What’s next Papa?!

daddyholdinghand“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!

That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:15-25‬ ‭paraphrase by Eugene Peterson

http://bible.com/97/rom.8.15-25.msg

Has God’s Glory Left?

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Where has His Glory gone…?

My adventures in 1 Samuel continue…

I read Chapter 4 today…

19 Now his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, about to give birth. And when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband (priests) were dead, she bowed and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women attending her said to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”
(1 Samuel 4:19-22 ESV)

Why did God’s glory depart?

I went back and read Chapter 3 again…

10 The Lord came and stood there. He called as he did before, saying, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel said, “Speak. I am your servant, and I am listening.”
11 The Lord said to Samuel, “I will soon do things in Israel that will shock anyone who hears about them. 12 I will do everything I said I would do against Eli and his family (priests), everything from the beginning to the end. 13 I told Eli I would punish his family forever. I will do this because Eli knew his sons were saying and doing bad things against God. But he failed to control them. 14 That is why I swore an oath that sacrifices and offerings will never take away the sins of the people in Eli’s family.”
(1 Samuel 3:10-14 ERV)

Questions to reflect on:

What grabbed you?

Why did God refuse sacrifices and offerings?

Why did God’s glory leave the people?

Who did God speak through in Chapter 3 because the priest and his sons were not listening and obeying God?

Have you been seeking God’s voice in your situation?

Has God been silent?

Would you recognize His voice if you heard it?

What could be blocking His voice and favour?

Prayer:

Dear Father,
What is in the way of me hearing your voice and receiving your glory?! (Listen… Name it.) Father, forgive me of  _______.  God, the power to completely overcome the sin of _________________is in You, the One Who lives in me. It is all about You, Lord, and Your power at work in me. I turn away from my self-effort to overcome this sin, and embrace the power of the Holy Spirit Who flows within me. Jesus, I release the flow of the power of the Holy Spirit out through me, to overcome completely the sin of ______________. I receive Your forgiveness and cleansing now, on the basis of Your promise to me in I John 1:9. Thank you, Jesus, that Your blood covers this sin. Jesus, open my heart, my ears to hear your voice! Amen.

My Vision on Women

One morning I woke up with a vision of a family who is well known and loved within their community caring for orphans and widows and the homeless, but behind closed doors the daughters are mistreated. Several older daughters left the family to find freedom. The next daughter in line spoke up against the mistreatment, but the mistreatment simply shifted to the next youngest daughter, a leader in the making. The remaining oldest daughter’s heart broke at the betrayal and the expectation to remain and endure watching the mistreatment of another sister. She left for the sake of her own health.

But her heart breaks for those remaining sisters, some of whom know the mistreatment deeply and some who have yet to experience it for themselves. They have not yet come of age, or they quietly serve ‘in the kitchen, out of sight’, and some sisters feel the heaviness deeply and are praying like warriors trying to hold on.

My heart breaks when families become places of hurt and slavery for children, any gender.

What breaks my heart further is although some families finally recognize what they’ve lost in the mistreatment of their own, their apologies come not because of the hurt they have caused, but because of what they’ve lost themselves. Their wounds come not from what they have done wrong, but from what they have lost. They are only concerned that they are without wine because the women working the vineyard have fled.

True apology is found in behaviour, not mere words… 

Have you mistreated someone within your own family?

Weep and wail for you have put grief and burden deeply in their hearts. Beyond this, your betrayal brings generational bondage. Your family suffers like a person with an auto-immune disease, their body attacking itself.

Choose repentance.

Choose freedom.

You Let Me Rest

lover of your soul

I’ve been meditating on this old familiar Psalm quite a bit lately… May you too turn it into a prayer for yourself…

“You let me rest in fields of green grass. You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and you refresh my life. You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths. I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe. You treat me to a feast, while my enemies watch. You honor me as your guest, and you fill my cup until it overflows. Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life, and I will live forever in your house, Lord.”‭ – Psalms‬ ‭23:2-6‬ ‭CEV

Let this musical rendition warm your soul…

Lenten Reading for the Third Sunday in Lent:

Image source: http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5494/10436842935_763b9166c7.jpg

Light five candles before reading.

Usually God holds back his anger over sin. But one time he let it loose, so we would know how serious it is to turn our backs away from God and toward the darkness, and so we would know how great his wrath is against sin.

BUT he did not totally destroy his creation. He showed us his mercy, through Noah.

Genesis 6-9

1. Read the passage above slowly. (Click on the passages for the link.)
2. Linger with it quietly.
3. Ask God what He is saying to you and how He invites you to respond.
4. Write out or say a prayer back to Him.
5. Thank Him for His message to you today.

Snuff out one candle. Do not light again until Easter Sunday.

Hold on, it gets better… His rescue plan would change history forever. He would bring justice for you and me…

More reflections to come…

Sources: Some of my own and some adapted from Noel Piper, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lenten-lights

Lenten Reading for the Second Sunday in Lent:

Image source: http://emilyweaverbrownphoto.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/DSC_0545.jpg

Light six candles before reading.

God created people for relationship, for His glory. He gave them everything they could need or want. But they listened to the enemy’s lies instead. They no longer believed God’s gifts were enough. They turned their backs on God and lost their place in perfect friendship with Him. Now they saw pain and death in their future.

Genesis 2:8-3:19

Romans 5:12

1. Read the passages above slowly. (Click on the passages for the link.)
2. Linger with them quietly.
3. Ask God what He is saying to you and how He invites you to respond.
4. Write out or say a prayer back to Him.
5. Thank Him for His message to you today.

Snuff out one candle. Do not light again until Easter Sunday.

Hold on, it gets better… His rescue plan would change history forever. He would bring justice for you and me. Need a sneak peek?

He is the God who pays back those who harm me;
and rescues me…
You hold me safe…”

(Reflect more on Psalm 18…)

More reflections to come…

Sources: Some of my own and some adapted from Noel Piper, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lenten-lights

Sabbatical Learnings: Lesson One Wrecked Me

This first lesson of sabbatical completely wrecked me…

Source: http://redlikeblood.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Psalm22.jpg

I’ve heard that the greatest theologians of our time, who ponder all the wonderful questions of theology, are often impacted most deeply of the love of God. I use to smile at this knowing a preschooler could get it. Yet, the first half of my sabbatical I found I was indeed overcome with God’s love. The deep impact of Easter and meditating on a dramatized audio version of the book of Matthew in my long daily prayer walks was extremely powerful. I wept as I was overcome with grief and loneliness and dug in deep to some of the emotions that Christ experienced during Holy Week.  I reflected on the betrayal of the disciples and how they fell asleep on Him when He deeply needed someone to be with Him in prayer. I began to ask myself the questions, “What would I have done?” “Would I have betrayed Christ?” “Would I have fallen asleep on the Son of God? And will I succumb to this in the future?” I cried out for the Holy Spirit to guard me and protect me, to bind my heart and my mind to God’s Will. I long to be faithful to the very end for the very sake of His incredible love for me.

 

God’s Love Letter to You! | Soul Shepherding

What if God were to write a letter to you? It’d be a love letter!

Have you read the Bible as being God’s love letter to you? That’s what it is! I know you don’t deserve it — neither do I. That’s the point. God’s love is unconditional.

Read…

God’s Love Letter to You! | Soul Shepherding.

From Anxious Planning to Peaceful Trust

I was awake today at 5am anxious about the Fall planning and my long list of things to do and people to care for. I prayed and fell back asleep. When I awoke to read the Word at 6:30am, I read this…

Psalm 37:5-7 NIRV
“Commit your life to the Lord. Here is what he will do if you trust in him. He will make your godly ways shine like the dawn. He will make your honest life shine like the sun at noon. Be still. Be patient. Wait for the Lord to act. …Don’t be upset when other people succeed. Don’t be upset when they carry out their evil plans.”

http://bible.us/Ps37.5.NIRV-ENG

Perfect timing. I wasn’t trusting in Him!

Merri Ellen 🙂

What Lent Really Means…..& Free Easter Devotional

I’m enjoying the reflecting journey to the cross as we draw close to remember the most important event in all of history. You too will enjoy Ann Voskamp’s writings…

What Lent Really Means…..{& Free Easter Devotional Book to Make a Jesus Easter Tree} » A Holy Experience.