Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pondering A Plan That Will Stick

Picture it with me. You’re laying in bed, or driving in the car…cooking or cleaning, exercising, whatever you do when you stew…and you can’t stop thinking about that circumstance, conflict or decision.

You think about it in hundreds of different ways. What if I did this? No, that wouldn’t be good, because then “that” would happen. Okay, so what if I asked her to talk to so-and-so…but then I’m involving someone else, and she might think bad of me. But if I do this, something will fall through at home or work. I know, I’ll tell him one thing in hopes that it might lead to the other thing.

And we just. keep. going. Plotting, stirring, stewing…on and on…coaxing with God one minute, then working to solve the equations ourselves the next minute. Maybe it’s because we’re weary of waiting, maybe it’s a habit, maybe we believe that God helps those who help themselves, and He gave us marbles, so we best use them or lose them.

Whatever the case, the Lord was ready and waiting for my attention this morning so that He could deliver a message to me from His Word. I immediately wrote it on a sticky note and slapped it on my forehead. ;0

“There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.” Proverbs 21:30
Yea, um. That’s pretty clear with the three “nos” in there. I learned several things in the moments my heart was open:
  • *We can’t outwit God. Yes, it’s fine for us to think through a situation, but it’s not fine for us to take matters into our own hands. He sees the whole thing. He sees ahead. He knows what needs doing. We can whole-heartedly, undoubtedly, unmistakably rely on Him to guide our decisions as we trust Him with the faith He’s given us. He’ll continue to teach us about surrendered, Spirit-filled living, and we’ll think differently as a result.

  • *We can’t always depend on others to counsel us. Often the second place we turn after stewing is to friends or family. While the Lord will sometimes use those relationships to guide us, sometimes He doesn’t, especially when we don’t consult Him first. Another reason to wait and rely upon Him. As we do so, He will lead us to phone a friend, or even better, He’ll lead them to phone us. (love it when that happens). ;)

  • *How do we know when our thoughts or the counsel of others is in line with the Lord’s? When it falls in line with His Truth. If we are manipulating a person or situation to get our way, it’s not from Him (1 Cor. 13:5). If we are losing sleep or being driven to drink/eat, etc, or having physical symptoms of any kind from worry, it’s not from Him. (Luke 12:25). If what another person tells us leads us to think ourselves better than another or more entitled and deserving than ever before, it’s not from Him. (Philip. 2:3)

  • *Even if we do it the “easy” way, the wrong way, the self-serving way, etc, His plan will still come to fruition. Because He loves us, and because of His grace, He will make His plan, the best plan, succeed in the end. We may have consequences from our folly, but He will still forgive us. We may have to wait longer for the good fruit that comes from fully believing, obeying and depending on Him, but He won’t let the opportunity pass without teaching us something spectacular (if we are open and listening). 
Who'da thunk this passage had so much to teach us? That's His Word. That's our God. He's the kind of Father who loves us enough to instruct us for our own best. He is tall, He is tender, and He is trustworthy...in every slice of life, even the sticky ones. 
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests & challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open & shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature & well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:2-4, The Msg.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A "Tax Day" Devotional

Are You Taxed Out?

Definiton: Tax, n. A burdensome or excessive demand; a strain.


Is this you, my friend? If you were to write a tax letter to the Lord instead of the IRS, would it be similar to this?

April 15th, 2010

Dear Lord,

I’m tired. I’m drained. I’m burdened. All the things I don’t want to be as a Christian.
I am, though.

What an awkward day for me to realize this, but…I’m overtaxed.

Could you…wait, I know You

Would You please give me a tax break? Just long enough for me to come up for air? I don’t mean to beg, but please?

I do love You, Lord. I do. I have only good intentions, but I’m weary, Lord.

Hangin’ by a hair,
Your child


I know You already know this, but the thought of no new taxes would really bring peace of mind to me right now.

April 15th, 2010

Dear child,

Yes. My tax breaks are always available for you. Listen to what I’ve written.*

“The Word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.”

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you;  

He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 

Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart, 

and you will find rest for your souls.”

“Do you not know? 

The LORD is the everlasting God…He will not grow tired or weary, 
and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. 

They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, 

they will walk and not be faint.”

So…yea. This was written for you, my precious child. For this tax day, and every other moment too.

Holding you tight,
Your Daddy

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” **

*Deuteronomy 30:14, 31:8, Matthew 11:28-29, Isaiah 40:28-31
** John 16:33

"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, 
who daily bears our burdens. Selah"
Psalm 68:19

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Unfulfilled Expectations at the Internet Cafe

I'm serving at the Internet Cafe today. I hope you'll come by and chat with me:

Thanks for your continued encouragement!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Are you a good witness?

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven."

Matthew 5:14-16
"You are..." You ARE. Believer in Christ, His light is what you are. Because Jesus has conquered the dark grave of sin and death, and because the Holy Spirit has been given to you, lives inside of you, works through you, you are the light of Christ.

You don't have to pray to have enough light for today or tomorrow. You don't have to pray to do "light" things. You don't have to worry about the darkness taking you over. As you abide in Him, you walk in the light and it beams for all to see. 

You don't get credit. You don't get a medal. You often won't receive any praise or applause at all when its His light shining through you. Because when others see His light in your attitude, your actions, they will see Him and praise HIM. 

I know many of you reading know Whose you are...but do you know who you are in Him? Do you know that you are a new creation and that in Him you live and move and have your being? Do you realize that Jesus Christ is your life and that your life is now hidden in God?  (2 Co 5:17, Acts 17:28, Col. 3:3) 

The more I cease praying about being a better Christian and witnessing more, asking instead that the Lord live through me...the more He shines. I can't explain it, but it is so.

I love the way John White puts it:
"Has it never dawned upon you that the essence of witnessing is just plain honesty? You are salt - whether you feel like it or not. You are not told to act like salt but to be what you are. You are a light. God has done a work in your life. Don't try to shine. Let the light that God put there shine out. It demands no more than honesty. It demands honesty before unbelievers. In fact such honesty is ninety per cent of witnessing. Witnessing is not putting on a Christian front as to convince prospective customers. Witnessing is just being honest, that is, being true to what God has made you in your speech and everyday behaviour." John White

What verses have shown you who you are in Him?

How is your life different when you cease self-striving 
and let Him live through you?

What does it look like to live "honestly before unbelievers"?