Wednesday, February 20, 2013

follow Him?

I love the Word. It never fails to speak. Or convict. Or edify. The Word has such power and such passion and each time I break open the scriptures, I feel His presence.

I think it is so amazing that God inspired this holy book to speak to our hearts and that each time we open its pages, He shows up. And how awesome is that? He not only gives us the holy, God-breathed, precious Word, but then He comes and sits with us as we read the Bread of Life. How sweet is our God? 

As we journey through life, our spiritual walk has got to be progressive. We need to be continually growing in our knowledge of Him. Continually growing in our spiritual dependence upon Him. Continually climbing higher on the ascent to godliness and holiness. We have to be striving for more of Him in our lives. 

I have read so many good books that encourage me on this walk. The one I am reading now, "Follow Me" by David Platt is one of those books that you have to read a chapter at a time. My heart can't take much more than that without giving it time to recover...

He just puts it out there. Truth. And it hurts. It is so eye opening. Totally based on scripture. Totally lining up with what the Word tells us. And it is powerful and makes me step back and take a close look at just how closely I am following Him.

I am going to share a few of the nuggets that God used to really speak to my spirit and cause me to search deep within my soul. To see how closely I resemble my Lord. Or to see how unlike Him I really am.

My deepest desire is to be like Him and the deeper I know Him, the more He shows me how far I have to go. But that is the beauty of this glorious walk of fellowship with Jesus - He is full of mercy and grace. It is never too late to begin blossoming in Him. I am never too far away from His loving arms. He is never too busy to draw me close and gather me into His lap. He always loves me and wants me to want Him. 


"If our lives do not reflect the fruit of following Jesus,
then we are foolish to think that we are actually followers
of Jesus in the first place."

"God chooses to set His love upon us not because of any merit in us, 
but solely because of mercy in Him" 

"He calls us not because of who we are but in spite of who we are."

"When the Mack truck of God's glory and grace collides
with someones life, they will look very different than 
they did before."

(Do we look different? Do I look different? This one really caused me to stop and take a closer examination of my life and my actions and my words. I want to be different. I want people to know that I am a follower of Jesus Christ. So there are definite changes that are going to have to take place in my life. Thank you, Lord, for the powerful conviction of the Holy Spirit.)

God's glorious initiative is that he pursues a relationship with us that we might
be recipients of His grace for the display of His glory. We are only His because of the great pursuit of us by Him.

"Do we fully recognize our need for Christ? We can't fathom a Christian on the other side of the world believing a wooden god can save them, but we have no problem believing that religion, money, possessions, food, fame, sex, sports, status and success can satisfy us. Do we actually think that we have fewer idols to let go of in our repentance?"

That statement by Platt in his book, really made me stop and think. How absurd that we actually neglect to see the magnitude of idol worship that we are guilty of. We make idols out of anything that comes before our Lord. Anything that we spend more time on or more money on or more energy on is an idol. Anything that consumes us is an idol.

I am still plowing my way through this amazing book. Letting my spirit take it in a chapter or so at a time. Letting the Lord deal with me on some issues one thing at a time. Because the truth is it doesn't do us any good to be convicted of things if we aren't willing to give those things to the Lord and confess the bondage they have created in our lives and turn away from them. That is what true repentance is all about. 

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer
I who live, but Christ lives in me; and
the life which I now live in the flesh I live
by faith in the Son of God, who loved
me and gave Himself for me"
(Galatians 2:20)

I am so thankful that I am still learning. Still seeking. And still finding answers. May I never be satisfied with where I am and always desiring for more of Him. He is so worthy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

he hears

It has been a long time since my last post. I have sat down many times over the last week intent on posting what the Lord was laying on my heart, but each time I was ready the words just wouldn't come forth. So I waited. And I waited. 

As I sit here today there are so many things going on in my head. My mind is twirling in all sorts of directions. My heart is tugged in many different areas of life. My spirit is yearning and straining all at the same time. Make sense? Probably not. Which is exactly why I haven't been able to put words to my thoughts so far. 

My youngest daughter and her family are working in Texas right now. Her husband is an Operator on a pipeline, so they work where ever the jobs are. They aren't too far from home right now but I still don't get to see them as much as I do when they are home. I miss her and her kiddos so much. My heart is there with them and I am anxiously waiting for her next visit in about a week. She will be giving birth to her 4th baby in less than 8 weeks and I am ready to hold that precious bundle of joy.

My oldest daughter is still home right now, but her husband is working in Oklahoma right now. He is inspecting on a pipeline and has been gone for a week. She and my other 5 grandbabies will be heading that way in a few weeks and my heart is already beginning to feel the ache that will come when they leave. 

My middle daughter is still in Boston. She is (slowly) working on her Masters at BU and has been there nearly 2 years. I miss her and don't get to see her too often. She was here Christmas and won't be back until 6 weeks from now. She is a long way from home and my heart is in Boston much of the time...

My husbands parents are both ill. We do have them home from the hospital now and they are living right across the church parking lot from us. So we are able to see them every day and keep a close eye on them. His mom is doing pretty good actually. Finally recovered from her broken ankle which led to a trach being put in after respiratory failure. She had to go yesterday to have her trach changed out and she is breathing much better now. His dad is weak and not eating at all. He lives on 4 Ensure pluses a day and that is pretty much all the nutrients he gets. He still has his sense of humor and when he is awake can still entertain you pretty good. He still remembers everything about the 'old days' and loves to reminisce about times past. My heart is there much of the time.

My sister is waiting for the paperwork to get finalized on this next chemo medication. It seems like the wheels turn slowly when you are needing something yesterday... It has been a game of 'hurry up and wait' since her cancer diagnoses back on July 30th. The Lord has been so gracious to us all during this trying time and I look back and see just how far He has carried us. Six months ago I couldn't even see past the next day and now He has brought us through trial after trial and we don't even smell like smoke! We were able to proceed with the stem cell collection process several weeks ago and the Lord did mighty things in that area. The transplant team was hoping to harvest 1-4 million cells per day and said it could take up to 5 days to get the 8 million they were hoping for. Prayers were said for God to do abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine and He did. My sister's body cranked out 12 million stem cells in just one day. Oh, Hallelujah! God showed Himself powerful and mighty that day and I still get chills just thinking about it.

My heart is with my sister every day. When I leave Shreveport headed home, I am already anticipating my next visit to see her. We just continue to have faith in our God and to look toward the finish line of Victory in this battle with cancer. He gave me a Word at the beginning of this journey and I stand firm in believing that the Word He gave me will come to pass.

"But He knoweth the way that I take; when
He hath tried me, I shall come forth
as Gold"
(Job 23:10)

I am looking forward to the day when this second phase of chemo is done and we move ahead to the infusion of those miraculous stem cells into my sister's body. When that little bag of "new life' is infused, I know that we will be on that path to her emerging as gold. I am praising my Lord even now for the work that I know He is going to do now and then. He is my shelter and my refuge. He is the only thing that keeps me going. I can feel His hand upon me day by day and I am so thankful that I serve a God who loves me and cares about me and is present with me.

My heart is also with my sweet mother. I can't even imagine how hard it is to watch your daughter go through a trial like this. It is a feeling of utter helplessness. I watch her tenderly care for my sister with such love and with such compassion and I am so thankful for her. She has pretty much put her life on hold for the time being to be with Cari.  She does it because of her great love for her daughter and she does it with such grace. 

My heart is with my little brother. Watching our sister endure the things she has had to endure is hard and I know that he would do anything to take this from her. We both would. We love our sister so much.

My heart is also with my brother-in-law and nephew. How hard it must be to see your wife and mother going through such a hard time and not be able to do anything physically to help her.

 I am so thankful that we have prayer. That is our lifeline to God and I know that we all would be lost without it. I am thankful for a loving God. 

I read this verse this morning and as I read it the Lord just made it so real to me.

"I my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: 
He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry
came before Him, even into His ears."
(Psalm 18:6)

When I cry out to God, my cries reach His ears! I mean, the God on High hears me in my distress. How utterly amazing is it that God hears even the tiniest cry we make. Much like a mother's ears being tuned in to her newborn baby, God tunes His Holy ears to our small voices. How comforting to know that in our times of trial and testing, God cares and He hears. Always. 

I know that it is only my awesome Savior that has brought me this far. It is only because of His mercy and His grace that I can stand. I give Him all praise and all glory and all honor for each step that I take. His strong arm strengthens me day by day and He leads me by those still waters. He truly is the restorer of my soul and walks beside me step by step. Guiding. Leading the way and every now and then stopping so I can take a sip of the waters of His goodness. Refreshing my soul for the next part of the journey.

 Oh, He is so good.

"As for God, His way is perfect...."
(Psalm 18:30a)