Thursday Inspiration 7.31.14

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Psalm 119 The Message (MSG)

119 1-8 You’re blessed when you stay on course,
    walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You’re blessed when you follow his directions,
    doing your best to find him.
That’s right—you don’t go off on your own;
    you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
    now you expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
    keeping to the course you set;
Then I’d never have any regrets
    in comparing my life with your counsel.
I thank you for speaking straight from your heart;
    I learn the pattern of your righteous ways.
I’m going to do what you tell me to do;
    don’t ever walk off and leave me.

 

Even though it is human nature to rebel and wander off–God is patient with us. He’s like the GPS on your phone or in your car that keeps saying “recalculating route”. He will get you where you need to go no matter how far off course you get. 

Today is just a simple thought–that God knows the right way. Any time we feel prone to wander we need to remember that following Him means we never have to have regrets or think we aren’t going the right way. 

I pray that I always do what you tell me to Father–don’t ever walk away and leave me behind. Amen.

 

Photo Credit: http://coffeebreaksandconstellations.tumblr.com

Wednesday Inspiration 7.30.14

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I love the intimacy of morning coffee or tea with God. I smiled when I saw this picture. And then I googled and stumbled upon this:

“One of the greatest weapons you possess is the power of prayer. If you have an effective prayer life, it will not only keep you from being fearful and at the mercy of evil as it abounds in these last days, but it will also connect you with the unlimited resources of an all powerful God.

God wants a close relationship with you. He wants to hear your voice calling His name. He cares about the details of your daily life and wants to be the one you run to with your problems and all of the situations you face.

Scripture tells us that Jesus is touched by the feeling of our infirmities and that when we come to Him, we “receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). God is for you and not against you, and it makes a difference when you pray!

Why Pray?

Praying to God brings His power into your situation. Psalm 107:28-30 says, “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them to their desired haven.” Without God’s powerful intervention, they would most assuredly have been lost!

How about you: Do you have trouble? Are you in distress? Is there a storm raging around you? Cry out to God in prayer. He will hear you and bring you out of your agony, giving you the guidance you need. There is power in prayer!”http://www.walkingbyfaith.tv/journal/single-article/141/

When you wake up tomorrow–go to your kitchen, sit down in your chair or on the edge of your bed, and talk to God. Although He is all-knowing He wants you to tell Him everything that’s in your heart or on your mind.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

Tuesday Inspiration 7.29.14

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Psalm 139

7-12 Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
you’re already there waiting!

Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

This is one of my favorite images in Scripture–the idea of running away or seeking seclusion and getting as humanly far away as possible but because our Heavenly Father is immeasurably large He can still find us in a minute. We might think we’ve found the best hiding spot but He is the best seeker.

No matter how dark your hiding spot is–know that even God sees you in the dark and when He finds you, it’s like a floodlight that engulfs you in brightness.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

Monday Inspiration 7.28.14

My mom had surgery on her knee last Friday to repair two tears. She was in too much pain to go to church so we had to take the day off–I didn’t feel right going without her. Needless to say my dad was THRILLED to hear we weren’t going to church. Every Sunday he’s mad that we go. Any time something has gone wrong with our cars he gets a power trip knowing that if for whatever reason we can’t afford it–that there’s a chance we will be unable to drive to church. 

Anyway, this Sunday even though she was still in pain we didn’t want to miss church again. That started an argument when we got home and my dad threatened (in typical fashion) to not pay an important bill. Now my brother is mentally ill and on disability–he can barely afford his own bills. My mom is recovering from a surgery and isn’t working. Then there is me and my dad. When he fails to come through–I don’t have a choice. I.e. if he doesn’t pay the car insurance, I have to. If he decides he doesn’t feel like food shopping and only buys food for himself while he is out, I have to. 

I have been doing this for so long that although it isn’t fair–I’m used to him not coming through. 

As I drove my mom this morning to pay the bill before I needed to drive back home to catch my bus to work, there was a group of landscapers sitting on our stoop. They do this every morning for as long as I can remember. I usually avoid them completely by going out the back but I’ve been parking in the front of the building because it’s easier for my mom to get to with her bad knee. Anyway. We barely open the door and the rowdiness starts. “How does it feel to be the breadwinner of the family”, one says to me. “Did you guys go to church the other day?”, says another. One makes a mockery of how my mom is limping to the other guys and says “Heal me!!!! Heal me!!!!”. As much as I genuinely don’t care what these people think of me or my family it’s just the fact that they are so hateful. Between living with my dad and his abuse and then the neighbors and other people in the area–it gets old. I’m not ignorant to say we’re the only ones who go through this, but so often it can feel like you are totally alone as a Christian. That somehow other people are on the shortcut, the paved path, and you are on the road less traveled. It’s not pride. It’s confusion. Why did you bring me here? Why am I here? Where is the relief? 

After texting a few of my friends from church for prayer–one told me to pray for my dad. Ugh—right? Anything but THAT. I don’t hate my dad, but I can’t honestly say that I like or respect him. He resents being a father, a husband, and 9 out of 10 times he has something negative to say about you or a situation. I waited until I was really groggy before bed and sent up a quick prayer. Something honest like “I don’t want to pray for him, he doesn’t deserve it, but soften his heart to pay the bill..I don’t have anything in my account. I haven’t been paid yet.” Not verbatim, but to the same effect. 

1 John 4 tells us that if we claim to love God but harbor ill feelings toward our brothers and sisters we are liars. If you can’t love the people you see how can you love the God you cannot see? And quite frankly that verse is awful–because who really wants to love someone who is awful? For me it’s easy to love strangers, I like people, I can even like people who don’t like me. That’s fine. But it’s a whole different story to be kind to people who go out of their way to spew garbage on you. Who deliberately want to make life harder for you.

When I woke up today my mom showed me the cash my dad left on the couch this morning for the bill. In a way–cool right? An answer to my half-hearted prayer. But in another way it’s still unsatisfying because he pulls this all the time. And a good percentage of the time–he doesn’t give the money enough to trust that he may have a blow-up but it will fizzle and he’ll come through. He’s not that trustworthy unfortunately.

However I am grateful for this time. And through gritted teeth I will try to pray for my dad every day–a task that honestly–I don’t look forward to.

Luke 6:37-38The Message (MSG)

37-38 “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.

But I will remember that ultimately it isn’t for my sake, or my dad’s sake, I merely just want to honor God. Like this photo says I want my Heavenly Father to be proud and look at me and say “That’s my girl”.

 

Photo Credit: flickr.com 

Friday Inspiration 7.25.14

Last night I had a series of pointless dreams–for example the dream right before I woke up was me buying gum and being unhappy with the flavor. Haha. But in the middle of the night, in darkness, I woke up instantly with one word “Myanmar”. I have no idea what it means. I’m aware geographically that it’s a place. I wasn’t sure if it was still a country or if like with some areas that was an old name and now it is referred to as something else. I woke up, heard the word, and remember groggily being like I guess I’ll pray. I don’t remember what I even said but I said a short prayer and went back to sleep.

When I woke up this morning I decided to Google it and apparently there is some unrest there. I don’t really understand the details other than that Doctor’s Without Borders are being removed because of perceived religious favoritism–aka treating one group over another. This is just perception according to this article and merely just that one group is more in need than the other:  http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/troubled-myanmar-state-invites-back-aid-groups-24691009

I have no idea why I was woken up. Even posting about it seems a little weird because I don’t know what that means. Does this mean I was just encouraged to pray for them? Does it mean more? Am I missing something?

I know the Holy Spirit intercedes when we don’t know what to pray for–so maybe that was it. Simply being prompted and responding.

Has this ever happened to you before?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Flickr.com

Thursday Inspiration 7.24.14

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Isaiah 61 The Message (MSG)

Announce Freedom to All Captives

61 1-7 The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me
because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—

a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.

They’ll rebuild the old ruins,
raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities,
take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks
and foreigners to work your fields,
But you’ll have the title “Priests of God,”
honored as ministers of our God.
You’ll feast on the bounty of nations,
you’ll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble
and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled
and your joy go on forever.

This verse is beautiful in so many ways. The first thing I love is the image of God’s spirit on me, anointing me. I imagine that it would feel like a blanket straight out of the dryer. Or like the sweet syrupy taste of tea as it slowly warms up your throat on a chilly day. You get the picture? Total peace is in that first verse. But it goes on to say that because I am, you are, we are anointed in this way we are to be that warm blanket or soothing tea to others. “God sent me to announce the year of his grace”. To show people what they haven’t seen or heard before.

And what about bouquets instead of ashes? That’s poetry. Pure poetry. Imagine all the dead parts of your life: divorce, a terminal illness, poverty, depression, whatever it is and imagine it as physical ashes in your hands. It’s not contained an urn. That’s not big enough. Right? Every time something dies it’s just another empty sandbag in your open hands. It’s overwhelming in it’s magnitude and grief and you close your eyes because you’re tired of looking at dead things. But to God. They aren’t dead. To him death is a temporary circumstance—because life is eternal. So what if you opened your eyes again and somehow there were flowers where there was once decay? Your joy would be visceral. Deep in your gut you would have butterflies, and maybe be so overcome that you would shout, or burst out laughing, or cry. The joy is what God wants to give you.

And His joy? Well it goes on forever.

Wednesday Inspiration 7.23.14

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Excerpt from Romans 10 MSG:

“It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!”

11-13 Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it.” It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.”

14-17 But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? That’s why Scripture exclaims,

A sight to take your breath away!
Grand processions of people
telling all the good things of God!
But not everybody is ready for this, ready to see and hear and act. Isaiah asked what we all ask at one time or another: “Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?” The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to.”

God’s love is extravagant. The very fact that He bridged the gap between us and Him is unfathomable–He who lacks nothing and us who lack everything in comparison. But His love is like that. Unconditional.

On a human level we don’t always get this exchange. We’re suspicious of anything someone claims to be free of cost. But God so loved, that He gave. It might not be in human nature but it is in His nature.

So today I encourage you to reflect on God’s love anew. And if you have no idea what that feels like and what I’m talking about — take the first step and just talk to God. Say God, I don’t know this kind of love. I don’t know if I believe in you. But if what she says is true–I ask you to set things right between us. I ask you to help me to believe. Reveal yourself to me. Show me who you are today.

His Word promises you will never regret it.

Photo credit: betype.co