Sep 25, 2008

Scandalous! God Desires a Love Affair With *You*


God doesn't want a religious checklist from you, He wants a love affair! He wants to commune with you throughout the day. It is not less holy to brush your teeth, change a dirty diaper, or give a presentation at work than it is to pray. The blood of Jesus makes every part of your life holy, and He wants to be a part of it all.

Now, don't get me wrong. Prayer is important. Intercession is important. Prayerlessness is sin! But if your quiet time has degenerated into an obligatory list of drudgery-filled tasks. Give it up for a while. Allow your soul to respond to the wooing of the Holy Spirit. Get greedy for God. Experience him in an afternoon cup of coffee, a walk in nature, or a nap. Hear his voice at every crossroad. Look for Him all around you for He is there! Feel His presence envelop you. Rest.

I just don't see Jesus in the Bible waking up every morning an hour before the disciples to go through scrolls of Scripture and His list of the probably thousands of people who had asked Him for prayer. From time to time, He would go to lonely, quiet places in nature and commune with His Papa-- sometimes in preference to sleep! That is passion. Jeremiah had it. He said to God, "When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty" (Jeremiah 15:16 emphasis mine).

Passion is what God wants from us, and a legalistic, dogmatic quiet time can ruin it. Putting ourselves under a set of rules and obligatory "shoulds" actually arouses the sinful nature! (Romans 6:5 b NIV). "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, an do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. ... For in Christ neither [a quiet time] nor [a missed quiet time] has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love" (Galatians 5:1-6 NIV [my words in brackets]).

Blessings,

Come visit us at warrenfamilylife.com

Sep 22, 2008

"Fireproof" opening Friday!


Just wanted to let you know that the movie "Fireproof" is opening this Friday all across the U.S. We encourage you to see it if you are able, and to take a friend--especially if he or she has a struggling marriage. The more who see it this weekend, the better the chances it will run for another weekend ... and another.

We got a sneak preview of this movie at FamilyLife and got to meet the producers--who also made "Facing the Giants."

It is a faith-based film. To be honest there are a few awkward "commercials for God" written into the script. But the majority of the movie is gripping and makes it very much worth seeing whatever your religious beliefs. The storyline is about a firefighter who's marriage is falling apart. There are such true-to-life scenes between the firefighter and his wife, and also some great, suspense-filled fire and rescue scenes. Visit www.fireproofthemovie.com for details and to see the great trailer.

Blessings,

Cyndi and Mike
www.warrenfamilylife.com

Sep 21, 2008

Walking Blind

Journal entry from Oct. 10, 1987
Tornado
Dear Jesus,

I am so confused. Why, Jesus? Are my motives not pure? Is this a test of faith? A demonic attack? Will you not protect me from the evil one? Have I not surrendered this to you? I am spiritually blind; please open my eyes!

I feel ungrounded, like I'm walking in shifting sand. Am I not abiding in you? I cannot see what I have done, if anything! I do not know what is happening or why, or what Your purpose is.
Your strength is made perfect in weakness. I am truly weak now.

Jesus, I will go through anything for You, even things I don't understand. But please have mercy on me and show me your purpose, what I have done wrong, or what you want me to know?

This is an interesting entry to look back on after so many years. Thankfully, I don't feel this way so often any more. But can you read the mixed message between the lines? It goes something like this: Jesus I submit to you, but show me how I can fix it. It's amazing how many "I"s are in the entry.

God says in Isaiah that He will lead the blind by ways they have not known. But he doesn't say he will necessarily give them sight. Do I have the faith to follow blind?

Blessings,

Cyndi Hearts

Come visit at www.warrenfamilylife.com

Risk

NervousWe learn more if we risk and fail
than if we do it right.

~Cyndi

Come visit at www.warrenfamilylife.com

Sep 16, 2008

Striving vs. Resting



Often I wrestle with things that ought to be left to God. Fellow 12-Steppers may recognize this paraphrase of the first three steps:





  • I can’t
  • But God can
  • So I think I’m gonna let Him!

Even after being a Christian for 24 years, I still try to muster things up in my own strength. Jeremiah has something interesting to say about this:

“’Be appalled at this, O heavens, and shudder with great horror,’ declares the Lord. ‘My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water’” (Jeremiah 2:12-13).

How many times have I tried to make my own cistern by mustering up love, or faithfulness, joy? or even obedience?

Now don’t get me wrong, God wants us to cooperate with his Holy Spirit as I described in my last post “Guilt vs. Guidance." Sometimes He asks for a baby step, occasionally a bold leap of faith. But God is the initiator. As Henry Blackaby says, God does the work; it is our job to watch for Him and join Him where we see Him working.”

That is frustrating when I don’t see God working in a certain shortcoming or trial. But trying harder is not the answer. Rest, is the answer, and we cannot rest without prayer and surrender.

Yet, even these are gifts from Papa God.

So, I dare you:
Stop striving, if you are, and start resting …
And you will see the transforming power of God!

Blessings,
Cyndi Hummingbird



Come visit at: www.warrenfamilylife.com

Sep 11, 2008

Guilt vs. Guidance



I believe God never motivates His children by fear or guilt. Those are tools of the Enemy. The moment we received Christ’s gift of salvation, we were made completely clean in the blood of the Lamb. Our guilt is taken away!

When the Holy Spirit convicts us, wants us to go somewhere or do something, He comes up alongside us. You can almost feel His arm around you and see Him pointing with the other hand, "We're headed over this way. Let's take the first step together." And something resonates within you and wants to go, is ready to go, even if its out of your comfort zone.

However, if instead, one has a guilty, obligatory, I-really-should feeling coming from the outside, if it feels like a weight on the shoulders, it’s probably not God, for the law is no longer written on tablets of stone but on our living hearts.

Another red flag is when it feels like, “I have to have it and I have to have it NOW!” That’s probably the loudmouthed sin nature. The voice of the S/spirit is soft and still.

If a desire or direction comes from God, it grows like a pressure within the heart, or “gut,” trying to get out. It may be something you want very much (or not) but there is peace and assurance. That’s God wanting to express Himself through you. Don’t be afraid to follow! Let’s both learn to live from the inside out!

Cyndi Hearts
warrenfamilylife.com

Quick Cat Update

Kitty 3 Hearts Our cat, Ladybug, is responding to medication and it looks like she may live another 2-3 years! Thanks to those of you who prayed for us!!
Love you!
Cyndi

Sep 5, 2008

What's God Doing in There?



After I committed my life to Christ, I knew that Jesus lived in my heart. But what was He doing in there? I really didn't know.


Question Mark


It eventually became clear that the Living God wanted to express Himself through me: to live through me, to speak through me, to touch through me, to see through me, to love through me. And I determined to allow Him to do that as best I could.
But that doesn't make me a robot or a puppet, for the Scripture says that whoever is united with the Lord is one in spirit with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17). Did you notice the lower-case "s" in spirit? That means my unique little spirit is inextricably united with the Holy Spirit. Nothing can ever undo it.


Together we believers are a bit like a stained glass window. Each of us has an individual shape and color, so the same Light shines through every person differently in keeping with the way he or she was designed. The Light and the glass become one breathtaking expression of beauty.


Oh, Papa God, may you shine through me today!

With love,

Cyndi
warrenfamilylife.com

Sep 1, 2008

Thoughts from long ago and far away ...


Our kitty cat, Ladybug is very sick right now. She's 14 and it's probably her time. That doesn't seem to make it any easier.


I was going through an old journal from before she was born, January of 1987 (yep, I'm old!). I found some insights that are still good reminders 20+ years later:


"I would like to think that if I could just do one thing, just do the right thing, that suddenly everything will be okay. But only God has such power. For a period of time I will feel panic, pain, anger, grief. Many of these emotions are simply the result of loss and growth. At times, just feeling and accepting them is adequate. Maybe God doesn't want me to have the answers. Perhaps instead He wants me to rest in the questions--to learn from this experience just as it is--and find Him there.

This, too, shall pass, and not by skillful manipulation or some secret formula. Feeling it and going through it are enough."

With love,
Flowers
Come visit us at warrenfamilylife.com
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