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Jesus

getting what I prayed for: change

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Have you ever gone through a season, challenging or joyful, and realized at the end of it that it was what you had prayed for? 

Or asked God to change something about you and He does it in a way you weren’t expecting?

If yes to either of those questions, I can relate to you. Big time.

A consistent prayer of mine for last few years has been ‘Lord, change me.’

I read Evelyn Christianson’s book of the same title and was deeply convicted about how I prayerfully approach and handle situations. The different between spending great amounts of praying energy asking God to change someone else’s behavior or tendencies and looking inward is vast.

I grew in this way of praying (after lots of time and practicing) and I’m grateful for it. It’s actually been a beautifier of inner chaos instead of adding to the mess.

For example, when it comes to my sister, I used to wrestle with God over how she wasn’t super talkative with me, wouldn’t open up a lot, but it became a burden that was tiring, and hurting our friendship. Thanks to Holy Spirit I then began to pray, Okay, God, change me. Change my perspective, to see her through Your eyes, how You wired her. Change the way I put unnecessary pressure on our relationship. Change me, help me trust that You are working in our midst.

And I found it was a little easier to trust Him with the situation as a whole because I could see progress in me, believing He had good plans for our future friendship. Now we’re in a great place and it is a gift from Him. All grace upon grace.

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a heart like the sea

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One of our favorite things to do while cruising this week was standing on the balcony and watching the open water. As far as the eye could see, water sloshing against water, waves crashing at the ship’s edge, open sea changing shape and continually moving.

At one point in the week I thought, my insides feel a little like the ocean sometimes. 

Chaotic. Beautiful. Deep. Rushing. Drowning. Raging.

I am passionate (a lovely word for emotional) person. Here I don’t mean cry often. Here I mean deep feeler. Here I mean tend to be driven and ignited by feelings. Here I mean experience life deeply. Here I mean even struggle to not bear the weight of someone else’s burden when it’s not mine to carry.

I once heard someone talking about Jesus, commenting on his fully man-ness yet fully God-ness.

My paraphrase:

Jesus experienced the complete weight of human emotion without sinning because He never let any emotion separate Him from His Father.

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane…

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:32-36 (emphasis mine)

Soul overwhelmed with the deepest sorrow imaginable, yet processing with Father.

Jesus modeled perfect trust. He modeled real vulnerability in life’s circumstances, yet felt it with(in) his Father’s heart.

This inspires me to believe that my heart, emotional and passionate and messy and flawed as it may be, is important. If I look at Jesus, I see his heart fully feeling, but in the Presence of His Father. And I can do the same! (Wait, what?! Yes.)

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making choices like Jesus would

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Thanksgiving week this year was full. Full of family, laughter, conversations, shooting guns, being outside, delicious food, a few tears, lots of grace.

I was driving out to my parents’ house asking Father for help. God, please give me wisdom and discernment in my choices. Bless our families with good quality time and rich conversation. Be honored by our words and actions and thoughts. In His goodness, He gave me a visual.

Two sisters, different personalities. Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet while busy bee Martha is frazzled and distracted.

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” v. 41-42

The greatest possession is close fellowship with the Lord as our ‘portion’ in life, says the ESV Study Bible. “It will not be taken away from her” — neither now to help Martha in the kitchen, nor for all eternity.

And Father said, stay at my feet, stay close, rest and trust Me. 

Instead of feeling like my mind is distracted and frazzled and busy like Martha, trying to please everyone and make the perfect choice.

Jesus was a man who lived on this earth. He walked, talked, overcame, felt physical needs, spent time with other humans. He valued close fellowship with his Father.

“Jesus came to reveal God to us. He is the defining word on God—on what the heart of God is truly like, on what God is up to in the world, and on what God is up to in your life. An intimate encounter with Jesus is the most transforming experience of human existence. To know him as he is, is to come home. To have his life, joy, love, and presence cannot be compared. A true knowledge of Jesus is our greatest need and our greatest happiness. To be mistaken about him is the saddest mistake of all.”

To experience him and learn about him and know him is transformative.

God is cultivating in me a longing to know Jesus like I know my best friend or my husband.

To wonder about him when doing mundane tasks. To imitate how he speaks to both friends and strangers. To prioritize life as he prioritized life. To learn how he responds well in tricky situations. To love him by my service. To listen to him. To learn his mannerisms and tendencies. To know his heart.

I’m reading a book by John Eldredge called Beautiful Outlaw, about Jesus and his personality. All the quotes in this post are found in the book. It’s an interesting read.

He woos, he confronts, he delivers, he heals, he shoots straight, and then he uses intrigue. He lives out before them the most compelling view of God, shows them an incredibly attractive holiness while shattering the religious glaze.

I’m learning it this way… Holy Spirit is God in us; He is companion, wisdom, comfort, guide, and more. Jesus is our example for life; He lived a life that pleased God. Jesus is our brother to learn from. God is Father; He is creator, judge, powerful.

The purpose of his life, death, and resurrection was to ransom you from your sin, deliver you from the clutches of evil, restore you to God – so that his personality and his life could heal and fill your personality. Your humanity, and your life. This is the reason he came. Anything else is religion.

I sometimes underestimate the power of knowing Jesus as if he was a physical person in my life today. I sometimes underestimate the stories of the Bible.. passages that tell of his expressions, his words, his way of being, his view of the world.

The purpose of his life, death, and resurrection was to ransom you from your sin, deliver you from the clutches of evil, restore you to God – so that his personality and his life could heal and fill your personality.

Forgive me, Father. Thank you, for sending Jesus to live perfectly and die sacrificially.

Jesus Remains

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Today I am especially overwhelmed with this thought: no matter what comes, whatever joy or circumstance or disappointment, Jesus remains. It’s simple and seemingly basic, but for me, today it is day-changing.

This morning I was up and doing a few tasks, feeling worry and doubt creep in, and then suddenly – peace. I am His, He is mine. 

I have only felt that tangible of a peace river a handful of times. Undeniable, compelling, wonderful.

How beautiful and gracious our God is. No matter what comes, no matter what I feel, God remains. His care and love for me transcend all natural feelings.

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16

The King James Version of the Bible says, “because he hath set his love upon me.”

These promises are real. We set our love on Him, he will deliver us. He protects us (from sin, from the enemy, from even ourselves) because we know His name. He answers when we call, when we reach out and talk, He is with us in times of trouble. He rescues us and honors us in Himself. He satisfies us with his salvation and freedom.

Thank you, Jesus. 

Where I Am Right Now With Jesus

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God is calling me to taste and treasure Him. Not writings about Him, not service for Him, but Him as a person. Him as my Savior, Father, Lord, and Friend.

Growing up in church (a gift from God), I was continually shown and taught God’s Word, His way of life. I fear that thus far in my life, I continue to shovel more and more words and media about God in, but not letting it take root. Not that resources are bad for us, they can certainly be used for study and growth and encouragement. But I have gotten to a place where I neglect the Person for knowledge about the Person. Does that make sense?

I feel God calling me to a new, fresh, intimate place with Him.

Communing with Him, sitting with Him, abiding in Him. As opposed to reading articles and books about Him, listening to more and more things, filling up my empty space with knowledge and distraction.

What does this look like? I think it looks like less media intake, and more meditating and prayer; making space in my soul for clarity and Holy Spirit-refreshment; and experiencing God as a real, living, active (and best) relationship in my life. 

A small example, I grew up in a tv-watching family. Not a bad thing, but it’s a default for me when I’m cleaning or alone at home to put on a show or movie. So on a Sunday afternoon, my tendency is to binge watch a show for a few hours, thinking it’s restful for me, as opposed to taking a nap. Watching all that tv only fills my mind with thoughts of those characters and plot lines, when a nap to relax my mind for a few hours would’ve been much more beneficial in preparation for the work week ahead.

I don’t know about you, but I only have so much capacity to take things in before I feel numb, stretched thin, and jumbled. The less distracting, mind-numbing, not actually beneficial to my life things… the more room God has space to fill.

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