purpose in life

Learning to live with a heart that is broken but a life is not.

Living with a Heart that is Broken, but a life that is not!

Beth Moore at Living Proof Ministries is hosting her women’s summer Bible study. I signed up at Women’s Bible Cafe to join over 600 women who will participate in this study via online and community small groups. We are studying the book of Nehemiah and using Kelly Minter’s book Nehemiah: A heart that can break. 

There is still time to join over 600 dear, like-minded, passionate “Siestas” in Christ. You can follow along personally, join a virtual small group (what I am doing), or hook up with a group in your area. Check out any of the above links for information.

Brokenness isn’t an activity your normal human being would sign up to experience. Everything about the word screams run, but when we are straining to “see the unseen”, and to live for the “Eternal” versus the temporal, brokenness should become our hearts desire and aim.

Over the next few weeks I will post thoughts and insights gleaned from this study. My heart has all ready been blessed as I have joined in prayer with women I have never met, yet feel great love and compassion for. What a powerful image six-hundred women, on their faces before the Lord, crying out for brokenness, evokes!

To ask the Lord to break my heart with the things that break His, is a daring prayer. It is not a self-seeking desire to suffer for the purpose of winning the praise and accolades of man, nor is it an attempt to obtain righteousness through works. The desire to have a heart, broken by God, is a desire to see and feel as He sees and feels. It is a prayer to have myself moved out-of-the-way so I can see and be moved by the pain, suffering, need, and hopelessness of man. A heart, broken by the Spirit of the Living God, is to posses a heart that mourns over the destruction that sin is wreaking in the hearts of fallen man.

 

Today, as we studied the prayer and heart of Nehemiah found in chapter 1:1-5, A verse kept coming to mind:

Psalm 17:15

15 As for me,

I will behold thy face in righteousness:

I shall be satisfied,

when I awake, with thy likeness.

I believe this desire should be the heart and sum of all we strive to do and be as children of God. A broken and contrite heart He will not turn away! Would you be daring enough to embrace the cry, “Lord break my heart?” Can you utter with me. in Your brokenness, let me become Your likeness, and in Your likeness there let me dwell satisfied?

The truth and reality of the fallen world we live in is  that everyone we will be broken.  The question we must ask ourselves is what will we allow to break us, sin or a Savior?

 

Matthew 21:44

And whosoever shall fall on this stone

shall be broken:

but on whomsoever it shall fall,

it will grind him to powder.

The world will crush and break us ruthlessly, our Heavenly Father breaks us with love, compassion and a divine, God glorifying purpose.

Only One can promise fulfillment with abandonment, and bring beauty from ashes. Only one Master can satisfy and fulfill the desires and yearning of the yielded and broken heart.

Lord God Almighty, posses and reign my heart and life. Make is soft so that it weeps when you weep, delights when you
delight, and breaks at what breaks yours. O Father, I shall be satisfied only when I awake with your likeness, when there is less of me for the world to see. Amen

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My Abba, Papa, Daddy Father

Romans 8:15 

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons,
by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
When I think about adoption, I envision an eager husband and wife nervously awaiting for the arrival of the child they will soon call their own.


The journey they have taken to get to this point involved mounds of paperwork. They have made innumerable sacrifices both physically and mentally in order to obtain the right to call another’s baby their own. They have endured a grueling waiting game filled with unexpected twists, turns, and disappointments. Soon they will take that special child in their hands and walk away not just husband and wife but mother and father.


I can’t fathom the feelings or emotions parents experience when they have literally laid everything on the line in order to adopt. I am humbled by the testimony of men and women who have sought out not just the abandoned and orphaned but also the sick, diseased, and “unwanted.”

 


Recently, I stumbled upon a site seeking parents for “unwanted” foreign children. All the children on this site had health issues ranging from mild to severe, but the profiles that broke my heart were those of older children who were months away from being removed from the adoption agency’s system. These orphaned children were painfully aware that if no one came forward, their next birthday meant an end to their hopes of ever finding parents and becoming part of a real family. Age thirteen wasn’t a day they looked forward to because t didn’t mean a driving permit, but rather that an institution or street would soon become their new permanent home.


While I can not fathom the feelings, emotions, or pain of these children, in a spiritual sense I am not unlike them. The amazing thing about my story is that when the Lord formed me, chose me, and called me to Himself, I was not a beautiful, innocent,or lovable infant, I was sick and marred by sin.  I was unlovable, “Father”-less, and destined for a life of depravity on the “streets and institutions” of this world. My prospects weren’t just a life of hopelessness but of judgment and death.


Then the Lord of the Universe stepped in. Christ didn’t just collect money to purchase the right to adopt me, He didn’t fill out paperwork in order to declare Himself worthy to redeem my life, He did something infinitely grander. He became my Abba Father through the blood of His son.


If led by the Lord, it would not be hard to exhaust our life savings or make the required physical sacrifices necessary to adopt a baby, but never in a thousand years would I consider sacrificing my own beautiful children in order to adopt and redeem a diseased, mentally broken vagrant living in jail.


As we celebrate Father’s day, and as I reflected upon the blessing my father and my husband David has been to me, I want to take a moment to reflect upon the one who has given and sacrificed infinitely more for me. He is my Papa, my daddy, and He delighted in me when there was nothing to delight in. He loved me when I was unlovable, sacrificing the priceless for the worthless.


Thank you Father for your grace and mercy, and for your unspeakable love for me. You have withheld nothing from my life except the judgment I deserve.  All I have ever needed you have bountifully provided. May I walk worthy of the new name I bear, and may my life be a living example of the liberating power of a loving Father!

My prayer for you: Numbered Days

Psalm 90:12

 So teach us to number our days,

that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

There have been moments in my chaotic life when I have dreamed about the extraordinary lives of the pioneers who traveled across the vast expanses of our country. While these families endured extreme hardships, suffering under conditions  that would bring many of us soft, spoiled, Americans to our knees, their lives were simple. There weren’t TV sitcoms, internet, Facebook, Twitter, gym memberships, practices, and even blogs, to occupy every waking moment, just life and living. Their daily schedule went something like this – Do what you have to do to survive or you will starve and your family will perish.

Today we don’t just work to put food on out tables and clothes on the backs of our families, we have careers. We hang titles before and after our name to identify who we are, what we have, and what we want to accomplish. We have collections that identify our passions and gym memberships to increase and showcase our physical prowess and abilities. We no longer number our days, but rather the activities we can pack into them.

Jobs are necessary, and fun activities that keep us healthy and bring our families together are not a sin, but often times we forget why we are here and more importantly where we are going. Somehow scrambled among the necessities and excesses of life is the secret of true significance and balance and we have to find it, strive for it, esteem it and live for it. Today my prayer for David is that He would be able to walk through the day with an “Eternal”  “Forever” perspective.

Father, you would not ask us to see with eyes we are not capable to possessing. You have told us to strain for the sweet glimpses of the unseen and Eternal. Truly our days are numbered, our opportunities waning. Give David the wisdom to live in the present life and physical world you have placed him in, but let his gaze be fixed upon the you, and your Eternal purpose and plan for his life, family, and business. May the passion that drives him each day be the desire to see and proclaim the Glory and power of your Name! As David deals with physical people, schedules, deadlines, money, bills, needs, and blessed fruit of his labor, keep his head clear, his sight sharp, his heart pure, and his desire for you burning like a devouring flame. Help him prioritize not only his schedule but also his goals, relationships, aspirations, dreams, and desires. Give Him wisdom and lead and guide Him through his days. Amen

Praying for my Husband A to Z: G is for Greatness

Greatness

Psalm 18:35
Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation:

and thy right hand hath holden me up,

and thy gentleness hath made me great.

It is hard to stand on the sideline and watch while someone else gets the promotion, praise, and glory. We were made to worship and honor our Creator, but sin crashed the party turning our focus inward. We are driven by selfishness and pride to seek the spotlight and at times we are so blinded by  sin we are willing to do anything in order to get our “praise of men fix.”  It is not natural for sinful and fallen man to place the importance of another above them himself, but we are no longer simply flesh, bound by the law of sin and death.  We are new creations, risen in newness of life, empowered and led by the Spirit of God. God has something far better in-store for our lives than self-seeking, temporal gratification.

Recently I have sensed the Lord asking me if I am willing to be small in order that others, including my husband, can be great. It can get lonely and tiring being the person behind the scene. Standing on stage is much nicer than cleaning it. Being the person who takes orders isn’t as fun as being the one who gets to give them, but as Solomon discovered, vanity and emptiness follow closely on the heels of one who spends their life striving for glory, honor, power, position, and possessions.

My salvation cost me nothing, and in exchange for eternity all Christ has asked of me is full surrender to His will for my life.  How can I turn my ear from His call to serve, when the request comes from one who sacrificed His very flesh and blood on my behalf?  How can I merit striving for my own glory and earthly praise when He gave up his Glory and Kingly Robes to wear the swaddling rags of man.

As I yield my life to serve wherever and in whatever arenas the Lord asks of me, the challenge to be David’s Help-meet looms large. I am asking the Lord to make David a great man both physically but more important spiritually. I desperately need a heart transformed and yielded, humbly focusing the success and greatness of others. This means the dreaded “P” & “B” words, priorities & balance  : ) It also means living and believing in what I am praying for, David’s greatness. David needs to sense that I believe in him, trust him, and think him capable to greatness. I can’t live a life that physically and spiritually derails what I claim believe and strive for.

Father, you have given me an amazing husband. I am blessed beyond measure by the presence of my soul mate, playmate, partner and friend. Father we are sinners desperate for your grace, power, and transformation. You have loved and forgiven us and you rightfully called me to love David with the same selfless, sacrificial abandonment that you demonstrated towards me at the cross.  May my heart and spirit be open, submissive, and humble before you. May I be willing to serve both you and David, playing the role you have entrusted to me, a sacred help-meet to David. Lord, a Spirit Filled, God Honoring, godly, successful David is your desire. Truly greatness is when a man is covered by your gentle hand, filled with your grace and wisdom. Greatness is David leading his family and growing his business to honor and glorify you. May this be the reality and fruit of David’s life and work. Amen

A to Z: Overcoming Insecurity

Insecurity

1. Not sure or certain; doubtful

2. Inadequately guarded or protected;unsafe

3. Not firm or fixed; unsteadyLacking stability; troubled

4. Lacking self-confidence; plagued by anxiety

When I was a teen, I came across a story in the Readers Digest I will never forget. The setting was a small village in the Middle East. In this village lived a handsome young man who’s family was both wealthy and prestigious. His presence caused quite a stir among the single women when it was announced that he had begun the search for a bride.

This town was filled with many beautiful women. Some of these beauties possessed great wealth of their own, while others could claim only beauty. This town was the home of another figure. She walked with hunched shoulder. Her eyes remained fixed sullenly upon the ground as she shuffled silently by. She was the brunt of the scorn and criticism of all the other single women in the village. When speculation and wagers rose regarding the lucky bride this man might chose for a wife, the name of this dejected girl was never suggested, unless it was to make  her the brunt of a cruel and heartless joke.

The record for the largest price any father in the village had ever received for a daughter, included four camels. Would this man’s offer equal this? Weeks passed and soon word got out that the man had made his choice. For days the single woman eagerly spied from behind their windows, in the hopes they might see this dashing young man approaching their tent. They diligently searched their father’s eyes for any clue that he had been the honored recipient of a generous  marriage proposal.

For days whispers of “Did you hear?” or  “Do you know who?” flew from household to household yet the name never surfaced. Then a mysterious woman arrived. She appeared to be a stranger yet she looked vaguely familiar. She was gracious and beautiful, commanding the attention of everyone she met. She was stunning in every manner, and her eyes brimmed with the confidence and poise of royalty. Word soon got out, this mystery woman was the lucky one chosen by the young man. Who was she? Where did she come from? Wait, isn’t that ……… the villagers began to mutter? Their surprise was replaced with wonder but nothing equaled the astonished reactions when they received the next piece of news regarding the couple. The wealthy, dashing, handsome young man had paid not four but seven camels to make this outcast his bride!

A wise man from the village approached the young couple weeks after their marriage, no longer able to resist the mystery of the seven camels and the woman’s transformation. Why did you offer seven camels for the outcast of the village he asked? The groom smiled and looked lovingly at his bride. I watched my wife go about her life when no one was looking, scorning, or mocking her. I saw a beauty and worth inside that no one else knew existed. She was like a flower not yet bloomed. I paid seven camels for her because I wanted her to know how beautiful, worthy, and priceless her life was. My gift was but water to a thirsty flower, enabling her to thrive and be who she truly was inside, the woman you now see before you.

Insecurity, we all struggle with it in some form or manner. I have struggled with insecurity my entire life. Everyone I met became my personal measuring stick. No matter how spiritual, athletic, friendly, or successful I was, there was always someone better. I was a prisoner to my insecurity, and it transformed me within and without, but not for my good.

Years later, I look back upon those insecure years and realize how distorted my focus on life had become. I was looking to broken and fallen mankind for worth, value, meaning, and acceptance and they could not provide that. The broken can not heal, the sinner can’t save, the unrighteous can’t make righteous, the blind can’t lead.

I was like that hunched and dejected woman in the story who’s life was transformed by the unspeakable gift of a lover. I was bent and marred by sin, yet He looked upon me with love and paid the ultimate price to give me a new life, purpose, and love. He who was Beauty and Holiness, Majesty and Glory, sacrificed His most treasured Son, that I might  be transformed. The day my heart grasped the extent of the sacrifice the King of Glory made on my behalf, my life was transformed. I belong to Him now, not for the price of seven camels, but for the price of His Son. He is my beauty and confidence. His pleasure is now my desire and aim. Because of His love for me, I am learning to overcome my insecurities. Because of His sacrifice, a desire courses withing my heart to please Him, not man. Praise the Lord for His unspeakable and priceless gift that liberates me from the bondage of insecurity. May my life reflect the reality of His Gift and Love for me!

“9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you,

asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will

in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,

 fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work

and increasing in the knowledge of God.

11May you be strengthened with all power,

according to his glorious might,

for all endurance and patience with joy,” Col 1:9-11(ESV)

Lottery Tickets and Life Lessons

How A lottery Ticket changed My Life! …………

Actually, it was the absence of a lottery ticket that changed my life…………….

I was standing in line at a local store, with my head in the clouds when the cashier abruptly asked “So are you buying a ticket?” It took a few seconds for his question to register, but the moment it did, a host of memories flooded my brain. The clerk was referring to the $600,000,000+ mega millions jackpot to be drawn Friday, but I was thinking back to one of the most vivid memory I have of my childhood.

I was out alone with my dad, and without explanation he looked down at me and exclaimed, “Jody, I want you to promise me that you will never buy a lottery ticket.” Lottery tickets ment nothing to me, so without hesitation, I made a promise that I believe altered the course of my life. Years later, I asked my dad what compelled him to ask me to make that promise and to this day, not only can he not tell me why, but he also can’t remember the incident.

When I made that promise, I barely understood what a lottery ticket was, and I most assuredly never felt the urge to buy one. With all my heart, I believe that day my heavenly Father stirred the heart of my earthly father to make that request, in order to protect me from a weakness neither of us knew I would have years down the road. Every time I pass an instant lottery machine, I think of that day. Every time I see a lottery grow and a frenzy erupt, I remember the promise I made to my dad and I praise the Lord for the gift of a parents spiritually prompted intuition. Now, thirty-seven years later, I have kept my promise and passed the story along to my kids. I have not asked them to make the same promise to me, I have never felt the Spirit leading me to do so but we have had many discussions about the foolishness of gambling and how destructive it can be. When we exit our local Drug Mart, often I will hear one of my kids exclaim to the others, “never put your money in that machine, it’s just like throwing it in the trash.” I feel no embarrassment, and I have never told them to be quiet because I know the lesson of the lottery machine trash can will be engraved into their heads, and that they will remember mommy’s story when they are tempted to part with their own hard-earned cash.

As parents, we can’t guarantee sin free, addiction free kids, by insisting they make a string of promises and vows to us, guaranteeing upright moral living, but we can vigilantly seek wisdom and direction from the Lord for each precious life he has given us. Parenting isn’t a mechanized process. My father never asked my sister or brother to make the same vow he did of me. My father never asked me to make promises to flee other sins I did struggle with as a teen and young adult. I do not know what compelled him to ask what he did, but my prayer is that the Lord would give me the same wisdom and insight for my kids. My time of teaching and instructing, protecting and building is quickly passing. Their eternity is in His hands, but He has seen fit to make me an instrument to be used to shape and mold them in preparation for the future that He has ordained for them from the beginning of time.

I pray the Lord continues to patiently mold and transform me into His likeness so that my kids see Him in me. As Gary Thomas so eloquently and wisely wrote, the purpose of my life, marriage, and family is to make me holy, not happy. My husband and I are responsible, not simply to make our kids happy, succesful, and without need, but to help maintain a sensitive heart that is willing to submit to the transforming power and authority of the Holy Spirit so He can make them holy, through God’s grace and mercy.

Will you join me and cry out to the Lord of Wisdom for wisdom? Will you choose daily to die to yourself in order to serve, teach, and train your children. May our hearts and minds be ever filled with the whispering of the Spirit. May the silence of His voice be deafening, quickly bringing our hearts and focus back to Him and the purpose and callings he has given to us through our children.

The Stones Will Cry Out- Part 1


Have you ever considered the striking difference between how we as humans interact with Christ versus how the rest of Creation responds to its Creator?

Yes we alone have free will, soul, and spirit, which sets us uniquely apart from the rest of the universe but only Creation operates within the confines placed upon it at the dawn of it’s existence. In fact during Jesus’ triumphant entrance, as the scribes and Pharisees objected to the cry of the palm bearing crowd, Jesus declared that if the people did not proclaim “Hosanna, blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord”, the rocks themselves would cry out proclaiming that truth. While religious zealots denied his existence and schemed his death, creation lay poised, straining to be heard, ready to acknowledge though it were but stone it recognized the fact that it lay in glorious presence of the one who created it.

What a mind numbing thought, that as the rocks choked back their proclamation of the coming of the Savior of the world, many of the living breathing masses our Savior came to save missed the opportunity to herald in a new covenant and hope, that could radically change their lives for eternity.

As I read Psalm 104 today I was struck with the thought, What if I emulated the unwavering obedience of creation, operating within the designed realm that the Lord of the Universe intended? It would seem this should be an easy task considering I have been given a gift which the rest of the universe has not, for I have been ransomed from a sentence of death which I earned and adopted into the family, blood line, and heritage of Jesus Christ. I have a working, thriving, two way relationship with the Lord who created me. Perfection has bonded with imperfection, the mortal has put on immortality, unrighteousness has been shed and I am gloriously enveloped in the Righteous and Holy Blood of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Creation’s unwavering obedience to Christ is a masterpeice of design, order and faultless wonder demonstraiting three characteristics I feel challenged emulate.

Psalm 104:1-4 “Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.2Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:3Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: 4Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

In Psalm 104, we see that God’s creation brings God glory. Creation cloths Christ with Honor and majesty. The universe and world around us is a perfect display of design and order. By faultlessly operating within these confines it showers upon Him the glory and honor he truly deserves. The sun never shifts from its orbit in an attempt to become part of another, more brilliant galaxy. The moon never says, it is a mistake that I spend my days circling the earth, the world should circle me. By simply being what they were created to be they demonstrate a specific nature or aspect of Christ himself, the God of Wonders.

As a child of God, I am a walking, living, breathing wonder, knit together before the world began. I am so complex my systems and makeup will never fully be mapped or understood by man. I am the meticulous, thought-out handiwork of the Divine Creator. The world was spoken into existence, but God formed Adam with his hands and breathed into him His very breath, the breath of life and through the breath of Christ, “man became a living soul.” I am his child, made in His image. His Spirit has covered and transformed me. I am not only a physical wonder, but a spiritual miracle. My spirit and body bears witness of an amazing work of redemption, regeneration, and sanctification. Does my life reflect the beauty, wonder, glory, and honor that the Lord of the universe deserves? As I go through life, does my life bear witness to the existence of an all powerful, merciful, righteous and loving God, or does creation around me strain in frustration by my failure to Glorify my maker in the special way he intended? The world is filled with men and women straining to be something other than what they were intended. As our hearts grow colder, I believe if we were still but for a moment, and listened, we might hear the growing murmur of creation crying out in frustration “Hosanna, blessed is he who came in the name of the Lord and who stands ready to return once more.

Next time, part 2

Psalm 104:7 “At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.”
God’s creation recognizes and obeys his voice.”