Longing for Love…

"We have known and believed the love that God has for us.
God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him."
1 John 4:16
 
 
My heart is missing the love that a relationship brings. I have been separated from my husband since Feb 2004 for reasons I won’t mention.  We are getting divorced and it breaks my heart for the loss of the years we shared. I spent so many of those years praying for him and "working" to be the right kind of wife God wanted me to be.  Throughout these past two years I have gone through all the stages of grief, pain and loss, but still every once in a while I still have a pang.  A pang of emptiness that seems so deep it washes over me like a wave.  And then for days I don’t seem to be able to get my feet solid on the ground. 
 
I have spent many tears at the feet of Jesus about this one thing.  Love.  Love and acceptance. Forever love with someone who will love me through all the ups and downs of life. Twice, I thought I found it and twice I lost it.  It occurred to me that maybe I never had it in the first place.  I read on my devotional yesterday, actually it was from Saturday and since I was not at work I did not read it until Monday, That "The greater your longing for love, the greater is your capacity to recieve the love from God." (from Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot) Can that be true?  If my longing overwhelms me to the point of physical heart ache, how does God’s love remove it or replace it?  I am still seeking the answer to that one. 
 
And then today’s devotional…"Love is the way to maturity. Selfishness stunts growth and keeps us in a spiritual playpen." (A Lamp for My Feet by Elizabeth Elliot) The reference verse was 1 Thes 3:12  "May the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all."  Is my heart selfish? Am I abounding in love to others, to all? No not all, I am probably too busy wanting it for myself.  Oh, Lord, Forgive me?
 
As I spend time in my bible study on revival (this week is about being honest before God) I can see that my heart wants what it wants.  It has gotten me into trouble before.  Selfishness, desire and pride.  Wanting to be loved and accepted at all cost.  Now that I have tried to get it on my own I see what God has tried to tell me over and over in my life.
 
"Love comes from me, child.  No other person or thing can fill you the way that I can."
 
David was the example of that…he finally realized that his emptiness was filled only by his Lord. 
 
"God, give me that kind of wisdom, give me that kind of desire…set my heart and mind on things of heaven. Show me how to recieve your love." 

God, more grace and mercy, if you please?

These past few days have been mentally challenging.  The enemy has been all over me. I have been doubting everything that God has been doing in my life lately. Doubting whether I am doing the right things, saying the right things or praying the right things.  I have stayed in the Word and prayer. Hoping beyond hope, that everything up to this point has not been for nothing.  Romans 12 has been my guide.  I had memorized many of these scriptures years ago and for several days they have been passing through my mind during the hurtful moments.  I found they have given me strength, hope and comfort.  I have to do what I have been telling my children, over and over. "Just keep doing right, no matter the circumstances!" I also have to trust that God is working in others as well as working in me.  I am waiting on God…He is never late!  
 
1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

 4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

 5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

 6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

 7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

 8Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

 9Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

 10Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

 11Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

 12Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

 13Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

 14Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

 15Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

 16Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

 17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

 18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

 19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

 20Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

 21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

 But I am impatient, "God more grace and mercy, if you please?"
I will wait on God…He is never late!
 
Grace to you!
Shell

It’s Not Just the Mountain-Moving Moment!

Doing a bible study about revival causes your mind to do one of two things, it either goes into denial & fear or it inspires your heart and mind to the possibilities of a mountain-moving event.  For me it has been the latter.  I am not only  hoping for it, I am expecting it.  God has moved like that in my life before and it was awesome. I think the most exciting thing is that our whole church will witness it. 
 
After I got off work yesterday I had to go have my tire repaired.  I knew it probably would have to be replaced, I was right.  While in the waiting room, I kept thinking about the processes of the Christian walk.  The process of becoming more like Christ through putting off and putting on.  The process of revival when our heart grows cold. The process of getting victory over some kind of bondage. The process of restoration after falling into sin.  We all go through these processes to one degree or another.  You ever heard the saying "the joy is not in the destination but in the journey"? I think it is the same with the processes of the Christian walk. It is not so much about the mountain-moving event but the preparation for it and eternal effects of it on us, our children and our children’s children. 
 
Take for example the woman caught in adultery, she was brought before Jesus, perhaps thrown on the ground at his feet.  Can you imagine what was going through her mind while she lay there in the dirt and baking from the sun? Questions and fear. Fear of the men, of the judgement to come and fear of death. Perhaps she was ready to die because her life had been so hard and she was tired of struggling to survive.  She probably thought there was nothing left for her to do, she was finished and her life was meaningless anyway…
 
Jesus knew that she would be the woman they caught. He knew the man that she would be caught with.  He knew she was ready to be born again.  But consider the mountain-moving event in her life was not just that Jesus stood up for her at that moment. That he protected her and showed compassion on her, it was the fact that he stood up for her every day after.  That was the eternal impact on her, on those around her, even those men who threw her to the ground. 
 
It had enough impact to warrant the inclusion of the event in God’s Holy Word.  Do not underestimate the events leading to a life changing moment nor the impression it will leave on those who watch us walk in Christ.
 
Grace to you
Shell

Fallow ground…

"Break up your fallow ground for it is time to seek the Lord until He come and rains righteousness on you." 
Hosea 10:12
 

Today I ran across this saying in my Bible Study guide

 
"As long as we are content to live without revival, we will."
Leonard Ravenhill
 
That is so true…consider the frog in a pot of water on the stove.  Turn the heat to high and the frog will boil to death.  The tempurature will gradually get hotter and the frogs blood will adapt and ultimately die for lack of awareness.  We go through our spiritual lives unaware that we are slowly dying to our first love if not nurtured by His Word and fellowship with Him.  
 
I had been becoming restless with my state of being discontented, my self absorbtion with "my problems" and my lack of fervor I once had for God’s Word.  I remembered with longing the days God filled me and I walked in the Spirit.  I was moved to pray, with urgency, for revival, for His presence once again in my life. 
 
I believe it was about that time that we started hearing about the Bible Study "Seeking Him". Our pastor wanted our church to do it together. They had been praying about it for several months for direction in this study.  It was the answer to my prayer.  
 
What excited me was, yesterday during my study, it mentioned the fact that our desire for revival first comes from God. That He woos our hearts back to Him.  He was getting the soil ready for His Truth to be planted in my heart, our hearts.  He provided the impetus for my soul to be hungry for it. He broke up the ground with trials and setbacks but my heart lay unplanted, unproductive awaiting the seed. Growing more thirsty each day that passed.
 
It is here, the rain, now it is just a matter of time. Planting, tending and then comes the harvest. I am like a kid again, wondering what kind of fruit it will be! 
Grace to you all!
Shell
 
 
 
 

A Child’s Heart!

It was a weekend that our family will remember. My children and I went to say goodbye to dear friend who was killed in an automobile accident last week. There must have been at least 500 in attendance at her funeral. What an honor to her and her family. During the service they showed a video of her singing not two weeks before at our church.  The song was “I Get On My Knees”. She had sang it many times before and as always it was not only beautiful but heartfelt.  When she sang the song you knew she wasn’t just singing words.  My boys were very hesitant about going to the viewing the night before and the funeral service.  They did not want to be around all the sadness. I think there was fear there too. 
 
We had been talking about it since we heard the news. Sammy had lots of questions and thoughts about the subject of death.  I answered the questions as best I could and then I prayed that he and the rest of us would understand a little more about the preciousness of our lives and the celebration of heaven during the service. We all learned that every smile is not a waste, every act of kindness is an eternal act and that faithful people give us strength.  Hearing how she lived inspired me as a mother and woman to be more Godly in the way I deal with others, especially my children.
 
When we left the graveside, the boys seem to be more at peace about it.  Sammy took roses to Becky’s mom and her sister and I helped him lay one on the casket.  It was his idea to give them roses.  He wanted to give them something beautiful.  In watching him I received something beautiful in return….the site of a child’s heart. 
 
Sunday morning during the invitation, as usual, Sammy put his little hand in mine and we walked to the alter.  He bowed his head and began praying, the first words out of his mouth were “Lord be with the Riggs today, they’re our friends, help them not be sad because their Becky is in heaven…” He went on to pray for each of us in our family to love each other and treat each other with respect.  He is only 9! 
 
I can not begin to put into words the emotion that went through my heart at that moment.  My prayer was answered by his prayer…he learned how precious we are to each other and how comforting it is to know that our dear friend is indeed in heaven!  I believe the greatest thing he learned is that he can, without a doubt, speak to God on the behalf of others and believe when he is done that God will hear and answer!  The one verse that comes to mind is the one I sang to Sammy the day after he was born, when he and I were alone in the hospital room.
 
“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” Psalm 103:1
 

A Life Touched!

Our lives are intertwined by the events, actions and the keepsakes we own. We tell our stories about them hoping to connect. We tell the things that changed our lives hoping to make sense of them.  We go through our days wondering if we made a difference for good or regretting the mistakes that affected anothers life. We go through motions, seeking purpose in them.  
 
The gifts we give or the gifts we receive  become keepsakes of a memory.  A memory of a person or place we visited. Never even realizing the thing that moves through our hands has been touched by countless lives. Like a single rose bought at a flower market.  It was planted and grown by sowers. Tended and cared for by a gardner, then cut.  Another packages the rose along with other beautiful roses to be sent to carrier.  A deliverer sets the roses down onto the market floor.  The seller separates them into small buckets with water and places them in a walk in cooler.  A young man may come in and ask for a bouquet to give to his love or a young woman may come in to purchase that single rose for a friend who needs cheering up.  That rose has given its life as a keepsake to another for…beauty, fragrance and love.
 
So it is with a life…it is intertwined with others without our permission.  Connected to others on purpose by God who ordains all connections.  Changing the lives around them for good or bad depending on the reason for the touch…God’s reason.  And in the day that their life ends on earth it begins in Heaven and those left behind are left with a keepsake.  A keepsake of beauty, fragrance and love.  And that is God’s purpose for our lives…to be an image of himself, full of beauty, fragrance and His love!
 
Rebecca Rigg was such a life!  Thank you Becky for touching my life and Thank you God for allowing her to touch my life!
Grace to You!
Shell
 
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
Romans 8:29