Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Places You'll Go

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go." Dr. Seuss in Oh, The Places You'll Go

Place is a big deal to me. It's where I find inspiration, something I identify with, something I connect with and attach to. I love to travel. Recently, I traveled to England, Ireland, and Scotland. Both sides of my family have deep roots in Ireland and Scotland, so I really felt a connection with those places. But in all honesty, there's nothing magical about place. The Lord calls us to go into all the world. So, I can use that as an excuse to travel, right? Listen to this song by Steven Curtis Chapman as you read the rest of the post.

© Steven Curtis Chapman, Youtube
As a kid, life looks simple. Or at least it did to me. Finish high school, go to college, get married, have 2.5 kids, work, get a dog, buy a house, live happily ever after, and do it all over again when grandkids start rolling around. Simple, right? I think a better word for my state of mind was "naïve." Once I graduated college, the Lord rocked my world. I often wondered what He was up to, why life wasn't going the way I planned. But life rarely goes as we plan.

In Joshua 1, the Israelites are preparing to enter the Promised Land, but another people group is occupying it, and they are terrified. The Lord makes Joshua a promise, "I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you" (vs 3-5). I tenaciously claim this promise as my own. I know the Lord never leaves me, or at least I embrace that more every day. I want the confidence to go wherever He leads and know that wherever I set my foot is claimed for Christ.

The main character in my book is a young college graduate who chooses to give up her dreams for a greater calling to serve in Haiti. She thinks she is going to help the people and essentially save the world, but that isn't how life works. The earthquake strikes, and lives are forever changed in the aftermath. As I created her character, I tried to put myself in her shoes. Would I trust the Lord in the middle of something that catastrophic? Would I truly believe that every place I set my foot was claimed territory for Him? As my character wrestled to understand why the Lord would take her somewhere to help and then allow something that awful to happen, I wrestled with her. The truth is, the Lord asks us to change jobs, move, go and serve somewhere and we fight Him in that new place because we doubt He is with us or has our best at heart. Wrong! As the Lord told Joshua, He will NEVER leave or forsake you. You never walk into a new place alone. He goes before you, claims it as your promised land, and then enters it with you, promising you every place you set your foot. If He truly is a God who never changes as His word says, then the promises made to Joshua hold true for you.

What promised land does the Lord desire to use you to conquer right now? Will you trust Him?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Series of Questions

"Where my gifts and abilities meet the world's need, that is where God wants me to be." Albert Schweitzer

I recently finished writing my first book and now am into a heavy editing stage. "What now?" I asked my mentor during our first phone conversation after completion. I knew I needed a new purpose, a new goal, a new finish line to look forward to and accomplish. Maybe you're there. Maybe you're in a stage of life where you're asking, "What now? What's next, Lord?" I've been there too many times to count in the last couple of years. This is one of the most frustrating and liberating questions in the world. It requires complete dependency on God and an anticipation of what He promises to do.

When I was in Colorado, one of my mentors posed this question. After making a list, my eyes were open in a new way to how the Lord has made me and different directions I should pursue. You can see a portion of my list here. He prayed the question would haunt us. Well, mission accomplished. Every time I ask the Lord what He wants me to do next, I remember this question and look to my list. Jeremiah 29:11 promises that the Lord has good plans to give us a hope and a future. I can rest in that promise, but so often it is hard to trust in His good plans for me right now. I pray this question haunts you until you identify these areas the Lord has wired you for.

I fail to remember that God has promised good plans for me when I focus on my insecurities instead of His consistent character. In my uncertainty, I run back to my list of what breaks my heart and baffles my mind, and then I look and see the passions and gifts the Lord has given me. The areas where they line up are the areas I need to be pursuing service and work. My job will never fulfill me, but my purpose and motivation behind my task can and will if I am seeking to bring others to the Lord and help instill a passion for Him within them.

I firmly believe that life is an adventure. I'm not talking about high speed chases, guns blazing, James Bond always gets the girl kind of adventures. I'm talking about the twists and turns of daily life, the drastic shifts in direction, the wondering and waiting and hoping. I'm talking about hopping on a train without knowing where you are going, only knowing that you can trust the train to take you somewhere you've never been. That's what trusting Jesus is like, and we should look to our destination with anticipation. Psalm 138:8 says, " The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O LORD, endures forever-- do not abandon the works of Your hands." "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10. The Bible is full of God's promise to fulfill a purpose for us, to place us right where He wants us for His glory. That doesn't always mean that you will enjoy that place. Sometimes it will be a time of growth, challenge, and trusting Him in greater ways. But He will place you there for a purpose. Look for it. Don't miss it!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Package Deal

How awesome would it be to have a genie? This magical being would come at the slightest rub of our fingers. He would grant our deepest, most desperate desires, and the world would be beautiful and perfect. Right?

Too often we treat the Lord like our personal genie. He should answer when we call, give us exactly what we ask, and make us happy all the time. The fact is, the Lord isn't a genie in a bottle. He is both GREAT and GOOD, the total package deal. The Lord is the Maker of the heavens and the earth (Isaiah 40:28). He fashioned man from the dust of the earth and breathed life into him (Genesis 2:7). Your every breath is a gift. God is beyond your understanding. He is holy, and therefore, should be honored and revered. Unlike the genie, there is nothing He can't do. He is not limited or contained by our fears or imagination. He is not confined to a box of our beliefs. Like Genie sings, the Lord is the power in our corner. He is GREAT.

The Lord is also GOOD. I can't explain all that this word means to me. Nahum 1:7 says, "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who trust in Him." He is holy and above all, but because He created us and loves us, He desires a relationship, a friendship as Genie's song said. That friendship is not lost or swayed. Unlike Genie, because the Lord loves us, He does what's best for us. "'I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'" Genie must obey Aladdin's every whim. The Lord does not answer our every request because, like a good friend, like a good father, He loves us too much to give us that which will harm us.

With Jesus, we get the total package deal. He is a God who can do anything and is beyond our wildest imaginings. He is holy and above us, which requires respect and reverence on our part. But He is also a friend, good, and loving. His relationship with us includes doing what is best because it will be far more than we can ask, think, or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). He knows our three wishes, and the ways in which He chooses to answer the requests that are God-honoring will bring Him glory because He is GREAT, and be for our benefit because He is GOOD. Better than the most powerful genie and not limited by a lamp.

Copyright of video belongs to Disney.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Hey fellow bloggers, friends, and lurkers,

Head shots are up on my facebook fan page. "Like" the page and select the photo you think should be sent to the book publishers. Proposals go out next week! I would appreciate your support.

God bless,

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