Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Last Hour

At the last hour,
at the darkest moment,
at the point of giving up all hope,
God does many of His miracles
(at least in my life).

It's as if I have  learned
(by this)
"'s not dark enough yet."
"'s not hopeless enough yet."

God's timing is perfect.
we'd like Him to be early.
If God were early,
we could worry less.
If God was early,
we would need less faith.

So if God is all about growing our faith,
and God IS all about growing our faith,
I guess the last hour is the perfect time,
and I need to trust Him.
He has never let me down.
He is never late.

Think about it!

Even in scripture when Martha accused Jesus of being late:
"Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."
and he encouraged her but then Mary accused Him of being late:
"Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.
Jesus was deeply troubled at their pain and moved in His Spirit
and He wept!
Even the crowd accused Him of being late:
"Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man,
have kept this man also from dying?"
Jesus said to Mary,
"Did I not say to you that if you believe,
you will see the glory of God?"
And at the perfect time,
He raised Lazarus from the dead!

So in my accusing moments,
I need to look for the resurrection moment!
The God being glorified moment.
I need to look for it with hope and expectation,
 and trust the miracle will come.
And God will move in power
and work miracles of goodness
in all my trials,
to His glory
and for my good.
Because He is loving
and good
and all powerful
and on time.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Peace and Hope Romans 5:1-11

Therefore, yep, the scripture starts with a "therefore"(it's there because previously in the book of Romans it speaks of our being saved by grace and not by obedience to the law).

since we have been justified through faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Having "peace with God" is a precious thing. It's more secure than it ever feels. It's deeper then we ever expect, it's not based on our performance or our effort, it's based on the work of Christ and the faithful love of the Father (which is also more secure than we can comprehend, but we benefit when we try!). So we have this "peace with God" because of our faith in the sanctifying work of Christ.

In any relationship (on earth) we relate to people according to the "peace" we have with them. So if in your marriage all is well and good, when they walk in the room, you may turn to them and make eye contact and smile, perhaps you express a pleasant greeting, or you just give them your attention, because love compels you to do so. If (however) things are not so good when the person walks in the room, you may keep your back turned (even if spoken to). You may pretend you didn't realize they were there, or the dishes may be so interesting and so urgent that you must keep your attention focused on them.
I think most of us are on the surface "fine" in our relationship with God when we start out. Like we believe God is on our side when we get saved, the conflict arises later (after the honeymoon is over and we see how sinful we still are). We feel God is not for us, that He disapproves of us. I was raised by my dad (a Scottish sailor) who was very harsh. He was loving, but his temper was horrible and his words were brutal. Sometimes he'd pin me against the wall with a fist held back and yell in my face how he wished I was a man (so he could punch me). As a 12-14 year old girl, I was learning somethings about what a father was. Things not helpful in my future relationship with God. My parents were divorced and my mom married a big strong loving man one winter while I was away and when I went to live with her the summer of my 14th year, my Mom, and my brother and I all learned how abusive he was. As he broke a solid wood door down to get to my brother and put him through a wall, my brother cried for little girl me to come help him. As he pinned my mother on the floor yelling and hitting her, she cried for the little girl me to help her. I was 14 and very small. My 110lb frame was no match for the 6'2, 250lb man, I learned things about what a father figure was.
So when I was saved, I felt connected with Jesus (my Savior) I felt close to the Holy Spirit (who wrapped around me and comforted me). But the Father...I did not feel peace (even at the beginning) with the Father. I think at first it was easiest to ignore the distance I felt, but God pursued me. He wanted to bring healing. He wanted me to experience the freedom Christ had died for me to walk in. He wanted me to have "peace with God" and as long as the lies I had learned as a child, about masculine power, about male dominance, about fathers using their position to control, manipulate, beat down and hold there, I would not be free. It was for freedom that Christ has set me free, and God wants me to live in that freedom. So he redefined what a Father is for me. He's actually still teaching me, still resetting my mind when I loose peace and don't feel connected to Him. God is so kind, so committed to my good that He would do this.
So that's our peace with God, it's bigger and more real than the earthly peace we have with others. And we are given this peace and kept in peace because of our faith in Christ but then our text goes on to say:

through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

Now Tim and I over the summer go to music festivals to provide drums and sometimes lights to the musicians. In order to do what we do, we are given "Full Access Passes". We have a collection of 20 or more at the shop of these necklaces, with the venue written on it. Some of these give us more benefits than others, depending on how generous the hosts are, but the bottom line is, we can go anywhere. No place is blocked to us. One of our favorite festivals is the Chenango Blues Fest. They spoil us rotten and treat us as royalty. Beautifully catered meals, a camper to rest in during the day or just to get out of the sun and a port-a-potty that's air condition that smells nice and has running water with peaceful music playing. With our passes we get all the wine and beer we'd like free and the ability to even stand on stage with the artists to take pictures or fix their equipment or what ever we'd like. We are trusted and approved and nothing is withheld from us. We are given the same honor given to the rock stars, we are honored, because of these passes. If I'd like a table, or a chair or a table cloth, I just ask and one of the hundred volunteers runs and get's it for me. This is full access!
Now what a beautiful thought it is to carry this picture in my mind when I read "we have gained access by faith into this grace". So just as at the festival, I gain access (to the good stuff) with the lanyard, faith gives me access to the goodness of God's grace. There are thousands of people who come to the roped off areas at the festivals we attend and they are greeted by the security guards who stop them and will not allow their entrance, where we have just walked. And in the world there are billions upon billions who do not have the peace with God or the grace which we have been given the honor to now stand. We get behind the gate, we get to approach the throne of grace with full confidence, and boldness, because of what Christ has done, because we trust Him, He has covered us, and we enter into His peace and receive His grace and by Christ, we stand. We are actually given all the honor and benefits of a son or daughter of God.
Now my Bible titles this section "Peace and Hope". So if you're going to long for something and go to the drug store of God's Word looking for the medicine you need, if stress and hopelessness are what ales you, I'd say go down the isle marked "peace and Hope" and in the book of Romans in chapter 5 verses 1-11 you will find the truth you need to be healed. So we walk boldly into grace and stand there with the benefit "full access" brings (by faith in Christ), but what of this thing called hope? What is it and what will it do for us?
First let me say in some of our travels, Tim and I have had not so generous or thoughtful of stage management. And our "all access passes" got us cold pizza and blocked off when the "stars" arrived. Our drums were actually put outside and we were only allowed to collect them after the "stars" had left! So when the Lord asks us to trust Him, He is well aware of those who have enlisted our labor, our attention and loyalty, in the past. Listen to the heart of God at Christ's invitation: Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am humble and gentle and you will find rest for your souls. This is the heart of the One whom we have peace with. This is the heart of the One in who's grace we now stand. This is the heart of the One in whom we hope. I love the way the New American Standard words the next part: Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. This is the "hope" part (we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory). This is all good news (especially if you're having a hard day). Remember the drug store analogy? If you're looking for truth to heal and undo a lie that causing you stress or giving you hopelessness, listen to this: We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. So that's it. We feel the love of God in our heart (by His Holy Spirit) and we know it's all good! We are safe. The worst wont overtake us. We are not abandoned, we are not overpowered, we are not used and then held at arms length, we stand in God's grace, experience His favor and know His peace and have the confident hope of all the good He's working out of our hard stuff. And we will not be embarrassed by the hope of all the good we see in our imagination, because in our heart, we feel God's love with us. That is reason for hope. This is a reason for peace.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Because it's true

He knit me together in my mothers womb
He will not abandon me.

He told the Father He would not loose any
who had been given to Him.
He will not let the enemy steel me away.

He said He would never leave me or forsake me.
He will not abandon me or turn His back on me.

He said I have a hope and a future.
The days to come are not without joy or without purpose.

He said nothing could separate me from His love.
He dose not despise me.

He said He will finish what He started in me.
I will not be abandoned to decay,
I will be made holy.

He said the Father loved me so much He sent Christ to die for me.
He invested His most loved thing to bring me good.
So I have worth.

He thinks about me and says my name.
I am not wandering aimlessly
separated from His affection and attention.

He said if I come to Him He will not turn me away.
I do not need to fear His rejection.

He said if I come to Him He will come to me.
I do not pray in vain.

He said His Word would not return to Him in vain.
His Word invested in me, will change me.

He said He was standing at the door of my heart,
waiting for me to open it.
He comes to me.

He said He works all things out for my good.
I do not need to embrace "the worst case scenario"
in order to not be disappointed.

He said I have a hope and a future.
I can hope.

He died to set me free.
His truth sets me free
He set me free so I would live free.
There is not no condemnation for those whom Christ has set free.
I can walk free.

c. Kim Damon 11/14

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I Choose Hope

Is hope harder than worry?
Is it easier to imagine the worst
and let it torment you?
Or is the fear of being disappointed
keeping me from hope;
from imagining God
bringing about my good?

God rescue me from the despair of fears.
Birth hope.
I believe you desire me to hope.

Forgive me for preferring
to make peace with poverty
rather than to hope for prosperity.
It's not the abundance of money I long for.
It's the lavish
abundant joy in your presence.
That is wealth
and that is what I long for.
God I choose hope.                                                        
All my hope is in you.
Right now, I surrender
my imagination to your will.
I purpose to hope.
To pray and believe
you are a rewarder
of those who diligently seek you.
c. Kim Damon 2014

Photo credit: Created by Kris Rozelle
FREE 2.14.15 Photomontage digital collage
What it would look like to be free from all

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Fear of Man

The fear of man,
sounds like a little girl
who has been the victim of abuse,
who carries that understanding
that the male gender may use their greater strength
(or power),
to cause harm.
There is that,
to a degree.
It shows up in my pride,
resisting submission and trust
(two very beautiful things).
God bring healing.

The fear of man
(in Christianese)
could be defined: loving the praise of men
more than the praise of God.
But that sounds harsh,
I see it's form in longing for approval,
in fearing rejection,
which leads to self loathing and isolation.
Only God can bring hope for healing in this area.
The only hope for healing in this many tentacled area,
is God. Only God.

As a child I loved to sit outside at night
and look at the stars.
Best of all was to laydown on the hood of a car
and let my full peripheral be filled
with as much of the sky as I could drink in.
Truth is, in it's vastness,
I felt so small,
but so safe.

God is like that.
When I focus on Him so completely
that he fills up all my view,
the condemning voices
the controlling actions,
the harsh judgments,
all fade away;
they loose the power to wound
or effect me at all.
Only God and His beauty,
His glory
and His love
have any part with me.
He wraps me up and carries me away
to His presence.
Oh to linger there.
In the safety and love.
No fear of man in His presence.
If the thought of anyone enters the unity of God and I
they are seen in love,
they are weighed and valued and hoped for
all with the measure of love
and then, they are released.

God let me live there.
Let me go so often,
that my thought processing is changed.
That my view of others is changed
that their impact on me
(if any)
is changed.

Oh, God,
you are beautiful
and glorious
and so worthy of praise.

Daughter, when you come away into my presence and set aside time to be with me and set aside thoughts of others to hear my voice it heals you. Come often. There are many wounds to heal. My truth is the penetrating salve to sooth your fractured bones and grieving soul. Let my truth be applied to your life, to your history, to your present, to your hopes and you will walk by the Spirit and you will live in peace. My word will banish the lies spoken over you and pronounced over you in childhood, so many lies need an abundance of truth to break though. Each new healing opens a door to new bondage and more healing. This is why you feel victorious and then held back it's all part of the journey. Be true to the Word. Let it live in you and work in you. Surrender often (your wounds) and I will cleanse and heal. Each scar is a testimony of our journey together each a witness to our love (Father to daughter).

Protection is yours,
Healing yours,
My Word yours
freedom yours.
Tell of the wonders of my Truth
(in setting you free)
tell often.
Speak and write of valleys of despair
and the mountains of faith
(that give you perspective over them)
just as Caleb said "yes,
the giants are big, but God is bigger"
this is your testimony.
Speak it well.

Listen diligently to me,
eat what is good,
and delight yourself in rich food.
Incline your ear and come to me;
hear that your soul may live;
and I will make with an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
Isaiah 55:2-3

Monday, November 3, 2014

It's all true

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple.
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart,
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes.

For it is you who light my lamp;
the lord my God lightens my darkness.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He restores my soul.
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
and he makes know to them his covenant.

The Lord is my light and my salvation
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
because you have seen my affliction;
you have known the distresses of my soul,
and you have not delivered me into the hands of the enemy;
you have set my feet in a broad place.

Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
By the word of the Lord
the heavens were made,
and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

...let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.

I cant even pray big enough
to match the good plans you have, God.
I want all your wants.
I want all your will.
I surrender to your plan.
Make me think right.
Help me act right.
Help me hear right.
To walk in the way of your will.
I completely trust your love.
I completely trust your will
for my life and the life of those I love.

I feel like your promises
and acts of love for my salvation
were all written and I believe them all
and you currently work on my behalf.

I have learned to trust you,
but I long for your warm embrace
to pull me closer when I respond to your kindness
mercy and love.
It adds the pinnacle of love
the cherry on top of the cake of our perfect story of love
and I believe it's a good longing
so it must have come from you
the lover of my soul.

God please come to me and make me whole.
I surrender to you and seek your face.

It's all true

Do you ever have moments
when you think of all the bad stuff about yourself?

Yay, it's all true.

Do you ever have moments
when you think of all the bad stuff about someone else?

Could be all true.

Then there's God.
What He said.
What He did.
The effect that has on your bad stuff.
The effect that has on all their bad stuff.
 And then there's a new truth added to the story.
The truth about what God said and did
is bigger and more powerful than all the other true stuff.

So now,
we don't have to look at all the bad stuff about ourselves
and feel hopeless,
we don't have to look at all the bad stuff in someone else
and feel hopeless,
because God changes everything.

The trouble is...It's all true. But if you don't focus on the God effect,
you may just focus on the bad true stuff
and that's pretty depressing.

If God can forgive your garbage (and it's true, He will if you ask)
Then God also can forgive all someone else's garbage (and He will if they ask).
And if God does not hold stuff against us, then we should not hold stuff against others.

It's all true.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.