Do you like to wait? I mean, in long lines, traffic jams, water to boil, you know WAIT? I really don’t know if there is anyone who likes to wait! It is probably harder for most than not…and I think harder for men than women (maybe.) For this girl it is soooo difficult and when I want something I really want it now. But I have recently learned a valuable lesson in waiting…this is where God works on us! The waiting makes us very uncomfortable yet this is when we realize that we can’t do anything about it! Have you been there?
Over the last almost two months I have waited with baited breath to see the outcome of this website. It is hard because I couldn’t post or fiddle with the appearance or well, do a thing with this project. But what I did do was really pray. Pray for Amanda, the designer who was trying to learn about me (long distance I might add) so that she could put something together that would reflect my heart, my ministry and what I have to offer as God’s representative. You see I believe that God brought Amanda, along at just the right time to use her talents to help me! She sensed that I was pulling my hair out. Okay, I think I may have posted that in a group we both belonged to on facebook, where I expressed my frustration and cries for help.
You see, I like to think I can do it all and I really do try. I built my own original website and then several blogs and I thought I could do this on my own like usual. However, I couldn’t. That was a difficult place to find myself, having to admit that I couldn’t make it work. But that too was a lesson for me to learn and I believe right where God wanted me. When we think we can do everything then we are basically saying we don’t need one another with our gifts and talents. When I think of all the time I spent fiddling around trying to build my own site, knowing just enough to be dangerous, I mentally calculated way too many hours with nothing to show (or at least far from where I desired to be!) God didn’t intend for us to do it all by ourselves but to rely on one another and on Him. That is just what I began to do and I have to say it was so good to let Amanda do what she is gifted to do and bless me by the outcome of her designing!
It is a good thing that I am still learning those lessons from the field! It is my hope that you will find this website a pleasant place to visit while you are here! And I pray it would be used for God’s glory as I do what He has called me to do in ministry.
If you have read my blog in the past you might have read my posting on Lessons from a Schnauzer. Oh, that little loving pup of ours is in some ways like my prodigal children have been, in that she is used by God to teach me more about Him.
A few years back over Easter weekend, we had an incident that only happens thankfully once in a while. I am always praying against this happening because I am fearful of the consequences. Elsa, is a Schnauzer who is very true to her calling, she loves children and loves to ‘hunt’. Schnauzers were bred to mind the kinder and keep the vermin at bay on the farms. Even when she hears children on the Television or radio she perks right up and would love to join the kid party. As to her inquisitive nature to hunt and chase after ‘vermin’ she would constantly be off to the woods and who knows that we would ever see her again. She even thinks that she should investigate the deer that are always roaming through the property. So in light of her natural calling we are not able to let her run free. If we are out she must be hooked to something to keep her from doing her ‘Schnauzer thing’. It sounds rather cruel but she knows that is the way it is and the leash has just become a part of her life.
Like our own human nature every now and again, Schnauzers, like ourselves need to have a taste of freedom. Elsa’s last fling without the leash came on Easter Sunday as we were getting ready for church. My daughter and I were the last to head out and I asked her where Elsa was and she thought she was possibly downstairs. Knowing that the kids were not in the house I suddenly entertained a thought that I really didn’t want to think about. I went downstairs with a heavy heart knowing that she was nowhere to be found in the house. I hollered up to my daughter and said Elsa must be outside to which she opened the door and promptly tried to coax her back into the house. All to no avail for all the coaxing in the world was not going to ruin this fling with freedom.
By the time I ran up the stairs and grabbed the leash and headed out doors she was springing for the highway leaping like a lamb through the front yard and I imagined hearing her yelling, “I’m free, I’m free…” I began to pray immediately to the Lord beseeching Him to not let her get hit on the road as the cars were coming up and down the hill. Yes, she leaped across the ditch and across the road she went up the neighbor’s driveway. I continued my praying, pleading with the Lord to please keep her safe and direct her homeward. We were all calling for her as I am sure she continued in her little puppy mind, “I’m free, I’m free…”
Then…(thank you Lord!) she turned around and headed back home, darting past my son-in-law heading right to my oldest grandson, Zachary. I said gently, “Grab her and don’t let go!” Which he did and then they came over to me and I promptly took her and put her on her chain by the kennel. She only uses the chain and kennel when we have to be gone for a short time and have no one to watch her. Or, sometimes just so she can be out and about when it is nice out. Then off to church we headed. I was praising God the entire way to church that He kept her from harm and returned her to home.
Well naturally my immediate application was to see this episode as how a loving God gives us loving boundaries for our good. For Elsa it is the leash and for us it is in the Word. For a long time I resisted some of God’s boundaries because I wanted to maintain my “freedom.” I realize now that I make enough mistakes as it is without thumbing my nose at a bunch of rules, regulations and warnings.
There is this sin nature that we wrestle with that is directly contrary to our Christ-like nature. It is a battle that we will wage until we go home to glory. But if we consciously live our life desiring God’s ways instead of ours we will provide less opportunity for the enemy to trip us up. Or in Elsa’s case become a flat, black furry spot on the road!
Paul tells us himself how he too very wrestled with doing what he was not supposed to do in Romans 7:15
“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”
I am amazed that Paul would openly admit his struggles. And for me it is freeing to know that a man of Paul’s character—although probably not very often—struggled with sin. He understood sin’s character and the impact it leaves behind. (I think we would call that consequences.) Sometimes, we may only struggle with seemingly small issues and the Bible warns us with a blinking yellow light like the following verse:
1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be misled:“Bad company corrupts good character.”
And search the word fool to see the many places you will find this in the Word. Like in Psalm 14:1 and 53:1 that says only fools say there is no God; Proverbs 1:7 says that fools despise wisdom, and discipline; Proverbs 1:22 says that fools hate knowledge! I could go on and on for there is much for us to learn about fools and foolish behavior. (Actually Proverbs is based on the contrast of the wise man and the foolish!) It is sometimes these grey areas that are not terribly obvious that can be used to trip us up and lead us astray. All for the sake of “freedom”, freedom to choose what I will and will not allow myself to get into.
I know that for years I have struggled with thinking I know best what is and is not good for me. It is just crazy how a little time here or there can leave a lasting impression on us when we spend time where we probably shouldn’t.
In this book called the Bible, there is a wealth of practical wisdom that God Himself has given to keep us safe and to warn us about old behavior patterns. Why? Because in His lovingkindness He wants what is best for us. He wants us to be safe and continue to grow more and more into Christ’s image. It is inevitable that there will come times when we succumb to old patterns or we may take a risk and do something that could put us in immediate danger, not heeded the warnings from our loving Father. We will suffer the consequences from blatant disobedience and hopefully we repent and say, “whew, I am glad I didn’t continue down that pathway.”
So whether it is not ‘completely’ telling the truth, a little flirtation with the opposite sex, watching that thing on the television that stirs old feelings inside of us or reading the same, all of these little blinking yellow lights are flashing when we enter into the danger zones of life. But, there is something that we can do to heed the warning signs. For me it is the check in my spirit telling me that I shouldn’t go there. I acknowledge the danger sign, back out, and praise God for His Holy Spirit that protects us, in essence, from ourselves teaching us how to take every thought captive and crucify our sinful nature. Freedom is wonderful but not freedom that bites back or is only fleeting!
Father, my sweet little girl could have been a spot on the highway in her quest to run to places she had never been before. I confess my desires can be much the same. I ask forgiveness for ignoring Your loving boundaries that are in place for my good. I know those earthly desires that can sometimes screams at me to just give it up for a season of ‘fun and freedom’ but I have done this enough to know how easily I can get trapped and caught up. I am grateful for your Word to me in Corinthians that says that “No temptation has overtaken [me] but such as is common to man and God is faithful, who will not allow [me] to be tempted beyond what [I] am able. And with that temptation will also provide the way of escape also, that [I] may able to endure it.” If we go out a bit too far You provide a way for us to escape. Help me to be listening and willing. Thank you Pappa for Your amazing love that only wants the very best for those You love! Amen.
Do you ever find yourself sick and tired of going around and around the mountain and making the same mistakes over and over again and again? Wow, I sure do and I get so frustrated with myself when I do thinking ‘haven’t I gotten this lesson yet?’ Thankfully this has ignited my desire to draw closer to God. I knew that God had something so much sweeter for my life but that I would have to jump some hurdles to get there.
For me, it was a matter of learning to lay down my pride, and acknowledge that I could no longer rely on my own resources to keep from making the same mistakes over and over again. Don’t you just hate it when you are in repeat mode? You self-talk asking God to never let it happen again and then boom, repeat. It is embarrassing to continually do, react or forge ahead and then realize that you have been on this pathway before! For instance, my marriage was not going to improve unless I was willing to work on me. My tendency to be judgmental and critical of others was not going to stop until I realized that I had to make a very purposeful choice not to look at others comparing myself with them and criticize. My ministry was not going to go forth until I was willing to be honest with my struggles and work on allowing the Lord to refine me in the furnace of His love, being content knowing that He would use me right where I was. You see, God really wants us to flourish and grow and go forth in His name and for His purposes. And finally that I would stay committed to relationships with Him, my husband, children, work and friends to the best of my abilities and most of the time. Not in my strength but in His.
Where God was and is concerned, I had to make a choice (and daily make that choice) to spend time with Him first and foremost! This is where I have learned the answers to the hard things involving all my relationships. Learning to love my husband in a fresh way unlike I never had before. Friends, it has changed our relationship! I suppose realizing that I cannot control anybody but me is nothing really new but God made it fresh for me as I focused on what I could do to better our relationship instead of expecting and demanding that my husband needed to change. I am only able to change me!!! With my children it was similar in that I could not control their lives like I used to try to do to keep them from learning the hard way like I had to do. They have to learn their life lessons in the same way I have, through their own choices and mistakes.
Work was merely a matter of being content where God had placed me. I am not one who enjoys confrontation and a few years back we had a lot of confrontation going on and frankly I wanted out. Not realizing that God was up to some big and exciting things that I could have very well missed out on. So every interesting job posting that became available in town I would apply for. But God certainly had something else in mind. He has kept me at Psalm FM Radio to serve in the capacity of the office administration and on air for over 23 years. And I have now been part of a very exciting ministry including the “Vertical Connection”, my radio program. For almost ten years I have hosted a two hour radio program to encourage listeners to draw near to the Father’s heart. A side note of thanks to a former employee who saw something in me that I never dreamed I could do, and I thank Gene! We just never know where God is going to take us and sometimes He takes us kicking and screaming while saying “I can’t do that!”
These tests and trials that come through our relationships with others, whether they be Christian or not, really matter to God. We are members of a body. We are not all the same (thankfully) and we have so much to offer each other but more importantly people are the litmus test of getting this God-walk right! I know we are all in process and we do not have it perfect this side of glory, but, how we treat each other is crucial from the stand point that the outside world looks at us in expectation that we know how to do it right. I think the song says that “They will know we are Christians by our love…” and we do know how to do it right. But the question is will I choose to do it the way I have been instructed and shown from God Himself through Christ? Loving God and loving others? Or will I continue to circle around the mountain again and again never taking the next step upward?
We can always justify our actions whether anger, jealousy, injustice or whatever other reason that is out there. But as my dear friend and I were sharing recently, the bottom line is we are responsible for making the right choice. By doing so we deny the flesh and by doing this we allow the flow of the healing balm of reconciliation to be applied to whatever the offense was that tore us apart. Our Father and Creator, is fully aware of our short comings and struggles. And although we will continue to make wrong choices it is certain that we will make less wrong and many more correct as we purpose to serve and spend time allowing the Lord to change who we are into the image of His Son Jesus.
I know how hard it is, believe me, but for me I am now at a place where I have tasted the sweet rewards of my Father when I do it right and I would rather take that next step up the mountain than let my frustrations and disappointments continue to hold me back because of repeating the same mistake time and time again, keeping me at the baseline. Henceforth, going round and round the mountain!
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Father, You know the sorrow that plagues me when I mess up. I can only imagine the disappointment that You must feel when I have to take the same test over and over again. I truly have set my sites on You and I really want to show others just how much You love them by the way I live my life and treat others. To be Your representative I ask that You give me the courage to change me and I surrender my frustrations and all that I think is justified in exchange for Your grace and ask that You would help me to humbly wear and put on Your love for others…in Jesus’ Name.