Have you ever felt like you have obeyed the Lord by taking a giant leap of faith, and now you're just waiting to land on solid ground? You know you have been called to do something but you just don't know the details of that call; so, you... just... wait... on the Lord... and His... perfect... timing.
Waiting is beautiful to the Lord. It puts us in a place of complete dependence on Him, which pleases Him, because He can then do His work in us. Yes, while we humanly wait, He supernaturally works. Hear His promise:
Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not become tired, they will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31
Because I appreciate any kind of athlete in action, these pictures speak to me about the concept of beauty in the waiting. Observe the strength and grace in the mid-routines of the gymnasts. Now take note of your current situation that may be "up in the air." Remember, you may feel completely out of control, but He never is! So in the midst of your waiting, hold on to your invisible God who is beautifully present... in your... present... and... in your... future.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
Over the past couple of weekends we have had an influx of visitors in and out of our home. From family, to friends, and friends of friends, the beds have been full and the table has been surrounded. Observing the diversity of people and the use of their unique passions fills my cup to overflowing. I love seeing God at work in so many different ways THROUGH His people.
As I was tidying up a bit this morning, I came across a pair of one of our guest’s shoes. I immeditately knew to whom they belonged, and I smiled as I thought of her extraordinary individuality.
From this happy thought, I wrote 5 allegorical tips (some are borrowed) concerning filling the shoes on your own two feet:
1. If the shoe fits, wear it. Be your own person. The world is waiting for YOU.
2. If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. Somebody else’s shoes are meant for somebody else.
3. Don’t be afraid of new and different. At some point, it might be time to break in an entirely new look.
4. Also, be content with old and worn. These shoes exemplify perseverance and experience to many.
5. Walk. Be confident in where you are going, but avoid climbing the status ladder in your heart and mind. Keep your feet moving forward on the humble ground. In doing so, you’re less likely to fall.
These five tips were beautifully lived out before me through our different guests these past two weekends. A few artists, an art agent, a knitter, a couple of musicians, a Ukranian advocate for orphans, two doctors, a coach, four turkey hunters, a golfer, a nurse practitioner, a realtor, a Bible teacher, a fellow writer, a PA school graduate, a waiter, a vetinary receptionist, and a couple of business men … all filled their own particular shoes. I marvel at the specified touch of God on each person, not because of their job title, but because of their individual distinctiveness within their choice giftings. No one can fill their shoes.
And my friend, no one can fill yours.
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. Ephesians 4:1
I walk a lot of golf courses. My son Davis plays for the University of Cincinnati so my husband Mac and I try to attend the tournaments that are reasonably close to home. On the golf paths, in the midst of beautiful scenery, I have learned to pray, and pray, and pray. Most of the time it’s not even about the golf that I’m watching; I just like to take advantage of this allotted time to pray for family, friends, and life issues–really, whatever the Lord brings to mind.
BUT, before I sound too holy, I must confess, I do have a competitive streak in me that rises and falls as I tenaciously watch the direction of Davis’ little white golf ball. It’s crazy how fervently I can sometimes find myself pleading with the Lord for a par, or better yet, a birdie. One time when I was in this desperate state, staring at the ball as if I could personally “will” it into hole, my eyes changed focus to a large tree that stood in the background just behind Davis. I then heard in my heart these Spirit-led words, “Chris, remember, I’m always about the big picture.”
Ah, yes, in each of our lives, let us remember, God is always about the big picture. Just like a tree begins as a seed, then in due time, it becomes a sapling, and over years of growth, it becomes a sturdy and mature work of art, so we too, are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). He always has Your best interest at heart, even when things temporarily seem right or left of center.
If you’re in the midst of a harder season right now, let His word encourage you:
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
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 your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
I admit, it’s hard to let go of my immediate desire for things to go exactly the way I want it to go, at the exact minute I want it to happen (the ball in the hole!). But I must remember and trust, that
The little fickle ball vs. the large sturdy tree
in the long run, the Lord’s “big picture” will be a far better work of art, more than anything I could have momentarily willed myself.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
Dear Readers,Not too long ago I had a conversation with Michael Easley on his radio broadcast show called InContext. If you have the opportunity, I welcome you to listen to my thoughts and stories about life and God, highs and lows, messing up and maturing.
The interview can be found here: http://michaelincontext.com/listen/
Resting in Him alone.
A holiday tradition in the Baxter home is for all of us to load up together in the truck and head toward the local Christmas tree lot. A tree is picked from the selection, put in the truck-bed, and then placed in the corner of our living room. All of this is done in cheerful merriment of the holidays. (Ok, not all of us are cheerful all of the time, but it sounded good).
Our tree stood bare for a night and a day before we decorated it this year. The evergreen branches have a stark beauty all on its own. But, of course, a Christmas tree is meant to be decorated! So, three of the six of us decorated it together last night. The other three in the family obviously had had enough merriment during the tree-selection process…bah-hum-bug.
As we decorated, I was reminded of a life lesson that I have taught my kids on different occasions. The lights and ornaments are inanimate, of course, but we can learn something from them. For example, these objects don’t “look” around and about themselves, wishing they were made differently. They just display their own unique creativity. Also, they don’t “fret” over their postition, wondering why “that ornament over on the other side of the tree gets to hang in a higher spot”. No, the lights and ornaments are content to contribute to the work of art as a whole; but at the same time, their individual spot on the tree is beautiful because of them. As I placed each unique ornament on the tree in it’s designated branch, I thought of how the Christmas tree is a beautiful picture of the body of Christ working together.
Just like the ornaments, we are each a beautiful creation. Both time and care were put into the manufacturing of the intricate items placed on the tree. Likewise, we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14).
And just like the ornaments, as well as the lights, we all have a place to rest, a place to display our beauty, a place to contribute to the whole design. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift…for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ (Eph. 4:7, 12).
So when you look at your tree this year, think of the body of Christ. You have a unique ability in sharing a universal purpose: to shine your light… and to display God’s glory. And you have a specific place in which to do it. Don’t wrestle, just rest. Hear your Creator and Positioner say, “You are precious in My sight…you are honored and I love you.” (Isaiah 43:4). Merry Christmas.
I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:19-21
Help us to take a genuine interest in the welfare of others. Forgive us when we fill our agenda with self-interests to the point where we don't have time or energy for anything else. May we be the person that sees a need and then responds quickly to fill it. Amen.