Sunday, August 25, 2013

Valley of Purpose

"The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and sat me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones.  He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry." Ezekiel 37:1-2

So here you stand, in the middle of the valley looking around at a place that is dead and hopeless.  The smell startles you, a familiar stench, and yet foreign.  Your memory jogs and suddenly you realize you have been here before.  It has been a long time, so many things have changed, and yet, the valley is so very much the same.  

Your head is hanging low as you try to recall how you got here.  One wrong turn there, not listening close enough here; on and on you go for what seems like several minutes as you trace the steps to this very point.  Every mistake you have made is blazing in your ears, you cannot see past the regret of doing it wrong; and yet, in the midst of the chaos going on in your mind, you hear His voice.  It is a calm voice, calling you gently back, speaking words of Life and Truth, reminding you that you are His and He is here; even in the valley.

Today I read Ezekiel 37 verse one and had a sudden jolt in my spirit.  In Ezekiel's vision, he clearly says The hand of the Lord was on him, and HE (the Spirit of the Lord) brought him down into the valley.  What? God brought him down into this valley?  WOAH!!! You mean, it wasn't because of the wrong turns, the misplaced steps, the huge mistakes he made?  It was GOD??  And wait a minute...God brought Ezekiel down to the valley to use him?  To empower him to speak life and breath into dry bones? The chapter goes onto explain the vision in greater detail, that God was preparing Ezekiel to go speak that same LIFE into the people of Israel.  

God has us right where we are for a purpose.  It may seem like a valley to us, it may have all the familiar sights and smells of a place of darkness, but today let me challenge you as I have been challenged; to change the lens that we look through.  Instead of being blinded by the darkness, choose to see that glimmer of light.  Instead of being sucked into the despair, reach for the joy.  Instead of giving in to the death, stand up and fight for Life.  Allow your perspective to be filtered  through the eyes of Jesus.  Allow his grace to sustain you as you walk, and his mercy to catch you when you fall.  His plan for your life, for the lives of the ones you love, is nothing short of amazing. Be the agent of hope, and speak LIFE INTO DRY BONES!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Perfectly Placed

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" Isaiah 55:8-9

Like almost every morning, I scanned through my e-mails.  Because I had none showing up in my "VIP" list, (my way of filtering my favorites), I knew nothing was of immediate importance or worth. As I scrolled through, I stopped on a devotional.  If the opening scripture does not speak to me quickly in a moment like this, before my morning coffee has taken on it's full effect, I click delete before I even think about it.  This morning, I continued reading....

Even now, two hours later I can not remember what the content of that email was, but I do know that with that opening verse, God spoke swiftly to a part of me that was searching for stillness amongst the clatter of the things going through my mind.  Finding sleep last night was difficult as I played out every scenario and situation I am currently involved with.  With quite a bit of anxiety, I tossed and turned; with every turn a different topic came to my mind and I was sucked back into trying to "figure it all out."  I did not find a peaceful state to sleep last night, and my dreams continued the craziness in my head.  It was with that opening scripture that God jolted my attention; I was trying to figure it all out instead of trusting Him.

I am guilty of feeling it is my responsibility to make things run smooth in all aspects of life.  It is part of the "people pleaser" in me that is still in recovery. I get so caught up in things that I feel are injustices, that I take on this persona of a warrior going after the kill, and if I am not careful and very purposeful in my approach, I begin to take over where only God is suppose to be in control. I heard God say to me in the midst of my morning fog, "I am not your team mate, I am your leader, Bonnie. Give me back the control and rest.  I have you placed where I want you, allow me to guide you." 

Today, rest in the sovereignty of the Almighty, that He has you PERFECTLY PLACED right where He wants you.  Give Him back the control and allow Him to guide you in the purpose that He is working through you.  Jim Elliot, the missionary martyr once said, "Where ever you are, be all there", don't just be there, be ALL there.  Be ALL that mom that God wants you to be.  Be ALL that wife that God wants you to be.  Be ALL that leader God wants you to be; and be ALL that friend that God wants you to be.  Remember, His thoughts are not ours, His ways are HIGHER~ If God has you in this moment, in that relationship, in that circumstance, it is for a reason.  Trust Him, and give Him back His proper place...the lead....