Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Seeing as He Sees

This last week has been a wonderful blessing. While I want to be out working, earning money, saving for the future, etc., God knows what is best. I have been continually reminded of Psalm 84:11-12.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in You!

David clearly knew what it meant to trust fully in Him. God has used several different circumstances over the last few weeks to really grab my heart and help me trust Him more fully. He has given a peace that is beyond comprehension... and I'm not just saying that! Truly, I find myself surprised by the fact that I have the peace and patience that I have... and it is obvious that is not from me--it is completely His doing. It is so true... we are the ones who are blessed when we trust in Him. Not only that, but the promise of God not withholding anything good from those who walk uprightly. God is the author of everything that is good. If it's good, He did it! It's really quite unimaginable to try to fathom what Him not withholding any good thing would look like... but I'll tell you this, I want to find out! ;) Talk about a reason to live in obedience to His ways... no other prompting needed!

This evening I read in James 2 and was challenged to look at and treat others through His eyes. I am prone to showing favor to those that I like... and yet, He calls us to not show favoritism. Take a look at verses 1-10.
My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool," have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called? If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

I really need Him to work in my heart in this area. I need to see people as He sees them. We are all just as much in need of a savior as anyone else. We all need encouragement and grace. We all need love and patience. Most of all, we all need our hearts to be patterned after His heart. God, would you not let me be one to pass by on the other side of the road? Would you give me a heart that loves what You love and hates what You hate? Would You sharpen my eyes and ears to be attentive to the needs of others... and would You, in Your grace, give me the desire to do what You would have me do? Thank You for your unending patience with me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

He Gives Freely

I can't begin to express all that God has been doing in my heart lately. Some of these things appear great from every angle... others, challenging... others, scary... etc. I do know that He has perfect plans and I intend to be obedient to Him so that I stay within those plans. I would really appreciate your prayers in this regard. God gave my job to me without me even asking for one. It has been far from perfect, but God used it to give me much experience. He also opened doors of opportunity to talk about Him. God has now taken this job from me without me asking. Actually, maybe I did ask. I had been praying that He would give me wisdom and guidance considering my work situation. He closed the door there, so He must have a better plan. I do not say this because I am just "that strong"... truly, I battle all the normal thoughts that anyone else would battle in such situations, but He has given abundant grace and peace within this whole situation. He provided the opportunity to talk with my boss about Him for about 20 minutes. It really was a great closure. He is all knowing and all wise. I come before Him with open arms saying the same words as Thomas, Lord, I don't know the way!

I find great encouragement in Psalm 86:11-12.
Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name. I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify Your name forever.

I desperately need to be fully depending on Him during this time. At the same time, I need to be doing the "walking". Please pray that He would truly teach me to fear Him. I know that I don't (and probably will never) see Him as I ought to. I really want to have the reverence for Him that I ought to have. I want to love Him with all that is in me. I want Him to just take everything that is hindering His work... and throw it down and transform it. The builder of all things is God! Thank You for Your indescribable gift!

Friday, February 05, 2010

When We Give It Back

This morning I played basketball at 6 am for the first time in a very long time. It was much fun to get back on the court. This is very much random, but you'll see how it ties in eventually. At the church we play basketball at, there is a cement wall that goes from the lower level to the upper level. As I was pulling out of the church... all hot and sweaty with the windows down in the early morning, I could clearly hear my car rumbling under the hood. Random fact: I do like the sound of my car. I don't want to give you the impression that I absolutely love my car because in all reality, I have never been into the whole car thing. In fact, I decided when I was in like 7th grade that my first car would be a mini-van so that when I got married and had kids, I wouldn't have to get a new car. Okay, so I was thinking a bit in advance, but it makes me laugh now. All that to say, the sound of my car this morning was a reminder that it is an amazing blessing from the Lord to have a car... and to have a nice car is an added bonus. I am very thankful for it. I would not have picked it if I was going to purchase my own car, but God graciously blessed me with it through my parents. So, as I was pulling out of the driveway of the church, I was thinking back to some of my initial thoughts about the car. I was thinking about the fact that I'd likely have more opportunities to have an impact on some teenage boys because all of them (generally) are interested in cars. To be honest, I have seen very few opportunities in this regard. As I continued, I was thinking about the different things I have... computers, camera, car, phone, etc... and how I am or am not using these things for His glory. I was realizing that I really hadn't used my car all that much for His glory, so I again rededicated my car to Him... because it is His. If He wants to take it, so be it. It's His tool, for His glory, which He has put in my hands. So, I was praying that He would use it as such. About a minute later, I drove by a truck on the side of the road... and about 200 yards away from that, I saw a man walking (obviously in his work uniform) and it was like God said, "You asked for it... here it is!"... so, I stopped and found out that he was out of gas and gave him a ride to the gas station. I say this not to my credit... but completely to His. He did the work in my heart and dropped the opportunity right there in my lap. It was such an incredible blessing for me seeing how He answered that prayer so immediately. It was a real faith building experience. I'm going to try to take more time to analyze exactly how I am using the things He has given me... and see how I can use them to further His kingdom. He never ceases to amaze me in the way that He can work in my heart. He is so good and so faithful!

Ever since the mission trip, I have thought much about Philippians 2:3-4.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Down in Mexico, there is a huge focus on making people feel like they matter to you. It's really a culture based on relationships. We are so separated from each other... so self-serving. I don't want to live life in such a way that I can just ignore people. It's an easy thing to live my own life and not impact people... but that is not His plan. His plan is for us to redeem the time! I want people to matter to me because they matter to God. One of the things I challenged the team to do was to try to remember people's names. I'll be honest, I am very bad with names. I really have to make a point of trying hard to remember their names. If God knows the number of hairs on their head, I ought to be able to remember their name! If God cares that infinitely about them, I ought to at least give them my time of day. Oh, may I never be so caught up in myself that I can't even give a minute to someone that God cares infinitely about. I desperately need Him to take my heart and form it into His likeness.