In a Whisper

God is powerful.  We know this and see this daily.  It’s easy to forget that He is powerfully working in my life though.  Beyond the power of nature and battle between good and evil,  He is working and advocating powerfully to me.  This encounter of Elijah’s with God, perfectly describes the power of the Lord in my life.  I feel like it perfectly captures His relationship with me.

Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.  – 1 Kings 19:11-13

Not the windstorm, or the mountain.  Not the rocks, or the wind.  Not the earthquake, or the fire.  But, the whisper.

All of God’s power and might communicated in a whisper.  
Our God who is in control of it all – can send windstorms or earthquakes – sets my soul on fire through a whisper.  He knows me and loves me intimately.  He has all the power, but approaches me with a whisper, beckoning me to Him with an urgency that doesn’t need a storm to be understood.  

-S

Press On

“I press on…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” Philippians 3:12-13

I’ve been in a rut. A bitter, angry, borderline depressed rut.

Luckily, while in this crevice I’ve had support and bug and bear kisses to keep me from lying down in it.

I’m physically tired. But I’m also tired of not being happy. I firmly believe I get to choose happiness (or not) regardless of my circumstances and countless irritations pressed in daily.

Happiness is a choice, joy is a choice.

“True joy is not something that can be conjured up or willed. Joy exists apart from our control, we simply choose whether or not to enter in to it…joy is not a momentary pleasure…joy is a fruit of Gods spirit” Sarah Matheny

joy is a gift given freely but we must choose to accept it (Galatians 5:22)

so today, “I press on…forgetting those things (bitterness, irritations, selfishness etc) and I reach forward to this things which are ahead.

And so many good things are ahead.

Life is changing, its been changing and I press on trying my hardest to not let the bad, press onhard, inappropriate define my day.

I am looking forward to, I am entering into Joy, with confident assurance in the goodness of the Lord- faith and hope in what I cant yet see, but already know. (Hebrews 11:1)

-J

For a Little While

If there has been one overriding theme in my writing the last 8 months, it has been this idea of change and wanting to know the future.  I think I can say it has been in the desire to be faithful to God’s will, but perhaps, it is also about self-confidence and reaching all the way back to Adam and Eve’s desire to know more than God intended

“Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”  Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16

Instead, I need to respond to the little things…the little while.  Following God’s plan for my day today.  I still need to pray and be open to changes and big things, but God wants to use us every day.  My focus on a need for big changes takes away the power of God to work in the details of our lives every single day.  

7964675_11406554_pmOur life is our worshipping ground.  Our life is our mission field.  In the today, the little while.  In the everyday and ordinary.  
If the Lord wants me to, I will live and try to use the ordinary to show the extraordinary character, love, mercy, grace and justice of my God.

I Lift My Hands

I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain

Psalm 143:6

The past few days I’ve felt dry and empty, emotionally drained.

Wheels are turning and days are passing, and every minute is full, and I’m the one that’s filled them.

And I know it is good and right and what God wanted. I am unwavering in that.

But I’m exhausted and used up and yet keep pouring out as my heart cries out.

And I lift my hands in prayer, not defeat.

And I thirst for my Lord, like parched land for rain, because no amount of human help can fill me up.

My cracks are growing and exposed and I feel ready to crumble.

i lift my handsYet, He is the potter. I am just a dearly loved vessel, and He will take my dried crumbly shell. He will wrap me, hold me, mold me.

Make me once more able to pour out love.

To give grave and receive it, simply because I am His.

-J

Getting to the Gold

Everyone knows the “golden rule,” whether Christian or not.  It has become a standard of common decency:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

But do we really do this?  Even when we think we do?  Not usually.

“American culture has twisted the golden rule into the silver rule: Do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you.  And that one extra word – not – makes all the difference.” (Wytsma in Pursuing Justice)

This rings so true.  We’ve taken what should be the gold standard and have covered it up with silver…some good intentions, but not actually accurate

We tell kids not to hit because they wouldn’t want someone to hit them.  Don’t take toys from another kid because you wouldn’t want him to take it from you.  As adults, we do the same thing.  We try to avoid harming others because we don’t want them to harm us.  This isn’t the golden rule though; it isn’t what we are called as Christians to follow.  Really, we should be considering what we WOULD have them do to us, not what we would like them not to do to us.

I like when people notice things I do well and acknowledge it..so I should do that for others.

I like receiving random gifts, so I should give them.

When faced with real life, unforeseen hardships, I want people to anonymously step in.  So, so should I.

I like when people see me struggling and hold the door.  So, I need to make sure I am taking the time to do so.

I like when people take the time to stop and smile at me. So, I need to do so.

I like when people try to make me feel at ease. So, I need to try more to do this with others.

I like when people try to understand what I am saying.  So, I need to do so.

I like when people work to make things better, rather than stay stuck in one position.  So, I should work to do this.

by Leslie Sinclair
by Leslie Sinclair

This type of living requires more reflection and more intentionality.  It requires us to think and ACT for others – rather than accepting the passive role of avoiding acting in harm.  When we focus on the “not,” we giving our life to inaction.

I want a life focused on action.  That is what God calls us to – actively seeking Him, worshipping HIm, and actively serving others. I don’t want to not do to others, for others.  

I want to scratch off the silver to uncover all the gold underneath, waiting to be poured out.  I want to do for others and to others in every possible way.  

-S

Chaos and Rain

Its raining, and I’m cold and tired and the house is asleep, except Sissy Bug and sleep isn’t an option…so its back to my Father I go (and coffee).chaos and rain

There are 100 things I could be doing (and about 100 more I cant with a bug in my arms). I’ve had to stop myself twice, distractions come easily.

Lots to do and yet only one priority. One thing will bring me peace. One thing will bring me rest. One thing will allow grace for the day.

One thing: my Lord.

When my home is quite literally chaotic I tend to internalize the whirl wind and mess, leaving me in snapdragon mode.

My external environment only has this power when I allow it. And since I’m just plan tired I’m choosing a slower pace.

I choose internal peace, even if I can’t muster an outward reflection of that peace.

I choose to try my hardest to put others first. To not step on toes even if I do have a better (different/more effective) way.

When chaos strikes I tend to take control, but the harder I try to control the tighter I feel. Because I never really have any control and when I lay that truth down in the morning, in every moment of rising tension, I am capable of exhaling grace.

I get to choose whether or not to let the storm inside on this rainy morning.

Not today.

-J

Give Freely

Freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8

Let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or from necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

Give freely:

My words for 2015.

Sometimes I get caught up in the circumstances of life and this simply doesn’t happen (the giving freely).

Other times, I continue to give, but keep a mental checklist and then grow irritated when the tallies don’t even begin to match.

This is not giving freely and does not bring any glory to my God. It opens a space for resentment to fester, and it’s ugly. I am no longer giving freely out of His abundance of love and grace and blessings.

When bitterness follows, I am grudgingly giving from necessity, and it is clearly written this is not what God has in mind.

This is not acting in faith because the fruits of His spirit are rooted in His amazing grace, in arms wide open. Not my palms up, angry face.

God loves a cheerful giver, not the one who gives the most. But the ones who give it all from the heart.

The Lords been working overtime in my life, and so has the devil, and I’m just now beginning to loosen my grip. To let go of the worry…to actually live like I trust.

It’s not about controlling the chaos that ensues. Or maintaining checks and balances.

give freelyIt’s palms up, arms open, happy face.

Its taking joy, delighting in the ability to do His work. To give from a place of abundance, even when its inconvenient.

-J