Wish Upon A Star

01/30/2013

 
Picture
When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are... Jiminy Cricket has inspired millions around the world with this simple song. Anyone raised in the USA has had this tune stuck in their head at one point or another!

Every little soul aspires to dream and believe and reach for the stars, add some Disney magic and what do you get? A whole culture that crosses fingers, knocks on wood, tosses coins into fountains and wishes upon stars all in hopes for a turn of the fates.

We count the petals of a rose to discover whether she loves me, or she loves me not. We send seeding dandelions whirling away in a breath, imagining each floating tuft to somehow bring our dreams into reality! And who blows out birthday candles before making a wish?

These whims of hope and tradition are innocent and at times magical. But sooner or later we realize that the fairy godmother just isn't going to show up! 

It can be disheartening to feel your soul sink at the realization that your hopes were childish and unrealistic. We've all had high hopes come crashing down. Ashamed and unwilling to repeat the failure, we resolve to just set the bar lower next time.

But I believe that God is the one who put that aspiring, hopeful nature in all of us. And He gave us plenty to wish upon and hope in.

Psalm 119:147 "I rise before the dawning of the morning... I hope in Your word."

I don't wish upon an intention or bank on a feeling or an inclination. The Word is a real thing. It's not according to a dream or a desire. No. It's according to the Word. The memorable and recordable revelation of God's will. It's a sure cause. It's a proven and dependable source. It's a viable option. It's safe. It's a secure investment worthy of all my confidence and trust. It's possible. It's likely. 

This is no wishing star. It's a title deed.

It's not when we bank on the power of a wish, but when we believe in the power of a promise; it's then that magic materializes into miracles. This is no mark of immaturity or ignorance. Hopes set upon this given word are far more secure and reliable than hearts set upon a wishing well or wailing wall.

Luke 1:38 "Let it be to me according to your Word."

What powerful words of faith! Thousands of years later and they still ring with such passion and strength. This is my prayer. This is my hope. This is worth believing in. 

This is something that I don't mind getting excited about! There's nothing childish or ignorant about this kind of faith. Let it be to me! I am believing and hoping in something far more vibrant than the brightest star in the heavens.

 

Teach Me

01/24/2013

2 Comments

 
Picture
Everything is hard before it's easy. Seriously. Even our first breath was painful and shocking, and was likely followed by several moments of crying and frustration!

Walking. Eating. Talking. All of these things are part of our everyday life. They are routine and habit. To accomplish any of them means very little, to us or anyone else. But all of them were quite challenging at one point! I'm positive that each of us failed miserably at all of these things before we mastered them.

I remember helping my little sister learn to ride a bike. Like all of us, there was SO MUCH emotion and fear and desire all wrapped up in this little learning experience. As a child, we all seem to dream of the day when we can ride independently, without training wheels. We are jealous of the "big kids" who can cruise along so smoothly and so fast! But time and time again, we all fell. We scrapped our knees, and possibly melted into a frustrated pile of tears. I know that I felt hopeless, like I was up against an impossible odd, and would surely never learn to ride my bike like a big kid.

Well, low and behold, I was wrong! I learned! So did my sister! So did the rest of us! And now it's comical to watch youngsters face the same challenge, and feel like failures over such a simple thing!

I think there is always somebody older and wiser that looks at my current frustrations and challenges and probably smiles as he thinks to himself, "one day he will learn, and all this will seem so petty and simple."

Maybe it's your job, or attempting to master a specific skill set. Perhaps it's learning to maneuver through various relational challenges. Or it could be the never-ending learning curve of faith as you try to grow in your knowledge of God and His ways.
Wherever you are, I'm sure someone has been there before. And I'm positive there is a way to learn and grow through it all.

I spoke with a gentleman this morning who was feeling rather hopeless about his ability to change and grow. He figured that my faith and stability in the Lord was due to my personality and my surroundings. This led him to believe that he could never have the faith and stability that I have, because he will never have my personality or upbringing.

But the wonderful thing is, our faith and ability to walk with God is not dependent on environment or personality. Our faith is something we learn, something we nurture and grow; something that could easily be second nature if we just don't give up on it's development.

Psalm 143:10 "Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness."

My heart and soul can be taught and instructed to live uprightly, to follow the will of the Lord. It's not up to whims, moods, feelings, happenstance, upbringing, personality or ANYTHING else! It's up to ME. Period. Following after the Lord is a learnable, attainable, realizable possibility. All I have to do is allow myself to be taught.

This walk of faith isn't meant to always be an uphill battle. Just like walking and talking: stick with it long enough and it will soon be a habitual, routine part of your everyday life.

Be willing to learn, to be trained. Don't give up! Don't be frustrated with your present lack of strength or understanding! Get back on that bike. Soon you will be cruising freely through a whole new world of God's goodness and uprightness, only to look back and laugh at how impossible it all once seemed.

 

Confident of This

01/23/2013

 
Picture
Have you ever noticed how quick we are to doubt, or get discouraged, or give up? It's almost shocking. I've often found myself being whiplashed from mountain high to valley low in a matter of moments!

One moment, we can tackle the whole world! God is on our side, we are victorious! Faith is gonna move all these mountains! Our confession is strong, our hopes are high! We feel this unstoppable sensation of grace and possibilities upon our minds and bodies.

And then we make a little mistake. Something goes wrong. A plan falls through. Things begin to take a turn for the worse. And before you know it... our "faith" is shaken and we are in the doldrums again, beating ourselves up and feeling like failures. It's like bipolar, or dual personalities. Why do we find ourselves in such extremes?

How easily we are persuaded! Why do we so effortlessly forget that the WHOLE REASON we were excited in the FIRST place was because of GOD, not because of our imagination or planning skills. 

Our faith and hope should never be built on our abilities, or our reputation. Many of us base our expectations on our own planning and foresight, or our own talents. And as finite human beings, that is sure to be an inaccurate and faulty foundation.

If I want to be a steadfast believer, unmoved and unshaken by the turning of the tides and altering of circumstances, then I must base my hopes on the Word of God, and that alone. 

Christ alone is the solid rock on which we stand. His Word is sure and proven and eternal. If I can transplant my faith from the soil of my imagination to the soil of the Word of God... it will THRIVE. When my dreams and hopes are getting their nourishment from the Scripture, I can be sure they will be vibrant and possible. I can be confident that no matter how things shake down: my faith and hope will remain strong.

Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."

I am to have FULL assurance that God has neither forgotten me, nor His promises to me. He has not brought me out this far to take me back again! God is not a master of plan B's and alternative options. No. He is a master of plan A. He is a God of completion. Of finishing. Of followthrough. He holds true and never breaks His word. He makes a way, where there is no way, to be sure His word comes to pass. He will part the waters, bring down the walls, send fire from heaven. No matter what the cost, His word will never fail or return void. My hope will not be deferred! It will happen.

My plans most likely will NOT happen. His, however, they are a sure thing. I'm empowered today to put down my roots and draw my hopes from the Word of God. I'm recalling what work God has begun in me, what His plans and intentions are. No matter how the situations and odds of life may seem, I am confident that the work of the Lord WILL continue successfully in and through me. That is an unshakable hope. We will not be let down or disappointed if we put our confidence in "this very thing."

 

End Over Means

01/22/2013

 
Picture
I'm a dreamer. For as long as I can remember I wanted to change the world. My whole life has been a push to become bigger and better, to make things more impressive and effective. I've always had a drive to aspire to become all that I can be, an unstoppable desire to achieve and develop and do!

I wanted to bring hope to the world, bring purpose to the lost and confused. Everything within me wanted to better humanity and rescue the perishing. I was convinced that these were God-sized dreams, and not factions of my selfish imagination. Surely His heart beat for these same goals.

So I plunged confidently into driving these things forward. I was determined to make the most of my life. I fanned the flame of faith, passion and dreams and set about making them all possible. I applied all the grit and discipline and talent I could possibly muster.

But, low and behold, I soon realized most of these dreams and aspirations require money, or connections to specific resources. My gift-mix and personality won't take me very far. I could be the most talented painter on the planet, but without a canvas, some paint and a brush, I'm nothing. Resources are important.

After watching all my hopes and dreams crumble down to the poor, limited earth I live on, I began to switch my motivation. Suddenly I was striving for ways to get money, ways to get connected to influential people. My motor was still running, but rather than being compelled by the faith, dreams and purposes that God once deposited in me, I was now being motored by a desire to get resources.

I wanted cameras and money and publishers and producers. I wanted platforms and software and media. I wanted better communication skills, and a sharper mind and more attractive personality.

Little by little, my dreams became narrow and self-promoting. The passion inside of me was growing less noble by the day. And before you know it, even IF I HAD all the money and resources that I wanted, I had no message to give, no passion and purpose that anyone would want to see or hear.

That's a dangerous place that we can easily slip to if we don't guard our heart and keep our passions and intentions in check. I forgot that the whole reason I was originally after these resources and influence was because I loved the dying world around me, I cared for the lost and broken, and I wanted to make a difference! The dignity of my aspirations had melted into a popularity contest! How did this happen?!?!

Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

I ended up focusing so much on the means that I lost touch with the end. I shifted from seeking first the "kingdom" to seeking first "all these things." 

If we keep our eyes on the end or on the original purpose, and focus on that goal or dream, the means will present themselves. It is more important that we focus on keeping our hearts rich and deep, than focus on keeping our pockets rich and deep. Stay connected to the heartbeat of God, not the resources of man.

Stir up that noble passion and desire that God has called you to fulfill, and trust in the provisions and timing of His plan.

The cares of this world will burry you with worry and limitations. But the cares of the next with liberate you with faith and possibilities. Don't be bothered with the work of manufacturing human platforms for success. Rather, throw yourself into the purposes of Heaven and watch as you play a part in the changing of Earth.

I pray that today you can join me in revamping your devotion to the work of the ministry, and the Kingdom of God. Remember the powerful dreams and desires that God has deposited in you. And although the means (influence, money, connections, resources, talent, abilities, etc) are important, if you are consumed by the pursuit or focus on these, you will loose the kingdom. If you seek, as your highest priority, the kingdom, then all these means and resources will be yours for the taking.