Present Risenness

The Lord reminded me of something this morning. It was 7 years ago today, on Easter Sunday morning, that He gave me the opportunity to stand in front of more people than I have ever stood in front of before, and share why my decision to place my faith in Jesus Christ for my salvation was the most important decision I have ever made.

As a young adult, I spent several years embracing the shallow promises the world offered, and within no time, I found myself in a pit of despair and darkness. I was depressed, fearful, lonely, enslaved to my sinful lifestyle, and poisoned by self. I may have had some physical life left in me, but spiritually, I felt dead.

But God, in His pursuit of me,  orchestrated the events of my life so perfectly, and I met some wonderful people who reintroduced me to Jesus, the Jesus I had learned about growing up. And the resurrection power of God flowed down from Heaven and lifted me out of that darkness and into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

The Lord had so faithfully revealed Himself to me over the years that followed and had more recently been answering my prayers to “give me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that I may know him better…  that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened in order that I may know the hope to which he has called me, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,  and his incomparably great power for us who believe. ” (Ephesians 1:17-19)

I realized what had been missing from my relationship with God was a sense of His tangible Presence. I knew God was everywhere, but my awareness of His Presence was weak. I was no longer content just knowing about Jesus. The greatest desire of my heart was to experience His presence.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

…He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

By His Spirit, the eyes of my heart were enlightened to His present rissenness IN ME.

I remember the object lesson the Lord gave me the day before that Easter service 7 years ago. I wasn’t quite sure what He was speaking to my heart, but rather than dismissing it as some random thought, I pressed deeper into His abiding Presence and just listened.

I had been cleaning underneath my kitchen sink, and came across a crusty, hard sponge. The Lord reminded me that that’s how the world leaves us… dry, hard, used up, with the life sucked right out of us. But when we accept Jesus’ invitation to come to Him, the Living Water, He fills us up and saturates us with Himself.

Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (John 7:37-39)

Yes! He is the Life Giver!

When we walk in the fullness of His Presence, and the trials of life come and difficult circumstances threaten to squeeze life from us, what overflows?

THE PRESENCE OF JESUS! His Life… His Hope… His Peace… His Love…

On this Resurrection day, as we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death, I want to remind you that the Resurrection is not just some historical event that we should celebrate once a year. The Resurrection of Jesus should be something we celebrate everyday, because He’s alive… IN US! 

Do you know Jesus? If you don’t , please let me tell you about Him. I would love to share with you how He changed my life.

Happy Blessed Easter!

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Life is Like a Vapor

I am reflecting today on the 25th anniversary of the repelling accident that could have ended my life.

I can’t believe it’s been that long.

I can relive February 19, 1994 in my mind like it was yesterday.

The day God caught me… literally.

I have this picture enlarged and framed in my living room as a visual reminder that God’s ways are higher than my ways, and His plans always prevail. I am so humbled by the fact that He spared me that day because His plan for my life was quite different from the one I was living at that time.

I am beyond thankful for how He pursued me, redeemed my life from my self-made pit, rescued me, and began the process of putting the broken pieces back together for His glory. That process has continued for 25 years! He is faithful to complete the work He started.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV – my life verses)

The Bible reminds us that our lives are like a vapor or the morning fog (James 4:14). We are not promised tomorrow. Time is a precious gift. I don’t want to waste it!

We are fragile. God is strong.

Life is short. Eternity is long.

Every moment counts.

The desire of my heart is to be a faithful steward of the breath God has given me.

And if you have breath in your lungs, then God is not finished writing your story either. Jesus, the Author, is intimately involved in writing the details. We may have different characters and different plots, but we can all have the same Hero.

He has a purpose for your life!

Jesus died to save you from your sin. Will you accept His gift of salvation and live for Him?

He chose you. Will you choose Him?

But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. 1 Peter 2:9 (Message)

As you unwrap the present of each new day, may His presence and His purpose for your life be very evident to you, my friend. You are loved beyond measure.

 

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Not for a Minute

I had the privilege of attending a women’s worship event at church on Friday night. It had been a long week, and although I was exhausted, I felt like I needed to go. One of the songs had a line that pierced my heart like an arrow shot from a Lover’s bow. I did not have my journal, or even a of scrap piece of paper, for that matter, so like I did back in high school when I didn’t want to forget something important, I wrote it on my hand.

“Not for a minute was I forsaken…”

In that moment it dawned on me fresh and anew that God, the Lover of my soul, has never left me or forsaken me. It’s His promise.

I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]
Hebrews 13:5, AMP

He dwells within me by His Spirit, and I never have to doubt that He is with me.

Now don’t get me wrong… there have been days, even seasons, when I have wrestled and doubted. I’m sure you have, too. Life can be so hard. Our enemy would love nothing more than to rob us of our certainty of God’s presence and care.

Throughout scripture you can read about the journeys of many others who wrestled, as well, but they all seemed to come to the same conclusion in the end.

“Not for a minute was I forsaken…”

I love David’s words in the beloved Psalm 139.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you

I don’t know about you, but I needed that reminder. I need it every day. You may feel very alone in your circumstances. You may feel abandoned and discouraged. You may feel like the darkness is closing in around you, but friend, I want to remind you what God is saying.

“I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you, Child.

I am in this place with you. I am nearer than your next breath.

Remember I have YOUR NAME inscribed on the palm of My hand.”

 

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Soul Worth

Another Christmas has come and gone. As I attempt to put everything back in its place, an old familiar carol continues to resound in my heart. I have found myself humming its tune over and over again. I believe there is something God wants to say to me, and you, through these lyrics as we journey into a new year.

O holy night the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels’ voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine o night
O night divine

And that one line in particular grips me and demands to be noticed.

“Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”

Jesus appeared, and by His coming, His living, His dying, and His resurrection, every soul was given great worth. He appeared, and He will never disappear. Jesus longs to be with us. He has made the Father known, and that Love that never fails. He looks at you and me and says, “Priceless”.

Talk about soul worth!

But somehow, as I traveled through life, my worth had become wrongly determined by what I did rather than Whose I was. I had become weary of all the striving and doing. I had become physically ill from it all, and just needed Someone to rescue me from the life I was living, which I wasn’t really living at all.
Somewhere along the path of life, I forgot the worth of my soul. In early 2018, I was challenged to “go back and find where you left it”. I can’t really explain what happened, but all that fresh talk of rest and grace, solitude and unceasing love, caused me to dig deeper into knowing the One who gave it all, even His very life, for me. And in the process, I found me.
Everyone longs to know and feel that their lives matter. Everyone longs to feel valued and validated, loved and seen. Weary one, let me tell you that you are all those things!

You can STOP!

You can give yourself permission to rest and be filled with a thrill of hope.

May our weary souls REJOICE in 2019! That is my prayer for you, friend!

“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

Remember her? She’s still in there… inside of you… waiting.
Let’s go get her!

Me