Be still.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”- ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭37:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Deactivating my Facebook has done “do not fret” wonders. I don’t miss the scrolling, scrolling, envying, laughing, scrolling, judging; feeling guilty…then chiding myself for allowing my eyes to burn into a bright rectangle for 20 minutes. And repeat. 

Instead, I am still.

Who decided to do away with the discipline of sitting still anyway? It commanded us throughout elementary school; maybe even middle & high school. But now, we don’t do it. 

What keeps you from sitting still?

Is it worth it?

 

Musings

2015 was a memorable year; an unraveling year. The year I woke up and stayed up. Each new month replaced a lie with a truth. Each season, an assurance replaced an assumption. And each moment, I grew increasingly aware of my purpose on this earth – to trust God and love Him above all else.

Up until now, I’ve skirted through life on the backs of my parents’ faith. Their prayers covered and upheld me; their relationship with God defined my perspective of Him, their perspective of the world shaped mine. Their thoughts towards me defined me.

I have good, godly parents; but my parents are not God. Before I was their child, I was His child. And His thoughts toward me outnumber the grains of sand. In 2015, I began to wonder: what breadth of colorful existence would I breathe if I allowed God’s thoughts to define me? What if I truly trusted in the God who loves me enough to die for me and relentlessly pursue me my whole life?

He tells me I’m worthy, I am righteous, I am blameless, I am holy. He calls me His own. What more does He have to say? And how will I hear Him?

While on earth, we will never fully perfect the art of listening to God. Hearing Him varies day by day. It requires a sensitivity to our surroundings, simple surrender, and a humility beyond human capability. But the primary practical place I hear God is in His living and active word.

Sometimes, we read something in the word, then God reveals the truth through real-life circumstances. Other times, we begin to sense that He’s telling us something through our own thoughts, and we receive confirmation through reading His word afterwards. Here is an example of the latter. Recently, obeying a gentle nudge to read 2 Samuel; I discovered the Old Testament story of Mephibosheth – the story to confirm everything.

Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son. Jonathan was King David’s best friend; one whom he loved deeply.

Mephibosheth lived a debilitating existence. Physically disabled from a young age by a cause outside of his control, he allowed his crippling circumstances to define him;  believing himself a “dead dog”.

But God’s gracious spirit prompted King David to bestow generosity upon his beloved Jonathan’s family in the years after his passing. Searching for any existing family members and finding Mephibosheth, the king declared Jonathan’s son worthy to dine at the royal table for the remainder of his life. David treated him as his own son, and Mephibosheth accepted the royal treatment.

I vow to make 2016 the year to accept God’s royal treatment. As a child of God, I have a Heavenly inheritance. And like Mephibosheth, I’m entitled to sit and dine at the table of the king – not because of anything I’ve done, but because of who my father is.

What do you boast in?

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:14‬ ‭NIV

I’ll never forget the afternoon this truth changed my life. 

I was 21 and confused. Though at this point I had begun to realize little by little just how real God is, I hadn’t quite found the spiritual strength within to change my ways. But I understood His never-ending love for me, His approachability, and my desperate need for Him. 

Therefore, I did talk to Him and acknowledge Him throughout the day, even in the midst of sin – particularly, my daily habit of smoking marijuana. 

I often combined cannabis with Christ; like that time I listened to Hillsong United’s “Oceans” while stoned. I also have fond memories of smoking a bowl on my night off before heading to Gingerman; where I’d sit at the bar, flirt with Andre the cute Colombian bartender, and nurse a crisp, cold beer served in a wine glass – all while reading C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity and telling those around me about Jesus.

Remember, 21 and confused…

Anyway. 

One day, after smoking a bowl out of my bedroom window, I decided to listen to a Tim Keller sermon. I chose one on random. Truthfully, I don’t recall if this was the specific Bible passage or any of his signature three key points. But here’s a summary of what I do remember:

“You see….in so many instances, young people cycle in and out of church their whole lives. They come in, feeling convicted for their sins, and pray,

 ‘Oh God, forgive me, help me not to sin in this way, I promise I won’t sin anymore.’

Then, what do they do? Yep. They go back into the world, they’re good for a few months…until they fall again. So they stay away from church for a while longer until they feel guilty and convicted enough to come back and start the process all over again.” 

Now, my eyes are wide open. My heart pounding, my breath quickening, “He’s talking about me…”

He continued, “Here’s the thing – these people never actually become Christians.”

And, now I’m sobbing. 

“Okay now, for one second, I want you to do this – I don’t want you to think about your sin. Now don’t go post on Twitter that ‘Tim Keller says don’t think about your sin’, I just mean momentarily: stop thinking about your sin. Instead, I want you to ask yourself something. What is it that you boast in? If you boast in your looks, your work, your likability; or even another human being, you are validating your existence by something that you may one day lose. But if you boast in the Lord, in His death and resurrection – that’s something you’ll never lose.” 

I lost it.

Now when you’re high, you have a ton of different conversations blabbing on in your head at the same time. Mine basically were as such:

“Wow, God, you’re really there and this message really is for me….No, no, I’m making this all up, I’m overthinking because I’m high…WAIT. NO I’M NOT. I believe in You when I’m sober, too! GOD!!? IT’S YOU!!!”

Hm, not as profound as I remembered. 

But, its effect was long lasting. 

After that day, I asked Him to help me loosen my grip on the habits, relationships, thoughts, and emotions I had accrued from living in the world. I began to ask God to replace me with more of Him. I remember my parents raised eyebrows as I told them my convictions, fully aware of and understanding of their reluctance to believe me. 

Nevertheless, slowly but surely, God took away everything I once boasted in – the freedom of a car to stay out late after work, my ability and craving to manipulate men, my somewhat impressive weed and alcohol tolerance and desire for it altogether, my immediately judgmental and profane thoughts about myself and others….just to name a few.

And what did I gain? Exactly what I asked for: more of Him. 

Let me be clear – I can truly boast in the power of His spirit. How else could I have stopped drinking? How else could I have stopped having sex? By my own willpower? I’m afraid not. I tasted His presence, and saw that it was good. And I learned that the momentary sacrifice of a glass of wine is well worth the sweetness of His presence in obedience. 

I’ve also learned His presence slowly destroys any fear or apprehension of sharing the gospel. When Jesus becomes the center of the wheel of our lives, each spoke of each day originates with Him and goes out into the lives of others. And with constant blessings flowing through us, we become delighted to boast in our Lord and deflect the glory back to Him. We know it is HIM at the center. We’re just the vessel. 

But God doesn’t need a perfect vessel; God doesn’t even want a perfect vessel. He wants You. He wants You to trust Him, because He; unlike your physical attributes or your mental abilities, will never grow weak or disappear. And as you begin to boast in Him, He begins to unfold the unsearchable treasures of your new life; that can only be found in Him. 

Daily Graces

“Harlotry and wine and new wine take away the heart and the mind and the spiritual understanding.”

Hosea 4:11 (AMP)

Grace, what have you done? Because if grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking. And how sweet the sound! How high, how long, how wide. Your grace is enough.

All true statements. However.

Though His grace never runs dry, ours does – our daily graces, that is. The daily moments of knowing Him.

Our recognition of Him. Our continual acquaintance with Him. Our appreciation of Him. Our willingness to give heed to Him, and our deep desire to forever cherish Him. (Hosea 2:20 AMP)

Daily graces are gazes and glimpses of Heaven. They’re available every day.

Some days we see them. Some days we don’t. We’re human and we’ve fallen; stubborn sons and daughters sucked into the quicksand of sin.

Ultimately, where sin abounds, grace abounds. A Christian’s righteousness and right standing was bought by beautiful blood she did not earn and cannot lose. But sins of the flesh will cost her heart, her mind, and her spiritual understanding.

Sin will blind her spiritual eyes from sparkling freely; from finding Heavenly love letters strewn along the way throughout her day. It will welcome shame to clothe her; disguising her from herself as she leers behind sheers of fear. Suddenly, her cross gains weight and His cross loses value. And as she trades His stability and faithfulness for the shaky bridge of willpower, she loses love.

But His love never loses, and His grace supplies ours. Daily.

She returns to the Word to renew her mind and to restart her heart.
Because to know herself, is to first know Him.

Be Free

Be free to love, because love brings freedom.
Be free to see with unseen eyes.
Be free to feel His presence rise.

Do not hide
Behind the disguise
Of indifference,

But hide
In the truth
Of deliverance.

For release
is not in the trying,

It is in the dying.

Speaking from Experience 

Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:165‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

It’s tempting to wake up and proclaim a declaration: that I will wait on God’s guidance in every move I make – that I may not turn to the right or to the left, but walk exactly on the path He’s called me to from before time began. It’s a noble feat…but it’s incomplete and misdirected. Our focus is on us, not God. And in approaching every day like this, we’re limiting both God and His word.

We’re limiting God in His all-powerful abilities by placing too much agency on ourselves. In other words, we’re giving ourselves too much credit. His purposes don’t depend on me – if I neglect obedience, God will use a mule to speak for me. Furthermore, we’re forgetting His sovereignty; and that what man meant for evil, God uses for good. Thank You, Lord. 

We’re also limiting the power and depth of His word. In many situations, if we just knew His word, we would know which direction to take. For example, once our hearts know the guidelines of godly wisdom laid out for us in James 3:17, we then have a solid standard of measurement for many decisions. 

But if you’re in a situation where you really need to wait on God, then you really need His word all the more. Because in the waiting, the enemy has time and space to creep in and speak. And if we’re not meditating solely on God’s word, we become unsure of who’s voice we hear. 

My point? Seeking God’s will both overall and in the day to day is impossible without regular reading and meditation on God’s word. For it is by His word that we fall deeply in love with Him. Find a translation that speaks to you and make it a daily habit. As C.S. Lewis so eloquently once said, 

“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.” 

(Mere Christianity)

Being in love with God means being in love with His word. In order to make that happen, just begin reading! And the more you read God’s word, the more you will presently come to love Him. 

Thank you, Lord, for your word. Give us faith to take you at your word and to believe and walk in the promises you’ve given us. Increase our hunger and thirst for You, and give us the discipline to set aside time each day with You. We love you. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

For God So Loved His Daughters

For God so loved His daughters,
that He gave His only Son.
That whosoever relies on Him,
her battle will be won,
By the One who reigns, til Kingdom Come.
We, the pretty ones, his favorite ones.
The apple of His eye.
Plagued with pride
by our enemy,
who doesn’t want us to survive.
He knows the power of a holy bride.
But,
I’ve learned,
that our curse is a blessing,
Because it unveils our weakness, and therefore, strength.
God teaches us the posture of surrender
not just to man, but to God.
He, defender of the weak,
says the greatest will be the least.
And He supplies our breath, regardless of whether we believe.
But relinquishing control allows us to succeed,
in all things.
The honest gain common sense, those with integrity are protected.
…In what are you invested?
In fighting a fight that’s already been won,
though there’s nothing new under the sun?
Daughter,
Angels long to look into these things!
Truths greater than any song we can sing,
eternal realities of unfair favor and intimacy with our Creator.
ALL power flows from the Throne of Grace,
and is not limited or constricted by the systems of this world.
Be Strong and Courageous.
He has given us the land!
Let’s take a stand
and speak for those whose voices cannot be heard,
defending the truly weak and meek that seek a Savior,
serving as God’s hands and feet with shoes of peace that man can’t understand.
For God so loved his daughters,
that they may love each other.

Living Water

A while ago, my friend BJ had a vision for me where he could see Jesus in a garden, and he felt like God was saying, “I am planting something new in you. Let my presence be the living water for the garden that I’m planting in your heart.”

Beautiful, right? So I meditated on that for a while and wrote this song. Now, what’s really beautiful, is that when this song is in my head, I immediately enter into the presence of God – which was God’s command in the first place. MIND. BLOWN.

ENJOY!

I love you, Jesus

I Keep on Fallin…IIIIIIINNNNNNNNN

Now this….this.

On an incredible trip to Georgia visiting family and friends, I was brought to a trucker bar called “Southern Comfort” on karaoke night. When I say trucker bar, I mean that I saw actual trucks in the parking lot….

I’m from Connecticut. I felt like I was at a museum of men and women with really long hair. It was a night of secondhand smoke, fried okra, ridiculous dancing, and laughing so hard I cried. And, this.

WOOOOO

Holy Spirit, You’re Already Here

I am a worshipper. I try to thank God for making me one almost every hour of every day. Knowing that my calling is to lead others into the presence of God; peeling back the atmosphere and allowing space for an open Heaven….is there anything greater?

Come Flood Dis Place