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“For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God.” Genesis 33:10

While the digital age connects us like never before, there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction. No email or Facebook message can ever compete with the joy of seeing someone's face light up when you enter the room. My grandparents' home was always an oasis for me for that very reason. When I'd arrive, both of them wouldn't just say they were glad I'd come; it was written all over their faces. No matter how much uncertainty, disappointment, or worry I was experiencing, one look at the two of them reminded me that I was accepted just as I was.

“For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God, and you have accepted me.” A man named Jacob spoke these words to his brother, Esau. You might think that a huge compliment like that was born out of a beautiful, loving family relationship. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jacob and Esau were twins who had been rivals even in the womb. Their childhood was marked by favoritism, competition, and deceit. The final straw: Jacob wanted Esau's birthright and inheritance, so he deceived his blind father into thinking he was his brother, and stole it. It made Esau so mad that Jacob had to flee for his life.

Decades had passed, and Jacob was returning home. He had no idea how Esau would receive him. He knew he deserved an angry and bitter reception. But Esau surprised his brother, and showed grace. He accepted his brother with open arms. He offered undeserved favor and unconditional acceptance. He proved that the bond of family was stronger than sin. That's what caused Jacob to say, “I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God.”

God gazes at us in that same way, only with greater purity, love and delight. Because we have been adopted as God's daughters, His divine blood runs through our veins and proves stronger than any sin. “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ,” (Ephesians 2:13). “And because you are [daughters], God has sent the Spirit of his Son into [your] hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!' So you are no longer a slave, but a [daughter], and if a [daughter], then an [heiress] through God,” (Galatians 4:6-7). Because we are family, we receive unmerited grace and are accepted just as we are. Soak up that truth. When God looks at you, He says, “Hello, beautiful.” He adores you. He delights in you.

And what does He want us to do with all that grace that He's poured over us? He tells us in Ephesians 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love.”

If we're going to imitate Him, then we have to ask ourselves the question: What do our faces communicate to those we encounter? Do people leave our presence feeling like they've seen the face of God?

Or do our faces tell people that they don't matter much, because we are SO BUSY with incredibly important things like checking out the status updates of some old acquaintance?

Do our faces tell people that they aren't accepted, because their behavior doesn't match our opinion of “the right way to do things”?

If it's true that 93% of all communication is nonverbal, we'd better pay attention to what our faces look like.

Of course, this all would be easier to do if people would just act the way we want them to. But unfortunately, some people can be pretty annoying. Often those we love most can aggravate us to distraction.

So here's the good news. You've got some serious mojo to draw on when you feel like you just don't have it in you to reflect the face of God. Remember what you just read in Galatians 4:6. It says that if you're a daughter, then you're an heiress. You've inherited wonderful things (you can read about some of them in Ephesians 1:3-14). One of the things you inherited is the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22 says that we've got the following things at our disposal: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That's the mojo I'm talking about. Mojo is the power to control natural forces through supernatural means. It means that God can supernaturally help us to control our natural reactions of disdain, cynicism, criticism, anger, disappointment and disinterest.

Your inheritance is there for the asking. So no long faces as we continue through Lent. Let's show the world what an amazing God we worship and reflect HIS FACE to everyone we meet! Now that's a great way to celebrate His resurrection!

Blessings,
Lisa

*This post first appeared on the WWP website in April 2014.

Walking with Purpose

“Bend the stubborn heart and will, melt the frozen, warm the chill”
(The novena to the Holy Spirit)

Happy Easter, my friends!

Springtime is here, and hope is springing up all around us. It may be hard to see- it may be hidden- but it is always there. Today is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, and we don't only focus on the incredible fact that our sins are forgiven. The resurrection is all about the incredible life we can live here on earth and throughout eternity in heaven.

It's recently occurred to me that I have spent the better part of my adult life focused on heaven (that's a good thing), but having given up hope on a number of things changing in my life here and now (that's not so great). A subtle lie had crept into my life that went something like this: “If it's hard, it must be God's will.” Or “If it's good for other people in my life, it must be God's will.” And then the one that always got me to buckle down and keep on trucking, “If it's good for God's kingdom, God wants you to keep going no matter how much it's slaying you.”

I was behaving like God's workhorse instead of His beloved. I had lost sight of the fact that He wanted me to live fully alive. That I was a part of His kingdom, and He didn't want me numb inside, ignoring how I felt in order to simple deliver and perform.  I'd prayed the Our Father and really meant it when I said, “Your will be done” but somehow missed the part where we say “ON EARTH as it is in heaven.” He doesn't want us to just grit our teeth and wait for eternity. He wants to melt the frozen parts of our hearts, resurrect dead dreams, and redeem our past TODAY.

God has led me on a journey of healing that has led me to look at things completely differently. I went on a retreat during Lent this year called Healing the Whole Person(1), and all sorts of explosions of truth went off in my heart; the experience has profoundly changed me. Painful memories and areas of hopelessness came to the surface, and I experienced resurrection and healing in ways I didn't think possible.

This Easter, as I picture Jesus shedding those burial clothes and bursting up from the grave, I am thanking Him for peeling off layers of self-protection that were covering what was dead inside me. Peeling those grave clothes away has given Him access to my heart, and He has brought it back to life and filled me with joy. The amazing truth is that the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you and me (Rom. 8:11). That means that the power that raised Jesus is available to us, right now. The Holy Spirit comes into us with that power and He is a total game-changer.

We need the Holy Spirit to bend our stubborn hearts and will, to melt the frozen and warm the chill. Sometimes what is most stubborn within us is our refusal to see our need for a thaw in our hearts. We say we're fine, we grab a glass of wine, we turn on Netflix, and zone out. That's our reward for getting through the day, and we know that it's all just going to start again tomorrow. The proving, perfecting, and endless performance. Underneath it all is an intense desire to be self-sufficient. To be our own saviors. We may not say that, but all too often, it's how we behave.

What we fail to see is that all the things we think are keeping us in control, all the things that we think make us worthy, are actually keeping us in bondage. They are keeping us tethered to the treadmill of performance, and we are exhausted.

This Easter, Jesus is offering you a different way to live. Listen to Him whisper…

Come to me. Come needy. Come broken. Come weak. Lay it all down. You can rest. It isn't all up to you. It never has been. It has always been all up to me, and I took care of all that was needed on the cross. You have nothing to prove. I am grabbing hold of you and bringing you into a resurrected life. Don't be afraid of your hopes and dreams. Bring them to me. Stand back and watch as I bring into your life far more than you could ask or imagine. Don't be afraid of your past. I will heal those wounds and redeem the years that have been eaten up by the locusts of pain and regret. Bring your relationships to me- those hurts and unmet expectations. Let me meet your relational needs so that you can stop manipulating and controlling. I am FOR YOU.

This is what Easter Sunday is all about. The resurrected life is for today and for eternity.

With joy-

Lisa

(1)  If you want more info on this incredible retreat, go to the website: https://jpiihealingcenter.org

“For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God.” Genesis 33:10

While the digital age connects us like never before, there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction. No email or Facebook message can ever compete with the joy of seeing someone's face light up when you enter the room. My grandparents' home was always an oasis for me for that very reason. When I'd arrive, both of them wouldn't just say they were glad I'd come; it was written all over their faces. No matter how much uncertainty, disappointment, or worry I was experiencing, one look at the two of them reminded me that I was accepted just as I was.

“For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God, and you have accepted me.” A man named Jacob spoke these words to his brother, Esau. You might think that a huge compliment like that was born out of a beautiful, loving family relationship. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jacob and Esau were twins who had been rivals even in the womb. Their childhood was marked by favoritism, competition, and deceit. The final straw: Jacob wanted Esau's birthright and inheritance, so he deceived his blind father into thinking he was his brother, and stole it. It made Esau so mad that Jacob had to flee for his life.

Decades had passed, and Jacob was returning home. He had no idea how Esau would receive him. He knew he deserved an angry and bitter reception. But Esau surprised his brother, and showed grace. He accepted his brother with open arms. He offered undeserved favor and unconditional acceptance. He proved that the bond of family was stronger than sin. That's what caused Jacob to say, “I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God.”

God gazes at us in that same way, only with greater purity, love and delight. Because we have been adopted as God's daughters, His divine blood runs through our veins and proves stronger than any sin. “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ,” (Ephesians 2:14). “And because you are [daughters], God has sent the Spirit of his Son into [your] hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!' So you are no longer a slave, but a [daughter], and if a [daughter], then an [heiress] through God,” (Galatians 4:6). Because we are family, we receive unmerited grace and are accepted just as we are. Soak up that truth. When God looks at you, He says, “Hello, beautiful.” He adores you. He delights in you.

And what does He want us to do with all that grace that He's poured over us? He tells us in Ephesians 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love.”

If we're going to imitate Him, then we have to ask ourselves the question: What do our faces communicate to those we encounter? Do people leave our presence feeling like they've seen the face of God?

Or do our faces tell people that they don't matter much, because we are SO BUSY with incredibly important things like checking out the status updates of some old acquaintance?

Do our faces tell people that they aren't accepted, because their behavior doesn't match our opinion of “the right way to do things”?

If it's true that 93% of all communication is nonverbal, we'd better pay attention to what our faces look like.

Of course, this all would be easier to do if people would just act the way we want them to. But unfortunately, some people can be pretty annoying. Often those we love most can aggravate us to distraction.

So here's the good news. You've got some serious mojo to draw on when you feel like you just don't have it in you to reflect the face of God. Remember what you just read in Galatians 4:6. It says that if you're a daughter, then you're an heiress. You've inherited wonderful things (you can read about some of them in Ephesians 1:3-14). One of the things you inherited is the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22 says that we've got the following things at our disposal: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That's the mojo I'm talking about. Mojo is the power to control natural forces through supernatural means. It means that God can supernaturally help us to control our natural reactions of disdain, cynicism, criticism, anger, disappointment and disinterest.

Your inheritance is there for the asking. So no long faces as we wrap up Lent. Let's show the world what an amazing God we worship and reflect HIS FACE to everyone we meet! Now that's a great way to celebrate His resurrection!

Blessings,
Lisa

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