Up and Down and Inside Out!

Sometimes my emotions get the best of me.  I feel like I am on an emotional roller-coaster, going up and down and inside out.  I also know, from talking with others, that I am not alone.  Mostly I can keep it all in check...but life has a way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it.

I have also found that trying to handle things in my own strength doesn't work. 

In fact, it leaves you worse off than you were before.

The only solution I have found is to turn to the Lord.

"When you look for me, you will find me. When you wholeheartedly seek me..." Jeremiah 29:13

I had an unexpected panic attack last week.  While having a medical check-up it seemed to come out of nowhere.  It left as quickly as it came but it also left me feeling a bit hollow.  It wasn't my first panic attack but this one was different.  It drove me to Jesus Christ.

I knew there were issues I have needed to deal with for years.  Healing that needed to take place.  I knew it was time, far past time really, to bring these things to the cross.  I always kept a bag of burdens to myself.  I asked Jesus to be my savior but I wasn't ready to ask Him to be Lord of everything.  I wanted Him to be Lord of MOST things.  I didn't want Him poking in my bag of burdens.  I didn't want to unpack my past.  However, my past has been affecting my future. 

So I said a prayer and contacted a Christian counseling friend.  I am looking at the Word and letting the Lord sift through my bag of junk.  It's not easy.  There were many hurts I have experienced that I kept pushed down.  It is hard to see it spilling all over the place.

Yet it is also refreshing.  I feel more free as I allow this stuff into the light. 

I also know it's a journey.  I know that I need to cling to the Lord daily and to work with Him and not against Him. 

My wife Sarah wrote a song last year that epitomizes my thoughts and feelings right now.

Hide Me

Hide me in Your holiness; shield me in your presence
Fill me with songs of deliverance
Guide  me in Your righteousness; hold me in my brokenness
Keep me from harm all the days that I live

Father, You're my hiding place
My fortress and defense
My tower and the shade at my right hand
Jesus, You're my only hope
Lover of my soul
Empty I cry, "Lord, You're the strength of my life."

Lord, You're the strength of my life;
You're the giver of everything good.
I come to You now as a child to receive,
the Love that you poured out for me.
The love that You pour out, the love that You pour out,
the love that You poured out on me. 

Dare I say it, but I am glad I had a panic attack last week.  That panic attack has driven me back to the foot of the cross.  Not a bad place to be.


God Doesn't Make Sense

Isaiah 55:8-11 says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."

God called Joshua to MARCH around Jericho instead of just attacking the city. How did that make sense? Abraham was told that he and Sarah would have a child in their old age. Make sense? Moses received a message from God via a burning bush. Imagine trying to make sense of that! Jesus walked on water, fed the 5,000 with a few loaves of bread and some fish, raised the dead, healed the sick, died and rose again...you get the picture. Of course none of this made sense. Human reasoning was defied by miracles and unparalleled love.

His ways are higher than ours, His thoughts are not our thoughts.

I'm a sci-fi junkie. I love Star Trek. In the original TV show, 79 episodes, Captain Kirk never once said "Beam me up Scotty." Despite that, people will insist he said it.

That got me to pondering this week about some of the things we THINK are in the Bible.

I have been told that "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" is in the Bible. Another one is that "God helps those who help themselves!" Sounds great but it's not there. One that I have heard often is that "God will not give you more than you can bear!" I hate to say it but you won't find that in the Scriptures either. It's just not there. The closest you can find is in 1 Corinthians 10 where it says, "But God is faithful. He won't allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it."

That verse talks about temptation, not about overwhelming circumstances, family problems, sickness, etc.

Matthew 11:28-30 says, "Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carry heavy loads, and i will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I'm gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light."

God has promised us rest, he has promised to sustain us, but he never said we would not have hardship!

Look at what Paul says is 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, "Brothers and sisters, we don't want you to be ignorant about the suffering we experienced in the provinces of Asia. It was so extreme that it was beyond our ability to endure. We even wondered if we could go on living. In fact, we still feel as if we're under a death sentence. But we suffered so that we would stop trusting ourselves and learn to trust God, who brings the dead back to life."

The key to this is right there in verse 9: "so that we can stop trusting ourselves and learn to trust God."

God may not make sense to us, but though we don't understand His ways, we can come to know and understand more of His heart. He wants us to surrender fully to Him!


Adventure Awaits

I became a Christian at 14.  My mom began buying my Christmas and birthday gifts from the local Christian bookstore.  One of the things she bought was a little desk name plate that quoted Proverbs 3:6, "In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path."

I made that my "life verse"  for some time after that.  I memorized it, quoted it and wrote it on every card, letter and yearbook I signed.  I was sure I understood it's meaning.

I was kind of like, "Hey God, just wanted to acknowledge (recognize) you.  So look, here is where I am going...can you take the lead now?"  My teenage understanding of guidance was that I made up my mind and expected God to then take the lead.

It took me a few years to realize the Bible wasn't about me!

I never read things on context back then and then one day, I read verse 5 and 6 together.  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths.

I realized that I was not trusting Him with ALL of my heart.  I was not trusting Him with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength.  I was acknowledging God but not in the truest sense of the word.  I was not really getting to KNOW Him.  By getting to KNOW Him, I began to understand HIS will a lot better. 

I need to trust that God's plans are far better than my own.  No one knows how much time we have in our jobs or how much time we have left on this earth.  Nobody that is, except God.

We should be about His business. 

I believe if we get to know Him, I mean truly know Him, that we will experience adventure like never before.

So what are you waiting for?