Friday, June 17, 2011

Percolating In My Soul

My girls and I traveled to Kara’s home. (Kara will soon be one of my girls too, yea!) Knowing we only had that night to visit and part of the next day, no one wanted to go to bed and end the fun. We stayed up way past bed time and into the morning discussing wedding plans and invitation design with the kids. I relished each minute, ignoring my body’s plea for sleep.

But it’s all fun and games until there’s no coffee. After readying my sleepy self the next morning, I headed to the kitchen looking forward to a nice cup (or three) of coffee. Coffee always fixes my morning sleepy head.

No coffee? What kind of people are they? What kind of people don’t drink coffee? What kind of people don’t have coffee in the house? Heathens? Must be. I know God likes coffee; He and I meet over a steaming cup each morning. What now? I need my starter fluid…I need coffee!

I tried to play it cool on the outside. I didn’t want anyone thinking I was addicted or anything…. (Oh, by the way, do not let my husband read this….He has an opinion about my love for coffee and we do not want to get into that right now.)

With hopes of a large pot filled with hot java, we walked to church for the morning service. Coffee? Gone. Ugh! The headache began around 11:30 that morning and with no time to make a run to get a cup, it lingered. My body begged for caffeine for energy after the late late night.

Eventually I did have my cup o’joe and I did survive. But I can’t help but notice how my longing for coffee sounds a lot like David’s longing for the Lord. These are passages I’ve read a hundred times, but in light of the day’s events, I can relate to them in a fresh way.

Ps 73:25-26 Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Ps 84:1-2 How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Ps 143:6 I spread out my hands to you;
I thirst for you like a parched land.

Ps 119:20 My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.

Ps 119:131 I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.

Desire, yearn, faint, cry out, thirst, consumed, longing…Could these words be used to describe my relationship with God? Is my desire for God this strong? So strong it consumes me? Is He all I desire? Is it Him I yearn for, thirst for?

In order to get my daily fix from java, it has to be available, which isn’t always possible. But God is always available, no percolator needed.

Lord, let joy in You percolate in my soul brewing a rich love roasted in Your salvation. Fill my longings and desires with your ways. May You be my mocha latte and caffeine-portion forever. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey (or a Carmel Macchiato) to my mouth!

(Now, just so you know, I have gotten over the judgmental attitude of a home without coffee. Kara’s family is filled with wonderful people and I love them, even if they don’t drink coffee. But next time I might just pack my French press!)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Spiritual Earthquake

The recent excitement that was stirred up around May 21 has many people talking and I have to say that I am rather enjoying it. I know many believers are angry at Harold Camping, but at the same time I think we need to guard our own hearts from bitterness and slander or we too will give a negative impression of Christ to the world.

Is there a mar on the face of Christianity because of the wrong prediction? Yes, but I would like to point out that what Satan intends to harm Christianity; God can use to bring glory to Him and souls into His kingdom.

In response to his wrong timing, Mr. Camping claims he misunderstood the Word. He says it was not a physical earthquake, but a spiritual earthquake. On this point, I think I can agree with him.

He stirred up a spiritual earthquake. At Impact (youth center) I fielded many questions about the end of the world. Point blank questions like the kind straight out of an evangelistic training manual. In the span of 2 days, May 20 and 21, I was able to share the gospel countless times, calm hearts, and give the truth that there really will be an end and we need to be ready. I could see and feel the spiritual war going on in the building as I spoke to young souls hungry for truth. Now that’s an earthquake. And I’m ready to use the aftershocks for His glory as well.

What does all this mean for believers? It is easier to live in our comfy Christian lives, to focus on God’s blessings and rather than the end of the age. The sunny-day-birds-are-singing kind of Christianity is more pleasant than the doom-and-gloom reality of Revelation. To use the words of someone I spoke with recently, “It freaks me out…I don’t want to even think about it!” But it is reality, it is fast approaching, and the fields are white for harvest.

I think this all serves as a reminder to “Be ready always to give an answer for the hope that lies within you.” (I Peter 3:15) Harold Camping brought up the subject and as a result people are open to discussing it. They are curious. They are lost sheep… wandering… blind… and unprepared. As in the days of Noah, they are eating and drinking and unaware of what lies ahead. Someone needs to tell them to be ready and show them how. That someone is me. That someone is you.

You may be nodding your head as you read this, agreeing that countless souls need to be told. But mere talk or agreeing does nothing. Who around you doesn’t know the Savior? Pray for an opportunity to tell them the greatest news of all time. Don’t know anyone who needs to hear? Put yourself in situations where you will have opportunities. And then use them for His glory.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Meaning Behind the Title

Titling a blog is no easy task. To convey ones heart in a short, catchy grouping of words is difficult. But behind every blog title there is a story and so it is with mine. I enjoy reading about how others came up with their titles; and it is time I share my story.

The battle of fighting the flesh requires daily focus. Preparation. A battle plan. I don’t know about you (though I could make an educated guess) but my number one battle is fought in the area of selfishness. I want…. I need… I have to have… I like… I hate… I can… I can’t… I will…. I won’t… I must… Expectations I place on others… expectations I place on circumstances… and expectations I place on God. My flesh naturally is drawn to magnify me. To get the best for me. To make it easiest for me. To show my best side. To manipulate others to like me. Self-important, self-seeking, self-centered. A universe is created, dedicated to ME and it’s all too often where I reside until God pulls me away and into the truth.

The truth is found in Luke 9:23-24"If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it."

John 3:30 states it clearly, no matter what translation you read.
NAS “He must increase, but I must decrease”
NIV “He must become greater; I must become less.”
NLT “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”
NCV “He must become greater, and I must become less important.”

Denying myself. Losing my life. Taking up my cross. Following Him. Increasing Him. Decreasing me. Daily. Day in and day out. Not when I feel like it. A way of living. A constant choice I make. And my flesh fights it. But I know it’s right.

This is not something that just happens. I’ve got to make it happen. I have to choose. Choose to give up trying to make me happy. Choose to do what will bring glory and praise to Him. Letting it happen occasionally is not enough, it won’t happen. I’ve got to pursue it. Seek it. I am on a mission.

A mission “In Hot Pursuit Of More And Less.”

Check out the story behind the blog title "Smelling Coffee". It's one I definitely relate to!