Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Prayer for Wisdom and Peace When Making Big Decisions

I read this just the other day on the Gospel Coalition. It's from an absolutely fabulous blog on there by Scotty Smith. Just had to share. 
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all. (James 1:5)
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 straight your paths. (Prov. 3:5-6)
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. (Col. 3:15)
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Cor. 10:31)
For this is the will of God, your sanctification. (1 Thess. 4:3)
     Dear heavenly Father, you number our hairs and determine our days; you hang the stars and feed the sparrows; you open doors no one can shut and shut doors no one can open. Surely, we can trust you when the time comes for making big decisions, or for that matter, any decisions. I’m in just such a season again, Father, and I know I’m not alone. We will trust you for generous wisdom, straight paths and peaceful hearts, all for your glory.
     How we praise you for being the decision-making-God. It’s not our decisions, but yours that make all the difference. We will plan, but we trust you to order our steps. We will pray, but ask you to fix our prayers en route to heaven. We will seek counsel, but count on you to overrule faulty or incomplete input from our most trusted friends and mentors. We will search the Scriptures, but not looking for proof texts but for you, Father. All we want and need is you.
     Free us from the paralysis of analysis—wanting make the right decision, more than we want to be righteous people; wanting to be known as wise people, more than we want to know you. Free us from the idolatry of assuming there’s only one “perfect” choice in any given situation. Free us from making decisions primary for our comfort and other’s approval, or fear their disapproval. Free us to know that good choices don’t always lead to the easiest outcomes, especially at first. Free us from second and twenty-second guessing our decisions.
     Father, no matter if it’s wisdom about buying or selling, vocation or vacation, this place or that place, this person or that person, we know that in ALL things, your will is our sanctification—our becoming more and more like Jesus. Give us this passion; make it our delight.
     So, Father, make us more and more like Jesus, even as we trust you for the opening and closing of doors that are in front of us. All for your glory—in our eating and drinking; and in our whatever’s, whenever’s and wherever’s. So very Amen we pray, in the name of our reigning King, Jesus.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Break My Heart

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." - Matthew 25:40

A heart of compassion... I am praying that the Lord will cultivate a heart of compassion within me that will consume my entire being.

I am staring the future dead in the face and I have no clue what it holds. Better yet, the talk of "next year" is hitting me like a brick wall and I feel nothing. So no, I still do not know what I will be doing, but my prayer is that the Lord will break my heart for what breaks His, and out of that broken heart I will know where the Lord wants me next year.

This summer in Michigan I began to truly understand how much the Lord loves me and is jealous for me. It was a beautiful lesson to learn as I was overwhelmed by the Lord's love for me. I was romanced by God in the littlest of places... a perfect cup of coffee to start off the day, a sweet letter in the mail, fireworks, laying in the back of the Tundra, or time spent with my best friend. And through all of those things I fell more and more in love with Jesus.
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; YOU ARE MINE." -Isaiah 43:1
"Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life." - Isaiah 43:4 
"I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me." - Song of Solomon 7:10
"'Return, faithless people,' declares the Lord, 'for I am your husband.'" - Jeremiah 3:14
Realizing how much the Lord loved me changed everything. It changed how I viewed myself and how I viewed my relationship with the Lord. 

Now that I have become intoxicated by the Lord's love for me, I am beginning to see... He has that same love for every single person that surrounds me. And because of that, I am called to love them in the same way. 

I want my life to be consumed by loving others, selflessly, with everything that I have, because the Lord loved me first and because He continues to love me daily (through my selfish heart, twisted emotions, and daily ups and downs... thank you, Jesus). 

Just recently I was blessed to be able to go to Rockbridge, a Young Life camp, with 20 of my high school friends from East Chapel Hill. We went for a fall camp weekend and it was truly a magical weekend. Quite frankly, before we went I had a nonchalant attitude... it was just another weekend, at another Young Life camp, and just another thing I had to do. The Lord slapped me in the face very early on in that weekend with a love and an intense passion for the souls of those sweet high school girls in a very new and real way. I looked into their eyes and began to feel in my inner being just how much their Heavenly Father loved them. I saw all twenty of those girls in a new light and my heart broke for them with an intense passion. So many of them are lost in the ways of this world and they hear the voices that say they aren't pretty enough, or good enough, or smart enough, or athletic enough, or skinny enough, or fun enough. But that is NOT true. They are His. I earnestly pray that they will begin to see how much the Lord loves them and how much He wants to be in a relationship with them. He is jealous for them and He is jealous for their souls.

Since that weekend, I have been hit over the head with the need for greater generosity and greater compassion

The Lord is not just jealous for me, or for all the Young Life leaders, or for all my high school friends, He is jealous for every single soul on this earth. He loves them all with an intense passion and love and I am asked to respond out of His love for each one of them. 

In order to love others in the way that the Lord has called me, I must have my heart broken daily and I must completely abandon myself. My life is not really mine at all, it is the Lord's and it is my prayer that I can truly be His hands and feet and that He will rid my of myself. 

I will not be able to do this perfectly... in fact, I can't really do anything. It is only through the grace of my Father that I will be able to serve and love and give in this manner. 

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." -2 Corinthians 8:9
"'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?'" -Mark 8:34-36
 "Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need." -Acts 2:45
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." -Ephesians 5:1-2
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves have been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." -1 John 4:7-8 

I want to see Jesus in every single face that I pass. I want to see His face in the least of these. And I want my heart to break for them... I want to be overwhelmed with love for them in such a way that I can't help but give my time, my money, and all of me to them, so that I can serve them. I am yearning for a heart of compassion and generosity that will actually do something

So Lord, please break my heart until it truly moves my hands and feet. 

I challenge you to do the same... LOVE, GIVE, and SERVE beyond your means because the Lord loves you.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Back to the Basics

The Lord has called me back... back to the basics. Back to a heart of pure gratitude. This morning I was overwhelmed with gratitude and in journaling I realized just how many things I have to truly be thankful for.

So I say to Jesus, 

Thank you for this beautiful day that You created. Thank you for the sun that radiates Your glory and the Carolina blue sky that warms my heart. Thank you for coffee and the opportunity to just spend time with You. Thank you for Your truth and Your Spirit that you have put in my heart. Thank you for my friends who push me towards You. Thank your for my heart that craves Your word and Your truth. Thank you for satisfying me with Your unfailing love. Thank you for always watching over me and for always calling me back to You. Thank you for the cross and for washing our sins away. Thank you for forgiving me daily. Thank you for grace and Your heart. Thank you for making me desire You alone. Thank for you high school girls that remind me how much we all desperately need You. Thank you for healing our broken hearts. Thank you for holding my hand and guiding me always. Thank you for Your love. Thank you for my heart that loves and feels for so many people around me. Thank you for wisdom. Thank you for the church and the people that serve in it. Thank you for all the reminders that you are bigger than me. Thank you for surprises and goodness.

Thank you for summoning me, redeeming me, and calling me Yours. 

A heart of gratitude will bring you back to the basics and it will draw you near to God.