Saturday, March 31, 2012

Reevaluation






It's that season - a time in life where you have been driving down a highway and all of the sudden find yourself on a side street, with the GPS voice reading off "recalculating, recalculating". 

Sometimes we look at the roads we're on in life and we can see a long drive.  We can be content there because we know what's up ahead.  We can anticipate the traffic, the turns, and the scenery.  And sometimes, we  look at the roads and see a dead end.  How did we get here?  We were traveling straight, steady.  We took no stops or detours. 

But wait, perhaps we should have.

That's the spot.  That's the recalculation, the reevaluation place. Maybe you stay on this road, but maybe you need to turn down another.  And only God knows which way is the correct way.

It's not really something to get stressed out about.  After all, "we can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." (Proverbs 16:9)

So it comes to this: pulling off to the side, and looking at our road map, calling the person we're headed to see, and reevaluating our course.  This is where I, and several of my friends, find ourselves.

I'm seeking God through the Bible and prayer and counsel.  I'm hanging out on the side of the road for just a little bit while I get my bearings. I'm sure I won't be here long.  There's a lot of road to travel.

Pastor Dan Betzer once made the comment about choosing how to proceed in a huge life decision - if you're really not sure what to do, don't do anything.

If you're in this season with me, let's be proactive about seeking God and serving others while we wait for an answer.  You never know when the call is going to come, so make the most of this time, and you'll be ready when it does.  

Road trip...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

One for the saving

I jumped into a group of young adults here in SW Florida last week called "Connect".  The group is finishing up a 12-week study called "Vintage Jesus" by Mark Driscoll and this week's topic was on "What makes Jesus superior to other saviors?"

There was a question asked during the meeting that was compelling to me: who, right now, are you leaning on to be your savior? 

Savior is a term that is used to describe Jesus, but it's not specific to Him, necessarily.  Some people mentioned spouses, friends, or affirmation as their savior.  I know some people consider money or knowledge to be their savior.  I have struggled with success being my savior. 

2011 was riddled with "FAIL"'s for me.  Lots of great successes happened, of course, but so did some pretty large failures.  Specifically, I struggled with failing a state license exam over and over.  I sought help, sought perspective, and wrestled with the ups and downs of depression. 

Thankfully, God saw me through it all, and on the flipside, I can make out a distinct tie between my thought of success as my salvation. No, logically I would never have thought this would be me, but my actions and my response proved otherwise.

I am so thankful for this revelation.  The hard truth is this: success is not difficult for me, so the option to make it my savior will always be there.  Now that the temptation has been revealed, I can make a conscious decision to walk away from leaning on it as a savior and to find my real salvation in Jesus. 

Every human is subject to this kind of error, because we all need a savior. 

I would encourage you to seek with God what things or people you may have placed in your life as a savior, and make a conscious decision every day to turn to Jesus instead.  Let's keep trusting Him, together, to come to our rescue. 

Isaiah 43:11  I am the Lord, and there is no savior besides me.



Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My Back-Porch Rendezvous with God

God wants to spend time with us. 

What do you picture time with God like? 

Here's what my time is like:

If I could make it easy to understand, image sitting down on your back porch after a long day with God.  His looks?  Well today He's probably wearing the brightest white you have ever imagined.  He's sort of glowing, actually, because he put on a dark blue jacket so these human eyes wouldn't be blinded, and the bright white is kind-of exploding out from underneath his jacket...


Back Porch View

 
God:  Hey sweetheart!  How are you doing today?

Me: God, you know how I'm doing.  But I'm feeling good.  I slept good last night.  I got a lot done at work today.  And I got to talk to my good friend - she always encourages me.

God: Oh yeah!  I remember that!  I totally told her to say that to you.  I know what makes your heart smile more than ANNNNYYYThing else.  ;)

God:  You look incredible today, by the way.  Did you see how you radiated when you helped that lady with the box?  I splashed a bit of my "shine" on you. Oh, and that time you started to get sad about how bad your hair looked while the other girl's hair was perfect - but then I whispered into your heart and you threw those thoughts out the window???  Sweetie, I was smiling so big right then.  Kind of like I am right now.  Did you know you grew thirteen new hairs today, by the way?

Me:  Wow. God, you always surprise me with your greatness.  Why do I get so surprised?  You are too big for me to understand.  Thanks for loving all the details about me.  I love all the details about you too.  :)

God: So what do you have going on tonight?

Me: Well, I think I'm going to go for a bike ride...

God:  Great idea!  I'll come too.

Me:  I don't have an extra bike, though!

God: Silly, I'll just go in your heart.  

Me:  Ha!  Of course!  Ok, well then after we get done with our bike ride, we will probably need to take a shower.

God: Yeah!  Isn't it so cool how I made the body to function?  Your pores sweat and your nose has the job of smelling it, which signals to your brain to mobilize and get rid of the smell.  I just love the body.  It's a great design.

Me:  (smiling)

God:  (smiling back)  I know you love the way I think.  I love the way you think.  You're so perfect.  Jesus told me about how you two are stuck together now.  That's why I know you're perfect.   If Jesus says so, I know it's true.  I sure love Him, and I sure love you. 


I would challenge you to mentally picture your time with God.  We live in a day and age where the visual stimulation is so rampant that the imagination and the heart are seldom engaged.  Take time to find that place with God and go there alone with Him.  He just wants some hangout time.  And He's always available.  ;)




Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Confident Beggar

I was laying in bed this morning praying for so many people I know who are struggling in so many different ways.  I begged God for miracles for each of them.  

Do you ever pray and wish you didn't have to pray so much?  I have.  Not because I don't want to pray, but because I don't want to "bother God."  As soon as I recognize this mindset, I start praying more, because I realize I'm moving into deception in my mind if I stay there. 

So the thought came to me this morning, while I was begging for miracles, that perhaps God doesn't want us to stop asking for miracles.  Perhaps the reason why He brings us to the edge of our faith and down on our knees begging - is so that He can show us his greatness.  So that He can grow our faith, and so that the next time we go to beg for a miracle, we beg with confidence that He will come through.  He always does.  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Waiting v. Camping

I mentioned in an earlier post about reading Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis (1952).  I've only made it through the preface with my busy schedule, but there were several things that grabbed my thinker and took off running.

I enjoy the way Lewis has written in such a direct style.  There is little fluff, but lots of illustration, in his writing.  Toward the end of the preface (pg. 12), Lewis is describing decisions we must make in life regarding how we will live out our faith.

However, he goes on to point out that while we are waiting to make certain decisions, we must remember this is a time of waiting, not of camping.  Rather, don't get too comfortable.  As Lewis explains it, we must keep seeking God on the matters, even though we are in a waiting time, because we are not there to stay.

This train of thought has led me to remember the Bible verse that clearly says we must have faith if we are going to have any chance at all of pleasing God.  In our times of waiting, we have to keep seeking God, believing that He has more for us than this "hallway", and believing that He will answer us.

I'm choosing to seek and believe.  Let's live proactively in the waiting time, and save the camping for our recreation times.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Decisions, decisions...

I recently started reading the book Mere Christianity by author C. S. Lewis.  I have a copy of the book from 1952 that has been passed down through my family in some way or another, and the book itself has been known to be a bit of a classic in the history of Christian literature.

I particularly love the illustration Lewis gives at the end of the Preface of this edition.  He talks about decisions regarding our Christianity, and how once we decide to chose this life, we are in a hall full of doors.  At that point, we have to choose which door we will go through - whether we like the look of one, the sound of what is behind another, the smells from within yet another, or different traits of all the rest.  Regardless, we have to make a decision on what door to go through.

Lewis continues this illustration to say:
It is true that some people may find they have to wait in the hall for a considerable time, while others feel certain almost at once which door they must knock at.  I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.  When you do get into your room you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise (pg. 12).  
I was struck by this thought.  It certainly brings a degree of challenge and a degree of peace to my own heart to remember that the waiting is real, but also that it is for a good reason (of which we seldom discover until we are "inside our door").

We all find ourselves in hallways - not sure which door to choose - and not necessarily waiting for lack of courage.  Rather, we simply don't know yet which one is right to go through.  Let's do what has been proven throughout the ages: bring the question to God for His insight.  After all, He does know what is behind each door.

Cover image of my older version. :)  MacMillan Publishing Co, New York, NY