September 25, 2014

An ABUNDANT life is found in a life {GIVEN AWAY}

Jesus promised ABUNDANT life but so often at the end of day after chasing everything we THOUGHT would make us happy, buried underneath a pile of activities, appointments and commitments instead of ABUNDANT life we feel every last bit of life sucked OUT of our weary souls.  We find ourselves even MORE discontent, dissatisfied, restless and exhausted than before. 

Jesus said in John 10:10 I have come that you might have LIFE and more ABUNDANTLY.
but have we ever stopped to ask what He meant by ABUNDANT life?  How did Jesus define life?
We pursue our own ideas of what it means to LIVE abundantly. 
We chase after happiness, wealth, fame .... WHATEVER it takes to satisfy the need in our lives and fill every corner of every day with a to-do list that we can never complete.

So if we're promised ABUNDANT life ---- what have we missed?
If we want to know what abundant life looks like we only need to look at the One who PROMISED it and how HE did life.
1.) He lived His life in service to EVERYONE but Himself. 
Jesus' found GREATNESS through SERVANTHOOD. He gave up His throne and found His GREATEST significance lay in His sacrifice. His humility. Through NO pride. No ceremony. NO accolades. He humbled Himself to the point of death.
We die to our flesh every day. No. Not in a "I-feel-a-little-piece-of-me-
dies-every-day-these-kids-are-so-draining" kind of death. Being a parent is a JOY. An honor. A privilege. We lay down our own desires. Our dreams. Our passions. Our needs......for the sake of something GREATER. The little one(s) God has given us. To raise them as young men and women who FEAR God and love and serve man. To do that....we DO have to give our LIVES...our entire BEINGS to it. Not as a martyr.
Taking the attitude of servant....in humility.....giving up our RIGHTS and ENTITLEMENTS. Instead of a nuisance, a thorn in our flesh, a JOB, (which robs them of their own SIGNIFICANCE as human beings!)
our children become WELCOMED members of our family in all of their IMPERFECTIONS and NOISE and MESS just as God Himself welcomed YOU....with all of YOUR imperfections and mess. They will find home as their safe haven. A place of GRACE and PURPOSE and SIGNIFICANCE.
2.) He promised His yoke would be EASY.
If you're feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders then you are carrying burdens you weren't meant to bear.  That might require only tending to the more needful things for a while.  r getting rid of those things that you have no business hanging on to.
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.  Matthew 11:28-30
3.) He CHASED after the WILL OF THE FATHER.
What do you crave and pursue?
The more we have of something....the more we need it. It's our nature. The more we accumulate.....the greater VALUE we place on what we have. "The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being." Matthew 6:21
If that is Truth....then if we are craving the presence of God and seeking first His Kingdom and longing for His gifts to be manifested in us; desperate for His fellowship and friendship; hungry for the beauty of holiness.......
Then we will find our hearts continually satisfied. Our longings fulfilled. We will find ourselves in the center of His perfect will....and that my friend is the safest place to be. Anything we pursue and chase after that is NOT eternal wastes away and crumbles with all our well intentioned efforts and energies. We will have spent ourselves on something that was never meant to fulfill or last. On things that will never satisfy. It's an empty and meaningless pursuit unless we are chasing after HIM and His will for our life. Building in this life what's eternal and will last.....that's a worthwhile pursuit.
Seek *FIRST* His Kingdom and RIGHTEOUSNESS .... Matthew 5:6 SATISFIED and FULFILLED are those who CRAVE, CHASE AFTER and PURSUE righteousness for they shall be completely satisfied!


To live an abundant life look to the One who GAVE His life away. If we're living for ourselves it won't be long before we're running on empty and have NOTHING to show for it.

September 15, 2014

Handling Life's Triumphs and Challenges with {GRACE}

She laughs at the days to come.....
                               (Proverbs 31)

How do you handle life's challenges, heartaches, uncertainties and even life's triumphs with GRACE?  
Circumstances (even the GREAT ones) have a tendency to THROW us. 
We get caught up in the moment.

Reveling in the triumphs because it feels so good.
Or arrested by fear and grief when tragedy strikes.  Our life suddenly interrupted by heartache and we are unable to move past it all.


Both GREAT moments and devastating moments have the potential to launch us into even GREATER things.  God is continually working ALL things, every moment, each circumstance into a GREATER plan. 

So how DO we respond to these things?

I have learned that the SAME Grace works for me no matter what is happening around me.  The SAME Word is at work.  He is GOD of my JOY and GOD of my heartache.  GOD of my TRIUMPHS and GOD of my darkest days.  


The key to moving with God is simple.
KEEP MOVING.
Forgetting what is behind we REACH forward ---- that we might lay HOLD of all that Christ has already obtained FOR us.  Philippians 3:13
      ........continually REACHING forward.  

We respond to pain and inconvenience as if it's an eternal matter. As if *this moment in time* is going to be all there is.But how quickly we lose perspective and forget that these matters are inconsequential compared to eternity and the One who promised to work ALL things to your good and for His glory.

 
 

He NEVER leaves a job half finished.
He WILL perfect all that concerns you.

 
 

BE FLEXIBLE.
     We kick, we scream, we cry......we fight CHANGE.  
We HATE change.  There's something unpredictable, out-of-control about change. 
It's uncomfortable and we have a hard time embracing it with even an OUNCE of enthusiasm. 
How you RESPOND to life's interruptions will determine whether or not it propels you into tomorrow with HOPE and FAITH, CONFIDENCE and PEACE                               or becomes a road block hindering you from moving forward into all that TOMORROW holds for you.

Be FULLY present in EVERY MOMENT.
Am I fully here? Not just to breathe the air around me as a spectator in the stands watching a show of which I am not a part....
But am I present?
Fully embracing THIS life. THIS day. THIS moment here.

We cope by dreaming and hoping.  A hope for escape.
We put FAITH in a promise of tomorrow hoping the best is in front of us.
..........But doesn't goodness and mercy *FOLLOW* me?
            

             ALL. THE. DAYS. of my life?
These moments need God-perspective.
If only we could see God Himself in this moment here....it would take our breath away.
God is good.
And every moment God IS.........is GOOD.

BE FAITHFUL.

     Every single morning you wake up you have within your possession the same things you had when you went to sleep.

But deep inside of us is this drive.
Wanting more.  Wanting the meager to be abundant. 
Wanting the ordinary to be extraordinary.
It's only when we learn to be content with the ordinary and when we are faithful with the meager that we see God begin to do extraordinary things with the offerings we pour out day to day.


KEEP a GOD-PERSPECTIVE
                Jesus constantly lived in response to the FATHER.  *NOT* His present circumstances. 
                 ALWAYS looking to the JOY set before Him. 

If your perspective is governed by TRUTH then you will begin to see things from HIS perspective.
                       TRUST Him.
             

                 TRUST His word.
He has a flawless track record and has your BEST interests at the very center of His heart. Even in the heartache.....He's looking ahead. He's laid up GOOD things for you and if you'll *WAIT* on HIM........you'll begin to see things through HIS eyes. While He understands your grief....while He understands your heartache.....He sees things you cannot. He understands things you do not. He's already two steps ahead.....and hasn't abandoned you. TRUST. HIM. Trust His Word. Trust Him with your yesterday. Your today. Your tomorrow. Your heartaches and tears. Your hopes and dreams. Your struggles and mistakes. You'll leave them in NO better hands than the ONE who created you and purposed GREAT things for YOU    The joy in front of us is the PURPOSE, MEANING and FINISHED WORK that He's bringing about. That JOY breathes HOPE into our spirits....and gives us the ability to ENDURE.
We can endure the struggles and the heartache, find our way through the darkness because there is a joy that waits for those who hold on.
Don't give up before the dawn.
Consider it JOY, my friends....because
celebration not only comes in the deliverance but it comes when you're willing to see God at work even in the darkness. 


 
CHOOSE GRATITUDE.

You can't be grateful and unhappy. You can't be grateful and bitter. You can't be grateful and without hope. You can't be grateful and angry.
Choose gratitude.In all things there is something to be grateful for. 
It's all in your perspective.

Just be grateful and SEE how much goodness surrounds you.

Let your THANKGIVING overflow into thankful LIVING. Let it MOVE you to PURPOSEFUL LIVING.
Be grateful for the   GOOD:) 

 

BE ANCHORED in the WORD.
     The TRUTH you store up in the SILENCE speaks LOUDEST in the STORM.
Don't wait until tragedy hits to run to the WORD.   

Be MOST satisfied in HIM.


Solomon had it all and TRIED it all. He came to the same conclusion. All of it leaves you empty.....
1 Corinthians 13 defines a perfect love...and we see it in Christ.
He left us with an overwhelming need for LOVE because HE wanted to FILL it.  Ephesians 3
"When I think of all this I fall to my knees and pray. I pray that from His GLORIOUS *UNLIMITED* resources He will empower you with inner strength through His spirit. Christ will make HIS home in YOUR hearts as you TRUST in Him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have POWER to understand as all God's people should how wide, how long, how high and how DEEP His love is. May you experience the love of Christ though it is too great to understand fully.
-----*THEN* you will be made COMPLETE :) (lacking NOTHING, satisfied :))
..... with all the FULLNESS of life and power that comes from God."
When you understand His love for YOU? All striving, searching for significance, looking for things to satisfy and fill your heart and life will fade away. Because you'll only find it in *ONE* place.

 It's THAT simple.

Your mistakes are not your story.
Your grief is not your story.
Your heartache is not your story.
Your tragedy is not your story.
Your frustrations are not your story.
Even your TRIUMPHS are not your story.
LIFE does not write your story.
It's what God DOES in the middle of it all that becomes the STORY of your life. A story of redemption and restoration. Grace and Peace. Joy and HOPE. EVIDENCE OF THE GLORY OF GOD DISPLAYED IN YOUR LIFE.  Keep that in mind and you'll be able to handle it all with GREAT GRACE. 

September 13, 2014

Petty Arguments and Toilet Paper


My husband and I had a conversation years ago that has still...even since his death...been playing over and over in my mind.
It was an argument ---- over a conviction HE had but I didn't necessarily agree with.
We tend to celebrate the dynamics of strife and contention between a husband and wife. We play it off.  Turn it into a comedy....thinking it's funny how we can argue about toilet paper and how we eat our meals, how we fold our socks or whether or not the toilet seat is down.
I know that the issues of contention can have deeper roots and the reasons for strife can be complicated at times.
Everyone's story is different.
But strife has the same root and the same purpose and the same outcome no matter where it's planted.
It comes from the enemy.
Designed to break covenant relationship....with intent to steal kill and destroy.
You may think you're only arguing about the direction of the toilet paper or whether or not the garbage got taken out after the 10th reminder.
For the smaller matters...is it REALLY about the garbage? or is there a greater force at work?
As for greater matters?
One particular conversation we had was over a television show. I wanted to watch Mad Men.
My husband had a very strong conviction that he did not want that in our home. It became a point of contention between us.
The short of it is this......
I may not have agreed with his convictions (though I do NOW).....but if your husband has a conviction and it's not against the Word of God....then *AS YOUR SPIRITUAL COVERING.....THE PRIEST AND LEADER OF YOUR HOME*....you would do well to place yourself underneath that covering and honor his convictions. There is a supernatural protection when we honor and respect our spouses. We BOTH win. There are no sides. There is no competition. But there IS an enemy.
And His number one goal is to break covenant relationship.
Strife is one of His greatest tactics.
Don't be fooled.
It was never about the toilet paper....    

 

September 8, 2014

Count it ALL Joy



Count it ALL joy. James 1:2 You may find it difficult to believe you can find joy in ALL things. In the good moments? Joy comes naturally. But what about grief? Your darkest days when you can't seem to find your way and your circumstances have robbed the very air from your lungs.

.....count THOSE moments to be among those mountain - top moments?

Here is where I believe we've missed it.
We base our joy on emotions.
Emotions are fickle at best and attach themselves to any situation no matter how fleeting.
Living an emotional existence is a roller coaster ride and there is no stable foundation for your Faith to stand on.
JOY ---true JOY---(not happiness) is not connected to the MOMENT. It's not connected to circumstances. It's not some pie in the sky, fairy tale idea that everything is as it should be. Joy is connected to the PURPOSE, MEANING AND FINISHED WORK.
If you can look beyond the moment. Even those mountain top moments.....
You see God painting a bigger picture.
In the end?
We see evidence on display that He's at work. In all of it.
Bringing it all together for your good and HIS glory.
This is that SAME joy referred to in Hebrews 12:2....who for the JOY set before Him-----*ENDURED* the cross.

The joy in front of us is the PURPOSE, MEANING and FINISHED WORK that He's bringing about. That JOY breathes HOPE into our spirits....and gives us the ability to ENDURE.
We can endure the struggles and the heartache, find our way through the darkness because there is a joy that waits for those who hold on.
Don't give up before the dawn.
Consider it JOY, my friends....because celebration not only comes in the deliverance but it comes when you're willing to see God at work even in the darkness.
Make no mistake, friends. God is always at work.
And when you can find Him in the middle of your mess and for the JOY set in front of you endure whatever you might be facing then you can rejoice in even THIS because you know the HOPE of knowing He WILL bring you out.

September 3, 2014

The Divine in the Chaos


The chaos of this moment. The exhaustion. The tireless schedule and the endless demands of motherhood. The spilled milk. The tantrums. The homework. The diapers. The tears. (theirs AND yours :)) Trying to stay on top of discipline in the middle of a teachable moment when you would rather collapse into bed and shut it all away. Knees deep in laundry with a sink full of dirty dishes.

 


Some days? May look just like that.....
......and it all ends with the words of the familiar Nursery Rhyme, "And she whipped them all soundly and sent them to bed." 



Just an encouraging word for you mamas ......even in this moment we moms are planting seeds --- and though they may be small and invisible when life is screaming a LOT louder and painting a bigger picture -- those seeds (planted early on) reap a harvest of righteousness one day as they become the men and women of God they were created to BE.
This moment is temporal.
But what God is doing in YOU and in your little ones is an eternal thing. He is perfecting and shaping. Burning off the dross that you all might come forth as pure GOLD TOGETHER.
We are growing together.
and even in THIS moment is the DIVINE


                                   For Heaven is shaping us, our children   
                                 and our home to be an image of HIS glory.


Don't think you can see His glory in the mess?
Look closer and don't take it lightly. Sometimes we need to focus more clearly on those things which we cannot readily see and appreciate the work God is doing while we are doing OURS.
 


2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!],
18 Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.