Debbie's Perspective

Just my thoughts of the day.

10 Things Esther Taught Me About Obedience

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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

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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

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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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#PALMS UP

OBS palms up

I walk up with hands clenched, held tightly across my heart. These things are important to me. Some of them are my life itself, I think. How can I f

reely release them? It’ll cost me way too much.

Then I look at the hands held out to receive it all. There is something there already. I look closer. Scars. Nail scars. The ultimate price paid for my life. My eyes meet His. There is only love there. He’s not asking for these things to steal them

away from me; He’s taking them into His care.

This is freedom I’m gazing at. Why am I holding tight to this? Although I feel like I just stepped over a cliff and I’m free falling, my hands open and release everything into His. Things tumble out I didn’t even know were there.

Why am I so desperately holding on to pride, control, doubt, fear, anger? I guess with closed hands holding onto the things I love so much, it’s hard to see the other things that get caught up in that grip.

I turn my palms up and show Him their emp

tiness. He smiles and says, “Now you are ready.”

“Ready for what?” I ask. He won’t say, but just smiles at me with a twinkle in His eye.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. — Deuteronomy 6:5

When you read these words, it’s easy to pass over them and say, “Okay, I’m supposed to love God with all of me.” The problem is, that isn’t so easy.

Our theme this week in the Proverbs 31 On-line Bible Study is #Palms Up. Palms up ready to receive all that God has for us. But after reading and studying this verse over the week, I realize that palms up also means letting go of anything that I keep trying to hang on to.

All of me includes my desperate love for my family. The thought of something bad happening to my husband or my children sends a shiver o

f fear right through me. I’m supposed to hold on to them, right? No, #Palms Up, Lord.

As I examine my heart more closely, things rise to the surface that I know I’m holding on to as well; control is a biggy. Why do I hold on to these? #Palms Up, Lord.

All of these things and more ramble around in my heart vying for my attention and attachment.

Idols?

My head says, “No, I don’t have any idols.” My

heart says, “Anything you are choosing to hang on to that keeps you from freely giving your whole heart to Jesus is an idol.”

Over the last few days as I’ve come trembling before the Lord confessing that I’m scared – scared of what may come; scared that His call may cost me too much, Jesus has met me there with loving nail scarred hands assuring me that His hands are the only true place of safety.

#Palms up, Lord!

www.proverbs31.org

http://www.proverbs31.org
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The Water and The Fire

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It was midnight, and once again I was awake; crushing fear causing me to gasp for breath.  Was he breathing?  I slowly turned and gently placed my hand on my husband’s back.  The slow rhythmic breathing calmed me just a little.  Now my thoughts raced toward my son in the next room.  I knew logically that he was just fine, but the terror inside me drove me out of my bed and to his room to check once more.

Just days before I had experienced my third miscarriage, and now a gripping fear of losing the two people I loved most in life was closing in on me.   While the other two miscarriages were devastating, this one seemed to knock the wind out of me.  How could this have happened again?

Could I trust God anymore?  That was really the question on my heart.  I had lost my first husband at 20 in a horrible accident, endured years of heart wrenching infertility, and now the loss of three babies.  What would stop life from ripping away everything else I held dear?

I grappled with this question over the next two days until, crumpled on the floor weeping, I realized that the only safe place to be was in the hand of God.  The loss of anyone or anything in this temporal world would forever be out of my control.  I could choose to walk away from God and try to control my life and everything in it to no avail or I could place my life in God’s hands and know that even if I lost everything I hold dear, He would still have me safely in His care.

A peace washed over me like I had never before experienced.  The fear that had held my heart so tightly the past few days lost its grip, and a new-found calm and confidence replaced its choking squeeze.  I wasn’t any safer physically from life’s tragedies than I had been before, but I was spiritually and emotionally safe for eternity.

Isaiah 43:1a-3b

But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

God has been faithful to this promise towards me.  Since those many years ago when I placed my life into the loving hands of Jesus, I’ve walked through waters that did not wash over me and fires that did not burn me.  I’ve lost five more babies to miscarriage since that time; eight in all, said goodbye in this physical realm to my sweet daughter who lost her battle with a muscle disease, and faced some other big life challenges along the way.  Throughout them all I have felt His loving hand comforting me, guiding me, and upholding me.

God doesn’t promise us that He will keep us from the waters and the fire, but He does promise He will walk us through them and keep them from overtaking us and destroying us.  We have to trust that the One who created and formed us is the One who redeems us and calls us His own.  He’s invested in us.

I’ll be honest; it hasn’t been easy staying in His hands. For some reason I keep trying to jump out and keep things safe myself, only to realize that this is futile, and I quickly march myself back into the palm of His hand instead of dangling precariously on the fingertip. It has to be a conscious effort for me. I have to decide to do it daily and sometimes moment by moment, but it is the only safe place to stay when the waters rage and the flames lick at my life threatening to set me ablaze.

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What Are You Thinking?

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Raising kids in a multi-media smorgasbord society is hard.  Especially when they are 11 and 12 and much more tech savvy than I am.

Trying to police what they watch, listen to, and interact with can be daunting.  Gone are the days of Gilligan’s Island and The Beverly Hillbillies as the only thing to watch after school.

Why am I so careful about this? Because I know that what they constantly think about and fill their minds with will affect their actions.  It will affect the way they see the world around them, and will ultimately play the biggest role in the kind of people they turn out to be.

So, as I studied Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” It began to sink in that the same things I so carefully pay attention to with my children need to be at the forefront of my attention for me as well.

I’ve read this verse many times, and on the surface always thought it was saying to keep my thoughts positive and clean.  Of course, anytime we dig deeper into a verse we find that it means so much more than what we see on the surface, and sets a standard that is impossible to keep without God’s help.  That’s why I’m so relieved the prior verse promises us that God will guard our hearts and minds through Christ with His peace that surpasses all understanding.

But verse 8 is telling us what we should be setting our minds on.  It’s a choice of our will to do it. This is important because there are a million things, that don’t fit the bill, vying for our attention every day.

Whatever is true. This is a very important one.  This one statement sets up every other thought we have. As Christians we should know that the only standard for what is true is the Word of God.  What we think, our opinions, values, and philosophies on life must line up with the Word of God.

It’s so easy to hear something and say, “Yeah that seems right.” It sounds good to us. Maybe something seems unfair or unjust, so we jump on the band wagon of cultural opinion and take it in as our view of the matter.  The problem is if it opposes the Word of God, then it isn’t true.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” –Proverbs 14:12

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. – Isaiah 54:9

God is clear; we don’t think like He does. The great thing is, He lets us in on how He thinks in His word.

I believe that Paul was exhorting us to make these things a part of who we are and not just a thought that flies through our minds here and there or a positive thinking mantra we have.  This way of thinking should impact us in such a way as to become a part of who we are.

When that happens then our thoughts will become our actions, and respect, integrity, kindness, excellence, and anything else that is worthy of honor and praise will seep into our character. That is when we can begin to make the impact on our world that Jesus is sending us out to do.

So…..

What are you thinking?

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Choices

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Our lives are filled with a multitude of choices every day. Do I hit the snooze one more time or get up now? What will I wear? What will I eat? What route do I take to work; the toll road or the main roads? If it is a Starbucks morning, then the decision is made; the main roads.

Choices move our life forward. We have to make them, but they can’t be all our life is about.  As a believer in Jesus Christ, I am called to a higher purpose than a life devoted to my physical well-being. A life filled with concern over what I may gain or lose and how future events are going to affect me.

In Matthew 6:32 Jesus tells us that unbelievers run after those things, and our heavenly Father knows that we need them.  Then in Matthew 6:33 He exhorts us – “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Seek first – We are to pursue with diligence, attain awareness and understanding, perceive keenly above everything else we do.  It should be our highest priority.

What?

His kingdom – the sovereign rule and reign of God.  That means we set our highest priority to having God as our sovereign ruler and His word as our standard.  We can’t allow society’s ever changing standard and ideas to be our guide.

and

His righteousness – the English usage of righteousness means “uprightness” or “conformity to an established norm”, but true biblical righteousness is about covenants and relationships. “His righteousness” is about being in a covenant relationship with God. It’s about what God does in fulfilling His covenant through Jesus.  It isn’t about us behaving in a certain way, because man’s established norms change all the time throughout cultures and times. God requires righteousness to come into relationship with Him, and so He imparts His righteousness to us through our faith in Jesus Christ.

And all these things – The whole 6th chapter of Matthew talks about what “these things” are.  Every generation of man needs food, clothes, security, and reward or recognition for his hard work. God knows that we have these needs.  He isn’t saying that we shouldn’t have them or need them, but He is making it clear that we aren’t supposed to worry about them all the time. Jesus contrasts them by pointing out that we can seek all these things for our own selfish gain or use them to care for ourselves and bless others.

Will be given to you as well –If we allow Him to rule our lives and trust Him, then we won’t have to worry about whether our true needs will be met. God promises to supply all our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus – the covenant and relationship thing again. But, best of all, He provides a higher purpose – fellowship with Him and being part of His kingdom.

When I became a Christian, I made the choice to answer God’s call to follow Him and do His will.  I fulfill that choice or deny that choice every day through what I seek after. It’s always a choice.

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Conform or Transform?

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Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~Romans 12:2

Sammy inched his way into the big meeting.  The other caterpillars had assembled there as well.  He waited in anticipation to hear the good news that had been buzzing around the grove all week.  Now he watched as a majestic butterfly floated up to the podium.

“It is with great pleasure I come to you today, sent by the Creator to tell you of His great plan for you,” the butterfly said joyfully.  “He wants you to know that you have been created for a new life; a life that, if you will allow Him to, will transform you from a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly.”

A gasp spread through the crowd.  Whispers of, “What did he say?” and “That is just crazy,” filled the room.

“No, it isn’t crazy talk, it is true,” the speaker replied.  “You have been created for good works, to help prepare the fields for a big harvest.”

After the speaker had finished all he had to say, Sammy sat there stunned.  Could it be true?  It sounded like such a wonderful story, and his heart was racing.  Some of the other caterpillars were already leaving shaking their heads and making fun of what the big butterfly had said.  Others were huddled together excitedly talking about the big transformation day.

What was Sammy to think? He longed to be a beautiful butterfly spreading his wings and floating on the afternoon breeze.  He felt it deep inside, growing with every moment; a knowing that what he had heard was true.  Even though it sounded strange, this wasn’t the first time he had heard about this.  He had heard others talking about it, and butterflies telling of their former days as caterpillars.  He knew he believed.

The following days were busy and friends gathered together to discuss how to make this metamorphosis happen.  They shared wonderful books telling them about the Creator’s instruction book.  Some of the caterpillars started reading the Creator’s book for themselves.  They read other books to help them understand the Creator’s book, but mostly they just read His book.

These caterpillars began to build a cocoon separating themselves from the typical life of the other caterpillars.  Some of the other caterpillars laughed at them, and thought they were being judgmental and mean no matter how much the cocoon caterpillars tried to explain that they were just trying to follow the Creator’s plan.

Some caterpillars listened to others who thought they had a great plan for changing.  These caterpillars ended up painting their body’s different colors and trying to build wings.  Some had tried to jump from the high branches and wait for their wings to sprout, but nothing had happened, and many had gotten hurt.

Sammy was in a group of caterpillars that believed the cocoon caterpillars were taking it just a little too far.  Even though the cocoon caterpillars encouraged him to read the Creator’s book, he thought it was boring, and he just didn’t have the time to read it.  It seemed so old fashioned, with lots of stories of caterpillars from long ago and their change, but he couldn’t really see how that affected his life today.

Sammy enjoyed reading the books written about the Creator’s book.  They were exciting.  The only problem was that they could also be a little confusing because some books said that the Creator meant this, and others said he meant something else.  It was hard to tell which one was right.

Time was passing quickly, and a lot of Sammy’s friends were already completely wrapped in their cocoons.  His friends that believed, but only read what other’s said about the Creator’s plan, were beginning to wonder why they believed in the first place.  Many were longingly looking at the lives of the caterpillars who hadn’t believed at all.  They seemed to be having fun. They weren’t reading and studying.  They weren’t trying to change. They hadn’t spent all their time trying to feel or work their way into becoming a butterfly.

Sammy had to make a decision, and he had to do it quickly.  There wasn’t much time, he could just feel it.  The majestic butterfly had said that transformation day was coming.  He could follow what the Creator instructed him and become a butterfly or he could do what he thought best and stay a caterpillar.

Sammy really wanted to be part of the big harvest.  He really wanted to have the life the Creator had promised.  The only way he could do that was to become a butterfly.  So, Sammy took out the Creator’s Instruction Book and began to read.

As he read, a cocoon began to form around him.  He realized that what others saw from the outside as a wall that looked like judgment, from the inside was a place of rest and safety from the harsh world outside.  It was a place where the Creator spoke beautiful things into his heart.  He could already feel the transformation beginning.

The cocoon was getting way too tight.  He whispered to the Creator, “Is it time?”

“Yes,” the Creator whispered back to Sammy.  “You are ready.”

Sammy slipped from the cocoon into the cool afternoon breeze.  His wings unfurled and a gentle gust pulled him into the air. The beauty of the fields below was breathtaking.  From deep within his heart he heard the Creator say,

“Go, Sammy, now you are ready to do what I created you to do.  You now know what my will is – my good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

We are not to conform to the pattern of this world, but neither are we to try to conform ourselves to the Christian life.  We are to be transformed by renewing our mind with the Word of God and fellowship with our Lord.  Only then can the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit make us into the new creature we are called to be.

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Cranky and Tired

crying toddlerIn repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. ~ Isaiah 30:15

Have you ever seen a cranky and tired toddler resisting every plea from Mom to come rest in her arms?  The longer she resists the more desperate and out of character her behavior spirals.

Am I like this little child? Throwing my tantrums, trying to have my own way; worn and weary from life.  The Master calls me to enter into His rest.  He beckons me to come into His arms and trust Him to return my strength.

“Come, my child, return to me and rest your sweet head.  Trust me; I know what is best for you.  Lay quiet in my arms and rest, and your strength will return; you will be restored.”

Why do I refuse when I need Him most?

Just like this toddler I don’t want to stop and get quiet.  The busyness and distractions around me are too enticing to let go of.  Sometimes I don’t think I can let go because I need to handle my responsibilities.

“I can do it myself,” I defiantly say.

Some days I give in and run into His arms and find refreshment and strength.  Then there are times I spin out of control until I fall in a heap on the floor; spent and exhausted from the cares of life.

It is time to put childish ways behind me and walk in maturity.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:11

Lord, I am so thankful you are patient with me.  You understand my weaknesses, and help me grow in wisdom and maturity.  Let me stay in your arms and find strength. Amen

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Broken Glasses

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“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

“Mom, don’t worry. Your glasses broke, but I fixed ’em right up for you.”

Ugh, those words are not what a mom wants to hear.  I could deduce what happened. The lense in my glasses comes out easily. I’m sure he knocked them off the coffee table where I had left them the night before, and the lense fell out. He had done his best to fix the glasses ‘right up’ for me.

The problem was that the frame was now bent, and the lense was being held in place by tape wrapped round and round the lense and frame. Technically the lense was where it needed to be, but the glasses were not fixed. Now they were a lopsided mess with an obstructed view.

Fear and discouragement can keep us from going to God when our lense on life has slipped from its anchor or we’ve been bent and twisted by circumstances. We try our best to fix things on our own, but end up with a lopsided mess causing us more stress and anxiety.

God encourages us in the passage above that He is with us when we are afraid; He is our God when we are discouraged. He will strengthen and help us in our need. We will be upheld when we come to Him and allow Him to do His work in us. That is where our victory lies. Our view of His purposes and plans for our life will be clear, and He will make the crooked and twisted paths straight.

Lord, let me run to you when life has me twisted and bent, and when my view of life is a blur. Let me remember that you are ready and willing to ‘fix me right up’ when I place myself in your victorious right hand.

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