Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Wave

By the time I get to worship this morning, half the world will have already lifted their hearts to God...

I realized this as I woke at 5 a.m thinking of a friend who, in Eastern standard time, was already leading his church in worship. In another hour my home church, in Central standard time, would be coming before the throne with praise.  I, being in Hawaiian-Aleutian time, would not be joining the celebration for another five hours but when the time came I'd be there with lifted heart and hands.

It's not unlike "the wave" popular at any large event.  Someone begins by standing up and raising their hands over their head and then they bring down their hands and sit back down and the one next to them repeats the motion until it's moved throughout the entire crowd. It's silly but it's a lot of fun and, to see that many people participating to make something bigger than themselves, it's pretty great.

 "From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!" Psalms 113:3

On ths Sunday may we, both over multiple time zones, and throughout the entirety of the day, be part of  a global wave to God because He is worthy

and we are so grateful...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Crossing the Finish Line

As I was out running  jogging shuffling along the other day I was thinking about endurance training and faith and wondering if there was a correlation.

As one trains they build muscle and endurance - I should know as I was into the second week of a running program (well, technically I was repeating week one for the second time as I still couldn't make the measly goals of the first week ...!) 
I could tell I was stronger (i.e. I rivaled my dog in panting ability now after 8 minutes and not just 3) so the idea made sense to me.

 If I have stepped out in faith and trusted God before it would seem that it would be easier the next time. After all God is faithful and unchanging; the more I rely on Him the more I realize that He is worthy of  my trust and that confidence in Him is well placed.

So, if one had lived a life of faith, of consistently relying on God through all the small things and the daily battles: when the big tests would come, the marathon of faith so to speak, would one be more able to see this as from the hand of a good and gracious God?
Would a lifetime of trusting God give one the ability to endure through a life ending diagnosis, loss of physical and mental ability, or the death of a loved one?
If you have always followed hard after God would that enable you to continue to do so?

I wasn't sure but it did make sense and I'd planned to post that concept for discussion once I got back to the house.

And then, something happened. I  felt pulling in my foot, some strain, but instead of going away, it gave way and now I was pulling off my shoes on the side of the road and wondering how I was going to get home.

I was injured and suddenly it didn't matter what my endurance level was. My foot was no longer weight bearing; something had been torn or stretched to the point of pain, but there was still a half mile of road between me and home. My destination hadn't changed, but my speed surely had.

And so I limped along, knowing I was barely making forward progress and through my earphones I heard this song by Chris Tomlin begin:

Be still, there is a healer
His love is deeper than the sea
His mercy, it is unfailing
His arms are a fortress for the weak
Let faith arise
I lift my hands to believe again
You are my refuge, You are my strength
As I pour out my heart, these things I remember
You are faithful, God, forever
Be still, there is a river
A fountain for the thirsty
Pure grace that washes over me
So let faith arise
Let faith arise
Open my eyes
Open my eyes
You are my refuge, You are my strength
As I pour out my heart, these things I remember
You are faithful, God
You are faithful, God, forever.

I'd heard the story behind the Louie Giglio was going through a really dark place in his life.  Louie Giglio - the man who had  preached to thousands and spent his whole life passionately following hard after God, was suddenly in such weakness of faith that all he could do was raise his hands up to the Lord and say "help me". 

And my question was answered.

If made it home at a sprint; strong in faith and running into the arms of my Savior or if I limped, faith damaged and barely intact, into His presence it didn't matter. 
But if allI could do was look to Him moment by moment for strength for that next small step (Hebrews 12:1-2) and running the race meant no more than a hobble with my eyes on Him, He would still make sure I'd make it home.

Are you strong in faith? Do trials come and you confidently respond to the circumstances with the promises of God? Keep going. Keep running hard after Him. Let your light shine to a watching world.

Are you hanging on day to day and some days moment to moment? Has your confidence in God's goodness and plan been stretched and stretched until something in your heart has torn? Hold on. Keep moving towards Him; however slowly is seems you are moving. He is a faithful God and He helps those whose trust is in Him.  You too will make it across that finish line.