highchairMadison Benton will be nine years old in July.  Her birth brought much joy and ushered in a great era for us.  Being grandparents is something we enjoy beyond description.

After Madison was born, we bought a high chair to use during her visits.  Because Madison matured and grew, the chair eventually found its way to the attic.  It was almost eight years before other grandchildren began to arrive, so the chair has now moved from the attic back to the kitchen.  Our young, immature grandsons require a  high chair.

It’s funny to watch those boys as they sit in the high chair.  It’s actually more like an “I” chair.  When our grandsons are in the “I” chair, they are very demanding.  I was recently feeding Joseph, and he was sitting in the chair crying, mouth wide open, demanding his food immediately!  If he liked what I gave him, all was pleasant.  If he did not like what I was giving him, he would try to swat it away.  He demanded that he have what he wanted, when he wanted it.   If he did not have his way, he let everyone know it.  I’ve had the same experience when feeding Tucker – the identical same experience!   Their behavior is understandable because they are just babies; however, the day must come when the boys mature beyond the “I” chair.

The most dangerous spiritual chair a person can sit in is the “I” chair.  It is the chair that negates the will and Word of God.  It is the chair that says I will serve and obey God when I choose.  It will be on my terms.  If I don’t like part of His Word, I’ll swat it away.  If God or the church crosses me, I will scream unless I get my way.  I have a right to do whatever!  Yet, nothing could be farther from the truth of the Gospel.

There must come a point that we outgrow the “I” chair.  We are not our own. We were bought with a price. We belong to Jesus. We are His purchased possession.  When a person yields to the lordship of Jesus Christ, he or she acknowledges His ownership and gives up personal rights.

It’s time to put the “I” chair in the attic. 

“Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”  Luke 9:23

When Life Is Hard

when life is hardMore than once in my life I have found myself in hard places, and that is putting it mildly!  I have suffered abuse, been in financial despair, had a miscarriage, walked through extreme church conflict, had a child with cancer and lost a son.  Even when we belong to God, we can find ourselves in hard places.

I love to teach, but I also love to challenge others to dig and learn on their own.  Take a few minutes to read a little about a woman named Hagar.  Yes, I know she birthed Ishmael, but she really had no choice in the matter.  She was owned by the family.

Once Sarah realized what she had set in motion, she mistreated Hagar terribly, and a pregnant Hagar fled. Hagar – abused and despised, sitting alone in a wilderness. That is a hard place in life.  Take time to read Genesis 16 to get the details.

Hagar learned some things about God while she was in that hard place.  She learned He sees what we go through; she learned God hears our cries when life has become hopeless; she learned He cares about our circumstances; she learned He will give promises to us in the hard place.

Maybe Hagar’s story is your story right now.  God sees you today.

Hagar gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her:  “You are the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13).

Hurry Up and Wait

hurry-up-and-waitRecently I was in a big hurry to get somewhere and was driving in a passing lane.  The lane was moving way too slow for my taste.  After all, I was in a rush and someone was awaiting my arrival.  The vehicle in front of me was a small U-Haul truck, and the driver was going soooooo slow.  I kept requesting aloud, “Would you please move faster or get out of my way?”    Apparently the driver did not get the message. He kept going way too slow!  After finally passing the car to our right, the truck pulled over, and I was ready to roll.  At that moment I realized there was a slow vehicle that had been in front of the truck.  That vehicle was the reason for the truck’s slow speed.  The driver saw something I did not see.  He had clearer vision.

How often in prayer, I have instructed God what to do, when to do it and how to do it!   So many times He doesn’t obey me!  Imagine that!  It’s so easy for me to pray based on my perspective, according to the lane from which I am driving at that moment in life.  Over and over when God has not moved fast enough, it is later that I discover He saw things I did not see.  He has much clearer vision of what is down the road.

Several years back, I was to be one of four speakers at a conference in Georgia.  It was a period of time when I was going to be away from home for eleven weekends in a row.   I prayed and prayed asking God for messages for Georgia, and nothing came to my heart.  As the date of the conference approached, panic arose in my spirit.  I have hundreds of messages which I have given over the years, but even those didn’t seem to have life.  Two weeks before I was to be in Georgia, I received a call that the conference was being downsized a bit.  The leader knew I had way too much on my plate at the point, so she asked if I would mind being cancelled.  Since my schedule was so hectic at that time, I did not mind at all!  All along I thought the answer to my prayer was for God to give me a message.  God always knew I wasn’t going to Georgia.  He was very aware that I needed a break in my schedule.  He had much clearer vision.

Do you find yourself in the God’s waiting room?  The idea of waiting goes against that to which we have become accustomed in our hurry-up world.  My natural inclination is to hit the gas pedal, while God might be saying, “Hit the brakes.  Slow it down.”  As a matter of fact, God will at times press the brakes Himself.  He sees things ahead that we do not see.  He knows when we need refueling and rest for what is ahead.

We will all spend time in God’s waiting room.  It is not the bad place we often envision it to be. The next time you are driving through life and you want to step on the gas, and He steps on the brakes, trust Him.  After all, it is He that knows what is ahead.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  Psalm 27:14