Good morning all-
I was in Houston this week going from business to business. It was a great week full of good friends, great dinners and I think a sale! Now that would be a blessing. I spent five hours training a new group on Public Awareness in the pipeline industry and I used old school techniques to get them off their phones. They paid attention too.
This week also had several major challenges at work. I'm not at liberty to express them on a social media forum but I can tell you I was tested, worried, angry and basically every kind of emotion not of the Lord. At one point, I felt like my world could change in a drastic way and all I could think of was to go to Jesus. Now, I have been faithfully reading the Bible and I have been in Deuteronomy, which basically is a summary of Leviticus in some ways but I know why. The Israelites just didn't get all those commands. And even when you jump over to Matthew and Mark, people weren't getting Jesus either. It seems the Israelites were to remain in the desert for centuries and in some ways so are we.
Do you ever wonder why you haven't really received word on a prayer? Or maybe when you didn't see the blessing you asked for, you got angry at God? Oh, we have all been there. Now, I have never built a gold cow or put up a foreign object as my idol, but I have had idols. I have looked at other peoples marriages and wanted them. I have looked upon what others have and wanted that and I would love to have millions in my 401K. Over time, when I actually looked at my hearts desire, I corrected my train of thought but it was through a lot of prayer. And even now as I would love to go into ministry, I must wait until God says, "Move forward." Waiting is not what I do. I am an action oriented person that makes decisions on the fly, builds strategies in minutes and pushes forward no matter what. That's who I am, but often, I must wait on the Lord.
Sometimes I am so envious of the Israelites and of the disciples. I want to see Jesus, hear Jesus and sit next to Jesus. I wish I could have been Mary Magdalene sitting on the mountain, soaking in every single word and yet, all of that had a price. The men and women that God led out of Egypt never entered the promise land. The disciples that sat next to Jesus all paid a price for sitting with Him. They would have to give their lives for Jesus and they did because of the times they sat with Him. His resurrection and them seeing Him is what changed them from cowards to seed planters.
So as I struggled with all the issues at work, all I could think about was Jesus. I needed peace but there wasn't any. I needed the problems to go away but they weren't and in the back of my mind I knew the ONLY solution was Jesus. Like the disciples I can sometimes be a coward and I wasn't sure my strategy was right. I prayed that the Lord would bring me wise counsel and that I would do the right thing and in the end that's exactly what we will do. But as I walked and thought and prayed, something miraculous happened that I have to share with you. Now, I've already told you I pay attention to the signs I am given. It could be a bloom, a rainbow, a bird. I never know but this was truly amazing and maybe only I will appreciate it but I think you will too.
As I prayed for wisdom, direction and peace, I could feel the worry rise up in me like a giant wave on the ocean. You know what I'm talking about. You know when the pressure in your chest gets heavy and you have to sigh just to release it. That was me, but I believe in Jesus. So as I was walking out the door of my hotel room, on the phone with the President of my company, I said in my head, "Jesus, I need Your peace and I am going to trust everything into Your hands because You are the only thing I can count on." Now that's powerful stuff, right? Well it's nothing compared to what happened. My head was down and as I said my last word, I looked up and across the street from my hotel was a stain glass window with Jesus hanging on the cross. I have stayed at that hotel the last three or four times and never have I seen that window. The sun was shining on His hands and feet and I wanted to fall down on the ground and cry. By the way, I'm not a crier so you know it was powerful. That's our Jesus. In the midst of our storms, when we call upon Him, He is there. Do I wish I could see Him and talk to Him? Absolutely, but the beauty of our relationship is that He does hear us, He does bring people in that can sit with us and love us and He is real, present and active in our lives. Surely, there was someone more in need than me this week but He showed up anyway. That's our God, that's who we bow down too and that's who died for us.
The Israelites put God in a box. The Pharisees put Jesus in a box. We put the Holy Spirit in a box. Three in one. Jesus said, "My Father is in me and I am in Him." He told us that He would leave the counselor with us to sustain us all our days through the Holy Spirit. They are one. We can choose to believe Him for the words He left for us or we can choose to see Him in every corner of our lives. I choose to believe. Look for Him in every aspect of your life. He is present. He cries with you, feels your pain and when you are at the brink, He lifts you up and gives you hope. We must testify that in our trials, we saw Jesus!
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:7-18 NIV)