He didn’t settle

Have you ever felt you were stuck squarely between a rock and a hard place?  It doesn’t feel like a comfortable place to dwell, does it?  And so naturally we would mostly agree this is not a great place to settle.

And yet when there seems no way forward and too much strain to go back and undo, don’t we sometimes feel we want to just settle for the “rock and the hard place” living quarters?Hebrews 12.2

I’m thinking of the two times I was experiencing the onset of labor contractions as a natural part of giving birth to both of our sons.  There was the point of extreme tension.  I had confidence the end result would be joyous and yet I also recognized the painful valley I would need to traverse to get there.  For a time (a very short time) I contemplated whether I could just settle in the in between.  Fortunately, the pain and intense natural urge to push through took over.  The end result times 2 was JOY.

There’s a multitude of “rock and a hard place” scenarios my mind could ponder.  Sometimes the outcome doesn’t seem quite as assuredly joyous as the birth of a baby.  The rocky place of unemployment and serious health concerns in which we currently find ourselves offers decidedly daunting outcomes.  None of the options are appealing right now, and there’s a temptation to throw hands in the air and just settle.

Yet, Jesus is our example of the best way to respond when feeling stuck between two unpleasant options and an outcome requiring total faith and trust.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”  Luke 22:42 niv

Jesus was in between the rock of impending brutality and the hard place of obedience to His Father.  The victorious fulfillment of God’s rescue plan for all of humanity would be the outcome on the other side.  However, the temptation to settle was there or else Jesus wouldn’t have asked for the option to avoid the bitter cup of suffering at the hands of His own creation.do not settle

Hallelujah!  Jesus didn’t settle.

He cried out to the Father, “… not My will, but Yours be done.”

And so, for all of us who find ourselves feeling stuck between two no good options, may we follow the author and pioneer of our faith trusting the outcome into His faithful hands.  I am choosing now to trust Him.  Will you too?

…Because His heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be His, He endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!  Hebrews 12:2 tpt

Ponder:

Does it help you to persevere through the hard, rocky place knowing Jesus didn’t settle for less than total obedience to the Father’s plan?

Do you think it was hard for Jesus as fully man/fully God to trust the Father’s plan?

No matter the fiery trials of this life I must choose to believe in God’s goodness and give thanks to Him for the way He’s going to bring me through – even before I am able to experience the outcome.  Lord, I need You to fill me with the faith and the perseverance to obey You.  Teach me to fix my eyes on You, Jesus, and follow Your lead all the way home.  Jesus, don’t let me ever settle for less, for Your glory and to make Your name great. Amen.

Eyes on Jesus…you’re shining!

~Lisa

FMF-Square-Images-settleToday I am joining Kate and her wonderful community of faith writers for some Five Minute Friday writing fun.  The word prompt for this week is {tired}  If you’re in the least bit intrigued, come join us for the Five Minute Friday link up

All you have to do is ponder the word prompt, set your timer for 5:00, and start typing. When time’s up, publish and link up.  Oh so simple!

O Lord, I’m tired…

We sat together, a group of women ranging in age from young mommy to less young with grown children (like me), around several tables pushed in to make one.  The chatter was bountiful as we brightened our doodle sheets with many colors.  The word LOVE was sketched vertically down the black and white page our teacher handed out.  You might have the impression we were helping out in a children’s class; but no, we were gathered up for Bible study.  All of us women folk – coloring and doodling, chatting and laughing.tired 030918

My spiritual daughter is leading us in discipleship training through Titus 2 over six weeks this spring.  This was our third week, and we were getting ready to talk about loving our husbands well.  We would even dare to uncover and discuss our Father’s view of submitting ourselves as wives under the headship of our husbands.

This young friend who prayerfully walks ahead of us on this journey through Titus 2 asked me, momma, to open us with prayer.  My first words were these…  “O Lord, I’m tired…”  I exhaled a long deep breath from the bottom of my weary lungs.  I whispered again…”Lord, probably everyone here is tired, and so this is why we come to sit at Your feet…”

It’s true, you know?  We’re all tired as the result of something or tired of something.  I can’t speak for everyone – just me.  But I’m tired from the constant pelting of these sharp cords against my heart and mind…

Angry words, hateful attitudes, and accusations are often hurled ruthlessly.

Violence, abuse, and brutality – one human being against another.

Families are broken and separated.

Pathology reports, diagnoses, hospice care and death.

Job loss and financial ruin.

Anxiety, depression, cutting, and suicide attempts.

And then I remember the days of horrific torture Jesus endured leading up to His crucifixion and death.  He took all of these angry lashes upon His flesh and more.  Every sin ever conceived of satan and perpetrated by man – Jesus bore it.  He chose to do it in obedience to His Father’s will.

Then the ruling priests, over and over, made bitter accusations against him, but he remained silent. So Pilate questioned him again. “Have you nothing to say? Don’t you hear these many allegations they’re making against you?” But Jesus offered no defense to any of the charges, much to the great astonishment of Pilate.  Mark 15:3-5 tpt

Jesus silenced His tired, weary heart and mind and just took it – all of the evil of all time from the Garden of Eden to the Battle of Armageddon.

If I think I’m tired… and I am… surely my Savior, Jesus, understands why.

Ponders:

Is there something weighing you down to the point of weariness?  Is living in this broken world making you tired?

Do you believe Jesus bore that thing in His flesh?  Would you like to ask Jesus to take (_name it here_) from you and give you rest?

Ask Him.  He will do it.  Jesus delights to be our peace.

Come Holy Spirit of God and bring Your comfort.  Let us gather tired at Your feet Jesus and receive Your rest for You are peace.  Thank You for lovingly hearing our heart cries. amen.

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Today I am joining Kate and her wonderful community of faith writers for some Five Minute Friday writing fun.  The word prompt for this week is {tired}  If you’re in the least bit intrigued, come join us for the Five Minute Friday link up

All you have to do is ponder the word prompt, set your timer for 5:00, and start typing. When time’s up, publish and link up.  Oh so simple!

Is it really that simple?

fmf logoWisdom from Kate Motaung regarding the intent of Five Minute Friday:  It’s really not about the quality — it’s about showing up. It’s about sitting down, setting the timer, and doing the work. It’s about the discipline and the practice of letting the words flow. It’s about releasing fears and embracing imperfection. And we do it together.

So, now that you know how simple this is and that it’s not about perfection – join us!  Set your timer with me. 5:00 and GO!

Simplicity: It’s really not that complicated.  Faith.  Of course, I’m really just talking to myself here.  I’m the one who keeps trying to add variables.  Somehow I want to make the Christian life a formula rather than simply following Jesus.

I know better.  After thirty-five years of full-fledged commitment to journey through life as a Jesus follower.  I know this truth.  Experientially, I have fully tested this truth.  And yet in various seasons and on some forgetful days, I go back to adding something of my own fashioning to the simplicity of genuine faith.  I think that’s called idolatry.  Ouch, when I call it what it really is, the truth is painful.  I don’t want to be an idolater.More-FMF-Square-Images-24

Perhaps the name of my blogsite – Eyes on Jesus and Shine – is really more of a daily reminder to myself.  This is my purpose.  I am to get up each morning and focus my eyes on Jesus, my Savior.  He is the author and the perfector of my faith.  Continually Jesus tells me in His Word that it really is so simple.  He’s going to take the burden – carry the heavy load.  Jesus is my Defender.  Healer.  Strongtower.  Firm Foundation.

Oh Jesus, it is simply You.  You plus nothing else.  You are my all in all.  You are the beginning and the end.  Alpha and Omega.  The Name above all names.  There is no one like You.  And when I stop to ponder the truth I already know.  His true nature and character tried and true, it’s simple!

I want to live here in simple faith.  It’s obedience to God.  It really is that simple!

Eyes on Jesus… you’re shining!

~Lisa

 

Only the One and Only, Jesus, is able

“…know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:39 ESV

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 NIV

Wow, what a week!  I’ve been “doing the thang” (read in Beth Moore’s lovely Texas drawl) for several days.  You know, the decorating, handing out candy canes at work, and I’ve even gone so far as to wear reindeer antlers on my head in an attempt to ‘feel festive’.

The smiles on children’s faces have brought a smile to my own.  The antlers are truly a conversation piece.  The other day I heard a middle schooler call out, “It’s a reindeer on the loose!” He caused a chuckle to bubble up from the inside out.Psalm 114.7.8

And then again, the holidays can be overwhelmingly hard for so many people.  Their rock-hard walls are cracking and all the awful is leaking out – at times spewing.  It’s my job.  I must uphold the standards, the policies and guidelines I’ve been given to successfully fulfill my duties.  Lately, it seems compliance with rules is rubbing against the grain of people already stretched and overwhelmed beyond their capacity to comply.

I sat at my post yesterday and took it all.  After so many arrows of accusation landed on my brain and my heart, a tear began to trickle down the side of my nose.  Soon others dripped off my chin.  She, several she’s and he’s, just wouldn’t stop.  Finally, I pulled antlers off because there’s just no point to silliness in the midst of the battle for peace.

And I thought about Jesus.  The One and Only Son of God, Who took it all.  He stood silently as all the sin and hatred and ugly flew in His face, assaulted His senses, and broke His heart.  Yet, He spoke only words of forgiveness.  Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.

Father, write Jesus’ prayer in my heart today.  And when my heart cracks may the only trickle be of Living Water.  May I stay silent except to speak life and love and hope in the One and Only, Jesus, Who is able.

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This post is written in participation with the Five-minute Friday community of beautiful faith writers.  The idea behind Five-minute Friday is this:

I set my timer for 5 minutes and then write prayerfully as Holy Spirit leads me regarding the particular word prompt.  Today’s word prompt from Kate Motaung is {only}.