Category: the root word of relevant

lift up your head

Lift up your head to the coming King.
Bow before Him, and adore Him…sing!
To His Majesty, let Your praises be pure and holy
giving glory to the King of Kings.

When you have been disappointed, lied to, failed, beaten down,
what makes you lift your head?

For me, it is most often my kids. Miranda has a smile that will stop you in your tracks. KK talks jibberish and tells her own made-up stories until you can’t help but laugh. They have a way of making me forget what is troubling me – or in some cases, forcing me…because little kids, fortunately, don’t need to see their parents’ turmoil.

It’s hard some times, when we feel burdened, just to look up. I mean metaphorically, and I also mean physically. I see pictures of myself sometimes where my shoulders are hunched and think Why am I standing that way? I look defeated. Chances are, as a mom of pre-schoolers, I am just tired, but standing up straight not only portrays confidence: sometimes, it actually can make us feel it.

There is a verse I meditate on a lot. I have even written about it before. It is one of my “life verses” and it’s found in Exodus 14:14:

The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.

Simple enough, right? In this past year, over situations varying from the personal to the professional, in family and in ministry, I have been called upon to do just that, just what it is hardest for me to do: Shut my mouth. Keep my sarcastic, clever, biting comments to myself. Swallow my self-righteousness, even if I am right.

It’s been one hard lesson after another in discovering that just because I was holding my peace did not mean God was fighting for me in ways I could see. Through some of these situations, all I saw/am seeing was/is endless waiting, untruths being told that I could not set straight, and circumstances unfolding that would negatively affect my family. And yet, except to my husband, or a few close friends, or to God Himself, I have held my peace.

But to be honest, somewhere in this past year, I’ve equated me holding my peace to me cowering in the corner, apologizing for the fact that I’m on God’s side. And while it hasn’t been in one of those “BIG BOOM” moments, gradually, through the counsel of wise friends, the preaching of the Word, and my own walk with God, I’ve gotten a clue on this matter.

Holding my peace doesn’t mean not fighting. I wrote last week that I’m not always called to wield a sword…well, true…but sometimes I am! Just this week, a moment presented itself when I needed to speak my peace. I didn’t use the most elequent words I’ve ever chosen. I’m not sure my point got across. And my voice did do that crazy-mommy-shaky-thing somewhere toward the end, but I did it: I stuck up, in person, for myself, my family, my work, and what I believe with all my heart is God’s plan.

HE doesn’t need me in order for His will to be done. But if I’m going to take this ride, I need to have peace in my heart and my head held high. And so do you. Because – yay! – check this out…look what happens in the next verses:

And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.
– Exodus 14:15-18

Moses obeyed God.

Moses held his peace.

And Moses, under God’s power, divided the Red Sea, YO!.

– the problem was solved. the peace was maintained. the miracle occurred. and the glory was God’s.

Keep riding. Stop cowering. Bite your tongue “until”…and then unleash His truth. Look up. Our King is coming…and He is coming to our rescue.

The Root Word of Relevant is a new weekly devotional showcased on Chicagolina.com

psalm 24: faith, fight, or flight

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it.
The world and all its people belong to him.

For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas
and built it on the ocean depths.
Who may climb the mountain of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,
who do not worship idols and never tell lies.

They will receive the LORD’s blessing
and have a right relationship with God their savior.
Such people may seek you
and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.
Open up, ancient gates!
Open up, ancient doors,
and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty;
the LORD, invincible in battle.

Open up, ancient gates!
Open up, ancient doors,
and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory?
The LORD of Heaven’s Armies—
he is the King of glory.
(Psalm 24:1-10 NLT)

For the past 2 months, we’ve been living in a state of waiting, hoping, fighting discouragement…an emotional rollar coaster between fight or flight, between faith and failure.

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For the past three years, after we’d made the decision to Become Full Time Ministers, whatever we thought that meant, we’ve been on that ride, quite honestly. It’s not a huge leap to look at opening doors, walk through, and follow where God is leading you. We are supposed to obey Him. It doesn’t really make us brave or wonderful when we do the things required by Him. It just makes us obedient.

The leap, I guess, comes when we walk through an open door and find ourselves standing in front of a brick wall.

We have trusted, we have obeyed, we have risked, we have prayed, we have given of ourselves, and yet… There is no clear answer. There is no clear path. And we are left standing at the seeming end of a journey with nothing tangible to show for it, and a bag full of answered questions as to what we should do next.

So then what? When there is no apparent command in front of you, what exactly do you obey? When there is no clear answer in sight, do you ask a different question? When the promise you’ve been given has been confirmed over and over again and still, you do not see it coming to life, do you doubt that it was ever true?

When you are a battle-weary warrior and the fight seems to have ended with a whimper and not a victory cry, do you lay down your weapons or look for another war?

Rod and I have been wrestling hard with these questions. I don’t mean to be veiled in secrecy about these circumstances; the fact is probably clear to regular readers that ‘things’ have not unfolded as planned since we moved to Myrtle Beach to run the theater. The summary is that the theater has been delayed various times for unforeseen reasons beyond our control, and while we are still very much planning to open ASAP, we are waiting for some things to be put into place first. This has caused us stress, worry, second guessing, face-saving, and in our lowest moments, questioning our place and our purpose in a grand scheme that we are sure is authored by God, even though it hasn’t gone how we envisioned it.

There are a lot of lessons I am learning in this time of balance, of figuring out a balance between faith, fight, and flight. But this week, as our church leaders gathered in the still-under-construction theater to pray with us, I was reminded of some very important truths that seem to, have to outweigh them all:

Everything belongs to God. He doesn’t need us to offer it to Him, although in obedience, we should. He made it. He created the Earth, the people in it, and every open door that is set before us.

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We will only succeed if we put Him first. The Word teaches us that the holy will reach the top of the mountain. We’ve put such a poor connotation on the word holy. But it doesn’t mean ‘holier-than-thou.’ In fact, it means forsaking our comparisons to others for a focus on God’s holiness, on Jesus’ pure example. I am far, far, far from meeting that mark, but I can attest that for the past nine years, it has become the priority in my life. Make me more like Jesus. Help me cast aside things that hold me back, that distract me, that keep me from being everything I was created to be. Holiness is there at the top of the mountain. Strive for holiness, and victory is ours.

The battle is the Lord’s. It does not make me weak or a failure to admit that *I* have no power in a situation. In fact, I am never powerless, because I can always call upon HIM. God will be victorious in my circumstance. The hard part is accepting that it is not in my control…and that sometimes, He is calling me not to the front lines of battle, wielding my sword and shouting like a banchee. He is calling me to my knees, to surrender to Him.

Even after all the Lord has done for us: His blessing on our marriage, His restoration of our ministries, His healing of my infertility, sometimes I doubt. Sometimes I settle for the scraps and forget that I am called to feast as a joint heir with the Son of God.

I am not called to run.

I am not always called to fight.

But I am eternally called and equipped to put my faith in the King of Glory.

And so I know, though surrounded by evidence to the contrary, the answer is on the way. It will be immediate, it will be more than enough, and it will point to HIM. Amen.

What mountain are you climbing right now? Share here, and you will be in my family’s prayers.

I spent a day after writing this one pondering its purpose, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it is time for me to be a bit more intentional with this self-published space. Please consider this the first of weekly devotionals. I will theme it or something later, but for now, I just want to be held accountable to write them, on a regular basis, as the good muse I call God inspires me.