Friday, March 29, 2013

How great is our God...

I've got something a bit different for Easter. Something a little "out there." Something to give us a glimpse of how the universe is praising our God. Just a bit of how this universe is praising the One who is holding it together... the One whose resurrection and life and power we celebrate this weekend.

Psalm 148:

1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
2 Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
4 Praise Him, highest heavens,
And the waters that are above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
6 He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
8 Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
9 Mountains and all hills;
Fruit trees and all cedars;
10 Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and winged fowl;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
12 Both young men and virgins;
Old men and children.
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.
14 And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
Praise for all His godly ones;
Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.
Praise the Lord!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Where the harvest is...

As a continuation of my earlier post this week...

This morning on klove, they asked a caller what he did for a living. He said he'd been an EMT for 27 years.

The DJs commented how he's probably around a lot of death, and they asked if he's ever had an opportunity to lead people to the Lord.

He said he is able to do it all the time! He said loves seeing the peace come over them.

Then they asked about what his partners have thought, and he said, "Well, my current partner just got saved a few weeks back. So the back of our ambulance is where both of us minister now!"

I wonder how many other missionaries God has placed in ambulances and emergency rooms around the nation?

And I wonder how many of the rest of us plant seeds and water them without even knowing that God's got an EMT poised to harvest that fruit at the perfect moment.

Are we willing, ready, and able?

Are we content to trust, even when we don't get to see the harvest?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Living out grace...

In January, I wrote about my struggle with wondering if my life and how I spend my days is worthwhile.

Twice in recent weeks, I've caught something on klove radio in the morning that really ministered to me.  In fact, I can't get what these two souls said out of my mind.

First, it was a morning when they had Jason Grey on as a guest.  As it turns out, he has a serious stuttering issue. It was intriguing to listen to this man who sings so well, struggle so hard sometimes to get a certain sentence out.

Perhaps that's why something he said spoke to me so powerfully. He was talking about transparency in the church and in our lives. How as Christians, sometimes we think we have to look like we've got it together.

But that's not how it's supposed to be, is it?  You know it. I know it.  We also know the scripture verse that says, "For His strength is perfected in our weakness."

Yet Jason put it in a way that shot right through me.  He said:
"When we hide our faults, our failures, and our weaknesses, we hide the grace of God in our lives."

But what can the grace of God in our lives look like?

Just the other morning, a listener called in to request a song. She wasn't anyone famous. I don't even remember her name or where she lived. She just said she wanted to hear Michael W. Smith's "Breathe" before she got to work.

So as always, the DJs asked her where she works.

Her answer was AAA - Triple A.

Something vague started passing through my mind about how 90% of the people she talks to every day are probably having a bad day that just got worse. Fun. (Can you hear the sarcasm?)

The DJs said something about the people she talks to, and I am firmly convinced that the Holy Spirit began speaking through her at that moment.

She acknowledged what I'd been thinking... but then she went on to share how she tries to speak into the lives of every person that calls. To give them an encouraging word and show them their day isn't really that bad.

I wish I could share here how the words just flowed, full of grace and joy in her opportunity to speak into the lives of people when they need it. 

I almost wonder if a whole country full of listeners found themselves holding their breath and hanging onto her words. I know I was. And the DJs definitely were. She only said about 3 sentences, but when she stopped, there was a moment of silence, and then all three burst out with a "Wow!"  That's why I say it was the anointing of God in her words.

I said to my husband, "It's so amazing how some people learn to turn their everyday hum-drum job into a ministry."

Some people. Other people.

Why not me?  Well, I suppose because I'm not sure how in the world editing grammar and spelling mistakes and fixing wrong answers on hundreds of boring reports a week could be a ministry.

But then, maybe it's not dependent upon the job. Maybe God creates opportunities for all of us, if.....


I think this woman learned the secret of the "if."  For then she repeated her song request, saying, "Everything we say and do, it's all by His grace. Every breath we breathe. That's why I want to hear that song before I get to work."

And so they played it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

When life isn't glorious...

I'm sitting here at 4am, unable to sleep (though I need it), and overwhelmed by a mountain of To-Dos.

But maybe "overwhelmed" isn't the word, because what's going through me isn't so much feelings about everything that's not getting done. It's more a quiet realization that my life is not balanced as it should be. One area of my life is shoving everything else out, and I (and my family) will pay in the long run if I continue as I have been recently. 

It's not that I can't go on like I have been. I could easily do it for quite a long time.

It's that I must not.

But how to change it?  That's where I'm lost.   

There are two areas of the Bible that I keep getting drawn to recently. One is Romans... it's time to get back to the Bible Study I began last year.  The other is Psalm 119.

Psalm 119 has a section for every letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and each section is only eight verses long. I've been reading section every morning or two, and it's amazing how often what I read is perfect for that day.  Each is a slightly different declaration from a heart hungry for the law, the word, and the ways of the Lord.

In this Psalm, the law that the Psalmist loves isn't exactly the laws of Moses. As Romans said, that law was an earthly thing that was fulfilled in Jesus.

It's talking about the laws of God...the eternal absolutes that God laid the foundations of the world upon. God's ways.

The truth is that even a world that doesn't recognize Him still functions according to what He set in motion.

The billions of people who don't acknowledge Him still live on a planet that spins and changes seasons according to the orbit He fore-ordained.

Even when I ignore Him, I still reap what I sow because He wove that law into the fabric of existence.

Thus, it only makes sense that more I know His laws, the more I can align my life with what works.
And the more my life is lined up with His ways, the better my life will be.

And so I find myself with no better plan than to lay my life down at His feet and ask Him to shine His light on it...ask Him to show me where my life is out of line and grant me the grace to cut out what does not belong.

Father, I beg for that grace. I ask for wisdom and courage to do what You show me. For I trust Your ways better than my own, and I long to see Your ways bear fruit in my life.
33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall observe it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law
And keep it with all my heart.
35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies
And not to dishonest gain.
37 Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity,
And revive me in Your ways.
38 Establish Your word to Your servant,
As that which produces reverence for You.
39 Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your ordinances are good.
40 Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me through Your righteousness.
- from Psalm 119
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