Curious Ones

Be curious ones :: curiosity is what draws us into the presence of God. Longing to know that which we don’t understand can either bring us pure frustration or deep humility. In an effort to know God we can grow weary. I think one solution to this lies with the question, How do we posture our hearts toward God? With obligation or might? Or that of wonder and awe?

Moses, in the Bible, was drawn toward the burning bush out of a curiosity at something he did not understand nor think possible. There he was met by God. Only he first had to remove his sandals, for the Lord said he was on holy ground. I sometimes think what would’ve happened if Moses hadn’t removed his sandals. If he walked on by and just ignored this phenomenon all together?

If we long to hear the voice of God, we must first learn to posture our hearts toward humility. With a desire to know the heart of God. We must come with an open mind and act with obedient faith—God will meet us there. And we will be left in awe of who he is, all that he is and all that we do not yet know. For who can understand him? He is beyond all things. But those that seek him WILL be found by him. And their peace will be sure. Their joy abundant. And their hope secure.

Lately I’ve been thinking I should have more answers.. more knowledge as to defend my faith. And that’s good, I believe God wants that for us. But maybe more than us pursuing and wanting knowledge, God just wants us—our love, our affections, our obedience, our hearts inclined to his.

We do not have to understand him to know him. But we do have to seek him to truly find him. He is not far and in fact he is very near. My encouragement is that as we become curious ones, we would draw near to the heart of God and into the fullness of his presence. Emmanuel. God with us.

Embracing the Present

Embracing the present moment :: I heard someone say today, “Don’t count down the days til the end of quarantine, count UP the days to how much you can grow in this time.” And I think about wisdom and wanting to know what Jesus desires for us right now. Has it changed or has it always been the same and now maybe we begin to see differently? Because our eyes are looking around, our hearts are looking in, and our mind is looking for an answer.

There are a lot of voices out there right now. But the voice of Jesus and the wisdom found in his word are the only ones that matter. So here I give glory and testimony to Jesus.

When quarantine drove us indoors, I started asking the Lord a million questions. And I was always given the same answers - “I love you. I’ve got this. You can trust me. Stay right here where I can love you best.” Resting in his plan is easy when we know his nature.

That said, this time “alone” for the most part has been raw and refining for me. I’ve messed up countless times, but I’ve also had moments of victory over my emotions and selfishness. And every time I’ve chosen the better way, the way that leads to more of Jesus, I literally weep with joy and thankfulness. His power helps me choose, his grace is sufficient and his presence is enough. I am in love with this man Jesus - all he’s done, all he IS.

These days are short and precious days to be pouring out our affections for him - the only thing that will last for eternity. Let’s not waste this gift of time and opportunity to choose to love him with everything we are! “Lord teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” [Ps.90:12]

This weekend as we consider the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, my prayer is that we’re all beginning to see it with new hope, greater love and clarity and with more vibrancy than ever before.

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. May we look carefully then how we walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” [Eph. 5:13-17‬]

Mutual Vulnerability

“When we have sold our identity to the judges of this world, we are bound to become restless, because of a growing need for affirmation and praise. Indeed we are tempted to become low-hearted because of our constant self-rejection. And we are in serious danger of becoming isolated, since friendship and love are impossible without a mutual vulnerability.” – Henri Nouwen

This passage from Nouwen’s book, Out of Solitude, has been on my mind recently. It’s true, isolation is becoming more of a danger than ever. It’s easy to hide behind our phones, computers, social accounts, blogs and platforms. But human connection, not digital connection, is what we were designed for.

Proverbs 18:1 says, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire.” It says in verse 24, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

I’ve known the destructiveness of being isolated. And I’ve known the sweetness of beautiful, vulnerable friendship. Nothing is better than knowing the love of a true friend. I’m so thankful this season for the sweet gift of friendship with my Savior–our truest friend, Jesus. No one could ever amount to his companionship and love.

The holiday season can be really hard for some. I know it has been for me lately. But take comfort that Jesus sees you. He’d want you to know you’re not alone no matter how isolated you feel. His hand of friendship extends to all without hesitation and without judgment. His love is the answer to your deepest need and his friendship will satisfy your every desire.

Community is Underrated

Community is underrated :: The church has become another social event when it was designed to be a body. A family. A community built on love and truth and with the sole purpose of growing together in and toward Christ - that is our aim.

This is for me as much as any other believer in Christ. We were never meant to go it alone. There’s a need and a time to be with the Lord in the secret place, yes. And it should start there. Yet we cannot neglect the need we have to be in communion with other believers, bearing each others burdens as we have been commanded to do (Gal 6:2).

Vulnerable stories told with trusted friends will lead to greater freedom and life in the Spirit. If you don’t have community now, don’t wait, do whatever it takes to find it. If you have community, think of how to go deeper with one another. Ask yourself, what does it mean to suffer with those who are suffering? How can I celebrate with those who are rejoicing? See what the Lord would have for you and press in. Be the first to take the steps in obedience toward deeper more enriching relationship in the body of Christ.

“Let us consider how to stir up one another toward love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews‬ ‭10:23-25

“But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:24-26

Unity in the body is sanctity in Christ.

The In Between

Anyone else really dislike the waiting periods of our lives?

Those periods in life where you’ve reached the end of one season and you know there’s another coming, yet you don’t know when or where this “new season” is coming from or what it’s supposed to look like.

I call this, the in between. The transition stage. The strange middle ground existing somewhere after the obliteration of one thing and the exhilaration of a new beginning. To be caught there is sometimes awkward and almost always confusing. 

The unknowns of life take the most energy. I guess that’s why we wait.. We wait. We breathe. And we find God in our story again. Not that we’ve lost him, though some might have and some may not have found him yet, but we stop and we breathe to remind ourselves of the one who fills our lungs with air. Who keeps our heart beating. Who waits with eager ears and anticipation at what we’ll do next. Who cries when we turn away and smiles when we turn back. Who knows us better than we could ever know ourselves and yet still finds us fascinating. God is enthralled by his creation and longs to know us even more. He pursues relentlessly, yet patiently stands at the door of our hearts and knocks. 

I forget that. I forget it so often I’m embarrassed to say how many times I’ve lost my way. So many times I’ve found myself in the in between, wandering aimlessly once again. Searching and grasping at anything or anyone to fill a need and quench my desire to be seen and known and loved. It’s in the in between where I come face to face with my humanity. And It’s in the in between I’m called to wait. 

There are so many places in the bible where it talks about waiting; how it is good to wait on the Lord. The other day I revisited a verse I normally tend to look over. It’s from Isaiah 40:31…

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

It is the EASIEST thing to look at this passage and think, yes, when I call upon the Lord he will give me new strength, new heights to soar, stamina to run, perseverance to walk forward! … And he will, and sometimes he’ll do it right away… but more than not, those things come through the waiting. “Those who wait for the Lord, will…” The promises come once we realize we can’t produce them ourselves. So we wait for the one who can.

Yes, it is the hardest thing to wait, especially in this quick fix, results-driven age, and even more so when we don’t know what it is we’re waiting for. However, God needs us to stop throwing ourselves into the next thing and take a breather every once in a while. He needs us to reflect and to be reminded that He is God. He is in control. And that he has good things in store for those who wait on Him–His ways and His time.

Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

The word LET stands out to me. Let your heart take courage and wait for the Lord. I’m still telling myself this… Don’t rush through it, don’t push past it, don’t try and move on to the next thing because you’re uncomfortable with where God has you. Allow yourself room to process, to grieve, to feel, to rest. Realize he has you there. In that space. And maybe not for any other reason than to be still and know he is God. And to find purpose in just being there with him. 

It’s also important that I mention, waiting isn’t stagnant. In fact, the seasons of waiting have been some of the most intentional of my life. Purposefully running after the Father’s heart with all that I have. Sometimes that looks like sitting in silence with him, listening, and other times it’s driving 3 hours to be with family in a crisis. It’s simply living. It’s not a meditative state, though that is needed too, it’s a patient, steadfast, obedient walking out of each day. It’s living in communion with the Holy Spirit. It’s letting him have the final say, the final thought, waiting for him to speak and then acting in accordance.

The more I reflect on the in between moments of my life, the hard ones and the good ones, I start to see it’s about something even bigger. Life on this earth seems to be ALL the in between - a time we GET to be intentional with where we are and who we’re with. Not looking to get somewhere or achieve something, but being present with our creator God, King Jesus, at all times - waiting for his final return. So we wait, and we are vigilant, and we posture ourselves, preparing our hearts for his coming.

James 5:7-8 “Be patient, therefore, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” 

Help us, Lord, as we wait. Forgive our short sightedness as we take our focus off ourselves and surrender our pride in thinking we deserve answers or deliverance from hardship or waiting. Renew the mind of Christ within us, that we may have your thoughts and long for your ways. May we find joy and gladness as we wait for you with eager hearts. Giving thanks for the things that produce in us a purifying fire. You are steadfast and patient with us and worthy of our long suffering. May we forever be struck by your love and mercy as we choose to lay our lives on the altar of hope and wait for you. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Come.

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