Tuesday, June 28, 2011

When You Long to be Free

Freedom. It is what our country was founded on. It is what is in danger of being lost. I could get caught up in the fear of the future for our country. But I remember. I remember that my first loyalty is to Jesus Christ. My first priority is to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and body. My second priority is to love others like myself.

It is in loving Him that I am on this path of motherhood. I was asked once, 'what about all your dreams and the things you said you wanted to do?' At the time, the answer was a simple one....'this is what Christ has laid out for me to do and I will follow.' Over time and laundry, and dirt, and pigs, and messes inside our hearts and inside the four walls of home that answer has grown into something more.

I am to make disciples to send out into a society unseen. My role is greater than chief laundress, baker, chef, secretary, disciplinarian. I am a society changer. And so are you.

However, that vision can easily become clouded in the day to day grind of work and discouragement and wondering if I really am influencing these precious children for Christ. Will they grow up to love Him with all their hearts, souls, and minds? Will they be worshipers in spirit and in truth? Will they be willing to sacrifice everything for the call that the Lord places on their hearts? Will they be society changers? I can get burdened with the wonderings. I lose sight of this vision because what is before me daily is mess. My own mess. My kids' mess. And not just the mess of toys, clothes, and clutter, but the mess of sin and the battle we are in.

In this moment I remember that He holds lambs close to His heart and gently leads those who have young (Isaiah 40:11). So not only am I being lead, but He is holding my dear ones close to His heart. I also remember that I need a plan...because a wise women builds her house, but the foolish one tears hers down (Proverbs 14:1), but it cannot be my plan, it must be the Lord's. I find the plan in Proverbs 24:3-4, where I learn that my house is built on wisdom, and it is established through understanding, and it is filled with beauty through knowledge.

So, how can I be free of the daily grind? How can you? By running in the path of His commands because He has set your heart free (Psalm 119:32). So despite feeling weighted down by all the tasks that need completing and the relationships that need cultivating, we can run in the paths He has laid out because He has set our hearts free.

So when you want to be free—trust in Him and run in His commands!



Monday, June 20, 2011

What Worship Can Do

....continued and concluded.......

'As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah and they were defeated,' 2 Chronicles 20:22.

As they were singing and praising, the Lord moved and defeated the enemies. But the men of Judah didn't know it was happening until they came to the place that overlooked the vast army and saw that the enemies were no more.

The power of praise is amazing. But, we often don't see that power until after we have started praising. It's a little backwards....shouldn't we first see the power of God and then praise? But this is where faith comes in, that, at times, an elusive, necessary component to living out our faith. Praise precedes blessings. Faith, then praise.

2 Chronicles 20:25-30 tells how Jehoshaphat and the people plundered the enemies and brought back so many valuable articles. Isn't it also true that after I go through a time of difficulty, I gain so much more? I grow in my walk with Christ, which is so much more priceless than anything else.

What a beautiful circle.

But, again, how does this apply to my life, my position that I am in? How can I practically apply the principle in my daily life? Will that involve recording things I am thankful for? What disciplines will this involve? Because it does take discipline to change a habit or a pattern of thought. And, do I even possess the ability to be this disciplined? But wait, here I am back at the beginning. “I do not know what to do...I am helpless....my eyes are on you.'

How will I keep my eyes on Him?

What impressed me most on this passage of scripture is the power of worship. How worship breaks down strongholds and allows God's mighty power to surge through to victory. How I long for victory every day in my life and how I realize how worship plays such a powerful part in that victory.

I pray you go before the Lord with your hands lifted and your eyes raised with these words in your heart....'I do not know what to do...I am helpless....my eyes are on you' and you respond when he says...'Worship!' and then be amazed at what He does and walk in faith if you see no evidence of the power of worship. Remember, the Israelites didn't know that their enemy was being annihilated while they were worshiping.

Thank-you for journeying with me through 2 Chronicles!



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Finding Your Position

......continued from last week......

A place to be comes to mind when I think of position. The places where I am at are simple. I am a wife, mother, and teacher. But I think this question really is—where am I to stand spiritually?

Let's go back to 2 Chronicles. After the People heard from the Lord they bowed down and worshiped. That is a position. Bowing low. Then some of them stood and praised the Lord in a very loud voice. This is also a position. Praise and Worship. Humility. Exaltation.

Early the next morning the troops gathered to fight this battle that was not theirs. Jehoshaphat encouraged the Israelites with these words: 'Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful'. (2 Chronicles 20:20) I learn from this that God will uphold me if I have faith in Him. And I will be successful if I have faith in his prophets, which tells me to believe the Words that come from his Word.

Jehoshaphat also does something rather unusual. He appoints men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of his holiness at the head of the army. And they are specifically to say: 'Give thanks to the Lord, His love endures forever' So...it is 'thankfulness' that precedes the battle. Thankfulness must go ahead of my position. They were marching into battle—that was their position, but preceding their position were men appointed to give thanks.

One can speculate why this was done. One could say that it was done to offer morale to the troops, but I think it was in response to what the Lord has said to them the previous day.

One cannot stay in a physically bowed position all day and one cannot stand in one spot praising the Lord of heaven, But one can speak thanks as you go about your day. But behind their thanksgiving was the faith and belief that God would do as he said. They heard from God. They believed God. They thanked God.

Now each time I open my bible I can choose to hear God's voice and each time I hear from Him, I can choose to believe Him as well. Thanksgiving is a choice as well.

What will thanksgiving look like in my position? My position as wife, mother, and teacher? How will it be manifested in my life?

......to be continued......



Thursday, June 9, 2011

When Your Enemies are Vast

....continued from last week....

It is hard to name those enemies. It is easier to place all the blame on myself. 'I am weak. I am undisciplined'. But, do you see what that does? It contributes to my sense of despair. It keeps me on the hamster wheel of never, ever being good enough. Of never, ever feeling like I have the victory. My head tells me that there must be others like me out there. There must be more women who struggle, but we put on such a 'happy' face and off we go. Trying to stay one step ahead of those voices, one step ahead of being overtaken.

But something happens. Pretty soon you get to a place where there is no where else to go. I can fall into the swirling vortex or turn and stand with my eyes before the Lord lifting up my voice, throwing up my hands, admitting that I can do no more.

It was in that moment that Jehoshaphat and the Israelites heard God's voice.

2 Chronicles 20: 15-17, 'He said, Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.'

If I believe the the Lord speaks to me through His word, then I can hear him saying to me: 'don't be afraid, don't be discouraged, yes the army is vast but it is my battle. Take up your positions, stand firm, and watch me deliver you. Don't be afraid, don't be discouraged, face this battle, and I will be with you'.

I find it oddly reassuring that he says the enemy is vast. It is reassuring in the fact that if affirms that he really does see. Because frankly, the army feels very vast.

The question that rises to the surface of my heart is: 'what is my position to be? Where do I need to be positioned in order to stand?'

....continuing the journey through 2 Chronicles 20....

Blessings upon you,


Friday, June 3, 2011

Standing Still While Moving

.....the journey continues......

2 Chronicles 20:13, 'All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.'

So. I am here. Standing. Waiting. But of course this has to be a progressive standing and waiting because I have my duties before me. Who will make breakfast? Who will teach minds and mold hearts? Who will love and serve my husband? Who will pay the bills? Who will shop for groceries? Who will.....?

Therein lies the trouble. I would love to do nothing more than but stand before the Lord and wait. But I can't stand still. I am a busy wife and mother and teacher. So this 'standing before the Lord' needs to be in the heart. How do I harness my heart's worries and cares to be still and wait? Could it be through continually throwing up my hands and crying out, I am powerless! I do not know what to do! My eyes are upon you--. And then doing the next thing that needs to be done. My physical self is meeting needs, but my inner self is standing empty and my heart's eyes are focused upon him.

As I go through my day I am keenly aware of just how fragile my mind and heart is. I am keenly aware of how insipidly the enemy has made a way into my head and heart. But I am also keenly aware of how big my God is. And how if I just wait, he will reveal himself to me.

So this is my mystery. The standing still, while moving. It is a mystery I embrace.

....more to come.....

Blessings in Christ,