God knows I love adventure. I love learning. I love seeing new things. When it comes to new turfs and the "never before" – I can be like age thirteen me in a cotton candy store – also, 30 year old me, and so on :)
I’m also a bit of a USA geek so I get a kick out of traveling through states. Just a couple of months ago, I stepped foot in 5 states in 24 hours. Would ya believe it?! I felt like I was playing map hopscotch and a bouncing arrow was following me everywhere. What did it look like from heaven? What did God see from His exclusive aerial view? Though I’d been in 4 out of the 5 states before, I couldn’t escape how this world was its own wonder – every state had its own flavor. Its own reality. Its own kind of population, scheduled festivities or lack thereof.. I went from Kentucky Derby to having a slice of New York pizza before finally laying my head to rest in sweet and silent, southern Virginia after traveling by foot, plane, and the backseat of a car.
And on planes, I'm like many of the rest of us. Amused and glued to the window seat. Just before I sleep, my eyes get wide and my imagination leaps to life again. Whole towns disappear and moving cars morph into cloud and sky. I look out – and I am overwhelmed. I’m overwhelmed by the pleasure of knowing that wherever I am, He is. I succumb to the idea that I could not escape His knowing - neither in concrete jungle or countryside. It brings me joy and rest. That in all of what’s new and unknown to me – nothing is new or unknown to Him. He is familiar with each place – each person – each preoccupation, each day. New to me, never to Him.
Nothing is mystery. Nothing is hidden. Nothing is unknown.
Yet He keeps watch of us daily, as if all is new to Him. How committed is He?
I’m wanderlusting to the max here, can’t you see the swirls? :) - but part of being a wanderlust is always wanting more, always seeking more, getting out, getting free, finding something new to go goo-goo GAH over and then moving on to the next. It then never fails, though. While in the swirl of seeking more, I’m led to the same deeper place – where there’s something more precious, a weighty constant more worth my time – only Jesus.
One of my favorite books in the bible is Ecclesiastes. The writer, Solomon, explores the world with its joys and sorrows – folly and fulfillment, the circles of life, its comings and goings, and he lands on one conclusion. None of it matters – and if it did – BARELY.
"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Everything is meaningless!" (NIV)
Ecclesiastes 12:13 (AMP) “All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.”
One thing I love about God is that He's not found scratching His head when questions arise or trouble comes. He's not at a loss for words, wisdom or solutions. He's not non-chalant or disengaged. He's concerned. A portion of His glory is wrapped up in our living. He's committed to our victory. He's committed to our testimonies.. even if they're not always what WE think they should be. All things work together. He secures the wins?
His role in this relationship is to lead us to triumph.
Our role is to follow Him.
"I'll take care of you..." He says."Because your problems are my problems."
OK, I promise... I do understand that I've been an adult for at least the last 5 years, but THIRTY? What. The. Flip? My cutesie twenties are officially leaving the building, but I hear it gets better from here, and that's nice... I'll take it :)
If there's anything in life about which we typically love to lament, it's when we find that someone loves us, but not for the entirety of who we are ---our strengths and weaknesses, our quirks, and our flaws. It's when the idea of you, or me, stirs interest, excites, and draws someone close for a moment, but as the relationship grows in intimacy, "who you turned out to be," isn't exactly who they had in mind. That maybe, who you are - or have been all along - is now a bit off-putting. The relationship stalls. It ceases to grow... or maybe it ends. I see posts about it all the time. Only because I think He wants to be loved for more than the obvious. I think He wants to be adored for more reasons than because He first loved us. I think He wants us to embrace more than His sufficient, irrational grace -- extend our gratitude for more than His provision and protection. I think He wants us to live in awe of so much more than His inexplicable mercies. I think He wants to be sought out for more than His timing when it comes to our dreams and His orchestration. I believe He wants to be loved for His core.
"Love Me for my Holy..."
Because He loves us SO much, and would love to be LOVED wholly, in return.
And there's so much room for us to acknowledge the more.. His otherness. His GOODness. His GOD - ness. His being set apart. His DIFFERENCE from all things created. His... creation of ALL things. His wisdom, and knowledge. His way... Do we love Him for His HOLY? And how about, for instance, the very thing that makes Him God - and us, in need of a Savior..? His Righteousness. .... Literally... His being RIGHT, all the time.
I'm afraid far too often we get stuck at loving Him for His love... we stop there.Yes, love drove Christ to the cross and love kept Him there...but it was His holiness that made the cross worth the suffering and sacrifice. It was His holiness that qualified Him to pay the price. How could He be God if not for His ability to do what we couldn't? ...If not for His ability to conquer and have victory over sin without ever even having to be delivered?
Without His HOLINESS, His death would have accomplished nothing at all.
Without His Righteousness, our lives would be a mess.
It's His holiness that compels me to love Him for more than His love.
We MUST love His Holy. We NEED His Holy.
If He is indeed our Father, we cannot just love "the idea of Him," choosing which parts of who He is we'd like to acknowledge today and appreciate tomorrow. I don't want to live life having occasional run-ins with His way. I don't want His characteristics to be an afterthought when I consider how I treat other people. I don't want to LOVE the concept of having a home in heaven, but lack the maturity and commitment to be His where it counts -- right here, right now in all of life's inconsistencies and moments of stretching. It's so easy to over-esteem what the world values - to, over-calculate the worth of what it looks like to have it all together without actually having the whole of who we are, settled in Him. This, I know. It's so easy to want to be called and chosen, forgiven, conquering, overcoming, and victorious...to want all of His benefits and none of His discipline. This, I know. It's so easy, to miss the mark clinging to every other convenient, accommodating characteristic of our Father. And so easy, still, to lose our souls, chasing the wind --- chasing the carnal, chasing non-factors. PROVEN. In my life. I know what it's like to have a hard time embracing holiness. We all do - we're human. Everyday we drop the ball somehow, but I must ask the question...
...Is it easy to be like Him..to be like my Father?"Love Me for My Holy," He says. "And whatever you love about me, you'll inevitably imitate."
HOLY is exactly what we'll cherish if we ever want to look like our Father..
..if we ever want to enjoy the life He intended us to live.It's understanding God's ever-present.. everywhere, and would love to play a huge part in our decision making.
I'm convinced - that the more we love His holiness, and the more we open our lives to His way, the more room we give to every flower that could blossom in the garden of His perfect will.
And please know ... I don't speak as my own best example of holiness -- that's for sure. But I am a daughter - who's learning daily, and still, re-learning... to love God for all of who He is. Not just what's easy to celebrate; not just what's easy to imitate.
I have learned to cherish what challenges and changes me.It's this heightened awareness of His Holiness, our necessary, that can only work to our benefit. It's our intentional attention to His nature that will show us our depravity. It calls us higher... It calls us closer... I think we'll fear it less, if we love it more.
Are you going to land atop the mountain of perfection within the next 24 hours? Probably not... Have I? Nope. But, you will look more like your Father.. sooner than later:) My prayer is that the posture of our hearts be fixed on loving God for His HOLY. We love Him for His love. We love Him for His grace. Let's love something else. Let's love it more.
And oh, there's so much beauty in His holiness...
*** "Worship the LORD in the beauty of His holiness; tremble before him, all the earth." Psalm 96:9 "Walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you unto His own kingdom and glory"
1 Thessalonians 2:12 "Search me, Oh God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" Psalm 139: 23
"For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’"
There are battles that belong to the Lord... future victories, and then blessings that add NO sorrow, more victories.. There are seasons of ease and effortless flow -- and then, seasons where nothing comes easy.
But my eyes are watching God..
I woke up one morning, and all I could hear was... "Never give in to the never lies...." "Never give in to the never lies..." ...I don't remember having a bad day prior, or a restless, sleepless night, but this one thing rang out in my heart over and over and over again... it was as if I'd need it for life.. and I do. Funny thing is, we all do. EVERY single discouraging suggestion comes from the enemy. And every single thing that comes from him is a LIE. It's math. It's easy -- but.. What lies have you allowed to take a deep seat in your heart? What defeats have you wrongfully accepted? The enemy will always strike where your hardest battles are fought. And though turbulence is his greatest weapon - defeat is his fate. So WATCH what you allow to linger in your ear gates... And watch what you say, because that's what you've accepted. ...Watch what lurks; trample lies with truths. Never, ever, don't you ever believe...
Never give in to "the never lies."- You'll never start your business. - You'll never succeed. - You'll never be forgiven. - You'll never forgive. - You'll never get over it. - You'll never be good enough. - You'll never be loved. - You'll never be healed. - You'll never finish. - You'll never have kids. - You'll never lose weight... This list will go on, but only if you let it. And Jesus didn't debate with the enemy, so neither should we. As the father, the author and creator of lies... If he's talking, you can trust, it's unbelievable. Life or death? It's in your reply .. because as a man thinketh, so is he..
You can, and you may....
You will have whatever you say.
PRAY for God's best and remember He's a good Father.
A child has access to his Father's good favor.
"..For God has said, "Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you."
If there is a "never," that sticks around.. that lingers long and won't let up..
Make sure it's based on faith and not fear, make sure you recognize the voice you hear..
Never. Give Up.
Never. Give. In.
Never ever, don't you ever...
NEVER give into the "never lies."
Scripture References:2 Corinthians 10:5: We demolish (and cast down) arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. John 8:31-32 … So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:44(b): He (The enemy) has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 10:5, 14: (5) A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers...(14) I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.. John 10:10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:28: I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me. Philippians 4:8: And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 1 John 4:18: There is no fear where love exists. Rather, perfect love banishes fear, for fear involves torment, and the person who lives in fear has not been perfected in love. Psalm 43:3: Send out Your light and Your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling! John 15:7: If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 1 John 5:14-15: And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, (it is) being convinced of what we do not see.
(#1) I've Learned "...that sometimes you can only love someone in the love language they understand."
It's practical, I guess. When two people intend to share their love for one another, you would think that the message is successfully sent without any undue interference, confusion, refusal to accept, and etc. for all other possible hindrances. You could assume one's determined demonstration would yield happy receiving.. But not always...not so much.. Complications can occur when a person doesn't really comprehend the way that you show love. Would you believe that relationships are challenged and can even end where these gaps occur...?? ...Over the issue of how love is demonstrated?? I have a particular family member who shall remain nameless - who technically requires big gift givings and expenditures every Christmas, birthday, and oh fine, I'll tell you - Mother's Day :) President's Day, and Fourth of July (I kid now..). But if the occasion suggests gifts are in order, you best have them wrapped and packed, ready for presenting. Now I love gifts, and we all do, but I would experience an unnecessary amount of pressure as I gave thought to how much I'd spend trying to buy my way to meeting the value of the relationship. I could be in stores forever for my parents -- just to show them that I wanted the best for them...just to show them that I loved them. If I could give them the world, I thought, why not? But since I knew I couldn't, I'd ask, why try? Call me weird, but quality time, pictures, affection, jokes.. kind words...a day spent celebrating life and good times, that was my preference. Memories made my holidays. The memories.. were priceless.. ..Since my mom is the type who knows what she wants, as these holidays drew near, my sister and I would sometimes receive a list of suggestions for gifts that we were to pull from if we were thinking of doing anything. Forget creativity, forget any risky "from the heart" type gift, forget surprises - "Here is a list of items I will accept on this occasion.." In my college years, especially, I was a little appalled as I compared my "low-maintenance" lifestyle to her's and considered what I thought to be a tasteful way to handle holidays. Why wasn't an evening in watching a movie over a home cooked meal, enough? ...She didn't light the house on fire if we didn't pull from the list, but it was clear that gift giving put the biggest smile on her face. I realized she had a point - a good one :) After talking with my mom and considering the principles of giving, I understood this one thing... There wasn't anything wrong with her, per se... we were just different. We literally saw things differently. Sacrifice, savings, and discipline towards checking off her wish list added to her appreciation of our expression of love. When quality time and affirmation may have been enough for me, tangible gifts spoke louder than words for her. I remembered that she would go out of her way to leave no space under the Christmas tree every year. But I also remembered, that as a pre-teen, gifts weren't everything to me, that this form of Christmas left me unimpressed. We were different --- By high school, I was sure that I could easily save up and go buy what I wanted when I wanted to. I didn't need or want gifts to validate her love for me. I was thankful -- and amused of course, but it didn't light up my heart like perhaps some pleasant quality time might have. You can't pay for that. She still had a point -- a good one: Quality time is fine and appropriate all year long, but on her day, or any gift giving occasion, it's another chance to give honor where it's due. Holidays are set aside to remind us that we have to take time to celebrate what's special in our lives; and, if we don't take the time to do so, it's simple... we will forget. It lets your loved ones know you value them enough to do something particularly special - that even if it cost you a little, you wouldn't let the day go by without watering the relationship with a little heartfelt giving. Relationships blossom even the more when a person feels appreciated and is certain about the significance of the role they play in your life.. So why GIVE if it costs you? Well, because giving is the very embodiment of love. Any sacrifice for the good benefit of another.... is love in action. I'll try to stay on task, but here, I must:
John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
***Ever read this book? The Five Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman I appreciate the author. Not because these 5 languages are settled in heaven and earth.. and not because it's the rule of thumb when it comes to love, but it assists us in creating dialogue that effectively articulates our needs and gives voice to our misunderstandings. Most importantly, it removes us from judging one another. The 5 Love Languages: Words of Affirmation Acts of Service Quality Time Physical Touch (Affection) Receiving/Giving Gifts When you rate these on your personal scale of love expressed - which are the most important? What can you go without? What is absolutely non-negotiable? Are we in relationships with people we love, but because we don't speak their "language" they'll never know? I look at the five languages and realize mine are affection, quality time and affirmation - I've once dated a guy who had completely different love languages. I thought it wouldn't be much of a challenge initially, but I then realized it WAS if his way of showing "love" was mostly acts of service and giving gifts. If at that time I considered myself to be fairly independent, then an act of service was practically a crime.. I can tie my own shoe! And I don't need you to buy me shoes, I want you to tell me I'm wearing nice shoes and spend time with me at the mall as I look for them : ) Please don't get me wrong - I do appreciate a strong arm, but as you may be able to tell.. that was just one reason it didn't work out lol.. No worries people : ) I'm fine, and I digress.. *** My mom is turning 50 this year, and because I love her, I know better than to surprise her with a default, surprise 50th birthday party. She's a supervisor at heart - so as much as I'd love to rid her of all tasks, blindfold her and walk her into a room full of loved ones, I know deep down that she'd love to be involved in the planning and picking, the theme development and menu. I know that she may not even want a party, she may want a trip. And because I love her, I know to give her a choice. "Party or trip?? Or is there some unrighteously priced pair of earrings you have your eyes on?... What can I give? How can I love you on your birthday?" She's got 4 months to decide... I'm waitingggg.. I hope this helps you in some way or another : ) Remember..I don't insist you spend your life trying to prove your love to an incompatible, BUT, the least you can do is meet the object of your affection half way.... All for the smile... All because.. well, why not?
*** Bible Verse References***Acts 20:35: "Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 2 Corinthians 9:7: "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." Hebrews 13:16: "Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." Romans 13:7: "Pay everyone whatever you owe them—taxes to whom taxes are due, tolls to whom tolls are due, fear (respect) to whom fear (respect) is due, honor to whom honor is due." Luke 6:38: "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return." Proverbs 3:27: "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it." Proverbs 21:26: "…the righteous give and do not hold back."