Sunday, May 31, 2009

He Beckons.

Romans 8:14 (MSG)
God's Spirit beckons.
There are things to do and places to go!

God calls us to a new life. A life that is adventurously expectant on Him and His purposes in us to glorify Himself. The book of Romans has been nourishing me this week but I keep finding myself back at verse 14 of chapter 8. I am in a season where the Spirit of God is calling me to deeper levels of faith, trust and intimacy with Him. The Spirit of God truly beckons me. I hear His whisper telling me there is more of Him, more to this life in abundance, more than I ever dreamed or imagined. I don't know how to get this “more” but I can't help but feel my tiny box of expectations and my minuscule vision burst at these stirrings of God. The Almighty is surely on the move. Like a child, wide-eyed with anticipation, I want to be sure to be in these places to see these things that God is up to.

May you sense the Spirit of the Living God beckoning you.
This abundant life in Christ isn't what I thought it was.
I assure you, there is more. God is beckoning.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Little Waddle as I Wait.


Wait and I have a love/hate relationship and always have. Nobody seems to want to wait for anything these days. I am, however, notorious for my ability to delay gratification. I love to wait to open presents on my birthday, wait to tear into packages until I am home from the post office (these days that's an hour away), and I always wait to read mail later on when I am free to savor and soak in every word. It may seem strange to be this way in the give-it-to-me-now society of which we presently find ourselves. I secretly love the ability to refrain, holding back until the timing is perfect. As anticipation grows, so does my sense of excitement and delight. I will work harder, stay more focused, and gain a strength along the way when I know something good awaits me.

God knew that in this life of chasing after Him that we would find ourselves in many, many situations where we have to wait. A wise friend once taught me that waiting can't mean idleness nor is it passive. It takes fierce faith and active trust to wait on the promises of God. It is dangerous to hope in the whispers of God while waiting for a glimmer of confirmation on the horizon.

This week in Romans 8:25 I read,

That is why waiting doesn't diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.”

Paul in this verse is describing humanity and all creation waiting upon the full deliverance into the Kingdom God. I find it poignant that he likens waiting on the promises of God to the waiting of a pregnant mother. As she waits, she grows. Whether or not she wants to wait, there is something being knitted together in her AS she waits that demands time. Though I myself have yet to be pregnant, I can tell you from watching my dear friend here in Botswana that the waiting of a pregnant mom is uncomfortable and painful along the way. However, we all know that the life created out of that hidden place deep within is more than worth the nine months of pain.

God knows that the seasons we wait upon Him will develop deeper levels of faith and trust in Him, and produce a deep, eternal work in us. There have been many seasons of my life where I am ashamed to say I have not allowed God to produce all that He could have as I was waiting. Sometimes I forget that the Creator of time doesn't waste it and is committed to finishing the work He has begun in me. When that means I must wait, He is faithful to ignore my whimpers and His Spirit is right alongside helping me along (Romans 8:26).

In these days as I wait upon the Lord, I intend to let the waiting enlarge the Kingdom of God in me. I have purposed to grow so joyful in expectancy and anticipation that like the massive belly of a pregnant mother people won't be able to easily maneuver around it. May the delight and joy from the hidden work God is doing inside of me enter a room before me, bump into strangers, and make me walk a little different.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

In Love With a Chair.

I have officially fallen in love with a chair.

Sounds silly, I know. But, it is totally true.

I know because I can't stop looking at it.

It also makes me burst forth with that little squealing noise that only comes out of me when I am utterly excited.

Why do I love this chair?

Perhaps it's because it's adorable and cozy, because it totally is.

Maybe it's because it is short and tiny kind of like me.

It may be because it's made of darling hand-woven wicker material.

It also has happily filled a previously lonely corner in my new little cottage.

It could be because a dear Motswana man spent 4 days weaving it and then waiting to sell it to me on the side of the road.

It also faces the sunsets that paint God's glory across the sky.

All these reasons are valid and have solidified my love and devotion to my new little chair.

However, the best reason I am in love with my new chair is because Jesus meets me there.

Early in the morning, snuggled with a cup of tea, my Bible, journal, and my new little chair meet with my Precious Saviour.

I think God likes my chair too.

He made sure we found each other amidst the vastness of the African bush.

I love my chair and I am pretty sure my chair loves me.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Life Lived in Response.

“What we've learned is this: God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does. We've finally figured it out. Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting Him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade.”
Romans 3:27-28

Today in the midst of His Presence I heard a whisper of His Word that stopped me in my tracks.
It caused my striving and wrestling to cease.
The burden of self-judgment and disappointment fell off my shoulders.
God has called me to simply live a life in response to Him and what He has already done.

Because He has shown me extravagant love, I can show love.
He has been merciful to me, so I can show mercy.
I walk daily in His grace towards me, now I can be full of grace.
He has been so gentle to me, so I can show gentleness.
He has believed in and for me, now I can believe in Him.
God has shown unending compassion on me,
now I am free to be compassionate.
Somehow He delights in me, and He has become my delight.

A life lived in response to the magnificent works of God
requires something of me.
I have to know His ways.
I have to know where His Spirit is brilliantly on the move.
I must daily expose my soul to the Presence of the Living God.
My regular response must be one of worship and awe.
My heart is stirred to never miss an opportunity to respond to the majestic ways of my Maker.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Investing Partners.

“The servant given one thousand said, 'Master I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.'

“The Master was furious. 'That's a terrible way to live! It's criminal to live cautiously like that!...The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

'Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won't go out on a limb.”

Matthew 25:24-30

With valuable things, I like to be cautious. For they are valuable things.
I am not necessarily the kind of person who likes to takes risks either.
In fact the very thought of skydiving instantly puts my heart into panic mode.
I know nothing about investing money or buying stocks in “risky financial endeavors.”
But really none of this matters.
That's not at all what Jesus is talking about here.
I fear the literal interpretation of this story would leave me right in the position of the last, unfaithful investor. I can be a real wimp, cautious, and not willing to risk anything.

When I think about this story, however, I sense that something has been deposited in me that is bubbling to the surface of my heart. My account is not empty. Not only has there been a deposit but there is an urge to defy my natural wimpy instincts.
In fact, I have been given something to invest. My Master paid a great price for the chance to entrust to me certain exceptional aspects of His Kingdom.
God continually asks me to risk it all for the Kingdom of God.
I am at a crossroads which demands my all.
I cannot “play-it-safe” now. I have already climbed my little self out on that limb and lately I have been looking at the possibility that I may smack my face against that not-so-soft-looking ground.
I forgot how much courage it takes to follow Jesus. I can't muster it up either.
I have already confessed I am mostly a wimp. But then the Spirit reminds me of something.

Jesus hung out on a limb for me.
He took a risk, investing His very life
for the chance that I would say, “Yes,” to Him.
He refused to live cautiously. He raised a ruckus for the Kingdom of God regaining territory that needed reclaiming. This included my heart and life.
For the One who paid to invest in me, I can find no other response.
I will risk all of my hopes, dreams, and desires for things that are more valuable, things that will last into all eternity. He becomes my strength, my courage, my reward.
I refuse to squander the deposit made in me. I want to double my investment and hear the words, “Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.” (25:21)

Friday, May 1, 2009

To Whomever Rooster This May Concern.

To Whomever Rooster This May Concern,
This letter is addressed specifically to the Roosters living in the Makakatlala neighborhood of Mochudi, Botswana. I am writing in response to a problem we have been having that has been ongoing and perhaps has not been placed squarely on your radar of neighborhood issues. It is my duty as a resident of Makakatlala to inform that there are roosters creating quite a ruckus during off hours for your specie. I am quite aware that with the new union agreements you have received a raise and that your hours have been adjusted for optimal sleeping/cockadoodledooing shifts but there are some roosters (dare I say more than one) who have been taking advantage of the new schedule and haphazardly cockadoodledoing during hours including but not limited to 1:34 AM, 3:52 AM, and even 9:15 AM (9:15 AM really? This roosters tardiness is embarrassing).

A little strange don't you think? Please correct me if I am wrong but my understanding since I was a small child is that the whole cockadoodledooing was established to announce to the world the sun has risen, a new day is upon us and yes, we must roll out of bed get going. I would just like to point out that the above mentioned hours that I have been hearing the disturbing roosters gone crazy has in no way included the rising sun or the dawning of a fresh day but rather has done nothing but disturb my much-needed sleep of which I am already surviving on the minimum. I have already asked myself, “Why on earth would a rooster crow at 1:34 AM?” I have come up with some hypothesis that can be investigated and prayerfully dealt with at your discretion. You will find my hypothesis and rebuttals below. I appreciate you taking the time to read my complaint and look forward to a speedy remedy to the situation.

Sincerely Your Sleepy Resident,
Jenna Javens

Reasons Why A Rooster Would Cockadoodledoo during off hours:
1.These roosters are idiot roosters and have no concept of the purpose of their cockadoodledooing and therefore should be fired.

2.Said roosters are hoping that by gallivanting all over the neighborhood at unseemly hours will attract the new hens that just moved in down the street. (Guys, your crowing needs some work besides just pertaining to timing. These hens like the strong silent types who still have some mystery left to them. I say ZIP IT.)

3.Perhaps said roosters are trying to represent the various time zones of residents in the area by crowing at the appropriate time that the sun would be rising in the various homelands. (Ahhh, how sweet. Ok, not really at all, knock it off.)

4.There are too many roosters in the neighborhood competing for the first shot at announcing the sunrise. Survival of the fittest means that the lesser roosters must take the 1:34 AM slot as opposed to the ACTUAL sunrise. (I say take some stinkin' turns. Maybe one day you could sleep in and let the others have a try.)

5.After final analysis of the various reasons responsible for this irritating disturbance to my nightly sleep, I find there are no excuses. These rebellious roosters have got to go.