Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Our Hour of Trial

Have you ever been bemoaning something with a friend and then seconds later in going about your daily tasks, God whacks you over the head with a 2x4?

No?

Just me??

A few minutes ago that happened to me....so I have dropped everything to sit down here and document it...because...well, it is important.

Someone was doing the announcements at church a few weeks ago and mentioned this book CLICK HERE FOR LINK called "Morning and Evening - Devotional by Charles H. Spurgeon, and his comments were such that I ordered it.


This morning I am being texted encouragement by a friend because frankly yesterday felt like a snippet of February 2016, and I just can't even....I mean, my can't even can't even...

I digress.

So as I jokingly stated I had emphasized while doing the Daily Prayer (Extended Version) with John Eldredge (you can do it via this link on the website OR via the Ransomed Heart app - and you can read along, listen to John Eldredge pray it, or both at the same time) to God that...."I need PROTECTION."...{insert nervous laughter}

Right after that text, I open my morning devotional to read Matthew 26:39...

"...and going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed..."

Ummm...Jesus just dropped the mic on me.

I am going through a bit of a trial right now that I cannot speak of here due to confidentiality, I don't know who all reads this, sensitive nature, etc., but let me be clear....the trial is consuming me...and this morning with my friend a prayer came out of me about it that I think stunned her as much as me. In the deepest parts of who I am I want healing...but...BUT what God reminded me of this morning was two things...

1. the healing I seek will impact EVERY aspect of my life....the thing that I am learning impacts me personally, impacts me professionally too....and that is jaw-dropping.

2. it is okay to plead, "My Father, hear my cry."

I'm struggling. Wrestling. It is brutal and ugly. At one point last night, I quite literally shook both fists at the heavens (I was lying in the tub by the way - which is important to note as God and I - we have this thing about the ridiculous) crying out, "aaarrrrggghhhh!!!!!" which is to say it was inaudible.

...but what I was reminded of this morning....is that these conventional and unconventional prayers from me to God are okay...this is part of the journey. In some aspects, I am having to (quite literally) learn how to use my words. I am also learning perseverance....in my prayers. God is in this messy season and this messy situation. I know that. I know that more than I know anything, but the enemy is here too....fighting to keep me from restoration...fighting to keep me broken. It is important to remember that in some very real ways, there is a war happening in my very soul as God and I wrestle some of my deepest places away from the enemy's clutches. Strongholds he has had claim over for decades.

...but I am also learning to leave these prayers at the foot of the cross and release them to the will of God.

...and that is HARD.

"Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." - Matthew 26:39

Yet not as I will, but as you will....

And there is the prayer.

In one verse, Jesus taught us how to pray. Beautifully.

Matthew 26:39
Whatever you are wrestling with today...whatever messy has plopped down on your doorstep...there is healing and release in picking it up and handing it over to God. Using all the words, but then at the end simply saying as you will Lord.

This morning I have pleaded and whined and laughed, but with a deep sigh I am leaving it here with God to do with it as he will...I trust him. Maybe this whole process was him asking me if I did...(God might have just face-palmed right then)...and Jesus...I do. I really really do.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

The Promise of Our Triune God

It is day two, and I have already learned a couple dozen words and phrases that cause me to pause and look them up.

That makes me grin.

I remember a day when that would have caused me shame. A girl who has been in the church since the womb should know...what?...ALL things?!?! Ludicrous. Yet for years I have believed that lie.

I digress...

Our Triune God - God who is three in one. The Trinity.

Deep. Sigh.

This past Saturday I was reading ahead to Day 2's lesson here and I made it to the bottom of p.21 and then suddenly felt the Holy Spirit urged me to go back up the page and re-read "...He said, Let us make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness."..." {emphasis added by me}

Our image.

I have probably read that verse a thousand or more times...but this time something clicked...OUR.

That means that we were made in the image of the Holy Trinity - God...Jesus...and the Holy Spirit. Let that sink in for a minute. We have a bit of each of them in us and the power of the synergy created by all three. Suddenly I felt a little bit like Superman with a ball of power in his hand and beams shooting out of it....and placing that over someone....and that power seeping into them....restoring them. That is what I see for each of us.

I was made in their image.

Pick. Me. Off. The. Floor.

I suddenly want to treat my body a little bit better.

We each have the Trinity - individually and collectively - in us.

That is some powerful stuff.

Then I go back and re-read Romans 4 - it speaks of Abraham's faith and then it all explodes for me on 4:19 - faith does not refuse to face reality but looks beyond all difficulties to God and his promises.

I want the faith of Abraham.

Why?

Because I love you so Jesus....

and I want faith that is as deep as the love that I feel in my heart for you...

I don't want what others have...but what you have for me....

Is that it? Is it that we covet other's faith when what God is calling us to is an individual...a personal....faith - one built on the walk he has given us and the relationship he has/is cultivating with us. So in some respects my faith will look different than each of yours...no less true...just different?!?!

...and isn't that the gift of the technology most who read this will be accessing??? An app that allows each of us to express our faith and walk on the most individual of levels as we wrestle with creeds and verses and simply asking ourselves the basic question of Why? What IF? Then what?

For three years Jesus walked with the disciples teaching and preaching - he literally walked it out with them. He used story and imagery. He was personal, intentional, and loving. We have the opportunity every day to walk out the love of Jesus with people through story and imagery. To be personal, intentional, and loving.

To come to know Jesus is to engage that ball of power placed in us when we were made....instantly things are clicking into place. It is the feeling of coming home and being home and knowing home all wrapped up in one.

Rainbow in Haiti, October 2014

Every day we have that power...the power of the promise. God invites us to be a part of his heavenly court. We have a role. We belong. We are his beloved. 

He is our one God.

...and we are his.

There is richness in knowing and believing that to be true in our lives.

John 17:21 "...Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one; I in them and you in me...."

If you would like to study with IF - I Believe, The Nicene Creed - you can learn more by going to www.ifequip.com or www.ifgatheringapp.com and you can order a study (though you don't need it) at IF Gathering Shoppe.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)