In Search of a Diagnosis

If you have ever sat with someone in an Emergency room or Doctor’s office who is suffering from an abnormal pain or malady, you have very likely felt the tension and fear of the unknown, and the desire for an answer.    When the illness or malady can be righted with medication, the prescription is often filled immediately.  When the diagnosis demands a lifestyle change, the healing may or may not be readily pursued.

As I type today, several friends of mine have requested prayer for grandchildren, friends, sons, and daughters who are in need of a diagnosis to begin a healing process.  I wait with eager anticipation to hear of the doctor’s findings.  I pray and hope that the answer is not far away, and that the problem can be answered with a quick surgery or medication.

There is such a feeling of uncertainty when people face trouble with no diagnosis.  When the pain or physical ailment is persistent and there is no concrete reason given for it, people begin to panic, to feel “lost”, and to search out every avenue of knowledge they can to find an answer.  Just having a diagnosis would feel like a heavy load has lifted; but for many, the diagnosis brings something more.

One of our former tenants was a woman with diabetes, whose weight gain was out of control, and who was confined to a wheelchair because of it.  She had been given her diagnosis, and the treatment which would demand a lifestyle change in order for her to live.  I’ll never forget the story I heard about the day she opened a box of one dozen doughnuts and began eating them in front of her sister.  Alarmed and worried, the sister said, “Do you really think you should be eating that considering your condition?”  Without losing eye contact with her sister, our tenant reached for her insulin shot and stabbed it into her leg dramatically, pushed the serum in, and threw it to the ground.  Next she picked up another doughnut and continued to eat.  The message was clear:  “I’ll do what I want.”  She died a few months later.

When we are looking for answers to the meaning of life, it is usually because our conscience has awakened us to a malady, or a great problem.  We see evil in the world around us.  Some of the crimes and atrocities seem so senseless and make us ask the question,  “What is wrong with people?”  If we could give the world a pill and change it all, we would.  The table turns however, when the malady and malfunction we notice is in our own lives.  We think evil thoughts.  We have angry reactions out of proportion to the thing that triggered our response.  We are selfish.  We want things our way.  We hurt others with our words and actions.photo

To diagnose the world, one must first have the diagnosis of his own heart.  Jesus called it “sin”.  The Bible speaks to the condition of our hearts and tells us that we are in great need of a healing, and a lifestyle change.  There is a turning from one way of living, to another that has to take place for the healing to make its way into the world.

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Romans 6:23

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

God provided a way for us to heal, to change through His Son, Jesus.  His death on the cross, and victory over the grave broke the power of sin and death for each of us.  He showed us that we are lost without God, and destined to die an eternal death of separation from God if we insist on life “our way”.  If we refuse to see that our hearts are bent to evil, and our desires are only self-serving, we will tumble down a path that will produce one evil after another.  If, however, we accept the diagnosis that we are sick with sin, and we turn to God and ask for His forgiveness, He will not only wipe away our guilt, but He will infuse us with the power to make the lifestyle changes.  When we don’t even “want” to change, He will give us the “want”.  When we are weak in ourselves, God has promised His perfect strength.  When we cry out to Him, He will hear us and answer us.  He will even provide escapes for us when we are tempted.

Psalm 103:8-17

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.

10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.

14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.

16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.

17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;

We cannot be surprised when evil steals life and happiness, if we ourselves continue to “eat the doughnuts” knowing we shouldn’t.  If we continue to ignore our own conscience, dull our senses, and entertain ourselves with sin, we are on the side of evil.  Point the finger at terrorists and madmen if you must, but understand that you and I are just “one thought” away from being one.  We need a Savior.  We need a remedy.  We need a change of heart.

May I invite you once again to call out to God for forgiveness, and to receive that forgiveness and change of heart through the Blood of His Son, Jesus.  May I implore you to search your heart and see if you have left the path of change and recovery in search of “doughnuts”?  Can I exhort you to return to the pain of your conscience which alerts you to the greater dangers you are headed for, and call out to God for your sake, and for the sake of the world?

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Art and the Roadshow

An interesting TV show that came about in my generation is “Antiques Roadshow”.

“**Part adventure, part history lesson, and part treasure hunt, ten-time Emmy® Award-nominated ANTIQUES ROADSHOW marks its 17th season in 2013. PBS’s highest-rated series, ROADSHOW is seen by almost 10 million viewers each week. Veteran television personality Mark L. Walberg serves as series host. In each hour-long ROADSHOW episode, specialists from the country’s leading auction houses — Bonhams and Butterfields, Christie’s, Doyle New York, Skinner and Sotheby’s — and independent dealers from across the nation offer free appraisals of antiques and collectibles. ANTIQUES ROADSHOW cameras capture tales of family heirlooms, yard sale bargains and long-lost items salvaged from attics and basements, while experts reveal the fascinating truths about these finds.”

The draw of this show is the hope that someone can bring in an obscure, old object, to the field of experts, and find that their object is actually some kind of valuable treasure with a story.  The panel of experts who inspect each piece of furniture, painting, and household item, are educated with information about creators from different eras and the scope of their creations.  It’s fascinating to watch the faces of the people as they present their objects to the experts.  As the expert begins speaking about the article, his knowledge of it’s creator, era of time, owners, or purpose, cause the value of the object to rise or fall in the eyes of the presenter depending upon the information given.

Knowing who the creator of a work of art is determines the art’s value, and re-connects the art with its source.  What was once obscure now has history–sometimes rich history.  What was seen as old junk, can suddenly become a prized possession.  A person may carry their art piece in to the show in a blanket, and leave with it in a padded crate under lock and key.  Knowing the creator of the art is key to its value.

The same is true of you and me.  We were created and designed.  Our lives have a purpose and a meaning.  Your value and mine are intrinsically determined by the value and worth of our Creator.  Because our Creator has extensive experience in every generation, in  every form of creation possible, from fresh models, to art re-made, there is a rich history connected to each of us.  Your worth is not determined by the house you live in or the generation you were born into, but by the One who made you whose handiwork declare His glory day after day from the stars in the sky to the thunderous waves of the ocean.

I invite you to come into God’s “Roadshow” and find out what your value is.  I dare you to see that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” in God’s image.  I challenge you to learn your history, and discover the One who rescued you from the hands of the greatest art thief by giving up His own life to save yours.  I implore you to see your worth in the gallery of God’s workmanship, placed in your generation, in your town, in your family to show the excellence of His glory.

May I introduce you to Jesus?  Bring your life, whether old or young, battered or invigorated, tanked, or full of ambition and discover that you are worth more than you can imagine.

Psalm 139:13-18

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,Kachemak Bay God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

 

**http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/about.html

Future Fruit

fruitMy husband and I were listening to a radio program a few years ago hosted by the late Larry Burkett about stewarding what God has given us.  It was a live radio show where people would call in and ask financial questions seeking Biblical solutions, and one particular caller got our attention.  The man who phoned in to the program was sharing with Larry the host, that he really felt that he and his wife needed a large motor home so that they could travel the states and “come alongside” churches and teach on Biblical stewardship and finances.  As he spoke, he stressed their need for this vehicle in order to accomplish this desire he had.  With great wisdom and insight, the host, Larry Burkett asked the man this question:  “Is this ministry you need the motor home for a ministry that you are already doing in your hometown and church?

“Well, no….” the man replied.  “It’s something I feel I need to start, but I don’t have the RV to get me started.”

Again, with the wisdom of Solomon, Larry pointed out the blind-spot of this caller.  “If you are not doing that ministry now, where you live, with people who know you and trust you, you will not do it in an RV traveling the states.  You first must show yourself trustworthy and faithful where you live, and develop that ministry, then if God asks you to travel with it, He will provide the means.”

How many times have we wished we could have jump this process of “becoming”.  We want the RV without the work of starting small and sowing in hard ground.  We want to live like the “person” in our head while the rest of the world is stuck with the person we actually are.  History, however, does not record the person you want to be, but the person that you are right now, and God is interested in the person you are now just as much as the person He has called you to be.

Obedience and faithfulness are the tough work of a life of fruitfulness.  What you and I sow now, what we invest our lives in now, become the things that feed us in years to come.  And it’s not just we who reap the benefits, but our families, our neighbors, our co-workers, our city, our state, our country, and quite possibly the world.  We just can’t always see it now.

Whenever I am dissatisfied with things I see around me, or in my life–when I am in a complaining mode and upset, I usually begin to state my ideals.  I fantasize about how it “should be”, and I begin dreaming.  This is when Larry Burkett’s words come to mind.  These ideals, these hopes….am I investing in them now?  What does my current lifestyle show that adds credence to my dreams?  If I take an honest look at myself, and see no investing in that future, no discipline, no tenacity, no obedience, no follow-through, then I need to expect that my future will look no different than it is right now.  I will be the one always wanting someone to give me the RV for the road trip I have never planned for and likely will never take.

If, however, I realize that the future I desire depends on how I invest my life today, and I change from complaining to working, to praying, to discipline, to follow-through, to blessing, and to sacrificing now for what lays ahead, I am more likely to “become”.

Someone who has learned faithfulness in the small things, can be placed anywhere and be found doing the same–even in a motor home.  If God has called you to the King’s Palace, may you be found faithful in the hospital ward.  If you are called to reach many, may the few friends around you find you trustworthy.

Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

 

Own Your Hunger

Some dear friends of ours who were missionaries in Papua New Guinea for over 30 years were sharing a story with us one day about some of the frustrations they had in the village where they served.  These friends were sent by New Tribes Missions, into a small village in a remote part of the country where the gospel had not yet been heard.  Their job was to learn the language of the people and then translate the Bible into that language and find ways to present the gospel to them in a way they could understand.  This particular tribe was a tribe of hunters and gatherers who lived day to day on the meat they trapped, or hunted, and on the herbs or trees that they collected that day or that week.

Seeing the need for sustainable food for these people, my friends began to order corn seed from their mission station to be delivered to them in the village where they could plant it and teach the people to plant, tend and harvest their own vegetables or produce.  And so it began, the missionaries placed the seed in the ground, watered it, weeded it, fertilized it and produced a crop of corn with enough of it’s own seed to be used in the next planting.  It was a fantastic idea that they brought to the field, that sadly died in the field.

Here’s what happened:  They would teach the people to plant the seeds in the ground, but in this harvesting/gathering culture, there wasn’t time or attention given to the seedlings to be sure they grew.  The gardens were unattended during the days and nights and the wild pigs would come in and root up anything that thought about growing, eat it and leave the garden destroyed.  The plants that would miraculously survive and grow into full ears of corn were consumed immediately and none of the seed set aside to plant again.  So, the locals would return to the missionaries on a regular basis asking for more seed to plant since theirs was consumed.

I remember hearing the story and thinking, “Why in the world didn’t the people catch on to the fact that they needed a sustainable food supply?”  It seemed logical to me that they should apply themselves to planting and farming, but alas, my 20/20 vision here would prove to be fuzzy in another area of life where I live….

Now travel to my continent and visit the churches where my culture and generation go to worship.  You will see the same frustration on the faces of the pastors and workers as you would have seen on my missionary friends.  Week after week, year after year, many of these pastors and leaders labor over the scriptures.  Gleaning insight and wisdom, nurturing faith, and applying truths they have learned, many pastors will devote over 30 hours to the one sermon they will prepare on Sunday morning.  Within the study and presentation of the message will be enough “seed” to plant and grow for a lifetime and certainly enough to feed one for a week of time.  But the same problem persists.  Our culture doesn’t know what to do with the seed.  There isn’t any time devoted to nurturing the seed or be sure it is growing properly.  Our busy, hectic schedules find us running constantly and leaving our spiritual life at the mercy of the elements and our enemy.  While we are out hunting and gathering possessions, positions, and reputation, our spiritual gardens wither and die off.  We don’t put fences or boundaries around our spiritual lives; but instead we allow them to be opened up to whatever wild hog happens to be running through.  Sometimes that wild hog will be the movies we watch or the company we keep.  Our sustainable life is consumed before we know it.

Then there is Sunday when we run back to our churches and places of worship and say “Feed me!  That last seed didn’t take, and we are hungry!  Not only that, but we have children too and they need fed.”  It’s common to hear Christians say that their church just doesn’t feed them or meet their spiritual needs, or that it would be a better church if it had better programs for their children, or their teenagers.  The problem, however, often lies in the lifestyle of we who come hungry.  Are we feeding ourselves throughout the week?  Are we feeding and nurturing our own children?  Are we tending our own spiritual lives, or leaving them unattended?

I hear so much talk of revival, and honestly the “talk” part has worn me out.  Who will actually own their own hunger?  That’s my question.  If we are really hungry for the things of God, then why aren’t we planting, nurturing, and tending our own spiritual life?  If we are desiring more of God, why aren’t we looking for Him or seeking Him faithfully with our free time?  If we want victory over our addictions and sins, why aren’t we inviting accountability into our lives and doing the hard work of repentance and changing?  Why does our garden look like it’s been ransacked by hogs?  Where is the seed to get us through tomorrow and our children through their childhood?  Doesn’t revival start in our heart and then work it’s way out from there?  And if our churches aren’t meeting all of our hungers and needs, isn’t there a way that we can bring into our live the kind of prayer partners that will  pray with us and encourage us on this path to revival?  What exactly do we need?

Why do we ask Him for revival when we are not willing to take steps of repentance?  Why should our churches make the worship longer or the prayer times more frequent, if we have no plans to cultivate that part of our lives throughout the week and watch it take root?  Why should we desire better programs for our children, when we intend to let them watch ungodly movies and tv shows, surf the internet unattended, and play games we have never screened nor plan to pay attention to?  What is the sense in that?

My point is this, revival will happen when we own our own hunger.  When we really sincerely believe that our spiritual life and the lives of our children are worth protecting, nurturing, cultivating, and continuing.  Revival’s earmarks will be repentance, accountability, prayer, study, and love for one another on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Instead of wild hogs running through our lives on the weekends, you will see us tending our fences and teaching our children.   The Holy Spirit will have so much to work with because we will have finally turned our lives over to this Jesus that we call “Lord”.  Instead of one pastor growing a garden to feed a village, the village will grow the gardens that feed the world.  That’s how the gospel is spread.  That is how the gospel is enjoyed.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2Chronicles 7:14

Three Dangerous Words

I know we get tired and we want to give up.  I know that pain gets “old” and like rocks in our shoes rubs, cuts, and callouses.  No one wants to hurt.  No one wants to experience pain.  The truth is that all of our lives are bent towards pain.  It hurts to stay stuck and it hurts to grow.  Our choices then rest in which pain we will choose.

I blogged on this subject some before in my article “When It’s Too Much” where I talked about our ability to feel and experience and feel pain is in direct proportion to our ability to give and receive love.  Somehow this paradox opens us, enlarges us, and gives us a greater capacity to embrace one another and embrace the God who made us.  True also is the fatigue and overwhelming feeling of pain that we cannot control.  Tragedies, choices of others, disease, and prolonged hope all work against our will to continue on.  The most dangerous words we can say when this happens are these three:  “I don’t care.”

“I don’t care” is often the phrase you say before you pick up the alcohol bottle and drown your sorrows.  It is heard before someone chooses adultery in a marriage.  If not spoken out loud, it is in the mind of the one who fills their hand with sleeping pills and swallows them down quickly.  It’s on the lips of the one who despite the danger, ventures out into behavior that will reap deadly or painful consequences.  I’ve heard these words over and over.  I myself am guilty of saying them.

To stop caring is to shut the door of growth and change.  To stop caring is to cut off your legs and believe you will sail through life unchallenged.  You just cannot afford to not care.  “But Cate,” you say, “If I say I care then it will require something of me.”  You are right.  Even if the pain or trouble you are facing is not your fault, you have responsibilities as well as options in your control to make a change and choose the path of pain that leads to growth, and yes, hope.

It’s our “I don’t care” attitude that gets us into messes, and it will be our “I choose to care” attitude that will begin the walk out of it.    Take your choice to  care, bathe it in prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to help you, and start walking in the direction of change.  Call on others to pray for you and encourage you when it gets too hard or too painful.  Live a life of accountability where someone knows your “flight plan” and holds you to it.

Not everything I choose to care about will change just because I cared, but I can guarantee that I will have changed by the process of pain and discomfort that caring brings me through.  And if caring inspires faith and hope in another, I am living most like my Father in heaven who “…so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)  God cared enough for you and me to experience a pain that would forever change us and leave Him with permanent scars and reminders of the price He paid.  Remember, pain has an expiration date, but love goes on and on into eternity.  Choose the pain of growth and hope.

 

Photo by Chuck Skeek

Uzzah, David and Me

“It’s the thought that counts.”

That is often the phrase I fall back on when I attempt something with good motives only to find it fell short of it’s expected goal or crashed altogether.  My intentions are what I want people to see even if the outcome was not favorable.  Motive and intent are huge pieces of the puzzle that explain the why and the what of  all we do.  So can I possibly do something with good motives and intentions that can be very wrong?  That is the question I want to delve into as we look at a passage of scripture from 1 Chronicles 13.

Many of you have read this story.  You will find it in two places in scripture.  The first place is 2 Samuel 6, and then here in 1 Chronicles where we have a little more insight into the story.  The narrative speaks of David,  who has recently been crowned king over Israel, coming up with a brilliant plan to bring back to Israel the Ark of the Covenant of God that had been stolen by the Philistines during the reign of Saul.  David’s intent was to restore the glory of God to the people of Israel, and to show once again that God reigned over His people and was present with them.  Verses 1-4 of Chapter 13 show us David’s idea and how he communicated it to the people, with verse 4 telling us that “The whole assembly agreed to do this, because it seemed right to all the people.”  David’s motives and intent were understood by the people as being right and pure and  in keeping with their convictions, so the plan proceeded.

Here is where the story becomes full of energy.  There is such excitement about going to get the ark, that people make a parade out of it with music, dancing, and celebrating.  They built a brand new cart to transport the Ark on, so that it would look magnificent as it wound its way “home”.  This was supposed to be a festive, God-honoring event, but something happened:  One of the oxen pulling the new cart stumbled and the cart began to tip.  Uzzah a man with good intentions reached out to steady the Ark, and instantly was struck dead.   The parade came to a dumbfounded and sorrowful halt as the realization of Uzzah’s death settled on each of them.  Confused, hurt, afraid and angry, David asks the question, “How can I ever bring the Ark of God to me?”

God seems so unfair.  So unpredictable.  He seems to make goals unattainable, and consequences dire.  He is unjust if we leave the story right here.  Sadly, many people do leave the story right here.  But let’s press on further.

David is angry and hurt, but David takes that pain to God and inquires of God about the reason for Uzzah’s death, and what David discovers is the lesson that I need to remember.  David finds out that God had a prescribed method for transporting the Ark of the Covenant and it did not involve carts, or exhibition.  God takes David back to His instructions from Numbers chapter 4 where the specific, detailed instructions of Ark transport were recorded.  The Ark was only to ever be transported by the priests of the Levitical clan.  They were to wrap the ark in the shielding curtain of the Tabernacle, then cover that with the hides of seals, then put the transporting poles into the rings attached to the side of the Ark.  After that was completed, they were to wrap all of that in a blue cloth.  (Numbers 4)  Never at anytime were they to touch the Ark, or have anyone else come near it.  As David inquires of the Lord, he realizes something:  God is always right and just.

David has a choice in his anger to do several things:  1. he can justify himself and his motives and accuse God of being cruel;  2. he can run from God and choose to no longer try to attempt anything for God’s glory; and 3.  he can re-calibrate his heart to God’s desires and designs.  David chooses to align his will with God’s.  We see this in verses 11-13 of 1 Chronicles 15.  David recognized that God had already given instructions on this issue, and David’s sin was that he did not inquire of God about those instructions.  David repented, did it God’s way, and succeeded and bringing the Ark back to Israel.

So how does this story apply to you and me?

We have a host of scriptures that give us instruction on many areas of our lives.  Without gray areas or shadows, God gives us His intents and His design for much of our life.  Somehow or another, however, we allow ourselves the ideas that God is all about our happiness.  We let this idea rule our decisions.  We think, of course God would be okay with this because it doesn’t hurt anyone else, and it makes me happy.  This idea is a costly one.  If I disregard what God has already said in order to accommodate my desires, I have become the plumb line that God must adjust to.  He is now on my terms.  Interesting to note, however is the fact that God does not regard my standards as His.  Like Uzzah, I can reach out with good intentions to do what seems right at the moment, but if it is something I have already been instructed about, I cannot accuse God of being unfair when He keeps His word and I suffer consequences.

My prayer is to be like David, who when confronted by his sin, changed his direction, re-calibrated his heart and intentions with God’s desires, and saw the fulfillment of his dreams doing it God’s way.  God will not always bless what we are doing, but we are always invited to “do” what God is blessing.

So in every decision, ask the question:  “Has God already spoken about this issue?  What did He say?”

**My thanks to my Pastor Rick Wise for teaching on this subject and giving me God’s perspective.”

Taking the Plunge

My Biggest Halibut Ever!

This summer, while my husband was gone commercial fishing, the kids and I decided to go halibut fishing with our Pastor, and his neice.  We motored out well into the Cook Inlet to some designated halibut “hot-spots” and prepared to bait our hooks.  Some of the best bait for halibut happens to be herring and Rick, our Pastor, had a bucket of herring on the deck that was soaking in some sort of special brine he had made to make it more smelly and therefore more halibut attracting.  I looked at the liquid the bait was floating in and suddenly didn’t want to touch it.  It was brown, greasy, slimy, and smelled pretty funky.  The thought ran through my head, “I don’t want that stuff all over my hands.”

Well, we had seven fishermen, and five poles to bait, so I “bucked up”and plunged my hand into the greasy brine, pulled out a herring, cut it in half and attached him to the circle hook at the end of a fishing pole.  Then I took the other half and attached it to the hook of another, and repeated this process until all of the fishing poles were ready to fish.

I thought about what changed my mind from being grossed-out by the herring to becoming brave and diligent with the assignment, and here is what I came up with:

#1  The task needed to be done.  Sure I could let Rick, bait everyone’s hooks, and run from pole to pole making sure everyone was set up and ready, but that would make the burden greater for him, and he may not get a chance to fish because his time is taken up in baiting other people’s poles.  I was capable, I was knowledgeable, I was an adult.  It was a responsibility that I needed to answer to and so I did.

Secondly, and probably more profound to me, was this thought that occurred to me:  “My hands will only be dirty until I wash them.”  The grease and grime was a temporary state of being, because I had opportunity to make them clean again.  As I looked over the railing of the fishing boat we were on, there was a vast supply of water we were bobbing upon.  The Pacific Ocean was within my reach, with water that would clean my hands.

So with herring on my hands, God began to talk to my heart.  I began to think about the assignments or opportunities God had placed in my path on a daily basis, and I thought about how I picked or rejected each one.  I didn’t like the ones that inconvenienced me.  I didn’t want the jobs that got my hands dirty, or messed too much with my free time.  I often skipped some assignments thinking that someone more qualified would eventually come along and do them in my place.  I saw many assignments as undesirable while I bobbed and floated in life on the ocean of God’s love and mercy.  I began to see my selfishness and near-sightedness.

My mom used to have a plaque that hung up in our home that said these words: “The Will of God will never lead you where the Grace of God cannot keep you.”  And in the words of John Mark McMillan’s song “How He Loves”, there is that brilliant line that says “if grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.”

The fact remains that I live in an infinite supply of the love and grace of God.  Like the fishing boat on the Pacific Ocean, my life is surrounded.  I need only to dip my hands over the railing and find that there is grace enough to help me accomplish my tasks, refresh my soul, and prepare me for the next moment.  So what am I waiting for?   It’s time to take the plunge!