Monday, August 29, 2011

Pain Speaks

"You hem me in, behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me."  
Psalm 139:5

Two horses.
Two riders.
Urgent mission.
Chased by a lion.
Swiped by a lion.
Kingdom delivered.

I read "The Horse and His Boy" by C.S. Lewis to my girls this week.
Love it.

I also finished a study on the book of Judges where "everyone did what was right in their own eyes."

In seeking to do things my own way, God often uses pain to direct my steps into His way.  The hurt drives me to His purpose, where otherwise I would never have gone.  Not only does God go before me, but He also goes behind me, using the prod of suffering to get me to the place I need to be.  God confirmed this thought for me yesterday.

Worship service.
Hebrews 12
Proof of belonging.
I can scarcely hear the sermon through the roll of thunder
                                            and the crack of lightening...literally.
The Spirit.
The Word.
God's people gathered.
Holy fear.
Rush of rain.
Blessing through pain.
"What if...sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near." (song by Laura Story)

"Then your light will break forth like the dawn, your healing will quickly appear.  Then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard."  Isaiah 58:8

All to Jesus.
I surrender.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


"...He let them go hungry..." Deut. 8:1

A good cook knows that the most satisfying meal is seasoned with hunger. But it was first God's idea. Before He provided manna from heaven for His people Israel, He let them wander in the wilderness and go hungry.

Lately I've been hungry for God's enabling in a world where I strive and labor but come up empty. I lack skill to accomplish what God is asking me to do. As I try yet again, humility burns with anger and I throw up my hands in frustration. How long must I strive? How long until I get it right? God's Word tells me, "Cease striving and know that I am God..." Psa. 46:10 Is God really big enough to act on my behalf? Of course I know this in my head, but faith calls me to be vulnerable and step into obedience without knowing how it will be accomplished. I come to realize that in the struggle God is making me hungry for more of Himself...more of His enabling.

As I study Israel's desert wanderings and God's provision of bread I'm brought to the edge of the promised land where Israel no longer passively receives manna from the skies, but is now asked to engage in battle and take the land. God renews my passion for victory and gives me determined zeal to fight. I won't give up! Somehow, by the power of God within me, I will possess the land.

The longer my struggle the more intense my hunger. Jesus invites me to "...taste and see that the LORD is good..." Psa. 34:8 I have certainly tasted of God's sufficiency in days past--the taste is sweet and marvelous. I want more. So I cling to the promise that "...God will accomplish His purpose for me." Psa. 57:2

Israel faced a barrier that appeared impossible--the Jordan river at flood stage. Picture their dilema. They were asked to conquer a land but could not get across the formidable river. God did the miraculous and held back the water, but first they had to step in by faith. God asks me to move in to conquer a land, but I can't seem to get across the river.

That said,
"I'm diving in, I'm going deep... the river's water is alive...
So sink or swim, I'm diving in."
(song by Stephen Curtis Chapman)

Like A Flood

July 6
"...see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven 
and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." 
Malachi 3:10b

I am in awe of God's blessing washed over the boundaries of my life.
My limitations have sunk, run over by an unstoppable force-a rushing river.  
"Mightier than the thunder of the great waters...
                                              the LORD on High is Mighty!" Psa.93:4

Coming from the heights the river marches- 
snow left behind in winter's storm now surrenders to summer's heat.  
Is this only the beginning?

I recently traveled the I-70 corridor
as it follows the Colorado river through the Rocky mountains.  
Never have I seen the river so full- 
and never have I seen the grace of God flowing in my life so strong.
Believe me, there are days in my past which rival these days in intensity,
but yesterday's grace is no substitute for the fresh grace of today. 

My son graduated from high school in a down pour of heavy rain.
I didn't realize it then, but God was about to drench my life in blessing... 
as the heat of faith intensified on the storms of last winter.  
The struggle pulled me to my knees, crying out for God's direction.
Like blizzards of winter snow, I could not find my way in the world of colleges.

God was leading my son in a path less traveled
and seemed to make no sense-secular university. 
How easy it would be to take the logical, the expected, the secure route.  
But that route required little faith and perhaps only a trickle of blessing.
My son received a phenomenal job... 
dropped in his lap really, as grace searched him out,
the pay more than we could ever ask or imagine.
A work of God no doubt.  

As our family moves through a change of seasons,
faith is maxed to the breaking point and floods of grace sweep over us -
a mighty rushing river.  

This can be none less than the awesome power of God.