"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Initiator!

Walking along the road... sad, confused, lost, ... He joins them. (Luke 24:13). It says that Jesus, the Risen Jesus, came up alongside them and walked with them. They were not looking for Him. He came after them.

My God is the great Initiator!

In the garden, after sin and the fall, Adam and Eve are embarrassed, shamed and hiding. They were hiding from God. They were running from God ... certainly NOT looking for Him. But, He seeks them out. He looks for them. He draws near. (Gen. 3)

He is the gentle Seeker!

Rejected, mistreated and running away, she goes out to the desert. She is ready to die. (Genesis 16) God sees her. He approaches her and talks with her. He seeks her out.

My Father is the One Who Sees!

In exhaustion God's prophet falls to the ground in exhaustion and fear (1 Kings 19). He isn't seeking God. He is just tired. But, God feeds him. God sustains him. God continues to pursue him and talks to him.

He is the feeding Sustainer!

Story after story. Life after life. Time after time, my Father pursues and seeks. He draws near and calls out. He initiates, He sees, and He sustains.

The men that day on the road to Emmaus were not looking for Jesus. (Luke 24) And, when Jesus came to them, they didn't see him. They didn't recognize their Lord and friend. I wonder what kept their eyes from seeing him that day?

What keeps my eyes from seeing Him as He pursues me each day? His gifts, in abundance, are constantly poured out and lavished on me. Sometimes I just miss it. I want to see it more!

Father, I want to respond to you today. I want to see you and hear your voice today! Open my eyes to Your pursuit, Your love! I want my heart to burn with the knowledge of Your voice, Your touch, Your Presence all day today!

"Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road..." Luke 24:32

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fed by a Gentle Father

I went to an Easter service yesterday feeling down. Physically, emotionally and spiritually I just felt "yuck". I felt (as I have off and on this week) out-of-sorts and down-right sad. Walking into the room, as if half asleep in a dream, I took my seat and "attended" this service. ...just going through the motions, really. And, then, something strange happened...

Something marvelous occurred as I sat in that pew seat...

The band began to sing the first song and my mouth moved with the known words. With very little feeling from within, I sang words and silently asked the Lord, What is wrong with me? My heart weakly murmured the words, Why so downcast, O my soul? I have forgotten again, Lord. I am so tired.

Then, in my mind's eyes, I "saw" (remembered) the story of Elijah. As if a direct answer to my prayer, God brought to mind 1 Kings 18. In this story, Elijah profoundly fights, in the Lord's strength, the prophets of Baal. Shortly after this amazing event, oddly Elijah runs for his life in fear. He hears about Jezebel and he is intensely afraid. He is exhausted and scared. It says in I Kings 19, "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life".

After running for some time, he falls down exhausted at the foot of a tree and says to the Lord, "I am done!"

I felt that way a few times this last week, ..."just take me, now, Lord!" I am done! I am so done.

Tired. Weary. Circumstances of life swirling ominous around my head. Larger than life, these mole hills did indeed feel like mountains. Hopelessness, anxiety, and fear crouching at my door, ready to leap and dig their nasty, ugly talons in me.

...so the band played, and I listened. I mouthed familiar words and thought of Elijah. Very quickly I realized the words on the screen were like a cool drink. Water! My eyes wandered and I watched those around me, my brothers and sisters, worshiping with joy and exuberance. Their worship was like food. Like a soft piece of bread, I ate.

The Lord was reminding me, showing me, offering me food and drink. They sang, I sang. Inviting me to a banquet, they sang, I watched. ...and I was fed.

Like my brother Elijah, I was fed by God's hand and by His people. I just needed to rest and eat. My Father, Our Father, offered me the food of praise. I took it in, ate and was satisfied.

Just like to my brother Elijah, our Father was gentle, kind and generous. He didn't rebuke me in that moment for my doubt, my lack of faith, or my unfaithful heart. No! He just gently lifted my eyes... like a kind Father touching the chin of his child. Look up, my daughter. Look up and out!

When I left that service, fed by the Lord, I was strengthened. I was awakened and alert. I was willing and able to continue on and keep serving in His strength. "So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God" (1 Kings 19:8)

And, with feeling I can now say, Hallelujah, He is Risen!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another bout of Amnesia

How quickly I forget!

A week of sweet ministry... a week of wrestling in prayer and seeing God at work. Closeness. Connection with Father and conviction of sin.

Such an invitation our Father offers us! Such intimacy He offers... and, when I experience it, it is all Truth, all Life, and pure Sweetness.

And, then how quickly I forget!!

I have walked as one in amnesia this past two days. As if I had never known that "peace which surpasses understanding", I have walked around in a cloud of confusion, isolation and frustration I have been anxious, fearful, worried, harried, and stressed.

Is it just jet-lag and exhaustion? ...maybe a contributing factor, yes. But there is more to it than that, I know. I just forgot.

Last night, as a family, we began reading out-loud a recently-recommended novel, Callanish by William Horwood. In short, the story is about a golden eagle trapped and taken to the London Zoo. Well written, the beginning chapters introduce this story and character in such a way that you feel deeply for his plight. You feel deeply sad for this captive bird. You feel the violation of the freedom that has been ripped from him.

As Creggan enters the Zoo cages, he is kindly instructed by an aging, tired, tender Golden Eagle who has been in captivity for all her life. She tell him that he must never forget his freedom. With pounding emotion, this caged, dying eagle implores the young captive to remember! Remember who you are and where you came from, she says. NEVER forget, she pleads with him. She illustrates her instruction by pointing out the other birds around them... those that have forgotten. They live as dead, as "caged", with hopelessness.

Live as one free.

Live as one who knows and remembers who they are and from where they have come!

The message of this book came to mind as I sat down to be with my Lord this morning. Did you forget, Stephanie? His Spirit whispers. Did you forget WHO I am? What I did for you? Who you are? Who you have become in me?

Yes, Father! I forgot! I am so sorry.

So, today, (again)... today, I remember. I choose to remember! I read His word and I remember.

I remember Who my Father is and what my Savior, Jesus, did for me! I remember the seal of His Spirit on my heart and the inheritance that is mine in Christ! Today, I remember that He created the heavens and the earth. And today, I remember that He chose me, in delight, before the creation of the world. Today, I will not forget.

I will speak it out, write it out... and remember today.

In remembering... just the simple act of remembering, I am close again. I am connected. I have "drawn near to God". And, He has "drawn near to me!". (James 4:8) What sweetness He offers!

Caged in this world... caged in this body, this tent, ... May I never forget who I am and from where I came! May I never forget again!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Counting Still... Seeing Him

The journey of looking for God's love, His blessings, throughout my day has been such a fun adventure.

I keep counting. I am making my way to the noting/journaling of 1,000 gifts. I keep counting and joining with others in the hunt for thankful-living (have a peek at the lists! www.aholyexperience.com). Here are just a few of mine...

#418. What You have done!--- it is finished on the cross!

#419. Morning snuggles with my son.

#420. Allergy meds.

#421. My automatic coffee maker. Brews before I wake!

#422. Sounds of worship coming down the stairs from my daughters bedroom.

#423. The penny-whistle and the djembe drum during worship.

#424. Smiles, contented smiles, on her face during worship.

#434. Love gifts from my daughter.

#436. Flowers picked for me.

#438. Back rub given to me by my girl.

#443. A husband who stays up late to listen and minister to a friend.

#451. A "yes" from the doctor.

#455. Science experiments in the kitchen.

#461. A quiet car ride.

#482. A frog jumps across my path.

#488. Sharing pain with others. Being prayed for.

#494. A day of His sustenance. His strength in my weakness.

#506. Dreams that instruct.

#507. Hard lessons and deep conviction of sin.

#513. Weeping prayer. Asking. Knocking. Pleading.

#514. Good news of a passed test.

#515. Love notes from my children.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lay it down

I was feeling out-of-sorts.  Heavy.  I was feeling raw and bugged. What is it, Lord? I whispered in that quiet moment of reflection. Why is my heart like this? What is going on, Lord? You know my heart better than I do... speak and show me, Lord?

A verse came to mind, ...but it felt personalized, ...and it stung. "You want to be the Author and Perfecter of your faith. You want to bring all things to completion". This is what I heard. This was the answer to my question of my Lord.

Ouch. Is that true, Father?

I didn't need His answer. I knew it was true.

I would like to be done. I would like to be perfect, yesterday! Finished. Complete. Holy. And, I am not. (Shocking, I know! smile) And, as I see it, I won't be anytime in the near future!

I know this may sound silly to some. This may seem like a no-brainer thought. This concept is a "duh!" for so many. But, for me it is a struggle. And, when I see my imperfection or weakness I feel angst. I can rock around in guilt or condemnation. I can make plans. Or rules. Or "self-help" strategies to help "bring it to completion". Or, I can put on a mask to cover the weakness and show forth "strength"or perfection. All these are strategies of my old nature--- my natural Stephanie-self. "Old man-strategies" as my friend calls it.

What I am realizing again today is that I need more surrender. Dependence. Release. I need to repent and receive. I need to sit down and surrender. I need to live in and by His Spirit... my new nature. I need, by His grace, to release all control and manipulation. And, I need to trust. I must plead with Father to fill me with His Spirit. He must teach me to lean into Him, trust His love, watch and wait for His work, and respond to His movements in my life.

Not an easy "to do" list, right? And, thus the problem!

I can't do it. Only He is the Author and Perfecter of my faith. Only He is the one who will bring me to completion and make all things new, and good. Him.

Essentially, I need Him. I need more of Him. Less of me and more of Him.

I wrote in my journal, "lay down you". And, then added later after more prayer about this, "Lay down you, so that you can be more of the real you in Him."

Teach me, Father. Teach me to lean into You, Jesus. Fill me, Holy Spirit and lead me into more of You, more Truth.
Our dependence upon God ought to be so entire and absolute that we should never think it necessary, in any kind of distress, to have recourse to human consolations.~Thomas Kempis

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My place in space

"A noiseless, patient spider, I mark'd, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated; Mark'd how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding, It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself; Ever unreeling them--ever tirelessly speeding them. And you, O my Soul, where you stand, Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space, Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,--seeking the spheres, to connect them; Till the bridge you will need, be form'd--till the ductile anchor hold; Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul" ~Walt Whitman

Sometimes my thoughts are endless. The distractions and wanderings of my mind are constant. I have been asking to learn. And, I AM learning to "catch" somewhere, to throw my thought-threads into the lap of God and cling to Him; but, it isn't easy.

The journey toward unending, unceasing prayer is a long and curvy road. I know that Scripture admonishes me to "take all my thoughts captive in obedience to Christ" and to "pray without ceasing". So, I know it is possible. This side of heaven, I believe it is possible... it is, in the least, a destination I can journey toward.

I sat and prayed today for quite a while. I was asking the Father for many things, interceeding as I intended (and believe He was leading) and then ... I wasn't praying. For how long had the thoughts been wandering, worrying, wondering? For how long had I thrown my "thought thread" out and it hadn't caught or anchored down in Jesus?

I want to learn to be like that noisless, patient spider. One goal. One spot. ...perservering and mark'd in my place in this vast space--- focused on Him!

Teach me to pray, Lord Jesus. Teach me to weave my thoughts around You and to anchor all thread, all wanderings, all musings in You and on You. Teach me, I pray.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Noses and Lips

Have you ever noticed the variety and kinds of noses on the faces of those around you?

Riding on a train for 3 hours gives you much time to watch and pray. As we pulled into one station, I was (quite randomly) struck by one woman's lips. I know that sounds odd. It is odd. But none-the-less, her lips struck me as interesting. Was it the lipstick? The shape? I don't know. But, being struck and in a mood of prayer, I began to ask the Lord to open my eyes more and more to His creativity!

The rest of my journey from home to Hong Kong became a fun quest, an adventure, to notice all the different lips that God created! He is so very creative!

I love the creativity of our Father. He hasn't just made one, two or three types of lips. Variety is His specialty. He delights, I believe, in the beauty of variety. And, from our lips ...to the shape of our noses... He has made us all, each one, unique and beautiful.

I have the opportunity to teach a bit this week and share from the book Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas. In this book, the author explores the many Biblical (and historical) ways that we can connect, worship and learn from God. Given that our Christian goal is to glorify God, to know Him and to obey His calling on our lives, Gary Thomas, "insists that it’s better to discover the path God designed you to take--a path marked by growth and fulfillment, based on your unique temperament." I love this!

I love the idea that God, Almighty God maker of heaven and earth, creates each of uniquely. ...from noses... to lips... to our personalities and temperaments. And, then invites us to seek Him, learn from Him, know Him and connect with Him in unique ways.

There is not one "one-size fits all" method of spiritual growth or "quiet times". We are unique. He is relational. And, in our uniqueness, ...and with His relationalness, our relationship with Him will look different from one to another. ...just as different as the lips or noses on our faces.

Friday, April 8, 2011

With Us Always

I leave tomorrow for a 10 day trip into Asia. While I am excited for the opportunity, I really dislike leaving my family behind. It is nice that I leave my sweet kids in the hands of a very loving, competent father. And, it is really good to know that he wants me to go. He often encourages me to step-out and actually sometimes gives me a "kick in the rear" to get me to go to events such as these.

But, all that said, it is extremely difficult to leave my family. I will think of them, pray for them and write them often. I might even hear their voices on the other end of a telephone. But, there is just nothing that can replace the beauty of being with them. Presence. To be in the presence of my husband and my kids is what I long for when I am away. I want to just be with them.

Having lived overseas for most of my adult life, I know this urge and desire well. I feel we are constantly leaving the presence of someone we love. When we leave our home here to go back to the States, ...we are leaving the presence of people we love. We miss them. We long for them. When we are here, we have left significantly important relationships behind in the States. There is a longing to just be with these that we love. I just simply want to be with my sister. Nothing more than presence. I want to sit in her home and see her smile. I want to sit on her comfy couch and talk with her face to face. Presence.

I was just reading in my Lent study, the story of the repentant thief on the cross. (Luke 23)This thief asks to be remembered in Jesus' kingdom. He asks to be remembered. That is what I will do when I am away from my family this next week. I will remember them. But, Jesus answers him not with a promise of remembrance, but instead a promise of Presence. "I tell you the truth, you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:42)

This is what we long for when we are away... to be with those we love. And, this is what Jesus promises this repentant sinner. And, this is what he promises me.

Jesus doesn't just promise Paradise. Paradise would be nice in and of itself, of course. It is only "paradise" that the Muslims of the world are hoping for in the end. No, Jesus doesn't only promise Paradise. He promises we will be with Him in Paradise. He promises us Himself, with us, in Paradise!

And, even more than that... He doesn't just promise we will be with Him in Paradise. He promises we will be with Him now. Now! "And surely I promise you, I will be with you from now until the end of the age" (Matthew 28)

Through the very real Presence of Christ's Spirit, the Holy Spirit, our God is with us! Even now.

Jesus says, "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever--the Spirit of Truth" (John 14). Forever Presence.

Throughout the Old Testament, God Almighty told His people of His Presence. He promised He would never leave them or forsake them (Duet. 31:26). He reminds us of this Promise again and again in the New Testament; a promise fulfilled completely in the death and resurrection of His Son, and the sending of His Spirit. God said, "Never will I leave you or forsake you!" (Hebrews 13:5)

What a thought! What a promise! We don't just have His letters, His thoughts, His intercession or even just His voice. We have all those and so much more!! We have His very real Presence. We have Him. We have Him with us. Now!

He is always near. He is always Present. He is always with us.

For about 8 months I have had a ringing in my ear. Pretty much constant, to varied degree of pitch and strength, I suffer with tinnitus. About a month ago, as I was feeling the annoyance of the sound during a quiet moment. I was struck with the fact that the ringing is clearly always there. I don't always hear it. The noises of every day life and busy-ness sometimes make me unaware. It is really only in those quiet moments that I can hear it and am aware of it so significantly.

I began to pray that God would teach me through this ringing to know that He is always there, as well. The noises of every day life and the business of life keep me from being always aware of His Presence. But, He is always Present. So, now when I hear the ringing (as I do right now!), I simply ask that God would make my heart aware of His very real Presence always. He is always here, near, within and around.

Just yesterday, I settled down for a quiet moment and the ringing had subsided significantly (for whatever reason). And, instantly I almost became sad. Can you believe it!? It was as if the ringing in my ear has become such a sweet reminder of His Presence, that I didn't want to loose it quite yet. I want to learn more about His very real Presence. I need more awareness. ... Well, no worries... it is back today! And, I will keep praying that until He takes it away and heals it, it will be a wonderful prayer trigger to remind me of Him, His always-with-me very real Presence.

So, tomorrow I leave my precious family. For 10 days I can't be with them. But, never... never ... do I leave my precious friend, brother, and Savior. I can always be with Him, because He is always with me. This fills my heart with a sense of security and a foundation that is solid, deep and wide.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Healing Continues... pain or no pain!

When you live most of your life "playing god", trusting Almighty God entirely is a step-by-step and sometimes arduous journey. Or, at least is has been for me. And, lately, we (Father God and I) have been taking many of these difficult steps together!!

Worry, control, manipulation, scheduling, researching, and "making it work" have all come very natural to me. Fear, anxiety and stress follow all of these and have nipped at my heels throughout my life. But, I have wanted to live a different way. I have so very much wanted to live a different way!

I have believed, and so clearly have seen in Scripture, that there is another way. A simpler way. A happier way. ...but, not necessarily an easier way!!

Trust. Trusting each day to God and knowing His love as foundational to every decision, every circumstance and each moment... well, like I said, we walk the journey together and it is hard. He nudges me along with sweet whispers of hope and joy. This trust road... It isn't an easy road. But, it is a good one and one with a fabulous destination!

I have written a lot in the last year about pain and suffering. I have written much about my physical pain and my emotional scars. My Father in Heaven and I have had many, many discussions about these issues. Recently He has done a work in my heart that is most certainly Divine. The change I feel and see in my heart is most definitely His work!

A few months ago, I believed that God wanted me to ask Him to heal me. This took courage and boldness, a new stepping out in faith and trust. And, I asked Him. And, so did many of you... thank you. We asked Him together for healing and I believe that He birthed something new in me when I was willing to ask, and to believe Him.

As I asked, I began to sense a change in the direction the Spirit was leading. Not entirely a ... "I will heal you" as much as a..."I am healing you". A moving verb was being whispered into my heart. This was significant. As I asked for His healing, it seemed to become apparent that healing was multi-faceted. He was indeed healing me... in more than one way! And, in His own time.

I essentially stopped worrying about the pain. Really and truly. I didn't feel agitated by it emotionally (even-while struggling with it physically). I felt free from fret, or fear, or worry. It was as if together we walked the journey of pain. I didn't have to worry any more about the "What ifs?". When I felt pain, I felt that I was not asking, "What am I to do, Lord?"... But, "what are WE to do? ...or more accurately, "what will You do, Lord?"

It became quickly clear that He wasn't healing me instantly from pain or problem, but instead He was healing my heart. Deep within He was doing a work. He has been building trust in ways that are new and exciting. A flood gate of trusting began, and continue as I walk today.

Sermons and songs. Creation and books. Blogs and Prayers all seemed to point to the fact that "I have it covered, Stephanie. I will sort it out. I am healing you. I am your keeper, Your Good Shepherd".

Today, I had a doctor's appointment that felt miraculous. The doctor was kind and "got it". He had a fabulous suggestion and plan to proceed. He even asked me what I wanted! And, it even seems... can I be so bold to say THANK YOU, Lord already... that the finances of it will be more straight forward than we had anticipated. Almost too easy, really. ...seems a God-thing. A, "I will sort it, Stephanie" moment.

Tonight, I don't feel the uncontrollable need to grab it, grasp it, or hope on it. The temptation is there, yes. But, I don't feel driven to plan it and make it happen. I feel trust welling up and ...whether it works or not... it is well with my soul. And, this, THIS is only from our Father. It is nothing short of divine hope, faith and trust. For this I am deeply thankful.

Tonight, I am done with worry! I am done with "playing god"... and I want to walk more in this trust--- this much better way!

Father, we have wrestled. I have cried and lamented. You have heard all of it and loved me faithfully. I have asked and been disappointed. I have hoped in things that were other than You. I choose tonight to trust in You alone. I choose to say I will wear this pain and this suffering as long as You want me to... and then when You want to release me from it, I will take that as a gift of grace. Your way. Your timing. Your plan. Teach me Father to walk in this to the glory of Your name. For You are good, gentle, loving Father and I trust You.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sleeping Bees and Kitchen Waltz

"Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning? And, who told the ocean, you can only come this far? And, Who showed the moon where to hide till evening? Whose words alone can catch a falling star? I know my Redeemer lives! All of creation testifies and this life within me cries, 'My Redeemer Lives'."~Nicole C. Mullen.

Still looking and watching for all His gifts, His graces, His blessings. Still remembering and counting.

#332. Watching His people sing about Him.

#335. Clean bathrooms!

#337. Warm shower, with good water pressure.

#339. Smiles and giggles on my girls face while she listens to Little Women on her iPod.

#343. Ibuprofen and Tylenol

#345. A fun family game of monopoly

#346. Seeing my son loose the game with grace.

#349. Impromptu "dance and lip sync" performance in our living room.

#350. Math problem conquered!

#352. His sweet breath on my cheek as he sleeps, in bed from a scary dream.

#353. He can still come to my bed when he has a bad dream.

#355. Rain drops sit still on the grass, like beads fallen from a necklace.

#361. Hide and seek sun.

#363. A sleeping bee? Do bees sleep? ...I guess they do. Cuz he just woke up!

#378. Music that prays for me.

#382. My warm boots.

#393. Finishing a good book.

#394. Starting a good book.

#408. Who I am because of Who He is.

#414. A sweet kitchen dance initiated by my husband while cleaning the kitchen.

All creation testifies... and this Life in me cries, "My Redeemer Lives!"

I am sharing my list on Mondays with a bunch of others... to read other lists or join the adventure, go www.aholyexperience.com

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hunger Fed With Sin

We were made with God-sized thirst and hunger. Formed before the foundation of the earth, God planted in me a deep soul that longs and searches for God, the ever-deep One and all satisfying God.

Daily I long for His filling. Each and every day I need His sustenance. I need Him to feed me.

How often do I run to other things to quench my thirst? How often do I substitute shallow things, stupid things, empty things for the Only deep thing that will fill?

Last night, I attempted to fill that place with food. Food, of all things! The shallowness of food and the temporary nature of this "quencher"! I am embarrassed to write of it. I am embarrassed and grieved to testify to the gluttony that still plagues my mind, my soul and my body. Who will rescue me from this body of death! (Romans 7:24)

This past week I had noticed an increase in my lust for food. ...eating more at dinner than I needed. Just a little snack here, a little "this" there. I notice my "thinking" of Non-Verbal-Thoughts like, "man, this is good... It can't hurt to finish it off, even though I am not hungry for it!". ...or, "I deserve this break, this rest, this little 'something'".

And, sometimes this behavior comes with absolutely no real conscious thought... I just eat because it tastes good! My lust for flavor and food can drive me to eat without much thought at all. ...until, of course...

Well, until I realize I am doing it. ...I do know the good feeling of conviction. I do know the opportunity given by the Holy Spirit to flee.

I rebelled against the Spirit's nudges again and again this week. Each time, thinking... "it isn't really that big of deal." ...or,"this isn't good, I won't do it again!".

But I do do it again. And, I did over and over again this week. Small rebellions (if they can ever be small) at first and then a plunge right down into it at the end of the week. Why?

Patterns learned long ago. Feeling sad... eat. Feeling lonely... eat. Feeling happy ...eat. Feeling tired ...eat. Patterns.

...Hungers that are not even close to physical hungers, to be sure!

But, these patterns learned have been in the process of being broken and healed by the Lord Jesus. I have truly known freedom. I know what it means to take those feelings, those longings, those cravings and have them quenched by the River of Life. I know what it is like to listen to the kind nudges of the Spirit and to walk in the freedom the Son gives me.

So, today, I have another "Lent" lesson in my living room. My heart much acknowledges... and it does with deep grief ... that my gluttony, my lust and my rebellion were at least three of those stripes on His tender back. My Jesus took that blow for me.

When I have failed like this, my natural instinct is to punish myself. Or, to give up and dive in deeper to sin. Or, to make rules and regulations to "keep myself in check". But, not today. Today I take my heavy guilt filled heart and hand it to Jesus. I acknowledge what He did for me on that horrid cross. And, I must, I just MUST, take that cleansing freedom, forgiveness, healing and mercy He offers.

Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--- through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7).

He is the Only One that will ever quench my God-sized hunger and thirst. So, I will drink from Him today and eat of His body. I will remember what He has done for me and proclaim His death until He returns. For He is the Only One who satisfies.

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