Habakkuk 2 :1 I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. 2 Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. 3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.
My “station” is the Lazy Boy early in the morning looking for God to speak to me through his Word and sometimes the words of his people who have shared their inspiration in their own writings. One of my favorite quotes is from Oswald Chambers: “patience is not the same as indifference.”
It’s that Lazy Boy that’s made all the difference between patience and indifference for me. If I’m there and I get nothing it’s patience. If I’m not there, it’s indifference. It’s an Inspired Risk to believe God is there with truth for me. It’s an Inspired Risk to believe I do have a “revelation.” It’s an Inspired Risk to find my own words of faith and then run with them. I won’t get it right every time…but there is an appointed time. Patience is an Inspired Risk: “Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come …”
Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
I believe so strongly that the Holy Spirit is alive and well and at work. I believe that if I have put my life in Jesus it is my foolishness if I do not begin to explore the reality of the teaching, supporting and personal guidance God has promised that Spirit will give me according to his will. I may get wrong at times…but then I’ve been wrong many times for nowhere near as good a reason as trying to find faith in my daily life.
It’s the groaning part I understand the most; mine first, and then the Spirit’s as he and God strategize about my journey to holiness. That advocate who can explain me to God is great but here’s the rest, and the best, of the plan from my human standpoint. It’s the purpose and promise that the Holy Spirit will Show Me…to Me. It’s a really big deal.
John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
It’s obvious even among the most devoted believers that there are individual quirks leftover when God deals with the serious business of saving a person. Surely you know someone of deep and true faith that gossips, or lashes out, or lies, or….[you fill in the blank].
It’s easy for me to see those flaws in others and much harder to recognize them in myself. These are the hold-out things that can become the secret weapons of the enemy. He can’t have our souls back but he can cause a lot of hurt and havoc in our lives with those leftover quirks.
Jesus has saved my soul and now he’s standing ready to save me from myself; to free me from those quirks. After all these years, and hours of devotion, and true transformation here I am seeing one of those little “quirks” in my own life. It’s awful and it’s wonderful at the same time. It’s awful to see it…and wonderful to know Jesus has got a plan for me to be free of it.
I’m crawling up on the altar again Lord, to sacrifice one more “last” thing…again…to you. I love you. I love that your purpose is to make me whole and into your likeness, first with redemption and now with renovation. It’s the best kind of Home Improvement.
Christians and non-Christians alike, if asked to name a Biblical figure could probably come up with this name with just a few hints. He was a faithful jew, he persecuted Christians, he was confronted by the Lord while taking a walk. Not only his life, but his name was changed because of that encounter! Got it? This great hero of the Bible then began a much recorded mission that would retain all of its radical impact thru today’s history and probably on thru timeless history. His name? The Impossible Paul.
That’s my affectionately inaccurate mutilation of his name. It’s brought on by my own personal struggle to live out his words “I have learned to be content in all things.” My inability to live those words is frustrating. I am as far from that reality as health is from illness, fear from security or youth from age. It may be embarrassing to admit that to you but it really makes me mad to have to admit it to myself.
And yet as impossible as these words from the Apostle seem, I believe them. His story of living them out has become my source of hope. It seems that the key is to accept what IS. Life has taught me to have goals but they all seem to be based on what I want and what is yet to come. I have to reexamine that whole area.
There’s the issue of using the past as a rehearsal stage for the future. That’s an area I’ve wasted far too much time on. Second guessing….if I’d done this, the outcome would have been that…..So next time I’ll do…and so on. You get the picture, a truly futile effort. I’m sure that “to be content in all things” is to be content in only one thing – Christ in me, here and now!
Here’s my dilemma. If you were to ask me has God been in charge of my past, my immediate answer would be YES! Of the future, YES! But the reality of today? Can he bridge the big gap between my answers and my actions? Can he build a bridge for me between health and illness, fear and security, youth and age? Can I give up wanting to know things I can’t know? What is God going to do? How is He going to do it? It is apparently going to take a lifetime to learn how to be content in only one thing.
2 Corinthians 5:10 & 17
10 for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
The key trigger phrases for me this morning were:
• …whether good or bad
• The old has gone, the new is here!
One of the mental images I believe the Holy Spirit has given me is that of finally meeting Christ face to face. I’ve only shared it a few times and no one seems wowed by it so it may be completely wrong…but I really don’t think so. I think it disturbs people’s idea of what entering into eternal life with Christ will be like.
In my version, I am wrapped in Jesus” arms prepared for eternity…but first…I see my life for the first time through His reality, like a movie. Frankly some of what I have to see makes me weep tears of sadness that I missed the mark so many times. But those are not tears of guilt or punishment, they are the final cleansing. They are Tears of Purification. There in Christ’s arms the moment of perfection happens; the purification of my heart, soul, mind and strength for all of eternity.
We have come through a long, and well-developed, period of esteem building that hasn’t had the effect we’d hoped. It’s a good thing to be capable, to be strong, to be skilled but there’s a falseness to how we’ve promoted that. We’ve outstripped God himself with our motivational chants and as a result we have, and are, a people who do not recognize that we have settled for better when we could have had best. I’m convinced this is our biggest sin; not the things we do or say. I’m also convinced this keeps people away from the life-giving Jesus.
We have settled for words we hoped would build self-esteem and character but they have spiraled out of control inwardly until all that is left is the conflict of our own inner realities and our programmed ideas of how we SHOULD respond to life. It’s no wonder we are stressed. Inside we know our inadequacies and outside we forge onward based on these personal and cultural mantras we need to rethink:
Have it your way
You can do it
Take care of yourself
You deserve it
Love is never having to say you’re sorry
It’s the real thing
Be true to yourself
Believe in yourself
Feel good about yourself
I’m OK, you’re OK
From the day we’re born finding “the real me” is the task we set out on. Our messages over the years are many but they are not always correct or valuable. Sometimes they seem completely misleading. We are bombarded with basic tools for a reality of success, achievement and pride in our efforts. Those are good and worthy values but they are also part of our struggles.
The messages themselves are a part of the problem but so is our response to them. We need to become aware these motivational message have a downside; leading people to make self-sufficiency their god (with a little “g.”) But there is the big “God” to be considered. He is Sovereign. He is in charge. If we believe that, our quest becomes our opportunity to find ways to transform those messages of success, achievement and pride of accomplishment so they impact hearers in a world-changing way.
Our language of encouragement needs to be transformed from stress producing to stress reducing. No more motivating chants like “you can do it” when they haven’t a clue how, or “have it your way” when it’s obvious they don’t know what that way is. This is culture language that has left us bereft because our inner truth and “fake it ’til you make it” just leave us with a load of stress. We faked it and we didn’t make it; we couldn’t do it. Now what? When did “not getting my way” become failure? When did “need” become weakness? That seems like the biggest hurdle between searchers and Jesus’ promise of abundant life.