Debbie's Perspective

Just my thoughts of the day.

Selective Listener?

Luke 6:27a ~ “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies!

I was just walking toward the kitchen as my husband walked past me and quickly said, “Don’t worry, I have already asked her to clean it all up.”  Then he promptly left the house for work.

I hesitantly walked around the corner and came face to face with my teenage daughter using her feet on two dish towels swiping away at the floor.  When she saw the look on my face she said, “Mom, you should be glad that I already cleaned up a lot of it.  It was really messy earlier.  Great! I thought as I surveyed the flour and powdered sugar dusted counters, the sink and counter full of dishes, and the little drifts of powdered sugar clinging to two of the cabinet doors.

I was already frustrated irritated, okay let’s be really honest, I was angry with her over two other incidents in the last couple of days.  So last night when she just had to bake these cookies for the school project – at 10:30 p.m. – I went to bed.

After cleaning the kitchen (grudgingly because the bus doesn’t wait, and let’s face it, her cleaning methods were just making a bigger mess at the moment), but having her make her own lunch because I was taking care of her mess, I sat down to have a little quiet time with the Lord hoping for a new perspective on things.  He never disappoints.

I was reading the verse that practically screamed off the page at me, “But to you who are willing to listen…”  Well, of course, I listen.  Those who don’t would be the unbelievers or those who pick and choose what they want out of the Bible, right? I felt the Holy Spirit nudge at my heart and ask, “Are you sure it isn’t talking about you?”

Okay, Lord, show me what you want me to see.  He said, “Well, now that you are willing to LISTEN, I’d be happy to show you.  Just keep reading.”  As I read about how I am to love, be good to, bless, and pray for my enemies, I realized I wasn’t even doing that for my family so how could I possibly do it for my enemies.  Oh no! I was a selective listener.

Of course I love my family, I do good for them, I bless them, and I certainly pray for them.  I justified the situation; after all, I was just a little mad at the moment.  But wait, this passage doesn’t stop at those.  Oh goodness, there is more!  What about turning the other cheek, offering my shirt when my coat has been demanded of me, and giving freely without asking for anything in return?  Surely this isn’t talking about my situation because I’m dealing with my child, not enemies.

Hmmm, let’s see.  The end of verse 35 says that if I do all of these things I will truly be acting as a child of the Most High, for He is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.  Then in verse 36 Jesus says, “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”

I know sometimes I have to chastise and discipline my children, and it is clear in God’s word that He does that to us, His children, because He loves us.  But, He is also compassionate toward us, and sometimes just makes sure we are listening and then teaches us the right things to do.

 

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The Path Ahead

The mountain path

The Path

The mountain waits for me to begin my climb. The road leads in, but I can’t see where it goes. Does it end somewhere in there among the trees and boulders that block my view? How treacherous is it?

The mountain is beautiful from here. Untouched by my presence. I can imagine all kinds of things from ground level.

Only taking a step onto that unknown ground will give me an accurate understanding of the road that lies before me.  I can’t see my next step until I take this one.

Here I go.

One hesitant step at a time.

Lord, you’ve promised to be a lamp to my feet, a light to my path.  Let me have eyes to see the light you are shining right at my toes.

Help me stop trying to stare into the distance, squinting through the darkness trying to discern the path ahead.  Is that a bear or just a rock in the shadows?  It’s hard to tell in the darkness of the trees that block my way.

Oh yes, the light, the light I’m supposed to be using is here, here at my feet illuminating the rocks and the dip in the road.  I could easily dismiss them as unimportant.  These aren’t so big. I could have traversed them all on my own.

But isn’t it the little things that trip us up; cause us to stumble and scrape our hands and knees? It’s the little dips in the road we don’t see that catch our toe and throw us down.

I can’t be looking ahead to the big things – they won’t be missed when I come upon them.  I must keep to the road at my feet, letting the light from the lamp of the Lord shine on those things I need to keep my eye on.

 

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He Obeyed

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ~ John 1:1
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. ~ John 1:14a

Everyone knows that Joseph was Jesus’ earthly father, but he has always seemed to me to be this character in the background, kind of just along for the ride in the whole story. That really couldn’t be further from the truth. Joseph was a major player in this redemptive plan.

There may not be much written about him, but the things that are point to someone who was just as carefully chosen to be Jesus’ parent as Mary was. In my last blog post – She Believed, I talked about some reasons why I thought God chose Mary for this assignment… she knew God’s word, she believed it already, and when the angel spoke to her, she believed him.

If we take a look at Joseph’s part in the story, we will see that while Mary believed, Joseph obeyed.

So why was it so important for Joseph to be an obedient man? Mary just had to believe what the angel told her, and then the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and she became pregnant. Joseph, on the other hand, not only had to believe what the angel would tell him in his dreams, but he would have to take action.

It was just as important for Jesus to have an earthly father as it was for him to have an earthly mother. In that day, a woman couldn’t survive without a husband. Mary would need a good man to provide for her and her baby as well as keep her safe in very perilous circumstances.

In comes Joseph.

In Matthew 1:19 we see that Joseph is a good man. We also see that he is kind because he doesn’t want to disgrace Mary publicly, but plans to break off their engagement quietly. The law actually gave him the right to have her stoned. Whew! Thankfully he was good and kind.

But, in the midst of his own thoughts on divorcing her quietly, an angel appears to him in a dream and tells him to go ahead and take Mary for his wife because she is telling the truth, and to name this child Jesus. Then it says that when he woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary for his wife, and that he named the child Jesus. Did you see that? He did it when he woke up. He didn’t wait around; immediate obedience.

Matthew 1:22-23 – All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through His prophet:
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! And they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

This isn’t the end of it, though. In Matthew 2:13-14 it says that an angel appears to Joseph again in a dream after the wise men have left, and tells him to get up, flee to Egypt with Jesus and Mary, and to stay there until he is told to return. He leaves that night with Mary and the baby. Again, immediate obedience.

Matthew 2:15 – …This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”

A third time the angel comes to him in a dream and tells him that he can go back because those who are trying to kill Jesus are now dead. So, he gets up and heads back to Israel. When he’s afraid to head back into Judea, he’s warned in a dream and leaves for the region of Galilee.

Matthew 2:23 – So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

That is a man of action! He doesn’t hang around, he doesn’t discuss it with anybody, he just gets up and does what he is commanded to do with no arguments. It couldn’t have been easy leaving everything behind each time and heading to unknown places with no family or friends.

Every time Joseph was obedient he took part in fulfilling God’s plan of redemption through His son, Jesus. Yes, he was definitely a major player in this story and not a background character.

We’ve seen that Joseph was a good man, a kind man, and a man of action through obedience. He was dedicated to protecting Mary and Jesus. He’s not mentioned in the great hall of fame of faith filled men in Hebrews, but I have to believe that he is part of the great cloud of witnesses that are surrounding us.

His witness of obedience still echoes through time.

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I’m Not Supposed To

“I’m not supposed to……,” means my son with autism has done exactly what he is telling me he’s not supposed to do.  What he’s really saying is, “Oops, I’ve messed up again.  Will you forgive me?  Please help me.”

You see, he can’t seem to help himself.  He knows the rules, he can say the rules, he’s a stickler for others following the rules, but in the moment, he breaks the rules.  We have to help him.  We set up boundaries, we put things in place that stop him when he can’t stop himself, and we exact consequences when needed.

The other day when he had come to me for what seemed like the 50th time that day, I exasperatedly called out to the Lord asking why my child can’t obey the rules.  I know he isn’t trying to rebel.  He really does want to be obedient, but once again he isn’t.

Before I could get all of that out, I got a picture of the Lord in my mind with a twinkle in His eye and a chuckle in His response, “Hmmmm, I don’t know, Debbie, why would a child who knows the rule break it?”  Then scriptures about jealously, gossip, and anger danced before me.  “Could it be a desire to please self outweighs the desire to be obedient in that moment?”

Ouch! I had the distinct impression we weren’t talking about my son anymore, but about my “I’m not supposed to’s.”  How many times have I messed up, done exactly what I know I shouldn’t, but in the moment I just can’t seem to help myself.

Maybe my son knows something I don’t.  The minute he realizes he has been disobedient, he doesn’t run away from me, he runs to me; the rule maker, the one who can forgive him and help him find ways to avoid his lack of restraint.

So, I take a cue from my son and turn my heart to the Lord, “Father, I’m not supposed to…., will You forgive me, will you help me?”

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The Closet Cleaner

But when you pray, go into your [most] private room, and, closing the door, pray to your Father, Who is in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open. ~ Matthew 6:6 Amplified Bible (AMP)

One version calls it a closet.  My closet? I wouldn’t even invite my best friend into my closet, at least not until I’ve cleaned it up.  At any given time there are muddy shoes, dirty clothes, suitcases, and lots of stuff that doesn’t belong in there, along with all my clothes.  Definitely not a place I would want to entertain the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

But that’s the point, right? Our prayer time isn’t supposed to be to entertain the Lord, it’s to allow him into our deepest most intimate space – the closet of our soul.  He doesn’t want us to only show Him the cleaned up areas of our life; the places we only show company.  He wants to come into the space where all our secrets are kept hidden away, where all the clutter and dirt can begin to hinder us from who we really want to present to the world outside.

The closet of our souls can look a lot like the typical closet; old baggage filled with hurts, pains, and unforgiveness, muddy shoes where we’ve veered off the clean path He’s laid before us, dirty clothes in the form of a sin stained heart and mind in desperate need of washing, and all the stuff – the cares of the world piling high, blocking what we really need to access.

Yes, He wants to meet us in the closet of our hearts and do some cleaning only He can do.  Our baggage will be replaced with restoration, healing, and forgiveness.  Muddy shoes will be cleaned and ready for the path ahead.  The sin stained heart and mind will be washed as white as snow, and all the stuff that blocks our vision and keeps us from the blessings waiting for us will be stripped away.

Okay Lord, come on in. I’m in desperate need of a thorough closet cleaning.

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An Eye and a Giant

1 Samuel 17:48 ~ As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.

The armies faced off, each on their own hill. The battlefield yawned between them in the valley below. A giant of a man stepped into the valley and began his taunt, striking fear and dismay into the hearts of the men he was calling to battle.

As I face a “giant” of my own I cry out, how do I slay this thing?  What do I do?  How do I take it down?  The giant is so big and no others seem to know how to slay it either, so I go to the one place I know I can get my answers.  I search the story of a young teenage boy who ran quickly toward the battle line to meet and slay his giant.

In the midst of this ancient story I find some precious smooth stones I can use to slay my giant.  Keys to having different eyes for the battle that lies before me.  David saw things differently than his Israelite kin, and this view made the difference between standing scared on the hill and racing head on to engage the enemy; a foe that to the physical eye looked unbeatable, but to the spiritual eye was nothing more than bird food.

He saw the enemy for who he really was.

The Israelite army saw the giant, Goliath, as a man; bigger, stronger, and having mighty armor and weapons – unbeatable.

David saw him as an uncircumcised Philistine who dared to defy the armies of the Living God.

An uncircumcised Philistine meant that Goliath wasn’t under the protection and sovereignty of the Living God, and by coming against God’s people, he had made himself an enemy of their God.

Smooth Stone:  I see ~ I am a child of the Living God, and when the enemy engages me he engages Him.

He understood who was fighting the battle.

Goliath stood and shouted day after day asking them why they would come out and line up for battle because he was a Philistine and they were servants of Saul.  They were to choose a man from among them to be their champion to fight and kill him. The Israelites saw themselves as mere men in the face of this great and mighty enemy.  How could any of them be a champion against this giant?

David understood that God himself was their champion. This uncircumcised Philistine had no chance against their great and mighty deliverer.

Smooth Stone:  I understand ~ Jesus is my champion.  According to Philippians 2:9-11, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  There is nothing that can defeat Him.

He kept his eye for the battle.

David’s older brother tried to remind him that he was just a boy, an insignificant shepherd with a few sheep in the desert.  He accused him of having wrong motives and only wanting to watch others do battle.

Saul, the king of Israel, tried to remind him again that he was just a boy and the enemy was well versed and experienced in battle.

Although David’s brother and King Saul were older, had more experience, and were in a greater position than he was they didn’t know what he knew.  They didn’t see what he saw.

Smooth Stone:  I keep my eye ~ My position, age, knowledge, and experience don’t matter in the equation and neither does my naysayers’.

He remembered his victories.

David had fought and killed lions and bears.  He may not have been experienced with this particular foe, but he was not inexperienced.  He had faced battles before and won.

Smooth Stone:  I remember ~ I have been here before.  I have fought other battles with great odds and won, not by my might or power, but by the power of the Lord.  Even if I hadn’t, He has won the ultimate victory, so I’m covered.

He engaged because this fight was not just a battle, it was a cause.

In 1 Samuel 45 – 47, David’s statement to the Philistine shows exactly how he sees the battle:

“You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear.  For the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hand.”

David ran to the battle line because he saw through spiritual eyes the heart of God to fight for His people and proclaim His name in all the earth as well as to remind His people that the Lord saves, but not with the weapons of mere men.

Smooth Stone:  I engage ~ I can run to the battle line because this battle isn’t just my own. I fight for a greater cause than just taking down my giant. I come to the battle in the name of Jesus, my salvation and my deliverer, to proclaim His name in all the earth, and remind my fellow Saints that the Lord saves, but not with earthly weapons.

The battlefield stretches before me.  I pick up my five smooth stones; I see, I understand, I keep my eye, I remember, and I engage.  My pace quickens, my foot steps sure, and my eye is on Jesus.

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Did They Know?

nativityWhen Mary said to the angel, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true,” do you think she knew the stretching of her faith it would cause? When Joseph believed the angel and took Mary for his wife, did he know? Did they know the hardships they would face on the way to God’s glorious plan being fulfilled?

You would think that such a powerful promise from God that started out with angels bringing the news would have meant easy street, right? I mean, come on, she’s carrying a baby conceived by the Holy Spirit. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. He’ll reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end! That surely means there will be no trouble ahead.

Wrong. Everyone else wasn’t in on the plan. I’m sure there was talk around town, and probably some finger pointing. Then, when the baby is about to be born they have to travel a long distance to Bethlehem. Of course they should have a nice room with a comfy bed. No, the doors are all closed to them. A dirty manger with stinky animals is all they have.

God are you there? Surely you didn’t plan this? Are you mad at us? Did we do something wrong? Maybe we didn’t hear you right? Were those the questions they were asking or did they know?

Haven’t you felt that way before? You’ve gotten a promise from God, probably not delivered by an angel, but a real sense that God was bringing you something or leading you somewhere. You happily received that promise, and then somewhere down the road everything seemed to fall apart. Nothing happened or it did, but now it is all messed up.

Did they know that all of those things were part of the plan. Maybe they didn’t know that what seemed like a promise gone wrong was actually going to be a big deal in retelling their story. Maybe those times when we think God has left us and things are darkest are going to be the big deal in the retelling of our great faith story.

Of course, we know that God was right there with them orchestrating everything. We know the birth, the death, the resurrection. God knew it all as it was being lived out day by day. He knows our story, too, from beginning to end. Those dark times are in His hands as much as all the wonderful times.

Don’t we know that if Mary and Joseph had to walk out their faith day by day we will too? One small sentence in the story told in Luke 2:18 says, “All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” Did she think back to when the angel told her, “Nothing is impossible with God”? A whole host of angels proclaiming the news of the child and shepherds coming to worship Him? God’s promise was being revealed right before her eyes.

Maybe that is the key for us. As we celebrate this wonderful season of Christ’s birth, let us keep these things in our hearts and think about them often. God is fulfilling His plan in each one of us. It usually doesn’t go the way we think it should, but that doesn’t mean it’s not in His plan.

If you don’t believe me, just look at some other stories – David; annointed king and then running for his life for 15 years. Joseph; dreams of greatness, then is sold into slavery and imprisoned. Don’t let the dark times make you waiver in your faith or think your faith is wasted.

Did they know? Do we know? Either way, God is always faithful. We can put our total faith in the fact that God knows the story from beginning to end.

Reposted from December 2012

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10 Things Esther Taught Me About Obedience

crown 2

She was just a girl; a nobody. While she was being chosen by the king to be his wife, God was choosing her to save His people.  She was chosen for a purpose; to fulfill a plan… for such a time as this.

Esther 4:14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Esther was an obedient “Yes” girl. Reading her story this morning gave me some clear insights into what it means to be radically obedient when it comes to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

1.  She accepted the fact that she was called.

After hearing about the decree that all the Jews would be destroyed, and the news that she was being asked to go and plead with the king on their behalf, she was fearful. She counted the cost, but said yes anyway.

God calls believers in many different ways every day, but one calling all of us have been given is to go and make disciples of all nations. We are called to share the gospel – every one of us.

When I think I can’t make a difference I’m forgetting that I’m a child of the Most High King. I’ve been chosen for such a time as this. Will I accept my calling and say yes?

2. She knew the danger she faced and planned accordingly.

The king hadn’t called for her in 30 days. She couldn’t just go to him any time she wanted.  Without the king’s favor she would be killed. Everything would be lost in that one moment if she wasn’t prepared.

Preparation and planning is paramount to my success.  I need to know my audience and how to win their favor.  I need to do my homework.

3.  She knew she wasn’t going in her own strength.

Esther knew she needed to be in the right position with God.  She humbled herself fasting and praying for three days before she even attempted to go before the king.

Spending time with Jesus; worshipping Him, reading His word, and praying equips me with everything I need to go where He is sending me.  I must have my spiritual house in order first. But, Esther didn’t take a year, a month, or even a week to get ready. I can’t use the excuse that I’m trying to get prepared so I don’t mess things up.  It’s time to humble myself before the Lord, ask Him for help, and then GO.

4.  She surrounded herself with like minded people.

Esther asked her uncle, Mordecai, to gather all the Jews that could be found in Susa and have them fast for three days.  She would also have her young women fasting with her.

Strength comes from other believers who stand with me in this calling. Surrounding myself with others who will encourage and pray with me helps me lose the fear of what others think and step out into my calling.  Obedience is much easier with the support of friends.

5.  She was willing to do what she needed to do no matter the cost.

After having everyone fast and pray, she resolved to do what she was called to do: “Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”

The cost I face isn’t the loss of my life, but sometimes I protect myself like it is.  There are believers in other countries who face much more dire circumstances for sharing their faith than I do.  My cost is having someone think I’m weird, crazy, a Jesus Freak, too radical, narrow minded, etc.  Are these really what I’m unwilling to pay for the eternal life of another person?  My resolve must be – if I perish, I perish.

6.  She built credibility and favor while she allowed God to prepare the heart.

The king accepted Esther with his golden scepter and she was in.  When he asked her what she wanted and offered her up to half of his kingdom, she could have told him then, but she knew he wasn’t ready for her message yet.  She set her plan in motion, and allowed God to prepare his heart.

The king’s heart was prepared when he called for the book of memorable deeds and read about how Mordecai had saved him from a wicked plot on his life.

If I want people to hear my message, receive it well, and do something with it, building credibility and favor with them is necessary.  Does my life show evidence of what I’m asking them to believe? Sometimes my greatest testimony is in what I do and not in what I say.

7.  She knew her enemy and devised a plan.

Esther knew that Haman was behind the decree to destroy the Jews. She knew he was powerful, and she couldn’t discount him, so she invited him to the banquet with the king.

Satan is a formidable enemy.  The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:8 – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Jesus says in John 10:10 – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;

But

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

The God of angel armies is on our side, and we can walk in confidence that He will give us strategies to overcome the enemy.

8.  When the time was right she spoke humbly but without fear.

After all of Esther’s preparation she finally had her chance to tell the king what she wanted.  Her humility showed her respect and honor for the king, but her confidence in speaking left no doubt what she was asking for.

Confidence in what I know to be true is the key to sharing the gospel without fear.  When God brings an opportunity to share His truth, speaking with respectful confidence will cut through any misconceptions the enemy has devised.

9.  She knew the decision wasn’t hers to make.

Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request.  For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated.”  When the kings eyes were opened to the truth of what was happening he wanted to know who the culprit was.  Esther was quick and lethal in pointing out the true enemy. It was then the king’s decision to make.

True humility is one thing that can’t be faked.  Humility comes when I honor and respect the person enough to leave the decision to them.  All I can do is be obedient to what God is calling me to do and share from my heart, then leave the decision to them.

10.  Blessings come with radical obedience.

In the end Haman was hanged, Mordecai was honored, the Jews were saved from annihilation, and Queen Esther was given the house of Haman.

Radical obedience always brings God’s blessings.  When I accept His calling on my life and realize that I am not my own, but I’ve been bought with a price, it becomes clear there is so much more for me and everyone else than I can see in this temporal world.  Blessings of peace, fulfillment, and purpose fill the empty places. Fresh vision for the eternal brings understanding and wisdom. Esther changed her world through obedience to her calling, and I have an opportunity to make an impact in mine as well.  Won’t you join me?

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#FreshVision

Blog picture heart-made-with-hands

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

“Mom, I made the team!” my daughter excitedly exclaimed.

Wow, what a difference a few days makes.  If you read what I wrote last week in A Life Interrupted, you know that my daughter’s heart was broken when she was told she had been cut in the first round of tryouts for her middle school volleyball team.

She came home sick after the third day of hard tryouts and missed the first round cut announcement.  Since we couldn’t get in touch with the coach, she started calling her friends.  After three girls said she had been cut, the tears began to flow.  The dream she had been working toward was dashed.

Sometimes the dream we hold in our heart isn’t really on the path God has for our lives.  We want it to be, but God has something better for us; a different plan – we just can’t see it while we are holding onto a dream we don’t want to let go of.

This is a time for fresh vision.  This is a time to submit ourselves to God, lay it at His feet and open our heart to the new place He wants to take us. We also must resist the devil’s attempt to beat us up and cause us to question God’s love.

On Tuesday morning the next round of tryouts was scheduled, and we decided that since she hadn’t heard about the cut from the coach, we needed to verify it from the source.  She showed up at tryouts and found out that she hadn’t been cut after all.

Some dreams can be lost because of what others are telling us.  We can trust them and believe they are helping us, but we run the risk they are wrong.

Our answers must come from the source.

God is the only one who holds our future in His hands. He is the only one who knows what tomorrow brings. We must submit to Him and allow Him to lead us where He wants us to go.

A fresh vision from God breathes life and passion back into our lives; back into our dreams. Fresh vision stirs our hearts and sets things into motion driving us forward into the plans God has for us.

Lay your hopes and dreams at the feet of Jesus, and ask Him to give you a fresh vision for them.  Ask Him to show you if the ones you’ve been holding on to aren’t His.

Resist the devil because he will be quick to tell you that your dreams don’t matter to God.

The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ~John 10:10

The great news is the devil will flee from us when we resist him.

Last week we were weeping at the loss of a dream.  This week we understand even better that Jesus is our only source for the answers to our heart’s deepest desires because He is the one who puts them there, and He is the only one who can give us the fresh vision to see them through.

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A Life Interrupted

Blog curvy road

Romans 5:2b – 4 ~ And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope.

My heart is aching this morning.  In one moment my daughter’s dream of playing on her middle school volleyball team was dashed when she was cut after three hard days of tryouts.

My mother’s heart weeps for her, and as I groped through my mind for something comforting to say to her to make it all better, the scripture I had been studying all week continued to play through my mind. We are to rejoice in our sufferings, but today we are weeping. Is that wrong? How do we get to a place of rejoicing?

Does God weep for us when life’s sufferings tear at our hearts; when life doesn’t go the way we planned or thought it would?

John 11:33-35 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.  Come and see, Lord,” they replied.  Jesus wept.

Jesus knew that he was going to go to the tomb where Lazarus lay dead and raise him. He knew that the outcome was going to be good, and in a short time all those who were weeping would be rejoicing, but at that moment those he loved were broken hearted, and it broke his heart.

We know as believers that the story for us ends well.  We know that there will come a day with no tears and no sorrow, and we will be in the presence of our Lord and Savior for eternity.

But, in the moment when life interrupts us, our hearts are heavy and we still have to walk it out.  We still have to persevere through the pain.  As we persevere through that pain, life lessons are learned and we are never the same.

If we allow Jesus to lead and guide us through those places, and allow Him to do His work in us as He molds the twists and turns of our life into the direction He has for us, then character will be built, and hope will spring forth to a new season; a new calling.

How can we move through those places and continue to persevere when our heart is breaking?  How do we #stickwithit when we just want to give up?

Lysa TerKeurst says in her book What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, “A real sign of spiritual maturity is looking to God not for comfort and convenience, but for purpose and perspective.  Comfort and convenience lead to complacency. On the other hand, purpose and perspective lead to the perseverance that is evident in those living a truly devoted life.”

God has a purpose for our life. He has a purpose for the interruption that has just moved us in a new direction.  He loves us more than we could possibly love our own children, and I can’t imagine more love than that; more desire for their welfare and good, but He does.

We can trust that He isn’t withholding or causing something in our life because He wants to see us suffer – no, He is hurting with us.  We trust that He has a perfect plan that He is working out in His timing, weaving it all together into a beautiful tapestry to bring Him glory, and to equip us to do what He is calling us to do.

That’s what it really is all about isn’t it? Bringing God glory by fulfilling the calling He has on our life.

We may think that the twists and turns of life are interruptions, but I think they are just the turns in the road God is leading us down as He is equipping us for every good work (2Timothy 3:17).

I don’t know why my daughter didn’t make the team, she’s a good player and has the skills, but I have to believe that God’s purpose and plan for her don’t include that dream.  This could be that turn in the road that leads her down a new path where He wants her focus to be.

So, I will hug my daughter and weep with her today, but we will also rejoice knowing that it will be okay because God’s plans for her are perfect, and we will watch expectantly to see what new adventures He is leading her to tomorrow.

 

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