Is there anything more beautiful?

I love to imagine what Jesus looks like. I love to think of Him in different aspects; envision Him doing and being what the Bible says about Him.

For example, I love C.S. Lewis’ imagery of Jesus as Aslan – the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. (Revelation 5:5) Fierce. Dominating. Forcefully putting His paw down and roaring so loudly that He shakes everything around Him. As I see Him as the Lion of Judah, I feel protected. Safe. I sense my enemies trembling at His presence. I see them running as He roars.

I love to think of Him riding on His white horse at the Second Coming. (Revelation 19:11-16) Bold. Strong. Courageous. The Conquering King. Thundering from heaven with fire blazing from His eyes as His hair flows in the wind. Leading the charge to silence the enemy once and for all. Defeating him by His word. (wow. I faint right there.)

I love to think of Him seated at the right hand of Abba Father. (Colossians 1 and 3) The position of honor. The position of authority. Magnificent, He is the radiance of the glory of God. Holding creation together. And as He overlooks all of creation, we see His heart as He intercedes for us. Pleading our case, asking Abba Father to move and work on our behalf.

I love to think of Jesus preparing a place for me. (John 14:1-3) Creating a room for me. Preparing a place for me at the table. Anticipating my arrival. Excitedly expecting me to join Him. To see the sheer, unreserved joy I feel as I finally see Him face-to-face. As I leap into His arms. As I encounter brilliant beauty that I could never have imagined. As He takes me to see Abba Father. To watch me finally experience all that I was created for.

To think of Jesus in these ways draws me into His magnificence and splendor. Opens my eyes to how incredibly exquisite He is. I catch glimpses of how beautiful He really is.

But of all the things I imagine – all the ways I picture Him – there is nothing more beautiful to me than the crucified Jesus. (John 19) The gruesome Jesus. The one with flesh hanging off His bones. Blood running down His face. Streaming down His body. Hair matted with dirt and blood. Bruised. Whipped and beaten Jesus. Grimacing in pain. Crying out to God in agony. With spit on His face. A hole in His side. Nail pierced feet and hands.

I love this image of Jesus more than any other because it is in this, that Jesus set me free. Paying a price to redeem me from an utterly hopeless situation. Buying me from slavery. Releasing me from a prison I was powerless to escape. I am no longer a slave. I am no longer bound. Limited. Restricted.

Because He willingly suffered and died for me, allowing Himself to be savagely beaten, abused, ridiculed, humiliated and tortured, I am healed – spirit, soul and body. My blinded eyes opened. My oppressed heart set free. My wounds healed, whole. Missing parts restored. I am made new. No scars. Just as if I had never been damaged. Broken. Enslaved. Imprisoned.

In agony, He carried the weight of my crushing sin. Wiping away my past. Eliminating my depravity. Wickedness. Choosing to forget. Choosing to release. Choosing to look at me with love.

His brutal death defeated a foe that I was no match for. Completely disarming my enemy. Destroying his works. Stepping on his neck. Breaking his hold. Conquering for me. Giving me victory.

The cross He carried bridged the chasm between Abba and me. I am no long separated from Him. No longer an orphan. Adopted by Him. An heir with full benefits and privileges.

And it is through the magnificent gore of the cross that I can see the beauty of Him now. Because I have seen Him crucified, I can see Him as the Lion of Judah. I see Him riding His white horse. Seated next to Abba Father. Feel Him making intercession for me. Know that He is preparing my place. Eagerly anticipating my arrival.

Nothing is more beautiful to me than Jesus crucified because it opens my eyes to see everything He is.

 

 

 

You can’t eat an elephant in one bite.

Or at least you shouldn’t. And you shouldn’t read your Bible through in a year either. Cause that’s a lot like eating an elephant in one bite.

Why?

Too much to chew. Too much to digest.

Think about it. The volume of content you must consume daily to stay on schedule is sizeable. Some days could require 3 or 4 chapters. And some chapters could have as many as 50+ verses. That’s a LOT of material to read and digest in one day.

Now, I can hear what you’re saying. People read lots of things every day. And many read several chapters from a novel or informational book daily. Or they read chapters from multiple books as they study for classes and exams or do research for their jobs. If they can read multiple chapters from a “fun” book or, material they “want” to read or are required to read – then surely they can do the same for Jesus. Surely reading 3 or 4 chapters of the Bible is not too much to ask.

But I think maybe it is.

You see, those books, newspapers, blogs, educational texts and paperbacks were written by men and women with limited knowledge and understanding about the subject they are expertly writing about. All were penned by people with intelligence similar to yours. From the most difficult and complicated work to the easy-read, all were written by mere mortals.

On the other hand, the Bible was written by God. 2Timothy 3:16 (Amp) tells us that All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration]…..” It is Divine. Every, single word was breathed from the mouth of God into the hearts of more than 40 different men. God used these men as pens to compose a letter to humanity. Words from the mind of God spilled onto the pages, as He poured Truth into their hearts. The One who knows all things; the One who created all things; the One who lives outside of time and space put His plans, purposes and intents on paper for every person to read. The Alpha and Omega put Himself on every page for all to see.

Think about that for a moment.

The One whose ways and thoughts are higher than ours wrote the Bible. (Isaiah 55:9) The One whose thoughts are deep – profound – in a way that transcends our depth, authored every chapter and verse. (Psalm 92:5). The One whose understanding is beyond comprehension, penned every single word. (Psalm 147:5) The One who created the intricacies of the human body (Genesis 1:27), the wonders of the heavens (Isaiah 40:6) the complexities of advance calculus and liner algebra, and the perplexities of quantum physics (Colossians 1:16) wrote all 66 books contained in the Bible without any research, help, resources, or support. There are no credits in footnotes and no recognition in a bibliography. Romans 11:33-34 (GNT) says: How great are God’s riches! How deep are His wisdom and knowledge! Who can explain His decisions? Who can understand His ways? As the scripture says, “Who knows the mind of the Lord? Who is able to give Him advice? Who has ever given Him anything, so that He had to pay it back?”

And we think we can speed read through it? That it can be skimmed? We think we can actually digest 3 to 4 chapters of Divine writing as we are winding down from the day, with brains that are tired and eyes that are fuzzy? We really think we can absorb the depth and complexities of the writings of God as we cram in bulk?

I don’t think so. I think David nailed it in Psalm 139:6 when he said, “Your knowledge is amazing to me; it is more than I can understand.

Because it is a collection of Divine writings, you must have time to digest the Bible. You need time for contemplation. You need time to discuss with Holy Spirit. You need time to dig into the magnitude of the text, understand the setting, context, and inspect surroundings. You need time to discover the people and culture of the particular passage you are reading. You need time to grasp what God is saying to you. To savor every morsel.

That will never happen if you are (speed) reading 3 to 4 chapters a day.

So how do I think we should read the Bible?

Slowly. Thoughtfully. Repeatedly. Daily.

I think we should ask Holy Spirit where to start and let Him direct us. He knows what we need to read.

[But, if you need a pointer: I encourage new Bible readers to start with the Gospel of John. If you have not read the entire New Testament, stay there until you have. If you are ready to branch into the Old Testament, read Psalm and Proverbs. Then, read Ruth and Esther. Then move to Genesis and work your way through the Old Testament.]

Once you’ve determined where to start, read each day until He tells you to stop. And then re-read. Pray through what you’ve read. Meditate on what you read. Journal about what you hear. While you will gain information as you read, the purpose is to receive revelation. Unlike anything else we read, we are not looking to be entertained or educated; we are looking to be transformed. And this takes time.

You see, revelation comes as we allow His word to have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness,……. (Colossians 3:16), hiding it in our heart, so that (we) might not sin against (Him). (Psalm 119:11), so that His instructions are written on [our] heart and becomes part of [our] very being. (Psalm 40:8) We want our heart to pump God’s Word like blood through (our) veins;……so we must take our time and chew on wisdom like a dog on a bone, [and] roll virtue around on (our) tongue. (Psalm 37:30-31). And as we do, we are transformed – changed from the inside out.

Then, pick up where you left off the next day. Don’t jump around, reading in a different place each day. If you do this, you’ll miss the connections between sections and chapters.

And if it takes you three years – five years – to make it through the entire Bible, then so be it.

But, if we rush through, we’ll find the Bible disappointing, frustrating and boring. We’ll think God’s word is a burdensome chore. His writings will seem disjointed. (be honest – you’ve thought that) And we’ll dread reading. (you know it’s true) And we’ll miss the wealth of treasures stored within.

Rushing through, we miss the depth and profound message in that passage, section or account. Skipping sections to “catch-up” will cause us to miss the connections. In the hurry to stay on schedule, we fail to discover what God is saying to us personally in those verses.

I think this is why we often think the Bible is slow moving, boring, irrelevant, and insignificant. I think it’s often why we think the Bible is confusing. And, I think this is why we haven’t fallen in love with reading the greatest literary work of all times. Why we are not captivated by the Author. We’re going too fast to see the depth, wonders and magnificence.

So, read your Bible this year. Read it every day. Be intentional. Be systematic. Be aggressive. But move at His pace, taking it one bite at a time. And let His words wash over your heart and fill you with revelation so that you experience transformation. Then at the end of the year – regardless of how much territory you cover – you’ll find that you are full and satisfied. And yet……..you want more.

I have more to say on this subject. You can see more of my thoughts on this in my Soapbox post.

ps ~ If you need a plan to follow, here is a 3 year planYou’ll read one chapter per day as you toggle between books of the Old and New Testaments. Or, this plan takes you through the New Testament in a year and gives you the weekends off to review and reflect. Both can be printed from the links. 

It’s going to be a great year 🙂

I’m throwing in the towel. (again)

A couple of years ago I wrote this post. And it’s still how I feel. So why don’t you join me? Go ahead and throw in the towel and see what Abba’s plans are for you this year. I’ve found it’s much better -and less stressful – this way!


I always have such high hopes this time of year. Regardless of what kind of year it has been, the next is always full of promise. It’s the fresh start I’ve been looking for. I can re-group, re-focus and start anew. I’m high on anticipation and expectation.

So I start to plan. I make lists of things I want to change in my life. I make lists of what I’d like to see happen in the coming year. I make lists of what I want to see Abba do. And I head off into the New Year with great enthusiasm.

But by February, the high is gone and my enthusiasm has waned. I’m now overwhelmed by disappointment and frustration. The changes I wanted seem impossible (what was I thinking?). The things I’d like to see happen aren’t anywhere in sight (people aren’t cooperating). And what I want to see God do……well, I can’t see anything for the discouragement and exhaustion.

What happened to my year full of promise? And why do I repeat this same scenario year after year only to be disappointed year after year? I usually end up throwing in the towel along with those lists. And try not to indulge in too much self-loathing as I ask myself: “Why can’t I do this? Why is this so hard?

But – one day I’m reading in Galatians and the light bulb comes on. Galatians 5:25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

I think I may have finally discovered my problem. There’s way too much of me involved. I’m being Kim led – not Spirit led. I’m the one calling all the shots; listing the changes I want, what I want to see happen and what I want to see Abba do. It’s my agenda and I’m leading the way. I’m taking charge.

I’m also the one trying to make it all happen. On my time-table of course. Always sooner rather than later.

No wonder I’m frustrated. And exhausted.

Why didn’t I see this before? How many times have I read Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”? How many times have I sung the sweet little Psalty song, “God Has A Plan For My Life” to my kids?

I don’t need to make any lists. I don’t need to set an agenda. I don’t need to make a plan.

All I need to do is let Holy Spirit lead me into Abba’s plan for my life.

So I’m not waiting until February. I’m throwing in the towel now. I quit writing list of what I want to see. Instead of setting my own agenda, for a change I’ve decided to ask Holy Spirit to lead me into Abba’s plan for this next year.

And because it’s His plan, I’m not in charge. I don’t have to figure anything out. I don’t have to organize or orchestrate. It’s His responsibility to implement and set the timetable. It’s His responsibility to power, fund and fuel His plan. It’s His responsibility to produce the changes He wants in me.

My part is to follow Holy Spirit, listen closely and then obey. That sounds a lot easier and a lot less stressful.

So this year, I sit down with pen and paper to listen. I will write down only what He whispers into my heart. And that will be my focus for this new year.

Unity

Unity. Of all the things He could have prayed for, Jesus cried out to the Father for unity. As He prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus bowed His heart before the Father and interceded for us. In John 17:20-23 (NLT) we hear Him say: I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in Me through their message.  I pray that they will all be one, just as You and I are one—as You are in me, Father, and I am in You. And may they be in Us so that the world will believe You sent Me. I have given them the glory You gave Me, so they may be one as We are one.  I am in them and You are in Me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent Me and that you love them as much as you love Me.

His heart desired unity. He prayed that you and I, His followers, would be one. He longed for us to be unified, like He and the Father are. His plan is that His Body would function as a single unit, united by His heart and His desires, moving and flowing in solidarity in Him and through Him.

Jesus prayed for our unity because He knew it would be the key to our success. He knew that the only way we could advance would be to operate as one.  He knew that without unity, it would impossible to accomplish anything. He knew that without unity, His Body would be disjointed and splintered. And, Jesus also knew that in a disjointed and splintered state, we’d be an easy target for the enemy and susceptible to his deceptive strategies.

So what does unity look like? Does unity mean that you agree with me? Or that I agree with you? Or that together we agree with the leader? Does it mean we lay down our opinion to pick up the majority’s? I don’t think so. I believe unity means, we agree with Him. Unity is being on the same page with Abba. And solidarity is evident as together we say what He says, go where He goes and do what He does. We are unified as we live out His plan.

How does this happen? We step into unity as we practice 2Chronicals 7:14 (NLT) Then if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. Certainly, unity is developed through prayer. But specifically, unity is achieved through humility. Humble prayer. This means we don’t come to Abba with our agenda. We don’t spend our conversations with Him telling Him what we want or what we think. We are not sharing our plan. We are not taking our preconceived notions and opinions into the prayer closet.

Humble prayer means we enter with a heart that says: I do not have any answers. I do not know what is best. I need Your wisdom and guidance. I choose to want what You want. Please tell me what that is.  Then we sit and listen. And, in our silence He reveals His plans. As we leave the prayer closet, we follow His plan with His power.

As we humbly pray, He will reveal His plan. And the plan He reveals to me is the same plan He will reveal to you. If we disagree, one of us is not listening. Therefore, we return to the prayer closet, determined to listen until our heart is unified with His.

Humble prayer positions us for a move of God. Our unity with Him brings us to a place of restoration.

And, living this way will resolve so many issues within the Body of Christ. It would mean that we would stop fighting over everything from the color of our carpet to the type of music we worship to. We’ll no longer bicker over doctrinal differences or how to exegete a particular passage. And we’ll stop squabbling over which political candidate to vote for. (insert eye-roll here)

Which brings me to the point of this post: Abba has a plan. He has already chosen the one He desires to be in office. Shockingly, it may not be the person we think it should be. It may not be the person we identify with politically. It may not be the one we would personally choose. It may be the one we don’t like. But it doesn’t matter what we think or what our political stance is, because the one He has chosen is the perfect one for the job. He knows what we need and He knows what we cannot see. And, if we will humble ourselves in prayer and listen to His heart, He will tell us who to vote for.

It’s not about what I want. It’s not about your opinion. It’s not about what we think. It’s about His divine and perfect plan.

As we lay down our ideologies, opinions, perspective and feelings, we – the Body of Christ – will be a force to be reckoned with. When we have been in humble prayer, as a unified body we’ll exit the prayer closet and enter the voting booth and change the course of our nation.

Now – stop for a moment and think big picture. If we, the Body of Christ are unified, imagine the possibilities! To start, we’ll no longer look foolish to the world. When we say we heard from God, we’ll all be saying and doing the same thing, instead of giving the impression that God is confused or senile. In unity, we’ll powerfully execute the Great Commission with precision, making powerful disciples. We’ll step into the enemy’s territory and put an end to his destructive plans.

As we live in humble prayer, unified under His plan and purpose, we’ll be agents of change. We’ll change our life. We’ll change our families. We’ll change our local church. We’ll change our community. We’ll change our nation. We’ll change the world. This is how we become world-changes – through humble prayer that brings us into unity, enabling us to cohesively move as one.

So, with that, I am telling you who to vote for.

Vote for the one Abba has chosen. Get into your prayer closet and ask Him who that is with all bias aside. Listen. And then vote for that person. Even if they aren’t the one you’d have chosen yourself. This is unity.

And then, let’s live that way. In unity, saying what He says. Going where He goes. Doing what He does.

 

 

If you’d like to hear more on prayer and politics, I recommend this message by my son, Stefan. It will certainly open your eyes and adjust your perspective.

The grass is always greener….

I live in Michigan where the summers are fabulous. We pastor in the town of Fort Gratiot, located in the “knuckle of the thumb” on the shores of beautiful Lake Huron. Our average summer high is 78F and there is always a nice cool breeze coming off the lake (all my southern friends are jealous). We usually have about 9 to 10 inches of rain during these months. As a result, the lawns are the most beautiful shade of green you’ve ever seen. Lush and vibrant, it’s like a soft, emerald blanket covering your yard. Your bare feet don’t mind wiggling its toes through the smooth blades. This Louisiana girl really enjoys these cool, colorful summers.

But, this summer we’ve had a bit of a drought. To date we’ve only had a little more than 4 inches of rain for the summer, and the average daytime high has been 80 degrees. Sadly, without our normal rainfall and an ever so slight increase in temperature, our velvety blanket of green is now yellowish-brown and crunchy. Mowing is at an all-time low. And nobody is going out barefooted.

On the way to get the mail last week, I noticed the sad, dry lawn. Un-mowed for at least a week, it was not in need of a trim anytime soon. As I scanned the pathway to the mailbox, I suddenly spotted weeds. Lots of weeds. And they were green. How is that possible? How could weeds grow – take over the sidewalk –  when the grass is withering from lack of rain?

So, I dug into the issue with extensive research and scientific tools. And Google told me that many weeds don’t need a lot of water to survive. In fact, in the absence of water, they can be tough to kill. You see, for an herbicide to be effective, it needs water. Water “activates” weed-killer.

And, that’s when then it hit me. This is the perfect illustration of our spiritual life.

As believers, our lives grow, thrive, and display beauty by the constant flow of water. The Bible teaches that water is symbolic of both Holy Spirit and the Bible (1Corinthians 12:13 and Ephesians 5:26). It is the constant flow of His Presence in our life that hydrates our soul. It’s being in tune with Him and listening to Him that keeps the soil of our heart prepared and ready to receive the seeds of Truth Abba plants in us. It is the intentional watering of our mind, will and emotions with God’s Word that keeps drought at bay and our garden flourishing with good things – like love, joy and peace.  We are watered as we soak in His Presence, listen to His voice and drink from His Word. It’s Him watering us that keeps our lives growing, colorful and vibrant.

Apart from His Presence and His Word, we will suffer drought. And we’ll feel the impact of the heat of testing and trials. Without His Presence and a consistent deposit of His Word, we become dry, withered and crunchy.

But, no matter how hydrated we stay, we can expect to find weeds sprouting in our lives because the enemy is constantly working to sabotage our garden. In Matthew 13 and Mark 4, Jesus tells the Parable of the Weeds and the Parable of the Soil. In both, weeds represent the work of the enemy. I believe the work of the enemy – or the weeds in our life – are anything that limits our freedom and disconnects us from Him. Weeds could spring from wounds or perceived wounds. They could grow from the lies we believe. They can be found in the fear that creeps into our life and creates the thorns and thistles of anxiety, worry, discouragement and depression. They are seen in the worldly attitudes we develop, causing us to pursue society’s agenda and neglect Abba’s plan for us. Weeds distract us from Abba.

But, if we are fully hydrated, the water of His Presence and His Word will active the “herbicide” that kills off the weeds. Through His Presence and His Word, His grace is activated, enabling us to let go of or remove anything that is detrimental to our walk with Him. By His Presence and the power of His Word, we are set free from bondages, healed from wounds and lies are exposed, giving room for fruit to grow. Living in His Presence and His Word protects our connection to Him, keeping our hearts soft and tender.

But if we are in a drought, these things can’t happen. And even though our garden may suffer the negative effects of drought, the weeds will remain. And grow. And fill up the pathways of our soul. In fact, it seems as though weeds thrive in drought. Before you know it, the fruit is dry and withered – the grass is crunchy – and our garden is full of weeds.

So, I started this blog more than a week ago (don’t judge). And since then, we’ve had some rain. It’s amazing what that rain has done for the grass. It’s started to green up. They even mowed the church grounds on Friday. And we had more rain today. I expect the grass to get even greener.

Unlike the earth’s weather patterns, we have control over our spiritual climate. We are not at the mercy of the elements. When it comes to our spiritual life, we have control. We choose whether or not to spend time with Abba. We choose to soak in His Presence. We choose to drink from the water. We choose. And our choices take us into life that is overflowing over or a life of drought. Abba is pouring out His Presence in our lives, we choose to drink it in or not.

If you find you are in a state of drought, no worries. You don’t have to live in weeds. You don’t have to be dry and crunchy. The resolution is easy: drink. Open your life to the outpouring of His Presence. Spend time with Him. Go to the well daily and drink deeply. Pour the Word into your soul. Soak in Him. It won’t be long until you find yourself living in plush, green pastures, where weeds fade away.

It’s amazing. The grass is always greener where you water it.

The elephant and donkey in the room.

I’ve spent the last two weeks watching the RNC and the DNC. My head is spinning. I’ve listened to so much rhetoric and heard so many promises, it’s hard to keep it all straight. I’ve heard so much slander and name calling, I feel like I should be offended. I’ve been informed of so many strategies and solutions for all the world’s problems, I feel like I should wake up tomorrow in utopia.

We have so much hanging on this election. So much rides on who is voted into office. The economy. The environment. Immigration. Energy. Healthcare. Unemployment. Social injustices. Education. National security. The stability of the United States. World peace. The future of life as we know it.

That’s a lot to rest on one person’s shoulders. The expectation of the resolution of every problem to the satisfaction of every citizen. The expectation that the elected person would never disappoint and will always come through. The expectation that this person will continually give strong, courageous, compassionate, decisive, wise leadership. The expectation is that their leadership will make us feel secure, safe, stable and hopeful. The expectation is that when their term has ended, we will all be satisfied with the condition and status of America and be optimistic about the future of the nation, and in turn of our personal lives.

Do we realize what we are asking? NO ONE could ever fill those shoes. NO ONE could ever do all the things we are asking this elected person to do. NO ONE could ever meet those expectations. Not even a team of the best of the best strategist, thinkers and leaders.

And I think, that is our problem. We are looking for humans to do what is humanly impossible. We are looking for humans to set the world right. We are looking for societal perfection and harmony here on earth. And this is just not possible.

How do I know? Because if it were possible, it would already be done. The world has had its fair share of brilliant, intelligent, creative, forward thinking leaders who were full of ingenuity, compassion and charisma. Many of them have instituted reform and brought change. But no one has lead us to this utopian society we’re all looking for. No one has provided the answer to every problem and workable solutions for every dilemma. No one has brought us long term security and stability. No one has given us sustainable hope. No one has given us peace in any one nation – much less in all the earth.

No one could do this. Except Jesus.

Jesus is the only Ruler who can resolve all our issues and bring true reform to every broken system we have. He is the only one able to bring us security, stability and peace. He is the only one able to do this with justice. We know this because Isaiah 9: 6-8 (NLT) tells us: For a child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

Our hope should be anchored in this promise. Our confidence should be placed in the never failing counsel of Jesus who rules in perfect fairness and justice and brings perpetual, sustainable peace. Under His rule, there will be no injustice and no war. There will be no poverty, no sickness and no one is left behind, left out or excluded. I know all this sounds too good to be true, like pie-in-the-sky and fairy tales. But this is Abba’s promise to us, and He will make it happen. He is more than powerful enough to bring this to pass and Jesus is everything needed to accomplish this monumental task. And, those in a relationship with Him will live to experience His magnificent reign.

I’m not saying that we should not prayerfully choose a candidate. I am not saying that we should abandon our system of government. I am not saying that our system doesn’t need reform. Until Jesus brings all this to pass, we still have a responsibility to occupy and govern our society with justice and compassion. We still have the responsibility to care for the planet, each other and the future until Jesus returns.

What I am saying is that our hope can NOT rest in any of this. The government, political system or a human cannot do or give what we really need. We cannot rely on any human to give us what only Jesus can give. We cannot depend on any system to supply what only Jesus can provide. We cannot count on government to be our provider. Systems and government will fail us because they are driven, fueled and lead by humanity. And we are woefully flawed.

David says it like this in Psalm 20:7 (NCV) Some trust in chariots, others in horses, but we trust the LORD our God.

As Believers and followers of Jesus, this should be our anthem, too. Some trust in government. Some trust in the system. Some trust in politicians and leaders. Some trust in promises made by men. But, we – the followers of Jesus – will trust in our God, the Master and Ruler of the universe.

I encourage you, don’t place your hope in government. Don’t put your hope in the political system. Don’t hope in humans and the promises they make. Don’t depend of them to make your life better. Don’t count on them to make a better future for your children. Place all your trust in God, listen to His voice and follow His direction. If we’ll do this, He will take care of us, provide for us and sustain us. We’ll live in peace, security and stability – even before His eternal reign begins.

ps ~ Vote. Exercise your right, freedom and privilege. And if we’ll allow Holy Spirit to guide our choices in the voting booth, we cannot go wrong.

Lessons from Flight 892

Bill and I were recently on a flight headed home to Detroit when a woman seated a few rows behind us declared she wanted off the plane just as we were about to take-off. And, by take-off, I mean we’d left the gate and were taxing down the runway at a pretty good clip. All the safety instructions had been given, cell phones set to airplane mode, passengers settled in for a routine trip, and flight attendants seated and buckled in for take-off.

As we scooted down the runway, this woman stood. A flight attendant asked her to be seated and buckled, but she calmly declared she had an emergency and wanted off the plane. As one flight attendant notified the captain, another tried to persuade her to be seated and continue with the flight. She would not be seated. She remained standing and repeated calmly that she wanted off the plane.

The plane quickly slowed down and came to a halt. Now other passengers were aware of the situation. As the woman continued to stand and quietly repeat she wanted off the plane, moans could be heard from other passengers. Frustrated comments about being late or missing connections swirled all around. Cries of disbelief could be heard. Some brazenly criticized her loud enough to be heard. Others shouted offers of Xanax. The flight attendants were obviously annoyed. Tempers flared as a warm plane grew hot sitting on a steamy Florida runway.

And, through it all, she did not budge. She had made up her mind and would not be swayed. She wanted off the plane, regardless of what anyone else had to say. She stood ram-rod straight as the plane turned around and headed back to the gate. And, as flight attendants escorted her off the plane, she held her head high.

As they opened the door to let her out, a flight attendant announced that we would have to wait for her luggage to be retrieved from the cargo hold. That generated heavy sighing and louder groans. Through it all, the woman did not flinch. No sideward glances. No last minute jabs. No haughty attitude.

It was at this point that I became thoroughly impressed. What guts. This woman was no coward. She had determined her course of action, she took that action and she stood her ground.

She did not allow the bold, glaring stares of the other passengers influence her. She didn’t let the jeers of the crowd intimidate her. She did not let the persuading speech of the flight attends persuade her. She did not let the thoughts or opinions of two hundred peers sway her. She was determined. Her mind was made up and nothing was going to keep her from getting off that plane. And most importantly; she was calm, kind and humble. That’s bravery.

This woman inspired me. I want to possess that type of bravery. The kind that stays the course when everyone else thinks I’m crazy. The kind needed to hang on to my convictions when everyone else doesn’t understand. The kind that is unmoved in the face of opposition. The kind that doesn’t topple from the pressure of my peers. (who are we kidding – yes, adults greatly suffer from peer pressure) The kind that advances forward with directions from Abba when nobody else hears what I’m hearing. Unwavering. Unshakeable. Resolute.

And I want to do it calmly. As I follow Jesus, I don’t want to create drama. I don’t want to be known as a “drama queen”. I don’t want to wear out people by constantly sucking them into a vortex of drama. But, as I live out my convictions, I am going to offend people. It’s not my intent, but when you carry Light into the darkness, feathers are going to be ruffled. Being calm in the face of adversity helps preserve relationships and keeps the drama factor to a bare minimum.  Ecclesiastes 10:4 (NCV) says Remaining calm solves great problems. That is wisdom!

I want to do it in kindness. Just because someone disagrees with me and the stance I take doesn’t mean I need to hurl insults or use the Bible as a weapon (the Bible is the weapon to use on the enemy – not people). Like this woman, I want to be firm and unmovable but display the fruit of kindness as I do it. Ephesians 4:31-32 (NCV) Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. ….. Be kind and loving to each other,…..

I want to do it humbly. I don’t want be prideful or arrogant as I live out my convictions. I don’t want to be haughty just because I am a daughter of the Creator and King of the universe. I never want my partnership with Abba to puff me up. I do not want to let selfishness or pride be [my] guide. Instead, [I want to] be humble and give more honor to others than to [myself]. Philippians 2:3 (NCV)

I’m so glad I was on flight 892. And it was worth landing late.