Tuesday, August 28, 2012

You Didn't Build That

There has been a firestorm of talk over the last few weeks about a remark that President Barack Obama made during a campaign speech. In a nutshell, he inferred that if you have been successful in any way, you didn't get there on your own. If you have a successful business, "you didn't build that."

Barack Obama was right.

Now, now...before some of my friends give me the fist pump of affirmation, and before some of my friends gather collectively to stone me, let me explain. I know that the remark the President made was in a whole different context, but please allow me a wee bit of liberty and grace. I needed an opening for this post and this seemed good to me.

During my prayer time the other day, I was thanking God for all of the things I normally thank God for. You know...my husband, my children, my grandchildren, health, my husband's job, ministry opportunities, finances, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, the cross, salvation, and the Word. I didn't have a new revelation, but I just paid more attention, giving it more thought on that particular morning.

There is not one single solitary thing that I thanked God for, that did not come first from His hand.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." (James 1: 17 ESV)

Every good gift. Every perfect gift. Every single solitary thing that I thank God for. It comes from Him.

I thank Him for material blessings.

"But remember the Lord your God, for it is HE who gives you the ability to produce wealth." (Deut. 8:18)

I thank Him for salvation.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2: 8-9)

What about that faith that I have been saved through?

"The measure of faith that God has assigned." (Romans 12:3 ESV)

The grace by which I've been saved?

"But He gives more grace." (James 4: 6 ESV)

Dare I be proud that I love the Lord?

"We love because He first loved us." (1 John 4: 19 NIV)

I have nothing that didn't come from Him. I am not saved by any other but Him. Faith? Uh-uh! He gives me the measure of that. I can't even take credit for the love that I have for Him. He loved me first.

The air that I breathe. The next breath that I take. Each beat of my heart. It comes from the Giver of Life.

Each one of my children were conceived and born because God opens and closes wombs. (Genesis 30: 22; 1 Samuel 1: 19-20)

Success? God "humbles and He exalts." (1 Samuel 2: 7b)

President Obama doesn't know how correct he was in making that statement. His error was in where he was giving the credit for what we have, and for what we have accomplished.

Mr. President, you are right. We didn't build that.

God did!  


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

All I Need

We stand and we sing the song.

"Left my fear by the side of the road 
Hear You speak. 
Won't let go.
Fall to my knees as I lift my hands to pray".

The music haunts me. Not the words, but the instruments and the way that they blend together. They create a sound. Quiet, yet disturbed. I can't put it into words, but it does what only music can. It makes you feel.

"Got every reason to be here again
Father's love that draws me in
And all my eyes wanna see is a glimpse of You".

Maybe if I look really hard I might just see Him there. I might get a glimpse. Do you think He sits on that step? The one that leads to the platform? Do you think that He's right THERE? Listening. Then the chorus.

"All I need is You
All I need is You Lord
Is you Lord".

I think He must smile when He sees the beautiful lady of color who sings the words with eyes closed, heart reaching praise right from her toes. 
Smiling over the ones who mean it. Weeping over those of us who don't. 

"One more day and it's not the same
Your spirit calls my heart to sing
Drawn to the voice of my Savior once again
Where would my soul be without Your Son
Gave His life to save the earth
Rest in the thought that You're watching over me".
His Spirit, calling my heart. Drawn to His voice. This hits me. This hits me hard. When the instruments stop and the voices take over. 
"All I need is You
All I need is You Lord
Is You Lord".
Somehow I just know He's there. He's here. He is all I need. 
If I'm sick, He is Healer.
If I'm seeking answers, guidance or counsel, He is Shepherd, Guide, Counselor. 
He is the cord of three strands in my marriage, holding us together.
He is the giver of life. He opens wombs and plants seeds, fearfully and wonderfully made.
He fills quivers with children and grandchildren.  
He unties me when I'm bound. He releases my feet from the devil's snare. He pulls me out of pits.
He gives me gifts and talents to use for His Glory. 
He is my Provider and gives us the ability to produce wealth. 
He knows our every need before we ask, and He meets each need according to His riches.
Every good and perfect gift comes from Him.
"You hold the universe
You hold everyone on earth
You hold the universe
You hold
You hold".

He has the whole world in His hands.

He has my whole world in His hands.
For every need that I have, He is the answer. He lacks nothing to save, to deliver, to help.    

I can say with complete honesty, that He has been every. single. one. of those things to me. 

This makes me smile.
"All I need is You
All I need is You Lord
Is You Lord".
Today, in the sanctuary, I mean every last word. 
Tomorrow, when life is far from a sanctuary, when it looks more like a fox hole, when bills are due, when laundry piles, when people let me down, when I'm scared, when I'm paralyzed, when I'm confused....will I mean the words? 
Will I mean them then?

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

What Is Truth?

Early morning, in a palace, the Jews are outside because they fear uncleanness. Ironic, isn't it?

Pilate's words echo off the walls.

"What is truth?"

The governor has eyes, but doesn't see. He has ears, but doesn't hear.

He came to that which was His own but His own did not receive Him.

What is truth???!!! 

Truth stands before him wrapped in bone and skin and muscle and breath.

How many times do we ask ourselves that same question? Maybe never out loud. What is truth?

They say there is no absolute truth. They. Can anyone tell me who "they" are?

They have eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear. 

When grief threatens to kill the life left inside, when need is so overwhelming that it seems impossible to ever be met, when love dies, when hate wins, when minds go insane, and when it seems that hell is winning the war. 

When floods flood, when hurricanes blow, when cancer kills, when children live in pig pens, when we hate. When babies are murdered. When nature turns unnatural. When humans are sold. When faces have flies and bellies are large and hair turns orange. When water is brown.  

When "they" say it's wrong., When "they" say it's right. When "they" say we're wrong. When "they" call good evil and evil good. When we are accused, persecuted, shunned, mocked and despised.

They have eyes but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear.

And like Pilate, hands to our heads, we scream,

"What is TRUTH?"

Jesus said, "I am the truth."

Jesus said, "My word is truth."

Jesus said, "The Spirit will come and lead you into all truth."

Let him who has an ear hear what the Spirit is saying. 

Wrapped in Glory now, Truth waits to be seen by every eye. The earth will quake from knees dropping to the ground. Truth will be Lord. Truth will reign. This time, Truth will be recognized and received. 

Don't give up.

Don't give in.

There is such a thing as Absolute Truth.

His name is Jesus.

(Taken from John 1:11, 13, 14:6, 16:13, 17:17, 18:38, Rev. 3:22)