To Do List And Tender Mercies

Just a cool Photo: God is amazing

Just a cool Photo: God is amazing

Not long after I awoke this morning my To Do list began to flood my thoughts. I struggled with pushing them back while I collected my morning tea, my Bible and journal at my happy spot on the deck. I set a timer to allow me to not have to keep checking the time or my list.

Cupping my hot tea in my hands in the cool of the morning I closed my eyes and focused my mind and my heart on the Lord. What came to me was an old chorus I was reminded of yesterday.

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever
I will sing, I will sing.
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever,
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord.

With my mouth will I make known
Thy faithfulness, Thy faithfulness.
With my mouth will I make known
Thy faithfulness to all generations…..

Singing that quietly, the peace that passes all human understanding began to wash over me. Thinking of just a few of the innumerable mercies of God I have experienced in my life was like a warm hug of acceptance….

At the same time my To Do list simultaneously faded and found it’s place… behind my morning time with the Lord. There are many things on the list and several of them time sensitive, but experience told me everything would be ordered well in a few minutes focused worshiping my Maker and listening for His priorities.

The Chorus reminded me that God is good, full of tender mercies and always faithful. My reading for the morning “coincidentally” reminded me of my calling to use my mouth, and writing, to make known these truths.

Honestly, I do not always give God my first and best. Experience has shown me I can get along with that from time to time, but if I do not make those choices to turn the eyes of my heart on my Maker first and often, I begin to fall into patterns of choices that hurt me and if not corrected, others as well.

First thing in the morning is preferable for me, but any time is a good time to take a breath and focus on the tender mercies and faithfulness of God. Through different seasons of my life I have tried all manner of times and ways.

Showing up, anytime, is the most important ingredient.

When my timer went off, I turned to my To Do list. It is amazing how it did not look  as daunting as it had a few minutes earlier. I was looking at it from a place of safety and security, knowing Abba has the answers and He is excited to give me the wisdom I need. All I have to do is show up, ask and listen.

 

Let God Love You So You Can Love Others

The Key To

Let God Love us

Let God saturate us with His love

When I became a follower of Jesus I learned about our Creator’s commandments to “ love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-37)

That sure sounded hard! How do people love God, someone you don’t physically see?

For that matter, how do we genuinely love anyone? Sure we love those who love us, but generally people have a tendency to hurt each other.

We talk about love, but where does it come from?

I am on a journey to find it. Not with a suitcase and an airplane, but there is baggage and a path. It is the life long path of learning to believe that God is good and that he loves us, no matter what.

1 John 4:19 tells us that we love because God first loved us. Really? Too many experiences, if left to my own interpretation, tell me love is fleeting at best.

But then I dared to trust the promises of our Maker from the Bible. On the outside I had a sassy, “You say it’s true…so show me!!!,” attitude. But deep down inside I was truly hungry. The underlying cry of my heart was, “I am desperate and I need to know this love you promised or life is not worth it!”

Then it began. I met Jesus. When I did, pounds of baggage full of my emotional and spiritual wounds, left me.  The path has often been three steps forward and a step or two back, but I am still learning to drop my baggage of wounds, learning to trust the promises, experiencing the genuineness of the love of God.

I find myself increasingly at peace and increasingly able to love family, friends, neighbors and strangers. Even enemies who do the unthinkable like Orlando experienced last week. I find I have compassion that can only be explained by the supernatural presence of the genuine love of God.

As we grow on this path we begin to be people who others are attracted to. Friends and strangers alike sense we have found a source of peace and love that they too have been hungering for.

Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

This is how the Kingdom of God grows. We let God love us so we can love others. As we introduce them to our source of infinite love they too are able to love others and more people come into the Kingdom.

It takes the pressure off us to be or do something we do not have the power to do. And it is a lot more fun than trying to do what we can never succeed at! we open up and let God’s love saturate us to overflowing.

Abba, saturate me to overflowing with your supernatural love for your glory! 

Letting Go Of Regret

Free to soar

Free to soar

Regret is part of life. Some things niggle at us and others shout. Some things we can get over with a few easy steps and other regrets burrow in, morphing into shame.

Like so many things, the key to freedom is forgiveness. But this time it is not forgiving someone else, it is forgiving ourselves. Too often we only give lip service, on two levels, to forgiving.

By realizing the completeness of Christ’s work on the cross we can be set free from accusations, even if…especially if, the guilt is real.

1 John:If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

This whole concept of forgiveness begins with our need for a savior. We are guilty. All of us have done things that hurt others and ourselves. It is just a fact of life in our fallen world. At the same time, our Creator, who loves us perfectly, knew we would have to deal with regret.

Christ has paid the price, now we need to see ourselves as God does.

We do that by agreeing with God that we are guilty. That is the definition of confession. When we stop hiding or thinking we can ‘fix’ or take back what we said or did, or didn’t do and should have and admit we are guilty, then the blood of Christ shed for us legally satisfies the penalty for what we have done. It covers the offense. “he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

So how do we let go of regret?

We confess, agreeing with God that His work is enough. We thank Him that it is! We stop rehearsing the wrong and accept His judgment of guilty, and His work of forgiveness through Christ.

Thank you Abba that you and all you have done for us is enough. Thank you for releasing us from our past of guilt, shame and regret when we bring it to you and leave it on the cross. Thank you for taking all of it, forgetting it and giving us your righteousness and the freedom to learn from our past. Thank you for sending Jesus! AMEN

Significance And Accomplishment

If I tie my significance to what I have accomplished, then I will always be on the roller coaster of life.

Love as vast as the ocean...and then some!

Love as vast as the ocean…and then some!

I was on the phone with a dear friend commiserating about all the things going on in our lives. Much of it being things that are difficult to measure. Both being people who like check lists that demonstrate how much we have accomplished we decided it would be great to  have a daily check list that started with __ brush teeth__brush hair__make bed__eat breakfast…. just so we can have a sense of accomplishment!

Then I heard the still small voice of Holy Spirit reminding me that I am not what I do.

We are who the Creator says we are!

We are all created in the image of the Creator, therefore each human being is of inestimable value in His sight. That is not something to commiserate about but to rejoice over!

Our primary approval comes from Creator. For me, it takes some mental toughness to reprogram my thought and heart patterns to accept this truth, then put it into practice.

My basic check list can be a back up, because accomplishing is still part of my make up, however, pronouncing who I really am and Who’s I am helps me keep my focus on being in the Father as opposed to being trapped in seeking approval for what I do.

Here are a few thoughts from Psalm 139 that I have paraphrased:

I am not a mistake!

I am a child of God, loved, accepted and chosen for such a time as this.

I was knit together in my mothers womb by the God of all creation!

He made me unique. He wants me to be me and not like others.

Before the world was made, He had all my days lined out and under His control.

I am loved with God’s everlasting love!

God will never leave me! I can not even hide from Him and His love.

I am eternally significant and my accomplishments mean the most when they flow from resting in the love of God for me.

Abba, show me how to let you love me. Help me to declare these truths out loud daily until they sink in to my heart. Help me to receive your love! Amen