Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:2 – 3

Today in the great state of Texas is a day that school teachers and students have been dreading all year, it was TAKS test day. This a day that the schools work for…the teaching and preparing and today was the day. Most everyone who works in public school is just ready to get it over with. Another test…the questions are difficult, the students are nervous, everyone just wants it to be over.

But today I noticed a different perspective. As my principal was on the morning announcements, I noticed a different sound in her voice, an excitement, a great anticipation…she was almost giddy. She said on the announcements that this was the opportunity for all the students to show everything they had learned, this was their time to shine. I thought about her words…opportunity…I wouldn’t have used that to refer to this test. But she did and I could tell by the sound in her voice that she really meant it. She had an excited anticipation about the day.

I had the privilege today to read the test a loud to one little 4th grade girl. I was not sure what to expect with just she and I in the room all day, but it turned out to be quite interesting. As the test began, she was really nervous. She worked cautiously, she second guessed herself. She was very quiet. But as the morning went on she became more confident. She came to questions that she was sure she knew the answer. She began to work more swiftly, her pencil marks were sure. Her entire demeanor changed and she took the opportunity to shine.

As I thought about all of this today, my mind begin to think about us and our tests or trials. The book of James says to count it ALL JOY when we encounter various trials. It made me wonder…is our Heavenly Father like my principal? When we encounter trials along life’s journey, does He look at it as a way for us to shine, to show the things we have learned? Is He waiting with eager anticipation to see if we will pass through our test with flying colors?

I think that the answer maybe yes. I think that the Lord is watching as we go through life trials and He is waiting to se how we will react and what we will show. I think that James understood that. Look at what it says in the Message
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors” James 1:2-3
Did you catch that last line “Show its true colors?” That truly is the opportunity to shine.

For most, trials catch us off guard and we approach them like my little 4th grader. We may be scared and timid, unsure of the next step or how to proceed. We may be nervous that we will make the wrong move or make a big mistake. But the more trials we experience and the more lessons learned, the more confident we become. We gain perseverance…isn’t that what James said was the real point of trials anyway?

When we find ourselves in the midst of a trial…something we didn’t expect, something that is difficult to walk through…let’s take a minute. We can look at these moments as our time to shine. We can pray and ask God that we will use this opportunity to show our true colors. That we will come out on the other side a little more confident…a little more sure-footed, clothed with a little more perseverance. That is my prayer for all of us.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give your rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30


Such a simple word with a big meaning. I have been thinking a lot about “rest” in the last few days. I think it is because I do not feel very rested. Take at look at the definitions I found…

 the refreshing quiet or repose of sleep.

 relief or freedom, esp. from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs.

 mental or spiritual calm; tranquillity.

 to refresh oneself, as by sleeping, lying down, or relaxing.

 to relieve weariness by cessation of exertion or labor.

 to be at ease; have tranquillity or peace.

I do not know about you, but I am having a hard time finding rest for my soul. Most of the time I feel like I am carrying around the weight of the world…and I am longing for rest. The thought of tranquility and peace is so foreign when I can’t even seem to get a good night sleep. I long for quiet moments sitting by a peaceful stream, reading my Bible and sipping coffee. But how can you find tranquility and rest in the midst of our daily lives? Our days are filled with a thousand tasks. Our to-do list is so long that we are lucky in a day to complete half, and then it makes a longer list for the next day. And those are just the things that we know about…what about the unexpected, the things that pop up and throw our daily schedule out the window.

The car breaks down and we have kids to get to school and meetings to attend

The kids come down with the stomach bug in the middle of the night, now there is twice as much laundry and half as much sleep

Electricity bill has tripled…there went the “extra” money for the month

You never know what is going to be around the next corner or in the next phone call. These things are making it impossible to find the rest that our bodies and spirits so desperately need. Is there any hope?

The answer is in the verses in Matthew…Jesus clearly tells us what to do.

The first step – Come – He says “Come to me all who are weary.” It is that simple. We must come to Him. Now I know that we al came to Him when we came for our salvation, but I think that this is more of a daily time…Come to Him everyday. Seek His face. Come to rest in His presence. Sit at His feet. Be still, if even for a moment.

The next step – Take – “Take my yoke upon you.” Jesust wants us to take HIS yoke, His burdens, His plans upon ourselves. In order to take His, we have to lay ours down. You can’t have two sets of plans. You can’t see the world two ways. You can’t have two sets of priorities. In order to take on HIS way, we must lay down our way.

The Third step – Learn “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” We have to take time to learn from Jesus about resting and seeing the world the way He sees the world. We need to care about the thing He cares about. We need to learn His heart. We may find that things that take up our time may not be so important.

If we can do those steps, then Jesus says we WILL find rest for our weary souls. He longs for us to stop striving in our own power and take on his burdens because they are light…His way is easy…

Look at those verses in Matthew from the Message…
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
I like where it says, “Keep company with me.” I think that sums it up pretty well. We need to spend time everyday getting to know Jesus and learning to see the world the way He sees it, to make His priorities, our priorities. When we do that our prospective will begin to change and we can find rest for our far too weary souls.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Father of Lies

Anybody remember the old Amy Grant Song “Are you Living in an Old Man’s rubble?”

It is an old song and the chorus goes something like this

Are you living in an Old Man’s Rubble?

Are you listening to the Father of Lies?

If you are then you’re headed for trouble

If you listen to long you’ll eventually die.

I don’t know why this song came to my mind this week. I could not get it out of head. I think that the Lord brought it to mind to bring something to my attention. That has been me the past few weeks. I have been listening to the Father of Lies. I have been under such an attack and I have been beaten. Satan is such a liar and I let him get my head and mess with my mind and heart. He wants us to be defeated. He wants down on our back feeling hopeless and helpless and completely useless. I must confess he has gotten to me. In a big way. So much that I felt myself spiraling and out of control and I didn’t even realize it until I felt hopeless.
But we have a way to fight back. We do not have to be hopeless, because we know the father of all hope. The rest of that Amy Grant song says this
But if you are living as new creation

If you listening to the Father of Light

Then you’re living in a mighty fortress

And you’re going to be clothed with power and might!
Did you read that? Mighty Fortress…Power and Might. We can fight off the attack from our enemy because we live in the mighty fortress. We have the entire defense we need, if we use it. That is the key. We can not do it in our own power.
I think that the trick is to believe that the Bible is true. We are who it says we are and we can do what it says we can do.
Satan says, you are worthless.

The Bible says you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Satan says, you are powerless
The Bible says I have not given you the spirit of fear, but of power and might and a sound mind.

Satan says, you can’t do anything
The Bible says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Satan says, God doesn’t have a plan for you, he doesn’t care about you.

The Bible says, I know the plans I have for you, to prosper you and not to harm you. To give you a future and a hope.

All the days of your life were recorded before you took one breath
God first loved us and sent his son

I could go on and on. We buy into the lies and forget the truth. Remember this today. Say these words out loud and let them sink into your soul…

You were created for a purpose. You are loved. You are beautiful beyond measure. God made you and He bought you. You can do anything thought Christ. He hears you when you pray, He knows your desires and your fears. He is your Father who LOVES you.

Don’t let the Father of Lies mislead you and deceive you. Remember you live in a mighty fortress and you are clothed with power and might!