Sparks dance across the dark sky like poetic magic.
Fairy dust seems to shoot behind them.
They breathe light into darkness.
Mayonnaise jar and top in hand, I catch the luminescent lightening bugs.
After capturing them, I feel as if I own a little piece of the moon.
The jar full of blinking bugs is now a shimmering lantern.
Without them, the sky isn’t quite so bright.
The bugs are dazzling as they buzz around each other in the jar.
However, the rest of the sky is empty without them.
Their beauty is no longer visible to the rest of the world.
Just like the lightening bugs, we must release our light back into the dark corners of a society that is suffocating without Jesus.
We must fly away from the familiar and swarm around the unfamiliar.
We must move beyond the church steps and into the blackness of an unbelieving world.
That’s where the light of Jesus shines the brightest.
I open the jar and free the lightening bugs underneath a shadowy sky.
I realize God does the same with us.
He twists the top and sets us free.
He releases us back into a cold world.
They too need the warming glow of a Savior.
There, we can share the light of Jesus with those who remain in the dark.
Written for you with love,
Do you ever cry out, “God where are you?” or beg Him, “Please Lord, let me feel your presence!” And, do you sometimes feel like He doesn’t answer?
It can make you feel wearily disconnected. Alone. Disillusioned. Wondering why He doesn’t hear you. Questioning what you might have done… or not done. You might think He has withdrawn from you or worse… that He was never actually with you at all.
I’m learning something very important about our God. Something really powerful. Something that’s changing the way I think about Him…
Requesting His presence is unnecessary.
Every second, every minute, every hour of our every day and in every single circumstance we have the delight and privilege of experiencing His presence.
Do you believe me?
It’s true! I know it because His word says so…
Psalm 139:7 says “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!”
Philippians 4:4b tells us that “The Lord is near” His Spirit is dwelling within us always.
And, Revelation 3:20 says “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.” That’s at the door of our hearts!
So, why at times do we “feel” separated from Him? It’s simple. Yet complex. We just miss it. We don’t understand. It’s a Spiritual awareness that we lack. Don’t get me wrong, we can have it; there’s no Spiritual secret to accessing it. It only requires that we open our minds to understand that God is everywhere in His creation. Now, hear me… He is not “part” of His creation, but because He is the Creator His presence universally exists among it.
We are His creation. His Spirit dwells within us. Moves among us. At home. At work. In our conversations. In our minds and our hearts. Prompting us. To pray. To do. To go. To notice Him.
He can not be any nearer to us. He is always knocking. And, the real questions we need to consider are “Do we hear?” and “Are we truly acknowledging that He is indeed right here?” Hearing means carefully listening for His still small voice constantly. And, acknowledging means searching expectantly for His active work in and around us. It demands an unrelenting surrender of our will, our ways and a deliberate acceptance of wherever He takes us. It means contentment for our anxiousness. It offers free flowing peace for our worries. It embraces us with His comfort and all His consuming love in every distinct aspect of our lives.
It’s incredibly powerful and beautifully mind-bending to fathom that we can not escape Him. We can rest calmly in that. We can fear Him reverently for that. We can trust Him explicitly because of that.
We are in His presence right now. You can’t leave Him in your car when you go into work. You can’t hang Him on the coat rack when you get home. And you can’t tuck Him into your shelved bible when you go on vacation. Where you go, He goes. If you’re looking for Him realize that He was knocking first. Confidently seek Him. Recognize Him. He is here. Always.
Live in His Presence.
We live in a fast-paced, get out of my way world where waiting is tangled up in our everyday lives. As the tips of our toes tap against the floor, we wait and we wait some more. We can be seen waiting at a doctor’s office, at an intersection, for an oven to pre-heat, for test results, and even to use the restroom.
Long ago, after being anointed with oil and proclaimed King, David the shepherd boy waits. He probably thinks to himself, “Why am I still leading these sheep when I ought to be leading God’s people?” While he waits to become King, he learns obedience, gains confidence, delivers messages, serves others, overcomes insecurities, depends on God and becomes a great warrior. This sounds like our everyday lives, don’t you think?
Think back on the last time God asked you to wait for something. Did you wait actively or passively?
David is a great example of someone who waits patiently on God. He resists the temptation to speed up the process. He is content with who he is and whose he is in that moment.
“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want [to be King right away; help me to wait on you];
He makes me lie down in green pastures,[God, help me to wait on you as I rest in you];
He restores my soul [Lord, please bring restoration to my life];
He guides me in paths of righteousness,
for his name’s sake [God guide me down the path of right choices while I wait].
The next time we find ourselves waiting…
We must learn to be content where we are;
Learn to have inner peace in the season of life we are in;
Learn to recognize growth opportunities in our walk with Jesus;
Refuse to settle for our best when we can wait for God’s best;
Realize God’s developing our character in these moments.
I will wait for you, Jesus… however long it takes. While I wait please help me to be still and know you are God (Ps 46:10); help me to remember you alone are my hope (Ps 33:20); help me to praise your name and rejoice in you while I wait (Ps 33:21); and please renew my strength so I will be able to wait patiently on you (Isaiah 40:31).
I thoughtfully examined the bread trying to decide if I should start over. Delicately, I turned it top side up and from this angle it appeared nothing short of perfect. So, I wrapped it up and delivered it to my friend knowing that even if she discovered its broken shame concealed underneath, she probably wouldn’t care one bit.
We are a lot like that loaf bread.
We have a cleaned up, put-together outer image that often fools people into concluding that we’re faultless. Now, I’m not saying we’re “trying” to fool people because that is not what’s going on. We girls just like to feel “together,” so we go to some trouble to make sure we look “together.” But, sadly we also get an instant eyeful of each other at our very best and assume that everything is just perfect inside and out. But it’s not. And if we get close enough we soon find, just like that bread, hidden underneath a protective masquerade is every girls very own brokenness and shame. Her not-so-perfect-ness and vulnerable insides are unveiled.
Sweet friends, we need to stop these false and very destructive assumptions. You know that right after determining that someone has got it all together we do the worst things. We compare. We get green-eyed. We condemn ourselves. We resent. We suddenly strive for someone else’s perceived perfection and we get lost.
The hard truth is that when we do this an automatic shift takes place. Suddenly we lose sight of how God instructs us to look and that has nothing to do with what’s on the outside.
The bible says…
“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:17 NIV)
If God is not looking at my appearance or yours then why do we? If God is only concerned about the condition of our hearts then why aren’t we? You know what gets dealt with when we focus on our heart? Our broken-ness. Our shame. Our healing. Our understanding of His ways. The real stuff. The things that really need attention. The very things that cause us to have an image that attempts to cover it all up.
Let’s be challenged together. To compare ourselves with the only measuring stick that counts, Jesus. To live by His standards. His ways. He is the only image of perfection worth striving for. Holy. Matchless. Faithful. Lover of our souls. Our Savior.
Honestly, why would we want anything else?
Sometimes, we allow unworthiness to pull us by the hair, drag us through the mud, and smear our reputation. Unworthiness demands our attention. It craves center stage in our lives. Its aggressive nature steals the spotlight away from God—making everything we do all about us, not about God.
Neighborhood walks, and
It’s a year of princesses and pirate ships; however, I prefer Star Wars action figures. Chewbacca piloting the Millennium Falcon through galaxies far, far away is definitely my favorite. Mom shakes her head but always encourages me to follow my heart.
show His unconditional love and acceptance when she needs it the most.
speak His life-giving truth and encouragement into her discouraged heart.
offer His unfailing forgiveness when she doesn’t think she deserves it.
seek His cover and protection over her life through prayer and support..
To teach her that her value as a woman is more than the way she looks.
To teach her how to become more than she thinks she is.
To know how it feels to be someone’s favorite.
Who softens her rough edges when they seem a little sharp.
To make her crooked paths straighter.
Who teaches her the importance of spending time together.
Who always welcomes her home, no matter how long she’s been gone.
To show her how He carried His cross just for her.
To provide footprints she can follow behind.
Who shows her what a true romance is supposed to look like.
To remind her that Jesus is her first love, when she forgets.
To teach her to be more concerned about His glory than her relief.
To remind her how it feels to be held when a mean world tosses her aside.
Who teaches her that she is His princess– a daughter of The King.
To be the shelter she can always run to.
Who shows her the joy in serving Him and others.
Who shows her she has at least one hero who will never let her down.
Yes sweet sister, I’m talking to you. God wants you to be His girl a “daddy’s girl,” no matter how old you get. You’ll never outgrow His love for you.
As you do that special thing you do today, He’s watching you, noticing you and loving you. So don’t forget to watch for Him, notice Him and love Him no matter how busy you get!
Psalm 18:32-36 (New International Version)
It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great.
You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn.
Have you ever stared into the eyes of a desperate soul and for a single, solitary moment connected so deeply and intensely to their personal suffering that it left you profoundly burdened?
This troubled sense rapidly swarms in on you like a dense invisible fog of heaviness. The shock of it stuns you into a motionless lapse of time. You know when it happens because as the air lightens and you transport back to reality the only remaining evidence of it occurring is the overwhelming desire to do something.
At first glance you might confuse this aching with guilt because your life seems so blessed in comparison. But, an intentional push past “you” reveals that this experience is of the supernatural kind. Behind this impressionable affliction lies a calling… a divine awakening to address the needs of another.
I personally experience this with the homeless. I have a biting urge to talk to these people as if life was completely normal and an even stronger compulsion to reach out and physically place my hands on them. I need them to know that I don’t see dirty or lacking, but beautiful, accepted and totally deserving of common touch and conversation without judgment or condemnation. Along with their very basic needs for shelter and food is the longing to simply feel loved.
Isn’t it awesome how God has a way of forcibly invading us? He taps into our core, tinkers around and leaves behind a passionate burden within us to move. That’s the blessing you know…
–That He chooses us to go for Him at all.
–That we get a front row seat to His work in and around us.
–That we are an extension of His love for the lost.
–And, that we get a glimpse of Him in the eyes of the helpless.
His word commands us to…
Carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) and to love one another. ( John 13:34)
Some things of God are a vast mystery, but others, such as these commands, He made crystal clear.
Following is another beautiful song by Matthew West called “My Little World.” I thought it made a nice ending to this post…