Friday, August 31, 2018

God Gave Me You by Kimberly Burnette

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. ~ Colossians 3:12-14    

I just reconnected with an old friend who was instrumental in helping me at one of the hardest times in my life. It has been many years since we lasted talked.

I have always believed that God puts people in our paths to help us and works through them indirectly. I have prayed for the right people to put in my children's paths. With all my heart I believe that God does this and that He uses us in this way to help each other. 

Laura was not an obvious choice to be the one to be this much help to me. As so often happens, God uses us when we are hurting and struggling, and we sometimes serve the greatest purpose when we are in the valley rather than on the mountain top. This was the case with my friend Laura and also with my friend Ann.  Despite their own struggles, they both made sure they were there for me. 

If there was ever anyone who modeled Colossians 3:12-14, it was my friends Laura and Ann during my fight to keep my sanity all those years ago after some crazy things happened to me and in my life.

God has changed my life quite a bit since then, and Laura and I both no longer live in Mississippi. Remembering what happened back then is like remembering an old movie. It is of great comfort to know that something that painful can fade with time like that. I hope this can be of comfort to those who are hurting now.

When you are God's child, He will take care of you. It doesn't mean you won't go through some painful things, people have free choice. He will always provide a way, He will give care and comfort directly and indirectly through his people- special friends who are our Christian sisters and brothers.

A friend loves at all times. ~Proverbs 17:17

My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a mean he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend. ~Job 16:20-21

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other one up. ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. ~Proverbs 27:17

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

When We Don't Understand God's Plan by Kimberly Burnette

The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. ~ Genesis 39:23
When We Don’t Understand God’s Plan
When I became ill, I got diagnosed with five diseases in three years, three of them were rare. Life changed in so many ways for me, and pain became my constant companion. I had a long list of symptoms that ultimately made it impossible to continue working, and sent friends running the other direction. It felt like living through a barrage of storms, and the storms on the inside were even worse.
In weaker moments I found myself questioning what I did to deserve all I had gotten. I didn’t know anyone else in my town who had anything like me. People questioned what I had and suggested that I wasn’t right with God or had a stronghold. I pleaded with God to reveal to me what I needed to know.
I found great comfort in the story of Joseph (Genesis 37.) He was the youngest of 13 brothers who betrayed him in the worst of ways-they sold him into slavery and told their father he had died. He had God’s favor- and was made the head of the household where he was a slave (Genesis 39.) Then he was betrayed again- when he wouldn’t go to bed with his master’s wife; she claimed that he raped her! This landed him in prison. But all the while, God was with him.
So God used his circumstances and the gift he gave him, of interpreting dreams. It was ultimately someone Joseph met in prison whose dream he interpreted a few years before who told Pharaoh about his ability (Genesis 41.) He ended up becoming the second most powerful man in Egypt. Additionally, his family was reunited and restored.
What does this mean to me? God loved Joseph and used his circumstances to help an entire country. Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream lead to Pharaoh’s storing grain for a coming famine. God has a purpose, for you and for me. The Lord allowing difficult circumstances in our lives has nothing to do with how much He loves us. He is always with us, and uses everything to mold us and shape our story.
How do you see God’s hand in your circumstances?

Spirit Lead Me by Kimberly Burnette

Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. ~ Psalm 143:10
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. ~ Romans 8:26
I love this song “Spirit Lead Me” by Influence Music because it reminds me to slow down and take the time to be quiet and listen for the spirit. What does that look like? For me, it looks like a moment of silence before I start praying, being still. It looks having quiet time where the spirit can lead me. Not by an audible voice, but by the thoughts that do not come from me that align with the Word. It comes in a knowing that wasn’t there before, that sometimes even goes against what we want answers to be. Leading sometimes looks like knowing that someone else needs us, or that there is something we need to pray for someone that we haven’t been told.
I pray that you open your heart to His leading, to receive what He has for you. He can do in and through you what you cannot do yourself. Thank you Jesus, for leaving your spirit here to help us in our weakness and need. 
The lyrics really move me:
[Verse 1]
This is my worship
This is my offering
In every moment
I withhold nothing
I'm learning to trust You
Even when I can't see it
And even in suffering
I have to believe it
If You say "it's wrong", then I'll say "no"
If You say "release", I'm letting go
If You're in it with me, I'll begin
And when You say to jump, I'm diving in
If You say "be still", then I will wait
If You say to trust, I will obey
I don't wanna follow my own ways
I'm done chasing feelings
Spirit lead me
[Verse 2]
It felt like a burden
But once I could grasp it
You took me further
Further than I was asking
And simply to see You
It's worth it all
My life is an altar
Let Your fire fall
[Chorus 2]
If You say "it's wrong", then I'll say "no"
If You say "release", I'm letting go
If You're in it with me, I'll begin
And when You say to jump, I'm diving in
If You say "be still", then I will wait
If You say to trust, I will obey
Teach me how to follow in Your ways
I'm done chasing feelings
Spirit lead me
Spirit lead me
Spirit lead me
Spirit lead me
When all hope is gone
And Your word is all I've got
I have to believe
You still bring water from the rock
To satisfy my thirst
To love me at my worst
And even when I don't remember
You remind me of my worth

Present Not Perfect by Kimberly Burnette

Watch Flawless
For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. ~ Hebrews 10:14
Is anyone here a perfectionist? I grew up being a perfectionist. My mom was a bit OCD, and I wanted everything I did to be just right. I believed that would make me more worthy, more lovable- it is called being performance based.
I was never able to be perfect and I was never able to earn love! But as I grew older, I also learned that I was valuable without being perfect and I didn't have to be. I also learned and started really absorbing the fact that God always loved me just the way I was!
I started understanding what salvation really was and how incredible God's grace and mercy really were. The one act that Jesus committed, literally took all of your sin and mine- past, present and future- upon him so that we were made flawless before God!
Amazing grace- that we get what we don't deserve as sinners- in thought, word and deed.- eternal life! Mercy- that we don't get what we do deserve- harsh punishment for our sin. Sustaining grace- that keeps us going each day. How blessed are we!
We don't need to be perfect- ever! We just need to be present! Just pay attention and say, "thank you Jesus, for saving me!"
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ~ Lamentations 3:22-23