My Mess, His Order

There are days life is a mess.

Like the morning I spilled three glasses of water, got hot chocolate all over my clothes, ripped my lunch bag and forgot my needed sweater.

The mess got to my heart next.

Within the hour I was at work in a special needs classroom. A student, twice my size, was spread out starfish style on the floor throwing a fit. My heart was flustered, unsure of how to help and what the student needed…

…… curious what the Lord did with my mess? And what He can do with yours?

Click here!

I’m privileged to be sharing over at Christine Duncan’s blog Precepts & Life Preservers. She’s a hoot and a holler-er for Christ! See for yourself 🙂

This post will also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #LifeGivingLinkup.

 

His Word Works in Me- The Word Works Series

The final post in The Word Works Series! I’m so thankful!

Over the past two months, some amazing, gracious guest bloggers have written to encourage, exhort, and testify to the power of God’s Word at work in their lives.

God Himself testifies to the abilities of His Word.

For example, Scripture tells us that the Bible:

I can testify to the work of God through His Word, too.

So many stories to choose from…let me just tell you about 3 ways the Lord’s Word has worked in my heart and my life.

The Word Has Worked in Me:

  1. By Anchoring Me in the Truth

No matter how much time I pour into reading Scripture and participating in fellowship, I am forgetful. Charles Spurgeon explains that Christ told us to have communion in remembrance of Him because we need to be reminded to remember Him! Spurgeon encourages us to “tie a heavenly forget-me-not around our hearts for Jesus.”

Deuteronomy 11:18 echoes:

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.”

After really regretting that I did not remember to turn to God throughout several days, I was convicted to take this charge more literally.

I began writing a verse on a small slip of paper each morning. That little note from the Lord is tucked into my pocket for the day. It comes out every time my cell phone or my wallet does.

That way, the Word is bound to me the same way my clothes or my other daily possessions are.

The result?

I am anchored, bound, held, by the truth.

firm and secure

When I pull my phone out to communicate with someone, I’m reminded to listen to the Lord first. If I reach in to spend, His Word has a say. I have His word to think on when I’m sitting, waiting. As I go about my day, His Word is accessible enough to constantly comfort, challenge, and correct me.

It’s a little bit harder to accidentally stray from the truth when the truth is literally on my person.

I value that anchor which fixes me in my place- before the Lord!

  1. By Drawing Me Nearer to the Lord

Why is it that when we’re angry or hurting or doubting, or even happy, we don’t just reach for the Bible? It seems like reaching for the Bible, for most us, is something we tend to do just because we know we should.

How ironic that we often feel we’re not hearing from God or like the truth is unclear! Humbly and sincerely turning our hearts to the Word results in us drawing near to our Lord. This brings us nearer to Him, where His words are audible more clearly. This is where He speaks directly.

2 Peter 1:3 tells us that:

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

A godly life is a life connected and obedient to God! One of the greatest gifts He has given us- and one of the most powerful- is His divine revelation recorded in Scripture.

As an avid reader, the Bible is a very personal gift to me from God and one I easily enjoy.

Not so for everybody. If just reading through Scripture is tough for you, consider:

  • Praying through Scripture
  • Listening to it on audio CDs or the web
  • Participating in Bible Studies that walk directly through Bible passages
  • Studying with a partner so that you hear it spoken
  • Posting verses around your spaces
  • Memorizing verses
  1. By Making Faith Personal to Me

Fact: Scripture can seem impersonal. God can too. Part of sin is distance- between us and our God. Christ bridges that gap for us. But often we still feel the expansive gulf beneath our feet when we step out in faith along the narrow way.

The narrow path opens at my feet and promises safe passage. I see that it is my path, ordained by the Lord. He has gone before me, as His Word describes.

I try to remember as I open the Word that God didn’t just give it as a rule book or to speak to people long ago. He speaks through it today. To me.

When I get into the Word, believing it to be alive and active, His word grips me.

In His Word He has anticipated my questions, doubts, and needs. Just like He did with those He spoke to back then.

Have you visited His Word and listened? The time with Him is precious.

Get into His Word, get near to Him. As so many can testify- and God Himself says- there is no better, no more secure a place to be.

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #LifeGivingLinkup.

18. BEHOLD: The Re-arranger

There are certain things required, in many people’s minds, to build the perfect Christmas. From the tree to the gifts to the food to the company, every piece fits just so to create beloved traditions and memories.

To make it all fit, couches get pushed back. Coat racks get cleared off the rack. Space is made on crowded counters for jars of cookies. Some people give up their beds for a night or two. Some people travel by donkey to far off towns while pregnant and end up giving birth in a stable.

From the very first Christmas, re-arranging was a part of welcoming Christ in the world.

“God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change— he will hear them and humble them, because they have no fear of God.”

–Psalm 55:19

Christ’s coming to the world brought to us salvation, hope, and eternal joy. For those in the Bible, and for us today, Christ also brings humility as He does not change, but our plans and ideas must. When the Spirit comes to live is us, we ought to:

“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.”

Ephesians 3:16-17

As is the case any one settling into a dwelling place, Christ dwelling in our hearts rearranges. He humbles us, as mentioned. There’s also a strengthening, and an empowering. He creates in us purer hearts and sets up a battle station against our flesh.

Sometimes, His rearranging extends to our circumstances and our plans. Like Scripture says, we plot our own way, but He establishes our steps. To live well through all this sort of re-arranging, we need to be flexible.

Being flexible is a Godly trait when flexibility means being open to anything God gives, regardless of what it requires from us.

If the Lord has to re-arrange our priorities, take it as a good gift. If making room for Him to settle deeper into our hearts means tossing out some of those secret, sneaky, “less-bad” sins, we can have the flexibility of faith and respond with “thank you.”

Behold, the deep-cleaning of the Lord through re-arranging.

Behold, the re-ordering to restore order to the world and to each of our hearts.

Behold, the gift of godly flexibility, given through faith in Christ.

8. BEHOLD: The Healer

Along with the Christmas season comes the cold season. And the flu season. And the season for strep throat, pneumonia, exhaustion, etc. Those are just the physical illnesses that plague the holidays.

With Christmas, for many, comes disappointment. The heartache of loneliness and loss seems exacerbated by the twinkling lights and appearance that all is somehow well and right with the beautifully adorned (or masked) world around us.

“Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”

-Luke 5:31

Let this be salve for your soul: the healer has come. The great physician was born in Bethlehem a couple of thousand years ago, and He is still at work today.

His healing comes as He did: vulnerably. Through faith. Mingled with the unexpected. Humbly. And with such compassion…

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”

Psalm 103:13-14

Who better to trust with our pain, heartache, and illnesses than the very one who made us? We know that His care and provision are perfect. His way is better than ours, and His plan more complete than we can imagine –even when it doesn’t look that way.

Few thought, looking at the baby in a manger, the reviled wanderer, or the man on the cross, that it was through that relentless compassion and formidable humility that the healing of all mankind would come.

But it did.

More than just treating our ailments and our weariness, Christ’s healing relieves us of the burden of sin. He re-forms the disease of the human heart.

“Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.”

Jeremiah 17:14

Behold, the one who became a baby to give us the cure!

Behold, the one who heals us of the most deadly disease.

Behold, the healer whose method is the most gentle, compassionate, and perfect.

This Post is being Shared on: #WomenWithIntention and #TellHiStory

5. BEHOLD: Our Beholder

It’s easy to get too busy during the Christmas season. Many of us have a ton to do, people to see, plans to complete, and the deadline of each celebration to face. In the midst of the busy, it’s just as easy to peel our eyes from Christ to gaze instead at our many lists and calendars.

For many of us, there is no effort involved in removing Jesus from Christmas. We are not consciously trying to discard the reason for the season. Our gaze simply isn’t fixed on Him because we’ve got so much else we’re looking at.

Ironic, right? While celebrating Christ, we struggle to do what would seem most natural at this time:

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith”

Hebrews 12:2

Though we decorate to honor His birth and sing carols to remember and praise His arrival, we’re often too busy beholding the wonders of beautiful traditions and earthly joy to gaze in awe at our Lord.

Yet He is never too busy, distracted, or caught up. Our Lord, whether we gaze back or not, has fixed His eyes upon us.

“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous”

–Psalm 34:15

“I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

Psalm 32:8

The pioneer, author, and perfecter of our faith delights in beholding us. Our creator, our heavenly Father, has fixed His eyes on each of us –just as the sparrow.  He can behold us with awe and wonder because His work in us, often in spite of us, is awesome and wonderful.

Imagine –in our carol-singing, house-decorating, card-exchanging, and stressed-preparing moments, He is beholding us in love. From those same places, we can gaze back at Him.

Behold, the one who beholds us.

Behold, the one whose eyes we can meet because Christ has made it so.

Behold, the perspective of the perfect One.

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

Genesis 1:31

You Didn’t Need to Make It Right

Photo from: genius.com

“And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” –James 1:4

Gosh. You read all that Scripture has to say about being perfect, being loving, and acting like Christ. The Words are great. The aspirations are high. But you and I always fall short. We’re always lacking in something. That’s how it feels.

We mess up. We fail.

Whether in our relationships, our attitudes, our work, our hearts, or anything else, it seems we’re always having to “make it right” even when really we haven’t done anything wrong.

Do you know this feeling?

It’s the sense that maybe you ought to apologize, even though they probably didn’t notice. Or maybe that you’ve missed out because of a poopy attitude and now you’ve got to overcompensate. You try to “make it right” just because it’s clear that something that you did or said didn’t have the outcome you expected.

…Didn’t have the outcome you expected. That’s it, isn’t it? That’s a primary cause of our culture of over-apologizing and relativizing until reality is revised to suit the desires of whoever we’re dealing with.

The resulting version of “making it right” tends to have nothing to do with right or wrong after all.

So often when we attempt to make things right, we’re attempting to make things more comfortable or easier. We’re attempting to feel better. We’re not so concerned with the “right” aspect.

That’s a problem.

Instead of trying to get it right by going to the one who makes all things right, we live Romans 10:3,

Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”

Believers know the righteous of God deep in their hearts, but we don’t always know it in our lives. We often think that things that are awkward or uncomfortable are wrong. We try to “fix” that which God broke for a purpose. Though there are times when we need to apologize and compromise, there are also many times when that works against the Lord’s will. But it doesn’t feel that way. We often feel that our feelings are the enemies we need to defeat instead of sin.

We know He saved us from sin –but He has also saved us from the need to be comfortable and feel better. Further, He has saved us from having to figure out “good” and “right” for ourselves.

God is the one who determines what “right” ultimately means. Our attempts at “making it right” are often better stated as our attempt to “make right our own.” We don’t have to. We have Jesus. We have the Bible. We have the Holy Spirit.

Yes. We fail. We mess up. We aren’t perfect. Even our best intentions can result in difficultly, mistakes, and pain. But the thing about His righteousness is that it stands in our stead. Jesus is our righteousness, making us faultless in the sight of the one who matters most.

Before we try to correct what we think is wrong in ourselves, our relationships, and more, we must ask if it’s wrong in the sight of God. If it’s not…then we need to let Christ’s righteousness be enough to make discomfort, pain, and mistakes fruitful.

Hands off “making it right” when it isn’t wrong. Instead, let’s try making it His. He can take care of the righteous part.

This post is being shared on: #LifeGivingLinkup #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, and #TellHiStory.