Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Storm Season

It’s definitely storm season right now.  Here in North Texas, the weather people and the insurance adjusters are staying very busy!  Sometimes life on this earth seems like little more than an endless series of storms.  Just about the time we have the debris cleared from one tempest, another gale begins to blow.  Every spring, I start wishing we had a storm cellar in our home – especially when the tornado alarm sounds!  I may not have one physically, but thanks to God’s Spirit inside of me, I do have a storm shelter; a safe place where nothing the enemy does can touch.  It is the place where I say, “I will trust You, Father, no matter what because You are good no matter what.” 
Last week the Lord spoke to my heart that He is good in everything, including the hard things we face.  This week, He told me that He is always at work to bring about the very best outcome possible.    Sometimes His best doesn’t look like my best, but He tells me to trust Him because He knows how it all turns out in the end.  When He spoke the world into existence He called everything He did good.  I believe that when His plans for this world are completed, and we see from His perspective, we will agree that the end result is good.

Psalm 31:14-16  But I trust in You, LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me. Let Your face shine on Your servant; save me in Your unfailing love.   
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  2 Cor. 4:17

Thursday, April 21, 2011

He is Good!

On Sunday, as we worshipped together, we sang to the Lord, “You are good!”  This truth just exploded in my heart.  I heard the Lord saying that He is good - even in the hard things, the things we don’t understand, and the things that break our hearts.  As I looked around, I saw the glory of the Lord reflected on the faces of those around me, even some who are currently facing intense trials.  He is good and His goodness is not changed by our circumstances.
During the night Saturday, the full moon shone so brightly it almost seemed to be lit from within.  As I enjoyed its beauty, the Lord reminded me of the moon’s completely barren nature.  The moon only shines with light reflected when it is turned toward the sun.  It is a dark and desolate rock, yet its lovely glow has inspired many.  In the presence of the Lord on Sunday, I saw the truth that if we turn to Him in our dark times, we can shine with His glory even though our situations look as bleak as a lunar landscape. 

“Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”   

 Psalm 34:5, 8

Abba Father, please give us grace to keep our faces turned to You, no matter what is going on in our lives.  Please help us trust Your goodness no matter what comes our way.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Treasure in a Chipped Pot

This week I have chips on my mind, and unfortunately they aren’t the delicious, crunchy kind that come with a side of fresh salsa.  I’m talking about those heartbreaking chips that all too frequently appear – in my kitchen countertop, on the chair legs in the living room, on the baseboards, and most painful of all - on the side of my car.  Ouch!  I never realized how many things I own are chippable!  All of these objects have one thing in common.  They carry a thin coating over an inner core that looks completely different.  It wouldn’t be such a tragedy if you bumped a chair leg with the vacuum cleaner and the wood that was exposed was the same color as the outside, but that never seems to be the case.  If my car doors were cast iron, I wouldn’t have to worry about where I park on a windy day in Texas.  Unfortunately that thin layer of paint on metal is no match for the impact of the door of another car when a gust of wind slams it into mine. 

What about me?  When I get bumped does my veneer of “good person” get chipped to reveal the hopelessly bad person underneath?  Yes, it does, frequently!  My desire is to be the same all the way through.  I want to be solid with the love and life of Jesus flowing through me 24/7, so that when life takes a chip out of me the same grace keeps shining through.  Unfortunately, as long as I am living in this tent of flesh, I will continue to struggle with letting the Lord live through me in all things.  I will still get incredibly angry when someone cuts me off – verbally or in traffic.  Sharp words will be springing from my tongue when I least expect it, and I’m sure I’ll be battling until my dying day to stay out of God’s way in the lives of my family.  Ephesians 1:13-14 tells me I have the Holy Spirit in my heart as a deposit guaranteeing that one day I will be wholly holy, but until then, I have these chips to remind me how desperately I need a savior.  But, here’s the really wonderful part – Jesus knows I can’t live a holy life without His help.  He knows I am a chipped clay pot and He came to save me anyway.  He hasn’t called me to a life of trying to be perfect for Him, but a life of being perfected as I live in Him.  

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  2 Cor. 4:7 (ESV)

Abba Father, help us bear the burden of our jars of clay with grace and may it continually be more of You that pours out on those around us.  In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

No Fear Just Faith

I love the way the Lord can speak through anything – even a basketball game!  Last night, my husband was watching the final game of the NCAA Championship.  I came in just in time to see the Butler Bulldogs fall apart as fear robbed them of their moment of glory.  Apparently the UConn team had blocked their shots in the paint time after time until they simply gave up trying for anything close to the goal.  Even the shots they attempted from the outside refused to go in.  They shifted from confident dominance to cautious surrender.  They traded playing to win for playing to not lose too badly.  What I hear the Lord saying in this is that giving in to fear is a sure way to achieve failure. 
Sunday morning fear was once again dogging me.  I struggled to worship and finally sat down and grabbed a pen, so I could pour out my heart on paper.  This really helps me because as I write, my swirling emotions become concrete thoughts that I can get a grip on.  The fear was a familiar one – I’m afraid of missing out on all God has for me and my family.  I’m afraid we’re messing up so badly He will never be able to fix our mistakes.  I fear failing to do some crucial thing that will finally release a breakthrough.  Can’t you just imagine how fun it is to live with me when I am in this mode?  Remember what God said to me about giving in to fear?  When I live as a wife, mother and friend from this fear of failing, I continually fall flat on my face.  I also expect far too much from those around me.  There have been times when I’ve pinned my hopes on the help of some particular person, only to struggle with disappointment when they didn’t live up to my expectations.  This is a sad bad place to live, but it is not where I plan to stay, because here is what the Lord told me in the face of all my fears:
Be yielded.  Be willing to do what I tell you to do.  Wait on Me until I tell you to do something.  Wait in joyful hope and peaceful trust.  I WILL do what I said I would do.  It is My work done for My glory.  You will know that it wasn’t you that made it happen.  Pray for grace to stay out of My way.  Trust Me for the salvation of your family with the same trust you have for your own.   
Deep sigh of relief on my part. It is on Him, not me to make His will happen in my life.  I don’t have to be desperate anymore.  He will bring what I need and even who I need in His time, and He will complete His work in me and those I love.  I will stand in awe and give Him praise for what only He could do.
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
 Romans 11:36
Abba Father, please help us walk in joyful hope and peaceful trust, excited to see Your kingdom come and Your will be done in everything.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.