Monday, October 24, 2011

Hide And Seek

Hide in a corner by ~YaraKlaproos on deviantART

Today is simple.  I am hiding. 

By definition, hiding is:
1)      Place or state of concealment – A place where somebody is hiding or can hide.
2)      Keep something secret – to prevent something from becoming known
3)      Move out of sight – to conceal yourself, or something or somebody else, from view.
(Encarta Dictionary)
Why does one hide? 
Fear and anxiety are the first things that come to mind as motive for hiding.  Fear can trigger the fight or flight reflex.  Also, pain and injury can cause us to want to curl up and hide from danger and further injury.  However, this is not always the case, and certainly not my motivation for staying hidden. 
Some hide to escape, for solitude and seclusion.  When life becomes overwhelming and circumstances are persistently and continuously pressing, it is good to get away.  That is why we have vacation benefits and holidays.  As nice as a vacation would be right now, that is not my motivation for hiding.
Why am I hiding?
I am hiding in order to be found.  It is simple to see when someone wants to be found and when they don’t.  The person hiding will hide in a obvious and easy to find location in order to be found.  For example, my husband hid a note for me to find.  The kids can’t reach it but it is a place I look to often.  The cupboard.  Another great example is the children’s game, hide and seek.  The object is to avoid being found, yet no one wants to be forgotten.
Today, and until I am satisfactorily found, I am hiding in a place where only He can find me.  I know I am not forgotten because He has promised that He himself will search for me.  (Ezekiel 34:11 “For thus says the Lord GOD: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.””)
When times are unsure, and circumstances are unrelenting; When the feeling of helplessness arises and the injuries of betrayals are fresh and painful, it is time to hide.  Let Him find you.  Allow His grace to cover you and His mercy to minister to your injuries.
Today there are no challenges.  Simply hiding.
Be blessed.

PS. 17:8b “Hide me under the shadow of Your wings

PS. 27:5 “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.

PS. 32:7 “You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.   Selah”

PS. 119:114 “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.”
*All scripture taken from New King James Version.*

Friday, October 14, 2011

Choosing to Trust

Ps. 31:14-15 (NKJV) 14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me.

Trusting God sounds so simple to most people.  If you ask anyone who calls themselves a “Christian”, they will probably agree that they trust God.  However, truly trusting God only comes through testing that trust.  It's a difficult choice to trust God. Sometimes we want to change our minds, especially when things don't look the way we want them to. 
My family and I were facing some difficult financial decisions this month.  We have been faced with extra financial obligations lately so we had to make decisions on how to prioritize our finances, making sure everything that had to be done, was completed.  For example, rent had to be paid, had to have gas in the car, and then we go down the line on other necessities.  This month we cut a lot of our entertainment funding, which wasn’t much to begin with, as well as cutting out all restaurant activity (NO eating out.  Not even at lunch.)  This may seem trivial, but it causes us to take extra time to plan our meals and bag our lunches.  It also makes us reconsider our entertainment choices like movies, games and other fun things.  Does this mean we don’t trust God?  No.  Not at all.  This means we are going to be responsible with the resources he has entrusted us with.  See, we are trusting God to continue to provide for all of our needs.  (Philippians 4:19, NKJV “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”) 
A while ago, I found myself becoming angry about our circumstances.  See, things weren’t happening the way I wanted them to.  I thought that by now we would have moved, I would be in a full-time job and ministry position and that the vision for my family would be a bit more tangible, and real, than it is.  When those things didn’t happen when I planned, I had a difficult choice to make.  Will I trust God or won’t I.  I started to try and take things into my own hands.  I was going to “fix” it and make things happen.  However, anyone who has experienced this can and will tell you the same thing as me.  The right thing in the wrong time is always the wrong thing.  It’s all about God’s timing.  So, by the grace of God, we didn’t get in too far off track but enough to set us back.  We repented for not seeking God’s direction in the matter and becoming impatient and now we are facing the consequences (knowing that, even through consequences, He will never leave us).  We are choosing to trust God through the tight squeeze to getting back on track (detours always cost you time and fuel).  Even though it is frustrating sometimes, we choose to praise Him for His love and mercy which kept us from losing it all!
The lessons we learned are :
1)      We want God to swoop in and save the day. God wants to build character and a relationship with is. Choosing to trust Him causes us to surrender control and allow God to do what He does... Show Himself Strong & Win Big!
2)      I'm confident in who God is! In MY DEFICIENCIES, He makes up the difference with GRACIOUS SUFFICIENCIES!!! When I am weak, He's strong! (2 Cor. 12:10, NKJV “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
3)      If he never does another thing for me, He's already done enough. If He never blesses me again, He's already blessed me so much. For what He's done, I will praise Him and for WHO HE IS, I worship Him. Because He loved me first, I will love Him forever!!!
4)      God’s plan is higher, greater, smarter, and altogether better than ours!
5)      Stop trying make God’s plan look like the one in your head!  The one in your head will get you NO WHERE.  (Proverbs 14:12, NKJV “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
6)      Disappointment comes when you are looking for God to move the way you think He should.  Then the enemy will try to tell you that God failed you.  NO, God did not fail you.  His plans are higher! (Isaiah 55:9, NKJV “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”)
I challenge you, this weekend and next week.  Look at the toughest areas of your life.  Do you trust God with them or are you trying to find your own way?  Is your way working?
I remember hearing a Chinese proverb that says “The definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results each time.”
Remember, seek His face first.  Then all the rest will fall in line!
Be blessed!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Fight to Stay Free

Exodus 14:13-1413 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
Zechariah 4:6b “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.”
My last post was a personal milestone, releasing the past and burying it forever.  Not to be forgotten, but also not to be focused on or kept alive!
As I sat tonight, caring for three sick children, God brought a truth to mind.  The chaos of the night began trying to get all three kids to bed.  Nathan, my 4 year old, was sitting with Joe (daddy) while finishing a breathing treatment.  I was upstairs with Maya, his twin, getting her in bed.  She was complaining of a scratchy throat so after a drink and some medicine for allergies, I prayed with her and tucked her in.  Then I prayed with Donavon, our 9 year old.  About an hour later, Maya wakes up crying softly with a barking cough.  She could barely breathe.
Two hours later, including a call to the doctor, two breathing treatments, some ibuprophen and robitussin, she is resting and I am quietly praying.  While praying I think about what the children of Israel went through to get out of Egypt.  They first had to be motivated to move (ultra condensed version), then they had to be released.  Once they made the choice to get up and go, the enemy tried to get them back into the place of complacency and immobility. 
I asked God, briefly, “Why the tough road?  Why not just deliver them immediately?  You could have done it.  You could have wiped out the Egyptians in seconds!”  The reply; “Ah, but then they would not have appreciated what I had done for them!  And some of them still did not understand the value of the deliverance I provided.”  “Okay, God.” I said.  “I just left this pain, heart ache and misery.  Why can’t I just be free of it?  Why can’t I go straight into the next level or the promise land?” 
This is what God showed me tonight. 
Once I chose to move as God instructed and then actually do what I determined to do, the enemy will come out and try to get you back.  At that point, you have to continue to obey God.  If you don’t, you must start all over in order to be set free.  But, if you remain obedient, even through the test, God then responds!  In response to your obedience, he says “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.” (Exodus 14:13)  In essence, what has happened is, through your willingness to do what He has told you to do, you have shown God that you trust Him.  He, in turn, honors the agreement or covenant that He made with his children.  Leviticus talks about God’s promise to the Israelites if they obey all of His commands and laws.
I am standing on God’s promises that, not only will He bless me, provide for me, and protect me; He will also continue the blessing and covenant to my children!
Things are rough at times.  Kids are sick (not just the flu, but in the hospital, having surgery and fighting for their lives), finances are strained, and it is easy to feel alone when problems keep rising.  But don’t give up & don’t give in!  God will always keep His promise!  Make the tough choice and stick to it because in the end is peace, protection, and the relationship of a life time!
Be blessed!
Leviticus 26:3-13
3   ‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them,
4    then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
5    Your threshing shall last till the time of vintage, and the vintage shall last till the time of sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
6    I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land.
7    You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you.
8    Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.
9    ‘For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you.
10    You shall eat the old harvest, and clear out the old because of the new.
11    I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you.
12    I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.
13    I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Eulogy: Farewell to History

"Dearly beloved:
We are taking a moment to pause and reflect on the moments we shared with History. The good times when we laughed and played will be cherished forever. The bad times when we didn't think we would survive will be remembered for the growth and the lessons learned as well as the triumph of remaining victorious!

Today we have come to bid farewell to History for it is with great joy that when one season begins, another must end. History is not bound to repeat itself for it will be remembered by a great many who were involved in the events that took place and those who spectated those events. However, we must stand firm in continuing on with life, just as History would have wanted. History would not have wanted us to linger of what has already happened. To the contrary... History would look at us fondly and say "Live the life that has been given you to it's fullest potential!"

So, with that in mind, we have come to bury History. Even though it is dead and buried from this day forth, we who have endured will not forget as we continue to follow the path that is laid before us. We choose to continue pursuing not only our dreams but our Great Commission, "forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:13b-14 NKJV)

Let us pray.
Great Father God, who rules all in heaven and on earth,
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. 21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. 22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him." (Dan. 2:21-22 NKJV)
We thank you for your changing the seasons. We thank you for allowing us to be a part of your plan and we know that you have everything under control. Even though we let go of History today, we know we can trust you to take us into a greater Future in you! We love you and we stand on your promises! In the name of Jesus we pray... AMEN

Be blessed!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Free-writing / Free-reading

So, here I sit, once again, in front of a blank page.  No limits to my thoughts, dreams, ambitions, or potential.  There’s simply a blank page.  What more could a writer ask for, because… that’s what I am… a writer.  I have no expectations of what is supposed to be written and have not been given any specific assignments on what to write.  I am simply free writing.  Free-writing is an exercise used by many writers to keep creativity fresh.  It also allows us to utilize our gifts and skills without the restraints of obligations, expectations, or delegations of others.

My desire is not to ‘reinvent the wheel’, so to speak.  I do not want to rearrange someone else’s ideas and present them as a unique view of my own.  Above all, I definitely do not want to discuss the same, tired, old subjects that are in the stuck circles of blog after blog and article after article.  No, my ambition is to discover something entirely new and unique.  I want to paint a mental canvas with brilliant colors and beautiful transitions that cause the partakers to stop and sigh in a breathtaking moment of wonderment.

As I sit here, writing the thoughts that come to mind, it dawns on me what God is speaking to me through this exercise.  Shake off the old mentality, the old subjects, the passé topics, and the ‘beaten horse’ themes that have been utilized to the point that absolutely no one wants to read about again.  Relationships are important, but there are plenty of authors who have written about dating, marriage, communication, sex, men from Mercury and women from Pluto or whatever.  There are countless authors who have written about leadership, improving your life today, and achieving your ‘best days now!’  I am no longer writing what everyone else is writing about.
From this day forward, I commit to throwing out the old and allowing God to reveal truth and newness.  No more preconceived ideas and definitely no more truth handed to me by another human. 
My challenge this week is for all my readers to do the same.  Do not simply take what someone else has handed you as gospel truth.  Test it. 
John 4:1 (The Message) says,
“My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.”
This is where your faith walk comes in.  Prayer is the key to testing anything.  If you are not directly connected to the truth, it becomes easy to mistake counterfeit.  When I worked for National City Bank in 2000/2001, they taught us simple ways to test currency and be sure that it was legitimate.  There are several ways like checking for the ‘tells’ (the strip in the middle of the paper, specific markings and watermarks, as well as the touch and thickness of the paper).  I had to be familiar with what the ‘real thing’ was so that when the fakes came up, I could tell the difference.  We had to keep doing this frequently because it is easy to forget the feel, and look, of a real bill if we didn’t see them all the time.  (I don’t normally carry 100 dollar bills on me.)  People of God, we must stay familiar with God our father and His personality, traits, feel, smell, and words so that when the enemy presents counterfeit, we are able to detect it with all assurance. 
I encourage you to read all of 1st John 4 (it’s not very long), and to guard your hearts against anyone handing you ‘truth’.  Seek God because He has your best interests at heart, to give you a future and a hope! (Jer. 29:11)
God loves you!  Be blessed!