He Is Well Pleased With Us!

This morning as I started my day, I hear the Lord sing over me. He has said He is well pleased with me!  What a joy it is to be in the  Army of God!  What a joy it is to rest in His goodness.  I think so often the devil beats me down with lies, and I get all messed up.  I start believing them, and I loose my focus, my hope and my identity in Christ.  Has is ever happened to you?  I think it happens to all of us at time.  It kind of goes back to being in the valley and growing in the valleys.  This morning He stopped me and said, “Robin, I know you want so much to please me, I know you feel so ill-prepared, I know you feel like you should be farther along than where you are, but I know your heart, I alone formed it.  I set  you on this path, and I will fulfill my will in your life in my time.  Be patient with yourself and enjoy the journey. I know it seems like you have to keep re-learning this, but it’s OK; you are seeking, you are striving, you come to me with an open heart that confesses, repents, and praises me.  I know you are devoted, I know you long to be loyal, I know this and so much more about you b/c I alone formed you in your mother’s womb.  Thank you for sharing with others all that  am doing in  you, it is a testimony of your faith.  I know you often feel insecure and insignificant, but that is not who you are to me.  I am well pleased with you. You are mine and I love you. Press on and let me guide you.  Be set free by the truth that is in you.  I live in you and I move through you, that is all you need to know for now.  I am with you always.  Love Jesus.  I hope that blesses you  and I hope you hear Him tell you how well pleased he is with you too today.

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Let Faith Arise

I was reminded today how so often our faith is like that of Thomas, in John 20:24-27,  who wouldn’t believe unless he saw and felt Jesus’ nail wound scars. I know in my own life, there are times when it seems as though I have great faith, faith to move mountains, faith that doesn’t doubt, faith that is not shaken by life’s challenges. Many times, God grows my faith by showing me something, by lighting my path and by affirming in different ways. I was reminded once again about the silence and what it takes to believe when we don’t see and hear God. There are many times in life where God doesn’t show us the next step, and we are trying to trust the best we know how, but often think it would be nice to have a back plan, a plan B. He reminded me today that He alone is plan A and in being that, we don’t need a plan B because we know that His plan A is perfect. It reminded me to not just go to the trophy room and remember all that God has done, but it also reminded me that I need to have a right view of my Abba Father, the one who dearly loves me and who has placed plans and dreams deep inside me. He is good, He is loving, and that Never Changes, no matter what comes my way. In verse 27 Jesus invites Thomas to reach in and touch his scars; he then says to him, “be believing, not unbelieving.” We all face that same choice when we don’t see the “proofs” of God working on our behalf. I often have to ask myself “am I willing to sit with the unanswered questions?”, “am I willing to trust even when I don’t see”. Do I remember that His character never changes, that He is good, that He is love, and that more than any other, he’s got my whole life in the palm of his hands? I think of Peter too in Matthew 14:29-31, getting out of the boat, he starts to sink; Jesus grabs him and says “Peter why did you doubt?” After all Jesus was right there, less than an arm’s length away; He’s even closer to us, dwelling within each of us. We all have our Peter moments in life when we wonder if God is going to come through. Is he going to catch us? Does he really know what He’s doing with my future? Looking back now at my own life, I can see where Jesus asks that question “why did you doubt Robin?”. Have I not always come through for you? Am I not God, the creator of the universe? Did I not form everything about you in your mother’s womb? Remember how far you have come and all that you have overcome; that was me helping you. Remember that my love does not change. Trust me when you don’t see because you know I am good and you are secure in my love. Do you really think I am going to let you drown? Believe when you do not see, believe when you are at the end of your rope. Fear is just gonna paralyze you, and Satan is just going to lie to you; you know better than that! Be strong and courageous, I know what I am doing. I have come to make all things new, even your bad choices that you think are too far for me to reach, I got those too. After me and God had this little discussion today, he spoke to me as He often does; He gave me a song on the radio. I’ve never heard it, but I know it was him speaking to me; he was reminding me that we all have these doubting moments, even great worship leaders like Chris Tomlin. Sure, who wants to admit that, but blessed are the humble I think. Do I wish I never doubted, yes, especially looking back at all the times God has come through. I’m Ok with doubt b/c I see Peter and I see Thomas, and I find I’m in pretty good company. Heck, if those who walked with him, watching him perform miracles had doubts, I guess my doubts are OK too. I know they build my faith, I know they draw me closer to my Abba Father, and my beloved Savior Jesus, I have peace, joy, and righteousness in the Holy Spirt, even in the middle of my silent times with God. It’s in those silent times, that I choose to trust that He is working on things. Results don’t always happens in an instant as we would like, but it takes faith to wait and trust in what we cannot see. So as I wrestled today with what I cannot see, God reminded me of his love and goodness.   So Father today, as Chris Tomlin Sings, “I lift my hands to believe again…” I do believe, and I thank you for reminding me of your great and uneding and unfailing love for me today and forever.  Forgive me for doubting you when I do not see, and grow me now I pray that my faith would arise, that I would be still and know that you are God in every part of my llife.  I love you and pray all this in your beautiful name, Jesus. Amen.

Do You Want to Be Healed?

Some time ago, I had written a journal post and even remember marking in my Bible the significance of John 5:5-9 in my own life. So I find it so humorous of God today of drawing me to Jentzen Franklins Blog post on this very thing. It goes back to the choices that we make that I was taking about yesterday in my post. You see, the story is very significant for me, because when God pointed it out earlier this year to me as well, I was and still am 38 years old. Not only that, but there are many life circumstance, many road blocks that I face that can be discouraging and could very easily get me side tracked if I wasn’t so aware of them. Remember how I mentioned yesterday in my post how The Word of God was difficult at times for me? That’s a great example of this passage in my life. God said “Robin Pick up the Bible and walk”, He tells me, stop making excuses, stop looking for other people to give you the answers, to meet your needs, ect.. Just like the man in the story who was waiting for someone to come and help him. God says” You take the action steps in faith, do the hard work of moving out of your own self-pity and circumstances and move into the greater things that I have for you.” That’s a wake-up call if I ever heard one! So I don’t know what it is for you today, I don’t know what your “mat” is in life, but I do know that Jesus gives us not only the choice to move forward in all that he has for us, but he also gives us the strength and the power to move forward. It’s a choice; do you want to be healed?

This Is My Body, Broken. This Is My Blood, Poured Out For You

God did some really profound stuff with  me today.  Our church has communion once a month and I guess I lost track of time and forgot this is the first Sunday of the month, which we do communion.  It may not seem a big deal to you that I forgot this, but God has been dealing with me and the act of communion on a deeper level for about a week or so now.  I can’t get it off my mind.  Just understanding it somehow differently.  It’s like He peeled back a new level of understanding.  Growing up Catholic, Communion was always taken in the most literal sense, which was always a problem for me, and now as a protestant I’ve always understood it to be symbolic, which Biblically, it is.  But it was also very real then and is today.  His body broken, He blood poured out… Our bodies broken, our lives (because blood = life) is poured out into the world.  He poured out His life on us, we pour out our lives on to the world.  I can go in different ways with all this trying to make you see, but I just have to trust the Spirit will work in you somehow.  We are broken people, who come into the restoring grace and salvation of God, to be broken once again, then restored, and the cycle continues.  But we take our broken/restored relationship with Christ and pour it out onto the world as a perfect sacrifice, as a Holy offering, and fragrance unto God.  Another profound thought that just hit was how in The Old Testament God always talked about  blood as a pleasing aroma or sweet smelling offering.  I had the hardest time until just a second ago that it clicked.  The blood is not just the sacrifice of an animal, not just the blood of Christ’s sacrifice but our sacrifice unto the world poured out for God.  Christ lives in us, through us, and our pouring out of our lives unto others is the sweet smelling sacrifice God desires.  Thank You Jesus for this deeper understanding today.  May it help someone to see who you are, what you desire, what you did and what you do through us. Amen.

Getting My Prioriites Straight-Serving My daugther first

I have to leave for work in a sec. but I really felt like this is a huge lesson that I had to re-learn today.  I’ve been in a funk lately about where I am, but it all gets boiled down to one thing; and that is getting my priorities straight.  I have a huge heart for serving, and I do try to serve at church and serve others, but, I must learn to serve my daughter first.  Below are some of my recent thoughts I had after I spoke with a friend today.  When I got off the phone, I had found my daughter had smeared my make up all over  my carpet-not good!  Lesson: serve your daughter first.   Here is what I wrote; what are some of your thoughts and experiences of getting your priorities straight?

I was talking to a friend today, who made a few good points.  I think for me, I have such a big heart, and I reallly need to take my stuff to God more and find peace with who I am as a person and a mom.  I think I want to be used by God so bad that I just start serving here, or serving there.  I think so  many times that “hey, I’m a mature Christian, and I should be serving”, but perhaps I forget that Olivia comes first, and I need to be serving her before the church or a lifegroup, or a ministry.  I think I look around at others too much and judge, or want what they have.  I guess I need to keep re-focusing on me.  My friend said to me, that she use to be really drawn to me b/c I was always trusting God, and I was secure in that, and now it seems like the Devil got ahold of  me and started  messing with me again.  God does not want us in anxiety constantly, and I think I feel guilty allot at church, feeling like there are so  many needs to be filled over here, or over there, and there is never enough help.  I don’t know why I felt that I had to carry all that weight of worry, guilt and anxiety on me.  There are plenty of people who can serve and perhaps they choose not to for whatever reason.   Right now, in my life, in this season, Olivia has to come first, before serving, before doing any type of ministry.  It’s not about me, my confort, but it’s 110% about her, and her needs.  I think I need to stop feeling bad for the church b/c there are always needs to be met.  I thnk that I have to focus on my daughter, and her needs.  My#1 role is a mom, and I need to see that as my  ministry to my daughter, being a good steward of my responcibliities as a mom, and not worry about serving the church so much.  I have to find my peace and balance, I have to get my priorities in order, and I need to let go of my big heart to serve others so much and serve who God has placed right in front of me, which is my daughter.  I think doing this will lead people to respecct me more, and see me as a person who is trying to get their life in order. I know too all this emailing  has to stop , it’s good to share, but I need to stop typing and start living out my life.

 

2nd Commandment

“You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I The Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My Commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6 RSV)

I had a little trouble with this one I’ll admit, but I found a few commentaries and sites that seemeed to help me explain it.

Commentary  from Bible Gateway:

The second commandment refers to the worship we are to render to the Lord our God. It is forbidden to make any image or picture of the Deity, in any form, or for any purpose; or to worship any creature, image, or picture. But the spiritual import of this command extends much further. All kinds of superstition are here forbidden, and the using of mere human inventions in the worship of God.

Another sites that was helpful:

“You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I The Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My Commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6 RSV)

Religious Statues and Pictures

Violation of the Second Commandment takes two general forms; first, the worship of false gods by means of religious statues or pictures, and second, the worship of the True God by means of religious statues or pictures.

The Ten Commandments The first form of idolatry is rendered obviously wrong by The First Commandment which makes plain not to worship false gods. The First Commandment covers the false-god aspect of the Second Commandment.

The second form of idolatry should also be seen as obviously wrong to anyone with a Bible, and who reads it, and who reads it with an attitude of truly obeying God, but millions of people who merely claim (to their eventual regret, if they don’t repent, see I Did It My Way…) to be good Christians defy God by having religious statues or pictures in their churches or homes. The true God is not a picture, the true God is not a statue, and as the Scriptures plainly state, by God’s own Word, the true God is not to be worshiped or prayed to by the use of statues or pictures. It is a blasphemous insult to Almighty God to portray Him in such a lowly and grossly-inaccurate way!

Imagine, if when someone wanted to talk to you, they made themselves a hollow, lifeless plaster doll, that they said represented you, brought it into your presence and instead of talking to you directly, they talked to the lifeless plaster doll, as if it were you, all the while ignoring the real you who was right there with them. Would you think someone who did that was very foolish? Would you be offended by someone who “sees you” as a plaster dummy? And if, after your telling them that you don’t like them doing that, and emphatically telling them not to do it, they kept doing it anyway, would you become angry with them? By His own words, it makes God very angry too. You aren’t a dummy (unless, after you’ve read this, you keep any religious statues or images that you happen to have), and God isn’t a dummy either. If you have any such religious statues or pictures as your lawful personal possession, destroy them immediately! (do not touch anything that is someone else’s property, but show them this study if you can – everyone is responsible for themselves before God after they know the Truth).

The same holds true for using statues or images to worship or pray to the dead saints of the past (just as it’s wrong to worship or pray to the living saints of the present – see What Is A Saint?). Only God is to be prayed to or worshiped. All of the saints of the past were merely people the same as anyone today, and all of the dead saints of the past cannot hear anything, or do anything, for anyone because they are dead at the moment. Dead does not mean “alive and dead,” dead means dead (see What Happens When You Die?). If they were not dead, if the dead were already alive, there would be no need for a future resurrection of the dead (see Resurrections). Again, if you have any such religious statues or pictures as your lawful personal possession, destroy them immediately! (and again, do not touch anything that is someone else’s property, but show them this study if you can – everyone is responsible for themselves before God after they know the Truth)

What Does Your Bible Warn About The Use Of Statues And Pictures For Worship?

God will shame and condemn those who use statues or images for worship:

 

“Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” All who make idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit; their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an image, that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his fellows shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are but men; let them all assemble, let them stand forth, they shall be terrified, they shall be put to shame together.” (Isaiah 44:8-11 RSV)

God is not made of wood, plastic, or cement – God is not to be represented by wood, plastic, or cement:

 

“Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed, and of this He has given assurance to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:29-31 RSV)

Ten Commandments: Commandment #1 : What Are Your Idols?

imagesAs I went to God in prayer this morning He brought a few things to mind.  First, I was reminded of how much I need Him and how I want Him to be the center of everything, but like all of us fleshly, sinful human beings, we end up not giving Him as much as we know we ought to.  The first commandment came to mind and so I thought it would be a good exercise to take each one daily, and think about how it applies to our lives and help point us more in God’s direction.  So Commandment #1: I am The Lord your God, you shall not have any other God’s befor me.  So let me just ask all of us, what are some of the idols that we place befor God in our lives?  Is it our jobs, our family, our friends and hobbies?  Is is our time in front of the TV, on the phone, or online, updating our facebook and taking all those ridiculous quizes.   I know for me, I spend allot of time online; reading blogs, blog surfing, checking out social networking sites, googling stuff, going over to Wikipedia, reading my ebooks, rss feeds, checking my email… Yes, being online and blogging is somewhat of a hobby; hey it’s social networking right???  We all know that all of these things take us away from God.  I have family even, who I think would be going through withdrawal if someone took away their DVR.  You know I’m speaking truth here, can I get an Amen?  I’m just as bad people, so what’s a Christian in a web 2.0 world to do?  Well, like I said, this morning God reminded me of who He is and that I really need to constantly refocus back to Him.  I think we all do.  I think if we all logged what we did every hour of the day, I think we’d realize how  much we don’t put God first; and yes, I’m preaching to myself here.  I know it, and that is why I felt led to blog about it.  May we all take spiritual inventory and get back to making God first in our lives once again.  So this week as I blog and take my own spiritual inventory of my time, I hope to share something that God is teaching me to better understand.  Please feel free to share some of your strengths and weaknesses too as I attempt to go through the different commandments each day; what are some of the idols that God is pointing out to you?

How Long Will This Last? :: Desiring God

I know that I’ve been refrencing articles the last week or so on my blog; I really feel like I can really relate to this article on desiring God, being in a low season of sorts, and trying to muster all my strength to keep running the race. I know He’s faithful, and I know running across these articles is just His suttle way of letting me know that I’m not alone in this and that He hasn’t and isn’t going anywhere. I hope it blesses you and encourages you, I know it did me.

How Long Will This Last? :: Desiring God

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Are you a true disciple?

We all know how easy it is to call ourselves a Christian, but walking the walk and living out our faith is the real test of how deep our roots go.  Sure we all struggle and suffer in this life, but when the storms come, how you choose to handle it reveals the level of your faith.  One of my greatest issues of tension that I am constantly seeking wisdom from God on, is the balance of loving people where they are and also holding my fellow christian accountable when I see they are not living up to their potential and  claim in Christ.  We love to compromise and spin the gospel to our own fancy, but it really is just spitting in God’s face once again.  Yes, part of it is that we are all sinners, constantly falling short, grasping for grace on a daily basis, but then we also have the power of the Spirit of God living in us, and transforming us into His holiness.  It can be a constant tension, but it also grants us wisdom, growth and peace.  In John 6:60-71 the title in my Bible reads “Many Disciples Desert Jesus”.  It comes just after the passage where Jesus is talking about being the bread of life and that to truly live we must feed on Jesus.  I wonder if people actually did get what he was saying and realized the cost of following Him.  He states in v 63 that human effort accomplishes nothing; which was probably a slap in the face to some of those within hearing distance.  “you mean to tell me Jesus that nothing that we do is going to measure up to get us into heaven”?  Nope, our works are like filthy rags even on our best days.  Many didn’t want to get out of their comfort zone to follow that hard after him, so they began walking away.  When Jesus turned to the 12 and asked if they too would leave him, Simon Peter replies “Lord to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.  We believe and we know you are the Holy One of God.”  In Psalm 69:9 David declares “Passion for your house consumes me.”  That is how I am feeling these days.  I have a huge passion for the church, the Body of Christ, and I have told God many times over that I am at his beck and call no matter what the price.  How about you?  Are you a true follower?  Are you being radically changed and transformed for the kingdom of God? or are you just watching from the sidedlines?  God calls us to Go and make disciples?  To bear fruit for the Kingdom.   God calls us all in different ways, the question is are you listening and responding to the call on your life that God has placed in your heart?  May I challenge us all to rise up and be all that God has called us to be. We only get on life, so we need to burn brightly for the kingdom of God.  It’s why we are saved and set apart.  Let us seek God and ask Him to help us understand what our task in this life is and to know that in his power and strength we will do great things for His kingdom and for his glory and honor.  Be blessed.

Conviction is Good

I was debating whether I was going to post a blog this week b/c I’ve been trying to focus my attention on my math final, but as God continues to grow and stretch me, I figured that I might as well.  I really got my butt convicted in a pretty powerful way after I walked out of church on Sunday.  All this time, as I have been growing and sharing, it occurred to me how often I try and get people to grab a hold of what God is teaching me as if it is the only thing that matters.  Somewhere along the way I think I lost the virtue of wisdom, or at least I tossed it aside for my own selfish gain.  I had no idea the amount of pride that I’ve been carrying around, it really made me upset to see how much of it there was.  I think sometimes I just loose focus.  I get so busy in whatever it is that I am doing or learning that the bigger vision or lesson that God is trying to show and teach me gets snuffed out somehow when I start filling my head with more information.  In James 1:5 it says “if any ofyou lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to al without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”  I think I  need to remember to ask God for wisdom.  I know when I pray I really need to start getting more specific with my prayers and not just to ask God to take over but to start pin-pointing some areas that I really need help on.   So may I encourage all of us to pray for wisdom in ever area of our lives and let us not be quick to judge where others are in their walk with God.  It’s God that transforms us, and I know for me, God continually reminds me to just stop  and love people where they are.  Many times for me this is not easy, but it’s another prayer that I am learning to give to God; to have God help me with my selfishness and learn to love people more unconditionally.  I think God would be proud of me today for feeling led to point out my shortcoming, because we all have them, and it’s not always easy to share the hard parts, but I know we need to share our struggles too b/c we all face them.  One of my life verses that God has been continually placing in my head and on my heart is  Jer 29:11 (NIV) “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.” It’s funny b/c my pastor had actually quoted this on Sunday and it brought me back to some basic truths that I need to remember.  Then, I heard this song from Leeland that has this same verse in it and I knew God was trying to remind me that He’s in control.  So I guess the point of saying all this is that I have been reminded that I can’t get too far ahead of myeslf and what God is trying to say and do with me.  So many times, God just fills my head with so much info, but now I am learning to ask Him what He wants me to do with it, instead of just trying to give every one my spin on it.  So Father God, I thank you for teaching me wisodm this week and reminding me that just because I am gaining understanding in a certain way, I need to go to you first and seek your wisdom on how to understand and use it.  God help me to love people more where ever you have them and help me to accept where you have me too.  Thank you for never letting go and thank you for always convictiing us when we need it.  Help us to not forget the things that you teach us Lord.  We get so full of knowledge that we don’t know what to do with it all sometimes, so help us to learn what you want us to learn and help us to love like you love.  We need you Lord in  everything we do; thank you for Loving us more than we will ever know and thank you for giving us a hope and a future; help us to endure the race you have set us upon and always put our trust in you,even when we can’t always see what you are up to.  Amen.