When we feel separated…

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Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. (Isaiah 59:1, 2 KJV)

The concept of iniquity. That even without direct sin or violation, we still fall short.

Having done nothing seemingly wrong that day, our humanity itself can keep us from the light of The Lord. And we find ourselves captured by utter unilluminated darkness.

Overwhelmed and disproportionately feeling unworthy of creation by the sin nature itself. And not just sin. But selfishness. Wrong decisions made. Decisions we cannot remake. Patterns of darkness overwhelming even the smallest points of light. And for a few moments we might realize what it is to be alone. To feel without Christ. The darkness and depravity.

We all have times when we feel overcome by such lonely darkness. That The Lord does not hear our prayers or His proximity to our hearts has somehow been abandoned, wondering if His sacrifice was sufficient. Enough to illuminate the darkness of our God starved depression or light up the moments of our stark barren raw humanity. And if we let ourselves be convinced in that moment let us be influenced of this one thing…

But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon him, And by his scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him. (Isaiah 53:5-6)

Despite the moments when we call sin okay. Or make excuses for our humanity citing the antiquity of the bible or it’s supposed inability to understand our modern world. When we directly violate God principles and downplay His truth or promises. Even when we do these things…yes He still died for this. His sacrifice cannot be undone by the constant influx of flaws in our humanity. And although separation was once the price, the bars and gates of separation are crushed for all who believe that His sacrifice is enough. That He is the Son of God who pushes aside the massive barges of our humanity and loves us anyways.

Praise You God that You care for us like You do. Help us understand the magnificence of Your always consuming deeply magnifying presence.

Why we run…

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Treadmill jogging is so interesting to me. I start and end at the same place, yet I have gone several miles. I don’t mind treadmill jogging, but if given the choice I would much rather get outside and feel the crunch of leaves under my feet. Plus, when I run, I want to know I have actually gone somewhere.

I wonder if Peter felt the same when he walked on the water. He didn’t just want to show off and test his skills, he wanted to get somewhere. He wanted to walk to Jesus. And when we are moving with a purpose in mind, the journey and the destination are both of indescribable value.

Thinking on this leads my heart to 1 Corinthians 13:2, “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

Although faith gives us the courage to take the journey forward, the love of Christ must be our ultimate destination. If we are running for any other purpose we might as well not be running at all.

This can be difficult for me. At times I find my motivation getting sidetracked by a desire to be published or deluded by false promises of security.

Maybe you have found yourself being sidetracked in your journey. Maybe you are running on the “serving Jesus” treadmill but have lost sight of where you are going, forgetting that the ultimate purpose and destination is Him.

The truth is God doesn’t call us out of the boat for the purpose of meeting our dreams of speaking or writing, although that may be the vehicle by which we get there. He calls us out upon the water so that we might walk towards Him. That we might meet Him where faith and love crash together into a watery kiss of eternity.

It’s not about the book published or the arena speaking event, the ministry position at a large church or the size of a bible study. It’s about the run to Jesus journey that takes place in the midst. The crunching of love leaves underfoot. The mist of vaporous Jesus love on your nose in the early morning. Called to journey with Him wherever and however it may lead. It’s a journey of faith that must motivated by love. Otherwise the walking is without need and purpose. Our vehicle matters much less than the destination which is ultimately a deeper passion and love for Jesus.

You are here…

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If I spoke to crowds on a regular basis I assure you, I would never be constipated. Lets just say a healthy dose of pre-speak jitters cleans me out better than an entire box of Raisin Bran. But despite the GI symptoms of my anxiety, God showed me something new yesterday.

As I pulled into Starbucks and filled my skinny latte tank, it hit me. The Holy Spirit. These little tingly fingers all over my body could be anxiety. I could try and squash them down unsuccessfully, or embrace them! What if I began to view those anxiety jitters as evidence of the manifestation of all consuming fire – Jesus. Living, breathing, filling me.

I pulled out of that drive thru set ablaze. Worship music turned up. Windows down. Amazed.

Your presence Lord.

What if we decided instead of consistently begging for Your intervention in our lives, we accepted that You’re already there?

You’re already out there. In the midst of our trials, temptations, and pain. Moving mountains. Taking us deeper.

Believing not just in God, but with God.

Today Lord I don’t just ask for Your presence, I accept it. I accept you Lord Jesus. I accept The Spirit. I embrace that You are already here. And that sometimes my jitters are nothing more than You lifting me up into the heights of Your glory. Places I couldn’t possibly understand.

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT)

Freedom. Liberty. Captivating our hearts and minds. Jittering away our fears.

Today Lord may we not just ask for You, but accept You.

I accept you in this moment Holy Spirit. I accept You Jesus. I accept You God. You are here.

Trauma drama pain…

Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. (2 Corinthians 11:24-27 NLT)

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She looked at me with eyes that refuse to understand. Why did this happen to me? It’s not fair. I thought being a Christian would protect me from this stuff. But my pain continues. Circumstances continue to bombard me. Not knowing what to say, I simply say I’m sorry. I don’t understand either.

Truth is, we all experience trauma drama. Bad stuff. The stuff we never want to happen.

In Isaiah 47 The Lord addresses Babylon. A city that worshiped idols. A city that must fall. But before they fell they endured all kinds of calamity. There is much to learn from these chapters about enduring hardship without crumbling.

Isaiah 47:10 says this, “You felt secure in your wickedness. ‘No one sees me,’ you said. But your ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’ have led you astray, and you said, ‘I am the only one, and there is no other.’

Notice the emphasized words.

When enduring hardship how often do we believe we are alone? More often than we would like to admit. A pity parties best friend is loneliness. If Satan convinces us God is out to get us and we are alone in our troubles, he can keep us in the pits of despair.

But this false wisdom, this untrue knowledge, leads us astray. We are not alone. In fact God is with us in our suffering. Does He allow it to happen? Yes. His ultimate hand must permit everything that strikes our head. But are we alone? Limited to purposelessness in our suffering? Absolutely not!

Because we believe The Lord, Jesus is our Savior, and our suffering is not limited in purpose. We may not understand the causes of such wrath upon our humanity, but we can choose to understand the purpose behind the pain.

The catastrophe is not the situation itself. The catastrophe is refusing to find God in the midst. Believing you are indeed alone in your suffering.

And so Psalm 64:6-10 says this: As they plot their crimes, they say, “We have devised the perfect plan!” Yes, the human heart and mind are cunning. But God himself will shoot them with his arrows, suddenly striking them down. Their own tongues will ruin them, and all who see them will shake their heads in scorn. Then everyone will be afraid; they will proclaim the mighty acts of God and realize all the amazing things he does. The godly will rejoice in the Lord and find shelter in him. And those who do what is right will praise him.

Those who trust in The Lord will find shelter in Him. It’s not a maybe or might. You will find shelter in Him from all life’s hurt and pain. The arrows flung your way will not banish you from prosperity. In fact, they will make you stronger as you let yourself become more fully alive through Him.

Dependence upon His grace and mercy in times such as these are the wellspring of spiritual growth. The refining fires that make clean what can be processed no other way! Do you understand sister? The tragedy itself is not the pain! It’s believing you are alone in the pain. And that’s a bold face lie. You most certainly are not.

And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. – Isaiah 64:8

Mold us into your image Lord. Through tragedy, fire, and pain – may we embrace it all! That we might be a bit more like you.

Book winner!

Rosemarie you have won a copy of Wounded Women of the Bible! Email me at stephkevinryan@hotmail.com with your mailing address! Congratulations!!!!!

And thank you all for sharing such beautiful scriptures! What beauty there is in women sharing the very truth and breath of Christ!

Hugs!!!!!!!