Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Godly Woman's Journey: Seasonal Confrontation

Memory/Meditation Verse: And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. ~ Micah 6:8 (NIV)

The Christmas season is upon us. Black Friday has come and gone. Christmas trees and house lights have been put up. A wreath most likely hangs on the front door of most houses and fireplace mantles shimmer with pine branches or glittering ribbons.

I'm not in the mood this year for those seasonal traditions. I haven't unloaded all my Christmas decorations and scattered them through my house. This year the tree is not being decorated with ornaments, as suggested by one of my daughters. I was all over that suggestion. Outside of the lighted ribbon and Nativity set gracing my fireplace mantle, and a Christmas table runner and candy dish decorating my dining room table, I think that is all I can muster up at the moment. Thank God my children are teenagers and older because activities surrounding Santa Claus nauseates me.

Why so blatantly scrooge like?

It's not because of the economical affects on our family finances (which are not very good right now). It's not because we have out-grown the Santa Claus stage. It's not because we don't appreciate the value of tradition or family gatherings. It's because my heart is in a different place.

This past years journey brought me here. This is not a Scrooge attitude but an attitude of submission from a seasonal confrontation. Craving simplicity over the dramatization this world has made of the season. The Christmas season has become to busy, too worldly. I am horrified at times at the forsaking of a sacred moment in history that is often replaced with worldly celebrations that often leaves one dissatisfied.

I am instead humbled in a new way this year by the true meaning of Christmas and find myself even more dependent than ever on my God. Yearning for a simplicity that is far from simple or easy.

A seasonal confrontation that leaves a longing for spiritual resolution. A seasonal confrontation of the significance behind a manager and a cross verses the bright lights and abundant decorations we see in this season. A seasonal confrontation yielding a spiritual magnitude that can be too comprehensive for the heart and mind of a human race that does not know God. A seasonal confrontation that can only be understood by those who walk faithfully with God, seeking to love as His Son loved, and live as His Son lived.

A seasonal confrontation of the impact of God's gift of love that emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, relationally and behaviorally transforms one's purpose in life. A seasonal confrontation that gives one the desire to model His appearance by radically living as He lived. A seasonal confrontation making one restlessness for more of Him. A seasonal confrontation leaving an unsettling need to share His story of amazing love that is wrapped with life-giving grace, healing and redemption.

A seasonal confrontation that calls one to radical dependence. A call to lose control for what Gods wants in and of one's life. A seasonal confrontation to live without the things of this world that hold no spiritual value, and the power to live moment-by-moment with God.

A seasonal confrontation leading to...

Total surrender.

A responsive heart.

Maximum faith.

Holy living.


But make sure that you don't get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can't afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don't loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!
~ Romans 13:11-12 (Message)

Holy and Sovereign God, You are here, not just in this season but in every day, every moment. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for wanting to do life with me. Thank you for guiding me to this place of seasonal confrontation and commitment. Continue to teach me. Continue to lead me. I adore you. May my life worship you and bring you glory.

Living in His Embrace~Pamela

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Godly Woman's Journey: Illumination

Memory/Meditation Verse: "Rise up and shine, for your light has come. The shining-greatness of the Lord has risen upon you. 2 For see, darkness will cover the earth. Much darkness will cover the people. But the Lord will rise upon you, and His shining-greatness will be seen upon you". ~ Isaiah 60: 1-2 (NLV)

Words come to me and just hang in my thoughts and heart. It may be from a sermon, a conversation, a song. Last week I heard the word illuminate used from a preacher on the radio. He was referencing God's illumination into our life, our thoughts, our heart, allowing us to see and hear Him. I made it a prayer for my quiet times.

The word still stick. So I am nudged by the Holy Spirit to bring it into this journey.

Having God's illumination in our life makes us grow spiritually strong. In this growth we then begin to illuminate His glory. That became my unsettlement...the presence of a word to stir my heart and my living. A realization that I am being called to illuminate His glory.

Encarta defines illuminate (il·lu·mi·nate) as to "shine light on somebody or something: to make somebody or something visible or bright with light, or be lit up decorate something with lights: to decorate something with lights for a celebration clarify something: to make something easier to understand".

Spiritual illumination. It recorded through the scripture...

God's Message, the God who created the cosmos, stretched out the skies,
laid out the earth and all that grows from it,
Who breathes life into earth's people,
makes them alive with his own life:
"I am God. I have called you to live right and well.
I have taken responsibility for you, kept you safe.
I have set you among my people to bind them to me,
and provided you as a lighthouse to the nations,
To make a start at bringing people into the open, into light:
opening blind eyes,
releasing prisoners from dungeons,
emptying the dark prisons". ~ Isaiah 42: 5-7 (HCSB)

Living from the inside our, radiating the Lord in our life. The godly woman says "YES! Lord, I want to shine on this world, to make you visible and bright in and though my help others better understand your Word and their need of you in their life! Help me illuminate your glory".

Being a light with eternal significance, a light that serve the purpose of our work here on earth for our Creator....

Remember, our message is not about ourselves; we're proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, "Light up the darkness!" and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us. As it is, there's not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at. We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus' sake, which makes Jesus' life all the more evident in us. While we're going through the worst, you're getting in on the best!~ 2 Cor. 4: 5-12

Messengers illuminating the story of Jesus....

"No one lights a lamp, then hides it in a drawer. It's put on a lamp stand so those entering the room have light to see where they're going. Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. Keep your eyes open, your lamp burning, so you don't get musty and murky. Keep your life as well-lighted as your best-lighted room."
~ Luke 11:33-36

Your eye is a lamp lighting up your whole body...what does your eyes see each day? What substance do you take in to fill your heart in mind? Our vision, our sight feeds into our heart and mind be it good or bad. And though our eyes, our soul can be reflected out.

If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with you live in amazement of what our God has done? Of what He is? Of His creation? Of His love? Daily? If we did how would we not illuminate Him?

I was reminded of a picture I took late one night driving home from visiting a patient. The night was dark, not a single star visible in the sky. The road was so long, so incredibly deserted. My headlights illuminated the path I was to take. While the world around me was sleeping, lights dimmed by the late hour and the bodies need for rest, my headlights pierced the darkness.

This picture reflects just how much we can spiritually illuminate this cold dark world. God made the desire of my heart to live a life that would spiritually pierce the darkness of this world. Not in a way to glorify my own journey of restoration and spiritual awakening but to pierce this dark world with the light of His glory, His work in and through my mistakes, my losses and pains. Piercing the dark world with a spiritual illumination that they might know Who they need to fill their life, ease their suffering, satisfy their hunger, heal their pain.

1ARISE [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you--rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!

2For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and dense darkness [all] peoples, but the Lord shall arise upon you [sweet sister in Christ], and His glory shall be seen on you.

3And [lost souls] shall come to your light, and [broken Christians] to the brightness of your rising.
~ Isaiah 60 (Amplified, personalized)

Spiritual illumination. A godly woman's journey to completeness in Christ. A godly woman's purpose.

Are you illuminating Jesus today?

Father God, Holy and Sovereign Lord, help us to illuminate your goodness in and through our lives. Radiate your love, your healing, your grace and mercy through our living. Be reflective in our actions, our thoughts, our brokenness. May your presence in our life be a sweet aroma that draws others to you. Use us to be glorified in this cold, dark world. We love you Jesus. We are but your vessel...use us.

Living in His Embrace~Pamela

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Godly Woman's Journey: Spiritual Vibrancy

Memory/Meditation Verse: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. ~ Proverbs 30:8 (NIV)

This "Proverbs 31 Journey" which modernized into the "Godly Woman's Journey" has taken me on a different path than I thought it would in the beginning of this year. I felt such a burden to better myself as a wife, mother and friend and knew I needed to be a whole lot more of the Proverbs 31 Woman. My focal verse was:

"...sent to strengthen [my husband and children], to encourage [them] in [their] faith, and to keep [them] from being shaken by the troubles [they] will go through. ~ 1 Thes 3:2&3 (personalized)

This study however has lead the calling of my heart into a different path of sorts. God layed this study on my heart because He needed me to make a change in my heart, one that I didn't realize that I needed at the time. As I studied this legend of a lady, determined to get to know her better, to become her, I quickly learned that in order to be the Proverbs 31 Woman to my family and others I first had to love and worship our God more fully, more intimately.

Worship God more. I thought I was doing a good job. I was cherishing the intimacy I had experienced but conviction fell on me that I wasn't doing enough. There was more, a deeper intimacy that I needed, that He wanted to share with me.

No matter how much time I spend doing, studying, praying, and attending church, there is more. I have became so incredibly convicted that maybe I have been living my religion more than worshiping Him. God is calling me to live in a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him. The the rest would fall into to speak (we know how interruptions from the enemy can even make that a challenge).

Living ones religion. For too many denominations, that's what it is about. Sad to say, one can have religion and not have a relationship, a true intimate relationship, with God. One can be spiritual in action and not spiritually and intimately connected to God. One can be active in the church but not active in their personal walk with God. I have seen it. I have come to realize that at times I have lived it.

Now don't get your defenses up. I think we are inclined to do that when it comes to this topic. Having lived every day of my life with a Christian foundation from my parents, I too like others lived the way of the church. Not saying that is bad-in fact, I am more blessed because of the foundational work that has been given to me. But, as I have grown spiritually, and failed spiritually, I am coming to learn this spiritualism is so much much more.

Church is a fundamental component of a Christians life but not to be the only fundamental part. A church is built and governed by man with the underlying principles of scriptures, right? We hope so. However, as with any other structure managed by man, it can fall apart, it can hurt and even destroy lives. Too often it is the people within the church that most often turns those of the world away from coming to seek and know our God. It is a painful reality that needs a good hard reckoning with.

The church. Religion. A practicing of ones faith. Does it necessarily make one religious? Does it guarantee an intimate relationship with our Creator? Is it always a safe place to go?

This is what this years journey has lead me to and awaken my senses to. A religion does not make us spiritually strong. A religion is not what God is asking of us. A religion can leave us empty.

Shamefully and too often I have been busy about the doing for God that I have missed God himself. All the good work "in His name" has not necessarily filled my soul. And in that I have failed to be the salt and light of His amazing love in this world. I have missed the joy of spiritual vibrancy, the completeness in life that can only come from Him.

" The presence of God--not how well we can perform duties of religion--is what creates within us a spiritual vibrancy....vibrancy--life within our soul--is the effective work of Jesus." ~ Lisa Whittle, {W}hole

The Life within my soul. Not how well I did a job or the recognition I inwardly hoped for but emptiness made full with His presence. Life reflected from my my Soul, spiritual vibrancy, for reflecting His work in and through me. The amazing work of Him in my life cannot be ignore and I am so convicted in the urgency to share that healing, that gift with the empty souls of this world.

The Light I am to reflect. The radiance of His healing, grace, and love I have come to cherish and live by.
We must be careful that we are not being an object that blocks His radiance, but instead, we become an object of faith that reflects and radiates Him.

If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—firm muscles, strong bones. You'll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You'll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again. ~ Isaiah 58: 10-12 (Message)

Suddenly this year I am feeling a calling, an urgency to reach out to those who desperately need Jesus...people who have known Him and fallen away, and people who have never experienced a vibrant relationship with Him.

Suddenly my heart aches, not to be active in a church ministry within four walls, but to be active in displaying His presence in my life so much so that those outside those church walls are compelled to seek Him.

My heart no longer desires restoration to the point of being worthy of serving again in ministry within those four walls, but instead I feel a desperation to tell others how my fall, my brokenness, my pit experiences have instead brought life and healing and intimacy with the only One who can restore. My empty places are full...full of Him. Re-dedication and re-dedication means nothing without a heart that is steadfast on Him, vibrant for Him.

"The presence of God in our life will produce a thriving spiritual existence that nothing else can generate--creating a genuine passion and concern for those things that once did not compel us." ~ Lisa Whittle, {W}hole

Commitment and dedication is a result of a heart that is focused on God. In a spiraling affect, our doing and our motivation is a reaction of that heart. When one can pray our memory verse above and live it out, they can better experience the spiritual vibrancy we were created for...kingdom work.

Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. ~ Proverbs 30:8 (NIV)

In other words, don't allow anything in my life that will block me from you Lord. Not the wardrobe in our closet or the house we call home, not the dollar amount our bank account holds or the status we earn in our careers or ministries...what will truly matter is what we do for Jesus. What are we doing to support His kingdom? What are we doing to draw others to seek Him?

Does our spiritual vibrancy drawn the lost Christians and lost souls to you?
Does your life story make them take notice of God? Are they curious to your fullness of joy?

"Where there is spiritual blandness, we are to provide savor. Where there is spiritual darkness, we are to provide illumination. We are to draw people to Jesus by our loud display of His abundant love. " ~ Lisa Whittle, {W}hole

Spiritual vibrancy begins with sacrifice. Sacrifices of anything that might get in the way of you and God. Are you brave enough to ask God to allow only those things in your life that are necessary? Can you mustard up the strength to ask God to limit anything that might distract you from Him and from displaying Him to others? Daily manna, daily bread...only what you need.

"...Focusing on anything other than God is to abandon Him." ~ Nancy Douglas, Draw Me Near: Pursuing an intimate relationship with God.

God has boldly asked me to step outside of religions four walls and to step into His presence within this world. Oh, I still attend a worship service and value it. But it is no longer a matter of what I gain from the service or how many ministries I can be involved in. Too often that was my main concern. Shifting gears, I am challenged in my intimacy with God. And in that, how can I serve others? How I can mirror His reflection and cause others to be drawn to Him because of what they see of Him in my life.

For my determined purpose is that I may know Him that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly, and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection which it exerts over believers, and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed in spirit into His likeness even to His death, in the hope that if possible I may attain to the spiritual and moral resurrection that lifts me out from among the dead even while in the body.~Philippians 3:10-11, Amplified

Spiritual vibrancy. A reflection of Jesus in our life. We should not be attached to a denomination but rather attached to God. We were not created to be labeled by the our religion or our ministry, but we should be label by His grace and redemption as reflected by our my hearts actions. We are closer to being the Proverbs 31 Woman when we are His maidservant, craving more and more of Him, filled and overflowing.
So much of Him that is spills over into another's life. Spiritual vibrancy.

My Holy and Sovereign God, you are my everything. Nothing else matters as much as you. Continue to fill me Lord. I am so thankful that you have filled my holes, my emptiness. You complete me. Keep away anything that will block me from your radiance. Continue to fill me so much that you spill over into the lives of those lost and without you. Grow this urgency I feel in my heart. Use me for your kingdom growth. I am so grateful for all that my life story represents and the healing that is too good not to share. Your presence in my life is my daily manna, my daily bread. I am clinging to you, my Shepherd.

For a beautiful song that reflects this message go here.

Living in His Embrace~ Pamela

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Godly Woman's Journey: Desperate

Memory/Meditation verse: "[She] wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in [her] way..." ~ Luke 19:3 (Message)

I left church last night speechless. My whole week has been like this. God's presence has been so near since I became "undone" (read about it here). I am unworthy of such an embrace from my Father but it has been so very good.

Its like falling in love for the first time. My heart for no other reason than God Himself will leaped and a smile will come to my face. I feel such joy, such comfort like the soothing sensation of a warm drink on a sore throat.

Even though my week at work has been busy and has tried to squeeze more hours out of me than it should, I have felt His presence. The enemy has thrown in a few tensions here and there but I have truly been living in His embrace.

My quiet times and readings have all connected. So too last nights message and praise songs at church. I love how God does that and it leaves me wanting and yearning for more. It leaves me feeling desperate. Desperate for more of Him.

Just like Zacchaeus...

Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn't see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by. ~ Luke 19:1-4

"He wanted desperately to see Jesus"-mirroring that desire in the heart reflects a godly woman. She yearns for more of God. She cannot spend enough time searching for Him in her quiet times, in her prayers, in her worship. This boldly characterizes her as a Jesus girl, stamps her as a Proverbs 31 Woman.

He is her manna, the primary source of her dail
y nutrients for her body, mind and soul. She is careful not to take in too much of "other things" from her plate so that there is more room for Him.

But like Zacchaeus,
"but the crowd was in his way" things get in the way...commitments, people, hobbies, TV, books, addictions...

Our pastor gave the analogy of a meal. A meal is meant to be enjoyed, to provide nutrients, to fill. But if we take in too many others things right before a meal we find that we are already filled up and when it is time to sit at the table to enjoy the meal, we have no room for it, no desire for its blessing.

This too can happen in our spiritual life. If we soak up too much time in work, in TV, in our hobby...we become stuffed. Then when we sit down in our quiet our secret place with God we have no room left
for all that He has to offer us.

But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:6

Our pastor spoke about the Jewish tradition of the prayer shawl and how it reflects the tent at the tabernacle in which they would enter to pray to God. This tent, being a holy place, is a secret place to which one could hear from God. The Jewish crowds could not all fit into the tent of the tabernacle so they would cover their heads with their prayer shawls, creating a tent, a secret place in which they could talk to God and await His voice.

I thought about my own quiet times I have each morning with God. I challenge you to think of your own quiet times. Do we enter it as holy? Do we imagine being in His tent, His secret place? Do we pray and meditate on His word so that we may hear His still small voice or do we rush on to our next task?

Do we leave our secret place feeling full but desperately wanting more of Hi

The secret counsel of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He reveals His covenant to them. ~ Psalm 25:14

Desperate for more of His embrace...

I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches from secret places, so that you may know that I, the LORD, the God of Israel call you by your name. ~ Isaiah 45:3

Desperate to hear His voice...

A word was brought to me in secret; my ears caught a whisper of it. ~ Job 4:12

Desperate and never satisfied in a good way, a committed way, a holy way.

Desperate for more of Jesus. Desperate to see Jesus in Her day. Desperate to mirror Him in her life. Desperate to not allow anything else to get in her way of finding intimacy with her God.

Jesus, Holy and Sovereign God, You are my hearts desire. You complete me. I desperately want to see you, to feel your presence, and to hear your voice. Block out anything that tries to fill my life where you should be. Be my manna, my daily bread. Fill me.

Living in His Embrace ~ Pamela