Looking?  Anticipating?

Matthew 28:1-10 – Most of you know the story:

 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. An earthquake shook; the angel came down from heaven and rolled away the stone then hopped onto the top of it triumphantly. He was clothed in electrifying garments—actually the scripture says “His appearance was like lightening and his garments were white as snow.” The incredible angel so stunned the guards they passed out on the spot. But to the women he proclaimed, “Jesus has risen from the dead… Go to Galilee; tell the disciples; Jesus will meet you there.” They hurried away.

Each woman felt her emotions torn. Part of her heart was afraid to believe. The other part, the part that gave her feet speed, dared to hope. 

When there was a possibility of seeing and being with the one they most loved, the women didn’t hesitate to leave the lightening clad angel sitting on his perch.

This is the best part: “Suddenly, Jesus met them.”

In their hope and in their obedience, Jesus met them on their way.  He didn’t make them wait until they reached Galilee.

First, Jesus comes to those who look for Him. After that, he goes to those who wait for Him.

What about those who go about their daily business, their daily urgent errands? For those, it might--probably will--take a while before they see Jesus.

There is another option. You can look for Him even while going about your daily responsibilities.  In the same way you might be expecting to see a close friend or loved one but you don’t know quite when they will appear. In the back of your mind, no matter what else is happening, you are anticipating and ready to welcome their arrival.

If you are looking--quietly waiting or dutifully busy—if you are looking, Jesus comes. AND not even some other-worldly-lightening-clothed-super-angel compares to the joy of His coming.

What is your greatest anticipation today?

 

"It's God that's worrying me.  That's the only thing that's worrying me.  What if He doesn't exist? . . . Then, if He doesn't exist, man is the king of the earth, of the universe.  Magnificent!  Only how is he going to be good without God?  That's the question." ---Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 

 

 Going in Circles

 

Why won’t Laurie, my GPS, take me where I’m asking her to take me?

I want to go over to 635 to go around Dallas. I’ve asked her every way I know, by highway number, by next city, and by the address of a church I visited on the way.

Every route takes me through Dallas, not around. Every route means I travel a road I don’t want to travel, I’m not sure I can safely travel, and it makes no sense!

I have a continuing conversation going with God. Now, it is time to seriously pray. “God, You know I am visually challenged, directionally challenged, and obviously technology challenged.  I know how to get home if I can just get to my familiar highway. 

“I know the way.

“But here I am in Dallas, pulled onto a side street crying after going in the same circle four times. Laurie told me, ‘Take the next right,’ four times. What am I doing wrong?”

 

 

 

 

 This is insanity!

With that prayer, a brilliant idea occurs; I’ll just do what I did before GPS. I’ll stop at a service station and ask directions.

With a pen and scrap of paper I ask the lady behind the counter, “How do I get over to 635?”

She asks, “Where do you want to go?”

I say, “I’m going further than Cleburne, but that’s the direction.”

She says, “You don’t want to go to 635, you need to take I-30. It’s much shorter.”

“But I don’t know that way.”

“Oh, it’s easy, you just go out…”

“Okay, God. I don’t know why you want to take me down a road with a thousand opportunities to get in a wrong lane and make a wrong turn. But, okay.” I start writing.

A young man speaks up behind me.  “You can just follow me. I’m going almost to your exit. I can take you all the way to the other side of Dallas.  You’ll be fine.”

Stunned and thankful, I say, “Are you sure?”

He says, “Yeah, it will be easy.”

 After telling me a few things he knows I need to understand including that he drives the little black truck sitting at the gas pump, I prepare to follow him.

As I wait for my turn, two more little black pickups crisscross in between us.

Already flustered, I follow the wrong pickup. My rescuer is waiting on the side of the road at the turn I just missed.

“Okay, God. It is You and me and Laurie again.”  With resignation I turn around and go back to the entrance to I-30.

I can hardly believe it. He is waiting for me! “Thank You, God. Thank You, God!”

 

  All the way, he watches to make sure I am with him, slowing down when someone pulls between us and putting on his blinker in lots of time for me to follow.  With waves and smiles and praises to God we part ways safely beyond Dallas and the heaviest midday traffic.

I don’t know his name.

Forever his face will be etched in my memory as the face of God’s grace.

The rest of the trip I ponder, “How often do I argue with God? I think I know the way. More, I absolutely know the way I don’t want to go. I have all kind of good reasons; most of them come under the heading of FEAR. It is dangerous. I don’t have the ability. God’s way will be too hard AND I know another way.”

How often do I, how often do you, argue with God’s directions concerning business changes, difficult conversations, diet choices, holding instead of forgiving offense, or enabling instead of letting God work?

What does it say about our trust?  God is with us on familiar roads or new and difficult travels. God is with us through hard choices or easy. All the while, He pursues us with His grace. Sometimes that grace might even take the physical form of a young man in a black pickup.

Father, help me trust, and surrender to Your will. Help me truly experience Your grace in everyday choices. Give me the strength to say no to FEAR. Amen.

 

              “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph. 2:10

 Lasting Change

 

Change, real and lasting change, seldom happens because we know the facts,  feel afraid, or we’re forced into it.

'Rather, change happens when

  • we dare to hope for something different
  • see with new perspectives
  • become energized with new possibilities.

God-Vision

by Sheila Kale

The Christmas story gives us a taste of what it feels like to be God—well, not be God—but see like God sees.

We see the story from Mary’s, Joseph’s, Elizabeth’s, the shepherds’, the inn keeper’s, the wise men’s, the King Herod’s, Anna’s, and Simeon’s perspective. God filled in more details centuries before Jesus appeared in our world and even more through John’s account in the gospel. Pages and pages before we read the story of Jesus’ birth in the New Testament, we read pieces of it in the Old Testament.

Looking back in time through the fore-telling scriptures and the eye-witness accounts, we experience god-vision. That is awesome.

A bigger awesome-ness and the reason we can accept God’s invitation to rest in our trust of Him, is we know God has God-vision looking forward.

Søren Kierkegaard defined sin as: “building your identity on anything except God.”

Contemplating that idea, I mused to my husband, “I don’t think I know how to build my identity on God alone. When I introduce myself I don’t begin with, ‘I am a child of God’ or ‘a creation of God’ or ‘I am God-created’ even though I believe all of those things. I say something less, like, “I am a mother, a life coach, or a professional speaker.” Could that possibly be sin?”

Steven said, “What Kierkegaard said is one thought. Then there is the next thought and the next—like links in a chain. God created you. You are His idea, His plan. You are unique. Included in that uniqueness is the gifting, purpose, and roles you live. You are mother inside one link; you are life coach inside another link; you are wife, writer, speaker, gardener—all within links of their own. The chain is God.”

I played with the image of a chain that looks more like a movie-film strip with different aspects of my life in each frame or link on the chain.

I remembered the scripture: Acts 17:28: “for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’;…”English Standard Version (ESV)

Steven continued, “Anyway, Sheila, God is mystery. How can anyone identify themselves completely with ‘mystery’?

Mystery?

I couldn’t resist.

Kind of tossing my head back, I said, “Actually, I think that identity—mystery--fits me perfectly.”

I think it fits us all. We barely know ourselves. Could we trust ourselves to less than an unfathomable God?

The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” Prov. 20:5.

 

Isaiah 29:16 “You turn things upside down as if the potter were thought to be like the clay…”

 

We turn things upside down, inside out, and sideways when we tell God what to do, how to do it, and to whom to do it.

We turn things upside down when we don’t ask, don’t acknowledge, and don’t align ourselves with our Creator.

We turn things upside down when we create a God who mirrors us, just as narrow and near-sighted as we, just as king or unkind as we, and no larger than us except for the God-ability to rescue us out of trouble.—Only then do we want a God bigger than ourselves.

Father, help me welcome the demolition of the boxes I create to contain You. You are God; I am not. Thank You, Father.

 

Acts 17:28 “For in him we live and breathe and have our being….”

 God’s arm is never too short; His power and strength is never too small.  

 My prayer for today might be your prayer for today:

My prayer for today might be your prayer for the day:

“Lord, I come to you needy.

                    I’m willing to do the work, learn the lessons in preparation for Your calling.

                 I am excited about the abundance of possibilities to the point of almost being overwhelmed by the choices in front of me.

The enemy of my soul would have me paralyzed and trapped in chaos and turmoil.”



 

That is not Your will. I am Your child.

In You I live and breathe and have my being .

 In You is peace.

In You the crooked path is made straight.

Thank you, Father.

Amen

In the Hands of the Creator- July

What you said right,

What you said wrong,

What you did that you wish you hadn’t,

What you didn’t do that you wish you had,

            It is all putty in the hands of our Creator,

            Clay in the hands of the Potter,

            Who works all things for good for those who love God.

Those who love God are called; those who love God have God-given and God-ordained purpose.

July 15, 2012


Psalm 34:5 “Those that look to him are radiant;

their faces are never covered with shame.”  

When you look to God to take care of you,

take care of the circumstances,

take care of the outcome,

You can relax in radiant joy.

 You understand that the conclusion that something worked or didn’t is from your limited view.

 You trust that God has bigger plans than yours,

 sees more than you see,

and loves more than you love.

Therefore, the veil of shame never need cover your face or plant self-condemnation in your soul.


 

Gossip

 I've participated in different workshops where we’ve been asked and guided in the process of defining our life’s purpose. The last time I formally identified the passion that carries me through my days was about five years ago.

 

Later I was going through some journals and found very similar statements from over ten years ago that I’d forgotten about.  What a sweet affirmation. So I’ve been contemplating on what I wrote. It’s such a fun thought I’m sharing it with you.

That means:

I get to be the one who says, “Oh, Look! Do you see that?!!  Or the one who says, “Remember?” or the one who says, “The other day I saw God do the most incredible ….”

 

I’m called to gossip about God!

 

Good Gossip--God Gossip!

 I can't think of anything better than this!

Health

by Sheila Sattler Kale

 

Over the past five years I have studied the way food helps or harms our health.  At times making the right food choices almost seems like an idol in my life. I spend so much time learning, trying new recipes and food preparation in general.

 

The question that haunts me is, do I trust food to keep me healthy or do I trust God who created the food.

 

There is no denying that some food is just a clever grouping of synthetic chemicals and calories parading as food. Whole foods, fresh grown vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains benefits the body more than packaged food parts enhanced with artificial flavors and crunch-inducing oils. 

 


It seems the reality of our lives demand convenience foods. Does God care? Does the stress about my choices cause more harm than my choices? Does the distraction steal attention and conversation that is better given to praise and God-discovery?

 

Or is the tempter of old offering me death through food like he did the first Eve?

 

Am I in agreement with the enemy of my soul when I tell myself things like, “It isn’t that important; I can’t spend time on healthy pursuits; I need to study, write, or some other more productive pursuit.” 

 

Have I stepped further into enemy territory when I frolic with Defense and Denial as they play together saying, “I’m not really all that bad?  I’m not obese, just a little overweight. I’m not sick, just a little tired. I don’t have high blood pressure; sometimes the readings are a little higher than I want.”

 

Denial says, “I don’t need to change.”

 

Fear joins the game and whispers, “It will be costly to change. You really don’t have time. You’ll feel worse before you feel better.”

 

God says, “I love you. Why do you spend money on what is not food? Do you not know your body is my temple? Choose life.”

 

Of course I know grapefruit juice is better than Dr. Pepper. Cherries are better than potato chips. When I choose Dr. Pepper and chips, what am I doing?

 

It occurs to me that I am a new creation. Satan has no claim to my spirit and soul. He knows it. I know it.

 

But if he can’t have my soul, he will settle for my body.

 

For the possibility that a weakened saint, self-concerned with pain and medicines may not be as dynamic as a healthy saint, he extends a great deal of effort. For the delight of distorting and defacing the image of God, he whispers doubts and lies day and night.

 

It isn’t the food. God may not care if I have chips instead of fruit. God cares that I honor Him with my choices.  Choose life.

 

Life comes from God.

Satan doesn’t give life,

 he steals it.

 

Choose God,

choose life.

 

Father, You give the wisdom I ask for, and then I reject it because it is too hard. Forgive me. Thank You for shining your light onto my path, leading me back to You. Amen