Friday Inspiration 8.29.14

 

2 Thessalonians 2 (MSG)

13-14 Meanwhile, we’ve got our hands full continually thanking God for you, our good friends—so loved by God! God picked you out as his from the very start. Think of it: included in God’s original plan of salvation by the bond of faith in the living truth. This is the life of the Spirit he invited you to through the Message we delivered, in which you get in on the glory of our Master, Jesus Christ.

15-17 So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.

 

Out of nowhere last night I was getting ready to take a shower before bed and I was filled with such joy and an intense desire to jump around that I did. Haha. Think having a dance party of one. Just hopping around like a fool. I don’t know why but I needed to do it in that moment. All of that to say that sometimes I think your spirit is PUMPED and you’re not always sure why. But your spirit knows why. Your spirit knows that you are chosen, you have been reached out to in love, and that God surprises you continuously with fresh favor and confidence and gifts. On a small scale this week I found something I’ve been looking for. I’ve been wanting to go to a sunflower field. Random. But it’s been a year or so and I’ve wanted to go. I know supposedly there are some out on Long Island but any time I’ve tried it isn’t in season or someone who’s gone “forgets” where it is. How do you forget?! Right? So I’ve kind of let it go but am constantly looking. And out of the blue someone posts this beautiful field of sunflowers online and it’s only an hour from where I live. So guess who’s going tomorrow?! Meeeeeeeee! And silly as it sounds..I know it was a God thing. The person who posted it is rarely online and I’m not constantly combing through people’s posts so I just happened to be online when she posted it. God is into surprises. 

I remember years ago reading “Captivating” and being kind of cynical when the author talked about her husband seeing a whale. Apparently he was praying and having alone time with God on a beach and voila…whale. So it was like God was showing him this cool thing so they can have this moment together. The wife prayed for a whale too. Like–hey God–where’s my special gift on our date? And finally she came upon a spot on the beach that was COVERED in starfish. A fun gift, a cool gift, but different than her husband’s. So where does that leave you and me right? Well I think God knows us better than we give Him credit. He knows our passions, He knows that I spend way too much of my time on Pinterest, He knows I lose my glasses before bedtime a few times a week, and He knows I want to see a field of sunflowers. If He orchestrates all things, He orchestrates the timing of all things, and brings them together at the right moment. Someone went to this field, I saw the photo, now I can go. What is something you want to find or see or go to that you haven’t experienced yet? Do you believe that God wants to show, or reveal, or take you there? Honestly? I can admit there were dark seasons where I felt like God didn’t care. I knew in my mind He did but my heart felt disappointed and disillusioned. I feel like on the other side of that in the past few years I’m finally in the spot I hoped to be where I see things God is doing, I hear Him, and I am experiencing Him more clearly than ever. Granted there are more things I hope for, but that’s over a lifetime and doesn’t need to be rushed. 

My prayer today is that you get a fresh revelation of the truth that “God withholds no good thing”. Even a silly sunflower field. He created you. He made your talents. He knows your interests. And He will give you “a fresh heart, invigorate your work, enliven your speech” and create a wonderful relationship with you full of surprises.

Do you believe it?

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

Thursday Inspiration 8.28.14

 

This is beautiful. So many times I’ve felt exhausted and/or pushed beyond my capabilities. Sometimes it was grief, or being overwhelmed, or betrayal, you name it. In those moments I’ve definitely prayed for my heart to be healed, to be numbed emotionally, to be saved from the situation I was in. But it’s important to remember that Jesus holds us in those moments and carries us from start to finish. He’s not the kind of God who watches you from on high as you limp or drag yourself along. 

Deuteronomy 1:31 (MSG)

29-33 I tried to relieve your fears: “Don’t be terrified of them. God, your God, is leading the way; he’s fighting for you. You saw with your own eyes what he did for you in Egypt; you saw what he did in the wilderness, how God, your God, carried you as a father carries his child, carried you the whole way until you arrived here. But now that you’re here, you won’t trust God, your God—this same God who goes ahead of you in your travels to scout out a place to pitch camp, a fire by night and a cloud by day to show you the way to go.

Deuteronomy 33:27(NIV)

27 The eternal God is your refuge,
    and underneath are the everlasting arms.
He will drive out your enemies before you,
    saying, ‘Destroy them!’

 

Isaiah 46:4 (MSG)

I’ve been carrying you on my back
    from the day you were born,
And I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old.
    I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and gray.
I’ve done it and will keep on doing it,
    carrying you on my back, saving you.

Romans 8:26 (MSG)

26-28 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Wednesday Inspiration 8.27.14

Going into today I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about, but after reading an article in Time this morning I feel like I know what I want to do. For those of you who don’t know, I watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad/Bachelor In Paradise. I don’t remember when I started but the first season I remember seeing was Trista’s. Judge me please. I judge myself too but it’s become too much of a guilty pleasure that I can’t stop. Haha. Seriously the amount of pleasure I get from watching this stuff is unnatural. Second only to the hilarious tweets people write about it. Anyway. Apparently they announced the new Bachelor, Chris, on Good Morning America this morning and I don’t think anyone was surprised despite the delay in announcing it at the close of Andi’s season. He was too nice, family-oriented, and dare I say…too normal not to be chosen. What I didn’t know was that Arie–a contestant from Emily’s season hoped to be picked. Now I know this might not mean anything to most of you guys–especially if you have never watched these shows but Arie is beautiful. He’s a beautiful man. He has a beautiful smile and beautiful eyes and I feel like he’s the kind of guy that if you tried to talk to in person–you might black out. That’s all you need to know to track with me on this.

So then I stumble across this article on Time and Arie is talking about reading the Bible. WHAT? That was exactly my reaction. In the midst of season after season of people making out with strangers they just met in the ocean tide and on boats and ugly-crying during elimination, in this moment the Heavens parted, because Arie is here, single, and talking about the Bible. 

So picture me feverishly reading this article now until I reach this part:

It was an old Bible that looked like it had been in his family for years. I could tell someone had read that thing, because the pages were worn and certain passages were underlined, and he held it like a prized possession. He wrote in the front, saying he was giving the book to my mechanic and me.

“Take it so you don’t forget what you learned this weekend.”

“Are you sure you want me to have it?” I asked, touched by his selfless act.

He did.

That book came along with me as I traveled from that point on. In fact, the Bible sat next to me in the front seat of Betsy (yes we named our race hauler). It began to change me as I read it at night before going to sleep, though sometimes I felt I needed help understanding. Regardless, I knew there was powerful stuff in there. The Bible comforted me as I traveled from place to place… sometimes it was hard to keep track of where I was or where I was going.                                                                                       – http://time.com/3071743/arie-the-bachelor/

Wow. Here’s this guy who I don’t know outside of this often-ridiculous empire of a show and he’s throwing down some real talk now. The human part of me is like YES! now it’s officially okay that I was terribly attracted to him even though he was on a reality show, but the Christian part of me is also like OMG! I wish I could give him a Message bible or something. Right? Literally the only passage from Psalms he quotes is from the King James Bible. For most people it is literally the hardest language to read and comprehend. So on one hand I’m super impressed that he’s reading this thing day in and day out, but I also want to shout out that there are other versions! Sorry King James.

I’m writing all of this to say that reading this article was so encouraging. It’s hard to always take the show seriously even though there has been success stories and some couples are married and still together. I mainly watch it for entertainment value, and to sympathize with the normal ones that find their way onto the show, but deep down I think the show itself is unapologetically human. We all want to find love. We all want to be chosen. We all worry that we’re not enough or that we did something wrong and now we’re doomed to be alone. But this time, it also brings up faith, and how ultimately it’s good to want romance. God created us to want love and to show love, but ultimately above everything He wants our love for himself. As corny as it sounds, I’m going to go there, but Jesus was and is the ultimate Bachelor because He wants us to accept His gestures, His pursuits of us, His affection–His “rose”. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof:

Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG)

 

I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

          Romans 8:37 (MSG)

31-39 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

          Isaiah 43  (MSG)

          When You’re Between a Rock and a Hard Place

43 1-4 But now, God’s Message,
    the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
    the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
    all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you.

5-7 “So don’t be afraid: I’m with you.
    I’ll round up all your scattered children,
    pull them in from east and west.
I’ll send orders north and south:
    ‘Send them back.
Return my sons from distant lands,
    my daughters from faraway places.
I want them back, every last one who bears my name,
    every man, woman, and child
Whom I created for my glory,
    yes, personally formed and made each one.’”

8-13 Get the blind and deaf out here and ready—
    the blind (though there’s nothing wrong with their eyes)
    and the deaf (though there’s nothing wrong with their ears).
Then get the other nations out here and ready.
    Let’s see what they have to say about this,
    how they account for what’s happened.
Let them present their expert witnesses
    and make their case;
    let them try to convince us what they say is true.
“But you are my witnesses.” God’s Decree.
    “You’re my handpicked servant
So that you’ll come to know and trust me,
    understand both that I am and who I am.
Previous to me there was no such thing as a god,
    nor will there be after me.
I, yes I, am God.
    I’m the only Savior there is.
I spoke, I saved, I told you what existed
    long before these upstart gods appeared on the scene.
And you know it, you’re my witnesses,
    you’re the evidence.” God’s Decree.
“Yes, I am God.
    I’ve always been God
    and I always will be God.
No one can take anything from me.
    I make; who can unmake it?”

           Colossians 1:15-20 (MSG)

           Christ Holds It All Together

15-18 We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

18-20 He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.

          Ephesians 1:11-14 (MSG)

11-12 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

13-14 It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.

I could say so much more but that’s just a teaser. I’m just blown away by God right now. Blown away that what started as me watching a silly show, turned into this guy’s journey to find God, an article, and now a publicized curiosity for Him to embark on His own spiritual journey. If anything I’m pumped for Arie. So pumped! As naive as it might sound I want to pray right now that He continues to be open to all the things God wants to show and tell Him. I want him to know that God pursues him. Arie might be a professional car racer, but He is surpassed by the Hound of Heaven. God is so crazy for him, for all of us, that no matter how far we run, or drive away, He is already there. He beats us to our destination every time. He holds all the records for speed. Not because of anything we’ve done but it’s His very nature – which is love – He wants to have a relationship with us. I just love the idea of people going on this show, looking for love, and finding the greatest Love of all. It’s just blowing my mind today. God is faithful. God is amazing. 

Psalm 23 T(MSG)

A David Psalm

23 1-3 God, my shepherd!
    I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
    you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
    you let me catch my breath
    and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through
    Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
    when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
    makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner
    right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
    my cup brims with blessing.

6 Your beauty and love chase after me
    every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
    for the rest of my life.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com 

Tuesday Inspiration 8.26.14

I had a hard day yesterday. I’m doing very well at my new job but there are certain tasks I am just not naturally gifted at. For example–part of my job entails using a program to make an interactive ad. The basics I have down but then there are ones that come across to me like puzzles or worse—like math. Haha. My brain just isn’t logical like that. And yet I keep being asked to work on them. I’ve been reminded during this time that I am not patient. I am not good with persistence when I don’t see success at the end. Ouch. 

If anything that makes me feel kind of guilty. Am I really that shallow that unless I’m good at something I don’t want to do it? I don’t think that’s just a me thing–I think that’s pretty human. Why would you really want to struggle and feel incapable of something? Right? It doesn’t feel good. It makes you feel stupid. And yet I am certain God wants me here. And yesterday I found myself pushed way beyond my comfort zone. Granted it was escalated because a couple of co-workers laughed at my struggling and I felt kind of defensive and ashamed, but I don’t want to be that way. If God has me here, if God brought me here, then God and only God will equip me. 

Some reminders for when I am weary:

Hebrews 13:21 (MSG)

18-21 Pray for us. We have no doubts about what we’re doing or why, but it’s hard going and we need your prayers. All we care about is living well before God. Pray that we may be together soon.

May God, who puts all things together,
    makes all things whole,
Who made a lasting mark through the sacrifice of Jesus,
    the sacrifice of blood that sealed the eternal covenant,
Who led Jesus, our Great Shepherd,
    up and alive from the dead,
Now put you together, provide you
    with everything you need to please him,
Make us into what gives him most pleasure,
    by means of the sacrifice of Jesus, the Messiah.
All glory to Jesus forever and always!
    Oh, yes, yes, yes.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (MSG)

11-12 Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time—pray that our God will make you fit for what he’s called you to be, pray that he’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely.

So today Father I need Your wisdom. You created all things and You have understanding of all things. Please expand my mind to understand the tasks at work that I am having trouble understanding. I often find myself struggling and it is easy to feel inferior and stupid when I cannot grasp it all. I know that You are with me always. I know that You hear me always. I ask for your wisdom and peace and that you will “make me fit for what You have called me to be” in this place. Amen.

Photo Credit: Society6.com

Monday Inspiration 8.25.14

 

Hebrews 10:22-25 (MSG)

22-25 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

 

 

I think being strong and confident is always a good way to start off a week. It’s Monday. It’s a new day. It’s a new week. We have the choice whether we want to start the week begrudgingly or with gusto. This verse reminds me that I can do “it”. The “it” can be getting out of bed, or doing a presentation, or going to work, or really anything and we can do those things full of belief. We don’t need validation from anyone but God and He is the only one that can assure us that we’re “presentable inside and out”. We can rest in His affection for us. We can hold on to His promises. It is because we know who we are in Him that we can be creative in how we can encourage and help others. 

 

What can you do today to start your week off right?

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Etsy.com

Friday Inspiration 8.22.14

20140824-212852-77332384.jpg

1. I have enough:

Philippians 4

10-14 I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.

My God supplies all my needs. No matter my situation I have enough because I have Him.

2. I do enough:

Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior Who saves! He will rejoice over you with joy: He will rest in silent satisfaction and in His love He will be silent and make no mention of past sins or even recall them; He will exult over you with singing. (Amp)”

God accepts me because of Christ who lives in me. While we are all on a journey to be more like Christ I need not fear that I need to perpetually chase after acceptance by doing task after task. My Lord rejoices over me with singing.

3. I am enough:

“You are a chosen [woman], a royal [priest], a holy [daughter], God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Pet. 2:9).

In God’s eyes I am sanctified and cherished. The world may doubt my worth but my Lord never will.

Photo credit: picklebums.com

Thursday Inspiration 8.21.14

Aslan: Lucy
Lucy: Aslan?
Aslan: What have you done child?
Lucy: I don’t know, that was awful.
Aslan: But you chose it, Lucy.
Lucy: I didn’t mean to choose all of that, I just wanted to be beautiful like Susan. That’s all
Aslan: You wished yourself away and with it much more. Your brothers and sisters wouldn’t know Narnia without you, Lucy. you discovered it first, remember?
Lucy: I’m so sorry.
Aslan: You doubt your value, don’t run from who you are

More often than not I find myself being a “Lucy”. It’s hard not to compare yourself with others. At various times I’ve felt that I was not worthy, beautiful, noticeable, talented, or whatever—enough. If only I were more beautiful, or talented, or [fill in the blank] then my life would look like [fill in the blank]. The danger in that is that you sell yourself short. Short enough that you are no longer bold as you are intended and expected to be as a child of God. Short enough that you are giving Satan ground. Short enough that you miss potential areas to be blessed or to bless others because of your own insecurities.

So today I want to remind myself and you that this is what God thinks of us:

Ephesians 1 The Message (MSG)

1-2 I, Paul, am under God’s plan as an apostle, a special agent of Christ Jesus, writing to you faithful believers in Ephesus. I greet you with the grace and peace poured into our lives by God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.

The God of Glory

3-6 How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

7-10 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

11-12 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

13-14 It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.

15-19 That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!

20-23 All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.

In short: God planned for us being in His family before we were ever born. Back when He formed the Universe He was excitedly planning for our creation and release into this world at this time. He created me and you as the focus of His love. Even Paul, long gone, is thanking God for us believers. All of this—is mind-boggling.

An excerpt from Romans 5 MSG:

We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

I love the idea of opening our door and finding that God is also standing there with His door open. We’re not waiting for Him to open His, waiting outside and wondering if anyone is home, He’s anxiously waiting for us and therefore doesn’t waste a moment and flings His door wide open. “We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand”. Therefore although I am a “Lucy” at times God already sees me as a beautiful “Susan’. To Him I am already talented, noticeable, and beautiful enough. 

Photo Credit: http://ashesandbeauty.wordpress.com/