Oceans

Yesterday in Children’s Church we sang Oceans by Hillsong United. It is a very popular song and the students truly worshiped throughout the song. It was a beautiful atmosphere.

God has used this song to speak to me on more than one occasion.

In December of 2014, God called me to Enon (For those who may not know, Enon is a church about 45 minutes from where I was serving at the time).  I was worshipping in Children’s Ministry one Sunday and a song was playing which spoke about going were God wanted. I remember saying to God. I truly want to go wherever you want me. Now most of the time when we pray this prayer, we are thinking world-wide travels. A proclamation to our Father daring Him to send us to the uttermost parts of the world, a fired up faith ready to traipse through the darkest jungles, scale the highest mountains, and cross the loneliest deserts to broadcast the Good News of Jesus. I declare to God, “I truly want to go wherever you want me.” God’s response, “Even to Enon?” Enon Africa? Enon South America? Is there an Enon in China? Of course I kid, I knew exactly were God meant and my response, “Even to Enon.” I know it doesn’t sound like a very large leap of faith, but my declaration to go wherever was genuine and so was my response, so off to Enon I went. This may seem very anticlimactic, but bear with me, the story is just getting started.

I have thought about that moment several times throughout the past year (Wow it has been over a year already since God called me here) but I could never remember the song. I could recollect the moment, the experience, but the song escaped me, until this past Sunday. I was listening to the song Oceans prior to service, I had worked over night that night (I work at a group home) and it had been a slightly challenging shift and I was attempting clear my mind so I could focus on ministry. While I was singing “Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me.” Everything from that event which occurred in December of 2014 came flooding back and I said, “This is the song! This was the line!” I found myself encouraged to be reminded I am where God called me.

But wait there is more!

The song continued to resonate with me and I began to think of the scriptures which inspired the writing of the song. I went to Matthew 14:22-33 and read the account of Peter walking on the water. In this story, it is really late at night or very early in the morning, depends on how you view the 3:00am-6:00am hour and these poor guys have been up throughout the night battling this storm, they are unable to reach land because the winds are so strong and the waves are carrying them far from their destination, they are exhausted and weary. They may even feel abandoned by Jesus, wondering why He seems to be there for everyone else, but nowhere to be found when they are in need. On top of all this, they are now seeing ghosts!

I am sure we have all felt this way at some point in our lives. We wonder if it can get worse and it does. We may even feel this way after great miracles have occurred in our lives (remember this boat trip was right after Jesus fed the 5,000 and the disciples were a part of that).

They soon discover this ghost is actually Jesus and He calls out and encourages them not to be afraid. Peter, being Peter, says, “Hey Jesus, if that is really you, tell me to come out to you.” Jesus replies, “Come on.” (In the Vanessa version of this I see “Jesus I will go wherever you want me to go.” Jesus replies “Even to Enon”)

So Peter steps out and begins to walk on the water. He is legit chillin’ on top of the waves. Dude is defying the very laws of nature, but then something happens. Peter sees the effects of the wind. He feels the winds’ strength and the overwhelming waves created by the squall and he begins to sink beneath them. Peter calls out “LORD SAVE ME” and Jesus reaches down and rescues him. Then Jesus says to Peter, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Time out Jesus! He did have enough faith to believe you would save him. If he had doubted You, wouldn’t he have called out to one of his peers in the boat, “James help me. “Matthew, throw me a line.” But he didn’t, he said, “Lord save me.” Come on, doesn’t that count for something? Then I felt the Holy Spirit impressed upon me, Peter trusted Jesus to save Him from the waves, but he lacked the faith to believe Jesus would see him through the waves.

God has called us to walk through the storm, not to be swallowed up by it. So many times we face storms in our lives and we call out to Jesus and say “Jesus save me.” But the storm was never designed to drown Peter, it was created to take him deeper in faith, to move him to a place where he could trust without borders.  Can you imagine the depths of faith we would reach if when storms arose, despite the wind smacking us in the face and waves grasping at our feet, we walked on. Imagine the borders and boundaries which would be removed from our lives if instead of calling out and asking Jesus to save us from the storm, we thank Him for walking with us through it.

We sing the song and we say the words, but if we truly want to be in a place where our trust is without borders, and our faith is made stronger, then we have to be willing to walk through the storm and not be saved from it.

Maybe you feel you have been walking through a storm and you wonder when it will end. Take heart, the storm will not last forever, focus not on the waves, but on the borders being removed from your life, the depths to which God is taking you in your faith in Him. Do not grow weary in the last hour, you will reach the boat, and those who watched you walk through the storm will be encouraged and God will be glorified.

How is that for a climatic ending? Only this is not the ending, it is the beginning, the beginning of a life where there are no borders in what we believe God can do, the beginning of a relationship with God where our faith is so strong, no storm can shake us, no wind can break us, and no wave can swallow us.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.

 

Perfection

I started writing a blog almost 3 years ago. I entitled the first post, “1st post” and admitted that I had been “encouraged, persuaded, and slightly coerced” into creating a blog as at the time I was serving at a church where the Media Guy decided it would be a good idea to have all of the staff create a blog to link to the church website. Being one with an inquiring mind, I asked, “why?” He stated it would create an opportunity for us to share our thoughts with people. I informed him I had nothing profound to share, no deep theological mysteries waiting to unfold, and no quotable statements that were so inspiring they would lead the world to a revolution. I was convinced I had nothing of value worth sharing and no one would be interested in ever reading anything I would post on a blog. I was asked to give it a try anyway, and out of obedience and obligation I did as I was requested.

My first post is hardly worth mentioning, and made not one ripple in the pond. My second post had a few readers, but there was no big splash. My third post was very personal and took a lot of courage to post. My blog post did not go viral, I am not even sure anyone shared it, but one young lady commented, one young lady thanked me for saying the words that needed to be heard. By my 4th post, three people had commented. As I wrote more and shared deeper, people thanked me for what was said. I was told the truth behind the words written had encouraged them and they were grateful for what was shared. I eventually went back to the Media Guy and apologized and thanked him. I told him I was reluctant to post, but he was right because I did have words to share and people did care to read them.

I continued to post for a while, sharing what I had. Some posts were spiritual, and some were just fun, some a little of both, but then I stopped. I became so focused on creating dynamic reading material, I talked myself out of posting anything less than perfect, which means I didn’t post anything at all. In my first post I admitted I wanted my first post to be “some deep, thought provoking, eye-opening, post that would revolutionize the lives of every individual who reads it.”

This is what I do, I strive for perfection, and there is nothing wrong with giving my best, but my best will never be perfect, because I am flawed and imperfect and that is okay because we are all imperfect humans living this life together and if I were perfect then I could relate to no one and no one could relate to me. If I were perfect, then I would have no need for God’s grace, forgiveness, and strength, and I would much rather be broken and flawed in the hands of God than perfect without Him. (which in case you were wondering, is not possible).

I don’t really make new years resolutions, that is not the reason I am reviving this blog, I am writing because I need to be reminded I am not perfect, I don’t have to be perfect, and my God loves me and uses me not in spite of my imperfections, but because of them, because in my imperfections, He gets all the glory. So here is to being imperfect so my perfect Father can be seen through me.

(Please forgive any spelling or grammar errors you may notice, I did not re-read this post 10 times to check for errors, it seemed hypocritical.)

 

Direction

I love when God reveals His truths through simple events which occur in our lives.

This one particular truth was revealed to me from a situation which occurred during Kidfest. We took three vehicles to Kidfest, each vehicle was given a folder which held the directions for the trip. Somehow the vehicle which was leading our small caravan did not get the complete set of directions, this led the individuals to pursue a different road home. This created a small snag and added time to our total travel. Once I discovered the reason for the alternate route, I asked the individual why he didn’t just tell me he was missing the 2nd page of directions. I rode in that vehicle and had an extra copy of the directions in my notebook. It never crossed the mind of the person to ask me for a set of directions. We arrived home safely and I have no ill-will or frustration with the individual, it is just one of those things that happens.

However, it started me thinking, how often have we done this in our own personal lives. We wonder around for a bit, or take an indirect route to reach our destination, when the whole time God is sitting there with the directions and all we have to do is ask.

If today you are not sure about the course for your life, or the path God has for you, just take the time to speak to God, He is sitting there with the directions, and all you have to do is ask.

  • Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Psalms 37:23
  • Jeremiah 29:11-14
  • Philippians 4:6
  • Matthew 7:7
  • Psalms 34:4
  • Psalms 120:1
  • Psalms 3:4
  • Psalms 18:6

So… I met this guy…

Those who know me know I am not the mushy type and I am not one to broadcast about my relationships, however, with it being Valentine’s and the world so entangled in so many false portrayals of love, I thought now would be the perfect time to share about the perfect love I found with my special someone. J Y’all bear with me, I am new at this whole posting about relationships thing.

So I met this guy who totally rocks my world. His love for me is different than any other type of love I have ever experienced. His love goes deeper and is more mature and fulfilling than any other type of love I have known. In previous relationships there has always been something lacking, but with this one, my heart is completely satisfied, and because I am loved so much, it makes it so much easier to love others.

His Father adores me and treats me as if I were His own daughter. He is a provider and takes care of all of my needs. He calls me his beloved, sends me flowers, and loves to gaze at the stars with me. He was faithful to me even when I was not faithful to Him. There was a time in my life when I thought I could find something better. I left searching for other loves. While I was absent, He pursued me to woo me back. Once I realized my mistake, I came running and his arms were open, waiting and ready to receive me. I asked for His forgiveness and I was forgiven and never once have I been reminded of my unfaithfulness or treated differently because of the indiscretions of my past.

He thinks I am to die for. He proved his love for me when he gave himself to pay off a debt I had acquired when I was chasing other things. I could not pay it myself so he took care of it for me, because His love for me is truly unconditional.

He makes me feel beautiful. He has written passionate poetry, yet is not afraid to speak to me in a way that challenges me to become a better person. He sees more in me than I see in myself. Through Him, I am stronger, braver, and capable of doing things I never thought I could. I can truly say he has been there whenever I needed him. I can call him any time day or night and I know he hears every word I say and listens intently to me. He has been my joy when I was sad, my peace when I was scared, my comfort when I was in distress, and my rock when I felt my world was falling apart. He makes me so happy, just saying his name makes me smile. J Jesus… he is so much more than just some guy. Jesus is the lover of my soul, my heart’s desire, and my one true love. On this Valentine’s Day and always, Jesus holds my heart. ❤

Beautiful Dirt

I like the song by Gungor, “Beautiful Things”

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

The Bible states man was formed from the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7a). Unless you are a pedologist (person who studies soil), most of us have little to no interest in dirt. We see it as a nuisance because it requires us to constantly clean. We regard it as nothing more than something on which to walk because it has no value to us.

That was us, nothing but dirt, valueless, purposeless, unattractive, dirt. We were underneath all created beings, creatures, and plant life. That was man before God. When God came down though, things changed. When God breathed into dust, “Man became a living being.”(Gen. 2:7b).That dust was given value, purpose, meaning, beauty, and life. It went from being underneath all creation to ruling over the earth (Gen 1:26).

Without God our lives are like dust. We feel empty and ugly, and wonder what is the point of life, but when God comes and breathes into us, we are filled with love, purpose, and beauty.

Without God, we are dirty and everything we touch is contaminated. It has our own selfish ambitions and self-righteousness smeared all over it. It is coated in pride and ulterior motives. It is tarnished by personal gain and a desire for recognition. However, when God breathes into our lives, he clears away all the dirt and sin and makes us pure in His eyes. He is so phenomenal; He can even take those dirty moments in our lives and use them for His glory.

God’s breath, made the difference. His presence changes everything. Without God we are nothing and have nothing, but when God is in us, we are beautiful for God is a beautiful God. We are giving, and loving, and kind, because God is a giving and loving and kind God. When God is in us we are pure and place others before ourselves, for that is what God did for us.

It was God’s breath that made the difference between dust and man, and it is God in us who makes the difference in our lives.

Oh God, only You can make such beautiful things out of dust.Image

 

Here is a link to the song “Beautiful Things”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is6weMrenls

Run (Insert name here) Run

Yup, another dream. I am not claiming this as a direct dream from God, as the others have been, in fact, at first, I didn’t even give it much thought as I was able to quickly reason with myself as to why I had the dream. However, I began to reflect on the dream in the evening and uncovered a compelling thought. To eliminate confusion I will first need to provide a small back story of why I felt I dreamed the dream, the dream itself, then the explanation. It may feel like a bumpy ride at first, but I believe it is worth hanging in until the end.

First, The Backstory:

I like to fall asleep to the audible version of the Bible. Last night I was listening to Genesis, but by the time I awoke, the reading was in Numbers. My brain listened to all the directions for animal sacrifices laid out in Exodus-Numbers, which is what I felt was the reason behind the dream.

Second, The Dream:

I was in a room with family. yet I did not recognize anyone. In the dream, I knew these people, but their faces were unfamiliar. They began to share with me their passion to return to the Old Testament teachings especially in regards to animal sacrifices.  As they adamantly spoke their vision, the spirit within me rose up to reveal the contradictions and false words which were being proclaimed. Certain parts of their ideology were contrary to scripture, new and old testament. Once the check was placed in my spirit, I covered my ears and ran away yelling, “I’m not listening.”

Third, The Breakdown,

There is a difference between physical recognition and a spiritual connection: There are people in our lives whom we know, we see them on a regular basis, they are a part of our family, church, friends, co-workers, and we know them very well in the physical world, but the spirit does not recognize them. Just because we may know someone physically does not mean we have to give them the right to speak into our lives spiritually.

Know the Word: The ideology being presented to me was based in Old Testament scriptures, yet all that was being shared with me was not biblically based. I was being fed bits  of truth, in hopes i would swallow the whole lie. If we are unfamiliar with the Word, we become susceptible to falling for the morsel of truth being shoved down our throats with the heap of lies. Like the old saying goes, A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.

Sometimes you just have to cover your ears and RUN: There is nothing wrong with running for your life and when false doctrine is presented to you, that is exactly what is at risk. Giving one inkling of a thought to the false words spoken opens a door for Satan to destroy. A beautiful garden can be ruined by one weed. If that weed is not plucked up by the roots it will eventually spread to the point of choking out all of the good seed and in the end, all you have is a field with no fruit. A termite which begins to gnaw on the walls of a home may not topple that house in a day, but if left untreated, it will eventually lead to demise. If Satan can get in one seed of doubt, and we do not tend to that seed, it is enough to ruin the very foundations of our faith. Sometimes you just need to cover your ears, publicly declare your decision, and make a run for it.

Regardless

I trust in You in every way

I trust in You night and day

I trust in You in what You say

I trust in You in every way

I trust in You in every way

I trust in You ’till my dying day

I trust in You, come what may

I trust in you in every way

Not a poem which will win any awards, but it has been a poem which has been stuck in my head for several weeks now. It is a reminder my life is in God’s hand and no matter what may happen, I know I can trust God. regardless. Regardless of whether the road becomes difficult (and at times it will) regardless of finances, regardless of who may come and go in my life, regardless of hurt or pain, regardless of transitions, changes, and movement, Regardless of the economy, regardless of the government, regardless of seemingly untimely circumstances, a run of bad luck, or an old-fashion attack from Satan, Regardless of war, regardless of what people may say, or what people may do. Regardless of my feelings or fears, regardless of anything which may come my way, I can trust God. In moments of uncertainty, when I am not sure what God’s next step  for my life, I know I I can trust God, regardless.

God is all knowing. He is the God who was, and is, and is to come. He knows all things past, present, and future. If God knows the future, then He knows the outcome of my life. Which means if I allow God to direct my life. If I leave my life in God’s hand, then my future is certain. If I attempt to direct my own life then there is no peace of certainty. I trip over my own feet, I run into stationary items, I struggle with articulation, I don’t even want the responsibility of keeping alive a goldfish, let alone directing my own life’s destiny.  Given the choice, I’ll just stick to my cheesy little poem and let God have His way. 🙂

Yup, so those are my thoughts for this Friday.  Might not be a deep theological revelation, but sometimes we just need to be reminded of the simple truths, God is Awesome, He is in Control, and I can trust Him Regardless. Oh, and my life in my own hands is a very, very scary thought.