Tag Archives: love

Seeking the Best

Sitting here in my usual spot. Saturday mornings…Friday nights…Saturday nights..Monday nights…it really doesn’t matter. As long as there is an assignment due I am here at this table in this fast food joint…working on that assignment. I can no longer work from home. Not right now. Maybe after I create a “cubicle” I can focus…but right now I am surrounded by the work that needs accomplished there. It just occupies my mind so much I find it impossible to work on assignments which have deadlines. I have to leave home. In order to accomplish an important task I have to leave other important tasks. I have to make choices about what must be first on my list. This means I have to prioritize.

So, here I am…surrounded by this massive mess of papers…all of them making some sort of sense to me…each one containing information I need…some of it in just a few days when the midterm is taken.

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   But….once again…I have to sort through the pile…determine what I need to focus on first. I have to sort it into piles that I can then organize and use in an effective manner. If I don’t I will find myself at a loss as to which information goes in what order and I will be unable to use what I have in front of me wisely. I will fail because I didn’t choose to prioritize.

   So…I start out with the toughest subject for me…the Spanish. That’s the one I really struggle through…though I will be thrilled when I gain mastery…right now I am a toddler on the playing field. Still…that’s where I have to start…sort out all the Spanish material.

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   But wait…was that really where I needed to start today? I mean…was it truthfully the most important place for me to begin my day? If I start with Spanish as my first thought will it inspire me to do the most important things in my day?

   The answer to that is what I have been pondering…………..

        You see….I am surrounded by important things to focus on. I am surrounded by other people’s thoughts, actions, motivations. I am surrounded by philosophy, religion, politics, emotion, need, opportunity. What I am not surrounded by is people willing to remind me of the first thing…the best thing…the most honorable and praise worthy thing. No. That I have to bring to the table myself. That I have to fight for. That has to be an intentional thing each and every day of my life. It has to be the first thing I think of. It has to be intentionally the first thing I run to. If it isn’t I am lost. If it isn’t I have no idea how to function in my day. I may think I do, but at the end of the day I will find that I made many bad choices that day. I chose the lesser of goods and did not hit the mark of excellence. Not that all the things I strive for are bad. Just that there are good and then there are the best. I want the best. How will I get there?

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    Right here…in the written word of God. I will find His voice…speaking so sweetly to me…speaking in such a corrective tone to me…I will find Him guiding and chastening. I will find the answers to the the questions that plague me each morning. This is the best. This is choosing between the good and the best. The rest of my day will be guided correctly if I first seek HIM in these pages.

   One of my worst issues of late is how I view people. I sit here working on these lessons…and people watch. I am so judgmental. It is so easy to feel arrogant when I sit here in my little “fast food office” looking out at others. It is easy to think I would choose better for them or that they are too arrogant themselves. It is so easy to think I KNOW what they are doing or are about. It is so easy. Yet, I have no idea. I am not in their lives. I know only this small moment in their own story. I can’t even tell you I understand and KNOW my husband and kids. How could I know these people who I spend no real time with? I can’t. That’s just it. I can’t. It is terribly arrogant of me to think I can…to be deceived by the heart which God said in His word always would trick me into believing something other than truth.

   And even if I could….would it be right for me to choose to? I mean….think about it….who should I judge? My own self. That is the only person I should judge. My own person. I should compete against my own self and judge my own actions against my own actions and in light of the Word of the ever living God. That is the only way to properly operate. And…this should be the first thing in my day and the last thing in my day. This should be the way I operate all through my day. This should be the way I live…and as I breathe…so should I pray….about this and every other matter that comes to me. And I should people watch less. Until I can master my own thoughts….I should people watch less. You see….if your hand offends you….right? If you are unable to do something without sinning…you must let it go…at least until you have mastery over your own self. This is the only way to operate. This is the right way.

   Good. Better. Best. Many times we choose the good. It isn’t wrong to choose the good. I mean…the homework needs doing. So does the laundry. The dishes. The meals need cooked.

   Often we manage to prioritize up to the better. We sit down with the family for a family night. We have conversations with our kids. We have a coffee with our spouse and catch up. We let go of the good long enough to embrace what we see is the better. It makes our life better. It blesses those around us…especially if we then go ahead and do the good after we have seen to the better.

   Excellence is seen in the best. Excellence is seen in waking to the very best that we could have. It is seen in seeking the face of our God first …..as the light dawns so does our heart cry out to Him. As the coffee brews our fingers are turning the pages of His word and seeking the light of His voice for ourselves on that day. As our families wake from the night’s rest we are prepared with His corrective word and loving guidance to know how to love and care for them that day. We are ready to face our work. We are sure of our priorities. This is the best. This is how excellence is achieved…and it is also how we abide in Him. The only place real fruit can be found is when we abide in Him.

   It is easy to get off track. It is easy to lose site of what is good, better and best. It is easy to think that we need to do something before we seek the Lord and that we need to wash the dishes before we talk to that child. It is easy to think these “best” and “better” things will wait. But our Lord asks we abide with Him in the present tense, and our children grow up each and every day, whether we are watching or not. Our relationships grow cold unless we stir the embers of love and friendship. These are things which must be dealt with first…and in the proper order.

   During this lenten season let us seek to prioritize what is good, better and best so that we are the most fruitful for the One who loves us best.

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Hungry for Love

Walking down the lane I see so many things. The geese as they journey both north and south, depending on the season we are in….the cattails as they grow so tall during the wet season. I see the cardinals converse in the hedge along the ditch, and I see the traffic. All those cars come and go while I try to have my quiet time on that road. It seems each and every one of them is determined to stop the quiet. With their racing wheels and loud engines at speeds not safe for this pedestrian…they travel to work. They travel to shop. They travel to school. They travel to the doctor. They travel to see a friend. Each one of them has a story to tell. Each one of them has a need. Maybe they need comfort. Maybe they need to get to work on time and they are late. Maybe they need to get that hug from a friend. What all of them need is love. They are hungry for it. Maybe they don’t recognize it…like I don’t always see my own need…but they need it. They are hungry for it. That’s why they rush to buy things and seek out people instead of being comfortable alone. They need to fill that place so deep inside. That place is where love fits. The only love able to fit there is the love Jesus offers.
Sometimes we are afraid to go to Jesus for that love. We feel, with all our sins, we are too unworthy. What we fail to realize is….that place where our sin is the worst….that is the very place Jesus wants to be. That is the place where He will walk with us over and over and over…day after day after day. It will never end. He will take that trait in us…that one that makes us the very worst…and create in us the very best. We all do truly have a God shaped hole…and find no rest until we allow Him to be our every waking breath. As we breathe so should we pray, and as we go about our day so should the Holy Spirit be the one to determine where those steps will come from and where they shall go. Not because we are special above others…but because we are being guided by the only one who can guide us correctly.
May we each and every one trust His guiding hand.

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Dark Night of the Soul

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 Darkness seeks to destroy….to come at me with all the pain and fear darkness is so famous for. A place where I feel nothing. God is not present in my senses….He is not there to be held within my heart as real. Senses so human must be removed. Impure loves, lusts, selfishness and hatred…all must go. My dreams, desires and personal plans. My hopes. My social circles. My daily pleasures and comforts. All must go. Deep into the grave of pain and crucifixion must I remain….bathed in burial linens until the time that I am set free…new….clean…His. And so…though it is painful…though it seems hopeless…I hold on. I hold on to Him. To what I cannot see. I cannot feel. To what I cannot know. Each day….another thing must go. Each day…a new loss. Yet this is His way. To see that which has been my dearest treasure taken from me. For only He can be my treasure. He is a selfish God who seeks to give me only Himself…and is jealous to give me nothing more….for in that place alone will I have rest. It is for my good He injures me. Spare me not…Lover of my soul….though I weep…I will find rest in You when the work is done.

Kris Fasse     January 24, 2015

In a Moment…..

   We think we have all the time in the world. We think…in a little bit I will wash that laundry. In a little bit I will cook that meal. When the kids get home from school we will sit down and have that talk. In a little while. But what if “in a little while”  never comes?
   Today a friend called me with news her son had been in an accident. There is a long road ahead with no idea what it will look like…but he won’t be home for dinner tonight. Her family may not see a family meal around the table for a long while. That moment in time took their “in a little while”.
   We do not know the future. Cherish every moment you have. Don’t put things off. Remember that we can’t know the future…there is no promise of it. But we have now..this very moment. Grab it!

But for Grace….

But for grace I would be lost. But for mercy I would have no opportunity to work out my salvation with fear and trembling. But for grace I would be hopeless. But for mercy I would be shamed by the very God I seek to serve. But for grace I would have no opportunity to know the love of a Savior, magnificent in all His holiness. But for love…but for mercy….but for grace….not of my own…only in Him. 

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Is there someone who needs that mercy…that love…that grace…passed forward today? Is there someone who needs to hear that He is big enough to heal the deepest wounds of the most broken heart? Is there someone who needs to know that shame does not have to last forever? Is there someone who needs to hear that what they see in the hardened hearts of those around them in church does not reflect the heart of the Father who is gently calling them home? Can I be an instrument of that message? Only if He does it through me today. I am …first and foremost…a sinner. I am in deepest need of the cleansing power of the God who desires me as His own. I must see…through the veil darkly…but through the eyes He has given me…each and every person as being just like me. The challenge is not to look the shiniest or to be the loudest or the most successful. The challenge…whether we have admitted it in the modern church or not…is to be the one who beats people up the least. The one who is able to overcome the hurt and pain and hate and to find the place where only His love shines through our eyes…no matter who we see or what they do. It is a place higher than I reside…yet one I seek to attain to. Please help me Jesus. 

Let’s pray for one another in this… 

Amen….

Roads Traveled Found Us Here

   The roads we travel are most often winding and unknown. We have a plan, but God directs our steps. He gives us the opportunity to make a plan, but if it isn’t in our best interest, He may not let us keep it. He really does have a plan for us. He really does know what is best. Sometimes what He views as best just doesn’t make sense to me. Of course it doesn’t. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. I wish I understood better. Oh dear..I wish I did. However, knowing the end from the beginning, the twists and turns that I would take, the flat tires, the rainy days…that would most likely be more than my senses could handle. Jesus knew that. When Peter asked Him about such matters He carefully said only enough to give a picture, yet not the full view. Peter wasn’t ready to handle the full view and most of the time I’m not either. It’s a dance. A day to day dance between where I’ve been and what I’m facing and somewhere in the middle is the now. 

   I took my oldest son to work this morning for the last time. We’ve been doing alot of lasts. The last guy night before he leaves. The last Sunday before he leaves. The last breakfast before work. The last search for a work shirt. The last early morning shared with him over coffee and hot tea. The last quiet moment when I can share something deep and spiritual. The last. And then he will go off where he will create his own. He will choose. He will see flat tires and rainy days of his own. He will also see sunshine. I will remember that God has carried us each and every day and nothing is beyond His watchful eye. I will remember that He calls me to His supper table each day…and some days I make it. I will remember that He walks us to that place of conversion. I will remember that He understands our frailty. He understands our journey. He understands our pain. He understands. When one seeks His face He does not turn away. He hears and He draws that one even closer. I will remember. His grace is so much bigger than anything I can comprehend. His love is so much bigger. Why do I feel the pain and not consider that He feels it with me? 

   This is the journey of life we all take. It is the path that is least understood and most often traveled. It is the reality of moments of bliss and equal moments of desperation. The mantra comes from a song I listen to when my son takes on a new season. “I trust You, I trust You, I trust You Lord I do” … over and over and over this comes to my mind as a concrete reminder that I do trust Him and He knows that. He will not fail me. Will everything go as I plan? I hope. But even if it doesn’t…I can trust Him to see me through that. I trust Him. 

   Twists, turns, hills, valleys…flat tires and rainy days. We see them all. We also see rest stops, sunshine, the perfect waterfall and the best place ever to fly our new kite. We see those things too. Our God is good. He lets it rain on the just and the unjust. Rain is a blessing. When we think of it we don’t often consider that part. In earlier seasons the people did think of it that way. They knew they didn’t have what it took to water crops without that rain falling. They counted on it. When they heard the rain falling they saw the blessing. They knew it was good. God gives the good to me. He also gives the good to a Hitler or a Bundy. He gives the good as long as He can…wooing and drawing and sharing the message of grace and love and purpose. He will do that till the very end. He seeks to heal us. He blesses us with showers to feed our crops and thus, to care for our families. He shows us His sunset and sunrise. He gives us the gentle kiss of His breezes. He offers hope to a mom and a dad who have taken broken roads and the consequence has been painful. He loves them. He knows their pain and He feels it as His own. He calls us to feel the pain with them. 

   In a perfect world no one would ever feel pain. No mom would feel the awful ache of having her child taken from her arms because her brokenness is just greater than her child can handle right now. No one would stand by the grave of their loved one. No marriage would fall apart. No one would ever use the word cancer. No son would ever go so far away that important moments shared with them  would be lost to an unknown future. In a perfect world. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a broken world. We live in a world that God dearly loves, but it’s broken. It is torn all apart. It is not something safe. It is something scary. We have to rely on our Father or be broken further and further until we are past feeling. 

   Sometimes the broken places leave us with choices to make that are not very good. No…always broken places leave us with tough choices. If we act out of our brokenness we must eventually see the outcome and choose what to do from there. We must choose to be healthy. We must choose. We are blessed with a God who does not see it as we do. A God who is not the same as the local condemning congregation and BY CHOICE His memory is very short. He loves us. Truly. Honestly. Even to the point of causing pain to Himself. That is the God I trust. 

   “I trust You, I trust You, I trust You Lord, I do” 

      Sometimes trust is difficult. If you have ever been hurt you understand. Trust takes all you have. That is why it means so much to God when we trust Him. He has already written our story. He knows the end from the beginning. He only asks that we trust Him with it. Only. To us it is like a lifeline while we hang over the edge of a cliff. Trusting. Is He big enough? Can He be trusted with even this…this thing which means so very much to me? Yes, He can. It may not come out the way I hope. The way you hope. But He can be trusted to have done what was the very best in that situation. He can see what we cannot. 

   Trust Him. Believe the truth about yourself from His perspective…no matter how beautiful it is. Recently I attended a day of reflection. During that event the speaker used a mantra with those words in it. I found myself questioning. All the years of religious training opposed that statement vehemently… until I considered it. What is the truth about me? About you? Not what we see in our broken lives. Not what the papers would write. Not what our “friends” would say. Not what the priest or the bishop hears in confession or your pillow knows about you as you whisper those prayers deep into it. No. I mean what is the TRUTH? 

   The truth…it is that Jesus…who is God Himself come down from Heaven…loves you. He knows you. Before you were formed in the womb of your mother He loved you. He knew you. I mean it in the most intimate way. He knows every inch of your body and your soul. He knows your thoughts. He knows your sins. He knows your weaknesses. He knows your pain. He knows your shame. And yet…He loves you. He is not ashamed to be known as your God. You do not shame Him. You are not so bad that He believes His image would be too tarnished if He claimed you. He loves you. He is God. Who would there be to look over His shoulder and make fun of Him for loving you? Who would there be to shame Him for calling you His own? And yet…every time we reject one of His sinning children that is what we do. Every single time. We deify our opinion. Oh Father, forgive us. 

   The truth….Jesus died to wash away the sins you carry deep in your heart. He died to remove your shame and replace it with dignity. The truth….people don’t like that. They like to hold on to your shame and to deprive you of dignity. Truth…that is wrong. Truth…you are loved by the Creator of the Universe. Truth…He wants you to stand tall and share that same message with the rest of His dearly loved children…because they don’t all know that. Many don’t care…their brokenness is deep…but some will listen. Truth…He doesn’t want you to hate the ones who don’t listen. He wants you to love them. To grieve for them. To NEVER see yourself as better than them. And if you feel like you are way below the rest…He wants you to know…you are good enough…just the way you are. You are ok. There may be areas the two of you will work on….but when He looks at you…the love is deep and real. The love is something only your Creator can share with you. It is real. You can trust it. Hold on to that. 

   ” I trust You, I trust You, I trust You Lord I do” …. will you? 

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Psalm 139

Good News Translation (GNT)

God’s Complete Knowledge and Care

139 Lord, you have examined me and you know me.
You know everything I do;
    from far away you understand all my thoughts.
You see me, whether I am working or resting;
    you know all my actions.
Even before I speak,
    you already know what I will say.
You are all around me on every side;
    you protect me with your power.
Your knowledge of me is too deep;
    it is beyond my understanding.

Where could I go to escape from you?
    Where could I get away from your presence?
If I went up to heaven, you would be there;
    if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there.
If I flew away beyond the east
    or lived in the farthest place in the west,
10 you would be there to lead me,
    you would be there to help me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
    or the light around me to turn into night,
12 but even darkness is not dark for you,
    and the night is as bright as the day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.

13 You created every part of me;
    you put me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because you are to be feared;
    all you do is strange and wonderful.
    I know it with all my heart.
15 When my bones were being formed,
    carefully put together in my mother’s womb,
when I was growing there in secret,
    you knew that I was there—
16     you saw me before I was born.
The days allotted to me
    had all been recorded in your book,
    before any of them ever began.
17 O God, how difficult I find your thoughts;
    how many of them there are!
18 If I counted them, they would be more than the grains of sand.
    When I awake, I am still with you.

19 O God, how I wish you would kill the wicked!
    How I wish violent people would leave me alone!
20 They say wicked things about you;
    they speak evil things against your name.
21 Lord, how I hate those who hate you!
    How I despise those who rebel against you!
22 I hate them with a total hatred;
    I regard them as my enemies.

23 Examine me, O God, and know my mind;
    test me, and discover my thoughts.
24 Find out if there is any evil in me
    and guide me in the everlasting way.