Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Room

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1a

… while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our
great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Titus 2:13

My husband and I are standing in a room that is at once very familiar and not familiar at all. It is a room with no windows and no doors. If you’ve ever ridden the Haunted Mansion in Disney World you know what I’m talking about. You begin the journey in a room with a ceiling and walls that seemingly has no form of exit. In case you haven’t picked up on that yourself, a dark, creepy voice informs you that the only way out is his way, leaving no question in your mind that the rest of the journey is not going to be pretty. The room Otto and I find ourselves in is the same in that it has no windows, no doors and only one way out. The differences are the look of the room and the voice that is speaking to us.

Our room is full of light. I get the feeling of a very pretty, airy blue, like the blue of a cloudless sky. The impression I have of the ceiling, (I can’t see it yet) is that it is beautiful, intricate and inviting. The only exit available is the hand of God. There is no fear, real or make believe in this room. We’ve come to be here by a combination of our own decisions and circumstances beyond our control. I have no doubt in my mind that God’s amazing hand will reach in and pluck us out. I have no idea how or when. Right now I’m waiting and for the last several months many details of life have conspired in an attempt to make me worry, agonize and fall into despair. I refuse. There is no need. The room I am has no exit, to be sure, but it is an amazing room.

Go back with for a moment to the room in the Haunted Mansion, in Disney, in Florida. Most of the times I have been in that room the outside temperatures have been quite warm. The room is usually crowded and often has an unpleasant smell. It is dark and cramped, contrived to if not frighten at least upset. It usually works.

The room Otto and I are in today is not a positive place. We need help. We need out. There is a definite element of discomfort and yet, it’s okay. On the other side of the Haunted Mansion walls, things await that are intended to frighten. On the other side of our walls there is, well, we have no idea what’s out there to be honest but we do know that our Father has planned it for us and His plans are perfect. On the other side of these walls is freedom from this room. So we wait but how like God that he has even allowed blessings in our waiting.

In this room I have learned to wait expectantly and obediently. I have learned that while I still hate waiting I can use it to draw closer to God. I am quite excited to see the ceiling on my way out of this room. I am ready for the hand of God to reach in and draw me out and when He does I will tell everyone who will listen what was on the other side.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Your Passion

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,”
plans to prosper you and not to harm you.” Jeremiah 29:11


Yesterday I heard a pastor preach on Psalm 8. He said that God has made each of us unique, that He has given us a passion and that He has a purpose for our lives. Those three words that begin with P, person, passion and purpose, each had their own little box. As I looked at my notes this morning, not reading them but just seeing them on my desk I realized that while there were Scripture references and salient points jotted in the boxes for person and purpose there was nothing noted in the passion box. Ah-ha!

Listening to the pastor as he spoke I did jot down notes about my (our) importance to God, how dearly He loves each of us. I made notes about living according to His will and purpose for my life. I even jotted down a little joke the pastor made because I knew my husband, who wasn’t able to be with me, would love it. In the passion box I made no notes, not one single word. This morning it occurred to me that while this very able pastor can lead me or you or anyone else to understand that God created us uniquely and that He loves us beyond measure. He can use Scripture to make and back up his points about our creation and our purpose but when it comes to our passion we’re on our own. That box we have to fill in without the pastor’s leading.

This particular man did share how he discovered his passion, which is to be a pastor. I could have written down all that he said about finding his passion but that doesn’t really apply to me. He and I have very few similarities in our lives. Even if we were to arrive at the very same conclusion the roads would be very different. I know my passion and I could fill in that box. Maybe you can too. The point is that no one else can fill in our passion box. A pastor, parent, spouse, friend can give us guidance and input but at the end of the day it’s all about individual choice.

What are you passionate about? What makes you smile or get excited? What makes your blood boil? Answer those questions and I think you’ll be well on your way to finding your passion and fulfilling God’s purpose. Just know that it is yours and no one can determine it for you but you, and God of course. The only seal of approval you need is God’s. He will lead you to living out of your passion once you find it and dedicate it to Him.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Who is Jesus

Who Is Jesus?

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do you say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 16:13-17


“Who do you say that I am?” Who do you say that He is? Is your answer different today than it was yesterday or will be tomorrow? Do you answer that question with Simon Peter’s words or your own? Much time has passed since Jesus asked this question. Today’s answer on the surface is of course the same as Peter’s answer. But our response should go deeper.

We, unlike Peter have been taught that Jesus is the Son of living God. That was not something we had to discern for ourselves. Our own experience of Jesus will form our personal answer. If our response only goes as far as Son of the living God or Son of Man or even Savior, it does not go far enough.

“Who do you say I am?” In your triumphs and trials, in your successes and failures, when you are surrounded by friends and when you are alone, who do you say that Jesus is to you? The answer should be profoundly personal. Even if you and I can use the same words the emotions, the experiences behind them will not be the same. God loves each of us as if there were only one of us and for each of us His friendship is unique.

Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?” What is your answer?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Amazing Answers

Amazing Answers

When the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. Acts 3:9-10

Yesterday I was blessed to be a part of a ministry effort gone somewhat south. In short, what we mortal beings had planned was not what God had in mind. We ended up helping in a very different way from what we expected. As one member of my group commented on that the woman we were helping just laughed. “It ain’t nothin’ honey.” She said. “I’m not surprised. You say a prayer and ask God for help and He jus’ sends it along. Isn’t He amazin’?” As I responded in agreement that yes, God is amazing I started to laugh. I turned to her and asked if she’d received similar answers to prayer before. She said yes and I said I had too, so why are we still so amazed?

I think there are two answers to that question and I think both are true for me at various times. Sometimes we pray and pray and pray for something. The answer is a little slow in coming, or so we think and doubt begins to settle into our souls. Then God shows up and answers our prayer. Sometimes those answers are huge and surprising. Sometimes there are simple. In either case we are amazed because that demon doubt had caused us to think maybe God wouldn’t or worse, couldn’t, answer our prayer. In light of the answer we are amazed. “Well, will you look at that! He really is God.” Doubt is our enemy but even that doubt can be used to bring glory to God. When we’ve wondered, for whatever reason, if God is ignoring our pleas we are even more thrilled by His response.

The other reason I think God still amazes us no matter how many times He proves His majesty is alacrity. Take the example from Acts. The people have seen this lame beggar day after day, after day. Suddenly he’s up, leaping around, praising God. What? The people are filled with “wonder and amazement.” How could this happen? It’s impossible. Today we might think, well, with a whole lot of medical attention, some new technology or an enormous amount of physical therapy but come on, lame people don’t just jump up and walk! We would be just as amazed as the “people” from the Scripture. We pray and pray for healing but sometimes we just can’t see that it could happen.

My nephew has just received horrible news about his son’s health. There are no medical answers. The docs say there is no hope for a cure. No hope? That’s impossible! Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and as long as that is true there is great hope, huge hope. Still, if someone were to go to Lucas’s side and pray, “Silver and gold I have none but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, be well” and Lucas was then well, we would all be amazed.

God still amazes us and while that seems a little odd based on the things we know to be true, it is understandable. It is understandable because we do doubt. It is understandable because sometimes it is so immediate, so enormous that we are simply astounded. Further it amazes us because we know good and well that we do not deserve it, not for a second. Everything we have from God is pure gift. Filthy, selfish, judgmental, arrogant, fearful, self-pitying, lying, cheating, adulterous dogs that we may be, God in His mercy loves us beyond measure. Those answered prayers are amazing but then they are answered by an amazing God.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Found

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
Isaiah 55:6
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.
Psalm 23:6a


Often when people begin a relationship with God they are said to have “found” Him. That irks me a little. The idea that the God of the universe is so often lost. Does He wander about like some poor demented soul? No! God is not lost. God does not get lost, even when we in our anger or ignorance tell Him to do just that. God is never lost in the literal sense but He can be lost to us.

Doing a study of the 23rd Psalm I spent a lot of time with the words, “goodness and love will follow you all the days of your life.” God is love and love will follow me all the days of my life. God will follow me all the days of my life. God will follow me? No wonder He gets lost so often! That doesn’t really make sense because the earlier part of the same psalm says He will lead me. Which only makes sense because oh, right, He’s God.

He leads us, follows us and walks beside us. We are literally surrounded by God. (Psalm 139:5-12) So then, why do people have to find Him? Why are there verses in the Bible that tell us to “seek” God, as if He were an elusive being? Unfortunately the answer is that one we hate to talk about, sin. It is because of our sin, sin that crowds out the beauty of God in our lives that we have to seek God to “find” Him. He is not lost. We are.

God always knows right where we are. He does not have to search for us but He does have to wait for us. He beckons. He pursues. He invites. And then He waits, while we spin in circles looking for happiness, looking for comfort, looking for peace before eventually realizing our need for a Savior.

While I will never be a fan of the phrase, “She found God.” I see that it might not always be as inane as it sounds. Of course we all have to be prepared to lose ourselves in the process. We have to abandon what we believed to be important to embrace the essential. God is not lost, ever but He is eager to be “found.”

Monday, May 3, 2010

welcome

Hello

My name is Tricia and this is my attempt to share with anyone who is interested, the words and thoughts that God has shared with me.

Today is my first day as a blogger. This has been suggested to me numerous times and frankly I've been too old school to try it. It is my hope that the words I place here will bless and encourage those of you who are journeying toward home as I am.

It is my goal to post a message each day that will include Scripture, a brief story to go with that Scripture and maybe a prayer or two. For some of you this will be quite familiar as it is the same style as in our e-mail days and in the book Joyful Perspective. As usual, I would love to hear your feedback.

Blessings to all of you,
Tricia