As You Find Me

I have been back in this pit of anger and resentment the last couple of weeks. It sneaks up on me. Just like a trap someone might dig for an animal and cover up. Before I know it I have fallen in and can’t seem to find my way out on my own. And yet at the same time it becomes a comfort to me, if that makes sense. I hold on to it with tightly clenched fist. It becomes my best friend, my favorite place.

During these last two weeks Robert (our worship Pastor) has been playing this certain song. I kept hearing it on Thursday nights at CR and on Sunday mornings. It’s by Hillsong United and is called “As You Find Me”. There is a line that God kept repeating in my head over and over, your love’s too good to leave me here.

God’s love was too good to leave Daniel in the lion’s den, He didn’t leave Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fire. He didn’t leave Noah on the ark, He didn’t leave the Israelites in slavery, He didn’t leave Joseph in the pit or in jail. He didn’t leave David in the caves. He didn’t leave Mary a single Mom, He didn’t leave the woman at the well alone. He didn’t leave Lazarus in the grave, He didn’t leave Zacchaeus in the tree, he didn’t leave the disciples alone, he sent the holy spirit. Most important He didn’t leave Christ in the tomb. Because he arose and conquered death, I/we have a hope and promise to rise from our ashes; whatever that might be, anger, resentment, addiction, fear, shame, lust, defeat, loneliness, pride, depression. God’s love is too good to leave us there.

I don’t know what your struggle is today, just know that God finds you, and loves you, right there where you are, and His love is too good to leave you there.

CHOICES

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Choices, we make hundreds of them every day. Some choices are small, what shoes shall I wear today, and some are big, do I take a new job? They all impact our lives. My daughter and son-in-law have started to give Bella choices. She just turned two, but if she learns how to make wise choices now, that will help her with choices later in life.

Right now they let her choose which color sucker she wants, or do you want apple juice or water. They let her pick between two books to read. Sometimes she knows right away what she wants and will say “apple juice,” other times she will say “which one”. Sometimes I am like Bella, and just say, “which one”.

Brett and I recently bought a new bed. Shout out to the “Mattress Store” in Marion. We had no idea what we wanted when we went. They were informative and answered all our questions. It came down to laying on each bed and “choosing” which one felt better. Thank you Suitt family for all your help.

But even harder than picking out a new bed was picking out a new headboard. I spent hours on web sites, Overstock, Wayfair, and Amazon. I went to three different stores, two in other towns. Who knew there were so many styles, colors, shapes, and prices. I wanted the best deal for my money, and I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. I wasted so much time on a choice that is not that significant. I finally found one and it is on it’s way, but in a couple of months I probably won’t even notice it is there.

This morning I read some verses in Deuteronomy about a choice, a choice of life or death. It is instructions given to the Israelites before they cross the Jordan into the promised land.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Seems like a pretty logical choice doesn’t it? Choosing life means to choose to love the Lord, obey him and commit our lives to him. God in a world full of hard choices thank you for making this one so clear. Maybe not always so easy to follow, but at least easy to understand.

SEEKING

God, I know you have been calling me to seek you more. Seek who you really are according to scripture, not according to what some book and author tells me. I have read 100’s of those. Not according to what some sermon or pod casts tells me. I have listened to 100’s of those but, according to who you tell me you are. So, it’s no surprise that a lot of the revival this week has been about seeking you.

Matthew 7: 7-9 Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks finds, and everyone who knocks the door will be opened.

God, we say seek him, seek his face, seek his will for your life. I don’t even know if I know how to do that. I want to seek you, yet not even sure where to start. I want to have a close, personal, real relationship with you. But, I am not so good at those, relationships. I don’t trust easily. I am not an open person. But, I do know the one who created relationships, and I do know I was created to be in relationship with you.

I know the three things I need to do to start.

  • Read your word, study your word, know your word.
  • Pray – talk to you in open, honest, bare, raw conversation-trust you can take whatever I say. You are a big God.
  • Be still – live in the blank, don’t have expectations, don’t always have a plan, don’t have the solution. Be still and wait.

Where do I begin? Thankfully we have google, so I just googled, verses about seeking God. There were hundreds. I jotted down all the references and just started reading through them. Not just reading the verse. but reading the passage around it to find out what was going on.

Then I started a list. I am adding to that list daily, and keep reading over the list. I am starting to see a picture of what God says about seeking him.

We should seek him above all else. If we seek him we will find him. He rewards those who seek him. We should continue to seek him. We should seek him earnestly and with our whole heart. God isn’t hiding, he wants us to seek him, he wants us to find him.

Seek Him today, time could be running out. Time is running out, the clock continues to tick off how much time each of us has left.

CAN I BE HONEST WITH GOD?

I have been in a slump lately. A slump I just have not been able to pull myself out of. I have tried. I have said today I am going to wake up and do better. I am going to be happy. I am going to chose to not let things get under my skin or bother me. And I make it part way into the day but something always happens to put me back in the cycle of unhappiness, anger, hurt, ungratefulness, miserable really. Not someone I want to be, or someone I like. Which makes me feel even worse. Maybe even bordering on depression, just slightly, but for no apparent reason.

This weekend was our annual get away with our kids and grand kids for a couple of nights. We went to St. Louis and spent Friday and Saturday night. We rented a house on the Hill, and enjoyed great Italian food. We went to Grant’s Farm Saturday and had a good weekend. We even ran into some old St Louis friends Saturday night when we went out to eat. Great seeing the Womble’s. A wonderful and blessed weekend, yet still this nagging, unsettled, not myself feeling.

On the way over Friday afternoon in the car, I opened up a book I have been reading off and on for six months or so. It is a great book, one of those that every time I open it, it’s as if it’s ordained for me to read the next chapter at that appointed time. The book ironically is called, “Sacred Mundane, How to Find Freedom, Purpose, and Joy”. I normally am a speed reader, and a lot of times read a book so fast I don’t retain very much from it. So, I have been purposely just reading bits and pieces of this one trying to process it as I go along.

I read and reread two chapters on the way over, it was as if every word was written just for me. One of those where half the book is highlighted. One paragraph really hit home, and I had it in the back of my mind all weekend. I was pondering it. So, I had time tonight to sit down and read both of those chapters again, and spend some quiet time thinking on these words.

The point is not to have perfect circumstances. Having all our expectations met won’t work thankfulness into us because disappointments aren’t the problem. Failing to honestly acknowledge our disappointments is the problem. We hide how we feel. Why? Out of fear. We’re afraid that by admitting something hurts, bothers, or disappoints us, we’ll be seen as weak, shallow, unspiritual, or needy. By others, by ourselves, by God. So we pretend, and often we don’t even know we’re doing it.

This is a small part of two chapters. But in a nutshell this is me, especially with God. I am afraid to admit to God if something bothers me, or disappoints me because I am afraid he will see me as shallow, and unspiritual, that he will see me as ungrateful. I AM AFRAID TO BE HONEST WITH GOD. How crazy is that? Because I know he knows, it just seems wrong to admit it verbally to him. To voice it out loud.

Too often we think that thanksgiving comes by ignoring these small things. It doesn’t. True thanks comes by entering in to them honestly and discovering God is there. Finding him is what fuels our authentic thanksgiving.

I know that God has been speaking to me about being more thankful the last couple of months, but I was trying to fill that with fake thanksgiving. I need to work on being honest and finding him in the disappointments and hurts of each day and being grateful he’s there. That is where true joy begins.

Anyone else out there brave enough to admit they are afraid to be honest with God?

An Old Friend

In Celebrate Recovery we give out blue chips. A blue chip represents day one. It can be day one of sobriety, or just the beginning of a new journey to give something over to God. It is a starting point, a reminder of a new beginning. I have a bowl full of blue chips sitting on my dresser. Psalms is kind of a blue chip book for me. When I have been away from my Bible it is a good place to begin again.

So, I have been reading in Psalms the last couple of days. Today as I sat down to read, I just started making a list of how David saw God. God descriped David as a man after his own heart. That being the case, I wanted to see David’s God. I was in chapter 25 so I just started a list. (I love lists). In a busy life lists give me a quick glance overview. David says you are the God who:

  • saves
  • compassionate and full of unfailing love
  • merciful
  • good and does what is right
  • leads and teaches
  • unfailing love and faithfulness
  • a friend to those who fear Him
  • a rescuer
  • hope
  • sanctuary
  • light and salvation
  • fortress
  • merciful
  • helper
  • goodness
  • rock
  • strength and shield
  • safe fortress
  • shepherd

And in the middle of those verses I get to an old familiar verse, one of those I had clung to at a certain point in my life. I am bad about remembering where verses are so when I came across it, it was like running into an old friend. Psalm 27:8 ‘My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” and my heart responds, “Lord I am coming.”

Thank you God that you are all these things that David list, and that you are also patient. Like an old friend, or a grandparent, we may not have had contact with for awhile. Yet, when we reach out they are always there, waiting, and ready to pick right back up, no judgement, guilt, or condemnation. Thank you that you continue to call me to come and talk with you.

EASY BUTTON

I have been thinking about a conversation Brett and I had yesterday. It started out with a question of, are you happy with our relationship? We both agreed we are not – not that it is bad it just isn’t where either one of us wants it to be. Neither one of us have put it as priority lately. We have let too many other things get in the way and taken priority instead. We agreed to work on that.

Then we talked about our own personal relationships with God. We agreed those are not where we want them to be either, but we have different views on that. Mine isn’t where I want it to be so I feel guilty. My answer I need to “do” more. I need to do more to appease my guilt. I don’t feel I need to do more to make God love me again. I don’t feel like he doesn’t love me. I just feel guilty I am not doing my “part”. I feel guilty, Brett doesn’t, or does but isn’t motivated by that guilt.

I asked Brett how he could not feel guilty. His answer was something along the line of, feeling guilty means Jesus dying on the cross means nothing (ouch). The thing is he doesn’t feel guilt or shame he just accepts God’s grace. I feel there must be some medium in there somewhere.

I often struggle with these two things in my life. I struggle with seeing myself as a horrible sinner instead of someone God sees as righteous, because of Jesus blood on the cross. I also struggle with combining the God of the old testament, with the God of the new. The God in the old testament told the Isralites when you take over a town annilate everyone there, even women and children. So that you will not start worshipping their Gods. That God also wiped out whole families for something a husband/father did wrong. That God is the same God who sent his son to die on the cross for me.

The old testament is full of violence and gore where sin is concerned. Annihilation and sacrifice were gruesome, bloody, gory things. But, so was the cross-it was violent, gruesome and full of gore. The difference in the old testament, it had to keep happening to atone for sin. Jesus death was full and final atonement for all sin.

So, when I put other things ahead of God and don’t read – Jesus blood covered that. When I get mad at work and lose my temper – Jesus blood covers that. When people don’t live up the my expectations and I get angry with them – Jesus blood covered that. When I get jealous and bitter – Jesus blood already covers that. My part, confess, move on, and do my best not to do it again. My part is so easy, that it’s hard for me to accept that is all I have to do. Thank you God for giving me the easy part.

RHYTHM

Some honesty this morning, because I believe we all struggle. We can try and make it look easy and make it look like we have it all together, but we are all in the same boat on this earth. We all drag around an old sin nature, some days he/she is more dead than others, some days she is very much alive. Some seasons we have it more together than others. Maybe I am wrong, and the rest of you do have it all together, all the time but let me tell you, I don’t. So, sharing some honest words from my journal entry today.

Good morning God – I sit here on the balcony in Panama Beach this morning. It’s 7:00 AM, the sun is up, and the moon is still out. How does that happen? It’s probably already 75 out and it is going to be over 90 today. This may be the only enjoyable time outside all day. As I sit here on the 20th floor I can hear the waves rolling in and I can see them below. The ocean is one of your creations that fascinates me the most.

The constant in and out of the waves, the constant in and out of the tide. The way you command the waves to stop at the shoreline and they do. Maybe that’s why I love the ocean so much, the constant of it. The rhythm of it. The flow of it. That is what I crave in my walk with you, a constant, rhythm that flows. But, so often like now I am so far from that.

Instead of constant bible reading there is hit or miss when I have the time. There is an old 70’s song by Cat Stevens, called the Cats in the Cradle. It talks about the relationship of a father and a son. At different stages in each of their lives they crave the attention of the other one, but one is always caught up in life. They can’t (or don’t) find the time for each other. They get caught up in the “things” of live, work, school, kids. Things that aren’t bad but things that fill up their time.

I am caught up in that right now, even here at the beach on vacation. I brought my bible, a study book, a journal, a notebook, all with great intentions to get in the word and spend time with you. Uninterupted time. Here it is Tuesday and I just pulled my Bible and journal out of my bag. I have been caught up with walking on the beach, running around, time with Brett (much needed time with Brett), a pleasure book I wanted to read. None of those are bad, but they have distracted me, from reading my Bible, praying, stopping to enjoy time with You. I think sometimes at the beach or in the moutains I get caught up worshipping the creation and not the creator.

There are times God when I just want to feel your presence, but that may be the wrong request. What I really need to be praying is God let me know who you are. So, today God I pray you not only show me who you are, but let me seek to know who you are. Thank You for the ocean, and the wonder of it.