Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On A Mission

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV)
Life on earth has always been a dangerous proposition.  These verses are a survivor’s manual.  The main commands are:  Rejoice.  Don’t Worry.  Pray About Everything.  Stay Grateful.  The promise is peace for your heart and your mind, not necessarily your circumstances.  As far as those go, what I hear our Father in Heaven saying is, “Quit looking for smooth sailing.  That is not the point of your mission.”  We are here to represent our Father and His gift of new life through Jesus, the Messiah.  All those things that are freaking us out are really just opportunities to know Him and make Him known as the One Who is ALL we need, no matter what is happening in this crazy world. 
It’s easy to forget we are on a mission.  Our lives are so full of things we have to do - like going to Walmart, paying the bills, making dinner, taking care of our families, updating our Facebook status, and always folding one more load of laundry!   Okay, so maybe my list is different from yours, but you get the point.  It isn’t easy to stay focused on the fact that we’re here to win people to Christ, not establish perfect, trouble-free lives.  I believe the Father is telling us that it’s time to get this lesson learned.  Every woman knows that most of what she does every day is going to need to be done all over again tomorrow.  A clean kitchen is only a fleeting moment of glory, but everything we do today for the Kingdom of God today will last for eternity.  Every prayer prayed, every life-giving word spoken, every measure of love and grace given, every opportunity to speak the name of Jesus taken – all of these will have lasting impact.
Abba Father, please teach us how to live for You in this world.  Teach us to blend the must-do, mundane tasks with the holy mission You’ve assigned us.  Help us stay focused.  Give us eyes that see the open doors you put before us.  Help us remember your commands and be joyful soldiers with one foot in today and the other in eternity.  We love You, Lord!  Thank You for saving us from lives with no meaning.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Precious Memories



A photograph is worth a hundred memories.  These beautiful flowers were sent to me at my grandparent’s home in Florida by my sweet husband.  I was there to help my dad with the difficult task of packing up a lifetime of memories and things.  I’m so glad I took this picture!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 18, 2011

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to shift into auto-pilot?  You just set yourself on “go” and start doing all the stuff that is always there to do.  It’s actually possible to go for days like that as long as you never give yourself a chance to stop and get real, with yourself or the Lord.  Maybe that’s why sometimes I run from spending time with Him.  I’m comfortable on automatic.  I’m pleasantly numb to the world and its problems.  I’m hardly even aware of the sound of my own heart crying softly in the background.  It isn’t until I force myself to stop and sink to my knees that I realize how heavy the burden I’m carrying really is. 
Why do I do that?  Is it pride?  Is it fear?  It’s probably something really unglamorous like a big old streak of stubborn mule coming out in me.  Whatever it is, I am asking the Lord for grace to stop it!  I’m ready to stop living like a stupid mule.  I know I’m not the first to struggle with this.  David talked about this very thing in Psalm 32, verses 8-10:
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him.”
That’s probably the crux of the matter right there.  I don’t draw near because I still really don’t fully trust Him.  I really hate to admit that, but there it is.  Some part of my heart is still afraid to come near to Him.  What if He is disappointed with me?  What if He’s angry?  What if He ignores me?  Clearly, the enemy has plenty of ammo hidden in this stronghold.  In case you’re not familiar with this as a spiritual term, a stronghold is like a fort where the enemy has a strengthened position he is occupying in our hearts.  It is usually built on one or more lies.  Uncovering a stronghold is a really good thing, because the lies get busted up with the truth, the enemy’s hiding place is destroyed, and more of our hearts get set free.  The truth is that the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds me because I trust Him, not perfectly, but I do trust Him.  The truth is that the Lord has engraved me on the palms of His hands.  He has promised to always be with me, and to love me with an everlasting love.  It is also true that all of the Lord’s wrath for my sin was taken by Jesus on the Cross.  There is no condemnation for me because I am in Christ Jesus, completely covered with His purity.  There is no reason at all to hold back from running to the arms of my Abba Father!  He is where I need to be. 
Dear Abba, please draw each one of my sisters to Yourself.  Please continue to break down every obstacle that stands between us and Your presence.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January 12, 2011

Last week I was cleaning out my fridge, bidding the last of the Christmas feast goodbye, when I discovered an awful mess under the bottom drawer.  I don’t know how long it had been there, but wow!  It looked like it had history and it was planning on sticking around.  (Pun intended!)  As I scrubbed and scrubbed, I thought about how it happens sometimes that there is an awful mess just below the surface, but until it is brought to the light we are completely oblivious.  Last Sunday after church, one of our families went home to be confronted with a terrible odor in the house.  When they traced it to the source, it ended up revealing a serious plumbing leak that resulted in the need to tear out flooring and walls and completely rework their bathroom.  Suddenly what looked okay when they left for church was transformed into a huge home repair project stamped Urgent!
 I imagine by now you’re wondering what this has to do with what God is saying to us this week, so I’ll cut to the chase:  our Father God is not afraid of a mess.  He doesn’t mind making a big stink, ripping up the floor, or tearing out the walls.  In fact, He thinks it’s a great thing, because unlike our human tendency to sweep the issues under the rug, keep our secrets, and ignore the blinking lights on our relational switchboards, He is all about getting down to the heart of the matter and dealing with things.  Now, timing is important.  It wouldn’t make much sense to go knocking holes in the wall looking for problems.  Some of us are wired to ignore the warning signs, while others of us go looking for trouble and end up causing it.  When it is time to act, God knows how to make it clear that an immediate response is required.  When that time comes, it may look like a disaster has occurred but in reality it is a blessing because now that the problem has been brought to the light, it can be repaired and restored.  The process is usually expensive, time-consuming, and requires a lot of hard work, but the result is something wonderful.   
Many of us are facing areas in our lives that look like giant messes.  It is tempting to just put up the yellow caution tape, shut the door and run, but God has called us to wade in to the mess and deal with it in His strength and wisdom.  He will give us what we need to finish the job.  He is faithful to see every project He starts through to the finish. 
Abba Father, we commit our works to You.  Please fill us with Your Spirit and let Your joy be our strength as we tackle the hard tasks in front of us.  Please enable us to receive Your love and love You more.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.
“And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.”                                                          Isaiah 58:12 (English Standard Version)