Tag Archives: Redemption

Caught Up In The Moment

The last six weeks at work have been challenging as my observation of two and a half years’ worth of misguided movements came to a head.  Each step shifted the alignment of the organization off center, further and further away from its core mission.  I felt woefully inadequate as I was unable to cure the immediate hurts or address the over-arching cultural ailments.  I had been accustomed to working behind the scenes to reshuffle the pieces to almost any awry situation back to the center of the board.  By flipping switches and pulling levers, I could turn on the magnets that would draw people back between the bumpers.  As this situation continued to wobble further and further out of control, I leveraged every resource available to me to adjust the alignment back to center.  No matter how much strength I used or torque I created, I could not move the mountain.  My blood pressure then sky-rocketed, headaches ensued, and hope dissipated.  The Lord then said to me, “get somewhere and sit still!  To move mountains, you must have faith, you know, the size of a mustard seed.  I am not feeling faith.  I am witnessing you muster mortal strength in man’s world.  You are making a mockery of the miracle process.  I am responsible for those and simply sometimes use man as delivery vehicles.  As the devotional told you the other day, meet Me in the moment and leave outcomes to My Father.  Listen to the sage.  I sent her.  Calmly do these two things each day and leave the rest to Me:  Ask the Father what He would have you do today and work towards it with excellence.”

No words were rendered as no response was required.  I took a week of time off, went away, and did nothing but reflect on His guidance.  Each day I spent time with Him and I asked what He would have me do.  Everyday His answer was the same: love My people and see the wonders of My work.  And that is exactly what I did.  I engaged with as many people as I could and enjoyed the beauties of nature.  Five days after I returned to work, His glorious plan began to unfold.  The miracles of the Messiah moved the mountain.  He made a way for resolution to my plaguing problem and I am extremely thankful to Him.  As Lincoln Brewster tells us: Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth.  The heavens declare Your greatness.  The oceans cry out to You.  The mountains, they bow down before You.  So I’ll join with the earth and I’ll give my praise to You.Majestic

The long, drawn-out difficult observation time that ended just before I took leave was chocked full of faith forewarnings for me.  Particularly, I had watched a high-ranking person determine that reaching the next rung on the ladder was worth everything and he was willing to do anything to get it.  In his haste to reach the next level, he failed to realize that anything received at any pace other than in God’s time can never bring fulfilment, but is merely an accelerant of spiritual degradation.  You see, “any cost” is the only price the devil is willing to pay and the moment we name that price is the second we sell our soul.  Every move from that point forward is a contorted turn or ill-conceived twist that leads to places of no return.  The intersection of greed and power is named Hubris Hill.  The crossroads of arrogance and opportunity is called Corruption Court.  “Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it’s set a rolling it must increase.” – Caleb Colton

At that point, anyone with half of the currency can now convince us to give the whole thing away, leaving us begging for borrowed time from hollowed hearts.  As the pace gets faster and the stakes get higher, we find ourselves over leveraging our diminishing worth while clinging to vacated promises backed by overdrawn credit. Suddenly, the suitors stop knocking and no one takes our calls.  It is then that we realize the time we spent perched in dark smoke-filled rooms sipping single malt scotch and savoring select cigars was likely in Lucifer’s Lounge.  We sat at the table listening to his lies while debating the Spirit’s voice in order to rationalize righteousness into a wicked situation.  By negotiating, we risked what we had to gain what we didn’t need.  We rolled the dice with the devil, the master of deception, and lost it all.  As two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, neither can God and evil.  By dismissing the Spirit, we gave the devil a foot hole.  The hunt is now over and it’s time for the kill.  The wicked one has won!

Or has he?  He is jealous for me; loves like a hurricane.  I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy; when all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory.  And I realize just how beautiful You are and how great Your affections are for me… And we are His portion and He is our prize, drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes.  If his grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.  And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss, and my heart turns violently inside of my chest.  I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves us…Oh, how he loves us allHe Loves Us – John McMillan

Just like us, God gave the ranking person worth and his value comes through Jesus Christ.  Through our relationship with Him and community with His people, a paved path to the foot of the cross is always beneath our feet.  To the extent that we lose our way, simply say, “Jesus, please help me!”  He is a loving Lord and an eager savior, longing for a relationship with His children.  We strengthen that relationship through worshiping only Him, loving His people, reading His word, and praying.  As Matt Redman reminds us, When the music fades, all is stripped away.  And I simply come longing just to bring something that’s of worth that will bless Your heart.  I’ll bring You more than a song, for a song in itself is not what You have required.  You search much deeper within, through the way things appear.  You’re looking into my heart.  I’m coming back to the heart of worship.  And it’s all about You.  It’s all about You, Jesus.  I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it, when it’s all about You.  It’s all about You, Jesus Heart of Worship.  If we simply remember that we cannot sell what we cannot earn, His grace will remain on the forefront of our minds, preventing us from placing our salvation in the showcase window of Hell’s pawn shop.  This life is about advancing His kingdom, not our selfish pleasures.

Now is a time for prayer and encouragement, not casting of stones.  As we have done so much for which we wish not to be judged, forgiveness is a large paving stone on the path to the foot of the cross.  We’ve all had the experience of being caught up in the moment.  Remember, character assassination kills more than just a reputation.  It massacres minds and slaughters souls.  The scars on His hands are reminders of our redemption, not reverberations of our self-righteousness.  Offer healing to the hurt and love to the lost by being fast to forgive.  We are His beacons who have been called to shine His light.  So beam brightly!

I pray fervently for the ranking official.  Lord, may his resignation resign him to Your ways.  May he raise his hands and heart to You to receive the blessings You have in store for him.  May he live the rest of his days gaining strength from time with You.  May we heal from the difficulties and offer forgiveness to our brother, remembering the experience as a shadow that casts shade on the dog-day decisions that we may one day face.  May pride never prevent us from calling Your great name long before our darkest hours – In Your son’s name, Amen.

Romans 12 tells us, 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.  (MSG)

Storms of Life

“Life is pain and the enjoyment of love is an anesthetic.” (Cesare Pavese)

The past week was a fast-paced, energy intensive, dynamic ride that oscillated between the immediacy of now and the aloofness of the distant past.  It was filled with continuous meetings and phone calls related to the perpetual alignment of allies, positioning of and listening to opponents, identification of friends and enemies, while measuring the strength and direction of the wind gusts to gain perspective on a predictable landing strip of the lukewarm and irresolute.  There were moments in the days that required enough quickness and acuity to shoot down incoming rounds just to create a limited lane of penetration, a place inside the paint where suppression fire could be laid down in intervals not to exceed three seconds.  In this instance, there was an unpredicted shift from visionary strategic governance to tactical survival.  Immediately, the Switchfoot questions of, This is your life.  Are you who you want to be?  This is your life.  Is it everything you’ve dreamed it would be, when the world was younger and you had everything to lose?”  This Is Your Life.

The experience required an extensive examination of me against the back drop of my desired transition from transactions to relationships.  Initially, I became upset with myself because even though I have worked really hard, I did not do as well as I believe I could have.  The experience exposed my root ball and uncovered the core of who I am – a work in progress.  God reminded me that He has something bigger in store for me; something much larger that He is grooming me for.  In a riveted split second, He whispered, “Relax my child!  It didn’t have to be you; it happened to be you that was chosen by Me for this specific and precious mission. I could have selected one of several billion other souls.  But I didn’t.  I chose you.  This is not about the physical realm.  Your body is only temporary anyway.  This is a spiritual battle.  We are talking about eternity here.  I have always delivered on my promises and this time will be no different.  I must equip you with what you need.  Your job right now is to keep your faith.  Remember, it makes things possible, not easy or perfect.  I am merely taking you through a few dry-runs to illuminate your developmental deficiencies and to hone the skills it will take to conquer modern-day Jericho when it is time.  You see, when my children are under stress, they cannot rise to the occasion, but will only revert back to their highest level of training.  Your training begins with spending time with Me every day and is practiced by remaining focused on Me throughout the day.  No matter what is thrown at you or what hits you, I am there with you and for you.  Put a prisoner in a suit and he is still an inmate.  I have released you from the cell block of your thoughts that tell you, ‘If I don’t, no one else will’.  Walk proudly and fearlessly in your freedom.  Your orange jumper is gone.  Jump with quickness into my arms and find rest while you are with me.  Be still and know that I am God.

His specific and personal words to me were electrifying.  They left me seized, dazed, and speechless.  The only option was to bow my head as if nodding to express “yes sir” and to otherwise be still because He is God.  Once I gathered my thoughts and wrapped my mind around what just happened, he said, “here I am!  I am with you.  Go!  Do my work, accomplish this mission, and live out your purpose.  Remember, you play like you practice.”  At that precise moment, I found respite in the divinely arranged encounter with a wonderful, kind-spirited, nurturing gentleman.  Even though exhaustion had set in, He pointed out this lovely soul and asked me to throw half of what I had left as light to his feet.  I dug deep, and the spirit handed me what was left at the bottom of the tank.  He handed me a heart with H.O.N.E.S.T. written across it.  God then gently said, “yep.  Now be yourself and get it done.”  As I began to engage with the brother, the message was revealed to me.  I was supposed to have an H.O.N.E.S.T.  heart attitude.  Be: Humble, Open, Nice, Eager, Strong, and Trusting in this engagement.  This is the toe lamp I was called to be.

The brother shared intriguing tidbits about his journey.  I could easily relate to many of his experiences in and sentiments about life.  Even though he let go of God long ago, we made a connection that created an aura that hope is alive even though life can be a bear.  The encounter reminded me of where I was when I started on my journey and made me smile about where He has called me to be today.  I smiled because I was able to suspend judgment against my brother as well as against me, my blunders, and unconventional lessons.  I was able to accept this as the place He has us now without reasoning about where He may want us next.  Sidewalk Prophets says it so well with, “If there’s a road I should walk, help me find it If I need to be still, give me peace for the moment.  Whatever Your will, whatever Your will, can you help me find it?  Can you help me find it?” – Help Me Find It.  Psalm 121 says, “I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from?  2My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth.  3He will not let you fall.  Your Protector will not fall asleep.  4Israel’s protector does not get tired.  He never sleeps.  5The Lord is your Protector.  The Lord stands by your side, shading and protecting you.  6The sun cannot harm you during the day, and the moon cannot harm you at night.  7The Lord will protect you from every danger.  He will protect your soul.  8The Lord will protect you as you come and go, both now and forever!”  (ERV)

I realize now that my disappointment with myself was from fear that I had lost ground with exploiting these always present, but only recently utilized, relational qualities.  Before, life was a tiger that I had caught by the tail with the intention of looking him in the eye before taming and laying him down.  Living on the adrenaline of my own energy, I was that self-made woman turned warrior who vanquished the forward deployed obstacles.  As Survivor says,   Risin’ up, back on the street.  Did my time, took my chances.  Went the distance now I’m back on my feet; Just a man and his will to survive.  So many times it happens too fast.  You trade your passion for glory.  Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past.  You must fight just to keep them alive”Eye of the Tiger.  Now, I am clay in the potter’s hands, being molded as my Maker sees fit.  Johnny Diaz gives the current truth with,There could never be a more beautiful you.  Don’t buy the lies, disguises and hoops, they make you jump through.  You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do.  So there could never be a more beautiful you”More Beautiful You.

My reflection on the week has me here:  I used to be a strong wind that could make a flag stand stiff.  He is training me to be the rising tide that raises all things.  He has given me His spirit, as my everyday companion, to lead and guide me through the uncertain waters to the other shore.  When exhaustion sets in from the battering of the wake of the change, the analgesic of His love and presence sedates my discomfort.  As it pleases Him, He may quiet the storm as I make this transition, or not.  Regardless, in the storms of my life, whatever they may be, He is there with me.  Falling on my knees in worship, giving all I am to seek your face.  Lord all I am is yours.  My whole life I placed in your hands.  God of mercy, humbled I bow down in your presence, at your throne.  I call.  You answer and you came to my rescue and I want to be where you are.  My life be lifted high…”  Hillsong United, Came To My Rescue

Thank you Lord for the storms, growth, redemption, presence and change.  May I always desire to be clay in Your hands.  Mold me as You will.