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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fear's fear.

"Don't look."  I'd tell myself as I hid under my blanket.  "It's safer under here than out there."

The dark can bring out the worst of our fears.  A child's imagination can make something out nothing.  "What's that sound?"  "What's that shadow in the corner?"  Nothing feels safe.  Nothing is what it seems.  All is unsure and you are left feeling stuck and paralyzed. 

Fear does that.  Our tricky enemy.  Making something out of nothing.  Making small things look big.  It smiles as it lies to us.  It wants nothing more than for you to stay mesmerized, terrified, and paralyzed. 

But what does fear, fear?

The Light.
The Truth.

It calls to us like the gentle voice of daddy saying, "Come, little one.  There is nothing to fear.  As my light shines in, you will know I am near.  Don't be misled and don't be afraid.  Your enemy has lied to you but now is the day... for you to step into the Light."


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Reality Check

I went through a season where it was the first thing that came to my mind as I awoke each morning.

"This is absolutely Real and one day, I'm going to meet Jesus."
was the thought.

Waking up with that reality in my mind changed the way I saw my day.  It changed the way I saw my trials, my difficulties.  It changed how I treated my children and my husband.  It changed how I saw other people, performed my duties, did my job, and cleaned my house.  And, it changed how I prayed. 

Something has shaken me up this week like a cold glass of water on a sleepy face.  On two different days, I 'happened' to stumble across videos of people telling their story of how they died, and in their lasts breaths cried out to Jesus to save them.  As they entered eternity, they fell quickly into a dark tunnel into what they call hell.  It was a place of pure fear, torture, screaming, crying, darkness, despair, burning...indescribable really.  Then, God's merciful hand swept down and scooped them out -- bringing them up through heaven and then back to their bodies.  He had heard their cry for forgiveness in their last breaths. 

This gospel we believe is no fairytale. It is not false. It is not a lie. It as real as real can be. And, even if we don't believe it, it doesn't make it any less real. Eternity exists. Heaven exists. Hell exists. 

Something that one woman said in her testimony was that in this place of great suffering, there was a mutual, overwhelming sense of regret in the souls there.  It was too late for them to repent.  Too late for them to believe.  Too late...  too late.

But, it is not too late for us.  It is not too late for you.

If you are reading this right now and have not yet said to Jesus with your own lips and meant it in your heart, "Forgive me, Jesus.  Be my Savior.  I believe in you and want to live for you here on earth and with you in heaven.  I don't want to assume that I am just going to heaven based on my own good works because no good work is going to get me into heaven -- only my faith in you and what you did on the cross."

Let me tell you... this prayer is more important than anything you will ever decide here on earth about your life.  It is more important than your decision of who you will marry, what you will do 'when you grow up' -- more important than anything.

Eternity is long.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

If God Had A Facebook Page...

  • He would send Friend Requests to everyone in the entire world!
  • His wall would be filled with pictures of you --  shots of how He sees you and how amazing you are to Him.
  • He may run the risk of being the crazy-for-His-kids kind of parent who posts every little step of growth and progress in His kids' life. 
  • He'd never stop posting. 
  • His status would be 'single' -- the hopeless Romantic Bachelor looking to win the heart of His Bride.
  • There would be no pretense.
  • He'd always be very interested in what you'd have to say. 
  • He would respond to what you posted -- laugh, 'like', and speak His Opinion.
  • He would send out special invites to join Him in some personal time (He would hope you would accept! :)
  • He would never delete you as a Friend.
  • He would never publicly embarrass you.  He would be sure to 'message' you if He had more personal matters to talk to you about.
  • His posts would never ring with negativity. 
  • He'd be the funniest person on Facebook!
  • He'd use His page only for Good, not evil.
  • He'd hope you would accept His Friend Request -- forever!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Not-So-Secret Admirer

That note left on your locker.  That flower that randomly appeared on your desk.  You pick it up and look around wondering who may have left it -- and more so -- who would show such attention and affection to little ol' you? 

A secret admirer.  One who is burning on the inside with love for you but too timid to reveal their identity.  A romantic at heart.  A lover, not a fighter kind of person.   Shy, but not ashamed.


That rainbow in the sky just when you needed Hope.  That random call from a friend at a timely hour.  That song of Life that came on the radio -- speaking directly into your circumstance.  That Bible verse that popped out of the pages -- splashing your thirsty, dry heart.

An Admirer.  But, not-so-secret at all!  One who is burning on the inside with love for you.  A True Romantic.  A Lover (that will fight for you!)  Not ashamed.  Not shy.  And, certainly not afraid to step out and say -- even publicly,

"I Have Loved You With An Everlasting Love!"

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Invisible World

My youngest daughter woke up one morning, not too long ago, and came downstairs to sit with me on our sofa.  With big sleepy brown eyes, she said to me, "Mommy, God is bright and beautiful." 

"Yes," I agreed, wondering what prompted her comment.

She went on to tell me that she had a dream that God came to her and pointed to Evil and said, "Chase it, before it chases you and you have Fear." 

I sat there thinking for a moment.  How simply and profoundly put.  "Wow, honey," I encouraged her,  "That is quite a dream." 

Then, she looked at me and with a quick change of subject asked, "What's for breakfast?"

We went on with our morning, but her comment lingered in my mind all day.   It reminded me that there is spiritual activity always going on.  Just as real as our natural world is, so is the spiritual world.  We see all kinds of spiritual activity going on throughout the Bible.  From the Old Testament to the New Testament, God has made it clear that there is an invisible world around us -- filled with Good and Evil, as well.  Whether we believe it or not, it still exists and it is still alive and active.

The important thing to remember, though, is that we do not have to be afraid when we are in the Light.  Love wins every battle.  In fact, not only can we live without fear, but we can live as Overcomers in the Light.  We can look Fear and Evil in the eye and say, "You have no place here. Out!"

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Survival Plan

Many of us have a go-to plan when it comes to dieting. 

South Beach, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Liquid, No Fat, No Sugar, Salad Only, Heck-let's-not-eat-anything Diet.  Picking one, they succeed/lose and ride the wave of victory.  But, then soon after, they fall flat on their face in failure.  Determining to try again, they pick up another (or maybe exact same or a variation of the same) diet plan -- with much of the same results.

Many of us have been there!  And, many of us carry this concept into the other areas of our lives.  We pick up different 'life plans' (how we are going to get through). 

  • The 'Parent Plan' -- lean on mom and/or dad for as long as you can -- even well into your adulthood. 
  • The 'Man Plan' -- always have a man (or woman) in your life for your security and provision.
  • The 'Me Plan' -- the 'forget-it-I'll-do-it-myself' plan.  You abandon all life-lines and go solo.  Every man for himself.
  • The (you fill in the blank) Plan -- _________________________

We may stick to one plan or juggle a few at a time, even -- whatever keeps us afloat. 

But, these kinds of human plans are vulnerable -- like a tug boat out on the sea.  We may lie to ourselves and say, "I'm safe here.  I feel in control, so I must be at least semi-safe."  But, when the storms come, we suddenly get ourselves a good shot of reality.  Our measly plans have no anchor on them and suddenly we are consumed by the waves. 

But, the storm may be the very thing that gets us looking to the Only Plan.  As we lie shipwrecked, wet and cold, reason and wisdom may begin to surface in our heart.  We look at our pathetic lives that have washed up on the shore and say, "I need a PLAN.  And, not, just a survival plan anymore.  I need a plan that's bigger than me.  A plan that's not just going to keep me from drowning.  I need a plan that's going to take me somewhere and help me make something of my life!

It's then, when we have nothing else to lose, that we look up and see God holding our entire lives in His Hands and saying, "Come.  Let's make something of this life together!"


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Had To Share This You Tube Video

My husband came home from work earlier this week and started telling me about this You Tube video he had watched.  It was a 30 minute video of people being healed in Disneyland.  As he described the video to me, I began to weep in my kitchen.  There was such a 'yes' in my heart that this was no fake, phony, hyped-up thing. 

I watched part of it that evening and then was able to catch it all this morning during my 'sofa time' with God.  Tears upon tears rolled down my cheeks as I watched real, ordinary people have a genuine encounter with God.  It encouraged me to reach out to God for healing in my own life that I so desperately need.  Now, this is what I'm talkin' about! :)


Friday, January 11, 2013

I'm Holding You To It

My kids are quick to remind me.

"But, YOU promised!" they would proclaim, if I failed to follow through with something I promised them I'd do.

They're no dummies.  They know how important promises are.  They know the guarantee behind my words and they have learned that I don't (as much in my human power!) lie to them. So, if I promise something, they know they can trust it.  They can even hold me to it.  And, believe me, they aren't afraid to say my words back to me!

In the same way, we can 'remind' God what He has said and the promises He has made. 

God is not going to be offended if we get in face and say, "But, YOU promised!"  In fact, I believe He wants us to get in face about His Promises.  I think He loves when we spit His words back at Him and hold Him to everything He has said.  I think He grins ear to ear when we boldly 'remind' Him, because in essence what we are doing is showing Him how confident we are with who He is and how convinced we are that He does not play games with our hearts or lie to His people. 

So --

anything you want to remind God of today? :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Unreachable Itch

Maybe you can relate.

You're 'hungry' but you don't know what you want.  You might think to yourself, "Something with protein to hold me over until my next meal."  So, you grab a protein snack.  But, it doesn't hit the spot.  So, you think, "No, I think what I really want is just something sweet."  So, you grab for the sugary snack.  Nope, that doesn't do it either.  "How about something salty....no, something creamy...no, something..."  You just can't pinpoint what you need and by now you've loaded up on more calories than you wished you'd consumed.  You're left unsatisfied and maybe even feeling guilty.  Ugh!

For many of us, this dilemma has nothing to do with our physical cravings.  We're not reaching for food because we are physically hungry, we're reaching for it because it's become our go-to happy place.  We're looking for a comfort.  We're looking for an emotional need to be met and we think the answer is found on the 3rd shelf of our fridge.

Most of us are smart enough to realize that the answer isn't the bowl of ice cream or bag of chips, but the need inside of us screams louder than the voice of reason.  The 'hunger' feels very real, and the habit is hard to break.

I heard Joyce Meyer say in an interview once that one of the big reasons we do this is that deep inside we are longing for the Living God.  The 'hunger' we feel isn't just in our heads.  We do have a need we are trying to fill -- a real need, a longing.  But, trying to meet that need using food is just trying to scratch at an unreachable itch.  No amount of food (or alcohol or sex or work or...well, you fill in the blank) can take away that longing or meet that need.  Only God can do that.

I remember a song by the group Plumb that came out years ago.  It was even used in the movie "Bruce Almighty'.  Its chorus says it all...

There's a God-shaped hole in all of us
And the restless soul is searching
There's a God-shaped hole in all of us
And it's a void only he can fill


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

That fresh clean piece of paper and sharpened pencil.
That blank music staff.
That solid untouched piece of wood.
That empty bowl with the recipe beside it.
It's a great feeling -- the feeling in your gut that says,
"Something good is about to happen."
You just know it.
The slate is clean, the energy is there, the vision is growing stronger.
It hasn't been created yet, it hasn't manifested yet, but the joy is already there.
Something is about to be birthed and you get to be a part of it!
So, you put your hand to it --
indeed, your entire self into it.
You allow the joy to carry you with its great strength --
its wonder swallows all feelings of failure and anxiety.
You are simply caught up in the journey.
A New Year.
365 days of 'fresh material' to work with.
And, you put your hand to it
knowing that Joy's strength will carry you --
its Wonder will swallow your fears.
You allow yourself to be caught up in
the Joy of the Journey,
knowing that something Good is before you --
and you get to be a part of it!