Who I am?
One of the most important things I learned how to do as a pre-teen was how to make a pot of coffee. Why? Because if you cut me open I would bleed Tim Horton’s blend medium roast.
One of the most fundamental mistakes I ever made was my first boyfriend. At 13 years old you don’t know enough about yourself to start knowing someone else. That being said, it was a mistake that I no longer regret, because of how much I learned about myself, my values, my goals, other people and life in general. Oh ya. And high school really does never end.
My best friend has always been my dog. Every dog I have ever owned has quickly gone from cute pet to soul mate in a matter of days. We get each other. We sacrifice for each other. And when my love for live runs dry my dog pours his love onto me, ( usually in wet kisses.)
I grew up somewhat self reliant due to being an only child, so group activities always made me uncomfortable. I also became jealous of the people who click easily and fit groups well. But in turn I ended up with one or two solid friendships instead of tons of wishy washy ones.
Jesus knew what my life needed to make me who I am and who I am becoming. Whomever said that you are an adult by your twenties missed something. 20+ is a small number and we are still small in our understandings, probably still small in our works, and most likely small in the world. That is not a bad thing. We are still growing up and figuring out who we are and where we belong. We don’t need to have everything figured out, that’s God’s job.
I know many people who, at over 40, have decided to rewrite their lives. Why? They wanted to have everything figured out and in place before they were 30, so they ended up in jobs that don’t suit them and with a life style they hate. Enter the re-write.
Take time. Get to know yourself. Get to know God. Slow down and find your ‘sweet spot’ as Max Lucado calls it. If you are in a life place that you don’t feel God has called/ guided you to and you want out..get out. He knows what He is doing and will lead you where He knows you belong. Trust Him.
In the armor of God we almost always forget one important piece. Shoes. The shoes of readiness are things we tend to forget to put on. And come on, don’t the perfect shoes make the outfit? Where are your shoes of readiness leading you? Where does God want you to go?
Slip on your flats, runners, steel toe work boots, or lavendar stilettos and be ready for what God is calling you to do and where God is calling you to go.
God is not like smaug, the great dragon from the Hobbit, where when we come into His lair trembling and say “I had heard stories about you but I did not believe them,” he stands back from us flexing the scales across his chest and blowing a snort of smoke out of his nose he proplaclaims, “and do you now?”
In contrast when we come up to Jesus trembling saying, ” I had heard stories of you my Lord, but I did not believe them.” He looks at us with love and responds, “I know, I have been waiting for you to come and see me for yourself.” Then He hugs us and all our fears and sins and scars melt away and not only do we believe the stories we now know the man they are about and we know He loves us. His gentle embrace following us everywhere we go until we get to live with Him in His kingdom. There is no dragon pride, just the gentle/powerful/all knowing/unending love of a king.
(Credit to owner for the cover image)
The two thieves on the crosses are perfect examples of Christian and non-Christian people. Both were thieves, both were sinners but one chose to follow Jesus in the end. Like the two thieves we are all sinners and we all fall so short of the kingdom of God it’s hard for many to believe that they can go to Heaven. Jesus died as a criminal without committing any crime so that even the theif hanging next to Him could join Him in Heaven. Just the same, we all have a place with Jesus in Heaven if we choose to accept it by accepting Him. All people are people, there is no biological difference that separates those who are Christians and those who aren’t. The difference is Jesus. The difference is the Holy Spirit moving in us making us act…. Christian, we are just two sides of the same coin. All non-Christians can come to Christ there is absolutely nothing making it so that they can’t; not only that but Jesus welcomes them, us, everyone! Jesus wants the whole world to see Him and to not feel they are unwelcome in His home and at His table. Listen and you will hear His gentle voice calling you home. Today I want to end by saying this; anyone who feels cast out from the church because they are struggling to find their place in God’s kingdom, don’t feel like you’re alone, remember that the church cast Jesus out too. There are many churches out there and in truth sometimes you have to look a little before you can find a pastor and a congregation that suits you, but when you do you’ll feel like you’re home. Jesus wants YOU even if you don’t feel wanted and HE Loves you no matter how unlovable you feel. So choose Jesus because He has already chosen you.
Pray with me please
Jesus I know I am a sinner, I know I fall short of your glory but I also know you love me and you want me; please come into my life and fill me with you. Please forgive my sins and draw me to you and closer to you. Help me find you and to not feel discouraged. In your name I pray. Amen.
Remember that famous scene from Aladdin when he takes Jasmine for the magic carpet ride? Do you recall how that scene began? It began with a simple question. Do you trust me?
How often does Jesus reach out His hand and ask, “do you trust me?” Do we trust Him? Are we confident that the carpet can hold us? Are we asking Him “is it safe?” And then realizing that God is never safe and finding that that scares us. Just like the Beavers said about Aslan, “of course He isn’t safe, but He is good”. Of course the ride isn’t going to be safe but God is good, all the time. We may not see it always, but God is always doing good for us. The tips of the updrafts and the smack of the wind may not always feel comfortable, but Jesus takes us out of our comfort zones so that we can find a ‘whole new world’. If we don’t ever step off the balcony we will never find the magic of the adventure.
Next point, remember how the Genie said (in humor) “always keep your hands and arms inside the carpet”? We must remember to always keep ourselves within the Holy Spirit. We can wander too far to the edge and fall away from Him. Yes He will catch you if you call on Him, but the fall is a horrible thing that is better to avoid. Within the carpet you Are safe, trying to walk on air by yourself is impossible.
There are a lot of carpets out there, but the only magic one that will take you on an amazing journey is the one with the savior holding out His hand, asking if you trust Him enough to let go of the edge and fly.
In our lives we will undoubtedly come across mountains we have to climb; there’s no way past them but up. We stand there at the base of the mountain looking at the thick, prickly trees and the 80 degree uphill grade, the top of the mountain is so high it has it’s own, personal cloud and we think to ourselves, ‘there has to be another way.’ So we begin looking for an easier route.We walk for miles as far as we can go around the base of the mountain in one direction and then in the other. We then find ourselves standing in our original spot, 10 times more tired and 10 times more discouraged as we realize we just wasted all that time and energy looking for a way around a solid rock foundation and could have been at least a third of the way to the top by now if we had just hitched up our socks and started climbing. Does this sound familiar? Well I bet it did for Moses too, he waited 40 years in the desert 100% relying on God for EVERYTHING because his people didn’t want to go through the hardship that they would face in entering the promise land. In the end God showed them that the view from the top of the mountain is well worth the climb, but it took a while to get them up there. God gets it. He’s patient with us and waits as we weigh our options but in the end we have to climb. We may get dirty and bloody and sore climbing to the top but once we sit down on the summit and look at the rushing waterfall beneath us and the crisp, cloudy air around us cools and soothes our aching bones we realize that without the climb we would never have gotten to look down upon a rainbow. God pushes us for a reason. No matter what we go through He uses it to draw us into His presence and to show us His power. He is building us into who we were meant to be and even though other people might not understand the climb and might try to persuade you to stay in the valley you taking that first, second, third, final step is putting you in God’s will; what else could we possibly wish for?
Now that I live in the country one of my favorite things to do is sit out at night and watch the stars. Out where we are there is virtually no light pollution so we can see billions of stars and the depth of sky and the milky way is so vivid you could almost touch it. One thing I like to do is pick a star and make a wish (yes I know that’s silly but it makes me smile.) Tonight as I made my wish I noticed my star shift places and realized I had made a wish on a satellite. This made me realize how often we think we are wishing on stars and they turn out to be satilites. We put all our hopes into one big dream and it ends up being less than we expected. Say you wanted to sing professionally and you put all your effort into getting that one big hit, but when it comes and you start chasing that dream you find yourself discontented with the stage life. Now what? You’ve put all you have into this opportunity and now you don’t feel you can move on. Let me tell you something I heard a great speaker once say, “if you are feeling a push to move into something new it very well might be God preparing you for something that is coming.” Trust your calling, trust that that voice may be God wanting you to do something else. Everything has it’s season and maybe it’s your season to start God’s dream for you. Now wait, don’t go quit your job, pack your backpack and go because a new calling isn’t always what’s going on, discontentment and God moving can be different things; so pray hard and involve people you trust to pray with you because you want to be sure it’s God before you move. God is the star, solid in the sky and unwavering; our own ambitions however can easily be a satellite, here right now and gone somewhere else in a few moments. We must trust that God does have a purpose for us (because He does) and we must wait upon Him to move us when it is time. Instead of wishing upon satellites turn to God in prayer and open your heart to hear His answer.
Everyone has moments of darkness; some last for a day others can last for several years, but when at last you see the light it’s like emerging from a tunnel in the mountains. You start to see a little gap and then it grows and grows until you emerge and are struck by the sunlight reflecting off the snow-capped summits. When you start to emerge from your dark place and the glory of God hits you and you suddenly see the world anew, things are very different and are so much better. Darkness is a device used to trap humans into following the wrong path. Most people are afraid of the light. The light exposes us and shows the world who and what we really are. In darkness we can hide our faults and our flaws, we can be anyone we want to be because no one can see the truth. But eventually the darkness gets to be too much, the little wrong doing here, the little harmful act there soon turn into catastrophic problems that we can’t run from and now the darkness isn’t dark enough to hide us, so we run into a deeper darkness that can cover these faults. Soon the darkness is so much we can’t see any light, that’s when we fall on our knees and say, “what have I done?”
There on our knees we are truly alone, until we feel a hand on our shoulder and our tear stained eyes look up to see a bright light. Jesus lifts us to our feet and we realize we were never alone, not even in the darkness. He guides us through the levels of darkness until His light shatters our binds and we are free. We don’t need the darkness to hide our flaws, we just need Jesus to heal us and soon our flaws will be gone. So search for Him when in the darkness and you will find the light.
The deceiver comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come to save you and give you life.- John 10:10
The devil makes nothing, all he does is destroy; only God creates. God creates all things, He writes, paints and even cooks. All works of our hands done to God are works of His hands. God has a perfect plan for all of us, and the things we can do. Without God there is nothing but destruction, with God there is light in the darkest tunnel, paths through the highest mountains, and an end to all trials. God does not force us into His plan; He guides us and directs us, but in the end allows us to make our own decisions and that’s why sometimes we fail, because we have fallen away from God’s path for us. God allows us to fail so that we will draw closer to Him and realize the potential He gave us. The devil is a copycat and sometimes tries to make the good things God does for us look like things we have done ourselves, without God’s help. It’s a good trick because many people fall for it, many think they have succeeded in life because of their hard work, and that does play a part in success but in truth success occurs because: A. God has given them success, or B. the devil has allowed them to succeed to draw them farther from God, but in neither situation did they get where they are on their own. The devil comes to destroy because he knows in the end he will lose and he wants to kill off as much of God’s creation as he can before that happens. Only through Jesus can we triumph over the devil, only through Jesus can we succeed in life to the fullest of our potential, because only Jesus creates and guides our paths.
My absolute favorite quote from Tolkien is: Not all who wander are lost.
This statement makes me dream of far off places and uncharted road trips. I can imagine and visualize deep woods thick with ancient trees, their boughs reaching to me as if to guide me along my path. I picture chill mornings by a soothing campfire with a hot cup of coffee in my hand, my dog nestled on my knee and morning doves starting to sing a greeting to the day. Beautiful thoughts these may be, but what if we take a closer look at that phrase? Not all who wander are lost. Tolkien became devout Roman Catholic so there are Christ like connections to His novels and His quotes (whether he intended them or not). Many have written devotionals linking the “Hobbit” and “the Lord of the Ring” with the Bible; no one could possibly know if Tolkien would have approved of these derivative works or not but I doubt he would have minded. Looking at Tolkien’s Faith I wonder what He meant when he said “not all who wander are lost”? Scripture talks about a heart that is prone to wander from the will of God and from God Himself, but that is a different wandering than Tolkien meant here; Tolkien speaks of a physical wandering, a “letting go of the feet” if you will. Here is the point I get from “not all who wander are lost,” not all who wander physically are lost spiritually. Some of us have what may be referred to as a gypsy soul, a restless spirit that makes it so we must constantly be on the move. This may be the result of seeking a longing that only Christ can fill, a longing to know Him because we have wandered from Him, or never knew Him to begin with, but it may also be a need to wander set in us by God.
Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God-Truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4: 23-24
We all ‘say’ we want to be more like Jesus. To be anointed with His kind of grace but do we really?
How many of us as humans would raise our hands and say, “Me Lord, make me more like you,” and actually mean it?
Not many. Because to be more like Christ we need to change from our old, sinful self into the new enlightened version that God has for us.
Sacrificing things to become closer to God is not an easy task and there are few who would take it up; but to put on the nature of Christ we need to follow his ways. Pray more, be kind to those who hate us, care for those in need, and throw a table or two once in awhile when none of the above are being effective.
But the greatest thing we can do to be more like Christ is love