Puffs of Dust

Today I came across the same Scripture verse in two of my morning devotionals, John 7:38.  I do not believe in coincidence, so I took some time to study the surrounding verses, as well as, commentaries on these verses.  I prayed for the words to write so I could explain how this verse spoke to me; perhaps in a way in which you can also relate.

John 7:38 is Jesus speaking as He says, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them”.  The preceding verse states, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink”. I fully embrace and believe the Word spoken by Christ in these two verses.  What an amazing gift.  What an eternal promise; one upon which we can confidently rely.  Jesus is the well of life-giving water we are invited to come to.  We are encouraged to drink and drink so that the same rivers of living water flow from us.  This river, the Holy Spirit, is within each of us and Jesus exhorts us to let It pour out upon the world around us.

When I ignore my time in God’s Word, I find myself dry inside. Instead of flowing water I feel more like puffs of dust are spewing out of me.  This does not mean the Holy Spirit is no longer living inside of me.  I know without a doubt that I am sealed with the Holy Spirit and that I am guaranteed a heavenly inheritance (Eph 1:13-14).  What it does mean is that I am ineffective to the world around me because I am not filled with a fresh supply of God’s Word and His living water. 

I would not be as effective each day without my coffee.  Every morning I must refill that cup.  It is the same for me with needing to refill each day with a fresh supply of Living Water from God’s Word.  With my coffee in me I have more energy and focus to give and with the Word freshly in my heart and mind I have more to offer others than my own, limited opinion.

“Heavenly Father, I pray that I choose to spend time in Your Word daily so that I have a fresh supply of Your life-giving water within me.  I pray that You provide me opportunities each day to let Your rivers flow through me.  Lord Jesus, when I am simply blowing puffs of dust out of my mouth remind me that it is only through time spent in Your Word that I can be filled with flowing rivers.  I ask for Your courage and Your strength to let those rivers freely flow in every situation I encounter.  I Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.”

Kami R. Lobner

Standing Justified

I am certain that the shed blood of Jesus Christ upon the cross at Calvary has cleansed me of all sin; past, present, and future.  I believe that there is no one who can take away the salvation provided to me by Christ’s sacrifice.  I know that God has justified me not because of anything I have done, but because of His Grace and His Mercy freely poured out through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. 

I also believe that Satan can accuse me because I choose to sin (1 John 1:8) but I know that the accusations brought against me by Satan are never too big for God.  When I confess my sin, God IS faithful and just and He WILL forgive me and purify me from unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  This does not mean I have a “license” to sin or a “get out of jail free” card to go around sinning and hurting others.  God’s Spirit within me is grieved when I sin, and I am convicted over the choice I made hopefully to the point of repentance.

Let me say this a different way.  I believe that my sins cause a break in fellowship with God.  I believe my choice to sin hurts God.  I am absolutely convinced, however, that my right standing as one who is justified will never be taken from me because of my sin.  I am only able to stand justified in the sight of God because of Christ’s blood.  It is because of Christ’s one-time redemptive sacrifice on the cross that I am justified.  When I do choose sin, it is the Holy Spirit within me Who reminds me of my need to repent and to restore fellowship with God and others.

It is this testimony, that we are justified eternally by the blood of Christ (Rev. 12:11), that we are compelled to share with others.  This testimony is available to all of humanity to claim as their own; those of us who have knowledge of this testimony need to share it with those who have yet to hear it. 

“Heavenly Father, I pray that You provide me courage and wisdom to share the testimony of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice with others. Thank You for Your eternal provision of salvation.  In Jesus Name, I pray.  Amen.”

Kami R. Lobner

A Time to Rest

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” Isaiah 30:15

Life moves forward a hundred miles an hour.  We have family commitments, work responsibilities, places to be, things to do and money to earn.  But, when do we rest? When do we sit in quietness and trust in the Lord and His strength? 

If our salvation is in repentance and rest, why do we allow ourselves to remain busy and distracted?  It is simple.  We “choose” the busyness and the distractions. We fear we might miss out on something, so we decide we need to go where the action is.  We want to be “in the loop” of life’s drama so we listen to and spread gossip. 

One of Satan’s greatest tactics is to keep the attention of God’s children focused upon the things of this world so we lose our attention for God and the things of His kingdom.  It can be difficult to hear the “still small voice” of the Lord through the chaos of life.  Difficult, but not impossible. 

We must make a commitment to spend time in that place of rest with the Lord.  There are many ways to set aside time with the Lord; choose what works best for you.  Perhaps getting up early each day or after the kids go to school is when you find your time to rest in the Lord.  Maybe it is during your commute to work or not until you are settled in for the evening.  The point is, finding time to rest in God’s presence and making a commitment to stick with it is what He longs for.  It is in that quietness where we can praise Him and repent of our sins and offer prayers for ourselves and others.  It is here that we are tuned in to hear His still small voice and where we can trust God to provide us strength and to give us rest.

God’s Word tells us how to do this thing called life.  He gives us the map to navigate the twists and turns we encounter each day.  In the chaos of this world God’s instruction to find rest in Him seems almost too easy.  But, yet, that is what He says.  I choose God’s rest and I trust in His strength; will you choose that too?

“Heavenly Father, as I commit my time to You each day may You give me the rest I need.  I trust in Your strength and the plan You have for me.  In Jesus Name I pray. Amen”.

Kami R. Lobner

Loving Others

“And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us”. 1 John 3:23

Believing in the name of Jesus Christ seems easy enough for those of us who call ourselves Christians.  But, what about the rest of this verse?  Love one another?  Therein lies the rub.  I can love “some” people easily; my husband, my children, my closest friends.  But what about those people whom I find “difficult” to love?  What about the people who hurt me or are unloving toward me?  Is God suggesting that I love THOSE people too?

The Truth is, God is not “suggesting” anything.  His Word says, “this is his COMMAND…to love one another…”.  If I believe in the name of Jesus and acknowledge him as my Lord and Savior then I must obey his commands and therefore I must love ALL others.  Love is not only a feeling; it is first and foremost a choice.

So, how do we choose to love the difficult people?  We remember that God’s Word says, “We love because he first loved us”.  God chose to love us even though we ourselves are “difficult” to love.   God chose to love us in spite of our sinfulness and disobedience.  If we say we believe in God and claim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we are compelled to do the same.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. Rom 5:8

“We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.  For whoever does not love their brother or sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.  And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister”. 1 John 4:19-21

Kami R. Lobner

Cutting Deep

The New Testament book of Hebrews says that the Word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword.  With it God cuts to the heart of man and lays bare what lies inside…the good and the bad.  With it the faithful receive saving grace and the wicked their destruction.  There is no thought, no intention and no desire that remains secret.

So, why do we fight so hard, at times, against a God Who knows us so completely?  Why do we think we might “get away with it” or “come out on top” if we follow our wayward desires?  Our Father knows us entirely; much better than we know ourselves.  So, why do we persist in choosing what His Word says will lead us to our destruction?

It is because we live in a fallen world and our Heavenly Father created us with a will and the ability to choose.  Of course, He longs for us to choose Him, but He never forces that choice upon us.  He reaches out to us through His written Word, through His creation which surrounds us and through others whom He brings into our lives.  God provides ample opportunities for us to turn and follow Him. It is up to us to respond.

There is nothing you or I have done or could do which is too big for our God.  He can cut into the heart of the most hardened murderer, the slyest of thieves or the most committed of adulterers.  Yes, the cuts hurt but the words and the promises God spoke into being heal those wounds as we remain in His Word and as we choose to follow His commands.  I pray that you and I will continue to choose to follow the Lord.  It is the only path to life.

“Heavenly Father I ask You to forgive me for the sins I have chosen.  I decide in this moment to follow Your Word and Your commands.  I thank You for the saving grace which is mine to receive because of the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  I pray that Your double-edged sword cut quick into my heart and expose those areas You know I need to turn over to Your control.  I thank You that Your Son, Jesus, has taken up residence in the home of my heart and ask that He removes all things there which go against Your Word.  It is in the Name of Jesus that I ask these things.  Amen.”

Hebrews 4:12

Kami R. Lobner

 

Uncluttered

I grew up in a home filled with clutter.  The home of a hoarder.  I have struggled for years to understand the thinking behind the need to hoard things.  I still do not fully comprehend the need to hang on to seemingly useless items.  I am, however, beginning to empathize with the hoarder I grew up with.

As a Christian friend and mentor recently pointed out to me, I do not save “things”, per se, but I do “hoard”.  I hold on to painful memories with a vice grip; not releasing the hurts to the One Who can free me completely.  I carry on grudges from decades-old events because they were painful, and I was deeply wounded.  I have chosen to keep those memories stored up so that I can remember the pain and remain unforgiving to the person who broke my heart. But, to what cost?

Just as it is difficult to maneuver through piles of rubbish in a home, so it is difficult to maneuver through future relationships which are filtered through a muddled psyche.  Hanging on to memories of hurt, rejection and abandonment can interfere with establishing healthy connections later in life.   It can also lead to bitterness and unforgiveness toward the one who wounded us so severely.

I am learning to cut myself a little slack as I work through the process of forgiving the one who hurt me to my core.  I am learning to ask God to help me see that individual through His eyes.  I am asking Jesus to give me empathy toward this person and to provide me with His grace to forgive.  And I am ever so slowly turning over to God the clutter of my mind.  I am giving Him access to those painful, hoarded memories.  He is faithfully responding and continuing His good work in my life.

And the prize in all of this is increased freedom for me.  Freedom to live the life God has designed me to live.  Freedom to take risks in new relationships, as well as, in old ones…without fear of hurt or rejection. If you can relate to me at all, may I encourage you to reduce the clutter of “whatever” it is that might be weighing you down.  Give it to God.  He will take care of you. He loves you and wants to free you.

Phil 1:6            Ps 119:107

Mk 11:25         Gal 5:1

Kami R. Lobner

 

 

Being Right is so Very Wrong

I like to be right.  I want my thoughts and words to be acknowledged as the undisputed truth.   The reality is that in wanting to be right I am often so incredibly wrong.  Can you relate to this as well?

Is having to be right demonstrating God’s love? Is being right indicative of a love which, as Paul says in Philippians chapter 1, is abounding more and more in knowledge and depth of insight?  The questions here are rhetorical, of course.  We know the answers.

If I truly sought abounding love and to grow more in God’s knowledge and His depth of insight I would lay aside my own agenda for that of others.  I would put my own feelings and needs on the back burner and I would seek to look at people through the eyes of Jesus.  This is what I WANT, but too often not what I do.

Praise God for His compassion and patience.  He knows my struggles.  He loves me still and by His Grace I am given opportunities to grow and learn.  I don’t always do things correctly.  I daily experience moments when I simply want to be right.  I know, however, that God uses these moments to teach me.  I know that through the Holy Spirit God reveals Himself to me.  And it is only by the Holy Spirit that I can abound more in love, knowledge, and insight.

Today, I pray that I lay aside my own needs for the needs of others.  I pray that I focus on the abounding love that Jesus has for me so that I might overflow with that Love for others.  I pray that I release the need to be right today and every day.

If you agreed that you can relate to this, then I pray for you, too.  I pray God’s love abounds more and more in your life, also.  I pray that you are filled to the full measure by the Holy Spirit.  I pray for you to receive knowledge and depth of insight as the Holy Spirit works in and through you.

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ” Philippians 1:9-10

Kami R. Lobner