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Monday, October 31, 2011

Finding Me

Pressure.

The Tic-Tac was stuck. It was the last one. Somehow it had to come out. After all, it wasn't always stuck.

And that "somehow" was to squeeze the container to set it free.


Hmmm . . . the very thing we don't want or greatly dislike and makes us feel like the world is squeezing in on us might be the very thing to set us free.

From what?

Oh, so many things.

Fear of man.

Doubt.

Worry.

Misplaced trust.


Careful! I've put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion,
a stone you can't get around.
But the stone is me!

If you're looking for me,
you'll find me on the way, not in the way. 
         Romans 9:33 MSG


If you haven't read Carol Kent's book, Between a Rock and a Grace Place, it's amazingly convicting!

Puppy Lessons

I thought the puppy was a present, just for Brooke. "Oh, no," He says (probably with a chuckle). "I'll use him to speak life lessons to you; if you'll slow down and listen and keep your eyes open to see and ears open to hear." A prayer I pray daily for me and for my family . . . that we would have eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to seek Him. I just didn't think these lessons would come in the form of a puppy.

When I told my oldest, who was home from college for the summer, that his younger sister was getting a puppy for her birthday, he was surprised. His response of "I thought you didn't like dogs at all, Mom," spoke volumes. As if to say, I can't believe YOU would do this FOR her. "This is different; it's not about me and what I do or do not want," is all I can reply. "Your sister really wants a puppy and is old enough to take care of him. Plus, I've grown to love him."

Lesson number one.

Love is getting the puppy for her . . . how much did my parents, let alone my Heavenly Father sacrifice doing what was not the most pleasant choice, but knew it was a good for us in the end. Because let's face it, I'll be helping train, pick up poop, get up early, get up at night if necessary, and take the puppy to the vet - the list goes on.

Lesson number two.


An obedient will.

"All my life I have watched the time clock and been blessed to see Your love and wisdom combined . . . if I have grown less sensitive, restore what has been lost and bring Me to a place where I shall see greater things than those in the past . . . mark my path clearly, give me sharp eyes and ears and an obedient will." FJ Roberts in "Dialogues with God"

That was my prayer as I read it this morning...

Now back to the puppy. As I was putting the leash on him this morning, he wouldn't sit still. He's young, not fully trained at all. He just wanted to go! And go now! Boy does that sound familiar. Sniff here, "Oh this is great." Sniff there, "What's over there?"

I realize I have been just like my puppy - "Let's go God. I'm just ready to go, to do" . . . resisting the collar and leash. God has somewhere good He wants to lead me but I am not content to sit still and wait until it is time on to go - I just want to go. And do. Now.

Lesson number three.

Expectation.

The puppy comes in expectation when we call. If he could speak, he'd be saying, "What do you have for me? What's going on?"
And God beckons us. He beckons us to call to Him. In Jeremiah 33 He says, "Call to me ... and I will answer you. And tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, I don't know it all. I need to be about what You have going on and what You have for me. There is no one better to call to (or to have calling me). I don't want to get to the place where I don't come in expectation nor to the place of not coming at all . . . may I live in your Presence as my only daily routine of importance.


Lesson number four.

I was about to post this blog, but for some reason it would not post. Another lesson made obvious yesterday morning as I was downstairs alone with the puppy before everyone else woke up, being smothered with kisses and all the affection a puppy has to offer.

Adoration.

The puppy adores me. He adores any one of his new family, showering them with kisses (aka licking). He wants to hop right up into your lap and sit with you, be with you, snuggle and play with you. He'll follow your million steps around the kitchen, right at your heels. Why? He just adores you. You are the center of his attention.

The parallel is painfully obvious. Jesus, do I adore you? Do I follow you so closely that you almost step on my feet? Do I climb in your lap to shower my affections on you? Do I overwhelm you with my love for You?


Friday, May 6, 2011

Staying by Your Side

I was reading through SOLO devotional today; the title was "Staying with God" and the verse was Psalm 27. At the end, two questions were posed:

1. When are you tempted to quit on God?
2. What keeps you from running from Him?

Start with number one. Simple answer really. When am I tempted to quit on God? Quit hoping in His unfailing love and character. Quit trusting in His unending promises. Sounds silly, but how often I find my self quitting. And here's the simple answer. It is when I am looking at myself. At me and what I have to bring to this equation. It seems like not nearly enough. I have nothing.

Question number two. What keeps me from running from Him? Why do I not leave? Why do I cling to Him? When I look at Him, I see:

His grace
His love
His mercy

His beauty
His glory

Your patience
Your kindness
Your goodness
Your undying love
burns an eternal flame

And it pulls me
It draws me
back to You

So I'm staying,
by your side
There no need to run and hide

I'm staying,
by Your side
My God, You do provide

And guide me down the path,
where You would have me go
Help me live the life,
it's You I want to know

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Relentless Love

So . . .
Who else loves you
like this
With a jealous love,
a protective love
A love that wants the best for you
A love that knows the best for you
Because it's the same love
that created you
And knows what and whom
you were created for
And wants nothing to compete
with your love and affections

1 Kings 8:23 (MSG) says "O God, God of Israel, there is no God like you in the skies above or on the earth below who unswervingly keeps covenant with his servants and relentlessly loves them as they sincerely live in obedience to your way."

He (Solomon) goes on to say:

You kept your word

You did what You promised

The proof is before us today.

The thought of jealous love that our pastor asked about this morning had been stirring in my heart for a few weeks since I read that verse in 1 Kings. One of his names is the Jealous God. He says in Exodus 34:14 "Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." What thoughts does
jealous love produce in you, our pastor asked this morning. Because maybe your encounters with jealousy didn't leave a good impression. I'm think it's time to change that . . . think of the momma bear or lion who is jealous of her cubs because a jealous person is "solicitous or vigilant in maintaining or guarding something." Or think of a spouse loving with a jealous love because they are "intolerant of unfaithfulness or rivalry." I'd be worried if my husband's love WASN'T jealous!

Two things you NEED to figure out before you can begin to grasp this relentless love:

*Legitimacy - You belong to Him because He made you (Psalm 100); He is so much more than you can imagine, but you know Him by experiencing Him.
*Identity - Once you know who He is and that you are His, you can see who You
are in Him.

Trust the voice that says from Psalm 139:13 "For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb
."

Holding Fast

I just read this quote: "When Jesus whispers you better listen . . . even when the whisper is faint. Trust it."

The man of God.

Nothing left to eat.

A dry brook.

Then comes the whisper of God. "Get up and go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I have instructed a woman who lives there, a widow, to feed you." (1 Kings 17:7-9)

So he goes.
No questions asked.
He arrives in Sidon
and circumstances APPEAR to NOT be in his favor.
The widow has enough left to make one last meal.

This is what amazes me . . . what my mind and heart won't let go of:

He held fast to the word.

The word, that may have seemed like a whisper to him.

But the word sustained him.

How?

He didn't get there and say,
are you sure God?

He didn't walk away from the widow, saying to himself,
"Guess I heard that one wrong."

He arrived,
and asked the widow to make something for him
before making her "last meal"
refusing to accept what appeared to be the end.

"For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah." 1 Kings 17:16

Why?
Because Elijah knew WHO gave him the word. He knew who backed up the word.

Elijah KNEW his provision was from God, not the widow. She was just the vessel. He trusted the messenger and message. He was not looking to the natural and seeing the lack.

And that same "He" does not go back on His word. His word is true; it is alive. And yes, sometimes it seems to contradict what you see in the natural.

Getting this in my heart is vital. We have got to HOLD on to the word He gives us for each situation.

Just the other week, I watched this was put to action in my own life. I had been praying for my oldest and his roommate situation at college. Things were not going well, as my son seemed to be in a Catch 22 situation, but the bottom line was he needed a new room and roommate but it didn't look possible.

"Let him (the roommate) get caught." But Lord what about my son, I don't want him to go down with this sinking ship. "I will hide him."

Trust me - this momma bear's heart wanted to call up the university and give someone a piece of her mind and resolve this issue NOW!

But I held onto the word - even when it seemed like there was no way in the natural for any change. He had talked to the powers that be about changing rooms and almost was accused in the process - asked for proof. And for days, seriously, God reminded me, in verse after verse that I turned to, that He is my son's hiding place. I saw God's faithfulness in this process. After much warfare prayer by many warriors, my son called. Incredulously he asked if I had talked with the decision maker. "No!" I said. "Are you sure?" he asks. "Yes, I am sure I did NOT call anyone," I tell him. "Well, it seems like she is on my side now."

A few days later, he moved (broke his pinkie in the process, but that's another blog :-)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

After your Heart

As iron sharpens iron, so one friend sharpens (makes sharp, alert, keen) another. Proverbs 27:17

Yesterday I found myself so very grateful for the way God uses people in our lives as a vessel to point to Him. I had had a conversation my girlfriend in CA about our college kids. Her oldest and my oldest are going through some life lessons and it is SO hard not to jump in and be GOD in the situation - not that we could anyway. But the point that came up was that God has to get their hearts in this and/or the fact that He's after something in their heart. The next day our pastor's wife spoke on the very same issue - God is after your heart and we need to examine the idols and other loves in our hearts.

"...our focus on certain things eclipses our worship of God. John Calvin said that our hearts are idol factories." (SOLO devotional) An eclipse is a reduction or loss of splendor, status, reputation or obscuring the light. It comes from the Greek to leave out, forsake, fail to appear.

So this is what I heard him singing to me - the song I usually sing to him, but He said, "listen - this time it's for you."

Kim, here I am your favorite one

What are you thinking
What are you feeling
I have to know

for I am after your heart
I'm after your heart
I'm after you

'cuz I am after your heart
I'm after your heart
I'm after you

I can hear Him singing to my son and my friend's daughter right now . . . because He's after their hearts, just like he is after yours and mine.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wanting to Know You More

Disappointment set in the other day. Although I didn't want to admit it, because maybe, just maybe, I felt disappointed with how God chose to act in a situation.

I had gone to the eye doctor for my annual contact exam and my eyes were the same as last year - no new contact prescription for me. This should be good news, right? My eyes are not getting worse. Instead, it became a disappointment to me and I couldn't walk away from this until I dealt with it and left it at His feet.

You see, for the past two years, my eyes got better: I was able to lower the prescription by half a power measurement in each eye. This is huge for someone like me, who eyes are so bad they usually don't carry my prescription in stock! (It's a big negative number, which means nearsightedness and lots of correction is needed to give me 20/20 distance vision.) I was content to receive the gradual healing and had thought, "COOL! God, if this is how you want to heal my eyes, half a power each year until I'm 50 something, that works for me!"

But not this year. Now I must be content where they are.

Why?

I don't know - yet. Here's a clue from High Road by FJ Roberts "Do not pray to be brought out of the fire until AFTER you have found ME real in the midst of it."

Does He love me any less?

Definitely not.

Has His ability to heal changed?

Once again, definitely not.

So what do you do when He doesn't do or act like what you think He would? In the processing of where is my heart in this situation, I realize I am disappointed, and that I don't know him as well as I think I do. Disappointed because He didn't act like I thought He would act. Yet rather than keep Him in this box I have put Him in, He draws me to Him to know Him more. AW Tozer says that "Full knowledge of a personality by another cannot be achieved in one encounter." I've had so many encounters with God and think I know Him, but it's a process - there is a lifetime more of encounters to be had. This is one of those encounters that I tried to predict. It doesn't leave me wanting to walk away though, because just like Moses used the fact that he knew God as an argument for knowing him better, I too want to know Him more.

The words of this song may be familiar to you, but I've added the italicized parts:

I want to know you
to experience all of who You are
I want to hear your voice
just like the story of Samuel, I've heard you but didn't know if it was really you,

yet you say "My sheep hear my voice"
I want to know you more
I resist any and every thing that exalts itself against knowing you God

I want to touch you
I want to be within arms' reach of you - one touch brings healing and I am so in need of


your healing touch
I want to see your face
and see You looking into the face of your child with love and joy as I look at my child
I want to know you more
what makes You who you are

Like arrows sent to sabotage (an act or process tending to hamper or hurt), the enemies' arrows are sent to sabotage my joy. So I lay the "important to me" things at your feet
and if they're important to you, I trust You'll take care of them in your time and your way.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

One More Day

Sitting on the floor, pieces of a shattered vase scattered all around. Once it sat upon the shelf with the others - so beautiful and so full of life. Others couldn't help but smile and feel the joy as they encountered this vase. But now all that seems to remain are pieces - pieces that can never be put back together again, at least not in this world, not in this situation. Yet, there was hope . . . reaching down to pick up a piece and turning it over in her hand. She sees something so priceless that she never would have seen it had it not crashed to floor . . . just like the day her world came crashing down around her. The day Jesus came to take her baby girl home.

"One more day, one more time, one more sunset, maybe I'll be satisfied. But then again I know just what it'd do ... leave me wishing still for one more day with you."

Words from a country song about a lost love I'm sure. But they seemed to fit my life saying goodbye to my oldest as he went off to college and I headed back here, some 5700 miles away. Where did the time go? And they seemed to fit as I can't stop thinking about this family who lost their 13 year old daughter in a tragic hiking accident here last week . . .

"These are the moments, I'll remember all my life"


The mother sat across the room from me . . . just three days before her world would be turned inside out. I couldn't seem to keep my eyes off her - I was distracted by her somehow, but didn't know why. I pray next time I'll remember to ask the Lord why He is pointing someone out to me.

Lord what are you trying to say to us? There has been so much sadness and grief in this place lately. A few weeks ago, two paddlers were lost at sea, now a boat is missing, carrying a crew of five. And my heart grieves for all these.

I remember my own feelings of grief as if were yesterday; not to the same depth, but the most grief I had known. When they couldn't find the heartbeat of our unborn child at 14 weeks; when we had to pull our oldest out just before his senior year and move him half way across the world - to an island - for his senior year. God what could you possibly be doing in all this?

And that become the most important question in all this - not Lord, would you please make sense of this for MY sake, but what are you trying to teach me, what would bring YOU glory, not what would bring ME glory. This is why: He is my Peace "whether He stills the storms or beckons me to walk on the water to Him." And it is is not Him that I doubt - it's me.

So this quote rings so true to my hearts' cry: "Far more than explanations, we crave the unshakable conviction that He is utterly supremely God." Do you crave that unshakable conviction?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Breath Me In

Breathe me in, so you can breathe me out.

As I was running on the treadmill this morning, worshipping (in my head and mouthing the words because I didn't have the breath to sing ;-) ... staring at the little heart icon on the monitor of the machine in front of me . . . it was getting bigger and then smaller, bigger and smaller . . . and that's when I heard "Breathe me in so you can breath me out."

In my devotional "Solo" today, there was the same theme . . .


You can't give out what you don't have inside you.

TRUE TRUE so verrrrry TRUE!

Take time to be refreshed and rejuvenated. This only comes from spending time in My presence, for I am your source of life, energy and vitality. Come and be renewed and restored, says the Lord.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The GOOD one . . .

One of those days, when you feel like you're not measuring up. To what I'm not quite sure - but you just feel like you're not making much difference in the world especially in your world. Your mind spirals into this "Am I doing a good job at anything?"


And He says, "But does that really matter?" "I love you . . . regardless."


My focus gets stuck on being the GOOD Mom or lack thereof, being the GOOD Wife or lack thereof, being the GOOD Military Officer's Wife or lack thereof . . .


Yet that is not what He requires of me. Act justly, Love mercy, and walk humbly with my God. This is what He would ask of me.

Am I doing a good job of LOVING the Lord my God with ALL my HEART, my MIND, my STRENGTH?


Am I seeking HIM in EVERY moment?

Am I asking HIM His PURPOSE for this situation?

Am I seeing HIM as HE IS, not who I think He SHOULD be?


And then there is the wrong perspective about myself that I have. Think about the "One Jesus Loved." As Beth Moore put it, this was NOT arrogance on John's part, but a proper perspective. John saw himself as Jesus saw him. The Beloved.


If you could see what I see, you'd see love.

If you could see what I see, you'd see joy.

If you could see what I see, you'd see peace.

If you could see what I see, in you.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stuck!

I keep finding myself stuck.



Stuck in frustration.


Stuck in situations that I don't want to be in.


Stuck in the same rut of emotions that are not uplifting.



Stuck at the mall instead of at the beach.


Stuck at the store instead of out exploring.


Stuck with sick family members instead of healthy and whole.



So what is the big deal?



My heart is not clean . . . God has been speaking of holiness upon the heart." Acts of goodness and generosity align you with others and bring out best . . . acts of bitterness, pettiness and anger put you at cross purposes with God and diminishes you and others." (Sylvia Gunter) I was stuck in the petty, the anger, and the bitter places. How am I going to get unstuck from these situations?



Sick family members. There is an enemy, but we have authority. Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 10 that they had authority to heal every kind of disease, over unclean spirits - to cast them out . . . freely you have received = freely give. Have I not been freely giving because I forgot that I freely received? Have I forgotten the Lord my Maker? Isaiah 51


The store. Our youngest won $100 the other night - the catch was it had to be used that night, on one item over $100. Do you know how hard that is for a seven year-old in a store with only so many items? Well, now our whole family knows. So we were trying to find something we needed and would buy anyway, enabling us to give him the cash since he won it fair and square. But this is what I focused on - the pain and agony of figuring that out, which took what felt like hours instead of thanking the Lord for the $100 - how in the world have I taken this blessing and made it into a frustration!


The mall. A recent family photos shows us all giggling. We found humor in the camera taking 10 photos of us on the self timer when I thought the 10 was for 10 seconds! But the really funny thing was that we were making the best of a the night. It was our oldest son's last night before going back to college and we just had gone on a little hike. We were headed to the beach to watch the sunset and eat at a favorite restaurant . . . what do you know, we got stuck in traffic and ended up at the mall! Not what I would've have planned at all for fun family memories, but God had other plans. We have this great family photo and hilarious memories of the kids cracking up at each other while sitting in the car driving around. When you give a situation/frustration to Him, He uses it - to teach, to grow, to make it beautiful in His time. Just like the move across the ocean to here, it might not seem so pleasant or beautiful at the time. But, yes, we are blessed; and yes, blessed be the Name of the Lord!


Challenge and growth . . . effective faith is born of total consecration. My Spirit alone can bring forth this kind of dedication and inner strength. Hold before Me at all times a heart that prefers instruction to comfort . . . Suffering is an instrument of grace. FJ Roberts "On the High Road of Surrender"