Friday, January 25, 2008


With a heavy heart I came seeking today, after a sleepless night -- and my restlessness was not due to late-night espresso drinking, but to a question of family dynamics that I turned over and over in my mind. How can our sibling relationships be so fragile? How does poor communication and a lack of planning turn into all-out war? It seems we walk through a minefield, not knowing what will set off a sudden blast!

As you well know is my everyday habit, I came seeking in God's word for wisdom and encouragement. I didn't have to get far in my daily reading to receive reassurance. The prophet speaks of Jesus when he proclaims:

. . . every boot of the tramping warrior in battle . . .
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
(from Isaiah 9:5)

What Isaiah is saying is that the soldier's boots, and the spoils of war, will be needless, useless, meaningless, and purposeless under the reign of Christ. There will simply be no war - we won't even be able to relate to the concept of strife! The passage continues:

. . . the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,
. . . Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government
and of peace there will be no end.
(from Isaiah 9:6-7)

I am not called to be content to sit and watch a family misunderstanding continue. I believe what it says above, that "the government is upon HIS shoulders." The Lord Jesus is able to govern in my life and in this family. I throw the managing of relationships on his broad and capable shoulders, for he is able to make peace abound when I trust him.

My New Testament section of reading today includes a timely reminder that division not to be considered "status quot," but should be recognized as what it is: the work of the enemy. I am not called to sit back and let misunderstandings and divisions continue in this family. Here are the words of Jesus quoted by Mark:

If a kingdom is divided against itself,
that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself,
that house will not be able to stand.
(Mark 3:24-25)

How shall misunderstanding be cleared up? How shall the situation be rectified? How will this family ever learn to get along? I am not really responsible to come up with answers for all those questions, but I am called to trust the Governor, for indeed the government (the decision-making process) belongs to the Lord Jesus. My job is to place this whole mess in his hands, and to know that he is mighty, and that he is able to make sense of it all. He can make it turn out all right.

So I trust the Lord to resolve not only this one little misunderstanding, but to mightily bless this family in ways I haven't even dreamed of or imagined. Lord help me to be willing to take it one step at a time. Help me to trust the Governor, and to be patient, allowing him to put everything and everyone in our proper places and relationships. Glory to God. Amen.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

CHANGE: Are We Willing to Be Willing?

When we are impatient to see change in our lives & circumstances, let's remember God's promises. I, for one, am desperate for change! Where am I going? Will I ever get there? I don't want to go 'round and 'round, repeating the same mistakes, unable to dig out of my rut.

It is a new year, but why should I hope for anything different? Well, I actually have a very good reason to hope, and so do you. Someone believes in us, enough to bet His life on us. Paul's letter to the Romans reminds us of the huge investment Jesus made, his very life blood:

. . . perhaps for a good person one would dare to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were [no good], Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Romans 5:7-10, ESV [paraphrased])

Do you ever doubt that God will truly change your life? Do you wonder if things will ever work out? If we truly believe that Jesus has the power to take away our sins through his death (as it says above, we are "justified by his blood"), then we must also trust that Jesus will take action to save us "by his life." He is alive and working in us daily to change us from within.

We are being saved from ourselves, from our ruts, and from our tendency to repeat the same mistakes over again. He sees us very clearly, Dear. He knows us well, and knew us entirely before our lives even began. He loves us and He has the power to change our lives.

Yes! In spite of all our shortfalls and imperfections, Jesus believes in us. He invested himself thoroughly in our lives and continues to intervene daily for our transformation. Remember these promises from Paul's letter to the Philippians:

. . . He who has begun a good work in you
will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
(from Phil. 1:6, NKJV)
for it is God who works in you
both to will and to do
for His good pleasure.
(Phil. 2:13, NKJV)

God is at work to change us, even though we may not be able to clearly see the evidence. Change is cumulative, and will become visible over the passage of time. When we are desperate for change, we only need to do ONE THING. All we need to do is check our hearts to make sure that we are willing to be willing to change.

Even in our willingness, Jesus helps us. He can make us willing, according to Phil. 2:13, and He is also capable of working the necessary changes in us, in our lives, and in our circumstances! God is able, and we can trust in every one of his promises. Repeat God's promises aloud to yourself, in personal terms. Say to yourself:

. . . He who has begun
a good work in me
will complete it, for it is God
who works in me
to will
and to do

The Lord Jesus does all the hard work and asks so little in return, just that we be willing to be willing. This year, let's consciously offer him the willingness to be made willing. Let's offer it with our whole hearts, and simply trust Him to do the rest.