Tag Archives: Emotions

Rejoice

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Eyes open, first thought, I’m still tired. Next, oh well, you must keep marching on. Then, ok- I have so much to do, where do I even begin? Upon rising and brewing up hope for energy in a cup, I begin- already feeling behind. My whole day seems in the deficit. Not enough. Not enough energy, time, patience, self-control. All I see is lack. Everywhere. I hear the ‘shoulds’ in my mind. My children should know better. I should have exercised more. My house should be cleaner. Maybe I should be working. Should I wear this? Should my marriage be more? Should I serve others more? Should I have said that? I’m plagued, worn down, depleted. Day after day, the exhaustion, the frustration, just piles. I don’t even have energy to sort my piles. The piles eventually become a mountain. The mountain becomes hopelessness. How did I get here? How do I get out of this? Is this just normal life? Am I ever going to feel good again?

I sit with Jesus, and I say, “Lord, why do I always feel exhausted, frustrated, running behind? Is there hope for my future? Can I make a change? Is this what life will be like from now on?”

He showed me that He has poured out into my life blessings of every kind. He has given me salvation, life, health, food, shelter, friendship, love, hope, purpose, amongst many other things. He said that it was His delight to pour it out over my life, but that He cannot make me rejoice in it. He cannot make me actually enjoy, notice, celebrate, or rejoice in all that He has freely given me.

OUCH! As I heard this from the Lord, tears silently streamed down my face. I realized that, just like the Israelites, the Lord has provided abundantly for me and yet, I still find things to grumble and complain about. My heart broke and I repented before the Lord. I asked for grace to cover my selfishness and sin.

Repentance has two parts, turning from is first.  Turn from any destructive activity, belief, or motive that is less than the Truth. Then, turn towards something true, constructive, and motivated by love for ourselves and God.  My very next question, as I dabbed the tears from my cheeks, what how Lord? How do I replace my grumbling and complaining to rejoicing? What am I called to rejoice in? All I know to do, to find the answer, is search the scriptures.

First things first- He showed me that the word rejoice actually means to make oneself glad. It’s an action. It is up to me. None can make me glad but me.

Next He showed me was that the Scriptures call us to rejoice in the Lord, in our salvation, and in the righteousness we have been given in Christ, which makes having an intimate relationship with the Father possible. That alone, in my heart, is plenty to rejoice in for all time.

Finally, for my practical application, He gave me this scripture:

Deuteronomy 12:7

“There also you and your households shall eat before the LORD your God, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the LORD your God has blessed you.”

I have to share that as I read this passage, my current perspective on the undertakings I’m tending to was in stark contrast to what this was calling me to. I was feeling like, “I have to ………” You can fill in the blank. Now as I read these words I saw that the things God has trusted me to tend to were actually blessings and to be rejoiced in doing. So my perspective shifted from I have to, to wow- God trusted me to do this.

He reminded me of all of those times I prayed, “God use me. Send me.” And showed me right now, this is the answer to that prayer!

I’m definitely not declaring that I never have bad moments or days, but I can say I believe this key of rejoicing is turning around my anxiety. Now a morning might look like this:

Wake up- Thank You Lord for another day of life. I have a lot on my plate today Lord, I admit right now that I will need You to do any of it well. Would you go with me and help me? Brew my coffee and anticipate what treasure He has for me in His Word that morning. What truth will I have to cling to as I live a life unto Him that day?

After my time with Jesus, the tape begins playing in my head of not enough. Now I am equipped to take whatever is not enough yet, and give thanks for it and ask the Lord to bless it. To thank Him for what I do have, and to hopefully expect an increase. In my rejoicing, the thoughts that used to defeat me, now lead me to prayer.

In the undertakings I’ve been blessed with, I’m so often aware that I alone am not enough. He has called me live a life beyond myself so I would need Him and others. Living out what I am called to leads me to relationships, which require love. The call on all of our lives is to love God and love others. I need Jesus, and I need you. And now, I rejoice in that! Join me?

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Which invitation will you say yes to?

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Lately, the Lord has been revealing to me how each interaction and set of circumstances is simply an invitation. I get invited to be offended. I get invited to love in the midst of adversity. I get invited to be afraid. I get invited to trust God. I get invited to join in celebrated. I get invited to feel alone. I get invited to love. I get invited to hate. I get invited to life. I get invited to death.

So, as a result of this sort of simplistic yet powerful revelation, I have found myself more often than not, evaluating what I am being invited to. When I see that the invitation is to engage in a hate filled, death breeding word battle- I am starting to be empowered to simply RSVP not attending.   When I recognize I am being invited to be stretched beyond my self-imposed limits and all my senses are screaming YOU ARE GOING TO FAIL- I, timidly, RSVP that yes I choose to attend. When I recognize I have two invitations in the same set of circumstances, I am trying to be intentional on choosing the one which leads to life.

Let’s dig deeper into  this life and death talk. Life-giving thoughts are thoughts that agree with the heart of God towards you and/or others. Our thoughts eventually become our words, and our words usually become our actions. Death breeding thoughts are any thoughts that are less than or against what God says about you or others. What we come into agreement with eventually we bring into our reality.

Matthew 12:34-35New International Version (NIV)

34 …….. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.

Ephesians 4:29New King James Version (NKJV)

29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Proverbs 18:21New King James Version (NKJV)

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Agreeing with God- through believing He is who He says He is- and can do what He says He can do, brings life. Anything less than that- truly brings a slow, miserable death. Kind of harsh- or just kind of simple? Perhaps both- you get to decide.

So when I am invited to justify my emotional decisions- and stay stuck in that destructive cycle- I know now that I am empowered to simply state that I will not come to that party. I can choose instead to RSVP yes to take responsibility for my decisions and seek out the Lord’s best for my life, find out his constructive cycle and then begin intentionally living that out. When I am invited to have an opinion about an organization or another individual based on my limited understanding or personal perspective, I can choose to say no to that invitation and instead choose to seek the Lord and ask for His thoughts on that person or organization and choose to agree with His heart.

Most recently, both of my children have been very ill. I have had MANY invitations to feel overwhelmed, stressed out, and completely unfit for the tasks before me. Sure, maybe the first few days I had a great attitude and a can-do spirit, but by day five and six, when the symptoms had reached their height and I was exhausted and felt like I was somehow failing them-I recognized that those thoughts were an invitation to be distracted from doing the task I was entrusted with and I RSVP’d NO! I chose instead to reach out and ask others to encourage me and pray for me so I could be enabled, by His strength and power and Spirit, to continue on.

I feel this message is for more than just me- and in my totally exhausted state I fear I may not have articulated it as well as I would have liked- I pray that somehow the Lord uses these words to challenge you, and to continue challenging me, to consider where we are allowing ourselves to go, and on the flip side- where are we inviting others?

Misplaced Keys

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Lately, the Lord has been reminding me of “keys” to life He has specifically given me over the course of my life. Some things I carry with me always- and use almost involuntarily- like breathing. Others, I utilized for a season, and once that storm passed, I sort of misplaced or forgot about.

I have been sensing the notion for where we are headed as a whole, this whole entire world, I am going to need ALL of the keys He has placed in my hands. It has been so sweet and beautiful how He is taking me to find each misplaced key I have set down along the way.

Some keys that are life to me include:

– Holding each thought captive and making it obedient to the Lord.

      – To do what I have been created to do, the bring forth my unique reelection of Jesus on the earth, I cannot afford to think whatever thought agrees with my emotion. I can only afford to agree with the TRUTH found in God’s Word. Every other thought cycle causes me to spiral down- but when I think on what is TRUE- I lift my eyes up to see TRUTH Himself- and get lost (or found if you will) again in what He says is possible and who He says I am. 

-Gratitude

   -We enter into His presence with Thanksgiving. When I am not being intentional about gratitude- I often find my natural mind leads me to disappointment. When I fix my eyes on what is right and declare it- it seems that I gain momentum in finding right things. The opposite is also true. Long story short- someone always has it better, and someone always has it worse- when I could be praying or blessing others- why would I waste my time thinking about myself and all that I WISH was different? NO GOOD FRUIT COMES FROM ANY THOUGHTS THAT ARE NOT ROOTED IN GRATITUDE!

-Praise before the answer

  -David would lament before God in the psalms from verses 1-7 (just for example), and then in verse 8, he would be greatly praising the name of God! I asked the Lord once, where the transition was, because I had yet to be able to experience such a dramatic shift. The Lord revealed to me, that David knew God was faithful, and so after he poured His burdens out, before he saw the miracle, he would praise the One who now held the power to do the seemingly impossible. Now, I praise before I see God show off- because I know Him, and  I know He is faithful and trustworthy and will bring about something even better than I am hoping for!

-Saying Yes Lord.

  -This is by far the hardest key of life for me- because it causes me to die to my flesh constantly. But I have resolved that the kind of life I want to live, and legacy I want to leave, is simply being a woman who says yes to God. This hurts, but the fruit from every time I have surrendered my will to His, has been enormous- so much bigger than just me. His ways are always higher- and I long to walk in step with His spirit.

-Being Passionately Patient

  -From our perspective it seems as though God always has us waiting. But what I’ve noticed about all this waiting- is that in the waiting is the preparation. Interestingly, when I await a promise of God to be fulfilled the stuff that is buried deep in my heart when things are going my way, suddenly erupts when I have to wait. I come face to face with the yuck in there, and as it surfaces, I have a decision to make: will I allow Him to cause it to come out and refine me, or will I stuff it back down because I will decide it will be too arduous of a process and now is not the time? Well, if I am in the waiting- I guess now is the time! I am so thankful for the seasons of preparation that have come from the waiting- for if not for these times, I would  constantly be in over my head and set up to fail- oh but He loves me too much to do that to me. He loves me through the refining process, and I seem to reflect Him a little more each time! THAT IS GOOD!

-Not trying to figure out what it will look, feel, or be like.

  -I have wasted SOOOOOOO much time trying to predict the future. When something happens, I begin to project what may happen next and how that will affect this, and then this should be next and blah blah blah. However, NOTHING EVER GOES THAT WAY! Life has a myriad of variables that can be unleashed in any given moment. Who am I to think I could know what is going to happen? I have resolved ( and especially again recently) to take each moment as it comes. Living life in the moment IS SO MUCH LESS STRESSFUL! I find peace and I find Jesus easier as I do not trip over my own idea of what SHOULD BE happening by what time table. I am not talking about not making goals, having dreams, and accomplishments- but surrendering those to Him, with an open hand and being flexible if He has a different way to get there. I am simply saying, I choose not to add my own agenda to what He has asked me to do or said He is going to do with, in, and through me. 

These are just a few keys to life for me- that He has specifically given me to be able to become who He has created me to be and do what He created me to do. He gives us keys to be able to unlock, open, or lock and shut doors. We need every single key He has given us to be able to stay the road He has specifically called each of us to journey. Do you have any keys to life? Any misplaced keys? I’d love to glean from what He has shown you too!

 

Matthew 16:19Living Bible (TLB)

19 And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; whatever doors you lock on earth shall be locked in heaven; and whatever doors you open on earth shall be open in heaven!”

2 Corinthians 10:5The Voice (VOICE)

We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one trueGod. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.

Psalm 100:4The Message (MSG)

Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
    Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
    Thank him. Worship him.

 

 

Delayed for the BIG STORY!

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Often times when I am in a waiting season of sorts- I find hope and encouragement in the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. (John 11:38-44)
Many years ago, the Lord showed me how Mary and Martha were close friends of Jesus and yet while their brother was dying and they sent word for Jesus to come heal him, Jesus didn’t make it in time and their brother died. Can you imagine how confused, upset, and disappointed they were with Him? They KNEW He was the healer and yet He chose not to heal. They waited and believed and the outcome wasn’t what they were hoping for. He was not on time by their standards.
I can just see the looks on their faces, wearing their hearts on their sleeves in mourning, and saying upon His return, “YOU ARE TOO LATE- You might as well just go and keep healing the ones there is still time and hope for. It’s no use for You to be here with us now.”
But Jesus, who always kept His eyes on the Father and did what He saw the Father doing, wasn’t too late in any respect. He was right on time. He didn’t respond to their urgency, but solely responded to the Father’s will. God had a better outcome then what the sisters were believing for. You see, they already KNEW He was the healer, but they got a deeper revelation. As Jesus walked into an atmosphere that was overcome with the stench of death and decay- He spoke and LIFE WAS RESURRECTED! They all became eye witnesses that this Jesus was more than a prophet and healer- He was the Resurrection and the Life!

I have always kind of just stopped there in my amazement in how the waiting, and seemingly disappointing outcome, can sometimes lead us to a deeper understanding about the infinite facets of who God is, and how getting to know Him more is worth anything. However, recently, He has been expanding this revelation of HOW GOOD GOD IS, and HOW HIS TIMING AND PLANS are for such a greater purpose than our small story.

John 12:9-11The Voice (VOICE)

9 Word spread of Jesus’ presence, and a large crowd was gathering to see Jesus and the formerly deceased Lazarus, whom He had brought back from the dead. 10 The chief priests were secretly plotting Lazarus’s murder since, 11 because of him, many Jews were leaving their teachings and believing in Jesus.

John 12:17-19The Message (MSG)

17-19 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, was there giving eyewitness accounts. It was because they had spread the word of this latest God-sign that the crowd swelled to a welcoming parade. The Pharisees took one look and threw up their hands: “It’s out of control. The world’s in a stampede after him.”

CHECK IT OUT! If Jesus would have answered the simple request of his dear friends Mary and Martha- and had come right away and healed their brother- they would have been saved heartache, grieving, and suffering. BUT ALSO- many would not have left their teachings and come to know Jesus. There would not have been a stampede after Jesus due to the testimony of their unanswered prayer being answered in a way MUCH bigger than they could have ever imagined!

Can we always understand why we are being asked to wait? Why the answer is so opposite of what we have prayed, believed, and hoped in? NO! Does it hurt? YES! But are we resolved that God is always good and I am ALWAYS loved?

Jesus not healing Lazarus had to cause his heart to ache also- He never delights in seeing any of His children suffer. But our Father is a good God and He sees the BIG STORY! And as we follow Him, He allows us to join in and become part of the answer for others who are yet to come into the Kingdom.

Mary,Martha, and Lazarus got to witness first hand the resurrecting power of God on Earth! Then the overflow of that great miracle, brought many to know and believe in Jesus. If the delay in my answer will be that big- I am going to choose to lay my need to understand down, and lift my hands in Praise to the One who gives me the honor of being part of His BIG Story! Will you join me? 

2 Corinthians 4:17GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

17 Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine.

Opportunity for Upgrade!

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There is no emotion too high, far, wide or deep that by entering into the presence of God cannot be brought under His authority and made to be obedient to His truth. This hurt will be transformed from not serving you and your journey, to be a catalyst to the very things which you were uniquely created to do. Everything which comes wrapped in pain can be an opportunity for an upgrade in character, if we surrender it to Him at His feet and ask Him to bring us into even further alignment with His perfect will, plans, and purposes through the Truth setting us free by allowing HIm to excavate the root of our emotions.

For example, “Lord, what is it in my heart or spirit that comes into agreement with the accusation made towards me? Show me what You say about me and set me free from this lie- take it out by the root and replace that territory with Your truth.”

Our emotions are not always the truth, they do however tip us off that something out of the ordinary is going on. We have a choice then- as we always do- to lean on our own understanding and draw conclusions that are probably going to cause us to remain wounded or wound others- or take it to God- trusting Him completely- and become more like Him and be further equipped to bring life to others.

Not easy- but WORTH IT! He said I was worth it when He journeyed to the cross- I declare HE IS WORTH IT as I journey to the foot of the cross again and again- laying down my flesh- and choosing Him over being right, being justified, being known, or being heard. I trust completely that my Defender alone is Jesus!