Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Well

Appearing on this blog will be a new community we will refer to as “The Well”. The Well is a product of the people surrounding me seeking and requesting a place to share and gain encouragement in their daily lives while even in the heat of the toughest moments of life.

The desire is that this is a place to draw out for oneself or give refreshment to another.  I am not sure how often we will post but our titles will always be “The Well” each time.

Under the comments of these posts feel free to share your prayer requests, questions or concerns that the readers of The Well can support you with, likewise feel free to post support and encouragement for one another.

We will begin with today’s post:

The Well is a location meant to be a place of rest and rejuvenation, a place where answers are given and encouragement is received, new perspective and words of life are spoken. In contrast to our well, wishing wells are a place where a token is simply dropped into the water based on a wish sent to no one in particular, seemingly so empty. This well that we have is truly deeper much like the story in John 4; if we recall the Samaritan woman comes alone to the well to draw her water as told in verse Now he (Jesus) had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.). The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

We do know from John 4:9 that Samaritans did not associate with Jews and we know the woman at the well was alone and possibly not the most popular woman in town, known for her sin as she describes in later verses to Jesus in John 4 vs. 17 and 18 and He to her in truth by His knowledge;

17The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said unto her, “Thou hast well said, ‘I have no husband’;18 for thou hast had five husbands, and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband. In that thou saidst truly.”

What can we do when someone has spoken about our lives in a depth they shouldn't know, that they couldn’t know and there is nothing left to hide...what a release, a freedom and yet guilt, shame and embarrassment, but we are at the well and much is to be drawn from the well of living water.

Where we have left off in our story back at verse 10, the woman is not yet done getting her answers. Just as in the beginning of the meeting when Jesus offers her the Living water she looks for when He says, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Isn’t her answer interesting, she obviously doesn’t yet “know” the One who offers her a drink and she mustn’t know the gift of God because her next remark isn’t a resounding “Yes! By all means give me this life securing gift, give me this living water, until it overflows.” No, instead it is another question because of her limited perspective and past experiences she is drawing off of:

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.

It would appear the story is over but Jesus goes for her heart, this is where Jesus asks her to call her husband and come back (and we have read her response in verse 17 above that she has no husband). This is where her past experiences measure up and everything she may be hiding is brought to an end. After she is confronted and the wound brought open she says…

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

The woman has more questions, the rules of men that have hurt her, maybe made her feel less than others, maybe caused her to question faith and what is right…because she trusts Jesus and He sees her as she is and is not judging her she asks for sound truth and guidance in the stuck places of life.

Jesus answer is the foretelling of the new promise to come, not through rules and laws but fulfilled through a sacrifice of love. Later on He would live this truth He speaks of. 

21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

At that moment she is open to realize she had an encounter with the King. She believes and is changed. Something shifts in us when we realize that we can drink of the living water that is better than anything we have seen, experienced, or been told. She is measured up against the truth of her life, she meets someone that she thinks should be totally uninterested in her and she is surprised to see the interest in her that is taken, the value in her that is seen…the worth that she has in Christ that He would share His living water, His very Spirit with the likes of her. It doesn’t matter in that moment the rules, the divisions, and the brokenness; the God of the universe reached down and noticed her.

She had an encounter at the well that went much deeper than simply water to be drawn. Her soul was drawn out, pain was weighed, lies washed away and truth established. These are the moments life is about. Where nothing else matters. The pain, rejection, silence, disappointment, grief, shut doors, falseness, brokenness, lack, suffering, pointlessness and searching all find a reason in this one moment- it all makes sense because someone much, much bigger cares for us.

Whatever it is we need, whatever it is we are searching for can be found in this living water, in Christ who is still just as present today in our moments. Maybe through a book, the Bible, a stranger, a friend, something so chance…..whatever it is He may use it to stoop down at your well, seek you out of your moment, argue with you if need be about why it is He can talk with you and clear up who He really is, if that is what you need to get to the heart of what it is He wants to do in you. He wants to move us, release us. This life is a moving of our hearts to stir for One greater.

Does life seem meaningless? Then get thirsty because there is plenty of water to drink. Does death seem better? Then dip in because it is going to get better than your wildest dreams…search Him out, call His name and I guarantee you He will show up and fill you so that the questions we have become a laugh. They become so small compared with the grace found in what He has done and it will leave us saying: I am all in Lord show me what to do next. Rest assured He will, He has only just begun and great things are coming in your life- you are being served living water by the King.

An estimated two years later after the encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well Luke writes about a Samaritan village that Jesus wanted to cross through on His way to Jerusalem shortly before His crucifixion and fulfillment of His conversation with the woman at the well about where we worship.

Luke 9:51-55New King James Version (NKJV)
A Samaritan Village Rejects the Savior

51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”[a]

55 But He turned and rebuked them,[b] and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.

The bible does not say if these are the same village or not but in a matter of a few years’ time one Samaritan village open wide its doors and maybe the same, maybe another similar village shut its doors to the Lord.

In the village of the woman at the well, she goes on to share with the people in town about the man that told her everything and pronounced He was Lord. The Bible says because of that woman’s story the Samaritan’s urged Jesus to stay for two days and many more became believers.

One town open, one town shut, many or none, full or empty, freedom or chains, intense thirst or satisfied. Which will we choose?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

When God gets out His Shovel

Have you ever said wow to God while discovering some amazing new thing, a word you haven't quite seen before just that way. Something where your eyes opened...Have you ever said to Him "Wow God! That is really nice, really new and really cool how you did that." It makes you want more of we are drawn to study more read more...really dig- each step more interesting still- and more "thank you God's" come out of it but I am asking if you've been so unprepared for what happens next that you can't find the words, have you ever been so blindsided by Him when you thought you had something new and that was that- but little did you know there was more to come.

I never saw Him coming...

This side of earth has such a limited perspective when God is above the clouds and that is the cap on what I can see and be fascinated with. That is why God is supernatural and I am here in the natural trying to get it in my pea sized brain. It is like trying to stare at an eclipse, like trying to fit a thousand years into only one of my days....I am not big enough- yet I forget that as I pursue. I am captivated by His teaching and yet this time so unprepared by the depth of His work....

I liken His work this time to a quiet approach I never saw coming- this shiny sharp edged shovel comes at me and I never saw it coming. He is at the doorstep, the first blow feels piercing, just like that it hits me, sharp, the words of God pierce my heart. It hits me and all I can say "oh, Lord this word is so much more real than I first thought it to be," my response in lack. I had knowledge then but now I have lived it, I had words and a beautiful picture from you to me but now I have life in my hands. The words He gives us are all as deep and lovely as they can be but I wonder how often we only see the surface? The nicety of the outside layer (and I am not meaning we miss something necessarily, no nothing was missed- we hear a word, need it and treasure it) but God is so much bigger still so what else lies beneath we could search out.

So back to God with the shovel at my heart. I had to say in retrospect I didn't know we were doing that God, as He pushed in with His foot on the shovel braced against my heart and in His strength the ground gave away and was lifted up and turned over. All this in a moment connecting things to lovely for me to understand through this disheveling of my heart as it was once contained. You see sometimes it takes getting messy before we can get free. Sometimes it takes getting messy with God before we know there is something we should really be desiring to get free from. Then he turns the soil lifting and turning again layer after layer. It is being worked. God was digging deeper internally, he was going for growth. He had to get the shovel out in order to get the soil turned. Through my journals and notes, through my dreams and His beautiful scripture, through conversations and small signs; He took me on a journey from the outside- in. There's the word of God and how completely valuable it is to study and then there is action with God, letting Him take the shovel to the heart and cause some pain, move some things around and turn it all around to get at the good stuff.

Sometimes life has covered our hearts with years of blowing dirt, years of cover collected as if it has found a home. In nature, soil erosion occurs when the soil moves in the wind or rain and doesn't stop until it finds a suitable obstruction on which to rest. All to often in life our hearts for various reasons become the "obstruction" blocking the path and making a nice home on which "life's dirt" can collect and pile. The problem with this process is over time we do not understand the damaging effects of all this bad top soil on the heart. When we allow our hearts left undusted and the soil not turned over the result is difficult growing conditions. It may be ugly, embarrassing, painful, difficult, unwanted and the like but it is worth it to Let God yield the shovel to the heart and move some things underneath to the top and move the top to a place of healing and growth. God alone yields the tool, we alone hold the restraint or the acquiesce to His work.

Lord thank you for getting the shovel and not giving me any warning.

If you can pray this prayer above with me please go ahead and comment on how God has taken the shovel to your heart to show you more meaning in His word, deeper truth from the surface down and how he turned the soil through the inner workings of His heart to yours.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Still Small Voice On the Other Side of My Property Line Part 2

Someone else may be depending on us getting things together on the inside of our own property line…Do we belong to God and have a fence that includes Him on His own property (us) or is He limited to access just beyond our fence, as if we are telling Him He can come this far and no farther….Better stated in Romans 12:1 (expanded version): So [Therefore] brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I ·beg [urge; appeal to] you to offer your ·lives [selves; L bodies] as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be ·only for God [holy] and pleasing to him, which is the ·spiritual [or authentic; true; or appropriate; fitting; or rational; reasonable] way for you to worship.


My son and I compare the still small voice to a moth, it is a picture he could relate to from a young age and there always happened to be moths on his window that we noticed in a new way after we talked about this. I taught him this was a reminder from God that He is always there speaking, regardless of how busy we are, how easy the “moth” is to miss, or whether or not it is welcome that moment.

Like the moth on my window, so gentle, not intruding into my life, not forcefully boasting what good He could do if only I would pay attention...simply ever so gentle showing up as if to say- here I am waiting. But I don't always want Him there- by my mere actions (how sad). Just not right now, too busy. Just like the moth, silently waiting- He is there while I've missed the point of what really belongs in priority in my life. The voice is gently saying what I am not ready to hear, I am too moving in my own direction to turn back now, I am on a roll after all. But when I wake up from my trip, I realize I got nowhere fast and cost myself more than I can ever get in return from the expenses I paid going my own way. His voice, it is a constant still. So true and so counted upon. He says, "you are my treasured possession", and we are to fall into His arms. He placed the fence, He cared for the land, He dug the well, He made the land what it dare I try to get so busy and miss who I belong to. That trouble is open arm trouble- I cannot receive from Him if I am so full of my own stuff, my own purchases, ideas and plans. Closed heart syndrome is a hurt induced illness, it happens when I have every right to be hurt, but I take it too far. I super-size my order of guilt, hurt, offense, pain, emotion raw. Instead of walking the legitimate something that happened to me out with God, I put up my own defenses and man the guns. No one will hurt me again. My heart slowly and certainly closes off, to self-protect. Not what God designed, He wants us open to receive. Like flowers open up to the sun.


Plugged ears occur when the resounding themes we hear, the false and the broken cause us to shut down...or maybe we desensitize slowly again, very slowly to everything. We are to be renewed in our minds but if we cannot hear and be vulnerable to listen in response- we won't act on the right sounds. We can't respond by being humble to the Word, if we cannot hear. And so I consider the estate house on a hill I am meant to be; we are all meant to be. As a city on a hill, as a light shining uncovered. We are to be God's chosen possession for His kind purpose that leads us all to repentance, to turn our faces all over again to the Light. Therefore the property line is not my own, I didn't put up the white picket fence, I didn't maintain it, I could never count the cost of maintaining the land, however, our God did count the cost He did pay the ultimate price for the land and we are more esteemed in His sight than we can ever value ourselves. I need to move the property line out from just what I see and include the still small voice in ownership. I need to broaden my horizons and believe God still does BIG things, and it can be through me and through you, if only we act.

Psalm 62 speaks to this belonging through trust evident only through God, power only accessible in Him. The fence in this Psalm is trying to be toppled by another man, leaning and rickety it is delicate in power and easily moved. But for our God, who establishes the other more noble fence, the property line of being God’s chosen possession, where He calls us His own and protects what belongs to Him, it may not always be easy for us but His promises endure and we can trust in Him alone for our salvation, this must be a daily choice and mindset.

Psalm 62 New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 62[a]

For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.

Truly my soul finds rest in God;

    my salvation comes from him.

Truly he is my rock and my salvation;

    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

How long will you assault me?

    Would all of you throw me down—

    this leaning wall, this tottering fence?

Surely they intend to topple me

    from my lofty place;

    they take delight in lies.

With their mouths they bless,

    but in their hearts they curse.[b]

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;

    my hope comes from him.

Truly he is my rock and my salvation;

    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

My salvation and my honor depend on God[c];

    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in him at all times, you people;

    pour out your hearts to him,

    for God is our refuge.

Surely the lowborn are but a breath,

    the highborn are but a lie.

If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;

    together they are only a breath.

10 Do not trust in extortion

    or put vain hope in stolen goods;

though your riches increase,

    do not set your heart on them.

11 One thing God has spoken,

    two things I have heard:

Power belongs to you, God,

12     and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;

and, “You reward everyone

    according to what they have done.”

Next time you see a moth on your window stop and listen, maybe it is time to slow down.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Still Small Voice on the Other Side of My Property Line

He says, "You are mine". What complete, fulfilling words that a hurting soul in deficit needs; neigh, longs to hear. That we belong to God.

Doesn't that single statement above melt most hearts, as long as we are willing to receive it? If we BE-long to God then in our belief by faith- we are willing and able to hear these words "you are mine". The definition of the verb belong in the Merriam Webster dictionary means:  to be suitable, appropriate, to be in a proper situation. It goes on to explain belong means properly classified or to be a part, function or attribute of something.

Being is an action word, I have to physically "BE" in a receiving state that is faith based in order to receive from God. In my mind I need to be of remembering who I am in Christ and that I already am His. God’s gifts are free but I have a choice. As much as God is constantly pursuing His creation, our desire must also be turned toward Him; the more we turn over to Him the more of His Spirit is available to assist us in our journey. He knocks on the door and we answer. I am already on the winning team when I confess with my mouth and believe God has forgiven my sins and I turn from my past shame by receiving what Christ has already done on the cross for me. Sometimes the continued being in a state of receiving is difficult to maintain amidst all the noise in this life. Active reception is hard for us nowadays to understand and it is actually an action. Receiving is showing our thankfulness to God. Receiving is humility before our creator. Receiving is trusting He is enough.

Just like a football receiver has to make visual contact, mental contact and physical contact with the ball, the object of his reception. So also must we in all these ways keep our eyes on Jesus, spending time in His Word to know His heart, keep our mind renewed by thinking on things of Him and keeping other contrary things out of our minds. The physical contact is making time in purpose to reach out and connect with the action of His Spirit, to be open to whatever is in store in His playbook for our lives. Like the receiver of the football must put what he has heard into practice to make the play so that everything comes together, he reaches out like us to finish the play and catch the ball. As in the game of football, our receiving benefits so much more than us alone. There is a whole “team” around us that is impacted by us “catching grace”, our families, friends, coworkers, even those we think are our enemies are impacted by us receiving, because we cannot receive a gift and stay the same. We can take God at His word we belong to Him, open your arms and receive it, make the winning play by keeping the ball in your possession without fumbling it..

And God doesn't mince words, that is what I love about Him.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit they mean what they say- they are what they say, united.

If I am having open arm trouble, closed heart syndrome or plugged ears....I miss the catch (we will discuss these in detail in the next post).

So many reasons for my "illnesses", they really mostly are self-induced. We can plague ourselves by thinking we can handle this life, really we have God but we get in "living mode" after all got to get it done. Whatever it was, we really don't know if we are that busy.

Scary, how quickly I can get "busy important" and miss things, while His still small voice is a speaking all around us CONSTANTLY.

Elijah had an experience with the still small voice. God used him to accomplish some amazing things. First in Kings 17 God spoke to Him forewarning him of a draught coming and asked Elijah to go to the Kerith Ravine, drink from the brook and be fed by ravens, the Word says “so he did what the Lord said”. He went no questions and was provided for ravens brining him meat and bread. When that brook dried up due to the draught God told him to move on to Zarephath where a widow would provide for him. When he gets there the widow says she has no food, only a mere jug of oil and a jar of flour. She is essentially going to eat her last meal with her son and die. Elijah asks her to trust and make a small loaf for him and her and her son take some too. He shares the promise of the Lord to supply her with an everlasting food supply until the draught is over.  The Word says “she went and did what Elijah told her.” Oh the simple act of obedience and acting on our faith that produces much. The son goes on to become sick, he dies and Elijah prays to bring life back to the boy. God shows up in abounding miracles.

In Kings 18 God asks Elijah to go to Israel’s king Ahab who happens to be an enemy of Elijah and God promises to send rain in place of the longstanding draught. God asks Elijah to have a mighty challenge of “putting your money where your mouth is” between Israel’s god Baal and Elijah’s One True Lord of all. Some 450 false prophets against Elijah (talk about intimidation factor, but for God). The false prophets cry all day into the evening with no response but after Elijah’s prayer God answers and the false prophets are put to death. Elijah prays persistently for rain without any signs initially and God goes good on His promise as rains fall. But after all this success through God a threat from the king’s evil wife Jezebel has him running afraid. God feeds Him supernaturally by an angel as he is fleeing for his life and hides him in a cave...about to show him His glory. There is a series of loud amazing displays, a wind that blows rocks apart, an earthquake and a fire…but the word says from Kings 18:12, God was in the still small voice or gentle whisper.  Through all these amazing and powerful displays of God and His provision, a threat has Elijah scared and a small voice has him captivated.
If Elijah did not respond to God when he was asked, if the widow had not responded when she was asked…history would have been changed. There would have been some significant people that missed some important words for the direction in their lives without Elijah’s path panning out the way it did. Elisha, Elijah’s successor could have missed his calling if it were not for Elijah running and hiding. We must belong so closely that we do not miss what God is doing, despite our own discomfort, turmoil and questions, after all it is much bigger than just about us belonging. There is plenty of room in God for us to belong and take others with us. God sees our pain and wants to take as many with us as possible. God wants to use us to turn others to life.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Don't drop what you picked up

Fear. It is a powerful animal. It keeps us from a great many things both personally, professionally and interpersonally. It keeps me quiet and my family doesn't know what is going on under my skin...that they just played main character in but I want them secretly to read my mind. But I can't read others, so I have this double standard. I need to open my mouth and ask for what I need. But fear of speaking keeps it in. Fear of appearing weak and needy, fear of failure, of appearing to "clingy", fear of rejection, just fear. The mind is a great and dreadful place all at once.

We can fail and strike out before we even venture out of our own mind!

We can indeed be our own worst enemy. Especially when it comes to God's gifts in our lives. Yes, every last one of us has graciously and indubitably been granted a great many gifts and talents. Abilities we know we carry, and maybe some we do not even see as gifts. Such as the gift of positivity, many don't know they have it but it is a special gift. These people keep a light in their eyes when things are desperate, they can't stand negativity in too great of form, it saps their unique ability to have and bring sunshine to others. I need these positive people around me.

The opposite of this gift of life and joy is fear. If we are afraid or wounded we self-protect our scars. We don't want to be hurt again, we are living in a state of fear and panic. This is not the love and sound mind that Christ wants for us. Our gifts cannot be used for others or benefit ourselves (of course not the primary reason for gifts to make us feel good, but an additional benefit for us is this joy we gain to be used by God and help others). So from the place of learning as God teaches us something new, freeing our mind, unleashing a new truth, let us not set down these "boxes" before we "move back into real life". Sometimes after we attend an event, hear a teaching or are just encouraged and we are all pumped up initially, seeming ready to conquer the world but we get back to the threshold of "normal life" and low and behold it is so easy to set down those "boxes of learning" to get back inside where we came from. We have to set down some things to fit back into our old style of life. In doing that we really set down a great task, a great harvest we have in store by faith to see, the honor to act on God's revelation taken from the secret place to action in real life. From the place of the supernatural to this natural world. The God-confidence and trust to carry the weight into life requires a little uncomfortable feeling on our part at first, after all- we are doing what is impossible (only by God's mighty hand).

For those that have mastered this learning and carrying of boxes it can appear to others of us like a well used chalkboard. The teachings of life leave a dust, an essence, kind of like the Rabi's trail in the dusty desert. His followers followed so closely to Him they had the dust from His feet on their own feet. The chalkboards tell the tail of what they received through good teaching.

I sometimes see that board as dirty, it desperately needs to be cleaned off and have a fresh start. Oh, but can't I have a new perspective, that is the dust of success, of teaching and use, true instruction. Not to be swiped clean- but to be used. My life doesn't need to be a clean slate that fits in the perfect picture window with flowers arranged in an order that I see fit, it has to be Christ's for His glory....with all the gifts busting out of that window box. It won't be neat as I will be messy grace. It is not the kind I cannot let go and trust in. It is beyond my mind and greater than my greatest imagination.

God is a gentleman and won't ask me to be untrue to my own unique personality....He just makes us better and more free, if we will only carry some boxes for Him. He asks us to overcome through Him in victory while we are yet in this life. Sometimes that is wild. As a little girl I would swing, I would imagine letting go and flying over the The same with the gifts of Christ in our lives, they are given to set us free...they do not limit us or make us more self conscience. They are beautiful treasures when we allow ourselves to carry these boxes of teaching into our daily lives and touch others through them.

I will start by simply asking my family for what I need and stop role playing a number of different theories in my mind, that is the gift of communication and patience at work. So go ahead and open up those boxes you've been "storing" somewhere else away from "real life" and see what God does.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Where the Ocean Meets the Sand


 One would think as we walk along a shore the path is clear. Not so. But why not? The way is clear, the sand it limits our path, our feet need a solid place on which to fall. After all, the water interferes with any venture we would take too far out. That may not be the case, just like what we perceive to be our path for sure in this life. My 14 year old just told me today "mom, it's my life". Oh boy did that send chills down my spine. Yes, it is his life but he is only 14, there is so much he does not know yet. So much mom wants to save him from. One thing I have learned, the path is usually NOT clear to us. I like to stay on the safe and certain path, sand is easy to follow along the shore, no diverting for me. Some people love adventure and danger, they are drawn to it, like my teenage son. YOLO "You Only Live Once" is his motto. Yuck, that makes me nauseous. But I respect it- I need to have fun too. But the safe path I would want to stay on and even plan for my very children, is not what the creator of life has in store for me. How can I be so sure? Every time I set my compass, something happens, everytime I call the shots, I realize by a quick change in life- I so do not have control of anything, really. It is amazing how we hang on really by a thread, we really do.....this life is but a breath and we do not sustain our lives. Sure we can take care of ourselves, eat right, do it all...raise our kids with the best of everything but we will still fall in some area. So what is the path, what can we plan....plan to give up control and not color in our lines. Ask, seek and pray to get to know ourselves and our strengths so that we can be the best we can be....but give up control to the author, the creator. He designed our life and when we give up control...that is when life get's fun and interesting. He has colored my life as amazing as it gets, and it still keeps getting better. The ashes they have turned to beauty, daily, before my eyes. The impossible has broken into life before my eyes. What I thought was dead, he redeemed. All by trusting Him with it all and holding onto nothing. He taught me the path is not the sure way along the, sometimes I cringe when He says the way is through the deepest of waters, over the jagged rocks and watch out for garbage in the path, but I will guide you. You see the path is rough and jagged and a little trying at times, but that is growth and progress because if I could do it myself that isn't living it would merely be surviving. If I know I depend on a greater good to guide me and lead me and enable me, it is then that I know I am safe, He has my best interest in mind. His glory is more sure and certain than anything I could plan or create. He offers a great deal, to use us to display His glory through us! That seems like a map I can follow, one I shouldn't deny ever. Oh, but the mind and will get in the way, common sense and logic. He will show us the way we need to know about if we can only be a bit interested in His ideas and hear Him out, He will answer. Begin today, ask Him what the path looks like and trust Him to enable you to do what He tells you. The ride will be 10X more exciting than your plans, 20X more fruitful and you can bet you can stand on the other side of whatever it is He did through you and say, no way would I have ever have imagined that I could do that! The creator can do all things through a willing vessel.

New Living Translation
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. Isaiah 55:8

The clear path is effortless and it makes us believe we are our own master, what a scary thought that we are in control of it all. The way made through not seeing more than we need to in advance, in sometimes having to go backwards in order to go forward, in getting healed by forgiving another, learning a hard lesson where it is inside of us that needs the work, cleaning up our lives in general, scrubbing off something we know shouldn't be there...these things are not fun, glorious or easy-however, this is where we find the meaning and matter of life. This is where we have the power to change and impact something-through obedience.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

What are you soaking in?

Wisdom is supreme so why do we pay attention to anything and sometimes everything else?

The loudest voice at the time distracts us and at times it can certainly feel gratifying like a worn sweatshirt, something we are used to putting on. In fact it fits us so comfortably it must be good, right?

Maybe the static noise is now and present...or just maybe it has a shadow of our past that flips on our "personal irrational tantrum switch". What is a tantrum switch you ask? Have you ever had one of those reactions that you think at the time are caused 100% by the other person present. Well, they said something that was rude to me or how dare they do that to me...they know I don't like___, fill in the blank. In our personalities the switch is flipped and lights and sirens like a panic alarm are going off- but there is one problem, most of the time I am convinced there are several people who realize we are past the point of no return and sadly we are not one of them. Oh no, we are usually the last to know! Others see our obvious panic sirens going off in the form of the tantrum we are having, that by the way we feel justified in and simply do not see our true selves in the heat of it all. This reaction may take the form of pulling inside ourselves to cope, maybe we become short with others, maybe we have a certain something we go to to help us deal with the injustice whatever it is. We are the ones "wronged" and therefore "they" should know better. But we are the last ones to know about our own real problem which is our reaction and the other person has no idea what the issue is (but they sure know we have an issue) or they have figured out they did something wrong and may not be comfortable in how to handle it with the suddenly morphed child in front of them. So what exactly is the answer, maybe a question...have we at all listened to the unwise voice inside of us and are now offended, hurt, bitter and full of emotion, convinced after all it is not our fault?

Lets take some wisdom from Proverbs 4: 1-4 which says:
1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.
For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.
He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

What can we truly take with us? All around there is tragedy and hopelessness. And yet still we live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. Sadened are we by what we see in our great Nation, the hurts, suffering and pain. Yet strikingly, we have so much that others are not privileged to have. Families raised are products of the attitudes of their home- some for good some for bad, but still each of us has a choice. Reciprocate the bad we saw or live differently.  So if we can act the part of the child we may want to take instruction as a child of our God and Father, as in Proverbs, a child should attend, pay attention and be present to know understanding. It is a good thing, while we are still little ones, to be taught to take instruction, to "let" to allow our hearts to receive, no retain, the words, to keep the commands...and what then... we live says verse 4. Little ones are so pliable teachable, we lose that as adults with our "panic switches" our reactions out of having lived life and "knowing it all" but children they are so different, they have not formed the hard and fast ways of life. And sometimes to our discredit we are not accurate in our views and reactions, our strained reactions out of self preservation can hurt us and keep us from LIVING.

So you want to live, then follow the model in the Word. Be open to teaching, that means we don't know it all, let in the words of the Lord into our hearts and let them be retained, that means we purposefully control what goes into our hearts- coming from our minds. And then keep- we need action to follow through and do or change a behavior or thought pattern.

If you are a visual person like me this picture reminder may help you catch yourself stuck in reactions or on others negative words. Picture what you are carrying, those things that you should not be- as a rest situation, what is it that you have picked up that is not yours, that you are laboring to carry. Simply put, if you were soaking in a claw foot tub, water perfect and steamy and a beautiful picture window view next to you....but you look down to find that someone dumped putrid, muddy, dark colored water- rather, sludge...with floaties in it...(not floaties!) yes, and there you are basking in it! You may be laughing right now but don't we do this, who is guilty with me of this "soaking retreat" in life's offenses. So I ask you what are you soaking in? What is it that you have made your retreat instead of getting out of the tub. We can stop thinking about offenses, about terrible attitudes copped to us by another, about a snide remark from another, about that look, you know the one. All those little subtleties in life, we know what they are....but do we is not ours to carry or to soak in, it is the other persons issues we are allowing to spill over and affect us. Sometimes we are the guilty party spilling onto others.

Next time someone is nasty to you, smile and say good morning, their problem and negativity is not your reflection. It may not have a single thing to do with you- their behavior is theirs so don't try to own it, and even if it what? Does that mean you are entitled to behave like them, chances are if you don't like the way "it" looks on them, you won't on you either.

In my own family I have witnessed the circle of strife, yes strife not life passes on even more easily. I, being a crabby mama passed onto my son snideness, he passed onto brother, brother to dad and I witnessed the circle of crud spread in a matter of minutes like a virus. Truly happy people have caught one thing repeatedly in their life and that is this: you don't have to stay stuck on the negative, on the dreary. If you feel like a jalope car on its last legs, bolts and important pieces falling out onto the road behind you and not much longer can this go on.....then fine, admit it to the Lord and move on. Choose to focus on the truth in Christ, picture a brand new (or whatever is your favorite model and age of car) shiny, waxed and ready to run! Things change around you when you allow your perspective to be the way God intends you to believe. The catch is we need to focus on true wisdom and not our learned truths, we need to get unstuck and think the best, pressing into true wisdom. Attend (as a garden is watched for weeds), allow (light and water to reach you), retain (only what is good, get rid of the bugs), keep (a little plowing and pruning) and live (growth occurs)!

So get out of that tub when you see yourself start to get into it!!! True rest of the mind is an act of purpose.