Exhausted and Distracted

Busy vs fruitful. Which are you? Someone a few days ago was telling me their schedule. They were explaining how it’s just so difficult to get any scripture reading or prayer time in their day. There’s the 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “pray with ceasing” concept. We can and should always be in intimacy with the Father. Prayer is a way of life. But, there’s a place for focused, specific prayer free from distraction. This person has little to no Bible reading and prayer included in their spiritual walk. There’s no time allotted for it. Not surprisingly they feel down, defeated, exhausted, hopeless, and lack peace. They are busy, not fruitful. They are exhausted and distracted. And that’s right where the enemy wants them…and us.

Distractions

Many years ago I worked with a woman who had two full time jobs. She even had another small sales venture on the side. This lady was always tired. Always. It was difficult working with her because she never gave 100%. Exhaustion didn’t allow it. One day she opened up to me that although she loved being a single woman with a lot of money, her new purses and designer clothes weren’t making her happy. She felt empty. As she was rummaging through her Coach purse telling me her thoughts, I was reminded of this verse in Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (ESV). It’s OK to want nice things and work hard to an extent. But this lady was working her body in the ground for name brands and comfort. Although she may have professed to have faith, her life was full of building earthly treasures.

Today, I want to ask you if you’re exhausted and distracted? Perhaps you can’t identify with that woman above because you have children and are financially struggling. Maybe your health is failing. Some might say, “I’m just trying to make it.” Single parents especially feel this way. It’s tough. If you are too busy to read your Bible and pray, you’re too busy. Period. Make time. Ask the Father to give you wisdom in choosing a schedule that honors Him. Don’t get caught in the trap of distraction. Stay focused and take care of your body. You are here for a purpose. Live it. Just as Yeshua (Jesus) did, take time away to spend alone with the Father. This will give you joy, peace, and strength to live victoriously each day.

Help hurting people. Love others. Love God. Take the sabbath rest. Bear much fruit. Keep your focus on Him. 

Psalm 105:4 ESV Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!

Psalm 127:1-2 ESV Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Matthew 6:19-21 ESV “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

John 15:16 ESV You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

Hebrews 4:9-12 ESV So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

 

 

 

The Vegetables

Recently I was scrolling through my news feed on Facebook. I saw some posts that said things like “big money is coming your way, type ‘amen’ for your blessing, this is your time for breakthrough” etc. Those posts in some cases had hundreds of likes. One had over a thousand. Then there’s the sugar coated messages from popular ministers. I’ve seen thousands to millions of likes from their promoted pages. Conversely, it’s not uncommon to scroll past a post on pride, selfishness, adultery, idolatry, sin, Torah, feasts etc and see little to no likes. Years ago I came up with labels in truth and humor to differentiate messages. Simply put, many are undernourished spiritually. They need to eat their vegetables.

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There are several main categories for the numerous words out there. I have broken it down to: milk, meat (protein), vegetables and fruit, carbs, dessert, and rotten. The milk is the first thing a new believer eats. It is basic and foundational. The gospel message. Knowing Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah. Understanding we are sinners, we are loved and have a purpose in God’s plan. Meat or protein is similar to milk but more depth. It builds the foundation. The muscle. Understanding God’s love, His nature, what grace and mercy are. Prayer. Scripture reading. Praise and worship. Next comes the produce (vegetables and fruit). This is where the nourishment really is. This brings health. Wholeness. Healing. Understanding your hidden sins, the fruits of the Ruach (Spirit), how to forgive, extend mercy, sacrifice for the Kingdom, humility, brokenness etc.

These next couple of labels are what we either should not be consuming at all or in smaller amounts. The carbs are words that give you energy but too much is unhealthy and can make you fat. I think of prophetic words, dreams, visions etc. They are good and useful but we shouldn’t rely too heavily on them. Yes, if we’re walking in intimacy with Abba we will hear His voice in various ways regularly. But, this is a faith walk. We are to walk by faith, not by sight or signs (see 2 Corinthians 5:7). Next are the dessert messages. These taste good, can be addictive, feel good to our flesh but are of little to no nutritional value. Prosperity. Favor. God’s love (an improper definition) and grace (a messy, do-whatever-you-want you’re forgiven grace). Some of the topics are OK but are easily taken out of balance. It is self focused.

Lastly, there are rotten words we should never consume. They are only bad for us and can make us sick, even be fatal if injested enough. False prophecies, bad doctrine, lies and things that are totally contrary to scripture need to be totally abstained from. These things poison us. Sometimes it’s obvious it’s rotten, other times it isn’t. Like eating junk at a fast food restaurant, it may taste good but it’s bad for you. Not all rotten messages appear and taste moldy or rancid. The Bible is the way to discern it.

Today, I want to encourage you to seek the Father regarding what messages you’re consuming. Ask Him to lead you and help you injest healthy spiritual food. If you’ve been eating bad things or feasting out of balance, now is the time to stop.  Just like in the physical, making diet changes can have a pretty quick impact for the better. Spiritual health comes from nourishing your spirit with the Spirit (Ruach).

It may be time for a diet change. See the Great Physician. Get on His diet. And eat your vegetables.

Psalm 34:8 ESV Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

1 Corinthians 3:1-3, 16-17 ESV But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

 

 

Your Servant Hears

I’ve been in prayer about a couple of things for a while. I had struggled to hear God’s voice on the matter. The “silent” times. I’ve learned God isn’t a chatterbox per se, but He is always speaking. His voice can be heard in different ways. Sensed. Felt. Almost touched. It’s a spirit to spirit thing. However, there are times when operator error occurs. We are not able to hear for some reason. Life is busy. We are distracted. Our minds are analyzing, worrying, or meditating on something it shouldn’t. We cannot hear or see. Our senses are dulled.  Even while reading scripture we can fail to receive what is being communicated. That was me. It was as if I was deaf. All of a sudden the Ruach (Spirit) showed me something. He’s been speaking. Over and over. In my attempts to hear, I wasn’t being still enough to truly listen. Just as Samuel was instructed by Eli to say in 1 Samuel 3:9 sometimes we just need to say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.”

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Today, I want to encourage you to get still and make a deliberate decision to listen to God’s voice. Prayer is a two way conversation. Many fail to understand that. I forget sometimes. I’m so busy bringing my list of wants, needs, and petitions regarding others that I fail to hear Him speak. I leave my prayer times feeling lonely, empty, and almost like I’ve been talking to only the walls around me. When we take the time to soak up His presence and hear His voice, it energizes us. Refreshes us. His voice brings strength, hope, and healing. We miss out when we fail to listen.

Life will pull at us from all directions. Many things will fight for our attention. In the midst of the noise and many voices sometimes we have to just stop. Get quiet. Hear. Recognize what we are impressioned to say or do. If it lines up with scripture we do it. For God’s glory.

1 Samuel 3:3-9 ESV The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.”

So he went and lay down. And the Lord called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

Help the Well

Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend that really got me thinking. She mentioned how when she was a bit younger, healthy, and stable in her career her family and friends abounded. It wasn’t that difficult to get help if she needed it. People in general seemed to treat her better. But, since her disability virtually no one will offer any assistance. Her family doesn’t speak much to her and hardly returns messages. One family member cited her being, ironically, “too needy” to receive help. I read Proverbs 14:20 The poor is disliked even by his neighbor, but the rich has many friends (ESV). I was meditating on that verse and how much that contrasts the love of Yeshua (Jesus). Poverty is treated with contempt. Proverbs 14:20 shows the heartbeat of this world. Money, status and connections are valued and go hand-in-hand. Even nasty rich people will have those willing to befriend them for hopes in a piece of the wealth. A chance at promotion or attention. Those who are poor likely have needs unmet. Helping them requires inconvenience and sacrifice sometimes. Our flesh doesn’t like that. So, sadly, this truth is evident. The sick and needy are neglected. We help the well.

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When I first moved up to the twin cities area for college I was told of beggars. I had experienced some but nothing like I was about to. I worked in downtown Minneapolis. Someone gave me some advice I took. Don’t carry a purse, walk confidently, and don’t make eye contact unless you think there’s a threat. Big cities are cold. They just are. I didn’t get approached that often for money but it happened a few times.

One day I had a small amount of money in my pockets. Three different people asked me for money. I turned down the first two shabbily dressed men with a quick “no, sorry”. The third man who approached me was in a nice business suit. He asked for change and said his wallet was stolen. And I gave to him what I had. Yes, I was a young female trying to be safe. The business man seemed more safe. Less likely to want my money, I reasoned, for drugs or booze. That night I went to a praise and worship gathering. It hit me. In my desire to be “wise and discerning” I gave to the one who appeared the richest. It was more comfortable to do so. I felt conviction. I didn’t know any of them but I judged. And not with righteous judgment. Proverbs 14:20 is seen in a new light.

Today, and everyday, I want to challenge you to take another look at the widows and orphans around you. It seems many prefer to give to richer, more established ministries because we believe they are more trustworthy and can do more good. But it’s the neighbor, friend, and lonely person sitting alone at your church that may need the most love. We look for our callings to be defined in the good and comfortable. But, our callings are defined in the faces of the hurting world around us.

Help the hurting.

Proverbs 22:16 ESV Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

Proverbs 31:20 ESV She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.

James 1:27 ESV Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

 

 

I’m a Yeller

Just the other day my oldest two boys got in a fight. I was busy caring for the baby when it happened. After a couple of civilized attempts to settle things down I started yelling. I mean shouting to the point where the kids immediately stopped right in their tracks. My middle son gave me a wide eyed deer-in-headlights look. I don’t shout like that too often. But when I do I mean business. I followed up the yelling with “wait until daddy gets home.” It’s true. He’s actually a calmer but sterner disciplinarian. After one particular recent incidence I realized something (yes, some of you already know this well). I am not a very patient person. And, when I get rattled I yell. Yep, I’m a yeller.

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I grew up with a mother who was a really good shouter. When you did something she didn’t like you knew about it. Along with everyone else in close proximity. If she was angry enough, she’d follow up her rage outburst with the silent treatment. And lots of it. I remember when my grandmother, her mother, lived with us. Many times I’d be in my bedroom turning the music up in my headphones to drown out her yelling. It was awful. I told myself I’d never be a yeller. And, I’m not as she was. Sadly to say though I still lose my cool. I’ve been recently focusing on the fruits of the Ruach (Spirit). In particular, patience or longsuffering. None of us like not getting our way or feeling out of control. However, how we respond to the bubbling intensity of feelings inside us is a choice. It may seem like we can’t help losing our composure but we can. Temper tantrums do not glorify God. I’m not referring to real righteous indignation. I’m referring to the flesh screaming when it doesn’t get what it wants. 

Today I want to encourage those fellow yellers out there. Do you struggle with impatience? Self control? Good news. One of the fruits of the Ruach is patience. And self control. I’ve learned that when you ask God in prayer to make you more patient and disciplined He will definitely answer it. It is anything but comfortable. You may find yourself (as I have) literally clenching your fist or biting your lip. That not-so-nice string of words you are tempted to say can stay unsaid. The next time you’re standing in a super long checkout line, someone mixes up something you ordered, or that car cuts you off in traffic you have a decision. Life is about reactions and actions. Will you make a knee jerk response and cuss that person out? Will you gossip about that person who hurt you? Will you yell?

The title of this blog says I’m a yeller. But, join me in being something different: a patient person in training.

Proverbs 18:21 ESV Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Isaiah 40:31 ESV But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Colossians 4:6 ESV Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

James 1:19-20 ESV Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

 

 

 

Day of Adversity

Proverbs 24:10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small (ESV).

This verse in Proverbs has been playing on repeat the past couple of days. Life is tough. More challenges have emerged. A couple of days ago I was literally on the floor in the living room sobbing in prayer. You know those prayers where all you can do is say “Jesus/Yeshua”. At one point I actually took my fists and pounded on the floor. I hate this season. But it is for a purpose and if I have to be conformed to my Maker’s image kicking and screaming (or pounding) so be it.

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Going back to Proverbs 24:10 the Hebrew word tsarah means adversity, distress or trouble. Webster’s dictionary definition of adversity:  a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune. Laurel’s translation of this verse is: if you give up or stop trying when life gets tough with continued difficulty or trials, your emotional and spiritual strength is small. This has nothing to do with physical brute strength. Rather, this strength is one that says in Job 1:21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (ESV). When life gets painful and challenging, we praise God anyway. We stay the course of our faith knowing He is faithful.

What is your faith in? Money? Relationships? Title? Health? A god who does what you want when you want it? I’ve heard many times people say they won’t go to a church or fellowship because they were wounded before. I’ve been wounded before too. However, that statement says their faith was in people and the pastor, not ultimately in YHVH. Yes, sometimes people hurt us. But that doesn’t mean everyone is bad. Just because one pastor hurt you doesn’t mean all of them are bad. The enemy would love us to get walled up, stop trying, and just fade slowly into worldly ways and thinking. We never get rooted. We are isolated and weak.

Today I want to challenge you to really consider what your faith is rooted in. If you’re quick to walk away and tell God to get lost, something’s wrong with your spiritual foundation. I want an easy life. We all do. Some seem to have it easier than others. But, remember, that’s not our business. May we hear God say, “You follow me” and we do. Faithfully. Wholeheartedly. In His plan. And yes, and He has one for your life.

I feel like at the moment the following is my verse. If you’re going through trials, may this be your response too. John 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (ESV).

There is nowhere else to go for eternal life. Don’t give up. You are being strengthened. 

Psalm 66:10 ESV For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

James 1:2-4 ESV Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

1 Peter 4:12-13 ESV Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Used Car

I’ve been a Christian or Messianic believer for over twenty five years combined. I struggled for a long time in receiving God’s love for myself. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (ESV). I would read that verse and think, “Yeah, He died for all of us who would believe. Sure.” It was a collective, group thing. Being super honest here, when I’d hear people saying Yeshua (Jesus) would have died for me had I been the only person on Earth I would almost roll my eyes. I just didn’t believe it. It sounds like a really touching, nice thing to say. But, I could not receive that.

Well meaning believers who would discover my struggle to embrace His love would tell me to “just look at the cross.” Yes, Messiah’s sacrifice was a great demonstration of love. He died for us. But somehow (sheepishly admitting) I didn’t get that knowing of His love from it. I should have. I do now. Then I didn’t. Recently God gave me a picture I’d like to share with you. This is for those who need that revelation as I did. May it be received by whoever needs it.

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God’s love is like someone having an unlimited amount of money. They desire to purchase and invest in a vehicle for travelling around, being a representative, and doing business. The job is important and eternity is on the line. So, the person decides not to buy a Bentley or Rolls Royce, or even a new Honda or Subaru. They don’t purchase a new car. Instead, the person goes to a used car lot and buys the junkiest car labelled by others to have the lowest value. Only the super desperate, practically broke buyers give that car hidden in the back a glance. And even some of them turn their nose at it. It is deemed of little to no useful purpose. Some say the car should be just thrown in a junk yard. But, this person (God’s love) purchases the car. They put in a new engine, paint it, give it fresh upholstery and invest in it until it is something beautiful. It has special value because it’s not just another nice car. It’s a collector car. A masterpiece. This buyer shows it off proudly, touting the work they put into it and how beautiful it is. And this car drives wherever it is intended to go giving honor to its owner. When the car is newly purchased some jeer at how junky it appears. But the buyer has a plan. In time, the value is proudly displayed.

Today, I want to leave you with this encouragement. God will never leave you or forsake you (see Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). He will finish the work He started in you. And YHVH doesn’t pick who we’d pick. He looks at the heart. He chooses broken, flawed vessels full of cracks to display His glory and goodness. The love of our Creator is seen in the patience and care He takes with each of us. Refining us. Disciplining us. Speaking to us. Over and over until we get it. Sometimes we go round and round the same mountain. God is right there saying, “I’m here my child. You can get it right this time. If not, I’ll stay here until you do.”

The evidence of God’s love isn’t just in what He does but what He doesn’t do. We don’t get what we deserve. His mercy is love. His grace is love. That used car-you-are intended to be something beautiful in God’s plan. Trust Him.

1 Samuel 16:7 ESV But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Psalm 40:2-3 ESV He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord .

2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

Philippians 1:6 ESV And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:10 ESV For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

Suffering for Ourselves

“We will never see ourselves clearly simply by focusing more intently on ourselves.” Jared Mellinger

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test (ESV)! 

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I read an article on being too self focused regarding the spiritual life. It was very interesting to me. For those of you who are familiar with the MBTI personality classifications, I’m an ENFP with a strong I or introverted side. In fact, sometimes I score ENFP and sometimes INFP as I’ve taken several tests related to Myers Briggs. I have a strong introspective quality. It allows me to be social and discuss fluff along with deep, abstract concepts. Sometimes my self analysis gets me in trouble (figuratively). I’ve been noted to pick things apart mentally only to reach a wrong conclusion or get stuck in worry. I’m a fairly discerning person but my overthinking can override it. I used to think that being a good believer meant daily examining yourself. After all, you can’t truly understand who YHVH is until you know what you are and you’re not, right? Hmm. Not as much as some believe.

Wait, I posted a verse on examining ourselves then I say not to? Confused? I’m not actually challenging the Word nor contradicting myself. There’s a context. John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (ESV). We must remember that we can really do nothing (including breathe) unless God wills it. Furthermore, we cannot do anything of eternal significance without Him. He is Elohim, the Creator. His creation doesn’t understand their purpose or become more effective by being narcisstic. Yes, there are feasts and times set just for examining ourselves for repentance and spiritual restoration. But if we do this daily, we miss the point of our existence. Love God, love others (and yes, love ourselves).

We can’t love God and others if we are stuck in self analysis. Our focus won’t be on His will, His love, or others’ needs. As I’ve said, a distracted soldier is a useless one. We are in a spiritual war. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God (see 2 Corinthians 10:4). The key is balance. Some introspect so much they almost have a martyr mentality. They feel like they have to look at how awful they are all the time or brag on how others persecute them. They’re “suffering for Jesus (Yeshua)”. No, they’re not. The focus is them. Pride.

Today, I want to encourage you to see yourself through the mirror of God’s word first. Understanding yourself better and your purpose comes from setting your sights on Elohim and those around you that need His love. There’s a place for introspection. I do it and some personality types do it more than others. However, don’t get lost in yourself. You’re here for a reason. You’re on assignment. Time is running short and oh so fleeting. Don’t miss it. Be wise. 

Know thyself. But know Him more. Much more.

Psalm 119:15-16 ESV I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

Isaiah 26:3 ESV You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

James 1:22-25 ESV But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.

For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

 

 

 

Due Season

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (ESV).

The above verse has been playing over and over in my spirit during this season of life. Some days living feels draining. Between an infant who doesn’t sleep too well at night, a super hyper five year old boy, and an eight year old boy with ASD I’m beat. My family, as I’ve shared before, has been in a long challenging stretch of journey. There are times I have to deliberately pause just to exhale and gain spiritual perspective. Gratitude doesn’t come natural. Oh, I wish it did. Slowly but surely I am learning to make a habit of appreciating God’s hand in His creation around me.

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Galatians 6:9 has always bothered me a little. I know it shouldn’t. That little phrase “due season” just doesn’t mix well with my flesh. The literal translation from Greek to English is “in time indeed due”. The word for due is ἰδίῳ or idios. This word is used 7 times and in 6 times it translates “in his own”. That means for those looking for a clue as to when they’ll start reaping, the answer is unique and personal. Each person has their own season. People have been trying for a long, long time to find the right formula. And, there is one: do good, don’t give up, and in your own season you’ll reap. You may sow longer than your neighbor (or at least appear so) but the season of reaping a good harvest comes when it’s harvest time. Only God knows exactly when it us. We must trust the One who created and oversees every season to rightfully decide when. 

Today, I want to encourage you to not get weary and quit while sowing good. I know what it’s like to feel like it’s never your turn. Everyone around you seems to be getting blessings and favor and you’re working hard, seeking faithfully, and being obedient and not seeing rewards. Two points in response: eternity is really where it all evens out as life isn’t fair and your own season is unique to your journey. Comparison is the reason many lack joy. When looking at someone else’s life we only know in part so we can only judge in part. Only God can righteously and fairly decide.

For those weary souls waiting for your own season, hear the Master’s call. Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (ESV).

Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

Psalm 1:3 ESV He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

Matthew 6:3-4 ESV But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 11:29-30 ESV “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

Raw

I wrote a poem 15 years ago called “Raw”. Here’s a few lines:

I’m raw, shattered to the core, no costumes anymore. I’m stripped, laid bare, and no longer care….somewhere in between fear and doubt and trying to figure it out, I lost you. I lost me. 

I threw out some of what I wrote during this time because it was mostly razor blades and raw emotion. But I saved a few things. I’ve never been a consistent journaler but I’ve been writing to some degree faithfully for much of my life. Music and words-thoughts unravelled from a hungry soul-have been a good companion. For some reason I felt a desire to go back to some writings from many years ago. To reflect. To appreciate. And mostly to give God glory. During difficult times those tangible reminders of how far we’ve come by His grace and the answered prayers played out bring hope.

Broken_Glass_Face_by_RoarShark

Writing anything during this time, coming up on the anniversary of my mother’s death, is difficult. I feel as though tears from my soul pour out whether I want them to or not. So, I tend to shrink back, get quieter and spare others the emotional hemmorage. But this year I’ve decided to write a little bit. I kind of feel like you earn your stripes so-to-speak as a writer when you lay down the gauntlet. You bare your soul and open your spirit to the point where the reader isn’t able to walk away undecided. This particular blog is me being raw.

There’s a lot my Abba has faithfully seen me through. Some things are more proudly vocalized than others. I read lyrics from when I first got saved. I stumbled on a poem I wrote right before I moved to Minnesota. A song I wrote shortly after getting married. Thoughts after becoming a mother to my firstborn. But there was something else I stumbled on. Writing after a panic attack. A journal entry on my weight and how well I was counting everything I ate. And something I hadn’t shown anyone. This letter was written three years ago. It was a suicide note.

I’d never actually kill myself. Just an FYI for anyone concerned. I’m not depressed right now, though life is definitely challenging in this season. I read the darkest, most gut wrenching string of words I’d seen in a long, long time. It was hopelessness. So much pain. So much loneliness. Too much. What I discovered looking back on that note is something that moved me to tears now. At the bottom I wrote: but God is faithful. My soul was digging its grave when my spirit stepped in. Those words “but God.” The Ruach (Spirit) whispered, “It would be hopeless except I’m here. Always.”

Someone needs a “but God” revelation. You are sick and in pain. But God. Your spouse just walked out on you. But God. Your bank account is negative. But God. Your friends have deserted you. But God. Your prodigal son/daughter is out there lost. But God. But God. 

On your knees, get before your Abba. I’ve cried out so many times, “I don’t understand, but You are faithful. Help me stay faithful. Help me love you and love others.” Cry out to Him. Remember, this whole journey ends with “but God”. There’s an eternity at the finish line. Run. Walk. Crawl. But keep going. In the midst of rawness when others would rather look away than see the real you, remember you are loved by Elohim.

It’s OK to be raw. But God.

Psalm 40:1-5 ESV I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.

Psalm 51:17 ESV The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.