My Give.

22 06 2017

Over the past few months I have been haunted by an idea, a phrase that came about from a journal reading.  The idea came from Exodus 35 and 36, specifically 35:21 and 36:4-7…

“Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments.” Exodus 35:21


“Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, and they spoke to Moses, saying, “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.”

So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, “Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.” And the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.” Exodus 36:4-7

How incredible.  As they were working on creating the tabernacle for the Lord – the place where the presence of God would dwell (!!), the people with willing hearts gave of what they had.  As each person gave from what they had, both possessions and talents THERE WAS MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR WHAT WAS TO BE DONE.

More than enough.

Nowhere in this passage did it say that the people judged their gift based on what others were giving but instead it says that they brought freely from what they had and all together it was ALL they needed for ALL parts of the tabernacle.  Actually, it was MORE THAN all they needed.

I think too often we look at our “give” and we judge it against what we see others giving.  We judge the type, we judge the amount, we judge what looks to be the quality... and often in this judging we judge our “give” to not be enough and so WE DON’T GIVE IT.  What we forget is that it takes many types and qualities and quantities of GIVES to make complete the calling of God on His people.

Recently I was reminded of this passage and an incident found in Acts.  There are currently many situations and people in my life who are going through hard times.  They are going through situations that I can’t fix.  I feel worthless because I wonder what I have to giveto them.  And it is in these moments that I remember a time where Peter, like me, didn’t have what a situation looked to need… but what he does have, he freely gives.

“Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'” Acts 3:6

Peter doesn’t have money but what he has is more powerful.  Peter doesn’t have physical resources but he has miraculous resources that go beyond time.

Although I don’t always have money to give, solutions to the problem or even words to bring comfort, I don’t have the immediate resources, there is something I do have and like Peter it goes beyond…. I have God.  I have His presence and power inside of me.  Like Peter I have the miraculous resource of the presence of God within me who brings peace and healing.

My give is not dictated by what I think I have or don’t have but instead my give is dictated by His Spirit inside me.  In Him there is fullness and He enables me to give what is needed in those moments.  And so, I give of what I do have, Him.

What is your give?





Roots Down Deep.

29 03 2017

For as long as I can remember trees have always fascinated me.  I love the grace with which they swayed in the mind.  I loved watching them survive and change throughout the seasons.  I LOVED listening to the wind whisper through their leaves while on the golf course.

Trees have always fascinated me.

It shouldn’t surprise you then that over the past few years God has spoken to me a lot through the image of a tree and the idea of roots down deep.

 


When I moved to New England there was something that happened within me that I could only explain through the picture of the transplanting of a tree.  Transplanting a tree takes a lot of commitment, forethought and follow through.  The roots of the tree have to be pruned the season prior to transplanting, a new hole must be dug and prepared, the plant must be positioned correctly and will need adequate care after the move.

What I found in my move to New England was that although the pruning was uncomfortable and the move was restricting and hard, once transplanted I finally had room for my roots to dig down deep and the ability to bear more fruit than I thought possible.

God had been purposeful both in the preparation beforehand but also in the where and the when of transplanting me.


And now, 2 1/2 years after I was transplanted I could see that my roots were deeper and my leaves were fuller.  And yet, there still seemed to be areas where there wasn’t much fruit, areas where there SHOULD have been fruit.  I began to ask questions of why I act and respond certain ways in different situations.  Questions of why I struggle with certain sins.  Questions of why I wasn’t seeing the type or amount of fruit as the care and conditions should see.  These questions birthed from a place of believing that there was more for me than I was seeing and that this “defect” had to come from somewhere.  The asking wasn’t consuming but I was becoming convinced that there had to be a reason why, there had to be a source, and God could show me.

And so, a year ago God began to answer.  And it was through the picture of a tree that God answered me.

God showed me, that I had become a stable tree.  My roots were deep and my leaves were healthy but there was an area that wasn’t seeing it’s potential.  He showed me deep into the root system, to the very beginning.  He dug down deep and revealed that sometime in the infancy of my tree a strong weed had taken root and that it had wound itself around my roots and pretended to be a part of the tree.

The weed hadn’t hindered my trees overall root strength or tree healthy but it caused areas to go without nutrients and to produce less fruit.  It wasn’t that anything was wrong with me and it wasn’t anything I  had done.

But it was time for something to be done.  My roots were deep enough and I was strong enough to survive the deep work that He needed to do.  If He had tried before I wouldn’t have been strong enough.  God needed to dig down deep and separate my true roots from the impostor.  He was going to rid me of the weed forever so that the areas that once lacked vitality and fruitfulness would now bear all the fruit that was intended.


Over the past year that is what God has done.  He has gone deep to rid me of the weeds.  And as He has worked He has also continued to speak to me about Roots Down Deep.  It is only if I will allow my roots to continue to go deep that I can withstand His rooting out the weeds deep within.

Growing up in the desert I was always amazed at the depth of roots some plants (and weeds) could produce.  The lack of water forced their roots to go deep.  The easy nutrients were found above but the life sustaining ones were found deep down.  Even in the driest of times, if you dig down deep you will find the nutrients for life.

The work is hard and painful and is taking time but the results I can already see and are worth it.

The only way to survive being transplanted, survive the weeds being dug out of life or the dry seasons that inevitably will come is to have roots down deep; to go beyond the easy and momentary to the eternal and everlasting.

If you have struggled with why God would wait to deal with or heal something in your life, I hope this image gives you hope and strength.  It is God’s love that waits as we become strong enough and it is also His love that goes deep to rid us of those weeds.  His timing is perfect.  His ways are eternal.  His love goes beyond even our pain.

Will you trust God and allow your roots to go down deep?  Will you push past the momentary and trust the Everlasting.

Keep trusting but don’t stop asking and believing for the fullness of His healing and love.

 





Deep Cries Out to Deep.

29 03 2017

10985301_10207839127927883_6608697790991928893_n

Deep calls to deep… this was a devotion that I wrote a year ago and as with most devotions, it still speaks to me.

We have all been there, when the depths of who we are are steeped in pain and despair.  Sometimes the pain is actually growth, painful and time consuming periods of growth.  Other times that pain and despair is God’s prompting for surrender.  Surrender to the healing that can only be found in Him.  Regardless of what the pain and despair seem to be, It feels as though whatever is going on will never end, will never let up.

It is in this spot that we often forget who God is and what He has done. We forget that our God is steadfast, that His love looks beyond the moment into eternity, that He can and does the impossible daily.

God’s love is hard to understand because it is a love that has all understanding.  Our vision is clouded and minimal in distance but His not only encompasses all there is but sees in all of time.  He has all of us and all of eternity within the scope of His love.

And it is in light of that love and in those moment of pain and despair that  deep calls out to deep.  The deepest part of who we are calls out to the deepest of His love.  Where the roar of His life and love can drown out any other sound.  It is here that His grace and love pour over us and where, if we allow it, His mercy can wash the dirt away.

As deep calls out to deep, His mighty waters drench my soul, His great love allows me to surrender my plans to His and trust.

For even though the storms of life rage, my God calms the waters with a word and stills the raging sea with the soles of His feet.  


Will we surrender in the waters and allow them to wash over us?
Will we allow our deepest parts to cry out to Him?
Will we allow Him to remind us of who He is and who we are in Him?






Sabbath: Trust. Rest. Be. Create.

7 10 2016

This post is a post that I started well over two years ago.  I was exhausted.  I worked full time serving the churches and pastor’s of our district and then I was also the youth pastor at my own church.  If you looked at my planner you would see that I was scheduled from one event to another.  There was not much room for breathing.  But then God spoke and did some amazing things.


“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

That scripture has always been on my heart, for as long as I can remember.  It has been a phrase that has spoken to my heart of who God is.  Probably partially because I’m a bit of an overachiever.  I go, go, go until I can’t go any longer.  I work and work and work for God but when it comes to the sitting, waiting and listening part well… let’s just say I don’t gravitate to that easily.

Sometimes I get so caught up in doing something for God that I lose sight of knowing God.  To know someone you have to spend time with them which is lost when you are go, go go.  The idea of being still to know that He is God spoke something to me that I didn’t realize until the last few days…

When I’m still I don’t just get to know God more but I know that He is God because when I am still, it means He must be working instead of me.  When I am still then it shows His glory not my own.

It all started several months ago as I sat in my review at work and they asked one simple question, “How would you like Monday’s off?”  It was like a breath of fresh air!

I had noticed myself becoming increasingly more tired and run down because most weeks I didn’t really get a day to rest and relax.  Monday through Friday I was working in the office and then on the weekends I was preparing and attending to church and youth group things.  I was exhausted both physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I was drained and there were moments where it seemed like I wouldn’t be able to pour out because there was less and less within.

Well I am exhausted no longer. 


Although I no longer work at this job and I no longer have a specific day of Sabbath I can speak that what God spoke to me in this period has stayed with me today.

I look back and I see that God was moving on my behalf, 
even in ways that I could not see.

Shortly after this time I found out that the office would be closing and I entered a time of intense emotional wrestling.  Without God moving on my behalf I’m not sure how I would have made it through.

 

I now make time to stop and just be with God.  

I now make time to know God and be known by Him.  

I now make time to be still so that His glory may be shown.  

I now make time so that what I do could be out of a peace that only comes from His presence.

Be still.  Know that He is God.  Be still.  Know Him and be known by Him.  Be still. Be.





Resolving to Relate: DTR Part Two

5 10 2016

If you have been following my blog for any length you will notice that there has been a strong theme over the past few months that have to do with 1. identity and 2. Relationships.  This is because at my youth group we have been talking about Identity (Who we are in Light of who God is), Resolving to Follow God, and then how those two play out in our relationships, especially dating, sex and marriage.

In our Identity series we talked about Determining the Relationship and that we must resolve to love those we interact with not as the world calls us to love but instead with God’s love.  A few weeks ago we touched back on this idea of Determining the Relationship but more in the context of relationships.

Our original design was as the image bearer of God , male and female together. As the imago dei (image of God/image bearer of God) we were created for:

  1. Relationship with God
  2. Relationship with others

If we are made as the image of God – then we have to understand who God is:

God is love.

1 John 4:8 “he that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.

This word love is the Greek word “Agape.”  This love…

…is considered a benevolent love which means that this love that is God’s very identity is a love that gives the recipient (you and I) something we can’t receive, make, find, earn on our own.

…it sees something infinitely precious in the recipient – not because of something they have done or not done but just because of who they are.

…is not shown by doing what the recipient desires (wants) but instead what the one who loves deems as needed by the recipient, even knowing this may lead to rejection.

We, as humans, cannot show this type of love to God or others without first receiving God’s love – it is only God, in His Holiness, who has such an unselfish love because this love is rooted firmly in the personal character of God. God’s love is a part of his personality and cannot be swayed by passion or diverted by disobedience.

God’s love isn’t based on how we make him feel – it is willful. He chose to love us and He continues to carry that love out.

If we are made in the image of God, and love is a part of His personality/His very identity – then doesn’t that mean that we are made in the very image of love?

And so, we must determine what our relationship with the World should be. Our Relationship with the World must be one of love – God’s love.

A love that gives what people need not what they want.

A love that is willing to be rejected to truly love.

A love based on seeing those we love as infinitely precious and deserving of God’s truth, God’s life.

A love not based on our feelings but based on willful purpose.

But the question is, how do we do that?


  1. A love that gives what people need not what they want.

I firmly believe that with both friends and with the suitable partner God has for us – that they will challenge us to be more of who God created us to be. They will give us what we need feedback, challenges, encouragement, room to grow, etc. not necessarily what we want.

We also need to be willing to be those people. Those friends and even those possible suitable partners.  Are we giving space for them to seek God first and not us, are we challenging what they are hearing from God when it sounds off base?  Are we calling them out when their actions don’t line up with what they say God has said?

2. Love with willful purpose – not a love based on feelings.

In resolving to relate – we need to be intentional – we need to have willful purpose in our relationships. We need to know what God is calling us to.

In our relationships we need to care both about those we are relating with today but also those we will be relating with and who they will be relating with in the future…

Listen to me, it isn’t just about how far is too far. But it is about honoring each other and those you will end up being with.

3. We need to be intentional today for the promises God has for us tomorrow.

We need to not just think about today but we need to ask God what He has for us in the future and then make decisions based on those promises.

Noah started building the Ark when there weren’t any clouds in the sky… when they didn’t even have a concept of what rain was. His actions were in light of God’s Word for the future not what he saw or felt in that moment.

4. We need to know who we are in God.

Adam and Eve were suitable partners for what God had created them to do.  God’s plan for us includes suitable partners for what we were created to do. But that means that to know who is suitable, we have to be willing to wait until we know what God has called us to do.

This doesn’t mean that we have to know the exact specifics but we must have a sense of the direction that God is calling us to.

God gave me this picture:

Imagine that you are back in high school and you have a huge project for one of your classes. Each person has a unique project they are working on and it has to do with who they are and how they were created.  Each project was created to bring out that specific person.

With this project, you will be working with a partner of the opposite sex.  The teacher tells you as you are receiving your projects that you can choose your own partner or you can wait on the teacher and they will pair you with someone who has a project that would complement your own.

You decide to pick your own partner.  You see someone who you think is cute and looks as though you would get along great.  You introduce yourself and ask if they would like to be partners.  They quickly agree and you start talking.  You find out that you have similar personalities, you likes similar things and everything looks perfect to you.

Over time though, you find that your projects are less compatible than you first imagined.  Conflict begins to arise as your research and resources are incompatible.  You find that either you must separate to find new partners, you will stay together but work harder to try and make things work or one of you will have give up their project.

If you had just waited on the teacher they would have brought you a suitable companion.  A companion whose project would have complimented your own.


The questions that God has challenged me and I challenged my youth with is this:

Are we willing to be intentional today – in our relationships –
for the promises of God for tomorrow?  

Are we willing to be intentional today so that our marriages, our callings,
our families tomorrow will be all that God intends them to be?





Identity: Determining the Relationship

4 10 2016

I went to a smallish bible college for my college education.  And I’m not sure about most colleges but at my school relationships and dating were weird.  Our campus and student body was so small that no matter what you did everyone was watching and noticing.

There was a phenomenon in college called “DTRing”  DTR stood for “Determining the Relationship.”  A DTR happened when two members of the opposite sex had been hanging out a lot and on one side or the other questions of where this newfound friendship were going arose.  A DTR conversation could be identified by the following:

  1. A male and female were sitting alone at a bench or table.
  2. Normally there was an abnormal amount of space between the two.
  3. At least one of the individuals looked extremely uncomfortable.
  4. Both were serious.

A DTR conversation could happen because friends were questioning the friendship or due to a desire from one participant to be more than friends.  A DTR was meant to determine what their relationship was: dating or friendship.

I wish I could say that I never had a DTR but unfortunately I participated in a few too many of these.  And while the concept is mildly amusing to think back upon I can’t help but think that when we are talking about our identity as image bearers of God, that we are made for relationship with God and others, that we must Determine what our Relationship with the World will be.

Let’s take a look at what I’m talking about.

If we are made in the image of God we have to understand who God is.

God is love. – 1 John 4:8 “he that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.

When I say love what do you think about?

This love that speaks of God’s love is the Greek word “Agape.”  This love…

..is considered a benevolent love which means that this love that is God’s very identity is a love that gives the recipient (you and I)
something we can’t receive, make, find, earn on our own.

..sees something infinitely precious in the recipient – not because of something
they have done or not done but just because of who they are.

..is not shown by doing what the recipient desires (wants) but instead
what the one who loves deems as needed by the recipient,
even knowing this may lead to rejection.

God’s love for man is His doing what He knows to be best for man, not what man desires, because He sees us as infinitely precious to Him.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you look at Jesus, Jesus was not the Messiah, the Savior they wanted but He was the Messiah, Savior they needed.

God loved mankind enough to give us what we needed (and still need) knowing that mankind could continue to reject Him.

God’s love for us is not motivated or manipulated by our rejection or disobedience.

Romans 8:39 “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We, as humans, cannot show this type of love to God or others without first receiving God’s love – it is only God, in His Holiness, who has such an unselfish love because this love is rooted firmly in the personal character of God. God’s love is a part of his personality and cannot be swayed by passion or diverted by disobedience.

God’s love isn’t based on how we make him feel – it is willful. He chose to love us and He continues to carry that love out.  

If we are made in the image of God, and love is a part of His personality/His very identity – then doesn’t that mean that we are made in the very image of love?  It is out of His identity of love that our identity and purpose are redeemed. Jesus redeemed our identity and redeemed our purpose of relationship with God and others.

And so, we must determine what our relationship with the World should be. Our Relationship with the World must be one of love – God’s love.  A love that…

..gives what people need not what they want.

…is willing to be rejected to truly love.

..is based on seeing those we love as infinitely precious and
deserving of God’s truth, God’s life.

 ..is not based on our feelings but based on willful purpose.

What the World desires is to be accepted just as they are. To be accepted in their brokenness and chaos.  They know nothing except brokenness.  Their true desire is love, God’s love, but they don’t have even a basis to know what that is.

Eph 5:1-2 “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Luke 6:27-28 “But to you who are listening to say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Are we willing for the World to dislike us if it means they will experience God?

Are we willing to be rejected to truly love others?

Will we resolve to love and not tolerate, no matter what it takes?

 





Identity: Purity

4 10 2016

I’ve already shared with you that identity has been something that I’ve struggled with as I felt I had to earn or work towards what I thought my identity was.  Purity was an area that I never felt I had “achieved.”  It wasn’t that I had really made any choices that lead me to thinking I wasn’t “pure” but I never felt good enough.  Let me give you a bit more context…

My name is Kaitlin.  If you’ve ready my post καθαρός then this will all sound familiar but forgive me from indulging for a moment.  My name Kaitlin is derived from the Greek word Kathros.  This word can be found in Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see the Lord.”  The word pure in this passage is that Greek word, Kathros.  So you see, my very name speak the identity of purity but I felt as though it was something that I would attain after years of striving, after years of doing what I was supposed to.  I needed to discipline myself in the things of the Lord, get rid of all my sin, and then I would be pure of heart so I could see God.

You see, I thought that my identity and thus my purity was based on me doing instead of me being.

But, purity is so much more than what we often talk about.  Purity is more than saving sex for marriage.  Purity is more than learning to not go too far.  Purity in its simplest form is about relationship, but not the type we typically think about.  Purity is about our relationship with God.

Purity is a lifestyle of wholehearted devotion to God. 

As I began to share earlier… For my whole life I have held onto the verse Matthew 5:8

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see the Lord.”

… I held onto the idea that this was who I was destined to be.  My identity was to be pure of heart for then and only then would I receive what my heart desired, to see the Lord.  I have always looked at this verse as something to be attained, that if I try hard enough, if I keep myself pure, if I do all that I should be doing, then and only then could this verse truly be my identity.  But in the last few years God has spoken to me something that changed the way I see my name and myself.

He spoke to me truth.  “Purity of heart” is not something to be attained in the future but instead is the identity that God has already given to me.  God sees me as pure of heart, it is not something I must “make happen” but instead, in my passionate love of Him, it is found.

The phrase pure in heart means having a singleness of heart toward God. A pure heart has no hypocrisy, no guile, no hidden motives. The pure heart is marked by transparency and an uncompromising desire to please God in all things. It is more than an external purity of behavior; it is an internal purity of soul.

Purity is much more than what we can/should do or not do. Purity is a journey that must originate inward and flow outward.  Purity isn’t just about what we have, should, haven’t, shouldn’t do but instead purity is focusing completely our whole attention, in every area of our life on God.

In scripture there is a man who God calls “a man after His own heart.” Do you know who this is?  It is King David.  David: Sought God, Knew God, Meditated on His Word

This type of life starts from the inside.  Inner purity, the condition of our heart, is most important to God.True purity isn’t something we can do on our own.  True purity only comes from Jesus repairing our broken hearts and replacing them entirely.

Titus 3:5 “Jesus saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”

Even King David though, the man who was after God’s own heart, screwed up.  He slept with a married woman, killed her husband and then married her.  But even in the face of his sin God still saw King David as pure of heart.  God saw the inward part of him…

Psalm 51:10, David cries out to the Lord, “Create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me.”

The question isn’t if we will screw up, but instead what will we do when we do?

Purity in our lives doesn’t mean that we don’t screw up, but that we always rely on, have eyes on, turn back to God when we do screw up.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

When we allow God to replace our heart and cleanse us, then he begins to permeate through our whole life.  Is the cry of our heart the same as David’s?  Create in me a pure heart?  Renew the Spirit, will, desires within me?

Growing up my dad used to talk about our lives as though they were a glass house.  He would ask us to invite Jesus into this house and begin to show Him around.  As we showed Him each of the rooms His light would permeate and shine through the whole house.  We had to decide when we came to a room with our sin and garbage if we would allow Him to clean that room so that His light could shine.  This is true purity – allowing God to shine his light through our whole life.

1 Peter 1:22 “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

The goal of purity is action – to love God, others and ourselves well.  Purity before God happens when everything we do becomes an act of worship.  Purity is our identity, not because of what we do, have done, don’t do or haven’t done.   Purity is our identity because we are an image bearer of Him. 

God redeems us as His image bearer, when we rely on Him to redeem us, to make us clean – when we turn our hearts fully towards Him and worship Him in all we do, then HE changes our thoughts, feelings, actions and makes us pure.

Will we allow God to redeem our identity?  Will we decide to pursue Him with everything we are and allow Him to bring about purity from our inside out?