Thursday, December 31, 2015

A New Year - 2016

As I end 2015, as so many others are, I am reflecting on where and what I have come from and through in 2015. I am also contemplating, planning and praying about where I want to go in 2016 and beyond. It has been a bit of a struggle coming up with goals and creating the steps to achieve these goals because I want to leave room for God to take me places that I couldn't conceive in my limited imagination. I don't want to be zealous to create a limited future because I didn't leave space to allow God to grow me spiritually, mentally, financially or materially. So my planner has some empty goal pages that I am looking forward to God filling in over the next few months. I also know that the goals that I have thoughtfully created God may change and those goals become something completely different... and I am okay with that. With a heart fully desiring God's will, my focus and goal for 2016 is to live each day seeking and fulfilling God's will for that day. Whether it is praying with someone, inviting someone to church to worship with me, going on a mission trip, learning a new language or fasting, whatever God's will is for any particular day I want to boldly do it.

I have heard of people choosing a word or scripture that will be their focus for the year and though I have never done that, I have decided to try it in 2016.

The word that I have chosen for 2016 is: FINISH

So many times we start projects or commitments and because of time, energy or situations, we fail to finish. We may get the project 90% completed but that last 10% escapes us. Whether it is a earthly project, a spiritual battle or a physical goal, I am going to strive to FINISH that which I start. Sounds simple enough...

The scripture that I have chosen for 2016 is: Proverbs 28:1 "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion."

There are so many times that I feel confident while in my prayer closet but when it comes time to put my faith in action, I get timid and unsure. My private, personal lion's roar turns into a mouse's squeak when faced with an audience seeing or hearing me. This year, I am going to remind myself of that scripture every time I get timid about stepping out in faith. Every time I get hesitant to pray with someone, I will claim that scripture. Every time the enemy of my soul tells me that I can't, I will take the Word and boldly proclaim that with the power of God, I CAN!!

Though I know that January 1st is just the day after December 31st, and really not that special, I am looking forward to a new spiritual journal, a new planner, a new diary, a new year in which to more boldly, more eagerly, more fervently delight myself in the Lord.

I wish you the most joyous New Year. I pray that each of you will make time to put God first on your list of goals for this year.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Heaven Bound

As I have said before, I work with people from many cultural and ethnic backgrounds. I also work with a very diverse demographic of people. Some of the people grew up with a comfortable home life, others grew up very poor and in dysfunctional environments. Whatever the background, whatever the up-bringing, whatever nation they are from, whatever their race... we are all in the same place at the same time. Because of that we are all, at least in my opinion, equal.

The other week I had a heaven moment. As I was inspecting parts in my department, I came to a friend's work station. I enjoy talking with my friend, not because we always understand one another but because he seems like a nice guy. While standing there checking for quality, I glanced up and my soul cried out to God that I wanted to go to heaven with my friend and his family. It was such an overwhelming burden that I wanted to weep. Here is a man that I can't always understand as he speaks another language. A man that is scarred from being caught in a civil war. A man that does not know my Jesus. A man who serves his own god, Allah. Regardless of what my friend is right now, I want him, his wife and his children to be in heaven with Jesus, my Lord and Savior. This burden and vision has become so real to me that even as I walk down-wind of someone who does not bathe, I realize that they too are welcome in heaven. As I talk with a person who is annoying or hateful, my heart yearns for them to be in heaven. I am learning, by the grace and love of God, to allow my soul see the soul of my harvest field rather than the fleshly bodies those souls inhabit.

The heaven that we are seeking will not be filled with people who look, speak, eat and smell just like us. I believe that there will be more people that didn't bathe make it heaven than people who look just like me but are self-righteous. There will be more people in heaven that have needle tracks up their arm, who allowed God to deliver them, than there will be gossips who look exactly like me. Heaven will be filled with the redeemed, regardless of color, race, language, personal hygiene or fashion sense. According to Revelations, the water of life is given to ANYONE who thirsts and ANYONE who overcomes will inherit all things. Those that will not inherit are those that do not overcome, regardless of race, color, or language. The question becomes will you inherit and will you take those of your harvest field that thirsts for the water of life that only Jesus can give?

Revelation 21:5-8
Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Where is My Place in the Kingdom?

After experiencing a devastating loss and lingering heartache, I found myself searching for God's plan for my life. Before this loss, I had plans... good, godly and sound plans. I thought and dreamed of the ways that God would be able to use our lives and experience. I anticipated the thrill it would be to work side by side with my best friend for the kingdom of God. I had envisioned God utilizing our skills and understanding to be a help to some church. But that planned future was destroyed by my unexpected loss. As I talked with God about my heartache and the evaporation of my plans for my future, I realized that they were just that... MY plans. Though they were godly plans based on my desire to work in the kingdom, they didn't necessarily line up with God's perfect will for my life. So began the struggle of finding my place in the Kingdom of God. Without a doubt, I feel that God has placed a calling and ministry on me but what that calling is and what that ministry looks like... I do not know. As I have sought God's direction about this I have explained to Him that I have little to no skills, money or courage. Each day as I seek understanding about the direction he is leading me, he only shows me my next step. As I try to make goals for my life, he only reveals what I am supposed to do today. Unwilling to settle for just a glimpse of where God is taking me, I continued to plead my case for understanding of the calling, only to be anxious and frustrated some more. Some of the doors that God has opened up I do not even understand. The opportunities that He has placed in my path, I feel unqualified to accept. In fact, the very path I appear to be on, with His leading, is a path that I did not seek or expect. This path, these opportunities and the open doors still do not give me clarity to where God is leading me.

As I sit here at my desk pondering where I have come from and where I am going, I more fully realize that I do not need to take thought for tomorrow, for tomorrow will take thought for itself. I don't have to worry about what God's will is for next year, next month or even next week. The reason is because I only need to concern myself with being in God's will today. If each day I strive to be in the will of God, then next week, next month, next year... I will still be the will of God. I know this isn't rocket science but it did give me a certain peace and understanding. When I am willing and able to obey God's call today to minister to whichever soul God puts in my harvest field today then I am in His perfect will. Tomorrow, if I am willing to do that which he asks me to do then I will be in His perfect will. Yes, I would like to know where God is leading me. Yes, I would like to understand the calling and ministry that He is placing on my heart. But I do not need to know or to understand in order to obey Him today. No, I just need to listen and obey.