I’m always glad to see the end of January come. February borders spring so I know my favorite time of year is near at hand! Thus far we have had such a mild winter that many days have felt like spring is close by. However, I know winter can show itself anytime. Actually, we’ve had the winter moisture but in the valley it has been much more rain than snow. That I always appreciate.
This has been a very full week with work and ministry but this morning I get to stay home for a few hours. I need to get some things accomplished, but I can do it without a timeline bearing down on me. God has been speaking to me and I get to respond to it with a phone call I hope to complete today. It is one of those calls to strengthen a relationship. My prayer warrior suggested this and today seems to be the right day to complete it. God’s work with us always enlightens the need for a relationship or it strengthens them. Today I hope to strengthen one.
Jesus is Lord of all. I don’t ever want to forget this. When things are going well I want to remember that Jesus is working and what is going well is due to His Work, His timing and our obedience. This sometimes gets lost in the secular work we do. It is easy to see progress and want to take credit for it. But, God is never not present. Yesterday was one of those days when the school district I’m working with most of the week had to report to the State Dept. of Education. There has been a good deal of improvement in their student learning and the SDE was commending them for this. A lot of compliments were passed around, but God’s name was never mentioned. I know there has been a good deal of prayer going up in support of this work from myself as well as staff who are believers. I give thanks to God for His leadership. Without it man looks a lot like competition and not so much like cooperation. God knows our hearts, our intent, and I intend to give Him all the glory for He is truly Lord of ALL.
Our Tuesday night’s restoration class of Mending the Soul is really getting deeply into the bondage abuse gives. It is presently providing insights into the lies and deceptions of Satan. At the same time, I’m listening to a set of CD’s my prayer warrior has given me. It is a sermon series called Free Indeed. In it the speaker talks about the same things our class is addressing. I do love how God provides and strengthens His life lessons with the influences in our lives. “All things work together for good to them that love God….”
Learning to trust God and His timing is not a one time event. It seems we have to relearn this each time we have a lesson before us. I am certainly no different. The important thing is being a good student for the teacher.
Has anyone ever told you God is all about relationships? When I was a kid growing up a relationship with God meant having asked Jesus into your heart. From that point forward I thought having a relationship with God and Jesus meant that you were including Him in your lives while you were with other people. It would be what I would talk about and set an example about by my actions. It was all about what I did.
Today I hear so much more about God being interested in my relationship with Him. What I do is to be in total response to my relationship with Him, His Son Jesus and His Holy Spirit’s nudges within me. I have always been a man who does from knowing what the assignment is and then completing it. It has taken me a lifetime to learn that my ultimate assignment is to know God, His Son and His Holy Spirit through my relationship with THEM. What I am to DO is to remain faithful to them as I step into the world of man each day. I respond to their nudges because of my trust in them and my relationship with them.
All of this is so easy to simply write, but to live this out each day takes a much deeper level of relationship–meaning trust and faith and knowing God’s Spirit’s nudge from my own sense of duty about what is right or wrong. My biggest hurdle use to be “my worthiness” to be in a relationship with God without doing good to be this worthy man. Now that this is straightened out in my heart and mind, I have much to learn about what and who I respond to each day and in the day. All of this would be so much easier if I weren’t human–but I think I’m stuck with this one condition!
Yesterday afternoon I was able to meet with my prayer warrior for almost a couple hours. It was such a good time of gleaning her insights on God’s leadership in our lives. She also gave me some materials which she has found helpful in her recent years. I look forward to listening to the CD’s as well as reading a couple of books she offered.
As I start the book of Mark this morning Jesus gets baptized by John the Baptist and he begins to choose his disciples. They quickly leave their present work and begin following him. Having just finished Matthew I know how this eagerness to follow Christ turns into doubt and questions in the forthcoming months. All of this makes me realize how much I am like these men. I have my own ideas of what I think Christ is wanting me to do with a project or an assignment only to realize He wants me in the assignment for His reasons, not my inferred ones. I quickly jump to what I know rather than waiting to find out what He knows.
Being surrendered to Jesus daily and obeying Him means far more about being present to complete what He wants done as He shows it in the day. God doesn’t often revel His purpose ahead of time. He simply wants us present in faith so we can do His bidding in His timing. I’ve got much to learn in this arena.
Yesterday I talked to my prayer warrior. It had been a month or more since we’d last talked. In fact, I’m going to her home this afternoon as she has some material for me to listen to and to read. All of the details of the incident a few weeks back regarding the marriage of a man in the Tuesday night group I shared with her. I know she will pray diligently about this. Also, I know God will give her insights for me. She had been ill for a few weeks so I hadn’t wanted to burden her. Now that we’ve talked I wish I would have just told her anyway. God uses her mightily.
This morning I get to witness one of our Celebrate Recovery men be baptized. He has come a long way in his journey. He is finding freedom he didn’t think was possible. His marriage is the best it has ever been. It is so fun to witness a life finding God’s freedom!
The physical pain–well it is really here this am. I keep having to leave this writing to walk around. I hope to find the answer to it soon! God is so good and I want to worship Him well today.
The pain I spoke of yesterday was just as intense as before the chiropractor appointment so I made an appointment with a friend who is a massage therapist. Kathy goes to both all the time and has for years. She had me come around noon time and this took away all of the pain for about 5 hours. It is back this morning. I am lost to know if this is just something to endure for a time or what? It is a new experience for me dealing with physical pain like this. Because it always starts when I get up and begin my journaling, today I “tried to thank Jesus for it” as it sure heightens my need for a healing touch!
Today’s scripture reading in Matthew 25:14&15 tells the story of Jesus talking to his followers regarding the use of our talents. It came at a nice time for me. Yesterday I had an email from a retired teacher who calls herself my “older sis”. She is well into her 80’s and I do like her a lot. Her email however was troubling. She had found out that I am still working with school districts at a rather “full-time basis” so in her email she asks if I am trying to simply keep busy or to put more money in my pocket? I thought of a all people she should know I enjoy being busy but I’ve never done anything just to put money in my pocket. I wrote back that I do enjoy being busy but I enjoy most completing what God puts in front of me. I have wrestled with doing secular school consulting when it isn’t labeled “ministry”. However, God made it very clear to me that words like ministry & secular are man’s terms. What He asks us to do He calls Kingdom Work.
I do enjoy greatly the consulting work I do and I know the day will come when I will stop. Until the time God closes this door I’m going to work on surrendering and obeying to His leadership in my life. I will say that the question does make me think that to some I must look selfish? I’ll have to wrestle with this a while. Today will be a good day regardless!
I have been quite lucky in my life. I have had very few physical ailments and my health has always been rated very good. For the past month I’ve been dealing with a pain that runs from my hip to the lower calf in my left leg. I was told it was my sciatic nerve and I should see a chiropractor. I did this yesterday. He did an analysis and did a few treatments for alignment purposes, told me to ice 4 times a day and do a particular exercise. He also said it would take about a month for this to subside. In the midst of this I’ve discovered something that Celebrate Recovery has taught me. “We go for help when the pain becomes greater than the fear. “
I’ve always said I’d never let someone touch me. I had all these fears of it leading to more “being taken advantage of”. I just felt too vulnerable. However, this pain superseded any fear and besides, the fear has greatly diminished in the last couple of years. I lived with a great deal of emotional pain most of my life which kept fear right in front of my association with people, but I’m not use to dealing with physical pain, other than sore muscles when spring hits and the yard and garden work begins. I’ve always called that my getting back into shape. I sort of enjoy that soreness.
I write this today because I’ve realized that pain, whether physical or emotional, needs to be brought out into the open so we get help for it. Hiding it only worsens the problem. I don’t want my manly pride standing in the way of healing!
Yesterday I wrote about the humanness of man and how limited we are in understanding what spiritual leadership from Jesus is all about. To follow His leadership we must have a relationship with Him first and the more intimate the relationship, the more insights are provided us about following Jesus.
Today in my bible reading of Matthew 19-21 Jesus is headed to Jerusalem with His followers and His disciples. He pulls the 12 aside to tell them that this is when he will be turned over to the gentiles to be beaten and killed. He will also be resurrected in 3 days. I am stunned by their response to this. The mother of two disciples hears about this and asks Jesus if her sons can sit on His right and left in the kingdom he’s told them about? I read this and thought, “Good grief–what do they not understand about this Leader God has given them? All they are thinking about is their human pride and rewards? Then I am checked by my own misunderstandings about Christ. My humanness continues to stand in my way so often. Yet, Christ has never given up on me just as He never gave up on His followers and disciples. He kept His teaching going until each one saw the Light.
Jesus is just as faithful to day in helping each of us to see His Light, His love, His grace and His mercy. How grateful I am for this Savior and Friend!
“What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.” The words of this old hymn resonate in my heart this morning. Jesus spent three years with His disciples showing them things about God, revealing Himself to them in so many miraculous ways and teaching them what continuously astounded them. This happened for three years. Even in this time He still hadn’t gotten through to them that His leadership was not of human form, but of spiritual form. Yes, His leadership applied to our humanness, but it did so by shifting out of our human thinking to be of His thinking/wisdom.
I marvel at this as I read each day about Christ’s physical time with man. He had to leave man through death and resurrection to awaken them to His true self and meaning. I am no different. I know my need to surrender daily and to obey. Yet I find myself coming up against life’s situations and wanting to “do it my way” forgetting to even ask if this is God’s leading or just pausing long enough to see if there is a nudge I’m missing. I’ve been living a lot longer than 3 years with Christ, but my humanness is still strong within me. Learning to surrender and to be obedient is truly a life-long lesson and I’m far from done.