Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Daily Battle

Ever have one of those days that turns into one of those months or even one of those years. It seems like I am in that season. Like everywhere I turn there is opposition, or attack, something else challenging and overwhelming.

It has been this season at my school with my amazing co-workers. People who are working hard everyday, people giving of themselves and doing the right thing, but everywhere we turn...opposition. My wonderful, Godly Principal addressed this at a faculty meeting recently. He talked about the story of Nehemiah in the Bible and the rebuilding of the wall.  Maybe you are not familiar with this story...

Nehemiah surveys the wall around Jerusalem and finds that it is destroyed, in total shambles. This is God's city and God's people and they are in ruins. So he calls together the people and rallies everyone to rebuild the wall. YES! They all agree that this is what God would rebuild this wall.

GOD's plan - to rebuild the wall
GOD's people - carrying out the plan
GOD's resources

God's calling. The people were being obedient. They were doing everything right. But what happens...

The neighboring people did not like the wall being rebuilt and they began to plot against the Israelites and even ATTACK. So much that Nehemiah had to have every other person with a sword. So there was a worker and then a defender. Some workers were building with one hand and fighting with the other.

WAIT a minute, the people of God were doing exactly the right thing and they were being attacked on all sides. Everywhere they turned they encountered opposition. Sound familiar? As soon as I heard this I thought "EXACTLY, where we are."

I am right here in this season.
God has called my family to be more committed with our tithe and we are being obedient.
God has called us to serve at our church with the youth and we are trying be obedient.
God placed me in my job to be a light and an encouragement and I am trying to live it out everyday

But we are facing opposition, some days at every turn. It is exhausting and overwhelming and some days I feel like I can't do It anymore...I want to give up. But I reminded that I am called to keep working and keep fighting.

I don't know where you are in your walk and your journey. You may be rebuilding those walls, building with one hand and fighting with the other. Let me encourage you to keep building.
Keep on being obedient in the call for your life.
Keep working.
God is moving.
He is protecting.
There will be an end.

Nehemiah's story has a great end. They do get that wall rebuilt and then they spend the last 7 chapters of the Book of Nehemiah celebrating and worshiping and praising and giving thanks.

I am looking forward to those days. I am hoping and praying that the end is soon, but there is no guarantee when. But for those of us in Christ there is a celebration waiting, maybe not on this side of heaven, but the party is coming.
There will be no more opposition.
No more attack
No more hurting
No more waiting
No more longing for something more.
There will be completeness.

Workers and fighters, you are not alone. Hope is not lost. We are rebuilding the wall together. Let's keep going!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Who But God?

This morning I was sitting in church between my husband and my son and I was feeling abundantly blessed. I looked around and thought about how far God had brought us over the past year. It has been a miraculous journey. As my friend Lainie would say, “Who but God?”

Who but God could take a divorced mother of three living in Suburban Texas
On Food Stamps
Giving up on church

And take a single, never been married man living in small town Virginia (really small town)
Given up on his dream
Stuck in his job
Praying for a family

And bring them together.
Across the miles
Through all the crazy
Into each other’s lives…and make them a family.
God redeemed our sorrow with joy.

Gave us gladness in proportion to our former misery – Psalm 90:15

We will see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living – Psalm 27:13

I am doing a new thing. Can you see it? I am making streams in the Desert – Isaiah 43:19

He lifted me out of the pit and put my feet upon the rock and gave me a firm place to stand and put a new song in my mouth – Psalm 40:2-3

God is rewriting our story.

A new family
Job for me with people I love
Gary following his dream – school and a job
Ministry – Working with the youth
Surrendering to His plan – Gary being baptized and tithing

Several years ago I began to pray for God’s blessing and God’s favor on my family. I had no idea what that would look like, I just knew that I NEEDED His blessing and His favor. That prayer has been a game changer. I can not begin to tell you all of the ways God has intervened, all of the ways He has provided. He has been so faithful.

I tell you, He can take whatever broken pieces you have and make something new.
He will redeem your sorrow for joy.
I tell you this so you will be encouraged and amazed by what God can do.
Not me
Not Gary
Not anything from this world…
God alone…I would have never imagined this journey, how could I?
Only God.
Believe it. Seriously.
You will find that you are blessed beyond measure.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Psalm 107 - God hears you

So tonight I was reading Psalm 107. I don't think I had read it before because it had no notes in the margins and now it has LOTS. I like to read the Psalms almost every night. My method? You take the date, so today was the 17th and then you keep adding 30 until you run out of Psalms. So tonight I read 17, 47, 77, 107, and 137. Get it? So if you do it consistently for a month then you have read the entire book. Anyway...
      Tonight I camped out in 107. It is a great chapter. It starts off like a lot of the Psalms, praising God because He is good. That is all, just because He is good and because He is God and deserves our praise. Then psalmist calls out the redeemed and reminds us of how the Lord called us and redeemed us from the ends of earth. Then he gets into the details...
       First, the psalmist addresses those of us that wandered in the desert wastelands. Wandering, with no place to settle, no place to call home. I know that is some of you. You have gone or are going through a time in your life when nothing seemed settled. A time when had no place to call home. Not sure which direction to go next or where to turn, just lost. That is how the psalmist describes these people, they were hungry and thirsty and alone in the wilderness. Then verse 6 (you'll see this same verse over and over) "Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble and he delivered them from their distress." The people called out to God and He heard them and He delivered them. The next verses tell what He did, He led them to a city where they could be settled and He satisfied their thirst and their hunger with good things. See what God did? First He HEARD the people. I know sometimes you feel like God can't hear you or He is not listening. I have felt like that a 1000 times, like my prayers weren't leaving my room...but friend, let me assure you He HEARS you. And then He met them at the place of their wandering and took care of their needs. And the response? Praise. Thanksgiving. Gratefulness.
          Second, the psalmist shows people in total despair and darkness and deepest gloom. These people are imprisoned by their circumstances. Is that you today or sometime in the past? Maybe you are imprisoned by a relationship, or an addiction, or guilt over bad choices? Perhaps there has been something so dark and so painful that no one else knows, but that you are living in you own prison everyday. Good news my friend...same as verse 6 "Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble and he delivered then from their distress." God heard these people and He will hear you. There is no prison to secure to keep God out. There is no wall too thick. No chains to strong. He will find a way through. Through the guilt and the pain and shame and the embarrassment, through whatever you've got. He can bring freedom out of the deepest gloom and the darkest place.
         Third, we have people who are afflicted, sick, diseased, either physically or mentally. We know from the life of Jesus that He did not shy away from a little sickness. Jesus went to the sick and the hurting and brought healing. These people in psalm 107 they did the same thing, "Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble and he delivered then from their distress."(are you noticing a pattern here). God can meet you where you are and heal you from the inside out. Now, I know that some of you are facing some major illnesses in your life. real stuff. tough stuff. and I hope and pray with everything that is in me that God will miraculously, physically heal you. Today. But I don't know. What I do know is that God can take our sick, diseased filled soul that is sick with our own selfishness and sin and He can and will heal that part of our life. Cry out to Him from that hurting place and He will hear you. He will.
          Lastly, we have people in peril. Their safety has been compromised. The psalmist talks about sailors being out in sea in the waves and the wind and the deep and their "courage melted away" (verse 26). Sailors, used to the sea but they were facing something so terrifying that their courage melted away. This must have been something fierce. Is that where you are today? Facing your own storm at sea? Something that is scaring you to the core? Then cry out to Him. Just like the sailors did and God delivered them and brought them to safety.
        You see what happened here?
The people were wandering, thirsty, and hungry and God provided food and drink and a place to settle.
The people were imprisoned and God set them free.
The people were sick and afflicted and God provided healing.
The people were afraid, scared and God provided safety.

If He did it for the people in the old testament that the psalmist is writing about He will do it for you. I didn't make this stuff up, it's in there, in the Bible. I know some of you are hurting. I know you are facing things that seem like giants. I know you are scared. I am too. I am writing this really for me...but dear friend, run to Him. Cling to Him with everything that you have. Call out to Him in your distress and He will hear you and He will deliver you in your time of trouble.

 And then we will praise Him, with our whole selves, because of His unfailing love.