Sure, Deep, and Certain

The year 2015 was very difficult for me in many ways.  In reading my journal from that year, difficulties weren’t the only things I found.  One particular “conversation” with the Lord I had recorded was my perspective-changer then – and now, four years later.  In fact, I need to see this repeatedly while it works its way into the place of forever settled in me.

(Just for clarification: the italicized font is what I sensed the Lord speaking to me and the plain is my response.)

I want you to enjoy every part of your life.

Is that really possible?  I mean, did Jesus enjoy turning over the tables of the money-changers, or rebuking the Pharisees, let alone suffering the crucifixion?

The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

It’s not a “happy” we’re talking about.  It’s so much deeper and richer than mere happy can ever be.  Happy is an emotion, ebbing and flowing like all the other emotions.  Joy is a Who – Me!  Just like I am every cell goodness, Kay.  I am also every cell joy.  Every cell.  That means it’s not based on feelings and its source is not circumstance or human relationship based.  Rather, I Am the Source of your joy, and I Am the object of your joy, and I Am the sustainer of your joy . . . at all times and in all circumstances.  I am as constantly your joy and your peace as I am your righteousness in Christ Jesus.  I change not.  That’s life (even while you remain in your mortal body) in My kingdom, Kay.

So, yes, it’s possible to live enjoying every part of my life, not because every part is pleasant, comfortable, easy, fun, etc.  But because I am in Christ Jesus and He is in me.  He doesn’t just enable me to live in His righteousness, peace, and joy.  He is my righteousness, peace, and joy.

Just remember, Kay, the peace and joy are as sure and certain as the righteousness in Christ.  And just as deep and certain as My love for you.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Hard

A year ago today, my life changed dramatically in one moment.  I had already begun the search for a smaller house as we moved from just talking about downsizing to doing it.  This was already a major change for someone who had lived in the same home for twenty years.

For the first time in too long, that morning I had stopped my normally busy activity just to worship my wonderful heavenly Daddy.  In those moments, He dropped into my heart that we were to relocate from North Carolina to Texas in this downsizing.  While there was no doubt about what He revealed, and there was no doubt that I would go, it didn’t stop the tears as I reminded Him of what He had already heard so many times, But I hate Texas!

DSCN0615 hungry babies croppedOver the course of the next nine months (interesting how it coincided with the timing of a natural birth,) besides an amazing European adventure, my shoulder surgery and my husband’s two separate foot surgeries with their accompanying recoveries, we planned and prepared and prepared and planned for the sale of one home and purchase of another, as well as the physical move.  Along the way, our minds were changed.  Just as the child forming in the womb doesn’t change themselves, we didn’t change our own minds.  Jesus did it in us, taking us from sadly obedient to excited about such a major change at this stage of our lives.

More of the Spirit’s change in our hearts became obvious the day we left our comfort zones completely.  The online house hunt had gone on for six weeks with the only positive result being a change in attitude about what we to expect.  A ten-day house-hunting trip was on the calendar for early November (between Tom’s two foot surgeries), though it looked as though we might be wasting our time.  Looking at the latest online real estate additions that mid-October morning, one immediately attracted my attention.  Enough so that we enlisted the help of our son and the realtor to do an in-person inspection of it the next day.  With our son’s positive report, as well as his accompanying video, we found ourselves on the verge of making an offer to buy – sight unseen.

We got busy about our day, separately, as we awaited the realtor’s call, each dealing with excitement of what we were about to do at the same time hearing inner screams of What are you doing? As I spoke with the Lord about it, wanting to hear only Him, yet feeling like we hadn’t done the needed laborious house hunting, I heard in my spirit so clearly, It doesn’t have to be hard.

It doesn’t have to be hard.  In those words, I found release.  In those words, I was assured we were walking by and with His Spirit, and it was far different from and far better than our norm.  I also knew effort would still be required to complete this moving out and moving in process. I just didn’t need to rely on my own wisdom or understanding to make it happen.

Our house-hunting trip three weeks later was, in fact, a house closing trip.  I’m pretty sure this was Daddy’s plan for us when we made our airline and hotel reservations. 🙂   Instead of exhausting ourselves traveling from one house to another, we had a different type of exhaustion as we arranged for work to be done on our new home before our move.  When I felt myself becoming overwhelmed again by all the details, He lovingly reminded me, It doesn’t have to be hard.  Once again I found release from trying to work it all out myself and went back to doing the one thing I could do right then.  You know, every single detail was handled from beginning to end – not one left out . . . at just the right time.

So, on this one year anniversary of that life-changing day, three months after moving into my new home, I realize His words to me that afternoon were not just to help me through the move.  Instead, they are for my whole life:

It doesn’t have to be hard!

Auto-Pilot Prayer

Living in Christ and by His Spirit is not a 5-step list or a how-to lesson.  For some reason, though, we tend to default to lists and procedures, even in prayer, never knowing the freedom of relying on Holy Spirit to lead and guide.  (See previous post)

cockpit-1358898-640x480I assure you, this is not a how-to pray message.  It’s more like how not to pray, from observations that have changed my own prayer life.  If you remember nothing else from this post, I hope the theme will attach itself to your brain to be applied every time you pray from now on:  Turn off auto-pilot in prayer.

  • There is a difference between praying (talking with Daddy) and interceding for others.  We converse with Him, as we do with acquaintances becoming friends, to know Him better – not just to know about Him.  When we understand His direction for us in intercession, we boldly speak it aloud into the spirit realm.  Jesus spoke to illness1 in intercession, after spending early and late hours in prayer.
  • Rely on Holy Spirit to bring Bible verses to mind, rather than merely quoting what is always used in particular situations – healing, provision, relationship issues, etc.  The pinpoint accuracy of the verses He brings when we listen go straight to the root of the actual problem, which is not always obvious to the natural mind.
  • If you talk to me, does it sound like this?  “Kay, it’s so good to see you, Kay.  And, Kay, there are things happening, Kay, that I need you, Kay, to help me understand, Kay….”  Of course not.  Neither do we write personal letters that way.  Why, then, do we do this to our heavenly Father?  Prayer is not stilted and distracting like this, but is a back and forth conversation with someone we are getting to know more intimately.
  • Reminding God of His promises is wasted breath.  Yes, I said that.  If things aren’t happening the way we read in the Bible, it’s not because He has forgotten.  Ever.  While we can be helped by hearing those verses again, it’s not necessary to jog God’s memory.  Since Jesus Christ lives in us by His Spirit, when we speak His Word, we speak spiritually.  The ones we remind of God’s unbreakable promises to us are the angelic rulers and authorities of the spirit realm.2
  • Asking God to do what He’s already done, no matter how sincerely, is redundant.  For example, “Be with (or near) me.”  Or, “Bless so-and-so.”  Are we in Christ and Christ in us?3  Because of what happens when we receive Christ, He cannot be closer.  Because of what He has finished, we are already blessed.  So why keep asking?

I hope you will share in the comments your own examples of auto-pilot prayer my observations brought to light.  We need each other to shine the light of Christ in ways we’ve missed before.  Just remember to turn off that auto-pilot!

1 Matthew 8:5-13

2 Ephesians 3:10

3 John 14:18-20

4 John 1:16-17 Amplified  For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift. For while the Law was given through Moses, grace (unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Not Strange, But Sad

It’s strange that you can’t find words to say when you’re praying, but you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend.

Part of a recent Facebook post in my newsfeed, I found this statement nestled among similar ones designed to highlight Christian failings.  Instead of finding it strange, however, I found it sad.  And not in the way intended.

If the statement is reality for believers, then prayer has become something other than it was meant to be.  Something we do (or should do) because we’re Christians, rather than the means by which we become more intimately acquainted with our heavenly Father.  This is strange, but in a sad way.

Proverbs 18:24  NIV A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

The friend who sticks closer than a brother is Jesus Christ, Who lives in us by His Spirit.  That’s as close as it gets.  In addition, He calls us His friend.1  If we are really friends, why is talking together so difficult?

friendship-1534626-639x479Friends talk with one another about anything and everything, listen to one another, find comfort in silence, work together to help others, interacting along the way.  The more time they spend together, the better they know one another.  The better they know one another, the more time they want to spend together.

Is this the kind of friendship I experience with Christ?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  How about you?  When the methods and mindsets from so many years of religion become my default mode, I lose the freedom in prayer for which my friend Christ Jesus has set me free.2  When the duty becomes my focus, rather than the relationship, that sense of intimate friendship is lost temporarily, leaving me unable to find words to speak.

That’s not strange, my friends.  It’s sad.

1 James 2:23

2 Galatians 5:1

The Place of His Stillness

DSCN8825Believe it or not, several posts are written and waiting for edits.  I’ve been diligent lately to write when the thoughts come, rather than waiting until it’s lost to a more convenient time.  Why not just edit what I’ve written and put it on the blog? If it were only that easy.

When I began typing each of the posts, I understood what I wanted to share, that which the Lord had revealed to me.  The more I wrote, however, the more I realized how little I understood of what was just beginning to percolate in me.  Christ was revealing different facets of Himself to me, but I couldn’t yet write in a coherent form.  Instead I wrote haphazardly as the thoughts and questions flowed, saving each piece with hopes of bringing it to completion soon.

In the meantime, since Holy Spirit is encouraging me to live from the place of His stillness, I’ll practice as I write – and post.

1 Kings 19:11-12 Amplified  . . . And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice.