excessive emotions

2 Samuel 19:1 – 8 Joab was told, “The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” And for the whole army the victory that day was turned into mourning, because on that day the troops heard it said, “The king is grieving for his son.” The men stole into the city that day as men steal in who are ashamed when they flee from battle. The king covered his face and cried aloud, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!”   Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, “Today you have humiliated all your men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines. You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lordthat if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come on you from your youth till now.” So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told, “The king is sitting in the gateway,” they all came before him.  Meanwhile, the Israelites had fled to their homes.

First glance reading this my heart broke for David.  He was grieving the death of his son and shame on Joab for not respecting that and giving David space.  But something about the men stole into the city ashamed and the Israelites fled to their homes made me wonder.

David was suppose to be their leader, their king.  He’s grieved before.  What made this different?

Excessive emotions.  I know what it’s like to be caught up in my emotions and to make it all about me.  I have allowed my own emotions to take control and said things that shouldn’t of been said.  Behaved in an excessive manner that hurt those around me.  When I really think about this by putting myself in the picture I can understand why Joab came to David and called him out.  The people needed David.  My children need me, my husband needs me.  They need me to respond appropriately, not to create fear or shame.

I don’t think that means I don’t grieve, feel sad, disappointment or anger.  It does mean that I keep my emotions in perspective and act appropriately.  That just because I’m having a bad day doesn’t mean I can’t rejoice over my child’s victory, my husband’s good news.  I can always put those things aside and be present in the lives of the ones I love and who love me.

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truth and love

2 John 2-3  “because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love”

I love a blessing!  I want God’s blessing!  I want to be blessed and God, in truth and love, shows me, reassures me daily that I have received His blessing.

Grace.  Approval. Sanctification.
Mercy. A blessing that is an act of Divine favor. Compassion.
Peace. Freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.

And this blessing, these absolute truths lives within me!  Living within me!

These truths demand acknowledgment (Matthew Henry) because they live within us and in others too.

As I am learning more this month about oppression, discrimination, racism, I see this scripture at work.  Not only must I face the thoughts in my own life that oppress me from living free in Christ but I must also face and acknowledge this in the life of others and speak in truth.  Not my own truth, not from my own fears but from the truth that God has given me that is living in me.

Realizing that truth living within me, how much different am I going to be living my life?  How much more grace, mercy, and peace that comes from Christ will I give to myself and the people whose lives touch mine?

psalm for Sabbath

Psalm 92

It is good to praise the Lord
and make music to your name, O Most High, 
proclaiming your love in the morning 
and your faithfulness at night, 
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre 
and the melody of the harp.
I didn’t realize that there was a song for the Sabbath in the Psalms.  I think this would be a great Psalm for every day though!
My sons love Sabbath.  A special dinner, blessings for my children.  A time to breathe.  A time with God.  Oh.
My children ask that we celebrate Sabbath every week.  I seem to get so busy that by the time Sabbath comes along  I am not prepared.  My calendar got full, my to-do list was packed and I didn’t think ahead.  Sabbath was not my priority this week or last.
Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lordyour God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lordmade the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lordblessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
It is a commandment.  It is more than just going to church for our family.  Its sitting down, talking about our blessings, blessing each other, confessing our sins, sitting down for a special meal.
1 John 5:3 “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,”
 Please forgive me Father.  Thank you God for keeping this in front of me, for myself and for my family.  I pray that Sabbath becomes so special to me that I long for it every week as my sons do.

more of God

Christian spirituality, the contemplative life, is not about us.  It is about God.  The great weakness of American spirituality is that is is all about us; fulfilling our potential, getting the blessings of God, expanding our influence, finding our gifts, getting a handle on principles by which we can get a edge over the competition.  The more there is of us, the less there is of God. – Eugene Peterson

I have always seen the value in fasting but I’m not one that holds onto traditions just because everyone else is doing it.  This year is different.  This year I am participating in Lent.  I’ve been a Christian now for 19 years and I have never considered Lent to be something that was part of my story, my experience as a Christian until this year.  This year I want more of God and realizing that Lent should be a part of my life.

I am reading the book “40 Days of Decrease: A Different Kind of Hunger.  A Different Kind of Fast” by Alicia Britt Chole.  I am excited.  I found the book a little late but I’m not going to let that put me off.  This is the year of change. God is calling for it on so many levels of my life.  This is the year that there will be less of me and more of God.

1 John 5:1-5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves His child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

I love this scripture!  For everyone who overcomes the world – for everyone who overcomes the old man – our old self – who is it that overcomes our old self?  Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.  When our focus is on Christ only then does our old self no longer matter and we can truly live in love!

a lenten devotion

For the faithful Christ-follower, self-concept is inextricably connected to God-concept. We are valuable because God is Creator. We are forgiven because God is Redeemer. If God is not who we thought He was, then who are we? Many of us dare not even ask the question. Do we fear that God will fail the test?

Dr. Leonard Sweet teaches that in the Jewish culture, “It’s an act of reverence to ask questions of the story. The Jews are confident that the story is strong enough to be tried and tested. . . . Around the table, a Jewish child has “That’s a good question!”drummed into his or her soul, not, “You don’t ask that question”. . . Questions are as sacred as answers.”

We weaken—not strengthen—our faith when we silence sincere questions. Faith in Christ is not an airy substance that rests on unquestioning souls. Biblical faith is muscular, thickened more through trials than ease. The Author of our faith is more than able to address the identity crises His unexpected words and ways may trigger. – Dr. Alicia Britt Chole, 40 Days of Decrease.

confession

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Today while at bible study one of the women, who is a quiet soul, spoke up.  While studying through 1 John she mentioned that there was a sin that was always in front of her and that God hasn’t taken it away.  Leaving her to trust and rely on God that he is working in her and helping her to change.

WHOA!!  This is a woman I look up to.  She’s beautiful, fit, careful with her words.  I LOVE being around her.  She always makes me smile.  I admire so many of her qualities.

And her sharing this today, even though it wasn’t specific, brought me so much closer to her.  It also got me to thinking, confessing to each other for prayer doesn’t have to be a list of specific sins.  It can be a girlfriend just saying “I’m caught in a sin that hurts my heart.  Please pray for me” and our response to be just “Of course”!

So many times I have felt that I need to bear it all and lay it naked in front of the person before me and I don’t.  It’s easy.  I don’t need to make this hard.  Now if God is pressing me to reveal more then I, us, need to make sure that I am being obedient to God.  But if I just need my friends to pray for me to be released from a sin that is crushing me then I think her example is the one I want to follow.

I admired her before and I still will admire her today and tomorrow.

follow directions

2 Samuel 6:6-11 But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand and steadied the Ark of God. 7Then the lord’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him dead because of this.  So Uzzah died right there beside the Ark of God.   8David was angry because the Lord’s anger had burst out against Uzzah. He named that place Perez-uzzah (which means “to burst out against Uzzah”), as it is still called today. 9David was now afraid of the Lord, and he asked, “How can I ever bring the Ark of the Lord back into my care?” 10So David decided not to move the Ark of the lord into the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-edom of Gath. 11The Ark of the Lord remained there in Obed-edom’s house for three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and his entire household.

I was angry with David.  They had build a brand new cart for God.  The best wood that they could find!  Did God want the Ark to just fall on the ground?  Yes God said to not touch the Ark or that person would die but the Ark was going to fall off and hit the ground.  Isn’t there an exception to the rule?

After reading all of chapter 6 I noticed that when David attempted a second time to bring the Ark of the Lord back into his care the Ark was carried by it’s poles and nothing happened.  Huh.  Why was it placed on a really nice cart the first time and carried the second time?

Deuteronomy 10:8  At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant.  Oh.  God said it was to be carried.

I would rationalize that you know God, they built this for you.  It was special and from their own hands they took the time to do this for you God.  I know they didn’t ask God what He wanted.  Honestly I didn’t even notice that David never inquired of the Lord as to what God wanted.  It took me several times of reading through this passage to catch that but not until I was asking a lot of questions and searching.  A lot of questions and a lot of reading!  That’s when I heard God’s voice.

There was a ministry that I really wanted to be a part of a few years ago.  I prayed and I read books.  I exchanged emails with someone who was experienced, I made plans to travel so that I could be trained.  Then nothing.  The traveling never came to fruition.  The training never happened.  I felt the door was closed.  I rationalized with God that this would be an awesome ministry that would benefit so many women!  Then I gave up.  I even began to think that He didn’t want to use me.  That I wasn’t good enough.

God did have a plan and a perfect time.  I should of inquired of him before I made all my plans so that I wouldn’t of ended up angry.  What I have learned is that I am going to follow his lead, I am just going to remain obedient to Him and get happy.