I spend way too much time on Facebook. It has become one of the biggest wastes of my time. I find myself checking it not necessarily to see if anyone has responded to something I posted because to be honest I don’t post all that much, but I find myself watching videos, scrolling through my news feed, reading posts in the groups I’m connected to. Sometimes it’s good because I can get inspiration but most of the time it’s because it causes me to focus on the wrong things.
The same thing has happened to this world with Nike’s endorsement deal with Colin Kaepernick. There is so much controversy about Nike’s endorsement and Colin’s decision to take a knee that those have become the issue. But those aren’t really the issue. Colin didn’t take a knee because he was tired. Colin didn’t take a knee because he had to tie his shoe. He took a knee in protest of the lives that have been taken at the hands of people who have abused their power.
No one however is talking about the reason why he took a knee which is exactly what Satan wants. His desire is for us to focus on everything except the issue so that we never deal with whats truly going on and so that we will never heal. His mission is to kill, steal and destroy by any means necessary including deception & distraction.
He won’t come right out and tell us that what he’s presenting is wrong but he’ll present in such a way that we won’t know it’s wrong until it’s too late. This country has been teetering on the edge for so long that it’s only a matter of time before we implode. We are never going to be what God intended for us to be if we don’t recognize that slavery, bigotry, hatred and murder was and still is a part of our make-up.
Our President talks about being great again however if we have never acknowledged the injustice that has taken place since the moment we stepped foot on this land we will never be great. Greatness isn’t just given it’s earned and you can’t earn it without sacrifice. Letting go of preconceived ideas of entitlement, acknowledging mistakes, asking for forgiveness and working toward restoration.
So let’s begin the healing process. Not by distraction of the Nike-Colin Kaepernick deal but by looking at our history, seeking to understand and working toward forgiveness.
What causes us to hold onto hope? How do we know that things will work out when they seem insurmountable? How do we hold onto our faith? These are questions that I’ve asked myself over the course of my life and as recently as yesterday. It seems that when I’m faced with problems I get what my Pastor calls “spiritual amnesia”. This occurs when we forget how much God has done for us in the past.
I am in the process of finishing a reading plan on biblical meditation and one of the day’s scripture reading was on remembering our history with God. One of the verses they highlighted was Psalm 77:3-12 which speaks to just this idea. The writer was lamenting about not seeing God work in his situation and questioned if he has lost favor with God. But by the end he remembered just how much God had done for him and he concentrated on God’s goodness as whole.
Honestly, I am constantly telling myself to think back on everything that God has done for me and think about how far I’ve come just because of His goodness. This is a hard-fought battle for me because I can burrow deep in my mind and find the darkest corner and stay there. Not healthy.
One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:6-8 which talks about not giving in to anxiety but praying to God about the things that are making us anxious and to think on things that are positive which includes God’s goodness. If we focus on the positive instead of on the negative things will get better. Maybe not right now. Maybe the situation itself won’t change but how we view it, how we deal with it will change.
We then have hope. We believe in others & ourselves. We most importantly believe God’s word and can continue to walk with the confidence that we can face anything.
I’ve heard people say before that they don’t celebrate birthdays and every time I hear it I wonder why. Why not celebrate the day God gave you life? Why not celebrate another year that you were able to live? Why not rejoice in who you are and in who you are becoming?
And I wonder if it’s just birthdays or if it’s other important dates. Do they celebrate anniversaries? Do they remember loved ones who have passed away? Do they stop to think about the importance of Christmas and Easter or are those just regular days to them as well?
Maybe they don’t want the attention to be placed all on them. I can understand that. Maybe they think having a huge party with lots of gifts seems unnecessary. I can understand that as well. But what if that day is spent thanking God for everything He has brought you through over the last year of your life.
I can just imagine how God feels as the day of your birth gets closer and closer and He’s sitting in Heaven in anticipation of How you will celebrate the day you were born and you just treat it like any other day.
That to me seems incredibly selfish-treating that day as any other day and not acknowledging it as the day God gave you purpose by giving you life. Please don’t get me wrong or misunderstand what I’m saying. Everyday in our lives is important but why not just step back, and relish in the fact that God thought so much of you and what you could become that He felt the world needed you. Each day, each month, each year you are here is an opportunity to thank Him for that life.
How humbling and honoring to think of your birthday in that way.
Sunday at church the sermon came from Ezekiel 37:1-3 where God asks him about the dry bones. When the Pastor was getting into the heart of his message he asked a question about who the bones were. He didn’t stay on that question because his message was about what we need to do to help the bones live but I couldn’t stop thinking about the stories of those dry bones and how they ended up in that valley.
Maybe one set of the dry bones was the Hannah’s of the world who desperately wanted to have a child. Maybe another set was the Joseph’s of the world where is seems like the light at the end of the tunnel is too far to even be a flicker. Or maybe they are the bones of the widows of the world that can’t pay their bills and don’t see anyway out but death. Or maybe they are the bones of the Gomer’s of the of the world who thought the only way to feel loved was to have sex.
We have all been those dry bones at one point in our lives but just as the bones came to life by hearing the word of God and feeling the breath of God we need to respond to God’s word and His breath to continue moving through life. God’s word in tandem with the Holy Spirit give us the strength to keep praying for a child while feeding into the lives of children without parents. It gives us the perseverance to keep moving toward the light even when it doesn’t seem to be getting any closer. It gives us the hope to trust that God will provide & sustain even through the stack of bills. It gives us the confidence to know that we don’t need to give of ourselves sexually to feel loved.
Jesus died so we could draw on His strength, His perseverance, His hope and His confidence when we are lacking. If we focus our hearts and our eyes to the One who loves us our bones will never be dry again.
There are seasons in our life when it feels as if the world is literally pushing down on our shoulders. Sometimes it’s because of our own decisions and sometimes it’s just life but either way at those times we don’t feel as if we are going to make it. When we don’t know how to pray or what to pray. Those are the times when we don’t need condemnation or judgment. Those are the times when we need to lean on the prayers and strength of others. God’s word says that we are to bear each others burdens; not pick up rocks with the intention to harm. Be that helping hand when someone is down because your turn might be next.
For I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. (Philippians 1:19 NIV)
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:18 NIV)
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NIV)
Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. (Luke 22:32 NIV)
I recently had the opportunity to walk along the beach and as the sand was going through my toes I looked out at the water and became overwhelmed with the enormity of God’s power. Looking out on the water and not being able to see the end I felt so small and humbled thinking about how endless Gods grace and mercy is toward us.
When I was walking on the beach there were times when I was close to the water but I wasn’t in the water. There were other times when I was in the water but just barely. And there were times when I was surrounded by the water.
For me I equate that with my ebbs and flows with God. When I was close to the water I had to intentionally move toward the water. When I feel distant from God I need to intentionally move toward Him. When I was barely in the water I felt it move over my feet and it was enough but it wasn’t all that it could be. Just like with God it’s enough to attend church and read a bible plan each morning on my phone but it never goes deeper. When I went deeper in the water and allowed it to wash over more than just my feet it was exhilarating. It was a little scary but I always wanted more. By allowing God to wash His presence over me so much happens in my life and I always want more.
Why don’t I stay in the waves? Why is it easier to stay in the sand and allow bits and pieces of God to wash over me? There is so much more to learn about how much God loves us and how awesome it is to live in His grace & mercy. I am truly grateful to have the chance to see His beauty up close.
So where are you? Are you close but not in the water? Are you in the water but just barely? Or are you in the waves?