I struggle when life looks differently than I had planned. In my plan, my children all have perfect testimonies of growing up in a Christian home, never having tasted what the world has to offer, never dipping a toe in the cesspool of sin, never wrestling with God over anything. My children learn from their parents’ mistakes without having to make any of their own. My children’s plans differ from my plan. They are tripped by sin. They make mistakes. They choose poorly. They give in to temptation. Sometimes it seems there is a wide chasm between their plan for them and my plan for them. I cringe when I see them struggle. I grieve when they wrestle God. But Jesus. Because of Jesus, their temptations are turned into invitations. Because of Jesus, their poor choices are reclaimed. Because of Jesus, every mistake is redeemed. No struggle is wasted. No sin is too great that God cannot recycle it. Somewhere in the middle, spanning that chasm between our different plans, I think, might be God’s plan for them.
PONDER: What plans do you need to release to God today?
But Jesus is one of thirty devotionals I’ve been asked to write this year as part of a friend’s year-long devotional project. I look forward to taking this step outside of my comfort zone by sharing what the Lord is showing me. My hope is that you will find a place here where you feel comfortable in taking that step with me.
I have been pondering John 18:11 this morning and the two opposite sides of the coin represented when it comes to surrendering to God’s will.
Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
On the one hand, I want desperately to be like Jesus, trusting and accepting and following as God directs my life. I want to live in unreserved surrender to His plan in an “all in” kind of way. On the other hand (the one that struggles for dominance), instead of accepting the cup with the trust in God that Jesus displayed, I’m more like, “Well, let’s have a look in that cup first.” I want to discuss – to bargain – with God until we come to some sort of mutualagreement before I take my cup. As one hand reaches for the cup God is handing to me, the other tightens on the sword at my side in a struggle with the desire to have veto power over God’s plan for me.
PONDER: In what areas in your relationship with God do you struggle with wanting veto power? Which hand will you give dominance to today?
Veto Power is one of thirty devotionals I’ve been asked to write this year as part of a friend’s year-long devotional project. I look forward to taking this step outside of my comfort zone by sharing what the Lord is showing me. My hope is that you will find a place here where you feel comfortable in taking that step with me.
2 Corinthians 5:7 – “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
When Rosie was a puppy, my youngest daughter began obedience training with her. To help, I sometimes took Rosie on “training walks” around the park by our house to help her learn trust in the one leading her. Without fail, after a few yards Rosie would begin inching ahead of me, taking the lead on our walk. A quick tug on her training collar and she was back by my side, walking alongside me again. The more experience Rosie had during these training walks, the better she was at following my lead. I began to look for opportunities to challenge her, to allow her to choose to trust my lead. Yippee dog up ahead? Great! Children running around the playground? Super! These were opportunities for Rosie to grow in her walk with me, to grow in her trust of me to lead her well. Too often, I am like Rosie in my walk with God. I pull ahead, trying to lead. I get distracted by what’s around me and react instinctively, walking by sight rather than walking by faith in the One leading me.
PONDER: What sights are keeping you from walking by faith? What is keeping you from praying, “yet not my will, but yours be done?”
PRAYER: Father, I confess to you that I am tempted to walk by sight in this situation. Please help me to trust you fully so that I may walk by faith. Gently tug at my heart when I pull ahead of your leading. Teach me, Father, to walk with you every step of today.
A Walking Faith is one of thirty devotionals I’ve been asked to write this year as part of a friend’s year-long devotional project. I look forward to taking this step outside of my comfort zone by sharing what the Lord is showing me. My hope is that you will find a place here where you feel comfortable in taking that step with me.
The first time my back went out, I was nineteen. When I was younger and my primary job was lifting babies all day long, it went out with regularly and always took several weeks to recover. As my children grew, so did the time between incidents. Imagine the frustration of being stuck lying on the flat of your back for weeks on end, of needing assistance to do such essential tasks as emptying your bladder, of gross inactivity when you want to dosomething. Though still frustrating, my perspective is changing. When you have no other option available to you except being still on the flat of your back, there is nowhere to look but up.
PONDER: What circumstances have you experienced that brought you to a place where there was nowhere to look but up? Perhaps these were God’s invitations to you to be still and know Him.
PRAYER: Father, I long to be still and to know You in a deeper way. Please open my eyes so that I may see my circumstances as invitations to fellowship with You. Help me to embrace being still with You today.
Being Still is the first of thirty devotionals I’ve been asked to write this year as part of a friend’s year-long devotional project. I look forward to taking this step outside of my comfort zone by sharing what the Lord is showing me. My hope is that you will find a place here where you feel comfortable in taking that step with me.
Most of the artwork I’ve seen depicting John 11 only contains a few people witnessing Lazarus’ resurrection. I love this particular one by artist John August Swanson. I am drawn in by the magnificent color. I feel almost invited to picture myself as one of the many. The Bible recounts in John 11:45 that –
“…many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in Him.”
M A N Y.
Many believed because of what they had witnessed, what they had seen with their own eyes. This truly was an extraordinary day in the lives of those m a n y!
I just love the promise that a new year holds and while I have made (and broken!) countless New Year’s Resolutions, the past couple of years I have focused more on purposefully directing my steps toward this idea of more and on making resolutions less. Ann Voskamp shared a beautiful worksheet on FB recently that helped set the framework for my new year.
On January 1st, with Ann’s printed worksheets in hand, husband Simon and I headed to Big Shucks for a lunch date, just the two of us. Over diet sodas, Simon and I got to work, separately jotting down the direction we desired to point our feet in this promising new year. Afterward (which admittedly took longer than we’d anticipated), we ordered our lunch and over the next 45 minutes or so, ate & shared the fruits of our labor. How encouraging it was to see that some of the areas we desired to grow individually in 2016 crossed paths and that others we wholeheartedly encouraged in the other!
One that I wrote down individually was that I purposed to embrace living outside of my comfort zone in 2016. Yesterday provided the first opportunity to act upon what I had purposed to do. I received a text in the morning from family friends needing our help that very night. I confess, my first (inward) response was a solid “no, but thank you for thinking of us.” I was looking forward to enjoying a pajama day, so I already had big plans for the day as far as I was concerned. Long story short, after briefly discussing it with Simon, we agreed this was a worthy first step outside of my comfort zone. I texted my friend to count us in and nine hours later we ditched the pajamas and engaged the residents at a local assisted living facility over BINGO! alongside a couple of our children & our sweet friends. And I am so glad we did.
How willing are you to embrace stepping outside of your comfort zone in 2016? Seizing opportunities (especially the uncomfortable ones!) can turn the Ordinary Days into the extraordinary, which is a great first step in making memories meaningful for both yourself and those with whom you share life.