Sunday, May 16, 2010

Not My Will

When it comes to thinking about doing God's will please tell me I'm not the only one who finds that dread tends to be the prevalent feeling that surfaces first. I guess its understandable in one way as at times it has cost me a lot to follow Him. Then on the other hand its hard to remember a time that it wasn't the very best thing for me making me so glad I followed. I'm not saying that I have seen the blessing in everything He has asked me to do or not do. However, I have lived long enough to know that I can trust that He is all about my best. This made most blatantly obvious when Jesus, the very Son of God, was sacrificed in my place.

So why the dread? Jesus isn't asking us to do anything He didn't do for us. Nor does He expect us to walk that road alone like He did. He denied Himself and to follow Him means we must too. Ouch! This requires throwing off everything that hinders our walk with Him, getting rid of entangling sin, which all necessitate perseverance. Perseverance, of course, can't happen until our focus is off ourselves and fixed on Him. Jesus had His eyes fixed on the joy ahead...which is joy unspeakable.

Perhaps the question is - am I willing to settle for something infinitely less than what is ahead? Perhaps the greater question is - how can anything be worth giving up the joy of living each day in sweet communion with God Himself?

Not My Will

"Not my will but Yours be done"
May come easy to a few and some

Perhaps it means to forge ahead
When I'd rather sit and rest instead
Perhaps it means to deny myself
When I'd rather spend or keep my wealth

Perhaps it means to lay pleasures down
Instead of overlooking an eternal crown
Perhaps it means to enter a place I fear
Instead of ignoring the Voice I hear

"Not my will but Yours be done"
Brings joy as my will is overcome


Luke 22:41-42
He withdrew about a stones throw beyond them, knelt and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but Yours be done"

Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

God With Us

Last weekend at my church (Church at Charlotte) we had our annual Christmas "Stories" production. To me it seemed grander and excelled even past experiences. As I soaked it in I asked God to impress on me a thought regarding the birth of His Son. Unexpectedly I saw the tiny little hand and delicate fingers of the 3 week old baby in "Mary's" arms rise up as if grasping for heaven itself. I was struck in a much greater way just how frail and dependent Jesus allowed Himself to be on my behalf and that of all mankind. His willingness to humble Himself by coming to earth would change the course of countless stories through the ages.

Last year I pondered Mary's story and what it must have felt like to walk in her shoes or ride her donkey as it were. Surely if I had been writing her story I would have spruced up her circumstances and made life a little easier on her. After all she was the mother of the Son of God and this was a very important occasion. I had to wonder if she experienced some doubt as things unfolded in less than perfect ways. As my story has unfolded at times I have found it very hard to imagine that things were going according to God's plan. However, its true to say that even when I have not been able to understand my circumstances He has been with me the entire time and made His total peace available to me.

Just Perfect

She rode on a donkey
About to give birth
For the Son of God
Was coming to earth

No place to stay?
How can that be?
God are You there?
Did you forget me?

Accompanied by animals
She gave birth to a son
In a manger she laid him
Could this be the One?

But make no mistake
All was going to plan
This humble beginning
For the Son of Man

In a field close by
Shepherds cower in fright
God’s glory blazed down
Like no other night

A great and joyful event
For all people worldwide
A chance to receive
A peace you can’t hide

Circumstances not perfect?
Why all the fuss?
Immanuel is here
God with us


Matthew 1:23
"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us."

John 14:27
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Its A Date

My dear friend, Karen, gave me a book when I turned 50 called Women of Substance - A Collection of Estrogen-Rich Cartoons by Revilo. My favorite would have to be of a woman free-falling with an unopened parachute strapped to her back saying "I skydive to relax. For sheer terror I date." Ha! What do you in your fifties - fun or frightening?? Actually from my experience its both and I have to say its takes courage to put yourself out there. There's a reason why you should do this while you're young!

I have discovered that God is delighting in using this new arena in which I have little experience. He always gets my attention eventually when I don't know what I'm doing! It's surprising though that my immediate reaction is not always going to Him for insight and wisdom! Even so I am starting to see that my view of things is often far from reality. I need His take on things. In His graciousness He has allowed me to find many hidden treasures along the way for which I am grateful. Some born out of pain and some out of pleasure.

We all find ourselves in circumstances we may not have necessarily chosen and have us feeling out of our depth. Whatever these are for you I encourage you to look to God for the unexpected treasures and lessons that lay on the path ahead. Even though the path is dimly lit and a little frightening at times rest in His wisdom.

Entangled Treasures

You lead me Lord
On paths I do not know
Sometimes at quite a pace
And others very slow
Requiring faith
To follow just the faintest light
Not knowing if it leads
To pain or much delight

It's likely both
Are intertwined like cords
Entangled treasures hide
Fit for Queens and Lords
Inquire my soul of Him
My ever-faithful Love
Lay aside your twisted view
Rest in wisdom from above


1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared
for those who love Him."

Monday, October 5, 2009

May I have this dance?

Right now I feel like the ground underneath me is shaky, moving up and down and side to side. Not a lot feels very firm and secure in my life right now. So much is coming and growing up and leaving home, selling my house after being here for 13 years (the longest I've lived in one place by far!), my place in life, income, career, relationships, emotions and hormones! My world doesn't quite feel upside down although it could.

Even when you are in a bad place for long enough (in my case a bad marriage) it becomes familiar and in a weird sense "stable". At least you think you know what you've got no matter how bad it is. You sort of know what to expect. The routine is the same and so is the dysfunctional as it is. Mine had become the dance of the zombie, the music was morbid and the moves way out of step. Nonetheless it was predictable. Was I fulfilled and!

In reality my life was way more topsy-turvey and less secure than it is right now - it just took me a while to realize it. The life I live now is far more healthy and fulfilling but in someways harder too. Sooner or later you have to acknowledge that it's not what's going on in life that completes you but rather your walk (or dance) with God.

As I have pondered Psalm 16 lately God assures me that He is the one who assigns my "portion and my cup". Sometimes that cup is a bitter one and hard to swallow. Jesus asked for His to be taken away. Yet He trusted God, His Father, and was committed to doing what He wanted so He drank it. Psalm 16 went on to say that He "makes my lot secure" and places "boundary lines around me in pleasant places". I have a delightful future ahead of part here but culminating in heaven with Jesus. I have seen enough of life to know full well that life here is guaranteed not to be what I expect but far better. This will be virtually impossible to see at times of that I am sure. However He will be there to guide me every step of a dance I'm not very good at yet.

It doesn't matter how unstable life seems He remains the steady as a rock. I will not be shaken for He is with me. That's a lot to get excited about! I can relax in that/in Him. I know for sure that the One who was willing to die for me will certainly not abandon me leaving me to be tossed about by the quakes or tsunamis of life.

God has shown me a new dance - so different, so alive, so beautiful. This one brings deep joy, excitement and assurance. It goes on forever gaining more and more momentum and grace...culminating perfectly in heaven. Perhaps you're still doing the old, miserable yet familiar dance. It takes guts to get out there and join Him on His dance floor. Questions flood our minds...Do I trust Him to lead me? Can I keep in step? Will I trip and look stupid or hurt myself? or Will I look into His face and forget what's around me?

He stands before you asking "May I have this dance?

Psalm 16
1 Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing."
3 As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.
4 The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood 
or take up their names on my lips.
5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 62:5-7
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Morning Prayer

Friday at last...I feel exhausted. I find myself looking for an escape, something to run to, something exciting, new, fun...but would that really do it for me? Perhaps in the short term - yes. However, judging from the past I would feel more empty than before as its "peace and joy" are hollow or momentary at best.

The fact is nothing fills the place only God is big enough for. I know that. Why is it then that I gravitate to the temporary, those things that can't deliver? Perhaps it's my independent "I'm big enough - I can handle it" mindset. Maybe it's my lack of trust that He will come through with what I think I need. Or more to the point, my unwillingness to wait on the Lord until He delivers.

He has been SO faithful to me over the years, He has come through in ways I could only have dreamt of with perfect timing and so generously too...yet I find myself in this place again. What is wrong with me?! The fact is I just don't have what it takes to live the life of faith.

That's enough to send me to my knees.

Morning Prayer

Lord, here it is another day
Please fill my life anew
I am bereft of what it takes
To live this life for You

Deliver me from futile efforts
To walk with dignity and power
Impose on me Your very essence
As in the beauty of a flower

Cleanse me from the inside out
Eradicate my mess
Ooze Your being through mortal me
Or I am nothing, I confess.


John 15:5
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

2 Corinthians 2:14-15
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

John 7:38
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)
"But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength..."

"Those who hope in (trust in, look expectantly to) the Lord will renew their strength." Their weakness will give way to God's strength (NIV Study Bible). In fact "they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Through Trials

My position is not to simply endure, just waiting for relief but to grow in faith and appreciation for the One Who carries me and mercifully moves me to another place. I must also keep before me the big picture of bringing sons to Him and glory before all men.

Through Trials

“To know You is to love You”
I heard this as a child
But to experience this through trials?
Now that is truly wild!

You’d think that only good times
Would make me love you more
But no, that’s just the time You prove
Your love and what’s in store

It’s not until I suffer loss
And am in Your comfort bathed
I realize more of Who You are
And from what it is I’m saved

Not only that but soon it’s clear
What they reveal in me
When squarely faced and embraced
I live authentically


James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Lamentation 3:22-24
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."

2 Timothy 2:9b-10
But God's word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

All the Difference

2 Timothy 1:6
'Fan into flame the gift of God which is in you..'

This morning as I looked out on my day and pondered an event that would stretch me I was reminded again that even our spiritual gifts are in 'the process of becoming'. They need to be developed through use. The early stages of exercising a gift or using it in a new way can be a little frightening and can push us beyond our comfort zone. However according to Paul that's no excuse not to go there. 2 Timothy 1:7 says:

'God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power, of love and self discipline.'

When I'm timid that's means I'm operating out of the old me. According to this I don't need to settle for that for God has already given me a spirit of power, love and self discipline. All it took was an acknowledgement that I needed Him and a request for Him to move through me with power, love and self discipline. It was fun to see how others noticed the difference and saw something in me that they didn't realize was there before. Thank You, God, You make all the difference.