The Lent That Sticks

This is a repost from last year that I wanted to share again.

Ever since I got saved in August 2010, I have done something to acknowledge the Lent season. I was raised Catholic but that doesn’t have anything to do with it. When I got saved for real, you know when this happens, I had a strong desire to follow Jesus and His teachings. Practicing Lent is not a teaching, it’s something that certain denominational churches have come up with. It’s about observing the 40 days before Easter, representing the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert.

I feel that most people are turned off to observing Lent because they think it’s for the church. I have to say that I am turned off to denominational churches, they are the Pharisees of our day. I am learning more and more about Jesus and how the church of His day hated Him. I know most people don’t know this but it was the church who crucified Jesus. Now I know it was the plan of God but Jesus confronted them on many occasions about how they followed rules but they didn’t know God.

This is what is happening today. People are in church doing church things and they think they have to observe Lent. I choose to observe Lent because of my obedient heart towards God. If you are just going through the motions with an empty heart you are wasting your time and energy. God knows. He sees your heart. That is all He sees for that matter. The things you do or don’t do, doesn’t matter to Him, it’s the state of your heart that counts.

My husband teases me about my Lent devotion. He will say there is Lent all over the table or something funny like that. Today he made another comment like that and something was said to me in my spirit. Whatever it is your doing for Lent season keep doing it. Lent sticks to stuff right? Well, how about letting this Lent stick to your heart and soul? The only Lent that sticks is one done out of love. We love because He first loved us. Out of love we want to please God. Don’t do anything out of obligation, God doesn’t see it or feel it. He wants our love, fellowship, relationship.

I have been reading lately about soaking in His presence and intimacy with God. I found out that I do these things without realizing it just by following the Holy Spirit. I learned from Kim Walker Smith that stopping and talking to God, asking Him questions, this is intimacy with Him. Waiting for His answer, soaking in His presence. The problem we have is we are so rushed all the time and we forget. I have written about this before that forgetting God is the real sin. We have to fight to keep an awareness of His presence. This is what I am aiming for now, to stop and ask the Holy Spirit for direction, what choice to choose, what to say. I want Him in my every moment. This is the Lent that sticks. The Holy Spirit is stuck to you, inside of you, if your a believer, welcome Him, talk to Him, commune with Him. This is what He is waiting for. I read the other day that God is waiting for you to wait on Him! I loved that!

Jesus just wants us. Our belief, faith, love, trust. Following church rules doesn’t bring you closer to Him. Loving Him does.

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Stay In The Light

In my study the writer is referring that Jesus talked at the Sermon on the Mount about giving, praying and fasting. He didn’t say “if” we do it but “when” we do it. When we give, when we pray, when we fast. He believes fasting is not an elective but part of the core teaching. This is something I know everyone has their own opinion on so I’m still saying what I’ve said before. Fasting is a personal decision. Jesus also said not to flaunt your giving, praying and fasting like the hypocrites do. It all should be done in secret. If we just listen to the Holy Spirit specifically for our own life and carry out what we hear I think God will be pleased. I just read something on Bible Gateway about living in the light. I think this applies here. We are to be living in the light which is following Jesus and listening to the Holy Spirit. When we disobey or quench the Spirit then it’s rebellion against God and He isn’t pleased. We shouldn’t get into comparing ourselves or our walk with what other people are doing. The writer mentions purpose comes first before fasting. I agree that there should be a purpose for fasting and if there is a specific purpose and you are being led because of it, then do it.

Lent to Repent

Scripture reading for today is Psalm 118:1-9 and it’s dealing with fear. It’s saying not to fear because we know God is good and God is with us. No man can hurt us when God is for us.

Ann says: Today I will hold onto 4 words: God. Is. With. Us. Fast from fear because all fear is fraud.

 

My study with Ann today is something I needed TODAY! I had an extreme nightmare last night and woke up very afraid. I don’t know how I dreamt something so scary and evil. All I know is, is I was reminded of how evil really is. I refused to let it in my mind. I immediately prayed when I woke up and asked God to reveal to me what I could have done to crack the door that let evil in. I cast evil and fear out in Jesus’ name.

 

Hearts Of Gold

I have something to share that is very real and embarrassing but I am led by the Holy Spirit to share it. It is a confession and redemption story that I think is important for people to hear. It lets you know that it’s okay that your not perfect even followers of Jesus make mistakes and sin but the beauty of following Him is we are forgiven and if we choose to repent and reconcile the loss we are redeemed and set back right with God.

Here goes, yesterday my daughter and I went to Target and bought new purses. When we came home she put this really cute pom pom key chain on hers and I liked it. So, we went to Target again to get me one but they didn’t have one I liked except one that was attached to a book bag type purse. I wanted it really bad and the temptation of worldly things took over and the devil found a way to get me. I took the pom pom off the book bag and took it to the counter and told a lie. I thought if I paid for it, it wouldn’t be stealing and I I thought a little white lie wouldn’t hurt. Only this was done in front of my daughter. Last night I woke up all of a sudden with this incident on my mind. The Holy Spirit convicted me of this pom pom. It sounds very trivial and stupid but God doesn’t see it that way. I had the Holy Spirit point some things out to me that I want to share and it might help you the next time your tempted by something.

The Holy Spirit let me know it was wrong even though I didn’t “steal” the pom pom, I lied. I had just given a girl in a group I’m in some scriptures about lying because she said she had a problem with it. One of those scriptures came to my mind immediately. Proverbs 12:22, Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal faithfully are His delight. I said, I don’t want to be an abomination to the Lord! I said I was sorry and asked for forgiveness but then I was at the point of where Judas and Peter were. I felt like I wanted to die but I knew to chose Peter’s solution and repent. So, I did and I asked God what can I do to make it right? He revealed to me that I had already fixed the pom pom so just go back to Target and put it back on the book bag, even though you paid for it, and it will be restored. The book bag and my heart. Then He went on to remind me that earlier that day I watched some of Billy Graham’s funeral and I so admired what they said about him living his life as an example and God told me, what kind of example are you being to your daughter! Then He told me how are you going to feel going to church tomorrow with it on your purse and what if the pastor speaks of stealing and your daughter will nudge you and you will feel so guilty. I immediately vowed to God that the pom pom was stupid and nothing compared to my relationship with Him. I said I will take it back after church and all of a sudden I couldn’t wait to get rid of it! When I closed my eyes God gave me a vision to let me know He was pleased, it was images of gold hearts! I knew He was happy with my choice.

I woke my husband up and told him everything. When my daughter got up I told her everything. The most amazing thing about this is, when we were at church the pastor was speaking about God’s grace and salvation. He used an example and guess what it was. He said,” It’s not like you wake up and think your going to steal! There are people who can’t get stealing off their minds!” My daughter leaned over and said,” You were right.” My mom told me God let me see into the future a little bit and gave me the chance to right my wrong. I made it right today and couldn’t wait to do it. I have felt God’s presence with me and I’m so filled with joy!

I want to tell you it’s so easy to let Satan in and mess you up. You think it can’t happen to you but it can. The devil got me but I win! I won! My pastor’s sermon was so awesome in light of what happened, so amazing what happened to me today. I am ashamed of the sin but look how God used it for His glory and took what was meant for evil against me and turned into good! I am so amazed! I am so thankful I have been redeemed and I’m washed with the blood of Jesus, thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus that you make my heart a heart of gold!

From Nothing Comes A King

This is a line from the King Arthur movie King Arthur: The Legend Of The Stone. I watched this recently and it touched me spiritually. Not only that but it has a song in it called The Devil and the Huntsman. I looked it up on You Tube and some one correlated the lines of the song to scripture in the Bible. I looked up the scriptures and the Word pierced my heart. The other strange event was after I watched it I was on Face Book and something led me to a book, I don’t remember the name of it now but it talked about the Holy Grail and how the stories of King Arthur relate to it. All this is very interesting and really it’s a lot to take in.

The scenes that spoke to me was when Arthur has the sword in his hand. He said the sword controlled him, he didn’t control the sword. In the Bible the Word is referred to as a sword in Ephesians 6:17,  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…

As I watched him wield the sword he was in another dimension letting himself go and letting the sword work on it’s own power. I related this to letting go and letting the Holy Spirit work in me. If I could let go of myself and let myself be controlled by the Holy Spirit I could accomplish so much more than what I’m doing alone. God is speaking to me saying what His Word says, you can do nothing apart from me. This allowing and following of the Holy Spirit is a great adventure, like Arthur. He was a king and didn’t know he was a king. We as followers don’t know who God created us to be until we begin searching and looking for our true selves. I read in that book that we like King Arthur stories because we long for something more than what we are seeing and experiencing. King Arthur stories correlate to the searching of the Holy Grail.

I have figured out that all the searching I felt in December has ended up being that I was looking for God’s will in my life. I’m doing a Bible study called I am Loved and today we talked about walking in the light. I was in darkness and she describes that as walking in our own way which is sin. Choosing wrong thoughts and actions, not aligning with God’s character and thoughts and actions. Walking with the Holy Spirit in control is walking in the light.

The Holy Spirit then directed me to watch Rick Renner on You Tube about Spiritual Warfare. He specifically talks about the armor of God and how the Bible is our weapon. The belt of truth is the Bible and without the belt the rest of the armor falls off. He said this was true of the roman soldier’s armor and that’s why Paul said the Word (Truth) is the belt because without it the rest of the armor falls off and leaves you open for attack.

Satan doesn’t want us to know who we really are in Christ. We can defeat him with the knowledge of knowing who we belong to. We can wield our sword ( the Word) against him and be victorious! Those of us who feel like we are nothing or that our lives amount to nothing, we need to get in the Word and start believing truth and not the lies! Arthur didn’t want to accept who he was and I think sometimes we don’t either. But when we finally accept who we really are the power of God comes on us and we can slay the Devil!

 

Pray The Psalms With Me, Psalm 5

Psalm 5 has a lot to do with prayer and how we should be walking with God. Like I have said before prayer is most effective in the morning before you start the day. This way you have the rest of the day to watch and wait to hear God’s voice. But before we pray we need to acknowledge God for who He is and give Him reverence and worship. Remember the only way we are able to enter into the house of God is through His Son, Jesus. Be thankful for His love and mercy. Our prayers should be passionate and never taken for granted that we can communicate with God. We need to ask for God to lead us and guide us into His righteousness and make the way of the path plain to see. We don’t receive unless we ask.

There are some guidelines we should follow that lead to being and living right. We shouldn’t boast or practice evil. Be trustworthy, truthful and not let any deceit come from our tongues. We should resist evil and not seek revenge. Live, speak and be the Truth! Continue to be in right standing with God and experience His favor and blessing. Remember our ways lead to destruction. We should be in high spirits singing and shouting for joy because we belong to God!

Prayer

Father, I come to You in reverence and in awe of who You are. I acknowledge that You exist and You are over all creation including me. I am thankful that through the blood of Jesus I can come into Your house and dwell with the Almighty! Show me your path of righteousness today and every day in every circumstance and choice that presents itself to me. I am overjoyed that I belong to You. I’m passionate about You and love You. Thank you for Your blessings and favor on my life. Help me continue to live right before Your eyes. I want to walk in Your ways, not my own because they lead me into destruction. Help me remember Your ways. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit living in me, leading and guiding me. I invite You to be my life. I am Your vessel, make Your glory shine through me in all I do, Amen.

 

Would You Like To Change?

Now that I have had some time to rest and get myself back together I have been on a real journey or should I say adventure. I have followed the Holy Spirit’s leading and I have been learning so much!

I joined a prayer group on face book which then led me to reading a book called Abiding in Christ by Andrew Murray. This book was written long ago which was so interesting to me how some one from the 1600’s could still minister to some one today. I highly recommend this book if you are ready to surrender your life to Jesus and want to experience real change in your life.  I learned that abiding in Christ is the only way the Holy Spirit can do His work. It’s not up to us to make ourselves change. We only have to surrender and He will do the work. I have been practicing this for a few weeks and I have been so happy with my progress!

It just so happened I watched a movie called Before I Fall. This girl has to relive her last day until she gets it right. Getting it right meant loving people as they are. Noticing every detail of what is around you. Savoring what is right in front of you. Telling people you love them and giving people what they need in that moment. If you were living your last day wouldn’t you want the people that you had contact with that day to remember you in a good way? We should treat everyone in the day as if it is the last time we see them. You never really know when your last day will be. I realized while watching the movie that if I’m abiding in Christ I will make these right choices. I loved it when she realized what she finally had to do to get it right. That morning she said for the first time she wasn’t afraid, she knew exactly what she had to do. She knew how to live this day well. We should all be getting up with this attitude. An attitude of excitement! An attitude of love. She says something in the movie while she is going through a lot of days over and over, she says no matter what I do it doesn’t change anything or what happens. But the last day when she gets it right, when she knows how to live the day, it does change. When we allow ourselves to be used by the Holy Spirit and we are walking in the Spirit then we are a catalyst for change. We change things to make them better. I want to live each day as if it’s my last and do good, walk in the Spirit, change things around me for the better and I will leave a mark of goodness.

I saw another movie yesterday called The Last Words. It’s about a lady wanting her obituary written before she dies. She finds out she wasn’t liked very much. She spends her last days changing herself because she wants her obituary to be true to how she lived in a good way. The girl who became her friend in the movie spoke at her funeral and she said  some stuff but she ended it with, all we really want is to not be forgotten.

I feel the same way. I want to live in communion with Jesus, make a lasting mark for Him and know I did my best. I also want God to change me. I want to be more like Jesus.

I have been meditating on that also. Jesus desires us to change after salvation. That is the essence of this article I guess. I want you to want to change. I want to change. Because when we do we win against evil! We have to choose the spirit life instead of the flesh life. The spirit life is the lasting life. It’s the only way to change and the only way to stay changed!

Be Flooded With God’s Presence

This morning I have been drawn to learning more about prayer, of course, but also about sanctification. I have been thinking and learning about being aware of what I’m choosing in the moment. Yesterday it was brought to my attention the scripture that talks about what flows from the heart comes out of the mouth. Matthew 15:18, But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. I realized how evil I really am. How our nature really is sinful and our natural inclination is to choose that. I realized how very important it is to be still and think through what comes out of my mouth. Today after reading about Centered Prayer, I read that silence is God’s language. He asks us to be still and know He is God. Being still in His presence is what it takes to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. 

An analogy just came to me. We are setting up our above ground pool and we are still filling it with water this morning. My daughter just said to me to look at the pool, that it’s getting fuller. I said,” Yes, it takes time, but gradually it will be full.” God instantly showed me how this pertains to the filling of the Holy Spirit. The pool is being filled with a water hose and we all know how long this takes, right? So, if I’m only allowing a small opening for the Holy Spirit to dwell in me then it’s going to take some time to see the change. But if I can learn how to be still and open myself up completely to God, I could be flooded with God Himself, as it says in the Bible. Ephesians 3:19, 19 and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].

I’m believing that through Centered Prayer I could do this. I want to be flooded with God Himself. I want my words to reflect my heart, my heart for God. I don’t want to reflect the sinful nature. I pray for God to keep me aware of the difference so that I will be able to keep choosing Him. Help me Lord, to choose You. You know my nature and even Paul spoke about how he does what he doesn’t want to do. Help me to do what I want to do and say things that are only pleasing to You. Help me remember Your presence is everywhere all the time. I am on a stage where You are my audience. I only want to be pleasing in Your sight, Lord. Amen.

Walking In The Light

I was put in an unexpected situation a little over a month ago. My mother in law was leaving rehab and my husband and I found ourselves having to be the ones to bring her into our home. He has other siblings but no one else would volunteer so since we follow the Lord, I felt God’s presence in this decision. I was happy to feel like I was doing something for God especially cause I knew I wanted to talk to her about Jesus. We said we would do this task for 10 days and then evaluate the situation from there.

We lasted 18 days taking care of her. Something I learned from her being in my house and having guests periodically was that I realized I was living in the light. The scripture came to mind, Live in the light as He is in the light. I explained to my husband that I wondered about that scripture in the past about what it really means to live in the light. I told him that it meant to me in that situation that I don’t have anything to hide.

I felt empowered by the Holy Spirit while she was here but during her stay I saw my husband slowly going down hill. When this happened I began losing it too. When I confronted his family and said we couldn’t do this anymore that my husband was dying we were laughed at and called names. I felt us drowning and they just pushed us deeper down. I had been praying for God to remove her because we couldn’t do it another day. In just a few days we had something happen with my son’s glass desk. It shattered! This happened when my mother in law was being brought back from an appointment. She wouldn’t allow my husband to see what happened. From all the stress that had already been building my husband lost it and called his brother to come get her. So her leaving was an abrupt occasion that we didn’t intend on happening.

When she left we were relieved but we got a lot of backlash from his family. We have been made to feel like hypocrites. They threw our walk with Jesus in our face. We have talked and we both have been feeling confused about the whole thing. We both have had to question our salvation and walk with Jesus. Through this past month I have lost my intimacy with God. I talked to my mom about it and explained that I know what I have to do to get back there but I can’t make myself do it. I thought getting back there was through writing, making my Bible Art Journals, reading the Bible, etc… But over the past couple days the Holy Spirit has revealed to me whats wrong.

It isn’t that we stopped taking care of her. I read in my Beth Moore book that if you pray for the cup to be removed and God does it then your in His will. If He doesn’t your in His will. I prayed for it to be removed and it was. Beth Moore emphasized that what is important is that we obey. I believe God gave us the grace for 10 days. I believe that was all we were meant to do. I couldn’t believe the ridicule we received for not being able to go longer. I dealt with feeling inadequate and not being Christ like. Although I gave her my all while she was here and loved her with God’s love, prayed with her and talked about her salvation and walking with Jesus.

So the distance I have been feeling is being caused by unforgiveness. I have been angry  at my brother in law for what he said to us and called us. I wouldn’t forgive him.

During her stay here I had found a book called The Daniel Prayer at Hobby Lobby and I bought it in hopes of helping myself pray for her. I read it some then quit. Well, prayer has been brought to my attention real big the past several months. Day before yesterday I was in my e mail and saw a message from Gateway but I was going to delete it but the Holy Spirit clicked it. It was something about a men’s Bible Study. I decided to click on it anyway. When I did, I looked in the margin and I saw the book I had bought The Daniel Prayer. It was offering a summer Bible Study with the book. I couldn’t believe it so I joined the face book group and began the study. Yesterday I was watching the videos and looking at the scripture they said to study. The scripture was The Lord’s Prayer. God showed me The Lord’s Prayer in a new light.

We address God for who He is, our Father and then we acknowledge He is holy. Then we agree with His will being done on earth as it is in heaven. I also agree with His will being done in my own life as well. When we pray “give us this day our daily bread”, we are asking for provision but also we are asking for a fresh word from Him for that day. Then when I got to the part about forgive me for my sins as I forgive those who sinned against me, I realized I had unforgiveness. I prayed and also told my husband that I’m not angry anymore and that I forgive his brother. I asked him if he was still angry. He said that he didn’t know. I explained to him that being in the state of unforgiveness blocks us from God’s blessings and we are only hurting ourselves. This is why we feel lost and we feel like God can’t hear us. I also said what it says in the Bible that we are forgiven by God and we don’t deserve it so we should forgive people even if they don’t deserve it. He told me he would pray. We both feel so much better now. I’m finding myself coming closer to God again.

My mom was telling me how she practices the presence of God the other day and I brought up Brother Lawrence to her and how I read his book Practicing The Presence. Yesterday I got an e mail from a woman whose blog I follow and she talked about this very thing and mentioned Brother Lawrence which I thought was so strange. I loved what she said. She said,” Seeing God is a choice. Brother Lawrence chose to see God in washing the dishes. Others just see dishes.” My mom told me you have to slow down and be aware of the choices your making because we are always making choices whether we know it or not. Make your self aware if your choosing God or not in everything you do. This keeps the enemy away. She told me all those feelings and thoughts I was having were from the enemy. So at the end of The Lord’s Prayer we are asking God to keep temptation away from us and protect us from evil. All we have to do is ask. We forget that a lot.

In this Bible Study Ann Graham Lotz said something so good. She said we should pray in the morning because the day hasn’t begun yet. She said you wouldn’t tune your violin after a symphony. So, tune yourself to God before the day. Be aware of His presence. Ask for Him to lead you, guide you. And also trust and believe.

This is what I have learned from the past month. I needed to share it and I hope maybe someone out there may need to hear it.

 

 

 

We Are The Grand Band

Recently we were at a band concert at the high school where my son plays the trumpet. As we were waiting for the concert to start an interesting thought came to my mind. The band was on stage before the conductor came out and they were all playing their own tune, doing their own thing. But when the conductor came out they were all at attention and quiet waiting for their instruction . When the conductor conveyed what song to play they were all in unison playing the song and it was magnificent!

Here is what I thought: God is the conductor of our lives. We need to sit at attention quietly each day and wait for His instruction on what we are to do for that day. When we start going our own way and we don’t listen to God we begin playing out of tune. When God, the conductor of our lives comes, we stand at attention and listen to His lead. We then begin to play out our life in unison with others who are following His lead and when we do this it produces for Him a marvelous song of praise that is music to His ears!

Life Song by Casting Crowns

Empty hands held high
Such small sacrifice
If not joined with my life
I sing in vain tonightMay the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to YouLet my lifesong sing to You
Let my lifesong sing to You
I want to sign Your name to the end of this day
Knowing that my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to YouLord I give my life
A living sacrifice
To reach a world in need
To be Your hands and feet

So may the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Let my lifesong sing to You

Pray The Psalms With Me, Psalm 2

Psalm 2 has 12 verses. It’s all about what I should do as a follower. I made confession statements that say I WILL do these things. This isn’t going to be in exact order of the verses 1-12 but it’s an interpretation of them as a whole. I feel that they spoke to me from God and this is my response back to Him.

I belong to Jesus first of all. Anyone who is a believer belongs to Him because God gave Jesus the earth and everything in it. I know I’m His. And knowing that I’m His there are certain things that I should want to do for Him because I love Him. What I’m writing is for anyone not just me but I will write it as for myself. You know that this applies to you as well. First I will serve Jesus with all my heart and make Him King of my heart. That means He comes first. There is no thing, person or activity that gives me more pleasure than being in His presence. He fills me up with His Holy Spirit and then I can do life so much better. As I make Jesus first in my heart I will remember Him in all my circumstances so that I can make wise decisions and wise choices. He keeps me on track. I will be pleasing to God. We should want to be God pleasers and not people pleasers. When we are following what the Holy Spirit has directed us to do we are pleasing God. I have an example of what it means to follow the Holy Spirit. I was walking in the parking lot of Target one day. I passed a young mom who just buckled in her baby but still had her buggy to put away. As I passed her I heard the Holy Spirit say, go back and ask to take her buggy so she can just get in the car with her baby. Remember what it was like when you were there? So, I turned around and asked if she would like me to take her buggy and she said yes, thank you! I felt good inside for helping her and I knew I was doing what God wanted me to do. This leads into the next thing we should be doing and that is surrendering our lives to God on a daily basis.I will surrender my life to God so He can be glorified. As witnesses for Jesus we should also be declaring Jesus is the Son of God and stand up for Him! When I find myself in situations where Jesus is brought up I will speak up for Him and not be silent! But we do so in a way that keeps the peace. I will  be a peacemaker. As I continually focus on Jesus, this practice actually keeps evil away.  When our minds are absorbed with what the Bible says about us and about our lives, evil has no way of gaining a foothold in our minds. That’s where evil starts messing with us, in our minds. If evil can get in our thinking then you give him permission to set up camp there and he will destroy your life, eventually, if he is allowed to stay there. You are the only one who has control over what your meditating on. I will choose Jesus! As believers we should have reverential fear and awe of God. When we have this heart attitude we will rejoice and be high in spirits! We will be high on life, on Jesus! This enables us to want to seek and trust Him more!

Prayer

Thank you Father for this insight! Thank you that in Your Word are the answers to the questions we seek! I praise You, honor You and glorify Your name on this earth so others who don’t know You will want to know You. You are good and I’m thankful I live under Your wing. Amen.