He Restores My Soul-Sheryl

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…for man is made in God’s image and reflects God’s glory (I Cor. 11:7 NLT)

 

“I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,” declares the Lord. (Jer. 30:17) 

“He restores My soul.” (Ps 23:3) 

“Foundation repair is costly and time consuming, but your soul is worth it.”  (Lynn Marie Cherry Keep Walking) 

What does a restored soul look like?  I think a fully restored soul would first be innocent.  God would take it back to how He created it to be, not a blank slate like a newborn baby’s. Rather it would be a soul that has been redeemed because he makes all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:28)  It is a soul that has been transformed from glory to glory. (II Cor. 3:18)  It has been washed by the blood of the Lamb and is again spotless (Rev 7:14), not just mended but remade in His likeness and image. (Gen 1:26)  It would be a soul that can now reflect Jesus. (Heb 1:3)

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No Pain, no Gain? [Noval]

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Lake Yojoa, Central Honduras

Sheryl 2008

Pain wasn’t part of My original plan for humanity.  It entered as part of the Curse.  Even the joy of receiving a new child into the world is now marked by intense pain, and work is often difficult and uncomfortable. 

Unfortunately, though pain is now an ever-present reality, My children remain systemically pain-averse.  That’s natural but it can get you into a lot of trouble, living as you do on a fallen, broken planet.  There’s more than a little truth to the old aphorism, “no pain, no gain”.  Man’s salvation was achieved at the cost of intense spiritual, emotional and physical pain.  And as my word says, no discipline seems pleasant as you endure it, but painful.  It takes eyes of faith to look beyond the pain to the prize-an ordered, productive, fruitful life filled with healthy relationships (see Hebrews 12). 

It takes faith, endurance  and a mature understanding to see long-term benefits beyond short-term discomfort.  Every dieter knows this, or rather must learn it.  So must every athlete, every married couple, every parent, everyone who ultimately experiences financial peace and success.

A lot of life is driving with your high beams on.  

This is one reason why fellowship and community are so vital to successful living.  A companion can spur you on to love and good works, to overcoming obstacles and to success when the going gets tough.  Think of the guy at the gym who wants to bench a heavy barbell.  Often if he has a “spotter”, an encouraging partner, he can get done what he couldn’t do on his own. 

Usually your best “spotter” is your spouse.  She (he) knows you best (apart from Me), where your strengths and weaknesses are, where you are most prone to flag and stumble and lose heart.  But for her to be at her most effective as your helpmate, you’ve got to walk in the light with her, letting her into the caverns of your soul so she can know what you’re thinking and feeling and what you might be struggling with.  After all these years, she can make some pretty educated guesses, but she’s not clairvoyant! 

My word warns you against resenting (or “despising” in some translations) My discipline and rebuke. That’s doubly important when the correction comes though the medium of another human being- especially your spouse!  The truly wise person sees a word of correction as a word of blessing.

Does Mr. Works Drive the Bus?-Sheryl

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28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30 NLT)

 

Lord, thank You for being willing, even desiring to meet with Your people, with me.  And thank You, too, for the dreams in which You speak to us.  I had another.  Parts are obvious, but I want to hear what You want to tell me about it.

 

Part of the time I was riding on a bus driven by a Mr. Works.  He was not a nice person and when someone did something to displease him he would take it out on them in the sadistic ways he knew would most affect them physically or emotionally.  I watched this go on and wanted to see Mr. Works pay for the pain he inflicted.  I endangered myself by snooping around his office and then I knew he was watching me as well.  One day I heard a lady say the owner of the bus was going to sell it.  I knew it was to Mr. Works.  I mentioned to the lady that I had been riding that bus a long time, ever since I was a child. 

 

I know You want to speak into my life on this, Lord.

 

“You have been riding the bus of works for a long time, and I don’t mean the works you do for me and from Me out of faith and love.  Rather they are the things you do to enhance your own feelings of safety, control and significance.  Much of your bus route you learned as a child.  You came to the conclusion that this was a safe way to live and not get into trouble with those in authority.  Initially, you thought this was what I wanted from you, too. 

“I know you get satisfaction from accomplishing tasks, crossing things off a list, but Mr. Works is a hard taskmaster.  He is unreasonable and can be sadistic in torturing you with thoughts of guilt or of not measuring up, even if it is to your own standards.  Works has been another way of hiding, being in control, trying to keep the reputation of how others perceive you safe and positive.  Never mind you were hurting inside.  To be exposed as less than in some way was to feel shamed.  At least this was the lie being fed to you. 

“I have wanted you free, walking in joy.  Your significance comes from being a person I carefully created and painfully redeemed.  The enemy and all his demons worked overtime to keep you from understanding that.  Acknowledgement is definitely the first step and I know you feel lighter already.  You can see light through the cracks in your barricade.  I will be with you and show you every step.  It will not be as overwhelming as the Liar-Shamer is telling you.  Keep close.”

 

One more question, Lord.  Who is the owner of the bus and why is he selling it? 

“This focus on works apart from faith is demonic in nature.  The bus is your life which is mine by creation and redemption.  You only perceived it was sold to works.  I want your life to be full of grace and what you do to be done in love for Me, family and others– from beautifully broken to beautifully remade.”

On Satisfaction [Noval]

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PEGGY’S COVE

Proverbs 13:4  New International Version (NIV)

A sluggard’s appetite is never filled,    but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. 

In meditating on this again today, the following struck me:  true satisfaction in life comes….

  • not from what you consume, but from what you produce

  • not from what you receive, but from what you give

  • not from what you accumulate, but from what you achieve

  • not from how well you are loved, but from how well you love

  • not from having everything you want, but from delighting in all you’ve been given

  • not from being smug in all you know, but rather in being so fascinated by your ignorance that you become a lifelong learner

  • from finding the connection point between your passion and the world’s needs

  • from passionate, all-consuming worship of your Creator

  • from hearing His voice and responding in obedience, trust and thanksgiving

On Humility [Noval]

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In a conversation the other day a friend and I touched on the subject of humility- having a realistic, balanced understanding of your own identity.  Then later the same day I read in the Proverbs that “with humility comes wisdom”.   So I could paraphrase it like this:  to live skillfully and to make good life choices and have healthy life-giving relationships, I need a clear realistic understanding of my own identity.  I’m fallen, flawed and broken, yet equipped with everything I need pertaining to life and godliness. 

The Cross of Christ gives me the balanced perspective that leads to true wisdom  and humility.  It reveals God in His justice and mercy; His wrath against sin balanced with His compassion of the sinner.  It also reveals who I am: both deeply flawed and greatly loved.  At the foot of the Cross both pride and shame are destroyed and I come back, in a sense, to the Garden.  Naked, I have no righteousness to boast in but His; unashamed, I can breathe the air of freedom from condemnation.

Upon Reflection-Sheryl

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Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. (I Cor. 13:12 NLT)

 

Lord, teach me, guide me, help me, heal me. Use me, empower me, help me, bless me in Jesus’ Name…You are waiting for me in the glen today.

 

“Come walk with Me.”

 

The glen is not very big.

 

“It is as big as I want it to be.”

 

But we are going to the reflecting pool aren’t we?

 

“Yes, up on the bridge.” 

I don’t know just why I am feeling reluctance about that.  Maybe because I see things about myself I don’t always want to see?  But it always turns out ok. 

“Never be afraid to go on a journey with Me.  I love you, will care for you and gently teach you what you need to know.” 

Lord, teach me.  I trust You.  (We walk up the curve of the bridge to its center.)  The water looks brown and muddy today, not very attractive.  I wouldn’t want to wade in it. 

“Let’s find clarity.  Can you see your reflection in it?” 

No, maybe a shape or shadow. 

“When it doesn’t reflect even you it surely cannot reflect Me through you.” 

No.  What is wrong here?  I know I feel too busy, too slowed down by my body, concerned about all I am not doing, people I don’t have time to keep up with. Please make sense of this for me.  I want peace and to reflect You. 

“Martha was busy about many things.  I told her only one was needful.”

  –Paying attention to Your teaching.  You were present in her home but she wasn’t with You. She thought it more important to feed You. 

“While I appreciate a good meal and serving others is good, her priorities of the moment weren’t right.  I long for My people to spend time with Me.  I want to help them learn My ways so their serving is more focused and appropriate for the moment.  When I empower the work it is more effective, timely.  Without focused time with Me you flail at the target, asking Me to hit it.” 

Yes, I see that. 

“Resting with Me, hearing My voice, as you are now, prepares you for every good work I bring your way, service, conversation,ministry.  With Me you lack nothing.  Without Me you lack all the important ingredients.” 

And walking or resting with You is so good.  How do I quiet the voices of the urgent tasks? 

“Keep talking to Me.  Let Me tell you what is next and when.” 

The water is beginning to clear. 

“When you can see Me in it, it is time to be about those other things. I love you and want us to walk together.”

 

Come Play in the River-Sheryl

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I want to hear from You, Lord, at any time and place.  Where are we today?  I see flowing water.  It seems You and my angels are playing in it.  Of course You are all living and working in the flow of the Spirit which You often show me as The River of Life.

 

“Come in and play!”

 

I am wading in.

 

“You can be in the Spirit and laugh and play, too.  Holy Spirit is not always solemn, but often laughs and sings.  He bubbles up and over.  He is serious about the Word, the Truth, instruction.  He is grieved by sin and innocent suffering.  But He loves to bring life, comfort, peace, joy, wholeness, to set the captives free.  Lift up your heart if you are broken or broken-hearted.  Allow Us to mend and to restore.  There needs to be occasional conviction, but never to bring shame, only repentance and restoration.  The end result of all Holy Spirit’s work is to uplift and restore and grow all of His fruits.  So come fellowship, play, and rejoice with Us.”

 

Thank You, Lord.  I’d like that!