Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Voice do You Hear?

A few weeks ago, I woke with a start in the middle of the night from one of those super-scary, way-too-real nightmares. I sat there in the dark, too afraid to move, questioning the reality or non-reality of the dream, experiencing pure fear. And I heard in my heart and soul what must have been angels singing, “But the voice of truth tells me a different story. The voice of truth says do not be afraid.” Thank you, Lord (and Casting Crowns) for this wonderful song. I immediately felt at peace, recognizing the dream as false. My fears were calmed. I drifted off to sleep, singing those lines over and over again.

I heard the whole song on the radio yesterday. Truthfully, I don’t know that I ever paid attention to all the lyrics. It was just one of those songs that played on the radio enough that the chorus was familiar and comforting. The verses hit a chord with me this time. The first verse:

Oh, what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And He's holding out his hand.

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
"Boy, you'll never win,
You you'll never win.”

I wonder what lies we – as women, wives, moms, friends – are listening to these days. Lies that steal our faith and courage. Lies that poke at us and laugh at us. Lies that leave us shaking with fear, that leave us unable or unwilling to act.

- You’re not good enough.
- You can’t make a difference.
- You’re too busy.
- No one loves you, cares about you.
- You’ve messed up too much.
- You’re all alone.
- You need more (fill in the blank).
- Your opinion doesn’t matter.
- Your small contribution doesn’t matter.
- YOU don’t matter.

Lies. All lies. And there are so many more. What lies are you hearing? Satan is the Father of Lies. His desire is to trip us up, to stop us from looking to God, to remove us from God’s army of mighty warriors.

The chorus of the song:

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story.
The Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
And the Voice of truth says "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me,
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth.

The Voice of Truth is calling out.

- You are my child.
- I love you.
- My yoke is easy and my burden is light.
- I forgive you. Your debt is paid.
- I am all the strength you need.
- I will give you all you need.
- I am enough for you.
- I know you and care for you.
- YOU matter to ME.

Commit to the Lord today (and every day), “Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth.” I pray that as you go through your day you can discern the truths, God’s truths, and ignore all the rest.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Life...One Puzzle Piece At A Time......

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  Psalm 139:16 (NIV)

Sometimes, life is just not what we thought it would be, is it?  It may not be what we thought it would be but it is the life God has given us and he sees the big picture when we only see very small pieces of it.  Think of it like a puzzle.  Isn't it amazing how you may have 1000 pieces laying on the table and one by one they all start fitting together and then you have an awesome picture at the end.

We never know how many pieces there are in our puzzle of life.  One by one the pieces fit together.  I think we sometimes try to force a piece of the puzzle to fit somewhere that it doesn't and then we are kind of stuck until we take that piece out and put the right piece in and let God do with our life what He wants to do.

Think of all the different puzzle pieces in your life.  Your family, friends, work, church, situations you have been through, and the list goes on and on.

Are you trying to make pieces work that don't?  What a comfort knowing that God is in control of our life and he can carry us through any situation if we let Him.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Forget Me Not

If you were a fly on my wall on a typical morning before school, you would hear the following...

"Got your lunch? Your homework? Your cell phone?"

Like many other preoccupied teenage boys, my son is forgetful.It's not his fault. In fact, I am sad to admit that he most certainly inherited this trait from his dear mother. Still, each day, we go through a checklist of tasks before and after school so that nothing important is left forgotten.

Like any other dutiful mom who is memory impaired, I have tried to pass on tricks to assist my son with his affliction. We make lists. Use an academic planner. And I confess, I even sometimes resort to good old fashioned nagging.(A technique proven to be completely ineffective I might add) Still, he remains forgetful.

Many of us are...

We forget God's love.

We forget God's promises.

We forget God's character.

We wake up, the world dark all around us, and we forget.

But what if we made a pledge to ourselves to NO LONGER forget? How would our present circumstances appear differently if we remembered the truth in God's word?

Never forget...

We are chosen. (You did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you." John 15:16)

Dearly loved. ("I love those who love me; and those who diligently seek me will find me." Proverbs 8:17)

Secure. ("For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39)

And God is FOR us!
("And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28)

He remembers us in our darkest moments and leads us into His light. ("The Lord remembers us and will bless us." Psalm 115:12 NLT)

While our enemy attempts to lure us into desperation with fear and lies, we are empowered by God's unshakable truth. So today, I must make a choice. Rather than allow my challenges to tell me who my God is, I must choose to look up and remember. Despite how circumstances appear today, I "will bless the Lord and not forget the glorious things he does for me." (Psalm 103:1-2 TLB) For He is worthy of remembrance.

As a beloved daughter of the King most high, I must pause and remember whose I am. He is the great "I Am". The LORD of Lords. Almighty God. And He will forget me not.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Afraid of the Dark...

I was doing my “Mommy duties” (can’t remember exactly which one) when I tuned into what the kids were watching on PBS.  It was a show that was all about not being scared of the dark.  They had all the kids go around the classroom and observe what they saw.  The backpacks were on the shelf.  The fish was in his bowl.  The board was there, and the chalk.  All the usual things were in their usual places.  She then turned off the light and asked them what was now in the classroom.  The kids, of course, walked around and felt the backpacks, fish bowl, board, chalk…and you get the point.  Everything was the same.  Lights on or off…exactly the same.  So, there isn’t really anything to be afraid of, right?
It struck me immediately after hearing them talk about it…us adults are afraid of the “dark” too.  I know that this is something I am consistently telling myself to overcome.  My dark is the future…the unknown…what I am waiting for…the offer…the answer…the hope.  It is SO VERY EASY to get anxious about what we don’t know.  The “what if” can really overcome us.  We often think of the worst case scenario…though that isn’t often what really happens anyway. 
Why are we worried?  Don’t we have a God who lives in the light?  We don’t need the light to see what is happening…if we trust that God sees it and that He will take care of us.   Our awesome (I use that word intentionally AWEsome), all-knowing, powerful, thinks-of-it-all God…loves us more than we are able to comprehend.  And He tells us in His word that He will never forsake us.  Jeremiah 29:11 tells us “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  HE KNOWS.  He is bigger than darkness.  He overcomes the future, the present, even the past. 
So…if we can teach our children that things are the same whether we can see them on not…that we need not fear because it is OK…then shouldn’t we do the same?  Because it is truth.  We need not fear.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

In My Seat

As we near September 11, many of us find ourselves thinking back to where we were that morning in 2001. I was a middle school teacher at the time, and my classes were doing research in the library that day, so I was standing in the library watching it on TV as it happened. My sister-in-law lived in New York at the time, and my thoughts immediately turned to her as I tried to remain calm for my students while checking in with my family. It was a day none of us will forget, but for this man in the video below, it was a day when someone "took his place."

He does an amazing job of not only telling us how September 10-11 played out for his life, but also explaining how Someone else has taken the place for all of us. This video is a little long (15 minutes), but it was worth every minute of it--not merely to remember September 11, but to think about the One who died for each one of us. Christ, the One and Only, took the place that we deserve and did what we could never qualify to do--He saved us from certain eternal death. I will be forever grateful....

*Thanks to Pastor Richard for posting this video yesterday on Facebook.