In a Funk

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Before getting into today’s post, I want to give a special thanks to those of you who give feedback in the form of comments and likes. That includes those closest to me who tell me via phone or in person what God’s Word Girl means to them. It’s really encouraging to me to know that my prayers and time invested in the written word are making an impact of sorts in the lives of those who are taking time for me and what I have to share. That is called exhortation, it is a gift from God, and I greatly appreciate it. Thank you!!! Now, let’s see what we’ve got for today.

To be of a truth, I have been in a funk. Bet you didn’t know that from my lack of posts 😉 . Sometimes I feel like I’ve got a fire lit under me and I think I could write everyday, but I know myself how tiresome it can be to have a daily deluge of notices so I refrain. Then we have these periods of time where I drop off. Yes, this has been a monumental year; I’ve already shared that. But the past month or so, if I was to be honest with you, and I don’t want to be anything else, I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed. Some of my laundry list of burdens are:

  • gas and food prices
  • the future for us
  • cares of this world
  • an upcoming mile-marker birthday complete with life changes
  • grieving as our homeschooling adventure has come to a close and anticipating what lies ahead
  • one more driver in the household to get licensed
  • what to write (so much to choose from!)
  • oddly enough, the impending reality of a dream come true. How does one stress over that?! I didn’t think there was a way but I found it.

It was a slow slide to neck-high deep worry. I thought I was handling it pretty well until I realized that I wasn’t 🙂 , mostly thanks to a conversation I had with Mum.

Mum called me early-ish one morning over a week ago. I could hear in her voice that she had been crying. She had something to say and required my undivided attention. Apparently, I had caused her to sin through worrying about me. It made sense then, when we were camping, that she made a point to ask me, “Are you having a good time?” I was. But the way she looked at me when she asked was odd, to the point that it stuck with me. When she explained, it made sense.

“You’ve been short-tempered lately and I’ve been concerned over what you’ve been going through physically. So I’ve been praying and crying for you. The LORD told me that you’re stressed and I believe a lot of the physical is related to it and will go away when you deal with it. I feel better now because He told me that He’s holding you in His hands.”

That was comforting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the LORD in distress for myself or a family member and He will tell me, show me, or both, that He’s holding me/them in His hands. If you’re His kid, He’s got you, too.

Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Solomon 2:15 KJV

It was a bunch of little foxes invading my beautiful vineyard and plucking my ripened grapes of peace, joy, and hope. Ever been there? Our laundry list of worries may not look the same but something tells me that I’m not the only one who’s been self-absorbed with a bunch of junk. How do we get out of it?

After Mum’s pep talk with me, I began reading Matthew 6:25-34 and Luke 12:22-32 on a regular basis. She especially highlighted seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things shall be added unto you. Oddly enough, the teacher of the Bible study I attend threw that scripture out there the evening after Mum and I talked. It was as if it was in neon. I’m going to break all that down to two simple words: Seek God. “Simple”, we say. Is it?

Do you know, and what a terrible thing to confess here, where I tout the benefits of relationship with our Creator Father, that I have been avoiding God? Why? I don’t know. But Beth came to me a few days ago and asked, “Will you please talk to God and get a Word from Him?” Have you ever been there? When my brother and I still lived at home, he sometimes called Mum Read-a-Book. That’s what she did when she was “hiding” from God . . . or maybe mulling things over. She’d read books — lots of them. Here I was, avoiding my corner chair and my quiet time. What a nut! Life’s a lot better being in fellowship with God than without Him.

In my deepest recesses, I think I’ve been afraid of what God might tell me or ask me to do. To the mature believer, that sounds insane. Guess what? I’m not at the maturity level that I wish.

So, I did get quiet with God. Truth is, I missed Him. Part of what He told me is,

Daughter, do not be afraid of Me (or My words). I will never hurt you or mislead you. It is not My nature.

Not His nature. That leads me to believe that I’ve been battling some bad religion and some misconceptions about God. That makes me sad. I desire to know His nature and see Him for Who He truly is but I am influenced by forces without at times. It is true that I sometimes get sucked into the negativity/trauma of some peoples’ stories and fear sets in. How do we get out of the funk that we’re in?

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2 KJV

We must renew our minds with the Word. What does the Word say?

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32 KJV

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What is the kingdom of God? Everything that’s good. And it pleases God to give it to us. Does the devil attack? Sure. Do I do stupid things and sometimes suffer the consequences of those stupid things? Sure. But God doesn’t issue harm. It doesn’t change how He wants us to pray and what His hope is for us:

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Do you know what else was huge in pulling me out of my funk? Offering up the sacrifice of praise. You might be thinking to yourself: I can’t do that feeling the way that I am. That’d be lying. First of all, that’s why offering it when you don’t feel like it is called a sacrifice. Second, God doesn’t require feelings, only acknowledgment. Third, the more you do it the more you’ll feel like doing it.

Can we today, let God continue to transform us and comfort us through the Word by His Spirit? I know it takes effort, time, and sacrifice, but couldn’t we give a little bit more to the Savior Who gave us all?

If you’re in the funk I’ve been in or are tempted to be, join me in repenting and get quiet before our God. He’s waiting. He’s listening.

Pour it Out

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Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. James 2:19 KJV

Basically, the Bible teacher said this, “It’s not that you need to know more about God, you need to release what you’ve learned.” Then he referred to the scripture above.

Please, please do not take this as an opt out of seeking God. I truly believe that our Father’s greatest desire is to be known and loved by us. However, something did connect in my mind when I heard this.

I’m going to bring this down to the natural level first. What I know of Bob is that he is excellent at fixing things. Does that mean we never need a repairman or a mechanic? No. But I know him, I’ve seen what he’s capable of. So, when the car’s making a mysterious noise or the washing machine ceases to spin out, I know to go to him first, not the phone book.

Here’s another illustration combining the natural and spiritual. My father-in-law recently had knee replacement surgery. Laura had an urge to call him before he went and ask him if he wanted prayer. This was a step out for her. My in-laws do not share the same faith that we do and especially not to the degree that we have. However, the girls were raised to believe that God hears and answers prayer. Because of that knowledge, she wanted to pass on what she believes to her grandpa in the way of praying for him. When she called to ask if he wanted her to for pray him he received her offer. The surgery went smoothly and quickly and I can’t say enough how proud I am that Laura moved out of her comfort zone to minister to her grandpa.

What I learned made me think of another scripture:

Verily, verily I say unto you, he that believeth in Me, the works that I do he shall do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto My Father.  John 14:12 KJV

This is Jesus’ way of telling us that it’s not enough to know, we must also release, pour out what we learned. He’s in agreement with the Bible teacher I listened to. In light of that, what are we doing that shows our knowledge? It might not be as earth shattering as the miracles Jesus performed, at least not yet. But I believe that it will be if we continue to operate in the things that we know, and I might add, step out in faith to operate in things God knows and will do through us. It reminds me of that old adage, Use it or lose it. I think it’s safe to say that as we practice we will increase.

Join me today in pouring ourselves out in any way we can in honor of our magnificent, wonderful Savior and for the benefit of others.

Depantsed

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Yes, it has been a long while. Forgive me as this year is packed full of mile marker anniversaries, birthdays, and graduations. Perhaps the celebrations will slow a bit and we here at God’s Word Girl can return to a more regular schedule. Perhaps . . . Without further ado, let’s dive into today’s post.

We were at a picnic at the in-laws’ home. Bob was carrying a crock pot into the house for his mom when he stopped dead still and turned to me. I was maybe about 20 feet away from him. He had a peculiar look on his face, like a fawn found in the thicket without its mother. I paused my conversation with a niece-in-law and looked at him, not understanding what he wanted.

“What?” I asked.

He continued with that odd expression.

“What?”

His voice was low, so only those of us in close proximity could hear: “I’m not wearing a belt. My pants are falling down. I’m not going to make it (to the house).”

I got up from the bench, grinning, and went to his rescue, hiking up his jean shorts. He was wearing such nice, red, silky boxers. It seemed a pity to hide them but I understand his not wanting to put his underwear on display for the entire family. 😉

Bob’s experience made me think of several verses in the Bible that refer to “girding up the loins” (Proverbs 31:17, Job 38:3, 1 Peter 1:13, 1 Kings 18:46). People in Bible days wore long robes, down to their ankles. When in action, they reached between their legs, pulled the robe from the back to the front, and tucked it up into a girdle, in essence a belt, (which then probably looked like a baggy pair of shorts), so as not to restrict their movement.

Stay with me . . .

Mum saw the brightly colored field of flowers again, the one that has given us so much hope. It was nearly 3/4 of the way full. What she didn’t anticipate was seeing a black line under the green of the field. It alarmed her. Then she saw 2 ravens.

“What does this mean, LORD?” she asked.

“satan is trying to steal away the blessing. It is here, but he is trying to take it.”

Great, just what I wanted to hear.

I joined her vision with Bob’s near depantsing and considered all that we have been praying for as individuals and as a nation. We can’t quit. We can’t give up believing for and decreeing vocally what God wills until it is done. People, we must not be caught with our pants down! satan isn’t quitting, so neither should we.

There’s also a lesson to glean from the crock pot that Bob was carrying. I was attending a mid-week Bible study recently and the teacher was saying how we are a microwave generation, wanting things instantly, when food actually tastes better when slow cooked in a crock pot. I have heard her reference to this many times prior. But suddenly I had a new revelation that pertained not to our impatience, but how we behave while we’re waiting. When I assemble my meal I do not sit and watch it cook; that’d be pointless. Instead, I go about my day, attending to other things, and let the crock pot do the work. When we’ve committed our petitions to God, we must leave them with Him. He is capable. Continue in faith, trusting that it shall be done as He has said. Let’s give our prayers time to “cook” so we will taste and see how good the manifestations are. God will have His way.

After Mum saw the black, we returned to fortify our prayers concerning the original vision by reiterating our trust in His will and goodness toward us by praising Him. Guess what? Yellow flowers began popping up where Mum was seeing black. God is on the move. Let’s not doubt that. Join me in tucking our righteous robes into our belts, moving with God, and continuing in earnest to run for ourselves, our families, and our nations.

If we happen to see a brother or sister about to be depantsed, let’s not sit still and let them be humiliated. Go alongside and hike up their pants. Help is on the way. If you have it, offer it; if you need it, ask for it.

Let’s Sup

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Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Revelation 3:20 KJV

There was a message given at our church recently and the “meat” of it referred to this verse. I am a very visual person so it was easy for me to imagine Jesus, standing at the door of people’s hearts, waiting for an invitation to come in. In my mind’s eye, it was a beautiful picture. It made me wonder how many people see the warmth in these words. Jesus is coming in tenderness, wanting to sup, to visit with us as we would any dear friend.

What I found interesting, while looking in one of my favorite commentaries, is that in this particular context, Jesus is speaking to Christians. Yes, it is a picture of an initial invitation, but it is also for those of us who have formerly let Jesus in. This was said to the pastor of the church at Laodicea who had become lukewarm.

Overall, this verse is for the unbeliever as well as the believer. What happened here, in this context? I guess the pastor forgot or got too busy to let Jesus know it was suppertime and therefore, did not invite Him in. Have you ever been in that position? I have.

I think we take our relationship with the LORD for granted at times. And what I’ve been hearing so often as of late is that people are peddling away at works but their hearts have remained unchanged. Case in point, Bob had been having some pretty intense conversations with Catholics concerning lent. I’ve participated in this sacred practice at various times though I am not of the Catholic church because I feel it helps me focus on the gift that God gave us through Jesus. Bob’s conversations have kind of been in the vein of why bother practicing if the heart remains far from the LORD? Why indeed? What is anyone accomplishing by giving up beer, or chocolate, or cursing for 40 days when the heart remains as far away from the LORD at the end as it was at the beginning? To make matters worse, one of these conversations was with someone who was pontificating about the merit of eating fish on Fridays while living with his girlfriend as his wife. That is called fornication. It is sin. As Bob has asked people repetitively as of late,

“Do you think God is going to say, ‘Good! You ate fish on Fridays. Marvelous! You gave up beer for 40 days. You continued in sin, with your heart remaining far from Me, but that’s okay. You did your just dues concerning lent and that’s good enough for Me.’ Do you think that’s what’s going to happen? No!”

If you think I’m going to go into a laundry list of dos and do nots then you haven’t read me very well or for very long. It’s the point of this knocking on the door. Relationships take effort.

I have a friend who is a great gifter. Over the years I have enjoyed the items, some quite unique, that she has brought to me and to my family. But her gifts pale in comparison to spending quality time with her. Without that quality time, there is no relationship. That’s what’s missing.

Many of us are so religious. We are conditioned so much in our beliefs and in our practices that I shudder to think how any of us would respond if we should meet Jesus face to face as the disciples did. How many of us would be named among the hypocritical religious leaders of His day?

It is my personal belief that part of the fallout from covid will be the ruin of religious institutions as we know them. To that I say, Hallelujah! and Good riddance! I’m fed up with the practices and beliefs and attitudes that have lured me away from the pure, unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ. In John 14 Jesus says, “These things will you do and more.” But are we doing them? Are we seeing people saved from hell, healed from sickness and disease, delivered from demons? Not often enough for my liking. I don’t resemble the Jesus that I serve to the extent that I desire. Guess what? It isn’t Him who is the problem.

So I go back to that invitation. I love spending time with my family. And I have a couple of friends that I can talk and laugh with for hours and those hours pass as if they were minutes. That’s our Jesus invitation. “Let Me in. I’ll sit and eat with you and we’ll talk for hours. What would you like to talk about? Is there something particular you’d like to know? Do you need direction?”

There are days when I sit at my Savior’s feet and worship Him. There are days when I pray 2 Chronicles 7:14 and repent on behalf of the wicked who know no better and for my own wayward self. There are times when I simply love on Him. It’s so difficult for me to imagine why anyone would intentionally hurt Him. Lest you think our Creator feels no pain from mankind, you are mistaken. We are, at times, no better than those who nailed Him to the tree. And yet . . .

“Do you hear Me knock? I wish to come in. It’s been a while. I want to catch up with you, hear your voice. And I have something wonderful that I wish to share with you.”

It is true. God made us because He wanted family. Jesus paved the way with His very Blood. Holy Spirit is ever present and longing to comfort us. It’s a great, mysterious gift that I desire to unwrap everyday for the rest of my life. Will you join me?

Work It

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In 2017, I began the year with prayer and fasting and seeking God in earnest. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the LORD and sought to please Him in anyway I could. But suddenly, where I was, wasn’t enough. The cry of my heart was, “There has to be more — and I want it!”

God was faithful to answer my heart’s cry. I began a journey from which I have no intention of departing. In fact, I am past wanting “revival”. To me, revival is an event. What I believe we’re more in need of no longer warrants visitation; now, at this late hour, I believe the Church is in need of habitation. Getting to that place requires a consistent discipline to willingly examine motives and beliefs coupled with the fortification to cleanse what is necessary and receive fresh revelation.

Back to my topic of this now 5 year long journey. I’ve discovered some things I absorbed as truth but were mere religiosity and some things I haven’t given much conscious thought to but wished I would have. It’s been interesting indeed.

One of the things I want to share today wasn’t a stretch for me. Subconsciously I guess I always believed that God is all-powerful but He isn’t all-controlling. If that were the case the world wouldn’t be in the mess that it’s in. If you don’t have the stomach for thinking outside of the box that’s maybe built around you, then you will probably hate what I’m sharing today. If the current state of our world doesn’t make sense to you, but you can’t reconcile it because you’ve clung to “God is sovereign and if He wanted to He’d take care of it”, then today’s video will most likely offend you. OR, it just might cut a big slash in your box so you can escape. It’ll at least give you something think about. If you’re brave, you won’t immediately dispose it. You’ll ask God if there’s some truth to it and ask for assistance to see and receive it, just as I did.

If you’re feeling courageous, join me in killing a religious “sacred cow”. Hope you like beef ’cause it’s a lot to chew on.

Have a blessed day 🙂 !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KybB3UECmM

It Came to Pass

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Being the celebration of Passover, Crucifixion and Resurrection, I wanted to write something profound, something that would take my readers’ breaths away and make them trip through this weekend, celebrating the holiest time for believers in Jesus everywhere. I had nothing. Then I read this, what I began writing some time ago:

“. . . read the 2 blogs for part of my devotions this a.m.  A thought came to me that I wanted to share.  “And it came to pass”…  I picked apart and camped there a short time.  IT came is anything that came.  You know pain, storms, unwanted pests, unsavory words . . .  Whatever, IT came.    But to PASS!!!  While reading “Waves of Glory”, I was thinking how the waves come and pass. Four little words I had forgotten about were, “this too shall pass.”  And as time passed, no matter how many ITS come at one time, they come to pass.  The thing is, remembering to have hope until it passes.”

Portion of a note sent to me from one of my favorite followers, my dear Mum! Her words so encouraged me that I wanted to pass them on in hopes that they would encourage you also.

  “. . .remembering to have hope until it passes.”

Tough, isn’t it? Just when it looks like “things” may be calming down, the dust is kicked up again until it feels like we’re in a sandstorm, so thick we can’t breathe let alone see. And yet . . .

It feels like it’s been Friday for over two years, but I’m here to tell you today, Sunday is coming.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gx6_rGLz20

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKxD8WnSYqQ

Reflections

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It was one of those melt-in-your-mouth, savor it, kind of days. The sun and breeze were what the laundry gods had ordered. Only our household’s chief laundry attendant, me, was out of commission. I’d had triple hernia surgery and was given very strict restrictions. Oh, you think I’m kidding? I am not.

I was not to bend over, not even to put on socks or shoes for 3 months. That chore, God love her, fell to Rachel. The surgeon told me that if I could avoid the chore of sweeping and scrubbing for a year, do it. I thought he was joking. He was not. I was not to lift over 10 pounds for a long time. I couldn’t look over my shoulder without feeling the strain of it in my abdomen. As you can imagine, my active lifestyle came to a screeching halt. And one of my most pleasant chores, hanging clean clothes in the sunshine, was ripped out of my hands.

I felt useless. My parents had been wonderful. Bob, of course, was still working full time and would on occasion buy groceries on the way home. The girls were doing a splendid job at maintaining the house but they also had school work to do. I would later discover that these precious girls would go off and quietly cry due to all the stress of Mama’s chores compressed with their full school load.

“You know,” they said, “we never realized how much . . .”

Wait for it . . .

I began to glow with the anticipated praise. How much Mum does. How hard Mum works. How wonderful Mum is.

“We never realized how much stuff Mum drops until we had to pick it up.”

Seriously? That was my daughters’ takeaway concerning one of the singular most difficult things we’ve had to wade through as a family? Lest you think they’re snots, they’re not. I am one of the most loved, honored, and blessed mothers I know.

Back to the laundry.

There it was: three hampers full and I could do nothing but look. I figured I could hang clean laundry but I couldn’t root through the hampers, reach to the recesses of the washer to pluck out the damp bundles, and there was NO WAY I was heaving a basket loaded with wet clothes. I couldn’t beg on the girls any further. They had to do their schoolwork. I was desperate. Then I remembered something.

A young woman from our church said, “If you need anything, call me.”

Anything?

I picked up the phone.

“What are you doing, Mum?”

“I’m calling Kayla to see if she’s busy and if she really meant calling her if I need anything.”

Kayla did not hesitate. She came in record time. She rooted for, reached up, plucked out, heaved, and hung laundry. We sat in the sunshine on lawn chairs in between loads and shared the types of conversations women don’t get to have while inside the church. If she had any further reservations about me being lofty in a super spiritual kind of way, they were squelched that day. She realized we both had our own set of struggles, and she was not in my shadow as she had presupposed. I could be to her a friend, confidant, advisor, and teacher.

Kayla remained to me what I had thought. She was passionate, tender-hearted, a bit overly emotional at times (as if I never succumb to that 😉 ) and full of potential. I discovered that she could be trusted. She did what she said and said what she meant. I liked her. That day, with the breeze twirling our hair, laundry detergent wafting on the air, and smiles and secrets exchanged, a root of friendship was deeply sunk.

It wasn’t until this very week, years later, that I realized if I had not had that surgery, had not needed help, had not taken her up on the offer, we may never have reached the heights of friendship that we have. Suddenly, I applied this scripture to that period of time in my life:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

That experience was no fun. I trusted God, that He would perform a miracle and I would not have to have surgery. I vividly remember the day that I received peace concerning having surgery and I even knew what surgeon to choose. I also recall the devastation I felt when I came to and realized that the surgery had taken place. I had hoped, up until my last conscience moment, that God would miraculously touch me.

Good things did come out of it, though. The girls reached greater levels of maturity and responsibility. The LORD took me to greater depths of learning to let things go and trusting in Him. And He gave me a most precious jewel — my friendship with Kayla.

Maybe you are going through a difficult time right now. Perhaps you received a bad diagnosis, lost a loved one, have been set back financially, are in relational discord, etc. Maybe you are in the place that I was when I came to from that surgery and realized the miracle I so desired had not taken place. Maybe you don’t know where to go from here.

I want to comfort you and remind you that God truly does work all things for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. I doubt I will ever believe that surgery was God’s perfect will concerning me, but God gifted me a beautiful friendship from the ashes of that experience.

I also want to give you a thumbnail version of what the LORD told Mum and she shared with us recently. Our sorrows, tears, joys, everything that we experience, it is hooked together like an endless chain of marquis shaped diamonds. It is beautiful and precious to God and He makes diamonds out of everything that we commit to Him.

I want to add to that a mental picture that I had while praying over someone. Picture a person being on their hands and knees, peering into placid water. Just beneath the surface is the thing for which they’ve been longing and believing. That’s where I think we are, all of us who have continued in faith. We are peering into those still waters with our answers just beneath the surface.

I hope, until you hold that thing in your hand for which you’ve been believing, that you will join me in reflection. Take the time to remember what God has brought you through, what He’s brought you to, and perhaps what He’s brought to you. Like me, you may see the face of a treasured friend.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLXQXZsYPRo

Refreshing

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It’s been a really difficult time for me as it has been for many others. There are things I look forward to sharing with you later but now is not the time. The words aren’t flowing. What is flowing is thanksgiving. I am filled with gratitude for God being who He is and showing up in the midst of my mess. He is everything to me.

It is my hope that you will join me in worship with a song that refreshes and reignites my weary soul. May it do the same for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhU-Omwg2rU
    

God gives water and rest to the weary and refreshes the weak and sorrowful soul. (Based on Jeremiah 31:25)

Love is . . .

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Fatigue has been plaguing me as of late. I have some pretty big stress factors in my life currently and I’m 90% sure that’s what’s generating most of the fatigue.

I woke with Bob, as usual, and began to prepare his breakfast, as usual, and felt myself being irritated internally. It was the last day of the work week. I woke up feeling tired and short of patience. It’s amazing how cranky I can feel so early in the day. That’s not good. I doubt Bob noticed as I kept by my mouth and actions in check. I, however, knew something was brewing internally and it wasn’t Bob’s fault. After he left for work, I made short time in getting to my prayer chair and my Bible. I felt prompted to read what most believers dub, The Love Chapter. This is it in part:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT

I felt horrible. I wonder how long I can live, reading that chapter over how many years, and still fall short. I trudged to the kitchen to sweeten my big mug of tea which had been steeping. I felt defeated, helpless, and hopeless. I was certain Holy Spirit dropped that portion of scripture into my spirit today. Was I to be banged up by yet one more thing?

The whisper was sweet. “No, go back and read God into it.”

Immediately the scripture, “God is love”, came to mind.

This was new. I’d always heard that God is love but I never looked at this passage of scripture that way before. With renewed vigor and eagerness I returned to it.

Read aloud with me but replace “love” with God.

God is patient and kind. God is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. He does not demand His own way. He is not irritable, and He keeps no record of being wronged.  He does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  God never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Tears streamed down my face again but for a different reason this time. They were not born of sorrow and repentance, but of gratitude. Especially the part about God not recording our wrongs. That is why I felt so sorrowful; I do not love as He loves and we both know it. I feel like I fall so short at times!

“You are too hard on yourself,” the LORD told me again. “You exact from others the perfection you expect from yourself. Stop it. Let it go. Adjust your course as the course demands.”

We don’t walk in a straight line, but God will keep us on the straight and narrow if we let Him. That’s what He meant by adjusting my course. And the “let it go” part, well that made me think of part of the story a man told about his visit to Heaven.

He was in presence of God. His glory and holiness were palpable. His glory weakened him and His holiness kept urging him to repent. When in the presence of Jesus, the man was able to stand. He began to say, “I’m sorry–” Jesus interrupted him. He didn’t see a sinful man, He saw a man who was holy because he had received His gift of redemption. God does not keep a record of our wrongs, to do so would invalidate the price Jesus paid and we would not be forgiven. Those of us who choose Him, we are forgiven; we are holy.

I wept and worshiped God. He truly is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. He is with me whenever, through whatever, and wherever. We have a nearly constant dialogue. It got me to thinking about others in my life.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

I then visualized an old fashioned library catalog. Each drawer represents a person or relationship in my life. I reflected on The Love Chapter and changing course in light of this. We do have constant needs. The need for love, for example, is constant. However I do believe that there are different facets of love that we may need to call upon during different phases of our relationships. I prayed for the LORD to show me how I can display His love to certain individuals at this point and time in their life.

I’m not doing this love thing perfect. But then neither are you. But that’s okay because God is love, and as long as we are willing, He will help us grow in it.

Join me today in basking in the love of God and sharing it with others.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=234MrMdWo8E

Oh, and by the way, Love (God) never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8a

“Get Out of the Boat”

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A close friend of mine called to tell me how much she’s enjoying God’s Word Girl. She is really encouraged and read “It is Settled” several times. Even before this story went public it was one of her favorites. It was a timely call; I did need encouragement, not necessarily concerning God’s Word Girl, but I did need encouragement.

Ever feel like the ceiling is coming down on your head? Boy has that been the case with me lately!

I told my friend, “I feel like I’m in a boat on a stormy sea.”

“Well then,” she says, “be encouraged. Know that Jesus is walking on the water and He’ll come to you and tell you what to do.”

“Yeah,” I says, chuckling, “He’ll tell me to get out of the boat.”

She says, “I’m sorry I didn’t encourage you like you encourage me.”

“Oh, but you did, just by calling,” I tell her. And I also tell her, “I guess I’ll have to write the post that I want to read.”

That, coupled with, “Get out of the boat,” really got me to thinking.

I maybe feel like I’m in a little boat on a stormy sea because of transition.

I resigned from the Sunday evening leadership of our small group.

There is a church situation that at times has made me feel sick to my stomach with what I sense going on in the spiritual realm.

I have a friendship that feels like a ticking time bomb.

Death is still around us.

And I’ve been having a lot of pain — which I shamefully admit I also believe is mostly stress related.

I’m not the only one in this boat or in this place.

So here we are, eyeballing each other, mystified and wondering, Where do we go from here? It’s wet, it’s cold, it seems endless, fruitless, and feels hopeless. And yet . . .

. . . look with me toward the horizon. Squint your eyes if you have to. Do you see the figure, the form of a Man walking toward you? He’s on the water. We’re in our boats, weeping and wailing and wondering, “When God, when?” and yet here He is, bearing the scars of His love for us. He’s walking toward us.

Read the account in Mark 6:45-52. It’s interesting. The disciples, against their better judgment, are in the boat because Jesus told them to get in and go to the other side. They were fishermen. Something tells me they had read the storm in the sky, but they proceeded out of obedience and respect for the Master. What they fear, a storm, comes upon them and Jesus isn’t with them. He remained behind to pray.

In the wee hours of the morning, the boat is rocking, the disciples are toiling, and here comes Jesus walking. Only there’s a peculiar verse that says He would have passed them by. Isn’t that a curious thing? Jesus would have passed them by. What stopped Him? They cried out to Him.

That sounds so simple, but look around. Do you think our world is in the state that it is in because people are crying out to Jesus? No. It’s in the state that it’s in because people are still determined to do it their way. Worse, there are some who are sold out to doing it satan’s way.

Back to our story:

“It is I,” He said, “do not be afraid.”

Here’s where it gets even better.

Peter says, “If it’s really You, LORD, then tell me to come.”

“Come,” He says. And Peter goes. He walks on the water! Yeah, yeah, yeah, so Peter began to sink. Who are we to criticize him? How many of us have even gotten out of the boat lately?

I was reading commentary and found some correlating notes and scriptures fascinating. But it was this in particular that struck me. Let’s look at Ephesians 3:20: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”. We love the first part of that verse. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think! Yay, God! You go! Ah, ah, ah, hold on. He does all of that according to the power that works in us. What does that look like? It looks like Peter getting out of the boat and walking on the water.

We want God to stop the storm and He is able, but are we going to cooperate with Him through faith to obtain the miracles we so desire? Are we willing to get out of the boat let alone cry out to Him? Are we willing to follow Him wherever He may go?

No matter how stormy, rocky, or scary, if Jesus says, “Come,” then get out of the boat. The boat is false security. True safety, shelter, and security is where Jesus is, even if there are gales and 30 foot waves to go with them. We’re deluding ourselves if we believe there is peace outside of Jesus Christ.

I implore you, HOLD ON. Wait and listen for His voice and when He bids us, “Come,”

. . . join me in getting out of the boat. Remember, if Holy Spirit is in us then we have the power to get out of the boat and walk on the water. Is the risk worth the benefit? I believe that it is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeTu8twnGvU