Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gaining and Losing

Gaining and Losing

Teach me, Lord, that to gain all you have for me, I must be willing to lose.  Paul was a competitor.  He readily admitted his credentials and advancements (Galatians 1:14).  Humanly speaking, he was the best, a Hebrew of Hebrews.  But what a changed person he became when he started doing the math from your perspective -- when he started considering "everything a loss . . . " (Phil. 3:8).

His new math skills were not gained by his natural brilliance.  Actually, Paul relinquished his earthly accomplishments when you revealed yourself to him:  he chose to forget what was behind (3:13).  He was willing to lose his zeal, his perspective, his natural passions to gain you -- to win Christ.  Lord, that's an extremely difficult lesson for me:  Is my determined purpose to know you?  Am I willing to lose, to win?

Deliver me, Lord, from my own calculations: knowing the right people for that more promising job, comparing myself with others in the same season of life, giving up on that one young person when you want me to press on and leave the 99 behind, glorifying the past of when the buck didn't stop with me, refusing to simplify my schedule or reduce my purchases.  I must not mix my reason with yours, not lean on my own understanding.  The world is full of logic and intelligence.  But only when I let you teach me, only when I forget what is behind and do the "one thing" do I gain a heart of wisdom.  As a woman who is taking your Kingdom by force, remind me that eternal life is knowing you (John 17:3).  

Psalm 27:4 "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple."

Questions for Reflection:

1. What might God be asking you to "forget what was behind"?
2. How is it a loss for you?
3. In that situation, would you consider forming a prayer where you ask for more of Christ - to gain Him?  Journal any insights you are given.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Walking On Water

Walking on Water

I am still surprised, Lord, when you call me to walk on the water to you.  What did it mean to Peter?  Exactly what you told him it would mean: "Take courage!  I AM; stop being afraid!" (Matthew 14:27).   Stop being afraid? How often, Jesus, do you lead me into situations where my entire perspective needs to shift so I will stop being afraid?  Maybe none are as dramatic as walking on the water during a storm.  But frightening situations nevertheless.  For the important thing about not being afraid is WHO is saying it to me!  And the situations I have faced in the past where I hear your voice most clearly, are the ones where you have altered the foundation of my perspective.  Peter's perspective was about to become the rock upon which you built the Church. 

Peter was able to lead the early church with your perspective because he was willing to walk where it was impossible to walk.  And he believed that he could walk on water because of his intimate relationship to Jesus Christ.  The walking on water scene created a pattern for Peter's faith.  If Jesus tells me to come to him, even when I'm afraid, I am to walk. . . Peter started to sink when he focused on what he was doing rather than to whom he was walking.

I need to remind myself that all of God's initiatives towards me are expressions to show me his nature.  That's why I need to walk on the water when he calls my name.  Watching someone else walk on water can inspire me but it doesn't increase my faith inwardly.   As a leader, I need experiences with Jesus where I can hear him calling me to walk on the water: a place where our communion is so real, I no longer need to rely on my own devices.  Just one word from Him, "Take courage, it's Me! Stop being afraid," calms the wind, settles the waves, ceases the rocking of the boat.  

Psalm 25:14 "The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them."

Walking With God

January 13, 2010

Walking With God

Lord, as a woman leading in today's culture, I need your help help in renewing my mind.  Ephesians 4:23 actually commands me to "be renewed in the spirit of my mind having a fresh and spiritual attitude" (amp.)  But how do I do that?  My mind doesn't have a "clear" button I can just push each morning.  It seems that a few hours pass by in my work and I'm listening to the enemies' lies about myself and about others.

I must remind myself that to renew is not just about being optimistic and upbeat.  It's not even about trying to see things from a different angle.  You are the heartsearcher who generates new thoughts, new ideas, new inspiration.  Could that be what Paul meant when he tells me to put on my new self?  My mind is renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (Col. 3:10).  In other words, because Christ is alive He is establishing new thoughts that did not previously exist.  Great!  Lord, I need that from you.  I invite you to breathe life into my current frame of mind.  You see what's in my frame of mind this day, even this very hour.

I see three things I could do to be renewed in the attitude of my mind.  First, I will reject all lies and pretense.  Second, I will tell the truth to the people closest to me in proximity and heart.  After all, when I lie to others, I lie to myself.  And third, I'll acknowledge my anger; I'll even let myself feel it.  But I will not let myself use it for revenge or give the enemy a foothold.  I will resolve it before bed.

Could this be your will for me this day, a way to walk with you, like Enoch, who pleased you? May my testimony before others have the same impact and may they say of me, "She walked with God" (Gen. 5:22).

"Don't become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You'll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it"  (Romans 12:2, msg).