Tag Archives: spirit

Relentless Pursuit

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One of the things I love most about the Spirit of God is how He weaves thoughts and words together in my mind (and in other’s minds) to make the largest impact, not only in my heart but in countless others. It is completely impressive to me that He can speak one message that lands thirty different ways in thirty women’s hearts.

What is even more thrilling to me is that He uses us at all to take part in His grand mission of reaching hearts. What a privilege it is to be able to teach the Word of God and then hear how it impacted someone’s life in that very moment. I spoke about the widow of Nain, clearly a story of loss and restoration, and heard from many women how they needed to hear that God is the God who sees them. He hears their cries. He bends down to bring them out of their affliction.

I am struck with awe and humility. There’s no other way to describe it. I had no idea that what I would say would make any impact. I worked on the lesson months ago. I thought that as I typed, they were just words on a page. Any clever connections or interesting insights were divinely directed so that His message would be cast out like seeds on the tilled field. His Word goes out and it gets in.

I learned that my Father will stop at nothing to draw His people to Himself, reminding them of His simple love for them. That He sees. That He knows. And that He desires to show them mercy. A mercy that reaches down and draws us out of the misery.

His is a relentless pursuit of the human heart for His own divine glory.

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The Flow of the Gift

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I kinda feel like I should apologize for my lack of posting in a verrrrrry long time. I fell into a rut, and I think I’ve finally climbed back out of it with some boosts from beneath. You see, I have so many thoughts about so many different things, that I could literally post something every day. It may be only one sentence, but sure enough, I could fill up a quota for the whole week. But my problem is that I don’t want to give anyone fluff. I guess that’s not a problem though. You don’t need FLUFF! (unless it’s in the form of whipped bubbles, because who doesn’t like playing with foamy bubbles?) What you need is God. And I need Him. In fact, I am a complete mess without Him.

So all of these thoughts, where are they? I certainly haven’t filled this blog with most of them. Here’s the rut: I began thinking that what I’ve had mulling over in my mind is not that important. In the grand scheme of things, I realize I am a drop in the bucket, no one of significance. But here’s the catch. In God’s kingdom, there’s no such thing as an insignificant person. Truly, He’s the most wonderful God for so many reasons, but to think that He gave every believer gifts so that we can all benefit one another is absolutely amazing. It’s Grace. Each one has a role to play. Each one is significant. And it’s because He says so, not the world, and not me.

What’s a girl to do with the gift? I can tell you what NOT to do. The gift was not given to wear as a badge for all to see how great YOU are (or how great I am). At Christmas time, when you receive a stellar gift, you wouldn’t immediately begin boasting about how wonderful of a person you are for having received such an amazing gift. No, you (hopefully) would immediately and profusely thank the one who gave you the gift. In fact, you might feel very humbled at receiving such a nice gift whether it was because of the extremely high cost or of the high value placed on the gift. No, the gift is not for use to puff us up. It’s meant, first, for His glory.

Likewise, the gift was not meant for you or me to keep for ourselves. Whether or not you do this out of fear or out of selfishness, the fact remains that this gift was meant for the greater good. Not for me to set it aside. It’s meant, secondly, for the edification of His church.

Let me tell you something. When you belong to God, He’s prepared good works for you to do (Ephesians 2:10). He is the Giver of all good things (Matthew 7:11; James 1:17). In fact, I’ve come to realize that He gives way more than I ever imagined! Seriously take some time to think about the things He gives, just in the spiritual sense (I’m not even talking about material things). You have a unique personality with unique gifts of the Spirit, and then on top of that, as you abide in Christ, He also produces fruit of the Spirit in you. You could in theory always be overflowing with God’s grace to others because of the way He’s poured His grace into you. A constant flow from the Father to you to others, resulting in His glory, flowing right back to Him.

What’s holding you back in living out these good works which God prepared for you and equipped you to fulfill (2 Peter 1:3)? Many times it’s just believing that it’s true! Will you believe God’s word about yourself and about Him? May I encourage you today that you are an important member in God’s kingdom, designed to edify His church and bring Him glory. Think of all the times you’ve needed to know you are loved, and someone calls you up just to chat. That was Him, using one of His people, to show you love. Or the time you felt like a failure in any area of life, and a random person “just happens” to tell you how good you’re doing in that very area. It blows my mind that all of this that is for His glory actually benefits us too in the process! Only this gracious God could make it so. To be so jealous for His name and glory while still managing to bless us as we seek to bring Him this glory is truly a thing of beauty and grace. Do you see what I mean by His lavish gift giving?

Here’s your pep talk then. You feel like telling someone you admire her courage in speaking up about her faith but you think it’s might sound silly. Do it anyway. You never know when you might be His voice to that bride of Christ.

You feel like telling that girl who is always dressed so beautifully that she is beautiful and reflects Him but you think it might be awkward. Do it anyway. Be the voice.

You feel like helping out behind the scenes but you think that they don’t need your help or that it won’t make a difference. Do. it. anyway. Use the gifts.

Whatever it is that you feel like or you know you should be doing, do it! What’s flowing into you and how can you pour it out as a beautiful offering back to the One who gave it?

P.S. If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I refer to “gifts” that are spiritual in nature, feel free to visit this website to learn more about spiritual gifts: http://www.spiritualgiftstest.com/.

How to Walk 101

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Have you ever had a struggle that you felt like you would never get past? You would never be over? Maybe something wears you down and you feel like you’ll never learn how to get through it or triumph over it?

We are definitely creatures of short-sightedness.

If only we could have God’s perspective on our life! Shoulda woulda coulda.

I will never forget the wise words from one of my youth minister’s growing up. I was going through a struggle (one which I honestly can’t even recall! ha!), and he told me “This too shall pass.” Why I had never heard that before, I don’t know. I hear it all the time now! Or maybe you’ve heard people tell you, “It’s only a season.” And for goodness’ sake, you feel like the “season” is lasting all of your life!

Either way, we have such a hard time seeing past our current circumstances into the future where we experience the triumph or the character building from the struggle. Tunnel vision. The problem is that the tunnel seems so dark and the light so far away.

If you’ve ever had children, you remember those milestones through their infancy and into the toddler phase. First, you think they’ll NEVER sleep (or at least that’s what I thought with all three of my boys…I’m pretty sure I thought I was going to die several times through that “season”). And then one day, you wake up for the first time at 7 a.m. (instead of 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. and…) and you do the victory dance (and then quickly peak at the monitor to make sure baby is alive). Secondly, you think they’ll NEVER get those teeth in that seem to bother them for months (seriously?! what is up with that? I could collect drool and sell it for a small fortune). Then one day, you see two little teeth pop through their gums! Next, you think they’ll NEVER crawl. Then one day, you watch the movement from belly to hands and knees, see the rocking and they take off! Then you think they’ll NEVER walk. And then one day, they’re cruising around the coffee table and all of a sudden they let go and take a couple of steps to your open arms (and then for the next 2 years you wish they had never learned to walk because then they get into everything!). And so it goes year after year, milestone after milestone. You think they are never going to learn something, but then they do. And of course they do! Have you seen many adults who don’t sleep through the night and require multiple feedings at night? Any adults with no teeth? Any adults who only crawl everywhere? How absurd! Of course not! It’s all a part of our development as humans.

So why is our spiritual life any different? We drink the milk and move on to the meat. But we grow over time. We can’t start off with the meat anymore than a baby can start off walking and talking.

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

These struggles can be to us “light momentary affliction” with the right perspective. These things that we deal with everyday are the “seen” and are transient.

tran·sient adjective 1. lasting only for a short time; impermanent. Synonyms: transitory, temporary, short-lived, short-term, impermanent, brief, short, momentary, fleeting, passing, here today and gone tomorrow.
So we look to the unseen! How strange to look to something we can’t see. It’s almost laughable! But it’s exactly and ironically what we must do. We look to our Father who knows our frame, He knows our struggles, He’s well acquainted with our griefs, and we cast those cares on Him. We put one foot in front of the other, and we do well some days to stay focused on Him and other days we fall flat. But the next day we get up and put one foot in front of the other, and we seek the unseen. We develop spiritual muscles, we depend on Him who alone makes us holy. And then one day, we start to sleep through the night. We start to get teeth. We start to crawl. And then we walk. Walk in step with the Spirit. Ever seeking, ever depending on Him. One foot in front of the other.

The God of ALL Comfort

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My heart is with some dear friends in Oklahoma this week. We received tragic news (last week) of the passing of a genuine man of God – a husband, a father, a great example of Christ. It left us speechless. What do you even say when a tragedy crashes into the scene of a dear friend? What do you even do when you’re holding her hands or if you’re 400 miles away?

At first you feel a bit helpless, am I right? Then you want to do everything you can to help, whatever that looks like.

I’ve learned that sometimes there are people much closer to the situation/friend that can help better than I can. I’ve also learned that if I am one of those “inner circle” people, I can let God use me until I’m completely spent, but in the end, I’m still going to need to entrust my friend to Him.

One of my favorite things about God is that He is ever-present. I am only able to be in one place at one time. And even if I could be present with my friend, I’m not sure I’d be the comfort she needs anyway.

But my God, He knows how to comfort, in every situation, and He does it perfectly. That is actually one of the things John mentions as the Spirit’s “job” when He comes to dwell in the believer (John 14:16, 26; 15:26, 16:7 He is called “Comforter” or “Helper” depending on your translation). The Spirit of God knows the mind of God, and He also knows what is in our hearts and minds (1 Corinthians 2:11). This is such an amazing blessing for us! He intercedes for us with groans that words can’t express when we have no clue what to say or do. AND He somehow infuses into our hearts and minds the comfort and peace we need in those moments of sheer tragedy. {Note to self: try and remember this when you find yourself in the midst of tragedy.}

I’m discovering that what I can do when these terrible nightmares hit is pray for more Spirit, for more of God’s presence in the life of my friends. The grieving heart will be well handled in the hand of its Creator.

Then I watch God work. Sometimes we get to be pulled alongside as God’s instruments of comfort with a word of truth spoken at just the right moment or a hug that envelopes the grieving heart. But other times we watch and behold the God of all comfort who is well acquainted with our grief and yet also knows how to massage the wounds that grief leaves in its wake. He is so beautiful.

One final note. I’ve heard many people say that after they’ve lost a loved one, they receive lots of comfort and attention at first, but that slowly goes away and they are eventually forgotten. I really don’t want that to happen. Ever. So may I humbly suggest the importance of being sensitive to the needs of those around us in the months and years to come. My heart is definitely there now, but I don’t want to let the passing of time lessen my desire to lift someone to the God of all comfort (who, by the way, never forgets).