What do I get out of this relationship?

1 John 4:7-19 NLT

Loving One Another

7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real lovenot that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first.


Psalm 46:4-7 NIV

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.

5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Selah

Competition

I recently noticed that I am obsessively alternating between competitiveness and “sour grapes”. If I see something I admire, I want to do/be/have it. If it’s not easy, or possible, then I tear it down in my mind so I don’t want to do/be/have it anymore.

I just came upon a beautiful blog called “Noticing Project“. My first response was to think, “I could do that too!” And then I thought about how many other things are going on in my life and there’s just no way to squeeze in another project that I would cast aside in a week or two. So I just got discouraged and closed the blog.

Why can’t I just enjoy and respect it for what it is? Why can’t I just be a consumer of such wonderful things. I have felt the same way about a few other inspiring blogs. They’re well designed and well written. Why do I feel the need to try to transform myself into what I admire?

Well, there’s the rub of it…I try to do the transformation. I am seeing a theme here – big surprise! God’s the transformer. He’s the one to make the change in me. It’s my job to be changed by Himinto what HE wants me to be.

I get it.

I get it. The Good News. I think I’m finally getting it.

Romans 5:1-11 (NLT)

Faith Brings Joy
1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

My precious Jesus. I get it. Please, please, please, help me keep it!

One Thousand Gifts – Part 68

  • 531. The exhaustion of a really hard day of physical labor
  • 532. (Ok, so this one is a blessing, but it isn’t fun or happy. It’s just something I need to absorb.) A 6-part message on gluttony. It’s a powerful study so far, and I would love to hear feedback from anyone who reads it.
  • 533. J5 was a good boy for Grandma and Grandpa P all day while J4 and I worked on emptying out the garage.
  • 534. Having someone else pick up dinner.
  • 535. J4 and I reconnecting with an old friend for dinner and great conversation
  • 536. A few hours of grown-up time with my best friend (J4)
  • 537. The power of godly conviction
  • 538. Forgiveness
  • 539. Another great night with the Chix
  • 540. Flannel sheets

It’s OVER!

I have had a change of heart. And mind. And I’m really excited to see where God is leading me on this: I am abstaining from food. I am quitting food cold turkey.

Ok, so not REALLY….but yet I am.

I have, on multiple occasions, complained to my husband how much easier it was to quit smoking than it is to control my eating. I smoked for over 5 years, and when I quit, I just quit. I was on the way to the doctor’s office and knew that he would once again badger me about smoking. So, on the way there I had one last cigarette. Cashed it out, and said I’d quit. Initially, I did it just so I could tell him that I’d quit, but that really was the end for me. Three days of physical withdrawal, and I was good to go.

Food. Not so simple.

After reading the last couple of posts on Heidi’s blog, I was painfully impacted with God telling me to get off the scale. It was something Heidi said –

“Because the scale stayed at a certain weight, I justified eating even when not hungry…and since I was eating when not hungry, I felt compelled to “keep on top of things” by weighing. Both are reflective of a heart not heeding the voice of the Spirit!”

So, my first change is to get off the scale. I realized that I was using the scale as my “how am I doing” in the hopes that it would be my positive influence. All it really did was judge me daily and find me lacking. I wasn’t using any restraint during the day when I needed it.

And the second change? Much bigger. It’s a new attitude of fasting. When I quit smoking, and got the craving, I would work to distract myself. I wouldn’t sit and visualize smoking, and pout about not being able to smoke, and talk to others about how horrible it was to not smoke. I just put up a wall in my mind about it. I was done smoking. Temptation be gone!

I’m trying this about food. I want to have a mindset of fasting. My relationship with food is over. No more thinking about eating, or pouting about not being able to eat, or talk and talk and talk about how much I miss eating and how hard it is to not eat. I’m done. 0 is my friend.

But lest anyone freak out about this – I am not fostering anorexia. I am letting God feed me.

I will prepare healthy meals for my husband and son. I will plan and buy food for their benefit. And when my body is hungry, I will give it small amounts of healthy items just to make the hunger feelings go away. But I’m done with the love of food. It honestly, truly, has been an idol in my life. I have had secret affairs with it for years and years. The only way to put away sin is to turn my back. I am done with food.

I will eat what God allows me to eat. I will be thankful and enjoy whatever he permits. But I am done preparing anything for myself. And if I get antsy during the withdrawal period, I have God – the TRUE food – and plenty of water to drink!

More tidbits of revelation

There. Is. No. Condemnation. Period.

  • John 6:37 – However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.
  • Romans 8:1 – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…

Though healthy eating would be a blessing to my body, and a good idea for me, it is not a “salvation issue” regardless of what some programs may preach.

  • John 6:27 – But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”

I need to lighten up. I have allowed myself to be oppressed, but not by what I thought. I put myself into that pit by choice. I chose to believe that God has been supremely disappointed in me, frustrated by me, and has turned my back on me because of my weakness. My humanity. My inability to rescue myself. But it turns out that maybe my accepting my weakness will be the beginning of my allowing God to do His thing…

  • Romans 8:23-27 – Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

    In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

  • 2 Corinthians 12:5-10 – That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

    Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I honestly don’t know where my next steps are. I am going to continue with the TLT study, if for nothing else, to see if it’s possible to continue and not be placed back into the pit of condemnation that I have been in.

I need no other guide in this process but the Word. It is the ultimate authority. I must take every bit of wisdom put out there by others and hold it up against the truth I find in the Word and let the Holy Spirit direct me accordingly.

I think I’ve finally been released from the shackles that I allowed myself to be chained with in the WD movement. Finally. It has taken almost 8 years to see how hateful and dark legalism is. It’s alluring. It’s seductive. It makes you feel special. It makes you feel included. It makes you feel worthy.

I am not worthy. That’s why Christ died. So that my unworthiness could never again separate me from God. I accept his gift of life. I believe he died to save even me. I can not be condemned by my actions anymore. My life is God’s. I am protected. I am accepted. I am fully loved.

But I will never, ever be worthy. Any changes that are worked out in my sanctification process are solely and completely a work of God and not, I REPEAT, NOT due to any strength or worth of my own. No amount of striving, nor dedicated obedience to any laws or rules or structures or organizations will ever make me “better”. Only Christ’s death on the cross bridges the gap. Permanently.

Now, I know that there are a lot of open spots and theological gaps in what I’m writing here. But what I am writing is what is on my heart. The nuances that I need to fully accept. It is imperative that I learn to believe the truth of God’s love for me. I have been really bruised and beaten by my inability to conquer my own sin. It’s once again time for me to step back and see that maybe there’s another way…

Blessings.

PS – I love you mom!

Hearing and Doing for the Glory of God

Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”
Luke 11:28

This morning I realized that I spend a lot of time asking what God’s will is for me, but after I get ideas of what I should do, I fizzle out. I don’t take those directives seriously. Sometimes it’s because I forget, and get distracted. Sometimes it’s just hard – or I don’t want to. But that is not who I want to be. I want to be a “hearer” AND a “doer”.

One of the things that I do is overcomplicate things. 🙂 Big surprise there, right? I keep envisioning God’s Will as this huge overturning my life kind of thing – waiting for some big news that will change everything. But really, it’s the little stuff. I don’t think if I keep asking God what He wants me to do each day, and then I ignore the little things that I believe are His will for me, that I’m ever going to make progress in this journey.

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

Why is it that I can’t seem to see that doing the little stuff can be done for the glory of God. Where did I get the idea that in order for it to glorify God, it had to be huge and life altering? This verse tells me point blank that even my eating and drinking (something that everyone does and doesn’t put much significance in) can be done for the glory of God.

God cares about the way that I eat. I can do His will in my simple acts of eating, drinking, cleaning, exercising, working, taking care of my home, and taking care of my son. And it can be to His glory.

The beam in my eye

Well, that’s not quite the right analogy, but it’s what popped into my head. In my illness and my quiet reflective time, I have learned what it means to be weak.

I MUST embrace (or more accurately, fully accept) my weakness. And I must practice being strong with God’s strength.

And that means I must stop playing around and address the #1 issue that faces me.

The Pit.

Before I can expect any direction from God in my life, I have to be up and out of the pit I’m in. I can’t travel until I’m up on Solid Ground. Until I’m standing firmly on The Rock.

For those one or two people who read this blog – I have started yet another. It’s a pit-based blog. I will only write in it for as long as it takes for me to fight that fight.

I promise. Once I figure out which of these blogs are the most “me”, I will merge them and be more “united”. Until then…

Rebirthing

Rebirthing, Skillet

I have once again realized that I’d lost my music.

This song is bringing it back.

It fits.