I love reading my Bible! No matter how many times I read the scriptures, I learn new things from it all the time! I love that!!! :-) The Word of God is truly God's Living Word. I know that to be true because of the evidence of it in my own life!
As I was reading my Bible in Ephesians I came across these verses and they really spoke to me today. Ephesians 1:7-8 says "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding."
This verse says I am redeemed through the blood of Jesus!! I know, I know.....you have probably read this verse as many times as I have. As you can see this verse was highlighted in my Bible. I have noticed it before, but this time when I read it, it seemed to speak something new to my heart. I love it when God seems to arrest my attention as I am reading. It is a reminder that He never leaves me. That He is with me whether I am cooking dinner for my family or spending time in His Word.
So, in the past I realized that I have been guilty of condemning myself. The perfectionist part of me starts inner negative chatter for a variety of reasons: for my past, for my decisions, for my mistakes, for my parenting mishaps, etc. How many of you can relate to that? If we are honest with ourselves, at one time or another I am sure we have all allowed negative inner chatter that caused us to forget about the fact that we have been forgiven of all of that....
Once you have received Jesus into your life, He begins a work in your life. It is up to us to read the Word for wisdom, and to pray for guidance. We also need to set some Godly goals for our life. Then we need to work to achieve those goals. My pastor (Pastor Bell) shared what he called a PB Wow- "Your life is a direct reflection of your goals and how committed you are to achieving them." This quote is simple yet profound. Read it again...."Your life is a direct reflection of your goals and how committed you are to achieving them."
Often we find ourselves overwhelmed by those negative thoughts and it keeps us from doing anything. We don't take hold of the fact that we are redeemed. The payment for our past, our decisions, and mistakes has already been paid....and we are free to live for Him! We are free to achieve the Godly goals we desire to see fulfilled in our lives.
Ephesians 2:4-5 says, " But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved."
God loves each of us so much. He wants us to spend time with Him and in His Word. As we come closer to God, He will come closer to us. He will fill us with desires straight from His heart and will inspire us to love like He loves. The moment we give our heart to Him......everything changes. We begin a journey unlike any other! We go from a life of aimlessness to one with purpose. It is up to us to see ourselves through the eyes of God and take hold of the vision He has for us! Once we do that, we will be able to see God do incredible things in us, and through us! That gets me excited!!
This is not a usual dilemma for me. I do have a "hectic" mind at times that keeps me from easily falling to sleep like that wonderful guy of mine! :-) But, I can generally fall asleep without much ado. Not tonight, and.....come to think of it, not last night either....
So here I sit.....
I decided to get up because I couldn't get comfortable and sleepy in bed and I went downstairs to the living room. As I sit here just meditating on my week so far, and my past several weeks for that matter, I guess I can see that there could be reason for me to have a lot on my mind. This week in particular has been one of THOSE weeks! It started with a bang and has ramped up to be a busy one. Have you ever had one of THOSE weeks? Maybe you're even having one now! Don't get me wrong, nothing bad or majorly traumatic has happened, just life. Life happens when we're not looking (and sometimes when we are) and we find ourselves wondering, pondering, and sometimes sleepless. This week was going to be an easy one, my menu was planned, the shopping was done, my calendar was up to date, and then LIFE happened!
My oldest daughter moved out on Sunday. We really didn't have enough of a heads up to prep ourselves for it or to plan a little send off, but she is old enough move out, so no drama transpired because of the event. She told us about an opportunity to move in with friends, and then because the next day was a workday decided that to move out Sunday afternoon would make the most sense. So we found ourselves helping her pack and move out, then BANG! she was gone. Even though she is an adult I still find myself still wondering these types of things: Did she wake up on time? It's cold outside, does she have gloves? I wonder if she packed her lunch today? Is she in bed? Will she get enough sleep? Etc. The list goes on and on. Those of you that have lived through this portion of life before may understand what I'm talking about. It is hard. Not necessarily bad, just hard. Growing up and moving out is a part of life. It is really what we have been prepping our kids for their entire life. Every chore, every instruction, every life lesson, every bit of what we have spent their entire life pouring into them was designed for the moment that we are no longer the voice in their ears, and have shifted to the voice in their head.
Then, her sisters started back to school, and all the thoughts and planning that goes with being a homeschool mom. Not to mention meetings, phone calls, classes, prep for Co-op, and on.....and on.....and so.......here I sit with my Bible in my lap seeking words that will bring stillness to my soul, peace to my mind, and rest for my body.
As I was flipping through my Bible, I came across the verse James 4:8. At the beginning of that verse it says "Come close to God and He will come close to you." That is exciting! I am so thankful that my God is One who loves to be close to us, and know how we're feeling. God isn't mysteriously hiding from us, and He doesn't stay just out of our reach. No, He is a God that desires to pull us into His lap and remind us of how precious we are to Him! He loves it when we talk to Him about our day, whether it was a great day.....or one of THOSE days! :-)
Have you ever been packed on a bus, or in a theatre, or in a football stadium and been close to some people? I have! God wants us to come close like that. That doesn't mean yelling distance, it means all up in each other's space! It means you are close enough that you can talk quietly with each other and catch up on news. God wants us to come close!When my girls were little and they wanted to be close, I would pull them up in my lap and snuggle them tight. That is what God desires......to be close enough to us to love on us!
So on this sleepless night, early morning, I choose to come close to God. I choose to lay all these events of life that weigh on my mind and slow me down at His feet. I choose to climb up in His lap and snuggle up tight, and rest in the peace that He gives. It's for all of us. So if you find yourself with a lot of things on your mind. Come close to God, He is waiting for you! His love will provide stillness for your soul, peace for your mind, and rest for your body! :-)
John Calvin said it right when he said, "However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts."
What a great statement! How exciting! What that says to me, is that I serve a God that desires to bless me. I serve a God that looks for ways to be liberal with what He pours into my life. I serve a God with limitless power to work in my life! However; It also says that my blessings may also be limited by my lack of expectation! How often do we continue in a situation without even praying about it? More times than we would care to admit probably!
January 1st is here, which means we are starting a new year! 2015 has begun! With the fresh beginning of a new year, we also have a renewed opportunity to serve Him. That is something we should greet today with excitement! I, myself want this year to be full of new things personally and spiritually.
One of my friends gave me a planner for Christmas this year. I sat down to fill it out for the year, and I have been so excited going through it. There are places for monthly goals, weekly priorities, prayer focuses, scriptures, etc. Just as your checkbook register says where your heart is and what you care enough to invest in, so does your calendar. Your calendar will show what you cared enough about to invest the precious resource of your time in. This coming year, I want my time spent to show the status of my heart more than ever before. So I have been filling out this calendar with care and with the realization that I desire to see God do amazing things in and through me. I expect to see God move in an even more powerful way. I am setting goals and making notes with anticipation and expectation.....I believe God wants us to always put our hope and trust in Him.....
Jeremiah 17:7 says, "Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence."
One of my very dear friends picked a word last year to live her life by. She shared with me some of her realizations as she walked that out. Hearing those stories impacted me in such a way that I decided to choose a word for 2015. My word to live by in the new year is...."Intentionality"
So as I launch head first into 2015, I plan to do it with intention. I invite you to come with me on this journey to realize the wonder of living with intentionality. As you pursue God with intention in every area of your life, His blessings will be evident in your life!