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Friday, July 4, 2014

Turning 60

I’m turning 60. That alone should be enough said. If you’re younger or older than that it is of no consequence.  You are either not at that pivot point or you’ve surmounted it. At any rate, I am there and experiencing mixed emotions. 

I have more wrinkles than energy. I also have more wisdom. I have aches and pains where I used to have muscle. I also love harder. I say things like “the kids these days” and “when I was that age”. I’m also able to laugh at myself for sounding like my parents and my grandparents. 

I’m less tolerant of drama, attention grabbing, and system twisting while finding myself more merciful toward those attempting to cope during a rough time in our world. 

I strive less to wait on God. I am more patient. I have learned to stand on His promises rather than run after my own desires.  I still want what I want when I want it, but have learned to ask first and be ok with ‘not right now’. 

I have idiosyncrasies that at one time would have made me blush but now I don’t even notice. I have lost my grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, friends, my sister, a beloved stepmom and husband; but my sweet parents are both very much alive and healthy and I've gained inexplicable love with Roy. 

My hearing is going south but my spiritual ears are more attuned. I’ve found quiet time is a good thing. In fact I crave it. Time to meditate on the Word of God; how I can give more, love more and become more like the Holy Spirit that hovers over me. Time to look back over the years; to laugh and cry and give thanks to the One who got me through so many situations. Time to ponder the future; to dreambuild with Papa God and set my eyes on where he is taking me.

I feel old(er) today. But still and yet God has a plan for me. I’ve not finished the race, in fact have not even gotten to the sprint yet. I’ve lived more years than I have left but I’ve learned to live with abandonment; I say yes and no at will, dance even though I don’t look the same in reality as I do in my mind’s eye, sing at the top of my lungs & wear make up as I please (oh yes, I understand those women who paint their faces & draw in their eyebrows and lips). 

I preach to whoever will listen, wax eloquent over global issues, read the news & tell whoever is with me how they (whoever they are) should fix whatever I don’t agree with. I am no longer too concerned with being politically correct because I have learned relevance is in the eyes of the beholder. What I DO care about is that I do not grieve the Holy Spirit, that anyone can tell I love Jesus just by my countenance, my words and my actions. 

So, 60 is creeping up & will be upon me next week. In MY mirror I see a young girl brimming with hopes and dreams. I see beauty the Lord created me with. I see Eve with her Adam trying to save a nation and bring revival to a world in need. I see a teacher, a preacher, a prophet, a missionary and a lover of life all encased in the wrinkles of a good, full and incredibly happy woman.

Happy Birthday to me.

God's Ninja Warriors

Roy & I have been watching Ninja Warriors. It’s very exciting but no, it’s doesn’t share a significant message or promote anything Spirit Filled but something hit me last night as we watched the US vs JAPAN teams battle for the title. There are 3 separate stages of obstacle courses in which individuals must endure physical challenges that demand upper body strength, balance & focus. One of them is the Cliffhanger; this is the most grueling addition to Stage 3. It consists of 6 bars, 2 drops and 1 of the bars being ½” long.  Hebrews 12:12 “strengthen the hands which hang down and the feeble knees and make straight the path for your feet so that what is lame may not be dislocated but rather healed”. The player had to have a deft grip to make it across; at times having to hold on by the fingertips of one hand while reaching for the next ledge. That is how it is in life as well. But God. We can draw on His strength.

As they came into the final session the US team was winning but Japan was catching up. Each player had an intense look of hope and determination on their faces.  It was down to the final warrior & we were on the edge of our seats. It was up to one guy to get the furthest through the heart-racing obstacle course so the US could win the coveted “Ninja Warrior” title. As he faced each new challenging set he would stop, kneel down and gather his wits, his strength & shake off the pain & weariness trying to distract him; he purposed in his heart he could do this. And he did. The US won and there was great rejoicing among the men.

As the athlete knelt (though I don’t know that he was praying), the Lord took me to Matthew 6:33 'But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.' (NKJ) Another version says, 'and he will give them to you if you give him first place in your life and live as he wants you to.' (TLB) 

The these and the thems the Lord is speaking of is the things we worry over.. the need for food, clothing, money … but don’t go there. He went on to say, 'Stop & seek My guidance. I will direct your path if you acknowledge me first. Seek me first and draw on My strength'.

Paul says, 'In a race everyone runs, but only one gets the prize' so we should 'run with patience (endurance, persistence) the race set before us' (Hebrews 12) & 'not aimlessly as if beating the air' (1Cor 9:26).  Jesus says in John 4:34, 'My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.'

The enemy comes to lie, steal and destroy. He wants to turn our heads to shift our concentration. I, being a sanguine and a feeler have allowed myself to get caught up in other people’s drama and sufferings creating chaos in my life. I personally cannot stay focused if my eyes are moving this way and that. However, there are still those moments I get caught up in worldly worry or running after things that don’t matter; leading me to a place that isn’t pertinent to my call. 

Each time I’m happy to report, He reigns me in and reminds me that in the race we are running there can be no distractions. The only way I can control this is to stop…and seek Him. The One Who directs my path. The One Who loves me most. The One Whom I will spend eternity with. I have to stop DOING long enough to BE. BE in His presence & in His perfect will.

Though in a strange language I enjoy Matthew Henry’s commentary:
There is scarcely any sin against which our Lord Jesus more warns his disciples, than disquieting, distracting; distrustful cares about the things of this life. This often ensnares the poor as much as the love of wealth does the rich. But there is a carefulness about temporal things which is a duty, though we must not carry these lawful cares too far. Seek first the kingdom of God, and make religion your business: say not that this is the way to starve; no, it is the way to be well provided for, even in this world. The conclusion of the whole matter is, that it is the will and command of the Lord Jesus, that by daily prayers we may get strength to bear us up under our daily troubles, and to arm us against the temptations that attend them, and then let none of these things move us. Happy are those who take the Lord for their God, and make full proof of it by trusting themselves wholly to his wise disposal. Let thy Spirit convince us of sin in the want of this disposition, and take away the worldliness of our hearts.

'Seek first the Kingdom'. 'His Kingdom come, His will be done'. 

What does His Kingdom consist of but love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, & self-control?  A place where all forgiveness reigns. We are citizens of God's kingdom and can no longer think and act like citizens of the world. As I seek first His Kingdom I become a representative of God's kingdom; an ambassador in a foreign land. Seeking His Kingdom first we find ourselves under the reign of God-past, present and future where He is in charge of all things, sovereign in Heaven and in our will. 

We are then able to run the race with God leading .. and win. Eternity.