Friday, June 17, 2016

Spare Tire Check

“Is God your spare tire or your steering wheel?” I heard this quote recently and it has stuck with me ever since. Do we use God as a back up plan to run to when things go wrong, or are we allowing Him to lead and guide us daily? Who is in control? Who is holding the steering wheel of our lives? We can survive with out a spare tire, but if the steering wheel of our vehicle goes bad, the whole thing is worthless. We need God to be in the driver’s seat of our lives in good times and in bad.

When I was in
Bible College years ago I took a class called “The Minister’s Wife.” It was taught by the president’s wife of the college. It was awesome and oh so practical. I learned a lot! She gave us the realities of true ministry and what to expect. She promised good times and bad and equipped us to be prepared for both. 

One thing she did in particular still sticks with me today. Before she started each class she had us sing a song. She said she wanted this song to be cemented into our spirits so that some day when we needed it, it would be tucked inside of us. It goes something like this (from what I remember)…

The Lord knows the way through the wilderness and all I have to do is follow
The Lord knows the way through the wilderness and all I have to do is follow
Strength for today is mine all the way and all that I need for tomorrow
The Lord knows the way through the wilderness and all I have to do it follow

I remember singing this several times over the course of my life. Sometimes it was at the kitchen sink doing dishes feeling distraught and overwhelmed by life, other times it was driving in my car crying over invisible wounds inflicted by others, in the shower, on a long walk… wherever I sang it, God showed up and brought His peace to calm the storms of my life and heart.

God doesn’t promise that when we give our lives to Him that our life will immediately become easier. He does however promise to walk with us through all of life’s journey. No matter what you are facing today, God is faithful!

Living to leave a legacy,

Monday, June 13, 2016

What kind of lemonade are you making?

Lemonade is a popular drink in my home.  In fact, it’s almost always available on command.  It’s up there with milk and water for my family.  We don’t like just any kind of lemonade though.  It has to be the sweet kind.  I don’t know about you, but sour lemonade just doesn’t do it for me.  The sour taste just won’t leave me after the first gulp.  It’s like a horrible nightmare that lingers.  Unforgettable… in a bad way!

On the other hand sweet lemonade leaves you wanting more.  My personal favorite kind is strawberry lemonade.  It tastes SO good!   

When I hear the word “lemonade” it makes me think of that old adage…

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”

This speaks of the fact that at times, life isn’t kind to us.  Life occasionally can be full of seasons of lemons.  I’m not talking about the sweet kind either.  Nope.  It’s those sour moments nobody loves.  Unexpected circumstances that throw us for a loop and shake our faith… SOUR.  Times of hardship struggling to make ends meet striving to thrive, but barely surviving… SOUR.  Facing hurtful, hateful people on a daily basis because it’s your job… SOUR.  A struggling marriage, the loss of a loved one, a painful past, a broken heart… the list could go on and on… SOUR.

Life isn’t fair.  Bad things happen to good people all the time.  We live in a fallen world where people make bad choices every day that affect others in negative ways.  Just because life hurts at the moment doesn’t mean that God doesn’t care or isn’t paying attention.  He loves you dearly friend.

I have faced my fair share of lemons in life… that’s for sure.  Financial hardship, miscarriage, broken relationships, unfortunate circumstances and unexpected delays, not to mention being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease I have struggled with for the past ten years.  Life has been challenging, but God has been faithful. 

I could have given up, blamed God, ran away, lived in denial, or even surrendered to temptation, but I chose differently.  I chose to trust Him, run to Him, and wait for His rescue.  Some how, some way I knew deep down that God would see me through. 

I don’t know if I trusted Him because I heard it so much at church, read about it in my Bible, witnessed God seeing other people through during difficult times, or felt so secure in my own relationship with God that I just knew.   Others I knew who seemed very grounded in God to me faced seemingly insurmountable circumstances as well, but chose differently sending them down a spiraling path away from God.

When trouble comes, when my world spirals out of control, or lemons start flying… the first thing I do is run TO God.  My hearts cry is similar to that of Psalm 28:7

“The Lord is my strength and shield.  I trust Him with all my heart.” (NLT)

We need to learn to trust God in good times and in BAD.  He is faithful friend.  He has never failed me yet each time I have run to Him for safety from all of life’s storms.

We have a choice when the bushel full of lemons begins to fall.  We can allow the circumstances of life to SOUR us or make us SWEET.  Remember the lemonade illustration I shared before?  Sweet tastes better! 

When we run TO God in our moments of despair, heartache, and frustration instead of AWAY from Him, He promises to meet us there.

“In those moments of surrender our spirit is sweetened and our hearts are restored.”

We may not understand all of the “Why’s” in life, but when we rest in Him and His ability to take care of us, peace follows.

On the contrary, when we choose to run AWAY from God instead of running TO Him, our spirits become SOURED by life’s circumstances.  Our countenance can begin to change, our perspective can become gloomy, and our words can become cluttered with negativity.  It’s almost as if those SOUR lemons take root in our hearts and spread like poison ivy over our soul.

Life doesn’t necessarily get easier as we choose to run TO God, but regardless of what happens God promises to carry us through it.  We don’t have to walk it alone and not only that… God gives PEACE, JOY, LOVE, PATIENCE, and scores of other fruits that will pour out of us as we begin to rest in Him.

 Have you ever met one of those people who have faced a lot of hardship yet walk with a glowing smile on their face?  It’s not fake.  It’s almost as if their insides are shining through for all to see… true JOY that doesn’t make sense with all they have endured.  That’s got God written all over it!  That’s someone making sweet lemonade out of the lemons life has dealt them.  That’s someone I want to resemble when trials come my way.

I have a question for you today.  When life deals you a bunch of lemons...

 What kind of lemonade will you choose to make?
  Sweet or sour?

I’m telling you SWEET is so much better when it comes to the beverage and your reaction to the lemons life may deal you!  

Next time the lemons begin to fall do something crazy… run TO God!  You will never regret the peace that will follow.

Will you surrender your lemons to God today friend?  He specializes in making sweet lemonade.

Living to leave a legacy,