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" 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 my innermost I still thirsty? And He's standing there crying out, "Come to Me."