Wednesday, November 16, 2011
The next thing he said stunned me. "God says you are going through a period of testing. And He is waiting to see how you are going to do on the examination."
I made it to the office without breaking down to cry and immediately called my friend to tell her what he said. She reminded me that I have been in a testing period for the last few months....really since I have come back from Ghana.
And then God reminded me of 2 scriptures that have been my theme for a few years (Message version...I like the Message),
"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." (James 1:2-4).
"We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!" (Romans 5:3-5)
The Message Bible's version of Romans 5:5 reminded me of the widow in 2 Kings 4. She had nothing left but a jar of oil, and was on the point of losing her sons to slavery. Even in the midst of her nothingness, the Lord appeared with abundance. Because of her alert expectation of God...she received...abundantly. So I will stay alert and waiting. It's going to be good.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
A few weeks ago, I was helping my cousin babysit his niece and nephews. They are hilariously funny and always a joy. They got hungry and my cousin decided to start dinner for them. He made pork & beans and weiners - always a hit with the kiddos. He opened the can, doctored them up and served them. While the kiddos were eating, he noticed that everyone would probably still be hungry so he started another can of beans.
From the quickness in which the food was eaten he obviously didn't start the second can soon enough and soon we heard an emphatic voice from the high chair saying, "I want more beans!!!"
"Okay, littles," he said. "I'm making them for you and they will be ready in..."
"I want more beans!!!!!" she interrupted with a louder voice.
So then I tried to calm her by saying, " Littles, Uncle is making you some more beans, but first he has to...."
She glanced at me briefly before saying even louder, "I want more beans!!!!!"
No matter how much we tried to convince her that the beans would be ready soon, that we didn't want to give them to her cold, that they wouldn't taste good if Uncle didn't take some time to make them....It didn't matter the reason and she continued to shout with increased volume,
"I WANT MORE BEANS!!!!!!"
"Uggggghhh," my cousin moaned in annoyance. "I am trying to get them ready for her. Why does she think I am not going to give her more beans?...I started them before she even asked for more."
Soon the beans were ready and he put them on a plate for her. She cheerfully chomped them down and was satisfied.
Later that night I thought to myself, "That was so weird how Littles kept screaming about those beans."
God: You do the same thing.
Me: ummm...I don't remember yelling to You for more beans...
God: In your prayer life.
Me: [insert deep internal OUCH]
Matthew 7:7-11“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. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!"
So many times I "pray" to God about the same things. "God I need you to do this," or "why hasn't THIS happened," or "don't you see that I need..."
And if I would just be still in His presence and listen, I would get an answer like, "You know I saw you needed that, so I am setting things up for you so when you receive it - it will be perfect," or, "That's not the best thing for you, but I have something better," or "I heard you and I am getting it ready for you - it's coming," or even, "My grace is enough."
Instead of beliveing that He is a good Father who has the best for me, I think He isn't attentive to me. And my prayers sound like, "I WANT MORE BEANS"
Lord, teach us how to pray. Give us grace to trust You more.
In Jesus Name
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
i don't want to just believe that God can do anything, i want to know that He can do anything.
i want to see the exceedingly abundantly.
i want to taste the goodness of the Lord on earth, as it is in heaven.
i want to see miracles. not just a miracle of an answered prayer for something in my own life. i want to see miracles in the lives of others.
i want to hear the doctor tell my grandma that they have no idea where the brain tumor went.
i want to hear the voice of my cousin evangelizing to others about the goodness of the Lord.
i want more faith.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
I went home last week and my dad and I went to the greenhouse and got some presprouted veggies. Though he didn't plant the seeds, he got them at a point in which they were small and he could place them in the ground and eventually reap the harvest of those small plants. While choosing different veggies he wanted in his garden, we carefully read the labels and picked out plants that would yield a good number of vegetables. We chose a few, took them home so that they could be planted.
This got me thinking though about the people who plant and never see the harvest. Whoever planted that Roma tomato seed in the seedling container had no idea whether or not what they planted would grow into something fruitful. They would never see the product of their labor. And for them it's ok. They have to trust that whoever is going to get that plant is going to take care of it so it will yield whatever it's meant to yield.
I had a seed planting experience last week. I was at a popular fast food place with a friend when a young lady in line behind us engaged us in conversation. We talked, shared with her about our occupations and talked about the yumminess of our soon to be food experience. While my food was being prepared God told me, 'pay for her food." I argued in my head with God for a good five minutes, making one excuse after another why it wasn't a good idea. We ended up at the same register, me in front of her, so I asked, "may I pay for your food?" She freaked out. "OMG. Why would you do that. No one has ever done that for me before. No one is that nice - why do you want to pay for my food?" AWKWARD. I didn't tell her that I really didn't want to pay for her food, but I wanted to be obedient to God. So I shrugged, asked her again and she still said no.
Although initially I felt God left me out on a limb, I realized He knew there was some heart soil that needed a seed. Or some heart soil that had a seed and it needed watering.
I realized that sometimes we are not the ones who will see the produce/harvest. Sometimes we need to plant or water and let it go.
God help us to be laborers for the harvest. We don't want to be people who shrink back, but rather be people who march forward boldly and confidently in obedience and willingness. Give us clean hands, a pure heart, and a humble and willing spirit. Whatever the task may be, put a yes in our hearts and minds. In Jesus name. Amen.
Monday, April 26, 2010
This joy lets our soul sing.
It's a joy that can't be taken away by anything. A joy that doesn't fade. A joy that overflows even though the earth around us be shaken.
This joy lets our soul sing.
As I am continuing to listen for the song of joy in the midst of everyday life I am realizing that it is what helps us to live rather than just survive. The Bible declares that the joy of the Lord is our strength. So when we are in the midst of struggle, in the midst of shaking, in the midst of turbulence, we just don't survive it - but we live and we are strengthened.
This joy lets our soul sing.
Lord, we thank you that the joy of the Lord is our strength. that You alone are our strong tower that we can run into and be safe. that you are our refuge, our fortress, our God in who we can trust. Thank you that you make us happy. Let our soul sing. Let our hearts cry out for more. We love you. In Jesus name. Amen.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Over the last couple of days I have been reminding myself that God is not one who dashes our hopes, bursts our balloons, or lets us down. He is so good. And He does good. And He thinks good things about us.
It's so easy to forget this when things don't go our way or when we don't know why things are happening the way they may be happening. I personally think the heartwrenching moments happen because we live in a broken world. But I also believe that God's heart hurts when our heart hurts.
A friend and I were talking about suffering recently. She shared stories she read of Christians who were tortured, or just had really hard and difficult lives, but in the midst of all of it still declared God's goodness. Regardless of the situation, they realized that God is always good.
I want to live in the place where I believe in the goodness of God. There are times that I think that God is only doing good at certain times, or that His goodness expires after a few good things have happened. But that is so not true about God. He is good and His mercy for us endures forever.
We are always on His mind. His love for us is infinite and extends in ways that are unimaginable. He is good.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
You may think this is a late post because it's not Valentine's Day anymore, but it's so on time for my life. It was a marker for me to realize how strong love can be and this is my first time to rest in its realization. While I hope my "he makes my toes curl" love finds and pursues me soon :), my hopes for knowing what love feels like were met in a real and amazing way.
I have had a weird three weeks, to put it lightly; the latest story being that I had an awful stomach virus or food poisoning the day before my birthday (the 14th). And friends, at least half of whom have known me less than 6 months, cared for me in ways that proved that real love can't be bought, bargained for, or earned.
At so many junctures of my life I can look back and see how I have tried to make people love me, do things to be loved more, or prove that I am deserving of love. It might have worked for a little, but it didn't satisfy, and didn't last.
What I have been learning in the last few months from both God and people is that real love is freeing. It's beautiful and it makes you feel alive. Yes, sometimes it's hard, but then again sometimes it's easy. It's not always fun. But there are times that it is joyous. And sometimes it requires taking a more difficult way. But real love, it's powerful and it lasts.
One of my favorite scriptures right now is found in Song of Solomon 8:7, "Many waters can not quench [the flame of] love nor will rivers overflow it..." It goes on to say that someone can spend all their riches to buy love, but that they wouldn't be able to -it'd be despised. Really think about love like that...a flame that doesn't go out even when a lot of water touches it.
More and more I am realizing the real issue that I and that we all are dealing with is wanting to know love. Real love. Love that doesn't require us to be anyone different and will accept us for who we are, where we are. That's the kind of love that heals us and gives us freedom to live out our deepest self.
I have found myself addicted to things because I was looking for that kind of love. Found myself holding on too long and too tight hoping I could squeeze love out. Even found myself trying to shake love awake when it seemed to be sleeping or even dead. But I don't want to live like that anymore.
My real prayer is that I keep my heart open to receive love and know love. And as I better understand and know love I want to give love in that same measure.