Due to some 8,000 emails I received last week, dating back to 2009…that’s right, they were all mine. That is, I’d already received them and had since deleted them. It just goes to show you that nothing is REALLY gone, afterall. Kinda scary.
Also, due to more things than you’d want me to go into here, I’ve had to shelf my three blogs. It’s only temporary though, okay? I will be back. Thank you for your patience. Jennifer
From the second floor, I see through the window a constant flow out on the street below.
Cell phone talkers and coffee toters and badge wearers scrubbed in purple and blue. Orange-shirted construction workers checking out the scrubs from under their dirty hardhats.
Two youngish men in electric wheelchairs roll up to the corner. One, his leg crossed high over the other leg like he’s sitting at a board meeting, zips through the intersection and down the sidewalk, weaving in and out of clumps of fast-footed and more leisurely walkers. Directly on his heels, his partner, who instantly slows, casts a sidelong glance at a cute coffee toter, gets her to laugh, then off he goes—it’s catch up time. These guys must play a lot of wheelchair basketball.
But mostly, this is a walking culture. The preferred means of travel in this part of the city.
Even drivers know to take it slow, yielding to the two-legged cross traffic. Not one motorist seems rushed. Well, except for the cowboys on their electric horses and a cartoonishly-dressed skater leaving a kaleidoscope of color in his wake, his psychedelic scarf trailing in the air behind him. He blows past the metal crawl while drivers cock their heads, wistfully eying his backside: “If only I had a skateboard.”
Above me, strewn on a bed of baby blanket blue are yards of batting-looking clouds, being pulled slowly apart by a current of air, looking more and more like an overused blanket. Another current veers off and swings down between two well-endowed date-bearing palms, delicately lifting and dipping their coiffed fronds. They seem to be waving. Hello? Goodbye? Who knows?
Perched below those lusciously dated fronds, on a whitewashed boulder in the middle of a well-watered lawn, towers a bronze likeness of John Sutter in his knee-high boots, dungarees, short coat, scarf and cowboy hat, a thick-mustache, and his right leg bent determinedly at the knee. Like everything and everyone else, he seems to be going somewhere.
And here I am, sitting and wondering in the lobby of the second floor medical building, awaiting test results. Not mine. My daughter’s. Of course, my thoughts run here and there, until they weary themselves at last on the simple fact that God really is in control.
I sit back against the cushioned chair, rest my head against the wall, and close my eyes. Be still, I tell myself. And know that He is God.
Numbers 13:27-28, 30
“…the land…it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there.”
Has God given you a word,
an assurance of something to come?
Perhaps of a career change,
or the strength to endure a recent or approaching void.
Are you afraid?
Do you feel a stranglehold on what little joy you had just a moment ago, when God first communicated this prospect?
Are you convinced now that you can’t do it afterall?
Or will you take a good look at the possibilities—what God will do through you—and tell Him, “Sure, I’ll trust you, Lord.”?
Be convinced! God never takes you where He hasn’t already prepared you for. He will lift you over each obstacle and carry you through every emotion. He’ll stretch you, but He won’t let you break. He’ll bend you without so much as a fracture to your spirit. God will compensate for whatever you lack. His grace is enough.
Experience his powerful arm as he moves you into new territory—physical, emotional, spiritual, or all three.
Does public speaking make you nervous? “Who gave man his mouth? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:11).
Are you facing emotional challenges? “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you” (Psalm 9:9-10).
Are you troubled? “But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless” (Psalm 10:14).
Are you facing a new position? “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect…he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle…your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great” (Psalm 18:32-35).
Are you worried or confused about something? “The LORD…counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me” (Psalm 16:7).
You, O LORD, are my all in all. What am I afraid of or worried about? I can do whatever you ask, because you are the One who equips and enables me. Amen.
2 Kings 6:15,16
When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
And Elisha prayed. “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he loooked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Contrary to popular belief, what you don’t know can, and will, hurt you.
What you don’t know about God, that is, will cripple the slightest confidence you might otherwise have in Him. On the other hand, what you do know of God—intellectually, experientially—will compel you to trust Him for against-the-odds kinds of situations.
Have you known this to be true, that the more you know of God’s faithfulness, the more apt you are to trust Him for the impossible?
Have you personally experienced God’s heroics?
When you read a story like that one in the Bible, do you find yourself hoping or expecting God to come through for you?
Elisha expected the hillside to be riddled with angelic beings, because it’d been God’s habit, His pleasure, to do outrageous feats on Elisha’s behalf. When the enemy had surrounded them, Elisha knew God’s warrior angels were shadowing them—more numerous than the enemy.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them (Ps.34:7).
The moment trouble arises, heavenly warriors are present and primed for war.
Your daily survival alone depends on God’s strength and foreknowledge, not this human muscle of yours with your limited knowledge.
But because we can’t see God, can’t touch Him or hear Him audibly, we may be tempted to act as if God is far away, oblivious, or at the least, not overly concerned. We begin to doubt that He’s not shouldering us along this journey that He’s set us on, not surrounding us with His fiery ministers. Not true.
Never forget, precious brother, sweet sister, God knows each time you sit down and every time you get up. He is intimately acquainted with the way you think. He watches you going out and every time you lie down. He knows your habits. Before a single word tumbles off your tongue, He already knows it completely (from Psalm 139).
You are more than covered, my friend; you are surrounded!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus. Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free! Rolling as a mighty ocean, in its fullness over me! Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Your love. Leading onward, leading homeward, to Thy glorious rest above!
When you, at last, come to the end of your life…as you look back over the long passage since the days when your mother first carried you in her womb…Oh, how near Jesus has been to you. Every step of the way.
Has something tempted you to feel afraid today? Stop right now and close your eyes. Ask God to give you the eyes to see how all of heaven is ready to protect you, fight for you, and preserve you. Thank God now, for how He is already working behind the scenes on your behalf.
Jesus, you are my Refuge and my Strength, the only One who holds me up in times of trouble. Thank you for what You are going to do through me, and for me, today. Amen.
- Free from the Stronghold of Mediocrity (ptl2010.com)
This life is one continuous generator of challenge. Everytime you turn around, something demands your daring. The daring to be honest when honesty might cast you in a dimmer light.
Can you live with your humanity out there in the open?
There’s the daring to see, even admit, the true character of a significant person in your life, and the Truth inside you is moving you to do something about it.
There’s the daring to see some situation for which you’ve been making excuses and, once and for all, decide to move on or deal with head on.
What will you do?
Life Demands Daring!
This week, something will challenge you to stand up—again, or for the first time— for what is biblically right, while darker temperaments will determine to intimidate and silence you.
Will you trust God to make your wobbly legs stable?
This week, something will challenge your good character.
Will you allow yourself to be wronged, your name to be maligned, convinced that God will settle this account in His good time?
Because He will, you know.
This year, you may be asked to walk an unfamiliar path where no one knows your name, your potential, your past accomplishments.
Will you go as Christ’s ambassador to win some for the Kingdom? Or will you be like Lot’s unbelieving wife and cling to the past, the way things used to be?
Yours just may be to stay behind, to remain faithful to the same ol’, same ol’ while everyone else seems to be moving forward and getting on with their lives. But for you, it’s another year of purely putting one foot in front of the other, persevering for perseverance’ sake, because “the testing of your faith develops perseverance,” and “perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:3, 4).
Will you finally allow God to have His way with you?
Because He is Spirit, God appears absent from your reality. Realistically, He couldn’t be nearer. These challenges that demand your daring are merely opportunities for God’s character to take root and begin to grow in you. Without them, what is there to confront your humanness, waking your momentary need for God? What will better expose your weaknesses and sinful tendencies and the faith to stand up against them?
These challenges that demand our daring only appear to be working against us. But in fact, they are ever forging us into the image of Christ. So let us determine to react to them through eyes of faith. Let us lean solely on Him who enables us to stand, to persevere, to move forward into uncharted territory, to be maligned, to suffer, even to succeed.
Almighty God, Friend and Savior and Lord, this life is not my own. So as You direct me this week through the landscape of challenges before me, help me to realize that the power that raised Jesus from among the dead is also mine. Help me to see what my human eyes cannot; that You are as near to me as the breath I breathe; that You are my reason for being alive in Christ today. Give me a hunger for Your Word, O Lord, that by it, its transforming power may be fully realized in me.
- Morning Dew – Causes of Secret Discipleship (iamtheinstrument.wordpress.com)
Well, readers, I sure hope you’ve been able to stay clear of this nasty thing that’s going round. It’s like some jet streams managed to get tangled up inside my house, and nothing’s pushing them on, away from here. Took me and my oldest daughter down big time. We survived. Obviously. But boy, this is the flu of all flus. I’m still trying to recupe, hacking up my lungs and working the stuffing out of my head.
So bear with me, okay? I’ll be back.