Monday, February 25, 2008

A Voice of Reason

I love reading back through all of my old journals and seeing where I've come and what the Lord has brought me through. One thing that is consistent in ALL my journaling, is the fact that I am a very emotional girl!! Although I've known this for many years now, I'm still shocked at my reactions to different situations the Lord has allowed me to go through. Sometimes there are plenty of "Ah Ha!" moments and other times, I am humbled by the grace the Lord has extended me. Even though my "thoughts" at that moment might have been filled with confusion, sadness, or an overwhelming feeling, I am so encouraged by the fact that no matter where I am in life, or what I'm going through, the Lord is there, waiting to comfort me and fill me with his joy. And even though I have great desires for my life, until my desire for the Lord is greater than any other desire in my heart, what purpose would He accomplish by giving me what I want? NONE! Lord, you are so gracious to see my sin, reveal it to me in such a gentle way, and allow me to fall at your feet and long for nothing more than for you to fill my cup!! My timing is never, nor will it probably ever be, in line with YOUR timing. But in the meantime, I know that I can " in your unfailing love..." and that " know the plans you have for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future." Help me to trust and believe your promises, always!!

In my journal entry from July 2007, I wrote, "I feel dehydrated, but I don't feel the need to drink the water of life." At that point in time I felt like I was in a spiritual desert. I was not in the word daily, and felt almost hopeless. My life did not reflect the love, compassion, grace, mercy or joy that the Lord offers to me abundantly. I thought I could find and experience all of those things only when I was in the mountains, or by a river, or in the beautiful nature that surrounds us, or when a cool breeze brushed across my face. And although all of those things do calm my spirit, I was graciously reminded that the Lord is EVERYWHERE. He is in the driest deserts of Africa, he is in the ocean air of California, and he is even in the flat, hot & humid plains of Dallas, Texas!! My heart must be open enough to see that though. I cannot allow Satan to lure me in with his lies that I can only find joy & peace in certain circumstances or locations. No! Only through the Lord will I ever be able to experience freedom, passion, joy and overwhelming peace!! And on those days when I am in doubt, I must first run to the open arms of my Savior, the one who once said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matt. 11:28-29).

When I am in those moments of doubt, stress, hurt and just feel like the whole world is against me, I can find truth and hope in the promises of the Lord. Some of the verses below I have posted all over my office cubicle and it truly brings me back to a place of rest to read them over and over again...

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:14)

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him." (Psalm 62:5)

"But he know the way I take; and when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold." (Job 23:10)

"He must become greater and greater and I must become less and less." (John 3:30)

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17)

Be Blessed and Encouraged!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

East to West

I'm often moved by music, in fact, I consider it to be one of my favorite ways to praise the Lord. One of my favorite songs is "East to West" by Casting Crowns. Everytime I listen to or hear that song, I feel like they wrote it just for me. My eyes fill with tears and my heart is so moved by the lyrics. It's a modern day, true depiction of how much my Daddy loves me. I feel blessed and humbled to know that the God of the universe wants to know me and wants me to know Him intimately. May the Lord stir your hearts through the God-given talent of Casting Crowns...

Want to hear the song? click here: My Rhapsody Playlist

"Here I am, Lord, and I'm drowning in your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest
I don't want to end up where You found me
And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight
I know You've cast my sin as far as the east is from the west
And I stand before You now as though I've never sinned
But today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way

Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west
'cause I can't bear to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other

I start the day, the war begins, endless reminding of my sin
Time and time again Your truth is drowned out by the storm I'm in
Today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way

I know You've washed me white, turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through, to get me through this night
I can't live by what I feel, but by the truth Your word reveals
I'm not holding on to You, but You're holding on to me
You're holding on to me

Jesus, You know just how far the east is from the west
I don't have to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other
One scarred hand to the other
From one scarred hand to the other"

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Sweet Reminder

One of my dearest friends wrote me a “letter from God” while I was going through a very emotional and trying time. I was finding myself very discontent with where I was at in my life, but through the grace of God, and Him speaking through her to me, I found great comfort and solace in the things I have been given in life. The following is a small excerpt from the letter she wrote for me. What a sweet friend!

“My dearest Jill,
This is your heavenly Dad. We haven’t had a lot of quality time together in the past weeks but I wanted you to know that I love you. I have been here with you in everything you do and never leave your side. With the big heart I gave you, there’s plenty of room for my Spirit to live in you!! I know you have been down lately with many burdens on your shoulders. I beg of you to please let me carry those for you, even just for today. Please rest in knowing that I have EVERYTHING under control. I have and will continue to hold you in my hands moment by moment. I know you have been discontent with your job, your sleep, your desire to have a baby…just to name a few…and I do know them all. I know your every thought and feel every tear that runs down your sweet face. I hate to see you in pain. I love you my child. I am writing you this letter to remind you of all that I have done for you so that you might remember, count your blessings, and find joy in today and tomorrow!! I have provided for all your basic needs and more….You and Aaron are so rich in blessings!!! I know the desires of your heart to be a mommy. I have not forgotten that desire. My ways and my timing are perfect!! And remember that all of these things are of this world. I have also given you the greatest gift – eternal life with ME through my Son!! In all of this Jill, you have remained faithful to your husband, to your friends, and to me. Remember where I have brought you from and continue to have faith in where I will carry you in the days ahead.”

As I sit here and re-read this, tears still fill my eyes. Every single word of that is true, and I’m amazed at how many times I actually need to be reminded. While I know what I want out of life, I also know that the Lord’s plan for my life could be drastically different than my own plan. “He must become greater, I must become less.” John 3:30. I must learn to humble myself before Him and allow him to work in my heart. I often find that my “good days” happen when I am truly in communion with the Lord, whether through prayer, reading, journaling or being still before Him. Those are the days when I am completely content with where the Lord has me at this moment in time. Although those days are not often enough, when I really think about it, my heart gets really excited to find joy in the moments of everyday life and truly seek out the Lord’s best for me.

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

A Father's Love Letter

The words you are about to experience are true.
They will change your life if you let them.
For they come from the heart of God. He loves you.
And He is the Father you have been looking for all your life.
This is His love letter to you.

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfullly made. Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalm 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
Fot it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I love that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest pary heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is...Will you be my child? John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

your Dad
Almighty God

Taken directly from the site:

Be Blessed and Encouraged!