Monday, August 30, 2010

Knowing Your Call

I love this picture of fireflies on a country road.

Nature blesses me so much, it reminds me of the mysteries and glories of God. It points to answers of my deepest questions about life and about who I am in God. Nature uplifts my spirit immediately and joins me in the chorus of praise with the countless saints praising at God's feet in the throne room. Yesterday Dave Oscar and I explored off the beaten path in the mountains. It was beautiful. At a special spot where the aspen trees were clumped together, the tall grass was dancing and a very large mountain cap sat behind the scene I closed my eyes, I could hear the trees and grass blowing in the wind, I could hear His creation around me saying "praise Jesus!" and I knew the angels were praising God in Heaven as I was and His creation all around was on earth.

As an "E.N.F.P." which is my personality type on the Myers Briggs personality test, I'm always contemplating my purpose, my contribution, my calling. I often ask God "what is the check list for me to arrive to who I am supposed to be, the person you made me to be?"
It's been a long humbling journey since I first started asking the Lord these questions.
It used to be more about myself than about God. I asked Him who I was and what was my purpose or talent for Him in order to know my importance and to build upon that in my lifetime and to accomplish great works for Him. HA! What a funny and immature thing to think.
I had ambition to know my importance to God and to His world when I was younger. I wanted to get started asap.
God brought me through a series of humbling  awakenings as well as small revelations through the years that brought me to my knees in recognition of His splendor, His awesomeness, His wonder, His majesty, His talent and importance and purpose, not mine...
There was a day when I was ready for it. After a few years of humility under my belt God had spoken to my heart that I was not but that He was.

I was walking on one of my favorite wood trails and I was talking with the Lord praising Him as we walked.
This particular trail was usually void of other people so I praised the Lord out loud and pictured us walking side by side.
When I stopped praising for a moment, I asked Him, "Lord, tell me something about yourself."
He said,  "I Am."
I heard it clearly, and powerfully.
The Holy Spirit in me cracked open a light that rushed through my body. I completely understood what He was telling me in that moment.
I almost jumped out of my skin and said "I get it!"
"YOU ARE I AM ARENT YOU LORD!" haha this is how I reacted. I just repeated what He said but I was so excited.
I continued on our walk babbling in awe of what He just revealed to me.
I said, "You are I Am which is everything, You are powerful, i am not but YOU are therefore i am!
You are wise, i am not BUT YOU ARE I AM, therefore i am wise because you are I Am.
Now it's harder for me to explain this moment we had on the trail on my computer but I went on like this going through everything good I could think of. God is I Am, I Am good, (i am not but He is therefore i am good because He is good)
I Am holy
I Am wise
I Am beautiful
I Am sinless
I Am powerful..........
On the other hand
i am not holy
i am not wise
I am sinless
I am weak but God is all of these things, He is I Am, therefore...i am. I would have been completely in awe and excited just about the part where God is all of these things being good and being EVERYTHING because He said His name is I Am, but He wanted me to understand that He shares Himself with me even by His very name. He shares the goodness of the Father Son and Holy Spirit relationship with me through His Son, His son being inside of me and therefore i am apart of their holiness and I being His daughter, I Am is my Father and I'm His little i am.
It's so beautiful because I Am encompasses ALL things. It covers everything.
He is all goodness and because He is therefore i am. Christ lives in me, He is all that is good, I praise Him and I can fall back on His goodness and His perfectness and be in Him all things.
Tozer says "The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and the Son; not made nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding." God exists in Himself and of Himself. His being He owes to no one. His substance is indivisible. He has no parts but is single in His unitary being.
So in learning that I am not but God IS, therefore I am because I am in Him, I look upon fireflies and a peace falls upon me.
The fireflies are created to shed light. They don't work at it they do not wake up in the morning and complete tasks in order to be full of light for their evening tasks. They're purpose is fulfilled through their creator. He has given them their light, they did nothing to earn it, only exist and in their existence God is glorified and their light shines.
I simply surrender to Christ in me, His life in me is glorified, His light shines, I simply exist and God is glorified in me.
I have no importance or talents. God has them and He in me fulfills His purpose and I get to fly around with my body lit up and experience the adventures of God. Just imagine what all this will look like in eternity.
Tomorrow I am going to type out an encouraging article that Mike Wells wrote about knowing your call.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Finishing Well.

What does it take to finish well?
What does it take to even run the race?
 You will squander time and you will invest time, depending upon what you do, but you will not get this day again.

Before finishing well I think of the life God has given me.
I don't see anything too exciting. I'm overjoyed as a mother of 1 and another on the way. This is an amazing gift to me. I am a wife of a man that I respect so completely. A man that I think is stronger than any man on earth mentally and physically. He too is a beautiful gift to me and I'm thankful.
But looking at my life from the comparison of a biblical character I can wonder sometimes if I'm not cutting it for the "good race." Or that sure I'll raise godly men (Oscar and Wells) and they will go off to be great warriors for Christ. Is that how I will finish well then, I ask myself, Through my boys accomplished life and possibly through Dave's great love and victories in our lifetime?

God hasn't called me to Africa or India even though my heart swells with love for the children there. I've struggled in the past wondering if I'm supposed to do more, travel more or be more self sacrificing. Well, as I've given that to the Lord I've received a peace in return for where I'm at right now. I am to stay put for now. So I wake up and face a day of cleaning and teaching Oscar and feeding our hungry household...everyday I spend without great victories or achievements. So what is the race then? And what is finishing well as Paul talks about in II Timothy?

I heard God's voice even at a young age.  I enjoyed hearing from Him even when He gently brought my sin to light. As I got older and matured in my relationship with Him I heeded to His voice and to the direction He was leading me. Listening for His voice and then obeying were essential in my walk with Him. I noticed as I got older that the more I listened for Him, (through prayer or surrendering to Him during the day and therefore being ready to hear) the more I heard Him. The more I obeyed what I heard the deeper our conversations and time spent would go. 

Now in contemplating the "good race" I notice something very similar in the every day race to hearing God's voice.
Each day seems to have a purpose in it. God in me is not wasted on a day of cleaning and playing with Oscar. This is the day He has made. Psalm 118:24 He designed my day for me as I am fully surrendered to Him in the spirit. Since I wake up He has established my day. I can't pin point every time but I can tell He has moments in my day that I may join Him however that is. Everyday there is an opportunity to join Him.
Some days I hear Him calling me to my knees. When Oscar is napping and me being 7 months pregnant I just want to collapse onto the couch and take a nap but I can hear in my spirit the Lord calling me to him, I can tell I am to worship and listen on my knees. It's my choice if I heed to His calling and obey His still small voice. Or He may be asking me to call someone right in the middle of my day when I should be finishing the dishes or getting things ready and organized for the new baby. 

The thing I've noticed is the more I heed to these callings the more of these opportunities He gives me. 
A lot of these times during my day it will be inconvenient for me or a nusiance. Yet It is God's day His plan and His life in me. He is my instinct, my compassion, my desire for His purpose comes from Him inside of me.
What I may think is inconvenient to my day is actually an invitation to join Him in the beautiful dance of life between Father Son and Holy Spirit, and He invites me. This thought on the race was confirmed for me when I read Ken Boa's take on the race. I pasted it below:

So, it would be prudent for you to realize that God always has some particular purpose for each day and if we are not careful we can get so consumed in our activities, and the allusion of control, that we will miss out on the small voice of the Spirit and miss out on what I call those 'kairos' moments. Remember, we have distinguished between 'chronos' and 'kairos'. Chronological time is 'chronos', and that is what you put in your daily planner, but 'kairos', opportunity time, you can not plan. That is something God Himself creates and you don't know when it will be. Undoubtedly, those times in the course of the day, which you cannot plan, will be the most important moments of your day. I think God gives us at least one kairos moment everyday. That is my suspicion, but how many have missed? You look back and think, "That might have been it." You don't beat yourself up, but just try and be more discerning next time and try and catch that moment. As I have said, also, those kairos moments also appear to be interruptions. They will often appear to be a nuisance. The reality is, though, that they may well be invitations to serve Christ as he is mediated through the presence of the one you see. 

I was inspired by what Ken said about Chronos and Kairos. Proverbs 16:9 "A man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps."  I may be preparing for certain things in my day, kairos, but the Lord pulls out these Chronos in the middle of my day providing me an opportunity to join Him and be blessed.
"To Live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rick Warren Interview

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:  
People ask me, What is the purpose of life?    And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.    
 One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.    I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.. 
 We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.  
 Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.  
 The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.  
We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.  
This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.  
I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.    No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.  
And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.
 You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems:  
 If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain.' But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.  
We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her- It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.  
You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.  
 Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.  
It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.
So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.  
 First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit.. We made no major purchases.  
Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.  
 Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.  
 Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.  
 We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?  
Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?  
 When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do.  
 That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.  
 Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.  
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.  
 Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.  
 Painful moments, TRUST GOD.  
Every moment, THANK GOD..   

Friday, August 13, 2010

Our Special Moment with God

A couple weeks ago I was having one of those all consuming grief stricken days just as I've described in my previous posts. I couldn't get over a new intense anger I had at Jake's sudden death.
I tried to get myself into some kind of groove to accomplish anything around the house as Oscar needed more love and attention that day than usual. He had a sense by this time when  "momma" was sad.
Dave was out all day working and then school right after work so we wouldn't be seeing him until late that night.
I was going through our usual bedtime routine with Oscar. Bath, teeth brushed, cozy P.J.'s on, and laying in his crib with one arm straight out for me to entwine my fingers in his for our prayer time together. I began with my usual deep groan of "Lord, we trust you". I say it with a groan because my spirit is so painfully sad at the core that it usually comes out in a groan even when praying with Oscar.
Just as I said that I was surprised to hear Dave walk from the kitchen into Oscar's room where we were praying. Excited that he was home early, I continued to pray with oscar, my eyes closed but I could feel the warmth of Dave entering the room and the weight of his large body walking towards us on the carpet. Each step was heavy under my feet as he walked right up to us, put his arm around my back and I took a glimpse at Oscar to see if he knew dadda was home. Of course if Oscar knew he would immediately cry out, "DADDA!" while I continued to pray my fingers mingled with Oscars I saw him looking right at his dadda with a large smile on his face.
As soon as I was done with our prayer I turned to Dave for a much needed embrace. My day was so horrific, I needed to cry on his shoulder. I turned into him and opened my eyes with a huge smile on my face when I realized nobody stood next to me at all. Come to find out Dave wasn't even home, he was at school still.
I could still feel the heavy warmth of his body holding me and standing close to me and oscar but I didn't see anyone. Thats when the Holy Spirit spoke in my heart. The Lord made his presence known to me in such a way that I truly needed that day. He comforted me in a way that would minister to my heart the most. He physically showed up in Oscar's room that night while we prayed and held us in His arms for the entire prayer.
I'm so grateful for that moment with God. I will never forget it and I am still comforted by it even weeks later.
Psalm 34:18
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Just Listening

 Dave getting some quiet time with the Lord.
My understanding of prayer is changing.
There is nothing I can do to change what has already happened. There is no begging God night and day to bring Jake back or change what happened Jan. 1st.
I have been to the depths of the lowest pit I can go in my life in this process of mourning an unimaginable loss. It is true that the pain is immense but I do not want my pain to become my idol.

My routine has been, wake up, attend to Oscar but the "agony ball" remains in my stomach.  An ache that won't go away. The ball creeps up to my throat and I could loose it and cry again without control for the next 10 minutes. I push it back down and cry out in my heart "Lord! help me make it through the morning."
Throughout the morning I do not have the capacity to pray for anything else or say anything at all to God but I need to feel our constant connection. I know my spirit stays connected with the Father but I need to be fully aware of our oneness.
I can't say anything at all, I don't ask Him anything but throughout the first half of the day I moan knowing He knows what it means and I listen for the rest of the day.
I'm not hearing much these days for whatever reason, I trust the Lord with His silence but I am still listening. This has been a time of listening and not speaking. Even if I wanted to speak I have nothing to say in this time of pain.
I know that in Him I live and move and exist. I am in Christ and He is in me. We are one. In a time when I cannot get the words out, i don't need to. God and I are one.
I have been forced this year to realize that I'm not changing the will of God through prayer.
If Jake were in a hospital from this gun shot I know I would be in the "throne room" continually pleading that God heal him. But I have no choice in this case to pray for Jake's healing at all. He's already gone. In this horrific pain I recognize I don't pray to change the will of God, I pray to come to a surrender, a peace with the will of God.
I read a revealing truth by Mike Wells:

We must remember that God is permitting what He could prevent for the revelation of hearts. We will not change an evil person’s choice. God permits man to have choice for the revelation of hearts. In the final judgment, a heart will be judged as it was revealed to be in this life. In prayer, we find peace with what God does, allows, prevents, and denies. Finally, prayer permits us to participate in the work of God. For example, I am awakened in the middle of the night and told to pray for someone. It is not as though if I turn over and go back to sleep, God will not act; it is merely a matter of my missing the blessing of participating in what God is going to do. Later, when I hear that the person was under attack, in a near accident, or had family struggles, I rejoice in the awareness that God came at the exact moment to deliver, and I am blessed that He allowed me to participate in what He was doing. In fact, any time we experience answered prayer we can boast in the Lord that He enlightened us to pray for what He was going to do; He allowed us to take part in His kingdom doings. In short, prayer is very easy and enjoyable. In the recognition of His presence within and without, we rest, participate, and enjoy our life in Him; we want nothing but His will, which is the overriding affirmation of our prayer life. Have we not all had our fill of our own will, since we have never enjoyed it?