Thursday, January 31, 2008

Boulders on the Road

"Go out through the gates! Prepare the highway for my people to return! Smooth out the road; pull out the boulders; raise a flag for all the nations to see." Isaiah 62:10 (NLT)
Here it is, the biggest boulder I have ever seen, blocking the road! This picture was just what I was explaining to a friend the other night. Just as we have seen that the Lord wants us to follow His path, we just may find a large boulder sitting right in the middle of our path. What is that boulder? I have had some first hand experience in the boulders on the road! These boulders are any blockage that prevents you from following God's perfect plan for our lives. Boulders come in different forms. They represent past hurts, failures, bitterness and negative thought patterns. Often in life, we may have had a traumatic event touch our lives. This is a critical time in our life. At that time, the enemy can speak to us lies, and lies that we may begin to believe is true about our very nature. The more we believe those lies, it becomes part us. We begin to think that is who we really are. These bitter roots then can produce fruit in our lives which look like fear, unworthiness, pride, unforgiveness and many, many others. God does not want us to carry those lies around with us any longer because those are the boulders that are blocking the road. He wants to pull out those boulders and  set you free. What I have found, is that God wants to deliver us and all we have to do is ask. It does take courage, because it means that we need to get out that giant shovel and begin digging. He will use His refining fire to bring up those boulders and He will be gentle with us, but those boulders  may be painful to look at. As those hurts become clear to us, and the blockages are identified in our road, then God will remove them one at a time, through a prayer of repentance. Don't think it ends there! It is a life long process,  as I have experienced myself. As soon as God removes one boulder, He brings up another one. After those boulders are gone then He begins to removes the rocks, then pebbles and it continues. We are all WIP - Works in Progress and it is a life long restoration process on His road!
Ask yourself today, what boulders are on my road that are blocking my progress? Are you wanting to go deeper with the Lord and allow Him to remove those boulders in your life? Just go to the Lord in prayer this day!

The Path

"Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land that you are about to enter and occupy." Deuteronomy 5:33
I have another story to share with you,  which happened during my prayer and fasting time a few weeks ago. I was sick with a virus and was sitting in the car waiting for my husband to get a cold drink. As I sat there in the car, I saw a homeless lady in the parking lot.  It was a very hot day in Hawaii and yet this lady wore a heavy black trench coat. Her appearance was quite disheveled. I watched her, like a movie unfolding in front of me, with her putting her bike down then walking around the cars. She just walked straight up to me to where I was sitting in the car by the open window. Her appearance was shocking for her hair was matted, her nails were black and she had no front teeth. It appeared that she was young because she had no white hair on her head, and yet, her face was wrinkled and quite old from the wear of life. She approached my window and asked, "How you doing?" Her voice was gentle and she had a slight Southern accent. I felt a sweetness in her soul which was the opposite from her outward appearance. I looked at her and told her about my sore throat and how I was not feeling well. In her gentle voice, she told me about the swelling in her face and how she also was not feeling well.  We just began to talk and she eventually asked for money and I had no hesitation to give her a bill from my wallet. She took it and then before she walked away, she looked at me and said, "you are lucky, you have a car! I used to have one." Then without another word, she turned around and left. I sat there stunned! What just happened? Who was this homeless person that had a gentle soul? Then I heard the gentle voice of our Lord say to me, "That could have been you! The difference between her and you is her choices in life. She has made some bad choices and you have chosen to follow me. She too was born just like everyone else with a mother, father and family. But through her life she kept making one poor choice after another and it has led her to where she is today." When I heard that, I realized that it could be me. I could be homeless and begging for money on the street. Here was a sweet young girl with a gentle spirit within, who kept taking the wrong path in life which led her further and further away from God.

I know that God has chosen a path for all of us to follow and it is our conscious choice, our free will, to follow it or not. I wondered how I can stay on the path that God calls me. By this scripture in Deuteronomy, I realized that I need to follow the kind of life that God wants me to, by following His laws. If we want to have a good life, not only by following His laws, but to read His Word and get to know the promises that He has for all of us. The written Word is our GPS, or road map in life. It is amazing that today, we have God's Word at our fingertips. We can go on the computer and "google" any topic we want, listen to television or radio, hear podcasts on our iPods or other high tech means. There are bibles all around and we can even find them in hotel rooms. God Word is all around us! All we need to do is take that first step, and that is to seek Him out! If you seek Him, you will find Him. Then, He will begin to show you the path He wants you to travel. God has made it easy, in this day and age, to know the path He wants us to take in life. Begin today by picking up His Word and find the path He wants you to travel.
Have you ever taken the wrong path in making a poor decision? What were your choices? How are you going to do a path correction this day?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Broken Pot

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties,  for when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
As I view this broken pot, I think about a story I once heard about the "Broken Water Pot". There were two pots that were yoked together to gather water from a well. One of the pots was cracked and the other was whole. The broken pot was ashamed that he was not perfect and was only bringing half the amount of water that the whole pot carried. The whole pot was proud and exclaimed to everyone that he carried the full amount of water. After two years of feeling disappointed about the crack in his pot he began to apologize for his flaw. The water carrier told him, "why are you discouraged? Don't you realize what you have done? Look back at the path in which we have walked for two years. See those flowers in bloom? Those are the flowers that you have watered through the crack in your pot that has been watering seeds that are now flowers."
Have you ever been broken and felt that you were utterly useless? Even in those times, God is using this time to water the seeds on the path. Just as a friend emailed me today, she told me, "God does not truly waste a hurt...". There is a purpose in pain and just as the broken water pot, it did not realize what was really happening!
This also reminds me of a time when I was ministering to a young lady whose heart had been broken. I reminded her of a story that I once heard from a Pastor on the radio, and it was also about the image of a cracked pot. I saw all the pieces of the broken pot shattered on the ground. God did not allow those pieces to lie on the ground.  God picked up all the pieces off the floor and put them all back together again. The pot was whole again but the cracks were still there. Think about this... God has put glue between each piece, and now through the brokenness, something has been ADDED.
So if you are going through a time of brokenness, rest assured,  God is picking up the pieces, gluing them together and He is adding something to your character. You think God is going to waste a hurt? No way, He is going to use you and your story to lift up another broken pot along the way. Know that you will be watering some precious flowers along the path of life. Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace our Father's table.

Story of the Broken Water Pot

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Toddler Faith

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:7-8
Have you ever witnessed something so very special, that you know deep within your soul that the Lord has spoken to you? This is exactly what happened to me during my recent time of fasting. As I was asking the Lord to give me direction in my life, I heard something so profound that it has touched my heart so very deeply. During my fasting period, I had come down with a very sore throat. I experienced fever and sore throat for a few days and all I could do was rest. My husband asked me to go with him for a car ride and I agreed. He stopped to get a cold drink, I asked to stay in the car. I sat there, and realized it was a nice quiet time for prayer. As I sat in the passenger side of the car, I looked at the scene that was happening right before me through the front windshield. There, like a movie screen, was the picture of a grandmother holding her grandchild's hand. They were about to cross the street. As they approached the curb, I heard very loud, "watch this, for you will learn something". So I sat as still as I could and watched the scene unfold before my eyes. As the grandmother approached the busy street, she held on to the toddler's hand. Granny looked back and forth for cars and as the street cleared, she led the toddler acrosse the street. She had to quicken her pace in order to get across the dangerous street quickly and with safety. What was the toddler doing? She was just walking and letting Granny lead, not even aware of where she was, what danger was around her, but just let Granny lead. As they safely got across the street, the toddler decided to let go of Granny's hand and go investigate a grassy patch on the ground. What did Granny do? She stood about a foot away and was there to protect and intervene at a second. Then when the toddler was finished investigating, she went back to Granny and held her hand and they walked off. Then I heard so clearly, "That is what I want from you, 'Toddler Faith' ". Oh how I got it, "Toddler Faith" was how God wanted me to live my life. Just as that little toddler didn't have to worry about crossing the street or any danger that was around, or even making the decision of where to do...our God does that all for us. Oh yes, our God says in His Word that all we have to do is trust in Him and he has our hand. Even when we decide to wander away from Him, He is still standing at our side to intervene in an instant. He is always at our side, even thought we may not be aware of His presence. He wants us all to have "Toddler Faith". How is your faith? Are you walking as a Toddler? What do you need to let go of, in order to let Him lead in your life? 

Link:     God's Yellow Pages

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Journey

"He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love."
Ephesians 4:16
In Hawaii, we often see outrigger canoes racing to the finish line. The special thing about these races is the hard work, training, conditioning and discipline that goes into a team. The team truly has to work together. Each paddler has a special function and they all have to rely on one another. There is one that steers the canoe, another calls out the rhythm and each paddler needs to work in unison. Each paddler needs the other in order to make the canoe go smooth and quick. 
  As I reflected on this verse in Ephesians, I realize that the church body all fit together perfectly, just as the canoe paddlers. Each part help the other parts grow. There has been many times in ministry that I needed to ask others to assist in various tasks which required special gifts and talents. Just as in a human body, there are many parts and they all work together. I find that the same way in the body of Christ, we all have gifts and talents that the Lord has given us so we can us to glorify and expand His Kingdom. I honestly am so grateful that we are not all the same and that God has made us wonderfully unique and special according to His plans. We are never on a solo journey, but we are all on this "life journey" together, as one body. As I run across challenges in ministry work, I need to remember that God has created just the perfect person to assist me in each and every task, for what might not be my gifting in an area, it is another person's passion and gifting. I thank the Lord for the unique differences in the body of Christ.
  Can you think of another person today that has assisted you in a task, that had a special talent or gifting that you did not have? Thank the Lord for that person and their special gifts.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Running the Race

"No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing; forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, (14) I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."
Philippians 3:13-14

While reflecting on this picture and the scripture, I see the effort and the focus one has to finish a race. It is not just half an effort, nor even three quarters of the effort, but it is pressing forward and doing the very best we can. I reflect on my life, and how I am running this race for the Lord, and it is a common thing for me to look back..and when I do that, it slows down my pace. The Word says not to look back, for the past is gone and why use up my energy and slow down my pace to look back? It is not worth the effort, so I am to keep my eyes on the finish line and to keep running this race with all I have. It is a race for the Kingdom and it is not easy. It takes training, it takes effort, it takes discipline and self-control to run the race. When circumstances in life seem to get me down, I need to "press forward". Those words are strengthening to me, for it tells me just what Paul was experiencing, for he was saying that his life was like a race and that in the middle of trials and persecutions, he was continuing to run the race with all he has for he was looking for the prize at the end of the race. He would not look back at the past but he would keep pressing forward.
I too, want to keep pressing forward and not get distracted at past hurts, errors, mistakes or even any guilt I may have for things I have done in my life. God has forgiven all those things and wants me to get going in life and not look back. My Lord wants me to keep pressing on and keeping my focus on the finish line for this race will take all of my energy and effort to do my very best for His Kingdom. 
Think about your race and are you looking back or keeping your eyes on the finish line?
Press on, dear Sisters in Christ. We are all running this race together!

Links:    Dealing with the Demons of the Past by D. Hoke