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

Day 26: Ready for a {change} of heart?

For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.  Hebrews 4:12-13 nivchange

How do you feel about a change of heart?  What does that mean?  Are you in a season in which you feel something needs to change?

I’m there.  And I was there before these 31 days began on October 1st.  My feeling has been for a number of years – our circumstances need to change.  We’ll be alright if we can just hold on until my suntanned feet man feels better… and he finds another opportunity in the next chapter of his career… and on and on…

Then one day when our circumstances will come back into alignment when the famine season is over, everything will be good again.  Then I’ll have the opportunity to leave my 9 to 5 and write and speak to women and minister and disciple.  When God changes our circumstances.  God, when are You going to change our circumstances?

{Change} be made different, transform, alter – take a different position or course or direction.

Is it just me or is there anyone else out there who might be reading along who feels sure all will be well in their lives if God would just hurry up and change their circumstances?  I’m confident I’m not the only one.  Most every heart conversation lately seems to follow a similar trail.  Women at work, discipleship knitted hearts, couples in our home group and neighbors – followers of Christ Jesus – wondering, “God, what are You doing?”

Interestingly, our circumstances haven’t changed.  As I’ve learned, more than once in my life, there’s really not much over which I have control, except myself.  If nothing else around me is changing and I want to live the abundant life and produce a harvest bushel of the fruits of the Spirit of God, the only other choice is to cry out, “Father, change me.”revise

As I pondered the idea of 31 days – gleaning in the book of Ruth I already knew I would be changed.  I’ve walked this journey with the Word became flesh long enough to know that I know if I spend 31 days soaking in His truth and open myself up to be taught by His Spirit, I will be changed – transformed – my thinking renewed – perspective changed.

God’s Word is Living.  He is Jesus, Conqueror of death.  God’s Word is Active.  Jesus is present in our circumstances.  God’s Word is Sharp.  Jesus, wielding a scalpel, removes what He sees in us which doesn’t belong as we yield to elective surgery.

I started out this journey thinking the reason for Naomi’s suffering, the loss of life and utter despair had to be the result of their wrong choice.  If only they had stayed in Bethlehem…  If only they had turned around and gone home…  If only – a thousand different “if only” wonderings for my own life.  I needed to know in this 31 days what Holy Spirit desired to teach me through my questions.

He is changing my perspective on my need to always get it right.  If God’s goodness and grace for Naomi was completely dependent on her making all the right choices then there would be no way to explain the marriage of Ruth (a foreigner coming under the protective wing of the Almighty God) to Boaz (a near kinsman redeemer) and the resultant lineage of generations leading to the birth of our Savior, Jesus, the Christ.

God is bigger than our twists and turns.  He is bigger than our wanderings.  God is greater than our circumstances.  He knows where we are and how long the impossible will last.  He sees the end from the beginning and He knows the way through and out.

And I wonder if my Father might be thinking the steps of my journey are making an interesting pattern as He weaves my story into the grand fabric of His creation.

What do you think?

Ponders:

The aim:  we are changed by the Word of God to be transformed daily into the image of Christ regardless of our circumstances.

The truth:  our circumstances expose the stuff in us which does not resemble our Lord.  It is the circumstances of life, the seemingly impossible, not budging no matter the force of my will, which causes me to surrender to the change my Lord wants to do in me.

  • Is there a change of heart you are needing today?  Will you ask Holy Spirit to teach you through His living and active word?
  • Will you write out the scriptures to which He leads you?  Will you make them your prayer for change – a transformed heart?
  • Are you willing to choose elective surgery under the precision of Jesus’ scalpel today?  Let’s do this together.

Eyes on Jesus… you’re Shining!

~Lisa

 

 

 

Self, you’re not really going to admit you’re afraid? – The Answer

Review to remember

Previously in my post,  Self, you’re not really going to admit you’re afraid? , we pondered a question, which begged another question.  The initial hurdle I faced was finally overcome by my obedience to sit still and tune my spiritual ears to the invitation of Holy Spirit.  His invitation is always to freedom.  He sees the bonds entangling me while I fritter about trying to manage on my own.

Gently, firmly and without condemnation, Holy Spirit called me to stop, sit still…

First, as He illuminated the dark closet of my soul with His presence, I was able to admit; “Yes, there is a fear dangling there in the dark.”  As soon as I confessed it, the first bonds were loosed.

Second, Holy Spirit led me to the truth of God’s Word in 1 Kings 17:8-12 – the story of Elijah and the widow who lived in Zarephath.

oil-and-bread-e1502760253963.jpg

I read her story and I felt her pain.  Her fear of using her last oil and flour, which would ultimately result in their death seemed reasonable to me.  But, that’s not my fear.  I can’t even imagine her circumstances.  I spoke it from that deep place in my heart as Holy Spirit continuously increased the light…

I know, dear one, you’re not there.  You’re not physically walking in her shoes.  These are not your physical circumstances.  Look again, with spiritual eyes.  Listen to Elijah’s requests of the widow.  I’m here with you, lavishly loved one, look at the question.  

Of what are you afraid?

As I sat quietly pondering, the light of God’s presence filled me with wonder and awe.  My trepidation turned to a desire to know, and I pressed in toward the truth to make an agreement with Him.

lightbulb
The Light of Truth illuminates this dark place of my soul.

 

Yes, Lord, what is it?  What is at the root of this fear?

Again, looking at the widow’s real life predicament, I wonder if the answer is found in Elijah’s unequal equation.   To have plenty of food to last us through the remainder of the drought and live, use everything you have left to make a meal, and feed me first.

Elijah was confident.  He had the solution and assured the woman she should not be afraid.  He offered a miracle.

And again, Holy Spirit whispered above the noise of Self-chatter:

Yes, and she would have to believe.  To see the miracle fulfilled, she would have to physically pour out what she believed to be her last.  What does that look like for you, dear one? 

As you look at your life and your circumstances, what do you see contained in that jar you hold?  What is it you feel is dwindling to the last?  Do you see? 

For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lordsends rain on the land.’”  1 Kings 17:14 niv

Self, now you see it.  You see the question and the answer.  What is it you fear, Self?

I see the vessel containing, what appears to me, to be the last drops of faith-oil.  My life circumstances feel like a drought with no end in sight.  Without a trace of a rain cloud, the lack of opportunity threatens to last beyond what I feel sure I will be able to endure.

oil jar

I fear running out of faith.

I know intuitively I will obey.  I will, out of obedience, continue to pour out faith-oil.   I will pour out what seems to be my very last drops, as a worshipful thank offering to my Lord.

And as I do, I am afraid I will be left with an empty jar… no faith left… no hope.  And if  I were to be left with an empty vessel, I am afraid I will die – at least a spiritual death.  For who can live without faith-oil?  Who can live without hope-bread?

Further exposed, as Holy Spirit light fills the no longer dark closet of my soul, I see the ugly shadow lurking behind the fear.  The spotlight uncovers the shadow’s identity – PRIDE.

  • Self, it’s pride – to think somehow you’ve stored up your own reservoir of faith.
  • It’s pride – to think you’ve worked and produced this faith-oil in your vessel.
  • It’s pride – to think you’ve done a good job of saving as if it were a bank account.
  • Self, it’s pride – to think you’re spiritual well-being is dependent on you.

Oh Lord, I see.  I confess.  I agree with You.  This is a deeper entanglement.  And I want to live free of pride – of fear.  I want to live in the Light of Truth, Holy Spirit.

Dear one, now you see in truth.  Surely, I am the One who continually fills your vessel with faith-oil enough and beyond to take you, dear one, through the drought.  Do you trust me?  Do you believe I will never leave you just as I have always promised?

Come, follow Me.  Trust Me on this adventure into greater intimacy and maturity.

She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.  For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.  1 Kings 17: 15-16 niv

I want to… Help me, hold my hand.  Help me trust You.  Help me believe.  Help me follow.

And with that, pride slinks away, defeated in this battle.

light in the room

And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19

Ponders:

This two-part post, Self, you’re not really going to admit you’re afraid?, is my awkward attempt to relate my devotional experience with God, in the fullness of His Trinity, through prayerful interaction with the God-breathed Scripture of the Bible.  This is also a very concise presentation as I’ve been reading, marinating in and chewing on the words of 1 Kings 17 for several weeks.

I included the very true to life conversations I have with myself.  In italics, I tried to convey the words, many times delving questions, lovingly spoken to me by Holy Spirit. Honestly, these are deeply intimate moments I share with my Lord.  His presence is so real saturating the room where we meet.  I never want to leave for earthly duties…

  1. Do you desire this intimate interactive relationship with the One Triune God?  Will you speak out your desire for this relationship with your Lord?
  2. If you haven’t lately, will you begin this week reading the God-breathed Scriptures, asking Holy Spirit to teach you and listening for His response?
  3. If you already have this interactive time with the Lord regularly, is there something He’s stirring in you?  Is there a question He’s asking?  Perhaps a Scripture Holy Spirit has highlighted for you to chew on?  Will you take whatever time it takes to pursue this conversation?
  4. Let’s give thanks to God together for He is good and His steadfast love for us endures forever.  Thank You for being a Good Good Father, and for patiently teaching us as we grow up to be more and more like Jesus.  Amen.

FMF: {guide}

It’s Friday!  Kate Motaung had a surprise announcement along with her word prompt of the week.  Check out her upcoming release of an online writer’s e-course coming by clicking fmf logohere.  And by clicking there you will also find the five minute friday link-up for this week.

The word prompt is {guide}

As usual, I dreamt of the word in the night hours and woke up with inspiration.  So, now I am ready to set the timer to 5, and GO!

{guide}

I woke up thinking… He will guide me into all truth.  Yes, Holy Spirit is my guide and He will guide me into all truth.  John 16:13

Holy Spirit guides me into all truth, yes, when I know…  experientially know… the truth as trustworthy and good… I am set free.

Thinking of the blind children new to our giant school and the tender women who come to teach them to use their walking cane to find their way through the building (which has 3 floors and is full of 2100 children + adults).  The learning has to be daunting.  Aren’t they afraid?  The task of the adults – it causes me to watch in awe.  Because I can’t relate – it all seems impossible and yet the guide guides every day and the children learn and in the daily guiding – these children are set free to walk the building.

I am daily amazed!  I watch and interact with one young girl (Hope, is her name) as she comes through the front door.  I’ve wondered a time or two if she might be an angel in disguise.

I just want to be friendly so I call out to her – “Hello, Hope!  How are you today?”

I didn’t even realize my voice is a marker for her – a landmark of sorts.  Just like I look for landmarks to guide me as I travel about, she uses sounds and her walking cane – actually she is using every one of her other senses to develop landmarks – to guide her steps.guide-FMF-Square

Her guide is always asking questions.  What do you smell?  Yes, food.  You’re right, we’re by the cafeteria.  Did you hear Ms. Brittain say hello? Yes, you’re right, we’re at the front door.

Hope (her name, can you believe it?) is guided without sight.  And then it hits me – you probably got there first – that’s the definition of faith.  Hebrews 11:1

 

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Faith is walking (like Hope, but in a spiritual sense) trusting my guide to teach me without being able to see where I am going.  Yes, I need a guide.  I want to be set free.  To walk free in faith without seeing.

It is in trusting my guide, Holy Spirit, my faith roots grow deep into the rich soil of my redeemed heart.  My guide sees what I cannot.  He sees the beautiful garden and desires for me to walk freely in it.  Soon faith-blossoms burst open and eventually bear abundant fruit of joy, peace, love, endurance, kindness…without sight, but with a guide…

Stop.

Disclaimer:  I have found that my thoughts flow steadily when I write on paper with a pen.  And so I have written out my FMF thoughts in my journal.  Afterward, I set my timer for five and typed out of my journal for this FMF: {guide}