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Chaos, Social Justice, and Facing Fear in order to Seek God's Face

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.  Isaiah 26:3 A warning in advance-in...

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

"I still have a way..."


The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
Exodus 14:14 (KJV)

Disturb us, Lord


All the lessons I’m learning lately lead me to this new affirmation. I commit to doing the thing I do not know how to do...Not act; Be still. Instead I will trust God,  falling into the arms of the community He gave me, accepting their offers to stand in the gap, knowing now, finally, that my job is to trust and obey. To Practice Being Still. Quietly, reverently, I offer this prayer, as I encourage us all to remember to rely upon God, because  without Him, we are NOTHING.




Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NOT Content, but leaning on the Lord

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity;
Philippians 4
:11


This is another sermon from the dog. Yesterday I made the hard confession that I have been doing it all wrong, thinking me and God could do anything together. If you missed the lesson, here’s the take-away WITHOUT HIM, WE ARE NOTHING. What does any of this have to do with my dog? Well, look at him. I resisted the urge to post video because his snoring is priceless but this here, folks, is the very soul of contentment. I have not been content. I have been in control, I have been composed, I HAVE NOT be patient but have very much worked on giving the appearance of being so, and while I admit to struggling with Paul’s words, there were times when I thought, even briefly, that I have achieved the contentment of which he wrote. 
I WAS WRONG.

Jeremiah Burroughs writes about Christian contentment, saying, “Usually when God intends the greatest mercy to any of His people He brings them into the lowest condition.” Ouch. He further teaches that,
 Anxious? Panicked? Remember a dog snoring on the floor and
know that all manner of thing shall be well, in Jesus’ name.
TWEET SOME ENCOURAGEMENT
It is the way of God to work by contraries, to turn the greatest evil into the greatest good. To grant great good after great evil is one thing, and to turn great evil into the greatest good is another, and yet that is God's way: the greatest good that God intends for his people, he many times works out of the greatest evil, the greatest light is brought out of the greatest darkness. I remember, Luther has a striking expression for this: he says, 'It is the way of God: he humbles that he might exalt, he kills that he might make alive, he confounds that he might glorify.' This is the way of God, he says, but everyone does not understand it. This is the art of arts, and the science of sciences, the knowledge of knowledges, to understand this, that God when he will bring life, brings it out of death, he brings joy out of sorrow, and he brings prosperity out of adversity, yea and many times brings grace out of sin, that is, makes use of sin to work furtherance of grace.
God our Father “makes use of sin to work furtherance of Grace.” I wasn’t content, and I am not now, but the difference is I recognize where I am and more importantly, where I need to be.

I need to be asleep on the rug in the middle of the room, blessedly assured as Julian of Norwich when she heard these very words from God saying  "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."

I tell people this all the time, but I haven’t been listening. Why are we worrying? Our worry serves no purpose and furthermore, we are not in control. We must give it over…and here’s the thing, I really thought I had given it over. I meant well, (Lord, help a well-meaning Christian), but I had it wrong. I even said I was pressing in and letting go. NOT.


I am not content, but having learned that I AM NOTHING, I will trust God. I will trust God the way my dog trusts us. Without reservation. And when I get anxious, or panicked, I will remember that dog snoring on the floor, knowing that all manner of thing shall be well, in Jesus’ name. And that my friends, is a reason to be thankful, to offer prayers of Thanksgiving EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I AM NOTHING

The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
Exodus 14:14 (KJV)

This year I affirmed my brokenness. Step one, though I didn’t know it at the time. Once affirmed, I needed to embrace it, by whispering the prayer, by living the prayer “Lord, please don’t fix me.”  I needed brokenness for so many reasons.  I needed to know, head down through soul deep that I could never be whole alone.

I AM NOTHING.

He fights for me.
I shall hold my peace,
and in this,
I covet your prayers.
START A PRAYER CHAIN WITH A TWEET
Richard Smallwood wrote one of my favorite songs, Nothing Without Your Love, Sin ti soya nada…Necesito tu amor, Senor. (I am nothing without You…I need your love, Lord.) I loved it, but didn’t understand it. I wasn’t close enough.

Being broken reminds me that falling from capacity into God’s Amazing Grace is a journey for which I’d trade nothing. It is also a journey I had to make, and finally, I am nowhere near done. I didn’t understand. I wasn’t close enough. God wants be pressed further in. He wants to draw me closer.  

I AM NOTHING.

Matthew Henry, whose commentary makes all things clear for me, breaks down Exodus 14:14 in a way I understand, writing,

God brings us into straits, that he may bring us to our knees. …"Stand still," think not to save yourselves either by fighting or flying; wait God's orders, and observe them. Compose yourselves, by confidence in God, into peaceful thoughts of the great salvation God is about to work for you. If God brings his people into straits, he will find a way to bring them out.
You see, I AM NOTHING. We often quote Matthew 19:26, declaring in faith, …“with God all things are possible" but as is often the way with man, we've got it all wrong. We declare that WITH God all things are possible when the reality is WITHOUT GOD NOTHING is possible. 

WE ARE NOTHING (without Him). WITHOUT HIM, WE ARE NOTHING.

That is my humbling realization. This is my new reality, and it is quite uncomfortable. God commands us to “stand still,” and failing to receive the lesson, He will drive us to our knees.

This is my confession--I lost the ability to believe something big could happen to me. I prayed, maintaining a relationship with God, but routinely went to my capacities, bunkering in to figure a way out in times of need INSTEAD of FIRST humbling myself before the Throne of God. He let me, and slowly I began to fail. He has always wanted me to press in even more closely. Now I begin to understand.

This is now my affirmation. I committ to doing the thing I do not know how to do...not act; be still. Instead, I will trust God and fall back into the arms of the community He gave me, accepting their offers to stand in the gap, knowing now, finally, that my job is to trust, obey, and Be Still. I'm going to be dismal at it, but my way just doesn’t work anymore. 


Now I understand that God wants to take me further. He fights for me. I shall hold my peace, and in this, I covet your prayers.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Be Flawed…

or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleased with the Lord to take it away from me. But  He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My Power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christs power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christs sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (ESV)

Flaws make Surrender easier. 
Our acceptance of them reminds us that
You are God, we belong to You, and even in our striving, 
we accept with grace and joy that 
You alone are Perfect 
and worthy of our worship
I’ve been watching a dear friend evolve recently. She and I agree that God tied us together for many reasons, one being that some of the scary paths I have walked I now see her on. God placed me in her midst to testify that though those paths are scary, she does not walk them alone, she will get through, and as God (and technology) permit, I will cheer her on her way. This morning, God placed a word in my spirit for her. Be Flawed.

My beautiful, wonderful, wise and anointed friend has, among many gifts, a capacity conundrum. What’s a capacity conundrum? Well, when God blesses you with talent, time, ability, there is a breaking point at which you should surrender, but usually don't. I once thought that it wasn’t hubris, but God has revealed to me that of course it is. It is not an intentional sin, but it is sin nonetheless. It is the act of relying upon what we believe are our own strengths, instead of throwing up our hands in either exhaustion or praise, or both, and giving it over to God. We need to remember to lean on God. From the beginning. Not when we're weary, or when we're nearly out of gas. It always comes back to surrender. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

You will take me for a walk--The Dog Series @ Circles of Faith

Every morning, I hear the conversely plaintive, playful, pleading cries of our doggy requesting his morning walk. His faith is unassailable, like mine needs to be.  There is no quavering uncertainty about whether he will be leashed, walked, watered, fed, played with, or adored.  
His reality is incontrovertible...you will take me for a walk.
To read more, please join me in the Circle of Faith here

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