Friday, August 18, 2017

Psalm 86:11



Came across this verse during my morning reading and I just love it so much. Really the whole chapter is such a beautiful prayer. But that last line, "Unite my heart to fear Your Name"....one translation means, "Unite my soul to stand in awe of You." 🎉 What if every single part of me, all the hurting pieces, confused places, or even rebellious parts of my soul could be reunited for one singular purpose? To stand before Him in awe. What if every part could surrender to His way, to His truth, and choose to worship? "For Your lovingkindness toward me is great, And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol." (Psalms 86:13 NASB)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Meditations of Psalms

After reading Detrick Bonhoeffer's book Meditations on Psalms a few times I was finally inspired to actually read and pray through the Psalms myself. Now granted, I've only made it a little more then half way through so far but I've discovered something I did not expect. I expected to be inspired to praise God, to pray more thankfully, to be filled with poetic quotes about God's amazing power, love, and provision that would fill me with encouragement and hope. Of course that did happen to some extent but the real take away for me thus far has been not how to praise but how to cry out. And if I can be so bold, how to complain, even dramatically complain about my circumstances. And I'm sure you're thinking, "Wow, Katie you really missed the point." I wouldn't blame you. But the truth is, out of the 80 Psalms I've carefully, thoughtfully, even prayerfully read the vast majority are verses filled with pain, sorrow, complaints, doubts, grief, and unbelief. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't read it in sequence myself. Preachers don't preach sermons on those verses. People don't post those verses printed in elegant font with mountain and river backgrounds on social medie. We enjoy chapters like 23, 27, and 91.
What I did not expect to learn from the Psalm is the freedom to say, "God my life sucks right now. Where are you?" Because that's the majority of the Psalms. And I have realized, He gets it, folks. He knows our struggle. He's not dismayed when we acknowledge the pain or even rail against Him. In fact it seems like He prefers us to be honest about how we feel about those things to Him. The bottom line is He's there. In all of it. No matter our doubt. His loving kindness and His worthiness in all of it is not threatened by any of it. So I've been experimenting a bit with this. Lately, when something or a situation bothers me or challenges my faith in His goodness I've started praying all of it out loud. Including those big "no no" statements like, "Why God?" And you know what I've discovered? The simple act of airing all those things out have 1) caused me to shift perspective. Hearing those complaints out loud help me see how truly insignificant they are in the shadow of His awesomeness. 2) It deflates the enemy's power. There's something that happens in our mind when we meditate on our problems. They get bigger. When we say them out loud they immediately shrink like a balloon filled with air being let go of. 3) Only when I'm truly honest with myself about the problem can I fully surrender it and open myself to hearing His voice on it. If I stay in denial and try and make myself feel better with patronizing "Christian" feel good or even worse, belittling and condemning thoughts I will never allow God to speak into it. What can He speak into if I don't acknowledge it's there in the first place?
Now, I do believe there is a reality of heaven we can tap into that is so different to our present experiences but that does not negate the fact that we live in troubling times! He is not calling us to hide or pretend away our struggles, but rather bring it into the light of His reality and release it to Him so we can be that light to others.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

John 13:1


I talk with women every day who struggle and I myself have struggled with letting go of unrealistic ideas of marriage that usually include prince charming who never gets tired, never has struggles of his own, never makes mistakes, is always romantic, writes love letters, brings home flowers, and most of all never fights with you (Thanks Disney). But the truth is that's just not what marriage looks like or is about most of the time. What I have discovered about this for myself and seen in others is that these desires usually stem from our totally justifiable, extremely beautiful need to be utterly and completely known and loved by Jesus. To be known by Him and found desirable 100% of the time....we want the fairy tale, "to be loved to the very end". I love that I get to look these women in the eye and say, "You're not wrong in wanting to be swept off your feet. But Jesus is the One you want." And I love that I get to see Him in my husband and we can be that for our kids and those we meet. And I love love love knowing that Jesus loved with a love that was so completely poured out to the very end. Until His end on the earth, yes, but His "end" never ends. He's loving completely right now. The word "end" here actually means "continually" it's more descriptive of the amount of love not the time in which it will stop. "To the uttermost, in the fullest degree, up to the limit." Can you see Him in the final hour,  ready for what was ahead knowing He had loved them in the fullest degree. And He lays His life down for them and for us. It's the stuff fairy tales are made of, folks, and it's perfect. He's the one you want. Don't look for that complete love anywhere else because I guarantee you won't find it.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

John 7:37



I realized something interesting about myself today: the way Jesus says something is incredibly meaningful to me.
I've heard/read this verse many times: "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" (John 7:37‭-‬38 NASB) But never have I taken note of the way in which He said it.
No matter if it's Him standing at the door knocking, walking beside me in casual conversation, or the still small voice whispered across my heart, the way He says something matters to me. Picturing Him standing before a crowd of people in the Temple crying out, in the Greek it literally means shrieking, has wrecked me this morning. And of all things what is it He is so passionately trying to get us to hear? "Come to me."
Can you picture it? Maybe His face was red from shouting. Maybe the veins in His neck were popping out. Were His fists balled up or His arms outstretched? Maybe even spit was flying or tears were running as He cried out, "I have what you need. I am the way. Come. If you believe, you will have life. Life will literally overwhelm you to the point of overflow."  And this got me thinking, though I have committed my life to Him, I love and worship Him....in my innermost being...am I still thirsty? And He's standing there crying out, "Come to Me."

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Clean Hands


This morning this cutie was "helping" me get ready while I brushed my teeth. She said, "Mommy, my hands" as she held her hands up. She wanted me to help her wash her hands. This is her favorite bathroom activity. So I lifted her up, put her little hands under the water, applied soap, rinsed, and then handed her the towel. She said, "all clean!" And I said, "yay, clean hands!" And Pappa said, "it's that simple." And He reminded me that no matter how dirty our hands, when we come to Him, He lifts us up, He cleanses us of all unrighteousness as easily as I washed Brian's hands. Like her, it's not something we can do on our own but we always come out clean.
Oh give us clean hands, Lord! "Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the Lord  And righteousness from the God of his salvation.vv
Psalms 24:3‭-‬5 NASB

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ever Feel Forsaken?



As I read this verse again today, I couldn't help but notice that in His final hour Jesus addressed His Father as "God". "My God, My God". I haven't done a word study to be sure but best I can remember I belive this is one of the few times, if not the only time, He referred to God the Father as simply, "God" and not "My Father". And as I was thinking about this and thinking about Christ's question, "why have You forsaken Me?" knowing that Jesus never lost faith, He never doubted in God's promises....so why did He believe He was forsaken? And why did He say God instead of Father....and I'm sure there are many applicable interpretations from people way smarter then me... but I couldn't help but think about the times when I've felt forsaken. I've often noticed that when I pray, I pray to Pappa or Father EXCEPT when I feel distant from Him. Those times I say Lord or God. Isn't that interesting? Could it be that despite never doubting in the Father's promises, never loosing faith in the Father, that the Father allowed Jesus to experience a mixed emotion here? In that He allowed Jesus to FEEL forsaken? At this most crucial hour, Jesus felt what I know so many of us have felt. He can now identify with feeling mixed up. Knowing God loves you, knowing your not forgotten, and yet feeling so alone?..... Doesn't that just take your breath away?

Hot Air Balloons



So the Lord woke me up in the middle of the night one night last November tell me something. Hot air balloons. Lol yes really! He said, "I can always use the sand bags of life to get you where you need to go but you'll go higher when you let them go. However, some ties, the ones holding you down to the ground, must be severed completely before you can fly."

I can honestly say in the last 8 months there has been A LOT of severing. Trusting Him to show me which chords to cut and when and how to cut them has been very hard. But He's always there with me in that little basket and I gotta say: the air up here is so much more refreshing.

1 Peter 2


My suburban got broken into last night. Again. I tend to take these kinds of things personally. It hurts my feelings. Like someone knew me and felt I deserved it or something. And Andy and I felt angry and hurt and sad because they did a lot of damage and it's expensive to fix.
But this morning I had a little bit of Bible study homework left that I realized last night I forgot to do before our meeting today. So I decided it was a good idea to put aside my hurt feelings and soak in the Word a little this morning before the kids woke up. This is the last verse I read and it just seemed so timely. (1 Peter 2:4-10)
I realized this isn't personal. It's war, not against people and I get to choose mercy for those in darkness. Because once I did not know who I was either. Now I do. Once I lived in darkness too but now I am in the marvelous Light. And annoying things like broken windows can't hurt my inner soul because I know who I am and I don't get my worth or value from what someone does to me. And I feel sorry for those who are still in darkness and do not know or experience the light of His love. So I can choose to forgive. Again. Forgiveness is hard to come up with when you're empty or doing it out of your own strength. But when it comes from the endless well that is Jesus somehow it's easier to draw out. Remembering verses 4 and 5 of this chapter that because of His sacrifice to lay down His life and become that Corner Stone I can make spiritual sacrifices as well and be built up together with my brothers and sisters to become a spiritual household. I can live out the kingdom just by forgiving and letting go of hurt and bitterness. And I pray for that lonely soul who shattered my window that they would find the Light and that by letting go of my judgment they would be free to choose Him.

Luke 5




So I'm reading Luke 5 today and get to the part where Jesus tells Peter to put the boat out into deep water. Peter has a "yes, however" moment. He tells the Lord that he's worked all night and caught nothing but he obeys. I had to go back to what Jesus said. "Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch." It just rose up in me so big. Jesus told him he was going to have a big catch upfront. This got me thinking, maybe He's telling him to go to a "yes however" place, that may seem ridiculous or like it won't work. But He's already telling him to prepare for a catch. He's already revealing the promise. It's not even mysterious! Which got me thinking even more, what promises am I missing out on because I won't get in the dang boat? What promises has He already told me about that I've doubted because of their unlikely location? What if I chose to obey and believe all the outrageous things He says? He keeps saying, "think bigger, dream bigger, see bigger" and now he says, "prepare for a big catch!"

Psalm 7

Isn't it funny how often you can open the Bible, seemingly at random, and it can minister exactly to your need?
This morning I was processing some of my feelings towards a person who hurt me quite significantly in my childhood. I have been seeing a counselor about it for a while and one thing that was pointed out was that I just hadn't let myself feel sadness over the trauma because that would be an admonition that it actually happened, something I had kind of been in denial about as a way of self protection. So as I was praying this morning my prayer was something along the lines of, "Father, are You here with me in the sadness? Do you feel pain when I feel pain? I know I can get through this if You're in it with me." Of course I "know" the answer but I needed Him to reveal Himself to me.
Soon after I prayed, I opened my Bible app to read the next Psalm (remember I'm praying through the Psalms), which was Psalm 7. Read it with me and come back, pay careful attention to all the emotions of God listed towards the end.......I'll finish my post after the chapter.

Psalm 7 NASB
O Lord my God, in You I have taken refuge; Save me from all those who pursue me, and deliver me, Or he will tear my soul like a lion, Dragging me away, while there is none to deliver. O Lord my God, if I have done this, If there is injustice in my hands, If I have rewarded evil to my friend, Or have plundered him who without cause was my adversary, Let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it;  And let him trample my life down to the ground And lay my glory in the dust. Selah. Arise, O Lord , in Your anger; Lift up Yourself against the rage of my adversaries, And arouse Yourself for me; You have appointed judgment. Let the assembly of the peoples encompass You, And over them return on high. The Lord judges the peoples; Vindicate me, O Lord , according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me. O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds. My shield is with God, Who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, And a God who has indignation every day. If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword; He has bent His bow and made it ready. He has also prepared for Himself deadly weapons; He makes His arrows fiery shafts. Behold, he travails with wickedness, And he conceives mischief and brings forth falsehood. He has dug a pit and hollowed it out, And has fallen into the hole which he made. His mischief will return upon his own head, And his violence will descend upon his own pate. I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.

....in verse 11 it says, "God who has indignation everyday." I read this chapter yesterday but this part did not register at all. This morning it practically jumped off the screen. I looked up the word indignation in the Interlinear Bible and it means anger, annoyance, but a more literal meaning is "foams at the mouth." Foams at the mouth?! If that does not describe a passionate God I don't know what does. I'm not saying God is foaming at the mouth in anger over my situation but this really ministered to me and here's why. He is a God who feels. He cares deeply when we sin or are sinned against.  That matters to me and it helps me in this season of my life. And it's always overwhelming to me when He responds, especially so quickly, to my prayers. Maybe this chapter doesn't minister to you today like it did me, that's ok. Ask Him for what you need and see if He doesn't answer.