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No Excuses

The Lord nudged me awake this morning with these words, “There is no hindrance in your life that hinders you from trusting Me.” O MY WORD, LORD JESUS! Tell me that again! Say what? There is no hindrance to trusting God. There will never be a valid excuse for distrusting God. There will never, ever be an excuse for not trusting Him to do in us all that He has promised to do, and will do, as we trust Him. No excuses exist that warrant human complacency, because God is always enough … because He is eternally trustworthy. Difficulties, hardships, suffering, weaknesses and distresses will never provide enough excuses to distrust God–never reason enough to not step out in faith. Because? Because God is always good, always trustworthy, always full of glory and justice and mercy and grace and love. “He is able to do exceedingly above all that we can ask or think, according to His power that works within us…” Ephesians 3.20. We can always trust God.

I know, I want to say it again and again, “There is no hindrance in your life that hinders you from trusting Me.” I just want to keep stretching this truth as far as it will go … and repeat the reality of it in as many different ways as He will show me. O LORD… My confession today is that I have been hindered by my human weaknesses. I’ve been feeling thwarted by my weaknesses … writing excuses to God for my inability to trust Him. My human limitations have been all too real to me; overshadowing, and therefore casting doubt in my own mind as to God’s abilities. But in reality, my weaknesses aren’t hindering me from trusting God… It’s that I see weakness as a hindrance.

Yes, yes, I know, I’m weak, but Paul’s words are just as real for us as they were for him, “And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

I met with someone recently who has several physical challenges, but I was only aware of the hindrances that exist in her mind. Her mindset limits her from trusting God. He wanted me to encourage her, but He also wanted me to have a very clear picture of the limitations our soul invests in, and is enslaved to. There is nothing that hinders this dear sister from moving forward with God’s glorious purposes in her life, except what she has told herself, and what the enemy conjures up in a pile of meaningless lies. I drove away praying for her, but I was also deeply convicted by the same pattern I see in my life. “There is no hindrance in your life that hinders you from trusting Me.” Thank you, Lord Jesus. It’s not about self-improvement or advancing our personal goals, it’s about fulfilling His purposes through these earthen vessels for His glory.

I renounce soul-hatched limitations. I renounce the lies of the enemy designed to keep me focused on personal failure. I repent of my excuses to wallow in human defeat. I repent of my distrust of God to do all that He desires to do, even the things beyond my natural capabilities. Of course, I’ve just described a life dependent upon Him. Go God!

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“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world” C.S Lewis, Mere Christianity. Indeed, we were made for another world, a world where Jesus is Lord.

Years ago I heard John Fisher sing a song that included the words, “Home is where your heart is.” Our real home is not a man-made structure with a cement foundation, where we hold all our earthly possessions and return to at the end of the day to find shelter. As children of God our real home isn’t located on a certain street, in a certain city. That’s just our temporary dwelling place. Our real home is in heaven.

Even though we are other worldly, the sweet truth of Jesus is that He is always with us. He is not far off. He is right here, right now. He’s Home.

Jesus Wants Followers

He pulled me aside today.  Vertigo grounded me. I accepted the opportunity to stop, but it took awhile for me to catch on. Rolling, rolling, rolling to a stop.

There were no passionate prayers; no strategic planning sessions with God; no deep theological considerations; no wondering about where to go next … just being.

When life gets that quiet, things get real simple.

Today, I was reminded of my purpose as a follower of Jesus. It’s to follow.  He wants followers. He doesn’t want robots, He wants followers. And since “following” is a consistent urging in the Bible (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23), it is safe to assume that Jesus is still leading.  And since He is leading, then our primary activity is to follow. “Follow Me” that’s what He said and is still saying to His disciples today. Pretty simple. Yet, costly.

In pursuit.

 

Consider the Ant

It came to me this morning.  The words, “…consider the ant, you sluggard!”

Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise,
7 Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler,
Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.
How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep—
11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:6-11, NKJV)

My great grandparents worked hard during the Great Depression.  They labored in the sweltering Oklahoma heat, in corn and wheat fields, from sun up to sun down. They sure lived according to the ant by God’s grace.

The inspiration is fresh in my mind.  Considering … choosing … going with the Captive of our soul.  Work like an ant!

For several days the words, “Though the fig tree should not blossom…” kept coming to mind. Driving across town, “Though the fig tree should not blossom…” My first thoughts in the morning, “Though the fig tree should not blossom…” While walking in the tree grove near the hillside, “Though the fig tree should not blossom…”

The words brought comfort and assurance. It was the word though that landed so softly on my heart. Even though the reliability of spring would fail and the tree bring no blossom for fruit, yet… When all we rely upon should falter or fail, yet…

God remains. Nothing in Him will ever change. We can be certain of Him, forever.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

17 Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.

For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.

Holy Forgetfulness

Love… “does not take into account a wrong suffered…” I Corinthians 13:5.

After years of bitterness and scorn, I see her face softening. She is clothed with humility and brokenness; the brokenness that comes from seeing the depth of God’s love and grace.  The old stories that kept the bitter memories alive are now accented with joy … there is no need to extract the painful memories to feed her soul’s snare, instead there is a new mercy gripping her heart.  I am witnessing a healing miracle that comes from the Lord’s merciful hand.  God be praised!

Returning to God

Amos’ words to the sons of Israel in chapter 4…

vs 6 “‘…yet you have not returned to Me,’ declares the Lord.”

vs 8 “‘…yet you have not returned to Me,’ declares the Lord.”

vs 9 “‘…yet you have not returned to Me,’ declares the Lord.”

vs 10 “‘…yet you have not returned to Me,’ declares the Lord.”

vs 11 “‘…yet you have not returned to Me,’ declares the Lord.”

Just poetry? Emphasis. It was a critical warning from an unwavering prophet under God’s influence.  A nation returns to God when her people turn to God.  Turning… Keep turning.  Don’t stop. Keep turning to God in prayer.  Jesus reigns eternally.