Sunday, October 28, 2012

God's Manifest Presence

Time for a cool story! My husband Nick leads a prayer meeting for our church staff every Monday.  Last Monday he was going to talk about hearing from the Lord. Before the meeting, he asked the Lord to speak to Him and give him something specific for someone in the group.  Nick then went to the meeting and started out with, “I feel like I have something for... Annie (not her real name).”  He then proceeded to share with both Annie and the group what he felt he’d heard from the Lord. What he didn't know, is that at a staff meeting only minutes before Annie had shared her heart with the group. She was feeling down and was ready to quit. The words Nick shared directly addressed all the things she’d just poured out to the team! By the time it was over Annie was crying, as were several team members. It ministered to her deeply and really encouraged everyone in the meeting.

This is the God I know and love! My God who sees us and cares for us. Our pain and struggle does not go unnoticed by Him. He cares. Deeply. He wants to communicate His love for us. He desires to minister to us in our pain and struggles. He’s actually looking for faithful servants who will learn to hear His voice and then share with others the love and encouragement He offers like Nick did for Annie last Monday.  But in order to do that, we need to have a little more Mary and a little less Martha in our soul at times.  We need to commune with Him and get to know His heart. Then we need to be willing to take some risks!  

I talked to Nick about this later and this is what he said: "It wasn't like I was all confident and convinced I was right. I didn't know if I was hearing right at all. It was more like, "OK, here we go!" But I was willing to be obedient.  I was willing to take a risk. And God showed up.”

I love it when people serve as a catalyst for God. It’s like they take a person’s hand and they place it in God’s hand. Nick was a conduit for a God/girl connection. He connected Annie’s heart to her Lord’s heart. 

Tangible God. His manifest presence on the Earth. Very awesome!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Time Is a Trickster

Old time is a trickster.  We poor mortals live in the day to day, caught up in whatever is before us, ignorant that while we carry on in our oblivion, time marches relentlessly forward.   It hits me sometimes, like yesterday.  I drove into town just past noon, after spending two days in Missoula, Montana looking at University of Montana with my senior in high school.  The weekend before, we were out of town for another college visit. That in and of itself is a reality check--my daughter is leaving--soon.  Right after we got home, we shifted into “get ready for the Homecoming Dance” mode. Both girls were busy with prep (and we had one of their friends come over so they could do her hair, too!) They filled our dining room table with primping items and turned that room (which has an amazingly huge mirror) into a salon. I fixed dresses, picked up boutonnieres, went on last minute runs for shoes, and thoroughly enjoyed getting to be a part of the moment.

The girls were caught up in the day, having fun and busy trying not to be late for photo shoots, etc. They were totally oblivious in a way that I was not. I realized that this was Danielle’s last Homecoming Dance. I realized that there won’t be too many more times when they are getting ready together in my house, borrowing each other’s eye shadow and asking for help with the back of their hair. Other than Prom, it might be their weddings before they are ever in that mode together again.

That made me nostalgic; and just a little bit sad. It also made me want to appreciate each moment of life and really live them all, because they are gone in a vapor.

I was also extremely glad in that instant that I have prayed continually for my girls. I’m encouraged, as I’m about to send them out into the world, that their lives are full of prayer. I haven’t prayed for specific things, like “Dear God make my daughter become a missionary” or anything like that. But I have asked God continually to protect their lives, to fill their lives with His presence and Himself. I pray that God would lead and guide them to become everything He has called them to be and fulfill every plan and purpose that God has for their lives. I pray for their husbands (if they have them). I pray that they would draw close to Him.

In the end I have to trust them to Him and know that He loves them more than I do.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Verses I Love

Luke 10:38-42 NKJV
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

So why do I love this section of scripture? It isn't because I’m all caught up in the Mary/Martha debate. I know that we need to be both those who serve and those who sit at Jesus’ feet.  I love it because of the last part:

“But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

No one can take me away from my place at Jesus’ feet. If I want that good place, I can choose it, and it will not be taken from me. That spot is available to me and no one can keep me from it but me. I want to live in that place at Jesus’ feet, the place of relationship. In fact, it is a place I love to be. I love being close to my Lord. And I can be. It will not be taken from me! No one stands in my way. I can be close and Hear His voice. 

Here’s a funny story about listening to His voice: The diet I have to be on for my autoimmune is not fun at all. Fruits, veggies, and meat. That’s it. No grains of any type, no corn, soy, milk, sugar, etc. There are a few foods that are OK for some people and not others. One of them is potatoes. I've tried adding potatoes several times with mixed success. I couldn't figure it out, because I kept feeling like the Lord was telling me, “It’s not the potatoes.” That didn't make sense because I was reacting to something. I figured I had just heard Him wrong. I finally found out what it was…..potato chips! I can do potatoes fine, but potato chips give me pain. God was trying to help me out, but I had a hard time interpreting what I was hearing. The cool part was, He really did want to help me. He wanted to speak to me. He wants me in that place at His feet, close to His heart. And I want to be there!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Running Desperate 4: The State of Being Desperate

I don’t like feeling desperate. I like being the captain of my ship. Directing my life vessel in the way I want it to go.  Desperation isn't exactly control. It’s more like the state of being capsized. Out of the boat. Tossed and thrown about by winds you cannot seem to do anything about.  Arghh. Not a fan.

God, on the other hand, loves desperation. Why? I don’t know! But He has His reasons. I was thinking about it this morning…..why does God love it when I get desperate? Why does he respond to me when I’m on the brink?

This I do know. There isn't that much I can give to God. He’s given me everything. He owns everything. He knows everything. He can show me in an infinite number of ways how much He loves me. But how can I show Him that I love Him? That I value you Him and believe in Him above all others?  

I can do things for Him. I can give Him my time and my money. I can worship Him. However, our motives are sometimes so muddled in our giving.  It’s possible to do all of those things with lousy motives. And of course He would know them all. But when I get desperate, when I throw myself into His arms and admit that if He does not help me I will not be helped, that’s raw. It’s real. Genuine.  Desperation smacks of real-ness. It’s humbling. Instead of continuing to try and navigate my ship, I’m just plain honest. I cannot do this. I want to handle it, but I cannot. If you do no help me, I will not be helped. If you think about it, that’s got to be music to God’s ears.  

There are a number of Bible verses that speak about being desperate. Here are a couple of them:

Luke 11:5-11 NKJV
And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.

Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread[d] from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?

Words of a desperate woman:
Matthew 15: 21-28 NKJV
21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”

23 But He answered her not a word.

And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”

24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”

26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.