At The Point Of Adjustment

You'll Be Safe Here

I don’t know many people that live their lives thriving on change. Few individuals wake up each morning saying, “I wonder how I can completely rearrange my life?” Most of us enjoy our routine. We like knowing what to expect. It is comfortable…and feels safe. It’s really not safe, but we like to believe that, don’t we?

Sometimes change comes into our lives as an uninvited guest. It is not what we were looking for, or even remotely what we wanted, but it comes all the same. It seems that most of the time, when we have life changes, we are sort of forced into the change. Growing up, graduations and new jobs, labor and childbirth (a joy to have your new baby…but, the pain to get to that point is not something any woman enjoys), job loss, death of a loved one, health issues, moving to a new area, growing old.  All changes to be sure. All take adjustment.

I read something that I had written in the margin of my Bible, the page on which Isaiah 55 is written. A thought from the Experiencing God study.

“The greatest single difficulty in following God may come at the point of adjustment.”  I don’t remember exactly when I wrote that down. Obviously, at that time I must have been going through something, and it resonated with me. It is true though. Deeply profound, really. It is easy to say that one believes in God when everything is going well for him or her. It is a smooth walk when the path is well lit and God shows me the way.

But……..

It is in the hardness of change, the uncertainty of what will happen next, that one’s truth faith really shows. Do I trust Jesus when I can’t see around the bend? Do I know He is there when the darkness threatens me? Am I running towards Him when life hurts me and I’m scared? When I’m placed in a new situation and I have no idea what I’m up against, do I trust Him no matter what? Knowing that He always has my best interest in mind?

My answer should be, yes! Sometimes the yes is said with laughter and the feeling of being blessed beyond my wildest dreams. Other times the yes, is uttered in the dark when I’m not sure which way to go, or when the tears fall because my world has to find a “new normal”.

Yes.

Always, yes.  If I love the Lord, as I claim….then my answer should always be yes.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:9 NIV

Measuring Strength

I know…I know…I said that I would start doing the travel blog on Tuesdays. I will. I promise. Just not today. The reason, not today, is because I wanted to write about something that I read yesterday.

English: i think no need words

For Christmas, my mom gave me a Sarah Young daily, flip, calendar/devotion book. Sarah’s words struck me yesterday. You know how on some days you will be be bopping along and BLAM! You see something or hear something or read something and feel like it was meant just for you.

“Welcome challenging times as opportunities to trust Me……..When the path before you is dotted with difficulties, beware of measuring your strength against those challenges.” –Sarah Young

Um…..I don’t know about you, but I have a bad habit of doing just that. I am so busted. I’m trying to change. In the past I’ve had a tendency to look at all the things I need to do, all the mountains I have to climb, all the valleys I have to walk. I would look…..and get overwhelmed.

That is just exactly what I was doing. Measuring my obstacles by my own strength…instead of by the strength of the One who knows no limits.

This is what the Lord says…. When I came why was there no one? When I called, why was there no one to answer? Was my arm too short to ransom you? Do I lack the strength to rescue you?  (Isaiah 50:2)  The Lord said something similar to Moses in Numbers 11:23. The Lord answered Moses ” Is the Lord’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”   In both of these verses, God seems put out by his people. They whined to God, and yet did not trust Him.  He questions them. Don’t you think I can do this? Don’t you think I am strong enough to handle all things?

Those people of ancient times really weren’t all that different than us. How many times have I uttered, “This is impossible” ,”I can’t do this, God!” ,”I’m scared”, or a plethora of other similar statements?

God wants me to trust Him. He wants me to walk closely with Him. Rely on Him. Believe Him. And to understand this…

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 13:4 NIV

Amen.

The Word Was True

Photo of the Book of Isaiah page of the Bible

Hundreds of years before His birth, Isaiah prophesied of the coming Messiah.

Waiting… Longing… Knowing.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.     Isaiah 7:14 NIV

Immanuel meaning, “God with us“.

And God came to mankind.

He left Heaven to be here….among us.

For to us a child is born,
   to us a son is given,
   and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
 Of the greatness of his government and peace
   there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
   and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
   with justice and righteousness
   from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
   will accomplish this.  Isaiah 9:6-7  NIV

Jesus Christ. The Messiah. The Son of God.

HE CAME.

Each of the words spoken by the prophets came into being that night so long ago.

The night that the angels sang of His arrival.

The night the shepherds bowed low in the presence of the King.

The night that a young couple felt both the thrill and the awe of holding deity in their arms.

The Word was true…

and He was here.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14  NIV

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How are you unwrapping Jesus, this Christmas?

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Lifegiving

Photo of the Book of Isaiah page of the Bible ...

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Have you ever wanted to run? And just keep running, as far and as fast as you were able? You had no idea what you were running to, but you knew what you were running from…

Me, too.

I won her book in a give away on a friend’s blog site. I was so ecstatic that I had won. The book came in the mail and I immediately ripped off the wrapping and started to read. Good stuff.

Mm hmm……I’m liking this…. and then…….

I stopped.

Ouch.

She was treading a little too close to home for me. I set the book down…and didn’t pick it back up for at least 3 weeks. I stared at it on my bedside table. I saw my bookmark sticking out of the top, showing me exactly where I had left off. I didn’t dare touch it.

Not yet.

Recently, I was angry. Does anybody else do anything around here besides me? Doesn’t anyone else see this?  Why am I the one that is supposed to have all the answers? I don’t know. At that point I didn’t even care. Unforgiving. It was a hard and barren place to be pitching my tent.

Frustration.

Lord, I can’t take care of one more living thing. I don’t want too. When do I get to do what I want to do? Not enough time. Not enough money. Not enough energy. Not enough. Not enough. Not enough. I was threatening to boil over with the resentment that I was carrying around with me.

That book was still there. No way. I wasn’t reading that book. Not by that Christian author. Her story, in many ways, was similar to my own. I was afraid to read on…to see how she had allowed God to handle the hard parts of her life. We all face the hard parts, don’t we? The hard parts are different for each of us. What might seem such a small thing to one, might be devastating to another. I won’t go into detail, because quite frankly my frustrations aren’t what is important. The point is, we all are broken and living a life that on some days we just can’t handle. Can I get an “Amen?”

Does anyone else ever have this issue? Do certain books touch you so deeply that you feel God put them in your hands, ON PURPOSE?

God knows that words are important to me, and I’m amazed how He puts just exactly what I need to see, in my path.

” That night I sat, broken, at my small kitchen table. I cried out to God for a lifegiving touch. I pleaded with my Savior to heed my case. He brought me to Isaiah 58. Here was an intense dialogue between seemingly righteous people and the living, holy God. These so-called lovers of God had been fasting and praying, yet they saw no supernatural move on God’s part. In this convicting passage, God blasts their false humility and goes on to say the following:

‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen…to loose… to untie…to set the oppressed free…. to break….Is it not to share…to provide…’  Isaiah 58:6-7

I knew God was speaking directly to me. “But, Lord”, I said.  “What if I can’t do it? What if I will never be happy again, what if I fall apart, or worse yet, break apart? What if I fail?”    —Tammy Maltby from her book Lifegiving  p.75

She goes on to explain her perspective change, how God spoke to her through His word. She understood that He was asking her to release her life to Him. To say  “yes” to His walk.

Reading this caused me to ponder, how many times, as Christians, do we go through “the motions” (sometimes grudgingly) only to realize that we are in desperate need of a new heart? Sigh. God is a masterful heart surgeon. He cuts away that which is not needed….that which is dead and not usable. After the hands of the Great Physician have touched a heart, it can be made new. And vital. And strong once again.

His touch can be life giving.

Just Plain Weary

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There are days when I am beyond tired.

I’m not just sleepy. I don’t need a nap.

My spirit is sagging. I am worn down and run ragged.

The race is long and the finish line is no where in sight.

I’m about to give up… or give in.

I am soul weary.

My weariness drives me to the only One who can give me the rest that I yearn for.

The One whose words are true.

The One who walks with me…and on days when I am too weary to walk on my own,

carries me.

Psalm 91:1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. —– My shelter.

Isaiah 40:31 But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. —   My renewal.

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. — My peace.

This month we are talking about rest over at Faith Barista. Click on the Faith Barista Jam graphic on my right sidebar to find out more.

A Moment Of Clarity

People Praying

Image by Old Shoe Woman via Flickr

Waiting is hard.

I want to DO something. I want to BE something. I want to SEE the plan.

At times I feel confined. Restrained. Broken…from the waiting. Frustrations seem more than I can handle at times.

I long to know the plan. I want to see what is around the bend.  Get all the tools I need. Be prepared.

Waiting is a struggle for me. In my journal I highlighted these words from a man who understands waiting. Charles Swindoll once said, “Lord, this is your battle. This is your need you’ve allowed me to trust you for…and I’m waiting for You to do it. I’m waiting for as long as necessary for You to do the impossible.”  I contemplate this man’s words.

Waiting is not passive. It is difficult. It takes a great deal of my effort to remain still, to trust, to obey. I am not too proud to admit that there have been times in my life, that I’ve argued with God. Times that I have asked, “Why?!” , “Why me?!”, “What good will come from this?” or ” Lord, I want this so badly, why won’t you allow it?” Arguing with God is exhausting.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8  NIV) And if I’m honest with myself, do I really want a God that I completely understand? That I would understand all His “why’s” ? That I could keep in a small box?  I have trouble understanding tax codes, how to drive a stick shift, or work my MP3 player. If I could understand God, wouldn’t that make Him small?

The questions of my heart rise to the surface and I am forced to consider what I really believe. About myself, and more importantly about God.

God, do you really love me? Do you care? Didn’t you create me for something greater than this?

The answer is a resounding YES to all three questions.

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10 KJV)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

So, I wait.

Father, please give me the grace to wait patiently on You.