Sunday, July 27, 2014

Train in the Trenches

The pitcher slid from my hands splashing a tidal wave of tea across the floor. Grabbing a towel with one hand and my ringing phone with the other, I glanced at the caller name and answered, "Hey, girl."

Melissa greeted me. "You sound, um...busy? I need to ask a question."

"Spilled tea. I'm not-so-peacefully mopping the kitchen," I explained. "I'm okay. Go for it."

She laughed at the timing of her question. "If the joy of the Lord is my strength, why am I so beaten down today?There is no joy and strength in Melissa-ville."

It's a humid 90 degrees before sunrise and the air conditioner stops working. The toddler drenches the crib, but has helpfully taken off his diaper to wash the walls. Your husband says the bills must be paid immediately. Once you juggle the budget, find the bills and prioritize them.

The kitchen is a soured mess because the older children didn't do their chores. The clean folded clothes from yesterday have been strung over the chairs by the preschooler who decided to play laundry woman... and all you really want is a shower so you don't smell worse than the crib...Was that the doorbell?

You glance at the clock, aware of your looming check-up appointment with the doctor, promising yourself to be on time for the half hour you will sit in the waiting room. The doctor will say you are fine. But, you don't feel fine. You feel tired of battling.

When the prophet Elijah was overwrought by battle fatigue, God's answer was simplistic: Eat some stew. Take a nap.

Sounds terrific, God, but I need groceries to make stew and taking a nap isn't on my schedule today.

The joy of the Lord is our strength. Even without the stew or nap.

In the trenches, we cannot discern who is winning a battle. The Commander holds the battle plans and gives marching orders. Success can look like failure. What seems hopeless can be a catapult to higher ground. Peace can rule even in the heat of battle.

A soldier-princess is not surprised to find herself in the midst of battle. She never gives up, never quits. Most of our training happens in the trenches, the shield of faith raised against Satan's artillery.

Raise your standards high. Gird your armor on. Stand firm, soldier-princess. We will win the war.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Soldier-Princess: Marching Orders

To my fellow soldier princesses, wherever you are, near or far:

Live an excellent life wherever God leads you.

Focus on your callinggoing into the world to share the good news. Develop your special gifts, talents and character so you will change the world as you go where He sends you. Shine like the stars of the universe as God unfolds the way before you.

Whether we are an ocean apart or together in my kitchen does not dictate whether we are together in spirit. We are one body, one hope, one calling, one mind, one purpose. We are soldier-princesses chosen and united in this generation by the God who is able to do more than we ask or even imagine He can do.

We have been given favor, blessing and princess privileges not merely by believing, but by suffering for His sake, living excellently in every circumstance, the good and the bad, the easy and the difficult.

He will do what He says He will do through us, in us, for us and with us. He will give us the will, the power and the maturity to achieve His purposes. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Commander who never fails, who always finishes what He starts, always creates excellence, always is mighty to save.

A grace-saturated life carries us even into enemy territory with Spirit power and competence.  A soldier-princess is never surprised to find herself in a battle with the enemy who seeks to devour her. Stay awake in the presence of God, alert and trained for battle.

This is the battle I fought and still fight as a soldier-princess - to walk alongside of Him always trusting, always bold and confident, always joyful. The battle is the Lord's and we are connected directly to the Commander of angel armies and to one another.

A soldier-princess never quits, never gives up, no matter where her marching orders take her.

The encouragement and reassuring love, the friendly company and compassion of Jesus makes my joy complete and will make your joy complete, too.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The God Who Whispers

"It's impossible to know for sure if there's a God, and even if there is, I'd be a fool to think I could figure out what he wanted me to do or to be," Kristin tells me.

She is serious, this dear friend. Dead wrong and dead serious.

People who doubt God's presence tend to be ones who want a shout of proof from God, bold evidence of his presence and purpose.

Living life in a whirlwind of activity and fray will produce weariness, even desperation, but not assurance of God's presence and will. God does not shout over the whirlwind. He whispers in the silence.

It's tempting to ask God to speak loudly from the heavens and make Himself known to doubters. Perhaps open up the sky and show the throne room or say again: This is My Beloved Son and I am pleased with Him. Or maybe send down a fireball to light up a water-logged altar. Shake people in their boots a bit.

Until the final day when the trumpets sound, the clouds part and Jesus returns victorious, there is nothing left to prove, nothing left for God to shout.

He has much that He wants to whisper.
Come, I will give you rest.  
My yoke is easy and My burdens are light.  
I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a future and a hope.
He has much that He wants to say to us.
Call to Me. 
I will tell you wonderful things that you do not know.
He has much that He wants to sing.
My everlasting love is deeper than the sea.
God is not going to shout over the whirlwind so that Kristin believes that He is real and has a plan for her. He is whispering to her, though.
Be still and know that I am God.
I ache in prayer for Kristin. God is there and He is not silent.

A lost lamb does not hear the voice of the shepherd over the noise of the storm, but in the devastating aftermath, exhausted and wounded, comforting words whisper into the silence

When all else fails we are more likely to look up, to see clearly, to listen. I pray it doesn't take a calamity for Kristin to be still and listen to the God who waits to rescue her.
I know My sheep and My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me.