Saturday, August 18, 2012

a renewed being

"The Lord’s Instruction is perfect,    reviving one’s very being." - Psalm 19:7 (CEB)

Some days are harder than others.  The morning breaks and eyes squint open, blinking as muscles reflexively stretch the sleep away.  Light peers through the blinds and I'm yawning through the heaviness of yesterday's weighted memories - already too much.  And of course His mercies are new, flowing in with the dawn, but I can't seem to break free from what last night left on me.

I'm a morning person.  I love the newness of mornings.  Possibility.  Fresh.  Different.  Renewed.  Bright.  Revival.  

And even for me, every morning isn't equally hopeful.  How about for you?  Ever wake up with yesterday's sludge still all over you?

Today I woke up needing revival in my soul.  I'm so thankful for my years and experiences that have repeatedly taught me what to DO when I feel that need.  So very grateful to My Savior for showing me again and again that waking up heavy and empty all at once is a clear sign I need a certain kind of change that only His Word can give.  And oh, yes God - I am so very hungry today.

What I needed is to eat good Bread and so I did.  Ezekiel and Jude as I'm praying for souls in India and strength for our team.  Psalm 19:7 and Exodus 20 in my devotion.  Deuteronomy and Proverbs as I'm learning more about how to use [and how not to use] my words.  And how do these authors and books affect my heavy mood?

My soul (nephesh) is truly revived (shub).  [Psalm 19:7] My being is renewed.  My heart restored. 

I feel like myself again.  I open my hands of control which have been trying to carry things on my own, and I surrender them before the Cross.  I know I can't bear them and so I've stopped attempting the fruitlessness of trying.

And once the Word is in full renewal effect over me, I pray.

“For in prayer you do not depend on your own strength, nor on the good will of another, but only on your trust in God" -Henri Nouwen 

And if you've never heard the good ol' formula of turning a heavy heart into a hopeful heart with Bible reading and prayer - well then let me be the first to tell you - it does work.

God,  Thanks.  Just gratitude again today, because You really do know us so well.  You point me and woo me back to You every day, and I know I would truly be crushed without Your Word and Your Spirit to save me.  I'm so much more thankful than any song or phrase could convey, though I'll continue to try.  Your Word is so alive that sometimes I can't even take it.  The glory of it is so astounding, and I'm not even exaggerating.  Thank you for your perfect instruction that renews my soul.  You make me new today.

Thank You.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

most Holy Company

"If I to distant lands I scatter
If I sail to farthest seas
Will you find, and firm, and gather
Till I only dwell in Thee

If I flee from greenest pastures
Would You leave to look for me
Forfeit glory to come after
Till I only dwell in Thee

If my heart has one ambition
If my soul one goal to seek
This my solitary vision
Till I only dwell in Thee
That I only dwell in Thee
Till I only dwell in Thee"
              - Hymn by Brooke Fraser

Sometimes I love being alone.  Like today - sitting by myself at a table typing, not a single person I know is here - only strangers at adjacent tables, giggling high school volleyball team, fellow typing colleagues, clanking dishes.  Or even in the morning when I wake up and sip hot coffee to the tunes of my favorite singers and read. Or in the car as I run errands and shop without little tag-along's and I'm so productive on my own.  I like the quiet and sometimes I even love sitting alone in the dark on my couch just to BE.  One desperate night I went for a walk in the cold rain because it was the only space I could find to let my pain out and let the Lord in. Sometimes I love being alone.

And sometimes loneliness is terrible.  And you ask, "How can you be lonely when there are so many people around you?" And I agree that your question is valid.  If you find the answer, would you teach me?

The other day I texted a dear friend to ask if she ever felt that way too.  One word she offered, but it was all I needed.  "Often"

To be honest, most of my feelings don't make much sense.  They are not often based on fact or truth, but I still feel, and still wonder.  Still chide myself for discontent. 

Thank the Lord for perspective and Truth.  Truth be told I'm not alone.  I have many so near who love and care.  Many to hug and to hold, to talk and to listen.  I can text or call, even.  And usually when I remind myself of the truth the loneliness fades.  I stop chiding after a few minutes and choose to be thankful.  Friends and family are God's graces, and I really do have so many.

But on occasion, the void persists.

Today a breakthrough, a light bulb, a revelation:  on occasion He allows the void to persist so I'll turn my face full to Him alone.  So He can fill all of my empty and lonely places with His presence and love only, and so I can remember again on Whom I really, truly, honestly, factually depend.

"GOD is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-provided help in trouble . . .  Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!  The Lord of hosts is with us . . ." - Psalm 46:1, 10-11a (Amp.)

Lord, I'm Yours again today.  Jesus I know You can fill me with Your presence and that will be more than enough company and companionship than I could ever need.  You are so amazing, Lord.  I'm so thankful for my friends and family, and I know You give them to me to bless me and for me to bless them. But You ... oh You are so wonderful.  Your voice is so sweet, Your touch so gentle.  Let me stay here at Your feet forever.

[Partial re-post]

Friday, August 3, 2012

invasive lies and the power of truth

I have had intimate relationships with lies.  Invited them into the sheets of my mind and performed lewd acts of indulgence with them.  Forgive me, Father - I have sinned indeed.

"Who are these lies?" you ask.  I blush to admit, but I divulge so that perhaps you might not be so foolish as I have been.  These dark lies have penetrated me, but I was the one who opened.  Here are but a few of my partners:

You are not enough.
You are a failure.
You are fat.
You are useless.
You will never measure up.
No one takes you seriously.
You are weak and your voice is small.
You'll never reach your goals.
You might as well give up and run away.
You're nothing but a screw-up.
Your family wishes they could trade you in.

To my credit, I have an enemy who makes a lie look like handsome, seductive validity.   He tricks me and sometimes I am duped. Conned.  Deceived.  Shamed by the Father of Lies, and yes, that is his name

"Your father is the devil, and you do exactly what he wants. He has always been a murderer and a liar. There is nothing truthful about him. He speaks on his own, and everything he says is a lie. Not only is he a liar himself, but he is also the father of all lies." -John 8:44

 Oh how I hate him and how he has ravaged and raped my thoughts.  

However ... he is NOT my father, and I am learning how to say - rather, scream - NO!!!  I'm learning how to fight back.  And as low as I've been in that pit of dark lies, lying there with the enemy - I'm learning how to fly high above the clouds into the sunlight.

"Because Satan's primary weapon is the lie, your defense against him is the truth.  Dealing with Satan is not a power encounter; it is a truth encounter.  When you expose Satan's lie with God's truth, his power is broken.  That is why Jesus said, 'You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.' (John 8:32)" -Neil Anderson in Victory over the Darkness.  

Today I'm making a vow.  Call it a wedding if you like.  I will no longer, as much as it depends on me, defile the marriage bed of my thoughts with that dirty, evil, conniving Snake.  I choose to work very hard to do my very best to "take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).  I choose the purity of truth.  No longer to be defiled, but to live out and think out of who I am.

The Light, the Truth, the Way - my Jesus will help me.  He will guard my mind with fierce devotion and I will refuse to usurp His power of truth by inviting these lies in.  Today I make a promise to the Lover of my soul and my MIND that I will no longer commit identity adultery with demons who tell nothing but lies.

I choose to walk and fly in the light.  The truth, as spelled out in the living Word of my God.  Here are but a few of my weapons of defense and offense in this invisible, yet more-than-real war:

You are God's precious child (John 1:12)
You are Jesus' friend and bride (John 15:15, Isa. 62:5)
You are chosen by God (John 15:16)
You are right with God through Jesus (Romans 5:1)
You are not condemned by anything (Romans 8:1)
You are secure in God's love (Romans 8:38-39)
You belong to Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
You are new and being renewed (2 Corinthians 5:17)
You are God's masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10)
God wants you to come near to Him (Ephesians 3:12)
God will never give up on you (Philippians 1:6)
Jesus has rescued you from the darkness (Colossians 1:13-14)
You don't have to be afraid (2 Timothy 1:7)
Jesus will keep you safe from the devil (1 John 5:18)

Truth is all the power I need.  If I claim it, commit to it, wed myself to it, to Him ... I can and will be safe and pure.  He has a good marriage of faithfulness planned for me, one in which my mind no longer need be pillaged and violated.  

And, dear lover of Christ - He has powerful, protective, redeeming, purifying Truth for you today as well.

Jesus I ask You today to sanctify me with Your truth (John 17:17).  Rescuer of my mind's purity - please help me.  Strengthen me to stand firm against the lies.  Help me to see them as such and refuse them access to my pondering.  Please get the Snake away from my thoughts.  I plead with You, Father, protect me with the light of your truth.  I know what you say about who I am, and I choose to believe it.