Wait expectantly…

Psalm 5:3

In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (NIV)

For Christmas, I received a very cool gift from our youth pastor, for whom I have the pleasure of serving in minisrry. It was a 5×7 picture frame with a custom made word picture, using our names and words he specifically used to describe our characteristics. He made on of these for each of his leaders, and took the time to make each and every one unique, and as he gave them out, he explained his thought on each one

The background of mine is a beautiful, snow covered mountain range because he said I have “faith to move mountains”. Adjectives like “determined”, “crazy about Jesus”, “genuine”, “invest in the next generation”, “music”, “beast piano player” decorate the landscape around my name. In addition to the descriptors hand selected by Alec, the verse Psalm 5:3 appears across the front of the picture. He selected this scripture because he felt it describes my life and relationship with God-and my faith that He will deliver.

You may remember a few months ago, I met a man in recovery looking for guidance and publishing his amazing story of deliverance. Every so often, he’ll text me a scripture verse as a reminder that God is with us. On the morning after I received this gift, the scripture he texted me was, Psalm 5:3.

I texted back a picture of the frame I received, along with the verse. He said, “coincidence? Or Godincidence? God is speaking to you.”

Is God speaking to you today? Has He done something radical lately to truly capture your attention? Don’t ignore it. Listen to his beckoning. Seek Him with all your heart. Follow His lead. He’s looking for your full surrender, every room in your house.

In the confidence of Psalm 5:3, this morning I lay my requests and my heart at Jesus’ feet. I’m praying radical prayers of healing today, physical, emotional, spiritual, relational. Confident in His answers.

Be blessed, my friends!

Copyright 2019. Journey for life. All rights reserved

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Wait…

Psalm 130

As I settle into this notion of “word of the year”, you all know that the word that has been weighing on me is “WAIT”.    I want to chose a word that will make me grow.

Waiting for God’s perfect plan and perfect timing sounds so idyllic.  The truth is, it’s extremely difficult, and if I’m gut-level honest, I’m terrible at it (which is one of the reasons I believe WAIT will be a good word for my year).   I’d like to understand His plan.  I’d like to understand why He allows certain things to happen, and others not to happen, and why certain people are in our lives and while others have left.  Sometimes I even feel like God owes me (arrogant, I know, and I don’t mean to be, but I’m being truthful). The truth is, He neither owes me a glimpse of that future, nor does he owe me my desires (particularly if they don’t align with His).

In my HEAD, I know and believe Romans 8:28, (“For I know that all things work together for good for those who are in Christ Jesus and are called according to His Promise”), but in my heart, sometimes I’m broken and can’t seem to reconcile the present with what I want the future to be.

This is how I was feeling late last week, while reflecting on recent life events, and I had allowed the darkness to shadow my thinking.   On Saturday morning, while on the treadmill, I got a text from one of my prayer warrior friends that simply said, “I’m praying for you today”.   I’m awed by how God knows what we need when we need it most.  After I finished my workout, I texted her back and, without going into detail, shared that I was struggling with waiting for God to show me something.  I told her that I know in my head He’s teaching me something in the process, but was frustrated with the WAIT.  I told her that I know He’s not my “Genie” but that I feel like I’ve been “delighting myself in Him” and was ready for the “desires of my heart” knowing full well I was being selfish.  She responded by telling me that she understood completely and has been there before and will likely be there again. She said, “when I feel that way, I pray that God would align the desires of my heart and take away any desires I have that are not from Him.”   Good advice.  Hard  to do because we want our desires.

Throughout the day Saturday I kept mulling over a verse that seemed to pop up out of no where. “3 The LORD gives perfect peace to those whose faith is firm.4 So always trust the LORD because he is for ever our mighty rock.”

Isaiah 26:3-4 | CEV

Interestingly enough, Sunday morning sermon was about knowing Gods will for our life.

I’d like to share some of my notes if you don’t mind, because they had such an impact on me (yes, I take notes). They weren’t my words, or even that of out Pastor, but directly from God to my ears.

Psalm 32:8 ” I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go, I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or mule, which have no understanding, but must be controlled with bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”

This verse speaks clearly to me that God wants to show us His will for our lives, but we must be open to hearing it, nor stubborn like a mule or an unbroken horse. This is where it got real for me… when the pastor talked about how sometimes we want what we want because we want it and not necessarily because it’s Gods plan. That’s our stubbornness wanting God to bless our desires. I can sometimes see this stubbornness in others – who say they want to become a disciple of Jesus, but don’t really seem to be seeking His will or trying to learn about Him.  But sometimes I can’t see the stubbornness in myself – the stubbornness that wants things to be the way I want them to be.

The second verse that we discussed:

Matthew 16:24-27,”whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world but forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the son of man is going to come with His Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done”.

When we let go of our selfish wants, denying our selfish wants and open ourselves to what He wants to do in our lives, then and only then are we prepared to hear His will for our lives. Sometimes we aren’t ready to let go, and we miss the blessing.

In a previous post I mentioned I’d share one time in my life where I was able to fully surrender to Gods will. It was my first job out of college. I’d been there for about 18 months and hated it. I couldn’t stand my boss, who was the owner of the company, nor any of the associates. I started looking for a job and, being an engineer, thought it should be easy to find a new one. After three months of looking, I was frustrated. I took myself to lunch one day and wrestled with God over my plight. At some point in my silent tirade, I decided to lay all of it at His feet. I remember praying and asking God to forgive me for being selfish, and that if there was a reason He wanted me to stay in that job, I was willing to stay. Exactly 4 days later, I was visiting a customer when the director of operations mentioned they were looking for an engineer. I happened to have a resume on me so I handed it to him. He interviewed me and offered me a job on the spot. I started the following Monday. I realized in that moment that it wasn’t about the job specifically, but about me being willing to submit to Gods will… and guess what? He gave me the desires of my heart. God was waiting for me to align my will with His.

My friend keeps telling me I don’t need to have all the answers. I am working on letting go and just allowing life to be. Trying to learn to Rest in God and allow Him to sort through my thoughts.  Curious to know how you all handle this?  Are you better at it than I am?  any words of wisdom for me?

Listening all the while for Gods whispers….

Be blessed, my friends

SB

Copyright 2019 journey for life. All rights reserved

The Word – naming my year

Since my lunch with Sue, I’ve been pondering the perfect word to name my year. In all honesty, in my personal and spiritual life, I feel as though I am waiting expectantly for something to happen – it’s been that way for about the past year. I’ve posted several times about expecting miracles, waiting for God to unleash blessings, etc. As I reflect on this expectation, words like “await”, “anticipate”, “listen” (as in listening for God’s direction) come to my mind.

If we’re honest, most of us loathe waiting. It’s particularly frustrating waiting for something outside our control. Many years ago, a family member was laid off from his job. He had a friend who was a judge, who had apparently told this person he’d help him find a job. To my shock and amazement, this family member waited several years for his friend to come through, instead of actively seeking new employment on his own. I was in my early 20’s at the time, and even then, was dumbfounded and frustrated at his passivity. To be honest, I sort of lost respect for him to a certain degree.

Several years ago, I was put into a new role within my company. To be honest, it wasn’t a role I desired, and for the first year of that role, clashed with my manager. In the fall of that year, I attended a conference with our youth pastor and several other leaders within our church. During that conference, for which I had taken vacation time, my boss was particularly bothersome, calling or texting me daily for updates on projects, etc. Exasperated, I said to our pastor, “I’m done. I’m updating my resume and changing jobs as soon as I get home”. He looked at me and said matter-of-factly, “Why don’t you stay where you are until God calls you to something else?”

I stood and looked at him, bewildered. I had never really waited for God to direct me to anything. Somehow, despite growing up a shy and awkward introvert, I had somehow developed a sense of “take-charge-itiveness” that somewhat defined me, both professionally and personally. Looking back on it, I am confident that God’s had was on me the whole time, but I hadn’t yet learned the art of truly “waiting on him”. Every job change I had made, every activity I was involved in, every relationship I developed had been a result of decisions I had made (with one exception that I’ll share in the future).

His statement stopped me dead and caused me to self-reflect my responsibility to learn to wait for God. Isaiah 40:31 says, “but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint”

Learning to wait on God has been a process for me. If I’m honest, I’m still not good at it. However, I truly believe I am in a season of waiting – waiting with pregnant expectation of God’s blessing. I shall not wait passively like my family member, however. In waiting, I will continue to prepare my heart and my life, tuning my listening ear toward God, actively pursuing Him.

Still pondering the right word, but the “wait” is weighing in heavily.

Stay blessed, my friends!

Copyright 2019 Journey For Life. All rights reserved

Renner – Runner – surviving spiritual attack

Before last week, I hadn’t heard of Rick Renner – but in a few moments that I took a dust-cloth to my family room to dust, he happened to be on the TV that my mother was watching. She’d not heard of him before, either, but was watching a program before he came on. As I dusted, I was momentarily awestruck by some of the words I heard him saying, so much so I stopped in my tracks.

I’be long lived my life expecting God to do miracles and wanting to live to please Him. You may remember posts earlier this year where I expressed I was praying some Jericho sizes prayers and expecting miracles.

Recently, I’ve experienced God moving in my life in strange but beautiful ways, and, admittedly, at first, I wondered if it was God at all. As I reflect on my prayers of late, I am more and more convinced that God is truly preparing to do some wonderful things in the lives of people He’s blessed me with. Because I know the Devil doesn’t like it, I’m trying my best to pay particular attention to His guidance, and this message particularly spoke to me. We WILL survive the battle…. and the war.

Take a listen and decide for yourself

Be blessed today, my friends

Surviving spiritual battle

Blessings,

SB

Listening

I hear You, Lord,

In the still, night, air

I feel You, Lord,

You’re everywhere

Fill me with your Presence, Lord,

Let me drink it in

Let Your Spirit dwell in me,

Rescue me from sin.

I am listening, Lord,

For Your voice so small,

Show me, Lord,

Reveal it all.

Light the path You’d have me take

Give me courage for Your sake

I’m listening, Lord,

For Your voice so small,

Show me, Lord,

Reveal it all.

Copyright Journey For Life 2019. All rights reserved.

Living the sequel

Our lives, books filled with characters and plots, and story lines, sometimes filled with drama, sometimes filled with dreams. Chapters end, giving way to new beginnings, all with familiar rings, marching onward to who knows where. The Author knows the ending, but the characters, blind, are intertwined with one another in ways whose impact is seldom fully realized until the conclusion.  The Author alone knows their purpose, and their parts in one another’s lives. 

Plot twists complicate an otherwise boring tale, as the Author uses pain and sorrow, joy and revelry to shape each characters’ soul, preparing them for the sequel.

The novel, replete with romance, and heroism, gain and loss, sorrow and sadness, for most, will not make the best seller list, nor even be known by many, but have an impact on the few who truly experience, truly come to life with the words of its pages.

Live the sequel, make way for new beginnings, and allow the plot to thicken, for therein lies the basis for the Author to develop character in this fictitious tale until its denouement.

Living the sequel,

SB

Copyright 2019. Journey for life. All rights reserved

Chasing dragons

The world around me, filled with brokenness and loneliness; people searching for something they didn’t know they’d lost. Oh, they feel the emptiness, but they can’t quite put their finger on it, and they try to fill the void the best way they know how.

Like the drug addict chasing the feeling from the first time they got high, they reach for familiar crutch, the bottle of Beam, the girl on the corner who’s also searching, the destructive patterns spiral out of control.

With the dragon in front of them, just out of reach, they careen a hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction, never noticing that You were right beside them all along, with arms open wide, waiting to welcome them home.

How I wish they could see You, waiting gently for them to stop running. How I wish they could hear Your voice and know Your love, and know that You will revive their barren, cold, dead hearts.

Your promise is that You will fill us and change our hearts, restoring what is broken, giving us a new song to sing. You take us and shape us to what You have for us.

Ezekiel 36:26 New International Version (NIV)

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh”

Open their eyes, Lord, and their hearts to Your love that washes over us and changes us. Make perfect in us that which is not.

Humbly,

SB

Copyright 2018 journey for life. All rights reserved.