December 12, 2015

Happy Saturday!

It is a good day here in sunny and cool Phoenix. It is Saturday, and I am enjoying my family this weekend. My nephew graduated from Grand Canyon University last evening, and I had the privilege of walking in the faculty processional. It was a nice ceremony, and I enjoyed being recognized as part of the English faculty at this school. In truth, it was so nice to feel like I was a part of something bigger, you know, bigger than myself, than my education and studies, and even the work I do as a teacher. It gave me a wonderful view of what I am doing, especially as I got to see several of my former students graduate. I realized that I was part of their education at GCU, and for me, that meant that no matter what they remember of the time they spent in my class, I will remember that I played a small part in helping them achieve this great and momentous experience.

The good thing, for me, is that I was able to see myself as "faculty," and that is such a good thing. You see, I often just see myself (identify myself) as adjunct (part-time) or as a doctoral student. Even though I teach three classes at GCU, I still feel like I am just a stand-in, not really valuable. Yet, last night as I was lining up to walk in the processional, I had several full-time faculty come up to me and tell me how well regarded I am by the students. I was surprised by their comments, but nicely affirmed in what they were saying. I know that I am often requested as a teacher, and that makes me feel good about my abilities. I just never realized that my students were talking about me with other faculty. My heart "treasured up" these remarks, and as I pondered them for a time, I started to think about my role as faculty, the work that I do, and the impact I do have on my students and their careers at GCU (and ACU, by extension).

God is so good to me. He is so very good to me.

Blessed and Highly Favored by God

As I was sitting in the stands last night and enjoying the evening, I started to think about something the Lord said to me a couple days previously. It was Wednesday, and I had been praying on my way home from work. I was just talking with the Lord, sharing my day, and thanking Him for His provision of good practical work. Then, sort of out of the blue, I remember hearing the Lord say to me that He was going to give me testimony about my work. In truth, I think He said something along the lines of "You will receive an honor." I thought perhaps He meant some award or some notification from Regent University, like some special feedback on one of my papers or an opportunity for research. I always think this way, so I was surprised when I was sitting there last night, and this conversation came back into my mind. I thought to myself, "Lord, is this what you meant? Is this the 'honor' you told me I would receive?"

I know it sounds weird, but this is really what happened. I was praying to the Lord, having a conversation with Him, and I heard His voice in my spirit and in my head. I remember it clearly, and then last night, His word just came flooding back to me. I thought to myself, "Yes, this is the honor the Lord said would come. My colleagues paid me a great honor in their comments and confirmation of my abilities and my performance in the classroom." In truth, it was an honor.

I thought about His words to me, and the words of my colleagues, I knew instantly that I am doing exactly what the Lord wants me to do. I mean, I have been confirmed in this path, like really confirmed in it. Not only am I well-liked with my students, but my peers think very highly of me. My mentor will introduce me as the "most excellent adjunct" they have working in the department. I used to think it was nice that he referred to me that way, but I never really thought anything of it. I figured he said that about all the adjuncts who work at GCU. But now in hindsight, I think perhaps what he says is specific to me, and that this shows how well regarded and respected I am by the full-time faculty at GCU.

Furthermore, last night as I was waiting in line to march into the arena, one of my colleagues (whom I like so much) said to me that I am so well-regarded, that when a faculty opening comes up in a "year or two," I should apply. She thinks I would easily be hired as full-time English faculty. I thanked her for her confidence in me, and I thought to myself, "Really, Lord? Is this possible?" I have never considered working at GCU full-time simply because they don't often have full-time positions open. I know that I am well-set as adjunct, and for now, adjunct works for me. But, I never really thought about a full-time position on campus.

I don't believe that this is the Lord's will for me, but I was encouraged at the thought of it. It just reminded me that God has a plan for my life, and part of that plan will be to provide a full-time position for me. I guess this is all to say that even though I worry about paying my school loans and getting a faculty position some where, I am feeling confirmed in my place now. I am feeling as if this is right where I am supposed to be, and that I am doing the work the Lord intends for me to do. Even though I marvel at it, I mean, I really ponder it, I think it makes perfect sense to me. The Lord has made His way clear, He has marked His path for me to follow, and I am walking on it. God is so good to me, so very, very good to me! Selah!

Today, I feel blessed. Today, I am feeling as though I can take confidence in the plans the Lord has for my life. I mean, it just seems like everything is starting to fall into place for me. I still don't know what my future will bring, but I see the direction I am heading, and it is good, so very good. I am excited to think about my next steps at Regent, and I am excited to begin work on my dissertation. I know that God has this all figured out, and His timing is perfect. I mean, His timing is spot-on PERFECT! I worry about the time, the days, the weeks, and the tasks that are set and fixed. How will I do what is required of me? How will I do everything the Lord wants for my life?

At times, the tasks He has spoken into my heart seem far too high for me. After all, I am just a lowly professor, and adjunct without must skill or experience. Yet, He has chosen a way for me to go, and He brings me honor and praise in the "going" part of it. I, in turn, give Him all the honor and praise for His work in and through me. God has given to me such great ability. He has inspired me and encouraged me to do such great things. I asked Him to study English, Philosophy, and Linguistics, and the Lord provided graduate study to facilitate these desires. Furthermore, as I consider the nature of my study, the work I am to do, I see such hope, such amazing blessing as I look forward to my future. The Lord knows exactly what He wants me to study, and He is providing a way for me to study it.

Right now, all I can do is thank Him for His provision, His blessing, and His favor. He has made a way for me to go, and I am faithfully and obediently going "His way." I know that the plans He has for my life, well, they are good. I am resting, trusting, and abiding in His plans. He is so patient, so kind, so thorough, and in my waiting and patience, He is showing me exactly how it will be. I get frustrated at times, and I want or think I want certain things. Yet, when He provides for me, the THING He provides is so much better, so much more than I could imagine. Yes, I want His best always, and that means that I want to experience everything He has decided, planned, and executed. I want nothing outside His will for my life, and I want only to see His will come to pass. Selah!

Seeing The Way Through The Murk

It is kind of funny when you think about it, but whenever you make a grand pronouncement of something "God-related" typically you experience spiritual attack. I know this is what happens to me almost all the time, especially when I say something that causes me to step out in great faith. If I say that I am trusting the Lord for this or that thing, and I step out in faith to demonstrate my confidence in the Lord, it is like WHAM! I get attacked. My enemy seeks to knock me off my feet, and he pounds me without mercy. I cower for a time, and then after enough of a beating, I pick back up my shield of faith, and I stand strong with the mighty SWORD OF THE SPIRIT to rout my enemy and defeat him.

This time, though, I made a huge profession of faith, but instead of attack, I have simply received blessing and favor. It is odd to think about it this way, but the only thing I can figure out is that this time, instead of making a statement of faith that is resting on what I will do, I made a statement of faith that is one-hundred percent (100%) dependent on His ability, His will, and His desire. In short, I said that I wanted to let go of all my desires, my wants, and my needs, and instead, I wanted to embrace, to take on all of His desires, His wants, and His provision for my needs. I was saying, in essence, that I no longer wanted to be driven by my own thoughts, my own assumptions, and my own feelings; rather, I wanted to only think, do, and be as it is according to His will.

As I prayed this prayer the other day, I have received blessing and favor, sweet testimony and assurance that what I am doing is His will for my life. God faithfully provided what I needed so that I would see that my decision to adopt His desires instead of my own was a very good choice, a very, very good choice.

Today, I am thinking about this decision, and as I ponder the outcome of it, these verses came to my mind:

Psalm 25:4 NLT "Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow."

Psalm 86:11 - "Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name."

Psalm 143:10 - "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground."

Sometimes I wonder if when I pray, I am actually thinking my own words or if the Holy Spirit of God is audibly praying through my voice. I know that seems weird, and I am not saying that I am having an out of body experience or anything, I just mean that I am praying and all of a sudden I start to ask for things that are not in my mind at the time. I just start to say things that are very much aligned with what I would consider to be "His thoughts." It is the only thing I can think of because I don't really know why my heart desired to pray what I prayed. I just remember saying these words to the Lord:
Lord, take all my desires, my wants, my needs and exchange them for all your desires, your wants, and the things you want to provide to me to meet my needs. Make my heart long for and desire your thoughts, your desires, so that I can be 100% in alignment with your plans for your creation and for my life. Make me be all about YOU, and make my heart desire the very things you desire for me.
Now that I have meditated on it more, I think I have finally come to terms with the fact that what I am hearing, feeling, and experiencing is of the Lord. I mean, how can it be? How can I be experiencing this marvelous inspiration, the amazing fortitude, and the blessed discipline to bring me to this point in my studies, in my progression, in my overall life experience thus far? How can I be where I am today if it were not for His supernatural in-filling and daily guidance? I am nothing without Him. This is the short, the plain, and the simple answer. He is my everything, my all-in-all. I give Him praise, I give Him honor, and I worship Him this very good day! Selah!

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