{re}fresh

Month: October, 2015

The Patience Of A Saint

by Rob Dunne

Road Rage image by Nuno Sousa https://www.flickr.com/photos/extremearq/

Road Rage by Nuno Sousa www.flickr.com/photos/extremearq CC BY -ND 4.0

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.      James 1:4

If he was any closer, he would be sitting in my back seat. Tailgaters. They are the bane of my existence. During my daily commute, I am consistently dealing with tailgaters. What is even more frustrating about them is that I try to drive in the slow lane. Yes, I drive like your grandfather. That doesn’t give you an excuse to ride my bumper and then pass me while narrowly avoiding a collision with my vehicle. It really gets my goat!

My wife Kellie has been instrumental in helping me see what is at the root of my impatience. In a nutshell, I am judging my fellow commuters. I decide guilt or innocence on the highway system. This, in spite of the fact that I have no authority whatsoever to enforce the laws of the State.

My lack of patience while driving is something that I find myself bringing to God often. God calls me to love others as I love myself. I find it very hard to love someone that I believe is putting my life in jeopardy while drafting my car in their attempt to garner imaginary Sprint Cup points.

Lately, I find myself praying for my fellow commuters. I have to remind myself that the person could be faced with an emergency and they are trying to reach a loved one. Alternatively, they may have had a bad day and are simply acting out of frustration. Regardless, I am to employ the same level of grace towards others that God demonstrated towards me. “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do” is repeated often and out loud. It calms me down and reminds me that Jesus loves them and died for them too.

Patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit. The fact that I fail to operate out of patience does not make that fruit any less real. What it means is that I have taken my eyes off of the spiritual and granted my flesh permission to dominate my thoughts. I have to remind myself that one third of me is spirit and that I am one spirit with God. When my spirit is in control, being patient and loving others is much easier. That is because God is my source and my Helper.

Do you find yourself losing patience with others or yourself? If so, spend time in the presence of God. Being with Him releases love, joy and peace in your life. These fruits produce patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. I can attest that it is helping to change my attitude towards tailgaters. Let the Spirit do the same in your life today.

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Get Your Joy Back

by mandyade

It all begins and ends with our connection to Him
letting the sun shine into our prayer lives is easier than we think…
Soak instead of perform,
Rest instead of think,
Receive instead of sacrifice,
Listen instead of tell

Because…

When we soak we taste Him,
When we receive we respond to Him,
When we rest we breathe Him,
When we listen we know Him

He first loved, everything we do is a response
Its never the other way around!
There’s always another wave of grace,
Step in and let Him wash over you again.

Love Me

by Dawn Aldrich

“Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.” Psalm 89:2 NLT

“I need someone to love me!” she shouts impatiently from her princess toddler bed.

“I’ll be right there,” Mama reassures her, “as soon as I lay your baby brother down.”

Oh isn’t that the cry of everyone’s heart? Toddler princess or not, we selfishly desire love–an all-knowing, unfailing, soul-deep love. We crave attention, reassurance that our existence matters; that who we are in this great big world makes a difference to someone

Mama finally arrives and kneels beside her bed.

“My heart is so full of love, Mama, so I need to love you,” the toddler princess explains. “And, I need someone to love me.”

Isn’t that the way unfailing love cycles? Love fills and spills and fills again – without fail – without fear. Perfect love never fails.

Through reassuring whispers and gentle strokes, Mama’s hands run through her hair until the princess toddler’s breath falls into a peaceful rhythm. Mama’s love expels her fears and sleep comes for perfect love casts out all fears.

“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.” 1 John 4:18

If Mama loves her little girl with such perfect love, how much more does our heavenly Papa love us? How perfect is His love for us that casts out fears much greater than the monsters under our princess beds? How much more can he fill our hearts with an everlasting, unfailing love – a love that always satisfies, always fills to overflowing?

Heavenly Papa,

Love me, today. Fill my heart with your perfect love. Fill my heart to overflowing that your love spills onto those around me. Become the object of my love, God, so that when I love, it’s you they see, not me. Amen.

Box-Buster Jesus!

by mymorethanme

Busted Box by Karl Baron  https://www.flickr.com/photos/kalleboo/2240045517 CC BY-ND 4.0

Busted Box by Karl Baron
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kalleboo/2240045517 CC BY-ND 4.0

My heart has been on my mind. Sometimes it seems that’s as close as it gets. I have often felt I have so much cluttering my attic, yet so little furnishing my living space. How do I get all the treasures upstairs, downstairs where they can be fully experienced, enjoyed and shared with others?

Feelings are such funny things. We need them. We can’t live alive without them. Sometimes they strive to run the show. Who hasn’t wanted to call out of work or blow off a commitment or break a promise, just because? How many important decisions have been made based on emotion rather than on what we had previously set out to accomplish or stick with?

Other times it’s as if we have evasive, evaporating emotions. Where and when they went we do not know. We just know they’ve gone and we’re left feeling stone dry, desolate, detached…empty.

Having a history of addiction, I know well what it’s like to attempt to control my emotions. I wanted to feel, but only what I wanted to feel, and only when I wanted to feel it.

Years ago, when getting clean, uncontrolled emotions began returning. I was no longer inducing euphoria or numbing pain; I was simply feeling. What a scary place to be for the first time. Of course, you don’t need to be a recovering addict to relate. I used many things before I used drugs and alcohol. We’ve all used something at some point to try to control our feelings. Food, shopping, sex, television, power, religion–choose your drug. We’ve all been there and done that.

Underlying the desire to control my emotions was a deep fear of rejection. I felt rejected, so I shut down. I’m not going to trust, I’m not going to be vulnerable, I’m not going to put myself out there just to get sucker punched again, thank you very much. Me ‘n my heart are going to stay right here, nice and safe in this bare little box, and ride this life out pain free from now on. Pain free…but not free. Broken in and in bondage to that bare little fear box. Lifeless, loveless and blind.

But then Jesus got in my box and when Jesus gets in your box everything changes. There’s no box big enough to hold Jesus! Jesus busts boxes apart–He breaks in and breaks through! I was no longer rejected; I was accepted. I was no longer worthless; I was worthy. I was no longer forsaken; I was cherished…loved. Over these last nine years Jesus has been taking me deeper, healing me more fully than I ever imagined possible. I still get tempted to give into my emotions and do what I “feel” like doing. Jesus is collaborating with maturity to work this out in me. I also get tempted to shut down emotionally and check out. Play it safe. Put up walls and take a long nap. This is my greater struggle. But when I give my heart, my emotions, my fear to Jesus–because I have purposed to, not because I feel like it–He does the impossible. He makes me live and trust; He makes me safe and whole. He makes my winter spring and my death to self life in Him.

Today I purpose to pursue the One who has a plan and purpose for my life. Plans for peace and well-being, plans to give me a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). Today I choose to receive Truth and reject lies. God is always willing, always giving, always speaking. Am I willing, am I receiving, am I listening? It takes discipline to act and not react, to remain in love and be loved, to send faith to the door when fear knocks. We have this ability in Jesus. We have His love, power, self-discipline, and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Thank You, Jesus–You are so good at unpacking our attics and filling our living spaces! Thank You for breaking in, breaking through and busting up our boxes!

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