The God I Know

Oh.  Heavenly Father, God and Creator of the Universe.  You knew me before I was born.  You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  You numbered my days before I breathed my first breath.  You alone decided I would be born, and you alone will decide when my days are complete.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made by You.

You alone planned my days.  You know my accomplishments.  You know my failures.  You love me in my most lovely days, and you love me when I’m less than lovely.

You go before me and you follow me.  You surround me with your presence.  You work for me.  You fight for me.  Your heavenly armies follow me.  I can never escape from your Spirit.  Your hand guides me.  Your strength supports me.  You equip me for your work.  I am never far from your thoughts.

You search me.  You know my thoughts.  You read my mind.  You hear my words.  You test me.  You know my anxious thoughts.  Yet you still love me.  You won’t turn away when I call.

You are the first and the last.  The alpha and the omega.  The beginning and the end.  You never had a beginning and you’ll never end.  You are always.  You are eternal.  You are everlasting.

Oh.  You are three in one.  God, you are the Father.  Jesus Christ, you are the Son.  Holy Spirit, you are my Guide.  All of you complete the never-ending circle of the one and only God.  There are no limits to what you can do.  You are powerful.  You are able to do anything and everything.   At any time.

You are the God of peace.  You are kind.  Compassionate.  Loving.  Generous.  You meet all my needs and provide me with blessings.  Your grace is free and undeserved.  Your mercies are new every day.


I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.  Revelation 22:13


Your ways are beyond understanding. You are a good good Father. You know best.  You love unconditionally.  You love the lovely and the unlovely.  You are merciful and yet you’re just. You will repay and you will punish.  But oh.  Your blessings are unfathomable. Your love is endless.  Your grace is unearned.

You love everyone. Red and yellow, black and white. They are precious in your sight.  The lame. The blind. The sick.  The homeless.  The rich.  The poor.  The thief.  The artist.  The CEO.  The hourly worker.  You love those who are hurting. You love those who have hurt others.  You love the honest.  You love the liar.  You do not discriminate.

You allow Satan to tempt and trick your people.  You allow wars and disease and famine.  You allow untimely deaths and accidents.  Job loss.  Destruction.  Horrible crimes.  You could stop these, yet you don’t.  You allow nature to take its course.  You allow the sun to rise and set every single day.  You allow mankind to choose you or not to choose you.  You’ve given us a free will to live our lives as we see fit.  With you.  or without you.  And through it all, you love us.  No matter what we choose.

You offer forgiveness.  No questions asked.  You stand waiting for us to choose you over everything else we hold dear.  You offer eternal life.  You offer a heavenly reward.  You gave your Son.  For everyone.

Your work is never left undone. You finish everything you start.  You work thoroughly and perfectly.  You are the Master Creator, creating works of art for your pleasure and purpose.  You are the Master Carpenter, building an eternal home for those who follow your ways.

Through everything, you never change. The good. The bad. The ugly. You’re constant. You speak only the truth. You don’t lie. You keep your promises. In your own time.  Because for you a day is a thousand years and a thousand years is a day.  Time is nothing to you. Yet you created time.  In those 7 days, you created day and night.  Dark and light. Sun and moon.  Sea and land.  Food and flower.  Creature and man.

You are the final Judge.  You will have the last say about how I’ve lived my life.  You alone will decide if I am worthy to enter heaven’s gates.  Oh.  I’m unworthy.  But you alone, God, will determine my eternity.

You correct me when I’m wrong.  You counsel me when I need guidance.  You challenge me to trust you when I’m out of my comfort zone.  You carry me through the most difficult of times.

God, you are fair.  You judge and punish as you see fit.   You are impartial.  You decide who will rise and who will fall.  You allow rain to fall on the just and on the unjust.  You have enemies, but you fight cleanly and fairly.

God, you never change.  You’re always right.  You have the final say in all matters.  No one is better than you.  You alone determine the outcome of all events.  You alone are God.  You are the only God.  The one and only God.  All knees will bow to you at some unknown time.  All lips will confess you as Lord at the appointed time.

Bless your holy name.  Amen.

 

God Sees All

She asked me to help.  As I stood at her desk, I happened to see an email that was not for my eyes.  I saw words I shouldn’t have seen.  What was I to do now?  I couldn’t unsee what I shouldn’t have seen.  It wasn’t my information to see.  It wasn’t my news to share.  I couldn’t erase it.  I had to keep quiet.

It wasn’t a place I wanted to be.  Knowing information that I shouldn’t know.  Once known, it’s always known.  Now the waiting begins.  Until someone else shares the news.  I wasn’t going to spread gossip.  Even if the information was true.  I was keeping quiet.

I recently overheard one side of a conversation.  She was on the phone in the ladies room.  First thing in the morning.  I overheard words she spoke in private.  I took a pregnancy test this morning.  It was positive.  It was a conversation she didn’t want anyone to hear.  But there we were.  In the same room.  At the same time.  I didn’t know her.  She didn’t know me.  But now I know something about her that she wanted kept private.  What am I to do?

I couldn’t unhear what I had overheard.  I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop.  I didn’t even know her, but now I know her secret.  I know information that I wasn’t supposed to know.  I’m keeping the news to myself.


The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.  Proverbs 15:3


There is one who sees everything, hears everything and knows everything.  That is not me.  That is God.

Is the fact that God sees all a warning to you, or is it an encouragement to you?

I read that sentence in the daily devotion, and it jumped out at me.  I guess it just depends on the day.  That’s what I think.

I need to be reminded that every word I say is heard.  Every thought I think is read.  Every action I take is seen.  What I say and do in secret, really isn’t secret.  How often should I be ashamed and confess?

Some days I need to be reminded that I am being watched. That all my words and actions are seen and heard by God.  I need the nudge to be kinder.  To say polite words.  To use my indoor voice.  To treat others the way I want to be treated.  I do need that watchful eye on me.  Even when I want to hide.

Other days, just knowing that God sees all feels like a gentle hug of comfort to me.  It feels as if I’m sitting in front of a fire keeping warm.  It tells me that I’m not overlooked when I’m feeling lonely.  It reassures me that I’m being seen when I feel unseen.  It lets me know that he sees my needs and will provide.

A popular song tells us that God is watching us.  from a distance.  If that is true, then why do I feel him closer than a heartbeat?  Why do I sometimes feel that he’s walking right beside me?  Why do I feel a nudge when I’m disobedient?  Can a God who sees me from a distance be so close?  At the same time?

       In a world quick to condemn, criticize and overreact, be quick to be kind.                  ~~Rachel Macy Stafford 

Yes, please.  Because God is watching and he sees us when we condemn others.  When we criticize those who are different.  When we overreact to others when we’re misunderstood.  He also sees us when we’re kind.  And loving.  And caring.  When we serve others who may never acknowledge what we do.  He sees.  He sees us.  All the time.

Another Chance

I had scheduled the massage a few weeks earlier.  I even got a confirmation the day before reminding me of the appointment.  But when I arrived at the appointed time, my massage therapist wasn’t there.  He wasn’t in when he should have been.   He was at a training class in another city.  But no one told me.

Oh.  I was upset.  I was very unhappy.  To find out I wasn’t going to get the massage I desperately needed felt like an insult.  A hard slap in the face on an early Saturday morning.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to tell them I would never be back.  Don’t ask if I want to reschedule.  But I didn’t.

How many chances do you give someone when they mess up?  How many times do you say.  Oh.  It’s ok.  No problem.  How many times do you let someone disappoint you before realizing they’re not good for you?

The thing is.  I liked him.  Oh.  I liked his work.  He has strength in his hands that I’ve never experienced.  And with each massage, I would get a lesson in massage therapy and anatomy and physiology.  Even if I didn’t ask for it.  He’s passionate about his work.  He tries to work out all the tight spots in the small amount of time he has with me.  Oh.  It’s never enough time.  I have too many tight muscles.  Too many issues.

He talks to me about the muscles he working on.  Deltoid.  Biceps.  Quads.  Minimus.  Hamstrings.  He talks about foot stretches.  He mentions fascia and flexibility.  Don’t look down so much.  He says.  He gives advice on how to care for my body.

So I’ve given him a second chance.  A chance to prove himself.  The thing is.  I don’t know if the scheduling problem was his fault or someone else’s.  So why wouldn’t I give him a second chance?

I rescheduled with him.  He was there at the appointed time.  He didn’t say a word about the jumbled schedule.  But toward the end of my massage, he said the words I wanted to hear.  Do you need to be anywhere?  Because I can keep working on you.  Twenty-five minutes later, he finished the massage.

Disappointment a couple weeks earlier turned into an extra long massage.  His generosity won me back.  His work is great.  His technique is effective.  I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t given him another chance to prove himself.  He is worth it.


I have loved you with an everlasting love.  I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.  Jeremiah 31:3


Sometimes I don’t understand how God works in my life.  I don’t know why He allows bad things to happen.  I don’t know why He lets me wait on things that seem to be good.  I don’t know why He doesn’t answer some prayers.

I do know that God hears my every prayer.  He knows my pain.  He knows my hurts and longings.  Oh.  He doesn’t take them away just because I ask.  But he does stand with me through the ups and downs of life.

How many times does God forgive me when I sin? He always forgives me. Never once has he turned his back on me.  Each time I stumble in my desire to be godly, God forgives me when I ask.  He brings me back into his arms of love.  Oh.  There are times he disciplines me.  There are times of pruning the dead branches when there is no growth.

He talks to me about acceptance.  Kindness.  Generosity.  Don’t be so negative.  Help others.  He reminds me that I’m not perfect.  I’m forgiven.  He asks for my trust.

He teaches me lessons about life and love and contentment.  Even when I don’t ask.  He shows me everlasting love even when I don’t deserve it.  He blesses me when I least expect it.  He never gives up on me.  He’s always available when I need him.  He always out gives and out loves me.

But then again.  I don’t understand why God would choose to bless me with a great life.  I’m thankful and I’m loved.  I’m chosen and I’m forgiven.

Fair Weather Fan

I am a fan of a certain football team.  I love it when they’re winning.  I cheer for them when they beat their opponents.  I sit and watch the game when they are playing well.  I’m proud to call them my team when they have a winning season.

But there are times when I look the other way.  When the team just can’t seem to do anything right in a game.  When the score is lopsided and not in their favor.  When they’re not playing well.  Well.  I tend to walk out of the room.  I find something.  Anything else to do but watch my team humiliate themselves.  It’s too painful.

I’ve never attended a game in person.  I can say it’s because I don’t like big crowds.  Or that tickets would be impossible to get.  Or that I don’t want to sit outside in uncertain weather.  But really.  What would I do if I went to a game and my team didn’t really show up to play?  I couldn’t sit through it.  I would need a way out.  I would need to escape.  My heart wouldn’t be in the game.

My team is often in the news.  When they’ve won an impossible game.  When they have a winning record.  When their star player makes an incredible play.  When there’s talk of the national championship.  But there are times when they’ve been in the news for all the wrong reasons.  It’s disheartening to hear talk of a great team or coach or player who has played poorly or acted foolishly.  Rumors fly.  Speculation is rampant.  The full story is never told publicly.

I admit it.  I am a fair weather fan.  If things aren’t going well with my team, I look away.  Oh.  I walk away from the game.  Oh.  I love that team.  But my support is only skin deep.  Does that mean I’m not a fan?  Or.  Does it mean I speak with my lips and not from the heart?  I haven’t sold out completely to the team I call my own.  Is that a double standard?


Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.  Matthew 12:30


I am a Christian.  I have asked God to forgive my sins.  I have vowed to follow Christ for all my days.  I love it when he blesses me.  I am thankful when he answers my prayers.  I am humbled when he shows his love to me in ways I never imagined.

There are times when God doesn’t answer the prayers I want him to answer.  Or he doesn’t answer in the way I wish he would.  There are times he allows me to walk a rocky road.  There are days when it seems he’s not fighting for me.  But the thing is.  I have to know and accept the truth about God.  I know he is always fighting for me.  He is working hard for me.  Always.

God is always with me.  He fights my every battle.  He walks every step with me.  When the going gets tough in my life, he’s right there with me.  He doesn’t give up on me when I give up on the situation.  He equips me to do the work he has set out for me.

God loves me.  Always.  It doesn’t matter if I return his love.  His love never changes.  Even when I act unlovely.  Even when I fail.  Even when I turn my eyes to smaller gods.  He still loves me.  When I come running back to him, he’s waiting with outstretched arms.

So how can I be disappointed in my God.  How can I walk away when I know he never gives up on me.  I can count on God.  I can trust him.  And I do.  This is one team I choose to stay with no matter what happens.  God is my God and I am his.  We are in this fight together.

Mercy for Sinners

David had sinned.  Horribly.  It was the type of sin that has brought down giants.  And David had slain giants.  Bears.  Lions.  While he was a boy tending his father’s sheep.  He had even killed a man giant.  A man so large that the other soldiers were dwarfed by him.  Yet David stood up to him.   And David won.  David killed the giant with a stone and sling.  Shot him right square in the forehead and then cut off his giant head.  Oh.  David had won that battle.  He had saved his country.

Yet when it came time to slay the giant of lust, David lost.  He couldn’t conquer the desires of his mind and body.  He had allowed the sight of a beautiful married woman to undo him.  Oh.  He had every right to walk on the roof of his house in the middle of the day.  And she had every right to bathe in privacy on the roof of her house.  It just so happened, that both events took place at the same time.  And David couldn’t control his desire to have this woman.  To make her his own.  At any cost.  Possibly without her permission.  Oh.  He wasn’t thinking of the cost at that moment.  He was thinking of how great it would be to conquer yet another beautiful woman.  Never mind that he had many wives at his disposal.   Never mind that she was married to one of his top warriors.  One of the men who would fight faithfully to the end for this king.  For the king who took advantage of his wife while he was at war.

The woman later returned to David with news of her pregnancy.  You see.  Her husband was at war, so he wasn’t the father.  Everyone would know of the charge of unfaithfulness.  Even if they didn’t know who the father was.  How could David come forward and claim the child as his?  There was punishment for adultery.  Death.  So David did the unthinkable.  Again.   He stooped even lower to hide his adultery.  He made sure this woman’s husband, a mighty warrior, was killed in battle.  Put him on the front lines and then withdraw.  Make sure he is killed.  That was David’s command to General Joab.  And the General obeyed.  Did he really have a choice?  He made sure Uriah the Hittite was killed.   And he made sure that King David knew the man was dead.

After the pregnant widow’s mourning period was over, David did the honorable thing.  He took her into his home and made her his wife.  His wife who was already pregnant with his child.  But no one would be the wiser.  Right?

Perhaps David was too busy in his backslidden condition to remember that God sees everything.  God knows everything.  God is everywhere.  And what is done in secret is still seen and judged by God.   We can’t escape the all-seeing eye of God.

Oh.  How the mighty have fallen for lesser things.  But sin starts small.  And it grows into uncontrollable urges and desires.  It grows into believing that consequences are for others.  Not for me.  I deserve to have whatever I want whenever I want it.  Or so thought David.

But the consequences were great.  And oh.  How he fell.  Perhaps not publicly.  But privately, David fell.  It took a brave man named Nathan who provided wise counsel to open David’s eyes to see how he had lost control of himself.  He knew there would be severe punishment.  In some instances, it would mean death for the offender.  But God had mercy on David.  God spared David’s life when he didn’t have to.  You see.  God wasn’t finished with David.

But the baby who was conceived out of lust and passion was doomed to die.  He only lived for seven days.  And in those seven days, David was a broken man.  He fasted.  He prayed.  He begged God to save his son.  But no.  This baby would not live to be a reminder of the adultery and murder that one man’s lust had caused.  This baby would not survive.

Oh.  During those seven days, David wept and pleaded with God to save his son.  He humbled himself before God.  He asked for God’s forgiveness.  God heard his prayer.


Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love.  Because of your compassion, blot out the stain of my sin.  Psalm 51:1


God is merciful.

God forgave David of the horrible sins of adultery and murder.  Oh.  When the mighty fall, they can be picked up.  Shined up.  They can be forgiven.  But they will be scarred.  They will be bruised and bumped around.  There will be consequences.   But their sins will change color.  They will turn from scarlet to white as snow.  Their sins will be forgotten.  As if their sins were never committed.  As if David had never considered adultery or murder.  As if he had never done those things.  Because when God forgives, he forgets.  And that’s what we usually forget.  We forget that God forgets.

Oh.  We are unworthy.  Our sins are many and are hearts are so human.  We fail so often.  But God will forgive us each time we sin.  If we ask him to forgive us.

Who knows if David ever forgot that son who lived for seven days.  Somehow through the bumpy start of their marriage, David and Bathsheeba moved on.  God gave them more sons.  Their next son was Solomon.  And God loved Solomon.  His name means “beloved of the Lord”.

It’s hard to imagine biblical history without Solomon as the next king of Israel.  It’s hard to imagine who would have worn the title of wisest person who ever lived, if Solomon hadn’t been born.  It’s hard to imagine who would have built the temple of Jerusalem, if not for Solomon.  You see.  If David and Bathsheeba hadn’t been together, all of Solomon’s accomplishments wouldn’t exist.  But because God showed mercy on Solomon’s father, David, Solomon existed.  He ruled the nation of Israel.  He built the temple that King David only dreamed of building.  He was the wisest of all men.  If not for God’s mercy, would Solomon have ever existed?

We can never out-give or out-forgive God.  He is merciful when we least deserve it.

Running in Place

She said she’s in the middle.  The middle of life.

I’ve been thinking about that lately.  I’m not on the mountain top.  But I’m not in the valley.  Oh.  I was in both situations not too long ago.  No.  Not at the same time.  But unemployment was the valley.  Getting a new job was the mountain.  But now.  Now I find I’m in the middle.  And I feel stuck.  Oh.  I should be thankful.  And I am.  But I sometimes I wish I wasn’t where I am.

No.  I don’t want to be back in the valley.  I’m thankful to have a new job.  It’s just that the job is turning out to be something that isn’t comfortable.  Oh.  I have hopes of things evening themselves out.  Of feeling comfortable.  Of feeling that I can do this job.  But for now.  It’s tough.

Elisabeth Elliott said that when you’re in a tough spot, there’s something to do.  Just do the next thing.  Whatever comes next in what you do, just do it.  So that’s what I’m doing.  The next thing.  Don’t look too far ahead.  Just do the next thing.

I’m not running away from the job.  But I do find that I am running.  I’m running to Jesus more and more.  And isn’t that what he wants from us?  In spite of good or bad, I should be running to him.  Running for my life to the life giver.

I find I want to run from my discomfort. But instead I need to run to Jesus. Don’t try to escape the discomfort. Try to embrace it and hold on to the one who has great plans for me. This season could be the time of growth I need for the next phase of my life. Trust God and his plan. Run to him like I’ve never run before.

I’ve never been a runner.  Oh.  I’ve tried.  I’ve tried those starter methods of walking a few minutes.  Then running a few minutes.  In the hopes that I can build up my running time into more minutes.  It just never worked for me.  I couldn’t get my breathing to work right.  So I gave up.  I decided walking was my sport of choice.


Pray that you will not give in to temptation.  Luke 22:40


I think of Jesus.  When he was in the fight for his life.  His human life.  Oh.  He ran.  He ran right to his Father.

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed and asked his Father to remove the cup of suffering from him.  The burden of going to the cross.  Of dying.  He asked to be excused from the discomfort.  From the pain and agony.  Was this his humanity speaking?  What did he know of the suffering that was ahead for him?

The next morning when he heard the angry mob shouting for him to be crucified.  I wonder.  Did he run again to his Father?  Did he beg for mercy once again?

But no.  The night before while crying out to his Father, he surrendered.  He had surrendered his will.  Your will.  Not mine.  Then he stood and walked through the pain.  The torture.  The suffering.  The death.

God refused to change his plans.  He allowed His only Son to be tortured and crucified.  He allowed His Son to die.  But his death fulfilled God’s ultimate plan.  His death provided a way for me to spend eternity with him.  His death was not in vain.

So why should I ask God to remove my discomfort?  Why should I expect God to give me an easy life?  Why should I expect God to remove obstacles that I want out of my way?  Perhaps I should pray that I don’t yield to temptation to walk away from the discomfort when I know I am fulfilling God’s plan.  Perhaps I will find peace in the surrender to God as he walks with me in my pain.  Perhaps in my suffering, I will be anointed with the same power that he has.  I pray that my discomfort will not be in vain.

 

Good Good Father

I’ve heard it said that a person’s view of God is based on their relationship with their dad.  I’ve always had a respectful view of God.  I trust him.  I love him.  He is the authority.  Let me tell you why that is my impression of God.

My dad was always in charge.  He was the leader of our family.  He was the provider.  The authoritarian.  He was a tease.  He had a great sense of humor.  He had a great work ethic.  He loved his work.  He loved his family.  He helped those in need.

My dad  provided everything I needed.  No.  He didn’t give me everything I wanted.  But I never went hungry.  I was always clothed.  He built our home.  I was warm when I needed to be.  I was cool when I needed to be.

My dad taught me to work.  Whether I liked it or not, my dad handed out chores for his kids to do.  Mowing the lawn.  Weeding the garden.  Cleaning the hog house.  Working on the farm.

I saw my dad spending time with God every day.  He would read his Bible before breakfast.  He would lead our family in devotions every night before bed.  He would pray for us.  He would pray with us.  My dad made sure his family spent time in God’s word every day.

My dad was always present.  He was available when we needed him.  Oh.  He worked hard.  He worked long hours.  But he always took a Sabbath to rest and restore his spirit.  He was in a noisy environment a lot of the day, so he wanted peace and quiet at home.  That wasn’t easy with seven kids.  But we knew that once he walked in the door, the piano practice time was over.  The radio was turned off.  He wanted to hear himself think.

My dad was a disciplinarian.  When we did wrong.  And we did.  He disciplined us.  It wasn’t pleasant, but it taught us to respect authority and trust his leadership.

Oh.  My dad wasn’t perfect.  But he was honest.  He was a powerful influence in my life.  He took his faith seriously.  He had a library of Bible commentaries, Christian books and Bibles to study as he prepared to teach his Sunday School class each week.

My dad is the man I measured all other men by.  He set the standard high.

He was a good good father.


The Lord is merciful! He is kind and patient, and his love never fails.          Psalm 103:8

I think of God.  My heavenly Father.  He is the giver of life.  He is the lover of my soul.  He provides for all my needs.

My heavenly Father allows me to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but he calms my fear of evil.  My God is so wise that He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  When I am fearful, he alone is my source of strength and resilience.

Oh.  He disciplines me.  When I disobey, he teaches me how to be more like Him.  When I don’t spend enough time with Him, He calls me back.

The thing about God.  He is perfect.  He knows exactly what I need when I need it.  He provides at just the right time.  He does no wrong.  He cannot.  He will not.

My God is always with me.  I can’t move without him knowing it.  Oh.  He can see everything I do.   He hears every word I speak.  He reads my every thought.  He never leaves my side.  He is always available anytime I call out to him.  He fights for me.  He works on my behalf.

God shows me favor.  At times, I feel as if I’m his favorite child.  He showers me with blessings that I don’t deserve.  He loves me unconditionally.  No matter what I do, He never gives up on me.  He will not stop loving me.

He is the God I measure all other gods by.  May I never waver in the God I serve.

He is a good good Father.

 

 

 

Powerful Weakling

I started a new job recently.  And honestly.  I am struggling.  Some days I think I can do the job.  Other days, I’m filled with doubt.  The days and weeks have been filled with training.  So much training.  Then slowly I’m getting work assignments with lots of hand holding.  At some point, I will be on my own.  I’ll be juggling many tasks and clients and deadlines.  I don’t know how others do it.  But they seem to.  And I think if they can do it, surely I can.  Can’t I?

Then I remember.  God provided this job.  He wouldn’t give me a gift that I can’t do.  Right?  And then I remember.  No.  I can’t do it on my own.  In my weakness, I need to trust Him.  I need to lean on Him.  I need to call on His name every day and trust that He will equip me for that day.  Oh.  I try not to look ahead.  That’s when I become fearful.  How can I do all that I’ll be assigned to do in the days ahead.  It’s then I remember that He gives mercy just for today.  I need to focus on today and the tasks for this day only.

I must remember that He said I am equipped for the job.  He will help me.  Oh.  Trust is easier said than done.  When in a tight spot, trust is just a word.  Not an act.  But when I act on that word.  When I trust God, I know all things are possible.  I know that in my weakness, God’s power will calm me.  And guide me through the anxious moments.

There is no match for the power of Christ.


My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.  2 Corinthians 12:9


Oh.  It sounds like an oxymoron.  Strength in weakness.  How can I be strong when I feel so weak?  How can I be powerful when I feel powerless?  How can I succeed when I feel like a failure?  How can I act confident when I feel insecure?

Why do I want something other than what I’ve been given?  When I know who the Giver is.  And I know the gift is for this time in my life.  Why do I struggle with this gift?  It wasn’t quite what I expected, but it’s what I’ve been handed.  So I must go forward and make each day count.

Oh.  The struggle is real.

He says.  You must trust me, but I will let you fight.  I say.  Show me your power, lest I get lost in my weakness.

There is One.  One who has conquered that fear.  One who has overcome failure.  One who has choked insecurity.  One who has all power.  He even conquered death.  I want Him on my team.  Always.  If I’m choosing teams, I choose His.  Why?  Who doesn’t want a miracle maker on their team?  Who doesn’t want an encourager?  A helper.  I choose the army of God.

Father, thank you for going before me to open doors.  Thank you for staying with me to hold me steady.  Thank you for going behind me to protect me. You surround me with your love and goodness.  Your faithfulness is ever present.  Your mercy reaches down and calms my fears.  Yours is the power and glory forever.  Amen.

Feedback

She asked to meet with me.  She wanted to hear my thoughts on how the job was going.  We chatted.  She offered feedback.  When is feedback ever positive?  Oh.  Her feedback was supplied by someone else.  She named the informant.  I was surprised with the feedback.  But not offended.  After all, I’m new.  I’m still learning.  I’m in training.

Another new person also had a meeting.  She also received feedback.  Feedback that offended her greatly.  She couldn’t let it go.  So she talked to another.  Little did she know that her information would be passed on further.

It seems that these coworkers share more than they should.  They discuss salaries.  Raises.   Performance reviews.  Beefs with coworkers.  Oh.  They’re nice.  But do I trust them?

So I’ve learned.  I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut.  Oh.  I already knew to do that. But now I’m careful what I say and who I say it to.

One, in particular, likes to gossip.  She learned of my meeting.  She knew I had received feedback.  She was desperate to know what had been said.  So she pretended to be friendly.  Asked about my weekend.  She was fishing.  Fishing for information about my feedback.  I didn’t take the bait.  I knew that if I shared it, everyone would know by the end of the day.  That’s not what I want.


Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.  Ephesians 4:29


I once worked with another group of women.  They had a meeting to discuss what they didn’t like about each other.  Oh.  Imagine how the tensions flew.  Needless to say, that group fell apart.  Quickly.  By the time I joined the team, all trust was gone.

Why would they do that?  How can people be so cruel?  Why didn’t they instead share what they liked about each other?  Why not build up instead of tear down one another?

I wonder.  What would happen if we would focus on the positive and beautiful instead of finding the juicy gossip or negative tidbits about others?  Why do we instead go for the information that will get us the most laughs or gasps of horror?  When the story is about another?  Why do we do that?

Oh.  You’re guilty.  I’m guilty.  We all have done it.  Most likely.  We all will do it again.  But what if we stopped first and asked ourselves a question.  If this information I’m about to share was about me, would I share it?  Is there a positive story about the other person I can share so others will see them in a better light?  Or.  Why say anything at all?

If someone is talking about others to you, then they’re most likely talking about you to others. 

I learned that lesson years ago in another work situation.  Someone I worked with would tell me unflattering stories about others in the company.  Then it dawned on me one day.  She must also be talking about me to those people.  Because I could see the way they looked at me.

If you can’t say anything nice or positive, don’t say anything at all.  If Jesus Christ was standing beside you, what words would you say?

 

Fear Is A Liar

They have a new pool.  They asked me to join them after a long, hot and humid day.  So I did.  But I’m no swimmer.  I can’t float to save my life.  Oh.  I took a few swim lessons, but they ended badly.  Oh.  I got in the pool.  Well.  I sat on the second step.  And watched.  And splashed a little.

The others were more adventurous.  Some were swimmers.  Those who weren’t used noodles.  They clung tightly to the noodles, but they ventured out into the deep.  Not me.  No noodles for me.  No deep water for me.  As they swam and splashed, the water around me would move.  This unsettled me.  It felt as if I could slip out into the deep water and plunge to the bottom.  My water is moving.  I would say.  Don’t make my water move.

Oh.  Yes.  I was fearful of moving into the deep.  Of having no control of my surroundings.  You see.  Water is fluid.  Ever moving.  Only when it’s frozen does it stop moving.

Oh.  I could see myself enjoying the water if I spent enough time in it.  The thing is.  I don’t have those opportunities.  So I played it safe.  I sat on the step.  Waist deep in the water.  Safe.   Until my water moved.


The Lord will fight for you.  You have only to be silent.  Exodus 14:14


Fear of the unknown can stop a person in their tracks.  Fear of the known can be very unsettling.  Fear of any kind can paralyze and overwhelm.  Fear will cloud reasoning and judgment.  Fear will keep the one sitting in waist deep water from experiencing the joy and freedom of what the deep has to offer.

God calls us to move out into the deep.  To go where we can rely only on his strength.  He calls us to move out into the unknown. To trust him and him alone.  Oh.  It’s easier said than done.  But the joy that obedience and submission to God brings is incomparable.

I wonder what I missed out on by refusing to grab onto a noodle.  By not being willing to get out of my comfort zone and float in the water.  There were those around to help if I struggled.  But no.  I held onto my fear and didn’t even want my water to move.

I wonder how many blessings I miss out on by allowing fear of the unknown to hold me back.  I wonder where God would lead me if I went out into the moving waters of faith knowing that his guiding hand was always holding mine.  I wonder why I so easily trust the lies the enemy puts into my mind, but quickly dismiss God’s truths in my heart.

Fear strangles life and enjoyment.  Fear will stop you cold.  Fear will tell you that you’re not good enough.  Fear will whisper that you can’t do the job.  But know this.  Fear is a liar.

Decide fear will not be your obstacle, as you do the hard thing, and see all the             beautiful things you would’ve missed if you’d lived afraid.                           ~~Rachel Macy Stafford

 Fear is A Liar