Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Is your hope restless?

Matthew 8:24
"Suddenly, a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat began to be swamped by the waves.  Yet Jesus kept sleeping."
My dog Hope is a restless soul. She takes forever to get comfortable. Literally. The conditions have to be perfect for her to rest. There can’t be any bumps, or she has to get up and keep moving around until every little uncomfortable spot is smoothed out.

Exhibit A

Does this remind you of yourself? Do conditions need to be perfect in order for you to rest? Really rest? Do you need no bumps in the road in order for you to be okay? Does life need to be smooth sailing so that you can be civil towards others?

Jesus was able to sleep soundly on a boat ‘in the midst of’ the storm, while the waves crashed around Him. (I’m sure there were plenty of bumps too, Hope! ;) We don’t read about Him tossing and turning, or pacing, or spinning around in circles like you…uh, errr…I mean Hope.

We too can be in the eye of the storm and rest…as long as our eye is on Him. Just as Peter kept his eye on Jesus, he was able to walk on water despite the waves around him. But when he chose to look around at the storm, he started to sink. His fear of the storm was greater than His faith in the Lord, which caused him to sink.

Is the fear of your current situation greater than your faith in the Lord? Is that causing you to ‘sink’ in despair? It’s not too late to shift your focus on the One who has the ability to either calm the storm around you or the one within you. He has the ability to stop the craziness around you, but all too often His goal is to calm you on the inside regardless of what is happening around you. His aim is to grow us up in Him. To not be like Hope who needs perfect sleeping arrangements. To not be like the newborn who cries incessantly til it gets their way. We grown adults shouldn’t need pacifiers and blankies to keep us content.

Let Hope serve as a reminder to how silly we must look when we are pacing and spinning when we are uncomfortable. What we must look like to an unsaved world when we are unable to be at rest because arrangements aren’t like a 5 Star Resort. God allows us to be uncomfortable in order to show a dying world what real rest looks like, despite bad conditions. This is the time we should shine.

What can you choose to do differently during your next uncomfortable situation?
It really is a choice.

(Poor Hope, she’s gettin’ some bad press on my Blog lately…she does have many redeemable qualities too, stay tuned! ;)


Monday, November 10, 2014

Is your head hanging low too?

1 Peter 2:2
“Desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby.”

My friend brought me flowers yesterday…just because. (Aren’t those the best?!) There’s nothing obligatory about it when it doesn’t fall on a Holiday.


I was noticing that some of them were starting to droop, yet others were standing up straight all perky-like. (Wow, that actually IS a word…my spell check confirmed it!) It’s interesting that each of the flowers are in the same environment, with the same food. Yet some thrive, and others droop.

It reminded me of the Church. You could be receiving the same spiritual nutrition on a Sunday morning, yet some of you will grow and others will hang your head low like my sunflowers. 

I’ve heard it said that if you cut the bottom of the stem at an angle, it allows for more water to travel up to the flower to help it blossom. And cutting it every day allows it to flourish.

Maybe we need to dig down to our roots and cut back some of the things that are hindering our growth. Anything to allow God’s Word (nutrition) to help us blossom as God’s flower. We should be a display of His Beauty, not of a wilting flower that appears to be dying. And maybe cutting into those roots regularly… of where we came from (our Heritage), or how we’ve always done things. Trimming back can bring new life that allows progress. Beauty.

I was thinking my vase may be a bit too small for all the flowers she brought me, possibly being crammed into a small space can prevent further growth. Maybe you have felt squished in so tightly too, where it feels like it’s draining the life right out of you. You don’t have the space to allow room for your personal growth. You feel like you’re constricted and maybe there’s a kink in your hose preventing life giving water from reaching you. Get a bigger vase…allow for more room in your living environment.  (And no...that doesn't require a bigger house, peeps.)  A small animal left in a tiny cage or aquarium can only grow so much, yet when transferred to a larger cage will have a significant growth spurt. Maybe we all need to think outside of the box so we are not restricted in the growth that God would have for us. Sometimes ‘we’ are the biggest hindrance of all to our personal growth as people.

Think of some tangible ways that you can allow for more growth in your life. Don’t be a big fish in a small pond, step out into uncharted waters to risk and then experience a spiritual growth spurt. What can be trimmed back from the roots of your past to allow God’s Word to help you flourish and blossom in this very short life we have on this earth?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Time to make some serious Deposits!

Have you been making any deposits into your Spiritual Bank Account lately? The problem is we tend to make many withdrawals during our crisis modes and then our balance gets dangerously low. We might even get a reminder from the bank that we have fallen below a very low balance. (Not that it’s ever happened to me – but ‘theoretically’ I’ve heard that it can happen. ;)

The challenge is if we have an unexpected expense hit the account – there’s not enough cushion built in to cover it.

So many of us don’t leave enough of a buffer – wiggle room. Most of us don’t have an Emergency Fund set aside for ‘those’ things that happen in our life that weren’t planned into our schedule. The broken down car, the hospital visit, etc.

We need to anticipate ‘emergencies’ – and start putting deposits into our Spiritual Emergency Fund. So when that unexpected phone call comes or that dreaded Doctor’s report arrives, or that betrayal that wounds you deeply happens – you have an account to draw from that you have been consistently depositing into.

The deposits are made in the form of being in God’s Word – the Owner’s Manual for your life.

The Bible says in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Now why would we leave THAT kind of power on the table? We need to be making regular deposits like that into our spiritual account so we can draw from that power when we need it most. We’ll need that kind of discernment during our next storm – trust me, it is coming!

John 16:33 says, “In the world you ‘will’ have tribulation.” (not you ‘might’, or you ‘possibly could’, or ‘maybe' if you’re rebellious…you 'WILL'!!!)

And sometimes that trial you’re going through will cost more than you planned on, and then your account gets overdrawn. As a result, you start getting overdraft fees that are hitting your account. They come in the form of added $stress$, $meltdowns$, $anxiety$, and simply $no peace$. That’s what happens when your ‘account’ is depleted, you have nothing to draw from to handle that next difficulty.

Make a plan today to schedule a regular time in the Word … an Automatic Withdrawal of sorts to start building up your Spiritual Emergency Fund.