Thursday, September 30, 2010

All Is Not Lost

I spent all morning editing the first thirty pages of a manuscript due soon. Then, as I prepped to back it up, I closed out of the doc and went over to My Computer. That's when I discovered the file wasn’t in the correct directory, though I’d been saving it often throughout the morning. Uh oh.

I’d been editing a temporary file. And since I’d already closed it, I couldn’t do a Save As (which I usually do FIRST).

Has that ever happened to you? A while back, I remember an author friend having a similar experience with some project or other. Eventually, she had to give up and accept the fact she’d lost the hours and start over. I didn’t want my scenario to end the same way.

The temp file directory is hard to track down, but by going back to pretend to save the downloaded file and through some desperate prayers, I found it—the edited copy full of track changes. Yay! All was not lost.

Same is true in our lives in Christ. He’s in the redemption business, if you will—redeeming our souls, first, then redeeming our past mistakes, hurts and losses. He makes it all work out for good. (see Romans 8:28)

Turn to Him. He is good.

Turn everything over to Him. He is kind.

Trust Him. He is able.

No matter what you’re facing, God will work it out. And no matter what the past held, remember, all is not lost.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rise Up

Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city! For the uncircumcised and the unclean shall no longer come to you. Shake yourself from the dust, arise; sit down, O Jerusalem! Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion! (Is 52:1-2)

Do themes ever appear twice in one week for you? Sunday, someone delivered a prophetic word about this scripture in Isaiah 52 and then, as I posted a book review, it occurred to me the same theme was present there.

Sometimes the key to our breakthrough is in our own hands. We just need to recognize and utilize it.

I love this: Awake! As in “Don’t be complacent with the struggle you’re in. YOU can do something about it. Don’t be a victim of it!" Don’t wait for someone else to rescue you when God Himself is asking you to awake and put on strength.

He directs Zion to put on strength. Our strength comes from Christ. We're to put on beautiful garments—the robe of righteousness, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, the robe of salvation. Walk in what you know. Walk with Christ. Follow Him.

And He says “Shake yourself from the dust, arise.” Rise up out of those circumstances, at least mentally. See the bigger picture. See what God is pointing toward.

And then, right after He says “arise” He says “sit.” Sit in a new place. Find a new, fresh place to “sit” with authority and a new perspective. Find rest. That old place was not a restful place.

Finally, He knows you’ve been a captive. But here’s what He says, “Loose yourself from the bonds on your neck.” You have the key to those chains. You have access to the freedom. Step into it. Agree with it. Believe in God’s message to you. Come out of agreement with the old and into agreement with His promises, no matter how long you have to wait.

Get free.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Jesus Finds Us

This morning, I ran across two verses in the Book of John about how Jesus finds two people whose lives He’s touched and speaks to them again. I think this demonstrates His heart. He intentionally created an encounter with these people.

The first was a case where He healed a man whose sin had brought sickness on him.

Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him,
Behold, you are made whole.
Sin no more lest a worse thing come to you. (John 5:14)

He wanted to protect him—to impart wisdom and give him hope for a new life on the heels of his healing. Out of love, I believe, He reached back into the man’s life and gave him direction.

The second was a case where Jesus healed a man born blind and the religious leaders, in their hatred of Jesus (because He represented change and challenged their powerful stronghold on the people), cast out the man who was healed for speaking the truth.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and finding him,
He said to him, Do you believe on the Son of God? (John 9:35)

The second case is one where Jesus found the outcast and ministered life to him by revealing Truth to him at a greater level (that Jesus is the Messiah). Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong? Jesus wants to meet you in that place and minister to your heart. He is close to the broken-hearted.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted;
and saves those who are of a contrite spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

The other thing that strikes me about these men is they must have been in His vicinity. In His ministry on earth, Jesus was limited in where He could physically be at one time or how far he could travel in a day or week. So, these recently healed men must have been nearby. How that translates to us today is: by opening our hearts to God, by turning toward Him, we put ourselves in His vicinity. I’m not saying He won’t track people down who are “far away,” but it can’t hurt to make yourself “findable.”

Let Jesus find you today, in whatever circumstances or state of mind you’re in. And listen. Open the Bible and ask for understanding. Turn to Him and let Him minister life and truth to you.

Next time I’ll discuss going after God. We don’t have to be passive. We can search for Him and find Him ourselves.