It is finished.

Seems like every sermon that I’ve heard over the past two days is about the sixth cry Jesus made on the cross: “It is finished.” I’ve found myself emotionally torn over that cry so many times, so my ear was naturally attuned to pay attention to those teachings. In the past, sometimes I’ve thought that cry was merely a death cry. Kind of like Jesus saying good-bye. But far more often, if I’m really honest, I’ve wondered “What?” What’s finished?

Of course I know the theological implications. The sacrifice has been done. I know the exchange that took place. But I’ve always felt like there’s something more; something I wasn’t taught; something that I was supposed to “get;” something more than imposed penitence.  A teaching I heard yesterday offered new insight into this problem.

The author-speaker said it this way yesterday (information on the program I heard here:http://www.moodyradio.org/brd_ProgramDetail.aspx?id=49941)

When Jesus said it was finished, it was a word that soldiers knew best. It was a victory cry.

Wow. Somehow in all my years of meditating on the Psalm 22 and on the words in the Gospel, I never thought of Him screaming that as a victory cry. I’ve always had this made-for-TV image of Him being heartbroken, with utter exhaustion and despair saying those words. But never did I give Him the credit of a warrior in that situation.

It’s not surprising.

Right now, I’m in a season where the Lord is confronting the areas of my life where I don’t have much faith. Don’t get me wrong, I have absurd faith in some areas, BUT I lack in so many really important areas. For those situations and issues I find myself erroneously believing that Jesus will have victory, but it will be at the expense of bringing me to despair. I admit right now that statement is an agreement that needs to be broken. It has limited God’s presence in my life, and I’m not going to persist in it any more.

It’s not in God’s character to be worn out. And so, it’s not in God’s character to get worn out in me. When He says “my grace is sufficient,” He’s not being thrifty. He’s being honest. His grace, His presence, His character in our lives is enough to renew, restore, resurrect, and then some. I want to tap into that more. Not in a stalwart way. Not in a religious way. But in a deepening of relationship and a deepening of trust like is unseen in culture and unseen in me. I want Jesus to declare “It is finished” over so many areas of my life that it will take a lifetime. But a lifetime, and then some, is the amount He’s called me to, and the amount that I have willingly, gladly, agreed to. And the fact that He calls that Glory unto Him, now that brings me to my knees in an honest way.

Advertisements

Where is the … grace?

Today doesn’t seem to be a good day for grace or mercy. Today is a day where the word “regret” is being used far too much. Just go to any congressman’s facebook page, and amidst some comments of praise and support about their decision on how to vote on the Healthcare bill, you will find threats of “you’ll regret this next fall.”

In my own life, that word has been swirling about since last evening. See, I have always lived by the motto “no regrets.” I haven’t lived that out in an adventuresome way. Instead, if I made a mistake, I worked to rectify it — to accept that I needed God’s grace to get through changing that situation to be one that would bless me and bless others. But there is one thing that I do regret that I haven’t been able to rectify completely, and I’ve lived (since I’ve been seventeen years old) to let God perfect my character through that mistake.

I found myself wrestling, beating myself up again, about this one regret this morning. After reading so many comments about how people feel about the Health care decision, my shoulders tightened, and I found myself in a place without grace or mercy. That’s dangerous territory.

But once again, the Lord reminded me today that, like everyday, must be a day to submit and accept His grace, His will, and His authority to do anything and change anything. Because He is good all the time, and works to make good in all of creation.

I find myself in Proverbs 3 today:

21 My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; 22 they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.

I don’t have a choice today. I have to wait for and accept when the Lord speaks to me about  sound judgment and discernment. I desperately need grace around my neck today, because the other option is to walk around stressed out and open to attack by the enemy.

I choose God. I choose to walk with His declarations before me, even those that make me feel so small and humble, because the other way leads to a place where there will be regret.

I’ll stay in the path of no regrets.

Romans 8:18-39 (The Message)

 

Romans 8:18-39 (The Message)

18-21That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

22-25All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

26-28Meanwhile, 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.

29-30God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

31-39So, 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.”

For a version of this that looks more familiar, you can visit: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans%208:18-39&version=NLT

 

What do you got, Jedi warrior?

I’m a child of the 80s, and I’ve never seen the Star Wars movies. I know; I know. It’s a tragedy. Because it seems like this movie is absolutely essential to understand America’s thought process in analyzing any epic tale, I finally caved and watched Episode 1 all the way through with Tom today, <sigh> with the promise of five more films ahead of me.

What really shocked me most was not the crazy costumes, or the crazy characters, or the seemingly poor acting coming out of some really great actors. What shocked me is that one of the things that draws people to a movie like this is the fascination with the Jedi — either good or bad. Everyone wants to be able to predict the future, sense other people’s feelings, stay calm and collected in stress, and most importantly, be able to accomplish great feats with seemingly little effort. It’s the same stuff that draws non-athletes to the TV screen when the Olympics roll around. This fascination often glosses over one very important fact though: the Jedi and the Olympians know they are not in control. The good Jedi submit to discipline and the bad Jedi get crazy trying to get control.

What most people don’t realize is that those who inspire us, from the Star Wars cast and Harry Potter to the Mother Teresa’s and Oswald Chambers, all submit to a higher authority, training, and teaching, AND, simultaneously, come to the place where they accept the gifts they have in this life and how to best use them. I started to talk yesterday about accepting the gifts we’ve been given, but I want to give more insight into how I feel about this.

See, the truth is that we can’t be free unless we are living out our purpose. In fact, freedom is the ability to live out your purpose. A large part of being able to do that is to use the giftings and abilities that God has placed in you. But Satan has a problem both with us using our lives to bless others and with us being free. Because of that, I’m going to assume that all of you have had your giftings turned against you. You’ve had a battle or two, warriors, I’m sure.

I believe that there is a battle on Earth between good and evil. I believe that this war is won for all time, but the battle still takes place on Earth. And because I believe there’s a battle, I have allowed myself to be trained from the time I was young to be a part of the victory dance.  I allow my giftings to be used and sharpened, even when it stings. My test for whether to allow a critical comment in or not?

Does this bring life? Does this bring transformation? Does this encourage me or challenge me or inspire me to get better and love others more? Does it bring health or healing so that my defenses against evil are stronger? Then let it in.

Does it bring death, destruction, kill my self-esteem, make me lack confidence in others? Then it’s not from God. I call it out as a lie and move on.

Romans 11:29 says: For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.  IR-RE-VOCABLE. It doesn’t matter if we think we are good enough or if someone criticizes us. If we are using our talents, we’re going to keep going back to the same spot until we get enough confidence in ourselves. God desires us to have confidence in what He’s created in us. God desires for you to have confidence in you — in who you are and what you want to do.

This is how we take the territory of our lives back — one lie, one accusation — at a time. It’s time to wage war, submitting to our King, walking with Him at our right side to guide us, and take it back. And simultaneously usher in His Kingdom. Now that’s epic.

 

To be known

The most precious piece of jewelry I own is not my Tiffany pearl earrings, my great-grandmother’s diamond ring, or even my wedding ring. It’s a bracelet that cost about $45, and it’s made by a company whose principles I don’t even support. So why is it worth so much to me? Because it’s the non-human, non-spirit thing that best exemplifies who I am and why I do what I do. It’s the thing that reflects me best. It’s a freedom badge for me. It’s my way of saying “This is who I am and I’m unapologetic about it.”

In this world, it’s hard for me to think that anyone ever really “gets” me. About two months ago, Beth Moore had a series on Wednesdays with Beth that walked through how important it was to understand that it’s okay to want to be known. You know, that deep, penetrating kind of known. She also brought to light that God does know us, and yet, He still wants us to express our desire to be known by Him. It was powerful to me. I mean, earth shattering, tear jerking powerful.

Why?

Well, I knew my whole life that God did know EVERYTHING, I just didn’t realize that He knew everything out of a place of love. Because He loves me so much, that He desired to pay attention to every detail that He either created or allowed. It’s out of that love that He allows others to know me. It’s not my choice. To be honest, I couldn’t share anyway because when I try to share everything (ok, ok, a whole lot) with others, most of the time, fear blocks my path. I can’t even let go if I wanted to. It would be horrible to live this way, except God loves me enough to give me a path to share in a safe space. For me, it’s when I get to pray with people. I could never figure out why that place was always safe for me, but today, I found a quote that pretty much summed it up:

“Dear God. I am only FULLY myself (when I’m) in you. May all people see Your reflection in me.”

Now that quote would usually turn me off. Religious mumbo jumbo. Blah.

BUT.

But for me, that’s a truth that I can’t argue with. When someone allows me free reign to pray whatever I want for them, I slip into a place where I let God take over and He immerses me in Himself. It’s incredible. I get to be what He created me to be, without the sin or lack of self confidence; the burdens or the worry. I get to be just a vessel that carries people to the one I love most. I’m fulfilled. I’m also in a place of perfect trust. When I step out that big, I have to fully believe that God knows me, He knows the person I’m praying for, and He won’t let either of us down.

It’s a place of encouragement. It’s a place where I feel the words of Micah 5:2

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.

I feel little. I feel like if those who were asking me for prayer really knew me they wouldn’t ask. But God. But God allows me to have purpose by declaring that He will use me to reflect Himself. Whoa. Whoa. Yeah. I went there. It’s not me breaking into your life. It’s God, and He’s merely allowing me to witness it.

Prayer with others is a place where I allow myself to be known, and where I accept His invitation to allow others into the deepest relationship I have.And by doing so, He gives others insight into who I really am. It’s beautiful, really.

When Frustration Hits.

If it could be said that God knows how to encourage me, then the negative view of that statement is true, too. Satan and his kingdom of darkness have a pretty good clue on how to discourage me. The best way to discourage me is to frustrate me. Yes, I will still pray. Yes, I will still believe in God’s goodness and grab on to what He is encouraging me in, but there is nothing so discouraging to me as frustration. It trips me up. It just does.

A couple of months ago, one of my dear friends spoke to me about this. She had one of those hard truth said-in-love moments where she acknowledged my strengths, and then reminded me that when I am frustrated, I don’t walk in grace at all. I abandon my foundation. I lose rest. I make unwise decisions. I become inconsistent (and you have to know me to know that I detest inconsistency in myself. It’s the one thing that, well, leads me down many unGodly paths). In essence, she told me that I make a mess of myself.

When she had told me that I needed to grab on to grace, I was astounded. Yep, that’s what I needed to do. Wait. What’s grace again? Oh yeah…the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.

When I’m frustrated by illness or stress, I rarely tap into God to ask Him to regenerate me. When I was younger, I would turn to something else to do this: food, TV, a good phone conversation, a nap, etc. At the ripe ole’ age of 26 though, I know better to do that. The problem is that I simply don’t do anything now. I just sit and wallow in my frustration. Try to push through it. And I fail every time.

You can’t push through frustration. You can’t even pray through frustration. All you can do is cut out time to be with God and choose to let him transform the frustration. That’s where His grace comes in: through tempering me back down. Drawing me back into His place of rest.

For me, this isn’t a conquered character change. For me, this is a process. I’m working it out. Part of how I’m working it out is by turning to what my spiritual mother has made my life verse: Isaiah 26: 3-4.

3 You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.

4 Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.

When I’m discouraged, I just keep having to turn my eyes and mind back to Him. Back to His character.  Verse 4 becomes a command to me. If I am wavering; if I am inconsistent, then I better be submitting to the one that is stable forever. He is the only one that can smooth things out.

7 The path of the righteous is level;
O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth.

And why does He do this? Because He alone is the source of peace. He is the only one to calm the waves.

12 LORD, you establish peace for us;
all that we have accomplished you have done for us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1QMmWlOmEQ

Getting Glory

God’s been speaking to my heart about bearing fruit a lot lately. Seems like every time I turn around, I’m being reminded that those who are in Him – and with Him – bear good fruit. It’s hard for me not to do a ‘check’ when I hear those words. “Lord? Am I not bearing fruit?” It shows you how used-to Satan’s accusation I am.

After the ‘check’, and lots of prayer, I’ve come to the conclusion that I think He’s actually trying to encourage me. And the verses in the bible relating to this are meant to encourage us as well.

John 15 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2015&version=AMP) really opened my eyes this morning. I think many of us grew up thinking that if we weren’t bearing fruit that God would just do-away with us. But Jesus said that just by having His words spoken over us, we are already in the other category — the people who are being pruned back to bear more fruit. There was a promise in that for me this morning. The promise that I could do nothing, and have His words spoken over me, and it would spark me to bear fruit. That He’s the author of growth, transformation, and maturity, and I can just rest in Him for that. In the world of psychobabble that we live in today, that was a breath of fresh air. But it’s also something that I can say has really happened in my life.

Almost five years ago, I came to the Vineyard almost dead. Pretty much all the spark out of me had been ashened over.  Having the gospel said over me by people who knew why it was the good news brought me back to life. It’s good news because union with God starts now, not once we die. It was good news because I didn’t have to feel like I was one of the branches who had not born fruit and so I should just dismiss myself from God’s kingdom. No. God was so gracious, so loving, so merciful that he allowed me to just sit and have his word wash over me to remind me of who He created me to be and to redeliver purpose. And that allowed me to bear much fruit.

There’s an even more to be excited about in that passage though: It says “This is my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

Read that again.

We can bring God glory. Not just our praise. Not just something that He says “that was good.” We can bring Him GLORY.

Let me define glory for you: very great praise, honor, or distinction 2.something that is a source of honor, fame, or admiration; a distinguished ornament or an object of pride 3. adoring praise or worshipful thanksgiving 4. resplendent beauty or magnificence 7. the splendor and bliss of heaven; heaven.

Wow. God gets all the glory in the end anyway. But we get to be co-authors with God of glory. A glory that blesses Him. AND we get to do it by united with Jesus, the author of mercy and grace. For those of us who know how holy, how magnificent He is, that’s just God straight out blessing us. That’s why we have to remain in Him. He both helps us to create glory and helps us to experience it. Yeah, that’s something I’m willing to give up everything I have for.

Boundaries

I’ve never “done” boundaries well. I am actually someone who is offended when people have strict boundaries. Growing up in an enmeshed Italian houshold, there was no modeling of boundaries. The joke about my family was that someone could live in our house six months, and we wouldn’t know. The door was always open to people, with their joys and sorrows, and to anyone who had a need.

Those of you who know me know that this is something I have carried into my life with one exception: my spiritual walk. I learned over the past five years that there should be boundaries, firm ones at that, to Satan’s prescence in your life. A Beth Moore video organized these boundaries well for me. I’m going to share them with you:

Intimacy with God: When I am overwhelmed, I am NOT a nice woman. I quickly become a woman of destruction. I lose control; I lose sound mind. I have learned that I need my time with God everyday. Not for His sake, but for mine. He is my source of peace. He is my stability — He steadies me. This time is not the time I spend in intercession for others. This is not my praise and worship time. This is my time to just be honest. He blesses my honesty — however unpolished — every time.

Past Hurts: I have learned that if I am hurt, and I don’t ask God to heal it, Satan will poke me in the ribs every time. It’s an immediate weakness. I have committed to processing through hurts, no matter how much I cry or yell, with God and then with others. If this shield isn’t up, I don’t tend to hurt others. I just lose confidence in myself.

Life Experiences: I need weekly, if not daily, experiences of going deep with others. I want to be someone others trust because I share openly with them. The emotional and story sharing is critical to keeping Satan at bay.

Spiritual Gifts: I know what my giftings are. It’s essential to know what you are gifted in. I walk in my giftings. I don’t let Satan or anyone else accuse me that I’m not good enough or am not gifted in what God has told  me and confirmed to me that I am gifted in. You can’t JUST be gifted. You need to step out in your giftings. If you don’t know how, talk to someone who does use their giftings. If you are overwhelmed when you step out, may I humbly suggest that you MAY be persisting in something that you are not gifted in. The only other option is that Satan is bringing discouragement, which you need to go pray with someone else about and take your land back. When we are functioning in our gifts, the fruit is joy, confidence, intimacy with God, and transformation in your life and the life of others. If you don’t see that, you’re in the wrong area of service.  If you don’t know what your giftings are, take this test:

This is a link to the PDF that you can print off:

http://www.hofch.com/files/WAGNER-Modified_Houts_Questionnaire_2_.pdf

When people say that I’m strong, when people say that I am deeply spiritual, it’s because these are my walls. These are my priorities for serving the Kingdom. This is my armor against Satan. This is how I can handle fifty bazillion things. I don’t take on one more task that would affect these boundary lines.

When I feel threatened on these areas, and I feel like I can’t keep up these walls, I remember the words of Psalm 3:3

But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

God is the one who protects me first. HE is the one who says I can do this. That I’m worthy and strong. I’m not going to argue with the Lord of the Universe. I’m not going to believe Satan when I can believe God. This is the way we share life with God and receive His glory to be salt and light.

http://popup.lala.com/popup/504684667894502572

Who loves ya, baby?

People need some hope. I’m gonna give you some hope. Strike that. I’m going to relate stories to you of things I know God is doing to let God give you some hope.

One of my friends rents an apartment in an area where it’s been impossible to live with freedom to do what she’s been called to do. In summer, her husband asked her to move to a larger apartment, but one that was small, and dark, and one that she was very afraid of. When she prayed, she felt like God said it was going to be a place of blessing. There was no way this was a blessing in her mind. But oh, how God turned it into a blessing. After six months, she found out that there was an opening in the building to move into a condo upstairs that was huge and wonderful — and $100,000 less than what it should have been. The problem was that many people had tried to get in this space but there was problem after problem. Today, she put money down to own that space. God kept everyone else out because it was meant for her and her family.

Another friend of mine was forced to move over these past couple of months. Her husband’s job made a transfer and there was no way to say no. After meticulously looking for a place, they choose a beautiful home in another state. The very next day, their place went up on the market. It sold that day. In this economy. God had their back.

These are two big miracles. Stuff that just wouldn’t happen. Couldn’t happen. But the big things are not the things that inspire me. It’s the little ways. Let me tell you about the little miracle that happened to me today.

Today was a bad mom day. The moms reading this know what I mean, but let me tell the non-moms what this means. A bad mom day is when you are so stressed out that the muscles in your shoulders tighten to be as hard as the bones in your shoulders. At some point, you can’t sensor your words and you end up feeling like a bad mom. I’m not talking abuse; I’m just talking about a place where you feel like you’ve failed your children. I had this day, and then had to go shopping. Those who know how much I hate shopping get why this would be a set-up for me to be destroyed before I hit the bed this evening.

The reason I had to go shopping was because my best friend invited me to a $300 a plate ordeal for tomorrow night. I could never pay that, but a board member donated seats that has allowed me to go. I quickly realized after I had told her that I would go that I, like Cinderella, had nothing to wear. For three weeks now, I have put off shopping because one: I don’t have money to spend on clothes, and two: I was anxious about spending money on clothes.

Tonight was the last night I could go. So even though I had this really frustrating day, I had to head out and venture the awful mall. After scanning the racks, I found a dress that might as well have had my name on the label. It is so me. Black, A-Line, chiffon and silk,  princess cut diamond-like buttons, blouse dress. Classic, sharp, comfortable, and worthy of hiding my post-pregnancy hips. Even though it should have been a bit small, it fit like a glove. The price tag said $118.

But Jesus wanted to love me, so He made the price $4.99.

That’s right ladies, Jesus dressed me up for under five bucks. Why is this miraculous to me? Because Jesus knew my needs. He wanted me at the event, and He knew what I needed. He went before me. And, in the meantime, He also spoke love on me to let me feel like a girl again, which I so despretely needed. I got loved on by the God of the Universe. It’s amazing.

You can say it’s a coincidence, but when have you ever heard of a designer dress for under $10 in a major department store? When have you heard of a house selling in one day when there are tens of other houses on the market for much less? When have you ever heard of someone getting a house for more than $100, 000 less?

It’s the Lord, people, and He wants to love on us.  He wants to encourage us! Take it to heart.

Maybe you didn’t have something miraculous today. Maybe you’re in a painful place. Maybe you’re hurting. Invite Jesus into that. He’s faithful to transform. Always.

Read with me today, please.

1 Chronicles 16

8 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.
9 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
10 Exult in his holy name;
rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
11 Search for the Lord and for his strength;
continually seek him.
12 Remember the wonders he has performed,
his miracles, and the rulings he has given,
13 you children of his servant Israel,
you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.

23 Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
24 Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
25 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
He is to be feared above all gods.
26 The gods of other nations are mere idols,
but the Lord made the heavens!
27 Honor and majesty surround him;
strength and joy fill his dwelling.

8 O nations of the world, recognize the Lord,
recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong.
29 Give to the Lord the glory he deserves!
Bring your offering and come into his presence.
Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.
30 Let all the earth tremble before him.
The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.

31 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
32 Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
33 Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise,
for the Lord is coming to judge the earth.

34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
35 Cry out, “Save us, O God of our salvation!
Gather and rescue us from among the nations,
so we can thank your holy name
and rejoice and praise you.”

36 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
who lives from everlasting to everlasting!

And all the people shouted “Amen!” and praised the Lord.

Shifting

When I was a kid, I spent an enormous amount of hours sitting in front of my house with my grandfather in his mid 80s black Honda Civic. I would ask him over and over to explain the gears on the stick shift. I remember being fascinated with gears 3 and 5. Something about just being able to let go of the shifter and speed on ahead thrilled me.

“You mean I can take curves and everything without shifting?”

“Yep, just drive on ahead.”

Yesterday, the Lord shifted me. It’s done. So let me tell you where I’m at.

I’m in peace.

Surprise, surprise, when I wrote that submission and respect brought freedom, it really did for me. It freed me up to pray for what really needed prayer and to get hope and peace and move with what God was already doing.

So what is God doing? He’s encouraging His people. He’s giving vision to what He desires to take place.  He’s declaring from His heavenly throne words of health, healing, and restoration. He’s reviving dreams. He’s imparting new ones. He’s covering those He loves.

I’m praying Psalm34 this morning with everything I got:

1 [a] I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.

2 My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

3 Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.

5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.

6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.

7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

9 Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.

10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their cry;

17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.

18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;

20 he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

22 The LORD redeems his servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.

Be encouraged this morning of God’s everlasting faithfulness. It could just be heavenly.

could have just as easily put this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xx6ShZ22EhI lyrics here: http://www.lyricsmania.com/revolutionary_love_ne-mechanical_mix_lyrics_david_crowder_band.html

I can’t put Psalm 34:17 up without posting this song and singing this out either.