September 10, 2011

Letter from God

Dear Daughter,

I have wanted to talk to you for a while, but I am having trouble getting through to you. Oh, intellectually you’re right with Me…or so you think. You have learned what to say in order to convince everyone else that you believe in Me…I am just not so sure you are convinced I really am who you say I am. You only repeat what other people say about me…you have never truly found out Who I AM. Everyone else has defined your relationship with Me. Maybe that’s why every time I move to get close to you, you keep me at arm’s length. The thing is, I know it’s not really you who pushes me away, but your fear. You’re afraid you don’t deserve my love. You’re terrified that I am going to discover the secrets from your past that you keep hidden from everyone else. You’re anxious that you are not going to measure up to the person you think I want you to be. You’re scared that I am not going to want to hear from you because you failed…again. You have felt abandoned by friends and family and cannot bear the thought of Me rejecting you.

You are seeing me through the lens of humanity…the only problem is, I am Creator God.

When you are with someone you trust completely, you’re free to be yourself. I am hurt by your pretense, especially with Me. It keeps you from the relationship I designed you for: a relationship with Me, the God of the Universe and the Savior of mankind. You think your longings for “something” more are simply coincidental? Oh Daughter, they are to draw you closer to me. I love you enough to give you free will...but not to leave you alone. You think I’m shocked by the secrets you have from your past? Girl, I gave you the ability to make those decisions…because I love you. Now, I want to cleanse you and to purify you. I want to save you from yourself…because I love you. The fact that you believe you have to earn my love or distract me from who you truly are, saddens me deeply. Why would I send my only Son to brutally die for you if you had to earn my love? Can’t His sacrificial death be proof enough that I don’t care what you have done or will do, I just want you? I know right now you truly believe that I can’t accept you or that I wouldn’t want to accept you. I want to be honest, my Daughter. You don’t really believe in Me then. You believe in a man-made god. All of your religion has done you a major disservice. To believe that I ‘m too disappointed with your depression, that I’m utterly disgusted with your sexual immorality, that I’m outright appalled by your deceit, that I’m unbelievably shocked by your materialism, that I was never around for your abuse, that I’m absolutely over your arrogance, or that I’m completely impressed with your performance, is to not truly know Who I AM.

I hate sin. But why? Has that ever been explained to you? I hate sin because look at what it has done to you. Look how it has totally devastated your life and those closest to you. That is why when you sin, I refuse to hold it over your head. Sure, I convict you because I want you as far away from the danger and destruction as you can get. But, as soon as you realize that sin doesn’t define who you truly are, I am ready to remind you that you are mine. You belong to me. You are someone I fashioned and created in your mother’s womb. I knew you personally before you could even speak. I knew where you would take your first steps. I knew when you would lose your first tooth. I knew you would struggle learning to count to ten and to write in cursive. I knew the day you would no longer believe in Santa Claus. I knew you would want to burn your middle school pictures because of your frizzy hair, buck teeth, and huge glasses. I knew who your first love would be (and really, him?). I knew all about your first heartbreak. I knew that after high school, you would become disillusioned with what life truly was. I knew that you would be faced with circumstances you thought would kill you, either physically or emotionally. I knew you would grow angry with me. I knew you would decide you could no longer trust a God who allows such pain. I knew that your hurt would define Me as a God who doesn’t care, a God who is powerful but chooses to be relentlessly mean, a God who purposefully allows terrible, unspeakable things to be done to you and then expects you to take the high road with forgiveness. I don’t blame you for hating that god. He isn’t me, though. Yes, I am sovereign. Yes, I allow certain things to take place…but do you really think that this sin infested world with all of its abuse, death, divorce, cancer, depression, addictions, legalism, and religion is what I originally created for humanity? No, this was not my Creation. But, man chose. And it broke My heart. That is why My Son, My Only Son, came to earth to die. I knew the only way for you to survive was though Redemption.

Redemption. Let that word speak peace to the depths of your heart. I want to redeem you. I want to buy you back from the inner turmoil, pain, secrets, anxiety, depression, shame, reputations, pressures, addictions, and lies that hold you captive right now. I want you to believe once and for all that when My Son died on the cross 2000 years ago, He died for you. He died for your sin. No, you aren’t the only one to have gone there. No, I do know what you have done. No, you aren’t the only one. Yes, I do care. Yes, I do know. Do I need to name your sins specifically for you to believe that each of them was covered with My Son’s blood and therefore my forgiveness? I didn’t think so. You are free from your sin, past, and reputation. You are free, if you choose to let Me and My Gospel of Grace define you. You’re right, it isn’t easy…for you. I never said it would be. What I have said is that if you choose to trust Me, you won’t be disappointed. I want to blow your mind with all that I have in store for you. But you have to do the hard work of first believing in Me. You don’t need to believe in your shakable faith. In fact, the sooner you choose to no longer believe what everyone has told you about Me and just find out for yourself, the better. You need to come to the place where you believe in your Unshakable God when everything inside of you trembles and shakes. Choose to believe I am Who I say I AM. Choose to believe I can do all that I have said I can do. Then, you need to choose to believe you are who I say you are and you can do what I say you can do.

I want so much more for you, my Daughter. I am begging you to believe that I have a hope and a future for you. I want to do far more abundantly than you can think or imagine. I want you to prosper, to heal, to thrive, to truly live. But you can’t do it apart from Me. I am waiting. I am here. I love you. Come back. I am calling your name. Please hear Me.

I love you,

Adapted and some excerpts taken from Jesus Calling (Sarah Young) and Praying Through God’s Word (Beth Moore).

September 9, 2011

The Other Woman Part 2

"God is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

If you have ever felt abandoned, even in the slightest sense, you have felt utterly broken. Abandonment speaks to the deepest part of us that we are worthless. A sense of worthlessness breeds hopelessness. Hopelessness crushes the spirit. Praise God He is close to and the Savior of the Abandoned!

"I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from all of my fears." Psalm 34:4

Fear is the ball and chain that keeps a person locked in the stronghold of rejection (Abandonment). I want to pause here and get you to think about this...many times we think that the only way to be abandoned or rejected is at the hands of another person. This isn't entirely true. We can also feel abandoned when our ideal of what a family should be crumbles, when our belief system is challenged and doesn't hold up, when a group of people we thought should have handled a situation differently didn't. Countless people have been crushed by broken dreams, faulty religions, hypocritical churches, repeated failure, unfair circumstances, depression, legalism, cancer, and on and on the list goes.

Fear is perpetuated by the constant rehearsal of "What if?" and "If only?"

What if I stay alone?
What if my kids don't choose Jesus?
What if he leaves me?
What if I am wrongfully judged for something out of my control?
What if I can't make it as a single mom?
What if I ruin my family's reputation?
What if someone finds out who I really am?
What if I can't make it in ministry?
What if I do something stupid and can't correct it?
What if I can't cut it?

If only I knew back then what I know now...
If only I could go back ten years...
If only I could tell him/her what I really am thinking...
If only I hadn't married him...
If only I had been there...
If only I had made that promotion...
If only I hadn't gotten pregnant so soon...
If only I had finished my degree...
If only I had a different personality...
If only I were more talented...

Wow...I have to be honest, just reading through those gives me a slight panic attack. God will deliver us from all of our fears, we just have to look to Him.

"Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good. Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!" Psalm 34:5, 8

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart...It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones." Proverbs 3:5, 8

My question is, who are you feeding? You have two women...the one who is Abandoned and the one who is longing for Acceptance. If you feed Abandonment with fear ("What if?" and "If only?"), you will stay locked in the stronghold of rejection. However, if you call to Jesus in the midst of the fear and look to Him and His almighty power that is available to free you from the darkest of strongholds through faith, and if you feast on His goodness to you by sending His Son to die on the the cross so He could have a relationship with you, you will be freed!

We have to renew our minds. We have to walk in Radical Truth if we seek freedom. Cling to Jesus and the Truth His Word speaks over your life. Feed on Truth, not on fear.

September 7, 2011

The Other Woman

Catchy title, huh? Were you hoping for something scandalous? Well, don't be disappointed. You may not realize this, but each of us has an "Other Woman" who is attempting to sabotage our friendships, marriages, children, careers, ministries...really, our entire lives. Who is She?

She doesn't live across the street, but She comes over to your house regularly. You don't talk to her, but She goes to your church. You would never invite her out for coffee or lunch, but She shows up uninvited all of the time. She spends more time with your husband, friends, and your children than you would like. She wrecks the perfect day and steals the joy from any memory. Who is She?

Look in the mirror. If you stare closely enough, you'll see her. She's you.

Women are unique. We are complicated. We are messy. Let's just face the facts. Since the Garden of Eden, we have wanted the control and have bought into every lie in order to obtain control. One of those lies is that we cannot be broken, weak, or vulnerable. The only problem is, because of the sin invested world we live in, we will experience one of these emotions, and most likely at the hands of someone we trusted deeply. So what do you we do? What any good daughter of Eve would do...we stuff those feelings deep down inside and they develop a life, literally a life, of their own. She is the Other Woman.

So often we don't even know She is there. But if you pay closer attention, you will begin to see the figure of a woman emerge from the shadows of pain.

When you live vicariously through your children because you feel like you missed out on something or your life is just so boring, She's there.

When your life centers around your fashion, your cooking, and your decorations, She's there.

When you are scared to death to get to know people and to build intimate relationships, She's there.

When you hide behind activity and ministry because you want to be noticed, She's there.

When you experience bouts of depression, She's there.

When you are suspicious of every person in your life, She's there.

When you can't explain your anxiety or your fear, She's there.

When you think God is out to get you, She's there.

When you can't enjoy God's goodness because you are preparing for the next storm, She's there.

Do you see her? I sure do. If I had children, I could say I can see her in every one of those confessions. She specializes in "What if?" and "If only..." She goes by many names...but her favorite is "Abandonment". Each of us has experienced Abandonment in some way. Usually, the pain is so deep, we do what we can to bury it and escape it. However, any time we feel overlooked, ignored, replaced, mistreated, or hurt, we subconsciously feed Abandonment. The Bible says "a broken spirit dries up the bones." Abandonment breaks our spirits and if we don't allow God to heal us, we will dry up. We have too many dried up woman in our homes, work places, churches, gyms, and schools. How do we experience healing?

Stay tuned.

Do I Have Any Rights? Part 2

So today I read John 1:11-13:

"He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, Who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."

How awesome is that? The day after I am convicted about feeling as though I am entitled to certain rights from God and from others, I realize that I do have one divine right to center my entire life around:

I have the right to be a child of God.Amazing. What does this mean? Romans 8 breaks it down for me. The following facts need to be ingrained into my heart and mind over and over again because I am up against Satan, the Adversary. He will use every manipulation and deception possible to steer me away from the most powerful truth in all of Scripture: I have Christ's life inside of me because I am a child of God. What does this mean practically?

1. I am no longer condemned by sin and Satan, or God Himself. God condemned sin in His Son on the cross so that the righteous requirement of the law is me!!! Let that sink in for a minute. v.1-8

2. I am in the Spirit. The Spirit of Life (the Holy Spirit - Who is God) - Who raised Christ from the dead - dwells in me!!! Again, pause and reflect. You don't need to feel probably can't feel this...just believe faith! Remember, Hebrews says it is impossible to please God without faith. v. 9-10

3. I am not in debt to sin. I don't owe, am not tied to or enslaved to sin. In other words, I don't have to sin anymore! How freeing! v.11-14

4. I am a child of God. I am not enslaved to fear or to sin. I am not a child of Satan, who is the Father of lies. I have the right to call myself a Child of God, and an heir of all that God has (read Ephesians 1 and Colossians 1). v.15-17

These truths will revolutionize our lives...if we grab a hold of them by faith and constantly remind ourselves of them when we are tempted to believe otherwise. I am a child of God. I have that right. By faith, I am claiming this right today, and everyday, from now till eternity.