Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Arrow and the Roadblock

The thought occurred to me this morning, in only the way that God can lead my thoughts, that I have been given an amazing opportunity to influence people and encourage people. And I'm not alone in this - we all do.

Take a step back from your situation for a minute - & try to look at all that is in your life right now, job, hobbies, activities, relationships. Think about the people you come in contact with everyday. What if the purpose for all of it is to make sure you're standing by Joe at Starbucks on Thursday morning at 8:06 to smile and say good morning. What if it's about the people that God has placed in your life that are so difficult, that if you were to be honest, you try to avoid when possible - but what if there was purpose in those encounters as well - to mold and make you, but also to sharpen that other person by your lifestyle.

I just think that I miss it, being so focused on the details, that there is this whole mesh of events intersecting in my life to fulfill exactly what God wants to do - and it's my choice whether or not I'm willing to be used by Him, aware that its even happening, or to stick my head back into the sand of details and issues. Of course - there needs to be balance in this, but if you're like me, you just swing between extremes most of the times that that this is what I need to hear to re-correct my perspective.

But so often, I personally get caught up in my routine, being the detail-oriented person that I am, and get so focused on the obstacles and issues in my life that need to be worked out that I forget that all around me are people that I could be used to encourage, to challenge, to point to God.

What is it that God has uniquely designed you to do? Do you make people laugh easily? Do you draw people out in conversation by your willingness to listen and ask probing questions? Do you have this quirkiness about you that inspires others' creativity just by the way you express yours? It's not there just for you to enjoy - God's placed it there to connect you to those other people, to encourage and influence them for His purpose - and He'll use them if we let Him. If we're willing to be aware that He's already at work all around us, and is inviting us to join Him.

Scripture says that we long for Him, whether we see it as a longing to be comforted or to be rescued or to be affirmed- He is the sum total of all that we need and could ever want. AND when He uses what He has given us to reveal Himself to others, they will be drawn to us - and what will be give them in return? Where we will direct them from there?

In college, the analogy came to me of an arrow and a roadblock bench (is that what they're called - those things they set up in roads to block the path - like on all the flooded streets in GA at the moment). I was walking on-campus at UCF, which at the time was always under construction, and had been struggling with yet again another failed relationship. By this time, God had gotten a hold of me enough to have at least dated a Christian guy. But it just didn't seem to really have a different outcome than the rest - disappointed expectations, going in different directions, etc.

Anyways, as I'm walking past these roadblock signs, it occurs to me that this is what I felt was happening symbolically when I entered into these relationships, that as I'm walking with God and trying to follow His lead, I was getting distracted down these relationship paths that ended up at a dead-end, an impasse. And so being the black and white thinker that I am, I immediately concluded that this was God's sign to me that He was calling me to singleness in my life. (yeah, dramatic, i know) - But then He continued to speak, which is often my problem, i jump to conclusions before He's had a chance to finish communicating His thoughts to me.

He told me that I could find an arrow, someone that I could be in relationship with that would continually point me back to Him. That is wouldn't be about someone ever fulfilling all my needs, or me theirs, but that it would be someone that God used in my life to remind me that He is my Source, and if he chooses to use that man to meet some of my needs, great. But if not, He is still my Source and it's not the purpose of a relationship, anyways.

All this relates in that it's stuck with me - not just in the context of romantic relationships - but in who I want to be to other people, and who I ultimately want to be around. Those individuals that are used by God to reveal more of who He is, and then continually point you back to Him. It means that they don't go glory-seeking for credit, or try to even meet/fix your problems themselves, but they recognize their own depravity & need for Christ, and encourage you to go to Him as well. And it means being so filled up by God, allowing Him to teach me that my worth is in Him, that when I am used by God, it doesn't become a threat to me - that I don't start thinking that my 'usefulness' to God dictates my worth now.

So - that is what I want to be - an arrow - and that is who I feel challenged to be this morning, if God chooses in His infinite grace and mercy to use me to reveal more of Him to someone else, that it wouldn't really be about me at all - but just pointing people back to their Maker, their Lover, their Redeemer, their Friend, their Comforter - to the One that is able to meet whatever need drew them in in the first place.

And we have that opportunity, even today, to point people back to Him!

Ephesians 5:15-17 -
Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I am feeling the need, with my lack of motivation/desire to do anything and nothing, to persevere, to remember what it was that God said last to focus on, and to do that faithfully while waiting for Him to reveal more of Himself. To stand firm in the things that I know He has asked me to do - be kind, faithful, generous, patient, loving - which could keep me busy for the rest of my life, and pray that He will complete these things in me as I wait.

I'm also feeling the need to cling to His Word, not because of its benefits to me anymore, but because it's Truth, it's solid, it's unchanging, it's my only Hope of maneuvering through this world with any purpose. So often I convince myself of the reasons why I should be obedient because of the benefits of said obedience, instead of just saying, "I love you, Daddy, and therefore I will obey. You are Lord, and have the right to my life."

I was challenged by this today from an email that I received through this online mentoring program that I get the blessing and challenge of being a participating in. The girl was telling me that she's heard all these reasons as to why she shouldn't have pre-marital sex, from God's Word, from other believers, etc., but even as a believer herself, she isn't convinced, not even by the Holy Spirit inside of her that convicts of every time she has sex with her boyfriend.

When did we make Christianity about our benefit and not about being obedient to what God's Word says? When did we make not have pre-marital sex more about avoid STDs than doing it because God says to honor the marriage bed? We accept His salvation greatly and gratefully, but we rejected His Lordship from the get-go with our attitudes of convenient obedience.

Maybe the 'we' really is just me - because I can only speak for myself - but I'm being challenged today, as Joshua was, to answer "As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." -not serve my flesh, not serve my emotions, not serve my reputation or what others think of me - but serve the Lord, give Him my life, my time, my desires, my money - all of it.

"But remember, dear friends, that the apostles of our Master, Jesus Christ, told us this would happen: "In the last days there will be people who don't take these things seriously anymore. They'll treat them like a joke, and make a religion of their own whims and lusts." These are the ones who split churches, thinking only of themselves. There's nothing to them, no sign of the Spirit!

But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God's love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!

Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.

And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating—to our one God, our only Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Master, be glory, majesty, strength, and rule before all time, and now, and to the end of all time. Yes."
- Jude 1:15-25

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I personally want to see God

So, God has been continually bringing my attention back to the issue of purity, specifically regarding the struggle today that people are having (Christians included) with pornography and sexual sins. This is definitely not a topic that I am comfortable with, with my somewhat shy, reserved nature, but when God gives you a passion for something and persists in leading you towards it, at some point you just have to surrender to it if you want to go with Him.

Anyways, I was burdened again tonight with the fact that so many believers seem so desensitized to the sexuality that they promote, the lack of clothing that they wear, etc., as though they have no idea what this does to men, even their brothers in Christ, or that they don't care. I choose to give them the benefit of the doubt that they have just been so exposed to the sensuality of TV/media, etc., that they no longer see the danger of it, and it just has slowly crept its way into their wardrobe and behavior.

But it burdens my heart for two reasons in particular. One, the immense struggle that people have, mainly guys, when it comes to being visually oriented, and seeing women wearing revealing clothing and acting in a provocative manner, especially when they are in an environment that is supposed to offer safety and shelter from this.

Secondly, it burdens my heart for these women, who for whatever reason, have fallen into the lie that they need to act this way for attention, or have just been so deceived into not seeing how it affects others around them. And in this, they miss so much of what God offers to those that desire and seek after purity of mind, heart, & body.

I've always been told that I'm 'too sensitive' and so often have felt as though this was a huge weakness personally. But I've come to see more and more of God's purpose in creating me this way, that not in my own righteousness do I have the ability to see this, but in the specific way that He has created me that enables me to be set apart by my sensitivity to these issues to see it more clearly. Lord knows that I have had my days behind me, and even some days more recently in terms of my heart's condition, that have been far from pure. But He has also blessed me with some experiences of Him that result from giving up certain things that were desensitizing me to Him, and once you have a taste of His goodness, you don't want to turn back.

Anyways, i find myself so often responding in my flesh to others' lack of purity, angered and frustrated by it, as though it's a personal offense. But the Lord is slowing changing my heart to see that so often we're blinded to these kind of things, and in the same way that I did not draw myself out of my own pits, others don't have the ability to either, except through surrender to God, that is.

And it was very cool because tonight He led me to some verses of purity that can better help me to pray for myself, my marriage, and others around me by speaking God's truth to it. He is the One that opens our eyes to reveal Truth, and the battle that we face is spiritual, so allowing myself to get frustrated or disappointed at individuals is just missing the point.

This is not to say that we, as believers, once we have learned the Truth that we don't have personal responsibility in how we respond to this. I believe that we are called to pursue holiness, which necessitates purity, with all that is within us, in order to walk in the Spirit, abide in God, and to fulfill the purposes that He sets before us through His Spirit. And I believe that we forfeit this intimate nature of fellowship, the higher calling on our lives, when we settle for a remote relationship hindered by the ways that we settle for the lesser, impure things of this world.

2 Timothy 2:20 - 21

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also [utensils] of wood and earthenware, and some for honorable and noble [use] and some for menial and ignoble [use]. So whoever cleanses himself [from what is ignoble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences] will [then himself] be a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work."

Scripture says that if we pursue our own desires long enough, the Lord will give us over to them. We will no longer hunger for the things of Him and no longer remember what it was like to experience anything better. It's the anesthetic nature of sin - numbing us to the Truth for a while, but it never lasts forever, and we have to continue to go back to these broken cisterns to try to get another swig before we start to feel the pain and hint of emptiness in it.

consecrated - set apart, distinct from its surroundings

Does your life look consecrated? Does mine? Do we stand out like a light on a hill, because our purity and integrity speak so loudly for themselves, or do people only know that we're Christians because we say that we go to church, attend a Bible study, pray before a meal? Do non-believers even see Christians as different anymore?

I challenge you to seek out personally what God's Word says about purity - the promises offered those that pursue it, the benefits provided by those that abide there, and the dangers that come when we so easily forsake it. And until we can get freed from the bondage that this type of deception offers us, we're never going to be able to reach out to the world around us to offer them anything other than a sympathetic handshake and nod, because we know what it's like because we're right there with them. I personally want to "see God" (Matthew 5:8).

Friday, September 18, 2009

Isaiah 61

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified."
-Isaiah 61:1-3

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Inside Out - Part 1

I'm re-reading "Inside Out" by Dr. Larry Crabb, which I HIGHLY recommend! I read it in college, and believe that God used it as an instrument to open my eyes to not only more of myself, my tendencies, and why I was the way I was/am, but also my absolute love for psychology and being able to help identify these truths to help people recover, heal, and live as God intended them to live.

I don't have much time at the moment to go in-depth, but wanted to share a few quotes that I've come across so far that I feel are pretty powerful.

I do give fair warning that once you've read this book, there is no going back. It's a pandora's box of sorts, opening your eyes to things that sometimes are a lot easier not knowing - ignorance is bliss, as some may say - but in this case, ignorance is what keeps us from truly stepping into the Life that Christ offers. To know Him is to love Him, and to love Him is to be obedient...and how can we know, love, or obey without first hearing? without first being introduced to Truth?

Anyways - more to come -

"When we succeed at arranging our life so that 'all is well,' we keep ourselves from facing all that's going on inside. We rearrange rather than change, and in doing so, we never become the transformed person God calls us to be. We never experience freedom from destructive patterns of living."

"Biblical change never requires us to pretend that things are better than they are. Christ wants us to face reality as it is, including all our fears, hurts, resentments, and self-protective motives we work hard to keep out of sight, and to emerge as changed people. Not pretenders. Not perfect. But more able to deeply love because we're more aware of His love."

Much love,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

sweet time

Definitely been a while since I've blogged - besides just being a very busy season of my life, I think that I've allowed a lesser outlet to take the place of my blog. I put it that way because I only realized it tonight - that God has given me this desire to write and sometimes I feel the closest to Him when I write - and it's like I've substituted challenging myself with this blog for the occasional revelation I can share via twitter in 40 words or if that is somehow going to make me feel connected to God, or all me to use the gifts that He's given me - the desire that He's put in me to encourage and share what amazing things I experience with Him, and to hopefully be a light for someone else to find Him just as irresistible as I do. It's like when I'm writing, He reveals things as my fingers are hitting the keyboard, and I walk away refreshed and renewed and enlightened. I pray that it doesn't stop there - that others can experience the same through it - but ultimately, you just gotta do what God puts before you and let Him take care of the results, right?

Anyhow - I'm saying no to the quick fix of twitter and facebook to appease my desire, my God-given desire, to share what He is doing in my life. So, no offense to any of you frequent fbers or those that tweet to your hearts content, it's just not enough for me anymore. :) I want more of His revelation in my life than just a 5 second tweet and then I'm off and running.

It's 11:30, & of course, I'm wide awake. God made me a night owl, and I'm never more awake and seemingly alive than when it's dark outside, but I'm in a safe place. But so often, it's not about my physical environment, but that sweet refuge that He offers, because there's something about night that opens up my heart. I don't know if its the same for most people, or women, should I say, but it just seems that I'm more in tune with my emotions at night. "In tune" is probably a gentle way of putting it - some may see it as emotional or overly sensitive. But I guess tonight, I can at least see the positive sides to it.

It's at these times that I feel the most alive towards God - an intimacy with Him, as I'm acknowledging what I'm truly feeling - what my busy day has hidden from me and what now comes to the surface because I have no more energy to expend to try to hide it or push it down. And it's in these times that His arms are wide open, beckoning me to come, sit back, and just be with Him.

I've run across an amazingly powerful worship song that I haven't heard in years - it was one of the first songs I can remember listening to in High School, when I was seeking awkwardly and frailly (is that even a word?) after the Lord, and it was one of those songs that just spoke of the passion that I felt, and the commitment that I desired to have with the Lord. It is "I Surrender All" by Clay Crosse.

I couldn't find another version of it online that you can listen except this one,

What is it about songs, about music, that just speaks to our souls? What is it about the gift of artists that can write lyrics that describe what you have never been able to put into words yourself, and you immediately know that if you could just sit down & talk with them for 5 minutes, you'd know that you could connect on such a deeper level than some of your closest friends...because they speak your language.

Anyways, so I've been having this really sweet time with the Lord, sitting in front of this laptop, listening to these old Clay Crosse songs, and just worshiping. It's one of those times where you just feel so sensitive and open before the Lord, and you just know that He's here, smiling and enjoying it as much as you are....I wish all days could be this fresh.

Ran across another song I haven't heard in a while - not a CC original, and actually never heard him sing it before - so I found another version. Check it out when you have a minute to sit and really soak it in!

I Will Not Forget You

Anyways, hope you enjoy them as much as I did tonight!

May God grant you eyes to see Him, ears to hear His voice, a heart that is sensitive to His Spirit and that yearns for His presence, so that you never settle for anything less than Him, ever!

Till next time,