“I’m Done!”

 

storm 2

A friend said to me, “I’m done Shannan.  The stress of politics has made me miss out on the little important things in life.  People have already made up their minds on voting.  All we can do is pray for God’s will on our country.”

I agree, we should not allow stress to cause us to miss the joys we have before us.  I truly understand the feelings of wanting to be “done,” but it’s a luxury no follower of Christ has.

God never allows us to disengage in the spiritual battles around us. He calls us to rise up in courage each day, place His full armor on, and stand against the schemes of the devil, (Eph. 6).

Is it possible that we struggle with staying in the battle because we don’t know what God has said to us, thus don’t know Him well enough to trust His heart?  This is often the case for me.  I think about Jesus in the wilderness.  Satan tempted Him with every earthly power, every glamorous thing, and with food!  It all sounds like a familiar scheme that’s being used today.  How did Jesus win this battle?  He won it with His Father’s word hidden in His heart and mind, and tied to every part of His being (Deut. 6:6-9).  Jesus could speak the real truth when the counterfeit was presented.

I can almost hear all of the frustrated “Buts” ringing throughout the cyber world now.  “But Jesus was God, I’m not!”  I get it.  I’ve uttered these words to God many times over this past year.  That statement is true, but Jesus was also encapsulated in this human body like we are and felt every fear, every sorrow, every hunger pain, and dare I say, every frustration toward us who doubt Him?  His spirit, who He is, was bound in this world by a fleshly body, bound on this side of the veil, but He assured us that we will do the same works He did, only greater than He (John 14:12).  So why are we quick to disengage?  Why do we fear?

These times of turbulence have caused many of us to face our own crisis of belief.  To many of us, it appears evil deception is winning and the church is being crushed by it.  We are living in a time of spiritual famine in our land, and the famine is the church’s fault.  We’ve either chosen to disengage in nurturing our intimate relationship with God, we’ve set our goals to obtain the things of this world more than knowing God, or we have allowed our hearts and minds to be swayed by the counterfeit.  We’ve fallen for the lie, a half truth that sounds so much like truth and feels so good to believe.  We’re failing to realize that a half truth is still a complete lie.  All of this leaves us unable to truly nurture others and leaves us with famine.

Famine – “The phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality.” – Wikipedia

Times of famine are scary but it is not the time to disengage.  If we do, the mortality rate will be colossal and we won’t be untouched by the devastation.  Now is the time we must run with all diligence back to our first love.  We must turn our hearts toward Jesus and ask Him to fill us with His truth, His strength, and His ability to walk out this life in victory.  Then, we need to ask for His courage to speak out when the truth has been twisted, to care more about right than we are about being liked, and to love others more than the wealth of this world.  We cannot and must not be “done” engaging in battle.  That will be the moment many are lost.  We should not fear the battle, but fear what will happen if we refuse to take our place in it.

There are no half-truths in God, therefore a half truth will always be a complete lie.

Though it seems the battle has taken on the mask of politics, for the Christ-follower the battle is spiritual.  This is not about Republican v Democrat.  There is a battle between good and evil that has been in play since the first fall.  This is a war against everything pure and right, against Truth Himself.  What we cannot forget, is Christ already won this war, but there are precious souls who are deceived throughout the world and need God’s loving truth.  They need us not to coddle them and make them feel happy, but they need us to truly love them by sharing the hope we have in the shed blood and redeeming resurrection of Jesus – Messiah – Lamb of God – Lord of Heaven’s Armies!  This begins with us staying in the fight by filling ourselves with God’s word, and binding it to every part of our being as Christ did while He walked this earth.  We don’t do this and then hide behind closed doors, or dare I say behind the words of grace and love?  We fill ourselves with truth, so we are able to gracefully and lovingly share Him!  How else will they know?

If we focus on all that is wrong we will get overwhelmed.  It is too big for us to handle on our own, but that does not mean we get to close our eyes and pretend we’re not facing desperate times.  Only God can turn this sinking ship around.  Only He can rescue and save, but He chooses to use us as His ship on these stormy waters.  Set your compass as God being your destination.  Set your gaze on Him.  Fill yourself with His truth and trust His every word, not your ever-changing emotions.  They’re all too often the wind behind the storms.  I know the storm is raging, and if feels that our vessel is about to rip in pieces, but God said not to fear, to put on His armor, and to stand and look up!  Despite the outcome of the present battle, remember that our hope is not in this earthly vessel but in the One who is in this vessel with us.

To love, is to pursue God and share His truth.  His truth is “alive and powerful.  It is sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow.  It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God.  Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable” (Heb. 4:12-13).

“All we can do is pray”

Love is never “done.”  Sometimes love cuts deep, but losing the battle cannot be an option.  The first thing Jesus did was to pray, so do not for a moment think prayer is “all we can do.”  Prayer is the first step to victory in every battle.  Prayer sets our compass on victory because it adjust our sight to Truth.  Prayer gets our eyes off of the storm and on the only One who can speak peace to it.  Our vessel, be it personal or framed in politics, does not have to sink.

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sins and heal their land.” – 2 Chr. 7:14

Have “people already made up their minds?”  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Only God knows what is happening in the heart and mind of man.  Be it an individual or the nation, the ship does not have to sink, but it always begins with an individual choosing to not be “done.”

“What is missing in human life is not the compass itself, but the willingness of drawing near to read it.” – Fr. Stephen Freeman

I guess the questions to ask are, do we really want to know the truth?  Do we really want to know God?  Do we really want others to know that we know Him?  Are we really in a time of famine, or is there a storehouse full that’s not being poured out?

~Shannan

Love is never “done.” 

God Sang The Itsy Bitsy Spider – In Chinese!

Precious was the moment when God sang ‘The Itsy Bitsy Spider’ through Grace.  How wonderfully privileged I am to be chosen to sing along.
Today the walls were pressing in on me, so I took my book and headed to Starbucks.  With a beautiful blue sky overhead and a light breeze blowing, it was a perfect night to sit outside.  I opened my book and whispered a prayer for God to lift the weights that were pressing on my mind and heart.

Itsy Bitsy Spider

God so sweetly flooded my world with color through a 2 1/2-year-old vessel, Beautiful Grace.  She’s a sweet little girl who can only speak Chinese – I cannot – but Grace told me the most amazing stories while she smiled and danced before me.  Then suddenly our languages sounded as one when I notice her hands begin to make a spider crawl up a water spout.  Grace’s smile became contagious and we giggled as we sang together with hands in motion, ‘The Itsy Bitsy Spider’.  The world wasn’t so heavy anymore.
Have you ever got to sing with Grace?
~Shannan

Living Forward and Loving Deeper – 2013

Chapter 3 – “Lotsa Luck!”

6/29/2010
“Put Your Dream To The Test”  Chapter Three Thoughts

“Reality…is the enemy of fantasies but not of dreams.” ~Rudy Ruttiger

“If You’re Depending On Luck Then All I Have To Say Is, “Lotsa Luck!”

There’s a prayer I’ve been praying for some time now, which I have written out and placed in my car.  I have been reminded of the value of this prayer as I begin reading this 3rd chapter of ‘Put Your Dream To The Test.’

Dear God, Grant me eyes to see, ears to ear, a mind to understand, and a heart to receive all You desire for me.  Father, teach me to be a true representation of a woman of God.  Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me as I seek You daily.

The topics of luck vs. reality, or fantasy vs. dreams, leads me to pray this prayer more often than I have lately.  I have to be willing to allow God to purge and mold me into His image; which I might add is a lot of hard work.

There’s a long list on pages 50-51 that I am working through; Fantasizers vs. Dream Builders.  I wish I could elaborate more for you on this list, but at this time it’s still an issue of that purging and molding God is doing inside of me.  I have no doubt that as time passes you will hear from me regarding thoughts and debates going on inside my head.  What I know at this moment is, I am trying to value this time God’s granted me as a time of preparation, instead of feeling guilty for taking it.  I am trying to listen and learn as I begin to take each step along the new path that is before me.

A fatasizer will expect to show-up on race day and run a successful race they’ve never trained for.  A dream builder will train and condition long before race day arrives and actually run the race strong.

13.2 Miles! Something, "I could never do," I did! 4/24/2010

When we, The Parker Trio, would start working on a new recording project, it was a long operation.  We would start writing and picking songs for our next recording while our current project was being duplicated.  It took no less than a year for the process to be completed.  Once we had our song list, we had to work with many studio musicians to create the rhythm in which we were feeling the song.  We’d have to experiment with our voices to see who would sing which part.  Often this would change several times, and sometimes it would change again when we finally made it into the sound-booth to record.  It was nothing unusual for us to practice three hours a day for six months to get our voices to intertwine in the harmony parts.  One vocal therapist likened the method to running a marathon with our voices.

Daystar Television Oct. 2005

Over the last few months the word that keeps coming to my mind is balance.  Chapter 3 seems to be a confirmation I’m heading in the right direction with these thoughts.  God tells me that I have been created for a specific plan and purpose, (Jer. 29:11-13).  The world leads me to believe I should be able to be successful at anything “I set my mind to.”  If this were true everyone would win when they try out for the show, ‘American Idol.’  Better yet, John McCain would also be president right now, along with all the other candidates that ran in the last election.  I don’t want to just be whatever “I” set my mind to.  I want to be all that God has created me for.  I must hear from others and learn from them, but I need to weigh everything with God’s word and listen for His direction and plan for my life.

“Rose-colored glasses are never made in bifocals.  Nobody wants to read the small print in dreams.” ~Ann Landers We must acknowledge reality in order to step forward with our dreams.

I want a truly happy, healthy family and home.  I do not want the make-believe dreamland version Hollywood offers.  After all, there is life after the “Happily Ever After.”  A healthy marriage or happy family cannot be built on luck.  When the weight of daily living presses in, couples have one of two choices, communicate or withdraw from each other.  When bills pile up, when children get into trouble, or even when something as simple as one is just having a grouchy day, love and communication will keep bad seeds from taking root.  If the bad seeds are ignored or swept under the rug, they will take deep roots long before you see the sprout break daylight.  Likewise, so will the loving seed that is cultivated.

https://i0.wp.com/www.public-domain-image.com/plants/flowers/slides/sacred-datura-flower-from-anza-borrego-desert.jpg

With Enough Care, Even Flowers Bloom In A Dry Season

Luck will not rescue you from something you are supposed to face and grow through.  There must be time spent in prayer, time spent listening, then communication to figure out a plan of action in order to come out strong and victorious.  I’m not minimizing the need for God’s divine intervention through many of life’s situations.  However, there are times we have to step forward in surrendered obedience before He will part the waters in front of us. (Ex. 14:16)

https://i1.wp.com/www.comicbookbin.com/artman2/uploads/5/MosesStopIt.jpg

Even Moses Had To Stretch Out His Staff Before The Waters Would Part

These thoughts just scratch the surface of all that chapter 3 has to offer.  If you have not done so already, consider picking this book up and reading it from the perspective of what big dreams await an awakening in your heart.

~Shannan