Miss Cat Eyes

My husband teases me that I have “cat eyes”!

 I like to navigate my way around our home in the dark at the end of the day. What my husband doesn’t know (who am I kidding? He probably DOES  know!) is that it’s a game for me, a type of  small-scale challenge to see if I can make my way (without tripping) up four-half flights of stairs to the top floor of our home to our bedroom. The challenge is not over until I navigate my way through our bedroom to the bathroom THEN I can turn the lights on…. Yay to the child who still lives within!! What great satisfaction and accomplishment  is hers when she can still find her way in the dark around twist, turns and obstacles!!

Darkness and light.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and DARKNESS was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. …And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God SEPARATED the light from the darkness. God called the light Day and the darkness Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day” (Gen. 1:1-5).

Darkness and light.

God chose to SEPARATE day from night (see Gen. 1:14-19). The cycle of a full day became complete to carry out the purpose of God, He desired light and darkness to be separated.

This leads my thoughts to Jesus’ words in John 8:12, “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever FOLLOWS ME will NOT walk in darkness, but WILL HAVE the light OF LIFE.”

You mean we don’t need to have “cat eyes”?

Listen to what the Apostle Paul wrote, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk AS children of light, for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true, and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord…when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible. For anything that becomes visible is light” (Eph. 5:8-9,13-14).

“Anything that becomes VISIBLE becomes light.”

Listen again to Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:14-16, “YOU are the light of the world. A city on a hill CANNOT be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. IN THE SAME WAY, LET your light shine before others, SO THAT they may SEE your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

And Paul’s words again, “DO all things without grumbling or disputing, THAT you may be blameless and innocent, children of God, without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation AMONG whom you SHINE as LIGHTS in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain” (Phil. 2:14-15).

If Jesus is the light of the world (and He IS ), and He lives in us to be a light to and in the world (“AMONG them”..see above); And if we have been symbolically commissioned to be like cities on hills and lamps in a home, then our lives are intended to represent God’s original purpose to keep separate light and darkness.

The world lives in darkness, our lives are intended to make visible what is unseen, to hold the navigational torch for Jesus so that the world will see Jesus.

What does this truth mean for YOUR life?

WHERE is God calling YOU to take the light of Jesus Christ?

What staircase of darkness awaits your climb?

The next time you see a city on a hill, or turn a light on in your home, take time to pause and reflect and call to mind that if YOU profess to know Jesus, YOUR life carries a non-negotiable calling to have that same impact in culture’s darkness.

Kinda makes you tremble doesn’t it?

It is a challenge, but definitely NOT a game.

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Fear!!

Fear!

What a multi-layered, far-reaching, complex subject this is; definitely too many words for one blog!

I prefer to start with transformational words.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; WHOM shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; OF WHOM shall I be afraid?

THOUGH an ARMY encamp AGAINST me, my heart shall not fear, though war rise AGAINST me, yet I WILL BE CONFIDENT.” (Psalm 27:1&3)

“I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have SET THEMSELVES AGAINST me all around.” (Psalm 3:6)

“For am I now SEEKING the approval of man. or of God? Or am I TRYING to PLEASE MAN? If I were still trying to please man, I would NOT be a servant of Christ.” (Gal. 1:10)

Are any of you consumed by fear of another man’s opinion today? Or another’s bossy words,  cruel judgement, gossip or control?

This kind of fear, if found to be resident in our hearts and minds can and will render us void and useless in life.

Are you aware of how many times a day you stop to consider what someone might think of you “if”?

Are you aware of the power and control you give to someone when you allow them to cast shadow upon your  mind and heart with veils of fear?

Are you aware of the eye of the storm that you choose to live in as a result? (and no, it is far from calm, you are caught in the middle while the storm rages out of control around you).

It is as Paul said, if you live like this you cannot be a servant of Christ. You will live like you are wrapped in a blanket of chains.

Does this describe you today?

Are you like a cowardly soldier hiding in the dug out?

“The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:6)

“I am He who comforts you; who are you that you  are afraid of man WHO DIES, of the son of man WHO IS MADE LIKE GRASS..(Is. 51:12)

God created EACH of us!!  WHY then do we fear the opinions and statements of fellow “humans” who are no different from who we are? We need reminding that “ALL HAVE SINNED  and fallen SHORT of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23) ?

We ALL stand at the foot of the SAME cross, there are no levels, there are no favorites.

Why are we holding back out of fear of what another might say or do?

You alone must live your life, no one else will live it for you!

These are simplistic words in relation to the power of the  bondage of “man fears”.  MANY live from this place day in and day out….how exhausting!!

 It is not my intent to simplify a very great and very real fear; God knows the time I have WASTED living from within those prison walls! Only TRUTH will set a mind free from that haunting place; only truth that is LIVED OUT will  release a life from what I now see as a ridiculous fear.

Think about it…WHY would we care about another’s disapproval when we KNOW that in the end as we stand before God, we will stand ALONE!  No other voice but our own to render account  for our life lived on earth.

Why would I spend my life worrying (fearing) about what others may or may not think of me in regards to who I am? That would be their problem to bear, not mine…maybe God has chosen my quirks to be their character development, and vise versa.

“The fear of man lays a snare..” (Prov.29:25)

“and do not fear those who kill the body but CANNOT kill the soul. ( see Matt. 10:26-33)

“For God gave us a spirit NOT OF FEAR but of POWER and LOVE and SELF-CONTROL.” (2 Tim. 1:7)

…..

JESUS left us these words of truth: “PEACE (peace, peace, peace!!!!) I LEAVE WITH YOU. NOT as the world gives do I give you. LET NOT your hearts be troubled, neither LET THEM BE AFRAID.” (JN. 14: 27).

“Neither LET them”…that word “let” implies a form of permission from our will.

What will you “let” into that heart of yours? Peace or fear? It really is up to YOU!

When will you start living in freedom from man’s opinion?

And what is man? Scripture likens us to “grass” (read psalm 103:14-16).

So get on with living YOUR life, DO NOT FEAR MAN.

 What is YOUR opinion? Perhaps it is time to use your own brain?

Jesus

Does anyone ever wonder why so many evangelical churches are closing their doors in North America?

Does anyone ever wonder why so many do NOT believe in Jesus?

Do you ever wonder what would happen if we all lived like we proclaim we believe?

How many of you are in a soul battle?

How many of you have become so twisted within that your Jesus has become some childhood answer to a Sunday School Teacher’s question?

If Jesus is who He says He is, and we profess our faith in Him, why are we not in the middle of a revival?

I have been camped in John chapter 14 recently….especially verses 12-14, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever BELIEVES in me WILL ALSO DO the works that I do; and GREATER works than these WILL HE DO, BECAUSE I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, THIS will I do, that the Father MAY BE GLORIFIED in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

So why are we not doing the “greater things”?

Could it be that we are lost in our indulgent, comfy life, content to coast along in unrooted truth?

…..

In Mark chapter four Jesus is teaching a parable about the “Sower” (4:1-20) What soil represents your life? What difference does it make in HOW you live?

If I may take a small fork in the road here….I have resolved in my own heart lately that nothing I SAY or WRITE can change or add to the power of the Word of God. Only the Word of God has the POWER to TRANSFORM a life; If then I believe this to be true ( and I do!) then my life becomes evidence of the Word of God alive to others but only if I am feeding on the bread of Life  (John 6:35-36). If the soil of my life is rocky or rotten, the Word will not take root;  evidence of truth dies shortly after it has been read, and my life represents little to no evidence of Jesus.

In Mark chapter five Jesus teaches that we are the light of the world, a city that should not be hidden. In verse 13 He teaches that we are the salt OF THE EARTH, but if we loose are “saltiness” how can we be restored?

Are you salty?

Is Jesus shining as bright as a lamp or like a city from within you TO a WATCHING culture?

Do you care?

If you profess to know and love Jesus as the WORD teaches us to, then WHAT are you DOING with what you’ve been given?

I believe with ALL my heart that we WILL SEE the “greater things” just as JESUS SAID, BUT ONLY IF we will take the high and narrow road of great personnal cost (see Matthew 10:38-39). 

Today my insides are churning over this, I represent only one life what can I do? What needs to take place in our present reality to kick start us  into living with passion because of WHO Jesus said He IS?

Hello?

Is anyone else praying about this?

The Wandering Snail Returns

O I have lots of excuses for not writing Lord! For starters, my baby girl is getting married in a few weeks…does that count? And …and…and…

oops…

Okay, seriously, it has been far too easy to give up writing for planning a wedding! Already new habits are forming.  To sit down and write for three hours is now an option for the pot on the back of the stove top….

A prevalent, chronic whisper persists in my soul ..psst…psst..”WRITE, WRITE, WRITE”, to which I subconsciously respond, “shh!”, “shh!”, “shh!”

I call myself the “Wandering Snail” today because every yicky, yucky snail I pluck off the plants in my perennial garden is going nowhere too soon. Those slow pokes are content to just sit and chomp, sucking the life out of my beautiful plants ( I suppose they could be hungry). BUT as annoying as they are to my garden habitat, I see myself in their slow movement  with my writing disciplines.

Will I be content to allow life to continue to plow its way into me,  pushing aside the one assignment God has given me? Why do I have this romanticized notion that all things come easy when you find your running path?

I know from physical disciplines that “pain is gain”, so why would I play at writing when I have a goal in mind? (Maybe snails have a goal as well; probably to make it to the top of the plant without being seen…)

What’s my point today? I suppose a squirmish published confession and an attempt to boot myself into action again!

As Madeleine L’Engle writes; “if I leave my work for a day, it leaves me for three.” She continues,” I think it was Artur Rubinstein who admitted, “if I don’t practise the piano for one day I know it. If I don’t practise the piano for two days my family knows it. If I don’t practise for three days, my public knows it.
The moment of inspiration does not come to someone who lolls around expecting the gift to be free. It is no giveaway. It is the pearl for which we have to pay a great price, the price of intense loneliness, the price of that vulnerability which often allows us to be hurt; the less readily understandable price of hurting those we love…If we’re given a gift..and the size of the gift, great or small, is irrelevant, then most of us must serve it, like it or not. I say most of us because I have seen people of great talent who have done nothing with it and mutter about getting down to work “when there’s time.” ( from “Walking on Water”)

Oops…sounds like she is writing for the snail who lives within me in the writing department; and sounds like Jesus’ teaching in the parable of the talents. (read Matt. 25:14-30).

The Wandering Snail returns! She must move past hiding behind contented aimless chomping, and move like the plant could disappear at a moments notice…

The Ho-Hum Soul..

“Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have NO GOOD APART FROM YOU.” (Psalm 16:1-2)

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25-26)

“But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” (Psalm 73:28)

Do you ever walk through a few “Ho-Hum” days before an internal alarm goes off and you realize  that you have become dulled, or sleepy towards the Spirit of God? Life loses it’s edge and you”re walking like a zombie headed no where?

It should no longer surprise me that complacency grows like mold: slow and infectious, creeping along into unprotected areas, covering a surface with dull and lifeless paint.

“Preserve me O God”…put me in a canning jar and protect my heart and mind from wandering off again and again! This imagery reminds me of words from an old hymn; ” Proned to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.”

Does this describe your life today? Kind of “Ho-Hummish?”

 Take heart dear soul, God places the welcome mat out for the “Ho-Hum” soul returning home.

Do not despair in your complacency, or waste time swimming in frustration and self-condemnation, rather return to the One who promises to never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)

I believe God gave us a wonderful gift through the nation of Israel; if you have read the Word of God you will know what I am referring to.

The Israelites were always wandering away from God’s instructions; I think they became a “Ho-Hum” people. Did God call them back to Himself? And did He forgivethem? Were they given a re-start? Yes, yes and yes! As much as they had become kings and queens of wandering, God proved himself to be a Lover in pursuit even more-so.

Listen to these words from the book of Joel:’ “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, RETURN to me with ALL YOUR HEART, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for He IS GRACIOUS and MERCIFUL, SLOW to anger, and ABOUNDING in STEADFAST love; …’ (Joel 2:12-14)

If God does not change (Mal.3:6) and the Word of God is living and active (Heb. 4:12) then is it not safe to assume that the above words Joel wrote to the nation of Israel about their returning to God is true for our lives as well? YES, absolutely! 

I end where I began today; “PRESERVE  ME, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I HAVE NO GOOD THING APART FROM YOU.” (Psalm 16:1-2)

Perhaps this verse explains why King David was good at returning, HE KNEW that in GOD he had everything GOOD.

Do you KNOW this truth today? Do I know this truth today? This truth is what “preserves me”  and “preserves” you….it keeps us, draws us, leads us away from having a wandering soul; preservation comes AS we TAKE refuge, AS WE REMEMBER whose we are, and remember that we are desired by the One who created us.

“Therefore, stay AWAKE, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” (Matt. 24:42)

Do not become ho-hummy; stay awake, alert, and alive to the Lord!

If you love music you might want to look up “Awakening” by Hillsong United (from album “Aftermath”)

Who wants to see God?

If I were to take a poll comprised of answers to today’s question I would wager that most people would declare a heartfelt “I do!” But sadly today’s “church” culture would suggest EVIDENCE that many would answer “No, not really.”

WHY is that?

WHY does human nature seek to find ways to justify secret, immoral, unholy living?

Why are Jesus followers dabbling in things that the Word of God clearly says that we are to stay away from? Is this why the church, (the “Bride of Christ”) carries so little fragrance to the many “outside” her walls?

When will the Bride of Christ understand how serious God is about us living lives of purity?

For a few days now I have been praying, and processing over a rabbit trail of scripture as a result of study in Hebrews chapter twelve.

“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make STRAIGHT paths for your feet, SO THAT what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. STRIVE for peace with everyone AND FOR the HOLINESS without which NO ONE WILL SEE THE LORD. See to it that NO ONE fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that NO ONE is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau…..” (Heb. 12:12-16)

The writer of Hebrews urges us to STRIVE for holiness, without it we will not see the Lord! And Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter five: “BLESSED are the PURE IN HEART for they SHALL SEE GOD.” (verse 8).

Purity and holiness; two beautiful words that if dumped into a clear glass to become liquid I would see perfect clarity almost as though the substance had no existence, like clean air. There would be no floating residue, distracting particles or shadows created by existing mud.

“BLESSED are the PURE in HEART, for they SHALL SEE GOD.” A pure heart, a holy heart is a heart of perfect clarity; the filter is clean, we see through pure air to the Throne of God, to God Himself. There is no hindrance, just a straight run, right to His feet.

Is it possible that the enemy of our souls is seeking to keep us busy with what temporarily entices the heart?  (our hearts, we are instructed in scripture, are to be kept “with all vigilance for FROM it FLOW THE SPRINGS OF LIFE.” Prov.4:23).  Satan knows what chronic enticements and sin bring sorrow to the heart of God, and what keeps our hearts enslaved and polluted.

A side note here; what often accompanies unholy living is discouragement, a spider web of self-absorption. Self-absorption IS the fool proof trap that prohibits us from seeing God. What remains in our sight lines is failure; cyclic behavior is born which then gives birth to two sisters named “Addiction” and “Bondage” who dress themselves with self-pity.

I am thinking of John 10:10 again; “The thief comes ONLY to steal and kill and destroy. I came THAT they may have life and have it ABUNDANTLY.”

…..

DO YOU DESIRE TO SEE GOD?

 The Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica he wrote; “God has not called us for impurity but in HOLINESS.” (1 Thess. 4:7).

In the book of Ephesians Paul also writes;” But sexual immorality and ALL impurity or covetousness MUST NOT EVEN BE NAMED AMONG YOU, as is proper among saints. Let there be NO filthiness, nor foolish talk, nor crude joking, which are out of place, BUT INSTEAD let there be thanksgiving. For you may be SURE about this, that EVERYONE who is sexually immoral or impure or who is covetous (that is, an idoltar), has NO INHERITANCE in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Eph. 5:3-5)

WHY do we not SEE God?

If purity and holiness are direct specifications required OF US to “see” God; WHY ARE SO MANY WASTING TIME LIVING AS THOUGH THEY DO NOT BELIEVE GOD IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS?

Listen to this! “But AS HE who called you IS HOLY, YOU ALSO be holy in ALL your conduct, since it is written, “You shall  be holy, for I am holy.” (1Pet.1:15-16; I encourage you to read the entire passage, verses 13-25).

What is it that is not understood about the life of Christ living within us? And the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to live a life of victory?

Galatians 2:20 says; “I have been crucified WITH CHRIST. It is NO LONGER I who live, but CHRIST who LIVES IN ME. And the life I NOW LIVE in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who LOVED me and GAVE HIMSELF FOR ME.”

If we believe by faith that Jesus gave His life for ours SO THAT we COULD and WOULD live in VICTORY from the destructive power of sin; and if we actually believe what we profess, that Jesus LIVES IN US (I’m thinking now of Philippians 1:21; “for to me to live IS CHRIST…”) then WHY are so many WASTING time living IN BONDAGE TO UNHOLY LIVING?? Is Jesus who He says He is or not? Tell me what is it that is not being understood about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?! 

How is it possible for anyone professing faith in Jesus to not crave to SEE and KNOW and be drawn into deep communion with God? The One who created us? The One who loves us more than we could possibly understand? (see Psalm 103)

I really, truly believe WITH ALL MY HEART, SOUL, MIND AND STRENGTH that WE CAN and WE WILL “see” God THIS SIDE OF ETERNITY, that we can and will know Him; we will hear from Him; we will experience Him; we will trust Him; we will feel His breath on the back of our necks; we will tremble in awe and fear and be humbled; We will be drawn to and hunger and thirst for MORE of Him, and we will know His love.

Is this not the point of holy living….MORE of God LIVING IN us?!! Glass-like reflections of the God of the universe….can you imagine the beauty evidenced to a watching, desperately lost world?  Will we see God move in ways that we have not seen or heard of in many years? I believe He is waiting for us to decide WHO we will follow.

Is it not time for the Bride of Christ to be the BRIDE OF CHRIST? Was she not presented SPOTLESS, and HOLY? Why then do we think that as part of that body we can crank off careless living that leads to cyclic addictive living to the very things that we are told to stay away from? 

NOW is the time to confess and repent, NOW is the time to start LIVING a life reflective on the One who LIVES within you and I.

RIGHT NOW, TODAY…DON’T WAIT…. God desires to BE SEEN, TO BE KNOWN, to be LOVED by us; but because we do not have eyes of faith we are settling for eyes of worthless tangibles and a future of self-destruction.

I close off today with 2Pet.1-4; “His divine POWER has granted to us ALL THINGS that pertain to life and godliness, THROUGH THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIM who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which He has granted TO us His precious and VERY GREAT PROMISES, so that THROUGH them you may become PARTAKERS of the DIVINE NATURE, having ESCAPED from the corruption that is in this world BECAUSE OF sinful desire…” (I encourage you to read that entire passage of scripture…smile!).