Next

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With the season of change upon us, I think “Next” is appropriate for such a time. Literally the season is changing and we are anxiously awaiting the new and more beautiful growth of Spring. And it is also Easter, as we celebrate the Rising of our Lord Jesus from the tomb and what that selfless act of His brings next.

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

They were discussing on the radio the other day about the in between time. The days between when Jesus was hung on that cross and the day He rose. And how those days were about mourning the loss and fear of not knowing what was coming next.

Even though I was not there on that fateful day of my Savior’s death or on the day He rose. I have been in those in between days. Days when I was wondering where He was and what was going to happen next. The days in between a loss or hurt so great that I mourned aloud to Him and asked Him to rise up and save me. I’ve been in many of those days. And what I found is I must be still and know that he is God. Know that He will rise again in my life and it will be made beautiful.

So I wait!

Lack

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Lack. Not as long as I have God in my corner.

In a world where socioeconomics is weighted heavily in every aspect of our lives, it plays a part in our life through our education, employment and income.

If we solely looked to the world for our socioeconomic status, our value or our worth, we would find ourselves in lack.

But scripture tells us that we will lack nothing, we shall not want if we allow God to be our measuring tape.

James 1:4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Psalm 23:1 A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

I live my life in abundance and I lack in nothing because I have Jesus and that is all I need. So when I look at my socioeconomics and regardless of where I land on the world scale I find myself full.

He feeds my Soul

Revelation 2:17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

Each day that goes by and with each conversation, I recognize the victory that I have found in Him.

Life has been hard and it still can be. I have lost some that were dear to me, by death or by choice. I have grieved for what I do not have and I have cried out for what I do not understand.

I see the white stone with a new name written on it and I know that it is for me. Given by Him. The one victorious because I have heard Him and I have listened. He has feed me and I have grown.

He does not promise me a painless life but He does promise me life.

With that I shake my head in amazement, this girl, not deserving but still worthy of His love. Not forgotten but forgiven. I have chosen not to be bitter but to choose better.

MEASURE

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We use a form or another of measure each day. We start it off by deciding what time to rise in the mornings so we get where we need to go that day. And we end it by deciding what time to go to bed so we get enough sleep to rise when that alarm goes off! Measure is part of our day whether we want it or not.

We frequently use measuring as a way to measure our worth. Here are a few.

The measurement of others approval

How I feel I look measures how I feel

How does what I’m good at measure up to what someone else is good at

Does my family love me to the full measurement of what I want

Am I at the same level as others around me – do I measure up

The impact that my post had is measured by how many likes and emojis it got

The problem with these forms of measuring ourselves is that it can be deeply skewed. It can be skewed by our past experiences whether good or bad. Over many years of how others talked to us and how they treated us. Our measurement of ourselves is determined ultimately due to how others measured us.

I am not to measure myself by my measurement of others or by their measurement of me. God is the only ONE that has the only true measurement.

“I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love — not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Romans 8:38-39

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

It would not matter who approved, how we looked, others love, whether I can keep up or who likes me, God’s love for me will never go away. We can not be separated from him. We can leave him but he will not leave us. We will never be perfect but Christ died for us anyway. So stop looking to your outward appearance and search your heart because that is God’s measure of us.

Reward

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When I was growing up, my first real memory of getting a reward involved making money. Tooth fairy, cleaning my room or making A’s on my report card. That is generally where we start teaching our children about reward. What can “I” do to get rewarded? Reward is financial.

Then as I aged, the reward seemed to move from just doing simple things that didn’t really take much effort to having to be the BEST at something. My reward was based on performance.

Sometime after that it moved to, who I married, how my children behaved, what I drove or where I lived. Appearance gave me the reward I was seeking.

But are the earthly rewards what my Lord is about? It seemed that the rewards became harder and harder to achieve. That the struggles became greater and the rewards disappeared. At least that was until I met Jesus on a more personal level. I had called myself “Christian” for many years at this point but I hadn’t allowed the gift, the reward, of the Holy Spirit to fill my soul. I had unknowingly shrugged my shoulders at His guidance in pursuit of the earthly rewards I found so valuable. Missing out on the true reward of God.

Philippians 1:19-24 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ,which is better by far;  but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

So even though my time here on earth my come with pain and hardship, as long as I have the Holy Spirit living in me and guiding my steps, my reward will be eternal and not limited to things of this earth. And prayerfully my reward on earth will be showing others the rewards of Christ.

I have lived at least half my life on earth already. And I plan to spend what time I have finishing well for the glory of God.

2 Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.

As a friend shared this verse below with me, I am reminded that through the struggles Jesus is there. He has given us a great reward of eternity as long as we ……..

1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 Rejoice always,  pray continually,

And when it comes to the end of this earthly life, I know that I will be rejoicing and my reward will be for eternity. As CS Lewis says…. “Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

I have Tasted and it is Sweet


Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Peter 2:2-3

I love spring! This time during the season that God’s warmth bares down on the earth and His refreshment falls freely on us and growth happens.

It’s a beautiful sight to see. Pockets of green starts popping out of the soil and the anticipation of watching the rainbow of colors that will soon appear. To watch the new season’s growth come alive is a blessing to my eyes.

Same goes for the spiritual growth in others. As they seek the Lord and search out His words to allow Him to bare down and refresh their souls. This is a beautiful sight and a blessing to my eyes.

I can only imagine the excitement in my God’s heart when I too seek Him. Spending time in His presence and meditating on His goodness. Allowing my roots to multiply and strengthen my foundation of faith. Gaining stability in my walk. Trusting Him for my protection as the seasons to come blow over me. Asking Him to comfort me during the strong winds and frigid times. Shielding me from the schemes of evil. I have tasted the Lord’s goodness and it is sweet.

Place

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When my husband and I moved to Kentucky 6.5 years ago, I was moving from my home of 28 years and from our kids. I was heavily tied into a church family and had many people there that I loved. I was actively involved in church and our community. Then we moved to Winchester. New place, new job, new church and new people. For an introvert at 51 years old that is a hard place to be.

We had found a place to call home and after about 3 months, I had decided on a church and found a job. But the people, I hadn’t found my place with the people yet.

I dove in head first. I was looking for that place where I fit. That place where I was invited. That place that was comfortable.

Was I trying to hard to find my place? Probably! Was I trying to make this place the place that I came from? Maybe! Was I trying to create the “circle of people” that I so longed for? Yep!

I needed that place. I longed for that place. The place of belonging!

And then I found it! It didn’t look like what I was expecting. It wasn’t the place of a home, job, church or people. It was the place where God was. Right there with me. Inside me. Guiding me. Holding me. Comforting me.

The Lord settled my need for place by showing me my place was with Him. And if I am content in Him then I am content anywhere.

Psalm 37:23 The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;
Matthew 22:37 “Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

My Love and Comfort comes from a place within.

More

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As a child we see the world as a big play ground. There is more and more to see and learn. We’re eager to do more. And as good parents should, we are encouraged. Our parents hold our hand, take each step with us and they spring with excitement when we do more.

As an adult, our eagerness for more grows intensely and our desires to do and have more is encouraged by the world. The world tells us more is expected. Pressures of providing more are strong. No one walks with us, we now have to step alone, dependent of self. We do more.

When is more enough? When will we allow our Lord to be our more? When will we let Him hold our hand, take each step with us and stop depending on self and start depending on Him?

Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

When will be stop striving and start resting in HIS more?

Search

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To search is to find for self

To search is to strive to acheive

To search is to provide greatness in one’s life

To search is to obtain satisfaction that’s self serving

But that is not the search that I desire

Psalm 139:1-3 

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.

To search is to strive to give

To search is to provide hope to other’s life

To search is to obtain satisfaction in serving

And to search to to open one’s self up to HIM

Jeremiah 17:9-11 

The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?

10 “I the Lord search the heart
    and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
    according to what their deeds deserve.”

11 Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay
    are those who gain riches by unjust means.
When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them,
    and in the end they will prove to be fools.

To search is to be honest

To search is to be aware of one’s weaknesses

To search is to find gain only through the Lord

Revelation 2:22-24 

22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

Just

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Whose the judge of what is just?

Psalm 9:16 The Lord is known by his acts of justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.

We each have a standard that we live by. A standard that drive us. A standard that direct our decisions. Were we born with that standard or were we taught it? Whose standard are we living by?

2 Chronicles 12:6The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is just.”

And even if we were taught the standard and the standard was from the Lord, we find ourselves abandoning that teaching. Reducing our standard to the standard of the world just as the people did in 2nd Chronicles but when they were faced and became aware of what they had done they became humble and the “just” Lord forgave them and delivered them “so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands” as it says in 12:8.

Proverbs 21:3  To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

There are many things that people do in the name of being “just” that are not right. What is motivating their actions? Anger, selfishness, pride, guilt or any number of other things. Are we living right and just?

James 4:12 There is only one law giver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

I have seen many things that people do to each other that I do not believe is just. And I have been drawn to act and react in ways that I have to question. I have to search the scripture, God’s word, to confirm that my standard is being lead by God’s standard. I may have to make choices, hard decisions and set boundaries to protect myself and those I love from what I believe to be unjust but it is not up to me to seek justice. The Lord is the only one who has that power.

Isaiah 30:18  Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

I may not ever see the justice that will come. But because I trust in the Lord who sets my standard, I will wait, I will love and I will forgive. Just as He has for me.

Acts 15:11No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”