped up in my feelings of: worry, fear, what ifs, uncertainty, sadness, concern, hurt, etc. However, this is really just all in vain. I do not need to worry over my future. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that I am in my Father's Hands. Period. Worrying past that is just ridiculous. Plum ri-dic-u-lous!

Physical Leg
Jennifer mentioned the three basic components of our physical leg: rest, food, and exercise. If we examine each of these, we an see they all boil down to two things: discipline and desire. We have to discipline ourselves to get adequate rest. We have to discipline ourselves to eat healthy. We have to discipline ourselves to exercise regularly. We must also desire to do each of these, or rather, desire the results of them. The health of our soul and thought life does have much to do with our physical state. Our bodies are His temples.

Mental Leg
Jennifer shares "With way too much idle mental time, I overanalyzed my marriage and husband. The results were unreasonable expectations, despair, and frustration." Oh how I can see me in that. I remember so many nights I would ask beloved if he minded we watch Wheel of Fortune as I felt bored. He questioned whether I was bored with him. I now see it was my need to be mentally challenged. (Some may think I'm mentally challenged but that's beside the point...I mean to be challenged mentally, stay with me now.) In reflection, I see my mind was craving challenge. I needed my mind to work, to figure, to solve. Mentally, my mind seems to be at its best and fulfilled when I'm extremely busy at work. The down times can be torture on my brain. In the latter of my marriage, I now can see how I was playing solitaire and computer games to challenge my brain. I wasn't active in Bible studies or small groups so I didn't get challenged there. My mind is now being challenged with so many things: two Bible studies, faithful Bible reading, and continual thoughts of words to write for the Lord. Jennifer states this leg is the one frequently neglected. That is easy to see

Spiritual Leg
"When the spiritual leg of your table isn't secure, the weakness isn't always obvious. This seems to be the invisible leg, but it is really the weight-bearing leg of the table." I hear ya now, Jenn. My weakness in my marriage wasn't obvious to me either as it involved my spiritual leg. Mine was off-kilter and boy did the symptoms show up in my other three legs. In retrospect, I can see how my spiritual needs weren't met and everything failed in me physically, emotionally, and mentally. I see in each of these areas where I had major issues and ailments as a result of my spiritual leg becoming very unstable and shaky. (No sleep, illnesses, extreme moods, intense stress...I could go on.)

The deepest longing of my soul was to commune more closely with God. When that wasn't happening I looked to the other three legs, only to be frustrated and disappointed because they could not substitute my need of a closer walk with God.

Our Table
Once our four legs are secure, our table will be solid. Then, we must choose hope. Jennifer's section on 'Hope in God' was very convicting to me. By not purposely choosing hope, I'm choosing despair by default. No, wait, I don't want the default. Why in the world would I, you, we willingly choose despair over hope? We shouldn't. We can't anticipate hope will cause a burst of optimism but it can most definitely shift our focus onto the potential. That's a definite start, amen?!

God's Promises
What promises from God do you need to remind your soul of to help you not lose hope?
These are only a few of the promises that first came to mind. May they give you some encouragement also.
~He is good to us as we wait on Him. Lam. 3:25
~He has plans and hope for us. Jer. 29:11
~He will work for our good. Rom. 8:28
~He will direct our paths. Prov. 3:6
~What He's joined together no man can separate. Matt. 19:6
~He is sovereign and in control. Psalm 3:19

I'm attaching my hope in God to the promises of God. How about you? Do you have some promises from God on which you can cling? Cling tight!
Hoping in Him,

I hope you can see the detail in the ice on my bush. The snow storm caused a lot of chaos but boy did it provide a lot of beauty. Click on it to enlarge. Magnificent.

Friday, February 6, 2009

My Heart & My Eyes

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

After this ('Show Me') posting Saturday, I really began to think I had done it in vain. I began to question what value it could be to another person except to feel sorry for this poor soul. I even thought "oh well, I guess it's a learning was just for me to feel like I shared my heavy and broken heart and feel others listened." I reduced it to just one of those experiences where "releasing" one's feelings is therapeutic. Yet, even in this, He too has corrected me once again. From the comments, it seems I have encouraged another soul, maybe two or three, or many. Thank you sweet, Jesus, for reminding me I am your vessel and a vessel You ARE using for the good of others. Thank You, for reminding me to again not doubt myself and what You speak to my heart.

This is my heart. My heart...
in the palm of His hands
in the providential care of His love
in the sovereign plan of His desires

What a better and more majestic way to come out of a week of hibernation in the snow storm and the depressing solitude, than to lift my eyes and praise the wonderful name of Jesus. Will you join me? Will you lift your eyes?

When I lift my eyes, this is what my heart says so deeply, even to the core of my being...

God, my God, I cry out
Your beloved needs You now
God, be near, calm my fear
And take my doubt
Your kindness is what pulls me up
Your love is all that draws me in

I will lift my eyes to the Maker
Of the mountains I can't climb
I will lift my eyes to the Calmer
Of the oceans raging wild
I will lift my eyes to the Healer
Of the hurt I hold inside
I will lift my eyes, lift my eyes to You

God, my God, let Mercy sing
Her melody over me
God, right here all I bring
Is all of me
Your kindness is what pulls me up
Your love is all that draws me in

'Cause You are and You were and You will be forever
The Lover I need to save me
'Cause you fashioned the earth and You hold it together, God
So hold me now
God, my God, I cry out
Your beloved needs YOU now.

I sang praises to God this past Sunday morning. I wanted this song and worship in that moment to last forever. I love to hear Bebo Norman sing this also.

This song is so very personal to me as it so explicitly reveals my heart. Oh what praise I sang and even more what praise of which He is so worthy because for me...

There are...
Mountains I can't climb.
Raging oceans I can't tame.
Hurt I can't heal.
Saving I can't provide.

But I have...
A Maker who climbs for me.
A Calmer who calms me.
A Healer who heals me.
A Lover who saves me.

Please Lord...
Hear me cry out.
Have mercy on me.
Be near me.
Calm me.
Hold me.
Take my doubt.
Pull me with Your kindness.
Draw me with Your love.

Your beloved needs YOU now, Lord. Now, Your beloved needs you.
Right here, right now, I cry out and I bring what I of me.
I am Yours Lord and You are mine.

I've read this several times and my heart is so full of this...the pain, the praise, the love, the security, the longing, the need, the help, ALL beautifully packed into one all at the same time. Thank You sweet, sweet Jesus. If You do nothing but love me, I praise You. If You do more, I don't know how I'd ever repay You in praise and worship. I'm believing You right now for what You see in my heart...indeed in my bleeding heart also. Keep my eyes always, always looking up to You, lifting my all to You, precious Lord.

Crying, Needing, Praising, Loving...

The picture is of a "bleeding heart" flower. Look closely and you will see the heart and what is to be the 'drip' from the point.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Awake & Be Alert!

Chapter five of Self Talk, Soul Talk is titled "Tune In: Awake, My Soul". Don't worry if you are not doing this online study with us, hosted by Lelia. It is my prayer and hope that you are enlightened, enriched, uplifted, or strengthened through any morsel fed by this soul. My purpose is not to just enrich my life but also yours through sharing these studies. Let's begin...

As Jennifer talked about her diamond ring, I understood the deep value in something material, such as a wedding ring. I also knew where she was leading us. "I lost what was most valuable to me because I was distracted by the urgency of dirty dishes." Let's adjust that a little by saying: I lost what was most valuable to me because I was distracted. Period. Oh how that screamed at me. That's me! I lost one of my most valuables. I lost the second most valuable person. A circle of three was reduced to a circle of two: God and me. And now, only God can restore, replace, and resurrect what I lost by being distracted with the emotional pain hidden deep in my heart. For over two years, I slowly lost myself in my weakened walk with Jesus.

I lost. He will restore.
I was distracted. He will retract.

Wow. All that from one sentence. Thanks, Jenn.

"When we aren't tuned into what is true, we are taken in by what is transient."

Distractions come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.
~~Nettlesome problems. check.
~~Selfish indulgences. check.
~~The seemingly urgent. check.
~~Menial tasks. check.
~~Worry. check.
~~Fear of failure. check.
~~Opinions of others. check.

Wow. That last one can really destroy. The opinions of others combined with worrying over them...a deadly combination. I can't explain the depths of destruction that can be done by those. It truly is a distraction that takes away from the treasures(relationships) that are most important.

"Only when we allow them to keep us from our treasures do they become stumbling blocks in our lives." I had one huge stumbling block.

I want to truly treasure my treasures: my relationship with God and also His approval, a sense of purpose, and loved ones.

I love the imagery of custodial staff not placing empty boxes and cleaning supplies in the same gallery where the Mona Lisa hangs. So, should we not do the same with our thought closets and priorities? We shouldn't junk up our galleries (thoughts) with boxes (distractions) to block our Mona Lisa masterpiece (treasures).

So what in the world is the answer to avoid distractions and highlight treasures?
Focusing for a moment. Gaining perspective. Prioritizing treasures. Talking to your soul!!!

"Even a good thing can become a distraction if it shoves my treasure to the rear of the shelf." So "let's keep the light on so we can clearly see what's in there." If we don't have our own clothes closet organized and we go to reach in for an item, what will we pull out of the dark closet? We may want the dress jacket and pants but we get the painting shirt and sweats. That's not going to make a good impression at the job interview.

We know satan twists everything he touches and everything he speaks so yes he's not above using good things to distract us.

Here's a diagram I use in my head to simplify what Jennifer is saying.
Good things --> Distractions --> Displaced treasures

I love, love, love her analogy with the roaring lion. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 She posed a good question. How does a roaring lion sneak up on anyone? I never thought about this but it's so true. It is because we've become desensitized to his roar. He is always lurking and roaring at us. We just merely tune him and his roar out gradually. Like a hum in our car that fades or a buzz in the house that our minds that is. That is scary! Is it not? Do not become desensitized to his roar. He roars at the door but don't don't have to! Don't be the someone for which he's looking.

You are a loser.
No, you are a conqueror. Rom. 8:37

You are weak.
No, He gives strength. Is. 40:31

You are abandoned.
No, God is for you. Rom. 8:31

You are alone.
No, you're not separated from Christ's love. Rom. 8:35

Nobody cares for you.
No, God cares and comforts. 2 Cor. 1:4

God doesn't listen
No, God is near. Ps. 145:18-19

You have no value.
No, you are His. Is. 43:1

This can't be fixed.
No, nothing is too hard for God. Jer. 32:17

No, do not worry; pray! Phil. 4:6

Peace is not yours.
No, He gives you peace. John 14:27

You have no willpower.
No, He gives power. 2 Tim. 1:7

Staying Alert,

The picture is from my sweet Australian friend Paula. It is a Sweetpea flower from Burnie, Tasmania (Australia).