Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What stirs your affection for God?

Saw this post from Pastor Matt Chandler and it really got me thinking... are their things in my life that stir my affection for God? What encourages my soul?

This is so much more than a feeling... I'm not talking about things that make me feel happy... because many times I don't "feel" anything... I'm living by faith. Believing He's there, watching, listening, working, creating, designing. But I want to write these moments down to thank Him and remember these moments when I'm just in the every day reality of life. (I actually don't want to use the word "inspiration" though as Matt Chandler did .... because as most refer to inspiration today... they make it seem like inspiration is a feeling, a surface level fluffy emotion type stuff and many times people get addicted to that. So that that's not what I'm referring to.... I'm referring to what stirs my affections for God. Helps me recharge so I can do this work for Him. What helps me live by faith!)

That was a lot of writing to say nothing... point is.... there are some things in my life that I do believe stir my affections for God, my sweet savior Jesus, Creator, Spirit.

The following are some on that list right now. I don't want anybody to read this though and think that these are ideas are for anybody but me. This entry is purely for *me*. It fits who I am.... things about me only the Creator could truly understand and could use to help draw me to Him.

And another point to add in here is that I can't just go through the motions doing these things thinking the things are what are special. These aren't a checklist for me to do.... these are me acknowledging how God works with me..... memories of how He helps stir my affections for him! To thank Him for knowing me and working with my personality type & way of relating to the world to help me seek Him.

What is special about these things is God being there and the gifts they are, not the things themselves:

  • The Word - I guess that's understood... but truly when I'm regularly in the Word... I have no doubt it is an alive "sword of the Spirit".... the protection, guidance, refreshment, insights it gives are from the One God alone. Can not be duplicated, replicated, disputed.
  • Not sleeping in regularly... When I respond to God's call to me to spend time with Him before my boys wake up.... it truly does something in me. When the first streams of sunlight peak in and the birdies wake up from their slumber excitedly welcoming the sunshine they have waited for; and He tells me to get up and not roll over - I love those moments with Him.
  • Writing about life. Writing to Him. Taking time to truly not just zoom through life but to sit back, reflect, think about what I am experiencing, feeling, learning. Paying attention and writing about it. :) Writing appears to be my creative outlet and I enjoy expressing myself to Him and about Him this way.
  • Beyond surface conversations with others. I guess I don't mind chit chat - I enjoy getting to know people and hearing about their day, etc.... but much of the time I am screaming inside to sit down and have a deep conversation - can't we get past all this and talk about our hearts? I have such a longing for true community and to truly have a radical authenticity & openness with others. I really do long for relationships like this that will be people desiring to spend regular time with me to share our hearts. I enjoy having fun and just "being" too....but give me some friends willing to go deep and worship God through our love & authentic conversation together - my soul is awake and alive. My favorite way to worship & praise God might be through conversation. I truly love worshipping God through encouragement, exhortation (is that the right word?) teaching and accountability in the Body. Uplifting others in the Body - I love knowing GOd is being glorified in those relationships. I love feeling God's smile fill my soul as I love with others (my love language - words)
  • The beach, sunset, ocean, mountains, watching ants work, horses run, birds fly, dolphins play, butterflies prance, beautiful flowers, waterfalls.... nature! I also love praising Him through the enjoyment & thanks of how beautiful His creation is.
  • Reading books other than the Word. Whether it's books on marriage, parenting.... I guess again because my love language is words... give me a book that is gospel focused, biblically based and God glorifying: run to God being the main message...... and my soul is comforted.

Thanks God for all these ways you help me seek you. Thank you for answering my prayers to help me be passionate about being with you and loving you. Today I literally feel in my soul that this mouth of mine doesn't even deserve to utter your name.... yet your Word tells me you love me. God it brings tears to my eyes to know you love me. YOU the Creator of the UNIVERSE love ME and you talk to me God. You spend time with me, you are in me, you care for me, you listen. Why do I have so little faith in your ability to cleanse, lift, fix, change, work sometimes!? Thank you for always forgiving me and loving little old me. You love me God! Unconditionally, unashamedly... you even stand beside me in my mistakes and don't forsake me in embarassment. You are loyal God! What an AMAZING mind blowing Truth! THANK YOU GOD for you! Thank you God for always reminding me of the 2 greatest commandments to love you and to love others.... if I'm not passionately radically in love with you and others.... I know it's time to 'start over' falling back in love with you. How can I ever express to you God my love and thanks for you? I'm in awe how you never give up on me. You draw me in God.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What Pleases God - Part 10

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
What Pleases God - Part 8
What Pleases God - Part 9

This morning I was abruptly wide awake at 6:30 being beckoned by the Creator with the first little fingertips of sunlight streaming through my blinds and the first sounds of the birdies greeting the world good morning. I popped straight out of bed excited which is unusual :) and when God does that, I know it is Him pursuing me to spend extra time with Him before my day... before the boys get up. I love early mornings with coffee & my Savior.

So here we are, back at what pleases God.....

20May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

I love this gentle reminder He gave me today. That *He* truly does the equipping. That *He* does the cleansing. That *He* works in me what is pleasing to Him.

He seems to want to get this message to me. I keep hearing the same message everywhere I turn. Sunday, Pastor Chris preached a sermon on marriage.... but to me it was God speaking to my heart about the relationship of Christ & His Bride. From Ephesians 5, God makes it so clear, that The Church's role is to submit & to respect our Groom, Our Savior, Jesus Christ. and *He* "will make her holy...will present her to himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."

Thank you Jesus! Thank you for the reminder that when I am discouraged by the stains I see in the Body.... my job is *not* to try to cleanse them myself. God has blessed me with a beautiful love for the Body of Christ and seeing it as the pure, holy, radiant Bride for our sweet Jesus. But I was trying to carry the burden of 'issues' in the Bride all by myself. I was frustrated that others didn't understand just how much the Holy Spirit is grieved by discord in the Body. And in my frustration, I was showing exactly opposite of what I should have.

I am thankful for my sister in Christ Allysa who encouraged me that whatever burden I was carrying around the past weeks - I needed to go ahead and leave it at the cross and get it off of me. Friday night I released all this to Him and I can't even tell you how much He already has shown up and done His thing!! :)

God thank you for always gently pulling me back to you & your Word when I am discouraged or confused. Help me not lose sight that our role is to run to you and bow at your feet in surrender, letting you cleanse us through your Word & your Spirit in us. God let us surrender our hearts to you... our pride... our motives... our plans and let us have faith that your Spirit will do His work in us.

Yes there is training needed on our part for obedience to you... but it's not training on how to fix, cleanse or do works apart from you (trying to earn relationship with you or your love --- because that is impossible - we can't earn those things - must accept them as a gift) it's not legalistic have to do this type checklist to be right with you ... it's simply training that allows you to work God. Training to be tuned into you & your presence throughout our day - praying without ceasing. Training to run to you with everything. Training on holding your Word in the highest esteem and respect. Training to ask you for our needs.

Thank you God that I am not in this alone. Together we are working this thing out God. I'll do the respecting & submitting God. Thank you for doing the working, cleansing, and loving... as your Word says! :) God is good!

Philippians 2:13

Monday, April 20, 2009

What keeps you going?

wanted to share this from the Touchpoint Bible:

Jeremiah 15:16
Isaiah 8:16
Job 23:11-12

Our bodies originated in the soil of Eden. It should not surprise us that they are sustained by food that grows from the soil. Every source of food ultimately finds its nourishment in the soil, and that nourishment sustains our bodies.

Likewise, our souls were created by the breath of God in Eden; it should not surprise us that the Word of God, which is inspired, or "God breathed," sustains our souls. If we plan to eat food each day to keep our body alive, shouldn't we also plan to feast on God's Word each day to sustain our soul?

From the TouchPoint Bible (Tyndale House), p 649

I pray for God to give me such a thirst for His Word....

I also pray that He helps me recognize nourishment from Him throughout the day which isn't directly from me sitting & meditating & abiding in His Word. That He gives me wisdom & discernment to know what is from Him and to thank Him for it...

His nourishment does come in so many forms *thank you minnow for this reminder*....

But however you say it.... turning to Him and praising Him for the nourishment is what I desire. Not to turn to food, works, temporary pleasures or other self-dependent 'retreats' but turning to Him and asking Him for nourishment... then praising & thanking Him for it as He gives me sustaining refreshment & rejuvenation.

P.S. and to make it even more confusing... I also believe that sometimes God will nourish me through a 'retreat' that could be seen as a self-dependent retreat.... but the difference is in my heart. It's not so much the action.... but that I ran to Him and recognized I needed Him.... asked Him for it... spent time with Him as He gave it to me..... and then thanked & praised Him for it :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Resurrection Sunday

He's alive!! We serve a Risen Savior and He is coming back for us! His beautiful bride! One Church, One Bride. May we be faithful to Him...may we allow Him to make us a pure & loving and strong Bride.

I pray we celebrate & reflect on His Resurrection *every* day ---- as if we were alive to see Him die & rise again! Let us spread the gospel as if we saw it in our own eyes since we HAVE seen it in our hearts & lives!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation

Colossians 1:21-22

Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,

and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,

a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he took up our infirmities

and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,

he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.

And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,

and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer,

and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,

he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,

and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 53 - from the Old Testament - The Messiah, Jesus Christ, fulfilled all.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

II Corinthians 5:21