Thursday, June 22, 2017

Identity


I knew this was coming.  It always does in our lives.  We all struggle with it in one way or another.....who are we?  How do we identify ourselves? Is it what we do?  Where we live? Who we know? Where we've been?

"Who am I?" is a critical question when life changes.  If we don't have that clear, if we haven't established an identity apart from our circumstance then we are in for a crisis.  

I'm in the midst of looking once more at "who am I?"  It means going back to basics, staring once more at what God says about me and not what I do.  

Recently I asked a young man who was struggling with a problem in his life these two questions, I told him that his answers to these questions would define who he is and how he will live.  Now I find I am revisiting my questions to him.  Here they are:

1. Who are you?
and,
2. Whose are you?

I often say to others, "God's not as interested in what you do as he is in who you are...because who you are will determine what you do."  

Now to revisit my own advice to others....


Monday, June 19, 2017

Do you know he sees you?


"You haven’t laughed your best laugh,
you haven’t dreamed your best dream,
you haven’t danced your best dance,
you haven’t sung your best song.
If you’ll shake off the disappointment
and get your passion back,
then God has an "after this" for you."

I got this note about a month ago from a man in Pakistan whom I have never talked to before.  It's so interesting to see how God speaks to us through the words of others.

This morning I got a note from a dear friend of more than 40 years and she said,

"Good morning, Mike.
The Lord laid you on my heart the last few days.
I pray all is well.
Just know your heavenly Father
loves you with an everlasting love
that will only take you where
He has already gone before.
Blessings to you."

It constantly amazes me how this wonderful God, who seems so busy running the Universe, is willing to stoop down, see me and show me he loves me. His kindness and mercy are more than we could even know.

One of my dear Psalms is 138.  In that short chapter are these words,

"For though the Lord is exalted,
Yet He regards the lowly"

Do you know that he sees you?  He loves you and will reach out to you in many ways and voices.  He will say to you, "I see you, I love you, I love to show you how much I care."

Now I can't tell you all that I'm in the midst of.  It doesn't matter for these words. We all go through difficult days in our lives, but when we are most stretched, strained and fearful God is always so kind to reach out to you and say, "I see you.  Do you know I love you?"

You will hear it...if you will be still and listen.

"He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters." Ps. 18:16


Friday, June 09, 2017

Focus!


Have you ever walked on water?  
No?
Neither have I,
but
there was one man who walked on water
as easily as we walk across the yard.

This morning I want to focus on a second man
who walked on water as well.

He was just like me- fearful, doubting, uncertain,
but one day he asked a bold question
and here it is,

"Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.  But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”"

His name was Peter and he walked on water!  
Other than Jesus he was the only man to ever do this miraculous thing.  In the middle of the story I see Peter getting distracted and when that happened he took his eyes off of Jesus and fear came.

Our lives today are miracles of walking on water and we aren't even aware of it.  We trust God, who we have never seen, and his Son, who we have never seen either, for an eternity with him in a place he is preparing, again...no one has seen that either!  

Faith is trusting the faithful word of another for something we don't see or experience now, but believe we will one day simply because that person said it was true.

Peter got distracted and began to sink, he "saw the wind" and became afraid.  Why was he afraid of the wind? He was already doing something impossible. What could the wind do to him? 

But he lost focus...
...he took his eyes off of Jesus...
and when we do that fear comes.

At the end of the story Jesus asked Peter (and us) this amazing question- "Why did you doubt?"

It seems an obvious question but I know I would have answered, "Are you kidding me Lord?  Don't you know what we were doing is impossible??"

And that's the very point of faith...it's a focused trust in an invisible God for miraculous things we have yet to see...and we are staking our eternity on his words.

The only way to do this is to keep our focus on him.  When we get distracted from our focus on Christ fear comes, doubts arise, temptations increase...
...and we begin to sink.

Don't you know that what we are doing is impossible? This living by faith thing makes no sense at all....except for the fact that it's all true.

Jesus really is God making it possible for us to do the impossible and walk by faith, hand in hand, with an amazing, loving God.




Wednesday, June 07, 2017

What's next?


What's next?  I'm at one of those moments when I actually have to ask myself that question.  I'm in the middle...between "now" and the unknown.  In the middle, as we leap from what has been to the unknown of what will be, we all experience a bit of fear, panic, uncertainty.  It's part of the excitement of being in the middle between now and then.  

But what is certain is this:  We serve a wonderful living God who oversees the events of our lives.  Each step, each moment, each stumble...he is there.  And, in the middle, between what we have had and what we will be, he is there too.  He is a God of that gap, a God who is near, holding our hands, walking with us as we leap into the unknown.

What's next?  I have no idea, but I have a big God holding my hand as I find out.  Isn't that exciting?