Drought Conditions

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Last week as my bible study came to a close in prayer, one of the ladies prayed for relief from the drought…my thoughts immediately conjured up images we’ve all seen…lakes dried up…thousands upon thousands of wildlife succumbing to the lack of nutrition…

Then God prompted me to draw a correlation to the spiritual state so many are in…boy, can I relate!  I’ve been in that desert!  Searching and searching for SOMETHING….dying of thirst and no idea what would quench it…it’s as if I was alone in the parched land with no hope of survival….the only thing I knew was that SOMETHING had to change…

And then God stepped in…actually He was there all along…it was as if I was moving Him aside so I could keep searching for a way to fill the void on my own.    

What I have learned is that God will use tools that may seem quite unconventional to bring us closer to Him.  With me? An unexpected acquaintance with someone so bold for Christ I couldn’t dodge him – believe me, I tried!  So often in life I’ve been successful intimidating others – not intentionally mind you – it usually happens when people start to get too close – I push back and generally they stay back.  Not that time…looking back I’m so incredibly thankful! 

We all need motivation to move towards change and that picture looks different for everyone.  Me? I had to first see God move in the life of  the one person on this earth I cherish most – my daughter.  Then He had to bring in a total stranger – talk about opposite ends of a spectrum!  I needed someone bold enough to show me I couldn’t dictate the circumstances of total surrender – and as my friend so succinctly put it, “that would be a peace treaty and God just doesn’t work that way!” 

The only way to survive a drought is by tapping into the true water source… I’m reminded of a sermon a year or so ago entitled  Digging Our Father’s Well   Great message – I’ll try to hit the hightlights…

Basically, we have to clear debris from our “faith well” – the well represents the place where true spiritual life is sustained.  Life has a way of filling the wells of faith with debris such as false religion, abuse, family curses, etc.  Just as Isaac took on the task of re-digging the wells of his father, we have to re-dig our wells if we want true spiritual life. 

How do you do that you ask?  Here’s a start:

  • Prioritize – our very survival depends upon digging deep for living water.
  • Recognize – life has a way of filling our well with debris that keeps us from the sweet waters of life.
  • Persist – dig past family dysfunction and cultural expectations to tap into the living water.
  • Persevere – never give up and don’t get sidetracked by others who don’t want to see you succeed.

Also, PRAY for God to send you a mentor – someone to help show you His truths. 

The great thing is, regardless of how well we know Him, God is ALWAYS by our side – especially in drought conditions.

I Give Myself Away…

Thank you William McDowell for sharing such an amazing perspective…now it’s up to me  to live it out…

I woke up today with this song in my head…actually, it’s been simmering on the back burner of my mind since last Sunday’s service…I know it’s what God wants from me… I know it won’t be until I’m completely out of my comfort zone…all the structure I have a tendency to cling to…is removed…

Praise God! To move towards a place of total surrender…a place I’ve wanted to be – I just wasn’t there yet…I’m not confident I’m there now, but I’m definitely past just wanting it, I have a hunger for it now – to completely put my life – my hopes – my dreams – my trust – in Him!

I know it’s not a magic pill…or a checklist…it’s dying daily to my idea of what life is supposed to look like and stepping out of the way so He can use me

I’m not a control freak…well, perhaps I am – I’ve always been a gal who loves a plan – it’s time to let Him do His job and give up trying to do it all myself.

I Give Myself Away

Lyrics

Chorus:
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me

Verse 1:
Here I am
Here I stand
Lord, my life is in your hands
Lord, I’m longing to see
Your desires revealed in me
I give myself away

Verse 2:
Take my heart
Take my life
As a living sacrifice
All my dreams, all my plans
Lord I place them in your hands

Chorus:
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me

Chorus:
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me

Bridge(7X):
I am not my own
To you I belong
I give myself, I give myself to You
Chorus:
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me

God is On the Move!

I’ve heard people speak of a burning desire…a true hunger to dig deeper into God’s Word in order to know Him better – something I wasn’t convinced I could ever really relate to and doubting I understood how to get there.  Little did I realize I’m on the
right path!  Gee…I think there’s Scripture about not leaning on my own understanding….

Low and behold, over the past several months in the midst of chaos, He is clearly becoming my center – the One I’m looking to first and foremost – the One I lean on.  One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is so simple in theory – it’s the execution that proves to be a bit more of a challenge.  I’ve learned acknowledging and accepting are two very different things…

Finances:  Last Fall I acknowledged I needed God involved in my finances, but I wasn’t ready – I wanted to be ready, but I wasn’t – at least not until this past Spring…I prayed – engaged others in praying for me for God to give me the courage to deal with years of neglect…it was ugly, but there was also a sense of peace because He also equipped me with the tools to work through poor decisions of the past.

Little did I know after only a few short months into getting God involved in my finances I would be faced with huge home repair bills.  What started as a minor project, quickly evolved into major home repairs requiring immediate attention – repairs I did not have sufficient savings to cover; after the initial shock subsided, it was surprisingly easy to turn the situation over to Him and fully trust Him to handle it – and He did! Although the damage is extensive, actual costs are coming in thousands below original estimates.

Relationships: saying I wanted God’s will for a relationship and stepping aside for Him to reveal His will? Yeah…it didn’t happen…well, not at first.  And of course I prayed for Him to guide me – I just wasn’t ready to accept His answer.  What I did know?  I wasn’t giving my relationship with God the attention it so desperately needed.  I soon realized I couldn’t do both.  After my many failed attempts to fix things on my own, I finally relinquished control to Him, and I am now enjoying extraordinary peace and He is taking my relationship with Him to a completely different level!

So how did my perspective change so radically?  It didn’t.  I just wasn’t there yet – I was, however, doing EXACTLY what God wants me to do – loving Him through obedience, growing in His Word, and letting Him be involved in my life.  It’s not a magical formula, but it is a transformational process only He can manage.

Covenant Relationships

Analytical by nature, I’m constantly attempting to put puzzle pieces together – yes, even when I don’t have all the pieces! God was so good to reveal a bigger part of His picture this week.  His covenant relationship with me.  A bond He longs for me to fully embrace. 

Enter the Love Dare – yes, perhaps an unconventional approach to developing a stronger relationship with God, but when I step back and consider the pieces…the conventional use of the Love Dare is between a couple – husband and wife – it’s goal to strengthen the covenant bond of marriage.   God is simply using the Love Dare as a tool for me – taking the concept of a relationship between man and woman a step further – with Him – to strengthen my understanding of His covenant relationship with me.

The focus of each Love Dare is basically how love impacts every facet of our lives – and how different life and relationships can be when viewed through eyes of love – through the eyes of God. 

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8 (NIV)

This verse is not speaking of the world’s definition of love – it speaks of God’s definition of love – two very different meanings!  For me, to know love is to know God – to know God is to know His Word. 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Cor 13:4-7 

And so, the Love Dare touches on these attributes of God and how they are revealed in our lives.  I know I’m only scratching the surface – I know have so much to learn! And that’s what this process is all about – learning more about Him – one devoted day at a time.

Rejoice!

In the midst of life (i.e. chaos), it’s so easy to get bogged down with what’s directly in front us vs. the bigger picture.  How wonderful God provides reminders in different shapes and forms! 

My first reminder today came in my daily Words of Encouragement: 

When you feel that emotional roller coaster starting to climb a hill, stop it in its tracks and say, “This is the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it!”

Quite frankly, I need to meditate on this verse (Psalm 118:24) every day  – God made today – He knows exactly who and what will cross my path.  So as long as I am looking to Him, the emotional roller coaster never needs to leave the gate!

 

One of the best investments I’ve made this year is my 365 Days of Encouragement for the Workplace – it’s a perpetual calendar with a daily inspirational thought by Daymaker Inspriational Gifts – check them out!