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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Unnecessary Burdens

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

I often find myself carrying many burdens that I was never meant to carry.

One huge burden I tote around is the weight of producing a miracle. I want my non-believing friend to know Christ, I want the girls that I lead in Bible study to grow spiritually and understand truth, I want lives around me to be transformed.  And then I want to be the one that stands up and yells, “TA-DA!” Preferably as confetti flies through the air.

These are not bad things, in fact, I think they very much align with the heart of God. But, where things start to go awry is when I think that it is my weight to shoulder alone. I start to believe that I’m a Lone Ranger out here gunning it in the Wild West by myself. (I have included a picture of myself above with my trusty steed.)

Not to state the obvious, but being the Lone Ranger is well….lonely. Not to mention totally exhausting and defeating. I feel like I’m working so hard, but not much is happening.  

2 Corinthians 6:10 says:

We have nothing, yet we possess everything.

I love this. Let's read it again.

We have nothing, yet we possess everything.

We have nothing to offer apart from God, but WITH him we have everything to offer.

He is with us, behind us, before us, in us…and we are not able, nor have we been asked to do it without him.

We are responsible for taking the step of faith, but he’s responsible for the miraculous part. His specialty is miracles, and ours is just doing what he tells us. Not a bad gig for us, considering we get the best seat in the house to witness the miracle.

In other words, we get to plant the seed, but God makes it grow. (1 Cor. 3:7) 

This is why on my good days I am asking the Spirit to move constantly. Please give me the words, Lord. Please show up tonight, Lord. Please give me eyes to see what you’re doing here, Lord.

And then he gets to say “TA-DA!” 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

If I Can Just _____ Then I'll Be Happy.


This is a good moment.

I’m currently sitting on the carpet in our living room with the coffee table pulled up close so I can type. My husband is playing a variety of songs on his guitar across from me. Mostly country classics, but some original songs he wrote. My absolute favorite candle is burning. (Although it is a little like I’m burning money because it cost $18.) I’m eating chocolate covered raisins, a personal fav. Also, I’m staring at some gorgeous garden roses my friend Sarah gave me when she asked me to be her Maid of Honor this morning. Technically she asked me to be her Matron of Honor, but I told her if she ever called me that again I’d kill her. What am I, 80?

So, like I said this is a good moment.

I’m trying to soak it in because I haven’t been doing much soaking lately.

One of the biggest lies that I believe is that if I can just __________________ then I’ll be happy. 

I tell this to the college girls I mentor all the time. For them it’s: “If I can just get to Christmas break, Spring Break, Summer, past this test, then I’ll be happy. That’s where rest, fulfillment and all my dreams for life will come true!”

For me it’s more: “If I can just buy a house, have more free time, make more money, master this certain aspect of my marriage, get these to-do’s crossed off, then I’ll be happy.”

For many of my friends it’s: “If I can just find a husband, have a baby, have another baby, get my dream job, or progress into this next stage of life, then I’ll be happy.”

And so we all push through.

Instead of stopping and enjoying the present moment that God has given us, we push through with the hopes of tomorrow. But, tomorrow was not made to hold the weight of all those hopes and dreams. Tomorrow just is what it is.

So, when we…
    get the vacation
           buy the house
                find the husband
                              land the job
                                    cross off a few to-do’s
                                                            ace the test
                                                                    make a few extra dollars
                                                                                   we’re left unsatisfied.
                                                                                                                          
And maybe a little angry.

We’re mad at Tomorrow. Livid even. “But, you promised, tomorrow! You promised that this was the thing, this was the finish line and that happiness was on the other side!”

The truth is all these things are great. They are strawberries and whip cream on the sponge cake of life. They are beautiful gifts. But, they are not where true fulfillment and joy is found. So, we can’t expect something from them that they were never created to deliver.

Then where do we turn?

Jesus said this about himself:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

And David found his satisfaction in the One who created it:

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. (Psalm 63:2-5)


Lord, I will try to go to you and receive your love that is better then life. I will try to stop  placing expectations on future goals, possessions, and relationships to fulfill me. Amen. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Re-learning #3 : How to Rest



Why is it SO hard to sit still? 

Every time I sit still to pray, read my Bible, or just be silent in God’s presence my body basically starts convulsing. I start to think of all the other things I’d rather be doing. More productive, fun, pressing, interesting things. And oooh the distractions. One minute I’m praying and a string of 10 thoughts later I’ve decided to buy a new coffee table on Craigslist. In fact, by that point, I might be on the phone with the person from Craigslist. 

How is that even possible?

I know many would argue that it’s the times we live in. We want things newer, sooner, louder, more entertaining. We have Netflix on demand and You Tube videos at our fingertips. So, sitting still and listening to an invisible God is just…well…boring.

Right?

But, here’s the truly fascinating twist. Almost every single time I make myself spend time with the Lord, either in scripture or just bringing my worries and desires to him, I feel more whole. I feel foundationally secure.  I feel lighter and energized. I feel purposeful. I feel free. I feel like He is with me and that means I can take on the world today.

Now imagine with me for a second.  Imagine that you discovered this person. A friend. The best friend you’ve ever had. And after spending time with this friend you almost always felt more whole, secure, lighter, energized, purposeful, and free.

I can tell you one thing for sure. I would be straight up stalking that person. They would have to block my number and de-friend me on Facebook because I would be constantly begging for time with them.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that it isn’t even logical that I react the opposite way to time with the Lord. And that makes me think that it’s ingrained in me. It’s in my nature. In the very deepest darkest corners of my rebellious self. And I have to fight it because it is my default setting.

And God knows this about us. The culture of 2011 encourages our restlessness, but this is not a new thing. God’s been bringing this to our attention for thousands of years.

Hebrews 4:9-11 says this:
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

The writer of Hebrews brings up two kinds of rest here.

There is rest from work; which often looks like me driving my jeep on a sunny day or snuggling up with Micah in sweatpants for a Friday Night Lights marathon. 

Then there is God’s rest. Which I believe is the gospel. It’s sitting down for a moment of quiet, asking him to speak to you, and then hearing him say, “No more striving today, sweetheart. You are secure in me. You are sinful and broken, but I gave my life so that you might live.” That feels like true rest. Rest for the soul.

And I need it every single day. I need to be reminded over and over and over.

He knows I need that stillness so much that he even, like an attentive parent, rested himself and said, “See. Watch me. Live like I live. Rest from work and rest in me. ”

P.S. The rest of Hebrews 4 is killer. 


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Re-Learning #2: Feeling like a Failure





Oh Dwight. We are so much alike. Ok, not really. But, yesterday I did feel like a failure. A failure at life. This is one of those re-learning things. I have been seriously slacking by my own ridiculously high standards. Here are a few highlights…

Our fridge is embarrassingly empty.  There is a laundry pile taking on a life of its own in our hallway. I have phone calls to return that are getting to that point where I’m considering concocting an elaborate lie to explain why I’ve been MIA. I have loads of work stuff to do. I up and decided that our house is ugly and I want to change everything. My dog keeps staring at me like those Sarah Mclachlan ASPCA commercials and judging me for not walking her more. On and on….

And yesterday it just got to me. It wasn’t pretty. It felt like I was suffocating. Like I was in a tiny room and I couldn’t get out.

So, I vented to Micah (ah, the joys of being married to me) and he listened to me talk in one very long illogical run on sentence like a loving husband should. But, honestly I didn’t feel much better afterwards.

Then this morning God spoke a much needed word to me. He said this….

In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, 
and your years will never end.
 –Hebrews 1:10-12

And then more personally he said this…

Daughter,

All these things mean nothing. They are worthless and ultimately meaningless. Especially the money and possessions you are so tightly holding onto. It will all be gone one day. These things are not who you are. I AM who you are. You are in me and I am in you. I AM what you seek. Trust me to give you what you need in the deepest sense. My way is better. You are doubting that, but believe me it is better.
Fall on me.
Release.
Stop.
Breathe.
Open your heart, and let me in.
See things how I see things.
Come to me.
Relax.
I love you, daughter, and I would do anything for you.
I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. (Isaiah 49)

Love,
Your Father

Whew. I really needed that. I hope it blesses you too. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Things I Hate: Running & Re-Learning



“Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith.” – 1 Timothy 6:11-12

I hate re-learning things. You know when you have those “aha!” moments when you realize something new? Some little gem of wisdom about life or about yourself. You realize this new revelation changes everything, and you think, “I’ll never go back to the way I was!” You walk about life scoffing at those who don’t know what you know. How could they be so foolish? You decide that you should probably educate them on your new found wisdom.

Then time passes…

And you find yourself returning to your old ways and forgetting the revelation.

I hate that.

It reminds me of running. Maybe because I also hate running. There has never been a time when I was running that I wasn’t wondering when I would get to stop running. But, many moons ago, I trained for a 10K (that’s right I said a 10K, not a marathon or a half marathon, just 6.2 miles). It took me 6 months to train (ha!), and when I  finished the race I felt fantastic. In my mind I was basically the Lance Armstrong of running. So, I lived off that arrogance for a couple of months and then I decided to go for a run. I barely made it a half mile. I had lost it.

That’s how I feel spiritually sometimes. I like progress, advancement, growth, accomplishment. But, in those moments of re-learning, I start to believe that I haven’t moved even one step.   

Not true.

God is taking us each someplace. A very individual, very personalized path that he has plowed. And when I look at where I was 5 years ago, I am stunned by how far he has brought me.

So, fight the good fight. Don’t be discouraged. If you are turning your heart to His, then He is growing you, changing you, advancing you. His economy, his progress, his advancement is just measured differently than ours.

Perfectly.

P.S. Over the next few posts I’m going to list a few things God makes me re-learn over and over…besides how to run. What have you re-learned? I would love to hear! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When I Am Weak, I Am Strong




I used to never cry. In high school I would go through break ups, fail test, (insert high school drama here) and never cry.

Then I started walking with the Lord and I became a totally basket case. Now I cry a minimum of three times a week. Crying for me can be brought on by a range of things from the ├╝ber-serious to, I don’t know, let’s say, The Biggest Loser or a credit card commercial. And don’t even get me started on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

But, the fascinating thing is that even now, people who don’t know me very well are surprised to find out that I am a “crier”. Micah was certainly shocked when we got married. Sure he’d seen a few very feminine tears glisten down my face during dating and engagement. But, he was not prepared for the Niagara Falls of ugly crying he would experience in marriage.

So, why is that? Why do I default to this pulled together front even though I am actually very emotional? I think it’s because I value strength. I like being strong. I like other people thinking I’m strong and powerful. Unshakeable. It makes me feel important and in control. People can’t have power over me and know my soft spots. I don’t have to be vulnerable.

And to make matters worse, somewhere along the way I decided that being strong is Christ-like and the only way to reach people. I started teaching people that “I’m strong, and you can be strong too!”

Which is….ridiculous. And definitely not the gospel. In fact, God loves our weakness.

Paul says this:

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
-2 Corinthians 12:8-10

When I am weak, then I am strong.

In our weakness He is strong. He is our power and our security.

The fact is that strength and perfection IS very God-like, but it’s not very me-like. The strength in me is God. So, why am I teaching that it is me? People don’t want to hear that. And frankly, it’s not a very good sell. I don’t think anyone’s testimony is going to be: “Well, I saw that Ashley was perfect, and I wanted to be perfect too, so I became a Christian.” Ha!

People want to hear the truth. That I am broken and a certified wreck. But, God is my hero and he came in my life and put the pieces all together. He made me whole. 

So, like Paul, I want to live a life of integrity but still boast in my weaknesses. I want to show my imperfections and not be scared others will think less of me and run from the Lord.

Because the true gospel and my story is...

 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. – Romans 5:6

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Health Update: The Maker's Diet


This year has been quite a journey for me. I could probably write an entire blog about all the things God has taught me through this one thing, but, for now, just a summary will do.

Starting exactly one year ago I began to have a string of unusual health problems. I have been healthy and fit my entire life, so it came as unfamiliar and scary territory for me. The worst of the symptoms has been canker sores in my mouth. At any given time I will have as many as 15 in my mouth as once! It is horrible. Especially since two of my favorite pastimes (talking and eating) involve my mouth. Often it would completely handicap me from even being able to carry on a conversation.

I also have experienced many other symptoms in addition to the canker sores, but the most prominent are stomach pain and extreme fatigue. Nothing is worse than being tired and in pain…all the time. After seeing countless doctors, taking all the tests, and trying too many remedies to count, there is still no answer. Isn’t not having an answer terrible?

At one point my doctor thought I had Crohn’s disease, and I was terrified. I stupidly went home and read about hundreds of cases of Crohn’s on the internet and convinced myself that I was on my deathbed. Thankfully I did not have Crohn’s, but I remember being so disappointed with not having an answer. The mystery was killing me.

I have had several rock bottom moments in the last year, but the most recent was at a Young Life camp in Colorado in May.  I found myself in the nurses station with a full body rash from an allergic reaction to an antibiotic I was on. I just sobbed like a little baby in front of numerous people, and side note: I absolutely hate crying in public. But, I was a leper, and I couldn’t help it. I was so defeated.

Hopped up on Benadryl and quarantined to the nurses station, I decided now was a good time to read up on a health plan I had heard about: The Maker’s Diet. Four out of six of the girls in my community group are gluten free and I live in Austin (hippies), so I am very aware of the world of clean eating. But, until now, I couldn’t have cared less about it.

The Maker’s Diet is basically based on a diet from the Old Testament on what God told the Israelites to eat and not eat. I read the entire book in only a few days, and I was reenergized to try something new. The diet is 40 days and consists of three phases. Hardest to easiest. As you go along you get to add more and more foods. If you want the details you can download them here: Maker’s Diet Phases 

Well, today is my 25th day on the diet and I am currently canker sore and symptom free! Praise God! About a week ago I had 7 canker sores in my mouth, but as of now they are all healed. The book says often your symptoms get worse before they get better, so I am praying this is true.

It has been SUPER challenging for me. Mostly because I love cheese, bread, sugar, and lard. At first, eliminating all these things made me feel like a drug addict going cold turkey. (“Must have queso!!!”) And I will spare you the details of the “Raisinette incident” where I yelled at Micah for bringing my favorite candy into our house. But things have gotten easier as my taste buds are changing and I don’t loathe every person I see eating a cheeseburger.

For those of you that stumbled upon this blog by Googling “canker sores” because you suffer from them and have tried all the basic remedies (rinsing with salt water, ect.). Here are a few things that have helped me tremendously:

1. Praying healing scriptures over myself
This has absolutely been the most healing thing I have done. Spiritually and physically healing. I try to read them as often and as faithfully as I would take a healing medicine. My personal favs are listed here

And when I’m really feeling low this is my go to:

Jeremiah 17:14-15
 Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; 
save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. 
They keep saying to me, “Where is the word of the LORD? Let it now be fulfilled!”


2. Cleansing Smoothie every day
This is my own adaptation from the Maker’s Diet. It has been fabulous for my sores and stomach pain. I make it and drink half in the morning and half at night. It includes mixing:
·      1 Scoop of Super Seed (whole food fiber blend)
·       1 Scoop of Perfect Food (green superfood blend with HSOs)
·      1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
·      1 tbsp flaxseed oil
·      1 tbsp Apple Cider Vineger
·      1 cup organic frozen fruit
·      8 oz filtered water
Optional Additions:
o   1 egg
o   1 Tbs honey
o   spinach leaves
o   yogurt or almond butter for texture


3.  Daily Whole Food Multi-Vitamin
Must be a “whole food” multi-vitamin to be most effective. I use Vitamin Code Women.
Garden of Life's Super Seed, Perfect Food, and Vitamin Code Women Multi-Vitamin


4. Oral B Amosan
This is an oral wound cleanser in the form of a powder that you mix with warm water. Use it when you have sores in your mouth and they will heal faster and feel better. 

5. Debacterol
This is the serious stuff. I only use it when I am really desperate. It is prescription only and will heal any canker sore. The  downside is it burns like the fires of hell. Seriously, we’re talking tears streaming down your face. It is a small acidic swab that you hold on the sore for a few second. It will heal over immediately.


I hope this helps someone out there!

And for the rest of you, thank you for your prayers! 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Trust You

Yesterday my friend Leah and I spontaneously went to the outlet mall where I bought an embarrassingly large number of Nike shorts. Not the kind that all the college and trendy high school girls wear, but a much more mature Nike Dri Fit version...obviously. They are the perfect length and fit, so I stocked up. 

Leah has an adorable little boy, Henry, and another bun in the oven, so I asked her what has been the most surprising aspect of having children. She said, 


"Everyone told me I would love my kid. But, I don't just love him, I continue to love him more and more than the day before." 


I didn't tell her right then, (I prefer to say encouraging things over the internet rather than in person.) but it captivated me. God has entrusted Leah with this precious life, and she is being faithful in a thousand tiny ways. 

Jesus said, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:48) 

Those of us who God has given gifts are held to a higher standard. Which is everyone! He gives us something precious. He gives us a role, a part to play. 

I imagine it this way... 

I walk up to a king's throne and he hands me a small bag of gold coins. He leans in close to my face and whispers, "Be wise and faithful with these." He owns the coins, but he is allowing me to manage them for him. He is investing in me. Months later I return to the king and have started a business with the gold coins and now have two bags. I hold up the bags, excited to show the king. "Well done!" The king exclaims. "You have been good and faithful with the few coins I have given you; I will set you over much." He reaches behind his throne, grabs a golden treasure box, and hands it to me. I open the box. Inside are rubies, diamonds, gold, silver...there is such a large amount and variety of treasures in the box it's hard for me to take them all in at once. Now he has trusted me with much more. I have a greater responsibility but with greater potential rewards!  

This story is based on Jesus' words in Matthew 25. The truly fantastic twist is that God, our king, entrusts us with even more priceless treasures than in this story. He gives us abilities, friendships, gifts, insights into scripture, direction, leadership roles, a spouse, a voice in someone's life, the Spirit bringing someone to mind who needs us. The treasures are vast and unique to each of us. 

But, we must be faithful. 

We must utilize the abilities. 
Love the friends. 
Appreciate the gifts. 
Let the insights and revelations of scripture soak down into the deepest parts of us. 
Walk in the direction he is pointing. 
Lead with integrity and courage. 
Be patient with our spouse. 
Speak truth into someone's life. 
Call the person who comes to mind. 


And he promises that if we are faithful in the little things, he will give us even bigger things. Exciting! 

Here are a few things I know God has entrusted me with: 



Can you guess what they are?
What about you? What are some things you know he has entrusted you with? 

P.S. God has not entrusted me with that donkey. 



Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Birthday Gift

Well, hello, blog. Sorry it’s been awhile.

Since the last time I wrote, I had a birthday - 28.

To some of you that is old, and to some that is young, but to me it’s just…weird.
I remember being in high school and thinking 20 was ancient. At 28 I thought you were basically dead, or at least really, really boring. Contrary to my high school expectations, I’m liking 28 so far. It’s only been about 12 days since we were introduced, but so far she’s been good to me.





On my birthday, Micah took me to see the movie Thor. I recognize that many girls would not file this high on the birthday agenda, but a little known fact about me is that I love super hero movies. Batman, Superman, Spiderman, X-Men. You name it. It definitely comes from my Dad, who also introduced me to similar movies like Star Wars, Star Trek, Indiana Jones and the like. But, super hero movies were always his (and therefore my and my brother’s) favorite. We would go see one at the theatre and then go to Chili’s and analyze the entire plot over chicken fingers. I love those memories.

As I’ve grown I’ve realized there were many things that drew me to these types of stories. I loved the hero rescuing the girl. I loved that the characters were special. I loved the moment they discovered the power within them. I loved the concept of good conquering evil. I loved the seemingly impossible odds. It all fascinated me, and it still does. So, needless to say, I was excited to see Thor.

And I loved it. Maybe a little too much.

When the movie ended I felt sad. That might sound strange, but I started to have this thought that life is just not that exciting. I was pissed that Micah isn’t ripped, wears a suit of armor, and has access to some alternate universe. I was angry that we were sitting in a movie theatre and not doing something adventurous and of the utmost importance…maybe saving lives or conquering kingdoms or I don’t know ANYTHING! So, in my slight depression we  went home.

As I crawled into bed that night as a 28 year old non-super hero (or super hero wife) I reluctantly turned in my devotional to June 11th. It said this:

“There he broke the flashing arrows,
the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war.” –Psalm 76:3

Our Redeemer’s glorious cry of “It is finished,” was the death-knell of all the adversaries of his people, the breaking of the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle.” Behold the hero of Golgotha using his cross as an anvil, and his woes as a hammer, dashing to shivers bundle after bundle of our sins, those poisoned “arrows of the bow;” trampling on every indictment, and destroying every accusation. What glorious blows the mighty Breaker gives with a hammer far more ponderous than the fabled weapon of Thor!

Beloved, no sin of a believer can now be an arrow mortally to wound him, no condemnation can now be a sword to kill him, for the punishment of our sin was borne by Christ, a full atonement was made for all our iniquities by our blessed Substitute and Surety.

I was stunned, and simply prayed…

Thank you, Jesus, for rescuing me and loving me. Thank you for being my strong protector. Thank you for making me special. Thank you for helping me realize the power within me that you have given me. Thank you for being the good that conquers all evil. Thank you for conquering even when it seems impossible. Thank you that you are coming back for me.

Amen.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How to be Productive



One of my dearest friends, Melissa, sent me the most encouraging email, so I got her the Starbucks above. I recently told her how guilty I’ve been feeling about my lack of productivity. I’ve been sick with some strange health issues for about 6 months now, and in the last couple of weeks I’ve been sick twice. Being sick so often is really challenging my neurotic nature to do EVERYTHING and constantly be making over my life.  My looks, my friendships, my style, my spirituality, my marriage, my intellect…somehow I’ve convinced myself that I need a complete overhaul…everyday. But, anyway, Melissa’s email simply had this verse:

“It is no use for you to get up early and stay up late working for a living. The Lord gives sleep to those He loves.” –Psalm 127:2

Can that be my life motto??

So, I went to look it up, and it also says this:

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guard stands watch in vain. It is no use for you to get up early and stay up late working for a living. The Lord gives sleep to those He loves.” –Psalm 127:1-2

And there’s the heart of the issue. Unless.

Unless the Lord gives wisdom, the student studies in vain.

Unless the Lord provides, the bank account does not grow.

Unless the Lord moves, peoples’ lives are not changed.

Unless the Lord does the work, there’s no point. So, don’t work your life away.

It seems that the psalmist is saying that the most “productive” someone can be is by turning to the Lord and asking him to do it.  So, it’s ok that I have to lay here on the couch and get better. He’s the one doing the work anyway. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lighting the Lamps of the Past


Isaiah 63:7
I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD,
   the deeds for which he is to be praised,
   according to all the LORD has done for us—
yes, the many good things
   he has done for Israel,
   according to his compassion and many kindnesses.

Philippians 2: 1-4
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

Why can’t we do this?

Remember what God has done for us, and have faith he will do it again. If anything to remember the first time we experienced God and he said to you as a captive, “Come out!” and you in darkness, “Be free!” (Is. 49) Or if that memory seems far too distant, there must be some moment not that long ago where you can remember His voice?

Have you ever been sick, and you were healed? Even of the flu?

Worried about finances, and were provided for?

Weighted down by a burden, and felt relieved?

Encouraged in a time of trouble?

Comforted in sorrow?

Don’t forget what God has done for you. Think about the past for a moment.

Has the Lord never met with you? Climbed a mountain with you? Helped you in a time of need?

I know he has.

“Go back, then, a little way to the choice mercies of yesterday, and though all may be dark now, light up the lamps of the past, they shall glitter through the darkness, and thou shalt trust in the Lord till the day break and the shadows flee away.” –Charles Spurgeon