Friday, November 30, 2012

When Love Touches God...

"There is an essential connection between experiencing God, loving God, and trusting God. You will trust God only as much as you love Him, and you will love Him to the extent you have touched Him, rather than He has touched you." ~ Bernard Manning

When I read the above quote...I had to "sit" on it for a while in order to grasp how my love enables me to "touch God".  Oh...I can understand how my trust in God is related to his love for me and mine for Him...but I never considered before today how the extent of my love for God... is what allows my love to touch Him. 

So how does my love touch God? 

I think it happens every time I approach Him with my heart, spirit and soul fully in love with Him. It happens when I admire Him... enjoy Him...delight in Him. 

The very nature of God requires love...and so it is in my experiencing a pure love for God that allows me to touch Him. 

Amazing...when I have touched God...His love consumes me and my love for God connects my trusting in Him...completely.

I love the image of me so in love, belonging only to the Beloved...reaching out and touching Him. I think God loves it even more!  - Glory! 

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength." - Deuteronomy 6:5 NCV


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful for Adversity?

"It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes." - Psalm 119:71

We all want a trouble free life. I mean...who ever prays for adversity? Yet... adversity is a very common visitor in all our lives.

 I know that God is sovereign, so when troubles come my first petition in prayer is for the Lord to free me from all the entanglements it is causing! When my troubles do not thoughts and prayers may linger back to words for His resolution to my distress, but, I also begin to pray for the Lord to reveal what He has purposed in my having this adversity.

You see...I believe if the Lord is allowing adversity...He has a purpose in it. I have learned God can be trusted in providing His courage to meet any challenge life brings... giving generously His wisdom and strength as well. 

Oh, I may think I desire to live the remainder of my life within the confines of my "comfort zone" without one more adverse "thing" touching me. It even sounds like a reasonable request until I consider the fact that I can't recall one time I called out for God to give me His strength to endure my comfort! 

So, I have to weak in faith would I become if I never needed God's strength again?  Isn't it even possible, that my continual comfort would become so common to my life as to cause me to forget how sweet its relief feels after a battle won with adversity?   

The example set by the apostle Paul gives me great encouragement to seek God's purpose in my troubles. When he suffered, he also prayed that God would take it away. God's answer was, instead of taking it away, giving Paul His grace to live with the adversity. Paul shares with us how he understood; When he was weak in himself, he was strong in Christ (2 Corinthians 12:10). 

I want to respond like Paul did...  in that, he was able to recognize a positive outcome from his adversity.

It's natural to ask God to solve the adversities in this life and desire it's resolution. However, I desire for it to be just as natural in me to be found asking God; 

"Lord, please show me something in this adversity for which I can be thankful to You for... Something I wouldn't have experienced... without the pain." 

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."  - C. S. Lewis     



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Can God be Trusted?

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." 
- Romans 15:13

A friend recently posted on her FaceBook page the above Scripture. I was  instantly reminded of how this verse in Romans was my constant prayer for months after Brad died. I was feeling the loss of all hope of ever knowing joy and peace again...this side of Heaven.

As I prayed this heart pleaded with God to "fill me" once again with joy and peace..though I doubted it was possible.

I felt my hope had been dropped and shattered...leaving only it's remnant inside me like a bunch of scattered pieces across my broken spirit. 

As I prayed with the smallest of faith...the Lord answered my plea with one of His own to me. He spoke to my heart how He desired to fill me with more joy and peace than I could ever hold inside of me...but there was something very important I needed to do in order to keep what I received.

I needed to trust in Him.

God did not say.. I need to try and understand His ways.

The Lord made very clear to my heart that He was encouraging me to trust Him by reminding me how my faith in Jesus was my anchor throughout the highs and lows of Brad's illness and death. He encouraged me to draw on the power of the Holy Spirit's wisdom inside of me to help me to trust Him now. 

Trusting God was what I need most.

I needed to trust that He had not forsaken me when sorrow and grief came rushing in and crushed against my spirit till it nearly broke. I needed to trust that in all my most devastating circumstances it is God's own Hand that is holding me together and tightly to Himself. I needed to trust that He would fill me with His hope, joy and matter what comes my way in this life. I needed to trust God that He will come one day for me for me too...and I will live with Him forever. 

As I prayed, I began to realize I needed to shift from only trusting God through the filter of what my circumstances trusting God completely...regardless of my circumstances. 

But how could I ignore painful circumstances and the feeling of betrayal when God allows such heartache? 

You see, in my grief and sorrow I had begun to question God's goodness when the circumstances of my life...were anything but good!  If; "God is good...all the time." I wondered, "where was His goodness in this?" 

As I was struggling with "unbelief" in the way I trusted God, I knew I needed to pray for greater trust in Him. I could hardly stand the thought of what my heart was considering... that God's love had failed me when He didn't give me the answers my heart pleaded with Him earnestly heal and restore Brad to me. 

In the months following Brad's death...I prayed many things...but, my fervent prayer became; "Lord, increase my trust in you." I knew my greatest need above all others...was to fully trust the Lord. 

God is faithful! As each day and night unfolded He revealed to my seeking spirit through prayer, reading my Bible, and the wise counsel of godly friends...His trustworthiness. As my trust in God's goodness and loving kindness increased and grew hope returned. 

With my hope spirit has become a vessel of God's abundant joy and peace anchored in trusting in His goodness over any of this life's troubles. The overflow of joy and peace the Lord fills me with each day, produces in me the evidence of a greater hope and joy in the Lord...because I trust Him completely. 

With fully trusting in the Lord...I have a peace that overcomes my greatest fears and doubts of what the future may hold...

I not only trust God...I'm sticking with Him! 

Lamentations 3:19-24 The Message

     "I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
    the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
    the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
    and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

    God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left."