Sunday, December 26, 2010

God IS My Co-Pilot

I have to admit I don't like the bumper sticker that says "God is my co-pilot." It makes me think that I'm in charge and God is passively sitting there as a helper or the back up plan. This rubs my theology of Him being sovereign and omnipotent all wrong. However, last week my oldest daughter got her driver's permit and that has given me a new view of "co-pilot." Since I'm the experienced driver she constantly checks in with me as she's driving for instruction, encouragement, directions as to where to go, advice on how to handle a new situation, etc. I also am speaking wisdom into her regularly as the need arises, or even when it doesn't because I love her and want what's best for her and enjoy sharing our relationship with a new adventure/skill.

I guess if you view us as children of God having a new driver's permit in this skill called life, we sure need a co-pilot to love, guide, teach, comfort and encourage us!! We better live in constant communication hence we crash or get lost!! Now that makes a sovereign God a co-pilot because He longs for us to come to Him to show the way!! He's not the back-up plan, but the Author of THE Plan of Life and I am blessed when I listen and follow Him--He is the way, the truth and the life!!

SHINE--Calling and Timing

In reading the Christmas story in Luke this December, I was struck by many things...mostly relating to calling:
  • God's tenderness to Mary in taking time to explain what He was up to by sending Jesus through her (God choosing her calling based on who He had made her to be and communicating it to her)

  • Mary's response to God--abandoned trust (surrender to the call out of love for Him)

  • Elizabeth's miraculous pregnancy so the two women could encourage one another when the world may not have understood God's hand on their lives (comradery in the midst of the call)

  • Zechariah declaring that his son, John, would be called a prophet of the Most High (another calling that took decades to fulfill)
As Christians scripture teaches we have been called of God to know Him, to live for Him, to be transformed into people of His kingdom in this fallen declare He reigns basically! However, as seen in the Christmas story there is also a specific calling placed on our lives. One that only each individual can fulfill. The calling is unique and speaks to your heart...only you and God can wrestle through what it is that He is prompting. We can try different things but ultimately a picture will weave together that thrills your heart, is based on some gifting or set of experiences and honestly will feel bigger than yourself---think of virgin Mary, barren Elizabeth and the infant John! This is where we MUST draw increasingly near Him who is the giver and blesser of the call and not just focus on the call (or it becomes self seeking or a quick trip to burnout). We need Him desperately so we journey with Him to be refined, encouraged and refreshed, to grow in trusting Him, to seek His counsel, to see how He raises up comrades to accomplish the calling, etc. Don't expect others to always understand your calling as it might not be written in their hearts. That's ok, we should celebrate all the expressions of His Spirit. Here are some examples of callings I've seen in others lives: adoption of special needs children, gardening to provide fresh vegetables for others and spacious places for others to refresh, leading small groups to walk with God, helping others to decorate their homes within a tight budget so their dreams can be fulfilled, spoken or written words that encourage, teach or strengthen, leading others in worship, being a prayer warrior, hosting exchange students...To accomplish your calling means you need to be aware of it, fight for it and honestly guard it, in the sense of saying no to opportunities that might compete for time and energy in order to be available for that which God is doing in and through you.

So being aware of calling is half the story. The other half is timing!! John is a great example of this. His father prophesied his calling (Luke 1:76-77) at his birth which means he was probably aware of it his WHOLE life--what pressure! Yet what I find interesting is Luke 1:80 "And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel." Much can be gleaned regarding calling, the most important of which is preparation. John grew--physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. He became strong in spirit--I have to assume this means communed deeply with God as the true source of strength. He grew up in an odd place, the desert! However, this allowed him to be single focused and matured---walking with God in harsh conditions I'm sure did much for his heart regarding trusting God for sustenance, protection and companionship (remember his parents were very old when he was born, so its likely they died and he was living in the desert alone). John was willing to be trained in the desert and WAITED for God's timing to fulfill his calling. Luke 3:2-3 says, "during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John...He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins."

At the right time God prompted John to get going and how to fulfill his calling. So John went out with God's authority at the prefect time and started offering his prepare the way of the Lord! The harsh years in the desert prepared his character and relationship with God to help him stand in a hostile culture and offer salvation. Praise God for his calling, his waiting, his obedience, his offering, his message and ultimately the salvation that comes through Jesus...the whole point of a calling--that Jesus would be lifted high and others drawn to Him so His victorious kingdom advances one heart at a time, one offering at a time, one calling at a time in HIS timing!

What or who has God placed on your heart?? Ask Him...wait upon Him...then "arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you! (Is. 60:1) The darkness desperately needs your Light, His Light in you, freely and uniquely offered!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Emmanuel, God With Us

At Christmas time we hear a lot about "Emmanuel, God with us" and pictures of a helpless babe in a manger come to mind. Jesus, while born a baby and living a full life among humans thousands of years ago, is still alive among us because He is resurrected and ascended to the right hand of the Father. This should make a difference in our hearts when we pray. I've realized I come to God with requests for needs, change, confession and for His kingdom to advance. BUT I now see how I come to Him for things that seem positive or need His help, however I haven't had much history in coming to Him hurting. I kind of hide my emotions from Him if they are "negative". Wow, how fake for me to not treat Him as though He is with me, near me, seeing me, His Spirit living in me. I distance myself when I'm hurt, confused or mad and try to rationize the situation I'm I need to understand and get myself in order then I can come back to Him. He didn't go anywhere; it is me that withdraws out of pride, trusting myself to figure stuff out and honestly unsure what to do about feelings. Oh, the effects of the fall are so evident!!

One time I had DEEP disappointment, anger and deep sadness in my heart when a ministry opportunity that had been a 4 year dream of mine took a turn for the unexpected and died. I honestly didn't know what to do about my emotions and stuffed them. They drove me crazy!! I tried repenting but somehow that didn't give the relief I needed because I kept carrying the situation close to my heart. Then breakthrough came when I let my hurting, disappointed heart be real with God. I basically had a 2 year old temper tantrum in a woods (where no one could see!!). I screamed, cried and all out expressed the emotions in my heart to God. It felt very weird, yet liberating. He is soooo infinite and amazing that He could handle all the pent up feelings that were tormenting my soul. The SHOCK to me was the all out joy that filled my heart afterward. I was laughing hysterically for a few minutes. He is so good to redeem everything we give to Him. Who would want to live without a Savior, a Comforter, a Counselor, a Constant Companion, a Father, a Healer...Thank you God for Christmas, God's gift of Himself.

Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:30

May JOY unspeakble be yours as you draw near Him who is with us, Emmanuel.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Last night was fitful sleep for me due to thoughts/accusations that kept running in my head. The trouble with vague accusations is that they have a hint of truth in them, but are intensified so that you believe them to be true and become entangled in them or living under them. It is not apparent at first what is true and what is not. However, a tree is known by its fruit---if heaviness, hopelessness, discouragement, etc. are the product then its a poisoned tree as the source (from the enemy). If there is lightness of spirit, hopeful, quick conviction that brings peace with repentance or any of the fruits of the spirit, the thoughts are from the true vine/tree (from God).

Last night I realized there was heaviness and identified the lie that was coming my way. I rebuked the messages in Jesus' name and asked God to give me peace. I also prayed for His kingdom to come in the areas I was being accused in. Peace did come eventually and I got some sleep and woke up with hope.

When I prayed at night, a picture of a toy called a transformer came to mind. These toys are kind of scary looking robots that can be bent and reshaped into something less terrifying, even useful like a car or plane. Its a step by step process that changes the ugly creature into the useful design. So it is with our hearts and minds. Its a step by step process to embrace what God says over what the flesh, the world and the enemy have trained us to believe. We are only transformed if new ground is gained, as we take dark, heavy thoughts captive and replace them with truth--to ultimately become who we were designed to be. I've noticed the arrows seem to come right before God is going to really work in your life--truly it is darkest right before the light comes--we must stand firm, knowing there is victory in Jesus and His kingdom is advancing.

"You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:22-24

There is a battle in our minds which control our attitudes and identity and ultimately our destiny. May you fight the good fight wielding the weapons God has given us and experience peace, joy and victory one thought at a time!!! "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2

Dare to be a transformer!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I love the Newsboys song "SHINE". In fact it has motivated me to step out for God at times when I've been hesitant in my heart. Several times when I've been on my way to speak at a retreat, God has allowed that song to play on the radio as an encouragement. Oh how well He knows me and encourages me!

I was on a personal retreat last month and ran into Zechariah 9:16, 17 "The LORD their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be!"

Since it is winter AND Christmas time, I've been inundated with seeing sparkly things---snowflakes, Christmas lights and ornaments, etc. Somehow they really catch my eye and are giving a little thrill to my heart. There is one ornament on my Christmas tree that moves slightly when the heat is on and pushes it back and forth--on our whole tree filled with 100's of ornaments that compete for attention, that is the one that attracts my eye at that moment due to the shimmer and movement. This is how I want to live my life--with the warmth of my savior that motivates my activity so that He might Shine through me---to sparkle in this land.

Hoping the presence of His warmth fills you and moves you to SPARKLE!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

God Is A Security Camera

This year my daughter and I ventured out on "Black Friday" for the first time. I was thrilled to buy the last special deal at Target--a Tom Tom GPS at over $100 off. I bought it for Chuck, so excited to have a huge surprise for him and at a DEAL! A week later, Chuck bought one online at an even better deal so I was forced to return my gift (still smirking that it must have been a great idea if both of us bought one!) I had 4 returns total to make at Target. The next day, I looked at the receipt from the return and realized the Tom Tom was not on the receipt, therefore I had no refund. I wasn't sure what to do...I began shaming myself for not looking at the receipt right away thinking there was no way the store would believe me without concrete evidence and the passage of time...I thought I would just have to eat the cost. It seemed only I REALLY knew the truth. I felt stuck. Surely the lady doing the return would remember my story and vouch for me---this gave me courage to at least call the manager although I didn't know how or why he would even believe me. His answer was simple...bring in my receipt and they will call up the film from the security camera from that time...if what they see on the tape matches my story, they will give me my money back. I always thought security cameras were to protect stores from profit loss, but I see now that its a two way street, they also protect customers from mistakes on the store's end also!! So today, I'm off to see a film with me as the main character in hopes of getting an oscar--my $80 back!

This is significant to my heart. Through having to make a very hard ministry decision recently in which only I knew the complete details and had to seek God for direction, I was a bit ashamed or awkward at having the truth but not sure how, or more IF, I could vocalize all of it due to it involving multiple people, mulitple factors. I found myself circling with all the facts and sin lurking at every corner---anger, bitterness, sorrow which led to doubt, etc...I just couldn't break free even though God had clearly spoken about the earlier decision and I was confident of that. I realized there must be something more than this situation, probably a place of bondage since I couldn't let it go and kept replaying what I wish people knew, trying to defend myself in my mind. I, in fact, had myself "on trial". As I invited Jesus to speak to this place in my heart, He reminded me of several memories from high school that were similar, where I knew the truth but had no way to defend myself publicly or make the truth known which put me in very awkward positions or even caused others to question/malign my character--this ultimately produced a layer of shame on my heart which also led to lack of confidence. He is healing these circumstances and memories with His presence by showing me the damage to my heart at that time since I didn't come to Him with it. Resting in Him knowing the truth is setting me free as what was once hidden is now in the open with my Savior. He's reminding me "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. " John 8:32 and "Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame." Psalm 34:5

By getting my eyes on Jesus with these situations I am being set free from shame, and I recognize a new strength birthing in my heart...its called courage. Courage to speak up, to defend my heart (and my pocket book with Target) and to keep my eyes on Jesus to remain radiant and not hiding in shame because He is a camera with a lens into my heart.

Since He is our security camera---may His tender eyes that are on us ALL the time gives us security. He knows us best and delights in shooting new film as we live life together with Him, but He is also desiring to hit replay on the dark places of the story to shed light that brings healing, restoration and freedom.