Tuesday, July 19, 2011

“You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.” Deuteronomy 2:3

What mountain are you circling? It is so easy to get caught up in the ease of status quo, isn’t it? Life throws a lot of curveballs at us and oftentimes, it’s just plain easier to let the battle wear us down instead of fend off the attack and forge ahead.

Times like:
• Job loss
• Rejection
• Injury or illness
• Self-control issues
• Stepping out in faith

Oh, yes, the enemy would have us slip into a vat of self-pity and wallow there until we are rendered useless. Pulling up our boot straps, trusting God and going forward is difficult. But that’s just what the Bible tells us to do.

The Israelites wandered around for 40 years, and essentially rendered themselves useless with their lack of trust and faith. Even though they had seen first-hand the promises of God come true – His protection and provision for them were unmistakable – and yet, they squandered away for decades.

Turn north. Get out of the pattern you are in and step forward. Yes, that is my heart’s desire. Whatever He has called us to do, we must do. If we are to be the light we say we want to be, our lives need to reflect our faith. Staying in a circular pattern because it’s easier than making changes or stepping out in faith is not the way. It’s the way of complacency.

I don’t know about you, but that is not good enough for me. He has placed a call on my heart and He is the last one I want to let down by not following through. Sure, it’s hard. There will be rejection, attack and questions I cannot answer. But, in the end, I answer to Him. And when I am standing before Him, I don’t want my life to be a series of unfulfilled circles. I want it to be a path that leads to Him, that points others to Him and that fulfills His will for my life.

What about you? Are you circling or are you ready to turn north? All it takes is the first step.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2Corinthians 12:9

There is nothing like a field of blooming flowers to capture my attention and take my breath away. When I see all that beauty leaning towards the sun, it paints a vivid picture for me of how I should be leaning in towards the Son.

As the flowers tilt towards their source of sustenance, so should I. Depending on anything else only brings disappointment. If I lean on my own abilities, I’m bound to slip up and feel failure and guilt. If I depend on another person, I’m bound to feel let down and disappointed. If I look towards the government, work, or some other entity, I’m bound to feel disconnected, unappreciated or unheard.

The flowers also remind me that weakness is beauty. When I recognize my own weakness and let go of the need to fix it all, do it all, be it all – I let go and let God. In recognizing my own limitations and pressing in to Him to allow Him to work, His strength is evident. And, isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?

There have been so many times in life when the only way something could be accomplished was if God’s hand was on it. And, when I’ve let it go to Him, I’ve been amazed by the outcomes.

Whatever we are facing, He’s big enough to handle it. Whatever challenges we see over the next horizon, He’s already been there and overcome it. Whatever setbacks that seem to be taking the breath right out of us, He’s already walked through. Letting that truth sink in to my heart builds trust and hope.

Like the flowers in the field, leaning in to God is the way to not only survive, but thrive. By doing this, we will begin to accomplish the work He has set out for us to do, and bring Him glory in the process.

Monday, July 11, 2011

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light…” Ephesians 5:8

Driving home after an intense rainstorm, the sun broke through and was shining brightly. It was so bright, I needed sunglasses. As I watched the storm move to the east, there was a magnificent rainbow lit up against the dark storm clouds. Pulling over, I grabbed my camera to try and capture the beauty of it. I snapped a couple shots, then peeked at the viewfinder to check the pictures. The rainbow was there, but its brilliance was much less than it had been through the lenses of my sunglasses.

I wondered. How often do I look at the world through my own eyes, rather than the eyes of Christ? Honestly, too often. The Bible tells us we should live as children of light. We are to see others as He sees them, not as we would. Far too often, my vision gets clouded by the circumstance or my mood or some action that I filter in a way that was not intended. Far too often, I let the things of this life dictate my reactions, rather than react in love.

My life should reflect my faith.

My life should reflect my faith.

My life should reflect my faith.

So, instead of responding in a manner that is reflective of this world, I should pause, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help me respond in a manner that reflects my faith. In a way that shines the light on Jesus. In a way that processes life through His eyes, not mine. This is hard to do. I cannot do it without the strength of the Spirit. But, if we are not doing this, what is it about us that is any different than a person without Christ? For someone, our example may be the very thing that turns their eyes toward Christ. Think about it.

Like the rainbow’s brilliance against the dark storm clouds, our lives should be a light shining through the darkness of this world.