Friday, June 24, 2011

“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3: 11.

I love summer. The heat and I get along pretty well. I especially love that I get to wear flip flops. They’re cute, make fun flippy noises when I walk and I can get a whole wardrobe of them cheap. All pluses in my mind.

In a normal summer, my flip flop wear is limited to weekends and evenings when I’m home from work. Work shoes tend to have a more solid foundation, giving my high arches ample support. This summer, however, I am unemployed. Which, among other things, means that I am wearing flip flops nearly every hour of every day. Too much of a good thing? Yep. I’m finding that the lack of support from the flimsy, flippy foundation has caused pain and discomfort for my soles.

Which got me thinking.

Don’t we sometimes approach our faith and relationship with Jesus that way? It can be so easy to slip into the sandy, unsturdy foundation of life’s distractions that our souls end up aching and lost. I can whip myself into worrying about something I have no business in, losing focus as my eyes come off Jesus and onto some circumstance of life.

Life, like my flip flops, is good in moderation. We should laugh and enjoy life, but always with the solid foundation of our relationship and identity in Christ. When we are firmly connected to the truth of His word, we can filter life through the proper lens and not lose sight of what’s really important – our eternity with Him. Like the inexpensive flip flops I love to wear in the summer, this life is temporary and should be approached as such.

Building life on anything less than the Rock of Christ is risking far too much. Shifting sand feels great on my feet, but I never want to build my life on it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

When we are going through trials, facing all that life tends to throw at us, it can be difficult to process. As an adult, I often find myself lost for explanation for suffering and calamity. Even as an adult, with adult ability to understand and reason, some things just don’t make sense and require me to leave it to God.

Imagine what it’s like when you’re a kid. Trying to understand why bad things happen, especially when those bad things are happening to you. Even those with the strongest faith can find themselves tested. Now, factor in time. To a kid, time is a huge deal. Days can seem like months and months, frankly, are eternity.

A good friend, a youngster, is in the midst of a storm that is hard to understand. He has gifts and abilities that are special, and yet, circumstances have kept him away from using those gifts for over a year. He has faced setback after setback, which is really testing his resolve and faith. Time seems like it is ticking away from him, threatening the very gifts he knows are from God.

But God is timeless. He is, was, and always will be. While that may be a hard concept to wrap our heads around, it can also bring comfort, knowing that in all things, God is with us and is working in our lives.

When we face trials, our first response should be praying and seeking God. If those trials drag on, there is a reason. Perhaps it is to allow us to remain trusting and patient in the wait. It could likely be that something bigger and better is planned beyond the current situation. We cannot know, we can only choose to trust.

The ancient blessing in Numbers was a way to ask for divine favor. The blessing conveys favor and protection, His pleasure in us, mercy and compassion, approval and peace. By turning our attention away from the circumstance and toward the great I AM, perspective changes and we can slip into the timelessness of His presence. There, we will find peace and hope for the future. The future we can trust Him with.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

‘Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”’ Isaiah 6: 8.

How would you feel if it was your job to deliver the worst news possible to others? All day long, nothing but sadness, desperation and hopelessness. To make matters worse, what if the very people you were delivering this news to were living their lives believing the exact opposite? Believing they had every reason to be happy, calm and hopeful. You would certainly be delivering a shock to their system and truly rocking their world. It’s possible they might not believe you, may even cast you out. And yet, you are obligated, even compelled to persist because if they don’t grasp the news you have for them, they are doomed to be lost forever.

Pretty heavy, huh?
I was reading Isaiah 6, when he is commissioned to do just this, deliver the news to the Israelites that they were doomed because they had disobeyed God. Convict and convince them that unless and until they realize they had nowhere to turn but back to God, they were condemned.
Isaiah also realized he was unclean, sinful, weak and powerless without submitting control to the Lord. He could have let this grip him with fear and meekly back away from the call to be God’s spokesperson. And yet, he didn’t. After crying out, acknowledging his lowly position before the Lord, he was made clean. Then, he boldly accepted the call when asked, “Whom shall I send,” saying, “Here am I. Send me.”
Am I willing to accept that call? Will I also say, “Lord, send me?” Or will I let my fear, weakness and my sinfulness hold me back from the call to deliver His message? Unlike Isaiah, our message is of hope: forgiveness and eternal life with the One who paid it all for us on the cross.
Will you join me in boldly accepting the call to share the news of salvation?
Lord, I want to have a heart and will like Isaiah, strongly compelled to share your message no matter the cost. Equip me with whatever is needed to open my eyes to those with whom you want me to share the Good News. Here am I. Lord, send me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

“Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD.” Psalm 102: 18

I’ve been in a wicked battle. I have prayed and committed myself to whatever the Lord has determined for my next steps. He has provided and opened doors to allow me to receive incredible teaching and guidance for ministry. He has given the gift of time with my recent layoff from my job. Yet, I have had no words.

Next month, I am attending She Speaks, a conference for women led to do more with speaking and/or writing ministries. The Lord’s provision was so abundantly clear that I knew I was supposed to go. One of the offerings at the conference is the opportunity to pitch your book idea to publishing houses. This requires an idea and a thorough proposal. As much as I have prayed and tried to put it together, the words just have not come. With only weeks left before the conference, I was beginning to panic a little.

One day last week, I woke up with that same panicky feeling about the book proposal. My days have been filling up with everything but writing. As I peeked at my messages and texts that morning, one of them mentioned Psalm 102. I went to my Bible and read it. The words of verse 18 jumped off the page and grabbed my full attention.

As I meditated on those words, a realization began to settle into my spirit. The words aren’t mine, they are His. The timing is definitely not mine, it’s His. If I am supposed to complete this step before the conference, He will provide. I only need to submit my will to His and allow Him to work through me. That has been my problem all along. I was trying to make this mine. It’s not. Once I get that straight, it will all flow in His timing and purpose.