Choose Today Who You Will Serve

I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant.’
14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:13-15

I have earned nothing that You have given me, Father.  Nothing but Your grace has provided for me. And when I’ve tried to provide for myself it has only led to rebellion, suffering, and pain.  Even knowing that, Lord, I still look to things besides You to find my joy and my deliverance. I have put other gods before You, Jesus. And I’ll probably do it again.  I’m pretty miserable at trusting You and following You, and in that way I’m no different than the Israelites.

But just like the Israelites, You have given me a leader.  You’ve given me someone to follow, someone to lead me in the right way.  Someone even better than Joshua. He is called Faithful and True. (Rev. 19:11) He is called Jesus, Yeshua, and he is my salvation.  When I was a very little girl I said yes to following Him. And since that time I have strayed and strayed away. But every time, He has been faithful and true to me.  He has never left me nor forsaken me.

What I have learned is that following You is a choice, Jesus.  Each moment I choose who I will serve. My heart longs to please You and follow You, but my sinful nature pulls me away time and time again.  Like Paul said, I do what I do not want to do, and do not do what I should do.

It can be easy for me to get hard on myself.  I know that You have given me Your Spirit and I look at my actions and wonder how I could ever disobey You with Your Spirit so alive and active within me!  Yet I do. I look at the Israelites and say to myself, “Well, they didn’t have the Holy Spirit. No wonder they strayed away from God all the time!” But I don’t have that excuse.  Thank you for Paul’s example and of others in scripture who had Your Spirit in them and still failed You miserably at times.

Lord, the Israelites obeyed You and trusted You when You were right there with them, guiding them and protecting them, just like the Disciples did when Jesus was with them and helping them, and teaching them what to do.  And when You weren’t tangibly present they struggled to obey and over time they abandoned You altogether, serving themselves and the idols of their own making.

“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.
“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
John 16:1-15

Jesus said that it was better for Him to go so that we could have the Helper.  Thank You, Jesus, that You have made a way to be forgiven by the cross, You have made a way for life by Your resurrection, and You have made a way to obey by the gifting of Your Spirit.  So, today I choose to serve You, Lord. I choose to let Your Spirit guide me. I choose to submit to Your greater authority and be filled with your forgiveness, your life, and your obedience.

Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

I will no longer be conformed to this world.  I will let my mind be renewed by You and stop trying to renew it myself.  I will stop living in condemnation of my failures and strive to forgive myself and follow You. Thank You God.  Thank You for Your help, Your guidance, Your love, Your forgiveness, and Your life.

I am Yours, Jesus.  Today I choose to follow You.

 

Pressing In

And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased.45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
Luke 8:43-48

Anyone who has been reading my blog posts knows that I’ve been going through a painful but valuable time of transformation by the Lord.  He’s brought things up to the surface that I had kept buried for many years. They were poisoning me, and God wasn’t content to leave me like that.  But in order for God to deal with those things that had been buried, I had to revisit all the anguish and cruelty that had been visited upon me so long ago.  It sucks. It hurts! It has been beyond difficult. But it’s been so worth it.

The turmoil and upheaval I’ve been experiencing in this transformation has opened up old wounds and left me feeling vulnerable while the Lord gently walked me through the proper healing process.  The enemy exploited my vulnerability and coaxed me into fear. I didn’t want anyone to judge me for being so broken. I didn’t want people to see my wounds. I didn’t trust myself to not lash out to protect myself.  I didn’t trust myself to be strong and courageous. I was a mess (I still am, but atleast I’m a healing mess!) and I didn’t want anyone to know it.

So many things would trigger me into a panic attack.  My anxiety and fear tried to rule me. I was in fight or flight mode, and all I wanted to do was run away.  But God said, “I am fighting for you, my love.” And those were powerful words. For the briefest moment I chose to believe God.  I chose to believe that He was fighting for me and no matter how vulnerable I was, I could be a living testament of God’s power at work in me.  How many people could be encouraged by this walk I’ve been on? How many people could be shown that God is trustworthy to save?!

I challenged myself to press in to the Lord and watch Him fight for me.  At first it was terrifying. The enemy taunted me with the lie that God wasn’t going to save me.  He told me people would hurt me. He told me I couldn’t do it, that I couldn’t be exposed. But instead of running, I pressed in.  I held onto the hem of the Lord’s robe and prayed that God would protect me.

And He has.  

I am regaining my strength.  My faith is growing. My heart is healing.  And my thoughts are being cleansed by His power.  The Spirit of the living God is within me. He refines me and teaches me.  He proves His faithfulness and sovereignty in my life over and over and over again.  I am stronger now in my trust of the Lord’s power at work within me. My shield of faith is being expanded and the lies of the enemy are falling broken in front of me.  I march over them with the triumph of the Lord to guide me.

There’s victory in Jesus.  Sweet and powerful victory as I continue to press into Him.

Sifted Like Wheat

“And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 22:15-16

Jesus, the Passover came just as you had planned, and You knew You would soon endure deep physical and mental suffering.  The Passover meal is such a beautiful reminder of God’s faithfulness to His people, and I know You longed to commemorate that moment with your friends, and encourage them before the trials that would soon come.  Suffering is so hard, Lord. The reminder and celebration of Your faithfulness is imperative in dealing with the struggles that plague our lives. We so easily forget Your faithfulness and enduring love.

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
Luke 22:19-20

Lord, you served us in Your suffering.  You said that the blood You would shed for us would be a new promise for us:  A promise of salvation forever. Just as the blood of the Passover lamb protected the Israelites from death, so, too, Your blood was offered as a new promise of life and safety to anyone who would agree to accept Your promise.  

Following You is hard, God.  Following You also means following the road You had to travel: the road of suffering.  And You never told anyone that following You would be easy. Instead You quickly let Your friends know that following You would come at a great cost.  

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you,that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Luke 22:31-32

Lord Jesus, I have often felt “sifted like wheat”.  I’ve struggled and faltered and my faith has been at times so weak, and at other times strong enough to move mountains.  But Lord, it has been hard. Satan doesn’t mess around. And I have been hurt! At times, by my own folly, I have fallen into pits.  At other times, I held strong to Your promises and still fell into pits of destruction and pain.

“Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.”
Luke 22:33

Isn’t that just how life goes?  I am weak. I am strong. I am weak.  I am strong. But You are always strong.  I make promises to You that I can’t keep. My flesh is weak, no matter how strong my spirit is.  But Lord, Your Spirit in me is always strong. Your Spirit in me will get me through the trials that I face, both the ones of my own making, and the ones set before me by the enemy.  

It was the enemy that set about to kill You.  And it was the enemy that tried to destroy You.  But Your plan all along was to love Your enemies and die for them, no matter how much they hated You.  So, you let the enemy sift You like wheat, tearing your flesh from your body, hurling insults at You, driving You like an animal to Your death, until You were displayed on a cross for all the world to see, and proclaimed, “It is finished!”  

You had the last laugh, Lord Jesus!  You broke the bonds of sin and death on that day and defeated the enemy with Your victory.  Your resurrection proved You were God and had dominion over life itself. And You offer that life to any who would receive it.  

So, I want to receive Your life fresh today, Lord.  Help me to endure the trials that come. Humble me to receive Your power at work within me and help me to encourage those around me to endure just as You did.  I don’t want to arrogantly proclaim, I will follow You anywhere. Instead, let me humbly say, I will trust You no matter what happens.

I trust You, Jesus.  You are faithful.

 

The Bow of Bronze

“They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but YAHWEH was my support.”
Psalm 18:18

Lord, I feel kicked when I’m down a lot.  My troubles seem to stand up and mock me every time I turn around.  And no sooner than I overcome one obstacle, another rises up to take its place: bigger and stronger and crueler than the last.  But You truly are my only support. You alone are my rock and my fortress. You alone are my salvation.

I love you, O Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
   my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
   my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
   and I am saved from my enemies.
Psalm 18:1-3

Thank you, God, that when I am beaten, you lift up my head.  You comfort me and strengthen me. This battle training builds me up for the war to come.  The armies of Satan are an endless stream of terror and rage, but You truly are my strong tower.  

The battles will come.  I will grow weary. I will get caught up in fear.  I will have moments when I believe every lie the enemy hurls at me.  But You, YAHWEH, You are my shield in spite of my weakness.

The cords of death encompassed me;
   the torrents of destruction assailed me;
5 the cords of Sheol entangled me;
   the snares of death confronted me.
Psalm 18:4-5

I’m tethered to this world and the evil that rules it.  I’m tethered by its brokenness and my own. I walk in the mire.  I get tired. I get scared. I get overwhelmed. But You are always present.  You are always there. You hear me. You answer me. No matter what sin ensnares me, You will save me!

In my distress I called upon the Lord;
   to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
   and my cry to him reached his ears.
Psalm 18:6

I know you are training me for what is to come, Holy Father.  You train and refine me. You make me stronger and stronger. All I can do is stand and wait and watch and learn.  All I can do is trust You and what You will do.

s-l300.jpg

He trains my hands for war,
   so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
Psalm 18:34

Who can bend back a bow of bronze but YOU?  I will trust in Your strength and not my own.  

“For You equipped me with strength for the battle;”
Psalm 18:39

 

Even in the Chaos

Lord,  I’ve been thinking about everything that has happened over the last couple of weeks.  At one point I had both of my daughters in the hospital at the same time, and as I began to list off all the things in my brain that have happened just in the last two weeks, I started to really feel like Paul, bragging about all my afflictions to boast about my weakness.  I know I’ve been talking to people a lot about my weakness lately, and all the joy you’ve given me, but God, I’m feeling the pressure, too. I’m feeling the weight of it all. My heart breaks to look at my girls and all the suffering they have endured just in the last two weeks.  And I hate the enemy for what he has tried to do to our family! And here I am, boasting about all this trouble!

But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?
2 Corinthians 11: 21-28

I understand why you’ve let this happen.  You have shown us so much grace and blessed us beyond measure through it all.  Money, friendship, joy, peace, security, you’ve given it all! Every time I tried to fall into sorrow, you would bring your peace.  When the desire to wallow in self-pity wanted to erupt from every pore of my body, you brought your joy. Miracles were happening, Jesus.  So many miracles in my flesh, there are too many to count, as time and time again your faithfulness endured when my heart faltered.

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:23-25

Yet, here I am Lord.  I’m struggling. I’m irritable.  I’m tired. And I find myself asking: where’s the miracle in my flesh right now?  And I realize I haven’t had solid time in the Word over the last two weeks. I’ve managed a few minutes everyday, but I’m used to a few hours.  I’m used to solid, deep, meditative time. That first night in the ER I had hours and hours of reading the Psalms. It sustained me in the pit of Hell that the enemy wanted me to see with all of the human suffering happening all around me.  We were in a “bed” in a hallway next to a delirious homeless man, and in the bed beyond him, another man just like him. But your Word sustained us. I read it aloud. I prayed aloud. I prayed with those men. I brought them water. I held their hands and prayed for them.  I shared your love and your promises, as my suffering daughter, between bouts of her own suffering, did the same! Because your Word sustained us and comforted us. And most importantly, it empowered us. That ER became our mission field.

I’ve missed your Word, God!  The distractions have seduced me away from you and I’m struggling without it.  The reading of your Word is a luxury whose denial has hurt me worse than the any of the other trials I’ve had to deal with.  And it amazes me that so many of your kids struggle to give you five minutes a day. Don’t they know that Jesus is the Word made flesh?  That his flesh made words is your scripture? That your promises, your love, your glory are all revealed in the Word? They are content with milk, not even ready for anything else, because they are caught up in the desires and demands of their flesh alone.

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
1 Corinthians 3:1-3

And people think that a few sips of “milk” on a Sunday morning offered by some summary of someone else’s meditations on you is enough to nourish them?  No wonder they’re still babies! No wonder they fall into despair over such minor things! You’ve seen all the well intentioned people asking us how we’re doing.  You’ve seen the curiosity on their faces when we showed your strength, your joy, your peace! And now I know why they don’t understand. They’ve never experienced it before, God!  These babies in the faith, drinking sips of milk once or twice a week, proud of how many times they’ve walked through the doors of the church in seven days time, and never once finding the rest of your Sabbath.  Never once have they found the joy of your salvation. They work in the spirit of their own flesh, and fight battles with foam swords and paper shields.

I choose your sword, God.  The sword of the Spirit that is the Word of God.  I choose your shield. The shield of faith that extinguishes all the flaming darts of the evil one.  

16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Ephesians 6:16-20

God, I am your righteousness, made by the blood of Jesus.  

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21

I will walk in that truth and in that promise.  Though I float adrift a night and a day at sea, I will boast again and again in your power and strength and joy revealed in me.  I will sound like a fool and boast in my weakness and boast in my suffering, and boast in my many, many struggles, Lord.

Because in my weakness you are strong.  

Lord Jesus, show the world the power of your promises through my suffering.  Show them what your peace looks like through me. I am so jealous for my time with you, God, and even this morning, I’ve had a million interruptions.  Just now, writing about interruptions I was interrupted five times. Hashtag momlife. But God, I’m not going to stop. I’m not going to let this be another shipwreck if I can’t boast about it to the world and show them your power made perfect even in my interruptions.  I choose you, God. I choose your peace. Even in the chaos.

 

Boasting in Weakness

I am so weak, God.  My life is in a constant state of turmoil.  My babies are beaten against the rocks. My heart breaks.  My world is shaken. And yet the audacity of your love is to pour out strength, pour out peace, and pour out love.  It makes no sense in human standards. It makes no sense to me. I can’t even begin to explain the logic behind it. I’ve read it and quoted it in your Word a thousand times.  I’ve bragged on your power! I’ve bragged on my weakness. But you still keep showing me more and more and more. The weaker I get, the harder things get, the deeper the struggles I must endure, the stronger my peace, my joy, and my love because of you.

For when I am weak, then I am strong

 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Certainly if I tried to explain it, I would fail.  People would laugh and call me a fool if they didn’t see it with their own eyes.  If they hadn’t watched it all play out in front of them, they would never have understood it.  hey would think I am strong. They would think I was great. Because they can’t see my heart and my struggle and my peace, except by the work of my hands that you have blessed.  Your light shines through the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. That describes my experience. That embodies my joy.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:5

Your light shines.  Your peace rules. Your power abounds in my weakness.

So, here I am boasting in weakness, because:  WOW! Your power really is made perfect in weakness.  I have seen it first hand. And I have felt the joy and peace that have come from your Spirit.  It makes no sense, but it has happened. Why would I ever want to be anything else but weak? The power of God is beyond joy and love and peace.  It is the perfect testimony of God’s Spirit within me. It has built my faith in ways I could never have dreamed of. It has created deeper bonds of love and insight and connection between us, God!  I want more! Let the world see my weakness, Jesus. Let the world see how mighty you are to save!

The Glory of the Lord

Beloved, how wonderful You are!  How great are your works! I continue to marvel at your incredible mercy and love, especially as we labor through trials.  Through it all you have revealed your glory!

“And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
or the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Isaiah 40:5

I’m still in awe of what you have been doing and how you have revealed the mystery of your love and grace through this hardship we’ve been under.  It’s hard to even imagine that amidst my grief and suffering, your love was actually being revealed! It is undeniable! Everyone who saw it experienced your love.

Not only did I recieve your comfort, encouragement and peace, you expressed those profound gifts to everyone I came in contact with.  And all I can say is wow. The strength and endurance you gave never ceases.

Days later, still in turmoil, still in the midst of suffering, your power continues to manifest in me and around me and through me.  And through it all my faith has grown stronger and more solid. That is who you are, God. You are everlasting. You are powerful. You give strength to the weary and you multiply it!

28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
   his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
   and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
   and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
   they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
   they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31

Thank you, God, for strengthening me, for teaching me your abundant love, and for enduring with me when I felt so tossed by the waves.  With a word you spoke my world into stillness and peace. And with all my words I want to praise you!

 

Walking Out of the Garden

Jesus, like Peter I want to follow you anywhere, even unto death.  I want to pray with you in the garden of Gethsemane and hold you while you cry out to God, and guard you while you worship, and sing praises with you in trial.  But, I fall asleep. I run away naked. I deny you. I weep and mourn and anguish. You said it yourself,

“The spirit is willing but the body is weak.”

I’m daily assailed by the torment of the world, but you are faithful, Jesus.  You overcame the weakness of your body even unto death. And because of you, because of what you did on the cross, and because you left the tomb behind you, I am free.  You had victory over sin and death. And that means you have defeated the very things that hold me hostage.

I refuse to continue to look at the past.  I refuse to hate myself for falling short of your glory.  I refuse to think differently of myself than you see me. I refuse to fall asleep or runaway naked.  Because you are God, and your Spirit is in me. It empowers me to act in accordance with your Spirit instead of in my flesh.  The spirit is willing. My body is weak. So I want to look to your example. You showed me what obedience in the Spirit looks like.

In Gethsemane you prayed.  Even though your friends fell asleep, you prayed.  You cried out to God. Even though you were alone. You worshiped Him.  You sought Him with your whole heart and your whole mind. You sweat drops of blood, your anguish was so intense!  You agonized over the road of suffering that awaited you on your journey to the cross. But you took it anyway. It wasn’t what you wanted in your body, you didn’t want pain and suffering and humiliation.  But you wanted victory. And you knew God’s will for you and for me was victory. You knew that God’s will was better than your flesh. You knew that your flesh would be remade. You knew that your victory, though it would come at a hefty price in your flesh, would bring life forever to us all.

So you walked out of Gethsemane.  You willingly took the road of suffering.  The road of blood. The road of pain and scorn.  

You took the cross.

Lord, help me walk out of the garden.  As you walk with me on the road of suffering, bring people around me to offer me a drink, to help carry my cross, to stand at my side, amidst their own pain, to be with me and show me love, as you love me.  And Lord, let me do the same for others.

“12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:12-14

 

The Struggle is Real

I am struggling, God.  I feel like I’m drowning.  Nothing brings me any solace.  My heart is so heavy with sorrow.  I read the Psalms and I still feel empty.  My moaning is hollow.  The truth that I know isn’t bringing any comfort.  I know you are there and yet I am in such pain.  The world taunts me.  It laughs.  It mocks.  It takes its shots against me.  And I find myself just submitting to it.  I know that’s not what I’m supposed to do.  I know that doesn’t help me.  It just leads to more sadness.  A real struggle.  A vicious circle of torment whips around my thoughts, my heart, my mind.

I’ve hidden your word in my heart, God.  It’s not helping.

I’m pouring over your word: meditating on it day and night.  It’s not helping.

I call out to you and you answer.  It’s not helping.

I blare worship music.  I sing.  I ponder.  It’s not helping.

Where am I falling short?

But the struggle is real, God.  It hurts.  And to think that I don’t even really know what real struggle is.  I don’t know real persecution.  I don’t know real suffering.  And yet here I am pouring out my tears and anguish to you.  I guess my hope in you to hear me is enough.  Collecting tears in a bottle.  Writing volumes and volumes of my struggles turning into faith.

I know this is all the enemy attacking me and trying to steal my joy.  But I’m so tired of fighting.  I’m so bloody tired.  Can you give me some new mercy?  Can you give me more faith.  Can you give me something?

“Because of the Lord’s great love for us, we will not be consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

 

God’s Poetry in Us

 

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Ephesians 2:10

 

Heavenly Father, God, Creator of all things, you hear me and love me and know my heart.  You know me in my innermost being.  You made me.  You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  You created me to be your masterpiece of love and joy.  In all the world, in all who have been made and walked the other, there is no one else like me.  I am completely unique.  Like every star in the sky.  Unique and special and made for a purpose.  Lord, thank you for making me.  Thank you for gifting me with all good gifts.  Your love has made me your servant for eternity, but not just to serve you but to be a part of your family, to be an heir to your kingdom along with Jesus.  Therefore, Daddy, teach me your ways, show me your path, guide my steps in the right truth of your covenant made with Abraham, so that I can be a part of all that you wanted from me and hoped for me from the beginning of Creation.  I marvel, my Lord, at what you have done in me, and at the miracle of who I am and what you have hoped for me from the very start of time itself.  

I want to serve you, God.  I want to worship you.  If all I do is sing your praise then I am satisfied, so long is that is what you ask me to do.  I pray Lord that all people, all nations, all kings and princes, all beggars and soldiers, all oppressed and oppressing would know you with the same intimacy that you have given me.  The same intimacy that you have given all your children through the divine power of the Holy Spirit.  What an incredible gift!  To have such intimacy with you!  And that is all you have ever wanted from humanity, for each and every one of us, to be your FRIENDS, to be your partners.  You chose us all from the very beginning.  What joy that is.  What peace it provides!  How could anyone doubt the truth of your intentions?  Because all you have ever wanted is to love us and know us.  

In you is no darkness.  Not one shadow can exist in the light of your presence.  Not one evil thought can endure.  Not one evil deed can succeed in your Holy light.  So, deliver us from the darkness of this fallen world and from the powers and principalities of this present darkness.  This world doesn’t belong to them.  We claim it for you once more, Father God.  For the sake of your son and for His sacrifice, we lift up Jesus as our King.  We are no longer slaves to fear and doubt, to the evil and corruptible things of this world.  We stand in your light and are not consumed because you have saved us!  You have defeated the enemy!  

Give me joy in the battle, Lord. You will rescue me from every evil deed.  I will find you in the waiting and know that you are my God and that I am your daughter and a joint heir with Jesus.  Jesus has asked for the nations, Lord.  Give them to him!  Increase your Kingdom!  Cleanse this place once and for all.  

Give strength to your workers and endurance for the days to come.  Darkness thinks it is winning.  There is darkness everywhere today, Lord.  Darkness on every street corner.  In every place.  The human condition has been tainted, Lord and all are lost.  But you have saved us through your son.  You have brought light into the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it, no matter how hard it tries.  Help us to hold onto that promise as the days grow dimmer and dimmer around us.  Help us to be your light and life.  Shine through us, as we allow your Spirit to have dominion over our hearts.  Let us all be well equipped to be your light bearers, wherever we go.

I long for your peace, Lord.  I long for your rest.  Give us endurance.  Give us peace and rest.  Come Lord Jesus, Come!  Return to your people once again.  Restore your Kingdom.  Amen.