January 27, 2014

Filled to the measure

Fullness sounded like such a great word a few weeks ago.

Then I was listening to or reading something about 2 weeks ago....I can't remember where... I was instantly taken away in thought about it. The thought was that in order to be filled with one thing you have to be empty of all else.

If a cup is full of water, that means there is no tea in it. It is filled with water.

I realize of course, that this will not be easy. The emptying has begun and it seems to be emptying through my eyes. Leaking, pooling, downright weeping. No point in wearing eye makeup these days. I'm being emptied.

Paul asked God to bless his friends with the fullness of God.
For this reason I kneel before the Father,   
from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  
 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you 
with power through his Spirit in your inner being,   
 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  
 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, 
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,   
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge

—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:14-19

I love that.  I guess I still think it's a great word. 

And then he concluded the prayer with this:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine
according to his power that is at work within us,   
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus 
throughout all generations, for ever and ever! 
Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

For His glory, according to His power, immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.....throughout all generations. Forever.

I may have to buy stock in the Kleenex tissue company.

January 18, 2014

Gracious Blessings

  So the Word became human and made his home among us. 
He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.  
And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son...
 From his abundance [fullness] we have all received one gracious blessing after another.

John 1:14-16

Our first Sunday service of the year, the floor was opened up for testimonies on what God had done in our lives in 2013. One by one, my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ stood to honor God's gracious blessing in their life. My tears would not stop flowing. 

He's been so good to them....to us.... to me...

....I'm not talking about our great circumstances, material wealth or ease of life, but because of God's work, guidance, care and favor in spite of our circumstances.... because of His abundant grace in our lives.  And it is absolutely radiant in these dear people. 

"From his abundance [fullness] we have all received one gracious blessing after another."

We have all received one gracious blessing after another. Look around and you'll see God's grace in the lives around you, as well as in your own. Then take time to acknowledge it, honor Him. It's kind of like treasure hunting.

It's been 3 weeks now and I can't seem to keep my eye makeup on through a worship service since then. There is a real connection between gratefulness and sincere worship...looking back to remember what He's done, acknowledging His work and His grace in our lives. Then worship flows.

January 14, 2014

In health or in warfare, there is fullness of joy in the presence of the Lord

Is January zipping by for everyone or is it just me! I need to get back in the habit of posting here, but I'm not making any promises....or resolutions.

I'm just not a resolute type of person I guess. There are many things I should be resolute about, but, ehn. So a few years ago, I gave up making New Year resolutions and began asking God to give me a word for the year.

I began this spiritual practice at the end of 2010, being challenged by a group of other pastors' wives I am involved with. Here is my little history of what God's shown me in the past few years....

2011 Joy ....coming after a few terribly stressful years. The housing crisis hit and we were devastated and humbled by it. I lost 2 jobs because of lay offs.  I felt very unsure of myself and vulnerable. These, along with a lot of other things that involved loss, just made it a difficult series of years for us that led up to 2011. In fact, when I got this word after praying for one, I kept rethinking it. I was in such a state of being humbled and vulnerable that I kept thinking it was just wishful thinking and not something from God. But it was, it kept being confirmed to me and I finally, thankfully, accepted it.

Even though it wasn't a perfectly happy and pain free year, God developed an inner peace and contentment throughout that year that I truly realized the truth I did know in my head, I just wasn't practicing it. Joy comes from within, from being submitted to the Lord, grateful and obedient to Him, not from outer circumstances. The word could have been trust, because I was learning to trust what He was doing in our life, but that was the process....the gift was accepting joy.

The beginning of that year found us packing up our home and moving to a very cheap rental house, wondering what would come next. But it was a freeing time too. We no longer had a huge house payment and I did not have to work. We could afford for me to stay home again and it was...joyful. We were content to live in that little rental house and had plans to be there for as long as we could foresee. But the end of the year found us moving into a large, beautiful home owned by a generous person who charged us less rent than the cheap rental house. We learned to be content and find joy wherever we were. It was kind of an amazing journey of letting go of stuff and trusting what God was doing.

2012 Health ....not striving for health (which was my first thought), but a gift of... an answer to a lot of different health problems that did not seem connected. I was beginning to feel very worn down,  used up and in pain a lot. In February an ultrasound for female things showed that I had a left kidney full of stones. Even though I'd had numerous kidney stones before, I had no idea that was where my pain and problems were coming from. After a grueling 2 lithotripsies and an emergency hospitalization, I remembered an old friend's kidney stone problem was caused by an overactive parathyroid gland, so I mentioned that to my doctor. One simple blood test later, I ended up having one of my parathyroid glands taken out and wow, what a difference! I'm so thankful.

2013 War. Scary word, but I was invited to join in the spiritual warfare that was raging against my family and our church. The word Victory was popping up all over the place, even the day after I got this word, so it was a very hopeful time, even though it was a very hard year....the hardest of my life. There were many victories too. Trust me.

This is the main reason I have not blogged very often this year. The things going on in my life and head were a little too personal and not really about me, so I could not share.

2014 Fullness

 Are you kidding me! Bring it! I am ready. Already I am hearing this word pop up in my husband's sermons....even before telling him my word. And see it all the time in my devotional time.  I made a Pinterest board on it. The verse I'm mainly focused on is Psalm 16:11...

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Psalm 16:11 NAS

Fullness only comes from God, so I am eagerly anticipating this year and what He will show me. God is so good to us in that group of women I meet with, giving us a little glimpse of the year, a little prophetic word to hold on to, to anticipate....  Each woman has a story to tell about their words. He is active and working and teaching us so much.