Happy Value Time!!!!!

Agapestencil by Eif via http://www.flickr.com/photos/eifionjmp/

Agapestencil by Eif via Flikr CC http://www.flickr.com/photos/eifionjmp/

Over this last year……since the last “Valentines Day”, I have thought a lot about love. Real and true love. I thought about how much I value that…..How much the Lord values that.

About how it really is true that it has to do with the heart.

About how it really is impossible to have or to give without Christ filling that heart.

I have seen, with the fullest of clarity, that real and true love can only come from Him.

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This year, I have thought about Agape love. I think about that love today.

I have seen how dark my heart had become in so many ways, even when I thought it had gotten much better than before.

I have seen how much more room there is in there still for Him.

For Him to do His work in me…..

For Him to show me what Agape love is.

Geralt via Pixabay

Geralt via Pixabay

He has that kind of love for me.

He has that kind of love for you, too.

I have opened that heart of mine….But the enemy likes to try to close it back up.

So thankfully, My Jesus…well, He is after me…..

He keeps at me – He knows this heart of mine.

More Agape. More Holy Spirit. More Him.

Geralt via Pixabay

Geralt via Pixabay

That vacancy is taken, enemy! Someone stronger lives here!

I  have received more love than I could have ever imagine existed.

He gives me not what I deserve – and then He blesses me on top of it.

What grace….what love….

What Agape love.

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He is filling that heart, with Himself.

The blackness was purged…..the heart made new…

And now it is clear…..and filling up with more of His love.

It is spilling out now. There’s enough for that.

God gives free refills. His love keeps us growing.

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If we ask Him…He fills those hearts…..

More of Him…Less of us….

His magnificence….

His glory,

His might,

His compassion,

His beauty…

His Agape Love…His eternal love.

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His everything that makes Him God………

It will overflow. And I more than value that.

Guess what else?

He values that.

He values me.

He values you.

geralt via Pixabay

geralt via Pixabay

This last year, my look on love has changed.

It is deeper…bigger…more awe inspiring.

Because I am looking at Him.

And He is love.

At times, it can be daunting, if I forget from whom it comes….

The Source of all love that is real and true and worthy.

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He told me where I needed to start –

In His presence – spending more time with Him….

Spending better time with Him.

He told me to be in His word, in prayer, in relationship with Him.

To fall in love with Him again.

And stay there.

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He told me that He values that….my love, and my time.

That it leads to gratefulness, worship, fulfillment, and more love.

Agape kind of love.

Time is valuable. Valuable is time.

Love is valuable. Valuable is love.

He and His love….it’s treasure.

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Hard to give up is time.

Until you do it for a while. If you spend it loving Him.

Sacrifices are to be made to make time with God first….

To make it the time you value most.

And then they don’t seem like sacrifices any more.

Everything else does…..

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Anything else that gets in the way.

The way of your time with your first love.

We are always wanting for more…..

Grab the time any time you can find it….

Spend it with Him, and then in doing His work….

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To love others in ways He values….

Then all time becomes value time.

He is leading me….He is guiding me…

He is making me wait for some things…

He has answered prayer through it all..

Through the changes, through the waiting…

In my value time with Him…He tells me things.

jsptoa via Pixabay

jsptoa via Pixabay

I fell even more in love with Him this year…..

I feel more of His love….

I know more of what it looks like.

I want the value time…

So does He.

He doesn’t need it…But He wants it…

He more than deserves it.

It is all His.

Via Pixabay

PixelAnarchy Via Pixabay

Maybe He will make more changes this year?

For you or for me?

I can’t wait to see what is in store.

I can’t wait to see how He helps us and loves us more.

To reflect that love….that kind that belongs to Him…

That Agape Love – through us.

geralt via Pixabay

geralt via Pixabay

How wonderful that we don’t have to wait…

We can value all time, whether things change or they don’t.

Because it is all spent with Him.

He is always there.

He lives there.

I value that.

Photo Courtesy of GoPraise.net

And to all my friends out there who may be reading this today? I pray you value your time with the Lord….I pray you value the time you have with family, friends, and others who come your way. I pray you have value time in all that you do….each and every day….every moment…every second.

Every day, every moment, can be Value Time……Not just on Valentine’s Day.

Most of all, I pray that you know, with no question in your hearts or minds that the Lord values you….He values time with you….He values your worship of Him, your relationship with Him, your cries, your laughter, your struggles, your needs – all of it, to Him, you can bring….it is all part of the treasure we have in Him….and He loves you…the Agape kind….if He didn’t value you, how could that be?

If you haven’t yet, won’t you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior today?

Be blessed. Happy Value Time, Dear Friends.

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’This is the first commandment.”   Mark 12:30

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**All unmarked images in this post used with permission from Pixabay Public Domain Images – no attribution required or desired.

 

I Don’t Need a Rubber Duckie or A Brillo Pad

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts.” Ps:139:23:

Polka dot rubber duckie

Although my sins have been washed away by what Jesus did for me on the cross, I still gather up the dust of the world and need to take a bath on a daily basis. Spiritual hygiene is vital.

If I fail to bring those new sins of mine to the Lord in confession, am I still saved? Yes! But that sin will grab hold of me and start to drain the life out of me if I don’t bring it all to Him; f I don’t ask Him to purify my heart, search it, and cleanse it.

Fact is, it just gets dirty no matter how hard I try to keep it clean.

Baby bathing

Guess what? To take a really good bath, one must be willing to strip down and get into the water. Aaaah….the nakedness of it all!

This is how I see it though: My life has been cleansed by my Savior, and my eternity is locked up tightly because of the blood He shed for me on the cross – it washed me clean, it made me pure in the eyes of God. Yet as I hunger to grow closer and deeper in my personal relationship with Jesus, I am finding how very important it is to remain transparent with Him – to come to His feet daily in repentance for anything that made me look less like HIm that day, to ask Him to remove the grime and build up from the day lest it try to penetrate my heart and stick around, making that its newfound residence.

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David knew something about this dirtiness of the heart – he found himself utterly exhausted as a consequence of unconfessed sin in his life. I can learn a lot from his experiences and how the Lord had David share them with us. David shared his heart, and the Bible tells us that he “was a man after God’s heart.” Acts 13:22

David said………………….

“For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up by the heat of summer.” Psalm 32: 3-4

It’s hard to ask the Lord to search our hearts sometimes – honestly hard. But dried up bones and a darkened heart doesn’t sound better to me! Even if we know that He already knows what is there, and we have the reassurance that He still loves us (He loved us while we were sinners), and we already know that we are forgiven, it can still be hard to humble ourselves before our Savior (aren’t we strange, that way?)

Silly Rus'

Silly Rus’ (Photo credit: GloriaGarcía)

What child goes to their daddy on a regular, daily basis and says “I want to confess that although I know how much you love me and dote on me, and will never leave me or disown me for anything I ever do, I would like to share all the bad stuff with you that I did today, okay?

I took the cookie when you told me not to.

“You are forgiven”

Oh, and I hit my brother when you weren’t watching.”

” You are forgiven”

AND I said a naughty word when mom said I couldn’t have the ice cream.

“Forgiven. Now let’s go take a nice, warm bath and talk about it together.”

Although most children don’t do this, they are missing out when they don’t just embrace bathtime in the first place. They still inevitably end up taking the bath anyway –  (We – the children, are funny this way too!)

funny baby

funny baby (Photo credit: Lucienne °e il suo diario°)

It not only strengthens our relationship, but it just plain makes us feel better to have nothing between us and our loving Savior – nothing to stand in the way of an honest, transparent relationship – and I believe it brings Him great joy as well.

It is important to remain pure and confess our sin daily because otherwise, we start to hide just as Adam and Eve did. Our Father doesn’t want us to ever hide from Him. He loves us! We start to live in shame, cover ourselves, and eventually, we can’t hear His voice. We need to hear His voice to have a two-way relationship with Him. And again, He loves us! He wants us to experience the fullness of joy that a true intimate relationship, nothing hidden, nothing to be ashamed of, entails. That is His plan! How awesome is that?

Even if He already knows it all, it makes us humble, it glorifies Him, it provides restoration and refreshment, and it brings about healing for any scrapes or cuts we picked up along the way when we confess our dirty secrets to Jesus. It keeps us in fellowship with our Savior and our very best friend. It allows Him to wash us clean every single day – to give His children a bath – to wash their backs, let them soak up the smells and the feeling of the soap and the warm water, to stroke and brush their hair until it’s clean and shiny.

What a wonderful way we get to experience afresh (daily!) God’s grace in action.

Love heart

Love heart (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. “1 Peter 5:6

Those hands are indeed mighty, but they are so very gentle as well. He doesn’t use a brillo pad, or harsh soaps that sting our skin to cleanse us. He washes us in grace instead!

He says He will never leave us or forsake us and that is true. But we can drown out His voice if we keep barriers between us due to unconfessed sin. And you know, He also says that if we seek Him, we will find Him. Isn’t this another way that we are actively seeking Him? We aren’t just coming to Him for forgiveness, or for our much-needed daily bath, but also for intimacy when we confess our heart to the Lord. Even when we already know we are forgiven – it is so cleansing to our relationship to admit the truth – the ugly truth.Then He can help us to turn it into His truth – the beautiful kind.

English: Belle Vue Gazania A Gazania growing a...

English: Belle Vue Gazania A Gazania growing amongst lots of other beautiful flowers in Belle Vue Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”? Proverbs 20:9

Certainly not me. Even on those days (few and far between) that I search my heart and don’t really find any blatant sin that crept in there, when I ask HIM to search it, He usually can reveal something to me. This is part of our discipleship – our learning. Where is the growth without learning?

And again, I don’t see this as God nitpicking me at all! I see it just like a daddy who still gives his baby a bath at night – even when he didn’t go roll around in the mud and muck that day – even when he doesn’t look too dirty from the outside. Because you never know what invisible germs may be lurking on the surface just waiting to seep in. Daddy’s like to take care of their children, and as I said, hygiene is important. So is comfort and warmth.

And baths just feel good, don’t they? Maybe it is just bonding time on a given day; time to listen and let Him probe our hearts, share  His truths, keep us clean and refreshed for the next day we are about to face. We don’t need a rubber duckie to keep us busy in the bathtub for times like these – we have the master storyteller of all keeping us company – I like to listen then – intently. We learn such great things from Him when we listen.

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Hand (Photo credit: yorkville)

I am thankful for the opportunity to come before my Father and turn myself in and over to His purifying hands daily. It’s not a works/condemnation thing for me, friends – It’s something that I know is just good for me. It’s something I want to do, even if it’s hard sometimes. What I get in return is just so worth it. Isn’t it just like God to help us come out the other side of something all the cleaner and far more comfortable than we were before? Even when it’s often the result of something we did that was not very nice?

English: baby guinea pigs in a tea cup

English: baby guinea pigs in a tea cup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My favorite part of bathtime with Jesus? Watching all that dirt go right down the drain. Then, being dried off with the fluffiest towel ever by my ultimate comforter and protector – it comes from His wing under which He offers me shelter – it comes from being held afterwards in the arms of my Savior. It comes from my Daddy – the one who forgives me for everything -the one who tells me stories in the bathtub. The one who knows just the right temperature to make the water. Every. Single. Time.

Again I have one word for you: Grace.

Squeaky Clean!

I could take a bath in that all day long.

Visine for the Heart

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Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8

Don’t get me wrong. I want 2013 to be a good year for all of us too. But I feel a bit bummed tonight.

As I checked facebook, emails, the news, and interacted with friends and family at church, work, and home throughout the day, I found myself feeling “odd”, so to speak – for pretty much the entire day of the 31st. Everyone was sending out “Happy New Year” wishes, and conveying joy and happiness all around me…about a new calendar year….about the hope that the chance for a new year holds for them….and to me, well, I just felt.. NOTHING.

If you know me at all, that’s a very strange thing. I tend to feel things quite deeply most of the time. But I felt absolutely empty in relation to celebrating another “New Year.” And for a few hours, that made me feel pretty sad about myself and what that says about me as a person.

With Permissions Microsoft Office

With Permissions Microsoft Office

I have just arrived back home after work tonight, and as I was driving here, I used that time to search my heart and pray about it. Clearly, God has something that He wishes for me to learn about through this, right? As always, He does. I thank Him for that.

I found myself thinking….”what is wrong with me? Why can’t I be like others and be positive and cheerful…happy-go-lucky…excited about starting a new year?” Where is my “celebrate good times” attitude? If others could read my thoughts right now, they would think I am the darkest party pooper the world has ever known. Maybe I am.

So I searched and prayed. Here is what I have concluded:

I want to see God NOW. This is not because I am depressed. It is not because life stinks. It isn’t due to wanting to escape my responsibilities, or the joys that life with our family and friends can hold for us here on earth. But I have grasped….I have SEEN….that this world can never compare to what we will have if Jesus returns for us to rapture us out of here today. And I want to see Him NOW.

But, the time that Christ will come back to snatch us to His bosom so we can leave this world and enter into the most blissful existence imaginable, well, that is not for me to decide. CLEARLY, this is a very good thing too, because I am not a patient person! Beyond that, I obviously don’t have a deep enough love for all those who are still lost to Jesus at this point in time. If it were up to me, the rapture would have happened yesterday! 🙂 But seriously, that is very sad. I need to fervently beseech the Lord to fill me with HIS supernatural love for others, because this has shown me just how deficient I still am in this area. (Love is a VERY important thing to God, by the way – I find it almost comical that I continue to have to remember that very important fact).

Josiah Kopp via Creationswap

Josiah Kopp via Creationswap

I told my husband several months ago that I knew the challenge for me in this gift of anticipation…of actually looking forward to the end times…being excited and hopeful about Jesus’ return, would be learning how to do that while simultaneously living life here to the fullest. You see, I am pretty much an all or nothing type-person (Big surprise, I know – ha ha – it’s okay to laugh). And I knew this would be a huge obstacle for me to overcome. How do I keep that spirit of anticipating Christ’s return while still living life to the fullest, for the glory of God, here on earth? After all, not only is this life a gift, but God has chosen in His sovereignty and wisdom NOT to come back for us yet….and that means there is more to do while we are still here. That’s exciting, isn’t it? But not as exciting as the prospect of the rapture…at least, not to me.

And I realize it comes down to my heart. Again.

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

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I need to pray for patience. I need to pray for God to not only help me to stay bold for Him, but to give me a selfless and pure heart. I need to be excited about His return one day, but focus just as intently on being happy that we have at least one more day to do all we can to proclaim His glory throughout this earth! There are multitudes of people out there who have not accepted Christ as their Savior yet….and there will still be many when He comes back to rapture the church before the tribulation begins. And so often these days, I find myself thinking selfishly….I think to myself….”now that I am actually looking forward to you coming back, Lord, why don’t you just get on with it already? I am ready!”

And once again, I realize….that’s pretty selfish of me. When will I ever learn? Ug!

So on that drive home, it hit me pretty hard that I may not get to literally “see” God this year….or I might get to – but only He knows, and He knows what is best. He knows it’s not all about ME. He knows He has to remind me of this fact all-too-often too. And He still loves me anyway.

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And as this wonderful verse in His Word tells us, our hearts need to be continually purified to see God.

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

I have a lot of heart work to do…I always have. If I am fully honest with myself, it isn’t hard to see that. It isn’t difficult to see that if my motives were always truly pure, I would be more excited about getting to be a vessel for Christ right here, right now, in this world. I would trust Him to keep me confident through that process that I will not go back to getting overly attached to this world. I would believe with all my “heart” that God is strong enough…that He is faithful enough….to keep even ME from going back to living for this world instead of for Him.

Courtesy of uponthisrock.com

Courtesy of uponthisrock.com

It IS possible to not live for this world, yet live to the fullest while we reside within it – I truly believe that. And by living to the fullest, I mean fulfilling the mission that the Lord has set before us to proclaim His name to the ends of the earth (at least as far as we are individually and collectively capable of doing).

I have been blessed to get to do that in many different ways in 2012, and 2013 just looks even more promising. I know these opportunities will continue to grow as the Lord has His mighty hand on it all. And it’s not for me….it’s for Him. It’s because He wants for everyone to have every last opportunity possible to choose Him, to choose eternal life with Him…before He comes back….because He loves us all…so very much. One day He will decide to come back, and there will be many who are still not saved. But for right now, He has not decided it’s time for that yet. Having more time to spread the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the earth needs to be seen as a blessing more than a chore.

Photo Credit uponthisrock.com

Photo Credit uponthisrock.com

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

I pray tonight that the Lord will purify my heart. I know that thankfully, when it comes to my salvation, I am seen that way by Him already…because the blood of Jesus covers all of my sin and impurity when it comes to where I will reside for eternity. Yet while I am here, still walking this walk, and living this life, I must seek daily cleansing…for it is all-too-easy for dark shadows to prevail and block our vision.

I trust the Lord to lift the fog out of my heart on a daily basis. I will not stop asking Him to do so. And if tears must come at times as that murky cloud is lifted out, so be it. Tears can be useful. They wash away pollutants and clear out the toxins. And then we can see far more clearly.

I realize I don’t need to feel sad about who I am as a person, because it is the LORD who will fill me up and take ME out of the picture in the process of purification. That is good news, my friends….that is good news.

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So, I will chime in with everyone else and say to you all…”Happy New Year, my Friends!!!” May 2013 fill you with the love of Jesus and make your hearts overflow with a love for Him and for one another that screams “CELEBRATE” over and over again!!!!!!

I want to see God -I want to see Him NOW. And His Word….well, it tells me that I CAN.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 NIV

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**All images not attributed in this post used with permission from royalty free websites- no attribution or link required.