Thursday, May 31, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
The questions are: Do I believe that the contents of the pack are true and trustworthy? Do I believe it is a good decision to jump? Do I believe that jumping is really my only way of knowing whether or not what's in the pack is true? Do I believe the pack creator and designer has provided me with all I need to survive even soar next to this particular cliff? Do I believe...?
I bow at the edge of the cliff and I sing words from my new favorite song.
Falling on my knees in worship
giving all I am to seek your face
Lord all I am is yours
my whole life I place in your hands
God of mercy humble I bow down
in your presence at your throne
By God's grace and only because of His grace, I believe. I stand. I jump.
Is there a cliff God is inviting you to the edge of?
Friday, May 18, 2007
I believe God has called us to live obedient lives. But with out love for God and realization of His love for you and without a relationship based in knowledge of the Scripture and what you experience and learn in prayer it has been my experience that obedience is virtually impossible. I believe this is especially true in those areas where bondage runs deep. I am not asking you to strive for perfect obedience. I am asking you to believe that God wants to develop in you, a heart that is more prone to obedience than rebellion. Don’t give up on believing in freedom in Christ. This process of being converted from one who rebels to one who obeys is grounded in trust. Trust develops over time. Invest in your relationship with God and you will develop trust in God. I’ve joked that a good title for a book would be “OBEY is not a Four Letter Word.”
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, all three, always have a united yet unique roll in your life. Be intentional about not leaving any of God out.
I want you to know that you have blessed me, encouraged me, strengthened me, challenged me, given me reason to have hope, helped to guide me and have been the source of great joy in my life.It is now time for me to go a different way, taking all that you have given me in my heart. Rejoicing that we will have eternity to spend on each others front porches, back yards, beach chairs and mountaintops and all in the presence our indescribable Triune God. HALLELUJAH!
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May he make his face to shine upon you and grant you His peace, both now and forevermore.
With love and a thankful heart,
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Since we are moving back to the Dallas area at the end of June, my time as teaching leader in our Bible study has come to an end. I've decided to post the letter in two parts because it reflects my big picture perspective of walking by faith in relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
For a month or more I have been dreading the last time my name was on the list to teach. I knew it was going to be difficult for several reasons. Initially my thought was that I would share with you what I hope you’ve heard me emphasize over the last three years. But because I love and appreciate each of you so much and because what is most important to me creates a great deal of emotion also, I couldn’t imagine how it was that I was going to be able to do that. A few tears when someone teaches are no big deal but I wasn’t sure a few tears were going to be the limit.
Then this week I started pondering what the message of the last half of Daniel is and different songs came to mind. One thing led to another and we ended up having a worship service instead. I hope it was an encouragement to you.
Then I thought there is no reason why I can’t share in a letter what I had previously wanted to do from the front of the room. So I share the following words from my heart to yours.
I feel like I’ve said this one hundred times but its never less true than the last time. God loves you.
Ephesians 3: 14-19
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
It is my prayer for each of you that these would not simply be words of knowledge for you mind but you would come to know them with heart, soul, mind and body. Everything begins with the love of God.
I wont be able to speak to everything that matters to me about prayer in this letter. So what I want to make sure you’ve heard me say is that prayer is in part about your conversion. Praising God in prayer converts us from being worshipers of ourselves to being worshipers of God. Confession converts us from self-righteousness to awareness that we are dependent on the righteousness of Christ. It leads to a willingness to be changed by God. Thanksgiving converts us from be self-reliant to being aware that all goodness in our lives comes from God. Prayer is the action that gives God the opportunity to convert us to believing that God’s will is what matters. When we believe that we will choose to die to ourselves and begin to live in Christ. I believe this with everything I have in me. Please allow God to draw you into a life of prayer.
So asking God for things has become my lowest priority in prayer. I absolutely believe in asking. I believe that God has designed interaction with Him and He with us to include asking. It has simply been moved from the way I most pray to the way I least pray. I am asking God to teach me more about prayer and how and what to ask for. I’m so thankful for what God has taught me so far about prayer.
To be continued...
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
One of my assignments has been to write about my journey of discovering what it is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I've done timelines before of significant spiritual markers or events in my walk with the Lord but this time I was struck by something new. While the Lord is always central, I was amazed by the timing of the particular people who have arrived in particular stages of my journey. Those with genuine faith in the Lord and a love for Him and for me have drawn me into their lives. I have gained so much from my time with each one of them. For some, that has been brief encounters for others we have a long history together. It made me so grateful that I have never questioned the value of being an active part of the body of Christ. Almost every mentor and spiritual friend I've had has come from my local church family.
Discipleship is not about just passing on what you know. Its about passing on a relationship through a relationship. At least that has been my experience.
So, thanks for the assignment Dr. Rexroat! May God continue to bring into my journey those who can help me put my faith in Christ. May I be used by the Lord to invite others to do the same.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
After Bible study, I enjoyed a spontaneous lunch that went on for close to two relaxing hours with three other ladies. It was a great gift after a hard morning. Then it was time to go home. My husband is away this week so he called to check in on how my morning went. The anxiousness and sadness was steadily building.
After our phone call, I started working on the blog entry I posted yesterday, the words from Lamentations were so helpful to me. I went from being depressed and sad to generally hopeful again.
But God wasn't done encouraging me yet!
Last night I had class, I took an old Bible of mine. There is so many things about this Bible that I love. The number one thing is that is was given to me by Grandparents who dearly loved me and dearly loved the Lord. They gave it to me for my seventeenth birthday and I loved it from the very beginning. On the first inside page, my grandmother wrote these words:
Rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you. With much love, Grandmother and Granddad True. I Thes. 5:16-18
I have read this inscription countless times over the years. I can remember thinking in years past, why did Grandma pick these verses over all other verses to write in the bible she gave me?
But this time I realized this was not only a verse she appreciated, but a prayer for me. She wanted me to be able to live my life with the kind of relationship with God that would lead to rejoicing always, praying always and knowing that it was God's will for me to be thankful no matter what.
Being prayerful yesterday about my questions and my feelings led me to two places, a passage in Lamentations and a passage in 1 Thessalonians. The Word of God and the Spirit of God truly brought me back from sadness and insecurity to deep joy and hopefulness and certainty in Him.
One of my biggest concerns is that I do not want to be intentionally rebellious or blind to any rebellion associated with this situation. Am I being rebellious? I need to know if we are doing the right thing.
The second I finished reading 1 Thes. 5:16-18 I realized that I have been given an opportunity to rejoice always, pray always and to be thankful. To be living right smack dab in the middle of the will of God and the prayers and hopes of my grandparents. It was a powerful moment for me.
Oh the joy that has flooded my soul! I intend to enjoy every second of the lingering joy. God has been crazy good in spite of me again today.
One last thing, I wonder if an angel got to go tell my Grandparents what happened last night?
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
I wish the best way to learn to trust God wasn't in the midst of circumstances that are out of my control.
I wish God wasn't so willing to be an excellent Father and was more on board with spoiling me rotten.
I wish that the illusion of being in control of my life didn't run so deeply in me.
I wish bringing joy to one group of people didn't mean bringing a little sadness to another group of people.
I'm glad God does what is best for me even when I don't like it.
I'm glad that when I question my decisions that I can be confident that if they were not made in rebellion that He will redirect me and work it all out.
I'm glad prayer works.
I'm glad I had to memorize an outline for Ecclesiastes last week. Timely.
I'm glad my family continues to get closer.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.
Thanks for bringing me back to hope. I like hope.
Waiting as quietly as I know how,
Thursday, May 03, 2007
That's been my breath prayer for a while now. I've been taught that a breath prayer is something you can say in one breath. The process to discovering a breath prayer can be thinking about what title or way of addressing God that is currently most important to you. Then adding to that what you believe God wants to most work into or out of your life right now.
Out of considering those two questions came this breath prayer that I pray.
Some days this prayer gets prayed many times over. Some weeks I don't think of it at all. This has been a week when I've prayed over and over again.
This week God closed a door that we didn't expect. He has yet to open a new door.
God gives and He takes away. God has taken away before he has given this week. He has asked me to trust Him with that. He has also made known to me how He has been preparing me for that. Amazing!
On Tuesday this week I was digging through my papers from school looking for a resource I need for this quarter. I came across a Bible study I completed over four years ago now called I'm Believing God (Beth Moore is the author). I started thumbing through and reading the first week's lesson and then I remembered that I can still watch the videos online so I watched the first one. So helpful. Just what I needed to listen to.
God: "Dear daughter, are you going to believe me? Are you going to trust me? Are you going to walk by faith and not by sight?"
me: Yes, by your grace and with the help of my family members and brothers and sisters in Christ I am. I am going to believe you are my provider. I am going to believe you have plans for my husband, my son and me. I am going to believe that you will be my comforter, our guide, our hope. I am going to believe your intentions towards us are marked by your goodness and faithfulness. I am going to believe my weakness can be exchanged for your strength. I believe it is good for me to sit in the lessons you intend to teach me and not run from them.
I believe because it is your will that I trust you and because I have been praying this prayer that you have provided an opportunity to grow me in my trust of You. Thank you God for answering my prayer.
When I get tired Lord, help my unbelief.
Have you ever had a breath prayer? If so what did the Lord lead you to pray? How did God change your life?