The Best Motivation

Motivation is a funny thing. We all have areas in our life that need improvement, whether it is a skill or personal growth. As a parent, I think of ways to motivate my son to stay on task when it comes to homework. Discipline is appropriate at times when learning right from wrong, but is it always necessary for maturity? I can try to motivate him with consequences, and constantly remind him of why he should do something.

However, the best motivation is love.

I can motivate my son much easier when I tell him all the time how much I love him and am proud of him. When he makes a mistake – and knows it – I have learned to walk up to him, hug him in that tough moment, and tell him that I love him and am proud of him. No need to rehash what has happened. He is an amazing person and, at his young age, is motivated to do what is right because he loves my love. I love him the same, even when he isn’t perfect, but my love instead of reproach in those times, is a far better motivator to continue on doing good.

Why don’t we believe that God deals with us in the same way?

I’m not the most loving person by nature. It’s been a long process of learning what love means and I still have a long way to go. However, this week I received a lesson – a revelation – that opened a door to me of incredible understanding.

I have a circumstance in my life that is very difficult. So much so, that not long ago I was begging God to take me, as life was so overwhelming. I couldn’t see a way out. Every day I was taking hit after hit. After years of this, I had become so focused on the situation and the pain, that it was the only thing I could see. I was becoming angry and bitter and hopeless. I hated the situation. I despised those involved. I saw no end in sight.

My hopelessness was so severe that for about 4 months, all I could do to keep my sanity was to whisper and pray in my head, over and over, “Jesus help me. Jesus help me. Jesus help me.” No kidding. Behind my smiles and daily interactions, I was screaming, “Jesus help me!”.

He did.

Over time, He has pulled me up and out by taking my face in His hands, like a tender Father, and simply speaking, “keep looking at Me!” He could have chided me for having a bad attitude, for despising people I was supposed to love. God could have rebuked me for being unforgiving, but instead He just loved me.

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  • In His love, I saw how wrong I was to wish I could end my life as He still has purpose for me here. My life is precious to Him, but He didn’t have to get mad at me and tell me I was wrong, I saw it in His love for me.
  • In loving me I saw how He loved others, even if I had a hard time loving them. So I asked Him to teach me to love them the way He loves them.
  • In loving me, I saw how I can be happy in any situation as long as I “seek first His Kingdom”.
  • In loving me, I realized it didn’t matter what other people said or did because in loving Him, I was living for an audience of One.
  • His love didn’t remove difficult situations or people. I still have them. However, what has changed is the view.
  • In loving me, He is teaching me to love others. (Love as I have loved you. Jn 13:34)

Softening a heart and loving difficult people in difficult situations takes a daily dose of Him (“give us today our daily bread”). It has been a very long process, but I have seen more permanent progress during the last year-and-a-half than I have experienced in my entire life!

Like the “wax on, wax off” lesson of the Karate Kid, I had no idea the extent of what God was wax-on-wax-off-karate-kidteaching me until recently when I faced, again, my opponent from nearly 2 years ago, despair and discouragement. A well-meaning “word of knowledge” was given that opened the door for my old foe to stand boldly before me.

The word of correction given to me wasn’t necessarily wrong, it was just not the right time (and it taught me a lesson about speaking into other’s lives – that’s another post). That “word” did not motivate me to want to continue in my lesson of love. Instead, it felt like I had done a mountain of progress, only to have someone come by and say, “you missed a spot”.

I confess I started to wonder if all the work of deliberately changing my focus from circumstances to Jesus over the last 18 months was worth it. If the progress I had already made still wasn’t good enough, then what was the point?

As Peter did, I took my gaze off of the Father and looked at my situation, and I sank in hopelessness – disheartened and bruised.

However, my precious Father, my Papa, reminded me to look at Him again. I would have preferred to have received a “word” about how proud God is of my progress in this particular area, like a Fatherly pat-on-the-back, but today I am declaring, in faith, that I know, that I know, that I know >>>

God is proud of my progress. He is holding my face in His hands. He sees me. He sees the difficult circumstances, and He has taught me how to love, live, and thrive in the midst of pain. Also, that in loving Me, I can love back.

When I see God’s love for me, I am more motivated than ever to continue forward.

Do I have a long way to go? You bet. However, my gaze is on my prize: my Papa.

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painting by Yongsung Kim

Note:  Whenever God is doing a work in you, there will always be an attack or accusation. For most of us, we prepare for something major to de-rail us, but in reality, it is almost always the insignificant and unsuspecting words, actions, circumstances that catch us off-guard. Don’t stay down. Don’t blame others. Remember, it is the enemy, Satan and his demons, who are the accusers. Stand up, declare the truth, be OK with being misunderstood, realize that no one else probably sees the situation like you do, and move forward. My situation that I referred to was completely harmless on the outside. The person speaking to me was not wrong, it was spoken with grace and love, I have no ill-will. However, the enemy knows about battles that others do not and he is an opportunist. Satan took full advantage of a seemingly minor incident, knowing it would result in a major hit. I was sucker-punched. But what Satan meant to harm and discourage me, God has used to teach me multiple lessons that will propel me to greater understanding of love! Amen.

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God Is Willing

man standing on rockHow many times, when it seems like God isn’t answering a prayer, have you thought to yourself, “I guess He just isn’t willing to do this for me”?

Down deep, many of us think that God’s blessings and healing are for other people, but He just isn’t willing to do it for us.

I confess I thought that way most of my life. I always questioned whether God WANTED to bless me with good relationships, understanding, financial stability, authority. I believed He didn’t want to use me because….well, there was something in me that caused Him to overlook me.

For that last year or so I have experienced such freedom as God has taught me otherwise. Still, old habits die hard and occasionally something happens that sends me into a full-on pity party and I question God’s willingness to use me.

A few days ago, my pity party was well under way, complete with tears and whining and yelling at God. It wasn’t a fun party so I grabbed my Bible and threw it open – not caring what I read, I just needed to shift my thinking.

It wasn’t expecting much in my time reading, but it didn’t take long before I came across three words that stopped me in my tracks: I Am Willing. I grabbed my pen and started writing…

And behold, a leper came and worshipped Him, saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” (Matt 8:2-3. Emphasis mine.)

This man’s cry was more than a request to be healed of a disease. Jesus could have easily spoken the words “be cleansed”, went on His way, and the man would have been healed of his disease. However, Jesus did two things before healing him:

Jesus Touched Him

No one had touched this man since he contracted the disease! Imagine no one wanting to touch you. I’m sure the homeless feel this way…rarely feeling a tender or caring touch. Jesus didn’t have to touch this man. In fact, to do so would make him unclean according to the Jewish Law. A tender touch can melt away hard hearts, years of pain, and erase bitterness – especially a touch from Jesus.

This touch went above what the man expected. How much do we realize that God is a good Father and wants to exceed our expectations? He wants to touch us. Look up and see the amazing attention the Father gives!

Jesus Stated He Was Willing

Jesus said, “I am willing”. The biggest question this man had was, “Are you willing to take time to notice me and heal me?”

Isn’t that what we all want to know?

Lepers were outcasts, unclean, untouchable, rejected by society, friends, and family. Many of us struggle with feeling rejected and even unusable. As a Christian, we may know we are saved, but remain in the shadows because we can’t seem to fit in anywhere. Our past may render us “unworthy” in the eyes of the church, other believers – especially ourselves. All of us have a strong desire to be relevant.

We long for our parents, pastors, bosses, leaders, friends, spouses to see gifts, talents and potential in us. Yet, so many experience situation where they are not even noticed. You may even feel like no one would notice or miss you if you stopped attending church or work.

Whatever it is, there are many people who feel unlovable, forgettable, unnoticed, unusable, or have a hard time that God Himself would be willing to use “someone like me”.

That’s what this story is about. The man with leprosy wanted to be healed, but even more, he wanted to know if Jesus was willing. Did Jesus see him as a person? Would Jesus want to give him time and attention? Jesus went above and beyond because He saw the real need. This man wanted to be loved, valued, and noticed – as a person – not as a leper.

Hear me: God SEES you. He LOVES you. God IS willing to bless you and heal you! Meditate on these verses and let God Himself tell you how much you mean to Him!

By the time Jesus spoke, “be cleansed”, I think the man realized that being healed of leprosy was nothing compared to the attention of the Son of God.

Father, thank you for Your attention. Thank you for Your love. I realize that You see me. I am important to You. Praise you for Your gentle touch and Your patience in my moments of doubt, unbelief, and self-pity. Glorious are you Lord! You are a good, good Father.

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The Feet Of Jesus

For the last two weeks I have been fairly useless around the house and in my business. That’s because I found myself sitting at the feet of Jesus. poncho-feet

I can’t get enough. I am taking in so much that my head and heart feel like it is going to explode. Yet, I desperately needed this time. More than I realized. I didn’t plan it – He just called and I sat down.

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It has been a life-altering 2 weeks and I don’t know where to start in sharing what God has been downloading. I admit that it has been rough … and fabulous at the same time.

This week I am going to sit down and start unpacking and meditating on what He was saying and I can’t wait to share it with you. This is His final call.

The main points that I heard very clearly were:

  1. LOVE: The Father is desperate to get us to understand His Love for us! We don’t have a clue the intensity of His Love.
  2. LOVE2 – People have forgotten how to love each other. We need to repent and ask the Father to teach us to love again.
  3. BRIDE OF CHRIST IS UNPREPARED – The Holy Spirit clearly showed me that Jesus has delayed His coming out of mercy because His Bride (the church) is in shambles. We are not ready. My heart grieved so much when I saw what condition the body of Christ was in – and I am part of that. We are not doing His will and we are not holy.
  4. HELL: Hell is far worse than any evil on this earth. Many “Christians” are on a path that leads to hell. The Father is delaying His coming back because so many are perishing and His heart is grieved. So many Christians are oblivious that they are perishing because they are not doing His will and not repenting. He is desperate for more to come to love and obey Jesus! (This has been the hardest message for me to hear, and I saw myself on that path and didn’t even know it. God is merciful! He doesn’t want anyone to perish!)
  5. HEAVEN: Is far greater that we can imagine, yet Believers are clueless as to how we live our lives on earth are impacting eternity. We have been so careless.
  6. HOLY SPIRIT: There is already a HUGE outpouring of healing and miracles through the Holy Spirit and He wants Christians to stop being afraid of the Holy Spirit and minister healing to each other and to the nations.
  7. HE IS COMING SO, SO SOON! The Spirit of God is shouting: “Hurry! Tell everyone about Jesus! Hurry!!!”

I am eager to write out and share what God is speaking. Like Jacob, I have been wrestling with God because even though I have been a Christian for over 40 years – I see how wrong I have been in much of my understanding. I am holding on to Him and crying out for His blessing!

I have spent time repenting (oh I have so much to repent of!) and crying and giving thanks. There’s been a realization of the depth of my religion and self-righteousness and “spiritual” knowledge, yet missing love. True love. Agape love. I thought I knew love, but I didn’t. The precious Father has taken my face tenderly, but firmly, in His hands and is pulling my gaze into Him. It has been profound and life-altering.

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I hope you stay with me as I share from each of the above points – what God revealed to me in hopes that it blesses you and draws you closer to the Father through Jesus.

Blessings on your day and may you take time to sit at the feet of Jesus!

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God Wants To Tell YOU Something

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Good morning my precious friends! I have a quick word for you today…

The Lord God, our Good Father, is speaking. He is always speaking. But right now He is almost SHOUTING to His church!

So many wonderful things, but also words of direction and correction.

Do not wait for God to come to you….the Word says to “SEEK AND YOU SHALL FIND, KNOCK AND THE DOOR WILL BE OPENED”. This is a directive to those who already call themselves Christians. This is not speaking to unbelievers. Why would our good Father tell Christians to “seek” and “knock”?

Because He has something to say….and He wants you to come looking for it, to train your ears to hear.

Starting a little over a year ago I started pressing in to know the Father and the works of the Holy Spirit better and since then He has continued to deepen His revelations to me at increasing speed. Every day I hear His voice a little clearer, to the point I wonder if I ever heard it before. It is like the book, Hinds Feet On High Places. He keeps drawing me further up and further in.

Yesterday was an explosion of understanding and I am trying to unpack it all so that I can express what He is saying.

But today I wanted to URGE you…PRESS IN, SEEK, KNOCK because God is speaking so much to this generation through His spirit, through prophets, through understanding of the Word…YOU MUST, MUST, MUST BE IN THE SCRIPTURES YOURSELF DAILY! IT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN FOOD FOR YOUR BODY!!

I hear Him calling His church to learn, again, the disciplines of fasting and prayer (by the way, fasting isn’t just for tough times to get God to move…it’s for us to TUNE our ears to His voice).

Press in and listen because the good Father has so much He wants to speak to YOU.

Grace and Peace and Wisdom and Understanding to you my brothers and sisters. Amen!

 

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I Wonder…

Dear God,

I wonder what it would have been like to have been the field that Jesus walked through – to feel His feet against my soil?

stay fit

I wonder what it would have been like to be the tree that provided shade against the heat of the day – to have the Son of God lay against my trunk and under my branches?twisted tree

Or what about the cloud He gazed upon while looking in the sky? What shapes would He have seen in me?cloud-trees

What would it have been like to be the wind that blew through His hair – to feel the softness of His skin as I gently blew by?sun-hair

Or what about the rock He cried upon and leaned on while He prayed to His Father – to feel the warm blood that He sweat as it dripped on my hard surface?

Sea of stones, Kali Basin, Hungary

But as the rocks, trees, fields, and wind were created through Him – so also was man created in His image. And I am thankful that I know what it is like to be a child of God. And though I have not been able to physically touch Jesus (yet) – He has touched me in a much deeper way, by loving me.

To know that the blood that dripped upon that rock, and why He came to earth was for me, makes me thankful that I don’t have to wonder what it is like to be made in the image of God.face-laugh

 

[Originally written Monday, April 27, 1992. I was 22 and had such a tender heart towards God.]

Overcoming Rejection: Introduction

Overcoming RejectionRejection. It’s a subject I am far too familiar with and one that I’ve only talked about one other time in my life: January/February 1997, in Belarus, to a group of women in drab clothes in an even more depressing room of concrete walls and metal chairs. I didn’t know anything about these women or why they were there. I suppose I never asked about them because I was already angry that I had been forced to go this meeting. You know, I was pouting. We also had a major language barrier, they spoke Russian and I couldn’t even say hello, plus their culture/mindset was so completely different than anything I had ever experienced. Continue reading

Heaven – It’s Not About Me

I like to think about Heaven.  What will it be like, who I will see, what will surprise me most, etc.  I actually can not wait to get there!

I also like to read stories of people who have entered Heaven and then returned.  I will say I am very selective about what I allow myself to read or hear as God’s Word is clear that we are to guard our minds and hearts carefully and our enemy loves to distort truth and appears most in ways that seem lovely.  He is a counterfeit, he will always try to offer an imitation of what is real and I think the subject and experience of Heaven is one that satan uses often because we all have a strong innate desire to know about it. Continue reading