Archive for May, 2008

Blame or Fame?

May 22, 2008

By now we’ve all heard of the Chapman family tragedy. I have been at a loss for words all day. My friend Lisa, however, has not. She has a powerful word for the Body of Christ in light of this situation. I urge you to take a quick jump over to her site to read “Blame or Fame”. It is an on-time word for today.

(PS – Don’t forget to pray for the Chapman family, especially their young son. What the enemy intends for destruction, God desires to turn into something magnificent and holy – all to His Glory.)

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Sovereign

May 18, 2008

The word ‘Sovereign’ is one of those words. One of those words that we are not altogether unfamiliar with, yet we’d be hard pressed to say that we fully “get it” – especially when the word is used to describe God. So I did what all over-thinkers do. I looked it up.

Sovereign: possessed of supreme power; above or higher than (in place or position); independent of and unlimited by any other.

Yep. That’s what I thought . . . And that’s the problem.

I think we’d all agree that if anyone would fit the definition of ‘sovereign’ it would be God – hands down. But what about days (weeks, months …) when our lives are filled with struggles? Is He sovereign then?

‘Struggling’ is my church lady way of describing how I’m sometimes not crazy about the way God is handling an important situation in my life and I am attempting to tell Him about it but He seems to not be listening or changing anything though I am providing Him with evidence and reason and reminders of why I deserve what I am asking for and why the timing is so important along with the subtle suggestion that He might not be as fair as He could be concerning this very important matter which by the way . . . . ‘Struggling’.

When it comes to the sovereignty of God, I think most of us run back and forth between two schools of thought:

1 – God is good, but not totally sovereign.

2 – God is sovereign, but not totally good.

Which is truth? Neither! God is both sovereign AND good!

His power is absolute, total, unlimited, unrestricted, fixed, infallible, precise, undeniable, unquestionable, total – sovereign. He is able to move any mountain, correct any situation, change any decision, touch any life.

He is also absolutely good, merciful, faithful, just, holy, true, loving, peaceful, patient, generous, forgiving and completely willing.

Consider this: A small child toddles innocently into a street where an oncoming semi can’t see him. Mom runs to the rescue and in the nick of time, saves her son. His safety is secure again and all is well. Except for one thing. Now Junior is angry at Mom. In order to rescue him in time, she scooped him up quickly from the street and hurt his arm a bit. Revelation!! Mom is mean! For no reason at all, she’s hurt his innocent little arm. Before this incident, he thought she was so loving, and sweet and protective, but it turns out she’s just mean and uncaring, and unloving and indifferent to his pain. And to make matters worse, she offers no explanation. He’s considering not trusting her anymore.

We all know that it wouldn’t do Mom any good to attempt to explain to Junior that she did what was necessary to save his life – because she loves him. She could spend the rest of the day trying to explain the dynamics of standing in the path of an oncoming vehicle to him, but she doesn’t – because his limited understanding can not grasp it. Instead, she holds him, sheds tears of relief, and ignores the fact that he is angry with her. “One day . . .” she thinks, “One day, he’ll understand my great love for him.” And for now, that is enough for her. She endures his anger and confusion, because she knows – better than he – the danger and the risks. She sees what he can not see . . . yet.

I suppose because we’re “all grown up” it’s a little difficult to believe that we don’t always know what’s best for us. When God doesn’t allow something in our lives that we want so desperately, or when He allows situations that are difficult, it seems logical to distrust His motives.
After all, if He is ‘sovereign‘, if He CAN do something about it, then why doesn’t he?

If He is able to deliver me from ________, then why doesn’t He? Because He’s working out a plan.

If He does love me, then why doesn’t he remove all difficulty? Because He loves me.

If there is a reason behind the madness, why doesn’t He explain? Because He knows, and for now, that is enough.

And because He has a plan. And because His plan involves training us in righteousness and holiness and faith. And because He knows of what we are truly made and what really needs to happen in the secret place of our hearts . . . And because He alone knows what magnificent treasures He has stored in your heart alone. No one else has been as uniquely gifted as you. Your unprecedented combination of gifting and heart and talent and personality and quirkiness and sensitivity and vision and manner of seeing the world is unlike any other. And He requires it to be that way for you to fulfill your calling in the Body and advance His Kingdom . . . while there is still time.

“. . . until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all the kingdoms of men” (Daniel 4:32)

Yes, Father God is absolutely sovereign in the ways of men – and women. Yes, He sees our every struggle, tear, and confused thought. Will we allow Him to use them to do what only He can do, to mold us into the very image of His Son, to produce in us what is only visible to Him, for now?

Because He is truly both sovereign AND good.

Also posted at Internet Cafe’ Devotions

Pray for Robin

May 7, 2008

A friend and contributor to Heart of the Matter home school magazine, Robin Sampson, is in need of prayer. She has spent nearly a year battling heart issues and is currently in the hospital requiring regular transfusions. You can read the details here.

Robin is the author of Heart of Wisdom teaching approach as well as other books and teaching materials. She is also the mother of 11 children – including several younger ones. Please pray for Robin and her family as God brings her to your thoughts and as He leads. Robin and her family thank you very much!

Teenagers. Who knew?

May 4, 2008

When I finished college, I remember telling God that I would teach anywhere – with 2 exceptions: wherever there were preschoolers and wherever there were teenagers. Since I wasn’t married and didn’t have children of my own, I knew I’d never have enough patience for the tiny people – preschoolers. Since I didn’t have children of my own, I knew I’d never have patience for the bigger people – teens. (also, they’re bigger than me). So I spent a few years teaching in middle schools/junior high schools. (ahem. . . they’re bigger than me, too.)

Fast forward a lot of years and all of my best efforts to control the ages of the kid population around me have crumbled. I am now a mother of 5 children, 4 of them teenagers. 4. Yes. Fast forward a lot of years and I realize that all of my dodging the big kids was for naught. Early on, from a distance, before I had a few of my own, I mistakenly decided that teens – at best – had two skills . . . rebellion and attitude. Turns out, they have a few other qualities that are only visible upon closer inspection.

Within the collection of teenagers who live with me everyday, there is no shortage of personalities and gifts. There are leaders, and servants. There are musicians and writers. There are those whose thoughts are known instantly (because they “update” constantly) and there are those whose thoughts run deep – you’ll only know them if you inquire. There are generous givers of money and time. There are a few who “wing it” and never  worry because “God’s got it Mom!” and there is a meticulous planner, born clutching a clip board. There are one or two who could take charge of a gathering at a moment’s notice if called upon. And there is one who would never seek to take charge, but whose words and faith would challenge – but only if you slow down enough to listen. Sometimes there are displays of compassion and maturity among them that surprise me. There are smiling, humming, huggy morning people and there are night owls. There are some who battle perfectionism and some who . . . don’t. Among them there is no shortage of opinions on endless issues. The spectrum can run from constant goofiness and humor to random goofiness and humor. “Bored” is not an adjective I use very often (ever.)

I have learned that God has called each of us to a specific purpose in life. He has gifted every single breathing person with talents and gifts and personality traits that the world needs – desperately. My teenagers, your teenagers,are among those so gifted by God.

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech,conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example. . .(1 Timothy 4:12)

I recently heard the next generation described as a generous, non-judgmental, volunteer, merciful generation!” There is a calling upon this next generation that is unlike any before them. I assume this is because . . . “the times, they are a’changing” – spiritually speaking. In my opinion, this next generation may be responsible for ushering in the remainder of the Body of Christ. They are “wired” differently because that is what is required for the task ahead.

I have been watching for some time now. I have heard the prophecies concerning this generation of youth. I have been paying attention to how they act, what they respond to, what and who they respect, what they cling to and what they give away. They are as comfortable talking to a homeless person under a bridge as they are a person of “prominence”. They are content with last minute changes to the plan. They are equipped to lead and content to follow. They are humble enough to be up front and visible, if necessary, and brave enough to labor behind the scenes. God is up to something. I’m just saying . . .

If there are teens in your life and you don’t yet see anything resembling the previous paragraphs, ask God to begin to open your eyes. Maybe they’re distracted. Maybe the enemy knows the call on their life and he is working full time to make sure they never find out about it. Maybe they just don’t know. Maybe you should tell them.

YAY JOELLE!!!

May 1, 2008

Congratulations Joelle ! ! ! (offspring #3, oldest daughter, AKA – Middle Child)! Joelle was a finalist in the photo contest at Growing In Grace online magazine. Take a look at the 4 final photos! (I secretly call her photo “The Rapture” 😉 )

Carrying that camera around has finally paid off!

YAY! Joelle ! ! !