Tuesday, April 28, 2015

In Awe

Sometimes we don't know what we need. We just know we need God to show up...quickly.

I dreaded giving the news I hadn't expected. I was so disappointed and I anticipated the same reaction when I shared it.

I didn't know what to pray. And I didn't know what to ask God for, because I had no idea what the next step could possibly be.

All I could pray was "God we need You. Please come quickly. Come now."

And sometimes that is enough.

I stalled and moved slowly, not sure what to say or when to say it. I didn't doubt God would be there. I was just too tired to think about what He might be up to.

I expected sadness and discouragement.

But God showed up.

In fact, He had already been at work, going before me, preparing the way.

The news that hit me hard? Well, God buffered it for her. Even she was surprised at her positive reaction.

She said she thought God was with her right then. And He wasright there with both of us.

God at work.

Knowing what I had prayed and seeing how He wasn't sitting idle, but had shown up just as I had asked—that was an undeniable blessing.

And I was in awe.

He allowed me to witness the way He was weaving the details together...details I didn't know how to handle. And, as it turns out, I didn't have to.

Where over the past weeks, I had prayed for wisdom and God had supplied, this time, God took care of it before I tried to.

Just as He had already planned to do, I'm sure.

Looking back, has there been a time you were in awe of the way God put details of a situation together before you could figure out what to do?

Have there been times in your life when you didn't know what you needed, but you only knew you needed God to show up...quickly?

In Christ,

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Every Part Rejoices

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.  
1 Corinthians 12:26 NIV

I was in a meeting yesterday where 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 was read and discussed. The passage talks about the body of Christ, made up of many members, each with different gifts, talents, and roles to play within the body.

While the conversation centered around the entire passage, focusing on being there for one another through suffering, my thoughts zeroed in on the second half of 1 Corinthians 12:26…

…if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Friends, we—you and I—make up the body of Christ. Each of us have different gifts and talents to offer…which lead us to different places on this journey in faith we’re on. Places that often lead us to comparison, competition, and jealously of others.

Ouch. I hate to admit that sometimes jealously is my first reaction when someone I know is honored, long before rejoicing.

Maybe you can relate—

when a co-worker gets the promotion…

when fellow blogger’s post goes viral…

when someone else is asked to speak at a conference…

when the sales of another author’s book take off

—and your congratulations is a little more forced than you let on.

…if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 

Last year, I ran a series of posts by guest contributors titled, “Comparing Ourselves to Others…and what it does to us.” Based on the comments and feedback on that series, I know I’m not alone in this struggle. After all, we’re human, with human emotions and dreams…and sometimes watching someone else’s dream come to fruition stings.

Because somewhere along the way, we’ve reasoned that one person’s success takes away our opportunity for success.

It sounds kind of silly, doesn’t it? There is not a shortage of work to be done in God’s Kingdom, and yet we convince ourselves it’s a competition, with the notion that if she gets there first, there is no room for me.

The enemy must love this because once we’ve opened the door to comparison, he doesn’t even have to force his way in. It’s an open invitation for him to shout the lies of how we aren’t good enough.

…if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

God has given us different skills and abilities as He chooses. He directs the path and the time for which our gifts can serve others.

But...I wonder how often our jealously and frustration cause us to quit before our time comes.

Think about it for a moment. Have you ever been to that edge of discouragement and you decide to just give it up? What if your time of being honored was just around the corner? And you missed it.

It gives me a sick feeling to think I missed something God was leading me to because I let jealously get in the way.   

So, what if we don’t let that happen? What if we put our emotions and ambitions aside, and stand united against the enemy?

Instead, we’ll stand united for God’s Kingdom work, no matter what our individual roles may be.

That means when one part of the body of Christ is honored, every part rejoices with it.

And, friends, I’m rejoicing with you today.

In Christ,

Sunday, April 12, 2015

For Such a Time as This

“…And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” 
(Esther 4:14 NIV)

Like Esther, sometimes God leads us to a place we don’t want to be in and we can't help but wonder why. Join me in the conversation over at LifeNotes.

In Christ,

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I Am Undone - A Conversation with God

Me: God? Are You here?

God: I AM.

Me: I feel completely undone.

God: I know.

Me: I been trying so hard, but it doesn't seem to matter.

God: What you do does matter.

Me: But no one notices.

God: I notice.

Me: It feels like everything is falling apart.

God: You don't have to try so hard. You won't be able to be everything for everyone.

Me: I don't know when to keep trying and when to let go.

God: Right now, you need to let go. It's true—you are coming apart under the weight you've been carrying.

Me: What happens now? I'm always so tired.

God: Rest and lean into Me. In time, I will renew you, and your energy. You will emerge stronger...spiritually and emotionally.

Me: What about everything I've been trying to take care of?

God: I've got it. I will bring good from this...I promise.

Me: (whispering) Thank you, Lord.

God: Rest now. You are in My shelter.

Lord, thank You for bringing us into Your shelter whenever we need it. And especially when You know we need it. Thank You for picking up the pieces when we become undone under the weight and pressures of living in this world. 

Please continue to draw us to You, reminding us that we can't be everything to everyone. May our dependence on ourselves never become more important to us than our dependence on You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

If you feel yourself coming undone in your daily life, lean into the Lord. Let Him shelter and renew you...in His way and His time.

In Christ,

Photo credit: K. Rath 2014

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Sealing of the Tomb

It’s the sound that gets me every year.

The loud SLAM! made to symbolize the closing of the tomb at the end of the Good Friday worship service.

Although I know to expect it, it makes me jump.

And then it makes me cry. Every. Year.

I know the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection follows…but I still feel sorrow.

I imagine how the disciples and the women who watched Jesus die on the cross must have felt—that sense of loss and desperate finality.

I’ve been thinking about those moments the tomb was sealed.
Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching. Matthew 27:59-61 NLT
Jesus—carefully and lovingly cared for and laid to rest. Instead of a loud SLAM…the scraping sound of rock against rock—sealing the tomb…the physical exertion and grief of moving the “great stone”…saying goodbye forever.

Jesus’ death and resurrection was prophesied, so I suppose they should have known it wasn’t final. And yet, grief can be too much for our human minds and emotions, can’t it?

As a believer, I know God brings about life through death. And that Truth brings comfort and strength in my darkest moments. I wonder how much harder it is for someone who does not know Christ.

The resurrection could not come without Jesus first going to the cross and then the grave.

“It is finished.” Jesus declared.

And because Jesus conquered death, we have life.

Thank You, Lord Jesus! May we never forget the sacrifice You paid for our sins. Even while we are still sinners, You never stop pursuing us. May those who have yet to know You find You pursuing them…and come to know You as their Lord and Savior. Amen.

In Christ,