Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why Don't They Fly? - Redux

Originally posted on January 10, 2009. Driving out of the Disneyland parking lot earlier this week the Lord reminded me of this post and I felt impressed to share it again. Maybe it's just for me, but in case it's not, I hope it encourages you as well.



This morning after I dropped Ethan off for his 9 am karate class I decided to make a quick run to Wal-Mart (which turned into a quick run to Wal-mart and Target) before I had to be home at 9:45 to pick up Jake to take him to his 10 am karate class. So needless to say I was pressed for time, and I was rushing. I needed to pick up laundry supplies and some new hampers.

As I was riding in my car this morning I was listening to a CD that an acquaintance gave me. He's the father of one of Victoria's classmates and at a few birthday parties and on the campus we've had a few conversations, as well as with my husband and his wife. Nice guy, and an associate pastor at a local church. It's clear our belief systems are very much in line. Yesterday he gave me the CD which was of a message his pastor gave recently in their church. I thought it was kind of interesting that through just a few primarily casual conversations he thought I should hear a particular sermon. It intrigued me.

The title of the sermon was "Prosperity in Adversity." I hadn't actually gotten to hear very much of it by the time I arrived at Wal-mart (though I can now tell you it was all very good), but I had heard something that I liked. At the beginning of his sermon the pastor had everyone in the congregation lift up their bible and together they recited a sort of mantra. I can't quote it verbatim, but they made a faith declaration together along the lines of, "this is MY bible, this is God's word to ME, this is Truth, and I am who it says I am, and I can do what it says I can do, God's promises are sure, and I can trust this Word." I am totally blowing the actual quote, but the sentiment is close, and in the true fashion of the Holy Spirit speaking, it's what I took into my heart.

So back to my story, I had parked the car and I was hustling through the parking lot trying to get inside quickly. As I was walking there were these two little birds on the ground in front of me, walking... they were trying to walk ahead of me rather than get run down by my quick moving feet. As I got closer they seemed to struggle into little birdie runs, but they were struggling. And I thought to myself, "why don't they just fly??"

It was one of those moments of revelation, and I felt like I heard the Lord say, "Yeah, why don't my people just fly?"

How often do we as Christians seem to forget who we are and what God wants to accomplish in our lives? We forget all we have. We get caught up in life and circumstance and get bogged down by it instead of remembering who we are in Christ.

A bird's ability to fly seems like a miracle of sorts to me. God really is an incredible designer the way he's made this little creature able to completely defy gravity and at will move his wings and soar into the sky. As a person I could stand and flap my arms all day and never make it an inch off of the ground, but we can flap our spiritual wings but instead we do our little people run, overwhelmed and flustered looking for the easiest and quickest out, forgetting all the promises and all the assurances that we have.

We can soar. The Bible says so. This is what the bible says in Isaiah 40 verses 28-31:

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."

So how do we wait upon the Lord? For starters we need to know His Word, because it's there they we discover who God says we are, "a royal priesthood, a chosen generation" (1 Peter 2:9); and we learn what He says we can do, "all things through Christ who strengthens us" (Philippians 4:13). When we wait upon the Lord we realize that we have promises that we can build our lives upon, we have guarantees.

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written: 'For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:31-38

WOW! God is for us! He is on our side! He has promised to meet all of our needs (Matthew 6:25-34), according to HIS riches (Philippians 4:19), not restricted by our circumstances. I have said it a thousand times (most often to remind myself) "Our circumstances are NOT our reality!" Each and everyone of us who have accepted Christ and his sacrifice for our salvation have a hope and promise, we are made for a good purpose and His intentions toward us our good. As our faith is perfected, as we grow in that knowledge and understanding, suddenly, we find ourselves, defying gravity, and we are able to soar, "with wings like eagles."

Be encouraged, remember who you are in Christ today, and whatever you may be facing, however daunting it may seem, place your hope in Him, wait upon Him in faith and confidence, and you will find yourself soaring.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pennies for Thought

Confession time. Shocking, I know.

I wish this was the first time I've had to make this confession, but it's not: Exhibit A. Life, true to it's nature has been happening again, and my bedroom has gotten to be a mess. Honestly, can I just tell you that to me, this alone is the argument that completely defeats any idea that evolution could exist. Clearly the natural order of things is chaos not order.

Sadly my room hasn't arrived to the state in the link above yet, but we're headed there. But true to His form, the Lord has been showing me things through the processes of life. Funny God, how He likes to do that!

See these little boogers? I keep hearing rumors about how they're going to become obsolete. "They have no value," is word around the street. I'm not sure who's street, it's not my street, but somebody's street perhaps because the rumor is clearly out there. I'm relatively certain it's just a rumor because mathematically it would be a real bear not to have the pennies for change. And besides, the little cash register candy dishes full of them have become so commonplace, I know I myself a thousand times have said, "keep the pennies."

The more the dollar drops, the less they're worth, and even kids today are so savvy that they no longer fall for the good old "I'll give you SIX pennies for your ONE dime" scam. So what good are they? And so this weekend as I was cleaning up the mess that is my bedroom along with the matching disasters elsewhere throughout the DePriest household I kept coming across all these random pennies. And walking through picking up the refuse (boy, it might even sound worse than it is...) I kept finding all these pennies, and out of the sheer laziness that I excel in, I found myself just tossing them into the trash. It's not like they're worth anything, right?

Yeah well, I'm guessing I was about 15 cents in when the conviction came. Not so much over the pennies, but the attitude.

It made me think of the chorus from an old hymn.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

When you think of it that way, it's amazing how things stack up, and yes, the pun is totally intended.

How much do we take for granted in life? How many of the "little things" do we dismiss as not having any real value?

The financial lesson is there. If I truly have said "keep the pennies" a thousand times, I've thrown away at least $20 or more all total, but it goes so far beyond the "dollars from cents."

What about all the blessings we bypass every day without ever acknowledging what a gift they are. A phone call from a friend. Having someone stop and pray for you, or having the opportunity to pray for someone else. What about the next breath? It's a gift you know, all over the world people are mourning others who didn't get theirs. Do you have a roof over your head tonight? (If no, where'd you get the computer access?) What about your loved ones? Even the ones who drive you nuts, be thankful for their presence in your life, yes, even teenagers. (ha, ha, just kidding - I love teenagers, they are the hope of the future.)

Keep counting. The clothes we wear, a thick head of hair (felt poetic for a minute) I know several boys I grew up with who would wish for a thick head of hair to be thankful for.

We've all heard the phrase, "an attitude of gratitude," it's something to be cultivated. It sincerely is worth taking the time. Things are tough all over, and the "boats everyone is in" don't exactly seem like luxury lines lately, but the fact of the matter is, we are blessed.

It's Christians, I mean. We have a God who loves us, and even in the storms, He remains on His throne. He's not distant or distracted, He's not only alert but mindful of us. He gave us this day, a life to live, and a purpose for living it. He loves us and longs for us. He promises to be our hope and our strength and to walk with us through the valleys, lead us through the darkness and never leave us nor forsake us, not even for a moment.

Take the moment, count your blessings, name them one by one...

You may just find your treasure chest is full.