Tag Archives: faithfulness

{Day 8} Here and There

**this was originally posted on 05/10/12. while behind the scenes i was furiously working on the full application that preceded acceptance with the missions organization. and doubting that i was good enough for the task.**

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 3:12-14 (ESV)

What makes me think if I can’t manage time and priorities here in relative comfort, stability and ease, that I can manage time and priorities there in the midst of potential discomfort and unknown?

What makes me think if I can’t reach outside of myself here to fully invest in others as I should, that I can fully invest there within a limited framework?

What makes me think if I can’t write here from my heart for me (much less for them), that I can write there so publicly?

What makes me think if I can’t find the balance and consistency in the Word here that is right, that I can be consistent there in new and unfamiliar surroundings?

Yet even as I continue to ask the questions, which all really boil down to just one question of my own ability, and begin to acknowledge the underlying fears, I already know the answer. It’s the same answer I received so powerfully and directly on that old hotel room floor in Ocean City six years ago.

I can’t. But HE can.

And as I hear that truth once again, as I not only hear it, but believe it, as it resonates deep within me, the Lord comes in gently and lovingly (though not painlessly) to once again strip me of my pride and self-sufficiency and independence. Because this relationship, this walking with Him, this following Him, was never intended to be that way.

None of this depends on me. It never did. This is not about me at all. It never was.

It’s about trusting in Him, leaning into Him, depending on Him. It’s about surrendering self and sacrificing independence. It’s about acknowledging His strength in my weakness, His sufficiency in my insufficiency, His righteousness in my unrighteousness.

Both my here and my there are His. For His purpose and for His glory.

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God is Still God

with faith and exploration and dreaming and possibility,

comes uncertainty and wrong turns and failure and messy.

but even if it’s messy, even if it fails, even if the worst happens,

God is still God.

he is still good and still sovereign and still in control.

so take the next small step. be faithful in the next small thing.

then trust and rest.

God is still God.

He’s got this.

—–

“…For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose…'”

Isaiah 46:9-10 (ESV)

Here and There

note: while i did have a specific “here” and “there” in mind when i penned this, in some ways, we all have a “here” and “there”. it may be a physical location, a goal, a hope, a dream, or just a what if. but regardless of the what, i would encourage you to to think of your own “here” and “there” as you read. and then rest in the truth of His promises.

What makes me think if I can’t manage time and priorities here in relative comfort, stability and ease, that I can manage time and priorities there in the midst of potential discomfort and unknown?

What makes me think if I can’t reach outside of myself here to fully invest in others as I should, that I can fully invest there within a limited framework?

What makes me think if I can’t write here from my heart for me (much less for them), that I can write there so publicly?

What makes me think if I can’t find the balance and consistency in the Word here that is right, that I can be consistent there in new and unfamiliar surroundings?

Yet even as I continue to ask the questions, which all really boil down to just one question of my own ability, and begin to acknowledge the underlying fears, I already know the answer. It’s the same answer I received so powerfully and directly on that old hotel room floor in Ocean City six years ago.

I can’t. But HE can.

And as I hear that truth once again, as I not only hear it, but believe it, as it resonates deep within me, the Lord comes in gently and lovingly (though not painlessly) to once again strip me of my pride and self-sufficiency and independence. Because this relationship, this walking with Him, this following Him, was never intended to be that way.

None of this depends on me. It never did. This is not about me at all. It never was.

It’s about trusting in Him, leaning into Him, depending on Him. It’s about surrendering self and sacrificing independence. It’s about acknowledging His strength in my weakness, His sufficiency in my insufficiency, His righteousness in my unrighteousness.

Both my here and my there are His. For His purpose and for His glory.

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:12-14 (ESV)

5 Things

1. Hey, Friends!

2. Last week while my parents were out of town, I had to make a quick stop at their house one evening. They have several small dogs (Toy Poodles and a Pomeranian) – who were of course excited to see me! – so even though they were being well taken care of by pet-sitters, I let them all out of their crates to play for about half an hour while I found the info I needed. When I was ready to go, I grabbed a handful of little milkbones to signal my intent, and watched them all hurry to their respective crates to await their treat. Or so I thought. I started handing out treats and closing crate doors until I got to almost the last one only to realize I had closed the door of an empty crate. I walked around to the other side of the kitchen and found Omega hiding behind the trashcan. Ha!

3. Speaking of parents, my mom is a gift-giving genius! True story.

4. This is one of the few pictures I have that proves I was actually in Charleston, SC a couple of weeks ago…even if it is from inside the hotel room. I still kinda love this mirror!

5. I had a rather important meeting earlier this week (which went great!), and in the 24 hours or so leading up to it, as my excitement began to increase, so did my nerves and I found myself craving familiar promises in Scripture. To hear the whole story behind my love for this passage go read this post, but I’ll leave you with my favorite couple of verses that never cease to restore calm and provide comfort as they remind me of God’s Faithfulness and Sovereignty:

“This God – his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?”

– 2 Samuel 22:31-32 (ESV)

Just Keep Reading…

It’s been one of those weeks where everything has just seemed sort of off. So as I approached my Tuesday/Wednesday deadline of a weekly devotion based on the 20+ chapters of Scripture I’ve read in the previous days without a message that seemed appropriate for this space, all I could tell myself was, “Just keep reading…”

So I did.

Yet still unsure regarding a message from a specific passage, and with my mind still freshly aware of The Story, I stepped back from the details and specifics to observe the big picture of all that I’ve been soaking in over the past few weeks.

And that’s when I saw it.

God’s love woven through each story and each person on the pages of Scriptures.

God’s love throughout the creation account.

God’s love to Noah, who was preserved through the flood because he found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

God’s love to the Israelites as they rebuilt the temple and restored their relationship and identity post exile.

God’s love to the prophet Nehemiah through answered prayer.

God’s love to the church as it spread and multiplied by the power of the Holy Spirit, even as it faced persecution.

God’s love to Paul through his powerful conversion and ministry.

God’s love to the apostles, the chosen twelve, as Christ walked with them, lived with them, and ministered to them.

God’s love to so many people who witnessed and experienced Christ’s wonders and miracles because of their faith.

God’s love in this as spoken in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch by Paul:

“Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.”

– Acts 13:38-39 (NIV)

It all comes back to this, doesn’t it? To Jesus Christ. To his sacrifice on the cross. Out of His perfect love. For us.

“Amazing love, how can it be? That you, my King, would die for me.

Amazing love, I know it’s true. It’s my joy to honor you.

In all I do, let me honor you.”

Sometimes, it’s all we can do to just keep reading, to soak in His love, His faithfulness, His goodness, and to remember all that He’s done.

Just keep reading…

{Day 31} “He Who Calls You is Faithful…”

As we arrive at the end of this 31 Days to Better Understand our {God Given} Callings, I leave you with this truth:

We’re called to be faithful … to be obedient and to trust.

We’re called to glorify God … to know Him and to make Him known.

But not by our own strength or ability or understanding of our calling.

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”

– 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (ESV – emphasis added)

(for individual links to each post in this 31 Day series, please click here)

{Day 5} It’s Not About Me

**i originally posted this on 05.20.11, but it fits so well with this series that i have decided to share it again. oh, and today is the last day to enter the giveaway.**

Sometimes, I think way too highly of myself.

Although not necessarily a conscious choice, in practice, I tend to [wrongly] assume that others should do things in my way, on my timeline, and to my standard.  In short, I tend to assume that everything should revolve around me.

But that whole mentality could not be further from the truth.

My women’s Monday night Bible Study just recently completed Kay Arthur’s Precept study on Covenant.  Although there were several aspects of this study that left a deep impact, one of the themes that stood out the most was the clarity of the big picture.

Ultimately, this study pointed us (again and again) to the Covenant relationship we have entered with Jesus Christ…

“Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.”

Hebrews 13:20-21 (New American Standard Bible)

…but throughout the entire 11 lesson study, while pouring over the details of the Abrahamic, Noahic, and Davidic covenants, and of ancient near eastern covenants in general, we were also led to see this beautiful, awesome, compelling, and powerful Covenant in the context of God’s “big picture” story.

Tracing the beginning of the Covenant promise back to the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis all the way to the promises in the book of Revelation, while coming to a greater understanding of the details, we also observed how faithful God was (and is) to His Covenant promises throughout the span of thousands of years.

And it’s from that perspective that I have found myself becoming intimately and acutely aware of the reality that I am one, small, miniscule part of that big picture.

Recently, I have spent a considerable amount of time contemplating, studying about, and praying over the difference between my dreams and my God-given callings, how to reconcile the two if/when different, and as a result, how to discern where God is leading.  It has been awesome (in the truest sense of the word). And it has been hard.  And in some ways has left me with more questions than answers.

But through this study of Covenant, the one over-arching, all-encompassing truth I keep returning to is this:

It’s not about me.

And in considering my dreams and God’s calling for my life, I have come to the realization that I have allowed the sins of fear and pride to advance and have therefore allowed myself to think that if I take a wrong turn in discerning God’s calling, I have somehow not only thwarted, but completely and utterly ruined His eternal plan.

Umm. . .not likely!

Do I participate in the covenant relationship? Yes.

Does it require certain things of me? Absolutely.

But does it depend on me? No.

When I allow myself to become all-out consumed by what MY dreams are and what MY calling is and what MY direction should be (not that those aren’t good things to consider), I lose sight of what GOD is purposing and where GOD is calling and how GOD is leading.

So, I am beginning to not only realize, but take hold of, that the best thing I can do to discover and stay true to my God-given calling (which by the way, I don’t think I’ve really discovered…at least not in full…I’m sort of on the one-step-at-a-time plan), is to keep:

my heart grounded in the truth of the Lord,

my soul in a constant state of unwavering trust in His promises,

my mind focused on Him alone,

and the strength of my whole being seeking hard after HIM.

Because it’s not about me.

But it is all about Him.

And He is faithful.

Do you trust the truth of that promise?