March 11, 2014
I struggle with this so much. He knows me well. He knows that I am difficult, a controller, and someone who struggles to trust and to let go. He knows that I desire for Him to guide me, to shepherd me, and to be my leader. I want Him to do this, yet I strain against the bit, trying ever so hard to pull us toward the direction that I think we need to go in. It frustrates me more than I think it frustrates Him. He is able to take it all in stride because He knows that He is in control, ultimately, and that my life will go His way. We may sit a while so as to allow me the time to come around to his point of view. We may tarry due to my stubbornness, but eventually we will move again, and we will head His way.
Oh Lord, why am I so obstinate? Why do I contend with you, struggle against your will and your way? I say that I want to follow you, to seek your will, to obey your Word, and yet I still attempt to get my own way. I know that it is my flesh that desires my own way. It is my flesh that seeks its own good, its own comfort, its own supremacy.
I know you well. I know you love me. I know you care for me. I know you provide for me. You sustain me, keep me, and you make me to be at peace. You do everything for me, and I still look at you with disrespect and I dishonor you. I confess this to you now because in grace I must understand that there is nothing knew under the sun, nothing that I can experience that someone else has not experienced before me. I am not the first to be rejected, to be disrespected, to be dishonored, and I will not be the last either. I have committed sin against my parents, my husband, my child, my friends, my church, my peers and my colleagues. I have committed sin against you, Oh Lord! I am not perfect, I am not without sin, and I am not stained from sin and its darkness.
However, I am free. I am set free because of your grace, and I am forgiven. Therefore, I must forgive others who have sinned against me. I must remember to act always from a point of grace, from the standpoint that I am not a solitary white tower. I am just one of many who have been tarnished by sin and who live to tell the story of how I overcome each day.
I ask for grace today as I deal with a difficult conversation. I understand who I am and what I have been through and I know that I must be gracious when communicating my feelings. I need to recognize my emotions and understand that I can form opinions on the basis of those emotions. These opinions might not be accurate so I need to be in control and speak from a position of authority and grace. I ask now that you speak through me, that you help me to convey what matters most, and then speak only to the issue at hand. I understand that I need to be focused and direct, not covert or unwilling to broach a difficult subject. I ask for your help, and I ask this now in Jesus' Name. Amen.
March 10, 2014
Disappointed - feeling sad, unhappy, or displeased because something
was not as good as expected or because something you hoped for or expected did not happen
was not as good as expected or because something you hoped for or expected did not happen
Yes, disappointment has reared its ugly head today. I am filled with a mixture of emotions, many of which, I dislike intensely. Normally, I handle disappointments well. I have had many over the course of my life, and for the most part, I learned early on not to expect happy outcomes. If you don't expect to be pleased about something or someone or some outcome, then you won't find yourself facing disappointment.
It is a rather fatalistic way to view life, and certainly, it is not how God wants us to live our life at all. The Word in Philippians 4 says that we are to:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
God expects us to look forward, to rest in His provision and sufficiency, and to wait with anticipation, expectancy for His Goodness.
Yet, rarely do we do that kind of waiting (looking up). Most of the time, we look at our circumstances and we think "Yeah, this is where I am today, and tomorrow doesn't look much better." It can be frustrating at times, and often we feel as though we have been kicked in the shin, punched in the stomach, and led to believe that things were going to be far more rosier than they are.
This graphic speaks volumes to me.
I believe that disappointment comes when your expectations do not equal reality. In purely mathematical terms, for these two to equal each other, the equation has to have equal proportions. For example, (D)=1 so (E) and (R) can equal 1 as well. In short, the equation would read as
1=1/1 or 1=1
Philosophically, this works out to the fact that your reality and expectation must be the same. If your reality is more or less than your expectation or vice versa, the result will not be a whole number but a fraction.
1=1/2 which really is 1>1/2 (more disappointment to expectation/reality)
Ok, so you get the point. The idea is that disappointment comes when our reality and expectations are out of alignment or out of balance (unequal). The key is to make sure our expectations equal our reality. Therefore, if our reality is that we make $10 per hour, our expectation that we can live at $15 per our is out of whack. If, however, we make $10 per hour, and we live at $10 per hour, then we have balance. This will not avoid disappointment, but it will temper it. The reason is that we understand disappointments in life come, circumstances change, and at times, we find ourselves facing uncertainty. The uncertainty stems from a myriad of factors, and most of them our beyond our control. It is much easier to diffuse the emotional roller coaster ride when we understand that these changes are out of our control. We can simply acknowledge them, and then we move on.
However, if we have high expectations that do not match our reality, than we suffer the consequences of emotional disappointment. We have an out of balance mind set that tells us we expected something that didn't happen and the cause was our reality didn't live up to the expectant standard.
It is really a matter of mind. How we look at things, and how we accept truth as it is in our reality.
Encouragement from the Word
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
James 1:2-5 NIV
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
- Adjusting expectations is important. I don't want to set mine too high (unrealistic), but I also don't want to negate the power of God in my life (too low). With God all things are possible, so don't give up on God. Just cut yourself a little slack and realize that while God will never let you down, people will. People will sin, and people will hurt you. God will always stand by you no matter what and He understands the pain and the sorrow of disappointment.
- Learn from your defeats. Don't give up, but don't give in either. Understand that defeat is normal, and that everyone suffers from defeat at times in their life. Learn from your mistakes or miscalculations, and grow through the experience so that next time you can avoid the error or at the least minimize its impact.
- Build friendships. God gives us friends to help us through the difficult moments in life. Reach out to friends who will comfort you and rally round you. Know that they too experience disappointments so be there for them just as often as they are there for you. Share each others burdens, love each other, pray for each other, and when all else fails, hold each other. It really does work wonders to help bring an end to the emotional side of disappointment.
- Dive into your relationship with God. Take this time to reach deeper in your walk with the Lord. Lean upon Him and realize that He will not leave you nor will He abandon you. You matter to Him, and He does know what it feels like to be disappointed. Turn toward Him and not away from Him. Let Him heal your hurts, and let Him show you the way through the trial.
- Lastly, remember the ultimate goal. Life is transient. It is fleeting. Our path leads to one place (for the believer in Jesus Christ) and that is homeward to Heaven. Keep your mind firmly fixed on the prize, and run your race with endurance to the end. Don't give up, and when life seems to be crashing all around you, remember to look up. Wait on the Lord, stay faithful, and keep on keeping on. Jesus is the reason we endure. He is our Victor and our Champion, and He is waiting for us at the finish line. Finish strong, dear brothers and sisters, finish strong.
There are times when I feel so disappointed, and there are times when I feel so overwhelmed. I know that life is hard, and that circumnavigating it can be difficult. I get frustrated when things don't go my way or when I feel that people (important people) don't live up to my expectations. I struggle with letting others lead their own lives, with letting them go so that they can make their own mistakes.
This is especially true of my son, whom I love dearly, but who is at that point in his life where he is responsible for his own actions. I want to help him, mentor him, protect him. Yet, he makes decisions that affect his life, and I see the outcome of those decision and I know they are not wise. I want to shake him, to make him listen like he used to when he was a child. I cannot do this, he is a young man, and he must learn on his own. He must learn to trust you, to seek you, and to follow after you. I can no longer chart his course, I can no longer plan his day. I have to let him go. I pray he follows you. I pray he seeks your wisdom. I pray he makes good choices. I let him go today, Lord. I let him go.
Thank you, Lord, for your wisdom and perfect peace. Thank you for your hand upon my life. Thank you for what you are doing in me and through me. Thank you for this day, and thank you for being there for me, always there for me. I love you, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship you and to praise you this day. Selah! Pause and calmly think about it.
March 8, 2014
Yesterday was a good day at school. I had two groups of students give oral presentations. Both did fine. It was enjoyable to have them teach the class rather than me, and I was glad they did such a thorough job on the assignment. The rest of my time was OK. I cannot help but think that I am not good at teaching. I am filled with doubt about my abilities, and I constantly stick my foot in my mouth. I feel like I don't know my subject well, and my students seem to be disconnected from my interaction. Perhaps it is just the way these students are, or their age, or the culture. I don't know, but I am seriously considering my purpose as a teacher.
I started to think about this yesterday on the drive home from GCU. I questioned the Lord about it, asking Him why I feel this way. It is a weird thing because I feel like a failure every class, and yet, when I think about doing something else, nothing comes to mind. I feel like I have done it all, I have tried different types of work, and I don't like any of them. Then there is this sense that I am at peace. I cannot really explain it, it is just this abiding peace about everything right now. I don't have enough money, but I have peace. I don't have satisfaction in my job, but I have peace. I don't have confirmation on a full-time job, but I have peace.
Peace is a good thing, right? Peace tells you that you are where you belong, and that you are well-covered. So why am I struggling against the Lord's peace? I mean, after all, shouldn't you be happy and content when you have peace? Most people would agree that peace is a good thing, and most people would say that they seek for peace all the time. So I have it, but I am unhappy about my life, my circumstances, my situation. What is wrong with this picture, eh?
a state of harmony between people or groups; freedom from strife
Biblical peace is quite different, though it does encapsulate the worldly definition to some extent. Bakers Biblical Dictionary says this:
The Meaning of Peace. In English, the word "peace" conjures up a passive picture, one showing an absence of civil disturbance or hostilities, or a personality free from internal and external strife. The biblical concept of peace is larger than that and rests heavily on the Hebrew root sim, which means "to be complete" or "to be sound." The verb conveys both a dynamic and a static meaning"to be complete or whole" or "to live well." The noun had many nuances, but can be grouped into four categories:
(1) salom as wholeness of life or body (i.e., health);
(2) salom as right relationship or harmony between two parties or people, often established by a covenant (see "covenant of peace" in Num 25:12-13 ; Isa 54:10 ; Ezek 34:25-26 ) and, when related to Yahweh, the covenant was renewed or maintained with a "peace offering";
(3) salom as prosperity, success, or fulfillment (see Lev 26:3-9 ); and
(4) salom as victory over one's enemies or absence of war. Salom was used in both greetings and farewells. It was meant to act as a blessing on the one to whom it was spoken: "May your life be filled with health, prosperity, and victory." As an adjective, it expressed completeness and safety.
In the New Testament, the Greek word eirene [eijrhvnh] is the word most often translated by the word "peace." Although there is some overlap in their meanings, the Hebrew word salom is broader in its usage, and, in fact, has greatly influenced the New Testament's use of eirene.
In context we see that Biblical peace is encompassing a state of being far deeper than a cessation of hostilities or harmony between people. It is a measure of soundness, of wellness, and of whole body/mind/soul well-being. Additionally, it is an assurance of the covenant between God and man, and it is a promise of prosperity, success and fulfillment. In this manner, Peace covers you in more than just inward/outward ways. It serves to provide a wholeness that centers your person, informs your views, and regulates your days. It gives you comfort to know that you are well with God, well with man (as far as it concerns you), and well with the plans God has for your life.
Within this definition there are two ideas that need further clarification. One is success and the other is prosperity. Merriam-Webster defines success as:
- the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame
- the correct or desired result of an attempt
- someone or something that is successful : a person or thing that succeeds
Baker identifies "success" under the banner of Blessing:
God's intention and desire to bless humanity is a central focus of his covenant relationships. For this reason, the concept of blessing pervades the biblical record. Two distinct ideas are present. First, a blessing was a public declaration of a favored status with God. Second, the blessing endowed power for prosperity and success. In all cases, the blessing served as a guide and motivation to pursue a course of life within the blessing.
To consider this idea further, it is important to understand what prosperity means from a Biblical viewpoint. There is a group within the Church that preaches financial success and prosperity almost from the standpoint that God desires His people to be wealthy. There are other groups that preach against that citing that it is not the norm for God's people to be wealthy and that Jesus' teachings in the NT are more valid than the Covenantal teachings found in the OT.
I have struggled with the "wealth and prosperity" teaching for a long time. Perhaps it was because I lived as a poor person, by choice and by sin, and I believed that wealth was for some, but not for all believers.
In reading Bakers on the subject of prosperity, it is clear that God used wealth as a sign of blessing to the people of the OT. Moreover, God's design for wealth was tied to the land and to the Temple. God designed wealth as a means for sharing His Goodness with others. In the NT, we see the early church pick up this same idea when they sell their possessions and distribute the money to those that have need. The idea here is that God blesses us financially for one purpose: to see to the needs of His people. We are blessed with wealth to not only take care of our own families, but to care for the family of God. In this way, we serve to share the blessing of God with others.
Bakers says this about prosperity:
The Old Testament recognizes wealth as often a blessing from God. But frequently that wealth is tied up with the land or the temple in ways that do not carry over into a New Testament age that knows no one sacred piece of geography or architecture ( John 4:24 ). Even in the Old Testament, the Israelites' wealth was meant to be shared, with the poor in the land and with Gentiles outside, so as to bring people to a knowledge of the Lord. Increased privilege carries increased responsibility. Governments and economic institutions today are not theocracies, but they may still be judged on how they meet the needs of the powerless and dispossessed.
What I have learned from this quick word study is that God blesses us with peace, and He gives us course of life within His blessing. This means that God does have a specific plan for each of our lives and that we come to know that plan once we are in covenant with Him. It is part of His promise to us. We agree with Him, we covenant with Him, and in return there is blessing. This blessing includes: peace, success and prosperity.
Therefore, to have His peace we must accept His covenant. Covenant refers to:
The term "covenant" is of Latin origin (con venire), meaning a coming together. It presupposes two or more parties who come together to make a contract, agreeing on promises, stipulations, privileges, and responsibilities. In religious and theological circles there has not been agreement on precisely what is to be understood by the biblical term. It is used variously in biblical contexts. In political situations, it can be translated treaty; in a social setting, it means a lifelong friendship agreement; or it can refer to a marriage.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we are keepers of the Covenant of Grace. We are no longer under the obligation of the law, but live in freedom under Grace. However, the covenant of God does have stipulations that are required for use to partake of God's promise.
Parties: The parties to this covenant of grace are God and the people whom he will redeem. But in this case Christ fulfills a special role as “mediator” (Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24) in which he fulfills the conditions of the covenant for us and thereby reconciles us to God. (There was no mediator between God and man in the covenant of works.)
Conditions: The condition (or requirement) of participation in the covenant is faith in the work of Christ the redeemer (Rom. 1:17; 5:1; et al.). This requirement of faith in the redemptive work of the Messiah was also the condition of obtaining the blessings of the covenant in the Old Testament, as Paul clearly demonstrates through the examples of Abraham and David (Rom. 4:1–15). They, like other Old Testament believers, were saved by looking forward to the work of the Messiah who was to come and putting faith in him.4
But while the condition of beginning the covenant of grace is always faith in Christ’s work alone, the condition of continuing in that covenant is said to be obedience to God’s commands. Though this obedience did not in the Old Testament and does not in the New Testament earn us any merit with God, nonetheless, if our faith in Christ is genuine, it will produce obedience (see James 2:17), and obedience to Christ is in the New Testament seen as necessary evidence that we are truly believers and members of the new covenant (see 1 John 2:4–6).
Promises: The promise of blessings in the covenant was a promise of eternal life with God. This promise was repeated frequently throughout the Old and the New Testaments. God promised that he would be their God and that they would be his people. “And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you” (Gen. 17:7). “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer. 31:33). “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God...I will make with them an everlasting covenant” (Jer. 32:38–40; cf. Ezek. 34:30–31; 36:28; 37:26–27). That theme is picked up in the New Testament as well: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Cor. 6:16; cf. a similar theme in vv. 17–18; also 1 Peter 2:9–10). In speaking of the new covenant, the author of Hebrews quotes Jeremiah 31: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Heb. 8:10). This blessing finds fulfillment in the church, which is the people of God, but it finds its greatest fulfillment in the new heaven and new earth, as John sees in his vision of the age to come: “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them” (Rev. 21:3).
Sign: The sign of this covenant (the outward, physical symbol of inclusion in the covenant) varies between the Old Testament and the New Testament. In the Old Testament the outward sign of beginning the covenant relationship was circumcision. The sign of continuing the covenant relationship was continuing to observe all the festivals and ceremonial laws that God gave the people at various times. In the new covenant, the sign of beginning a covenant relationship is baptism, while the sign of continuing in that relationship is participation in the Lord’s Supper.
The reason this covenant is called a “covenant of grace” is that it is entirely based on God’s “grace” or unmerited favor toward those whom he redeems.
Does God make covenants with individuals like He did with Adam, Noah, Abraham, David and the prophets?
If God is a Covenant making and keeping God, and if He has demonstrated His relationship through Covenant agreements in the past, than I believe that He still does make covenants with individuals now. I believe that God does enter into covenants with individuals based on the individuals obedience to God's call on their life. I believe these sub-covenants are part of the overarching Covenant of works, redemption, and grace. These covenants are agreements between God and man and are specific to the work that God is asking the individual to do on His behalf. In a way, they are promises to individuals that encourage obedience, faith and trust in God for the provision and ability to accomplish the work God has in mind for them to do. They do not replace any of the established Biblical covenants, they simply operate under the blessing that comes from the covenant of Grace.
As I consider my life and my purpose, I am now faced with a decision. Do I believe what God is saying to me, about my purpose, about His plans for my life, and about His determination on where I will go, and what I will do? If so, then my end of the covenantal relationship is upheld. God never changes His mind, and He never abandons His promises. This means that it is up to me to choose to obey, to believe, and to trust that what He has promised, He will surely fulfill.
Thank you for taking the time to help me understand that the promises you have made to me are assured. They are part of your covenantal agreement predicated upon my agreement to obey you and follow after you. I understand now that you have given me special blessing and favor and as such I am under no obligation to keep my end of the agreement. However, if I do, then I will receive the promised blessing. If I do not, then I will receive nothing. I am under your covenant of Grace, and I am set free. However, you have promised many things to me, to help me accomplish your will, your purpose, and the plans you have laid out for me to fulfill. I must remain in faith, in belief, and in trust. I must choose to be faithful to you, to obey your Word, and to follow after you. It is difficult to explain, and for some, it may seem ludicrous to think this way. But I know what I know, and I have seen your blessing poured out on my life. I am experiencing something vital, new, and exciting. Yes, I doubt. Yes, I fear. Yes, I want to run away and hide at times. Yet, you remain faithful to me. You are stalwart. You never move. I am blessed to be in relationship with you, and to know that all my struggles are human. They are not representative of your greatness or your goodness. They are my futile attempts to understand something that is beyond understanding. Therefore, Lord, I recommit my way to you this day. I let go of these feelings, which are nothing, and I choose to be faithful to you, to believe your Word, to trust in your Character and Nature, and to accept the blessings and favor you have given to me. I humbly confess that I have sought my own way, desired my own understanding, and as a result, I have become focused on the dirt and the ground, and not on who you are and what you are doing in me and through me for your Name, your Honor, and your Praise. Thank you, Lord, for your grace and compassion. Thank you for helping me to understand your way. In Jesus' Name I pray this now, Amen. So be it, thy will be done. Selah!
March 6, 2014
Happy Thursday! It is a cloudy day in Phoenix. Usually our March weather is sunny and warm (low 80s) with very little chance of clouds or rain. Today is atypical of March, but it is sure a nice change. I like the overcast sky, and I like to see a bit of gray every now and then. I know that friends and family in the Midwest and back East would say the exact opposite. This winter has been brutal on them, and they are tired of the clouds, gray sky, and snow!
Still, I am pensive today, and gray skies suit me. I think about what I need to accomplish today, the tasks at hand, and how I am going to partition my day. It is 10:30, and I have managed to crawl out of bed, get a cup of coffee, read the news, fix breakfast, and update my Facebook status. Good day so far? I think so.
I was able to finish my Family Communication seminar paper -- squeaking in under the wire -- last night. I poured everything I had into that paper, which was a whole lot of the Lord, and a not a whole lot of me! I wrote what I felt He wanted me to write. I pray it is received in that same spirit, and that the Lord will give me favor with my Professor and classmates. I am stressed a bit still, worried that I didn't do the assignment correctly. I know He has me covered today, and I know that I can rest. I am choosing to rest today. Choosing to be blessed. Choosing to let go, and let Him be.
I've got a lot of my plate, but this paper is no longer hanging over me (PTL!) I am able to focus now on my research project, my research survey, and my statistical analysis. I am good. God is Good. I know He has all this well in hand (His hand!)
Today looks like a good day to rest. I do need to complete the following items:
- Finish up the HTML email for church (uploading content so they can email it out to members)
- Upload and install the new template I created for church (probably not until next week)
- Create my online survey so that I can start to hand out that URL
- Submit my IRB with survey for approval
- Complete my Family COM DQ for last week (due by 3/12)
- Respond to my colleagues papers (due by 3/16)
As I consider this day and I think about all that the Lord has done for me -- carrying me through this major paper, providing enough time to complete it, managing my stress over teaching, etc. -- I cannot help but lift up all the praise to Him. I give Him all the praise this day. He has done this for me. He has seen me through it, and I am blessed. I am so very blessed.
March 5, 2014
It's Wednesday, or Hump Day (the middle of the week). I am exhausted. I spent 20 hours working on my family communication paper and I have serious doubts whether I did it correctly. I chose to rewrite a proposal on Church communication, which technically is OK. I didn't focus on digital media, per se, but I did include it. I looked more at family communication and studied how the family of God communicates. My professor said to pick something that matter to us, a topic we were passionate about, so I picked a topic that resonated with my heart and with I believe, God's heart. I prayed for inspiration and guidance, and the Lord wrote through me. I cannot tell you how it happened, but I sat down yesterday and for 10 hours, I wrote a paper. I didn't think about the words or what I was trying to say. I just wrote content. A couple times, I questioned the process. I cried out to the Lord saying, "Lord, this doesn't make sense to me." Then I would re-read it, sections at a time, and I thought, "This is brilliant." Of course, I am not tooting my own horn because what I thought was garbage, and I mean garbage, didn't read that way at all. It read wonderfully well. I confessed my sin -- my doubt in the Lord's provision, and in His ability to write through me, and He graciously allowed me to finish the paper. I still have to write the introduction and the conclusion before I turn it in today. I am hesitant to do so because I just looked at my colleagues papers -- they chose topics like Social Media, Texting, Spousal Communication. My topic is definitely deep, and it is spiritually connected. I hope my colleagues recognize it as being acceptable, and I pray my Professor accepts the work. I am panicked that I did it wrong (considering the fact that I didn't do it at all, but that the Lord did it through me). I guess I need to let this go, and let God take the credit and the glory.
I am struggling today because of doubt. I believe the Lord. I trust the Lord. I am overwhelmed, and I think exhausted and as such I am unable to focus or think straight. I need His help today. I need Him to lift me up, to carry me through, and to enable me to stand up. I am so tired of school, of work, and of life. This doctoral program is the hardest thing I have ever done. It literally rips the energy and stamina out of me. It is night-day-night-day without a break and the amount of mental energy needed to process the readings, critical analyze and write content, is unbelievable. My brain is tired all the time. I need rest. I need rest. I need rest.
I know that you have me well covered. Your Word tells me this is true. I am undone. Woe, is me! I need you to take care of everything concerning me this day. I need you to finish my paper. I need you to cover me with blessing, and to give me favor with colleagues and professors so that I can be freed from this work. I am tired, Lord, so very tired. Lift me up now, and enfold me in your Grace. It is sufficient, and you are able to do everything I cannot do. I trust you, Lord. I let this go, my fears, my doubts, and my insecurities, and I let this go. I ask now in the Name of Jesus for your covering over me, to bless me with focus and fortitude so that I can finish this assignment, move on to the next, and keep on keeping on. I need you, Lord. I need you now!
March 3, 2014
and I think have hit the proverbial wall.
I am at that place where I feel as though the entire world, my world, has pressed down upon me, and I can barely stand up or even breathe. I am overwhelmed, and I am undone! Oh, Woe is me (Isa. 6:5)!
My plate is full and I feel as though there is too much for me to do, and that there is not enough time for me to do it all.
- Complete the website redesign samples for Paradise Church (I was tasked with this last week, thinking I would have two weeks to complete it, and instead found out I had one)
- Complete my communication paper on Cultural Wars and Family Communication in the Church (half done - due by Wednesday)
- Design my survey for my Quantitative Analysis course (proposal due on March 15) along with writing my literature review
- Continue to teach and grade papers (at GCU - oh, PTL for one class this semester)
Ten Things God Cannot Do
God can't get tired.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.
God can't take on a job he can't handle.
Ah, Lord God! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you.
God can't be unholy.
And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!"
God can't be prejudiced.
In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears him and works righteousness is accepted by him.
God can't break a promise.
My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of my lips.
God can't remember sins he's chosen to forget.
I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins.
God can't make a loser.
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.
—2 Corinthians 2:14
God can't abandon you.
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, he is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.
God can't stop thinking about you.
How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with you.
God can't stop loving you.
Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you.
Reprinted by permission of Thomas Nelson Publishers from the book titled 101 Things God Can't Do, ©1996 by Maise Sparks. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
If I take this list and reverse it to read "Ten Things Man Can Do to You" it is clear that where man fails, God succeeds. Yes, He can do all things. Yes, He can do the impossible. I cannot do what is needed, but God can do it all through His strength and His will and His determination. I have come to the end of myself, and what is left over is all that IS GOD. Praise be to God, all Glory to His Name, for He is able to do more than I could ask this day. He is able to see me through, to deliver me, and to keep me safe in the shelter of this storm.
I praise you in the midst of this storm. You know my comings and goings, you know me so very well, and you know my limitations. I am tired, so very tired, and I feel worn out, used up, and unable to go on. I know that the plans you have for me are good. I know that what I am doing is for you, your kingdom, and the work is your work. However, I am feeling lost, confused, and downright, awful at this moment. What do I do, Lord? How do I go on? I ask now that you would provide to me what is most necessary this day. I ask that you would give me the strength to do the tasks that need to be done now, and not worry or fret over tasks set aside for another day. I also ask that you cover me with your blessing for health and well-being, and that you renew my strength so that I can continue on this day. I lay my life at your feet, Lord. I give you my all, what is left of it, and I confess to you that I am utterly unable to take a step forward without your guidance this day. I am at your mercy, and I wait upon you to deliver me from this situation, this turmoil, this storm. I praise your mighty and merciful Name, and I seek your face this day. Be glorified, Lord; Be glorified in my life this day. I pray this now in Jesus' Name, Amen! Thy will be done, so be it, Selah! (Pause and calmly think about it).
March 1, 2014
No, the Lord is my covering, my blessing, my portion. He is the One who ensures that I am well cared for and the One to whom I look for my every need. Therefore, I REST, and I remain patient -- waiting for Him to provide, to direct, to guide. He is my LEAD, my HEAD, and I am His servant, His follower, His body (part of His body). He is good, so very Good to me.
The fruit of the Spirit is patience...
I found this picture on the Internet as well and I love what Beth Moore says here. She speaks about all the instances where we need to apply patience to our lives. There are sticky and sandy people in our lives, the kind who rub us the wrong way (ouch!) There are circumstances that squeeze and pinch us, and cause us to feel very uncomfortable. This is life, and we must learn how to deal with the awkward, the difficult, and the unpleasant episodes -- we must be patient with people, with the events of our lives, and we must remember to wait always for the Lord. His peace and comfort are with us all the time, but we must wait upon Him, looking up, and acknowledging that we need Him to fill us up every day. We mustn't try to be patient on our own, instead we must let the Holy Spirit do it for us.
There may be some in the church camp who disagree, who believe that we are not to sit around waiting on God to do everything for us, and that we are to use our human abilities (reason and rationale) to "keep His Word." I disagree with this view because I lived it this way for so many years, and I never improved, no matter how "obedient I was" to the Word of God. I do not believe that God needs my obedience to do what His Holy Spirit already does in my life. He needs me to agree with Him, and to be willing to allow the Holy Spirit access to do His work, but He doesn't need my legalism, my adherence in my flesh to the Word. I never could do that, no matter how I tried. I always failed, and I never felt like a victorious saint, but more so like a miserable sinner.
No, I believe that God does His work through us. We must be open to Him, and we must allow Him to do this work. The rest is His business. I lay down my will, and I let Him abide in me. The rest as they say is all about Him.
So back to the business of being patient today.
I have been frustrated over my lack of work, and I have been having this same discussion with the Lord for three-four weeks now. It goes something like this...
Me: Lord, how will you provide for my needs? I need "X" money each month to pay my bills, and I don't see that amount coming to me anytime soon.
Lord: I have you well-covered.
Me: Do you think GCU will give me two classes to teach next fall? It doesn't look like there are enough classes to go around for all the adjuncts.
Lord: You are covered, well covered.
Me: How will I pay for all these bills coming in? I don't see how I can pay for everything. There isn't enough money to go round.
Lord: Rest. Trust Me. I have you well covered.
Yeah, this is my conversation, my typical conversation with the Lord. I am covered, well-covered. What does it mean to be well-covered?
Psalm 91:4 speaks about God's covering or protection. There are numerous other verses that provide clarification on this same point: God is our shield, our buckler -- our Perfect Protection.
I believe it means that when you are in God's perfect will, He covers you. He protects you completely. You are not alone, and you are not out struggling to figure out what to do next. You hear God's voice, you listen to it, and you do what He instructs you to do. In this way, God covers you.
Today, I have heard His voice. Today, I have listened to it. Today, I have obeyed and followed His instructions. I am well-covered. I am well-covered.
Your will is perfect, and your peace is uncompromisingly perfect. I am thankful for your Holy Spirit, and the way that He ministers to me -- helping me to understand your perfect will -- and learning how to abide in your presence. I ask now that you will keep me well covered. Cover me all the days of my life, from beginning to end, and without fail, do not let me be uncovered before your Mighty Presence. I thank you now for the work you are doing in me and through me. May your Name be praised today, and forever more. Amen, so be it. Thy will be done. Selah! (Pause and calmly think about it).