Saturday, April 28, 2012

For Such a Time as This

I was reading in the book of Esther this morning when a passage caught my attention.

Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” ~ Esther 4:13-14

A little background: Mordecai's life was in danger. He and other Jews, including Esther, were being targeted by an enemy close to King Xerxes. (Mordecai adopted Esther after her parents died. Esther had not told anyone of her nationality under the advisement of Mordecai. Esther did not have access to the King unless she was summoned--which wasn't very often.) Mordecai sent word to Esther of the plot against the Jews and pleaded for her help to ask King Xerxes to intervene. Against protocol, Esther did go to the King and told him of the plot, which helped her people.

The phrase that really jumped out at me was, "Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?"

Have you ever felt that your position in life was insignificant or unimportant? I have. It's just a job. He's more talented than me. They are more important than me so what can I do? I can't influence anyone. Those are just a few of the thoughts that come to mind. I'm sure the list could go on and on.

While I was writing this post, I stopped to do something else and decided to do a little more reading for inspiration. I've been reading the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan and picked up where I left off. A few pages into reading, I see the following quote which fits perfectly with this topic:

Have you ever said, "I was made for this moment"? Do you believe you were crafted for specific good works, things that God knew before you even existed? Or do you compare your life to others and lament what you have been given? We have a God who is a Creator, not a duplicator."

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

Each of us has been created for "such a time as this." I was "made for this moment." Even when we (I) feel insignificant, God has a plan and we (I) should always be looking for how He wants to use us (me). I may never help save an entire nation of people like Esther, but I can encourage a friend, I can be an example, I can meet someone's need. A small thing can have a big impact. We've all been given different gifts and God will use them if we listen to Him and obey.

Random? Coincidence? No. I am here for a reason.

I have been placed in this moment of time by God, for His purpose, for...

Such a time as this. 


Thursday, April 26, 2012

We are the Clay

Thought I'd share just a little something God showed me this week.

But now, O LORD, You are our Father,
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all of us are the work of Your hand. -- Isaiah 64:8 (NASB)

 “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. -- Jeremiah 18:6 (NLT)

“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.
    Does a clay pot argue with its maker?
Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying,
    ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’
Does the pot exclaim,
    ‘How clumsy can you be?’
How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father,
    ‘Why was I born?’
or if it said to its mother,
    ‘Why did you make me this way?’”
This is what the Lord says—
    the Holy One of Israel and your Creator:
“Do you question what I do for my children?
    Do you give me orders about the work of my hands?
I am the one who made the earth
    and created people to live on it.
With my hands I stretched out the heavens.
    All the stars are at my command. -- Isaiah 45:9-12  (NLT)

When a potter begins to make his creation, he already has something in mind with an eye on the end result.  He works carefully and methodically to shape the clay.  Sometimes the clay conforms readily into that new shape.  Other times, the shaping process may cause the clay to bend at which point the potter will begin the process again.  The clay may bend but the potter doesn't give up.

God is the Potter.  I am the clay.  It's God's responsibility to shape me into the vessel He has in mind.  It's not my responsibility.  I only need to be willing and pliable, resting in the Potter's hands.

Imagine the clay deciding for itself that it should become a plate when the Potter already decided the clay should become a beautiful vase.  Seems absurd to think that, but how many times do we try to make these decisions for ourselves? 

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. -- Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Circumstances of Life

Have you ever been in the middle of a circumstance and tried to figure out...

How did I get here?

How do I get out of it?

I've been reading through the book Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer recently. One point she makes is to not wish yourself out of whatever situation God has placed you in. As believers, we understand that everything that happens to us has first gone through God's hands. (I won't chase that rabbit as meaty as it might be.) Instead of craving to be out of a situation or wishing yourself into another situation, we should ask God to open our eyes to His plans that are already in front of us.

Interesting thought. Stop trying to "fix" the current situation. Cease trying to wiggle out of my current circumstance. Just stop. Wait. Ask God what He wants to do.

Sounds easy enough until current circumstance gets uncomfortable or impatience sets in. Then suddenly I want to take over and fix things again. But if I do that, I may miss out on some good stuff He has planned for me in the current situation. No. I don't want to do that. So we're back to waiting. To wait means to expect.

God blesses those who wait on Him. Check out these verses:

Isaiah 40:31
Yet those who wait 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 become weary. 

Psalm 25:5
Lead me in Thy truth and teach me for Thou art the God of my salvation; for Thee I wait all the day.

Psalm 62:1-2
My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

The last Psalm was written by King David. If anyone knew about waiting it was him. He was anointed as King at the age of 16, but had to wait more than a decade to actually take the position God gave Him those many years ago. He had opportunities to manipulate his circumstances but opted to be obedient to God instead. He lived on the run for many years, fearing for his life. And this is one of the reasons that David is referred to as a man after God's own heart. God desires our obedience, my obedience, even in the midst of current circumstances--whatever it may be.

Note: I recommend the book referenced in this post, but I have not been compensated by the publisher or the author.

Friday, April 20, 2012


I saw this on Facebook and love it!!  It's so "me."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Nuggets of Wisdom

Thought I'd share a few nuggets of wisdom I've learned this week.
  • Joy is always a word of relationship (with God), and not about our circumstances.  "Always be joyful.  Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT) I can be joyful without being happy about the present circumstance.
  • Faith is often seen as foolishness by the world.
  • God is worth waiting for. I can wait because this road I am on will take me to the place He wants me to be. 
  • Anxiety is rooted in distrust.
  • Scars don't hurt. When someone says they are hurting from emotional scars, that's not a scar that's hurting; it's a wound. 
  • Choose to praise God even when my heart doesn't feel like it. Just start praising God with my mouth and my heart will follow. Did Paul feel like praising God when he was sitting in that jail cell? No. But he began singing and praising God.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Be Still and Know

The phrase Be Still and Know that I am God has been a recurring theme in my life over the past few weeks. I cannot count how many times and from how many different sources this passage has come up. Do you think God was trying to tell me something? I got the hint after the first few times. Since then, I've been meditating on that phrase a whole lot. In fact, I often listen to Steven Curtis Chapman's song Be Still and Know which is based on this verse. These eight words from Psalm 46:10 have been a great source of comfort and peace.

Be Still. The Hebrew root to this phrase is Rapha (Healer). Essentially we are to:
... Cease Striving
... Cause Yourself to Let Go
... Let Yourself Become Weak
... Surrender; Die to Self

But then what?

...and Know that I am God. Okay. I already knew that in theory and in my heart. But the word know implies intimate knowledge. I have to spend time with and acknowledge that God is who He says He is. And what's the whole point of being still? So that I will know that God is in control. If I am striving, not being still, and trying to figure out what to do next, when am I spending quality time with God? To know Him? To listen to Him? To learn about Him?

So, by becoming weak and dying to myself, I give God an opportunity to work and receive the glory. He gets to be God, the Divine Ruler of this Universe. I start trusting in Him and stop trusting in myself. I get to rest in the shelter of His wings. Rest is healing and...Ahh, Peaceful.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pressing Past Our Fears

Once again, God' timing is incredible.  I have been watching a Beth Moore series on You Tube called Pressing Past Our Fears.  I'm not sure why I chose this particular topic, but I started watching it yesterday and finished watching it this morning.  One quote I wrote down yesterday from Beth was this:

"Fear is an emotional outburst of unbelief."

Hmmm.  Definitely something to keep in mind when I start feeling fearful. 

Last night I was writing in my journal and decided to thumb through and read some older entries (like a whole decade ago).  I noticed that some of the things I was writing about then are similar to current circumstances (not exactly the same, but definitely similar).  Similar issues and phrases used jumped out at me.  The circumstance I had written about more than a decade ago did not end the way I had hoped.  I began to feel discouraged after reading this.  I began to fear the same thing was happening all over again.  I prayed about it.

So this morning I went back to finish watching the rest of this Beth Moore series.  First thing I hear is, Why am I projecting an old fear on a new day?   Woah!  This is a new place that God has me and I should not be putting these old fears in this new place.  If God has put me here, then He will equip me to handle what He's put before me. 

The next great nugget of truth I hear is, The Enemy discourages me to keep me from proceeding with God's plan.  The root word  here is Courage.  God will give us courage.  The Enemy will obviously want to DisCourage.  Once again, if I am in God's plan then I need to keep at it, to get back up and refuse to quit what God has placed before me.  Fear of the past is not an option.  I must live in the present and trust Him to meet my needs and direct my steps.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

God's Timing

Been thinking about circumstances of life lately.  I've always heard the phrase, God's Timing is Perfect.  It's usually in response to something I hoped would happen, but doesn't.  You know...that long-awaited job or meeting that "special someone."  It's kind of a catch-all phrase that's used in Christian circles.  I understand why people say it and I've said it myself.  It is some comfort when paired with understanding God's sovereignty.  God knows that everything I hope for doesn't need to unfold exactly like I'd imagined.  He sees the big picture. He knows what I need and when it's needed.  The operative word here is need.  I won't even get into the wants.

Lately, though, I've seen this timing thing work out in my life in so many small ways as God reveals and gifts things to me exactly when I need it.  These little things that happen are so easily overlooked.

Example: Recently I started having a feeling of anxiety in my gut.  I've had this feeling in the past, but it's been a while.  It's almost like a stomachache without actual pain.  But, it's definitely emotional pain.  I thought most of that emotional distress was behind me and I began to wonder why this feeling had returned?  Instead of trying to figure it out for myself, I took this concern to God in prayer.  I asked God to tell me why this particular emotional pain was happening again.  I didn't get my answer that day.  However, the next day I began to feel it again about the same time of day.  Once again I asked God to tell me why I was experiencing this anxiety.  I was ready to deal with this.  God immediately brought to mind those other times when I experienced this pain.  In each occurrance, the pain was associated with two particular emotions:  Fear of the Unknown and Loss of Control.  Ah-Ha!   That's exactly what has been going on.  I had an answer.  God's timing was just right.

You see, God had asked me to give up control over a particular area of my life.  Until then I had not realized how much I had been trying to control things myself.  I surrendered control to Him.  So, the side-effect of surrendering control is facing that fear of the unknown and loss of control.  Now that I know what's going on, God and I will deal with it.  Oh, and that anxious feeling in my gut went away as soon as I realized the truth.  And if it does come back, I'll know that I'm trying to take over again.

A much smaller example of this gift of God's timing are the encouraging messages from friends just when I need to hear from someone, a sweet hug, or a really good belly-laugh just when I need it.  He always knows what I need, even when I don't know.  God is good and his timing is perfect!