Let God Write The Story

I know a man who has failed time and again.  He is so sure of his failing, he can not allow success.  If things are going well, he simply forces failure on all he is trying to accomplish.

Let God write the story.

I know an old man who has betrayed his wife, his children, many times. The guilt and condemnation he feels over all the hurts he has caused, the overwhelming shame that darkens every day, tell him he can not be loved.

Let God write the story.

The woman who had an abortion so many years ago.

The teen awaiting sentencing.

A child bound in slavery of a type no one should ever face.

Let God write the story.

We don’t believe that He is, sometimes.  We want to help Him.  Maybe just skip ahead to the good part.  Or just read the last page and close the book.

But, if we let Him, He can write something amazing.

It will have pain.  It will be terrifying at times.  It is a God story after all.

Don’t grab the pen.  Don’t rip out the pages.  Don’t speed read over the details.

It’s a good read, a beautiful picture.  Let it capture you.  Let Him capture you.

Let God write your story.

Advertisements

Coward

I can be totally immobilized by fear.

Seriously!

The one time I went into combat, we heard shots in the distance and I laid down and went to sleep.

When I know that my family must have the best from me, that I must make the decision to stand and be counted, I lock up.

Fear can just paralyze me.

Today, I found myself feeling that way.  Locked up, couldn’t think.  My wife grabbed my hand and prayed.

She prayed for courage and wisdom and her prayer went straight through me, into me, surrounding me.

Was it her voice?  The words she chose?  The touch of her hand?

Those were ingredients in the process, I’m sure.  But they can’t take credit for the power that welled up inside me.

Jesus loves me.  He loves my wife and family.  He’s on my side and He actually doesn’t care how perfect I am.  He knows me.

As Paul said, we find that His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  We seem surprised by that.  Like, maybe it shouldn’t be that way.  Maybe His strength should show up when we are strong, when we are doing great, when we are on fire.

But, His Kingdom is much more like a wife who holds her failing husband’s hand and admits the need for more of Him.  

His Kingdom is more like He’s at the center of it than we are.

And in that, even I can be brave.

Wait a second!

I was reading about a very familiar story in the bible last night and it hit me. . .

Moses, children of Israel, trapped by the Red Sea as Pharoah’s chariot’s draw near.

600 Chariots!

Wait, 600 chariots?  How many Israelites were there?  Over two million!  Over six hundred thousand men!

Panic!  Run!  Help!  Pick up a rock?!

Now the chariot was the latest in battle technology at the time, and a real game changer as far as the damage they could wield, but come on!

Slaves for over four hundred years and now finally free.  Do you think you would role over and cry like a baby?  I hope I wouldn’t!

But, do I?

Set free from sin, clothed in His righteousness, filled with THE HOLY SPIRIT!  And sin comes crouching, fear and worry dig their claws in, bitterness and doubt shout their lies, and what do I do?

Mommy!  This is too hard!  I want my blankie!

Fathers!  Men of God!  Mothers and Holy women!  We must stand up!  We must stop them from taking one more of our children!  We must speak truth and life into their lives so that our families and loved ones know the difference.  We must live for Jesus Christ, daily in His word, constantly in prayer.

When you see the power inside of you and expose the toothless roars of the enemy . . . well . . . It looks like 2 million against 600.

Where does my help come from?

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?”‭‭
Psalm‬ ‭121:1‬ ‭NIV
Something about being on the edge of the Rockies changed the meaning of these verses for me.  As I climbed Seven Falls and walked through the Garden of the Gods, it changed my perspective.
A person running down a mountainside to come to my aid would be nice.  An army of angels rushing to my rescue would be great.  But that is not what I have available to me.

“My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭121:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

My Hero, my Savior is God Almighty.  He not only rushes to rescue me, He made the mountains, the ground, the air, the planet that carries me everyday.

This Psalm goes on to say that God doesn’t sleep, He’s never caught off guard by the things that come against me.  He will keep me from harm.

As worry threatens and life bears down on me, finances overwhelm and something else breaks down or starts to leak, it is good to look to the mountains, with all their might and grandeur, and remember what kind of God I serve!

We are not consumed 

I have been praying over some difficult situations lately.  There are several things that are weighing on my heart.  There are so many things that we’ve lost, so many dreams unfulfilled.  I am aware of hurting families, lonely singles, broken marriages, the addicted, the depressed, the discouraged.

At my job lately, I’ve been working a lot of hours.  Sometimes I am amazed at the strength God has provided.  It’s like I am a machine that just goes full steam, nonstop.  I did twelve hours yesterday and didn’t feel all that tired.  The ride home from work reminded me that I am not a machine.  Machines don’t get back pain or have trouble walking into the house.

I thought of the verse:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (‭Lamentations‬ ‭3‬:‭22-24‬ NIV)

I just kept repeating the phrase, “we are not consumed.”  

Broken hearts consume us, but we are not consumed.  Sickness consumes us, but we are not consumed.  Hatred, bitterness, fear, sadness consume us, but we are not consumed.

How can we go through life, friends dying, hope crushed, some facing pain and sickness, torture, catastrophe and not be consumed?  It doesn’t even matter if you are a Christian or not.  Living begs the question, “how are we not consumed?”

And maybe you feel like you are consumed.  I feel like that sometimes.  “I can’t take anymore.  If one more thing weighs me down, I’ll die.”

But, I AM NOT DEAD!

I can take more.  I can still move.  I will take one more breath, think one more thought.  You will too.

All because of the love of God.  

As I say this, I see a picture that was posted recently.  The guns of Isis warriors pointed at and poking a small child.  I do not believe that child lived, and it’s last moments were horror.  That is an environment where God’s love has been shoved aside, where man has fully denied God’s heart and run after evil.  That is what would consume us all if God’s love was removed.

I will not accept lethargy, complacency or apathy.  Depression and despondency will not rule my days.  I will wait for the Lord and live in such a way that I bring honor to Him. 

Because I am not consumed.



Nothing to Fear

Interesting thing, the concept of fear.  English is limited in its expression of this word.  In French, we use two words.  “craindre” and “peur”.  

The first signifies a respectful fear, demonstrated by the verses in Proverbs that say, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  It carries the idea of special treatment, an understanding of spiritual, physical, mental relationships that make the object of our “fear” something different than ourselves.

Think rabid dog, lion on the Serengeti, dad when you’ve wrecked the car.

The second term is closer to our word terror.  It is not about understanding, it is unreasonable, uncontrolled.

Think horror movies, phobias, bogey men.

“For our God did not give us a spirit of timidity (fear), but of power and love and of a sound mind.”

When Paul penned these words to Timothy, he was speaking words of encouragement to a timid young man.  Over the years we have come to look at it as saying God does not want us to fear anything.  The words in scripture that speak of God’s love, His presence, His power and majesty are many, and where our focus should rest.

But…

I was praying and apologizing for words I had spoken that were meant as warning but were taken as terrorizing.  I want the former, never the latter.  God then reminded me that He put words of “fear” in scripture too.

“For our adversary, the devil, is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

We should never be in “peur” of satan.  He was defeated, eternally, at the cross.  We are free, Spirit filled, powerful.  We should always understand that we are in a fight for our lives, a fight for the lives of those we love.  It is not pretend.  It is not churchy hell, fire and brimstone.  It is war.  It is bloody.

There’s a difference between courageous and fearless. 

Reality Check

He stood off to the side with his pal, though, for the life of him, he had no idea what he was doing there.  He was no criminal, no gangster or thug.  He certainly was no cop, no undercover narcotics officer, no remote affiliation to the DEA.  He was just a man.

They had the initial meeting an hour ago and now stood waiting, reminiscing over times from childhood, when they had last seen each other, when they had last been friends.  By chance, just meeting again on this day, at the worst, or maybe the best moment.

Two goons came up and stood before them.  “Mr. Dozer wants to talk wit you,” was all they said but they were looking at him, not his friend, not the armed policeman.  They were talking to him.  The guns in their hands allowed for no argument.

With quaking heart and watery knees he followed, coming to stand before the leader.  Sinister malice poured from the man wh stared at him now.

“You got your choice.  See we don’t know you, don’t know why your here.  That makes me nervous.  So you get to choose.  I can kill you now or you can take a test.  You pass the test, I let you in my gang.”

As he spoke, the two thugs were handed clubs.

“We’ll give you a chance, you don’t have to ace this.  But every wrong answer is going to cost you.”  They all smiled, the thugs tapping their clubs meaningfully.

He knew he would be caught if he answered wrongly.  He knew that he didn’t know enough to answer correctly.  Good chance that he was dead, no matter what.  So he did the only thing he could think of.

He sent up a silent prayer.  Then, reached out and grabbed a handful of hair from the man before him.  He pulled downward as hard as he could and kneed his enemy in the face.  Then, in one fluid movement, he drove his elbow into the bas of the man’s skull and killed him.  It took two seconds, at most.

Then, as the shock of what happened held them, he turned and walked away, seeming to disappear before their eyes.

My story is intended to remind you of two things.  With our enemy, there are no right answers, you cannot escape him, cannot outwit him.  He is really only interested in hurting you.  But, as the strength of Jesus, His resurrection power, flows through us, we can defeat our enemy and his schemes.  We can walk away untouched because of the life that is in us.  We don’t need to be afraid.  

We need to fight.