Saturday, March 30, 2013

Come Alive

     It's Easter! God has invited you to share in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's right, you. Not only do you get to enjoy the benefits of having your sins forgiven, if you act within the next twenty minutes, you will also receive a free, never-empty cup of joy. Share it with your friends, neighbors, whomever you wish, it will never run out. But wait! As a special Easter bonus, you will also be sent free of charge, an uncommon internal peace.

    Actually, God doesn't really advertise, at least not in the way we think of advertising. I wrote that. Creation and changed lives are more His forte.

     So, I have to say....given the opportunity to go back to what I was before He moved in and changed my life forever, I never would. He invited me to try Him out, take Him for a test drive. It didn't take long for me to know how badly I wanted and needed God in my life. I was five years old.

     Many years passed before I completely surrendered to His will in my life, and even now some circumstances are difficult to accept. The more I see His mighty hand at work in my life and the lives of those around me, the easier it becomes to trust that He works all things together for good (Rom. 8:28).

     During my developing relationship with Him, I have witnessed the resurrection of the dead. Not dead people, at least they weren't physically dead, but the resurrection of dead relationships, dead hope, dead circumstances.

     God has renewed family relationships that seemed hopelessly lost not so long ago. Though that renewal involved me giving up my will for His, the reward far outweighs the stubbornness I clung so tightly to. God's way really is the better way, funny that it's difficult to surrender our wills to accept what He waits to show us.

      This Sunday, I rejoice in the resurrection of our dead marriage and family. Only six years ago, I didn't see how our marriage could last another day. Our life together was miserable for both my husband and me. God has been good to facilitate the healing necessary to have a strong relationship and build within our marriage the firm foundation our family needs to thrive.

     What an amazing gift that we have been invited to share in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, to experience resurrection in our own lives far beyond what we thought possible.

     We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.~Romans 6:4

     Happy Easter! What resurrections have you experienced in your life?


Sunday, March 24, 2013

In the Ring

     The bells are ding ding dinging, but I can't stand up. There's not any more fight left in me. No drink of water or toweling off renews the strength I need to keep going. The boxing ring of life takes it's toll at times, doesn't it? Part of me wants to jump over the rope and go have a scrap this whole mess and quit. Lately, it's difficult to roll with the circumstances coming at me like one upper cut after another. How about we declare a total knockout, I lose, and the fighting ends?

     I keep repeating JJ Heller's song "I Know Who You Are" . Just because I can't see why circumstances are mine to deal with doesn't mean they don't fit in to God's grand purposes for my life and the lives of those around me. I know He is still here with me and has plans to use all of the lessons I learn in times of trial.

     Why fight against the turmoil, which only exhausts my strength? Instead I will ask God for strength and grace to weather the battles threatening to take me out. He brings me through every heartache, and the result at the end of each dark tunnel has been for the benefit of many people.

     Our hope:

  • God's power is perfected in my weakness. ~2 Corinthians 12:9
  • He has already overcome this world. We just have to wait for it to play out.~John 16:33
  • The struggles of this current life are nothing compared to the glory we will enter into when it's over.~Romans 8:18
  • God is good. Therefore, if we love Him, everything we endure will work together for the best.~Romans 8:28
  • We can trust that God is continually working in our lives and the lives of those around us, and plans greater outcomes for life's situations than we would ever imagine.~Habakkuk 1:5
     Do you ever wish you could return to the Garden of Eden, yank the fruit from Eve's hand, and yell "NO! Don't do it!" She had no idea what she was setting in motion.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

"Let Me In!"...

     With eyes focused on the door in front of me, my clenched fists beat with all of their might....pounding at the block of wood like it somehow might hear and open up. The pleading and praying that pour forth from my heart still haven't budged the fortress before me. Is no one there?

     I thought the tossing and turning at night, the restlessness in my soul, combined with desparate pleas to God would cause something to happen, so why wasn't it? Exhausted from beating at the door with every ounce of strength I could muster, I stopped. Frustrated. Confused. I looked around, but not at the gigantic heavy door in the way.

     You know what I saw? A door open on the side of the building, beaconing me to enter. God heard me all along and was working behind the scenes accomplishing more than I would have imagined. I almost missed it because I couldn't get my eyes off the door in front of my face.

     Sadly, this isn't the first time. And I still haven't learned. God is bigger and stronger than any door that will ever be encountered. He works in ways we wouldn't imagine, accomplishing greater results than we ask for.

     This story reminds me of the Christians gathered together praying for Peter's release from prison. When he showed up at the gate, they told the servant girl to send him away because they were petitioning God. (Acts 12:1-19)

    Keep your eyes peeled. God is working everywhere all the time. Don't allow discouragement to overshadow the power of God in your life. Doors may be opening on the side of the building.

    Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ~Ephesians 3:20