Wheat vs Straw

I had to look up the differences between wheat and straw. I read that wheat is a grain, used to replant or to make foods. Straw is used to keep animals warm. It is the waste product.

Christ gathers the wheat, those that are reproducing and those who are feeding others. Both purposes cause growth. We are called to make disciples, to grow others in the image of Christ. We are called to share what we have, feeding others, helping them be nurtured and grow individually. Other times we plant what we have and it is multiplied. What a powerful picture of how the Kingdom of God was called to operate.

Yet, too often we are satisfied with the straw. We want to be comfortable and keep those around us comfortable too. We provide the warmth that allows them not to feel the fire from the gates of hell that is surrounding them. We let others stay comfortable in thier sin. We don’t speak the truth in love.

We must feed people the truth of God’s Word. We must plant the seed of God’s Word. Everything else will one day burn up

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I love being in the presence of God, whether it is in my prayet closet, my car, in corporate church service, or while going about my daily life. Knowing that He is near, and being aware of His presnece changes my perspective. I recently read a book about the revival on Azusa Street and testimonies from those who were present and participated in the might move of God during that time.

Several talked about the tangible presence of God that was seen and felt all around the revival. They talked about fire fighters responding to the fire of God falling and smoke alarms sounding despite no physical fire. Multiple witnesses talked about the fog of glory. True Stories from the Miracles of Azusa Street and Beyond: Relive One of the Greatest Outpourings in History that is Breaking Loose Again by Tommy Welchel will stir the faith and expectancy of anyone praying for a move of God. The book made me consider what that will look like in this world me live in now, some 100 plus years after that great move of God.

As I was driving out of town with my husband today, I noticed what in the distance looked like clouds of smoke. Upon closer look, it was snow or frost covered trees on the rolling hills. The trees closer to me are brown and any remaining frost is hidden from view. My car kept coming up with weather alerts, but our path was clear.

I thought about how that is also true with God’s presence. There are times, where those around me are excited about His presence and yet I see and feel nothing. I have let life’s weight and circumstances block what God is doing.

There are times when God’s presence is so near and yet there are people all around unaware of the move that is going on around them. They may hear the news, but they can not see in evidence in their own life.

I dont want God’s tangible presence to be far off. I want to encounter it. I don’t just want to hear or see about it. I want to expereince Him, His power, and His glory.

I want to see a move of God. One that is so evident the world around is transformed. One where there is physocal evidence pulling others in to His presence.

I would love to see God’s presence fill His temples, not just the buildings but His people. A presence that can not be denied, not be fabricated, and not be stopped. I want to see the miraculous healings and lives transformed. I want to see a move like that of Azusa Street in my own community and in communities all around the world.

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The Journey

I love long drives. The open road, scenic picturesque views, the journey to reach an expected destination. My mind eventually clears and I can think on things that really matter as I leave my everyday life behind. Today I’m riding, so it lets me also pause to put fingers to the keyboard.

As I look at the road before me, I see many different vehicle types, colors, sizes. We are all headed in the same direction. Sometimes a car will get off on a exit. Then it seemingly catchs up with us as we travel miles down the road. Or we will get off on an exit for food, gas or to stretch only to catch back up with a car we were traveling by.

As Christians, we are all on the road stretched before us to advance the Kingdom of God headed towards a final destination of being united with Christ in Heaven.

Some days we feel like isolated beings on our journey, absorbed by the pressures of life. If we stop and look around we will see others traveling around us, dealing with much of the same obstacles.

Too often we compare our journey to others, they are ahead of us or behind us. Someone else’s route looks different than ours. Someone else has more or less than we do. That is not our business, unless we can help them in the journey. If someone spills thier load, I might be in a position to help them clean it up, carry it on for them, or at least take them to connect with help. Or if someone has a breakdown, I can stop and help them get back on the road.

I can look at what they have, but it is dangerous for me to start comparing. Looking to long at where others are or what others have distracts me from where I am traveling, what I am doing, and what I have been blessed with. My focus need to be on the road before me. My focus is for what I can do with, and in, the space around me. I have to stay in the moment, prepared for what may come my way.

Some people, or even myself, may take some detours. God may need to do a little work in an area so as to prepare one for the next leg of the journey. He may need to bring nourishment because all available resources have been expended. He may need to take one to a place of rest or a place of stretching so they will not grow weary in the journey.

It is important to remember we are not in a race against someone else. We are called to be a help to those we encounter. We are heading the same direction, but our journeys and the vehicle in which we travel may appear different. We can not loose sight that we are all in this together.

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Even when I don’t understand

I often fail in my purpose

out of fear,

but when fear passes,

what I regret

is the missed opportunities.

God is faithful to His promises,

I am called to stand

in faith

for what He is asking of me

and faithfully obey,

even when I don’t understand.

 

I read the Scriptures, 

and I wish that

the next script of my life

could give me the meaning of things

as they happen.

But scriptures were written

long after the events they describe.

It is likely that the prophets

had to take the first steps

in obedience

without the understanding

that we have of their purpose.

 

God is faithful to me,

I am called to be faithful to Him

even when I don’t understand.

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Reveal

Search my heart God,

that has been the cry

of my heart

and on my lips.

Asking God,

Searchme“Reveal the things in me 

that are not of You

and to give me eyes to see

Myself as You sees me.”

 

Christ took it all upon Him,

but it is so easy for me

to continue to carry things

if I allow myself

to identify with them

or at times

even fight Him

to keep the very things

He is trying to strip from me.

 

As things are revealed

that have long been

a part of my life,

I have to choose

to lay them down

at His feet.

Stripping away things

that I have held onto

without realizing

they are the very things

that keep me

from pressing into Him.

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Stable

StableI have always told God

“I needed one stable piece in my life”

so I could stay stable

even in the shaking.

Be it work,

or family, 

or friends, etc.

I realized,

God wants to be my stable

even when everything else

is changing,

including me.

God is the Rock.

He is the firm foundation,

I need to weather

any storm life brings.

He has always been there

in the storm,

That I have known,

but He wants to be

the anchor

that holds me steady.

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Lessons worth sharing

These are some of the things that I’ve gleaned over the past few weeks in my quiet time.  I have been told if it is good for me, it is worth sharing to others.  Enjoy!

1. Settle

2. stopshort

3. Quiet

4.

obey

5.  seeds

6. legal

7. passion

8. write

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Reminders from the Past

January 2019 went by like a whirlwind; as the new year starts I have had several reminders from the past. Things that I rarely think about, have taken a forefront of my attention. Sarah Jakes Roberts put is best in her book Don’t Settle for Safe, “The gift of growing requires letting go.  We have to let go or we will experience discomfort and even pain.  Letting go is trusting we can carry the lessons from our past in our hearts without constantly replaying the pain in our heads.”   I thought about what I might learn from those reminders of the past:

whirlwindThere are reminders that some things in my past I need to celebrate. I have been so blessed. I don’t mean that as just something to say, but from the depth of my heart how I feel regularly.  There is not a thing in my life that has happened, that I can not see God’s hand on looking back.  Amazing people poured onto my life. Even if they no longer remain, I gleaned from them what I was supposed to in the moment, even if was just a seed at the time.  I can focus on what is gone, or I can celebrate all that I have learned and all that I have in my life currently.

There are reminders from the past of the amazing transformation that God has done in my life. I look back on my life and don’t recognize who I was anymore. It feels like a whole other lifetime ago.  When that past stands before me, it can immediately take me back to the moment in time, however the past stands only as a reminder.  It is a reminder of “There but the grace of God, go I.”  When I see someone or something that triggers my past, I realize how far God has brought me.  It is a reminder that people can change.  It is a reminder that God never gave up.  God has used so much of my past to speak that hope into the lives of others.

There are reminders of the growth that has come in my life. There are things I had to intentionally do to grow. Choices I made, even when the choice was a difficult one to make.  There were times where that growth cost me everything familiar.  There have been times where I have had people walk and encourage me to grow.  And times where everyone walked away (or should have!).  Growth has always cost me something, whether it was my comfort, my pride, or a financial cost.  I also realize sometimes the best growth occurs in times when it looks like nothing is happening or when I felt like I was being crushed by the weight of what I was carrying.

There are reminders from the past that some things have created who I am today. Every experience in my life has taught me something.  The experiences might not have been good, but they have given me a perspective that no book can teach.  The way I think, the way I cope with certain things, or process were created from past experiences.  Some of those things no longer serve a purpose, but God’s grace will cover me in the process of change.  God can reshape the clay of my life into something that has greater purpose than just a collection of experiences.

There are reminders of the past of which I need to just let go.  I can stop running from those things because they no longer have the hold on me they once did. I need to stop looking at them as excuses.  Stop allowing the enemies reminders of my fears, mistakes and failures to keep me from stepping out where God has called me.

We all have a past, some may be more proud of their past than others, but none of us should live in the past.  We need to take our reminders from the past and use them as lessons for our future.

 

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The Quiet Whisper

Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God . God will pass by.” A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God , but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper. 1 Kings 19:11‭-‬12 MSG

wpid-wp-1436316824817.jpegI Kings 19 has been ruminating in my soul the past two days. So often we are standing at attention waiting for God to do something.  However, we are looking for the bells and whistles, miracles, signs, and wonders from the Lord.  Instead we miss  that still small voice, the whisper of His moving.

I am guilty at looking for some dramatic sign to direct me and show me that God is there.  I have heard the whisper, but I am looking for a bright neon sign to say “HERE’S YOUR SIGN.”  or “DO THIS.”  or “DON’T DO THIS.”  I find myself much like Elijah hiding in a cave because of some threat when I should be facing it head on because of the mighty things that I have seen God just do.

God’s wind has blown so much off of me.  He has shaken my world more than a time or two now.  I have been praying for Him to burn up anything in my that is not of Him.  Yet with all that He has done to prepare me, I have to quiet myself before Him to hear that still small voice of direction.  Those other things may get my attention, they may pull away the things that don’t belong; but God whispers His instruction.  He wants me in His presence.  He whispers so that I will draw near to Him to listen.

 

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It has been a rough year at work, a lot of death has been happening.  Some from natural causes, others for reasons of poor life choices.  Some young, some old.  Some with support around, others alone and seemingly forgotten by the world, other than a paid caregiver.  Sometimes I find myself praising God that their suffering is over.  Other times, I have found myself questioning “why?”

As I was praying, a clear correlation was drawn for me between what I am experiencing at work and the spiritual process of dying to self, or crucifying the flesh.  I go through much of the same process as the individuals and families do as they face the dying process.  dyingtoself

Some people refuse to believe they are dying.  This comes in many different forms from outright denial to standing in faith.  I realize that sometimes I don’t want to believe that I still have some sins hanging around that I have tried to ignore, like pride masked in insecurities.  Other times I am truly blind to the sin so I can’t see that it needs to die.

Sometimes family is not prepared emotionally, financially or relationally.  Family wants more time to come to terms with the inevitable.  I do this too.  I often bargain with God for more time because I am not ready to make the changes required for my flesh to die.

Sometimes there is a financial reason for holding on, like if a family lives paycheck to paycheck and need time to figure out how to manage with the loss of income.  I have certainly disobeyed God in this area.  And I suffered the consequences of it.  Had I been willing to let go, I could have prevented a lot of suffering and remorse on my part.  I just needed to be willing to obey God and trust Him in my finances when He showed me clearly I needed to let go.

Other times people have unresolved issues with a loved one.  There are things that need to be said, but emotionally one or both of the parties are not willing to start the conversation.  No one is willing to say what needs to be said.  So often I have allowed my flesh to cause a rift between me and God.  I am not ready to start the conversation to allow healing to mend my brokenness.  Instead I continue to let my flesh grow in that area.

Sometimes distance is a barrier, the dying person is waiting for someone to arrive.  I realize I can not wait for someone else before allowing my sin to be crucified.    Unforgiveness and baggage from the past immediately come to mind.  I often want to wait for someone else to apologize or for justice to happen.  I can’t wait for someone else, if I need to change, it is on me regardless of anyone else’s actions. Sin will always find someone else to latch on to through me for survival.

Sometimes a person is hanging on because they want to know those who are left behind are going to be okay.   Some people are not going to be okay with the changes required in my life as I crucify the flesh.  Sin will stick around much longer than needed because I don’t give God permission to take it away.  The flesh in me does not want to die, but if I trust God I will be okay, even after the sin is gone.

Some are afraid that giving in to the natural process of death, is suicide.  Nothing could be father from the truth.  Just because science can keep someone alive doesn’t mean we should.  God receives people in His time, we may prolong he process with treatments and machines, but stopping those is not suicide.  When I die to flesh, I am giving in to the natural process that God has laid out.  I am killing it, but it is not killing me.  God takes my sacrifice and blesses it.  He receives it, and makes me the best version of myself that I can be.

Or families are concerned that they are killing someone by withdrawing care.  Machines and medicines can keep someone’s heart beating or provide oxygen, but they are just preventing the body from doing what it was naturally made to do.  When I submit to crucifying the flesh, my spirit, united with Christ is doing what it was created to do – imitate Christ.

Every now and then a doctor will want to pursue treatments that offer little hope or recovery. Families gravitate towards these treatments, thinking that someone will have a complete turn around.  And I have to say, from time to time, I have seen the miracle happen.  Before I say, what I am going to say, let me clarify I don’t think that doctors are the enemy, it just is a picture that helped me make sense of things.  When it comes to my flesh dying, the enemy will always try to provide just one more reason to hang on to my sin, my desires and my ways.  It will offer false hope and security, where there is none to be had.

One of the things I enjoy doing, is making sure that people have a medical power of attorney, stating who can make decisions for them should they be in a position they can not, whether temporarily or permanently and an advanced directive, letting doctors know what should and should not be done in the event of an irreversible condition.  These documents should be completed by everyone!  They really help guide and direct the family and doctor when it comes time for those difficult decisions to be made.

When I became a Christian, I turned power of attorney over to God.  The Bible became my advanced directive.  The Bible clearly says to lay down your life, and to sacrifice or crucify the flesh.  There is no guessing needed  The flesh needs to die.  Sin needs to go.

And so I pray:

God I give you permission to kill the flesh in my life, the time is now.  No more waiting.  Your Word is clear and I know that you want only the best for me.   God open my eyes to the truth about myself.  That anything that does not resemble You would be allowed to die.  Take everything in me that is not like you, regardless of how others will respond.  I want what you have for me and I am ready to die to self. No more excuses.  Open my eyes, let me not hold on to false hopes from the enemy or be concerned about how others will respond.  Your opinion is the only opinion that carries weight.  You are my POA, the Bible is my advanced directive.

 

 

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