Do you like Easter?I thoroughly enjoy celebrating Jesus’ resurrection & His defeat over death!The next big celebration on the church calendar happens with Pentecost, the outpouring of Holy Spirit, & what a massive demonstration that was!!!So what about the middle time between Easter & Pentecost?What should we do in the middle, between these noteworthy events?
It seems to me that there’s a lot of our walk with God that happens in the middle. For example, we pray for something & then there’s often a middle time before we receive an answer. Or think about a time when God led you to start something & maybe you’ve done the beginning but you’re in the middle now, before you see the full culmination of what God has spoken to you.
In between Jesus’ resurrection & Pentecost, Jesus told His disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they’re clothed with power from Holy Spirit. I’m really confident that when Jesus told His disciples this, they didn’t know what to expect – they didn’t know what Pentecost would look like for them. They just knew there was something more on the horizon.
And I would encourage you, in the middle seasons, to anticipate & earnestly desire more of Holy Spirit in your daily living. More Holy Spirit can look lots of different ways for each of us, so let’s be careful not to specifically define what more is. Let’s just be open to having more of Holy Spirit in our lives!
Shimmering trees, speckled sunlight, icy roads and chilly air invite me to think and reflect deeply about God’s love in diverse display. In Colorado today, cars are slipping off the icy roads and people are bundled in coats, scarves and boots, with their preferred warm beverage cupped tenderly in their hands. It’s these kinds of days that God gives to me and we sharpen the saw.
This means that when the outside is cold and uninviting, it’s nice to stay inside and look for the cozy nooks and spaces to pause, listen and let God plumb my soul for greater connection and togetherness. And this is what I’m designed for: being close and snuggly with God. This is where I’m most settled and content, where I mature and deepen my roots, sharpen the saw.
Maybe this is what Job speaks about in Job 20:20, “Because he knew no quiet within him, He does not retain anything he desires.” These are the kinds of days when God grows the quiet in my soul and it’s deeply satisfying and richly rewarding 🙂
Recently, I went snowboarding with the men in my family and had a wonderful time, minus the crowded lift lines. The sun was out, snow was pretty good, it wasn’t too cold and I stayed warm throughout the day (except for getting some snow down my pants). The toxic desire part, however, happens for me when I want to keep the same speed as my teenage sons. They have been skiing for more than ten years and they’re very proficient and fast. The problem is that I also like to go really fastand watching them jet ahead of me, is like throwing down the gauntlet with an irresistable challenge. But alas, from innumerable injuries that need no details here, I’ve concluded that snowboarding as fast as my teenage sons isn’t good for my health, regardless of what I want.
So let’s remember that not all of our desires come from God (Ps 37:4) and let’s stay mindful not to allow the toxic desires to override common sense and obedience to God’s Word 🙂
I’ve come to realize that the stuff God asks me to do requires God’s help. Whenever I try to do God’s assignments without God’s help, I fall short. In this learning adventure, I’m also realizing that when I say, “I can’t”, it’s usually rooted in, “I won’t”. The difference between can’t & won’t relates to both ability & willingness.
So when God asks us to do something that we lack the ability to accomplish, let’s be careful not to be unwilling. The right answer to God is, “With Your help, I’m willing & I’ll try!” Let’s have a willing heart to walk in the Spirit!
Friday, I had a glorious day of snowboarding!! The sun was out, snow was good, runs were empty & there was no wind. Needless to say, I could’ve ridden for endless hours & enjoyed a unique bliss that’s not easily acquired. But alas, I stopped when I could’ve gone for heaps more.
I think it’s very human to want more – more dessert, more sleep, more success, more adrenaline, more chocolate, more vacation, etc. But alas, there’s such a thing as overdose & it’s not just for drugs. We would be wise to quit while we still want more. This principle is a healthy guideline across the entirety of our lives with one exception: Jesus.
We are designed to crave our Creator & our lives will remain unsatisfied until we appreciate that ultimately, we’re only fulfilled through a rich, vibrant & continuous relationship with Jesus!
When I return from an international trip, I’m usually hungry for something like a hamburger or a hearty salad. I really like American food & traveling oversees makes me appreciate it all the more.
Coming home from my most recent trip to Cambodia, I’ve found myself more hungry for the Holy Spirit & my appetite for flowing with the Holy Spirit in my daily living has significantly increased. Im really happy for this hunger & eager to see how that roles into daily living. I already saw evidence of this last night when I took my daughter dress shopping for Homecoming! We found something both beautiful & affordable!
Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to increase our appetite for a greater integration of His presence throughout our lives!
I went to wake up one of my kids this morning & they were kind of cranky. Their precise words were, “Mom, would you please get out of my room.” Last night, this same child was really snugly & wanted me to stay & cuddle, so it can be a little tricky sometimes knowing what their mind frame is from time to time.
I was thinking about how sometimes I can be the same way with God – God I want you at my beckoned call, but if I don’t call, please don’t come. This kind of mindset doesn’t foster trust nor intimacy with God. Instead, lets always be hungry for God, all the time, no matter how we feel or what’s going on around us. Lets desire
to be with God & make God’s presence the priority in our lives 🙂
There are lots of things that I want. I want to: be effective with saving moses, be smart, be healthy, to know God, be a good mom, be a good wife, be strong & compassionate, . . . . . I want alot of things & here’s an important secret to getting what we want: In order to get what we want, we will often need to do what we don’t always like.
I’m reminded of this principle today as I was reading an organizational structure & business book. As I was reading the book, I found myself thinking, “This is why I didn’t major in business at school.” Neverthless, to help saving Moses be all that God has designed it to be, I have to grow in some areas that don’t really excite me. In order to be a good mom, I have to continually improve my communication skills, especially with listening. In order to be a good wife, I need to get better at home improvement projects both big & little. I genuinely believe that God has designed us to some really cool stuff & it seems to me that seeing these cool things become a reality will require our cooperation, even when we may not like the process 🙂
I really like the story about Abraham being obedient to God to sacrifice Isaac in Gen 23. I like it for lots of different reasons: it shows what determined obedience looks like, it shows me Abraham’s heart, it shows me some of God’s methods, among many other things. The culmination of the story is when Abraham is about ready to slay his son & God stops him & shows him the ram in the thicket – perfect provision in the nick of time. Which brings me to some thoughts related to our daily living.
There’s a difference between want, need & imminent need. Unfornately, we often get the definitions of want & need mixed up. Thankfully, God helps to clarify that difference from time to time 🙂 We all have needs & ultimately we need to see God as the answer to those needs. But here’s something to consider: a regular need is different than an imminent need. Abraham needed a ram to sacrifice instead of his son, from the minute he set out to obey God. The further he continued on the obedience path, the greater the need for a ram became. Nevertheless, he was committed to obey God even to the point of believing God could raise Isaac from the dead. But Abraham’s need became critical & imminent when he had tied up Isaac & was ready to plunge a knife into him. That is the moment when God gave Abraham the provision that he needed.
Here’s my point: we can not only trust God to be the provision for our needs but we can also trust in His timing. If He’s not providing something that we feel we need at this moment, the possibility exists that He thinks we don’t need that provision at this moment. And if this is true, then we can trust Him to provide what we need, when we really need it. Trust would be an operative word 🙂
Well, I’m very much enjoying this experiment & I’m big on experiments (I used to have like 3 or 4 old chemistry sets when I was growing up & I’d mix them all together just to see what would happen – fun times!!!). Anyways, these are some things so far that have come from the Lord’s Prayer adventure:
better focus – gives my mind something constructive to ruminate on during the day rather than the random clutter & general nonsense that can be useless & even harmful
greater respect & reverence for God = hallowed be Your Name
greater intimacy & understanding that God is my Father with all the elements that connect with fatherhood
greater submission & surrender to His authority & will (respectively) – bend to my King & bind myself to His will more than my desires
more emphasis on God & less on me
So, if you haven’t tried the Lord’s Prayer experiment, read the blog below & give it a shot. If you’re doing the experiment – how’s it going & what’s been happening? 🙂