Quiet your soul

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Sometimes the craziness of life can get us stirred up so much that we can’t hear the Lord.  We have to get quiet, we need quiet and peace.  But how do we get the quietness we need?  Life doesn’t stop.  The demands of family, work and etc will still call our names.  Emails, calendars, social media, and easy access to everything via our phones are very handy but can cause us to not have a minute to be calm and quiet.  Our soul can be like a rambunctious child wanting it’s way and we must learn to quiet it. We must learn to tell it to sit down & be quiet. What is the soul?  Dictionary.com says that it is “the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans…separate from the body”.  We have a spirit, soul and body.  Our soul is not our body and it is not our spirit, it is our mind, emotions and thoughts.

Yoga and meditation are popular buzz words right now.  But did you know that meditation is in the Bible?  Why would meditation be important enough to be in the Bible?  Focusing our mind on the Words of God is meditation.  Memorizing the scripture is meditation.  Thinking about the names of God is meditation.  Getting still, quiet and meditating will bring life to our spirits, our soul even our body.  “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want; He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul” Psalms 23:1-3 ESV.  “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yield its fruit in its season…and what he does prospers” Ps 1:2 & 3, ESV  “Truly my soul finds rest in God” Ps 62:1a NIV.

How do we do get our soul to calm down and be quiet?   One of the ways I calm my soul is to turn off my light in my bedroom, turn on calm worship music and begin to stretch.  It is a routine that tells my soul to quiet down.  It took only a few times to train my soul.  Now when I turn off the light my soul and body begin to tell me what time it is, it is time to invite the presence of the Lord.  I begin to be anxious to have these moments with my lover, Jesus.  During this time I like to listen to Grace Williams “Holy”, “Wait” or “Breathe”, these quiet meditative songs help me to turn my focus to Jesus.  I like to stretch  because it gets my body’s grumpiness out of the way while I begin to meditate.  If I don’t spend a few moments stretching then my body will fuss and complain and I have a hard time focusing.  I begin to meditate on a scripture.  Or I might lie face down and reflect on His holiness.  I might stand or kneel.  The position isn’t important. Sometimes I will spend the whole time quietly with the Lord and sometimes I read or listen to the Word.  There is no time limit or a certain amount that I have to read or do.  The goal is to listen to my spirit.  We were made for our spirits to be in tune with the Holy Spirit, it is our choice to listen or not.  If I discipline my soul to listen to my spirit then I hear His Spirit.  We make it so complex but the rules are simple.  Discipline yourself to get quiet before the Lord.  No rules of kneel for 50 minutes and then read for 30.  The goal is to allow the Holy Spirit to direct you.  He knows what He wants to say and what you need, He will focus you toward Jesus.  This blog began with the craziness of life.  Many days I don’t get to spend that precious time alone.  I have to steal moments of quiet time, in the kitchen while fixing dinner or a moment in the bathroom.  Any moment is precious when spent with the Lord.  And He is gracious to reward those times with His presence and He will multiply them.  Don’t get caught into the rules, get caught into a moment with the Holy Spirit, listening and allowing Him to direct your time. Try it. Quiet your soul.

Don’t waste your shelf life

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I have been privileged to be used by the Lord and then there are times that I felt I had been put on a shelf.  And I would think, I have more I want to give, I have more I want to do but here I sit in a spot that is hard (shelf, get it?) uncomfortable and not only does it feel like I am not doing anything, I can’t do anything.  I am bored or tired of it.  I can’t get up and go over there.  I can’t get down and go do that and come back to this spot when I am ready.  I just sit on this shelf, or so it feels.  My life at this moment is taking care of my family.  I care for my elderly parents, full time.  Caring for my parents is a full time 24/7 job, and I also try to not forget to care for my husband, my 5 year girlie and my adult boys.  There are weeks that I am not able to go to church or my discipleship group and that is rough on me.  Caring for my parents is my shelf life.  When my children were young I would throw them on my hip and keep going but I can’t do that with two 80 year olds (seriously that mental picture is kind of funny).  So here I sit on my shelf.  One minute I say “Lord, thank you for this time of being able to care for my godly parents who cared for me, who cared for so many people”.  and then other days I sit here on my shelf and say (in my best interpretation of my 5 year old and her whine) “God, why can’t I go do that with my friends, why can’t I be more involved in church, why can’t I go somewhere?”  I will be honest with you, shelf life isn’t fun.

Lately I feel the Lord saying don’t waste this time.  What does that mean? What am I supposed to do with this time.  It is easy for me to fill my time.  I am going to school.  I read a lot.  I like to write.  I started a business.  I cook, I clean.  I decide to do a garden (I have no green thumb).  I rearrange the house,  I come up with all sorts of stuff “to do”.  I can fill and overfill my time, but that is not the point.  The point is don’t “waste” the shelf life.  I told my son about this title and he said “what we live in a grocery store now?”  I told my husband about this title and he said “you know they say wine gets more expensive with a longer shelf life”.  Hmm.  Could we as Christians become better with a longer shelf life?  Whew, I don’t even know if I like that.  But our shelf life (song by Kelly Clarkson) “only makes you stronger”.  It is not glamorous, it’s not fun, it’s not always sermon material, it’s just part of life.  When Devin and I were first married and we would go to my parents house for a couple days we would meet with my siblings.  We would play board games.  Mom loved to play games.  When we played the game of LIFE and one of the bad things would happen in the game, like someone would lose every thing, mom would says “now kids, that’s is just like life”.  She was serious, and guess what, that is life.  Sometimes you lose everything and sometimes you just feel stuck in a spot.

I have to ask “Lord, what do you want during this shelf life? What do you want to teach me?”  Matt 9:17 talks about wineskins, you don’t pour new wine into old wineskins.  Could it possibly be that God lets us sit on a shelf to shed our old skin, like a snake sheds his?  Is it possible that during a shelf life we are shedding old and becoming new by marinating.  Definition for marinating is to “steep, soak, immerse, bathe”.  The Urban dictionary says “leave time for reflection, I’m not ready to decide yet…”  A lot of time I don’t like this shelf life.  So I am learning to, get before the Lord and I tell Him “I don’t like this but do what you want during this time, what do you want to do in me, during this shelf life?” His grace is sufficient during easy times, growing times, grief times, hard times and shelf times.  I don’t have to do it in me, I just need to be pliable and in His presence so that He can do IN ME what He wants, during my shelf life.

I have to be still in my soul.  In my busy day, because as I said I will keep myself very busy in doing, when I feel a gentle tug at my heart then I must stop and go where my spirit is calling me.  It may be to the living room chair to listen to a worship song, or it may be to my room to get on my face before my Savior, or hands up worshiping, or on my knees praising Jesus, at my parents bed while getting them quiet and to sleep.  It goes back to Christainlity 101 pray, read, trust the Lord and rest.  How do I keep from wasting my shelf life?  There is no secret.  There isn’t a step 1, 2, 3 and then boom.  I must say “Lord, don’t let my shelf life be wasted.  Do what you want in me”.

I was listening to a sermon from Fresh Start AZ on TV from Pastor Paul Owens.  He told the story how God told the Israelites to “consecrate” theirselves because tomorrow He would do a great thing, Joshua 3:5.   Pastor Paul said this one phrase,  “It’s not always sin we need to be consecrated from, sometimes it’s legitimate things”.  We have to be open and honest before the Holy Spirit and ask is there something in my life that I need to consecrate to you, a sin or maybe a thing that is filling my time?  Shelf life has a purpose.  Maybe it is to shed the old and get before God so that He can do a new thing.

This is where we are (a poem)

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One day they’re up at 11, the next day it’s 3 then it’s 7

There is no rhyme there is no reason

I can’t tell you why, it’s only a season

“My head hurts, my feet hurt” “Where are my teeth?”

“I don’t want to do that just leave me be”

They may say “Thank you” and sometimes “please”

They are grumpy, they are sweet

they can be defensive without any need

At times I get frustrated I will admit

But this is where we are, you see

there’s no going back with this disease

My heart changes when I lay them down to sleep

I get the privilege to hear them retreat

In prayer they come awake like their old self divine

Their shell might be weak but their spirits alive

Ooh, ooh, ooh, pick me!

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In the year King Uzziah died… In the season when I felt like everything of mine, the most important things to me, what I cared about and all my desires, died, I saw the Lord sitting on His throne He was high and lifted up and His train filled the temple.  I realized how powerful and mighty God was and it wasn’t all about me.  I realized that He wasn’t just on earth and dealing with my problems, He was above all and over all and working details out in my life that I couldn’t see and working details out in my friends and families lives.  He was caring for people all over the world.  I recognized in that moment that He is bigger than everything that involves me and even the entire world.  In fact the Word shows that God is so big, majestic and awesome that even His robe’s train fills the heavenly temple.  Above Him stood the seraphim…and they cried to each other “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory”.  The foundations shook and the house was filled with smoke.  Then I said “Woe is me, For I am undone and ruined, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.   When I begin to meditate on God and how big He is and how glorious He is, then everything falls into perspective.  I cry “holy, holy, holy are you Lord”, I say “I am a person with unclean lips and I live in a world of people with unclean lips”.  No person can compare to the Holiest of Holy’s.  When I look at His holiness I see how frail and human I am.  Only He is holy.

Then one of the seraphim’s brought a live coal and touched my mouth and said “behold this has touched your lips, your iniquity and guilt are taken away and your sin is completely atoned for and forgiven”.  Lord touch the coal to my lips, my heart, my soul, cleanse me and make me clean.  He says that I am clean by the blood of the Lamb, I am saved already but my lips need to be touched with coal.  But that can’t be good enough, I want my whole body, inside and out, touched with coal and my sin, my flesh, my selfishness burned out.  But the Lord lets me know that sometimes I just need Him to purify my mouth, what goes in and especially what comes out.  What you say flows from what is in your heart (Luke 6:45).  What is in my heart comes out through my mouth, so yes my mouth needs to be touched with a holy coal.  When Jesus washed the disciples feet, Peter said don’t wash my feet.  Jesus said “If I don’t wash you then you can have nothing to do with me”.  Peter said “not just my feet, wash my hands and my head”.   “You have already bathed (you are already saved) you don’t need to be washed, you just need your feet cleaned”.  I agree with you Peter, burn all of me.   But Jesus says no, just your lips.  Ok Lord, touch my lips with your holy coal, clean me daily.

Then God says He has a job and he needs something done. Isaiah says  Send me.  After the death of things thought important, after seeing God for who He really is. After falling on my face and saying I am undone and unclean, God sending His coal to touch my lips and He says you are clean but sometimes what comes out of your mouth isn’t.  I say burn me up with your fire.  God says just your mouth needs to be purified.  After all this the Lord says Who can I send?  By now I am ready and I say like Arnold Horshack from the 70’s sitcom “Welcome Back Kotter” with arm straight up “ooh, ooh, ooh, pick me, I’ll go, let me do it”.  When we see things in the right perspective, God as the most important, we see life in the span of eternity, we see Him as Holy, then we say “I am unclean”.  He doesn’t say “yup, you are right, you are dung” or poop, but He says you are clean just your lips need to be purified.  I love this passage.  God doesn’t say “clean up then I will take care of you”, He doesn’t say “you need to get your act together”.  What He does say is “here let me help you, let me clean and purify your lips”.  See, I always think I have to do better, love better, work harder but He says “let me”.  Nothing wrong with being a hard worker or pushing yourself to be better but when we do it all in our own strength we get exhausted and we think it is all about us.  We end up with headaches, or heart problems or diseases.  I have found when I sit in my quiet place and say “Holy, holy, holy are you God almighty” then I realize that He is not asking me to do it all on my own.  He is saying “let me do this for you, let me love through you, let me cleanse you”.  We as frail humans, try to do everything in our own strength but He doesn’t ask us to, He does it for us if we let go and let Him.  When I put God in His rightful place then I relax and let Him do what He needs to do, in me.  Then I am anxious to go where He leads and do what He wants.  I realize it is not about me.  If I mess up it doesn’t matter, if I do great, in my eyes, it doesn’t matter, because it’s not about me, it all about Him.  I can relax and trust Him if I “do good” or “do bad”.  This is His show.  I don’t need to stress over my accomplishments I need to relish in His.  When I get out of the way, by resting in Him, then I am free to say, Lord send me, let me do what you need.  Lord, let me go, you love people through me.  You oh Lord are holy, I rest in you, do you need something?  “ooh, ooh, ooh, send me!”

Peace booties

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I find the armor of God fascinating.  We want to treat Ephesians 6 and the armor as things only certain people use or we use every once in awhile.  People who fight literal demons, they need the armor, not me.  In January my family joined our church and a lot of people in a 21 day Daniel fast.  My daughters children’s pastor asked the kids to say the Lord’s prayer and to put on the armor of God daily.  We did this every day with my girlie for 21 days and then continued it since then.  I began to meditate on the armor and what it means to me.  I am a caregiver.  Both parents have a form of dementia.  My dad has Alzheimer and it is progressing.  It can be exhausting.  I was talking with my sister about daily trying to walk in peace and the Lord dropped into my spirit an image of hospital booties, the kind a nurse or surgeon would put on.  They would just slip on top of my shoes.  Oh, so I put on the shoes of peace no matter what I am doing or dealing with.  Sometimes I am dealing with the medical type of issues, sometimes I am trying to calm situations down, sometimes I am having to run after him or my 4 year old, sometimes I am cooking, sometimes I am cleaning.  Whatever I am doing I must put on the shoes or booties of peace.  A lot of days I have to fight for peace.  See how I brought that around?  We have to fight to have the armor of God on daily in every situation.  This is our fight, to on purpose, put on the armor.  Every day we have to fight to put on the breast plate of righteousness or to live right on purpose.  Every day we have to fight to put on and keep on, the belt of truth, not to listen to lies.  Every day we have to pick up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  We have to fight to keep reading it and not be sidetracked by work, social media, TV, friends or whatever tries to trip us up and get us not to get into the Word.  Every day we have to choose to take up the shield of faith, to have faith in God and in His Word no matter what is thrown at us, spears of sickness, spears of lack and all the other things that we think about and have to fight against.  We have to trust the helmet of salvation to protect our minds and to get us to eternity.  We have to fight to have peace.  How do we fight to have peace?  Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV) says “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You”.  That is a fight to keep our minds on Jesus Christ and to trust in Him in the middle of our crazy, distraction filled days.  But He says if you do this, then He will keep you in peace.  I don’t have to say, “ok, Genelle be peaceful now” and boom, I am at peace.  No that doesn’t work, I have to keep putting my mind on Jesus.  I have to think about Him and His goodness, I have to talk to Him, or play worship music.  Another way to fight to have peace is to as 1 Corinthians 14:4 says “edify yourself”.  People talk about you need to have “me time”  when you care for so many, but I say I need more Holy Spirit time.  “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself” 1 Corinthians 14:4a.  Edify means to lift up.  It comes from a Latin word which means to erect a house.  Think about it, if you edify yourself it is like you are building your house, you are making yourself stronger.  I try to spend quiet time with worship music and do stretches, I even buy essential oils that help create calm but nothing can cause peace, like the presence of God.  It is time for us to fight to keep peace in our homes, jobs, relationships.  What type of shoes are you wearing, tennis shoes because you are so busy running here or there, or boxing boots because you are in a battle all the time?  Don’t forget to put on your peace booties, just pull them right on top of your stilettos and in every situation and let the Lord keep you in perfect peace.

Crazy testimony, or crazy faith?

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I have been asking the Lord for crazy faith but I didn’t know that things would be weird. This morning I started laundry then went on to take care of other things. About 30 minutes later I realized the washer had stopped. I turned the knob, pushed it and nothing happened, tried it again, nothing happened.  I walked away thinking, “great, I don’t have time or the extra money for this”.  I started talking to God, “I know what your Word says and I can pray for this but I feel really foolish.”  In Wednesday prayer, Pastor Kim always says to increase your faith by praying in the Spirit.  I really needed to increase my faith so I started praying in tongues for awhile, then I spoke His Word and I walked around doing other chores. After about 10 minutes, I walked back to the washing machine.  I felt really foolish so I prayed a little more while cleaning the dryer.  “Lord, your Word says ask believe and you shall receive.  It doesn’t tell us only to ask for healings or salvations it just says ask.  Nothing is too big, nothing is too small, nothing is too unimportant, you just say ask.  So I am asking.  Help my unbelief, help my feelings of, there are more important things and people than this.  I ask for you to fix this washer, in the name of Jesus.  Thank you Jesus for fixing this washer”.  I turned the knob of the washer to the spot where I needed it,   Pulled the knob for it to come on and a very loud, not good noise began.  Again I said “thank you Jesus for fixing this washer” and I walked away.  Then pretty quick I heard the water flowing into the washer and everything was back to normal.  I just started laughing.  Crazy!!  Then I thought well Lord what else do you want to do?  Last night someone dropped a small glass bowl in the garbage disposal and it stopped working after that.  So after the washing machine started working I checked the garbage disposal, nothing.  Then I said “Lord, if you care enough about my needs that you fix our washing machine then you care enough about this garbage disposal.  Please fix this garbage disposal and protect my hand”.  I put my hand in it, made sure nothing was in it.  Then I turned on the water and flipped the switch and it started working.  Wow! God just says ask.   I type this testimony because I don’t want to see any rolling eyes, because it is a bit weird.  I am not writing this for any type of glory for me, because I felt stupid (I still feel stupid typing this) and I had to ask God to help my unbelief.  I type this because His Word is true whether we believe it or even if we struggle with it.  Crazy faith is just taking Him at His Word.  You said it, I believe it and the part of me that doesn’t believe it, help me to believe.  I want crazy faith.  I want to just take Him at His Word.  I want to remember it’s not about me, it’s about HIM!   He gets the glory.  I have some things I am believing Him for.  I have been praying but now my faith is increased just a bit more and I say, help my unbelief, help me to have crazy faith.   I want crazy faith, and I want others to have crazy faith.  His Word says that we can overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11).

WAIT!!

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It seems like one of the hardest things to do in this modern age is wait. To sit and wait. If you are like me you read your emails, take a book to the doctor’s office or play a game at the Motor Vehicle Department. I do not want to be left doing “nothing”. Every type of prayer is important, intercession for others, bring petitions to the Lord, warfare, praise, worship but how about waiting? What? I am supposed to just sit and be quiet? That’s not easy. It’s not easy in my life.
This morning as I was trying to sit quietly before the Lord, I was disturbed by thoughts of what is my 4 year old doing? What are my parents doing? I have dishes to do. I have a report to do! To sit calmly before the Lord, to keep your thoughts quiet, to be still and WAIT on Him, it isn’t easy? That is when we have to be determined. Is it important? It is important to calm your thoughts and say “not now, do not jump up to take care of…” Those moments of resting before the Lord are necessary. Those moments are beautiful and peaceful. That is when He takes you unaware into His presence. One moment you are fighting thoughts of getting on with the day and the next moment you are weeping and you don’t even know why. His presence has entered the room. He has blessed you because you waited. As much as I treasure those moments I still find it hard to wait. I guess it’s human nature. I must discipline myself to wait. It doesn’t come naturally. But I must WAIT. Can you WAIT?