I can do all things through . . .

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This week has been hectic deluxe. When this morning showed up I was just overwhelmed at how little week was left and how much there still was to do. I came to my office and just told the Lord that I didn’t have enough to get it all done. I opened up my bible to Psalms, my usual place for solace. But it didn’t click. I switched over to Isaiah and found myself in chapter 40 and at the very end of the chapter there was my solace.

“Yet those who wait (hope) for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not get weary.” (v.31)

God’s Word revealed the true nature of my heart — that I am still determined to do all things on my own, instead of through Christ. Weeks like this one push me to the place where I just feel like I can’t do more and when in final desperation I talk to the Lord about it He calms my heart and points out that my problem is my self-reliance. My hope was in my efforts, not the Lord.

How true is His word when it says, “Revive me O Lord, according to They word.” (Ps. 119:107)

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Luther’s Carol for Children

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I LOVE Christmas — the music, the decorations, the memories of years gone by, the songs and the stories. I have especially been gathering books about Christmas. One book that I’ve enjoyed is a collection of poems, songs and excerpts from longer writings.

In my reading today I found a Christmas carol that Martin Luther wrote in 1534. I really liked the following stanzas.

All hail, Thou noble Guest, this morn,
Whose love did not the sinner scorn!
In my distress Thou cam’st to me:
What thanks shall I return to Thee?

Were earth a thousand times as fair,
Beset with gold and jewels rare,
She yet were far too poor to be
A narrow cradle, Lord, for Thee.

Ah, dearest Jesus, Holy Child!
Make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.

Praise God upon His heavenly throne,
Who gave to us His only Son:
For this His hosts, on joyful wing,
A blest New Year of mercy sing.

How I long for my heart to be an “undefiled” place for the Lord. By His grace and through His longsuffering patience with me it becomes that place for Him. It’s all Him doing His work in His vessel!

God’s New Normal

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Been thinking about what it means to be successful as a church. When people ask, “Is your church growing?” what do I measure to answer that question? My pride and flesh wants to point to an astounding numbers of baptisms, more small groups, greater attendance on Sundays, excess of funds, blah, blah, blah.

But inside I know that God looks on the heart. That is how He ‘measured’ David and found him qualified to be King. Mmmm, so it’s the heart that needs measuring. Ok, so that’s how I measure my personal growth. But how do we know if our church is growing?

Any way, in all my reading and surfing I came across this post by Reggie McNeal on the Leadership Network site:

“Go ahead. Stare at the nativity set this Christmas. Remember a leader who was content with the scorecard of obedience to mission. Quit hushing that quiet voice in you that calls to question the scorecard that enslaves rather than fulfills. Have the courage to agree with God for a new normal. Trust that his “well done” will be the only assessment that every completely satisfies. Allow this reality to relax your anxious and ambitious spirit. Maybe then the “peace on earth” that every soul craves can come home to you.”

Read his complete post here.

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