Christian Living, faith

Let Down Your Net

Luke 5:4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

My life is changing. I’ve got several opportunities to pray about and consider. I’m creating a new schedule. Recently I’ve been praying for wisdom and asking God to speak to me. I admit I have some understandable nerves from the new direction.

“God, tell me something. Anything. Speak to me. “

I said this the other day.

Nothing.

I’ve learned that God is very deliberate. He uses the silence for a purpose. I sense He wants me to have total trust and dependence on Him. I felt a bit like I was walking through a pitch black tunnel when I heard from Him.

“Keep me in the boat.”

Huh.

It was a few days later when I read Luke 5. Then I understood. What amazes me is how the blessing from God draws you but yet shines a crystal clear mirror of your soul. Jesus (Yeshua) blesses you and all of a sudden your frailty and sin is totally laid bare. It’s piercing. Humbling.

When He shows up.

God revealed to me that I need to invite His voice into my “boat.” My own efforts won’t do much.

But that blessing.

It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve tried and it failed. When God says to do it, it will work. His purpose will be done.

Right now, I don’t have a fancy or sophisticated word to give you. I am simply passing along what God gave me.

Invite Him into your situation. He cares about the details.

It doesn’t matter what happened in the past as long as God is there blessing it.

I sense there’s someone who needs to read this: let down your nets again.

It’s not over.

Listen for His instructions. Then don’t be afraid to do it. It’s not in your strength; it’s in God’s.

Let down your net once more. I’m doing it too. It may be time for you to do something more. Something greater.

Thank you Lord for Your blessing.

Luke 5:1-11 ESV On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them.

And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

Christian Living, faith

Full of Gladness

Acts 2:28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.

What a statement!

Gladness: feeling joy or pleasure; delighted.

Shavuot or Pentecost just took place. The giving of the law and the promised Holy Spirit given to whosoever wholeheartedly seeks. The time of introspection and reflection on God peaks here. Then, it seems to reduce as the haze of the summer heat kicks in (at least here in Minnesota.) Where I’m from we don’t have warmth for too long. So it’s enjoyed. From a spiritual perspective, this time of year can get very dry.

Everyday, I want to be refined a little more.

As I’m heading into this summer season, I have a word Abba gave me. Well, more like a verse. Acts 2:28 (from Psalm 16:11.)

I will be full of gladness with His presence.

That is my declaration.

For quite a while I felt a yoke was put on me. Some who wanted me to appear and behave a certain way as a woman of faith. They had an idea of what a godly woman should look like. I allowed that critical voice to create a self imposed legalism on myself. I had been seeking God almost too much (if there’s such a thing) out of self condemnation. I had to be this. Do that. Talk like this. Say less like that person.

Strive. Strive. Strive.

I became exhausted and worn. As I was seeking God one day on it, He told me simply in His gentle whisper that I was doing this to myself. God made us all with different temperaments and strengths.

There’s more than one way to be a woman of integrity.

I don’t have to look like you nor do you have to look like me. Physically, emotionally, and behaviorally (within biblical reason.)

There’s grace.

Oh that beautiful word. Grace. I can seek God, allowing Him to refine me and fill me while I am glad in His presence. No more beating myself up. No more trying to be what someone thinks I should be. I can be healthy me.

Right now, I’m just seeking His presence. And it is enough.

Psalm 16:2 ESV I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

Ephesians 1:3 ESV Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places

Christian Living, faith

Loving Someone That Doesn’t Love Themselves

Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

I’ve struggled for much of my life in truly loving myself (in a healthy way.) For a long time I never really understood why it was important to come to a place of love and peace with yourself (of course, this doesn’t negate self improvement and growing in God’s grace and character.)

We love ourselves in the process.

Interestingly, I’ve come to learn its necessity through a friend. For privacy purposes I’ll call her Jane. We are currently not in communication.

Jane has a very different life than me, but I have known her for many years. Fifteen years or so. There’s been stretches of silence and times of pleasant communication. In the past we’ve prayed together a few times. Discussed Bible verses. It was a decent friendship overall.

Except for one thing.

Jane has Borderline Personality Disorder.

Other issues as well. A couple of years ago Jane was hurt by her church. She stopped going anywhere altogether. Then her beloved therapist moved away. I have three young children, my oldest with low functioning autism. My husband lives in pain and is healing through work related injuries. My life simply doesn’t allow me long stretches of free time to socialize. I have little patches of time to work with.

I didn’t respond to a message fast enough for Jane.

I took several days to respond. Told her that I was busy. She didn’t understand that and blocked me on social media. A few weeks later she apologized and asked to reconcile. We did.

Then Jane blocked again.

This time I responded within a few hours but was too short with her, or so it appears. She blocked me again. I sent a message to a mutual friend asking if they’d relay something to her. They said they can’t, she blocked them too.

“Jane is just getting offended by everything right now.”

Sigh…

I don’t have the energy, nor does this other friend, to stay on the roller coaster anymore. The push-pull train stops here for me. For my sanity I have to walk away.

Maybe someday if she comes back to faith and is serious about truth and getting help I’ll reconsider.

But not now. Not for a long time.

Let me stop here and tell you I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD. I have my battles. I am very compassionate and understanding of struggles. But you’ll never get better rejecting truth.

John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

And you can’t be in relationship with someone who refuses truth.

Jane, unfortunately, will continue ruining relationships and pushing people away. She doesn’t know how to self validate and love herself, so she spreads her pain and feelings of self rejection with those around her. People have to walk on eggshells for fear of offending her in some way.

In the end, she’s loving others as she “loves” herself. She doesn’t.

It’s hard to love someone who doesn’t love themselves. I have to love Jane from the sidelines, at a distance. But this situation has caused me to look at myself.

There have been times I’ve resembled Jane.

I’ve never been as extreme as Jane in behavior, but I’ve battled with my emotional triggers. I now wonder how many felt as I do about her.

Tired. Frustrated. Done. Done trying to connect and support someone who has unrealistic, unhealthy expectations. Done trying to love someone who refuses it.

The process is the goal.

It’s OK to have struggles. But, we can’t let them have us. I read a statistic that said 50% of people at some point in life will battle with some kind of mental issue. That’s one out of two.

But there’s hope and healing in Christ.

I know firsthand because I’m living proof.

Sometimes the most loving thing a person can do is let them figure it out for themselves. Truth will set you free, but it can hurt like hell first.

But the truth will set you free if you let it. And the most wonderful truth is that God loves you and I.

Too much to leave us as we are.

Thank you Lord.

Christian Living, faith

Desolate Places

Luke 5:16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

Desolate: (of a place) deserted of people and in a state of bleak and dismal emptiness.

This morning I read in Judges, Psalms, and Luke. I was intending to write about Gideon when I sensed God wanted me to sit on it. When I got to Luke 5:16 that’s when I knew what I was to write on.

This verse is small, but significant. First things first, the word desolate. Wilderness. Deserted of people; bleak and dismal emptiness.

Oh my.

I read this recently…

A Christian should never be less alone than when they are alone.

For we are never truly alone.

Psalm 139:7-8 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

We can talk to God anytime, anywhere. He hears and sees regardless of time or location. But there’s something special and significant about “quiet time.” When distractions are removed and God’s whisper is loud and clear. When we are empty to be filled.

This is something I’ve started praying every morning in my quiet times. I got this from Susie Larson’s ministry.

I am second. God is first.

There’s nothing like giving the first part, and other needed parts, of your day to the One who made you and can recharge you.

I am more extraverted. I recharge connecting with others. But I have a strong introverted side, too. I understand some who struggle with quiet times because space and silence isn’t how they energize. I used to battle with that also.

In order to have the most meaningful and spiritually significant interactions with others, we need to have first things first.

I’ve discovered that I’m more loving, patient, and restrained when I talk to the Creator before I do anything else.

The desolate places.

The quiet, desolate places are where you bring your emptiness and He fills you. It’s my “date” with God. If you don’t practice this or do it regularly, now is a great time to start.

Find a desolate place. Pray. Read the Word. For we are never less alone than when we are. Truly.

Christian Living, faith

A Soft Place

Proverbs 31:11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

Change is happening. Many changes. For the first time in years, I’m heading back into the workforce. My husband’s body needs to heal from the physical toll his jobs took on him. He lives in terrible pain. And I battled hard with the isolation of parenting a low functioning autistic child. The break is needed.

I admit I’ve had to push through a few raw nerves.

But it’s a good thing. I’m being stretched. My oldest son is changing schools, getting different therapy, and recently got a new PCA. Plans to move are on the horizon. New jobs are starting, and we have been at a new church.

Roles are being defined and redefined. What does being a wife, support to my husband, and mother look like now? And what does being a friend to someone look like now that my schedule and priorities are about to shift?

Most importantly, what does God ask of me?

I’ve sought God in prayer and the counsel of someone godly and trusted. My friend gave me wonderful things to chew on. I waited for the still, small voice. God gave me this…

  • Redemption
  • Seek Me first (Matthew 6:33)
  • Do all for My glory and do it unto Me (1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17, 23)

One more thing.

A soft place to land.

Being a good wife, mother, friend, neighbor etc is being a soft place.

Soft place?

I understood in a way, but I didn’t completely. I’ve been processing this. It was not at all what I was expecting to hear. I even Googled the phrase.

My pastor preached on Ezekiel 36:26. I just recently wrote on this. God removing the heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh. I get it.

This long season my family was in taught me many things, but one sticks out right now.

What’s going on around me isn’t what’s in me, but what’s in me changes how I perceive and respond to what’s around me.

I have Christ in me. He’s done a big work in me.

I can’t shake the feeling that somehow God is saying to me, “You passed. You can handle this now.”

I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19)

My future needs a tenderness and wisdom God was tilling in the soil of my heart. It’s time for harvest. It’s time for redemption.

He has made me a soft place.

Christian Living, faith

My Frozen Heart Dream

Ezekiel 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Almost three months ago now I had a dream. It was rather simple but made a big impression on me. I don’t often get dreams from God, much less in this style. So I took it prayerfully and seriously. I wasn’t planning on publicly sharing it but I feel led to do so now.

A couple of people I more recently reconnected with were in the dream with me. I recall they were driving me to my doctor’s appointment. I was wearing a heart monitor. But this wasn’t a typical one. It was more of a thermometer. When we arrived at the doctor’s office, I was called back to be seen immediately. My friends followed me.

“Watch out for her. If her heart gets too cold it could freeze and stop working.

The doctor told them, right in front of me. I had an understanding it was serious, but yet a peace that it would be ok.

Oh my goodness. I don’t want my heart to freeze!

I told my one friend something similar. She reassured me that I’d be ok as long as I was open, praying, and seeking God. Both friends continued to follow me around. Periodically I’d check the heart monitor aka thermometer. It was slowly rising. I knew I was going to be fine, and in the dream I was.

Then I woke up.

I could tell God was revealing something about myself to me. I prayed, asked a friend what they thought, and read the Word. And I sat on it for a while.

The interpretation.

I’m not gifted in dream interpretation. But, I know God showed me a few things. I’m opening up about this personal dream for those that may need to hear this.

  • I’ve been wounded
  • These two friends are safe and trusted and their presence in my life is God-ordained.
  • Accountability is important
  • A wounded heart, if not careful, can become a cold, hardened heart
  • God wants to heal me
  • Being open to God and the right people will aid the healing process
  • I need to become better, not bitter, from my trials

There was a lot God highlighted for me in this simple dream. He was showing me that my wounded heart was in danger of becoming a hardened heart. God was intervening.

For anyone reading this who’s been wounded, mistreated, used, and abused. Hear me. I say this with love and tenderness. There’s a difference between a wounded heart and a hardened heart. Don’t let your heart grow cold. Keep your heart warm and tender. May you love what Abba loves and may you weep for what He weeps.

And it’s souls.

I’m so very thankful beyond any words I could type up that God gave me this dream. It set the course for some wonderful healing in my life. God will do the same for you.

Remember…

1 Corinthians 13:13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The greatest is love.

Don’t let your love grow cold. Be healed. Be whole.

Christian Living, faith

No Greater Love

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Memorial Day is here. It’s when we, in the United States, honor and remember those that died while serving in the Armed Forces.

Some gave all.

I’ve heard those heroic, moving stories before. A soldier throws himself on a grenade to save others. The most moving story I have ever read was that of President John F. Kennedy’s heroism. He is the only president to ever be awarded a Navy medal (the Navy’s highest honor), Marine Corps medal, and a Purple Heart.

Kennedy and his crew were hit by the Japanese destroyer, Amagiri. Two men were killed immediately, while he and others were injured. Not only was Kennedy injured, he suffered from a debilitating condition from childhood that left him often in pain up until his assassination.

Talk about love…

The most striking image of courage and exquisite heroism I’ve personally read follows. McMahon was an engineer who was badly burned. Kennedy, while himself wounded and in terrible pain, cut part of the man’s life jacket and tied it around him. He dragged him by his teeth swimming breaststrokes for hours in the ocean until reaching Plum Pudding Island with no fresh water. He almost died swimming out alone to flag down a ship for help.

Kennedy again, in attempting to save his crew, led them to swim several hours to Bird Island (towing McMahon there again with his teeth.) They were miraculously rescued. He carved this in a coconut shell when found..

“NAURO ISL… COMMANDER… NATIVE KNOWS POS’IT… HE CAN PILOT… 11 ALIVE…NEED SMALL BOAT …KENNEDY.”

This shell was kept as a paperweight in the Oval Office while he was president. This made it to the right hands and saved their lives. Kennedy reportedly carried the guilt over the two men who died and remained humble about his military achievements.

Then there’s the cross.

Now imagine doing all of that and then being tortured and killed for an enemy.

Romans 5:7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die

I don’t know how many would truly lay down their life for a friend. These days especially, many are superficial, selfish, and fickle. God’s way and His laws are about giving to live. But this fallen world has become all about survival of the fittest and killing something to live.

The center of sin and pride is…I.

Visualize doing this for an enemy. A wicked person. Someone who rightfully deserves only punishment and death.

You give your life so they can live.

That is what the cross is about.

I’m thankful for the sacrifice of the many men and women in the Armed Forces. My father and sister-in-law are veterans. Some of the most selfless, beautiful, humble acts of love you’ll see is soldiers risking it all for another. Of course, there’s terrible acts of violence too. I get that.

But nothing compares to the sacrifice Jesus (Yeshua) made for us.

For you.

Today, and really everyday, remember some gave all. But only one gave you eternal life.

Father, help me live in gratitude everyday for what You’ve done for me so that I may life forever with You. Help us all never forget what washes away our sin. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Happy Memorial Day.