My Agenda — Rescue Me

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”  Proverbs 19:21

It’s funny for me to think about how often I have thought I was in control.  With circumstances in life either “going my way” or free falling without a reserve, having a sense of control comes with a great deal of comfort.  Does it not? Even so, control is a matter of either letting nothing or letting go, because control happens either way.

It’s also one thing to think I’m in control of my life, but it’s quite another to think about being in control of my own destiny — the outcome of my life.  For instance, in the midst of crisis or just ordinary life, I pray for a specific outcome.  I pray that God would deliver, restore, heal and bring me to a place far greater than the “pit of despair” I’ve loathed myself within.  I scour the scriptures to read of His promises to deliver, restore and heal and yet, time passes, I continue to pray and time passes further.  Am I over expecting?  Am I waiting on that miracle?  Am I reading into the promise too much?  Good questions, but the answer to them is not as precise.

Remember, I’ve learned a ton on what God truly thinks of me.  He rejoices with me and mourns with me, He understands my pain, my loss and the joy that comes from His blessings.  He gets me!  He ought to, He designed me from the inside-out.

But in my prayers — in my most intimate moments with Him before His throne, I find myself asking.  Asking of course is not a bad thing, it’s rather good as He reminds us that we “receive not, because we ask not.”  But I find myself “creating” my outcome — presenting MY agenda.  It sounds something like this . . .

Dear Lord . . . you know I’m in quite a pickle!  I’ve done it again – but this time I really did it!  It’s going to take a miracle this time and only you can pull one of those off.  So, if you could restore this job I can certainly be the man you always intended.  It will certainly be true that if you could just get my job back your name would be echoed through the halls and people will come to know about who you are through this miracle.  Amen

While He could certainly move the mountains I’ve created in my life, sometimes He doesn’t plan on moving them, but expects me to climb them!

How do I know this to be true?  Well, God revealed this to me in conversation with a dear friend.  He reminded me of the close relationship between Christ and John the Baptist.  Jesus thought extremely high of him and expressed to many John’s immense value to the furtherance of the gospel.  In fact, Jesus said this about John:  “I tell you the truth:  Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist: yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:11)

Jesus said these words about John while John sat in prison for speaking his convictions to the king.  So there John sat (Matthew 11:1-19), wondering if this person he was hearing about was in fact the one to come.  Reading into this passage just a slight bit, it would make sense that John was curious of the truth in who this man was because he knew if it were THE One, he could move the mountain John faced called jail!  It sounds alot like John may have had an agenda of his own — “rescue me!”

But in response to his curiosity, Jesus sends word back to John confirming who he is to be true.  And in his response, he states the many miracles he has performed as proof.  But not a single reference of performing a miracle too for John.  Then, in only a few verses later, Matthew writes that Jesus announces the greatness of John the Baptist.  And despite his greatness, Jesus does not rescue him.  We learn later, three chapters later, John is beheaded.

Lord Jesus — may I see through the lens that allows me to realize you are in control.  Teach me the truth about your plans, your agenda.  While I “think” I know what’s best for me, teach me to know in confidence that regardless of the outcome of my life, the most important thing is You!  It may not always look as I think it should look, smell the way I think it should smell or turn the corners in life I think should be taken.  That’s my agenda and I want your agenda!  Rescue me Your way!

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

by:  Mark Cruver

Your Great Power

“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for you.”  Jeremiah 32:17

I’ve got to tell you, this morning during my time with the Lord, I spent it reading some thoughts from one of my favorite coaches for life.  Though she is no longer living, her words still impact people like me and I find her thoughts to be like glue that bonds what I know about myself, what I know about God and living through Him everyday together.

As I read her words this morning, I couldn’t help but think to myself how utterly impossible it would be for me to say this any better.  It was exactly what I needed today and it captured the Truth in what I face most days.  Thank you God for your servant Anabel!

The following are her words:

What can I do to fight this battle of depression and self-condemnation? Well, I’ll go back and read Jude 24 again and Romans 14:4 and Philippians 4:13 and I Corinthians 15:58 and John 15:5 and Jeremiah 31:3. When I have finished reading those verses over several times I’ll “come to my senses” and realize that Satan is alive and well and talking to me, trying to get me to sink into the pit of depression and forget who I really am by God’s grace and the power that is mine by letting Christ live through me. And then what do I do? I’ll turn to him, look him straight in the eye, and shout, “Don’t you rejoice over me, you louse! Though I may fall, I WILL get up again and even though I may not see things clearly all the time let me remind you – THE LORD IS MY LIGHT and HE CANNOT BE EXTINGUISHED ” (Micah 7:8). (You gave it your best shot and failed big time–remember?)

God’s Word–a power in the lives of those who believe.

Thank You, Lord, for the incredible power You have placed within me. Oh, I can’t escape the battles–they will be a part of life as long as I’m on Planet Earth–but I know what to do: Run like crazy and let You take over. There’s just one thing that I must remember–I have to guard my mind and keep the deceiver in his place–which is under Your control.

“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!”  Jude 1:24-25

by:  Mark Cruver

Hope In Crisis

In the midst of my crisis (or anyone’s crisis) hope is something we cling to tightly.  It, at best, appears to be the last string of relief to our grief.  Hope is the emotional state which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life. We all want a positive outcome — more than life itself!  But often, our limited minds, deceitful hearts and what the Scripture calls “flesh” somehow turns the tide on hope and ushers our minds, our hearts and eventually belief to despair; the opposite of hope.

My friend just texted me on how I was doing in the midst of my personal crisis.  Yesterday I found myself hopeless, full of despair — sinning!  I completely neglected the fact that Christ’s blood covered that for me already and brought us hope in Him!

My hope is flawed, it has holes and withers as the wind blows.  But the hope found in the life of Christ is never changing!  It’s firm as a rock — in fact, it IS the rock!

So, my answer to my friend was this.  As long as I continue to hope in the outcome of my future through me and my own abilities, I will continue to doubt because I can do nothing without Christ who strengthens me.  That being said, my hope is not my hope at all, it is the Hope of the One Eternal, the Hope of God Almighty, the Hope of Glory . . . that’s the Hope I can trust!  That’s my Hope in crisis!

by: Mark Cruver