Receive or Reject

From YouVersion Bible App. Daily devotional story – 8/13/20.`

This is a gift! Freely offered. The best gift. God loves us and cares about us. He LOVES you! He LOVES me!

Yet if we don’t stop. Settle our thoughts. Take a minute. Calm our emotions. If we don’t press pause in His presence while His hand is extended, we won’t truly receive His love.

Have you ever wanted to give something to someone that you just knew would bless their socks off? Have you experienced that feeling that you might just burst before you could extend your gift to the one you love?

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10

But what happens to your heart when your gift is taken by an unknown person at the door and left in a pile of other gifts. What happens when you hand your gift to your person and they set it aside for later?

What happens when your person is in a hurry to get to the next gift? What happens to your heart when the one you so wanted to bless is distracted, unaware, and unable to receive your blessing?

A dear friend, the kind that’s willing to look into my dark hiding place, asked me possibly the best question I have ever received. “What will it take for you to believe that I love you?”

Her question stopped my swirling-twirling emotional tornado. Like Jesus commanding the wind and waves. Suddenly everything got quiet. I had no answer for her question.

Intellectually, intuitively I knew she loved me. She was my friend. What other reason would she have for weathering my personal storm?

I mean really who does that?

But I could not answer her question. She spoke again her love and concern for me. She asked me to seek out a counselor who could help me sort, identify, clean out the clutter and become emotionally restored.

I didn’t know how to receive her love at a heart level. However I did receive the gift of her hand and chose to step toward the entrance of my pit. It wasn’t an easy journey. In fact I would say that year of Restoring Your Heart counseling was one of the top five most painful experiences of my life journey.

Good news though. The journey through the weeds was well worth it. The gifts extended toward me by God through loving people became tangible to me. I could see. I could hear. I could think the best of others. I could receive.

Like stepping out of darkness into sunlight.

God is Bigger than emotion. He’s mightier than mushy feelings. God is Almighty and powerful. Jesus is expert at pulling people up out of a pit. He can start or stop anything with a word. And God is especially great at raising dead situations, relationships, and people to life.

Yet, God is also Creator and Father. He loves His creation. He loves you. He desires for you to stop for a moment. Sit. Take a deep breath. And another.

Calm and quiet. Look into His eyes. Hands out.

Now with a little more clarity of mind. With a peaceful heart melted in His presence receive His gift. He loves you. He loves you and gifts you through people with skin on.

You are loved!

Ponders:

First, if you are hurting, but can’t identify the source, please reach out. Call/text someone to come sit with you. Ask for help.

If someone close to you is just not functioning as the person you know them to be, stick your nose in their emotional business. An inkling that “something’s not right” is enough to start a conversation or take action.

1. Of what are you afraid to see if you should you give yourself permission to stop, breathe for 5 minutes, and look at Jesus in His face? Read John 4:39 {the woman’s testimony} slowly. Think about her words as your words. What emotions well up? “He (Jesus) told me everything I ever did.”

2. What has happened to your heart when a sincere gift seemed to be set aside or rejected? Tattle to Jesus. He doesn’t take sides. Ask Him to help you see the full picture.

3. Do you think God feels His love for you is being rejected? Do you know why you can’t believe you are loved? Take a deeper look at John 4:10. Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10 Is it okay to ask Jesus if He feels His gift is being rejected by you?

4. Will you take all your ponderings to Jesus? Will you ask Him to untangle your emotional snares? Will you let Him receive your brokenness so He can give you wholeness?

Take a walk outside. Breathe. Look at creation. Talk out loud. Sit and journal. Do something as a first step to healing. Write your decision down somewhere and date it as a memorial stone of remembrance and a reminder to keep going.

I’m praying for you now.

Father, please help this dear one who is reading this message. Take this broken heart in Your Creator hands and breathe a new heart. Take this dear one’s hands and lead them out of darkness. Bring counselors, a grief community, alongside this precious child of God, an image bearer of Christ so that restoration can begin. Jesus, Light of the world, shine into the pit and carry this dear one to safety. I trust You Lord to rescue, restore and redeem all the pain on behalf of the one reading and for Your Glory.

I give thanks to You Father for You are good and Your steadfast love for Your children endures forever. So be it. Amen.

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa

#eyesonjesusandshine
#psalm131
#daysofpsalms #gethelp #askquestions
#calmandquiet
#receive #giftgiver #youareloved

Community is a Gift

Recently, my dear man and I spent three days enjoying the fabulous Pacific Ocean via Dana Point, CA. Our Eastern time zone body clocks caused us to be awake at 4 AM initially, and so we waited with a cup of coffee watching for evidence of sunrise. We were startled the first morning at the number of surfers already congregated IN the surf as the sun slowly rose in the east.

Each day, moving toward Friday, it seemed the number of surfers increased in the light of dawn. We found them fascinating, and so we walked with bare feet in the sand observing behaviors. We wanted to see real Californians catch the waves.

Occasionally, a surfer paddled into the wave, moved to their feet and smoothly balanced atop. Some crashed. And others seemed most content to sit on their board.

By the third day, our beach observations had joined at an amusing connection. We looked out onto the water at the mass of surfers divided into several “small groups” with an occasional loner off to one side or the other. My man and I laughed as we identified ourselves according to social surfers and loners.

I’m not telling who is who…

Yet as our eyes moved away from the surfers and up along the retaining pond between our hotel and the beach, we saw a very similar portrait of congregated community. The only difference was in the species. These were birds.

We got the biggest kick out of observing the birds in similar formation. Some gathered in groupings. Some sat off to one side or another, preferring the quiet of solitude. And from time to time, one particularly energetic fellow would land right in the middle of a group. You could just tell that he expected everyone to scoot over and make room for him.

Our eyes scanned from surfers gathered on the ocean to birds gathered on the sand. Suddenly, together, we caught the message.

All of creation is meant for community!

Even those who chose to be a little more sequestered to the side of the groups, sought community. It was so obvious that we could not deny the lesson. Those who were in the group sometimes separated to go it alone for awhile. Interchangeably, the ones which seemed to prefer solitude intermittently joined a group.

All of these observations and pondering thoughts led me back to God. He is triune in nature, which means that He is community within Himself. God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, existing three in one from eternity past to eternity future. Since God is the very definition and existence of community I have to conclude that He has placed His stamp of approval on the idea of living in community.

Additionally, God’s teaching places the greatest emphasis on relationship, love, encouraging one another, giving generously and taking care of others. A number of men asked Jesus to tell them the greatest commandment. Consistent was Jesus’ answer, and always inclusive of community. Jesus taught: first love God; then second, love your neighbor. Community!

One additional observation in our study of the bird congregation. In the center of the bird gathering was a dead bird. We watched the scenario play out as if we were peering through the ceiling of a funeral home during the visitation of a precious loved one.

A bird or two would walk over to the dead bird, look at it and walk back to the group gathered off to the side. Meanwhile, birds congregated squawking and cleaning feathers off to each side. Some ate tidbits from the sand.

They appeared to be supporting one another. Dare I venture to think? They were encouraging one another as much as birds comprehend death, community, encouragement and grief. We need one another.

On the best surfing days, we need each other. On the darkest days of suffering, we need each other.

Whether we see examples in nature or in various congregations of people in everyday life, it’s true that people seek relationship. Perhaps we simply choose to believe God as our greatest example of living in community. Anyway, that’s the way I see it.

We’re meant to live in community. And Community is a Gift.

What do you think?

Eyes on Jesus and SHINE,

Lisa