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 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. 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.