Tag Archives: Jesus

What is waiting?

Wait on the Lord.  Something that appears over, and over, and over in the Bible.  Wait on Him.

Is that the same thing as patience?  I say a little bit yes, but mostly no.  Patience doesn’t mean to wait.  The dictionary definition defines patiences this way: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.  The Bible defines it this way: endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance…

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve been told not to ever ask God for patience.  “Don’t ask for patience,” they’d say in a joking tone, “because God will give it to you.”

I heard that from the time I was a little girl, and it made me terrified to ask God for things…are my requests double edged?  Is there always something to fear in the gifts God gives us?  Is it because God will make me wait forever to give me the desires of my heart?  I wondered about His character…this loving God who gave His son for me, did He have a dark side?

This past year I’ve finally developed my own understanding of patience.  We took our family to Oregon, only to feel our dreams fall out of the bottom of the boat when Jon’s illness seemingly took control of our lives.  There we were, 1900 miles away from home, at a crisis point.  One of those things in your life you don’t see coming, one of those places that can derail your faith and send you spinning off into a totally unknown place.

I knew in my heart without a doubt that God had taken us to Oregon.  However, I felt the need to almost defend that to my friends and family, and sometimes even to myself.  I had to remind myself of His goodness and the things He had done to get us there.  In my mind it didn’t make sense that we were going home.  It didn’t make sense that God made it clear that there was work to be done in Brookings, Oregon only to take us out of it before much was accomplished.  Still, I trusted Him.  I sought Him in the midst of our hurricane.

What I can see now is that He was also starting a work in our lives, and it was something that could have taken us a lifetime to learn.  Instead, because of the wholehearted leap of faith we took when we let our Jesus carry our weight across deserts and mountains and to the coast and then back again, we gave Him an opportunity to do something mighty in a short amount of time.

At home we rested.  The foundation that had been completed in Oregon was now being built upon.  We were learning what it means to seek out the Kingdom of God, to seek out heaven on earth.  Lessons I’m sure we will continue to learn all of our lives, but they all started connecting and weaving into a beautiful entanglement of God’s plan, of God’s love.  Then came the healing.

Jon’s horrible affliction was gone in a moment.  Scars and wounds supernaturally healed, God the Father taking them and feeling them for me, instantly healing my heart.  Sweetly and intimately showing me who He is and how much He wants more of me.  Why?  Because my deepest and most passionate desire is to know His heart, to know Him more.  To be set ablaze.

This journey has taught me what patience really is.  The Lord calls me to wait on Him, He wants me to wait because I’m antsy and as a human being I’m restless.  My mind continually is thinking of the things I need to do, the kids next meal, the messes that are being made, work and relationships and so much more.  I flit from one thing to another and could easily be described as ADHD but I refuse to wear that label, to own that name, because I know that the Lord is calling me, calling me to wait on Him.  In that waiting place, He speaks.  In that waiting place, He fills.

How can I have a conversation with my very alive and powerful and full of grace God if all I do is talk to Him and then leave His presence to go about my day?  How can I truly live a Spirit-filled life if I only enter His presence to do my morning devotion and then go back to living in the flesh when I’m actually living?  Waiting on the Lord is conversation.  Waiting on Him means I want a relationship, not religion…I’m not going through the motions to avoid feeling guilty.  No.  I am waiting for Him to move and trusting that He will.  He never disapoints.

Patience can happen during the waiting.  You can endure and persevere while waiting.  But you can also endure and persevere while walking.  There are so many crisis points…so many moments we don’t see coming that can throw our spiritual lives into a blender.  Patience happens when you trust the Lord completely, when your faith is strong even when you feel like everything is coming apart.  No matter where He’s taking you, you know you want to be with Him.  Patience is getting through that crisis point and pressing in, letting Him take you deeper when it hurts.  Letting Him in when your instincts tell you to close everything and everyone off and protect yourself at all costs.  Patience is clinging to Him with all you have, your fingers white with the effort of holding on.

Patience is what I learned about when I went to Oregon and back.  Patience is trusting God with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and leaping into a different kind of living.  My advice from this journey is this: never, ever be afraid to ask for patience.  Always desire more of Him, more of the fruits of the Spirit, more of God’s presence.  Always ask for more.

patience

 

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Spiritual Triage

Our churches meet once a week on Sunday.  Perhaps they have small groups throughout the week, maybe an event here and there.

What are we doing?  Who’s idea was it for churches to have one big meeting?  One day a week?  Large churches have Saturday services, sometimes they hold three or four during the week.  The same sermon preached four times, different people in each service.  How many people go to the same meal twice?  Where is the true community, the family, the unity of one body?

Churches aren’t just for feeding.  They are for equipping.  Leading.  Sending.  Utilizing.

Sending soldiers into battle.  There is a war on, and even though the battle is won, the battle is still going on.  For us, trapped by flesh and time, we are on the front lines.  But so many of us are sitting crouched in our bunkers, making ourselves comfortable, not even wearing our gear, our armor.

The church should look like a M.A.S.H. unit.  It takes in the hurting, the battered and bruised.  The leaders and pastors are there to assess, to perform triage.

Who needs help the most?  Who needs healing?  Who is ready for it?  Assess those wounds!  The battle rages around the church, the front line of the war is so near, but so is the Kingdom.

We have access to the Doctor, the great Healer, Jesus Christ.  And yet we walk by the wounded as though they are fine.  We see them, bleeding, curled into balls in the streets and we walk right by them.  We even share a smile.

Where is our sense of emergency?

Thought the battle is won, and we have a Victor, the souls still hang in the balance.  We are here to fight for those souls and save the lost.  We are here to love, to share Christ, and to be vigilant.

 

Christianity

How it all looks to me.

I’ve been trying to get a better picture of who God is, and how He interacts within the Trinity.  It’s a concept that is difficult to fathom, and even more difficult to explain.  Today, I found a new way of thinking about it while I was praying.

Imagine God in the only way we can, the way we know.  We know that God created us in His own image (Genesis 1:27).

God the Father is the brain, the Creator of all things great and small.  From the smallest atoms floating in space, to the supergalaxies and supernovas, black holes.  Mountains, with their vein-like lava flowing deep beneath their weighty stone, trees, with their vein-like water feeding each leaf, and us.  With our own brains and flesh warring against our spirits.  He is the power, the brawn, the muscle and the might.

Jesus, the Son of God, is the heart.  The man who loved and taught and healed and vindicated.  He was beaten, torn, broken, bruised, stabbed, stripped, and forsaken.  All for the sake of LOVE.

The Holy Spirit is the soul.  The Spirit moves and breathes life into dry bones, brings comfort like refreshing water, and empowers us to move as well.

We, the humble believers on earth, are the body.  We physically go and do what the brain tells us to do.  We have the blood of the Son pumping through our veins, our skin, our hearts.  We speak with His voice, we hear with His ears, we touch with His hands and go with His feet.

How amazing that we are His body, that we are part of His great image.  How humbling.

IMG_2619

Three of three

I grew up thinking that the Holy Spirit was our great enabler. The part of the trinity that was most mysterious to me. I thought of the Spirit as a tool used by God or Jesus to help me reach others.  And that’s it.

The Spirit is so much more. Think of it this way. God created the universe, and established relationship with His people. Jesus took on all of the world’s condemnation, died for everyone,ever, and then rose again. He performed miracles and gave people wisdom.

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit form the Trinity. They are all personas of our living God, both separate and in complete unity at the same time. My view growing up belittled and diminished the Holy Spirit. Because of that, I was not able to grow much, and I wasn’t able to do much. Without that power residing in me and filling me to overflowing, I was an empty vessel. Despite my willingness and my desire to serve my God, I didn’t have the ability to do anything beyond my own power.

The Holy Spirit was given to us so that we would do greater works than Jesus, so that we would have the mind of Christ, and have the ability to be Christ-like and live out our lives the way we are commanded. On top of that, the Spirit makes the relationship with our Creator more accessible and personal. It’s the only way to truly know God.

We are our spirits, trapped in our fleshly bodies, but only for a time. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to work in the spiritual, to access the spiritual, and to enjoy the spiritual. I don’t think I would have understood the magnitude of the power and importance of the Holy Spirit before experiencing this. Still, I feel compelled to write about it, so I am.

The only way to combat the darkness that is spreading through our world is thought the power of the Holy Spirit and the message of Christ. Now is not the time to live our lives in apathy, and I think that in the western world, apathy is the evil one’s greatest asset. Especially amongst Christians. Now is the time to live in extreme faith, on the edge of what you know. Now is the time to be filled with the Holy Spirit, like the apostles, and to spread the gospel message like never before.

Honestly, I think it is much harder to live this out while still in the bonds of the world.  When Christians try to do both, to have what the flesh wants, but still serve God, they fail miserably, but not always obviously.  It’s easier for me to live my life this way because it is why I am here, and it is my mission.  Since serving Jesus has become the focus of our family and our lives, it’s easier to live in that identity.  What makes it hard is the flesh we are trapped in.  But the more you live in the Spirit, the more your priorities shift.  The more you live in the Spirit, the more you are transformed into who you were created to be.  There is nothing more personally fulfilling than that.

onthefly|photography

The Great When.

I’m sitting on the couch.  I’ve become very close friends with it over the past few months.  I feel a little like it is a part of me, and if I don’t sit on it at least once a day, my day isn’t complete.

Because of how things are…just life, ya know?  This room is where we watch Dinosaur Train and play with Little People.  My kids sit on the couch with me, and we huddle under one blanket and watch movies, or build towers and castles.  We make dinosaur villages, and put puzzles together.

Every day after lunch, my son takes a nap.  My daughter and I read, color, play with play-doh, talk about numbers and letters and play the memory game….she learns, and talks and talks.  Sometimes I read for myself as well.  We experiment, we bake paleo cookies and other delicious concoctions.  In the afternoon, while E is still sleeping (and I can’t get any laundry done because it would wake him), we have a more grown-up time.  Then he wakes, and snacks are had.  Supper begins to come together.

Every day is blessed.  Every day is the same.  Sometimes I am sad, sometimes I am full of joy.  It’s a time of waiting, and anticipation.  It’s a time of frustration and attack.  It’s incredible, really, how strange this time is.  I think I will look back on it and think a lot of things, but I’m not sure what.  Will I wonder what I did with myself all day during the long winter without a car or an ability to really go outside most days?  In a house that isn’t mine, in a sliver of space we carved out of something else.  Will I wonder why I didn’t do more?  Will hindsight give me more information…should I be doing something different?

I wonder already….is this enough?  I am scattered, in my mind.  But here, I am a constant.  For this short period of history, I am always here, doing this, every day.  I have the kind of brain that flits.  I want to do this, then that, and some of that.  I do a lot of things, but truly sink myself completely into none of my ventures.  I don’t know what I am afraid of, but I do know I don’t want to leave anything behind.  I am creative, I want to write books and blogs and music.  I want to get paid to take pictures and tell stories through them.  I want people to get something out of what I bleed into the internet.

I want to learn more, oh so much more, and I wonder constantly, what is the next step for me?  When I leave this place behind, what else will get left as well?  Which parts of me will change, and which ventures do I lay quietly in my secret box to be remembered, but not worked on?

How do people know these things?  Is this a curse or a blessing to want to do so much and not know which path to take?  I just don’t know.  Some days it depresses me, or I get so very restless.  But I remind myself of God’s promises, and His faithfulness.  I remind myself to sow, that I have sown, and that a harvest will come.  God has good things for me, a better plan than I could devise myself.  I just want to know when to wait, and when to reach out and take hold.

James 1

James 1:2-8 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

Ellen Grey Carter

God’s Promises

I feel so beaten down, but not beaten.  Battered, but not broken.  I’ve taken hits from all sides, our family has been barraged with every kind of disaster, but God still wins, and we are still faithful.  We know the value of faithfulness.  It’s just so hard sometimes.  But why?  God is our source for everything.  He has always provided for us, has always proven faithful.  And the more faith we have, the more we see Him working in our lives, and the more blessings are poured out on us.  The more we sow, the more we reap.

The topper is money.  The constant struggle with money.  I saw something happening before it actually happened, and I let myself get excited.  I was all like, YAY God!  Finally we can start this moving process and get to Oregon!  We can DO something!  But now we aren’t sure of our funding, and it is very discouraging.  While I’m not sure what will happen, the uncertainty is making me feel like I’m standing on unsure ground.  And that’s not where I really am.  Or where I ever want to be.  It’s dumb, but what I know and what I feel are competing right now.  I feel the war within myself.

Feelings.  Emotions.  They can be so useful.  So wonderful.

And they can be used against you, too.

Hello self!  God is faithful, God has always been faithful.  He fulfills promises.  He is the definition of promise.

Ellen Grey Carter

 

He defines promise, because His son fulfilled the ultimate promise.  God has proven faithful time and time again, both in record and in experience.  The only reason that word has any power behind it is because of His faithfulness.  People fail constantly, it is part of our nature.  We cannot be perfect.  We are the ultimate failures.  But with God, we can accomplish.  We can succeed.  We can live in His promises.

That’s where I’m going.  That’s why this matters, why it means so much.

God is good.  God is love.  And God is promise.

It’s like Simon says, only so much better…

Something so super simple and yet so profound has been hitting me for a little while now. Stick with me here….because it seems so obvious at first, but it is seriously so awesome.

Jesus lived a pure and blameless life. He did a lot of astounding things, and a lot of regular things too. He prayed so fervently he bled, performed miracles, captivated thousands as He spoke words of truth, lived the first 30 years of his life as a carpenter, and took the sins of the entire world for all of time upon his shoulders, was tortured almost beyond recognition, died a horrible death, and was redeemed, and there is so much more that we don’t even know.

In all of the things that I read in the Bible about Jesus, I’ve always had this thought in the back of my head, “well this is basically God speaking or doing these things.” Which is true. But that led me to think that those things were outside of my capabilities. It led me to think that Jesus was so unlike me, and there was a wide gap, a vast separation in my relationship with him because of it.

The thing that I never really understood was the whole idea that Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. I’ve heard it a million times, but what does that even mean? Well, this is what I am starting to understand now. Everything he did was both 100% God and 100% man. Jesus was a man, and lived a life in a flesh body. He had a brain like us and struggled with everything we do, and so much more. And yet, everything He did was what God wanted. He lived in complete communion with God. Everything He did, He did with the approval of God the Father and the power of the Spirit, and it is so amazing. This is how we are supposed to live! If we are called to be Christ-like, as a Christian, we should aspire to this. This is the completed work…that everything we do, say, pray is all in surrender. That we can achieve this, or that God can achieve this through us, is amazing. That we can die to the flesh, and live our lives in the Spirit is so freeing. We aren’t condemned anymore. And the best thing about it all? God cares about every single one of us. Not one human being is insignificant in all of history to Him. God is good, and He loves. Wow. So this song I heard yesterday really impacted me because of this thought process I’ve been going through.

“Where You Go I Go” (Kim Walker)

Where you go I go
What you say I say
What you pray I pray
(repeat 2x)

Jesus only did, What he saw you do
He would only say, What he heard you speak
He would only move, When he felt you lead
Following your heart, Following your spirit

How could I expect to walk without you
When every move that Jesus made was in surrender
I would not begin to live without you
For you alone are worthy you are always good

You are always good
You are always good
Always good
Always good

(Bridge)
Though the world seems to soon forget
We will not forget
Who you are and what you’ve done for us

You are my God

To add to it all, I find myself fearing the move to Oregon. And then I come across this song, and I’m just like, how could I fear what I know is from God? Because I know it will be good, that God will bless us for obeying Him, and taking a risk like this is exactly what my soul has been craving all of my life. I want the adventure, I was made for it. I want a life led totally on fire, I want my heart on fire, and I want everyone to know it. I will not forget who my God is, or what an impact I can have on the world if I just let Him move in me, and leave my heart open to Him. He wants me. And I want Him. My life the past year, and the reason we are where we are right now has been completely, without a doubt, about the wholehearted move from being a humble servant to an intimate friend. God is so good. Always.