Saturday, February 28, 2009

Quick thoughts on what I'm learning

  • The problem with being a visionary is that I will almost always find myself disappointed in the life realities around me.
  • Here are some keys I am learning to not allowing that disappointment lead to complete discouragement.....
  1. To trust God that He has a plan. Jeremiah 29:11
  2. To dwell in Him & allow Him to make me rest (Psalm 23) when I feel discouragement coming. To make sure above all else I am dwelling & resting in Him daily.
  3. To realize that the crop around me I see today is only the result of "yesterday's" seeds.... the seeds He is planting now won't be here until "tomorrow". I can't forget that. I must continue to see with my heart - not with my eyes - no matter how hard it is.
  • A problem with being passionate is that what is earth shattering ridiculously powerful, completely just a brand new concept to me... are only those things to *ME*. It's not going to be those things to everybody around me. We're all at different places, learning different things. I have to be okay with that.
  • A problem with being so passionate about God and how mighty He is... passionate about visions He gives me... having such strong faith in His power to heal every situation, every person and change this world.... Is that I will almost always be disappointed in myself that I didn't do enough with the faith & visions God gave me. I will probably always think - I didn't communicate them well enough. I didn't act on them enough. I didn't learn from them all I could have..... Because I believe if I had even communicated out in action & words 1/10th of what God planted in my heart - the world around me would be changed.
  • I just believe in what He wants to do that much. I believe He wants to do way way way way way more than I see --- so since He's perfect - I have to blame myself. and that's okay. It's part of the process. It's not like I doubt His love for me. I know He is pleased with my heart. I know I have His approval & love. It's that I recognize I have so far to go and I pray to Him to please help me put OUT so much more effectively what He pours in. I hate being a bottleneck.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Intimate God -- Sunday Recap

Last Sunday at CrossWinds -- God touched me in such a powerful way. Truly. It was one of those days that He changed me so much that I will never be the same. The worship through music was so powerful as our new worship pastor Scott lead us. but that was just the beginning.

As I touched on in my last post --- I had been reflecting on just how HUGE God is. A presentation I saw about the universe - and all we can see with current telescopes really was a catalyst for my reflection on WOW!! God is so much way bigger than my mind can grasp at ALL. He's an eternal God - a never ending God. He's just... big. Like RIDICULOUSLY way bigger than I could ever fathom. I don't even have words. But then I started thinking --- wow why for so long did I treat Him like a good friend that lives down the road? This God is the ONe and only GOD that created the UNIVERSE! much less our little earth. Much less our little country. Much less little old ME. I thought WOW is it true!? The same one and only God that I talk to, listen to, and praise is this same God that is so HUGE?

I kept asking --- Jesus is that really you? The one and the same who I have known and talked to since I was a little girl? God I just would love to be re-assured that the same God, Creator of the UNIVERSE is the One and Only God, precious Jesus, that I walk with daily and the One who loves me beyond measure!? God will you show me in a personal and intimate way that you are a personal and intimate God too!?

And God answered. I can't even talk about it without tears falling. Throughout the entire sermon I just balled - which isn't that unusual - but this was a cry that was simply because the presence of the Spirit was that overwhelming. Through some words of Pastor Chris's... God spoke directly to me.

I had been asking God 2 specific questions. I had been asking Him to please give me a phrase for what I had been trying to express the past years. It was a specific phrase about a specific situation.... and He answered so clearly - I knew that God meant that just for me.

I had also been asking for Him to validate what He had been doing in me and teaching me - to know if it was truly from Him. And He answered. He validated me and continued to throughout the day. He reassured me, though He doesn't have to. He encouraged me, built me up, and gave me that blessed assurance that YES He was the one who had been pouring into me. He never owes me any explanations or validation --- yet He does give me reassurance when I need it.

He answers me. Not always how I want. Not always in my timing. But He does. What an intimate & personal God -- YET SO HUGE!

GOD I am nothing in comparison to you! Yet you CARE. You, the God of the universe, care so much to have a personal & intimate relationship with ME. You pulled me from the depths of the deepest oceans of sin & brokenness and sent your only son to bear the burden of that ocean for ME. There are no words to give you enough THANKS and PRAISE. I am in awe.

God help me live for you. God USE ME to help others know you like I do. God help me be a fool for you!

God HELP ME be a fool in the world's eyes! A fool radically crazy for YOU. Pastor Chris challenged our devotion --- and I know what you were asking of me specifically and what the next step was.

You are telling me that to be DEVOTED to you the way you desire will look wasteful & foolish to the world! Just as the lady in Matthew 26 did with pouring expensive perfume over your feet God --- help me POUR OUT in immense radical measures my time & resources (which are actually YOURS anyway) for you.

What a "waste" of time to spend so much time in "solitude" talking and listening, praising & adoring, thanking a God I can't see, hear or touch in the flesh. but God I know that is what you are asking of me right now --- God help me pour it out to you!

You showed extravagent love to us in making it possible for us to be reconciled to you, the God of this universe. Let us show you Radical Devotion! Even if to the world it looks like overboard extravagent "waste"!

Extravagent love. Radical devotion. Extravagent "waste".

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I just had to take a break from this series to record what happened today. I woke up feeling just... icky. Everything in my life is great right now. I have so so much to be thankful for.... God is doing so much in my life. He is filling me with so much passion & love & excitement. It has been such such such a great visit with MomMom & Papa. Our marriage is great. I am still on fire for Him and pursuing Him and He's pursuing me right back...but nonetheless.... I woke up heavy.

I woke up asking the question, "what's wrong? who's mad at who? What did I do wrong? is something the matter?".... it went into a total whirlwind of just attack..... which leads to things like wrong I've been in my parenting skills.... How I need to do better at x,y,z..... is my heart even right? am I faking all of this? am I just a big joke?....

I was just heavy....

Maybe God had just pulled away a bit for what He wanted to show me next.... maybe some things had crept in between my relationship with God and I had allowed it and didn't ask God for help even though He showed me they were there and shouldn't be....

But I found myself journaling to God early this morning before Raymond woke up. He said to me --- Randi why do you dwell on the past so much and worry so much about things you might have done right or not? You go through every interaction every conversation every situation over and over again.... replaying what you did wrong, what you should do better next time. What started out as an awesome way to reflect over what things you learned and to learn from the past... is making you out to be a wreck.

It really is pathetic what I do. After every interaction/conversation Brandon and I have with other couples or something - I'll say, "Brandon did I say this right? Did I do this right? Should I do it [this way] next time? Did I sound alright? Did it come across right? Do you think they understood me when I said ____"

Poor Brandon. I am sure it drives him bonkers. Really it's nothing but WORRY. Over something I can't control. Anyway - I thought it was a good thing to do.... to figure out what I did right/wrong.... but if it leaves me feeling heavy, doubting, burdened.... it can't be after I journaled those questions to God.... I just left it at that and continued on my morning......

I left it at that. Just asking Him to help me know if this is a good exercise to do or I dwell on the past too much? Is there good that can come out of this replaying of interactions?

I then opened up Crazy Love and read the intro page prologue part.... talking about God's awesomeness & how huge & great He is.... and all of a sudden I felt His presence and I felt honestly crushed under how huge He was. I hate using that word crushed - but that's the only way I could describe it because it overwhelmed me so much I had to cower on the floor as flat as I could in just total reverence & awe of Him.... what came to my mind was Proverbs 31... "a woman that feareth the Lord"... not that I was 'scared' - but that I was in fear of Him. Trembling at Him. Revered by His presence and Hugeness. All I could get out was a throaty 'oh God'.... He was revealing me in a tiny way how HUGE He was. I believe He probably revealed to me a teeny little speck of how big He was. I am sure that if I saw any more of Him I would have been so rocked to my core I couldn't take it. So thank you God for knowing how much I could handle. We say we want to feel Him, see Him.... but even 1/10000000th of a little cell from one little mole on His one little pinky would blow us away. He reveals what we can handle now.... imagine when we see Him face to face?!?!?!

So anyway --- it certainly didn't get rid of my heaviness. I honestly didn't feel I could get out any words to Him. I felt I just needed to listen. I just felt so small & insignificant & weak & unworthy in comparison to perfect Him.... I did ask for some intervention though. My sweet friend Erin sent me a text... she said God sent her a word for me.... DWELL. As soon as I saw the word DWELL that was enough. I knew He was speaking to me. I had just asked Him about helping me not dwell so much on the past and dwell on how I do things, what I should better....... and He sent the word DWELL. I knew He was telling me to DWELL on HIM and things of Him.
The tears came instantaneously... I was focusing too much on me and my own efforts again.

Erin sent me some scripture.... and through each one God spoke His covering on me. To Dwell on Him and things of Him..... but even more than that... to dwell IN Him. He had revealed to me in such a real way just how big He was....... and then He showed me why He did it. He didn't impress on me how huge He was to scare me... not to make me fear Him.... not to show my smallness.... He showed me how huge He was to reassure me He could take care of everything. That I was protected by how huge He is. That I needed to release everything to Him. That I can simply do what I can --- and then give it to Him. That He was trustworthy, capable, reliable. That the Spirit can honestly take my efforts and take them so so so much farther than I could ever imagine. That He could work it all out and stretch out any effort I give and make it turn for the good.

Wow. all I could do was break out in praise.

Hallelujah! the Lord God almighty reigns. Holy, Holy, are you Lord God Almighty. Worthy is the Lamb. Worthy is the Lamb. You are Holy!

God you are so huge. you are so worthy. Thank you for bringing me back to YOU. To the central message of leaning on YOU and YOU alone. That I don't have to dwell on anything but YOU. God I have always felt that is one of my strengths.... that I radically and foolishly didn't worry about details and believed you were big enough to do ANYTHING. Hope ful of optimism..... I am not sure what happened.... but I think because of the new roles & responsibilities that have been laid on us... I reverted back to old me of leaning on my own understanding. You reminded me once again that you don't need anything but me to allow YOU to work. To believe you can and will.

I needed to take the lessons He had been giving me --- about what is pleasing to Him ---- and really put it to work. That my love for Him is pleasing. That my heart is pleasing. That faith is pleasing... rather than any works, efforts or knowledge I might have felt I had acquired.

Do you believe in His hugeness? Do you believe in how much He can work things out with our 'little' offerings? That He can make every interaction & relationship & conversation turn for the good. We don't have to put so much pressure on ourselves. We can dwell on Him --- and He can work it all out.

God again --- I repeat from my last post --- help me make a royal mess of all this God. I'm going to make mistakes either way - so help me make them because I'm full throttle passionate for you. Help me make them.... believing in you to clean them up! Help me make them not looking back at them. Help me make them and not dwell on them!

There's a time for analysis, thinking over choices we've made, reflection.... but if I can't do that without beating myself up -- I just shouldn't recap it at all - and just ask God to reveal to me whenever He wants, what He wanted me to learn from that interaction/situation. Worrying & fearing about things that have already happened and are in the past..... is no good. I need to NOT dwell on the past but instead dwell on how God now has all of what has happened in His hands. He has the future!

Help me God just DO what I can and then RELEASE it to you!

I can give all things to Him and trust Him to handle it. He IS that powerful, that huge, that all-capable! :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What Pleases God - Part 8

What Pleases God - Intro Post
What Pleases God - Part 1
What Pleases God - Part 2
What Pleases God - Part 3
What Pleases God - Part 4
What Pleases God - Part 4 - B
What Pleases God - Part 5
What Pleases God - Part 6
What Pleases God - Part 7

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrificies, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship
Romans 12:1

He died for us. The ultimate sacrifice given to God on our behalf.

He died for us - we should desire to live for Him.

By allowing the Holy Spirit to live & work with us - we become joined to The Body and can be His Body here on earth.

This sacrifice of self mentioned here is not in the form of physical martyrdom - but sacrifice of the mind & heart. To stop looking for and leaning on any man-made understanding. To let go of all our idols --- An idol being anything that has control of our heart that is not God.

Sacrifice is hard... but I know that He's worth whatever sacrifice I have to endure. The sweet fulfilling satisfaction of His presence, His love and knowing I'm in His will makes any sacrifice worth making.

It's hard as we struggle to give Him control of our thoughts, our mind, our hearts and to direct them --- it's a new pattern of living that puts our will & desires aside and goes to God FIRST and asks what HIS will & desire would be.

To be one in mind & heart with Him. To refuse to live separate from Him. To include Him in all parts of our lives.

Most of my life has been lived to avoid pain. To avoid mistakes. Most every decision I have ever made was to play it safe so I wouldn't be sorry.

I'm ready to live.

God has been pouring into me for so long and I know He is asking me to truly live for Him. I feel like a once-caged bird ready to soar. I am so ready to live in the freedom of trusting in Him and Him alone. God help me make a radical royal mess as I desire to passionately live for you... and then clean it up God. If I have to make mistakes God - let it be because I didn't hold anything back God. Take away my worry about being sorry --- because I'm safe in you! If I could only let go of the things I hold so tightly --- you would take them, fix them, heal them and give them back to me more beautiful and complete than I ever could have done on my own. Take my life & let it be.

God - set me afire. Help me truly live. Help me worship you with my life.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What Pleases God - Part 7

What Pleases God - Intro Post
What Pleases God - Part 1
What Pleases God - Part 2
What Pleases God - Part 3
What Pleases God - Part 4
What Pleases God - Part 4 - B
What Pleases God - Part 5
What Pleases God - Part 6

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord
Colossians 3:20

Period. :) This might be the shortest blog entry I've ever had... but there it is. Children - obey your parents. Actually I do have more to write because I believe this verse truly gets tied in with verse 23:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

To learn at even a young age to have a humble spirit. To be able to submit. To do all things as you are doing it for the Lord --- because He does see what you're doing. He sees your heart and if you're following 'rules' just to follow the rules.... or if you are generously and joyfully following instruction as an outpouring of your love & desire to honor Him... because He says it's pleasing to Him.

Learning to listen and be obedient because we love Him. Putting aside our will - because His will should be first. To put our wants aside and figure out what God wants. To be able to serve. To learn to obey. All as acts of worship to Him who deserves our love and obedience.

Not because the rules are great and to please Him we must meet ____ rules.... because it's not even about 'rules'. Learning to live up to some rules/expectations isn't what is pleasing to God. Having the right heart of humble obedience does. Notice God didn't say, children obey your parents when they tell you about the 10 commandments. Obey your parents about curfew, dating guidelines, appropriate attire & alcohol use. God simply said...obey. Obey, whatever the rule is, to honor your parents as you would honor God. So obviously this verse shows us --- it's not about rules.

So there's a greater lesson here. As adults - if our life is pleasing to God or not can't be judged by any set of rules we do or do not conform to. It can't be judged by the outside. What is pleasing to God is our heart. Motives. All of which gets set right in relationship with Him. Are there commands, 'rules' He gave us through His Word? Absolutely.... but my point is.... they don't come first. Doing them to do them....just doesn't do it. :)

Again it's about the work going on in us. The heart. Learning to submit. To learn to listen. To learn to be obedient. Whether you like it or not. Whether it's your will or not. It's the Spirit's work within us... even at a young age.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What Pleases God - Part 6

What Pleases God - Intro Post
What Pleases God - Part 1
What Pleases God - Part 2
What Pleases God - Part 3
What Pleases God - Part 4
What Pleases God - Part 4 - B
What Pleases God - Part 5

The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him. Proverbs 15:8

God sees the heart. He sees our motives, He sees our intentions.

He knows if we are sincerely seeking Him or just sort of looking for Him for show.

He knows if we are seeking Him just to earn His favor; thinking we can earn it or deserve it..... or if we are seeking Him in humility, knowing we are un-deserving of His love but willing to walk toward understanding & receiving it.

We can't earn His grace & love. Not through money, works, going to church, being 'in the ministry', going on a missions trip, putting a Jesus fish on our car or reading christian books. Grace can not be earned.

God isn't pleased with our striving for a gift He is freely giving. He is pleased with our prayers - us calling out to Him. Asking for help. Talking to Him. Praising Him. Showing Him adoration. Giving Him thanks in all things.

Those who humbly acknowledge their brokenness, sinfulness & need for Him will seek Him. Those who seek Him will find Him.

God is pleased with honesty & with humility.

Feel like you are trying to earn His grace or favor?

  • Don't let the devil trick you into thinking you have work to do. Accept the gift! Go to God! Ask for Him to show you His love & acceptance for you.

Feel like you are "faking it"?

  • Don't let the devil trick you into leaving the Body and making you believe there is something wrong with you or that you don't fit in. Go to God. Be totally honest, open and RAW with Him! Ask for forgiveness for your lack of openness with Him, pray for help!

Feel like you deserve more? That life isn't fair to you.... that you deserve more because you are sooo "good".. such a "good person"?

  • Get on your knees and ask God to break your heart over your sin. And then to heal those wounds back up with His body & blood shed on the cross. Ask Him to show you how broken you are, how sinful you are and how much you need Him.
  • Ask for help in being thankful for every good gift you are given.
  • Ask for Him to help you understand that we can't judge His goodness by our circumstances here.
  • Ask for help in knowing what blessings we need and what we just want. What are we chasing after? Is our heart in the wrong place?
  • Ask for God to break and heal you.
  • I'd be careful with this prayer. He will totally show you how much you need Him when you ask.
The underlying theme?
Go to Him, talk to Him, ask for help! Be open with Him! Be honest! He already knows what's on your heart! Pray pray pray, pray often!

Our God is an awesome God!!!!

Thank you God for being pleased with my prayers... because *I* am always comforted and so blessed when I pray! What an added bonus - the thing that is pleasing to you - is most comforting for me! That is how much you love us!!!! You set everything up - so that what is pleasing for you - is best for us too!!! What you desire of us is what makes life complete for us. It's what brings us peace, joy and all the blessings of YOU! What an awesome God! If only we would believe in your goodness! The very things we chase after will be found when we stop chasing them and starting chasing YOU!!!!!! That is how you set it up!! Oh I praise you God ---- Mtthew 6:33 I get it!

Thank you God that YOU became the sacrifice for me once and for all so now you are okay with "just" my prayers - no more sacrifices needed!! Look at how much you love me! My prayer is enough to please you. God thank you!!!! God I don't get how it all works - I have questions about prayer, healing and everything --- but I believe you hear me when I call! I believe you desire good for me. I believe you are pleased with my conversations (prayers) with you! OH God forgive me for how long I never came to you! How out of sync my life gets when I don't take time to be restored & rejuvenated through time with you! What so many would say is foolish, a waste, a poor use of time --- prayer is THE thing that is the glue of my day!! You and the way of life you desire of us -- is what keeps our lives from falling all over the place! God keep me disciplined to come to you. Help me fall in love with you so much that I crave to pray! Talking, listening, praising and being with you!

Friday, February 6, 2009

What Pleases God - Rewind to Part 4

What Pleases God - Intro Post
What Pleases God - Part 1
What Pleases God - Part 2
What Pleases God - Part 3
What Pleases God - Part 4
What Pleases God - Part 5

I want to take extra time today in prayer for my father during his surgery and the results to follow next week..... so will hold off on Part 6 and instead today rewind to Part 4 for some more things on my heart.

To add onto Part 4 ----
What other sort of thinking does the world think is foolish but the Word says otherwise??

  • We are to forgive those who have wronged us. To forgive them as God forgives us... unconditionally, without limit, fully. That love always forgives. Always hopes. Always perserveres. (Matthew 6:14, Matthew 18, I Corinthians)
  • To love our enemies.
  • That true love is self sacrificing and content to be at the back of the line. Love puts others first and self-interest aside.
  • That to find ourselves we must lose ourselves
  • The belief that God can and WILL turn around ANY situation for the good. Things that the world sees, bad, evil, devastating He can use for good (Romans 8:28)
  • That we should desire to be joyful always (I Thes 5:16)
  • That we can learn to be content no matter our circumstances (Phil. 4:12)
  • That no one person has more value than another. We should not show favoritism. Our value is in Him, not what the world sees or says about us, not our roles, not the way He uses us...but who we are in Him. God sees the heart. (James 2:1-4; Galatians 2:6)
  • That we should consider it joy when we face suffering (James 1:2 - 4) (Romans 5:3-4) .... not that we have to "like" it or "enjoy" it.... but to consider it joy because of Him who is holding us and will draw us close.... for the opportunity to glorify Him.... for what we will learn.... for the long term outcome... for the perserverance built which produces character which gives hope, which will never disappoint..... for how He will use it for our good.
  • That we are not to repay evil for evil. We must overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17,21)
  • That there will always be opposition & persecution of the Church while we are here on earth.... that true world peace won't come until His return.
  • That the Bible stories are true, real and relative --- Jesus knew them to be true and believed them to be real. The prophets, Sodom Gomorrah, Jonah, Noah, Daniel, Adam & Eve, Joseph, Moses, on and on and on. (Matthew 22:40; 24:15, Luke 17:26, Matthew 19:4, Matthew 10:15, Matthew 12:40)
  • That there is only one way to God....that Jesus IS the way, truth and life and nobody comes to the Father but through Him. That after Jesus.... TRUTH now = Jesus.... Truth is no longer anything but Jesus - how He lived, died & lives (John 14:6)

Come to think of it.... the world thinks these are foolish but what we do as the Body believe? What do our lives show we believe? Do we as believers believe these things to be foolish or wise? Does the Church preach these messages? or are we getting way off track? Do we even desire to live based on these foundational messages? or just talk about them? Do we live seeking wisdom or base our lives on foolish notions? Is it enough to believe these things to be wise? Or should we desire to live them out in actions? Will we make them relevant to our lives today? Or do we believe they were just good preaching for "back then"?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What Pleases God - Part 5

What Pleases God - Intro Post
What Pleases God - Part 1
What Pleases God - Part 2
What Pleases God - Part 3
What Pleases God - Part 4

For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him [Jesus Christ], and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:19-20

Wow. God makes it so clear to us that Jesus was fully God... yet He was fully human. We are reconciled to God because He came to our earth to rescue us from ourselves. Everything about God's nature and being were fully present in the form of man, in our Savior who voluntarily was crucified so we could be at peace with The Creator.

Do I live daily in thankfulness for this gift? Do I live in the knowledge that I was ransomed and bought at the highest price ever by GOD?! I can have an intimate and personal relationship with Him.... the one and only God... the creator and designer of every thing I see, touch, smell and hear.... woah!!!

Can others see that we (believers) are at peace with THE God of this universe? and in relationship with Him?

I think the first step in showing Him our thankfulness is GOING to Him daily and TELLING Him how thankful we are to be able to be with Him. Start our relationship with Him daily with the humble understanding that the only reason we are able to go to Him is because He rescued us.

God gave up His only son from the glory of heaven to the pits of being human... to endure the worst possible criticism and torture and pain and death.... yet He says He was pleased.....

God was pleased that He broke down the barrier that sin had put up between us. God is pleased that "the curtain" is now torn and we can enter His most Holy Place in confidence of His love through our acceptance of Jesus to cover all our sins. God is pleased that the shame we experienced because of our sins is now GONE if we allow it to be. We should be pleased too!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What Pleases God - Part 4

What Pleases God - Intro
What Pleases God - Part 1
What Pleases God - Part 2
What Pleases God - Part 3

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
I Corinthians 1:21

God is pleased when we live on His Word not the world's. When we choose to believe what the world can't. I loved this verse.

The preaching that is pleasing to God.... the world called (calls) foolish. So the next time you are made to feel like a fool for your thinking --- you're in good company.

What sort of thinking does the world call foolish?
  • that our God came into this world in flesh form born to a virgin teenager mother in a lowly stable
  • that a humble carpenter, rejected by His own people was our One and Only God in the flesh....
  • that He was tortured & crucified bearing the weight of ALL the world's sin on His shoulders....
  • that 3 days later He rose from the dead!!! Defeating death once and for all!!! He rose after 3 days!!
  • that He ascended to heaven with His Father forever to reign with Him....
  • that He left us His Holy Spirit that lives in all who believe...
  • that the great Comforter & Teacher didn't leave us alone down here....
  • that our entire eternal existence and value lie in believing in the power of the Cross
A man must be willing to be a fool in the world's eyes to become truly wise.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What Pleases God - Part 3

What Pleases God - Intro Post
What Pleases God - Part 1
What Pleases God - Part 2

At Jesus' baptism.... and a voice from heaven said, 'this is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased' Matthew 3:17

Very simply --- God was well pleased with Jesus and everything He was at that point. What's amazing to me is that this event occurs before His ministry on earth even truly began.... or I should say - the ministry as the world knows it and how it's recorded down for us now..... but Jesus' ministry began way before the world ever recognized it didn't it? God recognized His ministry way before we ever would --- because it's all about the HEART. What man can't see. It's all about the love & devotion we have toward God. THAT is what is pleasing to Him.

Let me go deeper.....

Can you imagine the countless hours Jesus spent in preparation.... building His relationship with God? I don't think He practiced preaching. I don't think He practiced healing. I think He spent time with God. I think He focused on that relationship above all other things in life....and let God work out the rest. He lived in the now.

When I was thinking about this verse in the shower I thought...... wow God spoke this to Him now at His baptism before His ministry.... which says to me.... He had been walking with God and loving Him way before He came onto the world's scene. In preparation. He had been a good steward of what God had given Him up to that point. So He would soon be given so much more.

The timing of thise verse makes it so clear to me how much God is simply pleased with our love for Him. Not with our works - because "our works" are actually HIS works. Are we so prideful to think that He will be pleased with what HE does with our lives?!?!! I just starting laughing when I thought about that.

So many people in life try to present the destinations God brought them to - like look God I did ____.... I went ___.... now you're so pleased, right? God says oh little one -- do you really think YOU did those things?

How He uses us and how the Holy Spirit changes us is not what is pleasing to Him.....(otherwise He is just pleased with Himself)...... Our love for Him is what is pleasing to Him. Our thankfulness for all He did for us is pleasing. Our embracing the process of allowing Him to live through us is what is pleasing. Not what HE does through us.

This voice from heaven didn't occur after Jesus preached one day. It didn't occur after a fabulous miracle Jesus performed. It didn't even occur right during the resurrection or crucifixion. It occured after the baptism. After the act of humble obedience from Jesus for God. After the symbol of the love and committed adoration and devoted relationship Jesus had toward God.... that was when it occured....... woah I just got the biggest goose bumps.

Monday, February 2, 2009

What Pleases God - Part 2

What Pleases God - Intro Post
What Pleases God - Part 1

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

I found in Part I that God is pleased when I allow the Holy Spirit to do His work of "sanctification" daily (such a big word for me). And He reminded me how to let the Holy Spirit work. By letting Him into my day. By spending time with Him listening & talking and studying His Word.

This verse in Hebrews shows what is needed to spend time with Him. It's the beginning step after we accept His grace and salvation through Him. We must build our faith. To please God, we must spend time with Him to allow the Holy Spirit to change us --- and to spend time with Him, we need faith.

We must have faith; because we won't totally "get" (as in fully comprehend or understand) Him. He's so much bigger and greater and more complex than we will ever be able to figure out -- and we have to be okay with that. We have to come to terms with the doubt that comes along with not knowing everything. Without doubt, there is no need for faith... and we have to be okay with that.

Without faith we won't go to Him because without faith we either don't believe in Him... or we don't believe in His perfectly good nature. We fear Him rather than trust Him. There's a break in our relationship.

The second part of the verse has to do with trusting His goodness. Trusting that He wants to spend time with us because He loves us. That He will reward those who seek Him. Reward them with love, peace, joy, the awesome fruits of the Spirit and His presence. I am sure it is so pleasing to Him when we trust that He wants good for us. As any parent would be pleased with. That our kids are confident in our love and deisre for good for them. I am sure He is pleased when we trust that He wants to spend time with us because He loves us.... not because He wants to burden us with guilt, unbearable discipline, shame.... but because He loves us that much. He loves to be with those that He loves. Don't we all?

He loves when people understand His good nature.

So the faith that it takes to go to Him is so pleasing to God. The faith that it takes to trust in His goodness and that He will reward our desire to be with Him is pleasing to Him.

And how do we build our faith? faith cometh by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17)

but if you don't hear the Word - you won't have faith - so you won't go to Him - so He can't work in your life - so you won't trust in His goodness - so you won't go to Him - so you won't hear His Word --- what a dark cycle.

People need to hear the Word so their faith can be built. So they will believe in God. So that they will trust God enough to go to Him. So that the process of the Holy Spirit's sanctification can start. So that they will be filled with love and the desire to spend time with Him. So that the Body of Christ grows stronger and healthier with lives that are pleasing to Him. And these lives will then be rewarded with the blessing of knowing Him and His love that defines who we are.

It all starts with hearing the Word. But nobody will hear it, if nobody is living it. Nobody will hear it if nobody is engaging in other's lives and planting seeds from His word.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What Pleases God - Part I

What Pleases God Intro Post

Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.
I Thes 4:1

In Paul's letter here to the Thessalonians I think he is referring to "the walk" of a christian. The process of allowing the Holy Spirit to change us to holiness. Not our talk but our walk. The process.

He goes on to encourage

1. sexual purity (vs. 3-)
2. loving relationships with our brothers [and sisters] (vs 9 -)
3. a way of daily life that wins the respect of outsiders (vs 11 - )

All signs that the Holy Spirit is in us. Not that we're perfect in these areas - but that there is change in these areas and we do get "better".

When I looked up more information on vs. 11 - 12 and this way of living that encourages positive relationships with those 'outside' the Body... I found some really interesting descriptions of what these verses are really saying. lead a quiet life... The Word is encouraging us to live a quiet life - which says to me - separate from the desire to be in the spotlight. Not having a desire to make a great stir. Not to be so extremely busy that we create attention....but to live quietly. To have time for stillness. To strive to do small things with great love. To embrace the small opportunities we have to love, give, share everyday - not thinking anything is too little or below us... to follow our Savior's ultimate example of serving those around Him even in the daily dirty task of washing the feet of others full of dirt & debris. mind your own business.... doesn't read to me the "mind your own business" we get from a snappy 12 year old... it speaks to me that we are to take care of what we have. Whatever role you are in, do it to your best. When reading a commentary on this it says the verse implies that we can't neglect our daily duties. In the time after Jesus' resurrection... some were so enthusiastic of the second coming which they thought would be soon that they neglected their work and became in debt to others. A great lesson for us to take care of our business, to not get into debt and to be great stewards of what we have. Time, talents, money.

God isn't only in the future. God is now. Jesus is coming back yes --- but Jesus is already with us. In us. We don't have to wait for Him! He is with us in our daily tasks and He is an expert in every thing we do. We're not supposed to wait for Jesus to come to start living with Him.... We're not supposed to leave Him in our churches on Sunday thinking 'that stuff' is His area of expertise. We are supposed to make Him a part of our every day! His expertise is EVERYTHING. We should include Him in thought during our activities in the day! He loves to be with the ones He love and so should we! :)

So in summary --- allowing the Holy Spirit to 'sanctify' us is pleasing to God. To become more like Jesus not by our own doing but through the Spirit. We just have to allow it to happen - to be "sanctified" - dedicated and set apart for God's purpose. Not for God's purpose SOME day... for God's purpose for our life TODAY!!! Not for God's purpose always in ways that are blaringly obvious to the world or great missions around the world --- but being set aside Holy allowing the process to occur daily wherever we are in whatever role! There's not a goal that we'll be pleasing to God when we become _____. It's the journey - not the destination. We can live a life pleasing to God not to be a goal for only when we grow up - but right now. Allowing the process to happen DAILY is pleasing to Him.

How do we allow the Holy Spirit to do this anyway? By spending time with Him daily. By studying God's word daily and letting Him plant these seeds into us.

So here was my first glimpse into what a life that is pleasing to God looks like. A life that embraces the process of santification in our daily lives.... being thankful for the process understanding that we don't have to wait for Him. He's here. He's watching. He wants to be involved. He wants to use you right NOW. Allowing the sanctification to happen so that one could become sexually pure, a good steward of what one has been given, be in loving relationships in the Body and lead a quiet, hard-working daily life that gains the respect of 'outsiders'.

One that embraces the process out of thankfulness and love for Him. Allowing Him to do the planting and growing... then recognizing Him when fruits grow. Knowing when we are good stewards in our "small", "little" tasks He will give us greater things to be great stewards of! The journey starts in our daily tasks & daily life right where we are, now.