Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Something for your mirror...

If you've ever wondered who you are, print this out, and paste it on your mirror:

This was part of a wonderful message spoken at our church a few months back, and it keeps resounding through me.

These are God's words--words of Truth--about me!  They're also words about you, if you've received that gift.

Here are links to the references if you want to read them for yourself:Eph 2:8-9; Rom 5:16-17 1 Cor. 6:20; Gal 3:13; Eph. 2:10; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom 5:17; Lam 3:22-23; 2 Cor. 12:9; 1 Cor. 1:30

(Here is a text version.)

Friday, January 06, 2012

A warning...

"Show me Your ways" and "Show me Your glory" are two dangerous prayers to pray. You might end up finding your life completely changed...

(These are Moses's prayers, from Exodus 33:13 & 18)

Note to readers... if you are an occasional blog reader who only stops by here once a week or two, I'm sort of breaking my habits--this is my third post this week and fourth in two weeks. Don't miss the others. Will this become a new norm? Well...frankly, I have no idea. ::smiles::

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Confidence in a confident God...

There is a wonderful verse in the Bible that I'm sure you're familiar with:

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil. 1:6)
In this verse, Paul says He is confident in what God will do.

But have you ever thought of why he was so confident? Do you think it matters whether God was just as confident as Paul was? Maybe that sounds like kind of a silly question. Of course God is confident. After all... He's God! He can do anything!

But here's the thing. We've all had people prove they weren't worthy of our trust and faith in them. They promise something and don't mean that promise. They discover that they are unable to do what they once thought they could. Unforeseen circumstances make it impossible to fulfill what they were once perfectly willing and able to do.

And so we learn that trust has an element of risk...even when the person is confident that they can and will do what they intend.

Then we're told to trust God, and we get hit by condemnation when we fail to do this trusting-thing. And so we find ourselves thinking that the key to having faith lies in us willing ourselves to overcome this habit of not trusting that we've fallen into.

But what if it's so much simpler? What if believing God was as simple as knowing Him? Knowing His power, His faithfulness, and His love.

Romans says this of Abraham:
Without becoming weak in faith, he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.

Do you see the basis of Abraham's faith? For a little while, he didn't quite get it, and he accepted Sarah's idea that maybe they needed to use Hagar and help God out a little. (Gen. 16)  But evidently Abraham realized his mistake. This faith that is praised in Romans and Hebrews was completely and totally based on the revelation of something outside of himself. It was separate from anything he could do on his own. He simply realized that God was capable of doing what He promised, and He praised God for it.

Do you really know that? Do you honestly and truly know that God is absolutely 100% capable of doing exactly what He says He will do, and that nothing on earth can stop it? (Psalm 115:3 and 135:6) For He will never promise something He doesn't mean to fulfill. It is impossible for Him to promise something that is beyond His power. And since He knows all things--even the future--it is equally impossible for circumstances to affect His plans or power in the slightest!

In other words, God gives a whole new definition to the word "confident."

As the new year begins, I challenge you... ask God to show you Himself. Regardless of how much or how little He's already shown Himself to you, there's always more. Always. And He promised that if you seek Him with your whole heart, you will find Him. (Jer. 29:13)  You'll discover just how powerful and capable He really is.

And may this year be one in which you grow even more confident in your confident God.

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." -Eph. 3:20

Sunday, January 01, 2012

In love...

Happy New Year world!

I've spent the last four hours sitting on my sofa, reading through last year's journal entries and writing my end-of-2011 and beginning-of-2012 thoughts.

God did so much in me last year. The year had its struggles, and some of them were new ones that knocked me down to my knees. But the year also had fulfillment of prophecies and answers to prayers.

One of the prayers that God answered was one that I prayed a number of times over the years. Every time, in fact, that I examined my own heart and saw that I didn't love God like I knew I should. I mean...sure I loved Him. I loved Him in my thoughts. I loved what I knew He'd done for me. But I used to wonder what it would be like to feel passionate love for God. I also had this nagging feeling that my my heart was supposed to be filled with some sort of more powerful love instead of the rather dry kind that I found instead.

I wanted to ask Him to make me love Him, but that seemed kind of a contradiction in terms. Asking Him to help me love Him more didn't seem much better. Yet I knew that, if left to my own devices, my love would probably do nothing other than possibly grow cold. (Which is definitely not something I wanted to happen! See Matthew 24:12.)

And so, years ago, I asked Him to do whatever was necessary in me so that I'd love Him more. I had the feeling that it might have something to do with 1 John 4:19.

And as usual, He is so faithful, and so wonderful!  Because He did do it. As this year progressed, I fell more and more in love with my God and my Savior.

But do you know how He did it? He did it by simply revealing more and more of Himself to me. And the more I realized just how incredible God is, the more I fell in love with Him. The more I realized who Jesus was, is, and always will be, the more I was awed and amazed and delighted by this One who surrendered it all...for me.

I think that's why God didn't give me that song in 2010. I had enough of the revelation to want to sing the song, but not as much as God wanted me to have in order to do justice to the message. Even though the lines of the song are right out of scripture, I don't believe I could have heard those lines if I didn't already have a revelation deep inside of me for each one. And so I had to wait.

But then came the day when I was rapturously again singing these words:
"You lift me up when I am weak
Your arms wrap around me
Your love catches me, so I'm letting go...
You lift me up when I can't see
Your heart's all that I need
Your love carries me, so I'm letting go..."

Most of you probably recognize those words...the song has been on the Christian music charts every week since July...but for me, when I sang those words for something like the 40th time...when I envisioned His arms wrapping around me like I know they do, and when I flung my arms wide open and imagined myself falling into the His embrace...that's when I realized that I truly was in love with my God. I realized that I truly am utterly delighted simply by who He is! (Just as my FB friends who can tell you just how many times I've posted, "God is so incredible!")

I realized that it's not much different than when I fell in love with my husband. There's that same excitement to spend time with Him...that same aching to be closer and closer...that same longing for the world to know how wonderful He is and how wonderful it is to be loved by Him. Except somehow, it's even more wonderful, for there is no end to it. This time, I'm falling in love with One who will never let me down. One who is is literally perfect and who will always be perfect.

And as I fall more and more in love with Him, the more I absolutely love to lavish my love on Him in worship. Yes, I know I've said for five years on here that I love worship...well that's nothing to how much I love worshiping Him now!


Are you where I once was? Does your heart feel a bit dry? Are you worried that your love will grow cold? Don't fear! And don't accept condemnation over it. Just ask Him to show you Himself and His ways, and prepare yourself to fall in love with Him as He does!

For those of you who are interested, I posted a YouTube recording of me singing "All He Was" on the post with the words. My shaky voice and fumbling fingers don't do the song justice (though the pictures help), but it's now there, at the bottom of the post.

And here is "You Lift Me Up" for those few who may not have heard it, or for the (hopefully) many who love it as much as I do and who want to sing the words again to the only One who is fully able of always lifting you up:

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion