Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wind & Waves

A few weeks ago, a section of verses kept coming up through various avenues: reference verses at church, in personal devotions, in conversations with friends. After about round 4 of this, I decided the coincidence wasn't to be taken lightly and I would memorise them.

I am terrible at memorising anything that isn't a song--not because I can't, but because of the disciplined action I am required to do. I can memorise a song without a second though, no problem, but straight line memorisation has always been a bit of a struggle for me. 

So, I wrote the verses down, and started repeating them back to myself...one at a time. Finally, I got to this verse:


I stopped memorising. I couldn't continue because I felt like I didn't quite understand it. Why would the Lord choose to command and raise the wind which, in turn, lifted up the waves of the sea? I asked God why He didn't just command the waves to be lifted; why didn't He just leave the wind out of it?

I was reminded that His ways are higher and greater than mine and that He chose to use the wind to affect the waves. He could have done it differently, but He didn't.

A man's heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 NKJV

I finished that day having memorised one small verse, but having been filled with His peace. I walked away knowing that He was in charge of both the wind and the waves and if He would choose to affect the waves by the wind, who am I to argue?

Then, he caused some wind to rise, the waves were lifted...and, as a sheep gone astray, I forgot all that He taught me.

I had been growing increasingly exciting about a specific ministry opportunity and, seemingly out of nowhere, plans fell through and I was no longer needed to serve there. The wind came up and completely tossed me about like a wave at sea. It wasn't me that changed. It wasn't my plans that were moved, it was something else that happened, but inadvertently affected me...and I didn't like it.

 I thought one way, God thought differently. I thought I knew what was best, God knew better. And not two days after memorising and meditating on Psalm 107:25, I was experiencing it first hand.

It took me a bit of time to be reminded of that peace I had when I first understood this scripture. It took repentance from my frustration and hurt. It took relinquishing my own plans. It took His merciful and gentle voice to calm me and give me a refreshed trust in His direction.

In the end, with the reminder of His Word, I was able to dwell on the times I have been affected like the waves...and the times the Lord has used me as the wind. I felt a peace knowing that regardless of His plans, it was for a greater purpose and I am blessed to be used for and by Him in whatever capacity He chose.

And it has renewed my joy in meditating on scripture and raised my trust in His "cause and affect"actions in my life. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

So Shine.


Light.
It's revealing.
Shining.
Dispels darkness.
Brightens dullness.

We don't turn a light on to stare at the light.
We need it to see the objects and subjects around us.

We don't turn a light on to close our eyes.
We need it to brighten the shady parts and reveal truth.

And we don't shine Light into the world so that people can look at us in awe.
We shine Light so they can glorify our Father in heaven.

We are called to be His light.
To reveal the darkness in the world around us.
To shine bright into the dull shadows.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Pattern Worth Nurturing: A Small Musing



In case anyone didn't know...I am a character of structure and pattern. I enjoy having a schedule, knowing what my day is going to look like, and planning out my weeks.

What I have found, however, is that over the time I have been here in Alness, I have joyfully developed a pattern of being unstructured--something that is very stretching (and healthy!) for me.

I struggled with it at first. Not having a schedule, to me, meant "free time" and too often in the first month I was here, that translated into time wasted.

But I quickly discovered the beauty of this available time. I wasn't given the blessing of "free" time to do whatever I wanted, I was given it to be able to hear the Lord stronger, and hear myself less.
I was given it to be able to spend more time with Him, and less time with an appointment book
I was given it to be available for His plan, and not try to consume my day with my own plan.

Like I said, it was stretching. It went against so much of who I am. But, I am so thankful that He found me worthy to be grown in this way! I have been able to be more available for ministries that come up naturally and suddenly, have been able to experience more "organic" relationships and ministry.

Most importantly, I have recognised that the only pattern that is of the utmost importance is nurturing my relationship with the Lord by studying His word and spending time with Him daily. 

Do you find yourself consumed with a pattern or schedule? Is it putting your relationship with Christ, and your availability to be used by Him, second to making sure "everything is in order"? If you're like me and can relate to this, what verses do you use as a reminder to place Christ first?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

New Mercies

I wrote this poem from an overflowed prayer. I was trying to put words to why I felt ill-equipped to be a missionary. Why I felt ill-equipped to be praying for revival here in Scotland, knowing that the impression to pray for it is so strongly felt in my heart that I can't expect to pray and not be moved to action by it. I confess that I've struggled to get on my knees to pray for the Spirit to move as He has in bygone years because I am scared of what He may call me to do. How selfish can I be?

This poem is an attempt to come to terms with the fact that it has nothing to do with how I feel, or what I am comfortable with. My flesh with always battle with the Spirit and my thoughts will always battle with my prayers. What matters is Jesus. What He has done for us, what He is doing in us, what He chooses to do through us. Our imperfection is at its greatest when we think that we cannot be used by the One who not only created us, but made us in His image. Our lives are the most useless when we convince ourselves of this lie. 

I don't have a conclusion...I'm not even sure this poem is finished yet. But I do know that I will always feel ill-equipped yet, in His infinite wisdom, He still chooses to use me. He still chooses to rejoice over me with singing, call me His beloved, send me out to share His Gospel, be His child...I am so unworthy to be loved by a God so amazing! 


New Mercies

You are my first love; You rejoice over me and call me
To You as you awaken me and remind me that
The portrait of who I am is made in
Your image.

You ask me to love you with all of my heart, 
You call me to serve and honor you
Completely, with a joyful and reckless
Abandon.

Yet, when the morning dawns, and mercies are new
Like the sun pouring over the horizon
Its dance across the sky mingles with
My flesh.

As the dance continues, I see myself fall into step
With old habits and thoughts that do not uplift
But tear down and leave a path of shadowed
Regret.

And when the sun’s dance sets, I am left in wonder that 
You would daily love this imperfect mess, 
the one who so willingly turns from You to
The world.

I am comforted by Your words, written on my heart as a 
Brazen promise of restoration. I am encouraged
by Your peace that strengthens me to remember 
Your mercies.

You have given me the only True Salvation that takes me 
From death and darkness to life and Light. Your body
was broken that I might awaken to Your love and 
Your grace.

And in those times I look at sunset and not sunrise, reminded
That I have come from so dark a place, it is Your Son
that shines brightly as the morning dawn and 
Awakens me. 

Your gentle calling never fails to turn my ears 
To your voice. I am captivated by the whisper
Of avid concern: a command as personal as
A love letter.

Because You are my first love; You rejoice over me and call me
To You as you awaken me and remind me that
The portrait of who I am is made in
Your image.

I cry to you and ask to let these words, this song, this psalm 
May my heart be words poured out as a prayer 
As worship and praise, adoration and
Overwhelming love.
My plea.
My hope.
My heartbeat.

My change.



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

AW Tozer Quote



I've been reading The Pursuit of God the past few days. It's a book I started years ago...and one I never finished. As I read it last night, I kept coming back to this quote (among other ones). So often I see God as just words on a page and not as the Person He truly is. My prayer last night was for Him to open my mind, will, and emotions to His voice, that I would better know Him and hear Him communicating with me. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Scatter.

Two things struck me yesterday that ended up becoming a small theme of reflection.

First, I got to share the parable of the Sower and the Seeds with two young boys at Sunday School. It was a story that came up last minute simply because we don't generally have children that come to our small church and, when they do sporadically come, I have a few things up my sleeve I know I can share with them.  This parable was easy-peasy, understandable and relatable...and something I wouldn't have to spend a lot of time "studying for." Perfect.

But, of course, God's word is powerful and living (Hebrews 4:12) and the minute I started sharing it with the kids (from memory), He started showing me what was in it for my personal application.

A sower went out to sow his seed.

Sow seeds. That was the only thing that this sower was responsible for. He wasn't responsible for where the seeds were sown, how the seeds grew, what kind of fruit that seed bears. He just simply went out to sow seeds...knowing that what happened after he did his job would be the work of nature.

The seed is the word of God.

I am to sow God's word. This is my calling as put forth by the Great Commission in Matthew 28. "Go...make disciples..."This is my responsibility. I am not responsible for picking and choosing where I sow God's word, or how it affects the people to whom I share it with. I am simply called to sow. To scatter His seed. This doesn't mean I pick and choose. Who am I to look at one person and think "oh, they're probably like the thorny ground" or "the birds of the air are going to eat these seeds, better not..."

Years ago, I helped a friend of mine plant her garden. We took handfuls of seeds and planted them and I recall her saying something along the lines of "plant as many seeds as you can. Some of them wont grow, but the more you plant, the more chance you have of getting a fruitful garden." Scatter those seeds! It is my pleasure to sow as many seeds as possibly, knowing that His job is to cultivate the good soil to receive it. His job is to grow the seed into bountiful fruit. His job is to feed and water it.

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? 
And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? 
And how shall they hear without a preacher? 
Romans 10:14 NKJV

So, who scatters? 

Secondly, in the evening service I attended, we were studying Joshua 8. Among other points in the sermon, a challenge was put forth over the question of "who?" Who is called to do the work of the Lord?

Take all the people of war with you.

In this chapter, the whole army was called forth to go to battle against Ai. It wasn't just a small group of people (they tried that...it didn't work). It was everyone. They were to act as a full army, not as just one small company.

Who? all of us. Doing the Lord's work isn't just for ministers, pastors, church workers, bible study leaders, missionaries, etc. The Lord's work is for the body of Christ...of which, if you are a professed believer in Jesus Christ, born again through the acceptance of His death on the cross and resurrection three days later, you are a part of that body.

For as the body is one 
and has many members, 
but all the members of that one body, 
being many, 
are one body, 
so also is Christ. 
1 Corinthians 12:12 NKJV

Be a part of the body, beloved brothers and sisters.

Be a part of the army marching forth and claiming victory for Christ.

Know who our captain is.

It is the Holy Spirits's job to bring conviction.

It is the Lord's job to bring salvation.

It is our pleasure to share His gospel.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Reflecting the Son: A Small Musing

"You are the light of the world.
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket,
but on a lampstand,
and it gives light to all who are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works
and glorify your Father in heaven.
Mathew 5:14-16 NKJV


I've heard it said more times than I can count that we are to be like the moon. The moon shines only because of the light from the sun that it reflects. (source)





What a great reminder! We are to be as the moon: reflecting the Son of God, Jesus Christ (through the Holy Spirit) and shine light into the darkness.

But what about the times we don't "function properly"?

Tonight, my pastor spoke about it from the point of eclipses. Defined from google, an eclipse is: an obscuring of the light from one celestial body by the passage of another between it and the observer or between it and its source of illumination.

A Lunar Eclipse happens when the sun, earth, and moon align, with the earth in the middle.

A Solar Eclipse is when they align, but the moon is in the middle. Both affect the reflection and illumination of light.

If we were to think about what that means in relation to our lives, we have two different types of eclipses: when we obscure others from the Light of Christ (solar eclipse)...and when others obscure us from His Light (lunar eclipse).

My encouragement to you is this: reflect the Son every day, letting your light "so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

If you stand in the way of others seeing Christ, the focus is on you and not on Him.

If you let the world, and the stresses and distractions of it get in the way of your relationship with Christ, then your priorities are still not in order.

If you see that you're eclipsing, get realigned with the Lord in a way that He is fully reflected in your life.
Get into His Word.
Confess your sin.
Pray.
Seek fellowship.
Keep your eyes focused on Him.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded 
by so great a cloud of witnesses, 
let us lay aside every weight, 
and the sin which so easily ensnares us, 
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, 
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, 
despising the shame, and has sat down 
at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV