Monthly Archives: January 2016

Just Fly!

Matthew 6:25-34

Birds were created to fly. No one had to tell them. When the time is right, the mamma bird picks the baby up and drops it and they fly. I’m sure there is no discussion in the nest, no “wait Mom, take him first”; “Wait I’m afraid” or “I want to just hang out here a little longer”.  The Creator created them to fly; they’re birds.

Humans were created to have a relationship with God.  There’s a deep unfulfilled longing in us that at first, we don’t know what it is but as we grow we become more and more aware that there is something missing in our lives. We attempt to fill that void with all kinds of things – money, food, people, etc. When we do figure out what’s missing – a relationship with God – we should then begin to know the One so intimately acquainted with us. He gave us the Bible for that reason.

He tells us He will provide for us, show us how to live lives pleasing to Him. Through His word, He attempts to direct us into the abundant life that’s possible if we stay close to Him. We make that so complicated. We decipher and try to figure everything out on our own. We fret about anything that gets in our way when the truth is, if we would just simplify and believe, things wouldn’t get so confusing and messed up.

Birds don’t count their feathers and check their wings before taking off, they just spread them and go.  Just fly, little birdie.  The Lord Jesus simply says:

“Look.  I created you for this.  Just fly. Do what you were meant to do:  fly. Don’t consider anything, just do it.”

The same is true for us.  He created us. He knows every single hair on our heads. He knows our struggles and our circumstances.  More importantly, He is with us through our circumstances and struggles.  He simply says:

“Don’t worry”. I know it’s scary and I know life is hard.  I know it doesn’t make sense but consider the birds.  They don’t give a thought to what they’re going to eat, drink or wear; you shouldn’t either.  Didn’t I say I would provide your needs? Why do you fret then? Why do you doubt? Just believe me and keep going. Don’t stop.  Don’t waste your time being fearful and trying to figure things out. I got this. I got you. Now fly!”

Whatever has you hostage, break free with trust in your heart that the Lord will see you through.  You were meant for this, because this thing that troubles you will show someone else who God is.  Just fly!

Never Stop

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Unconventional blessing!

We have our ideas, even plans, of what we think our lives will be like, what should happen and when, then when things don’t go as we expect, we think we’re cursed, wrong and finished.

We think God has let us down, allowing us to be disappointed, heartbroken and discouraged. We may even think He’s failed us. What if the opposite were true?

What if He wants to surprise you? What if those often quoted words in scripture, Isaiah 55:9 (For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts) are true to the extreme?

We expect God to act like we would and when He doesn’t it blows us away.  What if He’s busy in a way you can’t even fathom? If you don’t see Him or feel Him, don’t stop expecting Him or anticipating seeing Him work on your behalf. Why is it we allow disappointment and disbelief to so easily invade us?

Our Father-God is creative beyond what we can imagine.  If we will simply believe even when everything we see and feel says to do otherwise, He will come through. It may not be the way we think He should.  Sometimes I think He wants to see the element of surprise on our faces – sometimes it takes a “higher way” so we can know without a doubt that only God can pull it off!

The picture above is a picture of an old car.  I had car trouble a while back and was fretting and praying about how I was going to get us to work, we needed a car and I knew God knew that.  Just climbing back from a devastating year when my income plummeted, I just had enough to pay the bills.  Daily, many times a day, I would “cast my anxiety upon the Lord” because I believed He cared for me and would provide the transportation we needed.  I tried to keep walking absolutely believing in Him and that He would provide.  We took the city bus, and my wonderful employer adjusted my schedule so I could work during their operating hours.  I was good with that, God provided.  Then seemingly out of nowhere, some friends called and said the Lord had laid it on their hearts to GIVE me this car.  I was astounded.  Didn’t see that coming! It’s not a pretty car, and it doesn’t look like a blessing but through my friends, God provided what we NEEDED.  “higher than your ways…” –

Yes Sir.  Much higher.  Blessings often don’t look like blessings at all, but if you’re looking for God in EVERYTHING (to provide your NEEDS) we will always see Him and He and His blessings may not look like the God we have in our conventional box.  Even when you’re disappointed and discouraged, never ever stop believing He is right there with you, and in HIS TIME you will see Him.  Never stop looking!

Treasures in the Darkness

“I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places…” Isaiah 45:3

Take an inventory of what you’ve lost, what’s been stolen even what you gave away.  Chunks of your love, your heart, resources you’ve invested only to find yourself sometimes empty.  Perhaps you’re in a place of regret, wishing you hadn’t done this or that; wishing you hadn’t loved this one or that one, taken that job, spent that money.  Regret is a dark place and it really doesn’t matter what caused it, the pain of regret is the same and brings many emotions with it.

God knows. He is well aware of all you’ve given through love and sacrifice.  He knows you made the best decision possible with what you had to go on; He also knows the times you knew it wasn’t in your best interest (or the interest of others) but you did it anyway. He knows the times you stepped out in blind faith and the times you dove head first without thinking.  He knows every tear you’ve cried and the people and reasons behind it.

Walk into a completely dark room with no light source and we become disoriented.  Even though it’s a familiar place, the darkness changes everything doesn’t it?  We may stumble over something that has been in place for years; we forget what’s in there and where it is. The same is true for spiritual darkness. When the light and hope are stolen we find ourselves in complete darkness and forget what we have…WHO we have right at our fingertips.

Rest assured, God will use it all to bring about a fresh revelation of who He is and the personal love He has for you. Even though you can’t see it, feel it or touch it…you may not even believe it or believe in Him right now; even that doesn’t matter.  He is.  He’s there, He loves you and He’s aware.  Trust Him to bring the treasure out of the darkness.  Know that even if you’ve asked for darkness He is bringing the light to your situation.  He IS the light; He is the goodness that will come from the places of despair.

Some of the recurrent themes in our lives are tragedy, heartache, brokenness, and we often find ourselves asking why.  God answers in this verse:  “So that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.” (Isaiah 45:3b).

The darkness can’t be dark because He’s there and He will bring treasures from it. Believe it.  Will you?

RESET!

I’m a Medical Transcriptionist and sometimes because the audio files come from faraway places it’s mumbled and inaudible. Drives me crazy. I have to rewind and try to decipher what the dictator is saying and a lot of time is doing this which ultimately cuts into production.  Over and over again, I listen attentively adjusting the speed to no avail.  This morning, I noticed an option I’ve been scared to try before.  I couldn’t understand what the doctor was saying so after about 15 minutes of this back and forth with frustration building, ready to quit, I decided to risk clicking the button and to my relief and surprise, I heard what he was saying perfectly.  I had left many blanks (time stamps as they are known with the company I work for) and was able to fill every one of them in with understandable words.

Loving how God uses everyday occurrences to teach me something, I thought I would share these lessons with you hoping we all take them to heart.

  • Time stamps. How often we muddle through just marking time oblivious to the things and people around us.  I wonder how many times in how many areas I’ve been content to just go and do, not caring about anything but just going and doing what I have to do.  What have I missed?  I wonder how many times I’ve just marked time only to reflect later and wonder why I did what I did and what I missed while there.  You?
  • Settling.  How often do we just do things not caring if it’s good or bad but we just do them because we have to, to arrive at the finish line?  I could have left that dictation just as it was, sent it in and let QA clean it up and make it presentable to the account and that would have been “good enough” – as long as the document is marked properly it’s perfectly acceptable (and sometimes necessary) it’s okay to do this, but I tried something different (something I was actually hesitant to do, scared of what the outcome would be) and that made all the difference.  Why are we so hesitant to try something uncomfortable or different!?
  • It’s okay to reset. We keep our cycle going…the way we’ve always done things and that’s okay; that’s good but it isn’t BEST sometimes. We’re getting by just fine, working hard on being content and grateful but there could be so much more.  I’m not talking about materialistically (although that’s entirely possible too) but spiritually.  We try so hard to “be good”.  We make good life choices, even spiritual choices and complete tasks A, B, C and D sometimes wondering what if would be like if we _________  (you fill in the blank – trusted more, believed God with conviction to really believe…tried ____, devoted ourselves more…).  Give yourself permission to go farther and deeper with God.  Faith requires action.  A better life (spiritually and physically) may require better and different choices.

That button made a huge difference in my work day. I’m wondering what else I can reset today.  Sometimes a reset may just be what we need.  Go ahead.  Hit reset!

Don’t Stop

It’s mighty cold outside so morning walks with Sampson aren’t looked forward to.  Regardless, I layer up and take him out.  While moving, it’s not that bad at all but when I stop the reality of the situation becomes very clear:  it’s dangerously cold. That’s a word for us Christians! The circumstances are extreme and paralyzing.  We find ourselves stuck in reality asking questions like why, what will I do, how will I survive this. The fear consumes us and we see no way things will change. We cry and mull it over and over.  We can’t see beyond what we’re stuck in and sometimes a lot of time and energy is wasted thinking, sorting and trying to figure out what often has no explanation.

Sometimes there’s nothing reasonable to make us believe, other than God’s word and unfortunately because of our human condition, that’s not enough.  It appears there’s no reason to believe things will ever be any different than they are right now but something happens inside of us that won’t let us stop.  Before we can move, however, we must decide not to stop.  The thought of it is intimidating.  Why would we want to expose ourselves to unknown, sometimes dangerous elements? Why would we expect anything to get any better after it’s been the way it has for so long?  Nothing’s changed, there’s no real reason to believe any effort on our part will change things.  What will we do?

Walking any distance in cold weather is a risk.  The fact that it’s cold and uncomfortable, not to mention the what if’s involved (what if we fall, get sick after exposing ourselves, etc…) are reasons enough to stay in our comfortable zone, but still, the dog has to be walked so what do we do? Walk the dog!

The same is true in life. We have to do something; we have to choose to believe. We often don’t get to pick the end of a trial, a death, or when many circumstances of our lives will end.  Only God knows; only He sees the beginning, the end of a thing and every detail in between.  All we can do is trustingly walk through it seeking His direction and holding onto Him as tightly as we can.  Other than Him, there are no guarantees – no clear cut “walk this way” path.  Sometimes we have to just put one foot in front of the other, believing God has a greater purpose than we can see and go forward. If we stop the elements become harder, fear and doubt invade and we turn back to our comfortable places (however uncomfortable), often wishing we hadn’t!

Clearly, things aren’t easy and sometimes we become discouraged.  Don’t stop! Keep on walking.  Keep believing and soon, the walk will be over and we’ll be finished with the peace in knowing God’s in control and we did what we could.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  Psalm 23:4 KJV

Forgiveness

“Forgiveness does not create a relationship.  Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible.  When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgement, but without true change, no real relationship can be established.”  Wm Paul Young, The Shack

“I’m sorry” isn’t required but it would be nice, wouldn’t it?  Somehow someone acknowledging they caused great pain is great medicine for our woundedness but a lot of times that doesn’t happen.  Someone once said “when someone lies to you or about you, they feel you’re not worthy of the truth”.  That hits home…someone who lies about you and to you doesn’t feel you’re worthy of the truth.  Why would we want them in our lives, to allow them to make us feel more unworthy of truth and love than we already do?

I’ve never been one to just go along.  I believe forgiveness IS possible without ever having to see or speak to someone again and when it’s gone on for as long as one can remember, I think it’s best, especially when there is no change in behavior “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” Matthew 7:17.  Owning up to what we’ve done, taking responsibility, is the best thing.  Some are incapable of that.  Don’t get me wrong I don’t like admitting my atrocities… it’s unpleasant and humbling but I always feel better and KNOW it’s right when I do.

Hope is a wonderful thing.  HOPING someone will change and see what they have done then change accordingly is always in order.  Praying for them is always, always right.  Ask God for them to open their hearts and eyes to see the realness of what has been done and ask Him to give them the desire to change and the courage to act upon that desire.

Until then, it’s okay if you don’t get back in with them.  We need to just be sure we’re “clean” – we must deal with our anger, hurt and disappointment in a godly way and the only way to do that is to take it to Him until it’s gone which sometimes takes a very long time.  I’ve found I don’t feel anything but pity for those who hurt me because they’re blinded by their version of self-justification and the lies they’ve come to believe.  We don’t have to be that way.  “It is what it is”, is one of my favorite sayings and that means to me, ONLY God can change it, I have to accept it and what I DO WITH IT is paramount.

We can allow that hurt to fester in many ways and change us, or we can truly desire to heal from it, forgive and get on with our lives.

We can choose forgiveness.  We can choose to let it go and go on and be better because of it and thankful we survived it.  Some didn’t.

I choose forgiveness; I pray you do too.

“Then Peter came and said to Him, Lord how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?  Up to seven times?  Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”  Matthew 18:21-22

Appearance

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This is a scar from my latest encounter with the ground.  I fell in October on concrete and hit right on my shin where there is very little fat and tissue protection (probably the only place on my body where there’s no fat) so it hurt pretty bad and took a long time to heal.  By its appearance it looks like it’s totally healed but the truth is, I have an infection in that bone resulting from that fall for which I have been on antibiotics for weeks with weeks to go.  To look at it though, to look at me, you would think nothing’s wrong.

The appearance of something or someone rarely ever tells the whole story.  Sometimes good things don’t look at all like blessings.  For instance, when my car broke down and we had no transportation some precious friends prayed for me and the Lord nudged them to GIVE me an old car they had.  To LOOK at this car, you wouldn’t think it was a blessing – it’s appearance is worn and old and doesn’t appear to be a blessing at all! BUT to us, it is provision and just what we need (no more and no less) to get us to our jobs and stores to get what we need.

Many told me when I took the job at a local grocery store chain when my transcription job was outsourced that I was just wasting my time…not enough money…etc., when, in fact, that job has provided for us and allowed me to meet many wonderful people and has been a blessing in more ways than I can say.

Don’t judge by appearance, ever.  I’m learning lots of things and people aren’t what they seem.  Give it time, pray to have eyes like God and you’ll be surprised and delighted by what you are shown.