Thank you! Thank you! Father, You are all we need!

This is the awkward year when my birthday falls on Thanksgiving. In an ironic plot twist, I’m usually a little bitter about this instead of grateful. Surprise, surprise. I’m not a very big fan of my birthday, usually the annual plan is to think about making plans, delay, not end up making very big plans, disappointment, back to regular life. As I enter year 27 the cycle is starting to fall apart and for the first Thanksgiving birthday I’m celebrating probably since childhood (my sweet 16 was on Thanksiginv, somewhat anti-climactic) I’m finally grateful.

I had never been anxious about aging and getting older. It seems a bit ridiculous to fight against and complain about time, but we as humans never cease to do it!  The thing is, at one point 27 started to look old and I realized how much I haven’t done in my life and anxiety crept in. It wasn’t so much about the tasks and achievements I had wanted, I was more so disappointed that the blessings I had asked for and “waited” for for so long had never really arrived. Once again, bitterness.

I don’t know the exact time I became ready to turn 27, but it probably happened this year when God opened my hearts and I started saying “yes” to Him. It became very clear that I had put so much hope in getting the things I wanted and believed I deserved in life that I stopped caring about and being thankful for the life I DID have and all the potential there. Looking back it all seems so silly to have been stressed out and I now see all the good in my life and realize I can never discount that. Are there things I still want to accomplish and blessings I’d still like to see God put in my life? Of course, but will He be given the glory if all I do is wait around for the things I want instead of saying yes to what He can do through me? Yes, because He always gets the glory, but I choose whether or not I will be a part of that. Saying yes to pursuing God’s glory has made all the difference and I see now what my life can be with or without the desires of my heart because I already have all I need in Christ.

Around the world when Christmas comes we start looking at all we don’t have – usually in the process of making a gift wish list, but we also do this on a daily basis in our consumerism culture. I’m grateful that our country celebrates Thanksgiving when we do and (to the few who haven’t seen all the Christmas decorations in stores and songs on the radio) it puts a hard stop on when it’s appropriate to start celebrating the season of giving (and receiving) – once we are thankful for what we already have. We are blessed beyond reason and compare and I hope everyone has an opportunity to really reflect on that fact tomorrow, between the football and awkward family moments, and fabulous, forced over-eating!

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I create an all-encompassing list of how much I have to be grateful for!

 

Who Is Sovereign?

After what appears to be the most crushing episode in political history, people have taken to the internet (and the streets for some) since last night to preach gloom and doom. Despair and disappointment reign as sinful humans realize that other sinful humans and man-made institutions were not a secure place to put their hopes and dreams. Who has done this to us? Surely all our neighbors thought the same as us? How could they not, we are right! We’re good people after all.

Francis Chan, while dealing out a very bitter pill, difficult to swallow not only in size, but the texture grates as it goes down, is right. It’s hard to hear, but living under these assumptions is incredibly dangerous. If you can explain the little evil in you, you begin to strengthen that muscle until you’re able to sweep even the biggest offenses under the table of your conscience. We are not good people, we are impatient, impetuous children looking to our own knowledge and strength and demanding we get our way. Notice the disappointed people today lashing out, stomping their feet, and making their threats on social media. Disappointment is natural and I can’t say I was excited at either prospect.

As expected, the flood of social media responses today show exactly what kind of people we think we are and who is the true sovereign in our lives! WE are GOOD people. I am the good sovereign in my own life. The captain of my ship, the commander of my soul. That’s a lot of pressure! I’m lucky my brain goes by the popular vote and hasn’t figured out an electoral system yet! (To be truthful, in my world there is no voting, Lisa World is a happy, thriving dictatorship). But we are good people, we deserve good lives! We’ve done enough of the right stuff to earn it, the civic duty was done and I’d like the instant reward and reminder that everything I do matters!

Should nothing of our efforts stand, no legacy survive
Unless the LORD does raise the house in vain it’s builders strive.
To you who boasts tomorrow’s gains, tell me what is your life?
A mist that vanishes 
at dawn. All glory be to Christ!

God has taken yet another opportunity to show us that He is at work in this world. Countless gods lost their golden crowns today. Their power and ability, or lack there of, was exposed and many little kings were forced to leave their thrones in the wake of this sobering news. This is scary, but nature abhors a vacuum. The throne must be filled. Someone must be the sovereign. What has been most uplifting from my experience today has been observing the first steps as people leave the thrones of their own lives- after the temper tantrums ended, many turned the narrative around in their lives and have accepted responsibility for the most important things. “I’m going to love everyone really hard” “let’s be good and kind to one another” “we love you boldly and courageously, we are with you”. Does it take something this shocking for us good people to take this on as our battle armor and boldly fight the righteous battle of doing what is right in our day to day lives? It looks like it does.

I arose today without fear. True, I am a privileged, educated, white female so this happens almost everyday. But I arose today knowing that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. No merit of my own I claim, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. But I looked around and became very aware that I was almost entirely alone in this. If people were not filled with righteous (and much legitimate) fear, they were cushioned and comfortable in a dark sense of security, based on something as short-lived a 4-year political term. What is left? What will happen now? Where will they find hope? What was their hope built on if it was so easily dashed? I found the emptiness many realized today to be the most crushing of all. I was compelled to pray.

More important than any civic duty or war we fight in as a nation is our spiritual duty to war for our brother’s and sister’s souls. To fight the fatiguing and thankless battle against the enemy and ask the Lord to comfort the comfortless and uncomfortable. As despair and emptiness hung heavily today, the Holy Spirit moved me to beg for the souls of the lost and hopeless. With a vacancy in the throne room of many personal lives, why couldn’t Christ come in glory to fill the role of Good Sovereign? The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength (1 Corinth. 1:25). Isn’t that something worth putting our hope in? The people of this nation want a champion, doesn’t that sound like the strong, just champion we all need and want? A King who can set captives free and comes to serve with mercy and grace?

I am a slave to that perfect grace and mercy.
I am only free because of Christ’s sinless life.
I am only free because of His sacrificial death on the cross.
My freedom is not based on earthly citizenship, nationality, the color of my skin, my political party, sexual preference, or anything else in this world.
The only freedom that will ever truly be mine is based solely on the blood shed for me. No merit of my own I claim, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
I am proud to be born a free citizen of the United States of America, but I know that my true home is in heaven and my citizenship is secured only by the blood – an entrance fee I could not afford myself, given to me freely through God’s perfect love which casts out fear.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39

 Who is sovereign in your life? Can they stand up to insurmountable and overwhelming questions and anxieties we’ve all be facing? Christ has overcome for us.

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Psalm 62:1-2