The One Thing Needed

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While making homemade pretzels one day, after the dough had risen and I separated it into several pieces, the directions informed me to let the dough rest. Do you know why? Because if it was stretched into a pretzel at that point, it would simply break. It needed to rest. Do you see where I’m going with this?

So once it had rested, I was able to stretch and mold the piece of dough into a nice, long snake that I could then fold into a pretzel.

Rest is vital if you want to grow. It just is. There are times when you feel like you are being stretched in a million directions and you are about to snap. BEFORE you even get there, rest. Rest and let yourself be resting. Put away the to-do list. Put away the things that you want to accomplish. And for a time, rest in God’s Presence.

With a Bible, you may ask? Well, if you want. But you see, it’s not about accomplishment or checking off your “I read the Bible today” box. It’s about rest in His Presence. And that rest? It comes in many forms-prayer, praise, crying out, letting His Word soak into your rest in Him or even silence.

It’s like a Mama here in town who read Psalm 91 over and over, as her 5 year old daughter was in ICU. She was resting, abiding. There’s not a box that said read Psalm 91, so you can accomplish something. She chose to rest in the LORD’s ability.

Do not let yourself get to the point where you have gotten so tightly wound that if you were stretched, you would break. Sometimes, you need to just pull it all in and rest. Regroup. Prepare. Restore. Rewind, even. Our culture has trained you to accomplish.

What if I whispered really loudly over the wires here: accomplishment is NOT the goal! Walking with God does not mean that you will accomplish much. It will mean that you accomplish BEST-and that may be one thing that He is preparing you for right now, but you are too busy about the many things.

Are you resting today? Dwell in His Presence. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will REST in the Shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 Yes, rest.

And if you will, pray for those who are hurting so badly in ICU this day. May God wrap His arms ’round about them. (Yes, Katie, I am thinking of you!)

 

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Savoring His Presence

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In Beth’s Moore study Believing God she encouraged us to look for God Stops.
Savoring
The
Observable
Presence

Her purpose was to encourage us to look for His activity and presence in our daily lives. I recently experienced a wonderful touch that encouraged me and I hope it will encourage you too.

This past week a dear friend called me to pray with her. I had some deep prayer concerns myself. As we were talking I said that I felt like I should write a list of names and wear them over my heart like the high priest would bear the names of the tribes on his chest before the Lord.

“Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the LORD.” Exodus 28:29

That afternoon my husband brought in the mail that contained my son’s Mother’s Day card to me. Inside the card was a simple necklace consisting of two silver disks. One had the names of our three granddaughters and the other disk had the names of our son and daughter. I loved it. Later that evening the Holy Spirit brought to my mind the statement I had made about the need to bear names over my heart before the Lord. I hadn’t made the connection at all. I was so grateful that He didn’t allow me to miss it.

I try to be faithful to put His loving touches in my journal so that I won’t ever forget the kindnesses that He has shown me. It has occurred to me that He is also savoring and recording those moments when we show our esteem for Him.

“Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.” Malachi 3:16

Isn’t that just amazing? My own words fail me.

 

Your bountiful care what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light,
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In you do we trust, nor find you to fail;
Your mercies, how tender, how firm to the end,
Our maker, defender, redeemer, and friend!

O measureless Might, ineffable Love,
While angels delight to hymn you above.
The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
With true adoration shall sing to your praise.

O Worship the King
Author: William Croft
Tune: Hanover
1st Published in: 1833

Let’s give Him something to write about today.

 

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His Passion for You

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This testimony  is one that truly changed my life and my perspective of God, as my Father. The whole time is still indelibly imprinted on my memory–like videotape I can rewind and replay.

In February 2004 in East Texas, Chris had just come through a life-threatening rupture of his appendix at Christmas-time. We had three children ages 7 months, 4 and 6.

Our church had rented the theater for members to come and watch The Passion of the Christ. So we dropped the kids at the church nursery (a little late) and headed over to the theater.

My stomach was in knots. I did not want to see it at all and was ready to bolt. We walked into the theater and I saw another movie poster (I think it was 13 going on 30). And I prayed, “Lord, can’t I go and see that one? I don’t want to see this movie. I just don’t.”

But I felt Him prompt me to push ahead and face my greatest fear–seeing a very true to life crucifixion of my dear Savior. I did not think I could stand it. I was sure they’d have to take me out of the theater crying and sobbing.

Then as we sat nearly on the front row, because the house was packed, I felt His Presence with me. I sat and watched Jesus pray in the garden of Gethsemane… A stillness came over my frame, unlike any I had known before, and I began to hear Jesus speak to me in my spirit.

Scripture quotations, songs, and words interacting in my mind with what I was seeing. I even was smiling! There were times when I heard, “It didn’t happen this way.” There were songs playing in my mind–“Were you there, when they crucified my LORD?” It felt like one of those interactive movies at Disneyland. I was stunned. I was enamored. I was thankful. I was loved.

The words “by my stripes they are healed” took on a whole new meaning. The crowd shouting, “Give us Barabbus” was like someone today saying, “Give us Bin Laden.” The sinless, spotless, Lamb of God was traded for someone like me–a sinful, wretched thief, liar, cheater, murderer and so much more.

He whispered, “I did this for you, Holly.” And I nodded my head with a single tear. It was the only tear I shed during that time, which in itself is amazing. Then, as He died on the cross, I began to hear, “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains. Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains; and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.” The entire song played in my mind.

It was amazing. It was to me a miraculous experience. I didn’t know He loved me like that. I knew, of course, that He loved me–that He saved me from my sins by His blood shed on the cross. I knew that! What I didn’t know is that, if I’d let Him, He’d daily walk with me through trials. He’d be my companion, my friend. He’d be my joy, my peace, my strength.

That day in a little theater in East Texas, my Jesus held me through the entire movie. I needed Him so. I still do! The hardest part of the time was my seemingly “inappropriate” smiling. I couldn’t explain it to a soul. People were weeping loudly for goodness sake! And here I was smiling. The smile was one of secrets shared. And they are mine to have with Him. They are yours to have with Him, too.

Closer than a friend or brother is my Jesus.

Deuteronomy 29:29 says,  “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”

1 Corinthians 4:1-2 “So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”

Friday is indeed a day to be somber in remembering His sacrifice. But, we hold out Life to others in the secret trust that we have in Christ Jesus–we know that Sunday came and Jesus changed the world. Now go and receive it–let Him entrust Himself to you. Then GO and TELL it. Be faithful to share your secret that keeps you smiling!

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It’s not about you.

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Dear 16 year-old, 18 yearold, 21 year-old, 23 year old Heather –

You worry too much.  You worry too much about what people think about you.  You worry that they think you are fat or ugly or stupid.  You worry that even your friends don’t like you.  You worry so much about what others think that it paralyzes you with fear and keeps you from trying new things or making a goal towards an accomplishment because what if you fail, and then people will see, and know, and laugh and you just can’t risk that.  For example, I know you are thinking about running for student council, but what if you lose and everyone will know that you lost and they’ll think you’re a loser…right????  Or you want to ask to lead a Bible Study, but what if you don’t know what to say and they all think you are stupid and should have never thought in a million years that you could lead a Bible study?  Or that bad haircut, and every time you walk into church, everybody is thinking , “Wow – what bad hair Heather has!  It’s quite distracting.  I hope it grows out soon.”

Well, guess what.

All those people…they aren’t thinking about you.

No, really…I mean it.  Do you know how I know?

Because they are thinking about themselves.

No, I’m serious.  You aren’t the center of their world, they are.  They have the same problem you do – they think too much of themselves as do you.  You are self-centered – even in your pity-parties, even in your fear of failure, even in your fear of rejection.

I came across this quote recently from C.S. Lewis – you are going to love this man in later years!-but back to the quote….It slapped me upside the head…

The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).

I know, it’s a bit harsh, but it put me in my place – my right place before God.  You see, I was, and still do, spend so much time thinking about myself, that there is no room in my feeble little brain to think about God. But God…

I love that transition that is used so often in Scripture.  But God, saved me from myself through the life and work of His Son Jesus Christ.  Now I am free to not think about myself.  Don’t get me wrong, I still do- it’s a struggle.  But I have found that when life feels chaotic and I feel stressed, I am probably thinking too much of myself and not about Christ – who loves me and saved me for Himself.

Heather, it’s like this…

You don’t have to be consumed and stressed out and worried about yourself.  Christ took you to Himself – He thinks about you so you don’t have to (Psalm 139) and He thinks you were lovely enough and worthy enough to die for.  He is your life. That is all that matters.

So dear Heather, beloved in and by Christ the Lord,

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face.  And the things of earth (and self) will grow strangly dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

As you do, you will find freedom from that harsh slave-master, yourself.

Grace and peace,

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