Sunday, May 30, 2010

"S" Words

God has been putting a lot of “S” words on my heart lately. No, not the bad ones! I am approaching a season of Sabbath, or my time to Selah (stop, pause, listen, reflect) with the LORD. I will be home for about 6 weeks with no agenda, no work, no kids, just time. I have just felt Him stirring in me, asking me what I will be doing with my summer, what I am going to do with these “S” words.

Do you know that your sufficiency is in God? The LORD will supply us the desire and ability through His grace to serve Him.
“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant . . . “ (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)

Will you submit to what God is putting on your heart? Will you step in faith and obey?
“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples . . .” (Exodus 19:5)

How and who will you be serving? Will you serve from an overflow and not compulsion?
“So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them . . .” (Romans 12:5-6)

Who will you be shepherding? Who will you commit to guiding and nurturing?
“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly” (1 Peter 5:2)

Who will you be sharpening/encouraging? Who will be sharpening you?
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

What will you be reading? How will you grow in Truth, worship me with your heart and mind?
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)

In all of this, will you remember to keep the main thing, the main thing? Will you discern what God is putting on your heart and God alone? Will you remember to keep it simple this summer? Will you say “no” if you need to?
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)

I can easily overwhelm myself with the endless possibilities of how to seek Him and serve Him. I am trying to hear from the LORD, obey, but be sure to that I don’t “busy” away my time of rest, make sure that I’m serving out of an overflow. I can’t wait for my time of Selah to abide in my Savior, Sustainer, Strength, Source, and Song.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


So, I took a solo road trip this weekend to the Bay Area. I went to visit a dear friend of mine that I used to work with when I lived in Pleasanton. She is pregnant with her first child and went to celebrate with her at her baby shower. And guess what . . . I got LOST!!! And I don’t just mean I took the wrong exit, but found my way back, I mean LOST!!!!

I got off on the right exit, and then I went the wrong way! And oh my goodness, I found out that if you stay on this particular road for too long, you can’t get off for miles! There were no turn offs and a median that kept me from making a U-turn to the other side! I was driving for what felt like 100 miles knowing I was going the wrong way and could not turn around! I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone! Seriously, I wanted to pull over to cry, and I couldn’t even do that! It was nothing but two lanes, in the middle of the hills, cows, shacks, a sign that said “Contra Costa County Line” and I couldn’t turn around!!!

The worst part is it was totally my fault. Last time I went to visit my friend; I got only a little lost. Went North instead of South but I figured it out. Well I wasn’t going to let that happen this time! So I remembered from last time, went against what the written directions told me (because I mean who can trust MapQuest, right?) and I went North instead of South. I had the directions right there in front of me and I trusted my instinct and went the opposite way!

Then, when I realized I messed up and was finally able to turn around (after 20 minutes in the wrong direction) I stop and asked a lady for directions. She seemed very confused, and being the trusting person that I am I took her direction. And guess what? She sent me right back on to the wrong road and I got lost again!!!! Why did I listen to a woman who I knew had no idea where I needed to go?

So, after an hour of driving, frantically crying out to God to reveal the right direction, I swallowed my pride and I called . . . my husband. He pulled up a map and led me to the very place I needed to be.

Then of course I started thinking . . .

Isn’t this what we do? God gives us clear directions, a map for our life, in His word. We trust our instinct and go the way we “think” we should go. We end up lost. Crying out to God for help, a turn-off, revelation, etc. when all the while we’re on a road He never intended us to be on. It’s not until we look to others who can “read the map” with clarity that we can get back on the right path. God heard my cry for help. He provided me with someone who could guide me back on to the correct path. I had to push aside my pride, confess my confusion, and ask for help(from someone who knew the right way to go).

I’m thankful, that even though I was horribly lost, I made it. I was nearly 2 hours late, but still . . . I made it.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart,and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Scripture 8

Chosen and Set Free

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” (Ephesians 1:3-8)

(I will only be memorizing Ephesians 1:4-5, but wanted to read this whole section of scripture together before we pull out just a few verses to memorize.)

Shea shared a story in Residency when we talked about what it means to be adopted into God’s family. He shared something along the lines of how there were children who lived in an orphanage, and ate cockroaches and rotten bananas. Then, one of the kids was adopted into a rich family that would provide fresh homemade food, great meals, etc. He said, could you imagine if this child still chose to eat cockroaches and bananas, not enjoying the feast that is provided for them as new members of a rich family?

Isn’t this what we do as believers? We are adopted into the family of God, chosen to be holy and blameless, and yet we live as if we are still a part of our old family, eating our old disgusting food that has no nourishment at all!

I feel like I have talked with a lot of ladies lately and this theme continues to come up. Ladies having a hard time resting in God’s love and grace, walking in freedom instead of guilt, etc. Are you there? Is it difficult to believe you are truly forgiven? Redeemed? Holy and blameless? Can I encourage you to meditate on this portion of scripture? It has brought so much comfort to me . . . I have put in bold the words “love, chosen, adopted, forgiven, redeemed.” When my mind is filled with thoughts of guilt, shame, etc. I try to replace those words with His words that He has spoken about me!

Are you walking in freedom? Are you feasting on the Bread of Life (John 6:35) and drinking from His river of delights (Psalm 36:8)? Or are you still eating cockroaches and rotten bananas?

I want to hear from you! Where are you? How can I pray for you? Is memorizing scripture in your heart helping you to take your thoughts captive (2 Cor 10:5) and renew your mind (Romans 12:2) so that you do not sin against the LORD (Psalm 119)?

"For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you . . .” (Deuteronomy 7:6-8)

P.S. I will be spending my time with the LORD in Ephesians in these next few weeks/months. If any of you want to read along with me, I am going to follow Charles Swindoll’s online course, here’s the link:

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Scripture 7

“For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:10)

Mike shared a story in Residency last week out of 1 Samuel 15, comparing King Saul (the king the people wanted) and King David (a man after God’s own heart). You see God using Saul but Saul’s heart is far from God. He is much more concerned about himself, his reputation, his own image. When he finally does confess to being disobedient, he only does so to save face and avoid consequences. He does not want his sin to embarrass him in front of the people. Meanwhile, he has no concern for how his sin hurts God. The final verse of the chapter says “And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.” (1 Samuel 15:35).

Mike summed up King Saul by saying “It seems as though God was on his lips, but never in his heart.” WOW. Convicting!

Is God on your lips, but not in your heart? We have been reading through Romans in life group and as I thought about this story, I was reminded of Romans 10. “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:10) I looked at this scripture, and do you notice where belief, justification, and salvation start? In your heart. It begins in your heart! We went through Romans 12 last week, talking about how we are “to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1). Can we live this way if God is not in our hearts?

Notice though, it doesn’t just say believe in your heart, but confess with your mouth. After inward belief comes outward evidence. My ESV commentary says “saving faith is not mere intellectual agreement but deep inward trust in Christ at the core of one's being.”

It is only when we have both, the deep trust (inward belief) and the confession from our lips (outward evidence) that we are saved. Believe Him, trust Him, let Him and His word dwell in your heart . . . and be saved!