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Entries in God's Heart (11)

Thursday
Jan052012

Hogwash!

Once upon a time when I was young (before I could read), my mother would read the Bible to me. She could never get too far because I couldn't get past "In the beginning." I would ask her over and over again (even after I could read) "in the beginning what?"  Her answer was always straight from the Word of God - Genesis 1:1 to be exact:  In the beginning God...

Commercial:  You know, through all the twists, turns, bumps and bruises of life, I've needed to get past what God doesn't say in His Word so that I could focus on what He does say.  And, boy oh boy does God have a lot to say.  For years, I bought the lie that I couldn't understand God's Word or the lie that people actually have license to interpret the Word of God based on their understanding.  Hogwash!  I promise you that if you learn how to study the Bible inductively, you will understand what it says, what it means and how to live and order your life based on what it says and means!  Now, how cool is that? End of commercial!

As I was listening to the January 1-2 ESV Chronological podcast and heard "In the beginning God...", I chuckled and stood in awe of God who wants to reveal Himself to me.  Ephesians 1:3-6 says that before God ever spoke the world into existence (Genesis 1) He thought of me and planned for me.  Seriously?  Yes, seriously and that means all He did "in the beginning" - He did for US.  Oh my goodness - He simply yet powerfully spoke and...

  • Separated the light from the darkness and the waters from the waters and dry land appeared.  He spoke and...
  • The earth sprouted vegetation.  He spoke and...
  • Lights appeared in the expanse of the heavens to separate day from night and as signs for seasons, days and years and to give light on the earth.  He spoke...
  • Two great lights into existence - The great light governs the day and the lesser light governs the night.  He spoke and...
  • There were fish and birds and cattle and every creeping thing!
But God formed and fashioned man and woman with His very own hands. Let me repeat myself - oh, my goodness!  Can I share from my heart?  We just need to get past what we think we know about God and sit down long enough to read and study what He does say so we can discover and understand it for ourselves.  Please - oh please - let's don't miss the wonder of it all.  The One who spoke the heavens, earth, stars, moon and sun into existence, knit us together in our mother's womb and knows us intimately (Psalm 139) and HE wants to have an intimate relationship with us!  Nope,we do not want to miss this!  let's go for it...  Run!

Friday
May082009

Longing for my children...

Have you ever longed for children? I have. I never, ever imagined NOT having children. I don't wish that kind of longing, waiting, hoping, trying on anyone. When Tom and I got our minds around the fact that we wouldn't be able to have our own babies, we turned to adoption. The problem was that abortion had been legalized and so putting your baby up for adoption no longer the first option for so many. In those days, the waiting list for a baby was 6 years AND if one of you turned 40 during that 6 year period, you could not get on a list. Since Tom and I couldn't get on "the list" we fixed our minds on private adoption. That meant telling everyone you knew to tell everyone they knew that Tom and Sally Hall wanted to adopt a baby!

One April day, our pastor got a call from another pastor and it seemed there was a young Christian couple, from Christian families who had made a mistake and were looking for a Christian home for their baby. OH, what a glorious day that was! Our dream of having children was going to come true and we would not have to suffer one more day of that longing, emptiness and shame....yes shame. The months that followed were filled with anticipation. Me, I give myself totally over to everything. Tom, bless his heart, tried to hold me back for my own good! He kept encouraging me not to decorate the baby's room and buy furniture because "anything could happen." Well, of course nothing was going to happen. This was a dream come true and life just couldn't be that cruel. Somewhere during the social services home study that had to be done, contacting of attorneys and all the other preparations necessary for adoption, we began to think of the baby as a girl. In fact - against Tom's better judgment - we named her....Hannah Jo. Well, from that moment on, I began to visualize Hannah' Jo's life and our life with Hannah Jo. About a month before she was to arrive, of course I broke down and bought her some clothes. I mean if she came early we'd have to have clothing for her and for the plane ride bringing her home! And, she would need a bed. Shortly after the few cute outfits were purchased and the bed ordered, we found out that the young couple didn't think they wanted to put their baby up for adoption anymore. But, there is always hope and until there is no hope.... The day that Hannah Jo was born all hope ended.

We looked into other options but it was all so painful. So, we put this dream in the hand of our God believing that if He wanted us to have a baby He could bring us a baby. The years that followed were difficult. It's not easy when your dreams are shattered. It is painful to have a mothers heart that longs for the children she will never have. Mother's Day was always especially painful and it is extremely awkward when all the mothers are asked to stand. Sometimes it would hurt so bad it would literally take my breath away.

Precept Ministries International plays a huge role in my healing. Because of this ministry, I learned how to study the Word of God for myself. And, in learning how to study the Word of God for myself, I developed a deep and intimate relationship with the God of the Word. I can know and understand God's heart. Isn't that amazing? And, I know God's heart for ME. So as feelings come, sadness creeps in, the lies of the enemy bombard - I can take up the truths of God's Word and use them to encourage and remind myself, and do battle with the enemy. It is a miracle of God that Mother's Day no longer bothers me and that most of the time Hannah Jo's birthday comes and goes and I don't even remember it!

A few years back several of the teens in my church were graduating and I attended. It was awesome to watch these teens. But, as I sat there my spirit became downcast within me and I began asking the Lord why - what was wrong with me. The Lord brought to my mind that Hannah Jo was somewhere graduating too. I sat there a little stunned. By the time I got home, I was really sad. The next morning, I got up and was talking to the Lord about it all. The one thing I just couldn't figure out was where all the emotion was coming from as I thought God had healed me. I remember saying to the Lord "I thought we were past this!" That day the Lord revealed SO much to me. I learned that you can be healed and yet still mourn the loss of something. You see, I guess I thought that if you were healed of something it meant you never got sad about it. SO not true! As I stood in my kitchen that morning this is how my conversation with the Lord went....

Okay Lord, so we couldn't' have our own children but - adoption! Surely there was one baby on the face of the earth that we could have adopted. We just wanted to adopt.


I heard the Lord speak into my heart
"I know Sally, I have children I want to adopt too."
No longer did the pain take my breath away but the realization that God had just shared His heart with me took my breath away. As much as a human could, I understood the longing of God's heart. Yes! He does have children He wants to adopt into His family and His longing to do so is INTENSE. So intense, He sacrificed His Son - His one and only Son in order to adopt children. Truthfully - that's hard to get my mind around.

The day that God shared His heart with me became the day I realized on a much deeper level the importance and privilege I had of being a spiritual mother. To help God adopt children into His family and be used by God to grow up His children spiritually. WOW! This intense longing I have in my heart for the people God puts within my reach is from Him. He has given me a mother's heart for them and I am so grateful! I long and ache for them, I'm willing to fight for them - I'll do whatever it takes for them to possess what they have in Christ and to know experientially their Creator as Father.

While I truly believe I have experienced the longings of a mothers heart toward her children, I've not known what it was like to receive the love of a child. Until recently - this past January actually. During the past few years, I've had the joy of working for God together with 3 very precious women. I've loved them as spiritual daughters. I can't really tell you that I've done all that much spiritual mothering because I think I learned far more from them than they learned from me. But, God did give me opportunity to come along side of them, cheer them on and I believe the ability to see in them what He sees in them. On a special night in January, they loved on me. And, I felt something I have never felt. It was different than receiving the love of a husband, a parent, a sister or family member. The love they showered upon me reached some place in my heart that had never been reached. Is this what it feels like to receive the love of a child? God is amazing!

Do you know what it does to the heart of God when we love on Him? Do you know that we touch places in the heart of the Almighty that only you and I can touch. No one else can take that place in God's heart that is reserved for me and for you. All the children in all the world cannot fill that place. It doesn't mean that God loves me more or you less. It just means that each and every one of us has this special place in the very heart of God. God longs for you and God longs for me. I believe God expresses His heart so beautifully in Isaiah 30:18 when He's talking to His children. They are not just words but God's very heart! He says he longs and waits for us. Pause and think about that! Oh, I want to bless the very heart of God today by showering Him with my love. I want to touch the places in God's heart that only I can touch. Amazing....truly amazing.

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him. Isaiah 30:18

Sunday
Apr192009

The cost of complacency

I remember the moment I realized I was a complacent woman. Sometimes the truth hurts and this was one of those times. Until that very moment, I would have never thought of myself as complacent. In fact, God was developing within me a real passion for Him and for His Word. As such, I was seeking Him in a greater way and devoting more and more of my time in service to Him and to His. But I was still complacent. In some ways I still am. I hate that because there is a cost to complacency.

How did I come to understand I was complacent? I came face to face with the Word of God. Specifically, Isaiah 32. There I saw that the women who were at ease and complacent were being told to "rise up." A verse later the women at ease and who were complacent were being told to tremble, be troubled, take a look around and then mourn and weep over what they were seeing. These women were comfortable and secure and this had caused them to be careless. I learned they no longer cared about what was going on all around them but cared only for their own comfort and ease. Otherwise they would not have been told to "rise up." So how does complacency look in my life?

It looks like…
…A lot of time, energy and effort making sure I live in comfort and security.
…Spending hours tending my stuff and accumulating more.…Pursuing the "American dream" rather God's will and plans for my life.
…Seeing what others have, are pursuing and doing and letting that be the measure for how I am doing in my own life.
…Doing everything I can to keep from sacrificing any of my comfort and what I’ve determine brings me security.

Being complacent is the exact opposite of trusting in and relying on God. For trusting and relying on God ALWAYS, ALWAYS means getting out of my comfort zone and walking away from what I consider secure.

Complacency has cost me God ordained moments. You see, to pursue what God has planned for me means giving up my plans for a life of comfort and ease. That means giving up something or being uncomfortable in some way. My complacency causes me to put my needs above the needs of others. So then, my complacency cost others. I mean just look at Isaiah 32 and what had happened to the land and to the people because of complacency.

More and more every day, I realize how much I have bought into the "American Dream" that I should have and hoard. I have so loved the world and the things of the world. I have been so easily distracted and bought into so many of the lies the world has offered and I am SO ashamed.

Complacency has cost me years of denying myself, taking up my cross and following my Jesus (Matthew 16:24)

Complacency has cost me untold moments when I could have "gained Christ" but didn't because I was unwilling to "suffer loss" (Philippians 3:7-14).

Complacency has cost those God has put within my reach and influence because I have been and am unwilling to get out of my comfort zone, give up my comforts & ease. So it means others go without. Complacency costs me the experience of finding all my joy in God, having all my needs met in God or being totally satisfied in God.

Complacency costs me untold opportunities to bring God glory by proving He really is my Provider and that suffering for His name sake really is a gift.

God's Word has opened my eyes and what I see is that God wants me to live a life totally abandoned to Him so that I can fulfill His purposes for my life. It means trusting in and relying on ONLY Him. It means walking by faith but in order to do that I have to KNOW Him and the only way to KNOW Him is to KNOW His Word. I understand now that I cannot step out in faith and follow Jesus if I don't know Who it is that I am following. Praise be to God I do KNOW. But I’m also learning what it really means and looks like to FOLLOW Jesus.

To follow Jesus will cost me my comfort and life of ease. I will have to deny myself. It will cause me to have to “rise up” and follow Him. How did we get so far from the truth? Truth has stumbled in the streets (Isaiah 59:14). We preach another Jesus and a different gospel (2 Corinthians 11:4).

I am tired of paying the price of complacency and I am tired of making excuses for myself and other complacent Christians. Living out of our comfort zones isn't easy. Denying me of what I want and think I need - dying to self is painful. I don't want to suffer - but if I'm not denying, dying and suffering - can I really call myself a follower of Christ? What does staying in my place of complacency say to the world about what I really believe? How does my complacency distort the character and glory of God? What will happen to the world around me - around us - if I/we don't “rise up” out of our place of comfort, ease - complacency?

I call myself Beloved of God. Years ago, I claimed Philippians 3:7-14 as my life verses (I know, obviously clueless). But today I am taken back by a fresh look at these truths from God's Word and also from Romans 8:16-18 which says...

"The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

"If? IF? IF INDEED I WHAT????? What I BELIEVE determines how I live my life. Does my life say that ....
...I suffer with Christ?
...I consider the sufferings of this present time not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed?
...Whatever things were gain to me those I counted as loss for the sake of Christ?

Oh God, what does my life say about what I really believe? I am so tired of missing the mark, living the life of complacency. I want my life to SHOUT your trustworthiness and faithfulness because I trust in and rely on YOU and YOU alone. I want to live a life totally surrendered and submitted to you no matter what it costs me. Please God - don't let me miss another minute of what You want to do in me and through me. Cause me to fully understand what it means to find ALL my joy in YOU. Help me to experience being full in the fullness of YOU. Help me to remember that glory awaits me and nothing this world has to offer or can take from me can compare to that!

Wednesday
Apr012009

What if?

Created by Dustin Rawls. Thank you Dustin!

Friday
Mar202009

Impacting the world around us

I'm sure by now you've all heard about Red Envelope Day. From the first moment I read about it, I was deeply touched. It is so awesome to see how God touches hearts, implants ideas and fills people with the desire and passion to see a task to completion! Red Envelope Day is really a simple idea, but can have significant impact. I've been watching the calendar and have had every intention of getting my red envelopes ready and in the mail. Just haven't done it. But tonight I was checking my Facebook and saw Red Envelope Day has posted a video (see below). As I watched the people in the video "working together" I was moved to get moving! How about joining me next Friday night (March 27) and let's get some red envelopes ready. Together, let's at least TRY impact the world around us! Bring your printed labels, red envelopes & stamps. I'll provide snacks and beverages. Let me know if you are coming!