Saturday, October 27, 2012

In a Perfect World

In a perfect world . . . 

We’d each jump out of bed with a smile every Monday morning.
We could all afford a hired maid.
And chocolate would be a recommended meal.

In a perfect world . . .

But none of us lives in a perfect world.
If we did, we’d all be misfits.

Either that, or we’d change that world one person at a time.

None of us lives in a perfect world.

But we each live in the world perfectly planned for us and for which we’ve been perfectly planned.

In other words, when God placed you and I right where we are, He said “It is good.”

We belong there. We were made for it. 
Just like a body was prepared for the Son of God and He was placed on this earth at the proper time, we were each designed for our particular world.

That means He has a plan and purpose for every day.
And we fit that plan.

All that we are as a person matches what He wants us to do, where He wants us to do it, when we were placed in this life, and why.

The Psalmist said God’s way is perfect (Psalm 18:30).

He also assured us that God makes OUR way perfect (v.32).

We fail, we make mistakes, we mess things up sometimes, but who we are was not a mistake.

God designed us for our particular time in history, our place on this planet, and our life in this world.

And we fit there.

To do His purpose.
To watch Him accomplish His perfect way in our lives.
And to truly live our lives confident that He has made our way perfect.

It may not be our idea of a perfect world.

But a created thing cannot say to the One who created it: Why have you made me like this? (Romans 9:20)

If we could see our lives from His perspective, we’d say without flinching:
We live . . .in a perfect world.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Do You See Me?

Looking at a friend through binoculars is like trying to see the beauty of a butterfly through a telescope.

All you get is a skewed perception.
You don’t see their true colors.

You might see nothing at all.

We're all guilty of this, aren't we?
We often limit ourselves to a distant view of the people around us.

But when we’re afraid to ask the questions people really do want to be asked; when we think we know a person, but in reality our perception is a blur, we need to ask for grace to look at the people we know with eyes of selfless, genuine love.

This means stepping out of our perspective, putting away the binoculars, and looking at a friend with unhindered, genuine interest.

Likely, you will discover beautiful qualities you never would have realized apart from this loving sacrifice.

Maybe they’re masking a need, and if the binoculars were set aside, you would discover a friend who just needs you.

Care enough to ask questions, learn more, nurture, see a friend and be one.

Care enough to look close.

Not through binoculars. And not through a microscope.

But through eyes of genuine love.

You might see something you never knew you were missing.

You will meet a need.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Let God Chisel

"Let God Chisel."

This was the title of the opening message given by Lysa TerKeurst at the She Speaks Conference in North Carolina last year. Hardly a day goes by even now—one year later—that I don’t mull over this concept. 

Because life is full of the chiseling process.
We’re either experiencing that hammering and shaping in our own lives, or participating as God chisels another.

To “let God chisel” means we recognize that God is the Master Sculptor, making each one of His own into a masterpiece for His glory, in His own way.

When Michelangelo was asked how he created his best known masterpiece, he replied, “I never saw a block of marble; I saw ‘David’ locked inside.”

That’s how a master artist thinks.

Consumed with creating a perfectly finished project, Michelangelo never left the side of his block of marble.  He hammered and chiseled and shaped and molded until David emerged.

He saw a masterpiece that others didn’t.
And others saw it, only after he was done chiseling.

When asked for advice on how to become a sculptor, Michelangelo answered:
“You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.”

God is masterful at chipping away what doesn’t look like the masterpiece He wants to produce. He is skillful at carving with whatever it will take to shape us. Whatever it takes, when He chisels, beauty will surface.

Sculpting and shaping requires this chiseling.

And, as many of us know . . . when God chisels, it hurts.

To "let God chisel" means we trust Him as He is doing that work, however painful, knowing that out of that pain will emerge beauty—not of our own making, but His.

Lining the halls leading to the room where his greatest masterpiece, David, is kept, stands a collection of lesser known statues by Michelangelo.

These statues are unfinished.

A leg, part of an arm. A head, but no body.
Only parts of the masterpiece emerged.

These partly-chiseled works are called “The Prisoners.”

They were never destroyed. They were never laid aside, because the touch of Michelangelo is upon them.

They're still admired for the glimpse of beauty that is the mark of their master artist.

But they‘re prisoners.

None of them became another “David,” because they required more chiseling.

When God chisels, He completes what He has begun.
He hammers. Not to harm, but to free.

He is at work—even in the pain—to free each one of us from our hard places.

To complete His masterpiece.

That's what a Master Sculptor does. He chips away what isn’t part of that masterpiece.

He sees the beauty He is producing. 

And we will see it, too . . . after He chisels.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Who are You, LORD?

One of the most vital questions a person can ever ask is: "Who are You, LORD?"

“The whole fate of humanity hangs on the answer to this question.”
     – Hannah Whitall Smith

Our peace depends on it.
Our contentment and our hope depends on it.
Our everyday trust through the nitty, gritty ins and out of life depend on it.
Our lives depend on it.

If we’re going to trust the Lord and survive on a planet like ours, we need to know who God is.

Not just an idea of who He is.
Not our own definition.

But a BIG, Biblical view of our God.

Too often our lives and our cares loom large, and we reduce our God to a locket-size theology.

An itty, bitty picture of God we keep in a beautiful place close to our hearts.

Photo courtesy of Kayleen Spafford

Then life gets hard.

So we open up the picture and remind ourselves of who He is.

But we keep Him small.

If our needs and our heartaches and our fears and our hurts are bigger than our view of God, then we need to know Him better.

Because all that we need Him for is not itty, bitty.
It isn’t to Him.
And it certainly isn’t to us.

The nature of our lives demands that we have a God who doesn’t fit in a locket-size theology.

In comparison to who He is, our problems and our lives are nothing.
Nations are like a drop in a bucket to Him.
They are like dust on a scale. (Isaiah 40:15)

But in spite of that, God doesn’t hold us in itty, bitty pictures close to His heart.
And He doesn’t carry our problems in a closed-up, out-of-the-way place either.

He is very personal, relational God.
              A very BIG God.

How do we know that?
Because He has told us who He is: “I am the LORD (Jehovah); that is my name.”(Isaiah 42:8)

He used that name 6,823 times in the Old Testament.
         He wants us to know who He is.
                He wants us to know Him by the name “Jehovah.”

“Jehovah” means “I AM THAT I AM" (Exod. 3:14):
·         He IS.   
·         On His own.
·         Like no other being.
·         Not dependent on anything or anyone else.
·         The source of His own being.

“Jehovah” means He is the Covenant-keeping God (Exod. 6:2-8).
·         When He makes a promise, He keeps it.

“Jehovah” means He is the God of Redemption (Exod. 6:2-8).
·         Misery calls down His mercy.
·         And out of mercy, He redeems.

"Jehovah" means He is  . . . (Exod. 34:6,7):
·         Merciful
·         Gracious
·         Long-suffering
·         Abundant in goodness and truth
·         Keeping mercy for thousands
·         Forgiving iniquity and sin and transgressions

This is only a glimpse of the greatness of our God.

But even this glimpse is not locket-sized.

Our picture of God can never be too big.
             But it can be too small.

Our trust in Him will grow when we have a big, Biblical view of who He is.

That’s why it’s important to ask the question, “Who are you, LORD?”

He is Jehovah.


He is not locket-sized.

(Listen to the lessons on the Names of Jehovah)