The Situation

Thank you for those that have been faithful and kept reading the blog’s archives while I was away.  I stepped away from the blog for a year because I needed a spiritual renewal. I felt that I couldn’t share anything worthwhile with you until I got my own spiritual heart beating in sync with God again.

During the past year, I’ve also concentrated on the writing course I’ve been taking online for the last two years.  I prayed for God to open the doors and promised that I wouldn’t hesitate to walk through them.  That was an epic fail. I vigorously argued with God in that arena. And lost. Decided I was wasting precious efforts in the arguing and have walked  through those open doors (mostly — hey, I’m human, which means I’m flawed).

The next open door is an invitation to write my first YA novel, one that’s been in my heart and mind since I was 12 years old.  I’m in the active planning stage (meaning, I’m writing stuff on sticky notes, putting up on a storyboard, and doing lots of research) instead of the “just thinking about it stage,” which is, itself, a job that all writers have.  But if I never write it down, revising and negotiating with my characters and their storylines, then it’s just daydreaming and not constructively moving me toward my goal. I have a wonderful Christian writer/editor, Mary Ryan, who is my teacher in the course,  and who encouraged me to go into the Christian fiction genre (one of those open doors I found easy to walk through).

On my personal seeking journey, I wrote the following devotional.  I wrote it for me, but I hope there are others like me out there who need a gentle prompting to be aware of God’s presence in every life situation.

You will find me sharing Scripture from Isaiah frequently. It falls among my favorite books of the Bible, including Jeremiah, Psalms, Proverbs, and Ephesians. I have been devouring the book of Isaiah for the past two months.

Seek the Lord while you may find Him. Call upon Him now while He is near. Isaiah 55:6 (NLT)

I became a Christian at the tender age of nine. I knew and believed the story of my salvation, but I was a “baby” Christian (seeing God’s Word in simplistic, juvenile ways) for a long while — even into my early 30s. I was fed a great deal of “milk” during that time because I couldn’t grasp the real, deep meaning of some of what God had written in His Instruction Book. And to be honest, I wasn’t looking too hard.

Having children changed that. Kids tend to ask a great many “why” questions — surprisingly-deep spiritual questions. At their young age, I could feed them “milk” answers, but in my heart I knew I was going to have to change if I wanted them to be more than “milk feeders”. I decided that I wanted to have a “meat and potatoes” kind of relationship with God — a hardy relationship that forced me into His Word and into His will.  It was hard, but I had the guidance of many God-fearing, scripture-quoting, patient teachers who helped me change my spiritual diet.

If you look at this verse from Isaiah, two questions may bounce around in your head:
Why do I have to find God; doesn’t He know where I am?
Isn’t God always near?

First, God knows where we are at all times, but the reason we often have to seek for (or find) God is because we’re on a journey manufactured by our own devices. We choose our wisdom over that of the omnipotent, almighty Father. We might be in the same BOOK, but not on the same PAGE as God. (Sometimes I was in the wrong LIBRARY in the wrong CITY in the wrong COUNTRY. I know what’s it like to that wrong!)

Secondly, when we are far apart from God, GUESS WHO MOVED? Yep. We did. Detours take us off the path of righteousness and lead us into the depths of despair, depression, and loneliness. BEING APART FROM GOD IS A PUNISHMENT THAT WE INFLICT UPON OURSELVES! God never moves! Thank goodness, He’s never-changing!

The great redemptive glory is the moment we drop on our knees and repent, asking for God to take over and to gather us into His warm, loving embrace — a hug, of sorts, for comfort and healing — He pulls up His “moving van” and moves us to his “home base” immediately.  If you’ll let him, he’ll leave all the extraneous, misguided misinformation behind and set you on a path of righteousness.

My life was completely changed when I gave God control and let Him lead me. I don’t always get it right, but I know enough to recognize the signs when I’m wrong — even when it goes against the popular choice of others. Not allowing God to lead you is like letting “the carrot lead the stick,” as my friend Pastor Eddie Brookshire would say.

I don’t know when He’s coming back, but Jesus IS coming back. It’s imperative that you seek Him while you still have time to find Him. That’s a call for URGENCY!

Calling on Him while He is near is a DIRECTIONAL REMINDER to only go through doors that are opened by God. It insures you will remain in His will and the promptings of the Holy Spirit will be easier to feel; the “still small voice of God” will be heard more clearly.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A SITUATION WHERE YOU HAD TO LET GOD MOVE YOU BACK INTO HIS WILL? If so, please share your journey in the comments.

I’m praying for you! If you’d like me and my church to pray for you, please leave your request, with details if you’d like, or just leave the word “unspoken” in the comment space.

Have a blessed day. And remember, if God’s not changing your situation, He’s using your situation to change you!

shr

A Sodom and Gomorrah Kinda Thing

Wasn’t it a glorious Fourth of July?  I spent all day thanking God for my blessings, especially the freedoms that I enjoy because I live in the United States of America.  I am so thankful that men and women love our country enough to lay down their lives to maintain the freedom we have.

The following days were spent packing for vacation and actually getting to our destination — Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  So, when I took my Bible and stepped out onto our little balcony (which is poolside this year, and I really like that), I wasn’t expecting what God brought to my mind.  While expecting to start the book of Acts (this has been a goal of mine for two weeks now, but I’ve been sidetracked every single day by other scriptures), what my heart heard was “Isaiah.”

So I turned to Isaiah, chapter one and got no farther than verse two before I knew why God had sent me to this book.

Heaven and earth, listen,
    because the Lord is speaking:
“I raised my children and helped them grow up,
    but they have turned against me.”  (Isaiah 1:2 NCV)

As I read the rest of the chapter, I realized that Isaiah was speaking God’s truth to the nation of Israel; how they had walked away from their relationship with Him and what the consequences were going to be if they did not repent and ask forgiveness.

The heart-stopping scripture I came upon in verse ten:

Jerusalem, your rulers are like those of Sodom,
    and your people are like those of Gomorrah.
Hear the word of the Lord;
    listen to the teaching of our God!

The same little voice that whispered “Isaiah” to my heart now whispered, “Everywhere you see ‘Jerusalem’ or ‘Israel’ in this chapter, substitute ‘America.'” (I invite you to do this if you want to see the vision I had this morning!)

Knowing that your country is steadily declining is one thing.  Reading about it in the scripture is another.  When I think the absolute worst punishment God ever gave (other than the crucifixion of our Savior), I always think of Sodom and Gomorrah.  One minute, two cities stood teeming with life (albeit, sinful degradation, it was still life); the next, total demolition.  That, dear friends, is where our country is headed unless we quickly and completely turn about.

I sat, without moving, as people started filling the pool area at eight-thirty.  I thought of the music I had enjoyed on our drive to the beach yesterday and I knew what I would share for Music Monday today.  Listen to the lyrics.  Pray them for yourself.  Pray them for our leaders.  Pray them for our country.

God said:

Then if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, if they will pray and seek me and stop their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 NCV)

Believe Him and pray.

Lay Me Down (Chris Tomlin)

shr

HCIKFS: Your Name

The Lord wants to show his mercy to you.  He wants to rise and comfort you.  The Lord is a fair God, and everyone who waits for His help will be happy. Isaiah 30:18 (NCV)

Randy Phillips, Shawn Craig, and Dan Dean (of Phillips, Craig, and Dean) have this amazing feel for choosing a song.  Some of the most meaningful songs I’ve come to love have been their hits:  Mercy Came Running, Friend of God, Favorite Song of All, Revelation Song, Hallelujah (Your Love is Amazing), and a host of others.

Phillips, Craig, and Dean at the Dove Awards

Image Source:  www.wikipedia.com

You know what I like best about PDC?  While they record amazing hits, tour the country promoting the love of God, and win Dove Awards right and left, they each pastor their own churches in Texas.  They are devoted family men.  If anyone knows the true meaning of Isaiah 30:18, I feel like they do because it is evidenced in their actions.

“Your Name” is a PCD song that is speaks to me on many levels.  Mostly, it speaks to me of God’s mercy and how great our Creator is.  My favorite line is: “Nothing has the power to save, but Your name.”  When it all boils down to it, God’s saving grace is all we need.

YAHWEH

Image Source:  www.heartofwisdom.com

I’m ready for a little mercy and comfort today.  I am ready to wait for His help.  And as for being happy?  When I yield myself to the Lord’s will and His perfect time, I am always happy.  Do I always feel happy immediately?  No, because I am a stubborn human being who wants things my way and in my time.  In my fifty years, I have found that waiting on the Lord brings incomparable joy.

How about you?  Are you ready for some mercy, comfort, joy, and happiness?

Your Name” (Phillips, Craig, & Dean)