Archive for March, 2013

On Thursday of last week I was at a Writer’s Conference having a great time in the scenic mountains of Santa Cruz. My thoughts were filled with questions I had for my writing mentor who I was to meet with at 4. A few minutes before my appointment, as I was going down some outside steps, my foot missed the second step from the top.  The next thing I knew I had hit my head on the concrete at the bottom of the stairs.

As I lay there, being stared at by five pairs of eyeballs, I tried to assess the situation. I sensed that it would not be wise to stand up. Then, one of the pair of eyeballs begin looking me over in a knowing way. I hoped with all my heart that he would not find anything of concern.

We talked for a bit, and then he gave me a choice. One option was to go to the hospital in an ambulance and be checked out more closely. I didn’t want to do that! The other option was for him to take me to Urgent Care in a car and there be examined further. That sounded better!

At Urgent Care I was checked and probed again. This time it was a doctor doing the checking. The conclusion was mostly good, but she did declare that I had suffered a minor concussion. She indicated that this could lead to some serious complications in the next few days. However, she comforted me with saying that these complications were not likely.

It has now been nine days since the accident. I am grateful to God that these complications never happened. I also have nearly recovered from all my visible injuries. This even includes my black eye.

So, what did God have in mind when he allowed this accident? I certainly do not know all that he had in mind, but the following are my takeaways so far:

  • Gained wisdom in going down stairs.
  • Felt loved and protected by God. The injuries could have been much worse.
  • Reminded how fragile life is, and everything can change in a moment.
  • Experienced God’s love and concern through many people during this difficult time.
  • Know that God will bring good from the missed 4 o clock appointment, although I was deeply disappointed in not making it to the time (Romans 8:28).

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Sowing in Tears

“Sowing in tears” is hard for us to do (Psalm 126:5). It often leads to our giving up because it is just too painful. Even if God promises a harvest some day, there is still often painful sowing and waiting before results are seen.

A couple of months ago, I almost gave up. I had invested $10,000, 1,400 hours and nearly three years in writing a book. My harvest was only 26 copies sold. I wanted out. It was too embarrassing and too hard on how I felt regarding my self-worth.

So, I consulted the Lord for direction. His response was to continue writing. Even if there would never be much in the way of results, he would be pleased because I did it with him and for his purposes. Pleasing him would be enough harvest. Anything else would be frosting on the cake.

Therefore, I continue to write. He promises me that I will reap if I do not give up (Galatians 6:8). That reaping may be just pleasing him, but it could also include helping many Christians to deepen their love relationships with the Lord.

We must remember that God’s work in and through us often starts small (Matthew 13:31) and grows slowly . We need to be patient. God wants us to look to the prophets as our mentors in “suffering and patience” in doing God’s work (James 5:10). Much of the time they were in great pain and often missed the joy of stardom. Yet, they experienced the strength of God’s presence in their sowing in tears (Jeremiah 1:19).

If you are sowing in tears these days, may I encourage you that you are not wasting your time. “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58). Don’t let the lack of results fool you. Sow in tears till God clearly leads in another direction.

Application Exercise

What is a work that you are doing these days in which you feel like you are “sowing in tears”? Ask the Lord if he wants you to continue with this ministry or go in a different direction. What did he say?

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Broken Things

I told some church leaders this week that one of the biggest reasons I thought that God was using their church so much was because they were broken people. They knew they could not do it, but God could. They lived the truth that “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Someone once said, “God loves to use broken things.” One of the biggest obstacles that we have to being used by God is our determination to run from our brokenness. How can God use us if we refuse to acknowledge our brokenness and allow him to empower us?

We often refuse to accept the truth that we cannot do one thing that lasts for eternity without God using us. ”Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). But we continue striving to make things happen. We refuse to recognize that only God can make things happen. God tells us to “Ceasing striving and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

I think that many of us are deceived into thinking that we are strong, good, and capable people, all by ourselves. We think we can do great and mighty things, with just a little help from God. We often miss the truth that without God leading the way we are “miserable and poor and blind and naked” (Revelations 3:17) in accomplishing God’s work.

One big reason that many of us are deceived is that we have been trained in moralism. This training leads us to believe we are pretty good in our own strength.  It leads us away from living in our brokenness. It leads us to refuse to accept the reality that “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit “ (Zechariah 4:6).

Peter was ready to be used by God when he was broken. He realized that he could not serve God in his own strength when he denied he knew Jesus three times (Luke 22:62) Then, God used him to lead 3,000 people to Christ.

What a gift God gives for us to know and accept our brokenness. May we be like Paul and embrace our brokenness (2 Corinthians 12:10). May we be deceived no longer. God wants to use broken things!

An Application Exercise

Thank God for the things in your life right now that make you feel broken. Ask God to use this brokenness to transform you and to minister to others.


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