Posted in fear, Grace, gratitude, life, prayer, Scripture, sovereignty of God, thankful, Trials, wisdom

Believing Again

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

What do you know? There is light at the end of the tunnel.  This morning it happened again.  I got up about 5:15 am (I put the “am” there for those of you who might not be aware that it does happen twice a day) and it was dark.  It was dark yesterday and it will be dark tomorrow but somewhere down the road, it will not be.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  Though my day started in the dark today, it didn’t stay that way either. After a while, actually quite a while, the black turned to gray, and slowly the gray turned to light.  Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The past 365 days or so may have caused us to doubt that the light at the end of the tunnel would ever come.  When each day seems the same as the one before, we tend to think all days will be like that. We come to expect the same and even if the same is a good same—well, it gets old.  Live in a place where every day is sunny and dry, and you soon start to long for rain.  Live in a place where rain is abundant and clouds the norm, and you soon long for sun.  It’s just the nature of the beast.

But, what if?  What if we could learn to live in anticipation?  What if we could learn to be content with today and anticipate the wonder, the unknown of tomorrow?  That was the monster of this last year, wasn’t it?  We just didn’t know what tomorrow would look like—what the future would look like.   And, honestly, it scared most of us to death.  For many, it was a deal breaker with our faith.  Simply put, at minimum our faith took a hit and at worst there was a faith funeral.  That was then, but this is now.  Now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and there is hope.

I’m still pretty sure that the post COVID world and the new cultural landscape—well,  things will be different.  Some of them, most of them, we may not like.  It may seem like a too long walk on a soft-sanded beach where each step is like quicksand or shifting sands.  So what are we to do?  Well, maybe, just maybe we should have a repairing—a faith repairing or perhaps a resurrection—a faith resurrection. You see, there is nothing like uncertain times or new times to cause us to return to faith.  It’s a paradox really—often the thing that weakens or slays our faith is the very same thing that will cause it to be strong or come to life again.

After the children of Israel had left Egypt, they woke up one morning to find the whole Egyptian army hot in pursuit.  It looked like game over—it looked like slavery all over again.  But.Then.God.  Let those three words soak in.  But then God acted again on their behalf and split a sea wide-open and invited the people to trust Him and walk over on dry ground.  They took Him up on the offer and they were saved—and the Egyptians, well, they should have paid closer attention at swim lessons.

It’s still true.  God is good, God is faithful, and God can be trusted.  It’s true in the brilliant sunlight and it is true in the dark of night.  The One who we trusted in the beginning is the One who is worth our trust as dawn begins.  Paul, the Jesus hater turned Jesus follower, said there was never the slightest doubt in his mind that the God who started this great work in you—in us—would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish. How great is that?

So, I know Easter is in the rearview mirror but maybe today would just be a great day to have a resurrection—a faith resurrection.  Maybe today is the day you just start believing again or maybe, just start believing more.  God hasn’t changed—He never does.  The One who was faithful before is faithful now.  No matter what—and you know it—He’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in fear, Grace, gratitude, life, Scripture, thankful, wisdom

Do You Have A Pencil?

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

“Do you have a pencil?” he asked.  Realizing there were plenty of kinds of pencils he added, “You know, the old-fashioned kind?”  I’m not sure what he needed it for but I rummaged through my desk drawer and found one.  I think he needed one with lead on one end and an eraser on the other.  The kind where you use one end to write a story or make a mark and the other you use to remove our “oops.” Today we are more likely to use the delete key on a keyboard. Erasers were my friends. Delete keys are my new friend. It makes my oops disappear.  I have a lot of oops.

My delete key changes things.  I mentioned recently that I did something that I had done only once before.  I opened the church calendar on my computer and started deleting things.  Evening service.  Delete. Youth Impact. Delete. KLICK and Women’s Bible Study.  Delete. Wednesday services. Delete. Choir Practice. Delete. Delete, delete, delete.  When I was done the calendar looked, well, mostly empty.  Mostly empty.

Then it hit me. Like an artist I was staring at a blank canvas and I realized what had been planned was gone.  The space that was cleared left plenty of room–room for God to write a new story. A different story. A better story. Several weeks ago, I began writing. With more white on the page there was more time to write.  Without God orchestrating the delete button, the stories would still be in my head and heart but not on the page. The thing I resisted led to the freedom to do it.

I wonder what would happen if we started concentrating on the ways God can use this hot mess we are in to rewrite stories?  What if we started to freely, to openly, invite Him to use the delete button and rewrite the stories of our lives?  I wonder what opportunities, what adventures would suddenly fill our pages.  A walk to the park becomes a safari. Homemade pizza night becomes an edible art gallery. The dining room table is cleared and we drag out the family games that have stayed in the closet too long.

Then there are cards to write, and calls to make, and stories to share.  Imagine the kids’ faces as they hear again how you met each other or how you met Jesus. Imagine sharing how things are really, really hard right now but how you are trusting God to help.  Imagine faith leaping off the page of the Bible and right onto the pages of your life. Then, imagine them saying, “Mom, Dad this bad time has been the best time because we got to be together.” Just imagine.

Yes, these are really challenging times.  Financially. Emotionally. Spiritually.  Yes–but what if God is writing a new story that in the end is the stuff of legends?  What if in a few years these days are some of the best memories?  And it was all possible because we said, “Ok God–go ahead and use the delete key.  I’m trusting that Your story is better than my story. I’m trusting You.” You see, God’s best use of the delete key is when He applies His grace to our sins, our mistakes, our misguided decisions, our oops.  New pasts and new futures are His specialty and they are often written in crazy days like these.  So, go ahead, press that delete key. Rest in Him.  He’s got this.