“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5 NIV
Hugs and love!
Hugs and love!
Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hugs and love!
The Bible tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people. Take moments each day to vocalize your praise of the Lord. Sing a song, pray, speak His word out loud, share with your loved ones all the reasons why you praise Him. Praising the Lord with you!
I’d like to share this message as if I’m speaking to a group of my sisters in Christ sitting in my family room with our Bibles and a cup of coffee or tea sharing our lives in the LORD. If you were here right now you would see that my laundry room has three detergents. One is Arm & Hammer with baking soda (love that!) which I’m currently using. The other two I purchased on sale. Xtra and Purex, also good products.
Now, you may ask, Lisa, why in the world do you have three different laundry detergents? Well, did you catch me say one of them I love and two of them I purchased on sale? Ladies, if you’re like me you have preferences of purchase but often your pocketbook dictates the need to purchase on sale–on a bargain. Make sense?
Stay with me now…
While there are certain products I absolutely don’t mind buying the cheaper one (if the product is still good like my laundry detergent), there are certain things that I won’t compromise in my purchase. An example would be the products I ship to my adult daughter for my grand girls. They both have eczema like their mommy did when she was a child. They have to be careful about everything they use on their skin. Prices are high for their products so we assist our daughter with these kinds of purchases.
Let’s return to the Laundry Room, keeping in mind that some things we just can’t compromise on…
While I will buy products that are cheaper to wash our clothes because we don’t have sensitive skin, I will note to you that some detergents are just plum better than others for washing the clothes, making the colors vibrant again and getting the stains out!
Now, let’s look at this with a spiritual eye rather than a natural one…
Our hearts are stained. No doubt about that. We all have areas of struggle in our thoughts, the motivations of our hearts, the words we speak, the way we view and treat others at times and in our behaviors. You would agree with me, right?
Often we find ourselves searching for the best product at the right price! We want what is seemingly going to remove the stains in our lives but without the high price so we may compromise. Are you with me?
We look for Christian books by what is known as the “well-known authors” with the hopes that something she or he has written will get the stains out. Some people turn to self-help books and seminars with the hopes that something they hear will remove the stains in their lives. There are some who run from one conference to another just looking, searching, hoping for the best product at the right price! Often, they come away from those things with nuggets they can use but the stains and pains in life are still there.
What I have found is that there is really only ONE best product at the right price for my life! Not to suggest that a good Christian book or Christian conference is not helpful, but there is nothing like humbling myself before GOD, grabbing my BIBLE, sitting down with HIM in prayer — asking Him to show me myself fully — examining myself in His Word and seeing myself through the work done by our Lord at the cross for you and for me.
I can barely write this for crying because while we spend so much time searching for the best product at the right price we already have HIM. It is not my intention to sound as if I’m minimizing His importance with this analogy by any means — I want you to see this clearly that we already have the BEST– the best product is the WORD and the right price has already been paid for us — the precious shedding of the blood of Jesus!
To get the stains out of my life I have to continually, day after day, be submerged fully in His Word. I ask that the blood of Jesus would wash me, cleanse me, consecrate and change me fully. I don’t mind being stained if I’m stained with His precious blood. I’m humbled by His love and gift of life. How about you? The high price has already been paid for you and for me.
I was going to leave a prayer for you but I believe Jesus prayed it best for us:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. -John 17:20-23 (NIV)
Look at how much we are loved by the LORD who shed His blood that we would be reconciled to the Father and be one in Him with one another. How can we not run to Him before anything or anyone else? Amen?! Amen! I pray you leave here encouraged today in the LORD. He loves you!
When you enter into the foyer of my home you enter through double doors with two windows that shine the bright light of the sun through them covering my entire foyer area. The photo below is my actual front door and often when I’m not rushing to get out the door to face the cares of the day, I have the opportunity to pause and take in the warmth of the light which refreshes me and often makes me smile. When I’m in a hurry I can miss it – the warmth – I can miss HIM – my warmth, my light the One who refreshes me and keeps me smiling – JESUS the Light of the world!
Think about that for a moment….
Enjoy this excerpt from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I believe it says it all.
“Rest in My Radiant Presence. The world around you seems to spin faster and faster, till everything is a blur. Yet there is a cushion of calm at the center of your life, where you live in union with Me. Return to this soothing Center as often as you can, for this is where you are energized: filled with My Love, Joy and Peace.”
Psalm 89:14-16 “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness.
I learned to pull back; without apology, when I need to and just REST in HIS Presence because I know what it feels like to miss HIM—to run dry–to run on an empty tank. It affects my sleep, my attitude and level of patience. It also affects my ability to hear HIM and to be effective in my Christian walk. (Note: I say without apology because I once suffered with the disease to please from a childhood of abuse and insecurities. I had to literally learn that it was not a sin to respectfully say ‘No’ to a request. I used to feel so guilty about that and people, especially when they have needs, will attempt to make you feel guilty for not meeting their needs but truth be told JESUS is the Only One who truly meets all of our needs. Amen?! Amen.)
We are all living in fast times and we can often be so involved with our lives, the lives of others, our things to do list, work, ministry, blogging, writing, running errands, text messages, online communication and more that we miss the Light pouring into our lives. People, places and things can all grab for our attention away from the rest we find in the Light of Jesus. We are so consumed with things we are doing and our schedules that we miss the opportunity to just rest – really rest, not just grab moments and times here and there for devotions, church or bible study but to truly rest in the Light of His Radiant Presence!
What happens when you (we) really take that time to rest in His Presence? How does His Light shine in the foyer of your life when you pause to take Him in? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
I’m praying with and for you. Thank you for praying for me. Remain in the Light of the LORD for He loves you!
When I think of a closet I think of hiding. Hiding our true feelings–pain, sorrow, weaknesses, fears, insecurities, questions and our emotional responses to the problems we often face. Satan would love to keep people in a place of hiding for in hiding there is captivity but when we come out of that place of hiding safely in Christ; there is freedom!
Our home was used for ministry for seven years when we lived in another state. One to two times per month there would be a diverse group of beautiful women of God in my home to receive the Word (Bible) and prayer. The rest of the month our home was open to anyone who needed prayer, biblical counsel and marital support. I normally prefer a clean home and with people visiting regularly it was mandatory.
However, there were those times when the door bell would ring unexpectedly. You know those moments when your hair isn’t combed, the bathrooms haven’t been cleaned yet, the kitchen sink is full, clothes, coffee mugs, shoes, Bibles and tons of books are all over the living room and you are NOT dressed your best. Suddenly the bell rings. You’d hear me call out to my family, “Throw everything in the closet! Hurry up the bell rang!”
It is those moments that you would see me move like I was in a marathon. I’d throw a beautiful dish towel over the dishes. I quickly had someone run to clean up the bathrooms while I would throw EVERYTHING into the CLOSET to hide the mess. I’d throw my hair in a bun and answer the door with the biggest smile on my face and say, “Praise the Lord! So good to see you!”
At the end of the visit, I’d open our closet door and shake my head because often things would tumble out but at least it remained hidden while our company was there. That is the way we often live as Christians. People may hide everything in the closet when it’s time to put on the Christian face and image—throwing all of the negative thoughts, damaged emotions, bad habits, insecurities, fears, past pain and inappropriate behaviors into the closet where the world cannot see. We put on the smiles, the Christian greetings with the appropriate Christian clichés when all the while we are hurting inside. I learned long ago that while throwing my things in the closet when company came was okay, but doing that spiritually was dangerous and damaging! I’m grateful for a changed heart in that area.
We are often afraid to allow anyone to see the “real us” because there is a fear of being thought of as weaker Christians – or worse, being rejected. Truth be told had any of the people who visited my home seen the messy kitchen sink and items tossed about due to “real living,” they may have actually related to what they saw as opposed to turning away.
The same is true emotionally and spiritually. We have such great opportunity to support one another, to get out of our closet mindsets—the things we hide behind yet we spend so much time covering up, masking over our true feelings, tossing the pains into the closet where they can’t be seen and putting on the happy face when the inside is damaged and in need of support and repair.
I will say that I have written this from a life of experience as I used to live the closet mindset. Not just with literally throwing things in the closet that were tossed about if unexpected company arrived but I also lived that way emotionally. Early in my walk with GOD I would hide my feelings, pain, shame and FEARS always believing that no one would ever understand. I was afraid of being judged, misunderstood and perhaps not even liked. I was a HUGE people pleaser due to the pains of my past. The ironic twist is that while I was living behind the masks of smiles and hiding true pain within the ‘closet’ I had no idea that all around me were women feeling and living the exact same way. Needlessly we live hidden in the closet when JESUS has come that we would have life and have it more abundantly.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)
We have a Lord and Savior who identifies with us in every way.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)
The closet allows us to hide temporarily. However, at some point the door of our closet (heart and mind) will be opened and everything will spill out and be revealed. So why not do this in a safe place, with a safe person—someone who loves you unconditionally. Someone whose correction and comfort will touch you deep within and make changes in your life that you would never imagine. That someone is JESUS.
My prayer for you is what I have often prayed for myself. Make this your own prayer:
Lord Jesus, all things lay bare before You including the very pains in my heart, my negative thoughts and my fears. Please clean out those areas and bring them to light. Heal me Lord and I will be healed. Thank You for being a safe place for me to rest in. I love You and thank You for loving me. In Your Name I pray. Amen and Amen!
I’m praying for you with love!
Praise the Lord, Ladies!
For anyone who needs it I want to encourage you as I encourage myself to have my heart cleansed from the hurts attributed to being afraid to trust YET another up-close girlfriend relationship. Followers of Christ can have both the head and heart knowledge of His Word, a genuine relationship with Him, apply His Word in their daily lives and still have areas of struggle and weakness! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I’m in that place with regards to up-close girlfriend relationships and the ability for me to trust and embrace another person when every fiber of my being is saying no more, not again! I’ve had 4 in my lifetime that have gone south and have left me feeling lonely in that area, angry at times, hurt and as of late the guard-dog on the wall of my heart has resurfaced as a result. Some of you may have had this experience or may be living it now.
I have three brothers (one is deceased) and I never had sisters. As a child it didn’t matter but into my twenties I began to long for God to fill that void. I have two daughters and two granddaughters and I adore my hubby. We have girls all around us but still I find myself desiring an up-close sister-friendship that is two-sided, loving, open, honest and Christ centered.
Let me take you back briefly…
As a child I was violated for many years by someone I should have been safe with and I was disbelieved by someone (his spouse) that I should have been able to trust and be safe with as well. This brought about years of pain, shame, guilt, insecurity, FEARS, confusion, anger, hurt, secrets and secret-sins. It was years before I could even embrace GOD as my Abba Father and Jesus as my LORD. I knew Him as my Savior but not my Lord for a long time.
When you’ve been violated it’s not easy to TRUST anyone at any time for any reason until you surrender it fully to Christ and receive healing unto wholeness. I am so thankful for the love of my grandparents who were the ones who showed Christ to me in my life growing up. Had they not been in my life I’d not be the child of God I am today!
As years went by I have received healing and grace through Jesus and I’m so thankful to Him –resting in His presence, gleaning from His Word, spending loads of time in prayer as I walked with Him has blessed my life immensely. As such I have had four up-close Christian girlfriend relationships in my life where I have told the guard dog of my heart to go lie down. I’ve allowed those persons into my heart and my family and have loved them fully. Prayed for them diligently, spoken the Word into their lives, loved and laughed—being open to whatever GOD wanted the friendship to be—having no expectations other than we’d love each other in Christ.
Sadly two betrayed (1998 and 2003), one abandoned (2002) and in very recent times one really used me for her spiritual needs (prayer and biblical support etc.). This last friendship most especially hurt because it had been so long since I opened my heart to a close friendship. All I can say to you is that in my 44.5 years there is one thing I know for sure and that is love is an action word and it can’t be one-way if it’s to work in Christ. Love sustains even through the hurts but love is definitely NOT meant to be one-sided.
As of late it has become considerably difficult to tell the guard dog of my heart to go lie down while I allow another person up-close. I know many ladies. The call of God on my life has had me in a place of ministering to women for years. I enjoy praying for them, encouraging them in the Word, getting together at events BUT the guard-dog is on the wall of my heart ready to keep me safe. Our church group is coming to a close on “Breaking Free” by Beth Moore and it’s been a time of prayer, tears, revelation, wisdom, and laying some things down (trust/friendships and emotional reactions to hurts) that have gripped me for years. Galatians 5:1 has become a DAILY Word: Galatians 5:1 (NIV) It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Then last week I won a book giveaway. What is the title? “Friendships for Grown-Ups” by Lisa Whelchel and I am on page 34. That’s a message for another time.
Often we don’t want to talk about those areas of hurt because we’re afraid of being vulnerable, misunderstood, talked about or rejected but as a child of God and a Servant-Leader by His Grace, GOD has always used my life as an open book so that others could also get to His feet and receive the healing unto wholeness they need. Join me in the journey of true wholeness at the feet of Jesus. We’ll grab hands and go to His feet together. We can fully trust His love and care for us. I love what He told Martha in Luke 10:41-42 (NIV) “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” So let’s do the same by resting at His feet; choosing what is better!
I’m praying for you and whatever areas of heart cleansing you need to open and expose in the light of Christ. Thank you for praying for me.