Monday, November 13, 2017

An Arsonist for God

Everyone around them was in awe and fear came upon every soul.

Wow.  Could these words ever be used to describe me?  These are the words used to describe the disciples who were performing miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I must confess that any desire I have to be regarded "in awe" is not usually related to the Holy Spirit working in or through me.  Even with the purest of motives I fail.  I hate having to admit that.  Really hate having to admit that.  

There is always the danger that we may do the work just for the sake of the work.  This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in--that we do it to God, to Christ, and that's why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.  (Mother Teresa)

The truth is I am ashamed of my selfishness in seeking Him and serving Him.  It is embarrassing to realize how often I make it about me.  I have never been so aware of my need for the empowering of the Holy Spirit.  I have undermined and underestimated His presence and His power for far too long.  Wondering if I might be jumping into the charismatic deep end, I search on.

In Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit came He was described as a "rushing, mighty wind" and a "fire".   

The wind was a symbol of His presence. The Holy Spirit helps, comforts, guides, protects, instructs, seals, intercedes, bears fruit, transforms, leads, renews......And God pours out His Spirit on all who believe. 

The fire; a symbol of His cleansing, judging power.  A fire is illuminating.  The Spirit in us enlightens our minds with knowledge of God's truth--the full truth.  He makes things clear. (John 16:25)  He strengthens and conforms our belief in the truth, and increases our love for it.   

"I set my face like flint" (Isaiah 50:7)   To me, this is one of the mystery verses that I kind of understood but usually breezed by.  

Flint: hard, quartz-like substance often used to START FIRES.  

It's an "aha" moment. If I ever hope to ignite a deep, burning love for God in my own heart much less anyone else's, anywhere, ever, I must be willing to be used as flint.  It can't be about me or any hint of self gratification.  Here's the thing. I don't want to be the one that quenches the fire. That's what I do every single time I seek appreciation or recognition for something wonderful I think I did. Every time I long for significance in this world.  

He has turned my longings into this prayer:  I want my heart to burn with an all consuming fire for Him.  Imagine that fire.  Flames dancing, illuminating the dark corners of my heart.  Mesmerizing.  

Setting my face like flint only requires willingness from me but the gritty work of getting the fire started and keeping it burning comes from Him.  In allowing myself to be used as flint for the Fire, I can begin to "let my light shine".  .  .For Him.  For His purposes.  For His Glory.
Radiating. Glowing. Dazzling. Blazing.  For all the right reasons. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. (John 15:16)

How well I remember the days of dodgeball and waiting to be chosen. While others were choosing team members I was quickly reminded that I was rarely if ever anyone's first choice.  When I read this verse that is the first thing that came to my mind.  Wanting to be chosen.  Remembering what it's like when you're not.  Hating every moment that went by sitting on the side of the gym, waiting.  

Many times I've been thankful that I chose a relationship with Christ.  I've gone so far as to think myself wise for doing so.  Wondered why everyone wouldn't make the same decision?  
I "knew" He loved me--He is God after all and doesn't God love everyone?  But "chosen" has a different ring to it.  It's not the first time I've read this verse, but seeing it anew makes me feel special.  
To Him.
Pure and simple--He chose me.
But *my* wisdom had nothing to do with it.  

My Catholic background is hard to shake at times.  Although I now know differently, grace and love were things to be earned.  Always, there is the nagging doubt that I have to DO something to earn God's favor.  Realizing that none of this makes any difference to God is sobering.  

"We are chosen not because we are perfect or commendable but because of God's inexhaustible love for the world, and somehow just for you, and just for me.
~Kelly Minter, The Fitting Room

There is nothing I needed to do first in order to be "picked" by God. I didn't have to be popular, beautiful, funny or athletic......So, it gets all turned around in my mind, when I realize, again, that His love is so very different from the conditional love that this world offers.  And very different from the love and acceptance I offer others.  How often do I choose the imperfect or the unlovely?  When is the last time I made someone feel special just for who they are?

Which brings to mind the rest of John 15:16-17

You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Waiting . . .

You've been teaching me this for a long while now.
I've listened.  I've tried to be obedient.  But if I'm being honest, Lord, all I could hear was "wait" or "not now."  The waiting is frustrating.  Wait--for what?  Wait--for how long?
Then I read Psalm 130:5
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I hope.
What a difference.
I can almost hear the deep sigh on Your end.  I wonder if you say things like, "It sure took her long enough" or if You roll Your heavenly eyes.  But then, I also glimpse Your smile.
I like this--exchanging words and looks like old friends.  I was thirsty and You said, 
Ironically, You were the One waiting.  Thank You for not giving up on me.  

In His Word I hope.
Hope in Scripture =the strong and confident expectation which comes through trust in You.

No doubt I missed a few but I counted how often Your Word instructs us to "Wait for the Lord". 
It would seem that I am in good company with countless others learning the value of waiting.  My favorite is John, the author of Revelation, enduring suffering as a prisoner on the island of Patmos because he has been spreading the word about Jesus.
 "John could have spent his time pacing that barren beach but he didn't.  Could have been feeling  bitter about what "they" did to him, scanning the horizon every moment for a rescuer.  Quieted under the hand of God, into a position of trust and receptivity, John received the most fabulous revelation of Jesus Christ and His future that any man had ever received.
Settle down.  Look up."
         ~~You Don't Have to Quit, by Anne and Ray Ortlund

I think I will make that this weeks' prayer.
"Settle down.  Look up."  

And so, my soul will wait on You.  With confident expectation.  Trusting in You.

You are everything you've promised
Your faithfulness is true
And we're desperate for your presence
All we need is you

   Waiting Here for You~Christy Nockels 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

God, You are my God


reflections of God's character 
Psalm 35

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Searching but never finding.  Interested in everything but satisfied in nothing.  

These words have described me more times than I care to think about.
Lately, more than ever.  
I find myself waking up in the middle of the night feeling like time is running out.  I gaze out the window, daydreaming back to the past far too often and longing for a simpler time.  But what I really sense, is that amidst life's joys--marrying, bringing up children, friendships, etc... the restlessness was pushed aside, seemingly easy to ignore.  
Always it reappeared and often when I least expected it.
The desire for something more.  
It seems ungrateful not to enjoy every moment of marriage.  I married my best friend but I can't say he has satisfied my every need.  Nor should he.  I thought becoming a mother to three beautiful gifts from God should have been enough.  My children filled my life with sweet kisses, bedtime stories, and big, beautiful eyes that trust you for every little thing. Later, it was dance lessons, basketball practices, countless rides to and from school, church, activities......The years marched on.  College. Weddings. Grandchildren.  Friendships along the way that I cherish.  And so much more.  Fulfilled, but, just below the surface, I am unable to deny that always, the longing is there. I've lost track of the ways I've tried to distract myself from the pieces that are missing.

This yearning is different and difficult to describe.  Different than craving chocolate.  Beyond the satisfaction of the sweetest hug of the sweetest child.  Further than the need for a conversation with your best friend.  Relentless.  And so I find myself propelled to probe deeper.  

I've followed Jesus for most of my adult life.  I've blindly trusted Him, tearfully given my heart to Him and still.....this unrest.  
I know He is the answer.  It just seems like some days I can't find Him. Days when prayers seem only to reach the ceiling and the Answer seems so elusive.  I know better than to trust my feelings and so I begin the search.  Again. With new eyes.  A deliberate chasing after the One who loved me before I knew Him.  I'm asking Him to lead and taking a giant leap of faith by choosing to simply follow.  Even as my heart says, "NOW, I want it NOW.  The peace, the perfect peace, the security of resting in a Perfect Creator, for the unrest to be stilled--NOW", I know it will be a journey. I've packed my bags and I'm going wherever He takes me.

Almost immediately, as if He has anticipated this moment, I see that my soul is to find rest in Him alone. (Psalm 62:1)   The answer was simple and yet complicated.  How?  Again, I turn to familiar verses that answer new questions almost before I ask them.

1)  Be still and know that I am God.  (Psalm 46:10)
In this quest I am choosing to remember this truth daily.  Before my feet hit the floor in the morning and before I close my eyes to sleep.
2)  Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.  (Psalm 37:7) 
I will wait on Him.  Though it will require a moment by moment mentality, I will not run ahead.
3)  Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to me  (Psalm 116:7) 
I will reflect on God's goodness and His faithfulness.

I know my heart.  Being still, waiting patiently and resting are not words that I get excited about.  I know that in order for this persistent, never-ending hunger to be filled, I will have to be diligent.  It will require falling on my knees and abandoning my old ways.  I'm willing because I want to be filled, through all my being unto all the fullness of God.  That I may have the richest measure of the divine Presence and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself.  Ephesians 3:19 (AMP)

I've declared it.  Now to live it.

I’ll be waiting
All that I aim for
What I was made for
With every heartbeat
All of my blood bleeds
Running inside me
Looking for you

I am restless, I am restless
I am restless, looking for you
I am restless, I run like the ocean to find your shore
I'm looking for you

I can feel you breathing
I can feel you leading
More than just a feeling
More than just a feeling
I can feel you reaching
Pushing through the ceiling
'til the final healing
I'm looking for you
I'm looking for you