My hope is that this blog will be a conduit for conversation between you and me, between you and others, and most importantly, between you and God. Experience has shown me that my best conversations with the Lord and with others come coupled with the stillness of morning and a cup of coffee. Whatever your experience has been, I hope you will join me as I share what God puts on my heart.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Beyond the bittersweet.

In every happy event, there is usually an aspect of sadness.  Even the most positive circumstances can provide some fragment of pain. The happenings of life are bittersweet: one door opening means another door closing, a new chapter means the end to an old chapter, progression brings maturity, but progression brings change, and with life comes death.

As a child, we were rarely aware of the bitter with the sweet.  And as an adult, it is hard to not disproportionately dwell on that bitter with the sweet.  This war between the bitter and sweet of life will be lurking in every circumstance.  And this has made me hunger for the abundant and unchanging joy we find in our Lord.

Only in our Lord can we find the fullness of joy untainted by circumstance.

I am not being pessimistic; I am acknowledging our unrealistic expectations of being fulfilled by happy circumstances.  Fortunately, we do not have to be satisfied with tainted joy.  It is not that we become content with the broken happiness that life often is; it is that we find our joy in Christ.

The joy of Christ fosters an ability to live beyond the bittersweet that is present in even the most celebratory situations.  When our joy is premised on God, on hope in God, and on God’s promises, we have the fullest joy attainable.  Because our Lord and our Lord’s promises do not change, that joy predicated on our Lord and our Lord’s promises is complete always

Our feelings and reliance on that joy may falter with our humanity, but we always have the opportunity to maximize unwavering joy in Jesus Christ.

And I do not think we should be surprised.  If earthly aspects of life will be eternally fleeting, then happiness premised on earthly aspects of life is equally fleeting.  The fleeting nature of happiness premised on human circumstances is not inherently bad—happiness is a wonderful, God-created experience.  But without the joy of God as a platform always, those happy earthly circumstances eventually prove empty.  

Praise God that we do not have to be bound by this constant war between momentary happiness and pain.  Of course, that bittersweet will always be present.  But this joy that comes from the presence of God is bigger than the bittersweet.

When I experience the presence of God, when I know that I am where God wants me, when I praise God, I experience the fullness of God in my life. And experiencing the fullness of God means my heart is fulfilling the pinnacle of its existence.  At the pinnacle of our existence—in the fullness of God—is the fullness of joy.

And joy premised on God will forever be available to me, and it will forever be available to you.  Because God makes our joy eternally complete despite the emotions we feel, we can perpetually live beyond the bittersweet of our human existence.

I pray we take hold of this joy that our Lord has so graciously made available to us.

“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.”  (Acts 2:28 NIV).

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  (1 Peter 1:8, 9 NIV).  

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  (Romans 15:13 NIV).




On another note, nothing can be more bittersweet than the super-black-I-need-to-man-up coffee I made this morning.  Hello, creamer.

Much love to you,

Paige

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The in-between.

We spend much of our life in the in-between: in between a peak and a valley, in between birth and eternity, in between the start and the finish, in between surrendering to Christ and experiencing complete union with Christ, in between fulfilling God’s purpose for the previous chapter and knowing God’s purpose for the next chapter.  While we tend to define our lives by the highs and the lows because the highs and the lows feel more purposeful, the in-betweens are equally important.  If most of our life is lived in the in-between, then how we live in the in-between becomes all the more significant.

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

Seeking the Lord is often easier during the peak because it is far easier to believe our Lord is good.  And we are often more compelled to seek the Lord during the valley because of our need we perceive.  But our Lord’s call is no less acute in the normal, every-day in-between. 

Perhaps it is during the in-between that we have the opportunity to maximize our communion with God.  While in the valley, we become fixated on the Lord healing us of the pain.  While on the mountaintop, we rejoice and live in the joy that seems more real because we truly feel it.  These portions of our journey are equally authentic and stretching.  But it is the in-between that teaches us to find our Lord as healer without the valley.  It is the in-between that teaches us to trust God is our joy without the mountaintop.

We must use the in-between to press into God.  If we are to seek God’s face always, we must fervently seek God’s face during the in-between.  When we lean into God during the in-between, we experience God in a new way.  Maybe during this in-between, we are undistracted by whatever pain propels us toward God in the valley.  Maybe during this in-between, we are less inclined to rejoice in God solely because we feel the emotion of happiness.

This in-between may cause you to feel less excited about God, but this in-between is an opportunity to know God in an unfettered fashion. 

Do not miss the opportunity of the in-between.  When you do not feel the emotion of joy that propels you to thank God, thank God nonetheless.  When you do not feel the motivation of sorrow that propels you to seek God for healing, ask God to heal you nonetheless.  When you do not perceive your need that propels you to be fulfilled by God, seek fulfillment in God nonetheless.  The highs and the lows of life are no less essential to our growth in Christ.  But I am convinced that the Lord does a unique work in us when we seek our Lord during the in-between. 

I pray you use your in-between to thank our Lord, to experience the joy in our Lord, to sit quietly before our Lord, to trust our Lord, to seek what you need in our Lord, and to grow in your knowledge of our Lord.  Praise God for the in-between.    

“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”  (1 Chronicles 16:11 NIV).

“Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.”  (Proverbs 8:34 NIV).

“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.”  (Psalm 34:1 NIV).



Bottoms up, my fine friends.

Much love to you,

Paige

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

To the full.

It is no secret that the enemy loves to distract us.  By distracting us from what God has for us in this moment, the enemy can steal the joy that God has made available to us in this moment.  If we obsess about the next step, we become too paralyzed to take the present step or to seek God in the present.

I have been distracted from living in this moment, in this step, in today.  I have talked about it before because it is a constant fight.  And maybe you can relate.

When I dwell on the future, I miss today.  When I become fixated on my plans, on creating a plan, on a solution, on the if-onlys, on the some-days, the next step, I have trouble executing my current step.  Even more important than this step, this moment, this day is the presence of God in this step, this moment, this day.

The future is not reality.  And I distort reality when I project my mind into the future.  And so do you.  God defines our reality.  Our God is present right now.  Our God is already present in tomorrow.  While God is omnipresent, we are only capable of being present in the right now.  I will struggle to experience God if I am trying to live in tomorrow.  Being fixated on my notions of tomorrow means missing the presence of God right now.

God is our joy.  When we miss the presence of our God in this moment—the only moment we are promised—we miss the joy of God.

I refuse to be robbed.  I will not miss the abundance of Christ in today.  I will not be fooled into trading the joy of Christ’s presence in this minute for the fearful projections of a mind that cannot fathom Christ’s creativity and provision in tomorrow.  Our Lord has given us life in Christ—and only that is life to the full.  But, that life—that calling—is happening in this moment.  

I will make a choice to live in the presence of God.  And the presence of God is in the present.  And that is our reality.  Fixation on the future creates a flawed forecast predicated on an extreme underestimation of Christ’s power.  These forecasts are a lie—and we must recognize them as lies.

If I sound frustrated, I am.  Our Lord has made His presence available to us always.  But in our humanity, the present time is the only time we can currently experience the Lord’s presence.  I choose to experience God in this moment.  You must choose to experience God in this moment.  And lately, I have forgotten that we make the choice.

How paralyzed and downtrodden we can become if the enemy can get us to dwell on the next moment, on the next step, on the future.  I implore you to choose the right now, this moment, this step, this single decision, this day.  Because this moment is where we can experience our Lord, that is where we must remain.

Praise the Lord for His help in doing so.  Praise the Lord that experiencing His presence in the present is life to the full.

“You make known to me the path of life; you fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”  (Psalm 16:11 NIV).

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”  (John 10:10 NIV).

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.”  (Psalm 89:15 NIV).




Speaking of life to the full—I'm in need of a refill.

Much love to you,

Paige

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I Am.

In my recent season of life, I have been pleading with God to give me specific answers.  Nearly all our seasons of life are like this to some extent.  But, often certain seasons of life include what we perceive as life-changing decisions.  I find myself believing that these decisions will determine whether I am in God’s will.  And because I do not want to forgo God’s plan, I want God to give me a yes or no regarding these decisions.  In doing so, I often stifle the freedom to which Christ has called me.

Maybe you are pursuing God for a yes or no.

Our Lord did not give me the answer I want.  Our Lord did not give me a yes or no.  Instead, God reminded me, I AmI Am the answerOur Lord is the answer.  Of course, our Lord is gracious enough to let us know when our decisions are wrong or when we have made a misstep.  But, the Lord prompted me to believe that sometimes the precise step we take is not a yes or no.  Because in Christ, when we are seeking Christ, we cannot miss God.  God’s grace is over us.  God does not want us to miss His plan for our lives. 

Thus, when we are seeking God and we have not heard otherwise, perhaps the exact step we take is immaterial.  In this case, God’s plan is not limited to our yes or no.  God is powerful enough and gracious enough to accomplish His plan in varying circumstances.  We will be in God’s plan because we have sought God.

We are in God’s plan not because we perfectly achieved a predestined step.  We are in God’s plan because we sought God, and our God is too gracious to let us misstep.  We are in God’s plan because our God has the power to accomplish His will in alternative circumstances.

Then, our confidence that we are in God’s plan for our lives is premised on God’s grace.  I want to possess this confidence in Christ.  And, I want it for you.  We miss this abundant life of freedom to which Christ has called us when we incessantly question our present state of life. 

Until you know otherwise, trusting is your only responsibility.  Trust that our God will let you know when you are in the wrong.  Trust that God is too gracious to let you miss His will.  Trust that our Lord Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to provide a new covenant for you.  That covenant gives us full communion with God through Christ.  And the foundation of that covenant is that Christ is our atonement; Christ is our grace.  And because of this grace in Christ Jesus, our God is for us and not against us.  And if our Lord is our advocate, then our Lord wants to accomplish His plan in our lives. 

During this Easter season, I pray we can rejoice in this freedom we have through grace in Christ Jesus.  This freedom is not a license to sin; this freedom is trust.  If grace can conquer eternal death to our entire being, then surely grace can conquer the death in every component of our journey in Christ. 

Freedom in Christ produces a life of abundance because Christ has set us free from earning favor with God.  We must stop living like God’s plan for our life is a treasure hunt.  We must stop living like God’s plan for our life is this ambiguous answer that depends on us to perfectly ascertain.  The answer is not always a yes or no.  I Am is the answer.  The answer is God.  If you are seeking God, you are living God’s plan for your life right now. 

Praise God for the grace that is Christ Jesus.  Praise God that our Lord’s death and resurrection brought freedom to every facet of our lives.  I pray we take hold of this freedom.

“God said to Moses, ‘I Am who I Am.’  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I Am has sent me to you.’”  (Exodus 3:14 NIV).

“But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”  (Psalm 33:11 NIV).

"For this reason, Christ is the mediator of the new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”  (Hebrews 9:15 NIV).

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  (Galatians 5:1 NIV).




I've got the joy joy joy joy in my coffee cup.  WHERE?  In my coffee cup...........

Sorry, that was awkward.  I am sure you have seen this glorious Almond Joy creamer before.  And if you haven't--oh my.  You poor, unfortunate soul.

Much love to you,

Paige


Friday, March 30, 2012

Because they know His voice.

I have been caught up in the grind of life.  In doing so, I have had trouble hearing the voice of our Lord.  Our Lord is certainly speaking; our Lord is certainly moving.  But the less time I spend with the Lord, the more trouble I have hearing or discerning our Lord’s voice.
  
I cannot expect to be led by the Lord if I cannot discern the Lord's voice.

I have learned there is a distinction between being aware of God throughout my day and consciously setting aside time just for God.  While there is a distinction between being aware of God and deliberately setting aside time solely for God, the latter affects the former.  The more time I spend with God, the more I am aware of and hear God.

We must set aside time dedicated solely to God.

When the Lord recently led me to examine a hardened part of my heart, the Lord also prompted me to spend more time with Him.  My hardened heart was very much related to the little time I was setting aside for the Lord.  The less time I spend with God, the less I recognize God’s voice.  My inability to recognize God's voice makes my heart hard and less malleable to the things of God.  It is not that God is not moving; it is that I become less sensitive to God’s movement.  

Too many of us expect to maintain an intimate relationship with Christ without spending time devoted purely to Christ.  In this respect, our relationship with God is much like any other relationship.  Without time safeguarded wholly for my spouse, my friend, my sibling, my parent, you name it, our relationship will not grow.  If I do life alongside a friend without dedicating time specifically to that friendship, that friendship will become stagnant.  Likewise, I will never maximize communion with our Lord if I solely execute my day alongside God without sharing my day with God.  And, so it is with you.  

We may be able to maintain the statutes quo with our Lord by acknowledging Him and being aware of Him.  We may even maintain the status quo in our relationship with God by frequently gathering with other believers, serving others, and avoiding sin.  But the Lord has called us to maturity in Christ.  And I am convinced that maturity in Christ necessitates isolated time with our God.   

And I am not being extreme—I am just encouraging you to set aside a small amount of your day purely for God.  It is true that communing with other believers, serving others, and avoiding sin are attributes of Christ.  But the personal, alone time with our Lord is the platform for Christ.

And so I reiterate ad nauseam, there is a direct relationship between the undistracted time we spend alone with God and our ability to hear God’s voice. 

The more time we spend with God, the better we will discern God’s voice.  The better we discern God’s voice, the more full our communion with God will be.  The more full our communion with God, the more mature we become in God.  Growing in Christ means knowing Christ.  To continuously know Christ more requires time alone with Christ.

Praise God that our Lord Jesus desires to spend time with us.  I pray you safeguard this time.  For me, I am learning to perpetually fight for this time with God.  Even when this means fighting against myself or my lack of desire.  If we do not understand the impact of personal time with our Lord; if we do not regard this time as precious, we will forever choose our time over time with our Lord.

"[T]he sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice."  (John 10:4 NIV).

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."  (John 10:27 NIV).

"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."  (Luke 5:16 NIV).

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."  (Mark 1:35 NIV). 

"Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say."  (Isaiah 28:23 NIV).




If I seem verbose today, I certainly am.  I am drinking a very large latte.  And I am absolutely unapologetic. 

Much love to you,

Paige

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In all things.

It is wonderful to encounter individuals who are accomplishing God’s will for their lives.  I imagine you know what I am talking about—those people you meet that give you pause because you know that person is doing exactly what God created that person to do.  There is no better feeling than knowing you, yourself, are precisely where God wants you.  How joyous to know that you are in God’s will.

Yet, I doubt many of us spend most of our moments experiencing this joy.  I do not want you to miss this joy—the joy of knowing that you are in the place of God.

I have encountered many friends who incessantly question God’s will for their lives.  Many people—even people seeking hard after God—never feel certain that they are where God wants them.  I, myself, fight fear that I am somehow missing the Lord’s plan for my life.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.

God is not limited by our circumstances.  I am not convinced that God’s perfect plan for your life is an inflexible treasure hunt that requires steps one through ten.  Do not limit our Lord to your mistakes.  Do not restrict our God’s plan for your life to your wrong turns.  If our God can use my idiotic mishaps and wrong turns to accomplish His glory, our God can certainly use yours.  If our God can accomplish good in the wrong done to Joseph by his brothers; if our God can use Paul despite his persecution of Christians, our God can use us for His glory. 

Our Lord certainly does not will for you to sin, for you to miss His direction, for you to experience pain.  But, trust that our Lord Jesus can use all things for His glorious purpose.

When you are unsure what exactly God has called you to, trust that God has called you to seek hard after God.  When you do not know what door to walk through, walk toward God.  When all the doors are closed, remember that God is always open to you.  When numerous doors are open, if you are seeking God, you cannot miss what God has for you. 

When you have repeatedly failed in the same area, know that God is not limited.  When this is the first time that you have acknowledged God, God is still accomplishing His glorious purpose in you.  When you are treading through a colossal valley, God is working.  When you are experiencing pain, trust that God is not finished.  When you have sought God and still have not heard from God, rely on God’s promises. 

Trust that by seeking the Lord, you are exactly where the Lord wants you. 

When life does not make sense, remember that God’s plan does not always make sense.  If you are alive, God is still accomplishing His purpose in you.  Do not be short-sighted.  Do not reduce the power of our God to your screw-ups.  We worship the most creative Being that will ever exist.  If you are seeking after our Lord, you are precisely where God wants you.

I pray you celebrate that God is accomplishing His perfect plan in your life today.  Not tomorrow when you get it together.  Not yesterday before you messed up your life.  Not last week before you heard the bad news.  God does not will sin, failure, and pain in your life, but God can certainly use them.  Praise God that our futility is His glory. 

"Am I in the place of God?  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."  (Genesis 50:19, 20 NIV).

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  (Romans 8:28 NIV).

'"Brother Saul, receive your sight!'  And at that very moment I was able to see him.  Then he said: 'The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth.  You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.  And now what are you waiting for?  Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.'"  (Acts 22:13-16 NIV).




What would you do if I told you I am still in my jammies while finishing my third cuppa coffee? I know, I know; I am ruthless to rub it in.  For those who have outgrown Spring Break, put another pot on.

Much love to you,

Paige 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Those who seek the Lord.

I rarely follow up a previous post with another related post, but I feel compelled to do so.  In light of the Lord’s work on my heart, my last post seems incomplete.  If you think I am repeating myself, I likely am.  Repetition is often necessary to stir our hearts.

Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

God has already provided for us in every area.  For every aspect of life, God has made His fulfillment available.  But, there is a condition precedent—a prerequisite—to being fulfilled by our Lord. 

Those who seek the Lord.

We are fulfilled by God in every area of our lives when we seek after God in every area of our lives.  This does not necessarily mean that we have a checklist for the significant areas of our lives to make sure we pray about those areas every waking moment.  It is about consciously safeguarding our needs from counterfeit fulfillment.   

God certainly can and wants to fulfill your need.  In Christ, you have no need.  But, if you have not gone to Christ with your need, you either have a conscious void or phony satisfaction.

Being satisfied in God is two-fold.  First, we must trust that Christ is everything we need—in every facet of life.  Trust that God has made everything available to us for life and godliness.  We discussed this trust component in my previous post.      

Second, we must ask our Lord to show us any need we are not placing in Christ.  While God makes available to us all things we need, we do not always seek what God has for us.  God has done His part.  Even when we do not place our needs in God, it is no less true that God has already provided for those needs.   

Then, being satisfied in God very much depends on us.  God has made available all things for life and godliness.  You lack no good thing.  It is you who must place your need in the context of these truths. 

Thankfully, God will show you your need.  The Lord prompted me to discover what need I am not placing in God.  God has shown me that I have repeatedly sought the world’s approval.   I return empty time and time again.  I will never be satisfied because the world’s approval is fleeting.  We are not of the world.  And if we are not of the world, our needs cannot be fulfilled by worldly satisfactions.

This need of mine—and all of our needs—has already been fulfilled by God.  In Christ, God’s approval of me never changes.  In Christ, I have no need in this particular area or in any area.  But, I will forever have a need if I do not place that need in Christ.

And you will forever have a need if you do not place your need in Christ.

Trust that God has provided for all components of your being.  You will never experience this abundant fulfillment if you withhold any components of your being from Christ.

I urge you to ask God if there is a need in your life.  Discern any voids in your heart that you are not letting our Lord fulfill.  Trust that God will show you if you have a void.  Trust that if you are whole-heartedly seeking after God, you lack nothing in Christ.  Praise God that our Lord not only richly fulfills our needs, but our Lord graciously leads us away from pseudo fulfillments.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”  (Psalm 139:23 NIV).

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”  (Psalm 90:14 NIV).

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”  (John 17:16 NIV).

“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”  (Isaiah 58:11 NIV).




I know what you're thinking.  And no, God has not prompted me to give my need for coffee to Him.  I am not physiologically and psychologically dependent on coffee.  I don't know what you're talking about.

Much love to you,

Paige

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

All things that pertain to life and godliness.

Desperation forces us to make decisions we normally would not make.  Decisions premised on what we think we need easily become irrational.  Desperate choices are often not life-giving, abundant choices.  I do not want to develop the habit of making fear-based decisions.  I do not want to make decisions because I am worried that I will lose what I need.  I do not want to make decisions because I fear I cannot otherwise obtain what I need.  I do not want this for you. 

Through Christ, we never have to act out of desperation.  Not in the worst of circumstances.  Not in the best.  Our God has already made available everything we will ever need.

I sense that you are concerned—concerned that I am going to say that God is all we need.  But, it is true: God is all we need.  God is far more than we need.  We have trouble believing that God is what we need and that God is all we need because of our understanding of God.

Our Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness.

I am not just speaking in spiritual terms. God is what we need spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially, relationally—for every area of life, for always.  I am not one who is unrealistically clinging to God while claiming He solely meets my spiritual needs.  I am not proclaiming that when our spiritual needs are met, our every need is met.  I am very much proclaiming that God goes far beyond your spiritual needs.  And this makes sense if you truly believe God cares for more than your spiritual component.  

For if our Lord solely cared about our spiritual elements, our Lord would not provide for our earthly elements.  But because our Lord cares about all the minutiae of life, He provides for the minutiae of life.  Our Lord has numbered every hair on your head.  Why would God number every hair on your head if He solely cared about your spiritual condition?  We must stop limiting the role of our God in our minds.  When we confine our Lord to purely spiritual provision, we limit our Lord’s glory in every detail of our lives.

Those who seek God lack no good thing.

When we stop restricting God's provision to our spiritual aspects of life, we recognize that we lack nothing.  We never have to make decisions premised on what we think we need.  We have what we need right now.  And we will have what we need when tomorrow comes, just as we had what we needed when yesterday came.  Because our God will provide for now and for always, our decisions can be premised on Him.  Our decisions can be premised on where God leads us and not where our fictional needs call us.

If we do not have it, we do not need it.  If we need it, we have it.  We need Christ.  We need more of Christ.  And more of Christ is available to me always.  And more of Christ is available to you always.

Trust that the Lord has given you everything you need right now.  Trust that you lack no good thing.  Trust that our Lord Jesus has given you more than enough for life and godliness.  Praise God.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence . . . .” (2 Peter 1:3 ESV).

“The Lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:10 NIV).

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”  (Matthew 10:29-31 NIV).




I happen to know a gal who is struggling with this daylight saving time business.  The only thing I am springing forward to is my coffee pot.

Much love to you,

Paige
   

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

You are of Christ.

A vision statement is essential to any organization.  It is that vision that provides consistency through challenging events, successful periods, and other life experiences.  That vision provides a structure for where the organization wants to be in the future. 

We have been called to a vision.   

I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness.

And I implore you not to forget the vision to which you have been called.  While we each have varying specific missions to accomplish the vision to which God has called us, I believe we have the same vision.  God inhabits this vision because God is the One who called us to this vision.  And if God called us to this vision, it is God who will accomplish this vision in us.  And if it is God who will accomplish this vision in us, then seeking God realizes this vision.       

I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people.

This vision provides consistency through the experiences of life.  This vision reminds us who we are in Christ when we become jaded by failure or enamored with success.  This vision anchors us amidst distracting circumstances.  This vision propels us when we fight apathy.

I will keep you and make you to open eyes that are blind.

This vision is what I return to when I forget who I am in Christ.  This vision is the structure for what God is accomplishing in me.  This vision echoes that my only role in this vision is to incessantly chase after God.  Above all, this vision conveys that it is God who will accomplish this vision within me. 

And within you.

I will keep you and make you to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

God has called you.  And God places Christ within those who respond to this call.  Christ is within you.  And you are Jesus Christ to the world.  Then, you have the vision of Christ.  It is Christ.  Christ is your vision.  And because Christ is within us and Christ is our vision, it is Christ who is accomplishing this vision.

I pray we do not forget it.  I too easily forget.  And God has graciously reminded me through His Word of the vision He has placed within me.  For me, God has used Isaiah 42.  It makes sense to me that the vision of Christ would be the same vision to which God has called us.  I encourage you to find yours.

Praise God, praise God that God has not solely called us to a vision; God has placed His vision within us. 

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him.”  (Isaiah 42:1 NIV).

“This is what God the Lord says—he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”  (Isaiah 42:5-7 NIV).

“[Y]ou are of Christ, and Christ is of God.”  (1 Corinthians 3:23 NIV).




If you happen to be one who enjoys coffee that has body, you need to try this.  It is not so much sweet and not so much flavorful, but it is very much bold.  I like this coffee like I like my man: strong.

Much love to you,

Paige

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In Your light we see light.


I do not want you to feel trapped—trapped between what you are doing now and what you need to do tomorrow.  I do not want you to be trapped in a seemingly purposeless or bad experience.  Because that trap will always exist.  There is always going to be somethingSomething to do.  Something to be down about.

We must learn to live above that something.

We live above the something by asking God to take hold of that something.  We live above that something by acknowledging that God will use that something—even if that something is the most mundane, meaningless, or negative something.  We live above the something by communing with God.  When we commune with God, God is our context.  And that something gains meaning because that something becomes a conduit for God’s glory. 

And suddenly, that something is a vessel for God.  Every event, every duty, every action of ours is a conduit for God.

God gives us meaning.  God gives us purpose.  God cloaks everything we do with meaning.  Even the most meaningless obligations, the most meaningless occurrences in our lives can breathe hallelujahs to our Lord.

And the joyous life Christ calls us to is realized.  Endless worship to God breeds joy.  Even when I am disengaged in the task.  Even when the task will not matter a year from now.  Even when I do not understand why this event has occurred.  Even when I do not see how this insignificant occurrence can be purposeful.  Even when nobody will notice the task.  Even when I could care less about my responsibilities.  

God is our light.  God is light within you.  And God brings light to everything you do.  You are doing what God created you to do.  You are doing life—no matter how insignificant—in the context of pursuing God.  And, God is glorified.

Then, it is not the bad circumstance, it is not the purposeless occurrence, it is not the mundane obligation that glorifies God.  You are what glorifies God.

Even when we are not consciously speaking praise to God, our endless pursuit of God glorifies Him. 

How humbling that our Lord and King uses our useless life motions as His throne.  I have every reason to smile.  I have every reason to be inspired.  And so do you. 

Thank You, God, for giving our lives meaning.  Thank You, God, that every exhalation can bring praise to You. 

“For with You is the fountain of life; In your light we see light.”  (Psalm 36:9 NKJV).

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”  (Colossians 3:23 NKJV).

“My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.”  (Psalm 71:8 NIV).




Why, yes, that is a pink lipstick stain on my cuppa coffee.  It's called marking your territory.  

Much love to you,

Paige

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Only He will release my feet from the snare.


We spend much of our lives barely skimping by.  We hang by a thread.  We speed, we sprint, and we run from one thing to the next.  And we are relieved when we complete one task—but only for a moment, for the next urgent task awaits us.  And we cannot give an inch because we do not have an inch.   

And this is a snare.

The season of Lent is very much about removing that which distracts us from God.  Lent is a reminder that there is a relationship between our schedule and our relationship with Christ.

I am convinced that God has not called us to a schedule that is busting at the seams.  God has called us to an abundant life.  Abundance is life in God.  God has taught me that abundance is tied to my decisions about time. We have experienced periods of famine, where we have very little time to spare.  But, God has given us the ability to make feast-giving choices.  Choices that give us more than enough.  Feast-giving choices are choices that give us margin in our schedule.  Margin gives us room to be moved by our Lord.

The more freedom I have, the more willing I am to spend time with God.  The more freedom I have, the more attentive I am to God.  The more freedom I have, the more flexibility I have to respond to God. 

I have freedom because I will choose margin.  And you can choose margin too.

Saying yes to God often means saying no to whatever else demands our freedom.  And that whatever else that demands our freedom may be an inherently good activity, goal, decision, or commitment.  But, if it is sucking the flexibility from your life; if it is suffocating the passion that is reserved for God, then it is hindering your freedom in Christ.  Your freedom in Christ is tied to the freedom in your schedule.  Freedom in your schedule gives you the ability to respond to what God has for you at the moment God moves.

And I am not urging you to be extreme; I am urging you to take your schedule to God.  Creating margin means eliminating that which pushes us not just over the edge, but to the edge.  Do not merely cut your schedule back to the edge; cut your schedule before the edge.  We were created to have space between our commitments and our threshold. 

Let us reserve that space for our Lord.

During this Lent season, I pray we learn to say no.  Praise God that He will show us where He wants us to say no.  By saying no, we gain margin.  By gaining margin, we gain the flexibility to be moved by God. 

“My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.”  (Psalm 25:15 NIV).

“You have seen many things, but you pay no attention; your ears are open, but you do not listen.”  (Isaiah 42:20 NIV).

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  (John 10:10 NIV).




I have purposefully delayed the introduction of my favorite latte to you.  I was not sure if you could handle it.  I am still not sure.  It is with great caution that I present to you a large, sugar-free, caramel-royale latte, with half the pumps of usual syrup, 2% milk, no foam, no whip, extra-hot. 

I'm that girl.

Don't be that girl.

Much love to you,

Paige

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In the morning.


A few weeks ago, I spoke with my dear friend Margaret.  Margaret is 91 years old.  Margaret remarked that prayer is a gift.  And her comment has resonated within me since.  How humbling that our Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, delights in communicating with us. 

Prayer comes more easily on certain days.  Maybe it is the stressful days.  The days I am down.  The days I am at my threshold.  Or maybe it is the days that everything is going well.  The days when it is easiest to talk to God because I am happy with God. 

But, one thing is certain: my communication with the Lord is most constant on the days that I deliberately open my day with prayer.  For me, this means talking to the Lord as I get out of bed.  It may sound menial, but those good-morning-God-I’m-tired-today prayers open the channel of communication between me and God for the rest of the day.  The earlier in the day I open up the prayer channel, the easier the prayer channel is to open. 

You cannot expect to perpetuate an attitude of prayer if you do not initiate an attitude of prayer.

We must deliberately begin communication with the Lord before our day gets away from us.  Soon enough, our burdens and our distractions will beckon us.  If burdens pursue me before I pursue God, pursuing God becomes that much harder.  When I pursue God before my burdens pursue me, burdens bend my heart toward God.  

This may seem obvious and elementary, but I quickly forget it—and perhaps you forget it too.  There is a direct relationship between how early in the day we seek the Lord and how much we seek the Lord throughout the day.  It is not necessarily the quantity of time that is essential; it is the openness to God that is essential.  And talking with God makes us open to God.  And being open to God means we are communing with God.

I want to share this with you because I rue the days that I fall into bed and realize I have missed the voice of my Lord or the communion with Him throughout the day.  It is not that I spend my days making these heart-felt, emotional petitions to God all day long.  While I certainly have those desperate days, I want to experience constant communication with my Lord that is not solely premised on my circumstances.  I am convinced that our Lord is blessed by our desire to commune with him regardless of the reason.  But it is the attitude of a heart open to communication with God throughout the day that blesses us

From the moment we arise, we must clothe ourselves with this openness to God.  And we clothe ourselves with openness to God by seeking God in prayer. 

I pray you experience this consistent, uninterrupted communication with our Lord.  I encourage you to be deliberate in opening your communication channel with God in the morning—whenever your morning may be.  Praise God that He listens to us.  Praise God that He uses our prayers to Him to bless us.

“May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.”  (Psalm 141:2 NIV).

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NIV).

“All night long I search for you; in the morning I earnestly seek for God.”  (Isaiah 26:9 NLT).     
  

 

Happy Valentine's Day to you.  Today, be good to yourself.  Ten cups of coffee later, I have certainly been good to myself.  It's not my fault; this cup beckons me to drink from it. 

Much love to you,

Paige

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hidden.


Sometimes life is a chore.  Sometimes everything we touch breaks.  Sometimes acts of discipline do not come as easily as they usually do.  Sometimes we repeatedly fail.

And I want you to know that is okay.

During these time—and at all times—we must see ourselves as the Lord sees us.  We must be aware of who we are in Christ.  In the flourishing times, this may require humility to recognize it is Christ.  In the straining times, this may require confidence to still believe that it is Christ.  But in both times and for all time, it is Christ because that is who God sees when God looks at us.

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Christ defines our perception of ourselves.  And that perception is not so challenging when everything is going well.  But even when I feel far from God, or I am on the verge of cracking, I continue to see God’s loving-kindness.  It is often subtle but no less present.  It is often gentle but no less powerful.  And when you see God’s loving-kindness amidst your miry situation, you will remember God’s perception of you. 

And God’s perception of you is Christ. 

But even before God’s perception of you was Christ, He loved you no less.  And suddenly when we become gripped with God’s perception of us, the mistakes we just made; the flaws we notice; the uncertainty we feel; the disdain we experience for our weaknesses are placed in the context of Christ.  And in the context of Christ, our flaws become secondary because we know our Lord is not finished with us yet.  And the Christ that God sees in me is exactly who I am becoming—exactly who you are becoming. 

Our Lord is our grace.   And because our Lord does not change, the truth that our Lord is perfection for us will not change.

Throw off your disappointment in yourself.  Stop relying on yourself to live a life that you cannot—it is only through Christ living in you that you can.  We are disappointed because we rely on ourselves.  God has freed you from that shackle. 

Trust, trust, trust that it is God working in you.  Trust that it is Christ that God sees in you.  Trust that God is not finished with you yet.     

Praise God that we are free.  I pray you release the burden of becoming who Christ called you to be because that burden rests with God.  Praise God that we are hidden in Christ, and that God is responsible for completing that work in us. 

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  (Colossians 3:3 NIV).

“[B]eing confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

“And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”  (Romans 11:6 NIV).

                                                                                                                                           



Please forgive me.  I have absolutely discriminated against non-coffee drinkers.   My peace offering is hot chocolate with sweet, sweet succulent marshmallow hearts.  No matter how weak I think you are for drinking hot chocolate, you are no less my Valentine.

Much love to you,

Paige 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Taste and see.


There have been times in life when I am wholly consumed with what I should be doing.  I strain and I strain in an attempt to be exactly where God wants me.  I dissect every detail hoping that I have not missed God or that my heart is right.  And in analyzing every facet of my relationship with our Lord, I forget to enjoy our Lord.  Perhaps you do this too.

Our God is good.  Our God is so very good. 

And I cannot help but smile as I write this because even when I do not feel God’s goodness, I cannot deny it.  And you cannot deny it.

God has called us to an abundant life in Him.  That life to which our Lord has called us is only abundant because our God is abundance.  I cannot deny that the more I rest in our Lord, the more apparent our Lord’s goodness and the more abundant my life.  But, this requires that we take time to enjoy God.

Our relationship with God easily becomes a chore.  We quickly forget how lovely the God that we serve.  While our relationship with God is not solely based on emotion, we can enjoy God despite our emotions because our enjoyment is premised on God’s goodness.  God’s goodness is unchanging. 

We are not called to stand by and passively adopt the truth that God is good.  We are called to taste and see; we are called to experience God’s goodness.  And we experience that God is good when we enjoy our God.  And by enjoyment, I mean taking pleasure in God.  And how you enjoy God is distinct to you.  For some, this may mean resting in God.  For others, this may mean praising God.  Our God is certainly good whether we take time to enjoy Him, but taking time to enjoy our God reminds us of why our God is good.

Let us enjoy our Lord.  Let us stop struggling step after step to get to where we think we should be.  Our Lord is good, and our Lord is kind.  And I know I am being redundant, but it is too important to leave unaddressed.

If you do not stop straining, you will not enjoy His goodness.  And if you do not enjoy the goodness of our Lord, you will continue straining.  Because until you appreciate the goodness of our Lord, you will perpetually be dragged down by an oppressive perception of God that a limited reality from this broken world creates.  You must go to God to experience the full reality of His goodness; you must go to God to be released from the yoke you have placed on yourself.  We too easily forget.  And we wonder why so many walk around unexcited about our Lord.

We must taste and see.

I am concerned that you are burdened because you have bridled yourself with duties devoid of joy in Christ.  One who fails to enjoy our Lord will easily forget the joy that comes with serving a good God. This is not the life to which Christ has called you.  

For me, I enjoy the Lord when I praise Him.  I enjoy the Lord when I make it only about our Lord and not about me clawing at my flaws or requesting something of God.  While there is certainly a time for conviction and a time for petition, thanking God reminds me of His goodness in my life.  As of late, Psalm 34 has expressed my joy in God that my heart could not articulate. 

I pray you find your Psalm 34.  I pray you enjoy our Lord.  Rest in Him.  Delight in His presence.  Be filled with His joy.  Relish the security.  Praise God that He is the abundance to which we are called.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”  (Psalm 34:8 NIV).

“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.”  (Psalm 34:1 NIV).

“They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.  The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.  The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”  (Psalm 14:7-9 NIV).

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  (Psalm 27:13, 14 NIV).

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  (Romans 8:28 NIV).




Hello, Valentine.  February is my favorite. 

Much love to you,

Paige

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Everything that hinders.


Too often the little things that affect the attitude of our hearts go unnoticed.  We become comfortable with combating the unconcealed sins in our lives, and we leave the concealed sins unattended.  The blatant sins are my focus, while the flawed attitude of my heart remains. 

That which affects the attitude of my heart needs to be addressed, even if that which affects the attitude of my heart is not patently sinful.    

Because that small thing that keeps me from experiencing the fullness of God is a big thing. 

We must regularly examine the attitude of our hearts.  We must allow our Lord to prick the hidden areas of our hearts that are displeasing to Him.  It is not that my behavior has been overtly sinful.  Actually, my wrongdoing has been subtle and indirect.   Even when our behavior is not directly affecting our walk with God—if it is even indirectly affecting our walk with God—it must be addressed.  And this means even good things.  And this may include inherently pure things. 

It is not that we are to be fixated on purity.  The obsession with purity in itself can be unholy, for God is purity for us.  It is more that our God wants us to be fixated on seeking after Him.   Because that which hinders us may be good in itself, we must that more diligent in safeguarding against the subtle, the delicate, the feel-good, and seemingly untainted diversions to our pursuit of God. No impediment, no distraction, no obstacle—no matter how minor—will be worth forgoing whatever more of the Lord I am failing to experience.  Whatever more of the Lord you are failing to experience. 

That which impedes us is that which suppresses our desire for God; that which is an obstacle to knowing God more; that which satisfies our craving for fullness in our Lord; that which causes us to believe contrary to God’s promises; that which muffles God’s voice in our lives; that which undermines our trust in God or causes us to trust in something other than God; that which hardens our hearts to God; and that which mutes the manifestation of Christ in our lives. 

You have been called to life in God.  If anything is impeding God's fullness in you, I implore you to let God remove it.  I implore you to give it to God.  Even if it is small stuff.  Even if it is insignificant.  Even if it seems trivial.  Even if you are unsure if it is impeding your walk.  If you are questioning if it is an obstacle to God, then it is likely distracting you.

May our Lord search our hearts.  May our Lord prompt us to extract that which clouds our pursuit of our Lord.  Praise God that we can unswervingly follow after Him.    

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1:9 NIV).

“[L]et us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”  (Hebrews 12:1 NIV).

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”  (Proverbs 4:23 NIV).




It is only appropriate for me to acknowledge that which brings me closer to God: Dunkin' Donuts Toasted Almond coffee.  Praise God.  Add some sweet-cream creamer and some natural sweetener, and you will be praising God too.

Much love to you, 

Paige

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Humility is opportunity.


Recall that feeling in the pit of your stomach.  That feeling that almost makes you indignant.  That feeling—the feeling of a bruised ego.  Oh, the feeling of humility.  And if you are having trouble remembering the pleasant feeling of humility, let me remind you.  I recently experienced it. 

And I attempted to reason with myself.  If I could pinpoint the basis of my inadequacy, I could cure my inadequacy.  Surely, inadequacy was the exception, not my condition.  But, we are inadequate.  Thus, humility is inevitable.   

Humility is opportunity.

Humility produces an opportunity to acknowledge our utter dependence on God.  Humility propels me to call out to God because I am not enough.  Humility, even in meaningless circumstances, serves a purpose: we are inadequate, but our Lord is not. 

I am nothing.  I am nothing.  I am nothing without God.  We are nothing without God.  And I too easily forget.  And maybe you forget too.

Our nothingness does not stop there.  We must remember our nothingness, but we must not wallow in it.  We are encouraged because our Lord has made us beyond capable. 

We will never experience the height of our Lord’s strength if we do not experience the depth of our inadequacy.

Our Lord urges us to humble ourselves before Him.  God calls us to voluntary humility.  Too often the only humility I experience is involuntary humility.  And even in those instances of involuntary humility, God is so gracious to remind me of the blessing I am missing.  Once we humbly submit ourselves to God, we no longer have a bruised ego; we have no ego.  And when we lack an ego, we are more capable than we have ever been: we are at our fullest communion with our Lord. 

Praise God that our God is so full of grace that God sends gentle—although somewhat painful—reminders of our dependence on God.  Praise God that He does not let us miss the joy of reliance on Him.  Praise God that we are nothing on our own, but we are everything in Him. 

How painful the reminders.  How gracious our God.  How lovely our dependence.  How powerful His strength.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”  (James 4:10 NIV).

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”  (1 Peter 5:6 NIV).

“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  (Luke 14:11 NIV).

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  (Matthew 11:29 NIV).




After I lugged my bruised ego to the car, my husband would not quit staring at me.  Eventually, he asked, “Does that zit hurt?”  Yes, I have a horn. . .on my chin.  And yes, I left my fly undone the other day.   

Is it due time yet, God?

Much love to you,

Paige

Friday, January 20, 2012

The love of God that is in Christ Jesus.


The security we have in our Lord and our Lord’s love is unlike the security or love we experience in any other relationship.  This truth is nothing new; we hear this all the time.  And we believe it, while we fail to experience it.  It is mind-blowing.  It is life-changing.  It is eternal.  And like most of God’s qualities, it baffles me.

If anybody is entitled to do whatever he wants, it is certainly God.  God, the most powerful being who was, and is, and is to come, has every right to be inconsistent.  God has every right to leave us to ourselves.  God has every right to not follow through.  God, by His sovereignty, has all authority to be contrary to the God we know—and to still remain God.  Our Father, the most loving being that will ever exist, has the absolute prerogative to withhold His love or to love us conditionally.  Our Lord, the epitome of grace, would be wholly justified in condemning us. 

But because God is consistent; because God does not leave us to ourselves; because God loves us unconditionally; because God is full of grace; because God’s qualities are unchanging; because God is infinite, we are secure in God.  

We must ground our understanding of God’s love in truth before we are able to fully experience the love of God that is Christ Jesus.

And because our relationship with Christ is unlike any other relationship, we must be careful how we characterize our relationship with Christ.   If our characterization of our relationship with God is based on our experiences with any other, we must be scrupulous to address any mischaracterizations of God’s love.  While much of my understanding of God is based on my relationships with those I love and those who love me, I must be careful to confirm those as truth.  And I am not just talking about bad characterizations.  We often project wonderful qualities we experience in those who love us onto God—and perhaps those characterizations are not premised on truth either.

The love of parents, the love of spouses, the love of family, and the love of friends certainly help us better understand God’s love.  But, God’s love does not stop there.  While my spouse; while my parents; while my grandparents; while my friends have very much exemplified what love is—what God’s love is—they will never be able to love me like God does.  And even though a parent or any other human being has loved you with everything they have and in the purest sense of love, that love will never be as perfect, as unconditional, or as whole as God’s love for you

I must identify the characteristics of the relationships that I have projected onto God that do not align with God’s Word.  I must separate them from my understanding of God’s love.  You must do this too.  For the godly love we have experienced, we must understand that God’s love goes far beyond that. 

Because of this love, we are secure in God.  We can be secure in no other love or individual, but we are secure in our Lord. 

When we lose everything, we do not lose the love of our Lord.  When we stumble through the valleys of life; when we commit the most repulsive act imaginable; when we deny God; when we repeatedly fail; when we do these things again and again, we still remain in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.  And if that is all we ever have, it is far more than we could ever ask.  And it is far more than we will ever need.  And we are secure in it. 

Praise God, praise God for the unending, all-encompassing love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:38, 39 NIV).

“Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.”  (Psalm 16:5 NIV).

“[T]hrough the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.”  (Psalm 21:7 NIV).   

“If I go to the heavens, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”  (Psalm 139:8-10 NIV).


 

There's nothing like starting the day with a party in your mouth.

Much love to you,

Paige

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Discipline before desire.


I wish that my everyday desire for the Lord scintillated with passion.  I would be lying if I told you my emotional desire for the Lord were constant.  But, I am continually learning that there is a difference between my emotional journey and my spiritual journey.

While my spiritual desires remain disciplined and steady, my emotional desires can be fleeting and ever-changing.  While I always desire Christ with my heart, I do not always desire Christ with my emotions.  And I think this is true for many.  And perhaps this is true for you.

Then, it becomes about what we do despite our emotions.

Our Lord prompts us to do things differently than this world: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world. . .”  (Romans 12:2 NIV).  Many may believe that desire follows emotion.  That certainly makes sense.  Yet, the Lord has led me to also believe that desire follows discipline.   We are truly free to make ourselves do something only if we want to do that something.  But, if my walk with the Lord follows that mentality, my walk is unsteady; my walk is inconsistent; my walk is purely based on emotion.

In my mind, I may not feel the emotion of desire—the desire to seek after God when I am feeling discouraged, when I am feeling uninspired, when I am feeling disconnected, when I am feeling empty, when I am feeling negative, and when I am feeling useless.  In my mind, I may also not feel the emotion of desire to seek after God when I am feeling complete without relying on God, or confident that things are going well without calling upon God, or when I feel unaware of my need for God.  But, we are transformed because the Lord has renewed our mind.  And when the Lord renews our minds, our journey in Christ is no longer predicated on emotion.

When one stops consuming food, one eventually stops hungering for food.  Likewise, when one stops consuming time with our Lord, one stops hungering for time with our Lord.  As hunger follows the consumption of food, spiritual hunger follows the consumption of our Lord.  Thus, desire follows discipline.  I pursue God regardless of my emotions.  And God fills me with the joy of pursuing Him.  And my emotions eventually align with the Lord’s Spirit in me.  The more of God I experience, the more of God I want.  And I want you to experience this.    

Praise God for revolutionizing our minds.  I pray we seek God when we do not feel like seeking God, so that God fulfills us despite our lack of emotional desire.  I believe that when we are fulfilled by our Lord, our Lord gives us an emotional desire for more of our Lord. 

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  (Romans 12:2 NIV).

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”  (1 Peter 2:2,3 NIV).

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  (Psalm 37:4 NIV).




Many times, the coffee cup I choose each morning reflects how I am feeling.  Today, I am feeling rather delicate.  

I know, I know: there is nothing delicate about that big ol’ booty that follows me.  Like a tin roof in a hail storm, I tell ya.

Much love to you,
Paige