Monday, March 31, 2014

God Margin

Every now and then, I get to substitute teach for our ladies at church.  In the end, God always gives me a lesson that is for me than it is for them.  Wednesday night I shared with them from Judges 7, the story of Gideon.  The Israelites were outnumbered 4 to 1 against the Midianites.  Judges 8 talks about how they looked innumerable, like a swarm of locusts. 

God promises Gideon he will hand over the Midianites to Israel.   He cuts Gideon's army from 32,000 to 10,000, telling Gideon that if he gives the Midianites over at this point, the Israelites might just think they had a hand in the win.  He cuts the army again from 10,000 down to 300.  Outnumbered 450:1 God tells Gideon they are now ready for battle.

We also talked about the space Priscilla Shirer refers to as "God Margin," the space between God's plan for our lives and what seems to be our resources to accomplish this plan.  God Margin is a very uncomfortable place for us.  We don't like God Margin, we like the feeling of knowing things we can do ourselves.

"When you are so out numbered, so unable to complete the impossible task, so in over your head you can’t see daylight if you tried, you are exactly where God wants you. He does not call us to do hard stuff, he calls us to do impossible stuff." -Priscilla Shirer

Think about this...when we limit the space God has to work in our lives, there isn't nearly as much he can do with us.  The larger the space, the greater miracles he can perform...and he does.  Space is not a sign of weakness, but a sign we have made room for God. 

We all have our 300...that battle that seems too big, to impossible to handle.  That's exactly where God wants us to be.  His power and his strength are limitless.  He takes care of our needs, often with things that are small and unexpected.

The Lord said to Gideon, "I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and hand the Midianites over to you."  Judges 7:7

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Turning Over the To Do List

Isaiah 40:29-31, “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (NLT)

It has a prominent place on my desk.  A little note pad labeled "To Do List."  I'm a list maker, and a list checker.  It gives me great satisfaction to cross something off at the top and make a new line for another project at the bottom.

One morning this week, a morning I was very tired and overwhelmed at the list before me, God gave me the verses above.  It was a great reminder he gives us strength in our times of need. 

Then Saturday evening, I found myself curled into a ball in a world spinning out of control from a pretty nasty vertigo attack.  Its not exactly how this girl likes for God to get her attention, but sometimes I think he has to put us face down before him so we stop long enough to realize what he wants to tell us.

Earlier in the week I had focused on how he gives strength and power to the weak and helpless. Last night as I had no choice but to be still, trust.  I started thinking about the progression of trust we go through: 
  1. I can do it myself.
  2.  Would you help me with this, if you can?
  3. Please help me with this.
  4. I can't do it without you.
  5. You make all things possible.
I had spent most of the week planning my list and working it in order to get everything done.  How often do we pretend to be invincible, and forget to ask for help, or better yet, are too proud to do so?  We simply can't accomplish everything we were destined to do in our lives in our own will.  We will be weary, and worn.  We will fall in exhaustion and fail.

Where do we find strength?  By TRUSTING God.  By realizing its in his power, and not ours, that we learn to soar.

This week I will pay more attention to the "To Do List," not because its longer, or more complicated, and not because I need to see progress.  This week, I will know each check mark is another task made possible not by my hand alone.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Forgetting to Shout

I was concentrating on the microphone shaking in my hand.  Solo singing isn't in my comfort zone, especially since I'm never quite sure how things will sound in my world.  More than two years after ear surgery my ears still play tricks on me.  There was one thing I heard clearly this morning.  The message in the words I was singing. 

We will remember, we will remember, we will remember, the works of your hands.
We will stop, and give you praise for great is thy faithfulness.

As we walk through life's lonely valley, we will look back at all your have done.
And we will shout, our God is good, and he is the faithful one.

In that moment, I saw the hard times of my life before my eyes.  Once you get on the back side, its easy to rejoice in his goodness.  We say thank you, and move on.  Until the next trial...

How often is it in that moment, to look at the mountain we are facing, and cry in despair?  We often complain about our situation.  We fail to recognize the power of God in the moments where his provision for us is the greatest.

How could I not honor my father, in the times when he carried me through my valleys?  What if we, instead of hiding our head in shame, or vocalizing our displeasure, took the time to shout of God's goodness and faithfulness.  Don't you think it would have a significant impact on our attitude?

More importantly, think about how this single act would impact others.  What a witness we make when we can praise God in good times and hard times.

I'm so thankful for the opportunity to stand this morning and share in song, because there was a time it wasn't possible to do so.  I remember the gaping hole in my heart not being able to use my voice to worship.  It's through those dark days I learned to appreciate the beauty of music and the gift I had been given.  I'm even more thankful that through this opportunity he shared such a great reminder of his love for me, in every situation.

I still remember the day you saved me, the day I heard you call out my name.
You said you'd love me, and never leave me, and I've never been the same.

Lord, thank you for calling me to be your child.  Forgive me for the times when I forget your faithful provision for me.  Help me to remember to shout your praises in all situations.  Amen.