broken

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These lyrics from a Jeremy Riddle song ministered to me so deeply last Sunday during communion at church.  How beautifully and accurately Jeremy describes what happens to us when we meet Jesus at the cross. Not just the first time, but every time.

As the line “I’m sweetly broken” played out in the chorus again and again on Sunday, the Lord reminded me of some words I prayed seven years ago. Words I prayed over and over again in a very difficult season. Continue reading

Up a level

candy crush

Confession: I have been addicted to Candy Crush for a few months now. It’s a fun little game that is tough to put down. The trouble with this game, however, is that the higher you go in levels, the harder it gets. There are easy levels here and there, but some seem virtually impossible. When you get to level 181, where I have been stuck for more than a month, it ceases being fun!

I find myself wanting to give up. In the past month, I have probably tried over a hundred times to pass 181 and go up a level. Other folks have done it, so I know it’s possible. In my opinion, skill is only part of what one needs to break through. This level requires a specific type of candy arrangement that lends itself to multiple advantages in one round. Until that arrangement comes along, it feels impossible. In the midst of this frustration, you guessed it… God spoke.

When all of the conditions are right,

when My timing unfolds, I will unlock your future.

Stop trying to make things happen yourself.

You guessed it. He wasn’t talking about Candy Crush! I immediately saw a parallel between my life and the game. All of my attempts at level 181 are just that. Attempts. Until the conditions are right, and favorable arrangements are provided, the next door will not open. Not in Candy Crush, and not in life.

We often forget that the most important factor in a situation that requires a breakthrough is timing. In our flesh, we have an aversion to waiting, and often give up before His timing unfolds.

The Lord has given me many promises regarding the future and some things that He has planned for me. For years, the details have been a mystery. Only recently has He started to be more specific. My inclination is to approach my future as I would approach Candy Crush, getting my hands in there to move things around and expedite the whole process.

My hunger for the next level makes me strive,

perform, manipulate, plan, maneuver and so on.

I wish I was as hungry for Him as I am to be promoted! I can pretend this isn’t the case, but my actions, attitudes, and impatience tell me otherwise: I want to get busy. I don’t want to wait. However, the Lord operates in a different fashion, as outlined in these verses below:

prayer beach 1 peter

Our job is not to strive to make things happen. It is not our responsibility to make ourselves ready or worthy. Our job is to remain humble with the awareness that ONLY by His strong hand…

breakthroughs will come

doors will be opened

healing will come

provision will be poured out

dreams and visions He’s given us will be fulfilled

callings will become tangible ministries

In the meantime, we “can throw the whole weight of our anxieties on Him”. Let Him worry about the timing, the preparation, the provision, and the doors that still remain closed. If we remain humbly at His feet, we will be present the moment He unleashes His favor and flings the door open.

In the meantime, rest, learn, know Him. Abide in His word. The time will come.

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photo credit:

candy: king.com/games

prayer: thecupcakecartel.blogspot.com (text added from J.B. Phillips’ The New Testament in Modern English)

control

An excellent question was posed at bible study Tuesday night. We were discussing how Jesus tore the veil that separates us from God when he died on the cross;  how we have complete and unhindered access to God.  However, we allow things to come between us and the Lord. Here lies the question… what veil have I allowed to be hung in my heart? What keeps me from drawing intimately close to my God?

We took a moment to be silent and ask Him to reveal the veils that hide our hearts. God was undeniably clear with me. It is my fear of losing control over my life, loved ones, and circumstances that keeps me from being ever-close and abandoned to God.

The Lord has brought me a long way from the self-protecting, self-sufficient, controlling person that I became in my teenage years.  While I have learned to let God have more and more control, I have not managed to escape the fear that comes when I do yield to Him. I still have to wrestle quite a bit to get to the place of letting go. The enemy pushes my deep-rooted fear buttons and tries to convince me that giving up control is too dangerous.

This morning, God revealed a breakthrough truth to me:

Surrendering and yielding to God does not mean that I am powerless.

It does not mean that I am completely lacking control in the situation. It is MY choice to surrender to God. It is MY decision to let Him have control over my family, finances, and future. Surrender is not a place of weakness or powerlessness. I am choosing to put my trust in the One that makes the best decisions for me and the ones I love. The One that knows the perfect solution to my quandries. The One who has a full provision for all of my needs. I am choosing to rest in the embrace of the One who cannot be moved.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29