Monthly Archives: August 2012

Stop Waiting :: Working with what God gave you

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to His disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. Mark 6:41

Continuing on my current journey…based on my last entry:

We often excuse ourselves from God’s greater vision because we believe we don’t have enough for God to work with. Maybe it’s our lackluster training. Lack of resources. Awkward social skills. Insufficient experience.

Maybe it’s a busted up marriage or a job we’re sure is meaningless. Or being in a season of diapers and snotty noses.

Whatever the reason, something keeps us from realizing what we have is more than enough for God. He has a history of using what little someone has in order to do great things that only He can do.

One of the enemy’s most effective strategies is to get you to focus on what you don’t have, what you used to have, or what someone else has that you wish you had. He does this to keep you from looking in your house and asking, “God, what can You do through what I have?”

The secret is, you don’t need much. All God needs to take your life to a higher level is all you have.

A God who created something out of nothing can certainly create something greater out of little.

Unfortunately, most of us operate out of an “if/then” mind-set:

For example:

  • If I could sing, then I’d use my gifts to serve the Lord.
  • If my children were in a different stage of life, then I could get it together.
  • If my church had a state-of-the-art facility, then we would grow.
  • If I had more money, I could provide my family with a nicer house, and the kids would be well-balanced, and my wife would be more content.

This mind-set imprisons us in the lesser-loser life. We spend all our time dreaming about where we wish we were and what we wish we had and no time investing in where we are and using what we have.

Stop waiting for what you want, and start working with what you have. If you’ll do your part, God will begin to do what only He can do.

How much money do you have? What talents has God given you? How can you grow your church or business with the assets and resources you currently have in place? Put that to work. And God will begin to work with it, making something much more out of it.

Think of your limitations as fish and loaves that Jesus is eager to bless. He can bless only what you bring. So bring it.

Ask yourself: Have you been wasting time thinking that if you only had __________________ you could serve God better? If so, what’s the __________________ you’ve been dwelling on? What do you think it will take for you to give up that kind of fruitless thinking?

God I feel like I don’t have a lot to work with as I start to pursue the greater things You have for me. So, I’m not going to trust my feelings, I’m going to trust you. Today I ask for greater clarity to see what I have as enough of a starting place. And I bring what I have to You.

God Will Show You :: Just Go

Genesis 12:1: Go to the land I will show you.
                                                                                       – God

Each day, I get these really cool, sometimes nifty, and other times deep devotionals in my inbox. Below, you will find one that I found myself thinking about as I read it this morning. Lately, I’ve been contemplating whether call center work is all God has for me in this life and have discovered that career-wise it’s not. I’ve been thinking about going back to school; praying about it; meditating on what God wants me to do…contemplating how I could even afford to go back to school. To study what, you ask? Psychology/Counseling…get my masters in it and do something with my life that will leave an impact in ways I don’t feel I’m doing now. Enjoy:

We all know instinctively, even if we can’t articulate it exactly, that something isn’t squaring up. There’s a huge gap between what God said in His word and the results we see in our lives.

It’s like we’ve been lulled into comfortable complacency. Then we wake up one day to find ourselves stuck in miserable mediocrity. So we tuck away any dreams and notions of the great things we’d like to do for God.

After all, we’re doing good. Good enough. It kind of sucks. But it’s all we know.

If that’s where you are today, I need to share a strong word of warning with you.

You can’t keep living this way. It’s not fine for you to settle. Base-line living is not okay. Not for a believer in Jesus. There are opportunities awaiting for you to be used by God, to touch lives, to get outside yourself and be a part of something greater.

How?

As you pursue your something greater, God isn’t going to tell you how He will do it, only that He will do it. God’s directions can be painfully vague and incomplete sometimes. After He tells Abraham, “Go to the land I will show you,” He abruptly stops talking (Genesis 12:1). He doesn’t give him a road map. He doesn’t give him a detailed life plan. He doesn’t give him a GPS. Only a directive: “Abraham- just go.”

He’ll do the showing if you will do the going.

You can’t think too far ahead about where you’ll end up. You can only go where He tells you to go today. When you wake up the next morning, He’ll show you where to go tomorrow. The day after that, He’ll show you where to go that day and the next.

If He told you the whole thing at once, it would probably freak you out. Besides, He’s trying to teach you how to walk by faith. And most of all, His greatest ambition in leading you into greater things isn’t that you would know what to do. It’s that you would know who He is.

That’s why the simple, uncomplicated word “go” is not the Father’s plan to disorient you but His attempt to develop you. It’s an imperative born out of compassion, not out of cruelty. This is God’s method of teaching us to draw near to Him. And in that process, we receive so much more than just good instructions. We experience deeper intimacy with God Himself.

Ask yourself this:
If you already have an idea of what greater thing God might have in mind for you, what is it?
If you don’t yet have an idea, what do you see as the plus side of going on this trust journey with God?

Prayer

God, I read the Bible stories of the many things You did through Your people. Amazing things. History changing things. Greater things. And I have to admit, I have doubts You could use a person like me in the same way. Otherwise, I’d be living in all out pursuit of Your plans for my life. I’m not doing that. I’m living to get by and be comfortable. God, I’m asking You today to give me greater confidence to embrace the plan You have for my life. I want to take the first step today. I want to follow you like never before.

 

Beyond Being a Maid of Honor :: My Sister’s Getting Hitched!

I’m going to go ahead and assume that I am not the only one who thinks that weddings are awesome!  There’s nothing quite like seeing two people come together who are committed to spending the rest of their earthly lives devoted to loving and serving one another.  It is the greatest covenant promise two people can make. And afterward, of course, everyone celebrates like crazy!  As family, friends, and other loved ones join together to witness this ceremony, there is one group of people who play a very important role in the marriage: the wedding party.

My sister, Ashley, is engaged. Engaged! I knew it was coming, but, to be honest…I’m still in the first stages of shock (mild shock, at least). In my mind, she’ll always be fourteen. After all, that’s how old she was when I left home for college (ah, the beauty of being the oldest sibling) and I truly haven’t been back since.

I couldn’t be happier with the groom God chose for her. Jordan is quite the young man and his personal testimony speaks volumes of who God has made him to be. I pray for blessings upon their life together and more.

Ashley couldn’t contain her excitement the night he proposed. She texted me first to see if I was free, sent a photo of the ring and then called to ask if I would be her maid of honor. To say that I was thrilled would be an understatement.  I began envisioning her wedding ceremony, how gorgeous the bride would be, and what the venue would be like.  God, however, intervened my daydreaming pretty quickly with the question: “Anita, do you understand the responsibility that comes with being a bridesmaid? More than that: a maid of honor?”  That was all I heard from Him, and I realized that, no, I didn’t realize the responsibility.  I mean, I thought that I was just there to support her, love her, and have fun, right?  Not quite.

I clearly remember that question entering my mind (thank you, Holy Spirit!), and my utterly dumbfounded feeling that followed.  If this whole bridesmaid thing really was a responsibility, I knew that I needed to figure out what that needed to look like.  By the grace of God alone, I believe that I have.  

I came to the convicting conclusion that being my sister’s choice as maid of honor meant agreeing to partner alongside the couple through supporting, loving them, and, even more importantly, in praying for them.  Not only that, but I believe that being a part of the wedding party also means holding the bride and groom accountable to one another and to God, and that doesn’t end once the wedding is over.  I am convinced that marriage is the most sacred of human relationships, and as the image of the covenant relationship between Jesus and the Church, it will undoubtedly face hardship and spiritual attack.  Two people choosing to devote their lives to one another and, more importantly, to bringing glory to God absolutely needs prayer warriors on their side.  They need people to hold them accountable and to be in constant prayer for their marriage for the rest of their lives.

Before I am asked to be a bridesmaid, I make it a point to explain my conviction to the bride-to-be.  My sister knows that I don’t take the job lightly, and that I likely will not be just a fun, crazy, or carefree bridesmaid.  I want her to know that I am committed to supporting her through the engagement season, to lifting prayers on the behalf of her marriage, and to a lifelong relationship with her and her husband-to-be.

And so, as the maid of honor in my sister’s upcoming wedding, I pray that I will uphold all that I believe a bridesmaid should be, namely a spiritual partner and prayer warrior.  Yes, it is a big responsibility.  But it is an even bigger blessing.