God made the first move!

reconcile: a bringing together again
I have been thinking on and praying about the word: reconciliation for several months and I recently listened to a message from Andy Stanley: Reconciling Christmas – Great listen!
We all know the Christmas Carol….
“Hark the Herald Angels sing… Glory to the newborn king.
Peace on earth and mercy mild.
God & sinner reconciled“.
 
God & sinner reconciled. For there to be a bringing together ‘again’, implies there is a separation … something has been broken in an existing relationship. In the beginning of time, we were created in complete harmony with God. The sin of Adam & Eve contaminated everything and we are all now born into a broken state (you cannot deny your lack). Our sin separates us from God.
BUT … through the birth of Christ, God made a way for us to be reconnected to Him, now and forever. Oh what HOPE!
 
But what about sinner & sinner? How do we reconcile with those in our lives that have wounded us or we have wronged and relationship is broken?
 
Christmas is the story of the GREAT reconciliation yet brings us face to face with the memory of family, friends or otherwise that we are estranged from. This time of year, we watch movies about the hope of broken relationship being healed because this IS the story of the good news. God’s Peace is available but we do not always experience it when it comes to those in our lives where there is something between or something wrong. What to do about this?
 
Because God made a way for us to be brought back to Him, it is in this SAME power, we can be brought back to others who, like us, are sinners. But just as it takes a choice on our part to receive the gift of reconciliation to God through Christ, it takes a choice to trust God for the reconciliation between each other.  Therein lies the difficulty.  God has made the first move & all that is left for the “God & sinner reconciled” is our choice.  But when it comes to the ‘sinner to sinner’ reconciliation, it takes both parties to decide right?  I’m not God, you are not God and so this is takes effort & lots of trust.  We cannot control the other person’s response.  God made the first move! God made His move knowing we may reject, knowing we may NOT choose Him back.  We relate with God and draw on His power when we make the first move, whether it is a card, a call, a text or prayer.  We relate with God in a deep way when we trust and leave ourselves open to rejection.
So what to do? Christmas is just around the corner.  
Lean in on God.  Pray… ask God, the GREAT RECONCILER, for advice and trust Him. If you make the first move, trust God and leave the outcome up to Him.  Trust that God is at work, even when you see no results.  Trust God to sooth your heart and bring you peace in your obedience.  This is living by faith. This is living like a follower.
 
Who is it in your life that comes to mind when you hear the word: reconcile? Who will you struggle to see or not see this holiday season because of words spoken or actions that wounded?   What does the journey toward reconciliation look like with this person? Follow God’s lead and make a move.
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Greater is He…

There are moments, days, weeks, sometimes years when we can feel “under” the weight of life.  Like a weight sinking under the water, like a bug under foot, we feel life pushing us “under”.  We feel heavy like we cannot get up on our own.  We feel scared the “under” feeling will never stop. We are exhausted just trying to breathe.  We are anxious waiting for the next thing that may push us under.

BUT…

Those who hope in the Lord may experience sorrow, loss, regret, failure, trouble of any and every kind but do not have to ever feel “under” it.  For there is a greater power that lifts up when I sink.  A greater power that gives courage in the face of fear.  A greater power that gives strength to the weary.  A greater power that says nothing will separate us, you will never be alone no matter what you face or for what reason.  The same power that rose Christ from a borrowed grave lives inside of me.  It beckons me to be bold when I fear, to shout with joy when I have lost so much, to hope when its dark.  It calls from deep within – you are more than a conqueror in Christ!  You have everything you need to move forward so get UP.

Life pushes everyone “under”, but the power of Christ in me says lift your eyes beloved one and get UP.  Moment to moment, day to day, year to year….  this is what Holy living looks like… getting up when you feel under.  Even before I received the holy spirit, God’s grace sustained, pulled me up and set my feet on solid ground, I just had no spiritual perception of it.  Now that I know the hope and power that lives in me, it is no longer I that live but Christ who lives in me.  It is His life that pulls me up, his resurrection, grave conquering, sin destroying, powerhouse life that lives in me and through me.  Greater is HE… greater is HE… greater is HE!

You do not have to stay under, GET UP…. because Greater is HE…..

Greater is He Song

Wizard of Oz Prayers

 

As my husband and I laid in bed that morning reflecting after a week from …….. well it was a week!

With 4 teenagers, 4 attitudes, 4 schedules, 4 of ALL that comes with this stage of life plus the regular things life throws at you; burst water pipes, sickness, broken water heater…. we looked at each other and realized we aren’t in Kansas anymore.

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We reminded ourselves of our struggle with infertility and that God answered our long ago prayers and gifted us with 4 amazing humans to teach, love and share life with.  We decided to give them back to God that morning (a thing you will have to do over and over and over as a parent) and we started to pray for our kids:

It started with Lord HELP! (just keepin’ it real)

Then my husband added “Lord give my kids a HEART for you and for each other.”

I asked God to give them the BRAINS to do what is right.

He concluded with “and the COURAGE to follow Gods way and not their own.”

When we were done, we laughed out loud and wondered if we were crazy.  We named this prayer the Wizard of Oz prayer and we have been praying it ever since.  Maybe it’s corny but thats how you end a week from……!

  • Believe people when they tell you parenting is the HARDEST job you will ever have.
  • Don’t give up – keep FIGHTING for your kids even when they seem to not care, they do!
  • It’s the LONG PICTURE that counts, not the hard time you find yourself in in the moments of life.
  • Pray for them – Wizard of Oz Prayers!

 

40 Days of Stones

Joshua 4:5-7

…and Joshua said to them, “Cross again to the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel. “Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”…
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God tells his children to use a pile of stones as visual evidence to remind them and future generations of His might, His mercy, His deliverance and His presence in their life.  God used stone tablets to write His law for Holy living. God gave David a stone to slay a giant.  God used an illustration of a foundational building stone to reference the place His son Jesus would take in his plan of redemption.   God used a stone to seal the grave of his one an only son and then rolled it away three days later, forever reminding us of His power over death.  Rocks and Stones have been used for centuries as memorials to someone or something.  This has been initiated by God because He knows how forgetful we are.

As Jesus sat in an upper room with his disciples, he makes an association that remembers the past and points to the present and makes a way for the future as he pours wine and breaks bread and says, ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’ And the man who does this to remember me is the rock that the pile has been building toward.

Living Stones.  As we believe in Christ, we are filled with the power of Christ to remind others there is a way back to God, there is a way to healing, there is a way to redemption.  

Tough times will make it easy to forget all that God has done in your life.  Over the next 40 Days I will go on a journey of remembrance and share 40 stones. I have no doubt there are 40 but have no idea what they will all be.  Until I am perfected by Christ, in my humanness, I will forget.  Like everyone else, I will get bogged down by life and struggle.  But God says remember because He knows when we remind ourselves of where He has been and all He has done, it helps us see all He is STILL doing and gives hope for all He WILL do.  God is still in control.  Christ is still on the throne.  Time to remember again.

Over the next 40 days, I will let God draw out His witness in my life through my stones of remembrance.  Hope is on it’s way.

“On Christ the solid ROCK I stand….my HOPE is build on nothing less..”      Edward Mote

The Ultimate Training Camp

What if you looked at your tough circumstances as an opportunity to trust God more?

On the path of obedience….Your past brings him glory….Your pain brings Him fame….Your passion brings Him honor!  Rock on!

After talking to my kid’s coach for almost 2 hours tonight, I realized a few things.  He has a story.  He has a passion.  It comes from God.  He loves coaching teens – he pours out what God has poured into him.  He understands he is responsible for all that God has entrusted to him.  I am left inspired and grateful for God’s provision in my kid’s life.

Talking with him reminds me that the Ultimate Training Camp is the place where you go to be schooled in trusting God.  The place you decide everyday to let God shape you or let your circumstances defeat you.  You are who you are in Christ no matter where you are! His grace is sufficient for the journey.  He is enough.  Let His purpose unfold and face like flint – don’t take your eye off the ball.

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So if you find yourself at ” training camp” today, remind yourself (a lot) to ……

Keep going

Keep breathing

Keep hoping

Keep expecting

Keep searching

Keep praying

Keep fighting

Keep believing

Keep trusting

You will find His strength at the end of yourself every time and then God will say, “Come on just a little higher”.

2 Cor. 12:9-10 (NIV)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

#coachblakelock

Why didn’t they offer THAT class in College?

The college class EVERYONE needs but no one offers….

The College Class EVERYONE needs but no one offers…..

My friend and coach colleague, Norbert, is going to be teaching a college course soon which got me thinking about all the different jobs I have had and all the classes I NEEDED but no one ever offered.

Like the class for TEACHERS that teaches you…

  • to make good friends with all secretarial & custodial staff at school because when you need something they can make life a whole lot easier
  • how to interpret the 800 acronyms that comprise the “special language” teachers and administrators use: MLP, DDI, SLO, AESOP, APPR, ARGHHHH…
  • how to deal when one of your students tracks dog poo into the room, doesn’t realize it until he has successfully left a little everywhere and the remaining students go berzerk
  • how to handle the kid who sits under their desk for the whole day barking at you like a dog because they hate school
  • what to say to the student who can’t hold it together in your room for more than 20 min. because their world outside of school is in crisis on a daily basis
  • how to recover when there is a major “incident’ at school and you are now afraid of those you teach
  • how to cope when after you have attended the trainings,  planned for hours past the work day, applied all the content from all the other college classes you HAVE taken, done everything you know to do within your controlled environment in the limited time of a lesson and a day… yet receive and “ineffective teacher” on your evaluation because it happens to the best of teachers.

Like the class for PASTORS that teaches you…

  • how to handle the moment in the ICU family waiting room when the doctors say it’s “over” to the young fiance whose life just turned on a dime
  • how to keep the Sabbath and really rest and NOT feel guilty
  • how to handle that awkward moment when something comes out of your mouth from the pulpit that you wish you could press rewind on
  • how to handle other people’s expectations of you
  • how to help your kids stay in love with the church no matter what

I am sure every professional could make their own “Why didn’t they offer THAT class in college?” list.  Isn’t it funny how some of the most important stuff we need is not deliberately taught as part of the required credits?

I want to teach THAT class!

What are you willing to GIVE UP?

This question was posed to me during a coaching session I had with a former ER Physician.  I was struggling to move forward – getting stuck in the comfortable.

The question is brilliant if you think about it.  In order for any of us to gain new ground or to blaze new trails….. something usually has to end.

Christ says He makes all things NEW.  When we accept Christ for who He is (the Son of God) and what He has done (died in your place for the forgiveness of sin), scripture tells us we become a “new” creation, the old is gone and the new has come (1 Corinthians 5:17). When we surrender to Christ, we lose: we lose our struggle to get it right on our own, we lose our pride and stubborness, we lose our will and our “own way”, we lose our life.

Ah but look what we gain….

New Life!  A new life in Christ is becoming the person you were originally intended to be – the first prototype, before the corruption of sin and the brokeness of life took it’s toll.

You see the pattern?  The new comes at a price – – – the loss of the old.

Sometimes the greatest obstacle in moving forward in this life is the last great thing that happened.  We cling to it like a trophy.  Often times comfort or success is the enemy of real progress.

Do you know real change is necessary?  Do you have dreams?  Do you have things you’ve always hoped to accomplish? Have you ever asked God why you are here and then He gives you a glimpse and it freezes you in your tracks?  ME TOO!

Maybe you are standing at the brink of the NEW…. and so I ask you what Norbert asked me, “What are you willing to give up to take that next step in moving forward?”  Is it….

  • Fear
  • Rejection
  • Pride
  • Other people’s opinions
  • Old habits
  • Good things/treasures

At some point we just need to trust and decide to let go and let God take over.

The answer to the question came to me quickly.  I knew deep inside what I was holding onto too tightly.  Most of the time we know, so don’t think too hard.  God reminds us daily in more ways than one.  I answered my coach through teary eyes. But behind those tears was an understanding of a God who loves me, wants what is best for me and will keep pushing me to become what He originally created.  My part was to give up, surrender, and let God do what only He can do.

Today… I am walking a new road with clearly familiar features.  I am a minister of the Gospel of Christ no matter what road I am on.  I am not 100% sure where this road leads… but I know it is ordained and He is doing a “new” thing.

Give it up & get moving!