Thursday, September 20, 2012

Where Is Our Focus

The Lord is good to those who wait
on Him.  To the soul who seeks Him
It is good to wait and hope quietly.
Lamentations 3:25

It would seem that the majority of my adult life I have been waiting on the Lord to give me direction.  I want know which job to take, which house to rent, what school would be best for the boys.  Constantly I am seeking Him for my own good.  Well He enlightened me the other day and I think I have been missing the point.  Waiting on the Lord should be with the intent of seeing Him - to know Him better.  God doesn't give us seasons of waiting, change or hardship to change us, but rather to seek and know Him.  Change in us is a byproduct.  We can not help but change when we are in His presence.

So often when we are struggling in life we are encouraged to go back and count our blessings; to focus on the things God has done in our lives.  While this is good and does produce a change in our attitude I believe that it is secondary to our main purpose.  We make the mistake of making it about ourselves again.  Look what God has done for me.  It needs to be about Jesus and who He is.  Maybe the next time I am in a mood or experiencing a difficulty I should begin to recount the characteristics of Jesus.  To this end my attention would be taken completely off of me and instead focused entirely on Him.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Grace Overcomes Insanity

I must put down these words while in the midst of my angst. I can not share with the world my thoughts at this moment for several different reasons.  Most simply however; I must wait upon the Lord.  But I do not want to forget these emotions while I wrestle and the lessons He is teaching my heart in the midst of the fight. Waiting and being still is the most important yet most difficult lesson one must learn.  I believe it to be one that we must learn over and over.  At least that is the case for me. It seems that every ten to twelve months I am plopped in the middle of a situation where I must beat down my flesh, quiet the cries of my heart and be still.  It is in these moments that I realize how fragile and vulnerable I am beneath my faith. At these times I am made aware of how strong my flesh is and what I am capable of.

Judge me if you will, but perhaps instead you will identify with my insanity. If you judge then I would say you need to examine your own heart.  We need to be authentic - honest with who we are and where we're at in our walk. My greatest prayer would be that in my weakness His strength would be known and someone would be encouraged - drawn to the throne of grace and overwhelmed with His peace.

This morning the balance of my heart was weighing anger over my situation against forgiveness and love.  As I stared into the boiling pot of water I was prepping for oatmeal the crazy thought crossed my mind, "stick your face in there". Laugh, or shake your head - I don't care. All I was thinking was at least my mind would be taken off of this current struggle.  The fleeting thought was quickly replaced by the knowledge that in my own strength I could easily destroy myself.  Were it not for the grace of God, I long ago would have succumbed to the desires of my flesh and been ruined.  An overwhelming understand and compassion filled my heart.  When we allow ourselves to be in control we wash in and out with the tide of our emotions. We speak and act in ways that affect people around us, drawing them into the current. In contrast when we stand upon the truth of Jesus, we stand firm no matter what life brings us.  When we stand upon the rock, hide beneath the shelter of His tabernacle we are able to live in His grace, extend it to others and wait quietly in the chaotic seasons of this thing called life.

The Lord is good to those who wait on Him,
to the soul who seeks Him.
Lamentations 3:25

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Blessing Because I Am Blessed

We're all on a journey.  Some of us sit in one spot, while others travel the world.  Most important is the journey our hearts take.  Geographical location is pointless if our hearts stay in one place.  I, for one will admit my heart has had seasons of growing and seasons where it has been dormant.  While I haven't questioned who God is and the role Jesus plays in my life, there have been times that I am stretched in my walk and I allow it to grow my faith.  And there have been times, shamefully, that I have sat down, thrown a tantrum and refused to budge.  It all becomes a part of my journey heavenward.

Over the last several months, I have wrestled with our financial state of being - wanting more and not being content with what the Lord has provided and struggling with areas I think are lacking.  In this season, thankfully the Lord has not left me to sit in my pity party.  He has through several venues, challenged me to see how blessed I am.  One Sunday morning, after a Saturday of antiquing and my brain overflowing with crafting ideas, I heard the still voice of Jesus, "look how much you have". I contemplated His words and and began to count all I had - running water, comfortable home, clean clothes, enough food and the bills get paid. Compare that to those who only have dirty water to drink and bathe in, scrimp for food and homes made of scraps of metal and wood and I am in the top 10% of the earth's wealthy. Couple that with what I have been studying in His word and some outside reading I have been convinced it is time to look outside of my selfishness and start reaching out locally, even globally with the blessings God has bestowed upon me.

So...I'm headed to Mexico.  It will be the first mission trip I have taken since college and married life.  Though Matty likes to remind me that I've been a radio missionary for years; it's just been within our borders.  Not only will I be stepping outside of my comfort zone, I must absolutely trust the Lord for provision for both this trip and my family. I want to challenge you to take a look at your life.  What are you taking for granted?  What are you complaining about?  How can you reach outside of yourself and minister to others the love of Jesus?
~Matthew 16:24~
Then Jesus said to His disciples, if any man will
come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross,
and follow Me.