Friday, September 26, 2014

Going Forward

"But let's not do it. 
Going forward, let's not utter or write 
the superfluous, meaningless, 
ubiquitous phrase 'going forward'...."
The Guardian, "Mind Your Language"

A couple years ago, the phrase
"going forward" got voted Most Annoying.
Many comments were made concerning
the foolishness in saying those words.
Would anyone in their right mind really be 
talking of moving backwards,
they asked.
And while I agree that anything
overused gets old,
I don't agree that the antithesis 
of that phrase is going backwards.
I think the antithesis lies in standing still.

There are times, 
especially during transition seasons,
when we just aren't sure what 
everything is going to look like.
We know we can't go backwards,
but are we capable of going forward?
A wide range of emotions contribute
to our questioning.
Transitions periods are often preceded
by loss, anger, disappointment and failure.
Very often we just don't know what to do next.
And we will need time to sort it all out.

But at some point, God takes our hand
and asks us to walk with Him.
"Show me where to walk, God,"
David cried out in Psalm 143.

We don't always know where to place our foot,
but His grace comes along to give us strength.
He makes us brave again,
maybe even brave for the first time.
You are my God. 
May your gracious Spirit
lead me forward on firm footing.
Psalm 143:10

Going forward is as ancient 
as it is current.
It is not the meaningless insistence
of not going backwards.
It is the grace to stop standing still.
It is looking at mountains all around
and knowing that there is level ground
for our feet to walk.
It is the brave response
to His loving voice.
He wants to lead us forward.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Is It Really All Good?

One of the overused platitudes 
of this past decade is:
"It's all good."
Everyone wants to think that
it all works out in the end.
But saying that it's all good 
is not the same as it being all good.

Those who love God and live 
according to His plan KNOW that 
He orchestrates things to work toward 
something good and beautiful (Rom 8:28).

We are those who can look in the face 
of things that might be hurtful, disappointing 
or frustrating without having to say, 
"It's all good."
Our confidence is that God will use them
to orchestrate something good 
and create beauty for ashes.
We are not confident in the ability of 
happenstance to work out 
the details of circumstance--
but confident in the character of God.
Every day I need to reset my confidence 
in His mercy, grace, goodness and kindness.
Especially when I am battling thoughts like:
“This is not what I thought it would look like.”

“Oh, but I am able to orchestrate 
that situation and turn it for good.
I will pour My favor on you and bless you 
even in the midst of circumstances that 
didn’t go according to your plan.
It is called My favor and
 it’s found in My presence.”
I will answer your cry for help
every time you pray,
and you will find and feel My presence,
even in your time of pressure and trouble.
I will be your glorious Hero…
Psalm 91

And that is more than enough for me.
He is my glorious Hero,
working even those things that
presently are not my favorites
toward something beautiful and good.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Love Still Stands

Love knows no limit to endurance, 
no end to trust, no fading of hope; 
it can outlast anything. 
It is, in fact, the one thing 
that still stands when all else has fallen.
It can never be lost.
1Cor 13
We all lose stuff.
We lose the little--books, wallets, keys.
We lose the more consequential--
people we love, jobs, relationships, 
health, fortunes, houses, hope.
But God's word says that when nothing
remains that we thought would remain, 
love still stands.
It doesn't end. It doesn't give up.
Love is the "the greatest of these."
Greater than hope, greater than faith--
because God is love.
And that which is exactly like God
is the essence of all we need.

As today swirls around me, 
and I find myself unsure of focus, 
I have to be aware of
this thing called love.
It will keep me standing
even if everything else falls down.
 I desperately need a deeper revelation
of how to love more like Him.
I need His kindness, His patience, 
His gentleness, His compassion,
His "keeping no record" attitude.

I just need more of Jesus.
The bottom line of every day.