Monday, May 26, 2014

I Will Take My Stand

We're now studying Habakkuk on Thursday mornings - less than 2 weeks in, and it's already awesome!

In verses 12-17, Habakkuk is making himself known to God, asking why He's standing by and just watching all this iniquity and evil go unpunished.

Right at the beginning of chapter 2, before the Lord does respond to Habakkuk, here's what the prophet says:

I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. 

Habakkuk had cast his burdens onto the Lord; he's made known his petitions and requests, and now he is going to wait patiently before Him. That's not always easy. We like knowing right away. But I have seen how God has given me grace and peace while I wait for Him. And it's so life-giving. I love when I'm anxious or stressed and I pray, and my situation doesn't change, but in stead Christ changes my attitude. Like in Psalm 23 - He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Love of My Life

I am beyond tired and weary and absolutely done. And I'm in this space of thinking about anger and sin and forgiveness and what an absolute mess I am when "Beloved" comes on, and I hear Christ refer to me as the love of His life.

Really, Jesus? This is who You'd die for. I wouldn't do that for me right now.

And I'm pulled over on the side of the road having a moment when I realize something - Christ didn't just die for us. He died for His glory.

And this is the way that life long church attenders can totally miss the gospel. If you think the gospel is about you and your value, then I have news for you: you don't know the gospel. You may be able to tell me that Jesus saves sinners from death to life, but if you think you're special because Jesus died for you. I can tell you that you haven't yet tasted the life to which you've been saved.

The gospel is primarily about God. Gospel means good news, and frankly, I am not good news. But God is. In fact, that's all He is; He is only good to those who love Him and are called according to his purpose.

I sit there thinking about it how breathtaking is to be called one Jesus loves, not because it shows how good I am, but because it shows how good He is, how glorious, and how beautiful. It's all of grace.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Beyond expectations

My meeting lasted less than 20 minutes. Once my boss listened to me, she gave me her full support. I was shocke and relieved. 

It's amazing how God has this tendency of doing so much more than what we expect or hope for. In fact, that's what he's in the business of doing. The most faithful men and women of the Old Testament expected their God to save them by the messiah. I don't think they could have dreamed that he himself would come down, walk among his people, die for their sins, and raise from the dead, thus securing eternal life for all who call on his name. 

The unexpected life is the life I'm trying to embrace, because it's the life God keeps giving me, and it always turns out so beautifully. 

Kristen Welch wrote a book about the unexpected life Jesus is working in her, and though my kindle tells me I'm only 34% finished with it, I love it. It's had me crying in public again. Her message is simple: Say yes to God. Follow where he leads. Love him first, others second, and yourself third. 

Simple, and simply radical. 

Quotes from Rhinestone Jesus: 

"Where you're living today is the place where God has put you" 

"Your sweet spot isn't some elusive mystery that God dangles over your head just beyond your grasp. It's the collision of believing in who you are and acting on it because of whom you belong to" 

"You don't have to figure out what so surrender your heart to. Surrender your heart to Jesus. Every single ounce of it. Ask Him to give you a love for Him that surpasses anything in your human experience, a supernatural capacity. Ask Him for it every day until He does it, and then ask Him to do it some more" 

"Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him" 

If you love Ann Voskamp and Jen Htmaker's style/soul/etc you will love Kristen Welch. 

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. Indeed I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:6 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

When Being A Grown Up is Not That Fun

I had a roses and sunshine kind of vacation, full and satisfying and wonderful.

And then I came back and everything exploded.

I have the opportunity to shift gears at work, but one of my bosses does not want me to stop coaching. She is known for getting people to do things they don't want to do, being very convincing, and making a lot of false promises. I'm really stressed out about this, and although we haven't even had our meeting yet, she's already trying to manipulate the situation. It's incredibly frustrating.

I was thinking on all this, and I remembered a quote from The Great Divorce

"For the saved, where present experience saw only salt deserts, memory truthfully records that the pools were full of water" 

This must be my hope - that as uncomfortable and unfun as things are right now, I will look back and say, "The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, indeed I have a beautiful inheritance" Psalm 16:6

But y'all, feel free to pray for me :) I'll keep you posted as things shake out.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Club Van Galder

I wrote this on my way into Beloit on Wednesday:

Driving up from the airport, there was an overwhelming rush of familiarity, coupled immediately with the feeling that I don't belong here anymore. I haven't heard "Pictures of Egypt" in ages, and yet its words immediately came to mind. 

The places that used to fit me 
Can't hold the things I've learned
Those roads were closed off to me 
While my back was turned 

This trip, these last several weeks have been so reflective of the honest desires of my heart. I long for Jesus, wherever I might need to be in order to have the greatest joy in Him. I've been in Seattle almost a year now, and it's been such an exercise in trusting The Lord. He keeps making my paths straight and showing me more of His glory. And He's showing me how He's using me, and how He wants to, and I am so thankful for and humbled by what I are. My Jeus is so good to me. 

And all of this is not to say that I'm not excited to be here; rather that "I have found a friend in Jesus and He is everything to me". I am clay in His hands, to do with as He pleases. I take what He gives with open hands and when He takes again, I release with the knowledge that what I had was never really mine. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Just Ask!

This week, I've spent a lot of time thinking and talking about prayer with other believers. One thing that kept coming up was our ability to ask God for anything and everything! He is our Father and wants to hear the desires of our heart.

This morning, I read Luke 11 -

What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (11-13) 

Today, I had an illustration from a 5-year old when I went to take her to kindergarten. She had no hesitations in asking me for what she wanted:

- Can I sit on your lap?
- Will you give me a piggy back ride to the car?
- Can we get a cold bottle of water on the way to school?
- Can you sleepover sometime?
- Will you roll down the window?

She didn't think about her requests, she just made them known. And doesn't God want to hear from us? He won't give us things that aren't good for us, meaning, He won't give us anything that will take away our joy in Him, but He does know how to give good gifts. So we can come to Him for anything, because Jesus is everything.