Sunday, January 30, 2011

Love is....

"If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

   Love never gives up.
cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
   Love doesn't strut,
   Doesn't have a swelled head,
   Doesn't force itself on others,
   Isn't always "me first,"
   Doesn't fly off the handle,
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn't revel when others grovel,
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
   Puts up with anything,
   Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best,
   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end. 

Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.....

We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! 

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love."

first corinthians thirteen- four through thirteen.
the message

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fear of Man....Or of Men?

"The fear of man brings a snare,
      But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe. "
proverbs-twenty nine -twenty five

Growing up in church, especially in the latter years when I discovered the Charismatic church, I heard the term "fear of man" thrown around quite a bit. I was never really sure what it meant but I guess I always assumed it meant to fear the opinions of others more than God's.
( "...for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." john 12:43)  But as the years have gone by, it became something entirely literal in my life: I was afraid of men. 

This has been the driving force feeding my "fear of man" mentality for years. I have always struggled with needed the approval of others. We can chalk that up to the scared little fat  twelve year old who was picked on mercilessly as I child....I got that part figured out for the most part. But there was also this part in me that was frantic to be approved of by didn't matter who they were. And it was really becoming a source of distraction. I cannot tell you how many church services I have been late to trying to get my hair and makeup many sermons I have ignored because I was to busy picking out cute many times worship was lost on me because I kept looking around to see if any guys were watching me. There are other things... but those are between me in Jesus.

And here is wear the fear kicks in: had any of those guys I was ogling actually came up and talked to me...well...I probably would've passed out. I couldn't even look a guy in the eye if I thought he was cute. If a young man smiles and says hello to me at a store just out of politeness,  I smile and say hello back but I can't look at him. At first I thought it was just a low self-esteem thing. But upon closer inspection, I began to realize there was fear there.

And I could probably tell you where most of it comes know...other than the pits of hell. We can probably safely assume its due to my past relationships with men, be it with my own father or guys I was interested in. But that's not the point....where it came from is the Lord's business. But the point was that it was affecting my opinions of every guy I met, affecting my ideas of self worth and terrifying me to no end about the concept of my future husband being let into to my secret catacombs of insecurity, flaws and failures. 

I was actually becoming afraid of men. I was beginning to make some sweeping judgements about them in general. I was beginning to assume that good men were either only dwelling in Disney movies or married to other people and the rest of them were all jerks and liars. But yet I felt I was only of value as a woman if I was found attractive and desired by them. My life's happiness was only to be found in getting married. Wow....what a mixed up web of contradictory madness.  I was just so very wrong. 

Over the past month or so, the Holy Spirit has really been speaking to me and healing my heart. I realized that this was a big issue and a source of bitterness and distraction.  So before I continue to blather on and on about my new revelation, I rather just pray:

I ask for forgiveness right now of my judgements and anger, towards anyone in my life, but especially men. Father, I forgive the men who have been in my life that have hurt me. I ask that you would heal the areas of brokenness in their hearts with an overflow of your love. I thank you that I am blessed to face trials because they make me stronger and love you all the more. I ask for forgiveness from all them men who I have hurt by my fearfulness of them. I ask for their forgiveness for the things I have spoken against them. I break every curse or ill thing I have spoken over men in my life or men in general in Jesus' name. I thank you for men and the wonderful gift they are. 

I ask that you would bring healing to the men who fear their own masculinity. I ask that you would show them how wonderful it is to be a man, and that's its okay to let go of boyish things. But let them rise up as leaders, fathers, teachers and protectors. Teach them how to follow the example you have on how a man is meant to be. Let the only childlike thing they hold on to be their faith and their purity of heart. I  thank you God that going forward from this day, my heart will be pure towards men. That you will restore Godly relationships with men in my life and through the healing that you have brought to my heart, it will only strengthen the relationship I will have with my husband. That I will be able to trust him fully with my heart and know with complete confidence that its safe with him. Let me love the men in my life with your heart and see them with your eyes.

I ask for healing for any ladies who are reading this who are realizing they are struggling with the same thing. Set us free in your love so we may run this race well. Restore Godly knowledge of men to them, not fleeting opinions. Show them who men were really designed to be and how to spot the truly Godly men from mere boys posing as them. Help them to be in prayer for the men in their them to rise up and not be a victim of past hurt but to take on the healing of Christ and break free from this oppression. Give them your eyes and your heart that they would see men as a blessing. That they would reject the trappings of this world that entice them to speak unkindly of operate under the assumptions of ungodly belief systems about men being these foolish, womanizing, lazy creatures...but show them the value of men and believe them to be the strong, protective and loyal beings God meant them to be. 

In Jesus' Name I Pray, 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Beautiful Things Out of Us.....

" You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us"
- Gungor.

Sorry I haven't written on you, my dearly beloved blog...the keeper of all my treasures and outlet for the jumbled craziness that rattles in my head.....
Lately it seems as if my thoughts are more jumbled than ever.There is just so much going on in there...more than I can say aloud...or on a blog. So many crazy highs and lows of emotions walking through this holiday season. But I am so grateful because this was one of the best holidays I have ever had. It seemed like Jesus was making up for lost time. I even got a white Christmas. It was so amazing.

So here I am, coming out of the hectic holiday season and into a brand new year. Such a time of reflection and renewal. I have struggled so much lately with bitterness and anger. Well struggled isn't the word....caved and rolled around in is probably more the vision I should paint. As in true Mandy fashion, I took a pretty crappy time and made it worse by wallowing in self pity. I'm not one to make resolutions because frankly, I never make good on them. But this year I am determined to make good on one thing....I'm going to trust and walk without fear. I'm going to stop being angry at God and listen to Him. I'm going to talk to Him more and love more. I'm going to be a better person because I'm going to stop wallowing and rise. Rise above it all and overcome. Cause that's my overcome...because He did it first.

So okay, that was more than one thing....but its my blog, I can do what I want :)
So let's not make any more idle  promises or resolutions....let's make commitments....covenants, even...with God to start really moving forward in the truth we should be standing on. I'm going to give Him these dry bones and He can make them live any fashion He chooses. I'll prophesy life back into them and then stand back in awe at what He does. I don't need to be afraid of losing control...He only makes beautiful things.

"He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
   I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”
 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’”
Ezekiel 37:3-14