Complete Failure

SUPER-CHRISTIANI am a complete failure as a Super-Christian.

(It took me long enough!)

When I first began to delve into spiritual truth (the bible) and a personal relationship with Jesus, and my Father God—I wanted it all. I wanted to learn-all, know-all, and be-all that there was for the having. My appetite was voracious.

(A good thing up to a point.)

I think where I started getting it all wrong was when I began comparing myself to others. One of us was always coming up better, or worse, and that seemed to set in motion the quest for the Holy Grail of—Super!

Super-dedicated, Super-busy, Super-holy. Find her, be her, The Super-Christian!

Able to “see” through others with Super-discernment! Able to “minister” to others with Super-speed, and Super-commitment! All the while maintaining a “walk” that was Super-mature, and of course, Super-spiritual!

(Oh brother, what Super-blindness!)

It took falling on my spiritual face over and over,(I’m a slow learner I guess, to discover that I am a Super-flop as a Super-Christian.

So rest at ease, if you are out there running for the grail, you win. No contest. I’m convinced, as a Super-Christian I am a complete and total failure.

I have the skinned knees to prove it.

(Thank goodness.)

Kissing the pavement beats kissing the mirror any day.

If you’re out there still chasing the illusion of perfection?

I wish you the same hard landing and sweet truth.

I think the world is getting Super-sick of all of us Super-Saints!

The DREAM~MAKER’S Promise:

“Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the LORD is. Ephesians 5:14-17Ephesians 5:14-17
English: World English Bible - WEB

14 Therefore he says, “Awake, you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise; 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore don’t be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV

A Caterpillar’s Prayer:

God, help us (me) to get real! Your Church (me included) desperately needs to wake up and smell the coffee. God… we can be so nauseating… so phony… so blind! Laodicea has become us (and we them). Dear LORD, wake us up to the truth about our own delusions… maybe then, we can open the eyes of this dying world! You desire truth LORD… truth in the inward parts… help us to begin there, instead of always pointing a condemning finger at the world around us. Help us to lay down our lives, pick up a towel, and uncompromisingly love others just the way You called us to.

You are our only hope. Without you? We’re truly hopeless.

Waiting For What?

l-132175I don’t know about you dear reader, but for me, waiting always seems easier if I know what I’m waiting for. If I know what to search my horizon for each day, then I can wait with a least some composure and patience.

How about you?

I mean, think about it. Isn’t waiting a little easier if you can scan the horizon of your life for something specific?

My most difficult waiting happens when I am waiting “in the dark.”

When my waiting is just for “the next thing.” Whatever that is? Then my waiting tends to become restless.

I begin to pace in my restricted place.

I sense change coming, but I’m not sure what kind of change.

I wonder, “Will I like this? Can I handle it? Will this thing I’m waiting for, make my life better, or swamp my boat?”

I don’t know, maybe I’m the only one who feels this way.

(Probably not.)

Bet this kind of restless-waiting is as common as dirt.

Thanks to you Habakkuk, your statement for today really helps. Especially the part where God says:

⦁ The things He plans won’t happen right away
⦁ Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches for fulfillment
⦁ Don’t despair… be patient… They won’t be overdue a single day!

I may not know what is in tomorrow, but I know who holds all my tomorrow’s in His plan.

That calms my restlessness.

(A little.)

The DREAM~MAKER’S Promise:

For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But in the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Habakkuk 2:3Habakkuk 2:3
English: World English Bible - WEB

3 For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it hurries toward the end, and won’t prove false. Though it takes time, wait for it; because it will surely come. It won’t delay.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV

A Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Everywhere I look, everything I read, everyone I listen to, seems to be saying the same thing: Delay is not denial. God, why don’t I learn? Why don’t I change? In my head, I know that waiting on You and Your plan is the smartest thing anyone can do… so why is it, that doing the “smart” thing… hurts. so. darn. much?

Huh?

Advice From A Prophet “Just Do It!”

David, is that all you’re telling me to do, just seek?

What kind of advice is that?

What’s that Jeremiah?

Rembrandt-15

(Wait…) Lamentations 3:26Lamentations 3:26
English: World English Bible - WEB

26 It is good that a man should hope and quietly wait for the salvation of Yahweh.

WP-Bible plugin

Oh, wait and seek?

You’ll have to explain your advice to me boys.

Wait seems to say, “do nothing.” Seek, on the other hand, that seems to say, “search.”

Search for what? A way out?

Isaiah-catholic-image

(God is the way out. He will make a way.) Isaiah 40:3-4Isaiah 40:3-4
English: World English Bible - WEB

3 The voice of one who cries, Prepare you in the wilderness the way of Yahweh; make level in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the uneven shall be made level, and the rough places a plain:

WP-Bible plugin

Yes, I’ve heard that one before Isaiah.

I don’t know guys. This all sounds good but do you have any idea how long I’ve been waiting? How long I’ve been seeking?

Seems to me if this stuff worked something would have changed by now. Seems to me we’ve gone full circle.

I keep coming back to the same question, “How am I supposed to thrive when everything I look at, speaks death?”

(Faith…)

Is that you Habakkuk?

t8033-judith-beheading-holofernes-caravaggio

(“… the just shall live by his faith.”) Habakkuk 2:4Habakkuk 2:4
English: World English Bible - WEB

4 Behold, his soul is puffed up. It is not upright in him, but the righteous will live by his faith.

WP-Bible plugin

Faith, huh?

Surely not faith in people.

( I lost that a few miles back.)

I know Joseph. I know, forgiving every day.

(I heard you the first time!)

You know you guys know how hard this is. I mean, you’ve been here. Prison. Famine. Disillusionment. Deserts. You guys should know.

It just all sounds too easy; too simple. Waiting. Seeking. I’ve done that. Forgiving? Been there, too.

Living by faith? Sometimes I think that’s all that’s left and I’m not so sure there’s much of that anymore.

prophet

(Just do it?) Ezekiel 2:8Ezekiel 2:8
English: World English Bible - WEB

8 But you, son of man, hear what I tell you; don’t be you rebellious like that rebellious house: open your mouth, and eat that which I give you.

WP-Bible plugin

Just like that? Just do it?

And that will make me thrive? Here?

I don’t know. I just don’t know anymore.

(Maybe I’ve been here too long.)

The DREAM~MAKER’S Promise:

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.  Lamentations 3:25Lamentations 3:25
English: World English Bible - WEB

25 Yahweh is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV

A Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Oh Father. Waiting is not my best thing. Far from it! It seems like I have been here so long… waited so long for You. My heart is so weary LORD. I don’t want to wait anymore God. I confess I am dragging my tin-cup-of-impatience against the bars of my cell again. Oh Abba, all I can think of is… I want out… I want out!

What More?

QuestionsDavid, talk to me…

O God, you are my God; early will I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you; my flesh longs for you;
In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1Psalm 63:1
English: World English Bible - WEB

63 A Psalm by David, when he was in the desert of Judah. 1 God, you are my God. I will earnestly seek you. My soul thirsts for you, My flesh longs for you, In a dry and weary land, where there is no water.

WP-Bible plugin

Ah, you see! I knew you had lived in Habakkuk’s Vineyard!

In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. That’s it. That’s where I live, too. How did you do it David? How did you not only survive… but thrive?

I confess, I appear to be merely surviving. (It’s not enough.) Not for me. I want to thrive. I want abundant life. (It’s what I was promised.) I’m struggling right now to reconcile “abundant” and “barren”. Those two words appear to me to be at the opposite ends of possibility.

I am so full of angry and unanswered questions.

David… how does God expect me to thrive in a place with no water?

(Life makes no sense to me right now.)

You did it. Tell me, how? Saying life is hard is hardly a revelation. I’m weary of empty words. Sermons and sermonettes that are always promising – and never quite delivering…

(Is it me?)
I can’t figure out how I got here.
I obeyed, I trusted, I believed.

What more should I have done?

(Come on David… talk.)

You obeyed, you trusted, you believed, and still, you ended up in the middle of the wilderness with no water. How did you do it? Whisper the answer in my ear.

I can’t wait to hear… talk to me.

(… seek.)

The DREAM~MAKER’S Promise:

My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:8Psalm 63:8
English: World English Bible - WEB

8 My soul stays close to you. Your right hand holds me up.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV

A Caterpillar’s Prayer:

LORD, I am in a dry storm. So many unanswered questions whirling around in my mind. Lots of thunder and lightning in me… but no water. I’m coming to You today for some of that “living water” that You promised in Your word. Please Father… I’m so dry and thirsty. You promised that if I would seek You – I would find You.

Who’s At Fault?

EmilysQuotes_Com-freedom-unknown-experience-weight-release_editedJoseph said to them,

“Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

Oh, so you’re saying the one who put me here is not “the one” I have been blaming.

Hmmn. I have to think about that a minute.

What else?

You’re also remembering that God is:

Omniscient—knows all.
Omnipresent—sees all.
Omnipotent—has all power.

Wow, so captivity is part of God’s plan for good in my life?

(Hmmn, still thinking.)

So you’re saying, that no matter how people mean to do me harm, God will still use all of it for good. Good for me, and good for others.

Okay, so there are some keys to bringing dead things back to life:

⦁ I could stop blaming my captors and try forgiving them?
⦁ I could choose to see God as “all-powerful” not my circumstances?
⦁ I could acknowledge my pain, but surrender it to God’s plan, rather than bury it under all my bitterness.

(That could work!)

Thanks Joseph.

I feel better already.

These “keys” can unlock my peace, joy, and hope, if I’ll just use them?

What’s that you say?

Each day and every day?

Hmmn, ok.

(Is this what they call tough love?)

The DREAM~MAKER’S Promise:

Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” Genesis 50:19-20Genesis 50:19-20
English: World English Bible - WEB

19 Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save many people alive.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV

A Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Father, often my focus is on what the “others” in my life are doing/not doing; done/haven’t done. It’s so much easier to focus on someone else, instead of putting my focus where it needs to be – on You. Help me look past the injustices in my life. (Even the ones that were meant to destroy me.) Help me to focus instead on You, my Omnipotent Father, who can take every injustice (no matter how dark) and transform it into something that fits into Your Sovereign plan.

Remind me again… NOTHING is too hard for you!

Finding Solid Footing While Walking Through Drudgery

b6cbea037ef16a1a40438e51920de4bf

Ever pondered how Joseph found favor in his captivity? (I have.) In fact, I have wondered many days, “How did he do it? How did he face the daily drudgery of Habakkuk’s Vineyard?” He seems to have found a secret to surviving and thriving, and I wanted to find it, too.

Captivity is tough.

Let’s face it, there are days you look around at things, people, and circumstances, and you feel the hopelessness begin to fold in around you.

Jeremiah said, “My soul still remembers and sinks within me.”

Remembers what?

“The wormwood and the gall…” (verse 19)

Just writing this my heart heaves another heavy sigh.

Yes, captivity is tough. And if I focus on the wormwood and the gall of my life, I’m going to sink into the quicksand of hopelessness.

So how did he do it?

I really need the secret because I want to be more than a survivor in my captivity—I want to be a thriver.

Is there such a word?

Well, there is now, and you get my point. I want to know how to thrive in a place where everything has died, dreams, possibilities, promises.

How am I supposed to thrive in a place like this?

Joseph did.

Cough it up Joseph. What’s the secret? Where are the keys to unlock the chains on my hope?

Talk to me.

The DREAM~MAKER’S Promise:

My soul still remembers and sinks within me. Lamentations 3:20Lamentations 3:20
English: World English Bible - WEB

20 My soul still remembers them, and is bowed down within me.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV

A Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Father, You gave us Your word so that when we are in trouble we have a place to run to for immediate help. The people in the bible were real people. People with problems just like mine! Open my eyes LORD. Help me to see how real people (even long ago) found real solutions for their own captivity. I don’t just need the comfort LORD, I need the revelation that only Your Spirit can bring me. When You open my eyes, open my mind as well. I need some hope!

The Keys

open-skeleton-key-lock_7ddd1e0006840bdb

To every broken heart He calls
The young, the old, the great, the small
If you will hear… just listen please
He sees your heartaches; they are the keys

~~~
To all He wants to do for you
Bring joy and peace; your hopes renew
He wants to take your pain and loss
And fashion it into a cross

~~~
You see, dear one, your open doors
Are in the hurt and pain, so sore
To glorify and honor Him
Your feet must go where light be dim

~~~
For in our darkness, grief, and tears
We learn to trust and hold Him dear
So come now… in the end you’ll know
‘Twas all His plan… His LOVE to show!

Designer Dungeons

027aa9fa73140da2048987f35b3e8b8cJeremiah is a great friend of mine. We have spent many days together talking about God and our dungeon experiences.

He comforts me. He sent me notes of encouragement from so many centuries before, yet his frustrations, are as current as yesterday’s battles.

Yes, he is a great friend of mine.

While he pours out his frustrations in Lamentations chapter three, I listen, and I nod “yes” in all the appropriate places.

A good friend does that.

His dungeon is quite different from mine. His—designed for him—mine designed for me.  And the God who sees and hears, and knows everything, knows just what we need to get us from anger and frustration, to hope and trust. Jeremiah’s is tailor-made for him. Mine is tailor-made for me.

Your dungeon? Yes, it is tailor-made for you and of God’s knowing and choosing.

I know, you think yours is the worst. Jeremiah thought his was. I think mine is. But no, each one, each captivity is designed specifically for the one it encloses; designed to bring us to the end of ourselves and face-to-face with God.

It is love that closes us in.

Oh, I know. I didn’t think so at first. Jeremiah didn’t either, but after the caterpillar begins to adjust:

⦁ to the tight space
⦁ to the dark place

After he has:

⦁ made his case
⦁ and surrendered his race

He searches:

⦁ for God’s face
⦁ and finds God’s grace

And he discovers his custom cocoon? His designer dungeon? Though snug in spots, fits him like a glove.

And remember little caterpillar. Though tight and dark your cocoon may be—it is the place where wings are formed!

The DREAM~MAKER’S Promise:

He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out; He has made my chain heavy.                Lamentations 3:7Lamentations 3:7
English: World English Bible - WEB

7 He has walled me about, that I can’t go forth; he has made my chain heavy.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV

A Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Father, when life seems to close in around us; when the darkness of despair threatens to suffocate all that desires Your will above all else, then Father, then come to our aid! Remind us in the very tight places, that You love us with an everlasting love, and nothing can shake that. Remind us that this is the very place Your wisdom has chosen for us; our cocoon to transform us; to form wings of destiny for Your plan and purpose.
Oh Abba… help us, when we forget.

The Iron

re-bar

It is easy in captivity to focus on the “iron bars” that fence me in or the “iron chains” that bind me—my adverse adversaries.

They are there each day to mock my heart’s longing for freedom.
Adverse circumstances.
Adversities.
Adversaries.
We all have them.
Some to a much greater degree; some to a lesser.

But I believe our adversities are tailor-made for us by a God who sees us, who hears us, who knows us, intimately.

I am His creation after all. My life is naked and bare before Him. Certainly my adversity cannot escape His notice?

So why has this famine come and parked itself at my door?
Why is it that I still live in Habakkuk’s Vineyard after so many years?
Is my sin worse than someone else’s?
Why me?

Ever wondered?
(Of course you have.)
Me, too.

God told me this was coming… did He tell you?
He gave me two scriptures to act as my support through some of the first very dark days.

Isaiah 43:2Isaiah 43:2
English: World English Bible - WEB

2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle on you.

WP-Bible plugin
, When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.

1 Peter 5:101 Peter 5:10
English: World English Bible - WEB

10 But may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

WP-Bible plugin
, But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.
To me they said, “The fire and flood are coming, but one day, I will make an end. And you will be stronger than you have ever been before.

You know what? I am.
That is “the iron” I focus on now. Not my adversity.

Oh, it’s still there, but you know what it has brought?
Iron to my faith.
(Mine used to wobble a bit)
Adversity has taught me nothing can separate me from the love of God. There is iron in my backbone. (I once had so many fears.)
Nothing like facing your worst fear to conquer it!

Yes, the iron is there.

I am much stronger now, inside.
No one is more amazed than I am… and I am thankful… very thankful.

The DREAM~MAKER’S Promise:

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.          Isaiah 40:29Isaiah 40:29
English: World English Bible - WEB

29 He gives power to the faint; and to him who has no might he increases strength.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV

A Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Father, there was a time I didn’t believe I would ever see any good in all the bad that has happened, but today I see, a little. Enough for my heart to whisper a tiny, “thank you.” It may be with eyes that are flooded with tears… but it’s a start.

A God Past Finding Out

depression

Why would God deliberately send a famine? To punish the guilty? But, what about the innocent? Is that a God of Justice or a God past finding out?

I remember when the famine began in my life—the captivity.

In one event, things were put into motion that turned my life from green and fertile into a wasteland. Like dominos falling, I saw my nice, neat, orderly life, dissolve into chaos.

Is that what happened to Joseph? David? Job? Jonah?

Why does God step into our sweet order and so rearrange us that the result is famine, captivity, confusion, and sorrow?

Dear Reader, were you as stunned as I was when the chaos descended?

Job was.

Dear sweet Job. Minding his own business. Living a life of holiness and obedience and, suddenly.

Yes, that’s it. Suddenly your nice sweet orderly world slips off its axis, and suddenly everything you thought you knew about God, about others, about yourself—all of it is put through the fire!

Did you try to understand it?

I did. Job did. But we, Job and I, were about to be introduced to a God “past finding out.” (Rom. 11:33Rom. 11:33
English: World English Bible - WEB

33 Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out!

WP-Bible plugin
)

Have you met Him?

If you’re reading this chances are you have.

And, I imagine you’ve made some discoveries about Him, haven’t you? Like, “… My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways…” (Isa. 55:8Isa. 55:8
English: World English Bible - WEB

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says Yahweh.

WP-Bible plugin
)

I have a much different view of those words today.

Past finding out? Yes. Unsearchable? Yes! A God of Justice?Yes, but on His terms, not ours. His plan. His purpose. His servant. His way.

Even in famine, injustice, and captivity?

Yes, even that.

The DREAM~MAKER’S Promise:

… He called for a famine in the land; He destroyed all the provision of bread. He sent a man before them – Joseph – who was sold as a slave. They hurt his feet with fetters* He was laid in irons. Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him.”

Psalm 105:16-19Psalm 105:16-19
English: World English Bible - WEB

16 He called for a famine on the land. He destroyed the food supplies. 17 He sent a man before them. Joseph was sold for a slave. 18 They bruised his feet with shackles. His neck was locked in irons, 19 Until the time that his word happened, And Yahweh’s word proved him true.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV

* a chain or shackle for the ankles or feet

A Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Father, this is some of the hardest stuff you give us. Famine. Our mind may look for Your plan, and try to see the good in all the bad stuff that happens… but our hearts? Oh God, how our heart’s reel under some of the things you hand us! It has taken me a long time to learn this very difficult discipline of singing: songs in the night. I confess LORD, for so long… there was no song in me… only stunned, dumb, silence… wincing and stumbling through the dark. Holy Spirit, come. Comfort every hurting heart reading these words today. Truly, You are the only One who has the balm to heal our brokenness. Heal us LORD. Help us. We lift our tear-full eyes to You ~ for You are our only hope.