Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Binocular Vision

Well, it's been a while since I have been inspired to write a devotion, but that probably fits in well with the theme of this one.

Lately, I've been feeling rather isolated. Granted, I think it's mostly self-imposed. But a funny thing happens when you get isolated. You get binocular vision.

I have something like a gazillion e-mail addresses, each with a different purpose. (well, ok, it's like 4, but feels like a whole heck of a lot.) I have a couple that are just for signing up on websites where I'm likely to get spammed, etc. As a result, I don't always check all my e-mail addresses. In fact, I rarely check most of them now days. But that means they get filled up with lots of things while I don't check them.

Today, I was going through one old account. In this account, I get several newsletters relating to ministry and such. It's a good way to keep in touch and stay fresh. But if you don't check it, it just takes up virtual space. So I was cleaning out the mailbox today, and I was reading some of the newsletters and such. I came across this link.


This is a clip from one of the numerous Japanese TV shows. It shows a group of people trying to play soccer while wearing binoculars. It's pretty funny, you should watch it.

While watching this clip, it struck me at the similarities in life. Binoculars are good for seeing things far away. But they are not meant for everyday use. As you watch them play soccer, you can see the difficulties they have even finding the ball. Their field of vision has become too small. And even when they find the ball, when they try to kick, they can't. Why? Their perspective is out of whack.

So thinking back on my own life, I can see where I have been doing similar things. I put on my "spiritual" binoculars, but then I forget to take them off. Then I try to go about my own life, but I'm confused, running around, trying to find my "ball". My field of vision has become too small. When I isolate myself, or even limit myself to one group or one set of opinions, it's like wearing binoculars. My personal tendencies is to get caught up in details. Trying to figure out what God is doing, or things like that. But I'm missing the game that's happening right in front of me. It's not that I need to throw away the binoculars. Just use them for the purpose they were designed for, but take them off for the rest of the time.

So, I guess my prayer for us is, wisdom in knowing when binocular vision helps us, and when it hinders us.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Trust and Surrender

(Original date, end of Summer 2001)

This summer I have spent struggling to learn one of the hardest lessons to learn in my walk of faith. It is something I think I will always strive with. It is the issue of trust and surrender. When it comes to God the two are closely intertwined.

This summer for me has been spent on the string of a yo-yo. The issue I have been bouncing back and forth on is whether or not I could afford to go back to school. The government that determines how much financial aid I was eligible for, told me my parents made too much money for them to give me a lot of aid. The bank where I applied for a loan said that my same parents the government said made too much money, in fact didn't have enough money to co-sign my loan. Funny the little ironies of life.

So I spent my entire summer balanced on a limb of indecision. I couldn't tell my employers how long I could work for them. I had a friend who wanted me to move in with her. I had a school that needed to know if I was going to use my dorm room. I had no answers. Only hopes and guesses to give each of these people. I tried to trust that God knew best, but it was hard at times. Finally it seemed that I had exhausted all my options for returning to school. I began making my plans to stay at home. I started giving everyone what I thought was my "Final Answer." I had finally stopped fighting and decided to accept what God gave me. And guess what happened next?

I got a revised financial aid package with just enough aid to muddle by. What does this teach me? God WILL bless me if I surrender and trust HIS will, not my own. I know that no matter what the outcome was, God would have been working in my life. At least I can be certain of that much, if nothing else. And that is a promise I can take to the bank. The Heavenly bank of God, that is.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

No Longer a Servant!

John 15:15

"I no longer call you servants, because as servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."

For a long time I have had the idea that I wanted to be God's servant. I heard good talk about servanthood and servant-like hearts, and I concluded that I should be a servant. Seemed like the logical way to go about things right? Servanthood automatically equals being a servant.

But somewhere, I missed one important thing. God wants me to be servant-LIKE. But here in John, He tells me that He also wants me to be His FRIEND. Imagine that! Instead of trying to be God's trusted servant, I should want to be His friend. Wow. God doesn't want my servitude. He wants me. How amazing is that?!? I never thought about it in such a way before. The difference between servant-like and servant is a huge fundamental difference. Like the difference between being the King's servant and being the King's friend. Of course, both have to respect and obey the King. But just think of the rest of the differences between them. Wow.

Just yesterday my dream was to hear God tell me "Well done, good and faithful servant." But I struggled with my failures as a servant. I could never be good enough. I prayed for this over and over, but God never seemed to be answering this prayer the way I wanted. But today, I think I've found the missing piece. Today my dream has become instead to hear "Well done, good and faithful... Friend." Suddenly I feel the clouds that were blocking my vision before are parting before me now. Friend... Yeah, that has a nice sound to it. God really is great!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Treasured Jewel.

Why do I love you?
Because you are good looking?
It’s good to look good. But it can never last. Will you look good tomorrow or the day after? When you grow old? Can you always look good all the time? So if I love you because you look good, then my love will be broken when you no longer look good.
So no, that’s not why I love you.
Why do I love you?
Because you have a good character?
It’s good to have a good character. But it can never last. Will you always be a pleasant person? Can you always be kind? Will you have bad days and make mistakes? Will you be mean? So if I love you because you have a good character, then my love will be broken when you slip.
So no, that’s not why I love you.
Why do I love you?
Because you are strong, or kind, or smart?
It’s good to be these things. But they can never last. Will you always be strong? Can you be kind to everyone all the time? Will you never make a mistake? Are you never a fool? So if I love you because of these things, then my love will be broken the first time you have a weak moment.
So no, that’s not why I love you.
Why do I love you?
I don’t want to love you for things that can’t last. That is not a true love, an eternal love. Instead, I choose to love you for who you are. When I look at you, I see a priceless treasure, unique, beautiful. You are not valuable to me because of your looks, or your personality or your abilities. You are valuable to me because you are a jewel. You are precious. I accept everything about you. When you are dirty. When you are broken. When you are not perfect. It’s ok, because you are a treasured jewel. All other things might change. But I love you because you are you. The good, the bad, everything you are.
Because you are.
That’s why I love you.
You are my precious