Monday, January 25, 2016

Astounded By NOTHING

"...but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day..."  Genesis 50:20

We often here the phrase, "Nothing is impossible with God!", and I choose to agree to the utmost. I believe it! What about when God becomes the God of NOTHING though?  

As I was praying, I told the Lord, "I know that you can do anything. I know that there's nothing impossible for you. These situations I bring to you are little things compared to your greatness and power." Again, I believe that with all my heart. Then, quietly but as sure as anything, I felt His gentle response: "What if I don't answer? Will you still believe when there is NOTHING? When you can't see me moving or hear me answering. Will you still choose to believe, even then?" (Hello! He had my attention now!) What?

My Bible reading has been about Joseph. We all know the story well, I'm sure. We've heard it since our very first Sunday School class. Right? At the request of his father, Joseph went to the field to be a blessing to his brothers, only to be cast into a pit, then sold into slavery. I'm sure Joseph said a prayer or two for deliverance while he was in the pit and on his way to slavery. Nothing. Then, the young man was bought by Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh,  and brought into his house. All was well...until Potiphar's wife started in. I'm sure Joseph probably prayed for the Lord to intervene on his behalf when he was troubled then accused by this wicked lady. Still nothing. When the butler and baker had their dreams interpreted, Joseph ask them to remember him when they went back into Pharaoh's house. Nothing again. You see the reoccurring theme here?

Although Joseph was a godly man (we know this because the Bible says he was a "goodly person, well favored" - even Potiphar saw that the Lord was with Joseph), yet still he had to face situations in life where it appeared God said NOTHING. How many of us find ourselves feeling much the same way? Where is God in our situation? How long before He comes through for us? Sometimes we may even wonder if God has taken a vacation or if He's become deaf to our cries for help. Even in these times of NOTHING, God is still moving and involved in our lives. Most importantly, He is working it out for our good.

Had Joseph been like some of us, me included, he might have set himself up a little pity party, complete with chipped tea cups and dry biscuits, when he found himself sitting in jail. (I'm working hard on this one!) Where was God? What was going on? We're all human and thus we go there occasionally. True story! Sometimes its difficult to go through those trying times when God doesn't seem to answer our prayers. I have learned though, even in the quietness, God is still God...even in seasons of NOTHING.

More often than not, He's doing things we cannot even begin to imagine. He's working on bringing things to pass the way in which it will most glorify Him. He's saving His answer to our situations until just the perfectly timed moment...wait...for...it...kind of like picking the apple from a branch at just the perfect point of luscious, sweet, juicy ripeness. Ahh!

When, not IF, you find yourself in a God-made season of NOTHING, know that He really is up to something. We might not be able to feel, see or even hear Him at work; however, rest assured that He IS. He knows how much we can handle and where our breaking point is. Joseph was put in every situation he faced - to bring God glory. At just the perfect time, God brought Him on the next scene. My friend, at just the perfectly-planned moment, God will come through and we'll stand amazed. He'll do it so BIG that we'll just stand there with our eyes as big as saucers and mouths gaped open wide. 

Are we ready to push through the season of NOTHING? Don't let the enemy discourage and lie to you. Let us not be weary in well-doing. God is God...and He's always trying to shine brightly through our lives. Will we be patient and allow Him to write our story just the way He wants it? If we will submit our lives and agendas to His will, at just the right moment, when we feel we'll lose our very grip or footing, we may just find ourselves...astounded by NOTHING!


Monday, January 18, 2016

I HAVE A DREAM!

 "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding...
your labour is not in vain in the Lord."  1 Corinthians 15:58

"I have a dream..."

This phrase is the first that always comes to mind when I hear the name Martin Luther King, Jr. Today marks the remembrance of him on our calendars, and I'd like to take just a moment to ask each of us about our dreams. Do we have a dream? Are we excited about the possibility of them coming to pass? Or has our dream been crushed and buried deep below? Do we still believe in the possibility that it will come to pass? 

Maybe we dream of owning our own home. Or perhaps we dream of having children or that ideal career path. The truth is, there are many areas in life of which we dare to dream, but what about spiritual dreams? Do we have any of those? After all, only the eternal things of this life will last and count for anything in the long run. 

I'd like to share my grandest dream...to hear my Maker one day exclaim, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." I imagine I'm not alone. This world will one day pass away and we hope to end up on the beautiful shores of Heaven with our Lord. We dream of being in His presence, seeing His face, worshiping Him forever on streets of gold. What a dream! There are other spiritual dreams I have too. I want to be a humble and meek servant, available to do whatever the Lord needs me to do whatever it looks like. I desire to shine forth for Him in every way! I dream for mighty revival that will shake our city, state and country and draw us all closer to the Lord.

Yes, it's great to have dreams; but sometimes seeing dreams come true takes much work, flexibility and yielding on our part. There are times when it may look like our dreams will never come to pass. Hey, they're not handed to us on silver platters, are they? Not hardly! There are times we will falter and have to begin anew with a fresh outlook and greater determination to see our dreams come true - and it probably won't happen overnight either. However, we can't afford to give up.

Seeing a dream come true is about being consistent, persistent, steadfast and continually availing ourselves to the possibility. It's about never giving up hope. If we're dreaming eternal dreams, we can know this, the Lord is eager to bring them to pass on our behalf for it brings Him glory and honor in the process. Let us keep doing what we know to do and allow God to do the rest. The question is...are we willing to work, watch and wait? Dr. King wasn't afraid. 

If your dreams have become faded and you have lost all hope, I encourage you (and myself) today to step out of your comfort zone and yell to the top of your lungs today, "I have a dream!" Let's take the opportunity to serve the enemy and ourselves notice - we haven't given up. No, we're still in this fight and know that our labor isn't in vain...God will bring our eternal dreams to fruition and we will win. Now, say it with me with gusto, "I HAVE A DREAM!" Be blessed and don't give up on the dream God has placed within you.





Monday, January 11, 2016

What Does Your Blessing Look Like?

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:" - Psalms 103:2
 
I woke up this morning to a frolicking, little, black ball of fur and a daughter that was just full of happiness and giggles. Good morning, Monday! 

My daughter has such a love for animals. In fact, it quite often gets her in a fix because she'd like to take in each and every stray dog she comes across, which is impossible, of course. And...since we've declared a "no dog" rule in the house for now, I was totally unprepared for the shock of being greeted with an abundance of tiny, puppy-breath, kisses first thing in the morning.

I did my best to choke back the, "Get that puppy out of my house!" reaction that first popped into my mind. I did well, with God's help. I noticed as my daughter's face glowed with happiness at her new find. The puppy had apparently gotten stuck under our back porch, and had waken my daughter with its little puppy yelps. As I laid in my bed, trying to take it all in, I looked again at my daughter's face. Happiness. Excitement. Joy.  Contentment.

My thoughts immediately turned to how I felt when the Lord dropped something unexpected into my life a week ago today. Yes, just last Monday, the Lord blessed me with such inspiration and revelation! I remember now, how excited I was. Minus the puppy breath, what a Monday I was blessed with! I couldn't help feeling like I was on top of the world too. The Lord had blessed me and I'll admit, I probably looked and acted a lot like my daughter was this morning. Filled with happiness. Excitement. Joy. Contentment.

This morning was a great reminder for me. Whether it be physical, mental, spiritual, emotional or any other type of thing. God chooses to bless us and load us with benefits on a daily basis if we'll take the time to notice. It might not be tiny, little, puppy love, it might not be a spiritual revealing, however, somewhere along the way, He has blessings stored up for each of us. The only catch is that we must keep our eyes open and alert to see it! We must slow down long enough to realize what is taking place. 

So, I encourage you to join me today in a recognizing revolution. Let's be prepared to pause and recognize God in the big and small things in our day-to-day routine. Is He trying to shake things up a bit? Is He trying to get our attention? Are we missing Him because we're too busy doing our own thing? Will we miss the tiny yelp of our blessing because we're wrapped up in the noise of our day? Let's be cautious and ever watching. Then, when we see those blessings, let's send up some extra praise and thanksgiving to Him for those gifts He blesses us with daily. Daily! What does your blessing look like?

God bless each of you~


Feel free to share your blessing in the comments section below. 
Also, share this post with a friend if you'd like. Let's do this together.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Here, There & Everywhere

 "...every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full 
and to be hungry...I can do all things through Christ which
strengtheneth me." -Philipians 4:12-13


"I didn't get "here" over night and I'm not going to get "there" over night," I said to myself, because I've found that its a true statement. I've said it more than once, to others and to myself, just this week. Life has a way of bringing us to our knees, in a completely, crumpled, broken-down pile of nothingness at times. Sometimes its a blessing. Yes, sometimes it's God's perfect plan. A sweet lady just said this to me this week, "Sometimes God is looking for a vessel ready for the miracle." And, most definitely, when we're laying flat on our faces, feeling like an absolute failure, nothing looks better than a miracle, right?

I have come to the conclusion that most of the battle "there" is being patient as God works within us and being kind to ourselves. There's nothing more discouraging than being disappointed because we still have so far to go. We reprimand ourselves for getting "here" in the first place!  It's easy to give up if we look at it that way. However, if we realize that every little step is a milestone in the journey, that God is doing things within us, around us, that He's fighting for us and on our side...then, that's a victory.

No matter which exit we find ourselves at in the road to recovery or getting back, as long as we are at an exit or two north of where we were, then I choose to believe there's been progress. That's something to rejoice about! I didn't say we had to be satisfied to be at this exit, but we're satisfied with accomplishments yet hungry for more. Yes, I suppose the answer to every road back is to be content with where we are as long as we're moving, but to never be satisfied to remain there. Be full and hungry at the same time!

The same concept works for areas like mending relationships, retraining our thinking processes, kicking bad habits, avoiding the weights that so easily besets us, exercising, beefing up our spiritual lives, learning new jobs or facing that new college class. We might not arrive at our destination overnight, but as long as we're traveling and hungry enough to keep striving to get to "there", we're making progress. As long as we choose God to be our chauffeur, we're gonna reach our purpose and destination - one mile at a time.

So, my advice to you and to myself today is to pack a lunch and keep pressing for the mark. The only way we won't arrive is if we stop completely. Let's learn to congratulate ourselves on the positive marks which are for us and refrain from looking at all the dents that we've gotten in the process of getting here. We can surely do all things through Christ...from "here to there & everywhere"...it is about being full and hungry...and patient and yielding. Somebody grab your lunch, let's celebrate this milestone together.