August 16, 2015

Countdown 1, 2, 3…Lift Off!

It is a good Sunday morning here in sunny and very hot Phoenix. Yes, we are setting records with our long heat wave, and today, tomorrow and through to Tuesday should be more of the same -- hot, hot, and more hot!

As I sit here at the computer, I am contemplating what to do today. It is a blessed day, and of course, we are called to go up to the house of the Lord for fellowship and encouragement. I am thinking of staying home today, my last Sunday before teaching begins next week, just because I need to tackle some work for school. I know, GUILT complex reigns, but there is part of me that knows that if I stay home today, I will feel so much better tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow will be a good day of rest because I will have tackled the work I should have done yesterday (and the day before). I know…it seems that I am running to catch up on work that was put off, and in truth, it does seem this way. I have procrastinated a bit, but not directly. I mean, I did do a lot of work, OTHER WORK, rather than the tasks that were on my to do list each week. I am now at the end of the line, and I have to have certain 'ducks in a row' before school tomorrow. Even though my first class is not until Tuesday, my chair expects me to have my class set and ready to go today. Thus, the decision is made. I will remain at home this morning, doing my own worship, while I finish up these tasks in order to be faithful to my work contracts.

Getting Ready to Begin Another Year

I spent all day yesterday in a grand funk. Yes, I was depressed most of the day, and I felt like I was being hijacked by thoughts that were leading me down paths that I felt were not of the Lord's choosing. I actually applied for a full-time position at GCU -- why you ask -- simply out of panic for my situation and thoughts about what might be next semester. I don't need to go into the details, but suffice it to say, I felt pressured and hard put all day, and with that, I did what I always do and I tried to "solve my own problems" by finding a full-time job.

In a rather funny (curious and not ha-ha-ha way), the Lord answered my prayer from yesterday morning. I was feeling off, as I stated, and so I prayed for confirmation of my path. You know, one of those "Hey, Lord! Can you please show me the way? Tell me if I am off the mark in these thoughts and ideas so that I know, I am confirmed, in the right way to go!" The Word says it this way,

Proverbs 16:9 AMP - A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.

Psalm 32:8 NLT - The LORD says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you."

I believe that the Lord does indeed guide our steps, if we allow Him to do so, and that He will advise us so that we do not follow after ways, thoughts, ideas, and even people instead of His will for our life. I was in this spot yesterday, wanting the Lord to watch over me, to advise me because I was feeling the pressure to find full-time work, another type of job, just in order to "fix" my situation. The Lord offered me grace, gave me His mercy, and provided confirmation to me in two most unlikely ways. Let me explain…

First off, I spent the majority of my morning yesterday writing a blog post that I later decided not to post. I don't even remember what it was about, but it seemed wrong, off, not good, so I saved it as a draft. Later in the day, I worked on my PC, which has had some serious issues from the day I purchased it back in 2012 (it is a HP of course). I tried to get it ready, to fix the problem, and perhaps update it to Windows 10, but in the end, I simply wasted about 3 precious hours. It is running better, so not all is lost, but I didn't do what I needed to do yesterday. It was during this "waste of time" that I felt the push to apply at GCU for a full-time position. As soon as I did it, I knew I had made a mistake. I mean, I am already contracted for four teaching jobs, and I am set to go for fall. Furthermore, my life is stressed as is, what with my last semester at Regent and those three courses looming over head. I knew that I was wrong in doing it, yet I wanted so much to have the problem fixed, to make the end come into plain view, and to KNOW the plans the Lord has for me. Sigh!

Second, after dinner and some time to think about things, I enjoyed my nightly constitutional conversation with my love. Yes, we have had a steady conversation for now on 14 months. It is hard to believe that you can talk with someone every day for 2-3-4 or 5 hours and not run out of things to say. It seems with us, we are able to talk about everything and anything under the sun and do so for long duration. Our phone call yesterday lasted close to 6 hours. How is this possible? Neither of us like to talk on the phone, so we believe it is a God-thing. Yes, we believe we were put together to share in one another's life in this way, to affirm, to encourage, and to lift up each other as we struggle to pursue God's calling on our lives. It is a good thing, a blessed thing, such a God-thing that has come to pass. 

So in the course of our conversation, the topic turned toward my parents and their long-term care, and that was when I received the most unlikely confirmation. Yes, I shared my heart, my feelings of burden and strain, and through my sharing, I found myself confirming my own way. I started to explain why things were the way they were and how I thought things might turn out. I heard myself confirming my choices, the path I was on, and why I felt that things were happening the way they were happening. You see, it wasn't so much that I gave myself a right talking to as they like to say, but rather it was that as I answered my friend's questions, I gave testimony that told me that I am right where the Lord wants me to be. I am right where I need to be for this season in my life. God is good like that, to provide confirmation when we ask, and I marveled as the words came out of my mouth, how I was able to confirm myself through my very own words.

I woke up this morning feeling a bit off again, mostly because I had applied to that job, and I was worried that they might actually respond to me. The good news is that GCU never responds through their online application system. No, I never hear back on any jobs I submit -- yet there was a part of me that woke up feeling panic -- and I prayed to the Lord to ask Him once again to confirm my way.

As I laid in bed this morning, I picked up my phone and started browsing on Google. The Lord had me type in these words "Trust in the Lord" so I did. A couple things came up, Proverbs 3 mostly, and then at the very bottom was a link to my own blog post from August 27, 2012. I went to my blog and I read through the posts from August 2012. I landed on one in particular that I read through with interest, and lo and behold, once again, I confirmed myself in my way, in this path, in trusting the Lord and relying on His judgement for my going.

The blog post was about my exiting UOPX and starting at CVS Health. I forgot what the Lord had done back then, how He had graciously allowed me to leave one job for this new adventure at CVS. Of course, that job lasted one year only, but it provided for me, and through it, I learned great skill and determination in many, many areas of my life. As I read my words, words that shared how the Lord covered me, graced me with blessing upon blessing, I realized that I was just as panicked in 2012 as I am in 2015. The only difference is that between then and now, I have seen the revelation of the Lord's will on my life come to pass. I have seen His answer to my prayers, His way revealed, and His plans begin to be fulfilled. Yes, the Lord has moved mightily in my life, and I was able to see His faithfulness to me right there written out in black and white. God is good, so very good to me. All the time, He is good! Selah!

What to Do Now?

So here I sit on a Sunday. I am feeling condemned for not going to church, but in my heart, I know it is the best thing to do right now. I am sure I could make it over to SBC for services and still get home in time to finish my work. But, part of me thinks it is OK to just stay put and do what needs to be done now. I am praying Romans 8:1 because my enemy likes to attack me, to condemn me whenever possible, and I typically tend to falter whenever he does so. Sigh.

As I contemplate my life, where I am and where I am going, one thing is for sure: the plans the Lord has for my life are good (Jer. 29:11). I know that the plans He has for me are good, and that they are for my best. Yes, they are for His will and to do His work, but my life hangs in the balance and I know the Lord has me well-covered. I may not know what will be tomorrow or in a year's time, but I can rest in the knowledge that I am not alone, and that the Lord is working on my behalf to see me through to the end of time.

I posted this verse from 1 Peter because it is a reminder of what we should be thinking about, aware of, and purposed toward -- every day -- every day of our lives. Yet, I know that I struggle with things that are temporary, like jobs, houses, places to go and live. The Lord is near to returning, and the end is in sight. It almost His return time, and we are to be behaving in one accord. Christians all over the world should be striving as one, and not tearing each other apart. The World we live in coming apart at the seams, and we hold the truth, the answer for everyday living. We carry the Gospel message within us, and we have the answer to life's biggest questions. We know the One who is living, and who is coming again to collect His people, the Church. We offer life to a dying world, yet we are content to struggle, to strive, and to succumb to the idolatry and insanity in the world. We must do as Peter encouraged, we must stay focused on the Lord's return. Let us remember his words in chapter 4, verses 7-8, to us this good day,

The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.

Dear Lord,

I ask today that you would remember my failings, and help me to see that everything is as it should be. I may not know what tomorrow will bring, but I can know today that you are with me. I can rest in your security and provision, and I can abide in your strength. I know you, Lord, and you know me so well. May my day today be pleasing and productive, and may I learn how to do things your way. May I work until the Lord, giving you all glory so that my work is good, is honoring to you, and produces good results. I ask all this in the matchless, merciful, and mighty name of Jesus, Amen. Selah (pause and calmly think about it!)

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