Before and After Restoration

It is important to remind ourselves that the process of restoration is long and slow. It cannot be rushed or it will sacrifice the quality and integrity of the transformation.

When we realize that God is making all things new (Rev. 21:5), it is important to realize that is an ongoing present tense, which stretches itself over all of eternity. Our own personal and internal restoration is ongoing over a great matter of time.

But as you restore a piece of furniture over time, it is great to look at the before picture to recognize the progress thus far. While the piece is not yet finished and is still being restored, the progress is worth noting.

Our own hearts and lives are being restored one broken place at a time. The overall restoration project of our broken hearts and lives will not be rushed or it would sacrifice the quality and integrity of the transformation.

Also, though we wish for the final product to arrive within our own broken hearts and lives, we will not experience that complete change and restoration until that final day. There will be more broken places yet to be restored.

But take courage in the progress thus far.

Fear and Faith

When I search my heart and find my faith lacking lately, it is less about doubt than it is about fear. My lacking faith is really my increasing fear. I fear a great many things, and I wonder how or if certain things will happen. I am afraid of certain outcomes happening and other outcomes not happening.

I am confident in who God is. I am confident in what He is able to do. My lacking faith is not so much about any doubts I have. It is about the fears and worries my mind and heart feel at particular points in life.

Lately I have been wondering whether faith has more to do with lacking fear than it does with lacking doubt.

Thumbtack

225px-Thumbtack_logoIn the last few weeks, I have made a connection with the website thumbtack.com

It is a great service to professionals in various fields who would like to allow others know more about their services and talents. It has been a great connector for me as a speaker, writer, and even as an officiant.

The entire website allows for a freedom to accept and decline for the professional and for the customer if the services are not able to fulfill expectations (for instance: I am not likely to accept a wedding as that wishes to have ‘mention of God’ or a variety of other possibilities like scheduling, distance, etc.)

I would appreciate it if you know anyone who might need a speaker, writer, or other things listed here on my website to also direct them to My Thumbtack Profile.

Savior before Teacher

Who is Jesus to me? He has to first be Savior and LORD before He can be my Teacher. Anyone who only calls Him Teacher must be hopeless, because no pupil or disciple could really accomplish His teaching; not even the best ever student could accomplish his teaching.

I need Jesus first to be Savior and LORD. I need first that very realization that I cannot accomplish even a portion of his teaching, because THEN I am ‘poor and humble in spirit’ enough to know my need for rescue from my undeserving and incapable condition.

Only then can I look with any confidence at His teaching for my life as His disciple and follower. Without His rescue I would only live in despair all the days of my life in comparison to the life he teaches me to live.

Ozzie Chambers wrote, “He came to make me what He teaches me I should be.”

I am saved and controlled and covered by His Spirit in those places I wish I could do on my own but could never hope to accomplish on my own. If I begin with my poor and humble need, Jesus says, “You are blessed.” (Matthew 5)

You will be happy if you begin with your humble view and realization that you could never accomplish the half of His teaching on your own if not for His Spirit and salvation within.

What’s good for ya

God, I have so many things I am thankful for, but I realize I rarely intentionally and actively thank you for those blessings in my life. Psalm 92 opens with the reminder that “it is good to be thankful to the LORD”. Good for what? Good for who?

I am convinced that it is good for me to be thankful. It is good for me to be thankful, and I am not so sure it is only good in the sense that a good person is a thankful one. I believe being thankful does me good.

So here is my heart and mind prepared to thank you for so many things.

Thank you for protecting my heart through my leaving the pastorship of SOLAS.

Thank you for Eric Waterbury, Jesse Peterson, Glenda Harr, Justin Wallace, Gary Tangeman, Ryan Masters, Grant Cox, Brandon Farmer, Nicole Farmer, Mark Shetler, Anh Powers, Dan Demuri, Tim Layfield, Jeff Koons, Steve Rodriguez who likely all are unawarely said just the right thing at the right moment when my heart and mind needed it most. This is YOUR doing.

Thank you for Tonya who has been a cheerleader who has been frustrated by frustrating things and also encouraging when it is most needed.

Thank you for the smiles and hugs of my daughters where I find beauty that points my heart and mind to you.

Thank you for statements and notes and “drop bys” from friends just to make sure things are good and okay.

God You are good. You are all together good. Surely goodness is to follow all the days of my life.

Purpose of Difficulty

Sorrow and difficulty are going to be parts of our lives. We waste our mind’s thoughts when we think that these things ought not to be. That is a waste because they simply are parts of life.

The real question we want to pose to ourselves is, “How will I be after this and through this? What is God forming in me that will change me into a new creation?” I am being made new, and my sorrow and difficulty are the pressing things, which God uses to make me who I am becoming from His design.

Praying for you/me

Reading Psalm 88 today after I have resigned from a ministry I have loved for 7 years has presented me a great challenge.

Though the Psalmist never turns toward any real resolve in this Psalm, there is one phrase he repeats over and over throughout all his sorrow and lament where I find my heart’s biggest challenge.

Over and over the Psalmist says, “I have called out to you every day, O LORD; I have spread my hands to you…in the morning my prayer comes before you. I have cried out to you for help, O LORD.”

Will I in this time, cry out to God each day? Will I spread out my hands to Him? Will my prayers come before Him OR will I wallow and mope and “try to figure it out”?

Today, I ran into a friend at the coffee shop and told her the news. She said she was sorry, and then she said she would be praying. I thanked her like I have everyone who said similar things the last week. But then she said, “No! I mean that. I WILL pray for you.”

I stopped to look her in the eye and say, “I believe that. Thank you.” (NOT that I don’t believe others are actually praying for me, but her directed affirmation was helpful.)

This has me thinking and challenged in this time. I appreciate all the prayers people are offering up on my behalf right now, and I am truly humbled by so many great friends who would do this for me, but here is the challenge: I MUST PRAY…also! I must pray each day and extend my needy and shaking hands to God. I must cry out to Him every day.