Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring is Here!

Today is the first day of Spring. So far about six inches of fresh snow has fallen. Is it spring or isn't it spring?

If I look out my window at the "facts", I would definitely say winter!! However, if I could see from some sort of cosmic perspective, I would recognize the "fact" as being that the earth has reached a certain angle on it's axis wherein the northern hemisphere is angling back toward the sun. Spring is here. Really.

If I could see from some sort of cosmic perspective.

His plans for me are good... (Jer. 29:11)

I am a masterpiece... (Eph. 2:9)

God will not let me be tested beyond my strength... (1 Cor. 10:13)

All things work together for good... (Rom. 8:28)

I will pass safely through the sea of distress... (Zech. 10:11)

He will repay two blessings for every trouble... (Zech 9:12b)

He will complete the good work He started... (Phil. 1:3-6)

He will restore health and heal wounds... (Jer 30:17)

I will lack no good thing... (Ps. 34:10)

God will supply all my needs... (Phil. 4:19)

He delights in every detail of my life... (Ps. 37:23)

He always leads me in victory... (2 Cor. 2:14)

The enemy will not succeed... (Jer. 1:19)

He will restore broken relationships... (Mal. 4:5)

There are days when the "facts" that I can see with my eyes would weigh my heart down with despair. I need a cosmic perspective! What He has said, what He has spoken and declared to be true, is more true than any evidence to the contrary. Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Faith pleases God.

For since the world began, no ear has heard,
and no eye has seen a God like you,
who works for those who wait for him!
(Isaiah 64:4)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Anchored to Truth

I convinced my husband to sign up for dance classes. Really. We grew up in a church culture that frowned upon dancing, but my body longs to move with music. You'd think that longing would translate into some sort of instinctive ability, but it doesn't. I need to be told. I need to envision diagrams on the floor and follow them. I think it must take a lot of patience to teach me. Yet, once I get it, I think it's a blast.

At dance class the instructor intervened several times with helpful tips. Close to the end of the class he approached me and told me I just wasn't doing it right. "What's wrong? Why can't you get it?"


I was back in grade nine algebra with the teacher using similar words. What, indeed, is wrong with me? If you don't know and I don't know, then we are in dire straits. Maybe there is something "wrong" with me. Just as in grade nine, I realized at this moment that everyone was looking at me. And at my abysmal failure. As in grade nine, the floor didn't open up and swallow me. Thankfully, with maturity has come the ability to endure to the end with a modicum of dignity.

I awoke several times in the night with a swirl of thoughts and emotions to process. Being a less-than-great dancer isn't a big deal. The response, however, was a clue to something significant.

Fast forward a few days and I find my girls are frequently shrieking in frustration at their brother and I'm repeatedly scolding him for tormenting them. The poor boy needs some better weather so he can burn off his energy outside. In the wake of all this chiding, he sidles up to me and asks, "Do you still like me?" And then, "Why?"

In that moment I recognize that it's in times of weakness and failure that our identity is assaulted. Who am I? Stupid? Again? Failure? Bad?

Knowing who we really are is the key to getting through these rough waters. By "knowing" I mean that you've spent so much time pondering and meditating on it, that it's what bubbles to the surface in difficult times. Being anchored to truth doesn't mean that we won't be tossed about, but it does mean that we won't be shipwrecked.

What sort of tapes play in your head when you recognize failure? What does your Papa say about you?

"...I long for him (my darling child) and surely will have mercy on him." Jer. 31:20b

"My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." 2 Cor 12:9

"For God has said, 'I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.' So we can say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?'" Heb. 13:5-6

Secure in these truths we can venture into life boldly risking vulnerability and failure.

I've sometimes wished to reduce God to a fairy god mother who would magically wave a wand over my life and render everything perfect inside and out. He provides so much more. He offers to walk with us, picking us up when we fall, and lending His strength. All the while we grow from strength to strength and from glory to glory.

"I love you, Lord; you are my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock,
in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.
I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me.
The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path.
But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears."
Psalm 18:1-6

Saturday, March 5, 2011

There's a Plan

Forty-nine years ago there was a brand new hospital opening in Woodland Hills, California. A woman in labour arrived at the hospital while grand-opening celebrations were underway. She was young and healthy and had already delivered three babies. No one noticed until it was too late that the baby was very large and breach and the mother was slipping away. A priest was called to administer Last Rites.

Yet, that is not the end of the story. We don't know what happened next, but we do know that God had a plan and that Brian and his mom are alive and well and living purpose-filled lives. I've been blessed with a wonderful husband, my kids with a wonderful father, and innumerable people have been enriched by his friendship. There's no counting the effect of all that he's designed, created, built and sung about. There was a plan.

God had a plan. His plan trumps everything else. Every time.

Do you know that you're here by Divine Appointment?? Your existence is no accident. The very moment of your conception was a miracle of perfect timing and a creative miracle--two cells joining to become one new life. You. Not an accident, but evidence of a holy plan. God said, "Let there be life!"

He wants you to know that your life is a gift and that there's a design and purpose for you. There's a plan that's unique to you, evidenced by the giftings He has placed within you, and there's plan for all of His children. We were all created to spread this message of hope to the weary and hopeless. Everyone that you come into contact with today needs to be reminded that they're loved and that there's hope and a purpose for their lives.

Listen for the whispers of His unique plan for you. Shout of His love to everyone you meet.

Before I shaped you in the womb,
I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations--
that's what I had in mind for you.
Jeremiah 1:5