Monthly Archives: June 2016

Refresher Course

Joshua 3-4

Their fearless leader, Moses, was gone.  Another has taken his place – how would Israel know Joshua was the man to lead them? Joshua knew but how would they?  After all, they had grown up hearing their parents tell of the mighty way God delivered them from being slaves by parting the Red Sea and them walking across it on dry ground to their freedom on the way to His promise.  Now here they were, still in the desert, still walking under new leadership.

They probably believed they were on their way but when they stopped and surveyed their circumstances and resources, how in the world was it going to happen?

The Lord told Joshua to get the priests to carry the Ark of the Covenant and have the people walk a certain, specific distance behind it (Joshua 3:4).  The Lord was very specific about the distance between the people and the Ark and at that designated distance, they all were privy to see what happened next.  They were told when they see it, to “go after it”.  God told Joshua that as soon as the priest’s feet rested in the Jordan while carrying the ark, the water would be cut off. Think about it, they knew where they were going and they had a river before them to cross to get there.  They could have dove in tackling it the “normal” way – the way that seemed to make the most sense.  I mean if there’s something that stands in the way of getting to the promise, the most logical way is to go on and get wet, fight the current and do what you have to do.  Sometimes we dive in thinking there’s no other way but the hard way.  If we listen to God’s instructions and do it His way, water can’t even get us wet!

Sure enough, not only did the water stop flowing, the ground, as in the Red Sea, was dry for them to cross over.  Talk about a refresher course! Israel, once again, was reminded that God was with them and Joshua was confirmed as their leader.

Pray for God to lead and go before you. Seek His guidance and believe He will show you the way.  Sometimes we need a refresher course to remember He’s the God of impossible and He will always make a way.

The Big Reveal

I used to pride myself on my faith – I’d tout what big faith I had. I was relishing all the good and all the blessings.  Even though circumstances weren’t perfect I was smitten like we get with our first love.  It was all good.  Then things turned very bad.  He allowed things in my life I frankly thought because He loved me He never would.  That’s the rub of the Christian life.

I’ve said it before while going through this desert – I doubted big time.  My “faith” crumbled and my hope faded.  What in the world had I done wrong, why, why why…poor little Barbie…devastated and messed up I found it a struggle to find a mustard seed of faith.  The whole experience thus far has shown me I’m not nearly as big a spiritual giant as I once thought I was.

There it is.  The reason.

I see all the time praises about God and how good He is when people get a good outcome.  What if we don’t?  Is He still a good God?  Some say losing a job, losing all material possessions, getting a divorce, children and other loved ones dying, addiction, homelessness and hungry is God’s will.  Is it?  If God’s good, how can those things be God’s will? It’s my understanding that God is good.  So why are things so bad?

All I know is this.  THROUGH all I have been through my shallow perceptions of Him have long since faded.  My notions of how He should handle me and my circumstances have gone by the wayside.  Through it all, my relationship with Him has deepened.  I had to die.  What I thought of Him and His ways had to be destroyed so I could have a heart, eyes and ears to see Him for who He is.

I believe He had to get me to a place where I had to let go of me, let go of my perceptions and my pride to see Him for who He is.  Had it all not happened, I wouldn’t have.  We don’t seek to have ourselves destroyed – we don’t like being wrong.  We think we know…and we don’t until we know.

I think He chooses many different ways through which we have opportunities to grow a more intimate relationship with him.  When we finally see that everything we thought is wrong and accept that, then He can begin to show Himself for who He really is, and His great personal love for us. His ways are definitely not our ways.  I had to come a hard way but it’s been a wonderful way.  Sorrow, loss and pain will reveal who we really are and what we really believe.

Ssstttrrreeetttccchhh!

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When I sat this weary cutting of a vine close to my office window a few weeks ago, it only had a few leaves on it and they all faced me.  It has thrived in this location, obviously, and now most of the leaves have turned to face the light source.

Several things came to mind this morning from observing this plant.

Sometimes we find ourselves “planted” in circumstances we had no intention – sometimes no control – being in.  We can adapt and make the best of it…or not.

This cutting, when allowed the opportunity to live, is doing what plants do.  I put it in some water until it rooted then stuck it in an old dirt filled pot.  Nothing special.  No special attention, just watered it and set it in a bright place.

When things happen to “break” us, we have choices although it may not feel like we do.  We can choose to do what we can and trust God for the rest or we can wither up and “die”.  Some have chosen the latter. I refuse.

When life breaks us, we must “plant” ourselves in God’s sovereignty.  As these leaves stretch for the sun, we must stretch for the SON.  It may not feel good; we may not even want to, but stretch anyway.  Inside us is His Spirit and a strong will to survive and with a little faith in those truths and some effort, if we find the strength to press on and stretch ourselves, things undoubtedly will get better.  This plant would have survived anywhere else in my house but I chose a place of great light exposure to give it the best chance.  It not only lives, it’s thriving.  We can too, in the light of His presence because in that place, we find joy, peace and comfort that only He can give.

Set yourself up.  Get as close to Him as you can.  When you don’t feel Him Ssstttrrreeetttccchh!  Keep stretching.  He’s there.

Listen

As a MLS (Medical Language Specialist), it’s my job to listen to doctors dictate and either type or proofread their dictations.  The doctors come from every nationality and it’s sometimes hard to understand what they’re saying.  There are some days when the American doctors are even harder to understand than the foreign ones.  I work from my home and I’ve never seen any of these speakers and probably never will.  Still, it’s my job to decipher what they say accurately so on many occasions, I must listen over and over…and over again which cuts into my production and more to the point, irritates me.

We’re encouraged to leave a blank (or a time stamp for Australia) if we can’t get it.  The push for production encourages us not to linger too long and leave the blank.  I’m a bulldog.  I don’t like giving up.  When I struggle with understanding, I find it very hard to “blank it” and move on.  Every time I rewind to try to get it, I become more determined to hear what they’re saying.  I wish I were more like that in a spiritual sense.

We spend time with God, study and pray.  We seek what He’s trying to say and trying to teach…but sometimes we lack the patience and yes, even the desire, to “get it”.  We think we hear and understand and something will happen to set us back and realize we didn’t get that at all.  Only then will we go back and revisit and listen intently, read over and over trying to grasp what He’s saying.  Our intensity for Him and His word pales in comparison on occasion to the effort we put into my jobs and other activities.

Are we deficient in listening?  If so, there’s good news.  We can always choose to listen because He’s always speaking.  Keep a Bible handy and pick it up often.  Ask for ears to hear and a heart to receive.  If you don’t get it the first time, read it again. Ask again.  Don’t walk away with a blank – stay until He fills it in.

Speak Lord.  We’re listening.

Blinded by the Fight.

It seems to me America is in the fight of her life.  Where is she?  What’s happened to her?  Where are the godly values and the character we say we possess, the ones this country was founded on?

We’ve been infected with the disease of conformation.  Romans 12:2 tells us how that ailment can be avoided but are we even reading our Bibles and seeking God about anything anymore?  Who did we vote for?  Did we pray over our decision?  Did we – despite all odds and what it looked like – vote for GOD’s choice?  Did we seek HIS WILL rather than making the mission about winning at all costs and perhaps leaving God out of it?  Look at the two candidates – do we believe that either of them are GOD’S CHOICE?  I’ve watched in amazement on both sides because we’re settling and voting for blatantly dishonest and ruthless people who will say and do anything to win.  Integrity no longer matters and it seems we as Christian voters don’t care whether God’s involved or not as long as we win!  Conformation.

I’ve been told all my Christian life “you can’t vote your faith”.  So, it looks like we didn’t on either side!  Even prominent Christian leaders who have been asked the question of whether they believe either candidate is God’s choice, every one of them (that I’ve heard anyway) walked all around that issue giving all kinds of excuses, the most prominent to my memory being that no matter what, we must win; we can’t have the other side being in the White House.  I totally get what an important election this is.  I just feel we’ve been so distracted by the fight we’ve sadly conformed (Romans 12:2) and forgotten to include God in this process.

Conformation has overtaken us. We’re living and voting like we don’t have a “God factor” and the evidence of that is very clear.   Had we been fighting “the good fight”, listening to God, allowing Him to lead, and voting with His will as priority, would we be where we are now? Would we have the candidates we have now?

No matter who becomes president, we have only ourselves to blame for the state of the nation.  The demise of our Christian-based country rests on our Christian shoulders. We’ve been distracted, complacent and unfaithful.  We’ve played church and used our Bibles as weapons and excuses and we’ve been fooled by the enemy to think the fight is more important than our faith.  We believe we must win at any cost, thus what we see unfolding right before our eyes.  Conformation.

Whatchamacallit

Go look in the mirror – well, wait until after you read this.  😉 You are stunning.  So beautiful and strong.  Look at that smile.  Never mind the creases and wrinkles.  Actually, take them in as well. They’re signs of the things you’ve weathered.  Cancer.  Death of loved ones.  Loss of material things, jobs, raising kids.  Whatever.   Think about all you’ve been through; all God has brought you through.  You’re still on your feet.  You still have the ability and more importantly the want to, to smile.  You still are good and do good things.  You’re still capable of love and blessing other people.  You still dole out compassion generously. You still believe.  You obviously still have hope because you’re doing today what you did yesterday:  living!

Whatever you’ve been through – your whatchamacallit – hasn’t killed you.  Has it changed you?  Are you living or just existing?  Are you deeply wounded from it all?  If you are, now that you’ve survived it, God can heal you.  Are you bitter? He can heal you.  Are you physically and emotionally distorted?  He can heal you.

Sometimes we choose after something life-changing to not remember but I’d encourage you to take a brief look back.  Recall the things you were absolutely terrified and/or brokenhearted about; the things you couldn’t see any way out of and yet, here you are.  Amazing.

Don’t believe God is still in the miracle business?  Look in the mirror.  There it is, His greatest accomplishment. Physical proof He is still very much in the miracle business.  You can still smile, love and most important of all, believe.  If you can do nothing but cry, your tears are evidence that He’s working on you, creating His masterpiece miracle because, after all of it, you still feel.

Whatchamacallits will always be until we’re in heaven.  As long as you keep seeking Him, trusting Him that’s He’s with you through it all, no matter what, anything is possible.  Rock on mighty and beautiful warrior.  You got this, He’s got you and you’ve got Him.

Hebrews 11:1…GENESIS 50:20!!!!