Pull Me Closer

My husband has me convinced. It amazes me, but I am convinced. Not only does he love me fully, but he truly sees me as beautiful, attractive, alluring, and appealing. That is awesome to me. And God made it more awesome as He used Johnny’s love for me, again, to teach me something about His own.

You see, I am nearing 60. Forty pounds overweight, greying hair, the family nose, curves where no curve should be, and I don’t feel very appealing. In fact, I am a viable candidate for the next opening for Barnum and Bailey’s bearded lady. Seriously! All of this makes me leery when my husband and I get too close, afraid his bad eyes will see clearly, and he will change his tune. But then he assures me of his sincerity, and I marvel at his love that never ceases to amaze.

The other night as we were falling to sleep, I was mulling this marvel over, again convinced anew and relishing in the truth of my husband’s affections, while at the same time realizing my own timidity toward him because of my feelings about myself. As I thought on these things, the Spirit of God spoke clearly to my heart. In a nutshell, here is what He told me.

“A woman’s fear of trusting the loving affections of her husband throws up a wall between them as she holds herself back, not wanting to get too close where he might see what she sees. As a result, she misses out on the intimacy to be enjoyed in a relationship of loving trust: one where she feels safe to be real and enjoy their life together. By not getting close and trusting his affections, she then fails to see what he sees in her, and misses the inspiration to major on that area of her nature to be better.

“The same is true where our relationship with God is concerned. We hold ourselves back from God, not wanting to get too close for fear that He might see us as we see ourselves and be repulsed. So out of fear of trusting the love God has for us that causes Him to choose us as His own possession with sincere desire to draw near to us as we draw near to Him, we miss the intimacy to be had with our God: hindering our being real with Him. And as a result, we miss out on the very relationship we need, and we fail to see what He sees in us and be inspired to higher ground.”

It is important to have relationships with others who accept us and appreciate us for who we are; people we feel safe to be real with. But those people should also be ones who love us in ways that inspire us to be the best we can be. That is the love God calls husbands to have for their wives. You see, God knows that we struggle with our sense of self. So He called husbands through Paul to a love for their wives that cherishes and nurtures. That which we cherish, we hold up to admire it and we do all we can to help it to look and be its best. We treasure that which we cherish, seeking to protect and build it up. Those we nurture, we help to be the best they can be, nourishing them in good ways that help them grow strong and achieve their purpose. My husband loves me in this way, and so does my God.

“Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: ‘He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us’? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” ~ James 4:5-10.

When we draw near to God without fear of His seeing us for who we are, He makes us better people through the relationship and He lifts us up. So why do we hide under the covers, afraid of the relationship that will make us better, more appealing, stronger?

What was the first thing Adam and Eve did after they sinned? They tried to cover up their nakedness and hid from God. God is not afraid of our nakedness, but we should be afraid of hiding from God. When we hide from God, that is when we lose site of the One who can cover us in robes of righteousness and make us whole again.

For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]” ~ Hebrews 4:15-16, AMP.

Draw near to God in intimate relationship, beloved. He loves and desires you, and He wants to help you see what He sees in you and what He has for you to attain for yourself.

“In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world” ~ 1 John 4:17, AMP.

Closer ~ Steffany Frizzell and Matt Stinton: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLQ0C_MSVLY&list=PLfiEjLIYhJ9AfidNKH4ify2vg0Z5t-SSj&index=6

Forgiving God’s Way (Part 2 of 2)

Yesterday we looked at our call to forgive as God forgives, in accord with His seventy-times-seven principle. Today we seek to answer the question, “How do we do that?” I believe God long ago taught me a very important principle that must be practiced by choice if we are to achieve the 70 X 7 goal of grace.

“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins” Isaiah 43:25.

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The Young Don’t Always Do What They are Told

“For after I turned back, I repented; And after I was instructed, I smote on my thigh; I was ashamed and also humiliated because I bore the reproach of my youth” ~ Jeremiah 31:19.

I have three children, twelve grandchildren, and many friends and acquaintances that are younger than me, and one thing I have learned through the years is that the young don’t always do what they are told. I can warn one of these from my experience of a path they are thinking of traveling, and instead of hearing and receiving the warning, they too often choose to walk the path for themselves and learn things the hard way. In the world’s economy, there is too often an unseen badge of honor we feel we have earned by learning things the hard way, by experience rather than through instruction. But in God’s kingdom, the badge of honor comes to those who hear and, through faith, obey the instruction given.

“The young don’t always do what they are told” comes to me in the voice of a Stargate SG1 character named anteausAnteaus, a leader of the Nox in episode 107. He was not just speaking of the child Nox under his care, but he was speaking of the SG1 team and the people of earth. What has me thinking on this subject this beautiful Sunday afternoon?

On my way home after Church, mulling over the message and its application to me personally, the Spirit, in the voice of Anteaus, said to me—about me, “The young don’t always do what they are told.”

I am nearing 60 years of age, an elder in our society, yet to God whose age is beyond number, I am “the young.” Still, at my age, I too often fail to hear fully what God is telling me. There are a couple of things we flesh beings are prone to do when we are not hearing and receiving through faith God’s instruction to us with understanding and clear comprehension:

One – We too often hear, but then add more to His instruction than He intended we bear; just like Adam and Eve. Adam was told not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yet somehow when the serpent asked Eve about it, it was translated to and through her as, “We are not to eat, or even touch it!” (Genesis 3) So one way we fail to do what we are told is by making God’s instruction burdensome by adding to it things that He did not intend us to bear. Or, if you are like me, we often add things that make it less our fault when we fail, as you will see in my example below.

I am not beyond making God’s instruction to me more difficult or convenient by adding ultimatums or a way out beyond what He instructed me. Just today God instructed me through 1 Peter 1:1-2 that we are chosen for the purpose of obedience to Christ. As I noted that in my study notes, I had to scratch two words out as I wrote, “We are chosen for the purpose of obedience to and through Christ.”

Now is the “and through” untrue? No. I can do nothing apart from Christ (John 15). And it is through the Spirit of God that I am empowered (Romans 8:13; Galatians 5). But in that moment God was instructing me that I must choose to obey. It is my responsibility to hear and obey: my choice, given me by God, to do so. As a result, as soon as I finished writing “obedience to and through Christ,” God caught my attention with “That is not what My word says,” and I had to scratch the “and through” to take responsibility for the “to do” I am called to.

Two: Another way we fail to do what we are told is through forgetfulness or by setting God’s instruction aside and ignoring it altogether. No matter how old I get, and even the older I get, the more prone to forgetfulness I am. How many times of late I have slapped my thigh with the words, “Man! I forgot.” I have to deliberately work to grasp hold on God’s instruction and choose to do it with determined conviction and deliberate effort to remember. I know that, from the earliest Bible days to now, I am not alone in this struggle, as Paul and Peter both often taught “by way of reminder, lest you forget.” And farther back still, God would have the patriarchs of faith set up altars of remembrance, so when they would see it, they and their children would be reminded of the ways of the Lord, what He did for them, and His instruction to them.

No matter how old we get in this life, we have to remember to take care, for “The young do not always do what they are told.” Like the child Nox and the SG1 team in episode 107, when we fail to hear and receive instruction, we very often get ourselves into a world of hurt that could be avoided if we would only listen with intent to put into practice the wisdom of those older and wiser: especially when that Older, Wiser One is God the Father.

Forgiving God’s Way (Part 1 of 2)

Reminder of the need to practice the things God has taught me about forgiveness is constantly cropping up, in my own life and in the lives of people I know. So a reblog seems in order. Part 2 tomorrow.

Darlene's Ponderings

 “Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven’” (Matthew 18:21-22, NASB).

 Peter asked Jesus this question about forgiveness, quoting the number of times required by the religious law of the day as the number of times to forgive. They took that number literally to mean that after seven times, they were free to hold unforgiveness even if the person was sincere in their repentance.

Jesus’ answer seems to up the number greatly to seventy times seven. But what exactly does that mean? Is it just a bigger number that we can count? If it is just a bigger number that we can count out, what of the teaching in 1 Corinthians 13 where it…

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An Independence Day Thought

I have 11 1/2 grandchildren and the older ones enjoy writing and blogging. Our second oldest blood born grand wrote a blog on our independence that is insightful and mature beyond her 16 years. It is a word worth reading, so I share it with you today. BLESSings, and may all your days be a day in which freedom dwells, for if it does not dwell within us, it cannot dwell in the land in which we live.