Monday, October 25, 2010

Cloudy with a chance of glory

As I drove to work the other morning, I noticed a little cloud cluster between me and the sun. The white fluffy clouds were just big enough to block the rays that would shine down on me. But the edges of the clouds were a beautiful golden glow because the sun simply could not be contained. Soon the clouds drifted away and the full radiance of the sun was blinding.

I started thinking about a few times in my life that clouds blocked my view of God. Sometimes they form like large billowy thunder clouds. Layer after layer of one thing and then another form a thick barrier between me and God's radiance. Conflict cracks like lightening bolts and I cringe as the thunder becomes deafening.

Other times the clouds create a gray overcast. There's no tumultuous storm, there's just a hazy indifference. These clouds usually show up when I haven't been in fellowship with God. I allow my schedule or priorities to slowly separate me from God's presence and the clouds roll in.

Regardless of what the clouds look like, the sun is still above them. When a dark storm rolls into our neighborhood, the sun doesn't run off and take shelter. No! It remains high in the sky whether we see it or not. That's the amazing thing about the sun, it remains constant regardless of our weather condition. Just like God. He is above our cloud cover, above our storm constantly loving us through the storm.

Do you have a situation in your life hanging like a cloud between you and God? Does it feel like a small cluster of clouds, a raging storm or completely overcast? Has it been awhile since you've seen the Son? Felt His warmth? God is above your storm and in His perfect timing He will break through the clouds with His radiant glory. Are you watching for Him...?

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.” Psalm 57:5

Monday, October 18, 2010

But God...

My hometown in Texas may be flat, but I've been seeing a lot of mountains lately. I'm not talking about the picturesque kind with grassy fields and breathtaking views. I'm talking about the hard, cold, ragged mountains that loom over us when we least expect them. Several of my friends and I are all standing at the base of our mountain wondering how to get over it. There are marital mountains, financial mountains, faith mountains...you name it. Funny how no matter what kind of mountain, they all still look the same. And they all can be overwhelming.

Some are gearing up to take on the challenge. While others are feeling completely defeated by it. My situation felt overwhelming until God reminded me that I'd been here before. The mountain may have risen from a new scenario but the end result will still be the same.

I didn't value myself but God brought a man into my life to remind me that I'm loved. I was entrenched in my sin but God redeemed me and made me clean. I was a newer believer but God put me in a position of leadership and continues to work through me. I didn't have a lot of marketable skills but God provided a job for me. I didn't have anything to say but God gives me His words. I thought that no one would listen but God brought you to read this today.

The mountain ahead of you may seem momentous but God...

Be blessed,
Jennifer

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

Monday, October 11, 2010

Going through to motions

“This is stupid, it's not like we're moving now. Why do I have to pack up all MY stuff? You're not having to get rid of anything.”

My sixteen year old son, Jordan, is clearly thrilled about preparing for our family move. If you've ever sold a house you know all the prep work that needs to take place to make the house 'show ready'. Step one: clean his closet. Step two: dust his furniture. Step three: start making his bed every morning. That's it! Three easy steps.

In the mind of a sixteen year old boy, here's how those steps are apparently interpreted. Step one: take everything you hold dear and angrily shove it into boxes until the closet is empty. Step two: ignore step two because you did it two weeks ago and think it looks 'fine'. Step three: begin living in prison where a quarter will be dropped on your bed daily to see if it will bounce.

When his eyes glassed over and he switched to auto pilot to just get it done, Greg and I stepped in for a heart to heart talk. The issue may not be resolved but at least it makes a little more sense in Jordan's mind.

I went to bed last night thinking about all the times that I have reacted just like Jordan. God will give me instructions and I will mindlessly do what He's asked. And that's only when I finally get around to doing it. God provides limited information to support His request, I just have to be obedient and do it. But like every good parent, God doesn't just want me to go through the motions, He wants me to be engaged in what I'm doing. God's not required to make sure His instructions make sense to me, I have to have faith that there is a greater purpose behind the action.

Giving God a ½ way effort is the same as flat out defying Him. He expects the task to be done in a certain way, not until I feel it's 'good enough'. My standards aren't even close to God's standards. When He asks for me to give someone my coat, He expects me to offer them my shoes as well. When I think of giving someone my coat, I offer the one I wear the least or didn't like very much. I don't even think about offering my shoes too, I just gave them my coat for goodness sake! Sound familiar?

All to often my first step in obedience will be to count the cost. What does this cost me to do? Time? Money? Energy? None of which I have in abundance. So why is God taking from me to give to someone else? Ever had that conversation?

Sometimes God demands a reoccurring obedience. He wants a certain discipline to materialize in me. Just like the daily making of the bed, God wants me to prepare myself for the day ahead. Engage my mind and heart into His plan and instructions instead of rolling out of bed and rolling with the punches. Ever had to face that type of obedience?

God expects obedience but He blesses engagement. Have your eyes glassed over as you are going through the motions? Has God instructed you to do something that you're giving a ½ way effort? Are you obedient to what God says but just enough to get by? Or not even doing it at all because it doesn't make sense in your mind? Stop! That's not what God's asking you for. When you fully engage in the task at hand God has a blessing for you and others. Trust me, you won't see it through glassy eyes...

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good” Titus 3:1

Monday, October 4, 2010

Off balance

You know that feeling you get when you've gone on a really fast roller coaster with twists and turn and loops that make you feel all dizzy? It's a good feeling for a minute or two but then your adrenaline kicks in and everything feels normal again. Imagine having that dizzy feeling for several days. Every time you turn your head, stand up or sit down you feel like you're back on the roller coaster. Unfortunately, that is exactly what my last week has been like. Swelling in my inner ear created an issue with my equilibrium and gave me the 'fresh off the roller coaster' feeling for 4 days!

I've not always been a fan of roller coasters, but I have always enjoyed spinning and twirling! I remember as a little girl I loved to spin on the carousel playground equipment. I would shriek in delight as my playmates spun me faster and faster until the world was just a huge blur. I learned that all I needed to do to make the world stop spinning was put my feet on the ground. The world would suddenly stop spinning (although the headache would hang on for another half hour or so).

I have the same opportunity today that I did as a little girl. When my world is spinning out of control and I'm feeling disoriented and confused, I speak God's word over the situation. God is my foundation so speaking His truth grounds me again. The spinning stops and things begin to make sense. This past week anytime I was feeling dizzy and out of control I just put my foot on the ground and thanked God for providing firm foundation. I felt centered again and the spinning stopped.

Have you been feeling dizzy lately? Are situations in your life spinning beyond your control? Do you feel off balance and disoriented? God's got a cure for that! Ask Him to give you scripture to hold onto so you can be instantly grounded in Him when you begin to feel disoriented. The roller coaster of life can make your head spin, be sure you know exactly Who grounds you!

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” Isaiah 33:6