Thursday, May 28, 2015

Not so "off the grid" after all


When facing an impossible situation, I used to tell our girls when they were young, "There are some things in my control, but this is not one of them."

There are things that I can do, and there are many more things that I can't.  Sometimes distance prevents me from helping, sometimes it is far beyond what I am able. I am sorely limited.

Likewise, when we travel, we are often off the wifi grid, and the data we have is limited. Too much month is left at the end of our allotment.  But I have found, I can text all I want. No limits on that.

And while I may be limited in ability and even overwhelmed by the task at hand, I can do what I can, and PRAY all I want.

God never gets tired of hearing from us. Indeed, He awaits our calls for both His help and praise to Him.

Recently, I was faced with a circumstance in which I was unable to physically help in a situation. The only thing I could do was pray. It occurred to me that I was more help praying than anything else. That was exactly where God wanted me to be.

The only thing I can do? Never discount what God will do through prayer.

I may not be able to DO anything about a particular situation, but I can PRAY all I want.

The prayer of the righteous
has great power in its effects.
                      James 5. 16

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

That little hesitation


When our girls were young, there was often a bit of hesitation and sometimes a lot of reluctance in responding to us as parents.  I am sure that there were often great intentions in obeying, but just on their terms.  "I'll do it later."

And so, we used to say to them, "Delayed obedience is the same as disobedience."

Because in that little hesitation or even those good intentions, there is a lack of trust.  And while at times it does not matter if the item gets done that morning or the next day, more often than not, that intended obedience falls into the abyss of forgetfulness.

At the most crucial times, that hesitation is a matter of life and death.  We had a friend who had the ability to emit a great and sharp whistle from placing her fingers against her lips -- something I always wanted to be able to do.  When her son was about four years old and careening down the sidewalk as only an energetic four year old boy can do, right before the intersection, Mary whistled.  Her little boy literally stopped on a dime.  Every time.  No hesitation.  No arguing.  Just stopped.

Someday that immediate obedience would save his life.

We all fall into a complacence that this thing or that really doesn't matter.  And we develop patterns of behavior that make us sluggish and unresponsive to God.  If we listen for Him at all, we respond like a reluctant child, "I'll do it later."

But heeding when God calls always matters.  And it ALWAYS impacts not only me, but the lives of everyone around me.  I cannot foresee the outcome, and I cannot improve God's perfect timing.

I don't need to learn to whistle at all.
I need to learn to stop on a dime.
And not just hear God's voice in this,
           but heed Him in it.

When I think of Your ways,
I turn my feet to Your testimonies;
I hasten and do not delay
to keep Your commandments.

                           Psalm 119. 59-60






Monday, May 25, 2015

Strategic focus

... by this keeping heart and mind fixed on God, we shall bruise the head of the evil one, and beat down his weapons to the ground.
            
  --Brother Lawrence
                 (1611-1691)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Checklist


Dismay.
      Check.
Despair.
      Check.
Distress.
      Check.

God already has that covered.
God already has YOU covered.

Fear not, for I am with you; 
be not dismayed, 
for I am your God; 
I will strengthen you, 
I will help you, 
I will uphold you 
with My victorious right hand.  

Isaiah 41:10

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Is it me?


I stood in a crowded airport in a line of people, the air close and warm.  As we stood there, waiting to board, I looked at my fellow passengers jostling in the queue, their occupations and personalities manifested by how they dressed and by what they carried with them.  I heard snippets of conversation as if I was searching for a radio station, the dial moving from one station to another, catching only a phrase or two.  And then, I was aware of the pungent smell of sweat.  No obvious suspect appeared in my field of vision.

Is it me?

I leaned my head down to my shoulder and sniffed.  I wanted to make sure. No problem.  I had already bathed early that morning.  But whoever it was, left behind a legacy that impacted everyone around him.

The Bible talks a lot about the senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch, and yes, even smell.

When Christ is at the core of who we are, He changes everything in us. He changes what we see and how we see it.  He sharpens our hearing.  He changes our desires and appetite. He alters how we respond with love, grace and kindness. He gives us a new nature to wear.  His indwelling impacts -- in many dimensions-- everyone around us.  Even how we smell.

Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus
and wiped His feet with her hair,
and the house was filled
   with the fragrance of the ointment.

                                          John 12.3

When we worship Jesus
                        in all that we say and do,
our lives are filled with the fragrance of Christ.
A noticeable aroma lingers in the air,
       not like a heavy perfume that masks an odor,
but a refreshing legacy,
           a life renewed,
           a heart supernaturally bathed in the Spirit,
so obvious that others can't help but sense
         "What is different here?"
that which smells incredibly like Jesus.

...and through us spreads the fragrance
of the knowledge of Him everywhere.
For we are the aroma of Christ...

                            2 Corinthians 2.14-15

Wherever we are today,
       at home, at work, at the market,
       in delightful relationships
               or sheer difficult ones,
what fragrance lingers?

Is it me?
Or is it Him?