Following Perfection Versus Jesus

I have been feeling led to study 1 Timothy for quite a while. As I study, I generally blog about whatever it is – that I am studying. The Timothy study is tugging at my soul frequently these days, reminding me of where I need to be.

Why haven’t I committed to this study? I have perfectionist tendencies and set lofty expectations I cannot realistically meet. My heart and physical abilities are in two separate places, and must be able to meet.

Developing Courage

We miss so much when we put everything on hold – in case we can’t follow through as planned. Our expectations cannot be more important than God and relationships.

Here is the thing: Perfectionist level expectations can strain those relationships and hold us back, to the point where we won’t immerse in our friendships or read our Bibles without the promise of expectations being met.

The Real Question

How willing are we – to step out in faith, where we trust Jesus Christ to make us courageous people?

We have been called to be strong and courageous. Every little bit we give to God is a worship offering. Just because we miss our own expectations, does not mean that we somehow miss His or those of loved ones. We have to be willing to lay down our own expectations, and exchange it for time with Jesus and those we care about.

Allowing Ourselves to Worship

It goes back to the truth of being a living sacrifice. When we give ourselves to God, we become an acceptable offering.

Jesus Christ is the key ingredient. We need Jesus to be the One leading us, even in our expectations. He is the One who enables us to set reasonable expectations for ourselves and those around us. So, let’s make our lives about our relationship with Jesus Christ.

While my best efforts aren’t enough, I have a Father whose resources are unlimited. This Father of mine is willing to help out His sons and daughters in any and every way – as we call upon His name. We may not meet our own expectations, but this is the place where we meet the grace and amazing love of our great God.

Choosing Wisely

Standing in this place of  God’s love and grace is where we can allow ourselves to make a trade. We can trade in our high expectations, for the opportunity to stand in awe and worship God – as we trust Him to make a way.

I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9, NRSV).

Friends, we must choose whether we want to follow our perfectionist tendencies or Jesus Christ – the Living God. Our lives are messy and out-of-control, which may lead the perfectionist march, but Jesus Christ is more than enough. He doesn’t have to try to be, for He is perfect!

As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure (Ps. 18:30-32, NIV).

Until next time,

signature_v8l23y6i46np7sh2bg

 

A Day at the Hospital {The Prayer Offering}

Last night, I wrote about the goal in trials. My goal, during hard times, is to remember I am a daughter of the Most High God and allow this crucial identity to shape my thoughts, words, and actions.

Today, I was given the opportunity to put this into practice. I had an appointment at the county hospital. Things went right. Things went wrong. But, the biggest achievement? It was simply remaining as quiet as possible, as Trigeminal Neuralgia talked to Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

As long as I stay quieter on the rough days, I can avoid saying things that might hurt, rather than help, someone. My ability to control the kind of words – becomes harder, as the symptoms become more intense. The temptation to use hurtful words is definitely there.

The Heart-Felt Prayer

Today was a day of praying for God’s peace and presence. In my life, I have little control over how I feel on a given day (with the exception of my attitude).

What I can do is control how I respond to trials. So I responded, by “trying” to stay quiet. This was both easy and difficult. It was easy, until the moment of leaving the hospital to go home. Then, the overwhelming symptoms and impatience kicked into gear.

The good news is – I survived my long hospital day. I am preparing to have surgery in about 1.5 weeks. We had appointments scheduled for today and Friday, but by God’s grace and faithful prayers of others – I was able to get it all done today.

What We Need

The truth is. . . We need to pray over our souls for His peace and presence. This is what we need more than anything.

We can survive many things, but only with Jesus Christ leading the way. I don’t know about you, but nothing soothes my anxiety quite like the peace and presence of our great Savior, King Jesus, can.

If you are finding yourself in a rough spot tonight, begin praying over your souls for His peace and presence to overwhelm you. When we are overwhelmed by God, His presence, and unimaginable peace, we are in the best place possible to overcome our trials. They will not overcome us, but we will be able to overwhelm them with our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus, overwhelm our souls with Your peace and presence. We live in a difficult world. You remind us in John 16:33 that we will face troubles in this life, but You offer to us a peace that is nothing like this world’s. Overwhelm us with Your peace and presence. Thank You, Lord! Amen.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7, TLB).

I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

Until next time,

signature_v8l23y6i46np7sh2bg

The Goal in Trials

Even on difficult days, I have chosen to operate my life from a place of priorities. I am a child of the Most High King. Even in these days, where life requires much more energy, I am still a child of God. This is what drives me through rainy weather and helps me to put brakes on unwholesome decisions.

And, I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty (2 Cor. 6:18).

As a Christian, someone who has been given their spiritual rebirth by the blood of Jesus Christ, I want to still be able to glorify God by continuing to live out my faith. As I undergo difficult life moments, God is reminding me of the pruning work He is doing.

God is taking the unfruitful layers of my life, like pride and self-sufficiency, and causes me to bear fruit, like love and kindness, that will draw others to Him.

In John 15, we are reminded of two things: abiding in Jesus and being pruned by the heavenly Father as proof we are His (see John 15:1-4; Matthew 7:15-20). Jesus Christ thinks we are worthy of His love and to be continually worked on, because He loves us (see Heb. 12).

Even while we were His enemies, because of our sin, Jesus Christ died on the cross, rose again, and carried us to the Father to have our relationship restored.

I love the “feel good” aspects of being pruned, which is the spiritual fruit that grows in this famine season. Being pruned and hanging on for dear life is difficult, but the benefits make it a bit easier. Even so if I have my chance for a different life, I just might take it.

The Goal –

The goal I have is to act like a daughter of the King.

I want to be a light to the world, and not cause another to be hindered. I want others to see Jesus in me, and to protect my relationships from hurtful words spoken in the midst of suffering.

Being able to act like I belong to Christ is the greatest achievement there is, and it is something only Christ can accomplish in us! It requires us to draw near to Jesus, and keep growing in our relationship with Him. As a result, we become like Him. We become more loving, patient, and yes self-controlled. We act differently, in spite of our temptations and suffering.

When our goal is to continue in our relationship with Jesus, fruit of being His sons and daughters will bloom throughout our lives.

God can help us to act like Him, even in the midst of dark days. We may find ourselves in the midst of temptation and suffering, but we can overcome the opportunities to do evil – choosing to do good instead.

We may not overcome as gracefully as we’d like, but God is working on our behalf and displaying His power in our lives. At the end of the day, He is all that matters!

{{PSST: One of the most encouraging aspects of this blog is the trials section (or here). Get ready for whatever the Lord brings. When God is orchestrating it, things turn out very good}}

Until next time,

signature_v8l23y6i46np7sh2bg

Desperate for Jesus

Today, I am reminded that I have allowed my tendency of running away to affect how I pray about and handle my emotions and grief. I have allowed these things to go deeper into my spirit and even unintentionally cultivate my own emotional storage place – just for untouched emotions and grief.

If we were honest, we could say we all have one. But, how are we willfully beginning to “spring clean” in our hearts by the power of Jesus Christ – our great Redeemer?

While emotions and grieving come from living as a human in a fallen world, these are things God wants to help us process. He wants to help us to experience His peace, as we move through the darkest valleys of our lives.

I am reminded of the Mark 5 man who had many needs, and became desperate for Jesus. He knew there was only One who could help him. And, this man’s testimony is one I always need to hear.

Desperately Seeking

We have countless biblical examples of people who became sick of their circumstances and became desperate for Jesus. That’s where we need to be. At that very moment of becoming desperate for Jesus and turning to Him, their lives changed for eternity.

. . . And I doubt they ever looked back – except to say, “Look what Jesus Christ, my Redeemer, has done for me!”

I am finding myself desperate and coming to Jesus. I am letting go of this pretending nature that I am somehow fine with the way my health has acted these past several months.

After my cry of desperation, I am met with peace. The kind that only Jesus can provide. While He promises us that life will be hard, just as it was for Him, we are also reminded that He goes with us. He promises to be our Comforter (see Jn 14:16, 26; 16:33).

God’s Comfort

During today’s infusion, I was able to just sit and read the words of Isaiah 40:1-9.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, . . . she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. . . You who bring good news. . . lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say . . . , “Here is your God!” (Isa. 40:1-2, 9; NIV)

God calls out for His people to be comforted! God wants us to know that He is coming back and making all things new. He is offering to us forgiveness of our sins, through His Son Jesus Christ – the Messiah!

Through Jesus Christ, we all can find our way back to God! My friends, let us rejoice in this. . . as we desperately run to Jesus!

As we run to Jesus, we will see God do such a renewal in our lives. He will make us new in many ways, as we bask in our new relationship with Him. Relationships restored. Shear joy and peace. Overwhelmed by His goodness. Completely satisfied in Him.

Lord Jesus, please fix us. We are all falling apart, and in desperate need of You!

Walking with you,

Signature

Sanctifying Afflictions of 2017

2017 is already out to be an interesting, possibly intriguing, year. . .

A few weeks ago, I met my new primary care doctor. He ran the standard tests, when meeting a new patient. All was well. When they drew the blood, I was more worried about appointment I was going to end up running late for. Rather than the needle, blood, and impending results. During the test of waiting for the blood work to come back, anxiety plagued my heart. Remember, this is a normal set of blood work needed. Anxiety came, and came, and then the words: “There is something concerning on your blood test. We need to do more tests… specific tests to see what is wrong“. Went for one of the specific tests, and just got the online results about a week ago. Notice the sound of silence, other than crickets. The anxiety plaguing my heart, was apparently warranted. Something was indeed wrong.

When You Pray

I am blessed with Jesus loving friends, who take the time to pray for me. They pray fervently with their holy and sanctified hands raised toward our Maker in Heaven – as they call upon Jesus’ name. The peace I have had this past week, since finding out those dreaded results, has been a miracle in and of itself. There has been much more peace than I could expect any one of my friendly companions to have – if they were in my shoes.

This peace is the kind we are taught about in Philippians. “Peace that surpasses all understanding.” And, it is ours when we come to Jesus – our Risen King!

The Future

Even though I am waiting to see what my future entails, I am at peace about whatever may happen. . . Well, I was at peace. Until tonight. I had told a few people the specifics. Not many. Then tonight, I let out the secret in plan terms: “I started seeing a new primary, and we found something going on – which could potentially be very serious.” I have no problem asking for prayer in these prayer meetings. I have gone to them off-and-on for a really long time. It was not the asking, but the sharing. I can share difficult prayer requests for others, about things. But for me, clammy heart and a bit more than squirming.

The Faith Act

In those moments of preparing to make this announcement, I wandered and honestly tried to get out of it. But, I knew it was Holy Spirit led. I had to “let the cat out of the bag”. I had to share this prayer need, regardless of its difficulty. While I dreaded it, I shared. Then my anxious heart, really began to do summersaults. Telling my church family this piece of news, made it all real. My reality is real, and that is a scary thing.

Sharing this news is ridiculously scary and brought the reality to life for me. It reminded me that this prayer need is actually mandatory and it is me and Jesus facing this battle – even though I share with others. This valley of mine is: real. scary. Inescapable.

The Process

Scary. Real. Heart-wrenching, as the tears begin welling up – because this reality is real and might not disappear (I am not lacking faith, but aware of the various avenues God uses to lead His people).

Somehow, this endeavor is sanctifying. I have been thinking about that word, lately. Sanctifying. God consecrates His people, and makes us His own. We need to begin thinking about how God is going to sanctify us, even through trials (or plagues).

When God sanctifies us, as His beloved children, it is proof of His love and our relationship.

Until next time,

Signature