Born for This

Today, I’m sharing a moment with Nahum. He is not a popular read; however, what I know about Nahum is that he was born specifically for his time on Earth. Nahum is a shining part of the great cloud of witnesses, I feel sure of it. {Hebrews 12:1}

Nahum, a man considered a minor prophet, but only by men. Oh, did he live in a wicked time.

Have you ever read Nahum? He wrote about the fall of a wicked kingdom, of oppressors and bloodthirsty rulers. He wrote of the good news that God does not take lightly the shedding of innocent blood.

Nahum. He knew what it meant to trust God. To shelter under God’s goodness in times of trouble. He lived it. Nahum stood on God’s side.

His instruction pamphlet on how to live well in troubling and dangerous times was an important read in his day. It seems to me, Nahum has some sage advice for us in 2020 as well.

More about Nahum

In uncertain times, those of us who are called by the name of Jesus Christ, must herald good news. We must learn to calm and quiet ourselves because our trust and faith is in God Almighty rather than man or science or government.

We must be the light shining and the voice calling out the way to salvation. We must declare the good news of Jesus. We must be the ones who run into danger and care for those who are wounded and lost.

We who are the blood-bought children of God must be salty. We must be bold for sure, but our love must be even more bold than our speech. Our eyes must be turned toward Jesus with our gaze fixed on Him. Our hearts must be tuned to the sound of His voice.

We must be fitted with His armor. The armor He made specifically for you and me to wear as we head out into the world. {Ephesians 6}

Voices from all sides shout, “It’s dangerous out there! Stay in and stay safe!!” Nowhere in the New Testament of the Holy Bible do I read that Jesus commanded us to stay in and stay safe, except for the loving admonition to stay in Him.

In fact, Jesus told His followers the absolute truth. He warned us that we would have trouble in this world if we wear His name, serve Him, and carry His cross. He informed us that we have an enemy, that we would face many trials, and that we should be ready to walk with Him through the valley of the shadow of death for the sake of making His name famous. Jesus told His followers to count the cost. Finally, Jesus commanded us to go and to be His witnesses around the world.

So, why must we live counter-culture? We could never repay Christ for His redemption. Yet, we do have the honor and the privilege of representing Christ as His witnesses. The marching orders have been issued, and we are His soldiers deployed on the Earth to spread God’s Good News message of resurrection life for all who will receive.

In the historical records, my name won’t be great. No one will read of my adventurous exploits in the name of Jesus. My name won’t become a book nor a movie. None of that matters because I am known by God in Heaven. If one day I should meet even one person in Heaven who would say that I introduced him or her to Jesus my minor life will have counted for much.

I am His and He is mine. The Living Word of God tells me that I am His daughter sealed by His Holy Spirit. The opinion that we are living in extraordinarily wicked and volatile times seems to be shared by most in my circles. My Savior is worthy of calling me up, and I will obey His call.

For such a time as this, I was created in the image of God. Born for adventure, my Creator designed me. Extremely honored am I to get to live salty, exemplifying bold love in a dark and dangerous world. I won’t stay in and stay safe. Like Nahum, I was born for more!

Ponders:

1. Have you spent a concentrated time recently examining the idea that you were meant to live on planet Earth for such a time as this? Would you be willing to schedule a dedicated time this week to ponder your place in history?

2. What questions do you have for Jesus a) regarding our world? b) His call on your life? How about scheduling a lunch date with Jesus so you can enjoy a lengthy conversation with Him?

3. Have you ever counted the costs of following Jesus through the darkest valley? Are there aspects of your spiritual maturity that you would like to dedicate to God’s transformational power?

4. Will you take time daily over the next 21 days to write a short note to Jesus thanking Him for the places you witnessed His presence? Then will you take time to listen to His heart for you in those moments? Will you receive His care and love for you?

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

https://bibleproject.com/videos/nahum/

Feeling it

Especially feeling this today. Anyone else feeling a bit weak today?

As I am smack dab in the middle of two beautiful clients and not wanting to disappoint them. As I am giving my very best to serve those who have entrusted memories to me. As my good workhorse sewing machine is broken again because I just keep pushing it’s limits.

Have you ever had one of those days? One of those weeks? Or how about months even?

I bet you know how it feels to watch the bottom fall out while you’re giving 110% You know the gut punch of feeling like you are failing and disappointing everyone. And worst of all, you know the realization you really aren’t in control of anything.

I’m feeling my weakness. But good news! Paul, the Apostle. Paul, legendary evangelist, inspired of the Holy Spirit writer of much of the New Testament… Yes, him… He felt weak.

Jesus Christ met Paul in his moments of feeling overwhelmed and Paul was encouraged to lean on The Word whose name is Jesus. To lean into  the Comforter, Holy Spirit. To rest with The Father and be refreshed. He encouraged Paul to recognize that the grace and power of God is more than enough when he had nothing in the tank.

Jesus is encouraging my heart in the same way TODAY. He wants me to be encouraged and to lean into Him. He wants me to remember that He is BIG enough and strong enough to cover my weakness. He is lifting my chin to look at His face. Jesus wants me to choose HIM over my struggle and all the feelings that are stirred up by my angst.

Psalm 131 TODAY. I am choosing not to freak out. I am choosing to calm and quiet myself like a weaned daughter at my Father’s feet. I am making a choice by an act of my will to look at Jesus and away from my difficulty – the seemingly impossible.

His grace is sufficient for my business. This little furniture restoration operation was all His idea anyway. Jesus, Son of God is more than enough for me today. And, here’s some GOOD NEWS. Holy Spirit, Comforter, is more than enough for you too. He’s waiting for you and is ready for you to look up also. So, lean in with me.

Action steps:

1. Turn our gaze upon Jesus.  Look full and long into His wonderful face. Soon all the yuck of this world will fade and we’ll be caught up in the Majesty of His glory and grace.

2. Tune our ears to His Shepherd voice. Listen for His love song and fall in love with Him all over again. Listen for the way He wants to go.  OR hear Him settle down in the spot where He simply wants to rest. Pick up the melody of His heart song and join Him in a duet of praise.

3. Trust God’s Goodness. It takes awhile for most of us. Not many are feeling like trusting anyone or anything right now. Everything about 2020 screams, “Don’t trust anyone or anything!”  But God is trustworthy, faithful and true. Don’t trust me, but do try Him.

So, repeat steps 1 and 2 until you realize you’ve taken up residence in step 3.  I’ll meet you there. We’ll both see that God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is Majestic, Comforting, Powerful, Loving, and more than enough while our empty tanks are filled to overflowing life.

Come join me. There’s plenty of room at my Father’s feet.

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

#cheerhouserepairandrestore #psalm131 #calmandquiet #nofreakout #comforter #healer #morethanfurniture #morethanenough #grace
#holyspirit #eyesonjesusandshine #Father

Tattling.

Day 142. Psalm 142.
Eyes on Jesus.
Tattling to Jesus. Sage advice I received from a beautiful, mature daughter of God so many years ago…

Not happy?
Feeling offended?
Not fair?

Me too. I totally get these feelings and thoughts which accompany them.

Tattle to Jesus. He sees the bigger picture. He understands all the sides. He knows all the filters by which each party is relating to the situations. He’s not taking sides. He’s asking me to assess whether or not I will be on His side.

“Where are you?”  It seems to be one of God’s favorite questions. “From what are you fleeing and where are you going?”

{Genesis 16:8 Hagar and El Roi}

He wants me to assess my current location along with the direction of my heart and my feet.

El Roi, The God who sees me, interrupts my tantrum to ask me, “Where are you?” Am I getting closer to Him or further away? Are my eyes looking to Him or away to the situation? Am I seeking the world’s answers or His wisdom?

Back it up, girlfriend! Eyes on Jesus. Tattling to Him. Spilling it raw to the Only One capable of sorting it all out.

Eyes on Jesus. Feet toward Jesus. Staying near. Listening for His loving voice of direction and guidance.

I sense that you are hesitant.  I’ve sought my own solutions too.  I’ve given into my flesh time and time again seeking solace in the advice of people. I am tempted to take my complaint to a friend; thinking surely someone with skin on is able to fix my problem.

Faulty has been my thinking that those to whom I would most likely tattle actually want to hear my passionate spew of words at a high pitch frequency.  Faulty has been my assumption that a person is able to bring wholeness to my broken heart.  Faulty has been my thinking that I NEED someone to take up ‘my side’.

People with skin on have all their own issues, burdens, cares, and reasons to rant, spew and carry on with complaints of not fair.

The bottom line is that you and I often think God doesn’t care to hear.  Or we have been taught to think He doesn’t concern His Majesty with such trivial things.  Or we just don’t think He’s BIG enough or POWERFUL enough to straighten out that person or that situation looming over our heads.

The bottom line is that we don’t think we’ll get the answer for which we’re longing. We want to be right. We want people to tell us we’re right. We want immediate gratification of our flesh.

The bottom line is that we don’t know our Father. His love for us is boundless, yet we’re not trusting of His goodness. We don’t think His answer for us will be fair or pleasing or soothing.

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why don’t I take my concerns, my rants, my feelings raw and passionate straight to the Throne of Grace?”

It’s a good question to ponder with Father in His word, and with our Counselor, Holy Spirit.

Come join me.  Let’s sit at His feet.  There’s plenty of room for both of us. Our Father delights in sorting out the tangles if we’ll simply tattle to Jesus.

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

150-something

Day 150-something. Eyes on Jesus. I think it’s a good thing that I’m losing track of how many days, and simply wanting to keep my eyes on Jesus.

I’m wanting Him more than I want out… Out of what? I want Jesus more than I want out of this year. More than I want out of a circumstance. More than I want someone else to change.

I’m {finally} learning to be content simply dwelling at His feet. I’m finally getting what it means to be a calm, quiet contented daughter at my Father’s feet.

Not perfect in waiting. Not lukewarm. Not without feelings. Not without concerns. Not dry of tears. Not medicated or slothful.

I’m still learning… I’m a slow learner. However, I’m learning. My walk is not perfected, yet I see my Father smiling. I see His delight in my willingness to keep trying. He encourages me… “You’re getting the hang of it, girl!”

“Getting the hang of what?”, you might wonder.

Getting the hang of trusting God’s goodness. Getting the hang of taking Jesus at His word because He IS The Word. Getting the hang of taking every complaint directly to my Counselor and my Advocate – Holy Spirit and  Jesus.

Believing. Seeing. Speaking. Trusting. Choosing… Calm and quiet like a weaned daughter at the feet of my Father. Psalm 131.

Come. Join me. There’s plenty of room here at His feet. This is a glorious place in which to dwell.

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa


#eyesonjesusandshine
#calmandquiet #weaned #trust #takeyouatyourword #jesus #shepherd #counselor #advocate

Press Pause.

Could I be so bold as to ask you to press pause right now?

I know. Who am I?

But could you just pause right now from your circumstances? Could you take a timeout from ALL that?

I’m not asking you to pay attention to me or to care about my words. I’m asking if you will take a minute for you.

To press pause. To breathe. To exhale – long and hard. To take a deep inhale and fill your lungs like you haven’t since you jumped out of bed.

Could I encourage you? I know you really don’t want any fluff right now. I get it. But, just in case you are here… and you are willing to give yourself a reset moment… and you’re still reading…

Could I encourage you not to take me at my word, but to read what God has to say to you?

Pause. Reset. For a moment, quit thinking what you’re thinking. For a few deep breaths, stop saying what you’re saying. As you pause, recognize that you are able to stop walking in that direction.

Could I encourage you to read Psalm 145?

Reset. Inhale. Exhale.

And now that you are in a moment of clarity, receive these words from the One who loves you inexhaustibly.

God is good in ALL His ways. His love for you is boundless. His mercy is new for today. He’s already been where You are going and He already knows how to navigate your path.

Reset. Pause.

Look around and see the beauty of His creation. See the people around you. They are each unique image bearers of Christ. If you aren’t ready to recognize this truth in yourself, see it in others. You’ll get there.

Stop. Remember what God did for you that time when you thought all was lost. Jesus is Waymaker. Miracle Worker. Light in the darkness. Right?

No? Okay, maybe that doesn’t feel true to you. Maybe you feel that God didn’t come through for you in that moment. Perhaps you lost your trust in Him because you did lose everything and felt you were abandoned to pull yourself together.

I totally get that. I’ve been there too. Disappointment. Disillusionment. Loss. Grief. It hurts. And this painful place ~ it’s an open wounded field ready to receive lies. We must ~ it’s essential ~ we recognize that unchecked lies (like God is not good) grow bitter roots.

Tell Him. Get it out. Verbalize your lack of faith. Scream it out ~ how God let you down. Don’t just walk away. A conversation is an opportunity to resolve. An argument is part of relationship. Isn’t God worthy of your side of the story? Isn’t He big enough?

Ask Jesus, “Where were You?” It’s an honest question. It’s a question He loves to answer.

Pause. Rest. Inhale. Exhale.

Ask Jesus. Turn your eyes to heaven and ask Him right this very moment to make every cell of your being aware of His very real presence.

Then wait. Wait for Him.

You have time. All that other stuff will wait on you and Him. You might even find that when you go back to find your place, ALL THAT has already fled the scene.

Eyes on Jesus today. 145 days. Focus on His nearness and goodness. Watching. Waiting. Praising Him all the day long for He has been only faithful!

Day 145. Psalm 145. Eyes on Jesus. Focus – God is good in ALL His ways!

~Lisa

#eyesonjesusandshine #daysofpsalms #faithfulandtrue #mercy #presspause #reset

It’s really that simple.

Day 139. Psalm 139. Eyes on Jesus. Focus on Him. 

If my eyes are where they are supposed to be – on Jesus – then I’m located where I am supposed to be – which is near to Him.

If I’m near to His presence, which is an all consuming fire, and the Word of God in action, it’s going to be much more difficult for me to treat another person wrongly.

I didn’t type ‘impossible’ because I was that kid who threw the ball up to the ceiling and broke the glass light fixture immediately after my Mom told me not to do so. She was steps away when the glass shattered all around me.

So, personally, I know I misbehave even at times when I am near to my Good Shepherd. However, I can also testify that conviction comes much more quickly. I appreciate this truth in my life as there are times when my sin is stopped at a thought rather than an action. Sin is sin, so I am not excusing my wrong thoughts. However, I would rather Holy Spirit point out wrong thinking before a word slips from my lips or my hands commit wrongful action.

The point is that nearness, awareness, and devotion are key to my desire to replicate my Beloved’s character. It is my responsibility to make sure I am rightly positioned with my eyes on Jesus, my ears tuned to His voice, watching for His movement and waiting for direction. If I’m reading God’s word, taking Him at His word and putting my feet in His footprints, I will be rightly positioned for success. I am much more likely to love God first and then love my neighbor as Jesus loves me.

There’s no formula with God, which will guarantee a perfect life. Perfect behavior is not our Father’s goal. It’s just not. His aim is to have relationship with His children. He desires an ongoing dialogue in which we are seeking His best and He is guiding our path.

Going back to my childhood example, I didn’t take my Mom at her word. I heard what she said, but I didn’t believe she knew what she was talking about. I had already been tossing the ball toward the ceiling and nothing disastrous had happened. Besides, I wanted to do what I wanted to do.

And then I did. I promise you, the moment I heard the glass crack, my perspective changed. My Mom was right. I was wrong. She had given me direction, and I had gone my own way. I was in trouble. I remember jumping behind the bed and sobbing uncontrollably.

My Mom? She grabbed a pair of shoes, threw them on her feet and ran across cut glass to gather me in her arms. My Mom, the heroine! She carried me to safety before she talked to me about the inappropriate choice I had made to purposefully disobey her. She loved me. She had given me wise counsel because she didn’t want me to get cut by glass flying.

That glass left a scar on my left thigh. For many years that scar served to remind me of truth regarding respect and obedience, love and relationship.

It just works! Father God knows best. He has all the solutions to our every question. His Word is validated moment by moment by our position toward Him, the proximity of our dwelling, the gaze of our eyes and the placement of our feet.

Go to Him. Talk to Him. Lay down at His feet. Surrender all your good ideas. Open your hands and receive His free gift. Become alive. Live with Him and for Him. In Jesus’ name and for His glory.

So be it!

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

Tethered

Day 130. Focus – Jesus. Eyes on Him.  How else can I live in peace?

Unless my heart be tethered to my Lord, I will lose heart. Unless my feet remain within my Good Shepherd’s pasture, I will lose my way. Unless my eyes remain trained on His eyes of love, I will stray for the acceptance of another.

Dear Jesus, thank You for Your unending love and for Your long-suffering devotion to me. You are faithful and good. Your character exemplifies all that I want to become as an image bearer of my Creator Father God.

Yet, You are Higher than my ways. Your perfection and holiness is beyond my comprehension. Your thoughts are greater than my thoughts.

Jesus, passionate Pioneer. Author and Perfector of souls. Teacher. Warrior. Intercessor. Savior. You are my King. My love. My hope. My way. And my peace.

May the fire in Your holy eyes draw me closer and closer. May my devotion to You increase moment by moment. May I not divert my eyes or catch my feet wandering. May my life remain steadfastly anchored in Your love and may I remember that Your name has sealed my heart for eternity.

I’m grateful that I am Yours and You are mine. For Your glory… I pledge my love and allegiance to You. Amen.

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

Being Prepared for Harvest

Day 129. Psalm 129.
Though the enemy of God means destruction for God’s people, God is Sovereign over His enemy.

God is powerful. Almighty. Greater. Already victorious. God has already won our victory. Join Him in it!

The enemy of God still attempts to overcome the Kingdom knowing full well he’s defeated. His design is to deceive as many souls as possible while he still has time. He is successful at taking people and regions captive to his schemes. People, even those belonging to God, find themselves in bondage to lies and defilement.

Just take a look around you…

However, God, Who is only Righteous and Mighty to save, is jealous for His own. Ultimately every knee will bend in the presence of King Jesus and every tongue will confess His Majesty. All people alive and dead. All people on earth, above and below. All souls will bow and confess the name of Jesus Christ as King and sovereign victor over all of creation.

Maybe we should all sit with that realization for awhile.

Reading this psalm reminds me of Jesus’ parables regarding farming and sowing seed. {Matthew 13 & Mark 4 are good places to begin reading}

The earth must be turned, shredded, and purified from rocks, weeds and other contaminants. The soil is made ready, defiled soil made clean, to receive the seed and bring a hearty harvest in due time.

It is the diligent, caring and responsible farmer who allows the tearing up of the soil. He desires the best production from his seed and works tirelessly to make sure that the good harvest will come to fruition. He tends, he waits and waters and watches over the miracle of death becoming life!

God will allow the tearing up of our soil – even at times by the hand of His enemy – and God uses it for His good purposes in our lives.

So if you’re feeling scourged and raw, take heart. God will use this soil purification process for your good. If you, and I, will yield to the process of preparation, allowing God’s good seed of His Word to be sown in our newly opened hearts; we will experience a great harvest.

Christ, Living Water, will nourish the seed sown if we’ll let Him. He is Light and protection for our growth. Let us yield and turn our faces to His attention. May we surrender to His care for our good and His glory.

Let us not forget Jesus, most of all, gave His back for us. He knows. He’s received the worst on our behalf. He’s been where you are, and He endured it all for God’s glory. With the Joy of the harvest ahead, seeing you and me as His victorious inheritance, Jesus endured the ripping and tearing. Jesus trusted His physical body, and His spirit to His Father knowing the temporary scourging and humiliation of obedience would produce a glorious harvest for The Kingdom of God.

Thank You, Father, for turning our eyes to Your dear Son. Thank You, Jesus, for setting the example of endurance and victory. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for coming to invade our vessels and empower our obedience to God.

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

Eyes on Jesus. Focus – Jesus. Following Jesus.
#eyesonjesusandshine
#day129 #harvest #joy #endured

Day 124 Psalm 124

Day 124. Turn your eyes to Jesus. Cry out to Him. In His name is your only forever home.

Psalm 124. Where does your help come from? In what name do you place your trust? Your security? Your hope?

In what, in whom is your eternal security? Do you know Jesus? No, not do you know about Him. Do you know Him personally? Intimately? Relationally? Do you bear His name?

Look up. See Him as life, love, defender, protector and security beyond this short life. As I walk and live and visit with people all around me I feel as if I am living out a role in a 60’s Twilight Zone episode.

People everywhere are masked, eyes wild, making muffled sounds I can barely understand, grabbing children to stay close, and moving quickly. Cancelling life again. Seeking safety. Security. Protection. In what?

I want to cry on their behalf, bid them come, reach out and pull them into safety under Jesus’ blood. Surrender. Please. Give your life to Him and He will fill you with an inexpressible joy.

Does Jesus guarantee you won’t get sick or that you will never suffer financial hardship or lose your job? No, He doesn’t guarantee an easy life nor does Jesus promise an American dream of worldly freedom and prosperity.

Jesus Christ is King of His own eternal Kingdom. He is Creator and Author of our very existence. He’s allowed us to live at this time in a world that is fading away so that we will look up. So that we will cry out to Him for help.

Jesus through His word is declaring that He has already made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross and conquered death once and for all time. His Kingly invitation is for all humans to receive His invitation to His banquet table. He bids us come. Surrender under His Lordship. Receive His free gift of life with Him beyond this lifetime on Earth.

Listen. He already knows your name. Jesus is calling you by name. Do you hear? He’s knocking at the door of your heart right this moment. Please open the door.

You can be unmasked with Him. You can tell Jesus everything that you’re afraid of and He’ll listen. He’ll catch every tear. He’ll hold you while you scream and rail against all the unfairness of your life. Jesus understands it all. He sees and hears everything with which you are frustrated. He feels your pain and understands your anxiety.

But He doesn’t want you to stay there. He holds The Key to your freedom. He, Jesus, Good Shepherd – He is The Way and ultimate peaceful life.

“If the Lord had not been on our side when…” Psalm 124:2
“Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 124:8

The Lord is on your side. He created you. Designed you. Formed you in your mother’s womb by His loving Father hands. He wants you. He seeks you out. He’s ready to deliver you from darkness.

Are you on His side? Will you say yes? Surrender all the weightiness of your existence in a world in which you control nothing? Lay it down at Jesus’ feet and let Him lift you up to walk with Him unfettered and free. Receive the JOY of His salvation.

If you said yes, welcome to the Kingdom of God where Jesus is King. You are so loved. You are free, my brother and my sister. Welcome home!

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

Not my Job

A parable for every day life during the strange days of 2020.

Hint: It is and it’s not about dogs and treasure bags.

On a routine walk through our neighborhood I noticed all three pups enjoying some extra sniffs, and marking territory all in the same spot. As I investigated the area, I noticed a treasure pile left behind by an unknown pup. While random piles are highly regarded in the dog community, I find the lack of clean up frustrating.

It’s bad manners. It defies an unwritten law of the neighborhood. If you walk your dog, you clean up after your dog. It’s as simple as that.

So, some people carry bags and diligently clean up after their dogs. Other people don’t bother. Again, it’s really simple. Just like every other aspect of life, some people feel an obligation to comply with even the unwritten constructs of society while others do not.

And, hey, it’s America! Right?

So, why am I bothered when I find left behind dog piles?

First and foremost, the neglect of others casts a shadow of suspicion on ME. Neighbors with defiled yards become frustrated and label all of us dog parents as irresponsible. In retaliation, yard signs go up refusing dogs permission to relieve themselves.

In further response, dog walkers such as myself naturally want to defend our reputations as responsible. I often want to hold my poop bag high in the air and declare, “Look I’m cleaning up after my dogs. It wasn’t me!”

Yet, on this particular day another thought crossed my mind. “Why don’t I just pick it up?” You know, the unwelcome pile from some other dog. I have a bag. I’m already picking up treasures. Why not just do a little extra clean up?

Another thought just as quickly passed by, “But it’s not my job! It’s not my responsibility to clean up after other people…”

Hmmm… so what is the right thing to do?

I chose to humble myself and pick up something that was not my responsibility. I took action, despite my feelings regarding the fairness of the situation. My neighbors and the community we share are precious to me. And so, it is my job, as far as I have opportunity, to go above and beyond to cultivate peace. In fact, when I think about it further I want to create a reputation as one who cares more about my neighbor than my job description.

That’s how I see it. How about you?

~Lisa