Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Vision Part Two

As I was drying my hair this morning, I couldn't help but think about my vision. OK, bear with me. You see, I was born with naturally curly hair. The kind that NEVER lends itself to one of those beautiful, smooth ponytails EVERYONE but me seems to be able to wear. My hair has a mind of it's own, which I fought with for years. In high school I spent an hour painstakingly straightening it each morning. Then one day, in my senior year, I was just too tired to get up that early, and went to school with my hair in all it's naturally curly glory. My classmates couldn't believe it, They all thought I had gotten a perm. More importantly, they LOVED it. All those years I had tried to make myself look like what I thought others wanted me to look like, when all along they liked me just the way I was.

If I am a Christ-follower, then God has also given me natural gifts and talents and He has a purpose for them. I may not think what I've been given is the greatest thing, but I have a feeling, that if I use those gifts and talents as God intended, God will be glorified and I will be blessed.

So as I begin to write out my vision, I will first ask God to reveal His purpose for me through the power of the Holy Spirit. Then, I will reflect on the gifts and talents that He has given me by asking Him to help me recall those times in my life that I felt my best in each of the areas that I am about to write out my vision statement for. (Personal, Familial, Professional/Vocational/Call, Spiritual/Faith, Community/Church) Feeling your best is one indication that you were on the right track.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Vision Part One

During our 9:00am class on Sunday mornings, my husband is leading those in attendance to write out a vision for their personal lives. A vision is the key to us discovering, and then accomplishing God's will for our lives. Christ Himself knew what He was to do with His life and accomplished it. At the end of His life here on earth, He was able to say "It is finished." (John 19:30) If we are truly Christ-followers, we will be able to say the same thing at the end of our earthly lives.

Perhaps you would not be surprised to learn that it is the top 10% of people who write out a vision for their lives and only the top 1% who actually accomplish that vision! Why? I think it is because we believe it's too hard. Or maybe deep down we believe that God doesn't have a plan and a purpose for our lives. Both are lies. The same God who "knit us together in our mother's womb," (Psalm 139:13) does have a purpose for each one of us. And our age is no excuse. It's never too late to start!

There is no exact formula, no "right" answer for a vision, but the key is to begin. Zig Ziglar said:
"A goal properly set is halfway reached."
This week we are to begin writing out our personal vision. Just one or two statements for each of the following categories:
  1. Personal
  2. Familial
  3. Professional/Vocational/Call
  4. Spiritual/Faith
  5. Community/Church

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Triumph through pain

I  have suffered with migraines my whole life, but in the last two weeks I've had more occurrences than I've had in a long time. When my regular prescription pain medication didn't work, I had to go to the doctor to get a shot of pain medication. At the doctor's office I was asked what my pain felt like on a scale of 1-10. Can someone really put a number on their pain? And even if I did say it was a "10," how could they understand what "10" means to me? In reality, the only One that can understand my pain is the One who allowed it in the first place.
“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
So this morning, when I awoke at 4:30 am with more pain, I decided to heed the advice I've given to others. I went to the Giver of pain and asked Him what he was trying to show me.

For months I've been re-reading a book called They Found the Secret, a book that looks into the lives of 20 people who all came to the the point I have been coming to - a point of deep dissatisfaction. Having no power. Seeing no fruit. Feeling no joy. And pain. Lots of pain. Not just physical, but emotional, mental and relational pain too. Like so many people in the book, I believe I am, and have been, a child of God. I am, and have been, justified through the blood of Christ. But I also could not deny that I lacked the power for service. I began seeking after this power. I have prayed and prayed. Andrew Murray wrote:
"I want to say the same to you, who are plunging about and struggling in the quagmire of helplessness and doubt. The desire that God puts into your heart He will fulfill..." 
In The Secret of Adoration, Murray also wrote:
"Take time. Give God time to reveal Himself to you. Give yourself time to be silent and quiet before Him, waiting to receive, through the Spirit, the assurance of His presence with you, His power working in you."
I would like to share what happened to me this morning as I was praying. God brought to my mind a poster I had purchased when I was in Junior High School. This was several years before I became a follower of Christ. It was a cute Besty Clark poster that had the scripture from Proverbs 3:5-6 on it.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.…"
Then I had the overwhelming realization that God has been with me all of my life...even BEFORE I was aware of Him! Tears flowed, and as I've stated before, this kindness, mercy and love led me to repentance for all my doubt and fear. For all the hate and bitterness I've held on to. This is TRIUMPH THROUGH PAIN, VICTORY THROUGH DEFEAT. The power and grace of God in my life. Hallelujah! What a Savior!