Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Silence

I hate it.  That unsettling distance .  When you want to talk, you want to listen, you want to engage, and yet silence remains.  It's as if there is a wall separating you from intimacy and connection. You don't really know how it got there or how to make it go away.

After 12 years of marriage, it seems that this pattern occurs in our relationship from time to time.    We go through seasons of deep connection where we experience a true sense of oneness.  I get him and he gets me.  I know his joys and challenges on an every day basis.  He's on my mind all day and I can't wait to spend time with him.  Yet honestly there are other times, maybe from no fault on either of our parts, when there's just a slight distance.  Life gets busy, we get distracted, and things get blurry. 

The worst for me is when I experience a similar silence with my Father. I want to stay on that mountaintop, where I see Him and hear Him daily.  Where we have a close intimacy in the day-to-day experiences of life.  I have no doubts. Fear has lost it's way, and I am secure.

Safe, solid, sure.

But sometimes, without much warning, the silence seems to come.  Distance seems to creep in and disconnect takes root.

This is when I must choose to rely on what I know, not what I feel.

I know He is ever-present.
I know He will never leave my side.
I know He is always at work in my life.
I know He hears my every question.
I know He longs for connection, even more than I do.

Even though...
I don't feel He's present.
I don't feel He's right by my side.
I don't feel He's working in my life.
I don't feel confident that He hears me.

Our feelings have a way of lying to us.  They are all too often based on external influences rather than truth.  Health, sleep, diet, stress...all affect our feelings.  They can cause truth to become gray and our perspective skewed.

What is true?  God is good.  God is near.  God is love.

So what do I do in the meantime while the silence seems to linger?

The same thing I do with my guy...have a date night.

Spend more time together.  Talking and listening.  Actively seeking to know Him and experience Him. And with time, the veil is lifted.  My vision becomes clear and I am back in the safe, secure presence of my Father.  This is where I have been all along, even though I didn't feel as though I was.

God is never inactive.  He is always at work in our lives.  He has something to teach us and say to us even in these times when we don't feel Him.   

~Mere



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Journey to Joy- Part 3

Good morning friends.  Before we go any further on our journey to joy, let's do a quick review of where we've been.

Our journey to joy starts when we decide to get real with God and ourselves.  We wrestle with the question, "How is my soul?"  We decide that our masks no longer fit, and we're ready to take them off, realizing that time is our life and we don't want to spend it living in the downs.  (Part 1)

And so we seek.  We don't know the remedy, the path, or the solution, but we think we may know who does.  We choose to put our eyes on the Maker of the mountains we can't move, realizing that staring at the mountains is doing nothing to move them. (Part 2)

That brings us to the fork in the road in our journey today.  And like always, it will force us to ask some questions.  Remember, questions are good!

Why are you down?

Before you answer that question, don't confuse joy with happiness.  Happiness is based on our circumstances where joy is not.  We all have situations, people, and circumstances that aren't what we want them to be.  True joy is not dependent on our circumstances.  Joy is an internal, eternal contentment based on who we are in Christ, not on what's happening around us.  Consider Paul and Job.  Few on this earth experienced circumstances worse than those two guys, yet their joy wasn't shaken.  So, circumstances aside, why are you down?

Let me suggest two vehicles that can drive us to the downs.

Conviction and Oppression.

Conviction.  (One of my least favorite words, but sometimes it has to be said.)

Sometimes our own choices drive us to the downs.
And so we ask...

What's my part in this problem?  Is what I am experiencing conviction?  Conviction is a heaviness I feel because some area of my life is not in line with who God calls me to be.  There is some place of disobedience that I am continuing to live in which is causing me to feel downcast.  God allows me to feel this heaviness because he loves me and wants me to return to Him.   

Conviction is motivated by love and it's intentions are to help.

It helps me to understand the love behind conviction when I think of parenting my own children.  I often tell them, "When you obey, life if good.  When you don't, you've got problems."  Why is that?  Why do we discipline our own children.  Why don't we just let them come and go and act as they choose and however makes them happy?  Simple.  Because we love them.  We know best and we want the best for them.  We create boundaries for them in order to protect, guide, and mold them.  When they choose to step outside of those boundaries, they then suffer the consequences of those choices.  Not because I'm an evil dictator and enjoy punishing and torturing them.  Because I love them.  And so it is even more so with our heavenly father.  He loves us too much to allow us to live willy nilly and not feel the heaviness of our choices.  I thank him for this, because without feeling the weight of my own sin I may never choose to turn from it. 

There's a lot of love in a no.

The convicting power of the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to our sin and opens our hearts to receive His grace.  It's time we search our hearts friends, and ask him to reveal any area that is out of line from what He desires for us.   

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139: 23-24
Ready for the great news, because of the power of the cross once I turn from this and choose to accept his grace and forgiveness He remembers it no more.  Regardless of the magnitude of my mistakes, His grace covers it all!  We have to say goodbye once and for all to our past mistakes, realizing that once we turn from it, His sacrifice blotted it out for good.  We don't have to make resolutions to be better, work harder, or live holier in order to earn his approval, grace or mercy.  We just have to choose to accept the gift of forgiveness given at the cross.  Done.

So, how else might we have gotten to the downs?
Oppression.

Sometimes, if we're not careful, we can get driven to the downs unwillingly.

If I have searched my heart, come to terms with any role I've played in getting me into the pit, turned from it by accepting his grace and forgiveness, yet I still can't get out of that place, then what I am experiencing may be oppression.  Oppression is an internalized heaviness I feel which has me caught in a trap of listening to lies and misconceptions about my life and who I am.  This is not from God.  

Oppression is characterized by lies and it's intentions are to hurt.

Guilt.  He may have forgiven me but I certainly haven't.  And so we replay our mistakes and failures over and over in our heads, allowing them to define who we are.


Fear.   We live in the world of "what if."  We repeatedly replay every worse case scenario in our heads paralyzing us with fear, anxiety, and worry.

Doubt.  We can't do this.  I can't do this.  God can't/won't do this.  Things will never change.  So we accept our place in the downs simply because we doubt we have any other choice.
 
To sum oppression up in a word- Lies.  

So much of our own unhappiness comes from the fact that we listen to ourselves rather than talk to ourselves.  We listen to, and then eventually believe, the lies.  We entertain these negative, destructive thoughts, even to the point that sometimes we allow them to become our reality.  It's time we start preaching to ourselves friends.  Proclaim some truth and reject the lies.

One of my new sweet friends, 85 year old Curtis, lives a life of service being a light for Christ in hospitals and prisons for the past 20 plus years.  Last week Curtis taught me a truth that I will never forget.  It comes from 1 John 4:17.  It took some time for it to resonate with me, so allow it to do the same for you.

As He is, so am I, in this world.  
Digest that for a minute.

As He is, so am I, in this world.

So what is He?

He is love... then so am I.
He is grace....  then so am I.
He is confident... then so am I.
He is not broken...  then neither am I.
He is strong...  then so am I.
He is powerful... then so am I.
He is redeemed...then so am I.
He has overcome...then so have I.
He is victorious...then so am I.

This is truth friends, we just have to choose to reject the lies, replace them with truth, and fight the good fight.

Jennie Allen put it this way in her book, Anything,

We will continue to face discouragement, loneliness, criticism and suffering. And here is what I hear God speaking to me in it...You protect yourself with me. You bind truth to the front of you so when darkness comes you remember me. You remember I am bigger. You remember I win. You remember I am with you today and forever; even if you can't see me, I am there. You put my Word, my truth, in front of you. Protect yourself with me and my righteousness. And then, you run. Let your feet carry you into battle building my name, sharing my love, telling my story, showing my glory. Go, Run. Fight. Do not just sit there feeling sorry for yourself. Run and fight. Let your shield be faith. See if I am real to you-if you believe you stand behind the God of universe- you won't need to be afraid. You may get tired but won't forget why this war matters if you don't forget me. You'll fight bravely, like someone who knows she fights for a cause worth dying for. You'll keep fighting if you see me. You have me with you- I am in you. Fight bravely because I am for you and I am with you.

It's time to fight.  Put on the armor of God, hit the road and get out of this place.  You don't have to stay there any longer.

Two vehicles can get you to the downs-conviction and oppression, but grace and truth are your guides out!

Accept it.  Claim it.  Fight for it. Live it.

Fighting with you,
Mere

Some of my favorite fighting songs that prepare me for the battle...












Monday, July 23, 2012

Journey to Joy- Part 2

(If you haven't read Journey to Joy- Part 1, click here first. 

Let's start today's journey with some really great news for those who may be cast down...

The trip from cast down to ecstatic joy can be quicker than you think.

Sometimes when we are in that place, life can get so overwhelming we can't see the forest through the trees.  Getting on the other side seems so unattainable that we can start to lose hope that things will ever be different.  When will I ever have the strength, energy, or power to turn all this around and get out of this place?

My friend Marilyn was recently in that pit.  Life literally felt like it was crumbling around her.  Every aspect was not what she hoped it would be- her marriage, her family, her finances, her career.  God gave me the privilege to celebrate Marilyn's birthday with her, and I remember asking her how 40 felt. Her tired eyes replied solemnly, "This is just not where I wanted to be at this time in my life."  My heart broke for her.  With all of my being I just wanted to "fix" things for her, as if I have the ability to do that. But I knew who did.

The day I left for my conference, just one month after Marilyn's birthday, I received this text from her,
"I am realizing how powerful God really is.  In just a short time he has given me a new found hope."

The trip from cast down to ecstatic joy can be quicker than you think.  Amen.

So what changed for Marilyn?  While there are just as many ways out of the pit as there are ways in it, there is one consistent place where we all have to start.

To start we have to seek. 

We were made to be seekers and searchers.  Jesus' first words recorded in the book of John were, "What are you seeking?


Moses sought direction.
Abraham sought procreation.
David sought protection.
Elijiah sought revelation.
Isaiah sought inspiration.
Paul sought transformation.
Mary sought redemption.

So the question is this, what are you seeking?  We are promised that when we seek, we will find. Ask and it will be given to you.  Seek and you will find, right?  Matthew 7:7.  So, why is it that sometimes we don't seem to find what we are seeking?

Is it possible that we're seeking the wrong things?

Sometimes we seek Him to change someone else.
Sometimes we seek Him to change our circumstances.
Sometimes we seek Him to take away our burdens.
Sometimes we seek His blessings.

So what should we be seeking?
But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29

The LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you. 1 Chronicles 28:9

But if you will look to God and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your rightful place.  Job 8:5-6

Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10

The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.  Psalm 14:2

My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, LORD, I will seek.  Psalm 27:8

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.  Psalm 105:4

Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.  Psalm 119:2

I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.  Psalm 119:10

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.  Isaiah 55:6

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heartJeremiah 29:13

I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;  Lamentations 3:24-25

for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.  Hosea 10:12

This is what the LORD says to the house of Israel: "Seek me and live;   Amos 5:4

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  Luke 11:9/Matthew 7:7

But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.  Luke 12:31

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.  Acts 17:26-28

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  Hebrews 11:6
The answer seems clear to me.  We need to start by seeking Him.

Not seeking His answers, His blessings, His relief, His direction.  Just Him.  He longs to give us those things too, but first He wants to give us Himself. 

Before you start seeking, let me reassure you of this,

He is not lost. 

We're not seeking Him like the 100 times this week that I've sought my cell phone from the pit of my purse, car, and couch knowing it was once there but it's now slipped away like a game of cat and mouse. He is omnipresent; always near.  God is actively pursuing you at all times.  He sought you long before the idea ever came for you to seek Him.  He is at work in your life right now, right there, even as we speak.  He takes the initiative and pursues you. We just have to fix our eyes to see Him, even though He's been there all this time.

But what does this really mean?  I don't want this blog to be full of feel good fluff and lack practicality and real world ways to put His truth into action.  So, what does it mean to "seek God"?

Blackaby put it this way in his book, Experiencing God,
Read in scripture of God's vast love for you.  Share your heart, your concerns, your burdens with Him in prayer.  Remain silent before Him, and allow Him to share His love with you.  The better you know God, the more you will love Him.  The more you love Him, the easier it will be for you to spend time with Him.  It is never a chore to spend time with someone you love, although it can be tedious to spend time with a stranger.  Find some time to take a walk outside (Not today, it's supposed to be 107 degrees!)  Spend that time talking with Him.  Praise Him for His love and mercy.  Take time to worship Him.  Be specific.  Talk to Him about your concerns, and listen to what He wants to say to you.
Here's my challenge until you receive the Journey to Joy- part 3, spend this next week earnestly seeking Him.  Talk to him, pour out your heart, hurts, fears, and questions.  Read His word.  Sing.  And listen.  That's the hardest one for me so I'll say it again, LISTEN! 

Finally, do you want to know how Marilyn found her "new found hope" in such a short time?  Simple.  She sought Him.  He had been pursuing her all along, she just chose to respond to His invitation.

Seek Him.  It's the only place to start in our journey to joy.

Seeking with you,
~Mere

"O our God, We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." 2 Chronicles 20:12

Two of my favorite seeking songs:




Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Journey to Joy - Part 1

Once again, I've had the opportunity to attend another summer women's conference, and like last time, I feel I've been drinking water from a firehouse. My mind is racing and my heart is full, and I have no option but to share. I feel certain that what the Lord revealed to me this week was way more than inspirational, feel good fluff to make me happy.  

This was a game changer.

The message was on a topic that was so personal, so real, and so exactly what I know first hand so many people I love are struggling with today. Depression, anxiety, fear, worry, oppression, conviction...and all the other titles, labels and varying degrees in between.  

Downcast.

I've been there before and experienced it, and I've watched my friends and family members do the same. Sounds like a real inspirational conference, huh? I'm sure you're all ready to go sign up for the one nearest you. But wait, there is another side of this spectrum- and that is joy! Not just any kind of joy...

Ecstatic joy.

Been there too! I relish in those times when life is just so good. My soul is light, refreshed, and I feel I live each day to the fullest. Tiny glimpses of heaven on earth.

This crazy continuum can leave us with a lot of questions. The main one being WHY?  

Why am I so downcast? 
Why can't I remain in that state of joy? 
Why can't I seem to shake the heaviness of life? 
Why can't I see God in this situation? 
Why is He not giving me relief and answering my calls for help?  

God meant us to feel. We are the only ones from all of his creation that he gave the ability to experience emotions. We were created in his image, and therefore he intended us to feel, and to live deep hearted. I say it's time to be real with ourselves and with God. Let's not be afraid to want more and to shake things up a bit in order to get it.

Ann Voskamp, one of my favorite bloggers, recently wrote that
"All you have here is one lifetime and time. is. your. life."
Let's not be ok letting time slip by while we remain in a place God never intended for us to stay. We can choose to live complacent, indifferent, and just accept our downcast state. And sometimes that's what we do. Maybe because it's become second nature- that's just how it is; our lot in life. Maybe we stay in that place because we are afraid to ask the questions and dig into the truth. Maybe we sometimes feel that this is God's plan for you, that we deserve it, or that he is allowing us to suffer for some greater good. Or maybe we feel it's wrong to ask God, WHY? The ironic thing is, he already knows we're asking it, so why are we afraid to say it.

He can handle the questions.
He welcomes the questions.
He wants our questions so he can give us answers.

The challenge is this- let's dig a little. Wrestle with these questions. Questions can be beautiful. Whether you are downcast at the moment, or not, I would bet that 100% of you have been there before, you will be there again, and you probably know someone who is there right now.  

This is for all of us. 

So I have one final question for you to chew on, and remember- questions are good...  

How is your soul? On the spectrum of downcast to ecstatic joy, where would you put yourself today? I'm not asking how are your circumstances.  Our circumstances can be great, while our soul is down.  And on the flip side, our circumstances can be falling to pieces while our soul is full of joy.  This question is referring to much more than how are things going, rather how is your soul doing.

But wait! Before you answer, I learned that "OK" really stands for "only kidding",  so don't fool yourself with that easy out.

Over the next few posts I will be sharing with you the treasures and truths I received at the conference that could possibly help you, or someone you love, climb their way out of the downs.

Downcast is not a bad place to go. It's just not a place that you want to stay.

Anybody up for a journey to joy?

~Mere

P.S.- Not that she will be reading this, but I just have to say, thank you Beth Moore for your amazing passion and gift of teaching.  I feel privileged to have been able to attend this conference and know it was for not only my good but for others as well- and so I will pass on the treasures you passed on to me.  Love!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

We are blessed, so let's bless


I feel overwhelmingly blessed this morning.  There’s no specific reason or incredibly great thing that’s happened to cause this feeling of gratitude, but rather just a  keen since of understanding of my privileges.  Just the basics of my life are blessings, which I all too often take for granted. 

Just to name a few…

My health.  Nothing hurts on my body.  Everything works just like it should.  I can run, not that I do, but I can.  I can wrestle and play with my kids, and I can spend a day in the heat weeding, trimming, and pruning in the overwhelming task of yard work. This is a blessing (in disguise).  How many people in this planet would do anything for the opportunity to not hurt?   

My relationships.  I am surrounded by people I love and that love me.  We laugh, share, and serve each other.  We care for each other’s needs, and would do anything for each other.  My goal is to be a blessing in their lives in any way I can, and the feeling is mutual.   If we hurt one another there is remorse, apologies, and forgiveness. We are not perfect, and there are countless times these relationships hurt me, challenge me, and drive me crazy.  But at the end of the day we choose love, grace, and mercy.  How many people on this planet would do anything for the opportunity for relationships like these?

My things.  I have a home, and it’s cozy and mine.  I have a closet filled with clothes and shoes, all giving me endless options to wear on a daily basis-yet I still complain and want more.  We have 2 cars in great condition that will take us safely to wherever our hearts desire.  Our pantry, closets, fridges, cabinets, attic, and garage are jam-packed with food, toys, books, crafts, and gadgets that meet any need we may have.  Really and truly, is there anything that I need that I don’t currently have?  How many people on this planet will literally die today because they don’t have the basic things they need?

My future.  I don’t worry about tomorrow.  I am filled with hope.  I don’t know what the future has in store for me, but I have confidence that it will be good.  I know there will be problems and heartaches, I am promised that.  There are curve balls life will throw my way that may temporarily knock me off my feet.  But I have a certainty that God will pick me back up, bring some good out of it, and that He will never forsake me.  I am excited about my future.  I anticipate good in life.  How many people on this planet are living in hopeless situations and look into their future with dread and fear? 

And these are just to name a few of the reasons I am filled with gratitude this morning.  Lately God has given me the opportunity to peak inside the lives of people who are hurting.  I have seen, heard, or witnessed situations lately that remind me of my blessings. Whether they are suffering from health concerns, hurting relationships, a feeling of hopelessness, or an extreme lack of basic necessities- there are so many people suffering and hurting all around us.  These are people just like you and me.  Sometimes this leads me to feelings of guilt.  I start to feel bad for my blessings.  I do feel that the Lord wants a response out of me, but guilt is not what He’s looking for.  Gratitude, yes!  That’s the first step and that is what I am feeling this morning.  But I feel he’s calling me to more than just gratitude, next comes action. 

Why has he blessed me so?  Is it just for my enjoyment and to make me happy?  Am I to just take it and soak it up with a smile on my face, while people all around me suffer?  I think not. 

God reminded me of these truths He taught us in His word:

When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.  Luke 12:48

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,  I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Matthew 25:35-45

When God allows me to see the hurts of the world, I believe that is His invitation to join him in helping.  This is a divine opportunity to use my blessings to bless someone else.  I can’t turn my eyes from the lost and expect that He will ask someone else to step in and take care of that need.  Perhaps He’s saying Meredith, You are blessed, so bless

So this is why I serve.  I serve out of gratitude, not guilt. I serve because of His incredible love lavished on me, and I believe His love should prompt me to action.  Do something good with the gifts you’ve been given.  Do something beyond using it to make yourself happy.  Take what you've been given and do something to bless someone else.  Regardless of how small it may seem, it’s one step in the right direction.  If He can trust me with small acts of service and obedience today, maybe one day He’ll trust me with something big.  Then I’ll have the confidence and strength to say “yes”.  At this point, I have not saved a life, built an orphanage in Africa, or done anything noteworthy or great.  However, I believe that our small acts of service still make a difference, and collectively those small things can one day add up to a big change.   

Ironically, the biggest impact service has is truly not on those being served but on the one serving.  When I get my eyes off myself, my wants, my desires, and my “needs” something big happens inside me.  I find contentment, gratitude, appreciation and peace that I would have missed otherwise.  

One day I'm sure I'll be on the receiving end of this.  At some point I will probably find myself in a place where  the loving actions of a brother or sister in Christ will be just what I need to restore my hope.  But today is not that day.  Today is my day to give.  

So the challenge is this, ask the Lord to show you a hurt.  Ask Him to show you how you can join him in helping that hurt.  Individually, our small lights can add up to a big light that radiates His amazing love and provision.

We are blessed, so let's bless. 

~Meredith

Looking for a great place to serve as a family?  Feed by Grace Homeless Ministries is an amazing place to start.  We meet the second Saturday of every month at the Wesley Mission Center.  From there we head to Unity Park in downtown Fort Worth to feed hundreds of our homeless brothers and sisters.  Click here for more information. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Our Greatest Fear- A Power Failure

Tonight began the sermon series, Power Failure; the idea is that as believers we have access to the power of the Holy Spirit, yet we often experience a "power failure." This was profound to me from tonight's message...that as believers we possess the same power within us that Jesus had during his ministry on this Earth though the power of the Holy Spirit. The same power that healed the sick, allowed Jesus to walk on water, and then rose Him from the grave lives within me?

Mind boggling.

So, if I truly have that power of the Holy Spirit living within me, why is it that so many times throughout my day I do not live full of the fruits of His spirit? My light can seem so dim at times. My fruits so not "fruity".

How would my life look different if I truly understood and accessed the power living within me? What would happen if I realized my power beyond measure because of Him. I'm not talking about walking on water or performing any miracles, but how about producing some extra love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.

My sweet Lala gave me this poem awhile back and I was reminded of it tonight...

It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

You ask yourself, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?'

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We were all born to make manifest the glory of God within us.

It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.


-Marianne Williamson

Lord, let your light shine through me so that I may fully manifest your glory within me. I want to live full of the fruits of your spirit and realize the power that is always at work and available in my life through you. Thank you for the many people you've given me whose lives radiate you. Their freedom to shine liberates and encourages me to do the same for your glory.

-Mere

Sunday, March 25, 2012

His Constant Covenant

I'm fascinated by the life of David. It's only the 2nd week of doing Beth Moore's study of his life, and I'm already sucked in. On top of that I've been teaching my students lessons from the life of David for the past 3 weeks, and even though I've read and taught these stories countless times, they never cease to captivate me. I guess that's why it's called the LIVING word, it's full of life and never looses it's ability to pack a punch.

This week I was taken by His Constant Covenant, which is a continual theme woven throughout God's word.

He made a covenant to deliver his children from slavery and bring them to the promise land, even though they'd end up wandering in the wilderness for 40 years until they reached the promise land.

He made a covenant to place David on the throne one day, even though he'd have to wait 15 years until he saw that promise come to fruition.

He made a covenant to send a Savior to take away the sins of this world, yet He would have to endure the cross and bear it's shame before we would see that our Redeemer Lives and His promise remained true.

And He made a covenant with me. He promised that if I acknowledge that Jesus is the Lord, then he will never leave me. I John 4:15

He made that covenant with me when I was 13 years old when I made the decision to follow Him. At the time, I had no idea what that would mean for my life, or how it would totally change everything.

Fast forward 20 plus years later and I see that He has never once broken that covenant. He has never left my side. He's been there during the good days when I lived my life for Him, and even during the bad days when I lived my life for me.

Another underlying theme with all of God's covenants was his reason for making the promise in the first place. It wasn't because His people were deserving. It wasn't because they were holy and had somehow earned his approval. It was simply His choice to LOVE.
Un-deserved.
Un-earned.
Un-warranted.
Un-returned.
LOVE.
He chose to Love me, despite ME.

I recently heard a song that said it perfectly. Britt Nichole wrote "All this time" as a reminder of God's covenant with us when we enter into a relationship with Him.
I remember the moment, I remember the pain, I was only a girl, but I grew up that day, tears were falling, I know you saw me. All this time, from the first tear cry to today's sunrise and every single moment between. You were there, you were always there. It was you and I. You've been walking with me all of this time. Ever since that day, it's been clear to me, that no matter what comes you will never leave me, I know you're for me. You're restoring. Every heartache and failure, ever broken dream, your the God who sees, the God who rescued me. This is my story. I hear people asking me, "How do I know what I believe?", well I'm not the same me, and I saw the proof I need. I felt the love. I felt your grace and you stole my heart that day.
Take a minute to watch this live recording of the song. You will be blessed by it.

Looking back over all this time has reassured me of his constant covenant with me, I see it my past but can also face each tomorrow with confidence in knowing that He is true to His word. He is for me. And no matter what comes, He will never leave me.