Wednesday, January 22, 2014

An Audience With The King

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Imagine having a private audience with the God of the universe, the King of kings! Imagine sitting in full view of His splendor, knowing He hears every word you say and they matter to Him. Imagine Him putting everything else on hold and looking into your eyes, holding your hand and meeting your needs with everything at His disposal.

Whether you realize it or not, this happens every time His children pray.

Years ago, I sat praying, and my imagination showed me a giant wooden door opening slightly. A bright light burst through, and I gasped with awe, knowing that God was right on the other side of that door. Panic danced through my veins as I realized the door was opening for me. What would I say? Tears rolled down my cheek as I realized that this is what happens when I pray.

But, why would the almighty God of everything grant me an audience?

I have, at least a partial understanding of what I’m capable of, I’ve been around a few decades. But, in His great love for me, His grace and the awe inspiring idea that still, He allows me a private audience with Him – every time I pray, should overwhelm me, it should overwhelm all of us.

An all encompassing love is a love that encompasses all that I am, all that I was and all that I will ever be, even the broken parts and the ugly pieces.

There may be some who can’t get past my past. But, God has no problems with it at all, because He’s forgiven the sin and uses every struggle I’ve faced for my good and His glory. He purposefully called to me, drawing me to Himself and, at a time when I would hear Him, He revealed His love for me.

So many descriptive words can be used in conjunction with God’s love; unconditional love, never-ending love, whether-you-want-it-or-not love, whether-you-feel-you-deserve-it-or-not love, pure love, and so many more. But, I’m at a loss to find a perfect word that envelops God’s love, because He IS love.

His love forgives me, because it’s His loving kindness that draws me to repentance in the first place.

His love is wild; it cannot be tamed or controlled. Not deserving His love, or denying He is, cannot stop Him from loving us – or His desire for intimacy with us.

The next time you pray, know that you’re talking privately with Him, that He’s giving you His full attention; that you’re partaking of His splendor and majesty and know that He hears you.

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” – 1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Attention Please!

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Where’s your attention lately? You’re finances, your backache, your heartache, your weight, and/or your children? There’s a spiritual connection – if you’ll make it.

If you’re anything like me, when a part of your body (or family) hurts or begins demanding your attention for one reason or another, you become more aware of it, learning more about it; how it works, its importance to your body and your overall health and happiness. This became huge in my life when I suffered from migraines, and it’s huge now that I’m dealing with weight issues.

So, let’s ponder this together.

Let’s say you’re trying get rid of a few fat cells, you’re overweight and frustrated. Could it be that God is using your situation to draw your attention to what you’re consuming and why you’re consuming it? Not just the junk food you reach for when you’re stressed or the foo-foo coffee drinks which are so easy to get addicted to, but spiritually? So much of what we eat these days isn’t even “real food” – the chemical additives have become more of the ingredients than what the food item was supposed to be in the first place. How much of what we take in spiritually is junk food, and not “real food”?

You’re concerned about your finances? Perhaps God’s drawing your attention to those of us who are going without, the lack in the body of Christ. Not just the lack of money, but so many other things that God provides freely for us. For example, grace – how many of us don’t avail ourselves of the grace that God lavishly pours out over us? But, instead, beat up ourselves us continually.

What if your mind is on sex a lot? God can use that to draw your attention to the lack of intimacy within the body of Christ. Intimacy is huge! Shannon Etheridge pointed out in one of her books, that intimacy means “into-me-see”. We have walls up to protect ourselves from each other. How many people can you see into? Do you let others see into you? See any problems here?

Headaches? Any one suffer from chronic headaches? It might be that God is trying to draw your attention to Jesus Himself, the head of the Church; which is the body of Christ, and all that He is; His fullness, His sacrifice, His blood, His death, burial and resurrection – all of it. So much to be learned and received there!
NOTE: I am NOT saying that God causes these things in our lives – but rather, uses them to get our attention and point us toward the things that have His attention.

What if your back hurts? Is God calling you to be the backbone of His body? Our backbone can make us stand tall, and move with authority. But, the backbone also holds everything else together; our nervous system runs through our back, impacting the rest of our body. Chiropractors can manipulate a back and affect other things in our bodies from pain, to allergies, to bed-wetting, to who knows what else. There’s a lot to ponder there!

Do your toes or feet hurt? Could God be trying to communicate with you about your walk with Him? We sometimes stray from the path we know He’s set before us. Perhaps we’re not on the “straight and narrow” like we thought we were, like we started out to be…

What about someone who’s underweight? God might be drawing your attention to those amongst the body of Christ who are under nourished, underfed - spiritually. Does He want you to teach; to feed His sheep? Jesus said we don’t live by bread [food] alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. He also said that His meat [food] was to do the will of His Father.

Biting our tongue, or a toothache or a canker sore on your lip can steal your attention. Hmmm, our mouths; that might be an obvious one. But, look at all the possibilities – I hope you pray and ask God what the spiritual connection is here; the spiritual point to ponder. Is He drawing your attention to profanity that slips from your lips; even cursing [using the phrase “God damn” someone or something]. Or is He trying to point out our negative self-talk, those negative words we speak to, and over ourselves? Or the negative way we speak to, and over those we love? Do you ever catch yourself calling people (or yourself) insulting names? Look into God’s Word and learn the importance of and power in your words!

What if nothing’s “wrong” – but, you’re pregnant or caught up with toddlers? God may be drawing you to see the children of God with new eyes. We’re all God’s children within the body of Christ; this is where His love thrives, in the hearts of His children.

What about repeated “bad hair days” or going bald? God might draw your attention to your covering. Is there something you do, by habit or on occasion that draws you out from under His protection; that takes you off in a selfish or ungodly direction? Or – is He calling you to be one of His protectors? An intercessor, to cover us in the body of Christ? Or to physically protect us?

Failing vision? Maybe God wants you to take another look at what you’re looking at; the things that take your eyes off Him, leading you in other directions. Or perhaps He’s nudging you to draw your attention to the unseen; to look beyond what our physical eyes can see!  J

Whatever it may be that demands your attention, look for its spiritual application. What might God want to draw your attention to through this? Whether it’s something I’ve mentioned or not, pray over it and ask God to show you Himself. I’ve made some suggestions, but God alone knows what He’s speaking to your heart.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding...” – Proverbs 3:5 (NKJV)

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

We're Not Orphans

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To say there’s no God makes us orphans. The other day I tried to put myself into the mindset of someone who says there’s no God. I can’t even image there being nothing greater than my own existence; no purpose to our lives. It was a scary moment that literally took my breath away.  - Without God – there would be no love; to remove God from our world (if that were even possible) would be to remove all love.

God created everything with purpose, whether we understand the purposes behind everything or not. Personally, I think we could have survived and thrived as humans on this planet without mosquitoes, but, I’m not God.

On one hand, I thought – life would literally be a rat race; utter chaos, if there were no God to hold it together. But then, no, without God, there would be no life.

Life doesn’t just exist; it’s a complex, master symphony! Imagine an orchestra with no conductor and everyone playing their own song – no symphony would come out of that.

If we were a child, suddenly discovering ourselves to be totally alone, no other human to be found, how frightening would that be?! I guess depending on the age of the child, it’s not impossible that he should survive; but what an intensely horrifying revelation to find that you’re totally alone.

Without God, we are alone, with no one to emulate; no one to love us like only our Creator can.

In recent years I’ve begun to feel my connection, not only to God, but to the world He created for me; for us. Sure, I sound a little crazy when I say I wish I could hug the mountains, but I do! My spirit soars when I’m surrounded by vivid plant life. A thrill dances inside of me when a breeze merely brushes my face. But mostly, my heart gushes with something that feels stronger than any definition of love I’ve read when I look at people; all people. My heart breaks when those people are in any kind of pain. The fixer in me of course wants to come to their rescue. But, I’ve also come to realize that their situation is not mine to fix. Much like the butterfly literally needs to break free of their cocoon on their own to survive; we all have our own situations and hurts, fears and sorrows, pains and suffering, anguish and anger – to break free from. I’ll help when I can. But, I’ll love when I can’t.

I love
I love because
I love because God
…first loved me

God is.
And God is Love.

“We love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19 (NIV)
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:8 (NIV)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

It's Mine

(photo of LaMarcus Aldridge found at
While singing a song about surrendering all to God and withholding nothing, a thought crossed my mind that made me uncomfortable. What am I withholding? What parts of me am I not yielding to Him?

The first thought that popped up to answer was: Am I holding back the way I feel about myself?

What won’t I release into His hands, and more importantly, why won’t I release it? It’s really not that I can’t let go, but for some reason I choose not to, as if what I cling to is safer with me than with Him Who knows all.

He wants all of me.

My hopes, my accomplishments, my past, my present and my future; any shame or worry, all my fears and my talents, my time, my disappointments, my thoughts; my children, my finances, my worries, my dreams, my insecurities, my boastings, my secrets, the unforgiveness I harbor, my joys, my struggles – He wants it all.

He nailed my shame to the cross on Calvary, along with my sins and my shortcomings.
He can teach me through both my accomplishments and failures and He can put them in a place where they can’t distract me anymore.
He can….

What can I possibly hang on to, thinking it’s better off in my hands than His?

Don’t I truly trust Him?

I can find plenty of scripture instructing me to surrender everything to God.

Yet, with trepidation, I admit to holding back, to looking past the things I hold on to, even while singing about surrendering all…

Sometimes we don’t see things in black and white, good or bad; we see gray areas, places we don’t want to look at closely and make a commitment.

This morning our pastor asked and answered, “How do you see (with your spiritual eyes)? You’ve got to have Light!”

So, it’s back to the Word I go. His Word is Light. I need revelation and I’m thinking I’ll need some courage to go with it.

It’s a new year, with new opportunities to take a fresh look at what challenges us and where we’re going.

What are some of the things you hold back? Why? Can we commit together to seek Him through His Word, and surrender all that we are to Him?

“And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” – Genesis 1:3 (NIV)