Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling.  Psalm 2:10-11

Worship and trembling go together.  I’ve been so moved during worship that I could no longer stand up.  It’s a beautiful thing to be overcome by the Spirit.  He may be my home but I never get so used to Him that I fail to be affected by His glory.

 In Hosea, God calls His children silly doves.  They fail to know where their true home is and their heart has grown too cold to pursue it.  “There will come a day,” God foretells, “when they will come trembling again to their houses.”  “Trembling” means to “flutter with haste”.

A woman ceases to make God her home when she no longer believes He can offer her what she needs.  The promise of the abundant life no longer appears abundant.  There can be many reasons for this.  1.) She has experienced too much pain in this world and God is blamed for it.  She runs from the One she believes is responsible instead of understanding that He is her healing.  2.) There has been no instruction on how to make God her home so she sojourns in distant lands, looking for anyone who will offer her temporary shelter.  3.) Satan has taken advantage of her in her time of vulnerability and offered her some counterfeit ways out of distress.  Whatever the reason, leaving home is rarely a short trip.  It can often span the first half of someone’s lifetime.

There comes a day when God begins to clarify.  The fog of misunderstanding of who He is begins to clear and a woman shakes her head and realizes her folly.  God’s true character materializes in full-blown pictures in her spirit.  Hunger for His presence is awakened.  She prepares for her trip back home, back to her roots.  “Before the foundation of the world, I knew you.”  Ah yes, she remembers the verse now.  She realizes that the only place she can find the person, the Love, she’s been looking for is at home with God.  She comes trembling, with awe and excitement, to the land that has always been hers.  She comes to claim it with joy.  The theme of her life is finally summed up in one phrase ~ LOST LOVE FOUND.

Home is sweetest to the one who has been homeless.  Seeing the lights of home makes her hasten her steps.  Walking over the threshold brings waves of contentment.  It’s home.  Everything is just like she needs it to be.  Never is she more at peace than when resting with God.  Any who loses her life in Him will find it.

It took me over forty years to find my home in You.  I lived many places, emotionally, even though I called You, “Father.”  I’ve never gotten used to the wonder of living with You.  With time, ‘home’ means more, not less.  Thank you. Amen

SaveSave

The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. I John 5:10

How did Jesus relate to His Father?  He taught each of us how to live as a child of God. He was a Son; I am a daughter. If I want to know what God is like and how to live in relationship to Him, I watch Jesus. This is what it looked like.

  • Jesus was completely submissive to His Father. He waited for the timing of His call into ministry. He made no autonomous decisions. The Son is able to do nothing of His own accord; but the Son is able to do only what He sees His Father doing. Jn. 5:19 So, Jesus surprises me in His choices. He chose only one man to heal at the at pool of Bethesda though many wanted it. The rich young ruler went away from Him sad but Jesus didn’t go after him. Jesus made no wasted steps.
  • Jesus was one with His Father. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17: 20 This concept is repeated over and over again in John 17 – his long last heartfelt desire expressed in prayer. It must be MORE than important. What does it mean to be ONE with Jesus, as He is ONE with His Father?

I remember flying from New England to Atlanta some time ago. It was turbulent, too hard to read and even music didn’t appeal. I finally closed my eyes and said, “Lord, teach me something powerful that I do not know.” I began to pray into that – and God gave me this picture. I saw the Spirit of God move into my being – like He did when I was 7 yrs. old.  Then He let me see myself in Him – like a puzzle piece that He clicked in place inside of His heart. I could see the edges of me, as a puzzle piece, begin to get fuzzy…like the edges were dissolving and soon, I was no longer definable. I had melted into Jesus. This is what is to think, and act, and feel – as one. 

  • Jesus’ destiny of the cross never eroded His trust in His Father.  Did Jesus have memory of His intimacy with the Father? Did He remember the Garden and the fall? Did he feel the urgency of the ages in needing to redeem mankind? Or did God subject his mind/memory to finite time just as we live? I’m inclined to think that way. Whatever Jesus seemed to know about history, about Abraham and about the Torah, He knew from studying. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. Heb. 5:8 He probably did not have all the details surrounding his coming crucifixion. He knew He was born for this purpose, He trusted, He obeyed – and the seeming cruelty of God’s path for Him didn’t cause Jesus to stumble in relationship with His Father. Can you imagine how He felt when He studied Isaiah 53 and other prophetic passages? He thought, “This is talking about me. This will happen to me.”

 I have pined to know the future, at times. I think that it would benefit, that I could prepare for what’s coming. You have not given me that but I am equipped with everything I need. You surround me with Your promises and they are sure. In Jesus’ name, Amen

And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. Mark 1:10-12

The same Spirit of God that descended on Jesus at His baptism proceeded to lead Him out into the desert to be tempted. That can be emotionally confusing to me as I seek to find a comfort zone in God’s character. One incredibly tender moment during His baptism ushers in stark moments when the humanity of Jesus is stretched to new limits. Why was that necessary?

Many bible teachers weigh in on the answer. One belief is that Jesus needed to be tempted in every way that we are tempted so that we know that we can run to Him as our High Priest. That was certainly accomplished in the wilderness. But there is another possibility.  By being led into the wilderness to be tempted, and by prevailing with righteous choices, He fulfilled what the Israelites had not been able to do during their 40-year wanderings. They had been led from Egypt to the Red Sea, then to the wilderness, in order to test their new faith. The pressures revealed the immaturity of their faith.

Ah, but testing would reveal the perfection of Jesus’ faith. He repeated Israel’s journey to complete what they had failed. One indication that this might be true is the passage Jesus quoted when Satan first tempted Him to turn the stones into bread. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3. “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” The context of Deuteronomy 8 is Israel’s wilderness experience.

Jesus came to redeem what was broken. The nation of Israel failed miserably while on their journey to the Promised Land. Jesus redeemed it by going into the same wilderness and doing it right. As His child, I am called to share in the redemption of what is broken. The Spirit of God leads me into situations where I can redeem the sinful patterns of my family. I am often led into places that mirror my own past experiences so that I can do it right the 2nd time around. I find that the stakes are high when I feel the most fragile. I can enter a wilderness with the best of intentions and with great resolve to succeed. But the nature of my wilderness will test my limits. Passion to succeed never brings success. This is a spiritual endeavor, not a human one. For me to pass the tests that the wilderness brings, I will have to humble myself and acknowledge my utter helplessness without the Holy Spirit’s help. Prevailing with righteous choices will only happen as the Spirit of God, resident in me, rises up to empower what is impossible with human effort.

Jesus redeemed Israel’s sin. What sin, whose journey, might He want to redeem through me today?

It’s exciting. It’s impossible without You. I am Your servant. Amen

Make me to know your way, O Lord; teach me your paths.  Psalm 25:4

I can judge nothing with my senses correctly without consulting God.  Nothing!  What looks lush one day can be a wasteland tomorrow.  What looks barren today can become lush once the hand of a miracle-working God touches it.  I can never judge a book by its cover.  I just never know enough to run my life successfully!

May I learn from those who have walked before me.  Does history not teach me that God chooses the least?  The ones others pass over?  He chooses the uneducated, the spurned, the unpopular.  When people choose leaders, they choose with their senses.  They go for charisma and good looks.  God’s man, as with Jesus, may be someone others walk by and never give a second thought.

God might call me to embrace a place, a calling, a companion, a direction in life that appears to be wrong.  It may not glitter.  It may have little earthly appeal.  I should not second-guess God’s voice.  Jesus was born in a stable, not a palace.  What seems so common is transformed by the wind of the Spirit into something heavenly.  That principle of the kingdom applies to people, to land masses, and in fact, to anything that waits to be touched by a God who turns deserts into gardens.

Are you facing a crossroads today?  Does one way appeal more to your senses because it seems more fertile?  Be careful.  Commit yourself to prayer.  It would be a tragedy to suffer a bias caused by a feast for the eyes.  We risk settling, working, and marrying in Sodom.  Remember Lot?  Abram let him choose his future home.  Lot chose a city in a lush valley, pitched his tent there, and it ended up being Sodom.

I shut the eyes of my flesh and journey with You through the back door of blessing.  In Jesus name, Amen

As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the stretcher they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. Luke 7:12-16

A dead son, an only son, was touched by Jesus. He rose to life and then ‘Jesus gave him back to his mother.’   In 2 Kings 4, Elisha laid on the dead son of a godly woman, her only son, and this boy also rose to life. The story concludes with the same line. ‘And he gave the boy back to his mother.’

There are circumstances only God can change. There are people only God can transform. There are loved ones we need to relinquish into God’s hands to do what only He can do. When He’s done, they return to us as different people.  For this mother from Nain, it wasn’t hard for her to let Jesus enter the picture. Things were desperate and death was the end of the road. But in the land of the living, we play the Savior —- trying to fix, inspire, motivate, chide —- and we don’t realize that it’s necessary to step back in order to let God step close. Loving from afar is difficult when we’ve been the caretaker. Entrusting them to Jesus’ care doesn’t seem like the most loving thing to do. His way of bringing about a yielded life is usually much more severe than ours. We like to cushion people to make their journey as easy as possible but Jesus is not so much about comfort as He is holiness. And isn’t that what we want for them? Is any divine measure too unkind if it culminates in surrender? Is any wound too bad if it is a saving wound?

For whom do I want change so badly that I stand in the way of God? Ultimately, it’s an issue of trust. Do I trust God with someone with whom I’ve been intimately involved? Wrapping my arms around a person and bringing them to the Savior in prayer is not failure on my part. It is the beginning of their redemptive story if they will just bow at the feet of Jesus.

Help us know how to apply this. People need You first, then we can love each other. Father us and help us relinquish control. Amen

My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.  Psalm 119:148

Picture it ~ It’s the middle of the night.  You’ve been sleeping sporadically because of something that’s been eating at you.  Tossing and turning, you meditated on it, turning the issue over and over again in your mind.  No more peace was gained by doing so.  In fact, the rehearsal of it only brought more distress.  Such is the result of a meditation that is not of the God-kind.

David was up at night, too.  The Jews set up night watches (in four-hour shifts starting at dusk) to keep the city safe.  He revealed that his eyes were awake before the announcement of the next shift because he was already meditating on the promises of God.

This is the secret of insight and of peace.  This is where the treasures of the darkness are found.  When there would otherwise be no rest for our heart and no peace for our mind, God gives them both as we set our heart and mind on His words.

David said, “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”  Ps. 145:5 What works touched his heart in the wee hours of the morning?  I suspect the ones that contrasted the hurts and frustrations of his world on that particular day.  When he was betrayed, he meditated on God’s faithful heart.  When afraid, God’s power.  When trapped, God’s promise of deliverance.  When small and void of answers, God’s limitless wisdom.

I believe that meditation is most meaningful when I take the very thing that is troubling me, identify a few of the tormenting themes, then meditate on their kingdom counterparts.  God never entraps His children with words.  Every command, every insight, brings them into a spacious place where the view is expansive.  Upon seeing an old truth in a new light, we draw in our breath and say, “It’s beautiful!  The view is stunning.”

Your Words deliver me.  You are an unending meal for my soul.  Amen

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. John 7:38

A person’s deep emptiness will only be filled by a relationship with Jesus. Not only will it be satisfied but it will overflow from the reservoir of life that Jesus pours in. That is the meaning of Jesus’ words here. Even on a bad day, a believer’s heart will spill out abundant life. Get that person talking about Jesus and tender words of love will flow.

When I was 30, I sat in a counselor’s office.  My mother had just died.  Unbelievably just nine months earlier, my husband’s mother also died.  We were so young with two young children who would not know any grandmas.  My counselor, on my first visit, asked me why I was there.  I told him that I just couldn’t lose one more person.  I asked him to promise me (on behalf of God) that I wouldn’t face any more impending tragedies.  Wisely, he looked at me and said, “The issue is not whether I can promise you a life without more pain.  The issue is this ~ When the next thing happens, will you know Jesus in a way where He is enough?”  That question registered deeply in my soul and set the course for the rest of my life.

With the events of this summer and the loss of our son, I can tell you that God has been enough.  More than enough.  No matter how desperate our need has been, and still is, He is deeper still.  The faith that we have needed to believe God for strength, comfort, and redemption has been granted to us one moment at a time.  We cling to His promises and they are sustaining us even when we can’t see our way ahead yet. The scriptures we have known and thought we have understood have taken on new dimensions and each one meets us where we hurt.

Many have asked me if I am angry with God.  I don’t understand the question.  What happened is not His fault.  Our son made a choice and God has been there to pick up the pieces of our hearts.  We are swimming in the ocean of His love even though grieving.  Living water carries our tears and our praises.

Father, You are still the beautiful answer to every cry of my heart. Amen