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.

The Peace of Faith

From the archives of my journals, this short entry from 1992 paints a word picture of the faithfulness of our God and His Christ – always.

waiting dogsI was caring for the neighbors’ dog and cat this weekend. When I pulled the curtain away from the door to go outside to feed them, they were standing side-by-side staring at the door, waiting for what they knew was coming. . . sometime. I don’t believe they heard me. They only knew it was time to be fed. They weren’t fretting or moaning or doubting that someone would come before it was too late. They were waiting calmly because they knew they would be fed.

How like that I can be, if I will. I can ask in faith, believing in the Source of my faith, Jesus Christ. Then I can calmly expect the answer to come – waiting patiently and watching for it.

Yet there was more to learn from these brief moments . . .

As I opened the door, the dog and cat didn’t look past me as they sought their expected provider. Neither did they turn and walk away as if to say, “We won’t eat this food we want and need, because you are not the one we’re used to.” No. They eagerly received the food without hesitation, even though I was not their expected method of delivery. Their owners, after all, had made arrangements for them in advance of the need.

What a simple and clear picture of life in Christ! Because of Jesus Christ and all He has done, I can simply believe, waiting expectantly in His peace. If the answer arrives contrary to my preconceived expectations, I can still receive it in His peace, knowing my Daddy has made all the arrangements in advance of my need, according to His great plan!

Living For the Big Waves

I found encouragement from God’s perspective in another journal conversation with Him.  I hope you will, too!

You feel dry and unenthusiastic right now.  I know.  You want to feel that brimming over with excitement and enthusiasm about Me, about what I’ve done, about the freedom that is yours in Christ.

wave ebb and flowSteady.  That’s what I see.  You know what you have been excited and enthusiastic about is still true, though it’s not causing any feelings right now.  You’re not turning away, Kay; rather, you’re riding it out.  Yes, you heard “ebb and flow,” and you saw a beach with the water coming in and going out. Right now, there are hardly any waves – the water gently lapping at the shore without the crashing of big waves.  But it’s still there.  You know there will be big waves again – much more exciting.

The question for you is, “Are you living for the big waves?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t think so, Lord.  Maybe there’s a part of me that is, and that’s why I feel in a bit of a funk at times like this, when it seems like I’ve been living too long in the “humdrum.”  You’re reminding me of that time so many years ago when I cried out to you from the depths of my being for another experience of Your presence because I felt so dry.  When finally I ended my cries, by Your Spirit I declared that even if I never felt Your Presence again, I would be thankful for what You had already revealed.  You are real and you are for me, and that doesn’t require feelings.

These many years (and, by the way, many feeling experiences later), I’m aware that You continue to teach me and reveal Yourself to me every time I read the Bible, even if no feelings take place.  I no longer doubt Your Presence with me at all, for which I thank You so much, Daddy!

By the same token, though I don’t know when or how, I know the big waves (and their corresponding emotions) will come again.  I don’t want to live for the big waves.  I want to live in the meantime – truly live – in Christ Jesus, living in Your love and grace in the midst of all that does or does not happen in my natural life.  In other words, I want to enjoy the simplicity of “unexciting” days in You.

That’s the steady to which I referred Kay.  You’ve been walking in that place, but there’s been a battle in your mind against the peace and rest of walking contentedly in those unexciting days and seasons.  Instead of fretting about what you’re not experiencing, you choose to continue to walk in Me and all that I am – not focusing on when you might have another great experience. 

No, you’re not living for the big waves, Kay.  You’re simply living in Me through Christ – every day.

*  photo credit for first picture is Zo-jo at http://www.zo-jo.com

Frustrating Imperfection

I have an imperfection in my character – well, maybe more than one.  It’s not something I’m proud of, or something I simply excuse as just the way I am.  I’ve read and pleaded and declared the pertinent Bible verses over myself more times than I can remember.  Yet, I still struggle, seemingly without any improvement.  Just when it feels like I’m walking in greater freedom and victory in Christ, when I haven’t been staring at the imperfection for a while, I happen to run into any of the angst-triggering passages in the Bible again.

I came upon an older journal entry recently in which Daddy and I had a conversation about this very issue.  As I began to write, I was angry.  Yet, my wonderful and loving Father not only helped me return to peace, but also revealed the self-imposed source of the anger and frustration.  What follows is a portion of that journal entry, and His insight that set me free.  May you hear Him speak to you in your own imperfect places.

. . . That’s why you are angry at Me – though, you really aren’t.  You’ve been deceived into perceiving I’m against you, even though you know that’s a lie.

And, Kay, I’m not mad at you at all – not even for having followed that subtle deceptive trail My enemy set up for you.

Thank You, Daddy.  So what do I do when I bump up against these familiar passages again and again – the ones that are so uncomfortable to me and seem so contrary to what You have been revealing?

Kay, what if you never get a grasp of it while in your mortal body? What if this part of your character / behavior never changes?  You know you’ll not be perfect in thought, word, and behavior until you are no longer encumbered by flesh.  Yet that is the standard you strive for – your own perfection.  And it’s your downfall every time – and your frustration and your separation from Me (on your part, not Mine.) The standard is Jesus Christ and His perfection – not how you compare to Him . . . but who you are in Him.

In Christ alone I place my trust – even with my imperfections here on earth.  What a glorious Savior!  What a wonderful and loving Father!

Proverbs 3:5-6  NIV  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.

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He Can’t Help It!

When I re-read this journal entry from more than twenty years ago, it encouraged me anew.  And words with that much staying power must be shared with other believers!

I recorded the following thoughts after realizing I was less than thankful for my family and my non-Christian upbringing.  Perhaps you can relate in some way, as well.

. . . There was a subconscious thought that I would have been so much better off if I had been raised in a Christian home.  Today, God made it clear that He wouldn’t have loved me any more this day even if I had been a Christian and truly seeking Him all my life.  He loves me, and there are no degrees of His love.  He does love me.  Had I been a Christian with a Christian upbringing, really desiring that walk with and growing in Him from the beginning, He would still have loved me exactly the same today.  On top of that, life wouldn’t be easier.  I’d just be going through different experiences in which to trust Him.

father daughterReading this all these years later only brings it home so much more vividly.  God can’t help it.  He loves me.  It’s not based on how many years I’ve known Him, or how I was raised.  And His love for me doesn’t grow.  His love for me is.  Period.  It’s the same for you.  May this truth become even more real for you each coming day.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  1 John 4:16  NIV