And now, Restoration

Last week, I wrote about preparation. But preparation never stands alone. Preparation is part of a three-point system. This dynamic trio is supposed to look like this: preparation; celebration; restoration.

Not what you expect? I’m not surprised.

In our culture, we’ve forgotten the last of these steps. We prepare for big projects, carry them out, celebrate that our investment has paid off, and then go back to the grind. We prepare for the big Thanksgiving feast, eat ourselves into tryptophan commas, and then spend three days cleaning up. And then we feel guilty about being exhausted after such obvious blessings.

Your body and soul need to be restored after pouring out that much. You know it. You feel it. Give in to it.

Maybe the best preparation we can do for Christmas this year is to take all of Advent and ask Jesus to restore us. Why do we have to ask God to do it? Because God is the author of creating things; ergo He is the author of re-creating things. He literally has to build us back up.

He’s done this before. Check out Jeremiah 33. That passage of scripture prophesies Jesus’ birth. But before it does that, God says that He will rebuild Judah and Israel and bring health and healing BEFORE Jesus comes. If God had to do it for when Jesus really came, what makes us think that He wouldn’t have to do it when we’re just remembering what happened?

If we’re really going to have a good Christmas — if we’re really going to understand what a gift Jesus is and each other are — then we have to start now. Turn off the TV, shop less, and really restore. Jesus will meet you there. He really will.

Love,

Pam

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Love, Love, Love, Love … Love

I really believe that God is trying to speak to us all the time. I also believe that He reveals different things at different times during different seasons so that His people can mature together. He slowly allows us to discover different parts of the mystery of Him and because He’s so good, He times the releasing of this information for when we really need it.

And right now, I think God is calling for us to sit and discover His love. And I think we’re gonna need it.

Now, I say discover and not RE-discover for a reason. Most of us who have had even one encounter with an Evangelical church, especially in the 90s, have heard someone say “God loves you.” Unfortunately, I think the result of that push has been that most of us, even in the “churched” community, have no real concept of God’s love. And so, even though most of us know that God loves us, we really don’t know God’s love.

How can I make such a rash, judgemental statement? Because I’ve seen the fruits.

People who know God’s love don’t walk around measuring themselves to others the way we do. People who know God’s love can’t keep it inside. They have to serve others. There’s not a choice. People who know God’s love are not as anxious as we are. If God loves us, and God’s powerful, then He’ll take care of us. There’s nothing to get worried about.

The fact of the matter is that we NEED to know God’s love, because if we don’t, then we’re just playing a game of religion. I have an idol. I plead with my idol. I hope my idol hears me.

Our God is better than that.

And so, I’m issuing a challenge to you. Throw away everything that you THINK you know about God’s love and start listening RIGHT NOW to what He’s saying. I promise. He’s going to astound you.

After all, if the greatest commandment is to “love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength,” then we better sit at the feet of God and ask Him what love is.

Peace,

Pam

 

Waiting for Tomorrow

I’m not good at waiting. Are you?

For me, waiting is just plain painful. It’s the most excruciating thing for me to do. In my family, to ask someone to wait is actually an insult — that’s how much we hate waiting. And yet, I’m being asked to wait. Is God asking you to wait, too? Are you simply unable to control things that are happening in your life? Then read on.

See, part of the reason that I’m not a fan of the fact that God has asked me to wait is that I didn’t understand the purpose in it. For me, it’s some sick, cruel command.  But that’s because up until last night, I though waiting meant sitting still.

It doesn’t.

Last night, I was watching Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium with my kids and a line in the movie allowed me to have an aha! moment. In a really tense scene, the main female character has set all the clocks in a store to strike noon at the same time. She says to Mr. Magorium,  “Now, we wait.” And he responds:

“No. We breathe. We pulse. We regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest.”

Waiting isn’t about sitting still. It’s about tuning in to what’s ALREADY happening. It’s about getting a blessing by getting revelation. And it’s good for us. The bible tells us thatwhere there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.” (Proverbs 29:18)

If you’re being asked to wait, it’s because there’s something that God wants to do in order to bless you. And in order for you to have the fullness of that blessing, you have to exercise restraint and get revelation. The restraint is designed to strengthen you — to grow you both as a person and in your relationship to Him. The revelation gives us reason to praise and allows us to pray against what Satan would like to try to do to steal, kill, and destroy that blessing.

And so, I find myself waiting, praying the words of Hebrews 10:36 (thanks JH).

“Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive ALL that He has promised.”

I pray it for myself. I pray it for the people who have to deal with me. And I pray it so that I can bring glory to my King. And I pray it for you too. May we be people who can have patient endurance, waiting for His will to intersect with our lives.

Love,

Pam

Concessions

There was a mighty battle fought in the great state of Illinois this election season. It was fought by Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias for President Obama’s former senate seat. It was a big and important fight. And Giannoulias lost.

But the fact that he lost is not what I will remember about this election. I’ll remember his concession speech.

It made me think about the personal battles that we lose as Christians and what we say afterward. As people who are covered by an almighty God, there is no battle that we HAVE to lose. Again and again, the bible tells us that God grants us victory. Psalm 20:6 tells us that the LORD gives victory to his anointed. “He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.” Psalm 44:7 holds fast that God gives us victory over our enemies, and that He puts our adversaries to shame. We can be assured through Psalm 60:12 that With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.” And ultimately, in death, 1 Corinthians 15:57 tells us to give thanks to God! Because He gave us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

But those verses don’t speak to the fact that we feel defeated at times. We lose battles and feel like we lost the war. We go up against addictions — strongholds — and get crushed. We face the worst part of ourselves — pride, fear, jealousy and are overwhelmed by how much crap that we have to emotionally process through. We go to treatments for our illnesses and simply, the virus wins. We speak up for ourselves to our boss. FINALLY. And they make us feel absurd.

But what do we say afterward?

Do we simply roll over and die? Do we say: “yes, I am “X” and that’s all I’ll ever be?” Or, “this thing’s got me beat.” If so, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think we need to take a lesson from the politicians.

We need to acknowledge who fought the battle WITH us and thank them. We need to realize that the battle is HARD and exhausting, and then take a second to catch our breath. And we need to acknowledge the good that was done by fighting. And then, when we get the go ahead from God, and get intercessors and people around us again, we need to fight again. Maybe a little wiser. Maybe understanding that only God can have the victory. But without fear and full of passion and purpose.

And in the end, we have to know that there is NOTHING, absolutely nothing, that Satan will be able to conquer us with. Jesus simply won’t let it happen.

I love you.

Pam