Our God Team: God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit as truly AMAZING. I have been reading Hebrews of late in my devotions. The author of this book is said to be unknown. However, the title of the book: Hebrews, tells us it is written to the Jews–the new converts to Jesus and His Grace rather than God and His laws. Now, over 2000 years later, God is still trying to get me to turn away from following laws so I can live in Christ Jesus’ promised Grace.
Satan loves to have each of us bound up in bondage to anything which diverts our attention from the loving GRACE of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our flesh, human wisdom, seems to think laws are the only answer so we seek them out only to find we get lost in them. Looking at our own country’s present state demonstrates just how much man gets lost in his laws and trying to carry them out man’s ways. We have never been so divided as we presently are. Our nation’s eyes are turned away from this freedom promised by God through His Son Jesus and are now looking only to the laws of man. I would love to see our nation shift back to seeing God, but for this present moment, God is wanting me to not get lost in this. He wants me to keep my eyes on Jesus and help others to do the same.
At first when our pandemic began I found myself waiting for this crisis to end so I could get back to life as it was. I now realize this isn’t going to happen (at least anytime soon). So, how do I join God in this time? This morning as I asked Him this question I heard His nudge to look up. When I did I saw life, freedom and opportunity. At this point I only know these three ingredients are awaiting for me (us) to join them. So, instead of wondering what I will do, I will step into this day and each day believing there is life, freedom and opportunity in this day which I will join God in attaining. I’ll see just what that looks like for this day as my day with Him begins!
Yesterday was quite an amazing day. Once church was over I went out to pick the raspberries and had over 2 gallons before I’d gone through the inside of the patch. I took all of them to our neighbors who have 4 children. They seemed thrilled. I then came home and picked 2+ more gallons. I changed clothes quickly and went to a graduation party and once home I made 5 batches of jam–20 pints. All of this was done with a relaxed sense that God is in control and He really is.
Our pastor’s sermon yesterday was all about letting God be the one in control of our day rather than inviting Him to join us in our day–we join Him. I knew this message was for me, but I also know that God is wanting each of us to know this message from Him. The pastor tied it to the word compassion. He said God wants us to be compassionate as He is and if we join Him, we will exemplify this Godly compassion. I sent the pastor a text later in the day because my blackberries are almost ready to start picking and I tend to not share them and they are his favorite. So, I my text said that the next time he is inspired to preach a sermon as today, delay it until the blackberry season is past! It is hard to be selfish when God and man are telling you the same message!
It has been a weekend of events for us starting with the party Friday for our granddaughter. Yesterday had a recital and a 60 year anniversary along with helping my youngest get her car serviced. It was to end with a car parade for all the graduates at our granddaughter’s high school parking lot. I can get lost in all of these thinking they are events to endure until they pass and I can get back to my garden and picking raspberries (which I needed to do yesterday but….). I was journaling about this to God when He reminded me I can relax even during the events I’m attending. It is all about an attitude adjustment. I don’t need to go into a day as though it were a day of meetings at school all with a tight agenda. Each of these events is a celebration which needs to be relaxing and rewarding. It was nice to see them this way and it was even nicer to experience them this way too.
This journey of life is starting to teach me a lesson I’ve needed to awaken. God has been chipping away at this and finally I’m seeing a Light of truth I’ve yet to see clearly. This Light is that which shines when we go into the day with God rather than asking Him to go with us (me). I’m beginning to see that God never gets uptight. He doesn’t need to–He is ultimately in charge whether man knows this or not. When I join God rather than thinking He needs to join me, I see Him in charge and I can “relax” as He has been reminding me all weekend. My raspberries will get picked–I don’t need to get all uptight about it inside myself!
It is a huge mind shift when I join God in the day rather than asking Him to join me. The one is so selfish keeping me in charge. I’ve not wanted that, but it has been my truth. Today and each day I want to join God and live the day for Him so His Light shines through whatever He has me to do.
What an amazing God we get to serve! Yesterday was a party day at our home. Our oldest granddaughter’s high school graduation party was finally able to be held and we were the hosts. Her actual graduation will be held next Monday evening and we even get to attend. Her goal is to be a teacher focusing on special education. I love that. She had so many details planned into the party: a picture area, volleyball, canopy with tables and chairs, bouquets, several kinds of tacos and plenty of cupcakes. We had people coming and going most of Thursday and Friday getting all of this set up to her expectations. It ended at 8:00 pm last night and by 9:30 all of it was pretty well cleaned up and dismantled. She had so many friends here to give assistance. It was just a pleasure to be part of this.
The best part was watching and experiencing how eager everyone was to participate in the work of this. I was pondering this morning about our attitudes towards doing God’s work. How eager am I and what kind of an attitude do I have about it? Living each day for God is a party in the making. God wants to celebrate everyone of His kids arrival home with Him. I sure don’t want to be a deterrent to anyone coming to this point in their lives. Instead, I’d like to be a light for Jesus helping people see there is a party awaiting for them!
Last night at Celebrate Recovery I taught the lesson on Daily Inventory. I had prepped for it a couple times and then again yesterday late afternoon before heading over to the church. It was then while doing the last prep that I began to hear the Holy Spirit challenging me with the content of this lesson. Doing a daily inventory is done through journaling and responding to a few questions analyzing your day and how you responded to it. However, the deeper part of the lesson is what happens for each of us when we are responsibly doing this.
It has been in my journaling that I have found the intimacy of my spiritual heritage–God, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit. Daily tuning in to them by confessing, asking, listening and responding I’ve found the most loving TEAM one could ever find. I’ve known what the scriptures have said about God’s love for us and that we are to love others as we love ourselves. However, I’ve needed to move this information from my mind to my heart. I had to believe what the scriptures say as truth for me. This is what God has done over the last couple of years.
Life can teach us so much that Satan takes and drills into our minds as truth. This always contradicts God’s TRUTH. It has been the daily journaling which has allowed me to not only find the reality of this awesome relationship God wants with me, but also to begin finding His promised strength to do what I’ve never been able to do before–BELIEVE! Isn’t our God AMAZING?!!
A few weeks back one of my grandsons and his friend helped me prepare our pool for filling and use. I bought the chemicals and a new pool cover for the season. We found three tiny leaks in the lining while cleaning it which I’d never had happen in the past 22 years. I thought it was fine after patching them and began to fill it only to have many more begin in a particular area. It is 24′ round. I “hate” dealing with this so I wanted to dismantle the thing and give the grandkids something to do besides swim. (That didn’t go over so well!) I finally ordered a different type and slightly smaller one. This one I will dismantle each fall when the season ends hoping the winter doesn’t destroy things (if that’s the problem). Yesterday I returned the cover and when I got home the new pool had arrived. Today we will set it up.
I write all of the above because this is a perfect example of what makes me anxious–to the point of not sleeping at night. I just want to do away with things like this. However, putting my trust in God in all things as yesterday’s scripture says is remarkable. It is one thing to be obedient and finally do what we are to do. It is another thing to do it with confidence that it is not about my skills, but God’s. Having the Holy Spirit within me (the POWER of the ALMIGHTY) doesn’t give me skills, but it is to give me the confidence that in spite of my skills, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
The 4th chapter of Hebrews challenges me to stop giving so much attention to my anxiety and lack of skills and to confront it with God’s assurances/promises as scripture tells. This is what Christ did throughout His ministry years and He asks us to do the same. It is such a silly example–a pool–however, it is a big one for me.
Today as I read the 4th chapter of Hebrews I am truly challenged with the scriptures’ message. It is largely connected to my faith/trust in God Almighty. It is so easy to say I have complete faith in God. But, just ask me if I ever feel anxious about something in the day or something in the near future? My response is almost always–“well, yes!” Hebrews 4:2 says in part: “…the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith….” This is me so many times.
In verse 12 of this same chapter it says: “For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power; it is sharper than any two-edged sword….” I have never been more challenged than I am today to begin to address this anxiety I find at times with the assurance that God is exactly what His Word says–Full of POWER. I want to learn to claim this at every attack Satan would and will give me in this area.
I don’t know if you are like me in this, but I find myself journaling each day asking Jesus to help with this or that. I do spend time reflecting on His wonderful presence and worshiping Him, but I think most about how I need Him with this and that. Today, I was stricken with the truth that Jesus more than anything wants a relationship with us. God didn’t create you and me so He could do things for us. He created us to fellowship with us.
As I was pondering this reality of fellowship with God, I began to awaken to the loss of joy God wants us to have with us as we live each day. A good case in point is today. I have two of my grandkids coming to earn money for their summer camp. I’ve been mentally busy creating a list of “things” they can do to keep them busy while at the same time meaningful. The truth is, I’m just looking forward to being with the two of them. They are a lot of fun “joy” to have with you. However, if I get lost in the “doing” I miss out on the joy of “being” with them. Maybe God’s heart is a lot like the heart He gave to a grandpa who wants more than anything to simply be with you. He also enjoys helping out as you request, but the greatest desire is to just be with you.
What an amazing God we get to fellowship with and to serve. I want to keep fellowship in the forefront rather than the serving.
I started the book of Hebrews this morning. At this point in my life I’ve lived long enough to become fairly well acquainted with the characters in the Bible. Paul, being the author of several books in the New Testament, gives you much insights into his own life and person. When I read each book I tend to read it from the lens of the writer. Paul was concerned about the people in each book written so he sent a letter. He’d usually reference why he was concerned too which would tell you things about himself.
As I began reading Hebrews I noted that the author of it is unknown. It started to be perplexing to me because the book has tremendous insights for each of us. I just have to then take what is written as being very personal and the writer being God. I know that all of the Bible’s message is from God to us but I usually don’t get to that point until I work through the writer’s first intent and then I also apply it to me.
OK, that being said, I read Hebrews 1:14. It says: “Are not the angels all ministering spirits sent out in the service of those who are to inherit salvation?” This verse made me think back to a most traumatic moment in my counseling/therapy 8-9 years ago. The counselor was doing EMDR (a therapy used for PTSD) with me and we were addressing shame. At the end of the session I was so heavily laden with the weight of it I was unable to move. In fact, I was so weighted down I could barely whisper. The counselor had told me if I were unable to lift the weight of the shame then as God to send His angel to help. In my head I asked for this assistance but no one came. The counselor asked me what was happening and I whispered, “No one came but then no one ever came during those times of abuse and the damage all of it had done.” She told me to not believe that lie and to ask again. This time there were two beings present. Somehow I knew it was God and Jesus but I sure can’t explain how I knew this. My spirit simply recognized them. They lifted the weight and then they were gone. As I left the counseling session my counselor reminded me to thank God and Jesus for coming to help. While I was driving back I said thank you to God and Jesus and then asked why they didn’t send an angel? Instantly I heard in my mind this statement, “We didn’t send an angel because we wanted you to know you matter to Us.” Good grief, I was so taken back by this response I had to pull off the road as I wept. I never knew they cared that much for me.
All these years later I find something in this scripture I’ve not noted before. The angels protect us, God heals us. When Christ and God came that morning they were removing the shame from me which the therapy had brought out. This is the work of Christ and Christ alone. This is why Christ died on the cross for each of us. What an amazing God we have!
Happy Father’s Day–to any reader who is a dad. We will have a house and yard full of kids and grandkids later today. That is the joy of this day!
Yesterday I had to confess my selfish desire to not share the day with the needs of another couple. Even though we went, that desire hadn’t changed until I got a chance to see the yard and get better acquainted with the wife. (This couple is related to dear friends of ours and since I like gardening we were asked to give assistance even though we don’t know them very well). The yard had several flower beds which I could instantly tell were well maintained at one time but now left to neglect. I figured the wife had to be the gardener because I knew her husband well enough to know he could care less about a yard. When I met the wife and talked briefly with her about some wishes she had, I saw her heart–it felt like mine does about my own yard! The rest of the work time was spent with a commitment to make this place beautiful for a gardener who can now only garden in her heart. God has a nice way of waking us up when we need to have an attitude adjustment.
Today being Father’s Day and God being our Father, may He be glorified above all others this day!