Are your burdens heavy?

It’s hard to feel at peace, have sanctuary or dwell with God when we are feeling burdened!

I share in the video today how we can ease those burdens and better be able to dwell with Him.

Disclaimer: I think the audio might be a little off from the video- No idea how or why but please excuse the inconvenience.

 

  1. What burdens are you carrying today?
  2. What is one thing you can do today to lay that burden at the feet of Jesus?
  3. Do you have a go to verse or worship song when you are feeling weighed down?

 

Have you made room for God to dwell in you?

Welcome back! I hope you all have had a fantastic few weeks of rest and joy and time for peace and praise! To be honest I thought I would have this written and ready to post weeks ago. I am not sure if it was my natural procrastination that held me back or if it was because the Holy Spirit had something new for me to see before I shared. I will go with the Holy Spirit’s reasoning and timing 🙂 But let’s not wait another moment and jump into it.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Leviticus is full of laws – 613 commandments to be exact! These are the do’s and dont’s of the covenant God made after rescuing the people from Egypt. Isn’t it comforting to know that God is still rescuing His people thousands of years later and thankfully we do not have 613 commandments to follow to dwell with God!

Often at the beginning of a New Year, I see plenty of people de-cluttering, refreshing, renewing their homes, lives and bodies. Many make a resolution to renew their health – both physically and spiritually. I myself spent an entire day cleaning my office and de-cluttering my book shelf.

20171231_160544 As I reflect on this I am reminded of Leviticus 26:9-13 which provides the promises of obedience of those 613 commandments mentioned above:

9 So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm My covenant with you. 10 You will eat the old supply and clear out the old because of the new. 11Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. 12I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. 13I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that [you] would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.

http://biblehub.com/nas/leviticus/26.htm

Breaking the bars of our yokes- doesn’t that sound great?!!! However, the remaining verses warn of the punishment of disobedience. Not so great!

The New Testament tells us that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. (Matthew 22:37). I don’t know about you but sometimes that word ALL trips me up. I find myself distracted, my mind running rampant, my heart hurt by or for others and my soul just unsettled. God instructed the Israelites to make a sanctuary to dwell among them (Exodus 25:8). The definition of sanctuary is the “Physical area devoted to the worship of God.” 

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I long to have a physical place of sanctuary in my home but have not yet found the right spot. However, my friend Christy excitedly shared with our small group months ago about her Jesus Chair and the peace she felt when she was in that chair, headphones on worshipping and praising her God. So much so that she had to advise her husband to stay clear when she was in “the chair.” That time was sacred to her. 

To me, sanctuary is not only a physical place but also a soulful place- the place I feel closest to God. The place where I feel Him break the bonds of my yokes and encourage me to take up His yoke (Matthew 11:28). This place of sanctuary may be the traditional church setting, or on the water, watching a sunset, gazing into a warm fireplace – we are so lucky that because of sacrifice of Jesus we are able to bypass those 613 commandments and come to God freely to dwell in sanctuary with Him!

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Come back on Thursday and I will share a video focusing on how Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28 how we can find that peace and sanctuary!

In the meantime, here are a few questions for those of you that would like to think a little deeper. I encourage you to read Leviticus 26 and Matthew  chapters 11 and 22.

1)  Do you have a space in your home set apart to meet with Jesus?

2) What image does the word “sanctuary” bring to mind?

3) Are there “old” things you haven’t cleared out to make room for the “new” yet?

4) What is one thing you can do today to dwell with God?

Read, think and pray! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below or feel free to private message me. I learn and grow so much through the belief of others! I truly believe we are better when we gather together!

 

Twas the week before Christmas

and all through the house…fill in the blank. How is your house? Is it calm and peaceful? Are you preparing for company? Preparing to travel? Planning a quiet time at home? or preparing to avoid the sadness that comes when miles or jobs keep you separated from loved ones?

The word on my mind the past week is sanctuary. I don’t want to miss out on the important lessons from the bible about this word but I also think before we can claim sanctuary in our souls or our homes we have to take time to pause. And who besides me finds it hard to pause…especially the week before Christmas?

Take a few moments to pause and breathe and reflect and thank God for the many blessings you have. Sit in quiet with just the twinkle of the lights on the tree or the flicker of the fireplace or maybe just the dark. Ask God to give you peace during this week. Peace like you have never felt before. No hustle and bustle, no stress of family dynamics, just peace and thankfulness for another day with breath in your lungs. 20171214_075831

God didn’t send his son to make us rush about like crazy people in the “spirit” of celebrating Christ’s birth. He sent His son so that we can be free and live in peace now and forevermore (John 3:16). So that we can find peace and reconciliation with God. So that we can draw near to him to dwell in that place of Sanctuary. Let’s let our homes be a place of peace this week. Let’s let our hearts be a place of peace. He is the Prince of Peace. Let’s let him rule in our lives each day this week (and ever-after)!20171203_194202

I pray that you enjoy this week. Enjoy the food, enjoy your people, enjoy the lights, enjoy the peace. And if your home is missing any of these things come on over! We have plenty to share!!

You may find me rambling a bit between now and the new year but invite your friends and join me back here on Jan 8 as we learn more about sanctuary and dwelling!

Merry Christmas! May there be Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men! (Luke 2:14)

Not Leviticus 25 as planned

Leviticus 25 

The reward for dwelling in observance of the Sabbath 

Admit it – you all love reading and studying Leviticus, right? There is a lot of laws in there!! Sometimes it’s hard to keep up. As you can see by the title I had planned to learn a little more about dwelling in the Sabbath years (not just day) and the Jubilee as discussed in Leviticus 25…and then life happened. I woke up in a not so jubilant mood. So then I thought- I am just going to skip the blog this week. And then I poured out my heart on Facebook – we are talking full on pity party of one! Lip so pouty a bird could sit on it (although sit is not he word my mother used to tell me about when I pouted as a child). But God…. 

 

But God…even in my lowly of lows and lonely of loneliest – He was still there to meet me right there in the pit. On a day where maybe, I couldn’t encourage you al in your walk with the Lord, he used some of you to encourage me. You shared your Sunday sermons with me even though it was the first one you had heard in a year and it was so surprisingly real to you it brought you to tears. You shared your “me too” moments with me. You shared prayers and even told me I was awesome. Not so sure I agree with you on that point. However, the day continued and if my thoughts ever quiet down I am going to bed in a much better mood than I was 12 hours ago. 

 

You see even when I have these days which happen more than I would want to admit – I don’t usually feel far from God. I just feel far from God’s people. I want to know how we can realistically change this! I love it when my all over the world friends say “if I was closer I would…” But would they? I mean, it is easy to say ” I would” when you don’t have to find a sitter, or brush your teeth, or put on a bra. How do we create a Bat signal to let others in our neighborhood and communities know we need a hero? Another woman to just be there and say “me too, girlfriend. Me too”  

 

My husband teases me about wearing a “be my friend” sign around my neck but what if we tie green ribbons on our trees or front doors? Then will you sweep in like a breath of fresh air or coffee or baby smells, maybe grab a handful of stale chips out of the half-eaten bag and politely ignore the fact that your elbow is now sticking to my kitchen island? We can keep the words at a minimum and just smile with that look that says “I got ya!” You are welcome here at 3am or 3pm but just now at either time you are just as likely to catch me looking like I just rolled out of bed, my smile will be real and I will do my best not to breath my un-brushed teeth smells on you. 

 

And if I see that green ribbon at your house, please don’t be surprised if you find me napping on your couch. I mean I could just as easily nap on my own couch but what’s the fun in that? These spontaneous real life moments are the cornerstones of friendship. It doesn’t get much more real than that. There is a time for deep conversations, crisis of faith and motherhood and planned activities that require make up and details.  But in the day to day- let’s be real. Let’s be open. Let’s be honest. Let’s cry out when we need to cry out and rejoice when it’s time to rejoice. And let’s do it together. As God’s chosen ones! Who are loved beyond compare! He chose us to live life with abundant joy- Let’s do that- you and me together!  What is one thing you can do differently today to let another woman know ‘ I got ya” – bonus points if you do it for a friend you don’t know yet! 

 

P.S. I know there are some scriptural references in there – feel free to add the “addresses” in the comments or maybe I will do that when I get up 🙂 

 

Psalm 15 – Peace and Quiet

I had originally planned something different for this video but God just took me in this direction instead. I have for MONTHS been craving some quiet time in a cabin. Although the circumstances aren’t exactly what I envisioned- I am at this very moment (Monday, Dec 4, 2017 at 1:19pm cst) sitting in a cabin by myself – listening to the wind blow and spending time with God. The remainder of my day will be hustling and bustling, chaotic and crazy but I am soaking up these moments now so that I can soak up those blessings later.

I would love to hear how you are soaking up the quiet moments in this season of life? Please share below in comments and also feel free to share this (or any) post to someone who might be encouraged! Have a wonderful day!!

 

The Tabernacle – God’s Dwelling Place

Years ago when I first began doing bible studies I participated in a Beth Moore study about the Tabernacle. I was so fascinated by what I was learning and the in depth information that was provided as God gave direction for every step of the building process. As I reviewed Exodus 25 verse 2 really stuck out to me. “Tell the Israelites to take an offering for me. You are to take my offering from everyone who is willing to give.” (CSB).

Did you catch that? “willing to give!” Not demanded to give, not ordered, or to give to avoid penalty or punishment – but willing to give. Have you ever wondered where the items for this offering came from? The Israelites had just left Egypt. They were pursued through the land and witnessed the parting of the Red Sea. If you flip back with me to Exodus Chapter 12, God gives instructions for the Passover followed by the Exodus. Let’s look at verses 35 and 36 specifically:

The Israelites acted on Moses’s work and asked the Egyptians for silver and gold items and for clothing. And the lord gave the people such favor with the Egyptians that they gave them what they requested. In this way they plundered the Egyptians.

 

Going back to Chapter 25 what do verses 3-7 tell us that God asked the people to give willingly? Gold, silver, bronze, yarn, linen etc…sound familiar??? God knew and God prepared a way for the Israelites to make an offering for him. Even as they had just escaped hundreds of years of slavery, He did not leave them without provision. He knew what they needed and He knew they needed a physical reminder that He was with them. He answered their needs in so many ways.

 

God still does that for us today!. We receive what we will need before we even know we need it! The Israelites were limited in the access to God through the Tabernacle. God provided His only Son for us to take away that limitations – we can dwell with God anywhere at anytime. He provided what we needed before we even needed it! God is so good! All the time!

  1. What do you know about the Tabernacle?
  2. Have you welcomed God into your heart to dwell?
  3. Where do you feel closest to God?

Come back on Thursday for a short video about peace and dwelling with God!

 

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Dwelling in Restoration

 

Did you know God had regrets? We have all heard God doesn’t make mistakes or God doesn’t make junk and whatever else fun little pick me up quote people can think of. However, the bible itself tells us differently. Flip with me to Genesis 6. Take a few moments to read this chapter…go ahead! I’ll wait.

 

Genesis 6:5-8 tells us:

                “When the Lord saw that human wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every inclination of the human mind was nothing but evil all the time, the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth and he was deeply grieved. Then the Lord said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I created, off the face of the earth, together with the animals, creatures that crawl, and birds of the sky—for I regret that I made them.’ Noah, however, found favor with the Lord.” CSB

 

The people of the world had fallen away from God, but God gave a way for restoration. This path to restoration was not comfortable, it was not a 40-day cruise on a ritzy yacht. It was long. It was smelly –but God was there, and God restored the world. He restored his people because ONE man found favor with the Lord. Many years after the arc God again gave us a way to find restoration with him. He gave us a choice to repair and restore our relationship with him. Through the love and grace of His Only Son.

 

No matter if we have been dwelling in the mud and mire for 40 days or 40 years. He is waiting to restore us. He is waiting for us to dwell with him instead.

One of my favorite passages found in scripture comes from Psalm 40. My bible titles this psalm as “Thanksgiving and a Cry for Help”. Verses 1-3 say “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” NIV

The CSB version says “…desolate pit, out of the slimy clay…” – Have you ever felt like you were sinking in a slimy pit and doesn’t mud and mire just sound so dramatic??? But sometimes those dramatic words are the only thing that fits!

  1. What regret are you holding onto?
  2. Do you miss the days when a band aid and a kiss made everything better?
  3. Is there a relationship in your life that needs reconciled? Have you prayed about it? Have you been reconciled with God?
  4. Re-read Psalm 40:1-3. What kind of picture does this passage bring forth in your mind? Share a picture or written description with us in the comments!
  5. Proclaim that God will meet you in your regrets! He will lift you out, repair your hurts (way better than a band aid) and bring forth full restoration in Him! Type and share below “I, (your name) will not dwell in this regret! I will allow God to lift me from this pit, repair my hurting heart and restore my relationship with Him before others!

Thank you, God!! Open our hearts and minds to hear from you!!

Join me back here Thursday where I will share a video and talk a little more about the meaning of regret and restoration!

Until then, gather your people and dwell together in Him!