March 30, 2010 § Leave a comment
Here is a poem I wrote dated 6-20-2002
You cried for me that day.
You cried for my waywardness.
You cried for my pain.
You thought of me and You cried.
You prayed for me that day.
You prayed for strength.
You prayed against temptation.
You thought of me and You prayed.
You died for me that day.
You died for my sins.
You died for my freedom.
You thought of me and You died.
You rose for me that day.
You rose for victory.
You rose for reconciliation.
You thought of me and You rose.
You ascended for me that day.
You ascended to prepare for me.
You ascended to send Your Spirit.
You thought of me and You ascended.
March 29, 2010 § 2 Comments
So, “Jonah was a prophet, ooo-ooo, but he really never got it, sad but true, if you watch him you can spot it, doodlie do, he did not get the point.” So if you know Veggie Tales and you have seen their movie Jonah, you know the song I just quoted. However, I often find myself acting in the same way Jonah did. I clearly understand that God tells us to, ‘”Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”‘ Mark 16:15 So why do I often do as Jonah did and say I don’t want to and run in the other direction? Below are some thoughts that came about while the senior pastor at our church was doing a series on Jonah.
How often does God have something for me to do and I go kicking and screaming? “I don’t want to!” I stamp my foot like my two year old and cross my arms. “Do I have to?” I whine like my five year old. Or even worse I arch my back and wail like my 8 month old.
“Daughter I have given you a story to share. Share it.”
“But it hurts Lord, I don’t want to!”
“Daughter I have given you that story to bless others. You prayed that those situations would bring Me glory.”
“But I do I have to share that story God?”
“Daughter I have given you strength beyond your capabilities, I have given you eloquence beyond your understanding, I have given you experiences bigger than yourself that you might share them with others.”
I arch my back and wail….
Then I wonder why God isn’t using me. How can I be of importance to His kingdom? What am I to do? His answer is “go and tell.” My answer is so often, “no.”
Father forgive me. Forgive my stubborn stiff necked ways. Forgive my hard heart that holds my experiences with You tightly. Forgive my selfishness that doesn’t share Your river of life with those who are aching for it as in the dry and weary land. Oh Father that I would have a heart like Yours. That I would lay down my hopes and dreams, my plans, my expectations at Your feet. Lord that I may say with Your Son, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” That I would suffer for You. Not because of my sin, not because of my hard heart, but because I am willing to say no to myself and yes to Your will. Father prune my vine of the things that distract me from serving You. Father I trust that as I die to my hopes, my plans, that I will grow like a seed to produce more and more fruit for Your glory and honor. Sovereign One, as I release my grip on the direction I want and think my life should go, may I rest in knowing You love me, You have plans for me, and You are never out of control. The pruning makes the plant more beautiful so I pray my life may be more clearly reflective of Your beauty. The death to myself allows me to bear much fruit and allows others to see You more clearly. Finally resting in the back seat as You control and direct my life gives me peace, endurance, and joy that in all things that Your name will be honored glorified.
March 26, 2010 § Leave a comment
So a sweet friend of mine posted on her facebook page the following question:
Are you Free in Jesus Christ? If you are – how did you get there? If not – why are you not there?
Here is an expanded version of my answer to my sweet friend. By the way, I LOVE it when my brothers and sisters in Christ ask me questions to ponder about Him!
Positionally I am free! When I accepted Jesus as my savior, I was set free from being a slave to sin and death. Col 2:13-15 However sometimes those old shackles of sin are comfortable. They are what I am used to, they are sickeningly my friends. Sometimes they are my excuse. I can’t because what will people think, I can’t because I mess up too often. I can’t because I’m not smart enough, pretty enough, whatever enough. I can’t because I know I will mess up and then what will people say. Sometimes they are my vices, my sin, my mistakes that I think disqualify me from God’s grace or mercy or even His desire to use me. Sometimes they are just the things I want to do or I think are important, but are not God’s BEST for me. Sometimes they are my selfish desires and they keep me locked away from God. Locked away from being used to reach others. James 4:17
However when I read and dwell on His word, when I confess sin, when I allow God to direct my thinking. 2Cor 10:5 Phil 4:8 His truth can be lived out as freedom in my life. Why? Because my security is in my savior who loves me unconditionally who died for me who has a plan and purpose for my life that will have eternal significance! I Cor. 15:3-4, John 10:10, Jer 29:11, That means I have purpose every day I have something God intends me to do or say that will matter for all eternity. That means that God has equipped and prepared me to accomplish His will. IPet 4:10 That also means that I have value because God chose me, God equips me, God LOVES me…
So, positionally I am free. That work was done of the cross. Romans 6:18 However daily,let’s be honest, this can be a minute by minute choice I must choose between the chains or the freedom that comes from an intimate relationship with Him. through His word, through prayer, through praise, through fasting, through serving Him in all I say and do. Oh that battle that wages in me that battle not against flesh and blood but against those spiritual forces of darkness. Eph 6:12 Praise God He equips us for the battle! Eph 6:10-18 Praise God the One who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world! I John 4:4
March 20, 2010 § Leave a comment
So my seven year old has a new mantra…”I hate sin and I wish I never sinned.” I try to assure her that I feel the same way, but God continues to forgive. Isn’t that amazing? That even though we mess up over and over. Many times in the exact same way, He forgives us!!!
Then there are those Israelites. I hate to admit it, but I am so much like them…They rebel against God, they receive punishment, they cry out for help, God rescues them, they obey for a while, then they rebel again. From my perspective, it is hard to believe that God is patient with these chosen people, these children of God. Seriously the first census at the beginning of Numbers and the second one at the end of Numbers tell us the story clearly…The total number of Israelites after they left Egypt was 603,550. However over 40 years later at the end of Moses’ life and before they enter the promised land there were only 601,730. Why were there fewer Israelites? They rebelled and God punished that rebellion.
Clearly this people was not purposeful in reminding their children much less themselves of what God did for them. Do you really think that if they taught their kids and reminded themselves that God brought them out of Egypt through miraculous plagues that they would rebel? In fact they practically plundered Egypt as the final plague caused the Egyptians to beg the Israelites to leave and “here take whatever you want as long as you go.” What are we thinking when we don’t remind ourselves what God has done for us? What are we thinking when we don’t tell our kids, our friends, our neighbors, our families what God is doing in our lives? Or is it that we just don’t always see God when He moves in our lives? Have we become that spiritually blind that we don’t even acknowledge God when things happen? Honestly, is it just a weird coincidence or was it God? We are so ready to say it just happens that way, but most likely it was/is God!
So bottom line…I am thinking the Israelites in the desert have taught me about God’s forgiveness. He is merciful above and beyond what we deserve! They have also taught me that I need to talk about God in my life. I need to be willing to share my difficulties so that others can glory in what God did/has done for me. All of that talking and living so that God’s name is glorified. I need to talk about God and what He is doing now so that God is relevant to those around me. We so often see God in the Bible, but forget that the same God is working NOW!
March 5, 2010 § 2 Comments
Numbers 12:3 “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”
Seriously? Wait he was hidden as an infant, but he was raised in the royal household. I highly doubt humility was taught there. However, I have to wonder, he was a Hebrew being raised in an Egyptian royal household. Did his step-siblings tease him or treat him differently? Was he treated just like his Egyptian step-siblings or was he a second rate family member? Scriptures don’t tell us, but what they do say, is when Moses was older and watching the Hebrew slaves working he didn’t like how one particular Egyptian slave master was treating them. So what do you think he does? He knows he has an in with Pharaoh and goes to talk with him? No… He knows he has authority being raised in the royal household as the princess’s son so he yells at the slave master? No… He gets so angry he murders the guy and hid him in the sand. Doesn’t seem too humble to me…I mean seriously, he checks to make sure no one is looking murders the guy and hides him. However somehow word gets out. He has to run…Not too humble to me at least not yet…
Moses has to run and hide. He hides in Midian…You have to wonder if it was in the desert that Moses learned humility. He was a shepherd for his father-in-law Jethro (as I understand it, ancient Egyptians looked down on shepherds, I mean WAY down). However aren’t those the moments when we learn humility? The moments in the desert, when life is hard and things are dry. When everything is hard and painful things are going on all around us. When our pretension of control is stripped away and we have to acknowledge that we are not all that. That there is NOTHING we can do, but pray. Isn’t it sad that we often have to get to the “end of our rope” before we turn to God in prayer? Sorry that was a side note, but true none-the-less. We often allow our pride to run wild, convincing us that we can handle this situation and we will consult God on the difficult things. Don’t you think that God is the God of the big things as well as the little ones? Don’t you think God wants us to pray for missing hubcaps as the pastor from my childhood church put it…(Yes Jim, I did listen at least a little ;-). He is the God of every detail. He is not just the God of all creation, but the God of the tiniest element. He is the God who created the smallest molecule and yet knew how it fits perfectly in the vastness of the cosmos. He is the God who wants us to humble ourselves to Him in the little things as well as the big things.
Moses was also slow of speech in some way. He was deeply concerned about this deficiency, but God assured him it didn’t make him unfit to serve God. He still wanted Moses to confront Pharaoh. When Moses continued in his fears, God gave him a partner in Aaron so that Moses didn’t have to do the public speaking. Here is where I wonder if Moses was pretty proud. He was more concerned as I often am about what others will think instead of about what God thinks. He didn’t want to be laughed at because he talked funny. How true that is of me, Lord I would love to do ________ (something God is calling me to do), but I can’t because…..I am too busy, I am not smart enough, I don’t have all the answers, I don’t have a degree, my kids are too young, my friends will laugh…Yikes, the excuses that I am willing to make to get out of doing what God is asking me to do. That humbles me…
So Moses the most humble man on earth, had his moments of not being humble. Isn’t it great that God sees us in view of His son, in view of our forgiven sin and not in view of our past failures. Moses this man who clearly fought pride was also the man who got to talk to God face to face. I can’t seem to separate the idea that Moses’s humility opened the door to his closeness with God. He talked to God face to face. Who wouldn’t want to do that and yet when challenged by his brother and sister Moses was humble enough to let God take care of the situation. I think I would go off and start giving my resume of how God had spoke to me face to face and how God chose me first and how Aaron was only along because I stuttered. Yet Moses stayed quiet. He made room for God’s wrath to take care of the situation. In doing so both his brother and sister were restored to relationship with both God and Moses. What might happen if we were do this in our relationships. Be humble enough to let God convict and restore our loved ones. To not fight for our rights or our point of view or the respect we deserve, but to humble ourselves…to honor God and others above ourselves. Wouldn’t humility be better? My pride yells no!!!! My God in His still small voice says yes it is better. May I hear that small voice through the cacophony around me. May that Godly humility draw me into a deep personal and intimate relationship with my God and Savior.