Sometimes, when I look back over my life, I come to the conclusion that no one knows the real me. What’s worse is that I’m not even sure I know the real me. It feels like I have spent my life always trying to be who others expected me to be. The truth is, I’ve always secretly felt that if others knew the real me, the flawed, insecure and frankly, sometimes unkind me, they would no longer accept me. We all form opinions and make judgments about others, even if it’s done subconsciously, based only on what we observe about a person, or worse yet, based on what we hear about them from others. But who are the people underneath the facade?
I’ve noticed that those who seem the most arrogant and self-assured, are often the most insecure. Below the surface they are hungering for acceptance and love, oblivious to the fact that the arrogance they are projecting prevents them from getting what they desire most. As I think about all of this, I see we are a society of strangers, built on families of strangers, all trying to be what we think will make us acceptable to others. This isn’t enough for me anymore.
I am filled with a longing to discover who I really am, what makes me unique, and how God can use this individual to further His Kingdom. I want to break the bonds that hold me back, confining and conforming me to what’s expected of me. Those bonds are beginning to loosen, and I am taking my first tentative steps toward becoming the one-of-a-kind person God designed me to be. With each small step I can taste it, what God had in mind all along, freedom. Yes, this is the path I have searched for and longed for all this time. Freedom. The gift God gives us through Christ. And oh, the taste is sweet.
(From the archives – enjoy!)
New Year! It’s that time of year again and like most of you, I’ve been thinking about resolutions. In the past, I have not done very well with them so I am hesitant to make any this year. Yet, it seems I should set some goals. Oh, not the usual ones, losing weight, exercising more, (though I need to do both of those things) but I’m thinking more along the lines of spiritual goals. Goals that will bring me closer to God. Goals that will bring my relationship with Jesus to an even more intimate level than it currently is. There are the tried and true – reading my Bible everyday, praying everyday, having a “quiet time” everyday – these are all admirable goals and things I know I should be doing. But this year, I want my goals to go deeper. I want to know Jesus on a whole new level and that is going to require a different set of goals.
This year, I want to read my Bible everyday and learn something new about my God from that reading. This year I want to pray everyday and have my prayers focus on praising our glorious Lord and intercession for my church family and for the lost. This year I want to have a “quiet time” everyday and focus on obeying the voice of God instead of just hearing it. If I do these things on a consistent basis I cannot help but be changed and have my relationship with God change as well.
Isn’t that what we all strive for as Christians? To have our lives changed; to become more like Christ each day; to bring glory to our Father’s name; to truly KNOW our Father in heaven! Our God is so awesome, and the fact that we can approach Him so freely is such a gracious gift! Let’s get to know Him like never before, to have His Spirit work through us in a powerful way, to bring glory to Him in everything we do, and to be used by Him in ways only He can imagine.
Fall makes us think of harvest time. We enjoy picking apples right off the trees. Pumpkin patches are great places to take the kids and to pick the pumpkins that will eventually become the delicious pies we enjoy on Thanksgiving. Cranberries are harvested in the fall as well, just in time to make an appearance on our Thanksgiving dinner tables.
There is a proper time to harvest every fruit and vegetable, and if we don’t take advantage of that time, the fruits and vegetables will just wither on the vine; they will be lost.
There is another harvest that we must keep in mind and be sure not to miss. If we aren’t cultivating the fruit and looking for the right time to harvest it, it too will be lost. Jesus cared deeply about this particular harvest and said this in Matthew 9:36-38.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
We are the workers Jesus has sent out into the fields of harvest. There are so many lost in the fields, and if we don’t get to work, watering and cultivating, they will remain lost for eternity. Jesus takes the harvest very seriously and we must as well. Paul tells us in Colossians 4:5 to be wise in how we act toward those outside the church and to make the most of every opportunity. God provides the opportunities to touch the hearts of those around us with His saving love, but we have to seize the opportunities He provides.
It’s fall; it’s harvest time. Let’s get out in the fields of harvest. Let’s start making the most of every opportunity. It’s time to get to work.