HE is ALL I Need !

This is a truth that I’ve “known” for a long time, but I am coming to a new and deeper understanding of it at this point in my life.   The 2 greatest commandments in Scripture teach us that we should love God with our whole being (heart, soul, mind and strength), then love our neighbor as ourselves.  Neither one of these commandments focuses on ME and what I think I need.  It’s about serving God and others.  However, I often find my mind focused on what I am doing, accomplishing, feeling and needing rather than on God and those around me.

Over the past year, I said “good-bye” to many things that I valued in my life . . . to the point of feeling like I’ve even “lost” my very identity.  Yet my identity and value is NOT in what I do.  It doesn’t matter if I organize and run a home school group.  It doesn’t matter if serve clients with my accounting degree.  It doesn’t matter if I’m involved in service projects.  It doesn’t matter if I have a great network of special people surrounding me.  I cannot and should not rely on any of these aspects for my identity, though they may be great things in themselves.  BUT I need to constantly rely on GOD to supply my true needs – not the needs I think I have.  My identity is in HIM!  My whole identity is in Christ, not in what I do for Him.  My worth and value is all found in HIM!  Wholeness and completeness in my heart and life are found in Christ.

In a recent sermon,  we were challenged to consider:  if Jesus is all that there is – the only thing on the menu – is that enough for me?  Or do I feel like I need Jesus and a good job, or Jesus and a purpose, or Jesus and a great friend, or Jesus and a nice house.  Is Jesus truly enough in my life, or am I constantly looking for more?  This is a challenge for me right now.  I know in my head that, yes, Jesus is enough.  But then I continue to live and allow my emotions to tell me that He is not enough.  I dwell on what I don’t have and what I think I need instead of focusing on the sufficiency of Christ!

Steve Camp sings a beautiful song reminding me that through all life, every circumstance I may face, Jesus is all I need.  He’s my anchor and will never let me go!  To listen to this song, click: He’s All You Need by Steve Camp.

May you allow Jesus to be everything for you today.  He is sufficient!  He is more than sufficient if we allow Him to be!

Living in a Castle?

Apparently we bought a wonderful piece of property.  🙂  Some features we didn’t know about?

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1)  Lakefront property with private beach ~ at least 2 seasons of the year (late winter and in spring)

 

 

2)  Castle  ~  even our shed has a mote! Doesn’t that mean our house is a castle? 🙂  April 2013 058 croppedApril 2013 070 cropped

As I wade through struggles in life, I need to remind myself that . . .

1)  Yes, God is in control of every little detail!  Matthew 6:25-34 challenges us to stop worrying since our heavenly Father takes care of us.

2)  I can trust Him to walk with me.  “Never will I leave you.”  Hebrews 13:5

3)  When I walk in obedience and grow in Him, He promises to produce HIS fruit in my life ~ the fruit of walking in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22) ~ fruit that will last eternally (see John 15:16)

For His promises I am thankful today.

First Act of Disobedience

How far back do you remember?  What is your first memory of doing something that you knew beyond a shadow of doubt that you should not have done?

I was certainly NOT a perfect child (my many siblings can affirm this), but there was one instance that occurred while I was in the 4th grade that became a significant memorable moment for me.  We had just taken a reading comprehension test (not a strong subject for me).  We passed our test to either the person in front or behind us to grade it while we graded another student’s test.  I missed 1 too many in order to move up to the next level.  I was embarrassed about this, but what I chose to do, I deeply regret, and it has haunted me for many years.

First of all, I asked my fellow student to give me the test so I could change one of my answers, thus producing a grade to advance me to the next level.  Secondly, when the teacher called my name to report my score, I lied to her by giving her the incorrect grade.    So not only had I now cheated, I had also lied ~ with a fellow student as my witness.  I immediately felt terrible, but I chose NOT to confess or to admit this to anyone.  Instead I vowed I would never do that again and begged God for forgiveness.

About 10 years later, God still had a lesson to teach me.  While I was serving as a volunteer after high school, I continued to be convicted of this double sin.  God was now asking that I confess my wrong doing if I truly wanted to live in freedom.  How was I going to do that?  The school I had attended back then had closed.  I didn’t even know if the teacher was still teaching.  But I knew I had to try.  So I wound up writing a note to my teacher – asking for forgiveness – and mailed it to the last school where I knew she taught.  I have no idea if she ever actually received the note.  That’s irrelevant to me.  What is important, however, are the valuable lessons I learned through this experience:

  • Walking in obedience to God is walking in freedom and is far more valuable than any earthly reward.
  • Living with a clear conscience is worth more than any grade.
  • I did not wish to apologize to anyone again for choosing to behave poorly (that’s just plain humiliating and embarrassing! Also, I have had to apologize MANY times since then – guess I’m a slow learner.)
  • I’m thankful that God could use that situation with seemingly insignificant consequences to teach me a valuable life lesson.

Though this one “small” act of disobedience seems insignificant, it can easily become something much bigger when we choose not to learn from our choices.  When we consistently make poor choices in “insignificant” situations, we can grow numb to not living in integrity, and it becomes more difficult to make the right choice when it really matters.

~Lord, help me daily to live a life of integrity and honesty!

Walking by Faith ~ Not by Sight

This past Sunday, I ventured out early in the morning before church for a walk ~ it was still a bit dark out there.  For the first half of my venture, I was facing the moon ~ which I couldn’t see due to the still dark sky and dark cloud cover.  On the return trip, I was facing the sun ~ which I couldn’t see either since it hadn’t risen yet.

Though I couldn’t really see the sun or the moon, I could see clear evidence that they were there and that they actually existed.  I was reminded that walking by faith is similar.  Sometimes on our journey in life, we feel like we can’t see God or His Light reflecting into our lives.  His voice seems so distant and quiet.  We wonder where He is.  But those are the times that we need to look at the evidence:

  1. remind ourselves of His past faithfulness
  2. cling to the truths and promises we glean from Scripture (such as Hebrews 13:5b:  “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”)
  3. immerse ourselves in God’s Word
  4. continue to walk in daily obedience
  5. look for ways to encourage and help others along the way – go visit someone

By continuing to act and live by faith even when we can’t see clearly, God can still work in us and through us to bring glory and honor to Himself, and, eventually, we’ll come out on the other side with a stronger faith.

Is this easy?  Absolutely not!  For me, it’s making a deliberate choice.  When God seems distant, it’s so much easier to wallow in that darkness than to rise up and do something.  However, I have experienced joy and victory many times AFTER I have consciously made the choice to act in spite of how I felt.  The reward is so much greater than the wallowing! 🙂

After Christmas Inspiration

This morning in Sunday School, we read Luke 2:41-52 ~ the story of Jesus as a boy going to the temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of the Passover.  I was privileged and excited to gain new insight on this passage!!  Consider for a moment that this story just may be about us.

We go to worship because it is the customary thing to do.  It’s what we grew up doing, and it is what is expected if you claim to follow God.  Does practicing this custom have any deeper meaning for us? Or do we just go through the motions of being a good person?  The Feast of the Passover is a celebration of freedom from slavery.  Do we truly wish to be freed from those areas in our lives that enslave us? Do we truly wish to experience the joy and victory that comes from choosing Life with Christ?  Or are there moments we kind of enjoy wallowing in our troubles, our miseries, our trials – using these things to make excuses for not behaving in a godly way?

After the Feast was over, Jesus’ parents left Jerusalem traveling for a day before realizing Jesus was not with them.  Then they looked for Jesus among their relatives and friends, but they didn’t find Him.  Sometimes in our walk of life, our worship is empty ~ we choose to walk away from His throne without taking Jesus with us into our daily lives.  After awhile, we realize something is missing, and we start to look for Him around us instead of looking into His face and deep within our hearts ~ the center of worship.  Sometimes, we seek Him only half-heartedly ~ not sure we really want Him to be the center of our lives.  We know we need Him, but to be on the throne?  Sometimes we really need to seek Him, be serious about our searching, before we can “find” Him.   Through it all, Jesus can always be found in the temple at Jerusalem ~ on the throne ~ worthy of worship.

Then when we do find Him, we ask “Why have you treated us like this?”  Didn’t You know we were looking for You?  Why have YOU deserted us?  Don’t You see how much pain I have?  In reality, we were the ones who walked away from HIM.  Jesus was there all along.  He is not the One who has moved away from us. We just needed to re-focus our hearts back on Him to find Him.

To summarize, when I worship, I want to choose to worship because I deeply desire to be in God’s presence.  When I focus my mind on the responsibilities that God has given to me, I want to take Him with me ~ seek His guidance in all things for every decision ~ ask Him to walk with me ~ to put Him on the throne to rule my heart, my life, my thoughts, my every action.

~ Lord, help me today to truly seek You, find You, walk every day with You, and deeply desire You to be on the throne of my heart.