Out of the Dust

Genesis 2:7
Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
We were created out of dust as living, breathing miracles of life. The circumstances of our lives may also sometimes seem like “dust”, BUT God has the power, the ability, the creativity to breathe creation and life into our “dust”. Whatever the dust may be in your life today … know that your God is a God who creates miracles out of dust.
What an amazing truth to let settle into our bones!

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God Please Say …

GOD PLEASE SAY ….

Genesis 1:3 – “And God said let there be light”

Since my son could very first put words together and pray … he has always said something that I thought was pretty dang cute and special. When he asks something of God in his prayers he will pray “God please say … “. Routinely he prays for his two older sisters who have two homes, one with us and one with their mom in another state. “God please say that Taren and Madi are safe and please say that you will watch over them and help them”.
My son’s prayers completely cute and precious also have so much innocent wisdom. As I read Genesis this morning I am reminded of how God SPOKE the heavens and earth into existence. I am reminded of the awesome power of God . I am reminded of the awesome power of His words. I am reminded that the same God that spoke the heavens and earth into existence speaks into each of our own individual lives. I am reminded that His words are mighty and bring life. I am reminded that what He creates is good.
“God please say” … these three little beautiful words from a child carry so much faith. The faith that God has the power to use His words to create what is good in each of our lives.
Just as God spoke and created the earth and heavens into existence …. He desires to create what is good in each of our lives through His powerful word. Grab onto His word and let Him speak into your life.

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A thank you note to my God

 

Thank you God that I do not need to worry about the future because I am in the palm of your hands and you are a good God that I can trust. Thank you God that I can actually boast in my weakness because it is where I am broken that your strength and love is revealed. Thank you God that I do not have to be afraid because your perfect love surrounds me and casts out all fear. Thank you God that I do not have to compare myself with others because you have made me unique and created me for a purpose designed specifically for me. Thank you God that I do not have to doubt my abilities because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Thank you God that I do not have to judge myself for past mistakes because in you I am forgiven and made new. Thank you God that I do not have to run from you because your compassion never fails and your mercies are new every morning. Thank you God that I do not have to face my life or my death alone because you are always with me. Thank you God that I do not have to doubt whether I am good enough or I am loved because you made me, you knitted me in my mother’s womb and you know and love me like no other. This list certainly is not complete and you give me so much that I know … Thank you God. Thank you God. Thank you God.

 

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My friend that I can not see

I know it probably sounds strange , I know it probably sounds even crazy but I have a friend who I can not see. How do I know this friend exists, how do I know He is real? Well probably most simply I see Him all around me … I see Him in the bright pink painting of a sunrise, in the blue sky etched with white clouds , I see him in the changing of the seasons , and in the mountains that tower over me. I see him in the ripples of a lake, in the flowers that bloom, in the birds that sing and the wind that blows. The sun rises and sets each and every day and he introduces himself to me and tucks me away in His warm embrace. He promises to be with me always , close and dear to my heart. Sometimes I have to admit it is difficult for me sense He is always there … the noise of life sometimes gets in the way. My thoughts wander and my fears take over but I am always reminded again that He is real in the silence … in the quiet … this is where I feel Him the most. I long for His comfort around me, the peace He fills me up with , the song He sings to my heart is sweet music to the very fiber of my being. Someday I will be in His presence and my life will be no more … till then He has put me here for a purpose that often I do not know but when I rest in Him I find that He tells me I do not need to know … I just need to know Him. Lord, Lord you are my friend, my everlasting friend, my creator, my helper, my counselor, my strength, you are my everything. May my life be a song of praise to you dear Lord , my dear love of my life.

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ABC’S of prayer and building the alphabet of faith

The Lord’s prayer teaches us how to pray and begins ” Our father who art in heaven hallowed be your name”.  The prayer starts with acknowledging the holiness of God, with praising Him.

In times of doubt , which there will be because we do not walk by sight but by faith , praising God is hallmark to building up our faith.

Both prayer and faith begin with praising God.

Something that has become a part of my daily prayers and my daily faith is I start off with praising God using my ABC’s.  I go through the alphabet and praise God for who He is. Then I continue on by stating who I am in Christ through the ABC’s.  It changes and somethings I may say over and over and other days  I may find new praises and new promises … but it has become a part of my dialogue Him.  If I skip it for any reason, I actually miss it.  It takes me all of maybe 5 minutes to say this (the ABC’s) … maybe it took a little longer when I first began but it is surprising how quickly I can go through it.  

It looks something like this …  

Abba father you are an awesome God, you are my bountiful provider, your compassions never fail, Lord I take delight in you, you are everlasting, you are forgiving, all Glory belongs to you Lord, you are hope and health, you are my intercessor, my joy, my King, my Lord and my love, you are mighty and magnificent, you are near to me, you are overcoming – you have overcome death , you are passionate,purposeful,peaceful, and powerful, you are quintessentially the one and only true God, you are rest yet you are radical, you are reliable, you are savior, you are terrific, you are understanding- thank you God, you are victory God, you are wonderful, eXtraordinary in every way, your Yoke is light , and you are full of zest and zeal for you people and I , my family … we are your people dear Lord.

I am your adored, beautiful created daughter.  You have given me an eternal soul , you give me favor for I am your daughter, I am gorgeously made by you, I have your hope inside me, I am interceded for, the joy of Christ lives in me, I full of your kindness, your love, your might, you are near to me, I am an overcomer, I am obedient to my Lord, I have a purpose , I am passionate, I am quintessentially who God created me to be, I have your rest inside me, I am saved by grace, I am terrific, I am unique, I am victorious through Christ, I am wonderful – fearfully and wonderfully made , I am eXtraordinary, my Yoke is light in Christ, I am full of the Lord zest and zeal.

My prayers continue with bringing him my cares , asking for forgiveness of any offenses that I know and then those I don’t know, and reciting scriptures that are relevant to my walk and my life.  Some of my favorites are ” This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it”, ” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” , ” I shall not be consumed because of the Lord’s great love … your compassions never fail. Your mercies are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness”.  I generally recite scripture in the first person as it will pertain to me and often will use “your” for God as I am speaking with God at the time.

I usually end with what has become my personal goal and our family’s goal which is to be CLEAR.

C is to be Content and make the most with where God places us and with what He gives us.

L is be a light to each other and to others.  

E is to endure, to press in and on, to fight the good fight of faith.

A and R are to be authentic and real in our walk … with each other … with others …. and with God.

The most important thing in all this … is that it is intimate, it is real … I can’t say it happened over night but when I started doing this day in and day out no matter what … it became less of a chore or a discipline and now it simply is just part of who I am with God.

It is my time with Him … it truly is a treasure.  

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May the walls of YOUR Jericho come a tumbling down

 Joshua 6:10

  But Joshua had commanded the army, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” 

The Israelite’s  have just been instructed by Joshua that they are going into Jericho.  The city of Jericho has a wall around it that they can not pass.  They are not going in such a way as we might expect.  There is no obvious  force or might , there are no type of explosives provided.   They are  just simply told to march around the city for six days then on the seventh day to march seven times then blow the trumpets .  This is their instruction .  They are merely told to march and blow trumpets.

Prior to going in they are also instructed to not say a word.  For seven days they are told to not give a war cry, to not raise their voices , to not say a word.

Can you imagine how the Israelites maybe felt given these odd instructions?  How some of them may have felt it might even be crazy, perhaps even thinking did Joshua lose his mind? Seriously  we are supposed to march for seven days and not say a word?  And then blow a trumpet?  I can just imagine how  it may have defied all common sense to them.

Perhaps Joshua knew in advance that any doubts they might have could give birth to fear and prevent them from doing the task at hand.  That God was performing a miracle here and they needed to be focused which meant they were not to speak until it was God’s word they were speaking on that 7th day.

There is a saying that a doubt is not birthed until it is spoken. We all have our walls of Jericho …  they come in different forms at different times in our lives.  The wall could be an illness, the loss of a job, financial uncertainty, divorce.  The doubts around these walls  usually come in questions like will I be healed?, will I find a job? , will our financial needs be met? , will I ever find someone to love that loves me back? , will I ever have a family , will I get accepted into college?, will I figure out my purpose in life? , does God really have a plan for me? , does God  really even love me? , is God really concerned about the details of my life?  And we can go on and on and on.

Often in looking for answers for these doubts we end  giving them so much life … we speak about them, talk about them , meditate on them, and sometimes to be honest practically worship them with all  the attention and time we give to them.   Then it almost seems as if they take on a life of their own because what we have done is carried them , nurtured them and ultimately birthed them into an existence of fear .

What would happen if  instead we chose to do what the Israelites did that day when Joshua instructed them not to say a word?  Not to say what God doesn’t say and say what He does say. (say that 3 times fast!)  This doesn’t mean that at times we don’t need to get with our best friend and have a good cry over a cup of coffee to express our fears and concerns.  It doesn’t mean that we don’t come to God on our hands and knees and bring to him our concerns, our doubts , our fears.  But we then have a choice what will we focus on?  Will we march and put our doubts to silence and when we speak it will be what God says not what our doubts say?

God’s word teaches us that  He loves us, He cares for us, His compassions never fail, His mercies are new every morning, He has a plan for us, He has a purpose for us, He takes care of the birds in the air how much more will he take care of us?  We are His creation , as you love your very own child , how much more He loves us who purposefully and uniquely created us to be.  There are thousands of promises in the bible about what God says about you and your life.  Press on and press into these truths not the lies of fear born out of doubts.

The bible teaches us as a man thinketh in his heart so is he.  Our words and what we speak into our lives has great power and becomes ingrained into our thoughts and ultimately into our hearts.  Harness your thoughts , harness what you say, what you speak .  This doesn’t mean you will have answers for your doubts but what it does mean is that you don’t need answers because you can take rest in God’s promises.  Faith after all doesn’t mean we walk with sight … on the contrary it is being sure and certain without seeing.  This isn’t a positive thinking hocus pocus trick either , God can’t be tricked or manipulated … it is nitty, gritty being in the trenches  purposeful faith no matter the outcome.  Trusting that God’s plan is the best plan.

It takes work, honest effort  to chose to zip our lips ,cleanse our minds and break these old habits and yes, old habits die hard.   Clinging to God’s promises , to God’s truth , to God’s word and not speaking in fear or doubt but remaining obediently faithful …  well that is when just as  the songs goes ” The walls of Jericho came tumbling down.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Walking through the muck

Colossians 3:2 teaches “Set your minds on things that are above, not things that are on earth”

I enjoy being outside and either walking or jogging in my neighborhood.  Even in winter, I find few things that bring more peace to my soul then getting bundled up and feeling the warm sun contrasting with the brisk air.  Especially after a snowfall … everything is covered in white and God’s beauty just seems to whisper and shout at me all at the same time.  I have one particular street that is my favorite … the quaint New England homes , the trees that line that road,  and just the sheer sense of quiet I feel.  It is a kind of special place that God and I share together.  On this particular day I was walking down that street and is was right after a snow. The roads were rather mucky, slushy, and just plain dirty.  I was looking down at my feet concentrating on the muddy snow and the brown puddles trying not to get my shoes too dirty when I realized I was not seeing what was in front of me.  I was focused on the the muck so much that I was missing the blue sky, the puffy white clouds that I could make into assorted creations in my mind , the chirping birds, the crazy squirrels running about and even more importantly … God’s voice.   I had to resist that urge to carefully walk through the muck and not dirty myself and instead choose to look upwards and just forget about getting my shoes dirty.  

It occurred to me what a metaphor this was for life.  If you are anything like me, sometimes I get wrapped up in the details of what is going on in my life (or not going on) and instead of looking upwards I am looking down … at my earthly problems.  It seems to be such a natural tendency to look at these problems … we have such an assortment to chose from … from events like divorce, loss of jobs, and death to what goes on in our mind like worry about our children and finances , self doubt, inner criticism and that voice that tells us we just don’t measure up.   Even in the midst of all this we simultaneously have God’s beauty all around us … His love, His creation, His promises.  We live in a world that is fallen, that is broken therefore we will at times (sometimes more often than we would like) … walk through the muck.

I love Kay Warren’s analogy of two train tracks.  Most of us think of the highs and lows in life , the mountains and the valleys … but often we are on two train tracks.  On one track are the struggles and the other track are the blessings … whatever is happening in our lives there is also good at the same time.  What we choose to focus on is what we will take center stage in our life.   It takes being purposeful to lift our heads up and look towards God but once we do that we release ourselves of the burden, the worry, and the heaviness that all that muck carries with it.  

Our shoes will get dirty that is for sure.  We can’t take away that fact.  But dirty shoes and all , God’s blessings surround us and if we make that choice to set our minds on His ways and His truth we begin by His grace to see the beauty through the muck.

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