Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Eagle Is Flying

Nature accurately expresses so many of the rhythms we need to capture in our daily Christian walk. Let's look at the eagle.

The eagle is at rest in his nest high above.  When it is time for an appointed task, he prepares to fly. He stands. He stretches his legs and claws to make sure of his footing. Then he extends his wings upward to where the tips are close together. This is the first position the eagle takes as he prepares to fly. I call it the Praise Position.

As a believer, praise is where every journey needs to begin because it keeps our stance strong. It is where we acknowledge God is with us and He is also in control. Praise is power and sends the enemy fleeing in the opposite direction from where we are headed. Praise propels our focus upward and not on the past down below.

As the eagle brings his wings downward, he assumes the second position, the Crucified Position. The eagle's wings are straight across where he is completely exposed for all to see. However, it is also a position where the wind can carry him in whatever direction he chooses. In this position, the eagle has the advantage of being able to lock his wings at the shoulders and soar for hours. If a windy storm comes, it will hit his breastplate and the eagle can soar up above the turbulence. From this new vantage point, the eagle can maintain his confidence in fight. When the windy storm is over, the eagle can return to his nest of rest until he is ready to venture out again.

This is the position Jesus took when he died on the cross to gain victory for us over the power of the enemy. In our Christian walk, crucifixion means coming to a place of total surrender of our will for His so the wind of the Spirit can carry us in whatever direction He chooses. It is also a place where we focus on experiencing His principles as absolute Truth. When the winds of life hit, our breastplate of righteousness propels us up to a higher place where the enemy cannot touch us. We can be totally confident and firm in our stance. When the storm is over, we can return to a place of rest and thankfulness because of the God’s faithfulness on our behalf.

The third position is the Service Position. This is when the eagle’s wings go all the way down underneath him. Only after the eagle has gone completely through the first two positions, is he ready to enter this last position. If his wings are in the downward position when he leaves the nest, then he will only propel himself downward until he can bring his wings back up to the highest position again.

When we stretch out our hands in service to others, it must be after we have already spent time in praise and worship as well as time in God's Presence to make sure our wills line up with His. If we try to serve others without doing these first, then we will head downward. We may be doing something good but we experience burnout or resentment because the task was not in His plan for us in the first place. Our direction will only be made right when we come back with our hands raised high and our hearts crucified with Jesus.

Go ahead... Put your hands up high in the air. Flap your wings up and down. Capture the rhythm of flight. Think about how this order of motion can strengthen your walk with Christ and allow you to soar. I pray this mental picture of the eagle will help you to fly higher than you ever have before.

Yet, the strength of those who wait with hope in the LORD will be renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and won't become weary. They will walk and won't grow tired.               Isaiah 40:31

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful For All

When I passed by this picture the other day, it reminded me of the story of the Ugly Duckling. How the duckling thought that he would never be beautiful like all the others. Then one day, after a long winter season, he caught a glimpse of his reflection in the lake. He was totally surprised at the maturity he saw in himself. At that glimpse, his soul was renewed.

This story also reminded me of my life’s journey. How God is taking me from an ugly duckling to a beautiful white swan full of purity and peace. Even though I may squirm through the process, He continues to faithfully lead me onward towards the wisdom He wants to impart. I may not notice my growth from day to day. However, at special times, God reveals the mirror of His love to let me admire the beauty He has formed inside my heart.

On this day before Thanksgiving amidst all the activity around me, I will be taking time to remember everything I am thankful for. Here are just a few.

I am thankful for salvation for without it life would not be worth living.

I am thankful for the challenges, the hard times I’ve faced. Each of those experiences has shaped my character into the person I am today.

I am thankful to my family and others for their encouragement and help when I needed to be uplifted or set straight.

Most of all, I am thankful to God for He is the one that orchestrated every growth process and love me though to the other side. He upheld me with His strength and courage even when I was to weak to ask. He put His people on my pathway to hold my hand/heart and keep me going forward. He never gave up on me even though I told him I didn't think I was going make it. He helped me to remember his faithfulness is everlasting.

And last but not least, I am thankful for the genuine smile on my face because of God's love and joy I have been able to store in my heart. This godly character displayed in my life will hopefully witness to others there is hope and comfort for them too!

What has God taught you this year that you are so thankful He did? Spend some time remembering what has made you who you are today. Then take time to anticipate the growth thus far and the growth to come. God is not finished with you yet. The best is yet to come. Allow those thoughts to comfort you and give you hope.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Holiday Challenge

I recently I had the opportunity to pray with a woman who had a very heavy heart over the friends and family she had been praying for for quite some time. She kept saying they should be able to see the truth about salvation with all the opportunities they had been given to hear it proclaimed, especially with the circumstances they were going through. I tried to explain with the following.

First, I reminded her that when someone has not received salvation they do not have the understanding of spiritual things. It is only when they allow God to manifest in their hearts that true understanding can come.

Second, everyone has their moment when salvation is plain enough for them to see. They will know in their heart what the truth really is. When God put people on her heart, He intends for her to intercede until their godly understanding comes. Perseverance is the key.

Third, God was using this time to stretch and mature her own faith and abilities as an intercessor. God was not only touching her family and friends through her prayers but He also wanting to touch her walk with Him as well. She thought it was only about others but God was ready to inspire both.

As we kept talking, what I saw in my spirit was an agitator in a washing machine swishing back and forth. What I heard in my spirit was “Washed by the water of the word.” (Eph. 5:26) Because of her standing in the gap with intercessory prayer, God was able to ‘agitate’ them with His love and presence. Her words of faith in prayer were like cleansing water washing over them so they could find the truth.

As I continued to pray and talk with her, I felt the Lord wanted to challenge her to change her thinking about the people in her care.

During Thanksgiving, I sensed she was to thank Jesus for their salvation and all that He was doing to bring them to the knowledge of the truth.  She was to stop looking at the present circumstances and focus on the victory of God promises.

Then afterwards during the Christmas season, she was to thank him for sending Christ into the world and into the lives of those she was praying for.

This process would not be easy. But if she would pledge to change her thoughts and focus, she would bring forth faith and a renewed sense of purpose while she awaited the fulfillment of His promises.

So I offer this challenge to each of you for those on your heart during this holiday season. Along with me, many of you have been praying family and friends for along time. Some of them will be with you during this holiday season.  Instead of thinking they haven’t changed a bit, pledge to use your faith and thank Jesus for their salvation. Thank the Holy Spirit for continuing to touch their hearts. Allow God’s love to flood into your soul and then flow out to each of those you are praying for no matter what  their present situation looks like.Then know when the time is right, they will see and know God too.


Remember…. With God, ALL things are possible. (Matt. 19:26)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Falling Leaves of Humility

This is one of my favorite times of the year. The air is cool and crisp. I don’t know about you, but I feel like getting out and doing more things. I sense my energy is coming back after it took a vacation during the hot days of summer. Having the energy is a good thing because fall brings on a constant borage of leaves everywhere…and raking.

Recently, when I was taking a break from sweeping the leaves off the deck, I began to ponder their colors and the cycle they had been through to this point. When the leaves first came on the scene in the spring, they were a lush green and full of life. Now the leaves sported bright reds, glowing yellows, and radiant oranges as their attire. This display of beauty, I believe, is the leaves best work before their final resting place on the ground.

Unexpectedly, I felt my attention being drawn to the pile of brown leaves that I had raked to the corner of my backyard. My curiosity peaked so I questioned the Lord.

 “Lord, why do all the leaves eventually turn brown? Why don’t they retain their color after falling to the ground?”

He responded with this, “Brown is the color which symbolizes humility. After a season of glory, everything has to come back to the place of humility. That is the way I keep things in perspective. That is how I help ‘you’ from losing your perspective. “

As I thought about His words, I realized He was right. There are times when I grow in my faith and life goes well with me. I am able to venture out into the world and maybe even accomplish a great feat or two. His mercy and grace ever present with me and I am able to witness of that fact to others. But then slowly, everything comes to an end. The signs that the season is changing begin to emerge. What use to work does not work anymore. God is letting me know that the present season is over. It’s time to come back to rest, reflect, and rejuvenate at the foot of the cross to humble myself before him.

What does it mean to be humble? Humility is acknowledging that I am totally dependent on God for everything. It is God who sustains me and brings me to and through all situations whether I recognize Him at work or not.

While I am out there following my God-given directives, my focus can so easily be twisted from working ‘with’ God to working ‘for God’. The difference between the two is that working ‘with’ God, I seek for and strive to walk in godly wisdom. Working ‘for’ God, I tend to do what I think is best.  My decisions become centered on my human reasoning. The result of my change of focus may not show up right away. Eventually, I do have to face the issue of pride, which is humility’s adversary.

The best way I have found to handle pride is at the foot of the cross. God is always willing and ready to support you with abundant grace and a renewed focus on Him. Humility will not be able to rise again until I deal with the issue of my pride. Once I have regained my focus on God, I will ready to bloom again.

Where are you in your walk? Are you walking with God or for God? If pride has sidetracked you, don’t worry. God is there to help you find you way back. It will take some time before the throne of Grace and a willingness to seek godly counsel. But when you are ready to stand, you will have been refreshed and refocused to serve our Savior again.