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Motivational Monday: Awe & Wonder

So I’m about half way through “Your God Is Too Safe” by Mark Buchanan. It’s hitting me right where I live. Reminding me that God is more than just my Father and the Creator, which is the two most common ways I connect to Him. Bigger than my imagination. Wilder. His thoughts are higher. His ways are higher.

I meditate on Ephesians 3:20 all the time to remind myself to think outside the box. To dream bigger. To stop trying to figure out the ending of something before it has even begun. And especially to remind me that He is infinite in time, love, resources, and creativity.

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.” Ephesians 3:20 TPT

Wow.

This book is reminding me of what I learned when I studied the Names of God…He is both the God who sees me and the mighty Creator. He is both the Consuming Fire and the Father. He is the Judge, God Almighty, He is Eternal He is The Holy One, and the God Most High.

The book also quotes CS Lewis, “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.

Which brings me to the verse I sent out this morning to my people…

God is always Himself. God is always good. God does not have bad days. God does not lose His shit. He does get angry. He does dispense justice but…”He is good to everyone, and His compassion is intertwined with everything He does.” Psalm 145:9 TLB

I looked up compassion in Strong’s… , racham, rakh’-am, from H7355. It means compassion. Obviously.

But what I loved was this… “compassion; by extension, the womb (as cherishing the fetus).”

Wow!

Point to ponder while you wander… God is infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent AND His compassion towards all is as a womb cherishes a fetus.

Again…wow…

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Real Power

“Oh!  May the God of hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope.”  Romans 15:13 MSG

This verse may sound light and fluffy.  But it isn’t.  This verse is about real power.

Joy here is not happiness from external circumstances, but an inward calm delight that overflows into exceeding joy.  Maintaining joy in the midst of turmoil and trials is how you are strengthened to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Peace here is not absence of conflict but rather peace in spite of conflict.  This peace allows you to prosper no matter the circumstances.  It gives you clarity in chaos.  It prevents you from making choices out of anger and emotion.

Hope is about anticipation with pleasure attached to it.  It’s about the expectation of good.  God is the God of anticipation of good.  He’s looking forward to filling you with joy.  He’s looking forward to filling you with peace.  Will you let Him?  Will you receive it?

He is awaiting with pleasure the day you understand the power you have at your disposal and begin to walk in it. God wants to see you prosper as your soul prospers.  This begins with receiving and learning to walk in joy and peace, with an expectation of good.  That is true power right there.

 

 

Great Expectations

I came into this year with great expectations. But I have to admit that I’ve been feeling disheartened and frustrated. My life has become a series of closed doors lately. I keep trying to be positive but, I’m finding it hard to hope and to trust in God’s goodness.

So today I’m reading the story of the Shunammite woman found in II Kings 4:8-37. It’s my favorite.

The Shunammite woman was wealthy and well connected. She had a good life and gave generously to those around her. She expected nothing in return. She just gave. It’s who she was and what she did. For her setting up a free room for the Prophet Elisha to use when he wanted was nothing extraordinary.

This is the woman everyone saw. But what people couldn’t see was the ache in her heart for a dream she thought was dead.

That’s why I relate to this woman. I am battling to believe my dream is not dead. To hope even when everyone and everything around you tells you to let it go.

God is the only one who knows the full extent of the dream in my heart. Just like the Shunammite woman.

In verse 15-16 Elisha tells her that in one year her dream will be come true. She will hold a son in her arms. Many would rejoice at this point, maybe dance a jig or something. But not her. She begs him not to raise her hopes. As if hope were the enemy of her heart. She didn’t want to go through yet another heartache.

I can relate. It seems easier for us to just settle for what we can do or what we can see. We seem to forget that we serve a good God who wants more for us than we do.

“When You came down long ago, You did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And oh, how the mountains quaked! For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like You, Who works for those who wait for Him.” Isaiah 64:3-4

We need to focus on the truth in times like this. And the truth is that God is good. Always has been good and always will be good. His plan is so good that sometimes we see it as an impossible dream, something we don’t deserve, or we believe it couldn’t ever happen. So we settle for what WE can do or what WE can see. But when we trust Him and wait on His timing He moves in ways we cannot possibly imagine!

When I struggle like I have been, the only thing that really helps me to come out of it is to focus on God’s goodness. Reading the verses from Isaiah and the Shunammite woman’s story remind me that God is good. That God is for me not against me. That God loves me and my dreams matter to Him. Knowing this, I cannot help but to keep believing.

Please don’t give up on your great expectations! Please keep believing even if no one but God knows the dream of your heart. God is the God of the impossible and He is good.

Waste of Life

After yesterday’s rant about identity and waiting for the best, I have to share this link a friend posted. It’s about how girls get told “wait” and how frustrating that is when you get into your late 20s and into your 30s. Click Here for the link..

I agree with what she says about living our lives and not sitting and waiting for a spouse to complete us. I hit that point she’s talking about a long while ago. I would like a husband, but I’m not going to put my life on hold until I get one. I think that’s a waste of life.

I have friends who are living full out like me, but I also know some guys and gals who are crying and pleading with God for a spouse. It’s their sole focus. They think it will fix everything. I disagree. Having a relationship, same as having money, doesn’t create instant happiness. Is it nice to have? Yes. But is it a cure all? No.

If you are miserable single, you’ll be miserable in a relationship.

If you are full of joy single, you’ll be full of joy in a relationship.

If you are bitter single, you’ll be bitter in a relationship.

If you live each day to the fullest single, you’ll enjoy each day to the fullest in a relationship.

If you live solely on your emotions when you’re single, you’ll do the same in your relationship.

I think that the problem for a lot of women (and men too) is that we weren’t taught about who we are in God. We are given a template and expected to fit into that template. And God is sitting there wondering where the leaders got the template, because it was NOT from Him.

Not everyone is going to meet their spouse in high school or college. Not everyone will be married by 22 and having their first baby by 25. There are a lot of people who aren’t even ready to be in a relationship or get married in their 20s. Everyone has a calling, but not everyone is called to be a pastor or to marry a pastor.

God created a good plan for us, but it isn’t necessarily like the plans of those around us. If you really want to live out God’s will (which simply means His heart’s desire and wish for your life) then you need to realize that you are NOT your sister, brother, cousin, friend, pastor, parent or anyone else. You are YOU. And God loves YOU. He knit YOU together in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139) He made YOU unique. That means that He also made your plan to uniquely fit YOU.

One of the most freeing things I’ve experienced was to realize that I wasn’t ever going to be like my sisters or my friends, I could only be me. While I was really mad about it at the time, it freed me. I like that I’m kind of a weirdo. I like that I need alone time to recharge. I like that I scrapbook my stamp collection. I like that my bathroom is the BRIGHTEST yellow you’ve ever seen. (My mom actually laughed about the color of my bathroom this past weekend). I like that I have an insanely vivid imagination. I like that I love Superman and honestly want to marry Clark Kent. I like that I watch Disney princess, musicals, Star Wars, and Jane Austen movies. I love that I talk to God all day long and dance around my house when I worship Him. I like that I drink chocolate milk from the container. I like that I have Doris Day on my iPod. I like that I am 7 on the inside, look 25 on the outside and am actually 38. I like that I mix my cake and ice cream together at birthday parties. I like who I am. I’m still working on the full on loving the way I look, but I’m speaking kindly to myself now. So I consider that to be progress.

I was a wreck at 21. I was under construction at 25, 30 and even now at 38. I have improved and I am not who I was then. I have allowed God to heal me. I’ve allowed God’s word to transform my thinking. I’ve allowed Him to love me and call me His beloved Jillian. I never believed He could love me before, so this is new. And I like it! I love that God has been patient with me, because I am a very slow changer. I like change, but I change sloooow. I receive the word immediately, but the implementation… well… it’s like Michigan road construction slow.

I said all that to say that I’m very grateful that God knew better than to send me my husband before I was ready. I appreciate that He and I dealt with the issues so I didn’t end up with a mess of a marriage or end up divorced. I’m grateful that He not only gave me a promise to hold on to, but He showed me why waiting for that promise was worth it. He showed me why it’s worth it even while I’m still waiting. He’s cool that God!

We have the right to choose to marry anyone who wants to marry us. God gives us that choice. I could have been married before now, but I chose to wait. For me, the only choice is to wait for a mature man of God who fits perfectly into the relationship I have with God. I will not marry anyone who distracts me from God. My heart’s desire is for a man who will cover me and pray for me to have an even better relationship with God and likes the little weirdo I am. If that means I wait 10 more years (on top of the 10 years that have already passed since I’ve gotten my promise that I will be married), then I will enjoy my life right where I am for those 10 years.

You ARE going to wait my friends. But it is your choice what you do with the time you are waiting. So you can choose to focus on finding a spouse and waste valuable life time. Or you can choose to enjoy the time.

So why not use this time that you have to cultivate a relationship with God? Why not use the time to develop your talents and deal with your issues? Why not enjoy every day? Trust me when I say, life is wayyyy more fun when you’re focused on God. God’s a blast people. Seriously.

Note to God: You and I both know I’m ready, so please don’t make me wait 10 more years. But if You need those years, that’s okay too. I love You either way.

God is Good.

Okay, I have to admit that in the past I’ve been annoyed with people saying God is good, because it doesn’t seem enough.  I’ve even annoyed myself by saying it.  True story.  The truth is that it annoyed me because I kept thinking that God is so much bigger than just boring ole standard good. He’s great! He’s awesome! He created the entire universe and everything in it. He’s omniscient, omnipresent and all powerful. Simply put, He knows all things, is everywhere at once and nothing is impossible for Him. Mind blowing, right?

So with all that, how can people just say, “God is good?” and leave it there?

I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve said it because it’s hard to describe God sometimes. He’s so fabulously magnificent that words sometimes fail me. So I just simply mutter, “Wow. He’s good.”

Words have power. Even the word good. So today I want to check out this word good.  It first appears in Genesis 1:3-4, “Then God said, “Let there be light; and there was light. And God saw the light and it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.”

This same word good is found to describe God MANY MANY times in scripture. Here are a few of them:

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” I Chronicles 16:34

“The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7

“For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100:5

Good in Hebrew is the word ‘towb.’ It is H2896 in the Strong’s Concordance. It essentially means good, pleasant,and agreeable. It can also be translated into the following: beautiful, best, cheerful, at ease, fair, favor, fine, glad, good, graciously, joyfully, kindly, kindness, loving, most merry, pleasant, pleasure, precious, prosperity, right (as in ethical) sweet, wealth (valuable in estimation, rich), welfare (as in benefit) and well-favored.

Put all those words together into a description and it’s starting to sound like a better description of God to me!

So NOW every time you hear someone say God is good or you read in the Word that God is good, you know what good really means.  So NOW you can join in the praise!  You can give a shout and say, “He sure is! All the time.”  I know I’m going to!

Have a good Tuesday!