Monday, February 23, 2015

Turn Us Again

The verse is repeated 3 times in Psalm 80.

"Turn us to yourself, O God.
Make your face shine down upon us.
Only then will we be saved."

Why is turning so hard?

I think the answer is as simple as, "we want it our own way."

Sometimes when we can't seem to turn ourselves we have to ask for help.

There is One that aches to turn his child home.

I am not a typical prodigal child.  I haven't left my husband or kids and gone out in search of fun.  But my heart tends to wander away a lot.

I want to squander the riches of His grace for instant ease.
I want to enjoy revenge on someone rather than seek mercy instead.
I want to please myself with over indulgences rather than exercise mindful self control.
I want to let my pride win over all rather than humbling myself before my Savior and my God.


From the outside I am rather put together.

But this heart of mine must be kept in check.

It must constantly be turned to Jesus or it will run amuck.

I love that over and over and over again He doesn't mind turning us around.

Even if He has done it a thousand times before.  He never tolerates us.  He never tires of hearing a child utter this plea, "Turn me again, Lord."

This verse doesn't stop there.

The writer shamelessly asks for more.

Once turned.....we get to ask Him to shine down upon us.

And get this.  HE DOES.

He takes His glorious presence and shines it down upon a child just previously turned away from him.

His tenderness shames me.

(I usually need a block of time away from my kids when they have been purposely disobedient.)

But not our God.

He rushes in. 

His presence does something for our souls that nothing else can.  It SATISFIES.

And the last part of this verse is beautifully summed up with these words, "only then will we be saved."

Only then....

Salvation must begin with an turning. 

If we can't turn ourselves....He will turn us. 

It ends with a glorious saving.

I turned to Jesus at 9 years old.  He sealed me with His Presence and saved me with His grace.

I turned to Jesus again this morning at 37 years old.  My heart wanted to go its own way today.  I confessed that to Him. I brought it all before Him.  My hurt. My weariness.  My fear.  My anger.  My questions.  My gratitude.  My blessings.  I let Him turn me once again.  He may have to do it again before lunchtime.  But He delights to turn me~ His child. I felt the joy of His presence when I relinquished control.  Saved again...from myself.

Monday, February 2, 2015

the joy of Others

(This post was written over a week ago.  Somehow Blogger never posted it)

Anyone else sick of yourself?

I so wish I could see a show of hands.

Both of my arms would be waving madly in the air with the declaration that I am sick of me.

My life is nuts.  This week alone my dog has peed numerous times in the house; not to mention at 5:30 in the morning on top of my somewhat new bedspread.  The re is a bruise the size of Texas on my thigh where I ran smack into my son's bed post.  I have washed too many sheets and pillow cases to count due to random nose bleeds AND today we got the official word that we will be having to purchase a new washing machine. Oh and I am pretty sure I only cooked dinner for my family one time this week.

I am guessing that my week may not look that different from yours. 

This is life. 

Messy. Chaotic. Unexpected.

Thankfully Jesus meets us right in the grind of it all.  He speaks in our whirlwind. 

Thursday morning I walked into the bible study room late because I had gotten to the church at my early normal time only to discover that I had left the dvd's at home.  So I hurried home and got the dvds and drove back to the church.  I was frazzled and distracted and aggravated at myself.

Not the best way to lead a ladies bible study group.

As Kelly Minter taught us I knew God was powerfully speaking to me.

God came into our presence and reminded us all of a wonderful gift that He has given us: each other.

1 John 1:7 says, "But if we are living in the light of God's presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin."

Fellowship is a real thing.  It is a beautiful thing.

My heart thrills at knowing that Jesus Christ loves me no matter what.

But there is something almost equally as thrilling to look over and see others that are willing to enter into our mess and stand shoulder to shoulder with us.  They willingly choose to scale our mountains of fear, thirst along with us in the deserts, and rest beside us in the valleys.

These are our others.

They bring such joy.

They bear our burdens.

They are longsuffering with us.

They serve us with good intentions.

Their very presence offers us resolve and strengthened faith.

They speak truth when it isn't what we want to hear.

They pray hard and love harder.

They don't give up even when we want to.

They forgive us before we even ask.

They sit and listen to our rants...over and over.

When our heart is broken...they ache too.
When our dreams come true...they rejoice.
When we overcome something hard...they cheer the loudest.

Jesus wanted us to have this fellowship with others because living the Christian life is hard.

Fellowship brings joy to the journey.

I can't help but notice that many people that claim to know Jesus have little to no real fellowship with others.

It requires authenticity and vulnerability.

Something as fabulous as fellowship isn't cheaply attained.  It does cost us something. 

We must be real. 

Our struggles give such validation to the power of Christ working in our lives.  Yet so few of us actually want to discuss them. 

I have been hugely blessed whenever I have been open with people about my issues.

It turns out that lots of other ladies struggle with anger, jealousy, self-control, meanness, pride, the love of the world, lusts of the flesh and insecurity.

The struggle is life.

Confessing our struggle helps us stay in the fight.

My inner Rocky kicks in when I know that I have sisters struggling and fighting in the faith too.


It envelops everything that is real.  The only thing about ourselves that isn't welcome in fellowship is being fake.

Sisters...let's strive together in fellowship.  We are daughters of the King.  We bear scars of battles fought and others can learn from our wins and defeats. 

Could we courageously enter into fellowship with believers around us?

Could we listen with spiritual ears to someone who may desperately need to hear our story?

How differently would the body of Christ be if our burdens were shouldered by linked arms and determined hearts? 

"But if we are living in the light of God's presence, just as Christ is, then we have FELLOWSHIP with EACH OTHER, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from every sin." 1 John 1:7