Friday, April 30, 2010

A different kind of power...

I've posted a lot in the last year or two on the revelations and aspects of God's power that He's shown me. Wednesday night, however, He pointed out something sort of new.

If you're like me, then you've got loved ones who do not know Jesus. Maybe they don't want to have anything to do with Him. Or maybe they know of Him, but it doesn't seem that they know Him and the hope of His calling and the glorious life that is possible when you surrender your life to Him.

I think of these that I love, and I pray for them...but so often I feel that anything I could try to say would be worthless, or would alienate them, or would backfire and drag them farther away from the God I love and serve...and so I keep silent and hope that my life will be a living testimony.

That's Biblical, and it's good. Like the saying goes, "Preach always, and when necessary, use words." I realized years ago that the single most powerful thing I can do to reach my loved ones and the world around me is to simply press in to know God more and more. Because any successful ministry to any of them would be by His direction and His power and His ways...and the more connected I get with Him, the more He will be able to use me.

But if this is Truth...if this is how God wants to reach the lost...than sooner or later, those words will be necessary, won't they?

What words? I've always felt like whatever ones I might have would be weak and powerless.

Wednesday night, God sent Mark Barclay with a message for our church, which means a message for me. There were many wonderful truths in that message, but one in particular spoke to me.

He said, "There is a way to reach every unsaved person...and God knows what it is and will give it to you if you ask Him."

I don't know why that seemed like such a novel concept to me. The thoughts that went through my mind in response to it, though, were along the lines of, "But what could ever reach _____?"

So you think it's too difficult for Me?

If this had been a movie, that would have been the point where I had the feet I was standing on swept out from under me, landing me ungracefully on my backside while I stuttered like an idiot.

God picked me up and continued.

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witness.

Suddenly I realized that God's power...the power that breathes the stars...that effortlessly rips through the veil between our world and the beyond...that bends time and protects me and restores what it took the devil hours to destroy in me...that power is easily capable of piercing through the walls and breaking the chains and destroying the lies that seemed so insurmountable. In fact, those walls are part of the tissue paper world, not the real one.

I think the time for speaking in obedience is drawing near. I'm almost quaking in my boots...except I think that revelation about what is outside the box and my comfort zone was given to me six weeks ago for this reason. God's timing on everything is perfect.

So I will wait on Him. And by His grace, I will speak the words that He places in my mouth. For He has given me power so that I may be His witness.

For I am the Lord's bondslave. Maybe it be to me as You have said.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The mystery of romance...

I, like many women, am a romance lover. I'm extremely picky about the romance stories I read, for I want them to portray the awesome beauty of how God intended the love between a man and a woman to be...but when I find those that meet my stringent criteria, how I love them!

One of my favorite romance "themes" is the he's-loved-her-all-his-life variety. These are the stories where she's grown so used to seeing him as a friend that it takes a mighty revelation to learn to see him as a man.

I think what I love about these romance stories so much is the devotion...the way he loves her despite all the mistakes she's made over the years...despite all of the character faults which he knows quite well...despite the fact that she receives some of the benefits of the love he silently lavishes upon her, without even realizing what she's receiving...despite the fact that she dreams of someone else loving her.

Over the weekend, I re-read part of one of these. They're actually mystery stories, but woven among the adventure and mystery is a romance. He had a crush on her in the earlier books, when he was a boy. But as the books went by and he grew into a man, his love grew and matured and became something powerful enough to last sixteen years of waiting and hoping. Wow. Those kinds of stories just melt my heart.

Why?

"This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church." That's what Paul had to say about it in Ephesians 5:32.

Sunday morning, on the way to church, thoughts of the story I'd read drifted through my mind, and I spoke to God about it. Lord? Why do I love this story so much? What can I learn about You in it?

"You love this story because this is how I love you," He said. "I created you to long for that kind of love, and deep down, your heart recognizes that this is how I love you. For I love you despite all the mistakes you've made over the years. Despite all of the character faults that I know so well. Despite the fact that you've never acknowledged many of the benefits of the love that I silently lavish upon you. Despite the fact that you dream of other lovers."

That last one bowled me over, because it's true. Every false god in my life...everything I try to satisfy the longing in my soul with...every dream of happiness I entertain that does not give credit to God as the giver and Source of that happiness...is a lover I chase after.

And yet He still loves me, and waits, and waits, and woos me with gifts I still fail to recognize.

But think of the moment in the romance when she finally does return the love of the man. Think of the overwhelming joy he feels! To be loved in return!

It is the hope of that joy that keeps God going as He loves, and loves, and loves, and loves. And it is humbling to realize that my love means that much to Him!

And so I realize that these gifts I am counting are wooing gifts. Gifts from a King who has loved me all my life, despite everything.

holy experience


191. This revelation of endless love

192. The love He has and is even when I ignore Him.

193. The love He shows me even when I dream of finding happiness through a bigger house, or more money, or a prettier outfit.

194. Love that told me “You are beautiful” the other week, right in the middle of my absolute grouchiness.

195. The hundreds of grape hyacinth bulbs that I found

196. That my lilac transplant is living

197. The feeling I get when my hands are buried in the dirt

198. Chili and fun and fellowship

199. Work that wears us out and…

200. The strength to keep going anyway.

201. OHVA and…

202. That they organize state testing and help us prepare for it.

203. The peace He gave my kids as they took those massive tests

204. Beautiful trees that withstand strong gusts of wind

205. Needed rain

206. A roof over my head

And the millions of wooing gifts He’s given me over the course of my life that I’ve missed.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

An amazing weekend...

I'm doing Multitude Monday...on Tuesday...because I spent the last three days on an amazing weekend getaway with my wonderful husband and I didn't have Internet in the car yesterday.

Consequently, yesterday's today's list is going to not only going to include the wonderful gifts of God, it's also going to show the adventuresome side of me which isn't interested in the vast majority of resort locations, and would much rather spend a second honeymoon with my husband enjoying these gifts:

172. The money to finally get away for the weekend by ourselves, which we’ve been wanting since our 10th anniversary almost 5 years ago.

173. Roadtrips and

174. reliable vehicles to take them in and

175. laughter to match the miles and

176. a husband who would rather take a roadtrip with me than anyone else.

177. Twisting roads through the mountains and…

176. redbud trees blooming along the roads in glorious splendor

177. and new views over each new ridge.


178. That our government buys and preserves wonderful outdoor wonderlands like Blackwater Falls State Park.

179. The amazing miracle that causes this…

180. to turn into this…
181. and this…
182. and this...

183. and this.

184. For health and legs and hours that allow boulder-hopping…


and climbing boulders that make me wish I could go back in time and watch as these boulders were put into their amazing positions.

185. and exploring that magical place above a waterfall where the water just drops off into space.

186. Parks that let you stand at the top of waterfalls…

187. and cliffs on top of mountains...

188. and cameras to take pictures when you’re standing up there.

189. And the energy to make it back up the mountain side that all those waterfalls are tumbling down, since the waterfalls lured you to the bottom, and your car is parked at the top.


190. Nights in charming historic inns and beautiful hotels

191. Family that I haven’t seen in years, gathered for a dear cousin’s wedding (even if the light is so low that the pictures come out a charming variety of blurry.)


192. Happy hours on the roadtrip home

193. And children who are a joy to come home to, to share pictures of the trip with, and to dream about taking with us next time.

Monday, April 12, 2010

#158...

holy experience

I don't have anything remarkable or profound for today's Multitude Monday... just a selection of some of the gifts that I'm finding as I progress toward 1000. Feel free to join me and the many others in the gift discovery.

158. Each fence post that makes it into the ground

159. Grass that needs to be mowed

160. Hosta that survived the winter

161. Coupons for needed oil changes

162. Shade to shelter furry black dogs from the sun

163. Saturday’s ice skating fun

164. Friends who let me borrow gloves when our own are forgotten

165. Tulips and

166. Grape hyacinths and

167. Sunshine on both

168. Clothes given to me by a friend

169. Cigna finally paying a $400+ claim (thus ending 1/2 of a 5 month saga), and

170. The doctor’s office finally getting a different corrected claim to Cigna (bringing us one step closer to ending the other half of that saga) These are HUGE gifts! He is soooo faithful!

171. Today, for it is a day He has made!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Easter thankfulness...

holy experience

As most of you know, Monday is the day when I (and many others) pause our lives to stop and be thankful for the many gifts God has given us. Our goal is to reach 1000 gifts, and see what we discover--about ourselves and God--along the way.

Yesterday, of course, was Easter--or Resurrection Sunday as many Christians prefer to call it. And Jesus' sacrifice of His life--the Father's sacrifice of His Son--was, of course, the greatest gift ever given in the history of mankind. I think that, this morning, I'd like to see how many small things that we received as part of that most magnificent gift. Things that, perhaps, I all-too-often miss as I'm looking at the greatness of the sacrifice.

140. Each thorn He bore and each score of a whip that He took on my behalf

141. The mocking that He quietly endured for me.

142. Pilate’s divinely inspired statement that Jesus is, indeed, the King of the Jews

143. That He asked God to forgive mankind for what they were doing. If He had held it against even one the men that day, His sacrifice would no longer have been sinless, and salvation would not be available to me.

144. “It is finished,” for that is so much more powerful than “It is Begun” would have been.

145. The power that brought Jesus to life, for it came from no where else and no one else. His resurrection was nothing more than the simple truth that death had no power over Him.

146. That His death is something that I am allowed to claim as my own…without having to experience the excruciating pain He went through.

147. That because I claim His death, I can also claim His resurrection as my own. It’s hard to comprehend it, that power in my life. Jesus’s whole life was one demonstration of power after another. Power over temptation. Power over sin. Power over sickness. Power over lies. Power over nature. Power over those who sought to kill Him before the appointed time. Power over demons. Power over death. Power over everything except men’s hearts, for God leaves control of that to us. But when I give Him my heart, He releases that power upon my life, changing me in ways indescribable and unfathomable. Why do I ever doubt that He can change me?

148. That His death and resurrection was the perfect fulfillment of prophecy, not a sort-of-kind-of kind of thing.

149. The angels that God sent to explain where Jesus had gone. I’m so glad He didn’t leave the women and disciples to figure everything out on their own! Otherwise I’d be worried that He expects me to.

150. That He appeared to so many, for so long after His resurrection, that many were left as witnesses to tell about His resurrection as the reality that it was.

151. The scars He still bore even after His resurrection.

152. That His death, resurrection, and ascension paved the way for the Holy Spirit.

#130...

Just jotting down some more of the endless gifts from the last week.

130. The word He gave me yesterday…for me! And the lesson it taught me.

131. Six-o’clock on the morning132. Seventy degrees

133. Family gathered together over Easter

134. So many nieces and nephews

135. Daffodils

136. My hyacinths coming up

137. Eighty degrees!

138. The gentle curve of the fir tree boughs outside my window

139. The diamond on my left ring finger
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