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Daddy Loves Me

It was a day like most others for a seven-year-old. I was out on our front porch playing in the afternoon sunshine while my mom was inside doing “mom things.” As I enjoyed the day with the birds singing and the dogs running around the neighborhood, I saw my dad drive up to our house. He got out, walked up to the door, and without acknowledging me at all, knocked.

 

My mom came to the door and my dad threw a piece of paper at her, saying “here is your blood money!” He turned and stomped off. I didn’t know right then what had happened, but I knew he was angry and my mom was upset. I found out later, by listening to my mom talk to my grandmother, that the paper was a child support check and that my father didn’t want to pay to take care of us.

 

My dad didn’t want us? He didn’t want me? If Daddy didn’t want me, didn’t love me, then why would anyone else? This event affected the lens through which I saw the world and set up a sense that I didn’t matter … I wasn’t enough … I was unworthy.

 

This, in spite of a mother that loved me to the moon and back and consistently built me up!

This, in spite of a God who loved me so much that He sent His Son to die for me!

This, in spite of accepting Jesus as my Savior at about the same time as the “blood money” incident.

 

In my head, I knew God loved me … but until about a year ago there were days and seasons where these feelings affected my life causing periods of depression and sadness. I hadn’t been able to overcome the damage my father’s rejection had caused. But God could……….

 

 God wanted me to know, really know deep in my soul, how much He loved me and that He would never reject me … and because I hadn’t “gotten it” over the years with Him as my Lord and Savior, He got my attention in a very big way through a job loss – yet another rejection!

 

How can this be a good thing, you ask! Because even as our HR Director was giving me the totally unexpected news that my job had been eliminated, I knew God’s hand was in the situation. I felt His loving presence fill me with His peace and calm – I knew He had allowed this loss to show me how much He loved me.

 

Good Father

And it did – when I turned to Him! I clung to His promises and His encouragement – I felt my soul being healed and a sense of peace, in spite of the uncertainty of my situation. But God wanted more for me – He wanted to shift my perspective – He wanted me to see myself as He saw me – and He did this through a verse that would become a balm to my soul.

 

“Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us [me] in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us [me] into His own family by bringing us [me] to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:4-5

 

God chose me? God adopted me? Through the sacrifice and blood of His Son? He loved me THAT much? And He decided that when? Before I was even born? And it made Him, the God of the universe, happy to have me in His family?

 

Wow! In those moments, God wrapped His arms around me and He gave me the biggest hug – and suddenly, my perspective shifted. Even though my earthly father hadn’t treasured me, I had another Father who did treasure me – a Father that loved me so much, that sacrificed so much, just so I could be with Him. And it made Him happy to have me as part of His family! This realization is what began the deep healing process.

 

Worthy and Loved

I started to see myself as God sees me – as a beloved daughter. As one who is now worthy because of the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ – “once you were far away from God, but now you have brought near to Him through the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13

 

Have those feelings of depression and rejection totally gone away? No. There are still days when I don’t feel all bright and shiny, but now when I feel that way, I meditate on God’s Word and soak in the magnitude of what God did for me. This reminds me that I AM good enough. I was chosen and I am loved and I am worthy!

 

Have you ever felt rejected? Unworthy? Unloved? Not good enough? If you have, then it is my prayer that YOU will feel God’s arms wrap around you as a beloved child, an adopted member of His family and really, deeply know how special you are to Him. It makes the God of the universe happy to have you in His family!

 

I encourage you to make this personal by inserting your name into the verse. Read it out loud and bask in His love – because He chose you, He adopted you, He loves you. No matter how many times you may have been rejected or overlooked, our Father in heaven sees you and adores you.

 

I am worthy and loved. You are worthy and loved. We are His chosen ones.

 


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Watch the Lamb

As we approach Easter this weekend and celebrate the gift Jesus made available to us when He sacrificed himself on the cross, I want to focus on a song that touched my heart in a profound way many years ago (and still does today).  By the end of this song, I was in tears as I deeply thought about and felt in my soul the reality of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb who covered our sins with His blood.  If we are believers, we know Jesus is the Lamb of God who gave His life to wipe away our sins so that if we believe and accept His free gift, we can be saved and be part of His kingdom for eternity.

| For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NIV)

| The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, NIV)

Do this in remembrance of Me

We know this truth ……….. in our heads ………….. but sometimes this realization hasn’t reached down into our soul to the emotional & spiritual core of who we are.  Easter becomes a holiday …… something common place (we do this every year) …….. and less than it should be.  But Easter should be the most holy of remembrances, for it is by His sacrifice that we can live in freedom as children of the Most High God.

The song, Watch the Lamb by Ray Boltz, moves me beyond intellectual acknowledgement of Easter into an emotional and spiritual place.  The song shows the Passover experience from the eyes of a father and his two sons who have traveled to Jerusalem to offer their sacrifice (Mark 15:21) — a sacrifice that ended in a much different way than expected.  Take a listen …….

I believe this father’s experience with the Lamb of God affected his life in a profound way.   Has it affected us in a similar fashion?  From our lives as modern Christians, I think we often look at Jesus’ sacrifice almost academically — we don’t really understand the pain and agony that Jesus went through on our behalf.  The mock trials, the beatings and scourging, the ridicule, the humiliation and the excruciating pain of crucifixion — all endured willingly by Jesus as the final sacrifice for our sins

|  Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.” John 12:27

I have been listening to a devotion on the book of John — and with God’s timing, I happen to be at the point of Jesus’ death in my study during this week before Easter — making my experience listening to it all the more impactful.  Chuck Swindoll with Insight for Living (https://www.insight.org) describes the process of Roman justice — the scourging and crucifixion (the most humiliating, public and painful death imaginable).  It is horrific, with many not living beyond the scourging due to the blood loss and shock; then the pain and agony of being nailed to the cross and slowly suffocating as the condemned can no longer hold themselves up on feet nailed to a wooden cross.

Why would anyone else endure this for us, for me?  Because it was God’s plan from the beginning and the only way to bring sinful man into reconciliation with a Holy God!  For this reason, Jesus, Our Lord and Savior, gave His life.

He is the way

I am so grateful for His sacrifice, but there are still times when I go through my daily routine only to realize that this gratefulness doesn’t fully comprehend and isn’t fully broken by what the crucifixion meant in that day and time.  Or what He endured for me …… for me, an unworthy and sinful child …………. all because He wanted me to be part of  His family.  His sacrifice was the only way to wash away sins for all who would believe in Him ……..  once and for all!

| I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6, NIV)

Has Jesus’ sacrifice become personal for you?  Or do you see it as an overarching sacrifice for all of mankind?  I ask this because when I think of Jesus dying for me — and only me — it blows my mind because I really can’t fathom why He would love me that much.  I can see His sacrifice more clearly when it saves all of mankind ……. but just for me?  I feel so unworthy.  But this is the crux of our faith!  Our acceptance of His gift for our individual sins ………. and then living for Him daily ………… walking as Jesus walked.

it is finished

Is the crucifixion real to you?  But even more so, is the resurrection real to you?  I am so grateful for the cross, but I am even more grateful for the empty tomb — because our God is not dead, He is alive!!!!  Death did not defeat Him — He defeated death for all eternity.

My prayer for you this Easter weekend is for you to have a very personal encounter with your Savior ………… really let yourself feel the sacrifice He made and acknowledge the pain and agony He endured for you.  Then joyfully worship and adore Him.  And if you don’t know Him in this personal way, I pray you ask Him into your life and accept Him as your Savior and Lord.

As you celebrate this most holy holiday, the very foundation of our faith, I hope you enjoy this Easter Medley from  Anthem Lights about our risen Lord ………. then top it all off by listening to the wonderful version of He’s Alive by Dolly Parton (brings tears to my eyes every time!).

 

unfinished2

So far in this series we have talked about inspiration and being in the hills and valleys of life – we cherish the good times on the mountaintop and traverse the valleys while we learn and grow in Him.  But what about the other times – the in between times?  Those times when we are chugging along, carrying out our day-to-day tasks, and wondering if there is more to our lives.  Asking ourselves and God, “Why am I here? What is my purpose?” ….. feeling like you’re here to make a difference but just aren’t sure how.  Feeling like your life is somehow unfinished……..

unfinishedThere are times in my painting journey where I haven’t finished the assigned painting in the allotted time or I have “finished” it, but it isn’t reflective of the picture I had in my mind – in the moment, I feel like there are some details that need refining or need to be added.   I’ll step away from the painting for a day or two and re-evaluate.  Sometimes when I look at it again, I’m satisfied – I can look at it from a different perspective and see the beauty and uniqueness of my offering.  Sometimes, though, I want to make changes (touch-ups) or it is obvious (like this painting) that there is more work to do.

Just like in my painting journey, I sometimes feel the same way about my life — it’s an unfinished canvas and my life is half-written.  There are times when I either feel like I don’t have the guidance I’m seeking on which path to take or I’ve started a project or task given to me by my Heavenly Father, but I haven’t completed it – fear or insecurity or busyness or uncertainty seem to get in the way.  What about you?  Do you ever feel like your life is unfinished?

_Because he loves me,_ says the lord, _I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my

Fortunately for my paintings, there is an SOS class where I can bring it back and finish it with the help and assistance of the experts.  The “real” artist will provide guidance and actually step in sometimes to provide hands-on fixes.  This support and one-on-one attention is so helpful and gives me confidence that over time my painting will become a work of art touching other’s lives.

So the question is, how can we get an SOS class for the unfinished areas of our lives?   

 

| “…. let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1b-2, NKJV)

We need to turn to the “author and finisher of our faith” for that support, love, and guidance — through prayer, reading His Word, fellowship with believers, and in many cases, moving outside our comfort zone to step into obedience to His direction.  I’m working through that right now — I want to be obedient to His guidance related to starting a business and a ministry, but it’s scary and I doubt that I have the talent, experience and reach to make it happen.  But what I have to remember is that “the reality is that the Lord never calls the qualified; He qualifies the called.” (Henry T. Blackaby).   I need to allow the “real artist” to guide me and by doing so, I can trust that “He who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion”!

Camping

Isn’t it wonderful that the “real artist” of our lives, Jesus Christ, provides guidance and support as we navigate through life’s journey — as we seek Him and abide in Him, He will help us finish (or keep moving toward) our calling.   

Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:6 NLT)

He renews my strength.  He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. (Psalms 23:3, NLT)

As we seek Him, we may be making minor touch-ups to a painting (refining) or we may be completing large areas (major steps to finish a task) — and even though it may not be easy and it may be scary, we can have strength in the knowledge that He is with us along the journey, helping us to create a masterpiece — impacting lives in a positive way and growing in faith and trust.

finished

I am working on touch-ups and some major overhaul on the masterpiece of my life – through more daily abiding in Him and stepping out into the unknown with my new venture.  Sometimes I wonder if I am too old to be starting a new business/ministry, but my life isn’t finished so neither are the tasks that God has set before me — as long as I have breath, I am serving God in whatever way He leads!

 

While my life isn’t finished, I can have such joy that Jesus followed through to completion.  We’re coming up on Easter when Jesus gave His life for us to wipe away our sins and bring those who believe into his family forever.  His last words upon the cross were “It is finished” (John 19:30) – while we know our journey to become more like Him and walk as He walked won’t be finished on this side of heaven, we do know that because He finished His task, He will be with us “until that day” and we will be with Him for eternity!  What a comfort and encouragement!

What task from Him are you finishing?  What help do you need?  What  has helped you?    Share with the community so we can encourage and build each other up…..

Remember, our tasks may not be easy, but “He started something good and He’s gonna complete it” — as you finish up, take a listen to Mandisa’s story and her song “Unfinished” about a time when she felt unfinished and in need of the “real Artist” to complete her masterpiece!

Mandisa’s “story behind the song

 

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masterpiece top photo

Did you know you are a masterpiece?  I know many days I don’t feel like that – in fact, many days I feel like the piece of pottery that imploded upon itself on the potter’s wheel – all misshapen and unrecognizable.  But in God’s eyes, I am beautiful and loved and wonderfully made.  Ephesians 2:10 says,

“For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago”  Ephesians 2:10, NLT

How does He create a masterpiece in us?

I was listening to the song Masterpiece by Danny Gokey on KLove and God graciously showed me the song mirrored the journey I am taking as I learn to paint.  This realization, like a painting, all began with inspiration (March 6, 2018 post).

The question is, though, what happens beyond inspiration?  Does the painting always turn out the way I envision it?  Is it as glorious and majestic as the image I started with in my mind?  Does it look anything like the one my teacher is painting in the class?

adventure (1)

As a novice painter, I would say more times than I can count it doesn’t, but there are times when I look at my painting and I’m doing my happy dance because it looks like the image my teacher painted – I feel like I nailed it.  There are other times when I feel like I’m less than successful and wish I had make different decisions as I painted.  When this happens, I leave class feeling unsatisfied realizing I have so far to go.  Then there are other times, when I leave and the painting is unfinished.  There just wasn’t enough time to accomplish all the steps – I’m not going home with a finished product.

Can you relate? I think we all can – we experience hills and valleys as part of life – the ups and downs as we navigate the path God set before us.  We would like it to all be smooth sailing – up on the mountaintop all the time – I know I would!  But that isn’t what God has promised – and how would we appreciate the mountaintop if we hadn’t also experienced the valley, even as painful and challenging as it can be?  Let’s look a little closer at the hills and valleys…..

NAILED IT!

_tbt

So what does it mean to be on the mountaintop?  I see this as our great moments when we’ve been tuned in to the Holy Spirit and we were obedient to do what He led us to do – we trusted and obeyed.  Like when we talked to the stranger we were prompted to reach out to or we gave sacrificially to the cause because we felt a stirring in our soul or we changed our careers because we felt God leading us in a different direction.  The mountaintop could also happen during a particularly moving service at church when we know without a shadow of a doubt that God is in this place – what a special feeling that brings!  I don’t know about you, but when I have clearly (or maybe not quite so clearly) heard from Him and I’ve taken action, I feel so fulfilled and joyful.

| For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17, NLT) 

| But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)

NOT SATISFIED……

We can’t stay on the mountain all the time, as much as we would like to.  The Bible says, “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.” (Psalms 34:18 NLT).  So what are our valley moments?

not satisfied with watermarkI know for me, I have a valley moment when I know there is something I should be doing but I don’t do it.  I am too busy or too distracted or just focused on what I want.  When this happens, it’s frustrating and I’m disappointed in myself.

I want to do what is good, but I don’t.  I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.  (Romans 7:9, NLT)

At these times, I have to refocus and realize that I need to abide in my Savior – only by focusing on Him through prayer and Bible study and having a relationship with Him daily (sometime minute by minute!) can I give up “self” and serve Him more fully.

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25, NIV)

Remain in me, as I also remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  (John 15:4, NIV)

We can also have a valley moment when something bad or unpleasant or devastating happens to us  – or our families.  When things are hard and not going the way we had planned or envisioned – when a family member is very sick or we lost a job with no warning due to corporate downsizing or we are having financial trouble.  We may find ourselves asking, ” Where are you God?  Why are you letting this happen to me?

I had a valley moment like this last summer when my job was downsized and I found myself suddenly unemployed.  After the initial shock and disbelief, one of my first thoughts (before I even left my job site) was that God was getting my attention – I wasn’t doing anything bad in my life but I was certainly not abiding in Him and my focus was on me and what I wanted.  I believe with all my heart that God used this situation to get me back on track – because He loves me and wants to be first in my life.  Wow, He loves ME!

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”…..No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:5-6, 11)

I used the time while job hunting to get back into church and Bible study and prayer – my painful time produced a harvest that led me back to a stronger relationship with Him.

This doesn’t mean, though, that every valley moment is discipline.  Sometimes God allows things to happen to us and we can’t pinpoint why.  Just look at Job – he was a righteous man who lost everything  – except his faith in the Almighty!  We may never know why some thing happen because we aren’t God and we can’t see the bigger picture — this is where trust and faith in His promises come into play.  That doesn’t make it any easier, for sure, but it does provide that strong foundation when we know that our God is in control.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:2, NIV)

And a verse that I clung to in my valley…….

| “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

Danny Gokey wrote Masterpiece following a season of pain following his wife’s death.  Even though it was a terribly painful time, he could see that God was making him into a masterpiece.

PEACE, LOVE, AND UNITY

Mountain or Valley?………

A finished painting by a master is surely something to behold.  As we allow God to create the masterpiece of our lives, sometimes we’re satisfied with the picture that emerges – those are times to praise and worship Him for His many blessings.

Sometimes we aren’t happy with the results or situation we find ourselves in – at those times we need to turn to our Lord God and rest in Him – rely on Him – and yes, praise Him for the work He is doing in our lives.  It’s not always easy but we can be confident in this, “that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, NIV).  

So what about the unfinished painting?  More on that next time (Making a Masterpiece:  Are We There Yet?) ……… until then check out Danny Gokey’s video about creating the song Masterpiece.

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WinslowSpringPicnicOver the past year or so, I decided to take a chance and do something I had never done and frankly, kind of scared me!  I decided to go Painting With a Twist – this is one of the businesses that advertises certain paintings and they walk the entire class through the painting step-by-step so that you have a chance of it looking like the original.  Sometimes my painting does and sometimes it takes on a more individual tone (that is code for it didn’t look anything like it was supposed to!).  Over the past year or so of attending these classes, I have developed a real love of painting and have started venturing out on my own by painting at home.

One day as I was driving home from work, I was thinking about the upcoming session I had scheduled to take my little niece  to a painting class as part of her Christmas present to have time with Aunt Kim (she’s 6 years old and absolutely adorable).  The song “Masterpiece” by Danny Gokey started playing on the radio — now I had heard this song many times before but on this day, it really touched a cord in my soul as I listened to the words and thought about my journey to “becoming a painter”.

adventure (1)

Creating a painting is a journey – and God showed me that the journey I experience when painting mirrors the journey He takes us on to become His masterpiece.  From inspiration to action – the act of painting is relaxing and energizing at the same time.  Sometimes, I like the painting (nailed it!) and sometimes I feel like I wasn’t able to capture the essence of the subject (not happy with it).  Sometimes, it feels unfinished and I know there is more work to do.  I want to touch on all these aspects over the next several weeks but this week, the focus is on INSPIRATION.

Painting begins with inspiration – the desire to capture something you have seen or imagined onto a canvas – to capture that beautiful, perfect scene or evoke the emotion you felt.  Inspiration comes in many forms — a beautiful sunset (I love the colors and grandeur of sunsets), a captivating picture, a child playing with pure innocence, little baby goats (so cute on Facebook), or a touch from the Father through the Holy Spirit.  When He sends inspiration in the form of a great idea, we see the possibilities and all the wonderful things that come from it — our masterpiece — it’s exiting & mind-blowing & exhilarating until ……….

Inspiration (1)

We start to think about how we’ll get there  — and we start up with the “what-if” and “I can’ts”  …….

  • I don’t have the skills to do that (never worked with oil paints before)
  • I’ve never done that before (I can’t paint a real cat)
  • The last time I tried that it didn’t turn out so well (my clouds really looked like blobs)
  • And so on…..and so on…….and so on…….

Until finally we ask, What was it God told me?

We get in our own way by looking at our skills rather than toward the great I Am and His power — at least I know I do and I’ll bet you have as well.  This kind of questioning can cause us to wallow in our doubt and indecision — we put off what we know God has called us to.  We procrastinate and then it gets harder and harder to remember The Call and easier and easier to do nothing.

I recently listened to a CD by Terri Savelle  Foy, called the Power of Now.  On this CD, Terri says that research has shown that if someone receives inspiration but doesn’t act on it within 24 hours, it often never happens.  That is a scary thought!  How many blessings have we missed or kept from others  because we didn’t act on inspiration?  That’s why I wrote this at 12:25 am after starting to compose this in my head while laying in bed in the dark — really my best idea time.  So I’m laying there composing this and I pray “Lord help me remember this in the morning — it’s good!”  Then I hear that still small voice —

yes, Lord

God:  Why wait?  Write it down now.
Me:  Really, God?  I’m really comfortable and tomorrow morning is still within the 24 hour inspiration time so I’m covered, right?
God:  Kim, what did I say?
Me:  Lord, you said to do it now.

So, after a deep breath,  here I am at 12:29 am capturing my inspiration — it goes back to obedience (didn’t we just talk about that in the last post?).  I also didn’t want to lose the inspiration because He reminded me of the saying  “someone in need is waiting on the other side of your obedience.”  What if I don’t act on His inspiration?  Who will be left in need?

somebody in need

Inspiration – O Sing My Soul is from Him.  I don’t know how He plans to use this blog but I find myself very inspired myself to serve Him.  Not I have a new inspiration from Him — I’ve been praying about a business to start that will allow me to work for myself but all the ideas were just missing something.  So I prayed to Him to show me how I could use my idea but serve Him at the same time.  He answered in a big way!  I’m now working on figuring out how to make it happen while trying not to give in to the doubts.  A masterpiece in progress!!!   More on that in upcoming posts!

What has God inspired you to pursue?   Just leave a comment below — I’d love to hear from you so I can keep you in prayer!  

As you get ready to move on, check out Masterpiece.  Let Him make you a masterpiece.

 

Trust & Obey

 

My pastor recently gave a series of sermons on becoming men and women of faith. He said that to become a person of faith, we need to believe God’s word so deeply so that we have a level of conviction resulting in obedience – we need to take action and obey what God leads us to do (1).  Yikes!  Most of us are probably OK with the believing part – I know I am most days.  I believe God is good – I believe He is always there for me – I even believe He will turn all circumstances to His good (it may be rough getting there though).

But according to my pastor, belief falls short.  Even the demons believe.  What makes us different as followers of Christ is taking action – actually doing what Christ tells us to do and going where the Holy Spirit leads us.  This is where it gets sticky, doesn’t it!

If you are like me, you probably feel like you’re a good person and obey the big commandments. But living a life of faith requires so much more than that and I have recently seen so many devotions, sermons and posts on that very topic come across my newsfeed and in my email.  Is God trying to get my attention?  Yep, I think He is.  Why do I think this?  Well, let me tell ya……..

For the past few months (or even longer), I have been praying for guidance on a couple of issues and haven’t really felt like I have gotten an answer. So of course, I’m wondering if He just hasn’t answered yet (not time yet, God?) or if I just didn’t hear Him (more likely).  Because I think the problem is with me (I’m just not being sensitive enough to hear His answer and this is the probable reason for my lack of clarity), I have also been praying for a burning bush kind of answer – put it on a billboard, hit me over the head kind of answer.  Don’t we all wish we could get those?  I sure do.  But no, crickets and more crickets.

What should I do God_

So after the sermon mentioned above, I asked God again for clarity because I really want to obey Him in these areas – I want to take action. Yippee – I felt an answer…….but lo and behold, it wasn’t on the topic I had prayed about – see I want to take action on the things that are worrying me, but His answer was about something totally different.  It was actually about this blog and the lyrics to a hymn we used to sing in church when I was a kid!  The song is “Trust and Obey” and the message I received was – why aren’t you writing your blog like I told you to do?  Snap – busted!

I posted my first “comeback” blog back in the fall and since then I have had several ideas and songs and insight I know was provided by God. But, and this is a big “BUT”, I never followed through.  I created the posts in my head lying in bed – and boy were they good! – but they never actually made it to the computer.  I had to ask myself why?  Why didn’t I do what God had clearly given me inspiration to do – I mean He has brought this blog to my mind many times over the past five years and I have started it a few times only to let it die from neglect and lack of attention.  He keeps bringing me back to it – is that a clue that I need to pay attention?  YES!

eureka  So why haven’t I? Why haven’t I spent time on this blog?  After some soul searching, I think for me there are two main reasons.  The first deals with my priorities.  Where are my priorities – on stuff that affects me or on what God has asked me to do?  Just being honest here – this was like a V-8 moment where you smack yourself on your forehead and say, Eureka!  

One reason I haven’t been obedient to God is because I have been focused on my own priorities (work, TV – stupid one, Christmas, relaxing, sick) and telling myself I don’t have time to sit down and write, when in reality I have plenty of time to write – turn off the TV for a little bit.  It goes back to the mindset that “what is really important to you, you will find time for”.

The second reason directly leads to the “why” I haven’t re-prioritized. I really feel like I haven’t spent the time on the blog because in my mind it wasn’t that important:

  • I don’t have a following so who is really going to see it.
  • Because no one will see it, the blog really won’t make a difference.

The soul searching I did led me to realize that the “importance” isn’t for me to determine.  If God told me to do it whether anyone else sees it or not, then it is my responsibility to be obedient and do what He has told me!

Do I want this to reach someone and help them in some way?  You bet I do.  I’d like it to reach a lot of someone’s but even if it doesn’t, that isn’t a good reason for lack of follow through.  My calling is to be obedient – it’s in His hands to take it from there according to His purpose.  As we used to say in the military (and you’ve probably heard it in old movies), ours is not to reason why – ours is but to do or die! (2) I should put all of my effort into doing what God tells me to do – as an act of obedience and worship! Now I will trust Him to use this offering as He sees fit.

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So here is my post. Here is the baring of my soul.  Here is my act of obedience – yes, really!!

As Terri Savelle Foy says “somebody in need is waiting on the other side of your obedience.” (3).  For me, that puts a really different spin on my obedience!!

So — I pray He uses my words to reach others because somebody may be waiting on the other side of this blog.  But even if He doesn’t, my act of obedience has grown me!  And I’m sure it will please my Father.

I hope my soul searching and message from God, along with this inspirational song, inspire you to take whatever action God is leading you to take in obedience to Him.

  • What comes to your mind when you hear “obedience”?
  • Is there anything you know God has told you to do that you haven’t followed through on?
  • Who is waiting on the other side of your obedience?

Let me know in the comments below.  We can pray for each other! 

Song Background

The song “Trust and Obey” was written from inspiration Daniel B. Towner received during an evangelist meeting (I think about a revival meeting) conducted by D.L. Moody in 1885.  Mr. Towner said that “One night a  young man rose in a testimony meeting and said, “I am not quite sure—but I am going to trust, and I am going to obey.””  Mr. Towner wrote this down and sent it to a friend, Rev J. H. Sammis, who wrote a poem based on the statement.  Mr. Towner then wrote the melody to the poem which became the classic song “Trust & Obey”. (4)  ………  Take a listen.

References:

(1) Sermon, Pastor Pat Finley, 1/28/18,  https://www.facebook.com/196097083753618/videos/1900059993357310/

(2) Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Charge of the Light Brigade”, 1854, first published in The Examiner, December 9, 1854.

(3) Foy, Terri Savelle.  The Power of Now.  CD.  http://www.terri.com

(4) Excerpt from “Then Sings My Soul:  150 of the World’s Greatest Hymn Stories” (2011), Robert J. Morgan, p. 220.

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God has an amazing way of changing our plans and pointing us in the direction He wants us to go — if we are willing and open to Him.  Even though it is Thanksgiving weekend, I hadn’t planned on writing a post about gratitude and thanksgiving – I was actually planning to talk about a Christmas song as we are heading into that season.  But my plans aren’t always God’s plans and He had another idea…….

I was listening to my church service this morning and the topic was on gratitude toward God and thanking Him for his blessings – for the good blessings and the darker things in our lives.  I was cruising along with the service, nodding at each point, confident I had been thanking God for these areas in my life – in fact, I had thanked God in my prayers last night for these very things – family, faith, friends, daily provision (new job), health and healing, my salvation, and His strength to get through the hard times.  This was the good blessing section of the sermon.

Then the pastor moved on to thanking Him for the darker things — “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”  Ephesians 5:20  and that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  I felt like I was still on track – I mean I had thanked Him for my challenges over the summer after I was laid off and my job was eliminated because I knew He had a greater purpose for me and He would “give me a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).  I knew God was growing my faith and a new depth in my relationship with Him during the challenging time.  So check.

But then whammy!  The pastor started talking about a verse we normally consider during the Lord’s Supper (and typically more around Easter).

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As the pastor talked about this verse and Jesus’ suffering, God broke me right there.  The Holy Spirit touched my soul and I just wept.  When Jesus was talking to His disciples during the Lord’s Supper, He knew the depth of the suffering He was going to be facing and He knew He was going to make that sacrifice to pay the debt of sin that we all carry.  I know this — I have known this for all of my life — but today, with the touch of the Holy Spirit, it took on a fresh significance.

Remember the 3 hours of total darkness that descended when Jesus hung on the cross?   Jesus was in hell — he was separated from His Father and suffering the torments of the damned for us — for me.  He suffered an eternity in hell for our sins — for my sin.  I am so humbled and so grateful that Jesus would do that for me.  I am about to start weeping again as I write this.

There have been many times in my life where I have felt unworthy, unattractive, and even unloved — but Jesus, My Savior, loved me so much that he suffered and died so that I could join God’s family and be with Him for eternity.  “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be  holy and without fault in His eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ”  Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT.  

As I was thanking God with tears flowing down my face because of what He gave to me, I thought about a song that I used to sing as part of the worship group.  We don’t sing this song much anymore in the churches I have attended or visited but it sums up what I was feeling and how my heart was overflowing with gratitude.   I hope you can sing along and praise the Lord God for His many blessings.

I wasn’t planning to write a post about thanksgiving — but how could I not write about my thankfulness for Jesus’ sacrifice?  How could I not overflow with gratitude that the God of the universe so loved the world (me) that He gave His one and only Son so that I would not perish but would spend eternity with Him (John 3:16)?

I did weep.  I did feel my salvation again in a fresh way.  I am so thankful for the many blessings God has provided.  My prayer is that you also know Jesus’ salvation and His provision and feel God’s loving touch on your life — in the good times and the bad.

Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart…..

 

Responding to His Call

I have felt God’s leading for quite some time to create this blog so here it is!  Well, almost (virtual  smiley face here)!

Music is a HUGE part of my life and just like the title indicates, it makes my soul sing.   One of my favorite times on Sunday morning is the music at the beginning of the Service–it puts my soul in the right frame of mind for the service and to hear God’s Word.  I also find that when I start my day getting ready to sound of God’s music, my whole frame of mind is better!

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So what will the focus of this blog be, you might ask?

Well, I  plan to share my feelings and insights from music that touches my soul – from new music to traditional hymns.  I sure do love me some old time hymns!

I want to dig deeper into the song – why was it written and look at the story behind the song.  As it touches my soul and stirs within me, I want to see what God wants to reveal to me through Scripture and my quiet time with Him.

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I have tried to start this blog twice before but as soon as I do, life gets in the way and I get too busy to follow through.  Has that ever happened to you?  Too busy and distracted to spend time in the Word and with God?  To take the action you know He is telling you to do?  Boy can I relate!

I’m not sure why God keeps bringing me back to this blog, but He must have something for me to say – either that or it is His way for me to stay accountable on my journey with Him.  Regardless of the reason, this time I’m going to be here.  I’m going to show up.  I’m going to share my thoughts and the insights He gives me.  Who knows – maybe my journey will bless you as well!

I am SOOOO excited.  I hope you’ll take this journey with me!

Kim