Monthly Archives: May 2016

Waive Your Rights

(Based on Genesis 13)

Abram was the called one.  God spoke to him one on one.  He got the directions straight from the King Himself.  He decides to be obedient and off he went taking his cousin Lot with him.  Along the way, they ran into conflict with their livestock and boundaries so Abram decided it was time to separate.   He went to Lot and let him decide which way he wanted to go to set up his homestead.  Abram assured him he wanted peace and he allowed him to choose.  Lot, of course, like many of us, chooses the land that resembles the Garden of Eden, lush and pristine.  Abram was good with that so they put distance between them.

Abram had the right to choose the best. After all, he did Lot a favor by bringing him along…actually God told him to leave everyone but his immediate family behind and for whatever reason he chose to bring Lot.  Things could have gotten really ugly between them.  “Hey! You’re forgetting your manners, boy.  If it weren’t for me you wouldn’t be here at all! I’m the leader, you can’t have the plush land of Jordan.  God called me – I deserve the best…”.  It could have gone like that.

I’m the oldest of my father’s four children.  I have rights as the firstborn…yet I find myself with nothing that identifies me as my father’s child except my last name.  I could fight for what is rightfully mine.  For years I struggled to find and establish my place in my family and found myself deeply wounded and disappointed at every turn.  I was always the outcast and never treated like the others.  When my father died, I chose to let go and move on.  I shook the dust from my shoes.  I decided what went along with what I “deserved” is in no way worth any more heartache.  I waived my rights to myself.  I’ve never regretted that decision.

I left behind “good and right” for the best God has for me and I don’t regret it.  Some say I’ve cheated myself.  Maybe that’s true, it depends on perspective.  Everything affiliated with what “should” one day be mine is laced with terrible pain, a lifetime of lies and scars it’s taken a lifetime to heal.  So.

What are you fighting for?  Maybe it’s time to reassess.  Look at what the fight is doing to you…not for you.  Is it worth it?  A life of faith – a walk of faith sometimes will take us to the place of choice where we REALLY have to let go and give it to God.  Sometimes faith begs the question, will you let go of what you think is rightfully yours?  No, it’s not right or fair and no, it shouldn’t even have to be a choice, but it is what it is.  Do you dare have that kind of faith in God, that one day He will heal you and make all the wrongs right?

I choose to have 100% complete faith in my Father.  I choose to believe He will do exactly what He has promised, restore that which was lost.  I believe He will heal me of every single hurt and heartache.  As a matter of fact, He’s doing it right now.

Think about what happened to Lot and where he made his home.  It was all utterly destroyed. Abram walked on and walked into EVERY promise God made him.  Will you?

Silencing the Lambs

Divorce.  Death.  Natural disasters.  Sickness.  Depression.  Struggling to make ends meet.  Broken heartedness.  Disappointment.  Cancer.  These are just a few things embedded in life.  One would think – especially after something life-changing – and you trust in Jesus that bad things would no longer happen.  I could refer to all kinds of scripture to prove my point, yet I don’t think I have ever seen a time when God’s people seem to be suffering more than they are right now.

Remember where you are.  God gave the enemy this “playground” for a time.  This is his (the enemy’s) domain.  This earth isn’t heaven although sometimes the Father allows us to see glimpses of it here.

Because life is hard at best, so many who were passionate about their salvation have allowed their light and love for him to become dim.  Once so bold with His love, we’ve grown cold and find it difficult to usher a smile, let alone a word.  We’ve become a selfish people (note I said WE), and may I say in a human kind of way, rightfully so.  Life has beat us up. We walk around with all kinds of heartbreaks, disappointments and frankly, things haven’t turned out at all like we thought they would.

The enemy has successfully, in many cases, shut us up.  Perhaps faith has wavered because of what we’ve been through or going through and we’ve grown cold and silent.

Let’s try a different perspective.  Let’s believe that all we’ve been through is so we can help and encourage someone else.  Let’s choose to love and keep growing our faith in spite of how we feel and what we think (Proverbs 3:5-6). After all of this, are you going to stop believing in God now?  So many do; they get mad at God and turn away from Him.

Let’s believe Romans 8:28 – ALL things work together for the good…all means all things – even the bad. After all this, we’ve seen His provision, we’ve had a glimpse of His glory and He’s chosen us to bolster someone else’s faith that although all hell breaks loose He’s still faithful and will do exactly what He says He will:  be with us, never leave us, and see us through whatever moment of darkness we find ourselves in.

Don’t let the enemy silence you.  Remember who you are and Whose you are.  You’re more than a conqueror.  You’re royalty; live like you believe it.  “By your endurance you gain your lives.” Luke 21:19 (NASB)

Be.

What if we went to our jobs, ran our errands, do what we normally do but we do it with purpose.  What if every person who calls themselves a Christian chose to believe we’re where we are, doing what we do for God rather than just to do it.

What if you went to your job thinking God strategically placed you there to be around those people doing what you do so you could impact their lives?  He did you know.  It’s not by chance you’re where you are. It’s all part of the design.  Even if the circumstances aren’t favorable and we would rather things be different, there’s a reason we’re where we are.  The problem is, we don’t walk in that assurance.  What if we took ourselves out of the situation and chose to believe we’re being used, right this second, for something much bigger than ourselves?

Birds do the bird thing.  Flowers, flower.  You be you.  Whether you feel like it or not, I dare you to pray and believe God’s up to something and He’s wanting you to just be you.  Try having that purpose in mind when you go to the grocery store, go to your job.  Be mindful of Him and what He desires more than just getting through it.  Just…be.

He could make us want to be who He’s really designed us to be, but He won’t.  He’s given us the power to choose. He’s created a masterpiece…a one of a kind designer original in you.  He wants you to live like you’re on a grand mission to change the world…because you are.  You’re right where you are because He can use you there if you’ll choose to let Him.  Sometimes a grand mission is to simply smile at someone, encourage them.  Sometimes the most powerful testimony is wrapped in your everyday stuff.  Just…be.

Matthew 6:25-34

It Is There.

 

I knew someone who had a farm that used to be a thriving southern plantation.  Every year when he would break ground for the garden he would always find remnants of treasures that had been left on the land by the previous owners.  One time, a spot of ground caved in and underneath was a slave cellar left completely intact with shackles on the walls. In that room were some valuable antiques hundreds of years after the plantation had existed.  No one had ever dealt with and completely cleaned up the property so everything was perfectly preserved and the current owner was the one who received the rewards of the accidental find.

You’ve been through a horrible storm.  There were times when you were sure your life would be taken and perhaps a moment when you wish it would be.  Now it’s over.  The sun has broken through and you’re left with the remnants of your life.

What will you do with what’s left of your life?

You could just walk away and leave the mess for someone else to clean up and receive the rewards of what should have been yours.  You could just leave it as it is and walk over what used to be, never dealing with it but always remembering until it’s packed down and invisible yet ever-present.  You could pick up the big pieces and dispose of them leaving the little things to bury themselves. Or, you could sift through it finding what’s underneath the surface.

Those living in tornado prone areas know when destruction rams through homes, the treasures of what survived are found underneath all the trash and destruction.  It’s heartbreaking and physically trying to remove what’s destroyed to get to the protected treasures and keepsakes underneath – the little things.  Although they may be dirty and sometimes unrecognizable when they’re found what joy and gratefulness they produce.

That’s your word my friend. Choose to dig through and find the preserved good and God in your aftermath.  Search purposefully and intently and you’ll find remaining blessings and you’ll discover that what remains is all that matters; what was lost may break your heart but if you trust and believe in God, you’ll be thankful all was not lost.  You’ll find among all that has been stripped away and destroyed there are still many good things.  Deal with and let go of what pains you, the reminders of the storm and diligently search for the good that remains.  Believe as you sort through that what’s most important is still with you.  They may not be easy to find, but find them you will, if you look.  For He who promised is faithful.

Be Very Careful.

Be careful not to believe everyone who says they love you.  It’s a trap; a setup to have your heart broken.  I can’t count on all my digits those who have said that to me yet are no longer around.  I don’t have enough.  Sure, they’re there when you’re on top but when the bottom falls out the pickins get scarce.

Of course I can’t think of other’s failures without having mine magnified.  I’m the mammoth of all failures. I’m sorry.

Thank God He never leaves or forsakes us. Otherwise this whole thing would be pointless.  I pray to heal from all these abandonments, disappointments and heartbreaks and be better.  Oh God. I’m scared of being bitter. Please. Help me.

Cut me open with that two-edged sword.  Gut me and anything that resembles pain or a root of something…anything that doesn’t resemble You has to go.  I want it to go.

Mom

You’d be surprised at how much you’re missed by this prodigal.  So many times…actually every time something happens I long to share it with you.  What I would give for one more cup of coffee with you, and one more chance to tell you two things:  I love you.  I thank you.

You loved me unconditionally.  In the good you were there to cheer me on; in the bad you were there to support me.  I couldn’t see it then but I surely see it now, how I broke your heart in so many ways yet you never wavered in your love for me.  You sacrificed everything for your girls, and though we tried to show you we appreciated you, I don’t think we (at least I) scratched the surface of how much I really appreciate you.

I haven’t forgotten the things you taught me – as a matter of fact, I always wanted to be the kind of mother you were to me.  Now that I’ve experienced motherhood, I’m well aware of the sacrifices, the joy and the pain of that daunting title.  I pray I’ve done you proud.  If I’ve managed to be just a fraction of the kind of devoted mother you were (still are, just because you’re gone from here doesn’t change the fact you’re still my Mom) then I guess I’ve done okay.

Most often we don’t appreciate those closest to us.  Sometimes we can’t see the cost and all that was poured into us until they’re not there anymore.  I want you to know I see it and I’m forever grateful.  Thinking back you were the best example of God’s love – tenacious and unwavering, that determined gonna-love-you-no-matter-what real love and I thank you for that.  Wish I could have seen that then…

I understand you, and I feel you now more than ever.  I get it.  I’m sorry.  I’m deeply grateful, more than words can say.  And, I love you, really love you, and appreciate you.  For everything.

I look so forward to seeing you again.  Life here was so hard for you.  I get a lot of joy knowing you’re safe and not suffering anymore with anything.  I can’t wait to see you like that – with all the sorrow and pain gone from your eyes and heart, completely restored. What a moment that will be.

Oh and one more thing.  You were right.  About everything.  I love you.

He Started It!

Long before you were a thought in your parent’s hearts, God had a plan for you.  A good plan.  He designed every detail about you – He knew your personality and your beautiful heart.  He saw the beginning of your life, the end of it and every single detail in between.  He was well aware of everything and everyone that would hurt you and try to change who He destined you to be.  Even at this very second, He knows.  He sees it all and not only does He see, He KNOWS it all.  It’s one thing for others to watch your life unfold – it’s another to have someone on your side who loves you unconditionally who knows and feels the pain and the delight of your everyday life.

Don’t think that just because things are hard He doesn’t love you.  Don’t think that just because you’ve messed up you can’t be forgiven and you can’t start again. Nothing is final.  What He started He will finish if you choose to believe and participate. God doesn’t quit.  If you’ll stick with Him, talk it out with Him and believe Him, He will see you through this.  He started it.  He will finish it.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Philippians 1:6