My way or the highway…

“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.'” C.S. Lewis

I like that quote. I guess because God does give us a choice, even though to some His choice does seem rather harsh. In our vernacular, it would be like the it’s-my-way-or-the-highway philosophy that our parents at some point in our lives made really obvious to us.

It’s hard to ignore your parents when you’re within their physical gaze, but it’s pretty easy to ignore God when your idea of where He actually is might be up there or everywhere or somewhere else or maybe even nowhere.

I find it really remarkable that once we have received Christ, God never loses patience with us, even when years and years go by and we’re still disobeying Him in a particular area of our lives. Oswald Chambers said, “Nothing is a light matter with a child of God. How much longer are we going to keep God trying to teach us one thing?” Good question.

I agree with Chambers’ assertion that you can’t have a moral holiday and remain moral or have a spiritual holiday and remain spiritual.  That’s one truth we Christ-followers need to keep in mind as we do life.  Spiritual holidays may be fun at the time, but just as with moral holidays, there will be consequences.

Psalm 19:7 says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the whole person (mind, body and spirit); the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”

Remember, it’s impossible to stay in fellowship with God and not repeat the same painful lessons over and over again if you don’t read His Word and incorporate His teachings into your life. It‘s just that simple.

There in that place…

The days rush by, and I think about my grandnephew, whose days are unending, his nights just long enough to remember the tilled fields of spring followed by the green expanse of crops pulsating in summer’s breezes, broken only by the creek winding through our land connecting farm to farm where family wait for his return.

There in that place where even subtle sins are noted, he is lost amidst the many who are watched day and night yet never known beyond surveillance screens that reveal everything yet nothing of the boy he was when he became a man when he was barely more that just a boy.

Like any child who looks for love, he found it in the gentle words of his grandfather, who taught him how to put together and take apart the toys of boyhood one block at a time. And, as he grew older, he watched and learned under the gaze of his almost-dad, who was not there when the judge handed down the ruling that took him away from everything he loved.

He had looked for love so many times in the circle of other wounded children grown up, who saw each other through the glazed eyes of alcohol-induced laughter that hardly hid the pain that roiled deep inside. And the alcohol that took him away from the pain tore the best friend he had ever had from his days and his nights where now the constant glare of prison lights robbed him of the dreams he longed for.

He made himself remember the fresh smell of rain on tilled fields, the familiar aroma of oil and grease in his grandpa’s shop, the joyous atmosphere of family dinners and the sound of his mom’s laughter, the combine’s roar and the sound of the grain swirling up the auger to the bins. He thought of the clicking sounds Grandpa would make as they waited for their plates of BBQ to come at noon and the nudges in greeting from friends and farmers who filled the room from 12 to 1.

He remembered so much and then could take no more and waited in the still dorm as snoring ceased and breaths were held, as the dreaded prospect of one more endless day began.

O, Holy Father, just as Your Son burst forth from the grave, invade that stark place with the reality of Your Presence. Break into hearts and flood them with Your Perfect Love. Shatter the walls that conceal the men you created them to be, and destroy the plans of the enemy to steal, kill and destroy their very lives. Birth hope in jaded hearts this day, and set them aflame for You.

Silence…

Strangely silent
well, maybe not so strange
sometimes the heart has nowhere to go
nothing to say, except to Him
who always hears
but is silent
when silence must have its way.
How could months go by, I wonder,
months of silence recorded doggedly
through scores of mornings
when my sole desire was to sit at His feet
and listen.
Haltingly I ask for words to flow
from this heart ever changed
by His Words, His Voice
heard best in the silence.

It’s time…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how people come into our lives, with many staying but most around only for perhaps a season or maybe two before moving on. People who we’ve worked with, gone to different churches with, who’ve been our neighbors at one time or maybe even close friends who, one day, are no longer in our sphere of influence.

When we’re really following Christ, which, for me means intentionally doing what I know He would do, do we pay attention to the moments God gives us each day to reach out physically to bless someone, even if it’s just to speak a word of encouragement? You know the ones I’m talking about–the ones we put on our prayer list and stand with in faith, believing for healed marriages, rescued children, restored health, and work opportunities. 

Most of the time we’re not there when the prayers are answered, but we continue to ask in faith, believing that God will finish the work He began. I like how Paul said it in 1 Corinthians 3:6-9: I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are fellow workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Am I doing my part, or am I so busy that opportunities to plant and water come and go without my notice? Seriously, am I really a fellow-worker in God’s service? Who is standing in my field? Who is there in my building? Who is God telling me to encourage? Don’t you think it’s time we paid attention? We have this day, this moment in time to make a difference. Will we?

Write this day upon my heart…

I have always liked the comfort of sameness. I have sought it and drawn strength from it, choosing the peace of predictability over the possibility of unforeseen circumstances.  It sounds like the chicken way out, I know, but it works for me and that’s what matters. It’s when I’m at my best and I hear His voice.

    • Mornings looking out my window to field and grove, taking in sky and birds at the feeder, the pair of doves on the power line, the occasional passing of cars, reading Utmost and the Word—thinking, writing, watching.
    • Vacations to the same place where I always find my smile and my heart expands in wonder as I breathe in the beauty of gentle waves, an unhindered horizon and blue beyond imagination.
    • Trips to the mountains to hear the familiar laughter of my one true friend, who I’ve known all of my life, even when time and distance separated us—the sister by choice who remembers the child I was.

Today is a new day opening before my very eyes,
a new page, perhaps a new chapter in the book of my life
that began with You when the worlds were made.
It is not a slate washed clean
but a fresh new page that awaits Your Hand.
Will I ignore tomorrow what You write today,
choosing my words of limited power
over Yours that have no end?
Will I glory in Your Words — or revel in my own?
When I look back someday at what I have written,
will I wonder what it was all about,
or will this day be written on the halls of my heart
where You abide with me?
Will I rejoice in bended knee at sin expressed,
at contrite heart at sin confessed?
When someday I read this day,
will it be as fresh as this crisp morning?
O Holy Father, write this day for me — indelibly —
on this sometimes resistant human heart that waits
to hear Your Voice saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it.”