Monday, June 29, 2015

Planted...Not Buried

“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place,
you think you’ve been buried, but
you’ve actually been planted.” 
~Christine Caine

The good and bad news is that nothing
stays the same for very long.
We move from season to season and 
the older we get, the more we move.
Some of those moves are life changers.

I've recently had a one of those,
with furniture so dramatically rearranged  
that I hardly recognized my own life.
It not only felt dark; it felt long.

At some point, though, I began seeing
that darkness was not my enemy.
Everything that had been happening during
this challenging time could never have taken
place in the comfort zone of last season.
God was using darkness to birth life.
"The Lord Himself will plant them..." Is 61:3
Although there were times I felt buried, 
my confession is now, "I have been planted."
Some things may never be the same again,
but endings are never the final word.
New beginnings are His great specialty,

His plans are always to prosper us, 
to give us a future stamped with hope.
You freed me when I was hemmed in
and enlarged me when I was in distress.
Psalm 4:1

He is good...all the time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

To Give Us Hope

"To love anyone is to hope in him always...
Madeline L'Engle,
 
Christian love always decrees hope:
the impossible is always possible.
"What is impossible for people
is possible with God."
What great love God has for us that
His plans for us always include hope.

His plans for us are good and
they are to give us hope.  Jer 29
Most of us believe this verse to be true.
But is it true now? For whatever I’m facing?
For whatever that person is facing?
I have to read this verse as a living word. 
His great love for us always includes hope,
today, in every circumstance we face.

We must never lose hope,
for ourselves or for others.
People are desperate to have hope today.
We have the ability, through Christ, to speak
to things that aren’t as though they were.
To love others is to give them hope.

Only faith, hope and love remain.
When we leave a room, a job, a problem,
a conversation, a friend...
does hope remain?
Hope is a great expression of our love--
for God, others and ourselves.
His plans are to give us all hope.
His love requires we give it to others.



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Giving Peace a Chance

I am waiting for the Lord to help me.
I trust what He says. -Psalm 130:5

Racing thoughts make a difficult target.
I have many today that need to change,
but they have been hard to grab hold of
I usually try to practice
"fixing my thoughts" because I am a 
big believer in positive thoughts only.
Today, however, they are running wild 
and I'm tired of chasing them. 

Discouragement can sneak in 
when we get weary.
Today, He clearly spoke to me:
"Don’t be discouraged...
the battle is not yours. 
Stand still and watch. I am with you."

He encouraged me to find peace
while He fights on my behalf.
I have been tempted any number of times
to get up and chase again; 
He keeps reminding me to be still.
So, I am making stillness my position.
There is so much power in peace.
As I walked to the hotel after writing this, 
I went into the gift shop.
A handcrafted sign was on their sofa.
It said, “Give peace a chance."

God meets us where we are at
and reminds us He is with us.
"I am the God of peace and will soon 
crush your adversary under your feet.
My grace is with you."

For anyone sensing discouragement
trying to creep in, remember
 the great power we have in peace. 


Friday, June 5, 2015

Integrity

The waters that wash our feet on the shore
are the same that dwell in the depths of the sea.

Being the same in the depths and on the shores,
within and without.
Integrity asks us to be the same person 
where ever we may be.
Our culture is losing the vocabulary to express
this union with our inside and outside lives.
It does, however, have a word to express when  
integrity is missing; the word is “hypocrisy."
And hypocrisy is noticed most in the context of religion,
where practicing and preaching often seem at odds.

Recently the story surfaced about a reality TV family
that preached about behavior they believed wrong.
They had lots of rules and regulations which gave
them an image of a “perfect" Christian family.
But some wrong in their own lives was uncovered
and, once again, Christians look bad.

Many have said this is about forgiveness,
and that his repentance should settle the issue.
But it is not a forgiveness issue.
It is an integrity issue.
You can’t yell at a culture for missing your point
when they don't get your point.
They only know what they see.
And they see hypocrisy:
the perfect family is not really so perfect.

I pray for them, the children, and all affected.
It is becoming more ugly everyday.
But above all, I look to my own heart
and ask for mercy and grace--
that I might be true to His life in me.

"Our Father is kind; you be kind.
It's who you are, not what you 
say and do, that counts. 
Your true being brims over 
into true words and deeds." Luke 6

To remain true in our very being--
both the depths and the shores--
our desire to please Him must be greater
than our desire to please ourselves.
The greatest struggle of every day.

Integrity.
It matters.