October 22, 2017

Do We Want Control...or Freedom?


Control. I hear this word too often in discussions as I sit in circles of chairs or sit around tables in Bible studies, and the other word I am hearing too often is perfection. Yet, from the same group, the same mouths, I hear these other words…anxiety, stress, fear, and exhaustion.

I don't understand it. How can we ever think we have control? Why do we demand it and think we must have it? Why does it dominate our thinking when we absolutely do not control anything? Maybe we think we do—but we don't. And if we think we do, it is only a matter of time until we find out, we certainly do not. Eventually a set of circumstances will occur in our lives that will have us throwing up our hands in helplessness and we will know only God can help us now. 

Only God has control. He is a Sovereign God. He is perfection.

We can let go of what we have thought was control, and we can stop striving for unattainable perfection, and we can be free. When we let go and turn it all over to Him, we gain freedom in return. When we walk in freedom, which is a result of fully trusting Him—the anxiety and fear will not control us.

It is hard to live in freedom when we hold so tightly in our grip that which God wants us to release to Him. Why is it so hard to let go? God has a hold of it...far better than we do. Why not trust? Why not yield fully to Him?

Does all of that control bring anything besides control? Are we going to allow control to... control us?

Control, or freedom. We can’t have both, they will not co-exist.

Let’s choose freedom and fully trusting God and not ourselves.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.

October 18, 2017

Keep Praying


Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

My phone lit up very early one morning at 5:15 with an incoming text message that was an urgent prayer request for someone’s son who was in the ICU in critical condition with congestive heart failure.  

Another lady stopped me in the church lobby on Sunday morning and with tears in her eyes asked me to put her brother and sister-in-law on our prayer request list, they are not saved and do not seem to have any interest in spiritual matters. I encouraged her to keep praying and never give up hope.

I am the designated person in our Sunday school class who writes down all the prayer requests as they are shared and then sends them out in an email to the class every Sunday evening.

Every week there are prayer requests that include family and friends with varying degrees of cancer and other diseases and illnesses. Every week there are prayer requests for ongoing troubling issues in the lives of family and friends, co-workers and neighbors.

Every week we pray. We keep praying. We don’t know what God will do and we don’t even fully understand the mystery of prayer. But when someone has an urgent prayer request, they are thankful there will be people praying. They are thankful they are not alone in this.

We have a great privilege in sharing our burdens with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we cherish their prayers for our individual circumstances. What a great comfort are the words in scripture which admonish us to bring our burdens to Him and to cast all our cares on the Lord. We can take all things to Him in prayer.

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 

October 15, 2017

Perfect Timing


Stepping off my front porch and heading to my mailbox last Saturday afternoon, my attention was caught by a teenage girl walking down the sidewalk in front of our house, face red and tears streaming. She was wiping them away while shuffling two duffel bags on her shoulders when I asked her if she was okay.

Apparently it was her weekend to stay with her father who she said lived a few streets down and she was heading to her mother’s house because she didn’t want to be there. I asked where did her mother live and it was several miles away.

So, I am standing there with a teenage girl crying, obviously torn between her divorced parents and something that happened at her dad’s house, and I don’t really know what to do. I asked her if she wanted to sit on my porch and hoped this would offer her a chance to compose herself and stop her from continuing a several mile walk to her mom’s house without her dad knowing where she was.

I did a lot of reading between the lines with the few things she said. Her father had taken her phone from her, but I let her use mine and she called her mom who I could hear was telling her to go back to her dad’s. My theory is that she did something that broke her dad’s rules and he took her phone from her and I heard her tell her mom that she probably wouldn’t be going to homecoming now.

I felt bad for her because she is a teenager in a broken home trying to navigate a new normal.

She wiped her tears away and stood to go back to her dad’s, apologizing for dumping her family drama in my lap. I wanted to say something before she left, something encouraging and hopeful. I was asking God to please give me the words before she walked off of my porch.

I told her I would pray for her. Then I even more boldly declared I would specifically pray that God would bring calm into the situation. I had peace in my heart I was supposed to say that. I think it is part of why God put her in my path.

As she headed back to her father’s house, I realized how God showed up for a troubled teenager and gave her these messages: there are people that care, pray, and boldly ask God to work.

It amazes me that God sent me out to get the mail the exact moment she was passing by. I am still thinking about that. It was as if it was perfectly timed, perfectly ordered by the Lord.

Psalm 18:30
As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the Lord is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.