Sunday, April 28, 2013

Living a “Why Not” Life in a “What If” World

     Boys, they have no fear.  When my son was smaller, his greatest joy was for his Daddy to throw him into the air and to catch him.  He would scream with delight, “Higher, Daddy!”.  Even now I watch him race down the hills at warp speed in front of our house on a scooter, jump the three huge steps off the porch in a single bound, play tackle football with kids twice his size. 
     Somewhere along the way into adulthood we lose that invincible feeling.  I remember going roller skating not to long ago.  As the kids whizzed past me, I teetered along, praying I didn’t take a spill.  When one of the youngsters bobbled, I felt my motherly instincts kick in as I fought the urge to put both hands out to break their fall.   There once was a time when I too made some pretty hasty tracks around a rink.  What changed?
     Fear.  A four-letter word that changes lives.  
            What if I lose my job?
            What if she says no?
            What if I get hurt?
            What if I'm not smart enough?
Fear keeps us living a “what if” life.   

John 16:33 (New International Version)  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The Bible is full of ordinary people like you and me who, feeling less than equipped for the call, are empowered to do amazing things, like David in his battle against Goliath. Its time to stop being victims of circumstance and realize the power we have behind us. If our Jesus can overcome the world, we can surely have the boldness to live out the lives he intended is to have, free of the world’s “What if” mentality. We’re missing out on amazing opportunities and great blessings our God gives us every day, saying “What if” instead of “Why Not?”

Today I am starting a journey.  For a long time, I’ve felt the calling to write a book.  Fear has held me back.

            What if I don’t have time?
            What am I supposed to write about?
            Can I really find enough to say for a whole book?
            What if I’m not that good of a writer?

A couple of Sundays ago, while getting ready for church, cleaning for company, and running on four hours of sleep, my book topic and outline, was handed to be.  I’m firmly convinced he appears to me in my greatest hour of chaos just to make sure I understand its HIM.  He does that quite often.

Boldly heading into the unknown, I covet your prayers as I live out one of the "Why Nots" in my life.  May you discover yours.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Above and Beyond

Psalm 37:4
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

My radio alarm sounded this morning with a song of praise, and immediately God spoke Psalm 37:4 through my dull, throbbing ear directly to my heart. 

God is so good to provide for our needs, and I know that very well.  He's provided again and again and again.  But I have always had a bit of guilt about asking for my desires. 

I've posted before about the challenges I've faced trying to sing since my first ear surgery.  A few weeks ago a bad inner ear infection really took a toll on my hearing overall.  Its been difficult because I felt I had just gotten comfortable with my new normal, only to lose the footing again.  I've been quite disheartened about it. 

I went yesterday for a hearing test and another round of surgery.  This morning through the dull, muffled sounds I knew to expect, there is hint of the return of a certain range of sound I had been missing and I need to hear in order to sing. 

He has given me the desires of my heart.  

There are a ton of soprano voices out there who can offer up more beautiful praise than I.  None are more thankful this morning for the gift he gives us to use for his glory.  

I'm in awe today of how God not only cares for us, but he goes above and beyond.  Forgive me God, for every doubting you were capable of doing such.
Thank you for those of you who have been praying. God has provided some very able physicians to help restore my hearing, and hopefully time and round 4 of antibiotics will take care of the rest.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Pushing Past the Shame

"And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly." (Luke 22:61, 62)

The Easter sermon contained the message I've been needing to hear.  It was the story of Peter. We all know Peter as the one who denied Christ three times.  One of Christ's chosen ones...and he openly denied his relationship at a critical time, after giving his word to Jesus he would never do so.

I know Peter had tremendous guilt, and he wept bitterly over his mistake.  I needed to be reminded he went on to lead thousands to Christ after this memorable event.  Take a look at the eloquent message from Acts 2.

A couple of weeks ago, a conversation included "I thought you were a better person than that" and some other words that made me feel pretty low.  Whether it was truth or not is beside the point.  It hurt because not only did I fail to meet expectations of the party involved, to this person I set a very poor example of the person I strive to be.

I've not been able to come back to this blog and write an entry without feeling an overwhelming burden over the whole situation.  How can I come back and write another entry to encourage someone else after I've set such a poor example myself?

Sharing another word from my pastor, Christians aren't sinless, they strive to sin less. Looking back over the passages I've been studying the past several months, God has shown me again and again how he used less than perfect people to do more than amazing things for his Kingdom.

Sarah laughed at God, and yet was blessed with a son in her old age that became the father of many nations.  Saul murdered Christians then became one of the great encouragers to the churches.  Then there was Peter. 

What courage it must have taken for Peter to ask for forgiveness to not only his Lord, but to the other disciples.  I'm sure they were upset.  Can you imagine the courage it took the first time he stood again to proclaim the gospel message? 

I'm still praying for the wisdom on how to address this situation.  I pray for the ability to put the guilt behind and move forward with a positive attitude. Perhaps this conversation was the reminder I may have needed that when you don't think what you are doing matters to any one, there are always those who have their eyes fixed on you.  

I'm far from perfect, but I am forgiven.  It won't be the last time I screw up.  Thankfully my father forgives me even when I can't let go of my mistakes. 

Have you let something you have done stop you from pursuing the calling of God?  He who calls us to it will forgive us through it.  Thank God for that!