My Plans Are Your Plans

 

This is written for all wise servant leaders and those who ache to do God’s will

 

  “Here am I,” said Mary;

“I am the Lord’s servant; as you have spoken, so be it.”  Luke 1:38 (NEB)

 I surrender Lord. My plans are your plans. My wants are your wants.

Though I have doubts and fear; I trust you will show me the way. But count on me Lord to seek clarifications as I pray daily to be at-one-ment with you.

I need not fear for my sustenance; my needs are to fulfill the needs of those who call out in the “wilderness.”

I surrender Lord. My plans are your plans. My wants are your wants. All I ask Lord is that you offer help along the way.

Amen.

Just Believe

While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jarius, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?’’ Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Mark 5:35-36. 

This scripture brought to my remembrance the struggle I had trying to define leadership. I wanted leadership to be more than just a word; I wanted and needed the word, leadership, to be an ongoing living and active statement. Then I realized that leadership is about faith; it is about not limiting your possibilities to the visible. It is about drowning out the noise and believing that there’s more to life than what meets the eyes. Then it came to me: “Leadership is unlimited when you believe in something bigger than yourself.”

What is your definition of Leadership?

The Pity Party

God, the one and only—I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I need comes from him, so why not? Psalm 62:1.

I had a pity party yesterday. I felt sorry for myself. Nothing is going as planned. Why should I an innocent, suffer? What is this all about? God, are you teaching me to be patient? Is there’s something better, as we like to say to cheer ourselves, or is this just life; and bad things happen to good people.

I hope not. I have seen bad things happen to good people. It is not pretty and it is not fair. My friends and my colleagues feel my pain too.  But soon they will forget. They have to forget, and life for them will go on as before. But the ones that suffer—suffer still.

Richard H. Schmidt writes: “When we let our happiness depend on some future event, often something unlikely to happen and perhaps something that wouldn’t be best for us anyway, our waiting becomes tense and anxious. The key to waiting contentedly is to focus upon God.”* God, I am definitely focused on you-‘yeah right!’

Max Lucado writes: “(God) said no to good things so (God) could say yes to the right thing….”** I am wondering what that right thing is for me? You have been there too, huh.  

God, I had a pity party yesterday and I want to have another one today. But you know what; I will fight this ‘poor me’ syndrome. I am better than this. I have choices. I choose to embrace the positive and even find good in this bad. This is what I know:

  • God alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:2.
  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11.

So God, I am reminded that I am on a journey. This wonderful journey; a journey that requires me to be attuned to every facet of my life; an opportunity to yearn and learn, to dream the impossible; an opportunity to re-think my direction, but more than anything; to trust you, to put my faith into action, to live out Psalm 23:1: “you are my shepherd and I have everything I need.”

Who needs a pity party?

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*Richard H. Schmidt. Praises Prayers & Curses Conversations with the Psalms. 2005, p. 123.

**Max Lucado. Cure for the Common Life. 2005, p. 106.

One Person at a Time

“As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but not one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediate her bleeding stopped” (Luke 8:42b-44).

To receive a full appreciation of what I am about to explain please read Luke 8:40-56.  If you read verses 40-56 you learned that Jesus healed a woman who had been seriously ill for 12 years and on that same day raised a little child from the dead. There are many lessons and yes, sermons in these few verses; but the lesson that I want to share today is this.

Jesus blessed one person at a time; even as the crowds pressed against him. Jesus’ sole interest was that one person. That’s our charge. Even with our busy schedules and life pressures, we need to find a way to touch somebody; one person, at a time. And when we do, we can make a big difference in that person’s life and in this big world of ours.

I was reminded of paying forward just this week when I received a very special card and note from a former colleague, and again on that same day a telephone call from another former colleague and emails from so many others supporting me through a difficult time.

I believe when we intervene in the lives others, one person at a time, that we make a real difference in our world. So reach out and touch someone today.

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God, I thank you for the people who made a difference in my life—too many to name—continue to bless me so I can do the same for others. Amen

Miracles Witnessed

Waiting for something better? How soon we forget the miracles of our past and yes, even the miracles of today. Today, I want to share with you a prayer that I shared with my faith community on August 1, 2009 and later published at Upward Edge (www.upwardedge.com). It’s time to share it again. I hope that this short prayer will bring to your remembrance your  everyday miracles. 

 MIRACLES WITNESSED

“So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing?” John 6:30

God help us not to forget the miracles we have witnessed in our life time. Don’t let today’s burdens make us forget your love for us and your willingness to share our yoke.

 God help us not to forget the miracle:

Of having a place to call home

Of having that job to pay those long overdue bills

Or finding that special friend and the love of our life

God help us not to forget the miracle:

Of being parents—when we and others thought it was not possible

Or re-uniting with family and friends that we thought were long-lost

God help us not to forget the miracle:

Of having spiritual mentors and heroes who strengthened our faith

For witnessing the physical healing of family and friends; we thought would long be gone

Of holding the hands of a dear brother as he departed this world or to be in the presence of friends as they too left us.

 God help us not to forget your peacefulness, your assurances and the promises you have laid on our hearts.

I pray that as we remember the miracles in our lives that we will use our “gift of living” to help others who have forgotten their miracles— to bring hope to the hopeless; to provide shelter for the homeless and like Jesus feed the thousands.

When we remember our miracles we, like Jesus, can speak boldly the words of Isaiah 61:1-3a:

“The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon (us)…; God has sent (us) to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…; to comfort all who mourn; 3 and provide for those who grieve…”

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Will you share with us your miracles?

Should I Be Delighted: The Journey

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”  Psalm 81:10

Should I be delighted that God has chosen me for this journey? What journey you say? I don’t know, but I am on this journey with God.

This journey is about discerning God’s will for my life. This journey is about waiting and trusting God to meet my needs; to be obedient to that “special prompting.” This journey is about me not being in charge; to not be my stubborn self, but to trust the God I cannot see, the one who promised me, many years ago, to be with me always to the end of my time. It is this God, the one in our “Holy Bible,” who has set so many free.

So I am on this spiritual journey that requires me to be prayerful, open, alert and yes, faithful to the spirit’s prompting. A journey that requires me to be attuned to every facet of my life and “to pay attention on many levels: to consult scripture, to seek the advice of trusted advisors, to heed the sensus fidelium (the collective sense of the faithful), to read widely and deeply the best ancient and contemporary thinking, to pray, to attend to the prick of conscience and to the yearnings and dreamings of (my) heart, to watch, to wait, to listen.”*

God, I like taking trips, but the stubborn, take charge person that I am is not ready to go on this particular journey. But you, oh Lord, in your wisdom has chosen this journey for me. I worry about my health, the loss of friendship and oh yes, security. Waiting, being patient and trusting that my needs will be provided by someone other than me is really scary. But yet, I take this journey. A journey that my “angel heart” has prepared me for–because my provisions, my comfort, my salvation is in your hand for “you are my shepherd and I have everything I need” (Psalm 23:1).

I pray that as I travel on this journey that I am faithful and can speak these same words as assuredly as Paul when he said: “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Should I be delighted?

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 * Wendy M Wright, in Rueben Job’s book: A Guide to Spiritual Discernment, 1996, p.86.

I Don’t Know The Answers

It’s like this: When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” 1Corinthians 13:11.

I don’t know the answers Lord. I don’t even know the questions. Here’s what I do know. I know I need you in my life.

Have I been a child too long? Am I depending on you to feed me, to embrace me and to assure me at every step?

Where is my faith; help me to exercise my faith; to grow in my faith. Help me to put away childish thoughts and to begin to reason like an adult “full of wisdom.”

When I become that adult will mysteries unfold and visions realized? Will I then live out my life’s mission–to do something good everyday; to make a difference in people’s lives; to allow my touch to heal and my voice to motivate? When I become that adult, will I be more like you Lord; showing people the Way?

O’ Lord, I don’t know the answers to life questions. All I know is that I want to pray, to bring people to the fold; to be like the Son. I know that life struggles will continue, that the sun will continue to shine and rain drops will continue to fall.

I don’t know the answers Lord, but I faithfully live knowing that You are my shepherd and that You are the answer to my questions; to all of life’s questions. Amen.

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Published on April 11, 2009  at Upward Edge (www.upwardedge.com). Visit that site for great thoughts on Leadership