Sunday, March 30, 2008

Changing of the Guard

Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19

At Buckingham Palace it is with great ceremony when they change the guard. They march with complete focus and attention as they switch positions at the gate. I love the fancy uniforms and how you cannot distract them from the ceremony. They have been trained to receive and relieve the position of guard with dignity and decorum. When their “shift” is over they leave with as much pride and honor as the guard that’s coming on duty.

Years ago when my back patio was not enclosed and there was a big tree near it in the yard (since cut down), I was sitting there one fall morning and a wind blew and the leaves on that tree came off with a rustling sound. The Lord “spoke” to my heart and said, “I am moving like the wind and many will flow with me just as the leaves flowed with the direction of the wind.” When I “heard” that in my heart I looked in my neighbor’s yard and even though that same wind blew there, the leaves on their tree hung on and did not move. Before I could ask the Lord why, He spoke to my heart again, “many will be just as those leaves, the wind will blow but they will not move.” Though that has been many years ago, I still remember that as if it was yesterday. Most people do not like change. We get comfortable whether it is at work, home or play and when we have to move for some reason, it makes us angry and frustrated. But most of the time we find out later that it was for our good.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. But God is also ever changing as far as working out the plans for our lives. We cannot put God in a box and think that we have Him down pat, when He’s already said that His ways are not our ways and His plans are not our plans. (Isaiah 55:9)

I was watching Christian TV this morning and saw how the late Jerry Falwell’s son whom is now the pastor, was handling the morning service. As I watched I was enthralled how Rev. Falwell’s son has taken the church services up to another level. Jerry Falwell was a strict Southern Baptist and he did a lot of good things, but his services were very subdued, borderline BORING. Now that his son is the pastor, this morning I saw people with joy clapping and singing. It was almost as if they had come alive! Now this does not mean that his father did not serve his purpose, but it was time to “change the guard” so that the son could take the people to another level in Christ.

In my humble opinion, in some churches the leadership hold on to their position beyond their time. Jesus lived His life as an example. He came, He taught the disciples and before he left, He charged the disciples to be fishers of men. To win people to Christ, train /disciple them, then release them (as Christ did) to become what God purposed them to be. The purpose may be to be a pastor as Jerry Falwell’s son or it may be to be the best public sanitation worker. Either profession puts you in the position to be salt and light in this world. And THAT is how we win the world to Jesus.

God’s purpose and plan will prevail. In these days He is doing something new. We can either go with the flow or become stagnant in our “comfort zone.”
In recent news constantly there has been the “unveiling” of scandal after scandal of leaders in the church, politics or business world. Is this a coincidence? No! I believe that God in His mercy gives each of us a time to privately repent, when we refuse to change our ways, in time it becomes a public matter. And we can either repent at that time in front of the world or just be embarrassed but continue in our ways. Some have chosen to continue as if nothing has happened. This is sad because God’s way will prevail in due season.

I think of Moses when after he had led the children of Israel through the sea and the desert. There came a time when God was to put Joshua to the forefront to lead the people across the Jordan River. Moses had fulfilled his purpose; God had used his life as a Jew and as a prince in the house of pharaoh to lead the people from bondage to freedom. But now it was time for war and Joshua was a warrior at heart. God knew what His people would be up against after they crossed the Jordan. So there was a “Changing of the guard” and the Bible says that Moses went up the mountain and to this day we do not even know where he was buried. Did that take away from Moses’ importance in God’s plan? Of course not! But there is a season and time for everything and it was time for Joshua to take the lead. (Numbers 27:12,15,18,22) (Deuteronomy 34:1-6)

My prayer is that as God moves among us, that I will remain teachable and willing to flow with whatever changes there may be. I don’t want to be so comfortable in my position wherever that may be, that I miss what He is saying or doing among us. The only real peace that exists is in His presence.

In these days and times let us “flow” with what the Lord is speaking to our hearts. His ways are sometimes mysterious, but His way is the only right way.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious!
Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds!So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name." Selah! Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man's behalf!

Psalms 66:1-5

On one of my trips to the West coast during the Christmas holidays to visit my son and his family, they took me on a trip up the coast to a town right on the beach. I’ll never forget how beautiful the scenery was. At some point as we traveled it was clearly the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. We stopped at the rest stops and admired the beautiful views. During the trip we also visited the Hearst Castle and even saw the elephant seals come up on the beach, it was awesome!

My son and his sweet wife had rented a beautiful home walking distance to the beach, in fact you could see the beach from the balcony off the main living area of the house. It is there that I sat early one morning with Bible in hand and inwardly speaking to the Lord about my life. So many things had changed for me personally as well as my family. We, my son, his wife and my grandchildren and I had all been through a series of losses and brokenness. As I sat admiring the view of the ocean and the mountains, smelling the early morning breeze, there was stillness in that moment. Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement. When I turned my head I saw the most beautiful deer, it was just a stone’s throw away from me. I watched it walk ever so cautiously and slowly and just hang out for a while. Too bad I didn’t have a camera. It was so close and kept profiling as if it was giving me my very own private show. The moments were somehow “Holy” and the deer’s actions said “Look at God’s beauty in me.” It was indeed a shining example of God’s magnificent creation!

After it left, I began to see that even in the midst of our pain and brokenness, God STILL has beauty. And if we trust Him with that pain and brokenness, He can make something beautiful out of it. We may not understand how He’s going to do it and when, but He’s our Father and He WILL. The verse in Romans 8:28 about God making all things work for our good is purely a trust issue, don’t try to figure it out, just give it to Him, He has a better view and can see all the parts that will fit together.

That is a trip that I will never forget. Seeing God’s beauty in nature in such a magnificent way let me see how much detail He put in it. And since we are more important to Him, then yes, He is interested in every detail of our lives.

As we celebrate this “Resurrection Day” let us remember that He Is Alive. He specializes in new beginnings and making all things beautiful!

Friday, March 14, 2008

This ol' World

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

You know what? There are some evil acting people in this old world. Some nasty acting people! And I must admit sometimes I’ve had it up to here (hand over my head) with these folks. As a Christian I know that I am to love unconditionally like it says in Corinthians 13, but I confess I don’t always hit it.

I recently was around some people that were continually instigating and prodding me to say bad things about other people. (I did not) They on the other hand were constantly gossiping and running folks down just as easily as you talk about the weather. I know that I am in this world and am a realist, but I was beginning to feel “ugly” and “nasty” being in this atmosphere.

It grieved me to see first hand just how evil and cruel the world can be. And of how I can be if I am not careful to follow the guiding of the Holy Spirit each day. The scripture above in context is about when Israel was asking what they could do to get back into God’s “graces”. They as a nation had been through a terrible time of persecution and you name it. And this is the answer, a very simple answer I might add. 1) Do justly, what is right, 2) to love mercy and kindness 3) and to humble yourself before the Lord. It sounds simple, but not always easy. But it is so necessary.

Being in that atmosphere made my flesh want to respond and not for the good either. But this scripture kept ringing in my heart, in fact it was a song that we used to sing years ago. I must do what is right, have kindness and mercy and humble myself before the Lord. After all He orders our steps and I was there for a reason. I may never know the reason, but He does and that’s good enough for me.

Lord help me to continue to be a light…

Monday, March 10, 2008

Don't be Anxious!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Why do I worry about some of the silliest things? Stress is an awful thing and can affect your life and your body in various ways. I’ve been around for a while (I’m not that old) and still sometimes I feel like I’m lacking in the area of confidence.

Just this past weekend I had an eye doctor appointment and even though I see this guy regularly, I still get nervous when I go there. While he was checking my eyes he seemed to prolong the process. Then when he was looking over some test results, he hesitated and seemed to frown. Finally I could take it no longer and asked in a rather shaky voice “What’s wrong?” He gave me a rather rambling answer (or did it just sound like that to me?). I could actually feel anxiety creeping upon me. Finally when he repeated what he said, it was not as bad as I first perceived it.

I think that after going through all the Doctor’s appointments during my late husband’s illness, I have developed somewhat of a “white coat” phobia.
I’ve prayed about it, denounced it and rebuked it, and yet I can feel my self getting anxious each time I have a Doctor’s appointment. It is very frustrating and I know that I have to get the victory over this.

God has already given me the key in the scriptures above. He has given me everything that I need to have the victory. Starting today I will try my best to walk in peace.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Goodness of the Lord

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Psalms 27:13

I can still remember it as if it was yesterday. My son along with his family was leaving to return to their home. This was about a month after my husband had died. I am eternally grateful of how my son and his dear wife were so helpful in taking care of all the arrangements for the funeral. I was in a fog and still cannot remember certain things about that time. But I remember clearly the day that they left, because it was one of the saddest days in my life. As I watched them leave, knowing full well that this was necessary, they had already given a whole month to be there for me. I still felt that I had no idea of what would become of me.

The only way that I can describe it is that I felt as if I would disappear from the earth never to be seen or heard of again. I guess that I felt swallowed up in grief. You see I had never really been alone before. I grew up with 4 siblings, Mom and Dad. While in college I had 2 roommates. Then when I married at a young age I had my husband and son. At no time had I ever lived alone.

After they left, I turned and entered the house and said to the Lord “It’s just You and me.” Now fast-forward over 6 years to now. It has been quite a journey; I’ve had my “firsts’ with lots of things. For instance my first blackout when all electricity went out in my neighborhood around 2:00 AM…scary! Or when my alarm went off in the middle of the night…scarier! I could go on and on but I was just thinking how good the Lord has been to me! Things that I thought I could never do, He has been with me every step of the way. Sure there were times when I felt like I could not go on, but that’s when I think of the scripture above, and I believe I AM seeing the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Sometimes I am in awe of how far He has brought me.

The Lord and I have become very close; in fact I’m really not alone, because He is with me ALWAYS!