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Fishers of Men Not Means

Through earnest prayer, I have seen God change so many circumstances in my life and the lives of people I love. More importantly, I have seen him transform me so that I am not bound to begging for a different outcome but rather a divine income.

For many years I thought the purpose of prayer was to get something from God. Now I understand that the hope of prayer is to get God. Just God, more of Him and less of me. His desires become mine, not vice versa when I sincerely seek Him.

Praying does not require fancy language. God does not give credit for style. He is looking for surrender.

Prayer changes everything. The thing is, change just does not always mirror our desires.

I have heard a couple of renditions of this misconception the last week, “I don’t understand, He didn’t answer my prayers.” He did, friend. He just answered them His way, and we are not called to comprehend but to commit.

If you are a parent and you make decisions that are best for your children, you know sometimes they are hard, but they are also right. Our kids most often do not understand. Hard and holy go hand in hand, though, and it has been that way since the beginning.

God understands our difficulty because He, too, is a Father. He is a person to know not a commodity to control.

Prayer sometimes changes earthly directions, but most importantly it alters eternal destinations, and that is our primary commission.

We are fishers of men not means.

If I can pray for you today, please let me know. It is my privilege to petition the Prince of Peace on behalf of my friends.

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His Promises Endure

I am a tremendously deep feeler in a terribly fallen world. I experience your success and your suffering, your communication, verbal and non-verbal, your actions and your inactions. I endure all your raw edges and finely buffed emotions. I sense your masks because I have worn them as well, but I long to see your soul. I carry your praises and your pain, and that is why I laugh a lot but frequently lament, too. Some people would say I am a mess. Some days I say, I am a mess. That is ok because it is in the sediment of tribulation that I discover significance when I have anchored my eyes, ears, and heart towards the eternal message that I know is always there. Right now the world sits raw and heavy upon my heart. I feel like I am in a tug of war between the desire to surrender to the sadness or continue standing despite its presence. There is only one choice for me; I know that. But, the fight is real! Thank you, Father, for your promises that endure all storms, whether we are standing well or weary.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

 
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The World Or The Word

What are you chasing today that is seemingly bigger, better, prettier or more satisfying than what you have?

I have written about our dog, Paisley, before.  She teaches me valuable lessons when I am paying attention. I often bring her a new toy, shinier, bigger and better toys. When she first gets them, she is elated.  She plays with them non-stop for a few days, and then they suddenly lose all their mystery, charm and satisfaction, only to sit untouched in her toy basket until the next better one comes along.  The cycle again repeats itself with each new toy.

I am a lot like that, too.  The world offers many distractions that capture my eyes and shift me from an eternal focus to an earthly one.  I become an exhausted runner, chasing, chasing, chasing.  Every time I attain what I am chasing, that deep soul ache is temporarily satisfied, until I realize the ache is still there and that next “better thing” did not come through for me either.

What I have learned after years of running is that I do not need to be running towards something, but to Someone.  If I am not chasing a deeper relationship with Jesus, I will be chasing something all my life that has a short return and fleeting satisfaction.

Life is a marathon, and I do not want to get to the finish line with only shiny medals that will rust and turn to dust.  I desire to cross that line falling into the arms of the One, who will always satisfy, eternally provide and forever be at my side.

What are you running after today, the world or the Word?

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The Commission is at Hand

Dearest friend,
We are children loved by a good Father without comparison. He has anointed us with a unique mission, in unprecedented times. The Father chose us for this moment in time that can be difficult to reconcile because it is a marriage of both beautiful and brutal. Because of this, it is necessary for us to love fearlessly, believe scandalously and hope without compromise. What mission has He entrusted to you today? May we all be good attendants of His holy assignments. Scandalous belief says that we have all we need to succeed today so do not look ahead for the commission is at hand.

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Resurrection Living

Every year around Easter time I reflect on the amazing truth that after Jesus’ crucifixion came His resurrection. When I think about what that sealed for me, I cannot help but rejoice. It was the genesis of the greatest hope the world had ever known. A displaced stone and an empty tomb ushered into eternity new life for followers of King Jesus; securing victory over death, guilt, shame, fear, and condemnation. How wonderful that news is for you and me!

The resurrection of Jesus handed us a priceless gift including all the assets we need to live a joyful life. But I would be remiss if I also did not take the time to ask myself honestly, Today, am I living in the darkness of Jesus’ crucifixion or the light of His resurrection?

Often fear is a frequent “friend.” Sin is my sneaky shadow and circumstances can hollow my heart of hope. This life can easily conform me into a pattern of crucifixion living when I neglect the conditions of my head and my heart. May we never forget the crucifixion, friends; but we must remember Jesus did not die for us to get stuck there. He did not die for us to live small defeated lives. Yes, all stories have seasons of suffering, and many do not end well. It is only the stories of believers living under the resources of a selfless Savior that have the certainty of happy ever after.

I will be honest. I long for this life to look like a Hallmark movie. When I am persisting horizontally, I am defeated by my desire. It is only when my eyes are fixed vertically on Jesus, and I am persevering out of the provisions secured by His resurrection that I can live a victorious life because I know how my story ends and there is a big red bow on top!

Lord Jesus, thank you for procuring paradise for me. I pray that I along with all your children would remember the royalties afforded by your resurrection. May we cast off the weights of crucifixion living, and rest under the shelter of your resurrection. We love you, Lord. Thank you for loving us enough to ensure what we could never do for ourselves. I ask that you would grant us the grace to live from the promises of the resurrection, not just during the Easter season, but through all seasons. Amen.

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The Best Is Yet To Come

Last week I had the great honor to speak at my grandmother’s funeral service. I wanted to share a short piece of that with you. As I was preparing yesterday, God led me to 2 Corinthians 5:1-5. After reading that verse I felt prompted to read the message version. This is a portion from my message today. I hope you find encouragement here.

2 Corinthians 5:5-1: The message version says~ For we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.

Family, friends, I know some of your tents are worn and weary. Life has been hard, but if you are a follower of Christ, we have this great hope that is not an earthly aspiration born of this world but an eternal assurance brokered by The Savior of the world.

Be encouraged today that the best is yet to come. Because of this great inheritance we have been given, we can leave here today knowing that we are not saying goodbye, but see you soon in paradise.

Whatever you are facing tonight friend, God is in the midst. He is going before you and working in ways you cannot begin to imagine. You never walk dirt roads alone. Ask Him, seek Him and find Him. He is waiting to give you rest. You are loved.

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I’m Going Home

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I’m going home.  Recently I visited my grandmother in Texas where she lives in a home and receives full-time care.  At ninety-six her body is strong, but her mind has slipped. Most days she cannot put intelligible words together.  Occasionally, however, she is very clear when uttering a few words.  On the first day after “visiting” with her, I told her I would be back to see her tomorrow, and she very discernibly responded, “I won’t be here.” I asked her where she would be, and again she stated with great clarity, “I’m going home.” At that moment those words broke my heart and brokered tears.  As I have been pondering her words and that twinkle in time, I have realized that those are the most beautiful three words anyone can say with the confidence Pete did that day.  Despite her deficits, she knows her desired destination-Home.  Those three words still make me cry, because I now perceive them as a beautiful declaration of her destiny rather than a brutal depiction of her desperation.  I’m going home.  That is the hope of all our hearts.  I’m going home.  It is the mantra that rings in the background of all our messes.  When we know our eternal home is Heaven, are there any more beautiful words? 2

Corinthians 5:6-9 ~So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him.

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A Beautiful Story

Her successes humbled her; she softly accepted them with gratitude.  Her wounds filled her heart with compassion, and she knew though painful, they would mature into wisdom that she would rely on to comfort others.  Both together wrote her story; the story she drew from to minister to others with gentleness and grace.  You, my dear, are a beautiful story with pages full of pleasure and pain that have formed your unique and eternal purpose.

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The Word of My Heart, Obedience

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Sometimes The Lord puts words or phrases on my heart, and I earnestly pray to seek and pursue them. The last couple of months the word has been obedience not to the world but the word.  Sometimes my biggest problem is my eyes are focused more on myself and less on my Savior.  Praying John 3:30 has been a powerful prescription for that!  Self-preoccupation suffocates joy out of my soul.  Lord give me a heart and hands obedient to You, not comfortable to me so that my earthly work may be of eternal worth. Amen.  Have a good day friends!