Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Delight in the Details

I have a friend who's dealing with some big stuff...the kind where healing has been a long time in coming and a sometimes painful process. She recently went out on a date with her husband wherein they'd gone to a restaurant, to a coffee shop and for a walk. When she got home she discovered that one of her earrings was missing--a special one given to her by her husband for their 25th anniversary. You can imagine her feelings--sometimes things have a way of feeling like the "last straw". The next day her husband went back to the city and retraced their earring at the restaurant or coffee shop. Would you believe it that he found it in a gutter between the two places?

This story reminds me of one of my favorite verses:

"The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand."

(Psalm 37:23-24)

Life is full of big challenges. Sometimes they're the result of our own choices, sometimes the choices of others, and sometimes for no reason that we can understand. We'd love to be zapped out, rescued, "Beam me up, Scotty!", anything! We just want the pain to end. It's pretty normal to wonder at these times, "If God really cares..."

The glorious hope of the Gospel is that He does care. He invades our pain with kindness. While we wait for the answer to the Big Questions, He whispers of His love and delight in the small details of our lives. Rather than abandoning us to the consequences of sin, He sets us free, brings redemption, and heals our broken hearts.

His delight in the small details boosts my faith, renews my hope and helps me hold on. May you be blessed today by recognizing His love in the details of your life. May you be blessed with a desire to seek the face in the Father in the midst of the struggle.
May He give you eyes to see His goodness. As you dwell on His loving kindness, may your heart be infused with courage to hang on.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!"
The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Through the Eyes of Chirst

I have a poster hanging by my bathroom mirror. It's a beautiful work of calligraphy and it tells me Who I Am in Christ. I read it regularly and it's changed me a lot. It lets me know when I'm feeling down or discouraged because I'm believing a lie. The words on it release me from shame and insecurity.

I am God's child...Christ's forever from condemnation...cannot be separated from the love of God...can find grace and mercy in time of need...have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit...may approach God with freedom and confidence...

One day I was standing there, my peace disturbed by the actions of someone else, when I felt convicted to read those statements with the offenders name in place of "I". You see, these statements are true of everyone who has received by faith the work of Christ on the cross. With His blood He purchased this freedom for all of us.

_____ is a friend of God..._____ is bought with a price and belongs to God...______ has been justified..._____ is free from any charge against him...______ cannot be separated from the love of God..._______ is hidden with Christ in God...______ is God's temple...______ is God's coworker...______ is seated with Christ in the heavenly realm...

By the time I had read all thirty-three statements in this other person's name, I was humbled and aware of a much greater love in my heart than I'd had before. I'd seen them through the eyes of Christ. I was able to extend grace and honor--and it wasn't hard. My mind had been renewed.

In this case, I needed to let go of an offense. If confrontation had been required, I can't imagine a better way to prepare yourself than by reading this list with the other person's name inserted. Christ has paid such a high price for our freedom. He wants us to know who we are, and He wants us to relate to His other children based on who He says they are, not on how they behave.

Click here to see the full list of statements and scriptures about who you are in Christ. Study the supporting scriptures. Receiving it and believing it about yourself and others will change your life. Knowing that this is what Christ purchased for unbelievers will give you a greater passion to lead others into this truth--He thought we were all worth dying for.

YOU have been adopted as God's child...have access to God
through the Holy Spirit...
have been redeemed and forgiven...have not been given a spirit of fear,
but of power, love and a sound mind...are born of God and
the evil one cannot touch you...are a personal witness of Christ...
a minister of reconciliation for God...God's workmanship....

Therefore, accept each other just as Christ
has accepted you so that God will be given glory.
Romans 15:7

Friday, October 8, 2010

Letters from the Enemy

Have you had a letter from the enemy lately? I have. In fact, they're as regular as junk mail and many are as easy to toss, but once in a while you get one that has a way a grabbing your attention and you think it's actually for you.

King Hezekiah got a letter from the enemy too.* Even though it was written about three thousand years ago, it sounds a lot like the ones I get. The gist of the message is a two-pronged attack. First, will God really do what He says He'll do? (Brings to mind a conversation in a Garden...) Second, is "look at all the times I have conquered in the past". Clearly, in six thousand plus years he hasn't changed his tactics a bit--probably because they often work!

Hezekiah took his letter "to the Lord's Temple and spread it out before the Lord and...prayed." His prayer included an acknowledgment that the enemy has indeed succeeded before, a desperate plea for deliverance, and worship. And that's pretty much what we need to do with the letters the enemy sends our way.

After Hezekiah prayed, God made a promise of protection to him which concluded with these words: "The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven's Armies will make this happen!" How can we lose if we have the passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven's Armies! Sure enough, not even an arrow struck the wall of Hezekiah's city. God sent an angel to destroy his enemy.

If you have any letters from the enemy lying around, I suggest you follow Hezekiah's example. Go before your Father and pray. Strengthen your faith by reminding yourself of ways God has defended you in the past. Encourage yourself with testimonies from others. And praise Him. Always praise Him. You have His passionate commitment that He will come and save you.

They will fight you, but they will fail.
For I am with you, and I will take care of you.
I, the Lord, have spoken.
Jeremiah 1:19

*2 Kings 19, 2 Chronicles 32, Isaiah 36