Monday, September 26, 2016

But God

Check out what Paul pens in 2 Corinthians 7:5-6:

"When we came into Macedonia, we had no rest but were harassed at every turn - conflicts on the outside and fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus."

Sound familiar? Maxed out. Exhausted and overwhelmed with no rest in sight. Seems like everything and everyone are against you. Just wanna raise that white flag and be done. Just D.O.N.E.


Sometimes the most powerful words in Scripture are the smallest: BUT GOD.

I'll be the first to admit that it's tough to feel spiritual when I'm tired and overwhelmed. (Can I get a witness?!?!) And the longer the situation drags out, the worse things become!


Paul's words in 2 Corinthians remind me that in the middle of my exhaustion, God hasn't changed. He's still there. He's not tired or stressed out. In fact, He's patiently waiting to give me the comfort and rest I so need. All it takes is for me to take my eyes off my circumstances and focus on Him; to shift my mental and emotional energy from selfish sulking to God-centered praise.

Life is hard. Kids are demanding. Work is consuming. Ministry can be tiring.


He's got it all together. Always has and always will. I think I'll focus on Him today. You?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Just You

1 Kings 19.

Elijah has just had a pretty incredible experience. Facing off against hundreds of pagan priests, boldly daring them to have their god send fire to ignite the sacrifice. Watching them pray, dance, even cut themselves for hours, all to no avail. Even taunting them... "Shout louder! Maybe he can't hear you. Keep asking! Maybe he's in the bathroom and will be back in a minute!" Pretty confident. Then praying to the one true God to ignite his sacrifice. Watching with mixed shock and satisfaction as God answers in a HUGE way, completely consuming the sacrifice with fire from Heaven. Slaughtering 450 prophets of Baal. Praying for God to send rain. Feeling the raindrops as God answers, ending years of drought. It's been a big day.

But then Queen Jezebel sends word that she's after Elijah, swearing that she will get revenge, promising to find and kill him. What does Elijah do? After being so full of faith, fearlessly challenging the nay-sayers, risking everything for God's reputation, what does this mighty man of God do in response to the queen's threat? He freaks out. He flees. And God sees it all. God watches as panic takes over and drains Elijah's faith. But instead of abandoning Elijah and his fickle faith, God runs after him. God meets him and minsters to him, giving Elijah the food, water, and rest he so desperately needs. But God's not done. Elijah doesn't realize it yet, but there's something else he needs much more than physical sustenance. Don't miss what God does next.

God speaks to Elijah. Not through a gale-force wind or an earth-shattering earthquake or a consuming fire, but through a soft whisper. And in the whisper, God teaches Elijah about Himself. In the middle of a life and death situation, God stops time to reveal Himself to Elijah. Because that's what Elijah needs most. Surrounded by deadly threats, lacking the basic necessities, running for his life - Elijah needs a lot of things. Food, water, shelter, protection, encouragement. But what he needs most is God. Elijah needs God to reveal Himself. He needs a fresh encounter with the Lord of the universe who creates, sustains, and controls everything. Through this encounter, Elijah's spirit is humbled, his faith rekindled, and his purpose renewed. The challenging circumstances remain, but now Elijah remembers the complete sufficiency and matchless might of God. Is anything too difficult for the God who set the stars in the sky simply by stretching out his hand?

I now see that here and now, in the midst of my questions and worries, what I need most is not answers or provision. I need you. Just you. I need a fresh encounter with you. Reveal yourself, God. Speak to me. Show off! Split the sky, shake the ground, or just softly whisper. I'm waiting, watching, and listening for you. Because YOU are what I need. Just you.