Saturday, April 16, 2011

Christ in me

Christ living in me.......So I am sitting here once again.  I am thinking about the events of the morning.  I went to Calvary Chapel today to celebrate the life of a very dear man.  I listen to his children speak about their earthly father's life. Each person had a different memory.  A unique relationship.  And there were some characteristic in every persons relationship with Mr Paolini that were similar. Each person there had at one time or another been touched by Tony's love and crazy personality.   As I sat there I began to wonder and think about the legacy Christ has left for me/us.

Christ walked here on this earth in the flesh.  Today He still walks with me and in me through the Holy Spirit.  His love has blanketed the universe.  I have taken for granted that He is present and in my heart.  All I need to do is call on Him with faith and love.  And His response is instantaneous. I know that when my heart is at peace, it is a direct result of His love for me.

There is often a whisper that reminds me that I am unconditionally loved by God. This unconditional gift IS His legacy. How often I forget that this gift is for me.  There a sweater that is sitting in a gift box on the top shelf.  I know it is there. I like it so much I am afraid that if I wear it too much I may wear it out.  It might become tattered and torn.  This fear prevents me from even taking it out of the box.  But God's gift is not going to wear out. He wants me to share this gift with everyone.  Even those that reject it.  He still wants me to show everyone how it fits. This is what everlasting, amazing, infinite love is all about.  Christ tore the wrapping so that I could share in His inheritance. He loves me so much that He protects me.  He whispers to me when my heart is burdened.  He gives my heart peace. He is the perfect gift and this gift is one size fits all.   

John 14:23-27
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.“All this I have spoken while still with you.  But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

1 Corinthians 1:30
 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

1John 4:13-16
This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Knowing that Christ has taken residence in my heart and in my life is profound.  I have seen Him working in and through me many times in my life.  I have gone through a quite a few storms in my life too.  And while I was in the down pour it was often difficult to see and feel His presence.  But I knew He was there to carry me through.  I needed to get a little wet.  Sometime I needed to get soaked. I would call out in the name of Jesus.  I knew I needed His presence in order for the storm to come to a drizzle. There have also been times where God has allowed me to be caught up in the eye of the storm.  I have a calmness that is unexplainable.  There is chaos all around me.  But my heart is calm. Today I thought back to the day my Dad went home to be with His creator and Lord.  I had this "eye of the storm" feeling.  Jesus was guiding my every step.  I felt Him there with me.  Don't misunderstand me.  My heart was breaking right along side of my whole family.  But, I felt like my heart was prepped for this day. The power and presence of the Holy Spirit was evident.  God promises that, if we say the Jesus is Lord of all and we believe in our hearts that Jesus is the one who was, who is, and who is to come, that we will be co-heirs in the inheritance of Heaven. I am still learning to let Jesus be Lord of everything in my life.  But, I know that He is a permanent part of my heart.

Romans 10:9
 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Friday, April 15, 2011

To gracefully walk with His yoke upon me.

 “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it." Isaiah 30

  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Matthew11: 28-30

I often think about how God tells us that His yoke is easy.  Recently I learned that farmers use the yokes to harness their cattle together to work, easing the load for each beast.  And often they will have the younger cattle paired with the older more experienced cattle.  The thought process is to establish the pace.  The older cattle knows how to please the farmer.  And as the newer, less refined beast attempts to fall behind or push faster ahead, the more experienced and mature cattle pulls forward or pulls back.  God sent His son to show us, that if we stopped trying so hard to please the world, He has so much more to offer.  Our God is gentle and humble.  I am being refined. Still learning to be still. There are days when Jesus is gently pushing me ahead because I am too weak, burdened and or weary to move at the best pace.  And often He is pulling me back because I have become so distracted with the tasks ahead of me that I neglect to see clearly the task at hand.  And then there are moments in my life that I find I am walking with easy. Gracefully strolling along being together with my Savior and feeling that I too am pleasing God.     

 I wish I could honestly say that I totally get the single-minded pursuit of the Lord.  But, I can't tell you that.  At least not at this very minute. I know that I am not the only person who has pleaded with God for an extra second, minute, hour, day , week, month or better yet a year.  If I only had that extra time.....blahh blahh blah blah blahhhhh.  He IS God!!!  He knew what was needed.  This is why I only have 24hrs in a day. I am just a very poor manager of my time.

  I know in my heart that He needs to be the every in every second.  But the world has distracted me. My senses become dull and it becomes harder and harder to hear His still, small voice.  I wake up every morning thinking today is the day. I pray for my husband, each of the kids, my family, friends and all those I am about to encounter.  I say to myself. " I am going to keep my eyes focused on Him".  Then the alarm goes off.  Time to get the lunches made.  Who wants coffee?  Hurry up we are running behind.  Where is my phone?  Has anyone seen my little brown purse?  Come on lets go lets go......Breathe.......Ahhh.  Drop Christian off at school.  And now, after all that, I devote a few extra minutes to Him. I pray that He will direct my day.  I pull up to the office.  Who left all the lights on?  Open the door.  Phone is ringing.  Computers are down.  And I am swimming in a sea of distractions.

There is a burden on my heart.  I faintly hear Him whisper my name.  And I am drawn to His feet.  The day has come to an end.  I know that even in the midst of all the distractions His yoke was upon me.  It was God who carried me through each trial of the day.  And, this is when I am thankful for the blessing of only 24hrs in a day.  I need rest.  And He comforts my heart with His precious words.  Tomorrow is a new day.  And as morning comes so will  His fresh fill of grace. I close my eyes and rest in His amazing love.  I imagine what it will be like to live a day in that single-minded pursuit of my Lord. And I have faith that one day I will be refined enough to label distractions and gracefully walk with His yoke upon me.

You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.

 ~St. Augustine of Hippo

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Lord IS my shepherd

  The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—John 10:14

God is so faithful.  When I feel like I am alone and can't do it anymore, He provides strength.  There are moments when I wonder if I am in the wrong place.  And after a long conversation with my creator, He shows me that I am right where He wants me to be.  And then there are times when He is very clear about me moving on.  And it is then that He begins to direct me to the right path. Sometime that path seems dark and not so promising.  But, I know that I must have faith in His plan.  Leaning not on my own understanding...........

 I rejoice in this amazing plan that God has laid out before me.  I love when He whispers in my ear in the middle of the night.  Wake up Kathleen. I have your plan for this day.  My heart jumps for joy!  Lord I am listening.  It is quiet.  There are no distractions.  The household is still.  My heart is pure, for the moment.  And I can hear Him.  He spends time with me.  Directing me through each prayer as if we were walking through a forest.  With each new prayer He guides me down another path.  And then, when we are done, we arrive at the beach.  The sand is warm.  And it is time for me to be still, digest the bread and bask in the warmth of His tender love.  His AMAZING love for me.

I know that I need to carry this stillness with me throughout the day.  But, as I said earlier, sometime it last only for the moment.  Time to wake up and start the day.  To live a life of single-minded devotion sound easy. Right? Well, I find that I am in a constant "tug-of-war".  The day is filled with stuff, stuff and more stuff.  Overwhelming at times.  And sometimes it is really loud.  I want so much to hear His voice.  I struggle.  My focus is off and I know that if I could just get back to that place of devotion I will be fabulous.  My life would be....well, not mine.  It would be His and His alone.  And, as a result, life would be less crazy.  And this is how I know that it is His goodness and mercy will carry me through each day.

Psalm 127

 Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early
 and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Sticks, stones and words........

The past few days I have had that childhood verse, " sticks and stones may break my bones.  But names can never hurt me.", in my head.  I began each day praying that God would give me a clearer picture as to why He placed this on my heart.

I thought back to when I was a child.  I fell and got hurt all the time.  I think the nurses at the hospital were expecting me on a regular basis.  I have many scars from stitches and deep cuts and scrapes.  But the funny thing is I don't recall the pain.  Later in life I gave birth, had a few operations, and other injuries.  And, again, I don't recall the pain.

Broken bones and cuts eventually get better.  There may be a scar or a crooked bone.  And then, God willing,  they heal.  And most times we forget the pain that the injury my have caused.  But, when words penetrate our heart, OUCH!!  I still to this day carry in my heart the pain of words.  Words can really crush your spirit.  And when you are feeling really low they hit you like a ton of bricks.  I have been told I was stupid, ugly, and other harsh things.  And the crazy thing is there are times I actually believe it.  When life is really difficult.  And I begin to look at making a change, the enemy comes in and whispers all those harsh words into my head.  And then I begin to feel worthless.  And then I feel like I am a failure in the eyes of everyone.  The tension grows deep inside.

Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

God is faithful.  And in the words of a very wise man (my Dad), "God doesn't make junk." So, I pray that the Lord restores my heart.  And that He allows me to see myself as He sees me.  And this isn't easy for a sinner like me.  I know how bad it hurts when people use harsh words to communicate their feelings.  I am guilty of this myself. So, if you are reading this and have been victimized by my poor communication skills.  I am truly sorry.