Wednesday, November 30, 2011
It was Abraham's response to God's invitation for relationship that qualified him to receive the tremendous favor by which God made a father of no one into the father of a nation. Face to Face with God, Bill Johnson
i long to have faith like abraham's. before asking for substantial evidence that He'll provide or solid proof that what He has for me is good, i want to choose to believe simply because of the intimate relationship i have with God. without first seeing with my eyes, without a favorable probability, and even with all odds against me, i desire to have the kind of faith that will say yes and choose God above all else. what type of faith does it take to be considered a friend of God, the kind of friend that He actually speaks to face to face? i yearn for that special friendship with God. i confess, my controlling nature needs answers, detailed plans and results. in almost all cases, i'll play it safe and not risk much of my time, energy or heart unless i'm fully confident i'll reap the benefits. i realize it's only when it comes to love and relationships that i'm quick to give all of myself. in the past, my motives and desires were misdirected because i didn't know my worth or my identity. now i'm ready and so willing to surrender everything i am for the only one who will never disappoint or leave me empty. no regrets and no reservations. He has an amazing calling & exceeding good promises over my life and i feel Him inviting me to step out in faith- before possessing a blueprint or clear view of the future. sometimes i can't help but wonder how different the world would've turned out if abraham wasn't obedient, if he lacked radical faith because of his reasonable doubt. but God knew who He was choosing and He knows what He's doing now. that's the point. despite our weak faith, there's always a "but God..." the author and perfecter of our faith.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
i've always attributed my resilience and ability to overcome major adversities as simply just my personality. i'm strong. i'm a fighter. the more i ponder at this trait, i'm discovering it's not me at all. it's the Lord making me whole, giving me strength to endure hardships and pouring out His pure, untainted love. i blogged back in july when i first arrived in hawaii about His patient love.
each time Jesus reached into my heart to mend the broken pieces, i was so quick to give it to another lover, one that would never satisfy. He was so gentle with me as He waited for me to notice that it was Him all my life. i'm embarrassed and disgusted with myself for throwing my heart and affections far away from the only one it truly belongs to for so many years. but i know He's now longing for me to step into my identity as His bride. i've never had trouble relating to God as my heavenly Father and maker, the Holy Spirit as my helper and guide, or Jesus as my lover and friend. but i don't recall ever seeing myself as a bride of Christ. i guess i just never understood or fully grasped that reality. during a monday morning worship set sometime in august, as my eyes were closed and hands were raised to Him, i felt for the first time that i was His beloved bride. i saw myself wearing a beautiful white gown as He reached down from the sky and put a ring on my finger. what does one do with that kind of revelation?? the only thing i know to do is fall deeper in love and become radically desperate for more of Him.
as i'm reading the word, particularly the old testament while i'm living in Jerusalem, i'm receiving such crazy insight into His heart for His people, as if He's speaking directly into my ears. His pursuit is relentless and His love is absolutely furious. this morning i asked for wisdom and understanding before i began reading through hosea. after only reading the first couple chapters, i had to pause, raise my hands in worship and just get lost in His presence again. i'm in awe that He invites us to a life of enjoying Him forever. i'm humbled that He wants to marry me offers me every pleasure from His very hands. i couldn't stop repeating, "i want more of You, God. i want more of You, God..." this is more than just a desire, it's the most profound and consummate yearning in my spirit. i want to avoid coming off as overly dramatic or exaggerate my vocabulary for affect. but however it's conveyed, my sentiments will be lost in translation and words will never suffice. i have eternity on my mind.
Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.’
She has not acknowledged that I was the one
who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
which they used for Baal.
“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
“In that day,” declares the LORD,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master.’
I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the LORD.
Hosea 2:6-8, 14-16, 19-20
Saturday, November 12, 2011
disclaimer: i feel like a bit of a broken record as i'm blogging about this again, an issue that rears its ugly head at me more than it's ever welcome to do. even still, i've never been one to shy away from confrontation, even & especially when it's internal, a matter of the heart.
with that, there's a perpetual battle raging inside of me that constricts me from courageously coming before the Lord with the pressing matters on my heart. subconsciously, i believe i've convinced myself that He can't be bothered with my silly desires when there are widespread famines and preposterous injustices that need to be tended to first. i've noticed that i oscillate from this place quite often. so i keep these desires at bay, even from my own heart, denying their authenticity or even the possibility that He might have given them to me in the first place. i tread ever so carefully making statements such as this, or even thinking it, because i never want to claim that my thoughts are His thoughts. and that's where the real wrestling kicks in because i believe, with much caution & hesitation, that these desires are not solely from my own flesh, but that He placed these desires in me for a purpose. i realized i fervently pray for other topics with full faith that He'll answer yet attempt to hide what's burning on my heart, as if i could ever really keep any secrets from Him. if i'm honest with myself, i know this resistance is fear. it hurts as i'm being stretched as He's daring me to trust that He actually is
this good- that He longs to be faithful to all the desires on my heart. so i'm faced with a predicament. i can either choose to believe, risk disappointment and the possibility of misinterpreting the Lord's voice, or i can dismiss these desires as just my own. to be frank, i'm very drawn to the idea of laying it all down before God mainly because it frightens me. i'm afraid of my heart taking offense, i fear losing faith in love, and i'm mostly just terrified that i'm not hearing God's voice. so of course i'd take the first opportunity to give this back to the Lord. i couldn't take control of this even if i tried.
this morning i began to think about my relationship with my dad again. i'm
confident in who i am in him and i'm familiar with his character well enough to know that i can come to him with anything, without fear of judgement or doubt that he'll provide. there is nothing i could ask my dad for that would ever compete with my love for him or become an idol in my life. furthermore, i know that if my dad could see my hesitation that was keeping me from standing before him as his daughter, it would deeply hurt him.
so what's keeping me from asking God? do i simply not know Him well enough? am i still living with the orphan mentality? last night i reached a point in my walk with God where i decided to lay it all out before Him and boldly ask. it was partly due to frustration & not wanting to struggle with it anymore but mostly about committing to trust that He's faithful to my heart's desires, and regardless of what happens, He will never cease to be so good. His character is not circumstantial. there are the type of requests that we bring before God daily, again and again, until he relents and our prayers are answered. i knew right away that this wouldn't be one of those prayers. i was only going to ask once but til the end contend to believe that God is better than we could ever hope for, greater than our hearts could ever dream. one thing that brings peace of mind and intense joy in my spirit is that it's all about Jesus. even through this difficult lesson in trust in Him alone, He's drawing me closer to Himself and revealing more of His heart to me.
in the end the heart longs not for any of God's good gifts, but for God Himself. to see Him and know Him and be in His presence is the soul's final feast. beyond this there is no quest. words fail. we call it pleasure, joy, delight. but these are weak pointers to the unspeakable experience. -Desiring God, John Piper
i ask only one thing from the Lord. this is what i want: let me live in the Lord's house all my life. let me see the Lord's beauty and look with my own eyes at his Temple. Psalm 27:4
You will not let your holy one rot. being with You will fill me with joy; at your right hand i will find pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11
enjoy serving the Lord, and He will give you what you want. depend on the Lord; trust Him, and He will take care of you. Psalm 37:4
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
each morning the sun rises to awaken the earth from slumber
more faithful than my next heartbeat
more reliable than the air i breathe
half the world is still asleep but all arise when its light comes
breaking through the darkness
revealing things hidden in secret
ice melts with just one touch from the sun millions of miles away
giving warmth to cold hands
breathing life & color to the gray
although we can't look straight at it because it is too bright & great
we trust it will always be there
the only sun we will ever wake up to
regardless of our location, appearance or beliefs
we all look up to the same sky
the same sun shines upon our faces
and such is the one who created the sun & the heavenly skies
the one & only begotten Son of God
the Son who awakens our hearts
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.
Your sun will never set again,
and your moon will wane no more;
the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end.
Then all your people will be righteous
and they will possess the land forever.
They are the shoot I have planted,
the work of my hands,
for the display of my splendor.
The least of you will become a thousand,
the smallest a mighty nation.
I am the LORD;
in its time I will do this swiftly.”
Isaiah 60: 1-3, 19-22
Monday, November 7, 2011
i was lost & didn't know who i was
You awakened my dead soul
You called me by name
i cried out to you empty & broken
You healed my wounds
You made my heart whole again
i forgot how to hope & hunger for more
You dared me to dream with You
You poured out extravagant love
i let go of my doubts & all fear disappeared
You pursued me til i believed
You made me desperate for your presence
so i gave you my life & my desires
You took me by my hand
You told me you want to marry me
i said yes
The nations will see your vindication,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.
You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
and your land Beulah;
for the LORD will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.
As a young man marries a young woman,
so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.
Isaiah 62: 2-5