Monday, July 28, 2014

MeccaMusing: A Daily Orientation to the Heart of God

MeccaMusing: A Daily Orientation to the Heart of God: Dear Ones - I don't usually write this time of the day, but my heart is so full and so appreciative of what my Heavenly Daddy does for m...

A Daily Orientation to the Heart of God

Dear Ones - I don't usually write this time of the day, but my heart is so full and so appreciative of what my Heavenly Daddy does for me nonstop - even when I don't know or deserve it - that I needed to stop and share.  I am thrilled to the depths of my soul that He neither slumbers nor sleeps and that He knows all about me, my deepest longings and greatest needs.  The most exhilarating thing is that He knows them before I do.

Even after I spent time this morning orienting myself to the heart of God, I got to work feeling undervalued, unappreciated, and just having a tiny bit of a pity party.  Isn't that just like me?  I had just spent the last 45 minutes listening to my Heavenly Daddy speak truth into my life through the Daily Audio Bible.  One verse that particularly caught my attention and wooed my heart was Romans 11:36 "For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen." 

I had heard that verse many times in my life, but this morning, the sweet Lord Jesus loved me to Himself with those words.  "Mecca, you are here from Me - my creation, and through Me, and for Me; and your life should always reflect my glory. Without Me, you don't exist."

So dear ones, how is it that after that kind of experience, I could enter the workplace and have such feelings?  I will tell you why.

I took my eyes off of Jesus and in less than 5 minutes, I forgot the daily manna from Heaven I had just received - that my life was about His glory.

All of a sudden, I was Elijah - fearful and placing my value in something or someone other than the "Lover of my Soul."  I walked in full of Him, allowing none of me.  And in the blink of an eye, it was all about me and none of Him.  In that instant, I understood exactly how Peter felt.  The very moment I took my focus off of what was real and true, I began to sink. I believed the lie my enemy whispered to me.

My heart cried out, "Dear Lord Jesus, "how do you stand me?"

I condemned myself and before I could even grovel and wax repentant, I received an email from someone attending training in one of our schools sharing the following message with me:

"Mecca, I just thought you would want to know that the trainer today said that next to the founders, and our CEO and President, you had had the greatest influence in her life with company."

That, dear ones, is mercy in all of its glory.  I deserved rebuke, but instead, my Heavenly Daddy sent affirmation in the sweetest, most humbling way.  While I was literally thinking, "how do you stand me," He was already diffusing those negative thoughts with a message that whispered, "stand you? - I
love you, laid down my life for you and wait with exceeding joy to fellowship with  you."

That was a message directly from the heart of the God of the Universe who knows me by name and calls me His own.  It humbled me, blessed me and filled me to my core. It wasn't that someone said that - (I even hesitated to share the particular comment) but that God sent me a message of affirmation when He had the right to rebuke; and He did it in a timely manner and in the words that would mean something to me at that moment and in the context of my self-pity.

That's what my  Heavenly Daddy means when He says, "It is the goodness of God that brings us to repentance."

John 8:10-11 “Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, ‘Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’ ‘No, Lord,’ she said. And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I.’”

Romans 8:11 "For there is therefore now no condemnation to those who walk in Christ Jesus."

I was ashamed, but not condemned, because He doesn't condemn me.  I repented - not out of guilt but because of His great love and precious tenderness.

Thank you for letting me share my heart - even when it is flagrantly self-centered. I vow in your presence and as my witnesses that I continually desire to orient myself to the great heart of God through His Word and in conversation with Him in prayer.  

My challenge today and the one I leave with you is the challenge my Heavenly Daddy left with me:
  • to do what is just by being fair and honest;
  • to love mercy by showing forgiveness to someone you have the right and authority to rebuke or discipline; and
  • to "walk humbly with your God" by recognizing, reverencing and being obedient to that still small voice.  (Micah 6:8). 
Reminds me of this sweet old hymn. Today, I am going to bask in the joy of Jesus, swim in His endless mercy, and deep-dive in the love of the great heart of my God.   Will you?  Joyfully - Mecca

Take the world, but give me Jesus,
Sweetest comfort of my soul;
With my Savior watching o’er me,
I can sing though billows roll.

Oh, the height and depth of mercy!
Oh, the length and breadth of love!
Oh, the fullness of redemption,
Pledge of endless life above!



Sunday, July 13, 2014

MeccaMusing: Elijah, Why are you here?

MeccaMusing: Elijah, Why are you here?: Dear Ones - I have been to Arkansas, Tyler, Dallas, and Houston, Texas as well as Oklahoma since the last time we shared thoughts from God&#...

Elijah, Why are you here?

Dear Ones - I have been to Arkansas, Tyler, Dallas, and Houston, Texas as well as Oklahoma since the last time we shared thoughts from God's Word.  Frank was with me most of the time.  I have been blest to be with family and friends that I love very much and who love me back.  (They do whether or not some of them will admit it.)  God has been faithful to protect, sustain, teach, guide, show grace and mercy, meet physical, spiritual and emotional needs. It has been tiring and exhilarating at the same time.

As a matter of fact,  in my whole life, God's faithfulness has never waivered.  He has proven Himself over and over.

Yet, this past week I have struggled with melancholy, uncertainty, and yes, a little bit of fear.  I believe God is unsettling me, maybe about to replant my feet.  This girl doesn't like change and will only do it with much internal kicking and screaming, even though I say I trust my Heavenly Daddy explicitly and believe He will not do me harm, but only good.  (Jeremiah 29:11).

I had the privilege of being with my sweet friend, LaRue Skaggs, during my travels, and she shared with me a story of adoption where the little girl was crying and kicking, and actually scared to go with her new adoptive mother because she didn't know her and didn't know what to expect. She was afraid. LaRue made the comment, "if that little girl only knew the love and joy that was waiting for her......" I actually said right then, LaRue, "that is a blog story."

How often do we resist the plans God has for us? And, the "kicker" - (no pun intended) is, we do know Him, say we trust Him, say we worship Him for who He is and have practical understanding of the joy and love we have inherited right here on earth.  I cannot fathom with my finite mind what is in store for me in eternity.  (I Cor. 2:9)

Yet, we (I know I'm not alone in this), are fearful, uncertain and fail to enjoy all of God's greatness in our lives.  I Peter 2:7 refers to the preciousness of believing.  I love that word, "precious."  To me it is something dear, valuable, irreplaceable, a thing to be reverenced for itself.   It reminds me of a line in a chorus we sing, "to you who believe He is precious, Whom having not seen we love...."

I have a 45 minute - 1 hour drive every morning and every afternoon.  I have been listening to the Daily Audio Bible.  What a blessing - talk about putting the workplace in perspective.

The Lord spoke to me very specifically in our study of I Kings 18 and 19.  The story of all that God did through the prophet, Elijah, is thrilling.  God showed Himself powerful and faithful through the drought, protection of over 150 of God's prophets, destruction of Baal's prophets, victory at Mt. Carmel and warp speed energy He gave Elijah to outrun Ahab's chariots to Jezreel.

Elijah expected Jezebel to surrender.  When she did not, but instead sent word that everything God had done to her prophets, she would do to Elijah within 24 hours, he ran out of mortal fear.  He stops in Beersheba - exhausted and broken.  God comes to Him there, and says,"Elijah, why are you here?"

Little miss judgmental said the same thing.  "Yeah, Elijah - unbelievable.  God just did miraculous things, I mean physical things you could see and witness and at first sign of something not going how you expected, you ran."  To which, my Heavenly Daddy whispered, "don't judge Elijah and tell Me what you are doing here?"   Here - in my state of melancholy, uncertainty and yes, a little bit of fear."  That immediately got my attention.  I heard Elijah's answer, (paraphrased) - "Lord, I have been loyal to you, done everything you asked me to do, and now Jezebel wants to kill me, and I'm just going to lie down here and die."  Sounds like a pity party to me.  Hmm,  wonder why I recognize that?

As I listened to the rest of the story, I realized how God in His wisdom knew Elijah could not take correction and rebuke in his present state, so he fed him and sustained him through a 40 day/night journey to Horeb.  The Lord asked him again, "Elijah, why are you here?"  Believe it or not, Elijah gave Him the same answer.

In a precursor to another communication between God and Elijah, rocks crumbled, a mighty wind came, the earth shook,  and then there was fire.  All of these were powerful signs, but God's voice was not in them.

Then a gentle breeze came, and Elijah rose and wrapped his face in a garment and stood in the entrance to the cave where he was resting.  God said a third time, "Elijah, why are you here?" What did Elijah say?  He gave the very same answer.  Isn't it a good thing God is patient with us?

God in His mercy, told Elijah to get up.  I take that as "enough of this."  He gave him the authority to anoint a few kings and promised to save the lives of the 7,000 in Israel that had not bowed the knee to Baal.  Then, He gave Elisha to Elijah to minister to him for the remainder of his journey.

What I learned from this story is that:
  • God is faithful
  • He understands our frailty
  • He is patient with our unbelief no matter how many times we fail
  • He does allow us to go through suffering of consequences (Elijah's cave dwelling and 40 day/night journeys were no picnic)
  • He is a jealous God and does not tolerate our worship of anything or anyone other than Himself.
  • He never leaves us - no matter where we are - we are the ones that run.  
  • He allows "wallowing" for just so long
  • He expects us to put our expectations and hope in Him (not assuming Jezebel will surrender) 
  • As long as we recognize and reverence His voice, He still has work for us to do.  
So, I said to myself, "Mecca, why are you here?"  No more kicking and screaming like you don't believe in the goodness and greatness of God and your personal relationship with His dear Son.  Don't judge others and work on continual communication with your Heavenly Daddy so that you never miss His voice.  For right now, may I challenge you to substitute your name for "Elijah?"  "_______, why are you here?" Do you recognize the voice of your Heavenly Daddy?

Reminds me of another song:  (sung with a bit of a beat so stand up and dance with joy.  Make up your own tune if you don't know it.)  I love you all.  Mecca

O, I love to hear His voice,Saying, "You belong to Me,You are not your own, with a price you're bought,And you're Mine, eternally;"And I love to hear Him say,"I have saved you by My grace."And when I get to glory, it will then be grander still,For I shall see His face.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

"Let Go" - So Easy to Say, so Hard to Do.

Dear Ones - I have had so much on my heart and so little time to share.  Starting to blog again for me is always like starting to write a new term paper or article.  I love the process of doing it, but I often avoid "getting started."  So, now you know one of my greatest weaknesses. 

For whatever reason, we have raised a generation of "perfectionists."  I believe there have always been perfectionists or controllers, but it seems the epidemic is spreading.  I have always loved the quote, "Perfectionism is the single most inspiration crushing behavior we can impose on ourselves or others."  I don't know who originated it, but it is powerfully true.  In my vocation, we use it to illustrate the damage it does to children for adults to pressure them to do things "right" before they are capable of doing it at all. 

As a controlling person, what I have found in my own life is that I'm controlling and a perfectionist in public and far less disciplined in private.  The more controlling I am with others, the less disciplined I am with myself.  I guess it's some sort of compensation for what I lack that no one knows about. 

Here is the conundrum for me as a Christian.  My God is perfect.  His Son is perfect and was the perfect sacrifice to die for my imperfection.  (Hebrews 12:2) As a believer in and an acceptor of that full-blood sacrifice, I acknowledge that the only good thing in or about me is His perfection, illustrated daily by His mercy, grace, longsuffering and unfailing forgiveness for all of my imperfections.  (Is 64:6) That is a polite word for my utterly decadent nature and complete lack of any thing good except for what Jesus graciously gives me.  Oh how joyful I am today that He uses "broken things" for His glory by making all things new. 

We are not perfect, and no one ever will be.  To try to portray that to the world is my "Pride."  I don't want anyone to know I make mistakes.  Well, my Heavenly Daddy said to me, "Dear sweet Mecca 'He always calls me sweet even in rebuke and exhortation,' everyone knows you are not perfect, and when you act as if you are (being controlling and wanting it my way), I diminish, you increase, and you know what a mess that makes."  "Yes, Sir," I say, and whisper, "all of you, Lord, none of me."  (John 3:30) What I know to be true is that the Lord Jesus magnifies his goodness with His power.  The more I step back and LET GO, yield to His all sufficiency in every circumstance, the greater my influence for His glory in every circumstance.  I think that is what Dr Bob Jones, Sr. meant when he said "for the believer, there is no difference in the secular and sacred."  Everything I do must be glorifying to my Heavenly Daddy and therefore, sacred in His sight.  When I am walking in that light as His is in that light, I not only am not controlling or trying to be "perfect,"  I actually have no desire to act with either of those behaviors.  Now, isn't that something?  He is all sufficient.  He is all I need.  He is all in all. 

Because of what God is teaching me, I was able to write this following note to someone in my office for whom I pray, I am responsible for mentoring, and I work to be an example.  I was able to write with clarity about "letting go."  This, dear ones, is how God give us confidence and influence.  I would not have been able to do this but for His all sufficient mercy and grace. In fact, I did nothing.  He did it all.  That keeps me from boasting about anything.

(Name changed to protect the perfectionist in all of us).

My sweet Suzy – First of all, thank you for what you do, for your dedication and your clarity of thought.  That attribute was so important today to our success, and you and Olivia did get a lot done. 

I know you are concerned about the decision I made earlier today.  I want to share something I am still learning about leadership and “letting go.”  Whether or not you agree with it, and whether or not it was the right decision, it was mine to make. 

When I made that decision, it released you from the responsibility of it and placed any repercussions on me. You expressed your concern, your disagreement and your reason why.  I listened, thought about it, and made a decision.  If  you can learn to let go of what you cannot control, and to enjoy the freedom of that, it will change you.  You will be able to think with even greater clarity, make better decisions, grow wiser and gain greater credibility with each triumph. 
 Suzy, before this year, I did not have the credibility to say that to you or anyone else.  I have learned (and am still learning, thank God) the importance of letting go of what I cannot control.  It is vital to my professional and personal growth.  It is to yours as well.  Be joyful, my Suzy.  Let go of the thing you wanted to happen and embrace what did happen.  In the whole scheme of things, it is not that important.
From someone who cares more than you know – Joyfully, MJ

Dear Ones - I am learning to speak to others the way the sweet Lord Jesus speaks to me.  He is absolutely kind, does not hedge the issue, speaks truth into my life.  When I receive it, it changes me.  When I don't, well..... some of you have been the recipient of "my own goodness."  It's very scary and never glorifies the perfect One who sacrificed all so I could be "perfect in Him." 
My continuous challenge is to begin each day with a beginner's mind, a heart for the truth of God's Word, and the wisdom to treat others the way my Jesus treats me.  May I challenge you to do the same.  It will revolutionize your life.  It produces "joy unspeakable and full of glory."
I love you all very much.  
"He is all I need, He is all I need
All, all I need.
He was crucified and for me He died,
Jesus is all I need."

Saturday, March 29, 2014

MeccaMusing: A Lamp, A Light and at all times a Delight!

MeccaMusing: A Lamp, A Light and at all times a Delight!: Good Afternoon dear ones - I woke up very early this Saturday morning.  I felt a bit oppressed yesterday and went to bed with one of thos...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Lamp, A Light and at all times a Delight!

Good Afternoon dear ones - I woke up very early this Saturday morning.  I felt a bit oppressed yesterday and went to bed with one of those "nagging" feelings, like something might be wrong, kinda' thought I knew what it was, but then, decided maybe not.  

Everyone of us have had that same feeling.  If you haven't, I would like to meet you.  I do remember whispering to the Lord as I closed my eyes, "All of you, Lord, none of me. Rest my heart, soul and body. Rest Frank tonight.  Let us wake in your likeness. Good night sweet Jesus.  Tell my sweet Daddy hello.  Thank you that you neither slumber nor sleep." 

I don't recall anything else until 5:30am when I woke up rested - but ole' negative Nellie was a bit irritated she hadn't been able to sleep a little bit longer on Saturday.  I got over it pretty quickly though.

As I thought about a good night's rest, the powerful presence of my Savior and His mercy towards me, this verse came to mind, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."  Ps. 105:119. You might think that doesn't particularly fit; but in that moment I realized that in this busy week of travel, deadlines and expectations from everyone and everything in my life, I had neglected His Word.  I rue the day I forget to spend time with the One I say I love above all and not even realize the absence of that lamp, that light, that delight!  Its absence in the lives of believers should cause all of us to have a "nagging" or "tugging" at our hearts.  Nothing should seem right in our world without the lamp, the light, and the delight and protection it brings.

I read where someone had commented that while we might never uncover all of the mystery and depth of His Word until we are made perfect and have all understanding, His Word is really meant to provide practical everyday guidance as much if not more than it is meant to amaze and challenge.  My thought is when I can be amazed and challenged and the Holy Spirit makes it practical for me, (because there's nothing in His way) I am really "walking in the light as He is in the light and have fellowship with others of like mind." I John 1:7

Speaking of practical guidance, I have gotten to the place in my life where my mind just cannot keep up with everything I am trying to accomplish.  I don't know if it's age or having too many things going on at the same time.  In the past two weeks I have forgotten to take my luggage with me to the airport, gotten cash for a trip and then left it in the car along with my debit card, forgot where I put my credit card, etc.  I have walked out of a room, forgotten where I was going or why, retraced my steps, had my "aha" moment, turned around and forgotten again. I saw a greeting card the other day that said, "remember when we used to laugh at old people - what was so d--n funny?"  I say, "Exactly!" 

These are the times that Frank says I will run over animals, fire hydrants and small children if I'm not more careful.  

He has started leaving me little notes all over the house.  On the dishwasher - "Do not open," so I won't open it during the drying cycle.  A message on the floor in front of the door to the garage, "Heat,"  because I can't remember to adjust the thermostat, a sticky note in my purse, "have you got your phone," or "I really do love Mecca - Bubba."

Isn't that what the Lord Jesus does for us through His Word and through other believers who know and love His Word speaking truth into our lives?  He leaves me reminders through His Word of the snares and traps the devil has set for me each day or the ditches and potholes I must avoid on a regular basis. Some of the snares and traps I've never experienced and wouldn't know to look for them without His prompting.  

What I believe is that the Word of God amazes, confounds, illuminates, pierces, discerns, calls out, rebukes, comforts, convicts, wraps me in love, covers me in full armor, gives me wisdom, common sense, faith, perspective, quenches my thirst, feeds my soul, frees me from worry, is forever settled in Heaven, points out the ditches, potholes and traps of life and so much more.  Trying to describe alI that God's Word does and means to the very air that I breath is like trying to "fill the ocean with ink or using the sky as parchment."  Its benefits and wisdom are eternal and "past finding out."   The more I understand the depth of God's Word, the more time I spend with its Illuminator, Author, Finisher of my faith, "light of the world" and the reason we will need no sun or moon in Heaven, the less "nagging" I will feel; and the fewer pot holes or ditches I will experience - and all of the pain as a result of those experiences.  

Who can be silent about the infinite power of God's Word?  My Heavenly Daddy says if I keep silent, the rocks will cry out.  Who can forget it?  The sad truth is, I can.  

Not Christ in me, but "I" can, save for the constant, precious reminders from His heart to mine.  May I never venture so far from the "light" that I don't even recognize it has grown dim and faded.   My constant prayer is that I would be saturated in His Word, be filled with Him and void of me so that His light shines brightly - that He can use this broken, empty vessel to fill and use for His honor and glory.

I hope anyone reading this will begin saying on a daily basis, "Lord, none of me, all of you." In every situation, I have never found that prayer to fail.  The only way that has happened in my heart is by yielding to His Word, in obedience to His commands with a sincere desire to know the heart of God through His Word.

Now, it you were raised a good Baptist, that sounded just like an invitation.  We might be on the 14th verse of Just As I am, and somebody better respond so we can all go home for pot roast, potatoes, onions and carrots or maybe just a hot dog.

And for those of us who grew up in Sunday School, we all learned the simple yet powerful song, "The B-i-b-l-e, yes that's the book for me; I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-i-b-l-e."  

Are you humming it now?  Shout it, stand on it, believe it, and live it.  Glorious, precious peace is waiting for those who do.  

It is truly a lamp, a light, and at all times a delight (even as a wielding sword)!  

Love to you all.   Joyfully, Mecca