Sunday, September 20, 2015

Turn Left.....Turn Left....Recalculating

The road of life certainly has a lot of twists and turns.  I  have made a lot right turns and, more than I care to admit, wrong turns in my life.  But each time I eventually find myself getting back on track. I try to stay focused.  I know the destination.  It's the Mountains that I must climb, the valleys I must walk, the deserts that I crawl, and the forests that I wrestle through that cause me to get redirected.  But all of these elements create the story of my life.

In this day in age most people have a GPS.  I have three.  One in my car.  I have an application on my phone.  And then there is the one in my head.  Like most normal people I begin my journey with a plan.  I have a starting point and a destination.  I know where I am but I need to map out where I am headed to.  So, I plug the address into the three devices.  And about 50% of the time the car and the phone are congruent with the path.  My head has a slightly different perspective.  I gather the necessities for the trip and start the journey.  In the beginning the surroundings are quite familiar.  So, I trust the direction the GPS's are taking me.  But when I cross the boarder of knowledge into the land of the unknown my confidence is shaken. And the GPS that is in my head takes over.  And this is why a 3 hour trip takes me 7 hours.  I hear, "In 0.2 miles turn left.....turn left.....recalculating." quite often.  I try to look at the map and follow the turns but I then begin to doubt if I I am turning at the right spot. I think that doesn't look right. (Possibly, because I forgot my glasses.)  And I either turn too soon or pass the turning point. And the journey grows a few minute longer with each wrong turn.  Recalculating.

We all have a journey. Or I like to think of it as a calling or a pilgrimage.  Some have a very clear idea of where they are going.  And others, me for example, have a hard time getting there because I am too busy trying to get there on my own.  God has a plan for each of us.  As we learn to trust in Him and follow Him He will then reveal to us the true nature of our design.  And He will "give us the desires of our heart" along the way.  If we focus(remember to wear our glasses) He will direct our path and reveal His beautiful intentions for our journey.  What we were created to do is deeply rooted in the desires of our heart.  Think about the things that you do right now that bring great joy to your heart.  That's right.  What gives you joy?  You may have a list of things.  Or perhaps you are feeling a bit perplexed.  Whatever state you are in just remember that God has a plan.  And He WILL give you the desires of your heart.  Even if it isn't clear yet, and you are making wrong turns, God has the journey mapped out.  "It is God who is producing in you the ability to do what pleases Him" ~Phil. 2:13  What we were designed to do or called to do is what brings us joy.

As I sit here this morning.  I am still praying that God will give me the desires of my heart. But to be honest I am not always certain what the desires of my heart truly are. Sometimes I am too caught up in where I am that I get complacent. I lose sight of what gives my heart joy.  When our hearts are in the right place God begins to create in us both the desire and the ability to do what pleases Him. I have made five job changes over the course of my adult life.  And the one thing about each of those jobs, that seemed to be congruent, is that I was able to love and care for others.  This truly gives me great joy.  My heart is happy when I am put into situations where I can serve others.  Often I put others ahead of myself so much that I forget that I am on a journey too.  God has always made it very clear to me that I was either in the right place or that I made a wrong turn.  And there have been times that I stayed far too long in a place that I was just supposed to pass through because I was fearful of driving through a storm. As a result some jobs have robbed me of my joy. However, just like grace, God has continually replenished my joy, aka the desire of my heart, daily.  He wants us to have all the desires of our heart. And He will provide a way for us to have them. As long as they are fitting in His plan for your journey. We will pass through many places, seasons and situations.  Each of these is part of the journey to get to the final destination.

I pray the you all search your hearts this week.  And pray that our Relentless God will bless you abundantly with the desires of your heart.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ask, seek, knock.....

What an adventurous week this past one was.  A short work week that seemed unusually long.  Followed by a weekend spent with some of the most beautiful women in my life.  And now I am home sitting in my usual spot praying for the Holy Spirit to guide me in putting my thoughts from this week and weekend into this post.

I guess the best way to describe life is that it is an adventure.  Your adventure can either be a safe trip to the grocery store. Plotting out your purchases and traveling up and down each isle gathering the items on your list.  Each item has it's spot and each spot has it's item.  Occasionally an item may be found in a spot that it doesn't belong.  Perhaps it was left there by the misguided shopper before you.  Or your adventure might be more like a treasure hunt.  You have a list of items, a map and the hunt begins.

I like to think of my life as more like a treasure hunt.  In Matthew 7: 7-8 Jesus said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."  And if you have ever gone on a road trip with me you know that, even if the directions are supplied, I tend to turn when I am not supposed to.  And a trip that should have been 3 hours becomes a 7 hour tour.  Yes, I have a GPS.  But I have this horrible habit of doubting the directions it offers.  

This past Friday my cousin Jane and I drove together to OCNJ for our cousins weekend.  We got in the car with our "Thelma and Louise" scarves on and the wind blowing in our hair.  The journey had begun.  I set the GPS and made a plan to follow it's direction.  We made it to our destination 30 minutes later than the GPS had originally predicted.  My fault completely.  I kept saying, "Hmmmmm, this doesn't look familiar to me."  And a few times Jane had to use her charming smile to get another driver to let us into their lane.  I have to admit I am thankful she was my copilot.  Because if she wasn't there I might still be on the road trying to find my way to the beach.  I find that my life as a Christian woman is much like my road trips.  God supplies me with the map.  Gives me guidance. And I still manage to get off the path. It's called lack of faith.

I wish I had the faith of a child.  Usually on a Sunday I grab a basket and take my granddaughter out to our little garden in the back yard.  She loves to pick the vegetables and herbs. She gets most excited about the cherry tomatoes. Her smile and joy grow with each of these tasty treasures she finds.  She picks it and asks, "Grandma, can I eat this?"  Most of the time she has eaten her harvested veggies before we get back in the house.  She does things a little backwards.  She knocks on the door, seeks and then asks.  She is persistent in the search and is certain that she is going to find some delicious morsels. And she never lacks faith the there will be more tomatoes, herbs and veggies for her to pick week after week.  I praise God for her example of faith.  But sadly I have to admit that, as an adult, this faith and ability to ask, seek and knock often diminishes or becomes less and less frequent. I pray that my desire to seek Him first remains consistent.   And that I don't just ask, seek and knock when life becomes more like an obstacle course. Just like my little angel,  aka three year old granddaughter, God desires for me to be persistent with my wants need and desires. As a result He will show us the true desires of our heart.

I am not 100% sure of what my calling is in this thing called life.  But I know that He is faithful and that He has a plan for my life.  His promises are true.  So, like I said last week, I am not sure what direction I am going.  I pray that God will continue to guide me and that I will stop hesitating and turning down the wrong road.  I pray that we all become more persistent in asking Him to give us the desires of our heart; seeking His calling on our lives and knocking until the door of opportunity is wide open.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Where you invest your love.....

What next? What direction do I go now that the net has been dropped.  And how do I know for sure that this is God's calling on my life?

I spent the last few nights praying for direction.  Honestly I am feeling a little blank.  I am not very good at sitting still.  Perhaps this is the Martha in me.  However, the past few weeks have been a process of learning to sit still and bask in God's love and grace.  With that being said I will attempt to be still and patiently wait for His call. Not that is will be difficult this week as I blog from hotel room in Oceanside, Ca.  The sound of the waves, and not to mention the view, is captivating.   I am feeling very blessed and trying to be still

I feel almost as if the "honeymoon" has come to an abrupt end.  This is really the best way I can describe the thoughts that are running through my mind.  I remember the incredible overwhelming feeling of being filled with the knowledge of God's grace and forgiveness when I first accepted Jesus as Lord of my life.  I was like a newly wed bride.  I felt this amazing glow in my heart.  And butterflies in my stomach. I am pretty certain that people around me knew that there was something different about me.  I had been remade.  I was new. I spent any and all of my free and not so free time seeking to know God more.  So what happened over the past 22 years?  Did my love fade?  Or just morph into something different? Had I become complacent in my relationship with my Beloved? I would have to say a little of each. And I feel so blessed that, through the help of Frances Chan's book "Crazy Love", my love has been reignited.  I pray that being madly in love with my Creator, Bridegroom and Lord will never fade or be taken for granted again. As I prepare for the journey ahead I have this blessed assurance that He will be a constant.  No matter what lies ahead He will have it all under control.

Last week my husband, Greg, and I talked a lot about God's faithfulness and His provisions. Our Heavenly Father is consistently blessing our lives with grace and mercy.  Our conversation began, or should I say revisited, with this being the year of Jubilee, In Deuteronomy 15 we are told, "that at the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release".  Or in other words all debts are to be forgiven.  Wiped clean.  And looking back in history it is crazy what occurred on Elul 29 in 2001 and 2008, This date falls, on the Jewish calendar, the day before rosh hashanah.   The stock market took a devastating dive both times.  And here we are 2015 the "Year of Jubilee".  So, what do we do with this knowledge.  Live in fear of the"what next"?  Absolutely not!  God has it all under control.  He has my life in His hands.  God clearly wants us to be good stewards over our finances.  "Every good and perfect gift comes from God"~James 1:17. As our conversation continued we discussed our options and our discussion delayed our initial decision.  Within a few days the stock market took a hit and we lost a nice chunk of change.  Well this was exactly the push we needed to jump start our next move.  We sat down and prayerfully moved our remaining funds into more secure investments.  After all it would be foolish not to listen to God's direction.

Funny how songs have a way of creeping into our thoughts.  And once again  a song resounds in my head. Anyway the song is called "Awake my soul" by Mumford and Sons. The lyrics that keep playing over and over in my head are; "Where you invest your love, you invest your life." Where am I investing my love "stock"?  God requires me to be 100% invested in Him.  All or nothing.  No fear. No hesitation.  I cannot be invested in the things this world has to offer and invest in God at the same time.  They contradict each other. The world may have moments of high return but that market will inevitably crash.  It certainly is not a secure investment. Heaven, on the other hand, has a much better rate of return.

Why is it so difficult to "drop my net" and invest all of my love in Him and the calling on my life?  Greed, selfish desires, fear, etc...  I have seen His faithfulness in my life.  His hand of provision, even when I doubted Him, has always been abundant.  I know deep in my heart that I am safe in His company.  I pray that as my relationship continues to grow deeper and deeper with Him that my fear, greed and selfishness will take on new form. And that they will be transformed into generosity, selflessness, and assurance.  "To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immorality, He will give eternal life.  But those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.  There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.  For God does not show favoritism." ~ Romans 2: 7-11.   There is a life of glory, honor and assurance of an eternity spent with God that He offers and calls us to seek. God promises eternal life to those who keep on doing good and seek after glory and honor. And through Him and the power of the Holy Spirit we will begin to find and live out the life we were created to live.

I am confident that if we continue to invest our love in His our live will become worthy of His glory.
"Now with God's help I shall become myself" ~ Soren Kierkegaard.