Tuesday, January 30, 2007

discouraged and down

Today was my Tuesday morning ladies Bible study. I almost didn't go today because I felt so discouraged and I felt like complete failure.

I've been going through a tough time with my toddler. She's been pitching royal fits and pushing my buttons like crazy. She wakes in the night pitching fits and well it just feels like it will never end. I feel like I never get a break, not even in the night to rest. I'm exhausted and discouraged.

Making matters worse, I've been having a hard time controlling MY emotions. I'm supposed to be the adult here and yet I lose my temper and yell and react not so good.

And so after another night of being up and feeling like I want to pull my hair out from frustration, well I just didn't feel like going to Bible study to talk about God's love.

We are doing a study by Cynthia Heald called Becoming A Woman Who Loves.

I'm thinking to myself "how can I have anything to say about love, when I can't even love my own daughter propperly, when I lose my temper and yell?" I'm not even showing my own daughter the love of Christ.

I just felt completely defeated. BUT I went anyway. I figured well at least it will give me an hour break from the kids and some down time to regroup my thoughts and emotions.

Thank God I went because this is what he showed me:

The springs of love are in God, not in us. It is absurd to look for the love of God in our hearts naturally; it is only there when it has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. --Oswald Chambers

After reading this quote in the study, three women (not knowing what I've been struggling with lately) all shared different experiences of when they were raising their kids and difficult times and how they got through. After that we read verse after verse on God's love....

And so the Holy Spirit spoke into my heart and said "Jennifer, use LOVE and COMPASSION with Claudia, this is what she needs. This is what she is crying out for!" It is absured to think God's love will naturally be in your heart when dealing with tough times, it is only when you rely on the Holy Spirit to "shed abroad" that God's love will shine through!!!

I realized that I was looking within to find the love I needed to deal with my difficult todder. I thought since she was MY daughter that this love should be there naturally, even in difficult moments. I had it all wrong! This love, God's love is NOT there naturally! EVER! It requires a continual reliance on the Holy Spirit!

I left that meeting a changed person. I went from defeated and discouraged to empowered!

What exactly does this look like in action?? Well it means when something goes wrong in my life, in that moment of dire need, I call out to the Holy Spirit for His power and for His help. And my cry reads something like this:

Oh God! You know that it is not in my heart naturally to love as you love so here I am! I stand in silence before you! I die to my flesh that wants to lash out and I cry out "infuse me with your POWER!" Your love is changing and it is sweet. Shed it abroad in my heart!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Are we called to SUFFER?

Does suffering scare you? Read this!

1 Peter 2:19-25
For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
"He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth."When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

How do you read that passage?

This is what I think: When I am suffering for good, it means God TRUSTS me to accomplish His will. It means He wants something done and He trusts that I will obey Him and hold up under that suffering.

Suffering is not in vain! There is a purpose and reason! This is a higher calling! When I read this passage and let it seep into my soul, it changes the way I look at life. It changes my desires, my wants. There is actual joy that can be felt during suffering. Instead of saying "why me? poor me!" I raise my hands to Him and say THANK YOU God that you are a good God! I say to Him "YES Lord I will arise to your call." I say "Yes Lord I will answer that call!!"

Let me tell you suffering for Him tastes good. There is an aroma that starts within that floods your soul and seeps into you. It pours out of you and rises all the way up into heaven. It delights God and when He gets wind of that aroma He pours out His love, His peace, His joy and His help. It becomes a love dance between you and God!

Let me encourage you whatever your problem is: Don't give up! God is trusting you! He is waiting on you! What are you going to do? Rise up! Rise up with me and answer His call! He won't disappoint you!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

God doesn't NEED you!

Yup that's right God doesn't need you.

He WANTS you. He longs for you. He desires you. It's a game of love and He's saying "wanna play?"

C.S. Lewis says it best:
God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them... If I may dare the biological image, God is a "host" who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and "take advantage of" Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Ever feel unworthy? Read this!

I am so excited to share this as I think it's one of the best things I've ever read. I hope it can help someone as much as it has helped me.

I emailed my wonderful uncle Terry (Rev. Terry Roberts) as he has a special relationship with the Lord and this was my question or questions to him:

"I have a few questions for you if you don't mind. I was wondering, do you think that there are some people who have a very sensitive spirit, maybe more so than others that can sense the Holy Spirit more? I hope that even makes sense. I guess I should explain. I often struggle with deep feelings of being unworthy. I sense how Holy the Lord is and I feel how wide the gap is between me and God. It is this reason that I stick very close to Jesus and call out to Him often. Yet I often feel frustrated because I feel the stink of the world on me and I think this keeps me from experiencing a deeper relationship with the Father. I keep having to come back to Jesus for the same issues in my life and I long for the day when I won't have things that keep me from the Father and I can experience His love more fully. I guess I've gotten a good taste of His love and I'm very eager and hungry to keep tasting it."

This was my uncle Terry's reply:
"The feelings of unworthiness may be due to your sensitivity to the supreme holiness of the Lord, which many people are not sensitive to. In fact, most are rather casual about God’s holiness, so naturally, don’t feel the sense of their own unholiness. So it is a good thing, in that sense, that you sometimes feel unworthy.

However, it is also good to be aware that we have an enemy who likes to beat up on sensitive people. Knowing how much you love Jesus and want to please Him, the Accuser will sometimes bombard your mind with thoughts of condemnation. This is not good, and should be resisted. (Read Romans 8:1, Revelation 12:7-11, James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:7-9.)

How to know the difference? The positive feelings of unworthiness flood us with a deep sense of awe for God and gratitude to Him for saving us just as we are. They call forth adoration and praise to Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. Read Revelation chapter 5, where John has a vision of Heaven, and is asked, “Who is worthy…?” He sees no one who is worthy, except the Lamb – and then all creation join in worshiping the Lamb because He is worthy. That’s the way God wants us to feel about our unworthiness and His worthiness.

The negative feelings of unworthiness – what we sometimes call “condemnation” – make us want to avoid coming into the Lord’s presence, because we feel like scum under His feet and doubt whether He will even hear us. We feel hopeless. The Lord doesn’t want us to give into such feelings. Don’t believe such feelings. They are lying “spirits” sent to torment God’s precious children. Arm yourself with the Word of God – the helmet of salvation and the shield of faith… Quote what God says about you in Ephesians chapter 1 and Romans chapter 8.

Of course, we are all unworthy in ourselves, but Colossians 1:12 says He has “qualified you” (or made you worthy) to participate in His glorious inheritance. (Read Colossians 1:9-23; 2:1-23). Chapter 2 verse 10 says we are “complete” in Christ (NIV says “you have been given fullness in Christ”) which means everything we need to satisfy the Father, we have in Christ. Also, 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 says, “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." So, Jesus is our holiness and our righteousness. We have none apart from Him.

We do pick up the dirt of this world, and we need a washing from time to time. The Word washes us (see Ephesians 5:25,26) Every day you open the Bible and meditate in it, it washes your spirit. When you come to Him in prayer, just ask Him to cleanse you with His Blood and renew you in His Spirit. He will. (In John 13:1-10, Jesus shows His love to his disciples by washing the dirt off their feet. Read about the conversation between Jesus and Peter and meditate on it.)

Jennifer, here:

Isn't that awesome what my uncle wrote? I don't know about you but I'm very eager to grab my Bible and do some reading! This is exciting stuff!!!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Slow to speak

James 1:19-20 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

I love this verse and desire to learn to live it out. One thing I love about this verse, it reveals God's heart, what He desires.

I notice that when I'm quick to get angry and quick to lash out, I feel a urging from the Holy Spirit. It's like he checks me. It's my decision if I'm going to obey or allow my flesh to rule me.

My desire for this new year is learn to be slow!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Life is full

Happy New Year!

Life is crazy for me. I'm sure it is for a lot of people. It seems I'm constantly on the go with the kids. We just got back from a 4 week trip to Florida visiting family for the holidays.

I spent several weeks with my parents and sister and her two boys in Jacksonville. It was good to be home with my parents. I especially enjoyed attending their church for a special Christmas Eve candle light service. I sat on the back row since we had four kids and it was awesome seeing all the candles being held up. It was really amazing thinking how those lights represent the life and love of Christ within us. Christ really is the light in a dark world and that light is within us!

Today I was talking to my Dad on the phone and he said: "You know Jennifer, our relationship with the Lord is like a marathon, not a race."

Begining a new year full of oportunities, this has new meaning for me. It's something we should all know, but life gets BUSY and before I know it I'm wondering why I'm not hearing from the Lord. I'm wondering why he feels so distant from my heart.

This new year I'm looking forward to diving back into the Word to look for some answers to questions that have been on my heart.

It's exciting to me to know that as I thrist and hunger after Him, He WILL answer those questions!! For He says: I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.