Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Complete & Finished Work

But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand. ~ Isaiah 64:8

Last Saturday, I brought my daughter to enjoy a birthday celebration with one of her friends.
The party was held at a pottery painting studio.

My daughter picked a beautiful spotless princess off of the shelf, and after listening to the instructions proceeded to paint her princess in all shades of beautiful colors.  She was so proud of her creation. She chose each color so carefully. She covered every space, so there was no untouched areas.  She placed her princess on a shelf to dry with the utmost care and pride, and would glance at it continually with a look of utmost approval and satisfaction.

I had wondered at one point, why her, as well of these other works of art by the kids were not being placed in the kiln. And by the end of the party, was told, that we would not be taking the princess home that day. It takes 7-10 days for this beautiful painted creation to go through a refining and completed process, wherein it will be glossy, finished, and ready for presenting.

I tell this story, because it is a good reminder.

So often I can get frustrated with God and His timing. While I trust Him, that He is sovereign, and knows my every need. So often, I mistake my wants for needs, and my wants never align with my needs.

In Isaiah 55:8, The Lord says, 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my  ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
    and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
    for an everlasting sign,
    that will endure forever.”

We look around and we see the works of His hands. The majestic beauty of creation, the timeless portraits of beauty painted in the sky through sunrise, sunset and even storm.  The glorious myriad of species, animals, plants, all touting the glory of God. Even the rocks cry out His praise. Are we not more valuable than these? (Matthew 6:26)

Yet we, we His people, we cry out complaint, frustration, and stress. We quip at dreams not achieved yet, children not behaving yet, spouses not arriving or cooperating yet, bills not paid yet, errands not run yet, and all that we think we are not and have not, yet. And there is no time, never enough time. (But what about His perfect ways, will and timing? Do we forget He is sovereign?) 

And then we get frustrated, oh so frustrated with those around us, we blame and point fingers, and run, oh how we run.  We run until exhausted, weep and cry out to God... “where are You? Do you not care?”

And He answers, “You are my beloved children upon whom my favor rests. My ways are higher. My thoughts are higher. My plans are to prosper, not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Hope in your final outcome (Jeremiah 29:11) Trust me. I will never leave or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)” 

Do we not see? How He has so beautifully created all that is in the world, don’t we see ourselves included in this, In Him? And in this, we are set apart! Don't we in this, entrust and hope in that we are all the more who He tells us we are...

fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)
”the apple of His eye.” (Psalm 17)
”His treasured possession.” (Deuteronomy 7:6)

As I was writing back to a beloved sister and friend this week the following words poured out, and I believe they are not just for her but for all of us to receive and ruminate on...

If you could only see who you are through the eyes of Christ! If you could only see what your fellow Christ-family and your beautiful God-given family see. 

You are so much more than the enemy would have you believing! And praises that you are pressing into God in your time in the valley. That’s what the Christian walk is all about. Drawing near to Him, and in that, in Him, we find all we need. 

I am standing today believing God for His peace that surpasses all understanding to flood into you and sing over you (Zephaniah 3:17) be blessed beloved, faithful, strong, capable, peace- filled, joy-filled child of God. 

May the storm within cease and the new day dawn revealing the promise that He is the potter and you are the clay. He, the most skilled and glorious potter never leaves a masterpiece undone. And even when the clay has crumpled into an utter mess and ball again on the potters wheel, we can still be molded to beauty. 

And that clay which once was a lump on the potters wheel, through the refining fires of flame, will become a beautiful finished masterpiece. Sculpted, painted, re-worked, fine-chiseled, covered in protected finish, all taking a great deal of effort, energy and time. Finally the finished work is called to resting in the most prominent place in the potters house.  

You’ve always been the apple of His eye no matter what else you were told or who told it to you! 

Be blessed to know today that He loves you so much He’s set you apart and he will set you on a stand, because of your willing heart. 

That’s just it. He’s whispering to us today...”just bring your willingness, no matter how unworthy you feel. I will do the rest”. 

He is faithful. He is sovereign, over all. Overseeing all! In authority over all. The Master Potter. 

The faithful Friend and Father who tenderly oversees every detail of one’s finished outcome. Not just in the mother’s womb, but in the womb of the world. 

You are a masterly constructed glorious work and beloved child of the most high God! Praise Him! For His best is coming! And I know that’s above all we can dare ask or think! (Ephesians 3:20) 

Just bring your willingness. Doing what you can, even if that’s just trusting Him each minute, and He will do the rest! REST! Rest in Him. 

You are beautiful, made of God, from Him. 

You go through this process of creation in maturation of spirit, body, mind and truth, so you can bless others through their own. 

We are all connected. All blessed. All beloved. 

Let’s purpose today to love ourselves and others in and through the Father’s eyes. Let’s love one another as we all go through, so we can bless one another through it all! His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:10)

Blessings, Peace, Joy and Favor Be Upon You and Your Beloved Today, Brothers and Sisters,

Remember, All is Grace (Ann Voskamp)

In His Love, Amy O

Father, Thank you for my beloved brothers and sisters. Father would you tenderly reveal Yourself to them today, would You tenderly speak over them Your songs of love and peace. Would you comfort them with the quiet of Your loving arms, embracing them as they go through their storm and trial. Would you bless them with all things beautiful as they go through their seasons of rest in You. And Father, help us to trust. Help us to continue to draw near unto You, the author and finisher of our faith. For we trust that You who has begun a great work in and through us, will see it through to it’s glorious completion, because it is Your Great Work! We are Your great work! And You are at work within us when we confess and believe Your Son our Savior. Thank you, Father! For loving us so. Thank you Jesus for all You are, and all You’ve finished up on the cross. May we see that all of the works of Your will and your higher ways always are for good, and always for the greatest and most glorious blessing of all whom You are touching in and through them! May we be loved today, knowing that we don’t earn these honors and privileges of being your chosen ones, but we rest in the promise of just being and belonging to The One who Is! Jahweh! In Jesus Mighty and Blessed Name I Pray This. Amen.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

"In God We Trust" - Happy Independence Day, All!

Yes, this, today and everyday, this...

"In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise - in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
- Psalm 56:10-11 (NIV)

Intro Psalm 56:10-11 {Toby McKeehan of dc Talk}

Sunrise over the mountain of freedom
As we are living and breathing
Counting the blessings that fall on us all
We go down into the valley before us
Singing and shouting our chorus
Donning the Armor of Light
That we're leaning on {Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith}

For we know that we are nothing without it, oh yeah
Overall, under Him we make our stand {Rachel Lampa}

In God we trust
For He is faithful
We put our hope in Him alone
Through any valley
God will sustain us
Until the day He brings us home {Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Rachel Lampa, Jaci Velasquez, Steven Curtis Chapman}

So long, long is the road that we walk on
On every journey we stay strong
If we are believers in love and the power of His hand now
We can endure anything now
We know in our hearts He is here now
Lovingly, mercifully
Watching over us all {Steven Curtis Chapman, Crystal Lewis}

When we're falling only He can save us, oh yeah
If we follow, He will surely lead us on {Jaci Velasquez}

In God we trust
For He is faithful
We put our hope in Him alone
Through any valley
God will sustain us
Until the day He brings us home {Mark Stewart of Audio Adrenaline, Janna Potter of Avalon}

Lay down
Lay down your troubles now
Lay down
Lay them down {dc Talk - Michael Tait, Kevin Max, Toby McKeehan}

In God we trust
For He is faithful
We put our hope in Him alone
Through any valley
God will sustain us
Until the day He brings us home {Anointed - Da'Dra and Steve Crawford}

Outro Ad Libs {Selah - Nicole and Todd Smith; Russ Lee; Anointed}

Took this photo while out on my morning walk today! God Bless you and yours on this Independence Day and every day! 

In His Love ~ Amy

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What Of His Love? Reflections on God's Love For You...

When we get a revelation of the Father's love for us, every fear is washed away, our strength is renewed, every impossibility becomes possible, and grace Himself gives peace to our hearts and minds...All because He loves you. ~ Amy Elizabeth Billings

Did you take time to reflect today on Jesus' amazing love for you? Have you believed in your heart, or just confessed with your lips "He loves me" today?

Like the song, by David Crowder "How He Loves", says...He is jealous for you. He loves like a hurricane, and you're a tree that's growing and residing by His rivers of living water. 

We ever grow, ebb, prosper and bend beneath the weight of His great love, mercy and grace. And we really don't have time to maintain any regrets or do it all on our own, in our own strength, when we trust in, believe in and be blessed through His great love for us! You can only love as well as you know your Father and His great love. He is love. He loves you!

Please take a moment to listen to this song by Christy Nockels today, and reflect on the love of Your Heavenly Father for you....

Lyrics to "Be Loved" by Christy Nockels

have you ever let yourself be loved by the One who made you?
have you ever told your soul to believe that His heart is on your side?
you could even try to run away but there is nothing you can do
so just be loved, be loved, He loves you
just be loved, be loved, He loves you

have you ever let yourself be held by the One who holds this world?
have you ever told your soul to rejoice that His arms are open wide?
you could even try to run away but He’d come running after you
so just be held, be held, He holds you
just be held, be held, He holds you

we didn’t earn it, He just chose to give it, and its in our resting that we rise up singing rejoice, again I say rejoice
rejoice, again I say rejoice

you are loved, be loved, He loves you
you are loved, be loved, He loves you

you are loved, be loved, He loves you
just be loved, be loved, He loves you